The NBA is a One-Man Game

As an example, On Saturday night, Steph Curry scored 40 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 115-80 shellacking of the Houston Rockets.

Curry finished 12-for-19 from the floor, 7-for-9 from behind the three-point line, and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. He also had seven assists and five rebounds.

Steph Curry beats the Rockets.

Steph Curry beats the Rockets.

Because of Curry, the consensus NBA MVP this season, the Warriors are now just one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years. That’s right, 40 years.

Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, LeBron James scored 37 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-111 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

James recorded his first triple double of the playoffs, finishing with 18 rebounds and 13 assists to go with his 37 points as Cleveland pushed the Hawks to the brink of elimination. James started 0-for-9 from the field and was 3-for-16 at halftime, but still fought through a number of injuries to dominate Game 3.

I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t already know, but the NBA is a one-man game.

It’s been a one-man game since the days of Bill Russell and all those NBA championships in Boston. Sure the Celtics had other great players, but mostly they had Russell in the middle and he didn’t lose. Then there was Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and then the battles between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and then there was Michael Jordan and then Tim Duncan and now there is Curry and James.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the Houston Rockets won a couple of titles and the Detroit Pistons (who had the indomitable Isiah Thomas) won a bunch, but for the most part, if you don’t have one big-time, superstar dominant player, you can’t win in the NBA.

Now that Curry has reached his potential, the Golden State Warriors are a threat to be NBA champions. James is a classic story. In his first stint in Cleveland, he took the Cavs to the NBA Finals. Then he took his talents to South Beach, won two NBA championships and made the Miami Heat an annual favorite to win. When James left Cleveland, they became a last-place mess. Miami was a good team that became great. Now that he’s back in Cleveland, the Cavaliers will likely face Curry and the Warriors in the NBA final.

Think about it. In 2013-14, the Cavaliers were 33-49, third in the Central Division, out of the playoffs and little more than a postscript to the NBA season. In 2014-15, the Cavs got LeBron and went 53-29, first in the Central and are now one win away from the Finals.

LeBron James beat the Hawks almost by himself.

LeBron James beat the Hawks almost by himself.

Sure they also had the gifted Kyrie Irving (a player they had when they were lucky not to be last) and Kevin Love (who has been hurt for most of the post-season), but without LeBron, they aren’t playing now. In fact, without LeBron, they wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

It’s a one-man game and that’s exactly what Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers fans have to remember when they look at this year’s draft and next year’s team.

As an example, if say Andrew Wiggins does what Steph Curry did and grows into that one-man show, the Timberwolves could compete, but quit analyzing the club from a team perspective and stop worrying about “what the ‘Wolves need to do.”

What they need is their own LeBron or Steph Curry or Michael Jordan. Teams don’t win NBA titles. Single superstar players do. And until the ‘Wolves — and the Magic and the Sixers and on-and-on — get one, they aren’t going anywhere.



Hawks-Ducks About Survival

The Anaheim Ducks survived. And make no mistake, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in Chicago two days after one of the longest and most incredible Stanley Cup playoff games ever staged, the Ducks are definitely survivors.

Thursday night at the United Centre, the Ducks’ Simon Despres scored at 19:05 of the second period to give Anaheim a 2-1 lead. Little did anyone know that Depres’ goal would hold up to be the winner.

Jonathan Toews knows there isn't a lot of room against Anaheim.

Jonathan Toews knows there isn’t a lot of room against Anaheim.

On a night when both teams started out either tentative or tired, the game turned into a dandy with plenty of scoring chances (Jonathan Toews missed a beauty in the third period) and some wonderful goaltending.

The two teams went hard at it: Plenty of hitting, lots of scrambles around the net and once again, terrific goaltending.

In the end Frederik Andersen of the Ducks out-dueled Corey Crawford of the Hawks in a game that was much better than anyone expected. Especially after Tuesday’s long night’s journey into day.

In fact, after the Hawks had finally dispatched the Ducks 3-2 in triple overtime, Hawks forward Bryan Bickell pretty much summed up Game 2 of what is now The Survivor’s Series.

