A Vancouver sports team won a playoff game and that was the BC Lions. In this week’s Avid Thoughts we’ll go over their big win and some other notable stuff that happened in the world of sports.
If you are a long-time reader, you already know how this works. If you are new here, then welcome!
Lions roar past the Stampeders
The BC Lions have been a fun football team all season and the fun will continue for at least one more game.
BC Place was rocking for the West Division semi-final against the Calgary Stampeders. I was there and the noise in the building rivalled the Vancouver Whitecaps’ victory in the Canadian Championship Final last July. It was also weird being in the stands at BC Place instead of the press box but I had a lot of fun.
The Lions wanted it more. I was worried that Nathan Rourke would struggle since he was playing his first full game since his ankle injury. However, he did not look rusty one bit. Rourke threw 321 yards and two touchdown passes which is impressive.
The Stampeders’ strength heading into the game was their run game. However, the Lions managed to hold them to just 83 yards of rushing. Calgary made a lot of poor decisions on offence and penalties and dropped balls also cost them.
As for the Lions, the offence looked very good. Not only was Rourke moving the ball downfield but James Butler made some nice runs. We give a lot of credit to Rourke but his receivers deserve a lot of credit too. Bryan Burnham, Keon Hatcher, Alex Hollins and Dominic Rhymes looked very athletic when catching the ball on Sunday.
Oh yeah, there was that trick play in the third quarter by the Lions. On 3rd and inches, you would think they would go for the short-yardage play. But no, Antony Pipkin threw the ball to Hatcher who was wide open for the touchdown and the crowd went absolutely nuts! Gutsy move by head coach Rick Campbell and offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic.
It also looks like Bo Levi Mitchell’s time with the Stampeders is coming to an end. He replaced Jake Maier in the fourth quarter and Calgary looked very threatening but fortunately for the Lions, it was too little and too late.
This game showed what kind of team the Lions are. They are a team led by their star Canadian QB that provides a lot of excitement on offence and their defence comes up big when they need them most.
It was great to see the buzz around the stadium (and outside) even before the game started. Once again, Amar Doman has done an incredible job revitalizing the Lions and making the gameday experience more enjoyable. It also helped having Rourke back. The guy is good for not just the Lions but the rest of the CFL.
We got fans at BC Place from the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island thanks to the playoff packages the Lions put out. Well done to them.
The Lions will play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next week in the Western Final. The Bombers have been the class of the CFL and have won the last two Grey Cups. Don’t call out a healthy Rourke and the Lions though, this team has got some swagger in them. Also, Rourke vs Zach Collaros is a great QB matchup.
I’m calling it now: If the Lions beat the Blue Bombers on Sunday, they will go on to win the Grey Cup.
Also, sell the gun metal jerseys. Trust me, people
Thatcher Demko’s struggles
Ok, back to the Vancouver Canucks.
They blew another lead and lost in a shootout to the Nashville Predators. The game was officially lost when Bo Horvat overskated the puck. That sums up the Canucks as a franchise.
Lots of things have gone wrong with the Canucks this season. Let’s go over one of them: Thatcher Demko.
We all know how good Demko was last season but this season, he has been the polar opposite. Yeah, the defence is bad in front of him but we are not seeing the big saves. In fact, he isn’t even making the simple saves.
Demko has been letting some weird ones that have gone five-hole, blocker or glove side. Last year’s Demko would have stopped those easily.
Now, he was a huge reason why the Canucks had a good record under Bruce Boudreau last season. Sure they won a lot of games but were they good for most of them? No. They won a lot of games because Demko was standing on his head. Now he isn’t and look where the Canucks are. It’s almost like the Canucks need elite goaltending to cover up their defensive mistakes.
Demko’s numbers are ugly. He has a record of 1-6-0 with a 3.90 GAA and a .879 save percentage.
The Canucks have a five-game Eastern road trip coming with two back-to-backs. We’ll definitely see Spencer Martin play some games. I would rest Demko for the game against the Ottawa Senators and let Martin play and then let Demko start in Montreal and Toronto while Martin starts in Boston and Demko closes out the road trip in Buffalo.
Demko isn’t the biggest problem on the Canucks but he has to be better.
The Mitchell Miller situation
*Sigh* Another day, another story about the “old boys club” ruining hockey.
The Boston Bruins signed disgraced draft pick Mitchell Miller this week. In case you are living under a rock, Miller bullied a disabled black classmate named Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, when he was a teenager and was charged with assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act in a juvenile court.
But the Bruins decided to sign him to an entry-level deal and on Sunday, parted ways with him.
Bruins President of Hockey Operations Cam Neely released a statement on behalf of the organization which included these lines:
“The decision to sign this young man was made after careful consideration of the facts as we were aware of them: that at 14-years-old he made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction. We understood this to be an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing personal development. Based on that understanding we offered him a contract. Based on new information, we believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins. We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth.”
New information?! Miller’s bullying of Meyer-Crothers was heavily reported before he was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes. How could the Bruins have not known?
Since the Miller incident was public, the Bruins decided to sign him anyway. Why? We don’t know. Did they even consult the victim beforehand? It doesn’t look like it. There doesn’t look like there was any thought put into this signing.
Bruins players Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have spoken against the Miller signing and good on them for doing so.
What a terrible look for the Bruins. I am all for second chances but Miller has not done anything to prove he deserves one. Do not come to me saying “we all did stupid stuff when we were 14.” Yeah, that may be true but most 14-year-olds don’t bully disabled minorities. The ones that do should face the consequences and not be rewarded with an NHL contract until they have shown they have learned from the incident and have changed.
Another example of the broken culture in hockey.
Astros win the World Series and everybody hates it but are happy for Dusty Baker
Well, the Houston Astros are the World Series Champions after beating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
Say what you want about them but the Astros are a great baseball team led by the likes of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Justin Verlander. They were among the best teams in MLB all season and now they are the best. For once, they did it without cheating! (I hope.)
But because of the cheating in 2017, the Astros are hated in baseball but there is one guy you have to be happy for and that is their manager, Dusty Baker.
Baker has been a baseball manager since 1993 and has finally won the World Series as a manager. At 73, he is the oldest manager to win the World Series. Baker is also known for being a very likeable person and it seems everyone seems to love him. I guess he is one of those people you just can’t hate and if you met someone who didn’t like Baker, you probably would want to fight them.
Good for Dusty.
The Phillies had a good run. I wanted them to win it all but it was not meant to be. The Astros were just much better.
Canada Soccer injuries
The World Cup starts in just over two weeks and Canada’s Men’s National Team is dealing with some injury scares.
First, Alphonso Davies looked to have hurt his hamstring in Bayern Munich’s game against Hertha Berlin. However, Bayern has confirmed that Davies will miss the next two Bundesliga games and is not at risk to miss the World Cup. He will miss Canada’s tune-up games against Bahrain and Japan, however.
That’s possibly the best news Canadian soccer fans can get.
However, Canada will be without goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau as he broke his leg in extra time in the MLS Cup Final last Saturday. Crépeau also got a red card for the play and luckily for him, LAFC would go on to win the MLS Cup. (In what probably was the best MLS Cup Final ever.)
Crépeau underwent successful surgery but will miss the World Cup in Qatar.
Red Star Belgrade’s Milan Borjan is obviously the starting goalkeeper with Minnesota United’s Dayne St. Clair now going to be the number two. But who will be number three? It will likely be CF Montreal’s James Pantemis.
Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal has been called up for the game against Bahrain but it looks very unlikely he’ll go to Qatar.
Check back next week for more Avid Thoughts! What do you want me to discuss? Let me know.