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Friday, May 18, 2018

SCRUFFY'S THIS N' THAT

Welcome to Friday.  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order:

--The time has come!  It is time to drop the puck at the Mastercard Memorial Cup.  Are you ready?  More importantly are the host Regina Pats ready?  We will find out at 8 o'clock tonight when they begin the tournament against a Hamilton Bulldogs team that eliminated the number 1 ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario League final.

Are the Bulldogs favoured tonight? Absolutely they are, why wouldn't they? Say what you will about the Pats but they enter as the host----they will be a competitive host and they are right there with the Broncos, Bulldogs and Titan.  Will we see a repeat of last year when Windsor won on home ice after having 40 days off.? We'll find out in a week.

What I do know about the Pats (at least I think I do) is that they will be ready.  The reason for that is the trio of John Paddock, Dave Struch and Brad Herauf.   This coaching staff knows how to challenge their players, how to motivate them and how to stay positive and they have done that over the last 40 plus days.  The same can be said for Swift Current bench boss Manny Viveiros.  It is what puts those teams ahead of Moose Jaw because hockey people told me last year that players there weren't challenged and it showed come playoff time when the Warriors were a team that didn't have the confidence they had in the regular season.  It is one of the reasons I picked the Broncos to win the league title once the dust had settled at the trade deadline.

At the end of the day, I think we are in for a great tournament.  The presence of the Broncos means Highway 1 will be full of Swift Current supporters heading to the Brandt Center with cowbells in tow which will make for a great game-day environment.  Will Regina fans allow Broncos fans to take over?  Regina fans are known to sit on their hands at the Brandt Centre so let us see what happens.  Would I dare take a Swift Current-Regina final? At the end of the day, I think the Eastern teams will have something to say about that, but I will say it will be a week to remember.

--With the Memorial Cup now on, I have to ask one question and it's one that I could have asked right from the opening drop of the puck this season.  Why there were not pictures of Sam Steel and Josh Mahura plastered throughout this city on billboards, windows, the side of the SaskTel building on Saskatchewan Drive baffles me.  As one person said to me around Christmas, you wouldn't know the Memorial Cup was coming if you weren't at the rink.  I would have had pictures of the Pats marquee players all over the place in this city from Harbour Landing to the East end, from the Southland to Rochdale Boulevard.  You had two guys that you knew you weren't going anywhere so everywhere you looked you should have seen their likenesses.  That being said, I am confident enough people will be in their seats tonight for Game 1 and beyond.

--Oh yeah, Riders training camp starts this weekend.  2018 is officially here!  I don't think the questions I have about this team are any different than the ones you have.   Who will be the left tackle? Can Zach Collaros be the quarterback he once was until injuries hit?  Will Sam Eguavoen be the starting MLB and what Canadian will be a starting outside linebacker?  What impact will Jerome Messam and Charleston Hughes have? We find out starting Sunday.   Many put out their pre-season power rankings a while ago and as camp hits, here are mine and yes, they could change between now and the start of the regular season:

1. EDMONTON -- On paper, they have the best team and they got better over the winter by adding the likes of Alex Bazzie, having Aaron Grymes around for a full season helps as well and oh yeah, they've got the league's best player in Mike Reilly

2. TORONTO -- Marc Trestman and Jim Popp have had an off-season to mold their team---a team that won the Grey Cup!

3. SASKATCHEWAN -- The pieces are in place to get that home playoff game, but that home playoff game won't be the Western Final as many would like.

4. CALGARY -- At some point they have to drop off.  I'm still not convinced Bo Levi is 100 percent. They have lost Hughes, Messam, Finch and others.  They are still a contender, but they are no longer the powerhouse they once were

5. OTTAWA -- There is a gap between first and second in the East and second and third. Ottawa takes advantage of that

6. WINNIPEG --- Did they get better or older in the off-season? I guess we will find out. They still have enough talent to be the crossover team unless Nichols goes down. If that happens, all bets are off.

