Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Week

Just a few thoughts from the local and national world of sports as I sit infront of Sunday Night Football.

- The Swan Valley Stampeders picked up a pair of wins over the weekend. TWO, not THREE. As I'm typing this anyway, it looks as if the stats/standings gave the Stamps two wins for their 8-2 win over the Blues on Saturday, and everyone got double for stats. In other words, Clark Byczynski got credit for TWELVE assists, and Shelby Gray gets 4 goals and 4 assists. So while the two of them appear as the league's top two point getters, it's not the case. But they're close! So, Swan should have 15 wins, not 16, and be 2 points up on Portage, not 4. It's a little odd, considering when you click on Swan's schedule, it doesn't even have a score for their Saturday game. By time you're reading this, it could very well be fixed. Pretty remarkable Saturday for Byczynski though, with 6 helpers.

- Wayway played three times between Thursday and Sunday, and went 0-2-1. Prior to that stretch, the Wolverines had gone 8-3-1 in their last 12 games. They're still knocking on the door of 5th place, two points back of Dauphin, heading into a big game in Dauphin on Tuesday.

- Is it too early to say 5 MJHL Sherwood teams will make the playoffs via a crossover? Call it bulletin board material for the likes of the Blues and Pistons in the Addison, but I think it's almost a slam dunk. The last place team in the Sherwood is a game under .500, and only after a start that saw them go winless in seven. Although Dauphin lost a lot from their RBC host team of a year ago, I think they're much better than the sub-.500 team they appear as in the standings right now. Swan Valley continues to prove their critics wrong by beating good teams like Winkler and Dauphin.... I still think they need some wins against OCN, Neepawa and Portage to show they're indeed worthy of the top spot they've held for much of the season. They've played more games than anyone, and haven't seen much of those three teams (played them once each and lost them all). Those head to head meetings are coming, and will shift the standings a lot depending how they go.

- The Neepawa Natives might quietly be the best team in the MJHL. Bryant Perrier gets questioned a lot about shipping out some of his top end talent, but it's clear that when everyone buys into what he's selling, they're a force. They've got a league-best winning % of .763, and have games in hand on everyone. I only say QUIETLY because they've been fourth in the Sherwood for much of the year. They're third now after sweeping Dauphin over the weekend.

- Even IF there's a crossover from the Sherwood to the Addison, what team will Wayway have to pass to get in? I guess the easy answer right now is Dauphin, but again, they've revamped their blueline in recent weeks, have a top-end goalie, and they've got Shane Luke. Just have a hard time believing they'll stay where they are, despite the four great teams who are ahead of them.

- The SJHL Sherwood's every bit as interesting as MJ Sherwood. Melville got out of the basement by beating Notre Dame on Friday, but they're back in last after the Hounds beat Weyburn in a shootout on Saturday. Of course 5 teams in each Concerence make the playoffs in the SJHL, and there is no crossover, so all you have to do is NOT BE last to get in. The Mils believe they can still be a top-3 team, and I agree, but just like with Wayway, who do they have to catch and pass? A banged up Yorkton team's still in first, and they're only going to get healthier, and have assured themselves to go above .500 on their 9-game swing (5-3 so far, @ ND on Tuesday). Estevan's rolling again, and slapped around Humboldt on Saturday. Kindersley's treading water, around .500, without Andrew Dommett, and he'll be back for the home stretch. Weyburn's without a regulation loss in their last 5. Notre Dame's pretty young, and likley not as dangerous as the Millionaires, but they're solid on the backend and in goal.

- To sum it up... it's GREAT to be covering these two leagues, and the Sherwood's specifically this season! These races are going to be outstanding. No whipping boys in either league, and no clear-cut favourite. Probably why I'm breaking down playoff races in early November!

- Clarke Breitkreuz, Ryan Marshall and the rest of Canada West take on Switzerland tonight (MON) to kick off the round robin portion of the World Junior 'A' Challenge in Penticton, BC. Team West went 0-2 in exhibition games, falling 7-2 to Canada East, and 5-3 to USA. Breitkreuz had an assist against the Americans. Tonight's game starts at 9:00 SK/MB time. Canada East and the States hook up before that.

- After much debate in my own brain, I'll leave my opinion of the SJHL Hall of Fame to my morning editoral on GX94 sometime this week, and keep it off the world wide web.

