A Top 10 Tuesday With A Slash, A Shot At Saskatoon Sports Fans And An All-Time Greatest Blades Team?

Well my mind is cluttered and the best men’s curlers in the game are on the, albeit slanted and uneven, pebbled ice at the Saddledome in Calgary. Hockey Trade Deadline came and went yesterday and the Saskatchewan Roughriders very quietly ushered in a new era.

Here are my top 10 thoughts from all of the above in no particular order!

10 – Was it or wasn’t it a slash? If you watched last night’s game between Ontario and Northern Ontario at the Brier closely you may have caught a “slash” from the front end of Team Jacobs (E.J. Herndon) to Ontario third Matt Camm. (See for yourself by clicking here) Apparently, Northern Ontario was miffed that the Ontarians were keeping their knees on the ice too long after delivering their shots. Knees on the ice affect the surface and can change the ice conditions. Right or wrong I’m not sure. Vote for yourself on the new poll.

9 – Team Jacobs isn’t exactly apologizing for what happened on the ice last night. Issuing this statement after social media blew up and a number of fans accused the reigning Olympic champions of attempting to intimidate their opponents. “Addressing the incident in tonight’s game – something was said to another player who did the same thing (not sure if they heard) then the tap came when it was done again (there was one foot tap, not two – broom never touched the foot in the video posted by CCA & again it was communicated vocally “please get your knees off the ice” ) after the only & original foot tap earlier in the game – it has happened before, it has happened to a few of us and it was not done with any ill intention – it might have been harder than intended since the person was reaching when it happened & an apology was extended for that – the intent was a reminder to not “puddle” the ice surface – not saying what was done was right or wrong as that is for individual interpretation, but it was not done with any aggressive or intimidating intent.”

8 – Saskatoon Will Not Roar! What once almost seemed automatic appears to be no more for the City of Saskatoon and Curling Canada. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s it almost seemed as though all Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Place/Credit Union Centre/Sasktel Centre had to do was merely indicate their intention to bid for an event and it was coming to the Bridge City. However, Curl Canada’s decision to hold the 2017 Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifier in Ottawa has the bid committee scratching their heads, especially considering that the Nation’s capital will host the Brier the spring before.

7 – A Take-Out On Saskatchewan Sports Fans? I wonder if the Roar of the Rings decision, in part, to not come to Saskatoon has anything to do with the last couple of “big” sporting events in the city? The Memorial Cup was far from a smash at the box office and with the home team floundering the event lacked a lot of excitement. Consider that there may not be a home team for a roar of the rings event. Additionally, the World Juniors, although successful, also did not sell out. One more piece of evidence could be the last Brier that also didn’t fill the seats at then Credit Union Center. Not sure if those factored into the decision but it could have!

6 – According to the pundits the NHL’s trade deadline was a dud. Twenty-some deals and just under 40 players on the move was underwhelming according to some. However, 11-year-old Jordyn Leopold put everything into perspective when her letter to Minnesota Wild management went viral. (See Below) As fans and pundits love analyzing and speculating the toll that the profession can take on families came to light. Yes, athletes know what they are signing up for when they put their name on a contract but the human element is often overlooked.

Great Letter

5 – Full marks to the Moose Jaw Warriors for their anniversary weekend held this past Saturday and Sunday. Since moving into Mosaic Place the Warriors, in my opinion, have done an excellent job in re-connecting with their alumni and engaging their fans in what would get my vote as the best facility in the Eastern Conference if not the entire WHL. Among the festivities the club introduced their all-time team as voted by the fans: Joey Perricone as the all-time goalie, he is the clubs regular season and franchise leader for goalies in games played, wins, and shutouts. On defence the Warriors voted for Travis Hamonic and Morgan Rielly. All-Time points leader Theoren Fleury was one of three forwards, he’s joined by “Captain Canada” Ryan Smyth and Stanley Cup Champion Troy Brouwer.

4 – So, that got me thinking about where my vote would lie. Last year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Saskatoon Blades the Bridge City Bunch named teams of the decades. So from my decade in the Blades broadcast booth (2001 – 2010) here is my all-time team. Brayden HoltbyIn goal, you have to go with Brayden Holtby. The Marshall Saskatchewan native was a difference maker and his dedication to perfecting his craft, which continues to this day in Washington with the Capitals, is what raises him to the top of my list. Honorable mentions do have to go out to Anton Khudobin who now plays with Carolina and had some outstanding performances with the Blue and Gold including a 59 save night in Medicine Hat. One name though that I really considered was Michael Garnett, who now plays in the KHL. The Saskatoon native put the team on his back numerous times after he was acquired from Red Deer in a deal prior to the Rebels Memorial Cup run. He is a classy guy that gave his all every night and gave his team the same chance to be victorious.

3 – On Defence; easy logic would go with Stefan Elliot (the franchise’s all-time leader in points by a d-man), Mike Green (who now stars with the Washington) or perhaps even Jyri Niemi, Sam Klassen, Duncan Siemens, TeiganStephen Mann Zahn or Ryan Funk. Brad ColeInstead I will go with the D-man that brought an incredible amount of intangibles to the table in Brad Cole. Now playing in the AHL with the Alaska Aces the Miniota, MB native could get the puck out of his zone, take care of his teammates, play the point on the power play and was an all-around quality person not to mention an outstanding leader. That’s why I would take Cole along with now-Huskie Alumni Stephan Mann. Mann came to Saskatoon with an ability to move the puck and see the ice. Although he didn’t play on a lot of good teams he did make those around him better. So my d-paring would be Brad Cole and Stephen Mann.

2 – The forwards are tough. Names like Daniel Volrab, Justin Kelly, Aaron Bader, Ryan Menei, Wacey RabbitColton Gillies, Marcus Paulsson, Trent Adamus, Adam Huxley, Darian Dziurzinski, Travis Toomey, Curtis Hamilton, Matej Stranski, Josh Nichols and Chris Durand all come to mind. However, needing to narrow it down to three I would go with Wacey Rabbit at centre. Despite his smaller stature the rascally one always seemed to find a way to make things happen and when he was dealt to Vancouver for their Memorial Cup run in 2007 he was an integral part of the leadership group.

 

Devin SetoguchiOn the wing I would put sniper Devin Setoguchi. Playing now in the Calgary Flames organization he has racked up 127 NHL goals in 471 games. A scout once told me he has a pure shot and I can’t argue with that especially when you consider in three seasons in Saskatoon he scored 82 goals.
Ryan KellerThe other winger would be Saskatoon Native Ryan Keller. Kells was the one that got away from the Regina Pats as the Blades claimed him in a deal prior to my arrivial in 2001. Keller had a penchant for a big goal at a big time and in the play-offs against Brandon Keller scored some memorable game winners. Since his time with the Blades Keller spent time in the Ottawa Senators organization and now is playing overseas in Zurich. Keller is a class act and his young family are fun to follow.

 

Warren Peters1 – The one intangible is leadership and wearing the ‘C’ on my fantasy squad would be Warren Peters. Petey who I think I saw smile a total of three times in his time with Blades was as intense as he was respected! Now playing with the Minnesota Wild’s AHL team Peters uses those skills to help mold the Wild’s prospects. I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t award a 1a in the leadership category. That has to go to fellow Saskatoonian Derek Hulak. Hulak was every bit as respected by his team mates as he was his peers. Upon graduation from the Blades he honed his skills with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and was rewarded with a pro contract from Dallas. Good things happen to good people and Hulak is a prime example!
Those are my thoughts feel free to share yours in the comments section and vote on the curling “slash” in the poll.

Enjoy your Tuesday!