7. BC- Ed Hervey will have this team relevant again, but Wally's last season will end without his team in the playoffs especially if Jonathan Jennings doesn't rebound from a sub-par 2017

8. HAMILTON - The Ti-Cats had a better 2nd half of the season under June Jones, but I think there is still a long ways to go when it comes to the rebuild

9. MONTREAL -- Do I have to explain?

--Under the "things I did not know" category. 1)  I had no clue the late Clare Drake was born in Yorkton.  I thought he was born, raised and did his thing in Edmonton. The impact he had on the game can't be measured.  Many coaches like Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock say Drake's approaches and techniques were revolutionary in their day and had a profound impact on what they do saying he was their mentor.  2) I had no idea former Stampeders kicker --now Regina Rams special teams coach --Mark McLoughlin was the deputy minister for advanced education in the Saskatchewan government and that he has been in Regina since September.  Having McLoughlin around to work with a kicking game that has not been stellar should be a huge improvement to that area

--Is it safe to say Joey Votto won't be playing internationally for Canada anymore and that he won't be helping get MLB back to Montreal?  Thanks Joey!  Thanks for nothing!  Yeah, you apologized for your comments on Canadian baseball  the day after once you realized what kind of heat you were taking.  It's a little too late now though for some.

--Is it just me or have we seen very few overtime games in the Stanley Cup playoffs?  Fewer than the past few years I would say.  The playoffs have been better as a whole in my mind this year than what we've seen in previous years, but it would be nice to see some more OT.

--Mother Nature definitely ruined the atmosphere for the Eagles concert as the cold conditions kept people away. It instantly had people saying "if only they had domed it".  Rewind 48 hours when it was 32 degrees and people would have been bitching about the fact it was so hot outside and they couldn't enjoy it because of the dome.  It's like I always say.  The province should replace the provincial slogan and make it "What are we going to bitch about today?"

--Let's be completely honest. When you saw what happened at the Tim Hortons store in Langley, BC, you thought it had happened here before finding out it was in BC. Talk about homemade crullers.  Ewwwww!

--Two thumbs up to Shaun Semple. Not only did the Brandt Group of Companies----a group that he is the CEO of donate $100,000 to support the families of the Humboldt Broncos that were killed or injured in that horrific bus crash last month, but Semple also got 74 family members to Regina for the opening ceremonies of the Memorial Cup by footing the bill whether it be airfare or gas and provided them with hotels as well so they could enjoy the night and see what I understand was a very moving tribute by Jack Semple and the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

--If you are a Montreal Canadiens fan, you may want to be at Regina City Hall at noon today when Guy Lafleur is on hand for a ceremony as Canada Post releases a 100th Memorial Cup stamp. Pats royalty will also be there as Dennis Sobchuk and Ed Staniowski will be on hand.  With all apologies to Lafleur, I'm more excited to see Sobchuk! He was the man when I started watching Pats hockey.  It's great to see Staniowski as well but it's been a long time since Sobchuk was in these parts. I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say one or both will be involved in the ceremonial opening faceoff before the Pats-Hamilton game gets underway.

--That's all I got. Have a fantastic long weekend! I'm sure I'll see many of you at the rink!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for... rain in this instance... you just may get it .

Anonymous said...

Roofless Mosaic Stadium reno instructions, Regina Sask, Canada.

Build ground level tower south end zone ala Montreal Olympic Stadium design. Get you some genuine Saskatchewan seal skin/bindings, Milestone co-op baler twine, tie it up real good, stretch, attach to current dangerous overhangs. Wel-la, you got you a new stadium roof Saskatchewan stye. Water proof, wind proof, sun proof, retractable. No more grumblings, no more weather interruptions. Enjoy!

{** Warranty guarantee** Be sure to oil twice a year as not to void.}

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many warriors fans will be in Regina this week to watch some Real teams compete for the Memorial Cup,sorry your warriors weren't invited because they just weren't good enough.

Anonymous said...

Well Scruffy, on your CFL prediction you got 1,2 and 9 right.

Anonymous said...

Even Rider scribes are starting to clue in. You can be a Rider fan & still realize that you aren't the best team in the league. Most pundits outside the Queen City can see the Eskimos & Argonauts are the best all around clubs right now. Pretty good predictions, Scruffy. The biggest area of concern, absolutely no surprise here, is the Offensive Line in Regina. The middle should be okay but the tackle position is going to be interesting. Bladek, Bond & one new starter on the line likely. Jones didn't mention Coleman in his press conference. Probably he starts or you have 4 new starters. O-lines take time to jell. It's considered perhaps the most cerebral position next to QB. Glenn was chased last year a lot near the end of the season & if Collaros gets put on his rear as often as the Riders allowed last year, that's a concern. It should be a good season. We'll see what training camp brings.

