– The biggest news of the day, of course, has been the passing away of iconic hockey man Pat Quinn. The 71-year-old former coach and player has been garnering tributes all day in Vancouver and Toronto, the two cities where he most personally and famously made an impact.
- Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle and Canucks’ president if hockey ops Trevor Linden say a few words in memory of Quinn. (The Canadian Press via BCLocalNews.com)
- Linden: “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for Pat. He was a great leader and always a teacher. He taught me how to be a professional on and off the ice. He taught me how to play hockey the right way, how to win, and about the importance of respect and loyalty.” (The Peace Arch News)
- My thoughts on Quinn, as a young fan in Vancouver to a 27-year-old today, which I published earlier on my blog at White Cover Magazine.
Good on Jannik Hansen. The fourth liner has been his hustling self this year, but the Dane was out of his shoes good this week with five goals in three games, including his first career Hat Trick last night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Hansen was honoured as one of the NHL’s First Star this week, placing in a top trio with Detroit’s Tomas Tatar and Dallas’s Jamie Benn. (Surrey Leader)
– It appears Bo Horvat’s ascending play – from zero points in his first seven games to his first goal against Anaheim, to three assists in his ninth game of the season – has been enough to keep the young Knight out of London. (The Vancouver Sun)
– I should also note that, even if Horvat loses his earned ice time once Alex Burrows returns from injury, it could be a net gain for Canada’s World Junior chances. Hockey Canada is understandably high on having Horvat return for the 2015 championship, along with Curtis Lazar, Jonathan Drouin, and Anthony Duclair, all of whom are full-timing in the NHL right. (Sportsnet’s Damien Cox)
– This just in: Odell Beckham Jr. is insane. And the whole world now knows it. (Grantland)
– There can’t be a more polarizing player in hockey than Milan Lucic. Admit it, there are times you respect him. Maybe you even wish you could be a fan of his, because it would be awesome to have him on your side and be blissfully ignorant to the logical conclusion that he is, just a little bit, a buffoon. But then again… yeah, right. (Puck Daddy)
– While I’m sure you’re all amped for this weekend’s Grey Cup between Hamilton and Calgary – No? Not even a little bit? – don’t forget about the Vanier Cup, which goes just two nights earlier across the county at Montreal’s Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.
- Both the University of Montreal Carabins and the McMaster Marauders have beaten down the gauntlet this season, ending their years as the No. 2 and No. 3 collegiate teams in Canada. And one’s going to finish on top. (The Toronto Star)
– It’s the first year we’re getting anything close to a playoff to decide college football’s champion… American, that is.
- Instead of the considerably biased, often probably misguided way we used to get a BCS Championship – with Coaches, the Associated Press, and the BCS body itself just choosing the top two teams in the country – we’re now getting four playoff teams that will battle elimination-style for the belt. (But basically, there’s still a lot of erroneous judgment that comes with selecting four worthy teams from a competitive top 30.)
- The picture is starting to shed the fog, though. Alabama and Oregon are ranked one and two respectively, followed by the unbeaten defending champs Florida State at 10-0 and Mississippi State at 9-1. (Bama and Oregon are also 9-1. If you’re wondering, TCU and Ohio State are also 9-1 and are ranked 5th and 6th right now. So the playoff’s not perfect yet.) (via ESPN Rankings)
- Alabama will be challenged to finish in the Final Four, with their last game of the season coming against bloody rival Auburn, last year’s No. 2 team that carried a 14 overall ranking into the SEC’s final week.
- Oregon should wallop Oregon State in its 2014 finale to easily make the BCS’s reduced round robin.
- Florida State will be tested to go 12-0 with a couple matchups against Florida and then No. 18 Georgia Tech the next two weekend. But odds are the Seminoles won’t be touched ACC, and will get the chance to defend their title in the new year.
- Mississippi State, who took their only loss of the season two weeks ago to Alabama, will close out their season with the toughest test of all the top four, on the road against No. 8 Ole Miss.
- Is there another undefeated team out there? You bet, good on Chris Low for getting the scoop on Marshall’s Thundering Herd, who aren’t in the nation’s Top 25 despite their 11-0 record and and average 44.9 points per game in the C-USA East division.