As if Mondays aren't already tough enough to deal with...
Rebels fans are dragging themselves to work while dealing with the reality that the dream of getting into the WHL playoffs is officially over.
That dream ended with a thud over the weekend. Three losses in three nights. All of them of the blowout variety... 5-2 to Edmonton on Friday (which included two empty netters), 7-4 in Edmonton on Saturday, and 5-2 yesterday in Calgary.
Yesterday's game in Cowtown was a recipe for disaster before it even started. The Hitmen were at home looking to clinch home ice advantage in the first round of playoffs. A huge crowd of more than 13,000 Hitmen supporters were on-hand at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Chad Robinson and Cory Millette were lost to injury. And... the Rebels were playing their third game in less than three days while losing an hour to the spring ahead time change.
That's a rather nasty recipe.
To their credit... the Rebels did battle with everything they had left in their tank. It was 3-2 early in the third period before the Hitmen scored a pair to pull away for the win. Calgary can now finish no lower than 4th in the conference and are just two points behind Medicine Hat for third. The Rebels will likely finish 9th as they are six points ahead of 10th place Swift Current.
Meanwhile... some rather interesting accusations were made by Oil Kings Head Coach Derek following Saturday night's game in Edmonton (7-4 win for Edmonton).
Laxdal, as quoted in Chris O'Leary's Edmonton Journal article, accused Rebels GM / Head Coach Jesse Wallin of sending players on the ice specifically for the purpose of injuring and fighting some of the Oil Kings players.
From the article...
The word repeatedly used by Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal after the game was "unprofessional."
"When their coaches start chirping our bench, I have a problem with that," Laxdal said. "And I think that's very unprofessional.
"We don't tell our players to go out and hurt other players and I saw their coaches talk to one of their players. I think that's very unprofessional and that's all I have to say about that."
Wallin was somewhat caught off-guard when asked about the allegations...
"Tell a player to go out and do something. Derek Laxdal said that? Wow. It surprises me that Derek Laxdal would say that," Wallin said. "I've never told a player to go out and do anything. If Derek Laxdal would like to address that with me, he's more than welcome to come down and do so.
"That didn't happen. Absolutely not. Never done that, never will."
Regardless, Laxdal set the stage for some potential fireworks to go off during the regular season finale this coming Saturday at the Enmax Centrium...
"It was very cheap and very unprofessional. We picked up an injury from it and that's going to hurt us down the stretch here. But we've got guys we can put in the lineup. We have to go in (to Red Deer) next Saturday night. What comes around, goes around."
My personal opinion... I have a hard time believing Wallin and the Rebels would use such tactics... simply because they don't have a full roster as it is. Having players sit in the penalty box with majors, or get tossed from the game altogether, wouldn't really help that out much. Admittedly, I don't know Laxdal as well as I do Wallin. But it seems quite surprising that he would straight out accuse the Rebels of playing dirty pool like that.
As a rather colourful football once proclaimed... "Get Your Popcorn Ready!"
Just three games left for the Rebels to play out starting tomorrow night in Medicine Hat. Friday, they host Lethbridge before Saturday's potentially explosive home game versus Edmonton.
Another playoff game... another shutout for the Red Deer Midget AAA Optimist Rebels.
They blanked the Calgary Northwest Flames 3-0 in yesterday's opening game of the Alberta Midget Hockey League south division final at the Red Deer Arena.
Red Deer scored all three of their goals in the third period. Scott Ferguson (Rebels prospect), Kirk Johnson and Brady Bakke each scored once.
Dasan Sydora made 24 saves for his third shutout in four playoff games.
Game two of the series goes Wednesday night in Calgary. [www.amhl.ab.ca]
It was an all Red Deer final at the Sutter Cup midget-15 playoff tournament in our city.
The IROC Chiefs beat the North Star Chiefs 2-1 to win gold.
Both teams earn spots at Provincials later this month in Calgary.
What an absolutely fantastic Saturday night in Lacombe!
More than 350 supporters turned out for the 3rd annual fundraising gala in support of MEGlobal Athletic Park.
