My First Taste of The CFL — Delicious

Born in Ohio. Raised in Oklahoma.

The combination of these two things instantly demands that I be a fan of college football. And, indeed, this is my first love.

It’s the Saturday morning. The campuses. The tailgating. The amateurism that makes grown men millions upon millions of dollars. Well, I love most of college football.

To say that I love the Saturday gridiron is an understatement, and if you have known me for more than a few minutes you will quickly realize this fact. But like any off season (including the slog that is the NHL postseason) there is an absence in your heart and a longing for the Fall — football is coming.

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Why You Need Canada In The Postseason

I like Canada.

There is no denying that there are places around the globe that are beautiful. From the peaks of the Swiss Alps to the sandy beaches of Brazil to the great religious monuments of Northern Cambodia, both divine created and man-made, we live in a beautiful world. Yet some of my favorite places on the planet fall within the borders of Canada. Inspiring in its existence and spatially enormous, it is a frontier that is vastly untouched. Kelowna has those unique beaches. Banff has its majesty. Jasper has its ruggedness. For the traveling I’ve done, in Western Canada in particular, there are few places I would rather sojourn. And from what I have seen and heard, the central and eastern provinces are equally as spectacular even if they are comparatively different. In short, Canada is a fabulous country to visit. Please do so.

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Maybe, Just Maybe, The Edmonton Oilers Believe In Their Farm

I consider myself an optimist. I champion the down-trodden to a fault. I have often found light in the dark (cell phones help with this). I have been known to find the good in nearly every circumstance. I have my grandmother to blame (who passed away this weekend). When watching scary news transpire or when reading disheartening things she was always quick to remind me that there was still good in the world. Although this viewpoint is particularly rare these days, I have grown accustom to applying this to every day life.

Even in the world of hockey I see things like Kris Russell becoming a Dallas Star and find hopefulness (maybe in shot-blocking or better defending beyond the blue line or my desire to see him ride a horse). I think to myself, “Maybe there is a reason Hamhuis remains a Canuck for a while. Yeah, maybe there is a reason.” Through it all the optimistic, good-natured version of my psyche is finely tuned to pluck the “good” from potentially “bad” — even when it comes to hockey.

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Whoever You Are — You Trade The Pick

Have you met Auston Matthews? No, that first name isn’t spelled incorrectly, and no, that’s not a millennial car salesman’s name (none that I know). He’s actually a pretty solid hockey player – US born, US bred – with a good bit of international hockey experience even at the young age of 18.

He grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona where his favorite player was Shane Doan. Yes, Coyotes fans exist, and the team has existed long enough that the impact is fully realized in this 6’2″ multi World Junior Champ.

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The Stamkos Fan Protection

Earlier this week Steve Yzerman made a bold declaration in favor of Steven Stamkos remaining a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. At first glance I assumed this was an old man (he’s only 50) insisting to change toothpaste or hair tonic. And I suppose that is typically how NHL GM’s work — make a bold statement that is as wobbly as a china shop table post bull. But Yzerman is a smart, shrewd manager, and I think he had good intentions here beyond hanging on to one of the most important Bolts in the last ten years.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning dancing the line between playoffs and off season (it’s only February, mind you) the announcement perhaps is a stamp of approval that his squad is really pushing for the playoffs and beyond.

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Who Does Connor McDavid Remind You Of?

Connor McDavid is a jewel.

Like superstar hockey players before him there is a motivation to his game that is on a higher level compared to those around him. He can elevate others, sometimes a whole team, and he is barely 19 years old. The whisper-worth of games he has played in the National Hockey League isn’t enough to call him “one of the greats”, but he definitely has the makings of a truly special player. One that perhaps we have not seen in a while.

But while we await his coronation into greatness I can’t help but watch this man-child play, and think fondly of one of my all-time favorite hockey players — Pavel Bure.