Anonymous said...

The pathetic trolls are out early today.

Anonymous said...

Of course the new stadium should have been covered….only a lunatic would think otherwise!

One only needs to visit BC Place to understand how nice it is to watch an event in shirt sleeves sipping a wobbly pop. The comfort and atmosphere are something special.

Living in one of the most hostile and unpredictable environments in the world yet we fail to do it right. We built this open air mausoleum because a senior Rider executive pushed for and got his way. Stupid then and stupid now. Most of the tax payers wanted a covered facility. After a series of convoluted inquiries they built this seldom used or usable monstrosity.

A covered facility and the Eagles are sold out and not a seat to to be had. Usable 12 months out of the year. Concerts, conventions, baseball, soccer, world class events. Nope we're stuck with an oft useless structure built to pay homage to an old fool.

Anonymous said...

I would go 1-EDMONTON
2-TORONTO
3-WINNIPEG
4-CALGARY
5-OTTAWA
6-BC
7-SASK
8-HAMILTON
9-MONTREAL

Anonymous said...


Great point on the marketing or lack of it.

Anonymous said...

1) Calgary
2)Toronto
3)Winnipeg
4)Sask
5)Edmonton
6)Hamilton
7)Ottawa
8)BC
9)Montreal

Why is everybody so high on the Eskimos. They lost 6 in a row at one point. Wpg has only gotten better with A.Bowman & a great O-line

Anonymous said...

THE SINGLE MOST CLUELESS AND UNEDUCATED POST I'VE EVER READ ON HERE!

"Of course the new stadium should have been covered….only a lunatic would think otherwise!

One only needs to visit BC Place to understand how nice it is to watch an event in shirt sleeves sipping a wobbly pop. The comfort and atmosphere are something special.

Living in one of the most hostile and unpredictable environments in the world yet we fail to do it right. We built this open air mausoleum because a senior Rider executive pushed for and got his way. Stupid then and stupid now. Most of the tax payers wanted a covered facility. After a series of convoluted inquiries they built this seldom used or usable monstrosity.

A covered facility and the Eagles are sold out and not a seat to to be had. Usable 12 months out of the year. Concerts, conventions, baseball, soccer, world class events. Nope we're stuck with an oft useless structure built to pay homage to an old fool."

Anonymous said...

Brother Oskee and his Mr. Kent Austin ex-football god loving ways is not going to have much love for Scruffy in 2018 for pegging his Ti-Cats at #8!

Anonymous said...

Bang on with the marketing discussion. Without insult, the reality is the mem cup hits a small portion of regina's population. most of the 22,000 people at the eagles concert won't tune in for a second of the memorial cup.

the games are played at 10PM eastern time. its a local tournament and most eyes will be on rider training camp by the time the pats are eliminated.

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

Way to take a shot at the Moose Jaw Warriors! Glad it probably made you feel good and giddy about their inability to make the memorial cup! They beat a very hot and well coached Prince Albert raiders, took the eventual whl champs to 7 games, finished with the top record in whl, got all 3 of their 20 year olds nhl contracts.... I think the Warriors are in good hands thanks for your useless opinion. Sure loosing in the second round was heartbreaking but was still a good run.

Just out of curiosity what did the broncos and pats do that put them in the mem cup? Pats lost first round (albeit still took broncos to 7 games) and swift just traded a significant amount of assets for one playoff run. Manny the coach was gifted the best roster in the whl by manny the gm with aspirations to get manny the coach a pro job and the next coach and gm will clean up this mess for quite a long time while manny might be in the pro ranks somewhere. Manny has done nothing special that most coaches couldn’t do with that roster.

Anonymous number 9

Anonymous said...

Blah Blah blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...


Somebody from Moose Jaw is still awfully pouty that his team isn't playing at the Memorial Cup. He'll be really pouty if its a Broncos-Pats final.

Great opener.Paddock was solid and they got a big win. Those who think they are above going to the tournament missed out on a dandy.

Anonymous said...

Moose Jaw barely beat the 8th seeded team in the Raiders and sure they took Swift to 7 games but oh boy did Swift ever humiliate the lowly warriors at home in their own barn,its ok warriors enjoy your golf season as the Pats play for the Memorial cup.