“That’s going to take the wind out of their sails, definitely,” Bickell told NBC Sports, not knowing at the time that Anaheim was not about to back down. “Now, we need to back it up in Chicago. We’ve got the momentum, although it doesn’t feel like we do, because I’m really tired.”

This is a series for real men.

This is a series for real men.

Turns out Bickell was right on one count. The Hawks did not have the momentum. Especially after a game that wasn’t just a triple overtime monster, but almost two games in their entirety. Marcus Kruger scored the winning goal at 16:12 of OT No. 3. That’s a lot of hockey for one night. Especially on the West Coast.

Now I don’t feel sorry for guys making millions playing hockey. Maybe they should always play two games a night to earn their pay. However, I did worry on Wedensday morning that the quality of play in Game 3 might be affected by two teams that killed it – went hard — for 116 minutes in one night (and an early morning).

Despite the fact both teams were starting to look tired by the midway point of the third overtime (Heck, I was barely awake just watching), they had played one helluva hockey game.

They hit posts, had pucks go in off helmets, whacked the puck off crossbars, and shot it at two goaltenders a total of 118 times.

After the game, the Hawks did what they always do: they credited their collective playoff experience for the win. After all, the Hawks have reached the conference finals five times in seven seasons so you would think they know what they’re doing.

But this time Anaheim proved that the 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup champions are facing a different breed of duck.

Ryan Kesler.

Ryan Kesler.

Anaheim is huge. It’s a team with three superstars – Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler – and all three are big and powerful. Perry is 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, Kesler is 6-foot-2, 210 and Getzlaf is 6-foot-4, 220. They are monsters – in both size and skill – and they were dominant when the Ducks took out Winnipeg and Calgary.

All three pound the end boards, charge the net and make brilliant plays. They can score and hit and handle the puck and while Getzlaf, with a couple of assists in Game 3, was the only one of the trio to hit the scoresheet, they combined for five hits, five blocked shots and five shots on goal. When they are on the ice, there is no relief.

Chicago is a team with a reputation for winning big games at home. That means Saturday night’s game should be the Hawks for the taking. However, this tough, relentless Anaheim outfit just might be Chicago’s match.

I wonder how the NBC TV executives feel about a Tampa bay-Anaheim Stanley Cup final as opposed to a New York-Chicago final? Not much, I suspect.

Look out, if Tampa wins at home tonight and the Ducks win on the road Saturday, NBC’s worst nightmare could come to pass.

In the meantime, for real hockey fans, those fans who simply love the game, a Tampa-Anaheim final just could be one for the ages.



It’s Longer, But it’s Still Just a Kick

Despite what my friends Troy Westwood and Trevor Kennerd might want to believe, people don’t pay money for football tickets to watch kickers. Sorry, guys, you were both great but kicking is sort of football, but I watched you at practice with your pal Cameron. It’s a completely different game.

nfllogoSo on Tuesday, the National Football League, a league that had actually considered dropping the extra point altogether, voted to change the league’s extra-point rules from 2015.

That’s right, instead of just dumping the extra point – in 2013 only five extra points were missed all season – the NFL’s owners decided to move the scrimmage line for extra points from the two-yard line to the 15-yard line.

Instead of dumping the extra point, they decided to make it more challenging. And why not? They’re paying for a kicker, might as well make him work for his cheque.

To make things a little more interesting, the owners decided that if the defense blocks this new 32-yard extra point (min-field goal), they can return it for two points.

Sure, it will be a little more fun, but it won’t keep too many people from getting up for a beer. Unless, of course, it forces a few coaches to give that two-point conversion try a little more often. One can always hope.

32-yards should be easy, but not a given.

32-yards should be easy, but not a given.

Anyway, as New York writer Elliot Hannon suggested yesterday, “It will add just enough uncertainty to keep you in your seat and put more emphasis on the kicking game, which, after all, is why fans go to the stadium on Sunday—to see their favorite kicker until he gets waived.”

Sorry, Troy and Trevor, I go to watch touchdowns and see receivers get knocked on their backsides. But I’m sure somebody likes to watch kickers.