- Lost my Fantasy Hockey week by 2.2 points, to fall to 1-and-3. Ouch! REALLY thought Marty Turco would play MORE than half the games for Chicago! My three goalies are all being out-played by their backups. Turco (Corey Crawford), Tuuka Rask (Tim Thomas), Steve Mason (Mathieu Garon). Dumped Rask for Kari Lehtonen in Dallas. His backup is Andrew Raycroft so I should be safe there... still hoping to ride Turco and the Hawks and hope he plays!

**EDIT**... looks like the stats got amended... I WON by 1.2 points! 2-2. Not bad, not bad. **

- Should have bet more $$$ on NFL this weekend! Went 10/12 in the Sunday games in our toonie office pool. Indy losing to Philly and New England laying an egg in Cleveland were my two incorrect picks. News man Randy Atkinson is also 10/12, and we both took Pittsburgh over Cincy in MNF. It'll come down to the tie-breaker: total points in the Monday Nighter. Randy went 41, I went with an even 50. So if it's 46 points or more, the BIG pot of $22 is all mine! C'Mon Big Ben, T.O., Ocho, and company!!

- Sorry blog readers! Your lack of interest in 2-for-1 Rider tickets for Saturday's game led me to post them on Facebook, and they were sold in 4 minutes. Surprisingly the blog generated just two "interested" people, one of whom I work with, and it didn't end up working out for him. The other "interested" person texted me and tried negotiating me from $50... to FREE! Haha. A group of four of us at the station have 2 season tickets together. I ordered the playoff tickets, but I think I'll give them up. As much as I'd love to go, I'd rather get my $135 back. Christmas shopping is coming, and although I put in 12, 16, 20 hour days this time of year, I still get below average pay for someone who works 8 hour days. Times are tight with a baby and a wife on maternity leave with a new love for online shopping. If you're one of those women with a home-based pyramid business (Avon, Mary Kay, etc)... PLEASE don't come to my house, because my wife WILL support you. I think there are two makeup ones, a jewelry one, and a scrapbook one that she regularly finds things in flyers for. And she just got invited to something similar for "baby stuff" next week. She's going.

- Speaking of the Riders... I do think they needed to win Saturday's game to have a chance in the West Semi. While it is a whole new season, a five game slide is tough to bounce back from, and the fans would vanish. They'd show up, but it wouldn't be the same. They'll beat the Lions, but I'm not so sure about the Stamps IN Calgary. Hamilton hosts Toronto in the East Semi, Montreal awaits a winner.

- As of Sunday, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are back on the same time. BOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I loved getting home from Wayway at 10:30! Unfortunatley I made NO trips to OCN, and only one to Portage while I would have gained an hour. Not sure how many, but know there are a couple or so to each place on the horizon. Those are often 3:00 am returns.

- I think it was around +15 in Yorkton today. I got on the roof and put Christmas lights up, and saw no less than 3 others on our block doing the same. Bought the lights last year, and never got around to putting them up! Left it too long, and by time I really thought about it, it was too cold. This was the day to get 'er done. Had a great Sunday overall at home. Lots of time with the baby, who's now pushing 6 months. There's a recent pic ------------->

- My football broadcast schedule for the season is likely over after two games, which is about average. The Sacred Heart Saints fell to Delisle 33-2 in 9-Man Provincial Semis on Saturday. Delisle will host the Final this Saturday against Humboldt. Broadcasting football doesn't give me quite the same rush as doing hockey, but I really do love the change of pace, and the game itself. The Saints players and coaches were great to deal with these last few weeks. Thanks guys!

- A much lighter week for broadcasts this week, with just 2. I've got Yorkton @ Notre Dame Tuesday... and Swan Valley @ Dauphin on Friday. NEXT week ends off with our second Robin's Roundtable Show on Thursday. I'll be joined by Don Chesney and Jamie Fiesel at Robin's in Melville from 7:00 - 7:30, and we'll broadcast the first game of the Yorkton-Melville home and home next Friday in Melville.

- TOTALLY forgot... Remembrance Day is this week already. Got my poppy at Tim Horton's Sunday afternoon. And, while it's not what it's all about... Thursday's an off-day for me because of the stat holiday. Breaks up the week, but it always seems odd when Remembrance Day or Canada Day falls in the middle of the work week. So, I'll try to have "Inside The MJHL" put together by Wednesday, and enjoy my Thursday before heading to Dauphin Friday. Then, it's another couple days off... and some CFL Playoff action Sunday afternoon.

- Have a good week, and hopefully we're talking about a Riders/Stamps West Final this time next week!!!

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