Friday, January 4, 2019
SCRUFFY'S THIS N' THAT
-- Tim Hunter's grizzled, unimpressed mug was the face of a nation Wednesday night as Finland beat Canada 2-1 in overtime in quarter-final play at the World Juniors. Yes, Canada was victimized by two horrible breaks, but at the end of the day the better team won. Yes, the better team won!
As has been said over the past couple of years, this tournament no longer is a cakewalk for Canada. There are several good countries and this year that was proven. One can't even discount Switzerland after their victory over Sweden.
At the end of the day, this team was not an elite one. You don't need a marquee player to be an elite team, but I don't know if this team had that. The offense wasn't there. Two goals in the last two games against quality opponents like Russia and Finland weren't going to cut it.
A lot of unnecessary heat is being placed on Max Comtois. Yes, he had a bad tournament and yes, I don't like the way he plays the game especially when he had the "C" on, but the treatment he received from many on his Instagram feed was simply embarassing and not called for. Nice job Canada, be proud! Comtois's penalty shot (which shouldn't have been a penalty shot) IMO was atrocious, but would Nick Suzuki, Owen Tippett, Cody Glass or Brett Leason have done any better. We'll never know. We will also never know if Noah Dobson would have tickled the twine had his stick not snapped or if the Finnish goalie would have gotten a piece of it. What we do know is this team is going home much earlier than anyone thought and they have no one to blame for it but themselves.
--The New Year started right in Regina with word the Heritage Classic was coming. It shouldn't have come as a real surprise after Elliotte Friedman let it be known there was interest in November and no one should have been shocked once they looked at the CFL schedule and saw the Riders playing three straight road games in October. As an Oilers fan, I would have loved to had a chance to watch McDavid and Draisiatl twirl around the Mosaic ice, but you can't complain about having guys like Gaudreau, Monahan, Schiefiele and Laine doing it. It is going to be a great weekend at EVRAZ Place and kudos go to Tim Reid and whoever else helped broker this game and make it reality.
Some are already complaining about ticket prices saying they will be too high if the price at the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg is any indication. Just stop it! This game is going to sell out so if you want to be there and enjoy the experience than do it. If not, others will be doing so. End of story. It will be a weekend to remember and probably a weekend we won't see again for a long time.
--As you may remember, BUD LIGHT put outlocked beer fridges all over Cleveland with product inside when the NFL season started. The locks would come off when the Browns won. There was even one in the press box at their stadium. Can I suggest Molson's do the same thing in Edmonton and unlock them when Milan Lucic scores. The Oilers can't buy this guy out soon enough. You almost feel sorry for him when you see his sloth-like movements on the ice. The game has passed him by.
--I don't have a problem with Alex Ovechkin skipping the All-Star game. Yes, the fans voted him to the game as captain of the Metropolitan Division, but you can't blame him for putting the team ahead of the game and saying he wants to take time off to re-charge his batteries for the second half of the season. The Capitals certainly don't mind. I am not a fan of All-Star games of any sport so whether he is or isn't there won't change my viewing habits.
--I hope with Mosaic Stadium getting taken over by the NHL in October that the Regina Rams and Regina Thunder are both going to play regular season games at Leibel Field. It is where both should play unless the Rams have some sort of plan to make their practice field a place to watch and broadcast a game from.
--NFL Wildcard Weekend is upon us. I obviously think Seattle beats Dallas and am eagerly anticipating that game. I think the Texans may be the only home team that wins. That being said, I just get this feeling the Patriots are going to another Super Bowl.
--Alabama and Clemson are meeting again for the NCAA Football Championship. Its clear those two schools are ahead of everyone else. Would Ohio State or someone else give one of those two a game this year. I doubt it. You would like to think so, but I doubt it.
--Will Courtney from the Match.com ads find her true love before the World Juniors end? God, I hope so! All she wants is a nice guy!
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!
(Follow Mitchell Blair on Twitter at @ScruffyRegina)