High performance sport in Canada takes center stage this weekend with the Canada Cup of curling from Brandon, Manitoba, women’s World Cup alpine skiing from Lake Louise, Alberta and World Cup bobsled from Whistler, British Columbia. Here is what I will be watching this weekend.
Saturday—World Cup women’s luge—www.cbcsports.ca—6:30 a.m. PT—Lake Placid is the host of the second World Cup of the 2016-17 season. Last week in Winterberg, Germany, the German women swept the podium as reigning Olympic gold medalist Natalie Geisenberger won gold, Tatjana Huefner won silver and Dajana Eitberger won bronze. The top Canadian was Kimberley McRae of Victoria, British Columbia in sixth place.
Saturday—World Cup snowboarding—www.cbcsports.ca—9 a.m. PT—The top men’s and women’s big air snowboarders will compete this weekend in Monchengladbach, Germany. Last week in Alpensia, South Korea, Canadians finished in first and second. Mark McMorris of Regina, Saskatchewan won the gold medal and Max Parrot of Bromont, Quebec won the silver medal.
Saturday—NHL—Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres—Sportsnet–10 a.m. PT—In an Atlantic Division battle, the Boston Bruins take on the Buffalo Sabres from the KeyBank Center in New York state. The Sabres will have Jack Eichel back in the lineup after missing the majority of the season to date with an ankle injury.
Saturday—World Cup women’s alpine skiing—www.cbcsports.ca—11:15 a.m. PT—This will be the second of two women’s downhills this weekend from Lake Louise, Alberta. Last week there was supposed to be a men’s downhill and super giant slalom in Lake Louise, but it was cancelled because of lack of snow. American superstar Lindsey Vonn will not be competing because she is recovering from a broken arm. Vonn’s absence will open the door for Switzerland’s Fabienne Suter and Lara Gut.
Saturday—Canada Cup of Curling—TSN—11:30 a.m. PT—The women’s semi-final will take place from Brandon, Manitoba. The men’s semi-final will follow at 4:30 p.m. PT. The finals will both take place on Sunday. The women’s final is at 11:30 a.m. PT and the men’s final is at 4:30 p.m. PT. All games can be seen on TSN except for the men’s final which can be seen on TSN2.
Saturday—NCAA–SEC Championship—Alabama vs. Florida—CBS—1 p.m. PT—The Georgia Dome in Atlanta will host the 2016 Southeastern Conference Football Championship in the NCAA. The Crimson Tide are trying to remain perfect after beginning the season 12-0. The Gators meanwhile are 8-3. Alabama has won 24 straight games in college football with their last loss coming to Mississippi by a score of 43-37 on September 19, 2015.
Saturday—World Cup women’s bobsled—www.cbcsports.ca—1:45 p.m. PT— Kaillie Humphries of Calgary, one of Canada’s top female athletes, will start her 2016-17 World Cup bobsled season on Canadian soil from Whistler, British Columbia. The women’s bobsled will be followed by the four men bobsled World Cup at 5:45 p.m. PT.
Saturday—NHL—Florida Panthers @ Ottawa Senators—CITY TV–4 p.m. PT—In an Atlantic Division battle, the Senators are currently second in the Atlantic Division with 30 points and have bounced back nicely after a disappointing 2015-16 season where they missed the playoffs. The Panthers’ surprise leading scorer this season is Jonathan Marchessault. The Cap-Rouge, Quebec native has a team high 19 points in 24 games. Marchessault only had 19 points in 49 previous NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Saturday—NHL—Winnipeg Jets @ St. Louis Blues—Sportsnet—4 p.m. PT—There has been a lot of talk so far this season about Jets rookie Patrik Laine. The Finnish star has 15 goals (2nd in the NHL only behind Sidney Crosby). However, Mark Scheifele of Kitchener, Ontario is fourth in the NHL in points with 26. The Blues have 31 points, while the Jets have 24.
Saturday—NHL—Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers—CBC—7 p.m. PT—In this Pacific Division battle, the Oilers and Ducks both currently hold down a playoff spot. The Oilers have a lot to be excited about Connor McDavid. In only his second NHL season he leads the NHL in points with 34. He had three assists in Edmonton’s 6-3 win over Winnipeg on Thursday.
Sunday—NFL—Los Angeles Rams @ New England Patriots—FOX—10 a.m. PT—In what could be on paper a lopsided matchup, the 9-2 Patriots host the 4-7 Rams. However one must remember the Patriots come up with one stinker each season and won’t have star tight end Rob Gronkowski who is out with back surgery.
Sunday—NFL—Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers—CBS—10 a.m. PT—The Texans have looked horrible this season on the road in cold weather conditions. In two losses to the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, the Texans have been outscored 54-9. It should also be noted the Texans were hammered by the Patriots without Tom Brady. Even though Houston is 6-5 and Green Bay is 5-6, the Packers are the clear favourites.
Sunday—NFL—Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders—CBS—1 p.m. PT—In an intriguing AFC matchup, the 6-5 Bills play the 9-2 Raiders. Oakland has won five straight games including three games against formidable opponents—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. The Bills however cannot be taken lightly and have given up 39 fewer points than Oakland this year.
Sunday—NFL—New York Giants @ Pittsburgh Steelers—FOX—1 p.m. PT—Surprisingly the 8-3 New York Giants have the second best record in the NFC at eight wins and three losses. However they are not leading their division as the surprising Dallas Cowboys continue to surge in the NFC East as they are 11-1. This game also features a treat as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Giants quarterback Eli Manning have each won two Super Bowls in their career.
Sunday—NFL—Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks—NBC—5:30 p.m. PT—It has been a surprisingly tough year for the reigning NFC Champion Carolina Panthers as they are currently 4-7. The Panthers have struggled defensively this year. They have already given up 281 points this season after 11 games. In 2015, the Panthers gave up 308 points all season. The Seahawks meanwhile are at 7-3-1 and comfortably lead the NFC West.
Sunday—NHL—Anaheim Ducks @ Calgary Flames—Sportsnet 360—6:30 p.m. PT—Interestingly, despite a poor start, the Flames are only three points back of the Los Angeles Kings for a playoff spot. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf only has two goals all season, but leads Anaheim in points with 19. The Flames leading scorer at the moment is Michael Frolik who has 15 points.
Sunday—NHL—Minnesota Wild @ Edmonton Oilers—Sportsnet One—6:30 p.m. PT—There is a strong possibility that the Edmonton Oilers may face a Wild goaltender who is very familiar to Edmonton but not Rogers Place. Devan Dubnyk began his career in Edmonton before putting up all-star caliber numbers south of the border.