• Attention hockey poolsters: If you would like a PDF version of the final NHL 2018-19 regular-season statistics, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Y’er welcome!
• The Stanley Cup playoffs are a mere formality. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be virtually unchallenged. A key reason for the Lightning’s success is the work of Regina’s Al Murray, the NHL team’s director of amateur scouting.
• Hockey was much more exciting before coaches started emphasizing “structure.” The sport, at its highest level, does not come close to living up to its potential due to the determination of so many cookie-cutter coaches to turn the product into chess.
• And enough “compete,” please.
• The Edmonton Oilers have just completed another sorry season despite the presence of a 50-goal scorer (Leon Draisaitl) and a superstar (Connor McDavid). What does that say about the rest of the roster?
• There was a time when being a former Regina Pats head coach pretty much dictated the end of high-level involvement in the WHL. A notable exception is Curtis Hunt, who is now the Prince Albert Raiders’ general manager. Hunt is a mortal lock to be named the league’s executive of the year.
• Non-story of the week: A supposed resemblance between the New York Jets’ new uniforms and the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ garb. Honestly, who cares?
• The Roughriders’ current uniforms could use an upgrade, anyway. The retro look is infinitely better.
• And how about the St. Louis Blues’ retro uniforms? Outstanding! Why would they ever mess with that look?
• Why is Johnny Manziel even a story anymore? The CFL opened a door for him and he squandered the opportunity. Off he went to the Alliance of American Football, which folded. As a nomadic and unaccomplished professional player, he is not even remotely of NFL calibre. The XFL is likely a reach at this stage. Let the bidding war among flag/touch football teams begin.
• Roughriders general manager and vice-president of football operations Jeremy O’Day was asked about free-agent receiver Weston Dressler last week during an appearance on CKRM’s SportsCage. “Right now, we won’t have an interest in Weston,” O’Day responded, adding that “now it’s up to us to try to find the next Weston Dressler.” That is imperative, because the Roughriders’ receiving corps radiates mediocrity once again. The onus is on assistant GM Paul Jones, a noted player-personnel guru, to uncover some gems.
• Readers keep weighing in with their lists of favourite Roughriders players from yesteryear. The latest nominees: Don Bahnuik, Danny Banda, Clyde Brock, Ken Carpenter, Jerrell Freeman, Cookie Gilchrist, Sully Glasser, Neil Habig, Jack Hill, Kitwana Jones, Kenton Keith, Bobby Marlow, Mac Speedie and Frank Tripucka.
• The next Rider Rumblings video podcast will be available Tuesday afternoon on leaderpost.com, iTunes and Google Play Music. The inexhaustible Michael Ball, who does such an outstanding job for CKRM and 104.9 The Wolf, will be the special guest. Expect plenty of discussion about the Jon Ryan situation.
• Pet peeve: References to someone setting a “new record.” The “new” is unnecessary.
• Another pet peeve: Media types who make a statement and then expect an interviewee to answer. Some of the worst offenders are veteran reporters. How difficult is it to ask a question?
• The Toronto Blue Jays are a lot less interesting, and hardly entertaining, without Kevin Pillar in centre field. “Superman” was a delight to interview in January of 2017, when the Blue Jays’ winter tour visited Regina.
• Now that spring is here, many valued readers are inquiring as to the status of our annual charity sports memorabilia sale. Due to renovations at Leader-Post World Headquarters, storage space is scarce. Once we have been relocated within the walls of our traditional location (1964 Park St.), concentrated efforts will be made to arrange a date, time and venue for the sale — which benefits the Regina Leader-Post’s Christmas Cheer Fund.
• Recommended reading: Ian O’Connor’s biography of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time” is impossible to put down.
• Nice people who deserve a plug: Al Murray, Carol Brons, Harvey Kehler, Jason Nicurity, Dan Farthing, Ella Farthing, Jon Ryan, Michelle Fritz-Houlden, Leah Spafford, Kevin Pillar, Golden Yee, Darrell Vipond, Teale Orban, Jes Ripplinger, Cliff Mapes, Mark Rogstad, Todd Haas, Dallas Marce and Kelly Marce.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019