The National Hockey League and the Canadian Football League are the primary focus this weekend as the CFL is winding down its regular season and the NHL is just getting started. The British Columbia Lions will be playing out the stretch for the final three games of the season after being eliminated from the playoffs on Friday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders upset the Calgary Stampeders 30-7. On Saturday, they will host the playoff-bound Edmonton Eskimos at B.C. Place. The Lions will be trying to snap a four game losing streak. The Eskimos are at 9-6 and in third place in the West.
Here are the other sporting events I will be watching this weekend with Canadian content:
Saturday—NHL—Edmonton Oilers @ Philadelphia Flyers—Sportsnet West—10am PT—The Edmonton Oilers must have taken a huge sigh of relief on Thursday after their impressive 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. One big area of improvement on Thursday for the Oilers was execution. Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu converted on excellent playmaking by Connor McDavid and the Oilers saw their four game losing streak snapped against one of the elite teams in the NHL. The Oilers will now have their hands full against the Philadelphia Flyers. Last year in Philadelphia, the Oilers had a 5-3 third period lead only to lose 6-5 in regulation.
Saturday—CFL—Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Toronto Argonauts—TSN—1pm PT—Both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts are playoff bound. That is what we know. What we don’t know is where, who and when they will play. Winnipeg is having a great season, but even though they are 11-4, they do not seem to be playing their best football of the season at the moment. The Argonauts will have James Wilder Jr. back in their lineup after missing last week with a concussion. His presence will make a huge difference in the Toronto offense.
Saturday—NHL—Toronto Maple Leafs @ Ottawa Senators—CBC—4pm PT—This could be considered the most highly anticipated Toronto/Ottawa hockey game in over a decade. The Maple Leafs just might be the most exciting team to watch in the NHL. Auston Matthews leads the Maple Leafs with six goals and 10 points. However what Maple Leafs fans must be thrilled about is the fact that Matthews and William Nylander are each a +10. The Senators went through Alberta last week and pounded the Oilers and Calgary Flames by a combined score of 12-1. They then came home and lost to the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils.
Saturday—NBA—Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors—Sportsnet One—4:30pm PT—The Toronto Raptors had their season opener on Thursday at the Air Canada Center and came away with an impressive 117-100 win over the Chicago Bulls, a team that has been a thorn in Toronto’s side in recent years. One pleasant surprise from Toronto’s play on Thursday was that of Jonas Valanciunas, who had a double double, and led the team with 23 points and 15 rebounds. If Valanciunas can show maturity and improvement at the center position and complement Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors could challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics as the best team in the East.
Saturday—NHL—Minnesota Wild @ Calgary Flames—CBC—7pm PT—The biggest news surrounding the Calgary Flames came off the ice this past week when Naheed Nenshi was re-elected as the Calgary mayor. The Nenshi re-election was not good news for the Flames. For the last few months the Flames have had problems negotiating with Nenshi on a new arena in Calgary. The negotiations became so cold, the Flames even publicly endorsed Nenshi’s top opponent, Bill Smith. It will now be interesting to see if the Flames players can focus on the on-ice issues and ignore the controversial off-ice politics.
Sunday—NHL—Vancouver Canucks @ Detroit Red Wings—Sportsnet—4pm PT—After seven games to the season, the Vancouver Canucks are where most of us expected them to be. They have a record of 3-3-1. The Canucks are showing improvements under new head coach Travis Green, while Derek Dorsett has been the ultimate NHL power forward that fantasy pool players drool over. To date he has four goals, five points and 42 penalty minutes.