Portage Terriers Win National Championship

Blake Spiller’s plan was to build a national contender and now his Portage Terriers are Canadian Jr. A hockey champions.

Sunday night, on home ice at the PCU Centre, Shawn Bowles had a goal and two assists to lead head coach Spiller’s Terriers to a 5-2 victory over the Carleton Place Canadians in the championship game of the 2015 RBC Cup.

Captain Tanner Jago with the RBC Cup (Photo by Bruce Fedyck).

Captain Tanner Jago with the RBC Cup (Photo by Bruce Fedyck).

Bowles brother Brad also scored, as did Davis Ross, Grant Valiquette and Jordyn Boyd as the Terriers won their first national title since 1973 and the first for Manitoba since the Selkirk Steelers won in 1974.

After easily winning the MJHL championship with 12 straight playoff wins, the Terriers finished second at the Western Canada Cup. Now, a team that has had pretty much the best season in Manitoba hockey history can celebrate a national title.

When the Terriers wrapped up a near-perfect run to the MJHL’s Turnbull Trophy, there was not a team with a better record in organized hockey anywhere in the world. Portage finished the regular season in first place overall, 25 points ahead of second-place Steinbach, with a record of 53-3-4. Then, in the playoffs, the Terriers won 12 straight games to claim the title.

On May 3, the Terriers beat the Melfort Mustangs 4-2 to finish second at the 2015 Western Canada Cup in Fort McMurray, Alta. Portage lost the Championship Game 4-3 in overtime to the B.C, Champion Penticton Vees.

On Sunday night in Portage, the Terriers wrapped up the RBC Cup tournament by shutting down the only team to beat them during the week. In the second game of the round robin Carleton Place, the pre-tournament favorites, beat Portage 3-0 and remained the favorites heading into the championship game.

Grant Valiquette about to score the game's first goal (Photo by Bruce Fedyck)

Grant Valiquette about to score the game’s first goal (Photo by Bruce Fedyck)

But a relentless forecheck combined with great goaltending from Zac Robidoux – who made 26 saves – gave the Terriers a decisive, if not an upset, victory.

Zack Waldvogel, Garick Gray, Dane Schioler and Tyler Jeanson all pitched in assists as Portage scored the game’s opening goal and never looked back. Portage led 1-0 after the first period on a breakaway goal by Valiquette, and were ahead 2-1 heading into the final period. In the third, the Terriers scored two power play goals – Boyd at 2:02 and Brad Bowles at 8:15 – and the game was pretty much in the bag.

It was the second straight season in which the Canadians reached the national championship game and lost. Last season it was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Yorkton Terriers in Vernon, B.C.

Coach Blake Spiller said his team “went about its business this season.” No doubt about that. In fact, in the end, Portage finished 74-6-4 in 2014-15. It was an incredible, no a remarkable season and on Sunday night, the Terriers left no doubt that they were worthy national champions.

Hail to the Champions (Photo by Bruce Fedyck)

Hail to the Champions (Photo by Bruce Fedyck)

 



Terriers Reach RBC Cup Final, Canada Will Play for Gold

Saturday was a great day for Manitoba Hockey. The Portage Terriers beat the Melfort Mustangs 6-1 to reach the final of the RBC Cup, Team Canada beat Czech Republic 2-0 to make it to the gold medal game at the IIHF World Championship and Manitobans Mat Bodie and Dylan McIlrath played major roles as the Hartford Wolf Pack reached the AHL Eastern Conference final.

Manitoba Junior Hockey League (CJAHL)

The host team, the Portage Terriers, are now 4-1 at the RBC Cup, the National Jr. A hockey championship, and will play in the gold medal final on Sunday night on TSN. In the semifinal on Saturday:

Portage 6 Melfort 1

Jordyn Boyd (Photo by Jeff Miller)

Jordyn Boyd (Photo by Jeff Miller)

Jordyn Boyd led the way with a pair of goals while Taylor Friesen, Garick Gray, Zack Waldvogel and Brett Orr also scored. Waldvogel had a goal and an assist and Tyler Jeanson had a pair of assists. Zac Robidoux had to make on 12 saves to get the win.

