2 - HIRE #1: O'Day's first hire as head coach likely will be the most important he’ll ever make during his tenure in Saskatchewan. He has to get this right, and he knows it. Fortunately there are a lot of good people available. However one thing is for sure: We'll never know which names make up O'Day's shortlist. He is Fort Knox with information and trusts himself to make the right decision. He doesn't need to lean on anyone for advice. The only question now is, who's the coach going to be?
3 - HIRE #2: If a football franchise has a strong coach and a strong QB, it's in good stead. However, as of today, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have neither and that's a good to reason to panic. But more critical than the next head coach of the Green & White is who's going to be behind centre in 2019. Why do I say that? Because in 2018 the Riders boasted the Coach of the Year but couldn't even advance out of Round 1 of the playoffs. Great players make great coaches but, clearly, great coaches can't produce a championship team without a star pivot. This signing is more important than the head coach IMHO.
4 - C.J.: We'll be talking about Chris Jones, and the C.J. Era, forever around here. Heck, we still talk about Don Mathews and Danny Barrett while the oldtimers still discuss Eagle Keys. The one thing that irks me is the suggestion that Jones took a "lesser" job in Cleveland. It may be "lesser" in terms of responsibility, but all that matters is the paycheque. When you reach a certain age - as a former NHL coach once told me - all that matters is your bank statement every two weeks.
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6 - FEEL THE RUSH: Are you still following the Saskatchewan Rush? For some reason I get the sense their profile is slipping a tad in the southern part of the province however they're still packing SaskTel Centre during their 3-1 start. A preseason game in the Brandt Centre certainly would've got people more turned on in the Queen City. Regardless, the past two champions of the NLL collide Sunday in Duluth, GA as the Saskatchewan Rush take on the Georgia Swarm. You can watch it on Bleacher Report Live on your mobile device.
7 - GO PATS GO: The Regina Pats sit 5th in the 6-team WHL East Division at 12-33-1-1 and are 0-9-1 in their past 10 games. Fans are restless and some are howling for the head of head coach Dave Struch. Sighhhhh. You can't make chicken salad out of lemons and in a second-straight locale, Struch is left to pick up the pieces of a franchise that went for it all as Memorial Cup hosts, and didn't win it. He's a coveted, sought-after head coach and the best person for this job. As a Pats fan, my advice is to just go with it. I concede that the Leader Post's Greg Harder was right. This is a painful rebuild. But it's fun to watch the rebirth and tomorrow night's Pats-Wheat Kings game is on Access TV live from the Brandt Centre. Watch for yourself!
8 - THAT'S SILLY: Kudos to former NHL'er and Pats great Mike Sillinger (1,049 NHL GP) for taking some time to talk with the Langley, BC Tier I peewees in a meeting room at Western Pizza on South Albert Wednesday night. The sons of former Pats voice Kevin Gallant and NHL'er Denis Pederson are on that squad, and their team heard from Silly for an hour on what it takes to make The Show. When one kid asked what the best part of making the NHL was, Sillinger quipped, "I didn't have to take anymore s--t from my Dad!"
9 - THIS IS OIL COUNTRY: The Oilers waited as long as they possibly could before toasting General Manager Peter Chiarelli. By Tuesday night, there was absolutely no doubt that he had to go. The list of potential candidates for Chiarelli's replacement is tantalizing, and it's led by Kelly McCrimmon. But as TSN's Pierre Lebrun said on Thursday, "Right now it's good to be Kelly McCrimmon". Crim is going to have plenty of offers in his inbox (if he hasn't already), and he remains the ideal candidate to get the Seattle Metropolitans off the ground after what he helped accomplish in Vegas last year. But going into that shark tank in Edmonton as the next GM is a trap.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: Two thumbs up from the MMG for the movie The Upside starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. Hart plays a reluctant caregiver for a quadriplegic (Cranston). If you haven't seen it, the plot is hard to explain! But it's a true story and definitely worth the time. And you're dense if you leave the theatre without a lot to think about in your own life. ... We've mowed through the first two seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix. Why didn't we start this earlier?! Netflix seems to be the biggest adversary of the WHL and SJHL at this point in society. ... Until Friday I’d never laid eyes on Bryan Cranston. Now I see him more than my own family! ... The average ticket price for Super Bowl LIII is $2,750 US. And people are paying it! You're better off to join us at Sober Bowl II for just $20 CDN at Famoso. :)