Darren Gagnon of Lacombe Ford and his tireless group of volunteers did another great job of putting together this event. And this year's list of CFL celebrities was perhaps the best yet...
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats QB Henry Burris
- Calgary Stampeders RB Jon Cornish
- Calgary Stampeders DB Keon Raymond
- Edmonton Eskimos P Burke Dales
- Edmonton Eskimos Alumni Ed Jones, Bing Norrie, Fred Dunn, and Bill Marchuk
Not gonna lie... it was pretty weird to see Henry wearing TiCat colours (and Burke wearing Esks colours for that matter) but both wore their new silks with pride and had a ton of fun on the night. In fact, Dales was not originally scheduled to attend this year's event. But he had such a blast last year that as soon as he found out about this year's gala he wanted in again. Awesome stuff.
Jon Cornish said the same thing. He attended the inaugural gala in 2010 along with Joffrey Reynolds and had a blast. 'Corn Dog' was the life of the party this time around.
I was lucky enough to sit at a table with Keon Raymond (thanks to a friend of mine who made a generous donation to the athletic park!) just one day after he won the Stampeders President's Ring Award and signed a contract extension. Needless to say, he was in a good mood.
One of my favorite parts of this event is that personalities from most all of the radio stations in our market join forces for the emcee duties. Savage and T-Bo from The Drive along with Al and Marilyn from Zed, Lindsay from Kraze and Tank from Sunny did a helluva job and made the night quite entertaining for everyone.
The event raised tens of thousands of dollars (I hope to get a final total in the next day or two) for the athletic park... which you can find out more about by visiting www.lacombeathleticpark.ca
The 2012 Red Deer Community Sport Awards were handed out at the Sheraton hotel on Friday... (nominees and winners are listed)
Junior Male Athlete of the Year
WINNER: BRETT PASULA
Junior Female Athlete of the Year
WINNER: EMMA MCDERMAID
Open Male Athlete of the Year
WINNER: KEEGAN SOEHN
Open Female Athlete of the Year
WINNER: JODI SANGUIN
Senior Male Athlete of the Year
WINNER: BIRCHMANS PEREIRA
WINNER: MARIANNE BADENHORST
Team of the Year
Lindsey Thurber Junior Raiders
Midget AAA Optimist Rebels
Peterman Curling Team
WINNER: LINDSEY THURBER JUNIOR RAIDERS
Coach of the Year
WINNER: ESAD ELKAZ
Kendall Dunkle Award
Tammie Lynn Paul
WINNER: SHAWNA PEARMAN
Official of the Year
WINNER: DONNA HATELY
Youth Official of the Year
WINNER: JENNIFER HOVDE
Local Business of the Year
COWINNERS: GREG ATKINSON & KEN VANLOON
Spirit of Sport
WINNER: BLAIR MURRAY
Volunteer of the Year
WINNER: DR. AZIZ REHAMN
Congratulations to all!
It's been a long, long time since the Calgary Flames had reason to be excited about one of their draft picks... but Sven Baertschi is changing that in a real hurry.
Baertschi scored his first ever NHL goal, in just his second game, in yesterday's 4-3 Flames win in Minnesota.
WHL fans are certainly aware of what the Swiss forward brings to the table... the Portland Winterhawks forward is 9th in league scoring with 94 points in just 47 games played (putting him on pace for 144 points in a full 72 game season).
The last draft pick to create anywhere close to this much buzz in Calgary... it probably was Dion Phaneuf back in 2004.
The Flames still have a long way to go when it comes stocking their cupboards with young talent... but Baertschi is an excellent start.
No Alberta sweep when it comes to Canadian curling titles.
Kevin Koe's rink simply ran out of mojo in their 7-6 loss to Ontario's Glenn Howard in the Brier final in Saskatoon.
Alberta rallied form behind in playoff wins over the Territories and Manitoba. They fell behind early against Ontario as well... but Howard would have no part in letting Koe and Co. pull out more late game heroics.
In fact, Ontario played a near perfect game. The final score definitely flattered Alberta.
So... our province will have to be content with winning three of four major national curling titles (Scotties, Canadian Men's and Women's Juniors).