The Terriers will now face the only team that has beaten them in the tournament, the Carleton Place Canadians, in the gold medal game at 7 p.m. CDT on Sunday on TSN.

IIHF Men’s Senior World Championship

Despite a brilliant performance by Czech Republic player of the game and Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg’s Cody Eakin and the rest of Team Canada beat the Czechs 2-0 in the semifinals of the IIHF World Championships in Prague on Saturday morning. Eakin had a solid game and had a great chance to score in the first period, but hit the cross bar. Pavelec was named one of the Czech Republic’s three best players of the tournament. Goalie Mike Smith, defenseman Brent Burns and forward Claude Giroux were named Canada’s three best players of the tournament. Team Canada has now won eight straight games and will play Russia in the gold medal game on Sunday at 1:45 p.m. CDT.

Czech Republic’ goalkeeper Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets.

Czech Republic’ goalkeeper Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets.

In the other semifinal game, Winnipeg Jets prospect, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck played an outstanding game but it wasn’t enough as Russia scored four goals in the third period to beat Hellebuyck and Team USA 4-0.

Manitobans in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Conference Finals started on Saturday. The New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in the opening game of the Eastern Final.

Out west, the Anaheim Ducks will face Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference final at 2 p.m. CDT on CBC.

Manitobans and Jets Prospects in the AHL

Winnipeg's Dylan McIlrath of the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Winnipeg’s Dylan McIlrath of the Hartford Wolf Pack.

In the AHL’s Eastern Conference semifinal on Saturday night: Winnipeg’s Dylan McIlrath had an assist and was plus one while East St. Paul’s Mat Bodie was plus two as they helped the Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Hershey Bears 6-3. Hartford won the semifinal series 4-2 and will face the Manchester Monarchs in the Eastern Final.



Bowles Leads Terriers, Canada Plays Czech in World Semis

Brad Bowles had another big night as he led the Portage Terriers to a 3-2 win over Melfort at the RBC Cup. The Conference Finals are next in the Stanley Cup tournament. Team Canada plays Czech in the semifinals at the IIHF World Championships.

Manitoba Junior Hockey League (CJAHL)

The host team, the Portage Terriers, are now 3-1 at The RBC Cup, the National Jr. A hockey championship at the PCU Centre in Portage la Prairie. On Thursday night:

Portage 3 Melfort 2

Zack Waldvogel had three assists for Portage.

Zack Waldvogel had three assists for Portage.

Brad Bowles, the tournament points leader with eight in four games, led Portage with a goal and an assist, Zack Waldogel had three assists and Shawn Bowles and Landon Peel each scored. Justin Laforest made 26 saves to get the win.

The Terriers will play the Melfort Mustangs in the semifinals on Saturday at the PCU Centre in Portage. Game time is 8 p.m.

Manitobans in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Conference semifinals are next: In the East the New York Rangers will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 1 goes Saturday at 12 Noon.

Jonathan Toews leads the Blackhawks into the Western Conference finals.

Jonathan Toews leads the Blackhawks into the Western Conference finals.

Out west, the Anaheim Ducks will now face Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference final. Game time for Game 1 is Sunday at 2 p.m.

IIHF Men’s Senior World Championship

Winnipeg’s Cody Eakin and the rest of Team Canada had an easy time on Thursday morning whipping Belarus 9-0 to advance to the semifinals of the 2015 IIHF Senior Men’s World Championships. Brent Burns led Canada with two goals and two assists while Ryan O’Reilly had two goals and an assist. The semifinals will be played on Saturday. Canada will face Czech Republic at 8:15 a.m. CDT in Prague. In the other semifinal, Russia will face Winnipeg Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck and Team USA.

Manitobans and Jets Prospects in the AHL

Mat Bodie, Hartford Wolf Pack.

Mat Bodie, Hartford Wolf Pack.

In the AHL’s Eastern Conference semifinal on Wednesday night: East St. Paul’s Mat Bodie had an assist and two shots on goal as he helped the Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Hershey Bears 5-4 in overtime. Hartford now leads Hershey 3-2 in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 on Saturday night in Hershey.



