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Happy Wednesday Everybody! I am feeling opinionated today so lets get to it.
ED CHYNOWETH CUP - Well first off a congrats to the Brandon Wheat Kings on winning the WHL Championship over the Seattle Thunderbirds in 5 games. I wrote it last week and I will say it again. What a difference a year made for the Wheat Kings who played like a team that had been there before. They didn't panic, played their game and won a championship. I am not a Wheat Kings fan, just like I was never a fan of Derek Jeter, however I firmly believe you have to respect greatness no matter what league, team or organization and both the Wheat Kings and Jeter have my respect.
MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP - The Brandon Wheat Kings join the host Red Deer Rebels, OHL Champion London Knights and QMJHL Champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the 2016 Memorial Cup. Lots of hype about the Knights who are playing in their 4th Memorial Cup in the last 5 years. Just an unbelievable run however they have not won the National title. Led by Mitch Marner and Matthew Tkatchuk, both had 40 plus points in the playoffs, the Knights set an OHL playoff record with 13 straight wins and only lost twice in the post season. I think it's safe to say they are the favourites going in. Brandon will give them a good test and Red Deer as well to a lesser extent. Goaltending will be the difference as always. Rouyn-Noranda had a great QMJHL playoffs led by goaltender Chase Marchand with a league-leading 1.35 goals-against average, a .946 save percentage and a 15-3-0-0 record over 19 games. His six shutouts contributed to a new QMJHL playoff record of 215 minutes without allowing a goal. Can he be the difference for the Huskies? We will see, Can't wait until Friday night when the Knights and Rebels meet to kick off the tournament.
HERSHEY BEARS - Former Pats Chandler Stephenson and Garrett Mitchell each have four points in the playoffs and are on to the Eastern Conference Finals in the AHL with the Hershey Bears. They are taking on Toronto for a chance to advance to the Calder Cup Finals. Former Captain Colby Williams and current Pat Connor Hobbs are both with the Bears on ATO's but have not played in any games.
STEVENSON GOING FOR REPEAT - Former Pat Dyson Stevenson and the Allen Americans are looking for a second straight ECHL Kelly Cup Championship. The Americans are in the conference final series and are coming off two road wins over Fort Wayne to start the series and are heading back home for three in a row. On the other side South Carolina is taking on Wheeling. Stevenson has 5 points and 27 PIM's in 15 playoff games so far.
NHL PLAYOFFS - The Sharks got a big 4-0 win in St. Louis last night to take home ice advantage. San Jose has been the better team through two games and though they lost game 1, deserve to be up 2-0 in the series. Brian Elliott was great for the Blues in game 1 but the Sharks just came in waves in game 2 and got rewarded. They look like a team finally ready to take the jump and be a championship club. I would like to see the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau win a cup. Also what a game Bob Cole called last night. My favourite of all time no doubt and he still has it, I don't care what anyone says.
The Penguins are going to join San Jose in the Stanley Cup Finals in my opinion. The Penguins got the OT win in game 2 and are just plain better than Tampa Bay. The Lightning will make it tough, they are a great team too and as the series goes on who knows what will happen but I just like Pittsburgh and the way they play. They are so dangerous because they are so deep. It wasn't by accident they knocked off the best regular season team in the Washington Capitals.
BLUE JAYS - There was a hope that the Texas Rangers incident would galvanize the Blue Jays and get them playing consistent baseball. Well since then the Jays have lost two and have been outscored 25-4. The suspensions coming from the brawl in Arlington are not a surprise. Maybe I am a bit surprised Jose Bautista got a game, all he did was make an aggressive slide which Odor jumped over and no harm was done. Then Jose took a punch in the face after getting beaned in the ribs at the plate. The slide was a baseball play, the Rangers antics were not, they deserve what they got and more. Jesse Chavez of the Jays deserves the three games he got for throwing at Prince Fielder. The thing that bothers me the most is when the Rangers decided to take 'revenge' for the bat flip from last years playoffs. The last at bat for Bautista in the last game between the two clubs in the regular season? C'mon man... I'll tell you what, Rougned Odor and the rest of the Rangers would trade their punches and everything else to have won that decisive game 5 in October last year.
RAPTORS GET POUNDED - The Raptors got off to a good start in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final last night in Cleveland. But what we have seen at times all playoffs struck again in the 2nd quarter, that cold stretch offensively. Only difference is Cleveland has multiple weapons to hurt you. Indiana had Paul George, Miami Dwayne Wade and the Raptors were able to recover from their tough stretches. The Cavs however have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and the list goes on. Cleveland is a whole new animal. They are incredible offensively and are just as good on the defensive side. Toronto will be lucky to win one game in this series. I think that's why I am not as invested in the Raptors run. Yes it has been fun to watch but at the end of the day, even if they get by the Cavaliers, which would take a miracle, there is no way they beat the Warriors or the Thunder in the Finals. I hope I'm wrong but I'm not.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Team Canada is 6-1 in Russia but no one is talking about that, certainly not the media at the event. All I see is highlights of Auston Matthews and Patrick Laine but mostly Matthews over and over and over and over. Look I get it, Toronto is picked 1st overall but my god this craziness has to stop. Especially when Canada wins a round robin game and all TSN is talking about in their coverage is how Matthews played in a USA loss. He's a good player yes, he's not Connor McDavid.
That's all I have for today, have a great week! Hope to see you at the Four Seasons tonight for the Peter Loubardias fundraiser!