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Science Suggests That Maybe Wideman Deserves Less

Three years ago, around Christmas time, I was hit in the head by a falling two by four. Rising nearly 20 feet in the air, the board came out of nowhere, and just grazed the back portion of my head. It forced my neck downwards with the top of my spine and shoulders receiving the brunt of the blow. I felt okay for about 30 seconds, then the room began to spin. I shrugged it off, pulled out my phone, and realized I couldn’t see the numbers to dial someone to come and help. I think I panicked because I started to feel sick, so much so that I had to lay prostrate on the floor. Finally my wife found me, and apparently more time had passed than I realized. My symptoms remained the same — dizzy, sick to my stomach, trouble focusing with eyes, sleepy — which quickly prompted a trip to the hospital.

A scan of my upper half revealed no broken bones. A CT scan revealed no major brain trauma. In the end the diagnosis was simple, but symptomatic — I had a concussion.

The world is currently swept up in the discussion of head trauma mainly because we really don’t know a ton of things about it. Prevention is difficult, symptoms vary, and diagnosis is problematic. But in the end it is a topic that we will have a firm grasp on in the next 10 years, this feels inevitable. But as we wait for true answers in the world of sports head trauma we continue to see odd things happen. Like Dennis Wideman cross-checking an official.

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ECHL Additions Coming Soon?

Cliff Rucker, a converted hockey fan and business man, is in the throws of a bid to bring the ECHL to Worcester. He is meeting with the ECHL Board of Governors to hear their decision on the matter in the coming days. Why is this important? Simply put, it demonstrates the potential hoops that Oklahoma City would need to jump in order to bring the East Coast Hockey League (wink wink) to the Sooner State.

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I Watched The NHL All-Star Game. I Hated It.

I watched the NHL All Star Game.

I hated it.

Long before social media, these types of events were fraught with excitement. It felt organic to the viewer because, quite frankly, the polish didn’t need to be shiny, the veneer translucent, or the sheen remarkable. They were about our players, our teams, our moments rather than re-digested and fabricated situations. Timeless moments were captured before our eyes, and placed on our walls via posterized versions. With so many sports snippets calibrated for millennials the creation of so-called All Star moments happen daily, and at almost every hour. Gfycat, Vine, Periscope, and Twitter Video are incredible things, they really are. Yet we just aren’t “wowed” anymore, and that’s okay.

So I watched Little Pavelski and Little Burns score on a breakaway. I giggled at the Chewbacca bit. I continued to the love speedy Larkin. I thought the 3-on-3 format was amusing. But it all felt like a generic product. One seen often and quickly dismissed. In terms of the game and festivities – I hated it.

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Kessy Is Back, Horak vs Lander, Rimmer To OKC

After scoring the goal that launched a plethora of teddy bears, Kale Kessy has been recalled from the Bakersfield Condors to be placed with the Oklahoma City Barons. My love of this kid is quite well known, but this is an opportunity for Kessy to skate like he’s never skated before. With Curtis Hamilton playing in the third line winger role, Kessy will probably squeeze in on the opposite wing (or more likely) head to the fourth line.

Steve MacIntyre? Ben Eager? Who is going to Edmonton? My bet is on Anton Lander or maybe Roman Horak. With Boyd Gordon having leg/back/knuckle trouble, the need for a depth centerman is now. I like Horak’s chances. He’s earned it, he’s potentially better than a guy like Will Acton, and he is new to the organization – three things that the Oilers no doubt realize (right?) This doesn’t mean that Eager or MacIntyre aren’t gimpy or something. That could very well be why Kessy is coming in, but it still doesn’t change the status of Gordon. Things. They are happening.

Speaking of “going to Edmonton”, Ty Rimmer tweets this today:

With Ilya Bryzgalov injured in yesterday’s victory against the Stars, Jason LaBarbera is the logical choice. He’s played very well for OKC despite not winning consistently. Likewise, Laurent Brossoit has been solid, and he will probably go number one. Rimmer joins the Barons, which means that Tyler Bunz gets overlooked, and I hate that. Nonetheless, some important moves forming, all with two or three levels of trickle-down effect.