These People are Just Stupid

I have to admit, I wasn’t going to say another word about Deflategate. I wasn’t going to laugh – again — at the stupid Tom Brady suspension (four games for what shouldn’t be any more than a 10-yard penalty) or Roger Goodell’s idiocy or the Patriots fans going stark-raving apoplectic over the fact their hero was suspended.

I guess I was waiting to see if the idiots who call themselves NFL officials were going to be fired for handling the footballs on every play and not having a clue that the balls were tampered with until Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson picked off a Tom Brady pass in the second quarter and mentioned something to an official.

Tom Brady and Andrew Luck

Tom Brady and Andrew Luck

If Brady’s crime was so egregious — four-game suspension egregious — why didn’t the officials have even the faintest idea that he was cheating? If the balls were deflated by as much as two pounds, as we’ve been told from the start, how are these officials still in the employ of the NFL. They’re so stupid, they should be in assisted living.

Yeah, yeah, I get it, the United States is loaded with media types who pick sides and hate Brady and are thrilled to death that the NFL gave him a four-game suspension. Hurray. But Robert Kraft wasn’t touched – except for a $1 million fine which has pissed him off – and Bill Belichick was completely ignored. Please, with a straight face, tell me Tom Brady knew what was going on, but Bill Belichick didn’t. Please, tell me that without laughing.

How dumb is Roger Goodell and the brainless old white men that surround him? Brady’s suspension was twice that of Ray Rice’s original suspension after Rice knocked his soon-to-be-wife unconscious with one punch.

This beauty came from three tweets on Twitter last night: “The $1 million fine ties the largest ever for a team in the NFL, equaling the amount the league ordered San Francisco 49ers owner Edward Debartolo, Jr. to pay in 1999 after he pleaded guilty to a felony for his role in a Louisiana gambling scandal.”

Kraft’s buddy-buddy relationship with Goodell is apparently over. Even the New England owner now thinks Goodell is a fool.

Super Bowl Footballs. Or, New England Patriots' footballs.

Super Bowl Footballs. Or, New England Patriots’ footballs.

“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league,” Kraft said in a written statement sent out by the Patriots media department.

“Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.”

The fine makes Brady’s suspension even more ridiculous. But then again, that’s what happens when you combine bad officiating with a league that just doesn’t get anything at all. Sure, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann wanted Brady suspended. So is that why Goodell gave Brady four games? Please tell me this is all just someone’s comedy schtick. Tomorrow, somebody is going to say, “April Fool!!”

“The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis,” said Brady’s agent Don Yee. Yee went on to say:

“The Wells Report presents significant evidence, however, that the NFL lacks standards or protocols with respect to its handling of footballs prior to games; this is not the fault of Tom or the Patriots. The report also presents significant evidence the NFL participated with the Colts in some type of pre-AFC Championship Game planning regarding the footballs. This fact may raise serious questions about the integrity of the games we view on Sundays. We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic. The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me.”

Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft in better days.

Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft in better days. The dude on the right isn’t smiling anymore. The dude on left is saying, “What, Me Worry?”

So, essentially, what we have is a guy who gets suspended for four games for the following, and I quote the Wells Report, “Based on the evidence, it is also our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from game balls.”

Huh?

Oh yeah, and the team is fined $1 million, the same fine Eddie DeBartolo got for being convicted of a felony in an illegal gambling scheme.

After the appeal, I really doubt Brady will miss four games and I really, really doubt, Robert Kraft will give his former friend a million bucks. Sadly, the clueless officials who called that game (by the way, the final score of the game was 47-0) will probably be doing a Vikings game in September and that’s the biggest injustice of all.



Portage Wins, Wheaties Lose, Weise Has Great Game for Habs

Tanner Jago scored the winning goal as the Portage Terriers won their opener at the RBC Cup. The Brandon Wheat Kings fell behind 2-0 to the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL Final. And Dale Weise had another brilliant game as Weise’s Montreal Canadiens stayed alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Manitoba Junior Hockey League (CJAHL)

The RBC Cup, the National Jr. A hockey championship at the PCU Centre in Portage la Prairie opened on Saturday with the Western Canada Cup champion Penticton Vees facing the host team, the Portage Terriers.

