WEEKEND WRAP: CHAMPS

What a weekend: Coaches grabbing referees, executives comparing players to cattle, ill-advised tweets and Strudwick’s first medal since 1995.

Where should we start? Let’s start with the crazy weekend in the NFL.

Three of the early games went to OT, with the Chiefs stunning the now 0-3 Saints, the Titans beating the Lions when Jim Schwartz foolishly elected to go for it on 4th and 1 rather than kick the tying FG, and my Dolphins losing after Ray Finkle Dan Carpenter missed in OT. 

Two more games were decided on the final play. The Raiders shocked the Steelers when Sebastien Janikowski nailed his 12th career game winning FG, while the Ravens downed the Patriots 31-30 on Jason Zucker’s controversial FG. 

You’d think the NFL could afford to put a camera on the uprights facing up to review any close kicks. It is hard to say with certainty, based on the angle in the video, if the ball was inside the uprights. I think it was good, but the Patriots obviously didn’t agree.

A "source" close to the team told numerous NFL outlets that Belicheck only wanted to "ask the officials if they would review the kick." The video clearly shows Belicheck was calm, cool and collected as he tried, unsuccessfully, to catch up to the officials. Maybe "The hoodie" should practice his 40-yard dash so he could actually catch the official next time.

Any guesses on how much Belicheck gets fined? I say $40,000.

The Patriots stupidity didn’t stop there though. Brandon Spikes took to twitter to voice his frustration.

"@BrandonSpikes55: Can some1 please tell these (expletive) zebras foot locker called and they’re needed Back at work !!!! #BreakingPoint".

I don’t have a problem if a player voices his displeasure, in fact I respect it, but his follow up tweet made no sense.

@BrandonSpikes55: Ref ?!?! I never said anything about the “Refs” y’all need to chill out !!

I didn’t know four-legged zebras worked at Foot Locker, because according to Spikes he didn’t say refs, so clearly he was referring to the animal zebras who work at Foot Locker.

The Patriots haven’t been under .500 since the first game of 2003. They obviously don’t know how to handle losing.

OFFENDING CATTLE

Red Wings’ executive Jimmy Devellano got fined $250,000 for this awesome comparison. 

“The owners can basically be viewed as the ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there. That’s the way it’s always been, and that(’s) the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren’t going to let a union push them around. It’s not going to happen.

I have no clue how many farms Devellano has worked on, but I can tell you the ranch doesn’t control the cattle. First off, the cattle eat "the ranch," then they crap "the ranch" all over "the ranch." If I was an owner I’d be more annoyed by this comparison than the players.

Had he called the owners the cowboys and the players the cattle that would have made more sense. The best analogy would have been to call the owners, umm, the Owners and the players the ranch hands. The hands do the work, and they get paid regardless of the price of wheat, grain or cattle.

Either way, Devellano was only telling the truth, and he gave us a nice reprieve from the boring and annoying posturing that both sides have tried shoving down our throats for the past two months. The players might not like to hear it, but the owners do control the league. They put up the money and take all the financial risk. The players are the employee, and even though they are the reason fans come to watch, if the owners didn’t buy the team and pay the bills then the players would have no place to play.

LET’S CALM DOWN

The Oilers shouldn’t have sent out this tweet. Any suggestion that the team might move will only be viewed as a threat. They can say they didn’t write the article, but by tweeting it, the perception is they want that option known.

The Oilers, more specifically the guy in charge or their twitter account, was wrong to tweet it, but those who suggested this was a clear threat might have exaggerated things just a tad. I can confirm that Daryl Katz didn’t text the tech running the twitter to tweet that. Call it a bad ploy, but suggesting this is the first step to the Oilers leaving is fear mongering and nothing more.

Worrying about "what ifs" isn’t productive, so I won’t write too much about them either. The hilarious part about this scenario is how some suggest if the Oilers leave a new team will gladly come to town. Are they certain a new team come if there is no arena? And how stupid would the city look if they had to build a new rink just to attract another team?

Why would Edmonton want to be like Seattle and to a lesser extent Winnipeg. Lose their franchises, then build a new rink with the hopes of attracting a team. Suggesting the Oilers can leave and be replaced easily, is just as narrow-minded as the Oilers thinking they’d be better off leaving.

Why not NEGOTIATE with the team that is currently here? Both sides need to be better. Realize they both can benefit from one another and sit down and get a deal done. We all know there is a deal to be made, so just make it already.

Here’s a suggestion: Stop wasting time and energy trying to sway the public’s opinion, and do something productive, like, I don’t know, negotiating in good faith. Is that too much to ask?

CHAMPS

I had the privilege to play in The Road Hockey to Cure Cancer tournament this past weekend. Our team consisted of yours truly, Jason Strudwick and eight listeners who committed to raising $1,000 each to play on our team. We were The Journeymen, in honour of Strudwick’s career.

The response was great and within an hour our roster was complete. All ten of us raised over a grand, and Gerry Noullett raised the most at $2,495.00. Gerry ended up having to work and couldn’t play, but he still was our MVP due to his awesome fundraising skills. Great work Gerry, hopefully you can play with us next year.

We had a great time and ended up winning our division with a record of 4-1.

We lost our opener 8-6. I thought our goalie, Cesar Mota, might have had a few too many of his namesakes the night before, but after a rough morning opener he was stellar the rest of the way. He discarded his chest protector after the loss and proceded to dive all over the crease the rest of the way. Hail Cesar.

Thanks to the rest of the fellas as well.

Troy Taranoff. By the end of the day I thought his last name was Taranov. He had a few sweet dangles, but I also noticed his game picked up when his wife of only a month showed up. I think she might have offered up a, **cough, reward system, cough* for him if he scored. A clear win-win on and off the court for Troy.

Frank Sabiti: Sabs was a gamer. He was doing board rushes prior to our first game to ensure he didn’t pull a hammy. After a few scoreless games he told Struds he’d up his game, and he did, burying a few genos and helping us stretch our winning streak to four.

Tyler Hupka: I was concerned when Hupka registered to play. I’d met him at Brian Mudryk’s golf tourney earlier this summer and Hupka’s party game was top-notch. Turns out he goes as hard in road hockey as he does at the bar. Hupka was exceptional at getting open; sadly his finish around the net was Todd Marchant-like. Although, like Marchant, when we needed a big goal in our 2nd last game Hupka buried one. He favours quality over quantity. Beauty.

Jason Strudwick: Played the most minutes of his career and he rewarded us by registering his first "witnessed" hat-trick. After chipping the cement out of his gloves during the first game, Struds showed a soft touch around the net. He wore sunglasses during his scoring sprees so I could never tell if his eyes were actually open or not, but either way he had a few solid fist pumps.

Josh Ferry: He was our powerforward. Ferry was a terror down low. I don’t think he scored a goal from outside a foot and a half, and he was constantly grinding it out. He had just enough Brad Marchand in him to piss off the opposition, while still finding time to score. Solid.

Matt Ohm: He had the longest twig in the tourney, and never missed a loose ball. The scholar of the team quietly put together five multi-point games. Silent assassin.

Greg Caldwell: Another quiet, solid performer. His tape job, white tape along the bottom of the blade but no where else, reminded me of Petr Klima. Calds had a much better work ethic though. The soon-to-be-father impressed me most when I learned that he had donated stem cells last month. That is a huge commitment. Six hours in the chair, and then afterwards you are exhausted for the next three days. Stick clap for Caldwell.

It was a blast playing with you guys.

Huge congratulations to all the other teams who played and raised money, and a massive thank you to those who donated.

It’s always great to combine a worthwhile charitable cause with some fun.