Tuesday September 02, 2014

Deep freeze, slippery streets and hockey


If you are one of these silver lining people when it comes to horrible weather, you can stop reading. I’m about to complain and tell you that this is a nightmare. The other day, it was -53 with a windchill in Winnipeg and CBC says that temperature is actually colder than if you were sitting on planet Mars. If that’s not bad enough, how many days during the month of December has it been -40 or worse? Way too many. And, winter only started December 21st.  People like to say ‘oh this is Saskatchewan so quit your whining’. Well, if it was -25 I get it. Or, if we got lucky and had a five or six day Chinook I’d be a little more relaxed about it. But, it’s -40 or worse and the only time it backs off we get 15cm of snow. This is terrible and I don’t think it is going to improve. It was bitter cold last winter too and it was like that well into the late Spring and early part of Summer. I wonder with climate change, are we now a place where we can expect to have temperatures below seasonal for nine of the twelve months of the year.

I could be wrong on this, but city streets in Yorkton seem to be slipperier this year. Maybe they aren’t treated as often as years past or maybe it’s just one of those years where everything is a skating rink.  Usually, I give Yorkton big praise for being the best city anywhere when it comes to snow clean up. I can’t say I’m ready to down grade them yet as I hear the snow machines on the roads quite often. But, something does seem a bit different.

I have a news flash for people in a state of panic over Canada’s goaltending for the Olympics.  It will be fine. People make it sound like Roberto Luongo or Carey Price can’t stop a beachball.  It’s not like they are going to give up five or six goals a game. They will allow two, three at the most. You mean to tell me Canada can’t score more than two or three and win? If they can’t, they better not look at the goaltending.

Hockey is a funny game when you think about it. Every coach preaches defense and every coach will sit a highly skilled offensive player who isn’t up to snuff on the defensive end of the game. But, you won’t ever see a defensive player get benched because his offense isn’t where it needs to be.  Defense wins championships, I get that. But, in football if you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback, would you tell him to keep handing the ball to the running back and play keep away from.. say.. Matt Schaub?  That’s how Canada plays hockey. Canada is the team with all the skill, yet it’s stifled by coaches who bring the players down to the level of the competition.

Brian Burke’s public remarks about Bobby Ryan being such a soft player he can’t even spell the word intense are incredibly disrespectful.  Especially coming from a media savvy person like Burke, who knew that would end up being publicized. I can’t believe with all the knowledgeable hockey people out there that there are NHL teams still willing to give Burke a paycheque. Any General Manager that admits to not wanting to trade Luke Schenn and Nazem Kadri for John Tavares isn’t watching the same hockey I’m watching. Any manager who says he would rather miss the playoffs than finish 8th is an idiot. And, any boss who refuses to trade players during the month of December out of respect for families at Christmas time and then turns around and fires a high ranking employee ten days before Christmas is one who cannot ever be trusted. Here’s to hoping Brian Burke is on his last legs in the NHL and will be fired himself sooner rather than later.

Former NHLer, turned TSN commentator, Jeff O’Neill took a public beating from Winnipeg Jets fans last week (Jets fans are much like Saskatchewan Roughrider fans in that anything you say against them or their city is akin to saying your mom wears army boots). O’Neill said players don’t want to go to or stay in Winnipeg and the people of Winnipeg fought back with guns a blazing.  Well, O’Neill isn’t entirely wrong. Think about it. You are a multi-millionaire all-star hockey player on the free agent market and all the top teams are after you.  You can play in Winnipeg, where the temperature is -53, the government takes half your wages through taxes, and play under a public microscope. Or, you can go to Los Angeles where it’s warm, the tax situation is more forgiving, there are other sports teams to share in the limelight, and maybe your spoiled spouse who’s used to being pampered can live her life a little easier too.  We may not like it, but it’s reality. The Roughriders have the same obstacles.  Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal just seem to be more desirable places to live for whatever reason.  It’s not personal.

Nice person mentions this week to Lori Kraft, Lori Graf, Jeff Bahrey, Rachel Sterzuk, and Daren Millard.



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