Thursday, March 22, 2012

Alex The Great Receives His Due, UFC Comes To Alberta, Saints Not So Much

It blew me away when Jesse Wallin told me that Alex Petrovic lost 13 lbs during the final month of the WHL season.

I guess playing 35+ minutes per game will do that to a guy.

That fact alone makes Petrovic deserving of whatever honour comes his way... and he received two more yesterday. The Rebels 2011-12 MVP was named as the WHL Eastern Conference Defenceman of the Year as well as a 1st-team Conference All-Star.

It is somewhat surprising that Petro was not a unanimous all-star selection but nevertheless there is no one more deserving of the honour. Whoever is named this afternoon as the Western Conference Defenceman of the Year will be in tough against Alex for the league award.

Meantime... Petro has officially been added to the roster of the San Antonio Rampage and will make his AHL debut tonight when they take on the Grand Rapids Griffins. Petro will be up against former Rebels teammates Willie Coetzee, who has 9 goals and 10 assists for Grand Rapids this season, and Landon Ferraro, who has 8 goals and 10 assists.


Rebels forward John Persson made his AHL debut last night for Bridgeport. Unfortunately, they lost 3-0 to Binghampton.


Here is the full list of WHL Eastern Conference All-Stars and Awards Finalists...

Goaltender – Tyler Bunz (St. Albert, AB), Medicine Hat Tigers
Defenceman – Alex Petrovic (Edmonton, AB), Red Deer Rebels
Defenceman – Ryan Pulock (Dauphin, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward – Emerson Etem (Long Beach, CA), Medicine Hat Tigers*
Forward – Mark Stone (Winnipeg, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings*
Forward – Jordan Weal (North Vancouver, BC), Regina Pats

Goaltender – Nathan Lieuwen (Abottsford, BC), Kootenay Ice
Defenceman – Mark Pysyk (Sherwood Park, AB), Edmonton Oil Kings
Defenceman – Brandon Davidson (Taber, AB), Regina Pats
Forward – Michael St. Croix (Winnipeg, MB), Edmonton Oil Kings
Forward – Max Reinhart (Vancouver, BC), Kootenay Ice
Forward – Michael Ferland (Brandon, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings

*-Indicates unanimous selection


WHL Rookie of the Year, Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Sam Reinhart (Vancouver, BC), Kootenay Ice

WHL Goaltender of the Year, Del Wilson Trophy
Eastern Conference – Tyler Bunz (St. Albert, AB), Medicine Hat Tigers

WHL Defenceman of the Year, Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Alex Petrovic (Edmonton, AB), Red Deer Rebels

WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, Brad Hornung Trophy
Eastern Conference – Mark Stone (Winnipeg, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings

WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Jimmy Bubnick (Saskatoon, SK), Calgary Hitmen

WHL Coach of the Year, Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Pat Conacher, Regina Pats

WHL Executive of the Year, Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Bob Green, Edmonton Oil Kings

WHL Humanitarian of the Year, Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Taylor Vause (Calgary, AB), Swift Current Broncos

WHL Marketing / Business Award
Eastern Conference – Moose Jaw Warriors

WHL Regular Season Champions, Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
Edmonton Oil Kings: GP – 72 W – 50 L – 15 OTL – 3 SL – 4 Pts – 107

WHL Top Scorer – Bob Clarke Trophy
Brendan Shinnimin – (Winnipeg, MB) Tri-City Americans
GP – 69 G – 58 A – 76 Pts – 134 PIM - 82


Alberta mixed martial arts fans finally got the news they've been waiting for...

UFC 149 will take place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Friday, July 21st.

UFC President Dana White and UFC Canada Director of Operations Tom Wright made the announcement yesterday in front of a packed house at Flames Central in downtown Calgary.

Red Deer's Jason MacDonald was also on-hand for the announcement and has been front and centre in helping promote the event. It would be wonderful to see @jaymac185 in the octagon when the big night rolls around but that remains to be seen. Jason has hinted that he would likely retire following an appearance at UFC 149. As he said in the Calgary Herald "I really hope to be part of this show. It would be a storybook ending for me."

Jason remains busy promoting MMA at the local level... his latest installment of Pure Fighting Championship is slated for May 11 at the Westerner here in Red Deer. You can bet we'll have more details as the event draws nearer.


Mess with the bull and you get the horns...

The New Orleans Saints "bounty program" earned them the largest punishment ever given to an NFL team in league history. To call is devastating would be an understatement...

- Head Coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season effective April 1st (no fooling) which reportedly cost Payton as much as $7.5-million.

- Former Saints DC Gregg Williams, the reported mastermind behind the bounty program, has been suspended from the league indefinitely, leaving his new team the St. Louis Rams in search of a replacement

- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Goodell also banned Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games next season and assistant coach Joe Vitt for the first six games.

- In addition, Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away their second-round draft picks this year and next.

The punishment is sweeping and unprecedented... but deserved.

One would be naive to think the Saints are the only team past or present to run a "bounty program" of any kind. In fact, if you read tweets from any number of NFL and CFL players such programs have been quite commonplace over the years.

Then why such a harsh punishment for the Saints? Two reasons...

1. Commissioner Goodell wanted to nip such behaviour in the bud while he had the chance. Unfortunately for the Saints they were the ones who got caught (NFL Network Analyst Warren Sapp says former Saints TE Jeremy Shockey was the whistleblower / snitch) and in order for Goodell to start a "culture change" in the NFL he needed to make an example of Saints... and that he did. "
I don't think you can be too hard on people that put at risk our players' health and safety," Goodell said. "That is a critical issue for us."

2. Goodell was flat out lied to. "This went on for three years, and it was investigated. We were misled, there were denials throughout that period," Goodell told NFL Network. "Clearly, we were lied to. We investigated this back in 2010. We were told it was not happening, and it continued for another two years." That's not a smart way to go about doing business with a Commissioner who has clearly established himself as a hardliner with his track record of handing out discipline. He is well within his right not to put up with any crap, especially when someone misleads him in the way which the Saints apparently have.

Mess with the bull and you get the horns

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