It is a jammed pack weekend in Canadian sports. There is a ton of hockey, football, and a little bit of curling, speed skating and snowboarding. Let’s get right to it.
Saturday & Sunday—World Cup Speed Skating—www.cbcsports.ca—5am PT—This is the first World Cup of the season in speed skating. On Saturday, the competitions are the men’s 500m (5am PT), the women’s 1500m (5:25 am PT), the men’s 1500m (6:19 am PT), the women’s 500m (7:15 am PT), women’s mass start (7:45 am PT) and men’s mass start (8:05 am PT). On Sunday, the competitions are the women’s 1000m (5am PT), the men’s 1000m (5:30 am PT), the women’s 3000m (6:19 am PT) and the men’s 5000m (7:23 am PT). On Friday, Canada came away with one World Cup bronze medal as Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ontario and Josie Morrison of Kamloops, British Columbia placed third in the women’s team pursuit.
Saturday—NHL—Colorado Avalanche vs. Ottawa Senators—Sportsnet One—10am PT—In the second game of a back-to-back from Stockholm, Sweden, the Avalanche and Senators play in the NHL’s Global Series in 2017-18. Both the Senators and Avalanche have a Swedish connection as both of their captains are Swedish—Erik Karlsson and Gabriel Landeskog. Ottawa and Colorado were both involved in a trade this past week as the Senators received Matt Duchene from the Avalanche in a three way deal that also involved the Nashville Predators.
Saturday—NHL—Edmonton Oilers @ New York Rangers—Sportsnet—10am PT—The Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers both got off to horrendous starts, but both have played much better as of late. The Rangers are on a five game winning streak and the Oilers won two straight for the first time all season long on Thursday when they beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in overtime. Former Ottawa Senators center Mika Zibanejad leads the Rangers in scoring and Connor McDavid of Richmond Hill, Ontario leads the Oilers in scoring as they each have 18 points.
Saturday—World Cup big air snowboarding—www.cbcsports.ca—10am PT—The first World Cup big air snowboarding competition of the 2017-18 season takes place this weekend in Milan, Italy. The Canadian women who will be participating in qualifications are slopestyle specialists Spencer O’Brien of Alert Bay, British Columbia and Laurie Blouin of Stoneham, Quebec. The Canadian men who are part of qualifications are Michael Ciccarelli, Antoine Truchon, Nicolas Laframboise and Jeremy Langevin.
Saturday—CIS Football–Dunsmore Cup—TVA Sports—11am PT—For the fifth straight year, the University of Montreal Carabins will be playing the University of Laval Rouge et Or in the Dunsmore Cup. Last week Montreal beat Concordia 24-7 and Laval hammered Sherbrooke 45-0. Last year, the Rouge et Or won the Vanier Cup as they beat the University of Calgary Dinos 31-26 in the final in Hamilton, Ontario.
Saturday—CIS Football—Hardy Cup—Telus TV—12pm PT—For a remarkable 10th straight season, the University of Calgary Dinos are in the Hardy Cup. However even though the Dinos have had great success in the Canada West, they have not been able to do something that their Saturday opponent, the UBC Thunderbirds have been able to accomplish in the last decade and that is to win the Vanier Cup.
Saturday & Sunday—Road to the Roar Curling Pre-Trials—TSN—Yes, this is a qualifier for a qualifier from Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The winners of the women’s games on Saturday at 3pm PT and Sunday at 10am PT will go to the 2017 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in Ottawa, and will be joined by the winners of the men’s games on Sunday at 5am PT and 3:30pm PT. The best women’s team of the week so far has been 2016 Manitoba champion Kerri Einarson, who is 4-1. The best men’s team has been Glenn Howard of Ontario, the four-time world champion, who is 5-0.
Saturday—NHL—Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens—Sportsnet—4pm PT—After a horrible start, the Montreal Canadiens have clawed their way back and are near the .500 mark at 7-9-1. One of the reasons over the last week for the turnaround has been the outstanding play of rookie goaltender Charlie Lindgren. On Sunday, Lindgren made 38 saves in his NHL debut as the Canadiens shocked the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. He then beat the surprising Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on Tuesday.
Saturday—NHL—Winnipeg Jets @ Arizona Coyotes—Sportsnet—7pm PT—It has been 21 years since Winnipeg moved to Phoenix, but for many it just seems like yesterday. The Jets have got off to a great start as they are 8-3-3 and in second place in the Central Division. The Jets are finally getting solid goaltending. Connor Hellebuyck is 8-0-2 with a 2.12 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.
Saturday—NHL—Vancouver Canucks @ San Jose Sharks—CBC—7pm PT—Canucks fans must be absolutely ecstatic with the play of their hockey team so far this season. At 8-6-2, the Canucks have definitely overachieved when they were supposed to be rebuilding. The Canucks are led by rookie right winger Brock Boeser, who leads the team with nine assists and 14 points.
Sunday—Karjala Cup—Canada vs. Finland—TSN—7:30 am PT—Team Canada is currently in Helsinki, Finland as they prepare for the men’s hockey tournament at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Team Canada’s opponent on Sunday is Finland. So far in the tournament Canada is 1-1. They defeated Switzerland 3-2 on Wednesday and then lost 2-0 to Sweden on Friday. Even though on paper the Team Canada defense seems to be their weakest link, they played very well as a unit on Friday despite the two goal loss.
Sunday—CFL—Eastern Division Semi-Final—Saskatchewan Roughriders @ Ottawa Redblacks—TSN—10am PT–For decades whenever Saskatchewan and Ottawa played, fans would get confused as they were both known as the Roughriders. Now, CFL fans can be equally as confused because Saskatchewan is in the Eastern semi-final! They got there because of the crossover, and will play the Redblacks very tight on Sunday. Despite making the playoffs, the Roughriders don’t have any finalists for CFL awards this season. The Redblacks have two—wide receiver Brad Sinopoli of Peterborough, Ontario and Diontae Spencer who is up for the best special teams player. Even though Sinopoli is up for an award, he will not play Sunday because of a shoulder injury.
Sunday—CFL—Western Division Semi-Final—Edmonton Eskimos @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers—TSN—1pm PT—It has been one of the most topsy turvy seasons by a single team in the history of the Canadian Football League. In the 2017 CFL season, the Eskimos won their first seven games, lost their next six and won their last five. They also enter the CFL playoffs as legitimate Grey Cup contenders. For Edmonton to win however, they need to win three straight games on the road and that is simply not an easy task.
Sunday—NHL—Edmonton Oilers @ Washington Capitals—Sportsnet—4pm PT—The Oilers are wrapping up a four game road trip and face a Capitals team led by Alexander the Great. However even though Ovechkin had seven goals in his first two games, he only has six goals 14 games. Ovechkin is still second in the NHL in goals with 13 (three back of Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning) and has scored in each of his last three games.