It’s Another Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Tuesday and thankfully a whole heck of a lot warmer than the previous four…. Here is a collection of my 10 most pressing thoughts….

10 – Well the WHL trade deadline came and went on Friday afternoon. I will leave the analysis of the player transactions for another day. The one deal that I still cannot believe is the WHL’s approval of a trade that allowed the Portland Winterhawks to acquire a first round draft pick from Calgary. The Hawks, who had been banished from the first round of the bantam draft the 2018 season for various unrevealed recruiting violations, were able to all but make the punishment null and void with the acquisition. The WHL in this instance is like the parent who grounds their child for a week but lets them leave their room and go out and play the next day. I’m not sure how the league can fix this or prevent it in the future. Nor am I sure about the message sent to the rest of the league’s teams, “if you cheat we will come down hard on you. Just not that hard and we can make it better and move forward happily together if you cause enough of a stink!”

9 – The other side of the trade deadline, especially as it pertains to the Saskatoon Blades is the acquisition of players that then don’t want to report to the team that they were dealt to. Firstly I can understand the feelings of fans and hockey operations that are frustrated when a player doesn’t want to make a mid-season move. However, you have to keep in mind that these are kids. Could you imagine as a 17 or 18 year old being in the span of about an hour being asked to leave all that you know and have become accustomed to for the last four months? New school, new friends, new surroundings, new coach the lone constant is the change. Yes if these players want to remain in the league and further their hockey career they are going to have to make the transition. Although they should be afforded the time to make that decision instead of being chastised.

8 – On the pebbled ice where for the third time in her career Stefanie Lawton is the provincial women’s curling championship. She went undefeated at the Provincial Tournament of Hearts in Tisdale last weekend. Many are now asking if she is a favorite to win the national title and bring it back to Saskatchewan for just the second time since the passing of Sandra Schmirler. It was a rough start to the year at the Olympic curling trials but if momentum is a consideration she is definitely on a roll.

7 – Speaking of curling and while the ladies provincial play-downs were taking place across the country highlighted by Sportsnet (in most jurisdicitions except for Saskatchewan) TSN instead was handing out thousands of dollars at their all-star skins game. I read an interesting article over the holidays pointing to curling at the Olympics as havin ruined the sport. I have to agree as the big money teams like Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, etc. get a decided advantage by being in the sport’s spotlight which allows them to bring in big sponsorship dollars and train year round. There is little doubt then why this exclusive group advances to brier after brier. What that advantage has done though, has caused other would be competitors to focus on recreational curling or leaving the sport all together as they cannot compete financially with those teams to give them the chance to train in the same manner. To further the case I was broadcasting from a curling rink for three days last week and what was once part of the winter hub of a community was not in use 85% of the time which may point to a lost generation in the game. So while one cannot underestimate the work that curlers like Kevin Martin have done in bringing the game to the forefront the same argument can be made against them for the damage that they have brought to the game.

6 – To soccer and Toronto FC made a huge splash this week signing marquee players Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley. The question asked of TFC following the signings is whether or not that star power can save the franchise and bring it into prominence in the Toronto sports scene? The bigger question may be can their signing save the sport in our country? Disappointing international men’s results have definitely set the program back not to mention the mess at the grass roots level. The women’s game on the other hand has flourished after our country’s bronze medal win at the London Olympics but is their success enough to power the program forward?

5 – Tip of the cap this morning to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Saskatoon’s Nuge has just returned from Sweden and the worl championships where he filed some riveting stuff not to mention catching up with former NHL’er and Saskatoonian Colby Armstorng. With DNB’s work being featured in the Hockey News one has to wonder how long before someone nationally uncovers our diamond in the rough?

4 – To the NFL and can’t say there was much surprise in the outcome of this weekend’s play-off action. The one amusing moment came to me when Colin Kapernick mocked Cam Newton’s Touchdown celebration. The moment reminded me of Alex Brink and his Labour Day celly at Mosaic Stadium which was met by the same criticism. The solution is simple, keep them out of the house and you don’t have to worry about it.

3 – Staying with the NFL and Weston Dressler will work out today for the Kansas City Chiefs. From what I would have called a lock for Weston to return to Saskatchewan next season has dwindled to me thinking that he will be here by Labour Day at best if at all!

2 – Back to hockey and to be truthful I am hoe-hum about the NHL season at the moment but to be truthful I absolutely cannot wait for the Olympic tournament to begin. Yes it will feature the best vs. the best. More prominent in my mind, though, is the European sized ice. To me this brings out the strategy and skating that in my mind celebrates the elite status of these athletes. While I will not hide the fact that I am a huge proponent of junior and the NHL adopting the wider surface, one great argument to further that debate was the simple statement, “do you realize that players from age 4 to age 44 play on the same size ice surface?” Interesting thought especially when you consider today’s athletes are getting bigger, stronger, and faster.

1 – Lastly, social media was in the spotlight again last week with an incident regarding Saskatchewan Roughrider Running Back and Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets. Let’s face it the Riders live in a fish bowl in the Queen City and social media only further exposes them. It may be time for the Riders to ban all social media accounts by their players. Let’s face it no one in the early 90’s wanted to come to Regina when the perception was that you couldn’t escape the fans (good or bad). That same aura could return as Rider Nation once again has proved that they can’t sit back and enjoy!

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