Portage 3 Penticton 2

Winning-goal scorer Tanner Jago (Photo by Rusty Barton).

Winning-goal scorer Tanner Jago (Photo by Rusty Barton).

The Terriers won their opener as Tanner Jago scored the winning goal at 12:10 of the third period. Shawn Bowles and Brett Orr scored the other Portage goals. Zack Waldvogel and Brad Bowles each had two assists. Zac Robidoux made 31 saves to get the win.

Portage has a huge game on Sunday night at 8 p.m. against the tournament favorites from Ontario, the Carleton Place Canadians.

Brandon Wheat Kings

Kelowna captain Madison Bowey (R) and the Rockets celebrate the winning goal (Photo by Bruce Fedyck)

Kelowna captain Madison Bowey (R) and the Rockets celebrate the winning goal (Photo by Bruce Fedyck)

Winnipeg’s own Madison Bowey was plus four while Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey was plus three as they helped the Kelowna Rockets beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-3 in the second game of the Western Hockey League’s championship series. With the win, the Rockets took a 2-0 series lead heading to Kelowna for Game 3 on Monday night. Roblin’s Jayce Hawryluk and Brandon’s Tyler Coulter each had an assist for Brandon.

Manitobans in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

In the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Saturday: Winnipeg’s Dale Weise logged 13 minutes and 25 seconds of ice time and had four shots on goals, four hits and two blocked shots as he helped the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 to send the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal to a sixth game in Tampa on Tuesday.

Tampa goalie Ben Bishop stops Dale Weise.

Tampa goalie Ben Bishop stops Dale Weise.

IIHF Men’s Senior World Championship

Winnipeg’s Cody Eakin and the rest of unbeaten Team Canada will be back in action on Sunday at the IIHF Senior Men’s World Championship. First place, 5-0 Team Canada will meet Switzerland at 1:15 p.m. CDT on TSN. It will be Game 6 of the seven-game round-robin portion of the event.

Manitobans and Jets Prospects in the AHL

In the AHL’s Eastern Conference semifinal on Friday night: East St. Paul’s Mat Bodie and Winnipeg’s Dylan McIlrath of the Hartford Wolf Pack will be back in action in the as the Wolf Pack plays Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Hershey Bears on Sunday afternoon in Hartford. The series is tied 1-1.



Canada Beats France, Wheaties Lose to Kelowna, RBC Cup Starts Today

In the WHL final, Madison Bowey and the Kelowna Rockets drew first blood in Brandon. Meanwhile, Cody Eakin and Team Canada escaped France at the World Championships and on Saturday, Blake Spiller and the Portage Terriers open the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie. Manitoba hockey is still going strong.

Brandon Wheat Kings

Winnipeg Jets prispect Josh Morrissey had two assists while Winnipeg’s own Madison had one assist as they helped the Kelowna Rockets beat the Scotty Munro Trophy-winning Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3 in the opening game of the Western Hockey League’s championship series. Winnpeg’s Nolan Patrick has an assist for the Wheat Kings. Game 2 in the series will be played at Brandon’s Westman Place on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

Manitobans in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Micheal Ferland celebrates his third goal of the playoffs on Friday night.

Micheal Ferland celebrates his third goal of the playoffs on Friday night.

In the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday: Brandon/Swan River’s Micheal Ferland logged only 10 minutes and 58 seconds of ice time, but scored his third goal of the playoffs, was plus one, with two shots on net and had four hits and a blocked shot, but Ferland and the Flames lost 4-2 to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks now lead the series 3-1 heading back to Anaheim for Game 5 on Sunday night. It’s shocking that Ferland doesn’t play more, considering some of the stupid plays that were made by players that head coach Bob Hartley thinks give him a better chance to win.

Dauphin’s Barry Trotz, the head coach of the Washington Capitals will have to take his team to Game 6 in the Eastern Conference semifinal after the New York Rangers beat the Caps 2-1 in overtime. The Caps still lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 on Sunday night in Washington.

IIHF Men’s Senior World Championship

Cody Eakin, Team Canada.

Cody Eakin, Team Canada.

