It is a jammed pack weekend where I will be watching the NHL, NFL, CFL, World Series, figure skating, curling, MLS and golf. So, let us get right to what is going on.
Saturday—Skate Canada—11:30am PT—CTV—This is a huge weekend in Canadian figure skating history. Up first on Saturday is the ladies and pairs free skate. In the pairs competition, Canada is represented by two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. Their biggest test will come from two-time world championship bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia.
Saturday—CFL—Ottawa Redblacks @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers—1pm PT—TSN—Both the Redblacks and Blue Bombers are playoff bound, they are just battling for positioning within their divisions. Ottawa is battling Hamilton for first in the East, while Winnipeg is battling B.C. and Edmonton for second in the West.
Saturday—CFL—British Columbia Lions @ Saskatchewan Roughriders—4pm PT—TSN—This will be the last game ever at the old Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field. Next year the Roughriders go into a brand new state-of-the-art complex with a partial roof.
Saturday—Skate Canada—4pm PT—CTV—Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Ottawa will be trying to win his sixth Skate Canada title of his career. However he is not the favourite as his primary competitor is reigning Olympic champion, and 2014 world champion, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.
Saturday & Sunday—World Series—5pm PT—FOX—The Chicago Cubs will be hosting the Cleveland Indians for game four and five of the 2016 World Series from the iconic Wrigley Field. Kyle Schwarber has not been cleared yet to play in the outfield, meaning he will only be available in a pinch-hitting situation for the Cubs.
Saturday—Skate Canada—TSN2—6pm PT—TSN2—Normally, I don’t get pumped up over ice dancing. There is an exception here. Canadian Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are competing for the first time since the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. It will be interesting to see if they have what it takes to compete for a medal at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Their road to the Olympics starts this weekend.
Saturday—NHL—Washington Capitals @ Vancouver Canucks—7pm PT–CBC—The Capitals are in Vancouver trying to bounce back after a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. Questions need to be raised in Washington if they are tough enough to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. On Wednesday, they were out hit 28-15 by an Oilers squad who all of a sudden are a team that is becoming difficult to play against.
Saturday—World Golf Championship HSBC Champions—8pm PT—Golf Channel—The final golf tournament of significance takes place this weekend from Shanghai, China. Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who was favoured by many to contend a major this past season, has a three stroke lead over Bill Haas of the United States, and defending champion Russell Knox of Scotland. Matsuyama is currently at -13 and shot an impressive seven-under 65 in windy conditions in round two.
Sunday—NFL—Washington Redskins @ Cincinnati Bengals—6:30am FOX—The final NFL game of the season from Europe takes place on Sunday from Wembley Stadium in London. The Bengals (3-4) are feeling confident with their play after their win last week. However, you have to put everything into perspective. They beat a Cleveland Browns team that has not won a game yet this season. The Redskins (4-3) and Bengals are for the most part two inconsistent organizations that you simply do not know what to expect from in any given week.
Sunday—CFL—Calgary Stampeders @ Montreal Alouettes—10am PT—TSN—The Stampeders will be going for CFL history today. A win, and the Stampeders set the CFL record for most points in a season with 33, breaking the Edmonton Eskimos record of 32 points, which was set in 1989.
Sunday—NFL—New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills—10am PT—CBS—In an intriguing AFC East Division matchup, the Patriots (6-1) did not score against the Bills the last time these two teams played. Buffalo won 16-0 in a defensive battle. The Patriots have Tom Brady now however and the Bills (4-3) don’t have running back LeSean McCoy at 100%.
Sunday—Grand Slam Curling—The Masters—Men’s Final–10am PT—CBC—The first grand slam event of the 2016-17 World Curling Tour season takes place at the Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks, Alberta, 15 minutes south of Calgary. The biggest story is that Canadian Olympic gold medalist Brad Gushue is out with a hip injury. Gushue’s team is being skipped this week by his third, Mark Nichols, while mixed doubles specialist Charley Thomas of Didsbury, Alberta is filling in as Nichols’s third.
Sunday—NFL—San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos—1pm PT—CBS—In an AFC West Division battle, both the Chargers and Broncos are coming off impressive wins. The Chargers (3-4) beat the NFC South Division leading Atlanta Falcons 33-30 in overtime, while the Broncos’ (5-2) defense was dominant Monday night in a convincing 27-9 win over the Houston Texans.
Sunday—NFL—Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons—1pm PT—FOX—In a battle where both teams are above .500, the NFC North Division leading Packers (4-2) play the NFC South Division leading Falcons (4-3). In what is expected to be a high scoring game, it is a huge contest for Green Bay because they will have to keep up with the 6-1 Minnesota Vikings, (who have the Chicago Bears this week) if they hope to win the NFC North.
Sunday—Grand Slam Curling—The Masters—Women’s Final—2pm PT—Sportsnet—The biggest story in women’s curling this past week was that Anna Sidorova of Russia stole six points in one end in a 10-2 win over Allison Flaxey of Guelph, Ontario. Sidorova’s Russian squad however has only won one of her first three games in the first World Curling Tour major of the season from Okotoks, Alberta.
Sunday—MLS—Eastern Confererence Semi-Finals Game 1–New York City FC @ Toronto FC—4pm PT—TSN—Toronto FC is looking to advance to their first Eastern Conference Final in franchise history in the first of a two game total point series. However in order for them to do that, they will have to get by a New York City FC squad that has superstars David Villa of Spain and Frank Lampard of England on their roster. Toronto is coming off an impressive 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday.
Sunday—NFL—Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys—5:30pm PT—NBC—How about ‘em Cowboys? They are 5-1 without Tony Romo and are doing it with great leadership from rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. The Eagles are also above .500 at 4-2, but are much better at home than on the road.
Sunday—NHL—Ottawa Senators @ Edmonton Oilers—6pm PT—NHL—The Oilers lead the West at 6-1. No that is not a misprint. Let me write that again for those that don’t believe what I just wrote. The Oilers lead the West at 6-1. However, this is a critical game for the Oilers early in the season because it is their last home game before a five game road trip that could define their season.