Winnipeg’s Cody Eakin played a solid defensive game on Saturday morning and Team Canada needed it. Canada improved to 5-0 in the preliminary round at the IIHF World Championships in Czech Republic with a surprising 4-3 win over France. Jordan Eberle scored the winning goal midway through the third period as Canada escaped with its fifth straight victory. First place Team Canada will play again on Sunday when it meets Switzerland at 1:15 p.m. CDT on TSN. It’s Game 6 of the seven-game round-robin portion of the event.

Manitobans and Jets Prospects in the AHL

In the AHL’s Eastern Conference semifinal on Friday night: East St. Paul’s Mat Bodie, had a goal and an assist, but it wasn’t enough as the Hershey Bears beat Bodie and the Hartford Wolf Pack 6-4 in Hershey on Friday night. The series is now tied 1-1 with Game 3 in Hartford on Sunday afternoon.

Manitoba Junior Hockey League

MJHL Playoff MVP Dane Schioler (Photo by Jeff Miller).

MJHL Playoff MVP Dane Schioler (Photo by Jeff Miller).

On Sunday, the 2015 MJHL Champion Portage Terriers won the silver medal at the Western Canada Cup (April 25-May 3) in Fort McMurray, Alta. The Terriers will now gear up for the RBC Cup, the National Jr. A hockey championship at the PCU Centre in Portage la Prairie. The tournament begins Saturday at 2 p.m. CDT with Penticton against Portage.



Deflategate: I Still Don’t Get the Angst

I love this line: “Based on the evidence, it is also our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from game balls.

More probably than not? Bwahahahahaha!!!

Tom Brady.

Tom Brady.

Considering that this statement was made by the Wells Report and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (No kidding?), it makes a little more sense.

That’s not English. That’s Lawyer Talk.

Did New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady know or didn’t he? “Generally aware of the inappropriate activites?” Hell, I’m generally aware of the inappropriate activities of politicians, but it doesn’t mean I have anything to do with the clowns.

Yesterday, the media and fans that love the Pats and Tom Brady screamed he shouldn’t be suspended or even penalized in any way. Those who dislike (OK, let’s say hate) Brady and the Pats are calling for up to a five-game suspension.

That is laughable. First of all, it’s May and we’re still taking about “Deflategate,” (the mainstream media’s word, not mine). Second of all, the NFL’s “investigation” immediately cleared Pats owner Robert Kraft, Goodell’s best pal. And then it cleared Bill Belichick, the guy everybody loves to hate.

Then it pinned the rule-breaking on two locker room guys and said Brady, “Kinda. Sorta, probably maybe knew what was going on.”

That’s so stupid, it just reeks of “NFL Investigation.”

Oh, yeah, and I loved this statement from the league: “The report suggests that the Patriots did not violate any rules in terms of the balls used for kicking.” Really?

I haven’t seen the actual report itself, only read the highlights, but I’m told it was “massive.” Don’t you just love lawyers? Streaming B.S. as a job.

So, after an investigation that took four months, this is what we got: “it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski.” Those are the only three implicated in the report.

The report said investigators do not believe “any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.” Yeah, right.

Here’s my favorite part: During the game, a game that ended 45-7, the winning team cheated because it “under-inflated” the footballs.

45-7. Not 21-20. Not 14-13. 45-7.

Super Bowl marketing done right (Thanks Kane Neal)

Super Bowl marketing done right (Thanks Kane Neal)

Apparently 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots were under-inflated by as much as two pounds per square inch and nobody had a clue until Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson picked off a Tom Brady pass in the second quarter and mentioned something to an official.

The officials handle the balls on every single play and they had no idea that the balls were soft. And, hey, it must have been the correctly inflated balls that resulted in the Colts Andrew Luck completing 12-of-33 passes. Yeah, that’s it. It was the footballs. His balls were properly inflated so that means he couldn’t throw them straight.

What a crock.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t give a crap about the New England Patriots in any way, shape or form. But if Tom Brady is suspended for this, the NFL is a bigger joke than I thought.

And let me tell ya, the Roger Goodell-run NFL is a complete joke.