It is an absolute marvelous time to be an Edmonton sports fan. The Oilers are in first place and the Edmonton Eskimos (10-6) can clinch first place in the Western Division with a win over the British Columbia Lions (9-7) at B.C. Place tonight (TSN, 8:00PM).
So when was the last time the Eskimos finished first in the West? You have to go all the way back to 2003 when they finished with a record of 13-5 and beat the Montreal Alouettes 34-22 to win the Grey Cup in Regina.
If the Eskimos hope to finish first in the West, they’ll need to play a full sixty minutes on the road, something they failed to do last week in Toronto. Edmonton once had a 31-3 lead but allowed the Argonauts to make things interesting in the final quarter, as the Boatmen scored the last three touchdowns.
If the Eskimos do lose, they’ll need to beat Saskatchewan next week and hope Montreal beats British Columbia to finish first in the West.
A key to the Eskimos tonight will be Ricky Ray and Jerome Messam, who were both named as CFL Players of the week– Ray was offensive player of the week, and Messam was the top Canadian. If they can combine for 150 yards rushing, it puts the Eskimos in an excellent position to win.
Here are the other events I’ll be watching:
Saturday–Short Track Speed Skating World Cup–CBC–Noon–The best short track speed skaters in the world are competing this week in Saguenay, Quebec. Both the men and women are competing in the 500m and 1500m events. Canada is being represented by two-time Olympic Gold medallists Francois-Louis Tremblay of Alma, Quebec, and Charles Hamelin of Levis, Quebec, 2010 Olympic Silver medallist Marianne St-Gelais of Roberval, Quebec, and three-time World Championship medallist Valerie Maltais of Le Baie, Quebec. Among the international skaters, China is sending a strong women’s team led by Qiuhong Liu, Kexin Fan and Nannan Zhao, and the Koreans are sending a strong men’s team led by Da Woon Sin, Jinkyu Noh and Yoon-Gy Kwak.
Saturday–Skate Canada–TSN2–12:15pm–Some of the best figure skaters in the world are in Mississauga, Ontario this week. This afternoon, the focus is on the ladies for the free skate. After the short program, Russian Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, who finished second at the 2011 World Junior Championship, is the leader. Americans Ashley Wagner and Rachael Flatt are second and third respectively, while Japan’s Akiko Suzuki is in fourth place. Amelie Lacoste of Montreal is the top Canadian in sixth.
Saturday–NHL–Washington Capitals @ Vancouver Canucks–CBC–8pm–Vancouver Canucks fans will be holding their breath tonight when Roberto Luongo is in between the pipes. Luongo has struggled in the early going of 2011-12, going 2-3-1 with a 3.46 goals against average and .870 save percentage. At 4-5-1 they’re 14th in the West. The Capitals meanwhile are flying high and at 7-1, and lead the Carolina Hurricanes by three points. Nicklas Backstrom leads the team with eight assists and ten points, while Tomas Vokoun has delivered with a sizzling 1.83 goals against average in seven starts.
Sunday–CFL–Calgary Stampeders @ Montreal Alouettes–TSN–11am–The Stampeders will find out Saturday night if they still have a mathematical chance to finish first in the West. At 9-7, they will have a tough assignment in trying to win in Montreal (10-6), a place the Alouettes have only lost two games all season. In their previous meeting however on August 27, Calgary won 38-31 as Henry Burris had 422 yards passing. It will be interesting to see if Drew Tate can match Burris’s success. I’m not sure if he can.
Sunday–NFL–Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants–CBS–11am–One should expect a lopsided game here. But remember. The Giants at 4-2, were supposed to easily beat Seattle a few weeks ago at home and didn’t, and were completely outplayed by the inconsistent Washington Redskins in week one. The Dolphins, at 0-6, pushed the Denver Broncos to overtime last week before losing 18-15.
Sunday–NFL–Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills–CITY TV–2pm–In the annual Bills game in Toronto, the Bills will try to get things back on track after a tough 27-24 loss to the New York Giants two weeks ago at the Meadowlands. At 4-2, nobody expected them to be above .500 this late in the season, and the club does have a great opportunity to score points this week on a Redskins team that is difficult to figure out. In Mike Shanahan’s decision to go with John Beck over Rex Grossman at quarterback, the Redskins (3-3) are obviously looking to the future rather than the present.
Sunday–NFL–New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers–CBS–2pm–In the best game of the weekend, the Patriots (5-1) lead the AFC East and the Steelers (5-2) lead the AFC North. The Patriots have won their last three games after their 34-31 upset loss in Buffalo on September 25. The Steelers have also won three straight, as Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 789 yards over the last three weeks after a slow start to the season. Over the last decade, the Patriots and Steelers have been among the elite teams in the NFL as they have combined for seven Super Bowl appearances.
Sunday–NHL–Saint Louis Blues @ Edmonton Oilers–Sportsnet–6pm–The Oilers look to continue their hot streak (6-2-2) as Northwest Division leaders when they take on the St. Louis Blues (5-5). This is a must win for the Oilers however, as they go on a six game road trip immediately following the game. The Blues have had great production from Alex Steen (6 goals and 3 assists) over the first ten games.
Sunday–NFL–Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles–NBC–6pm–I don’t think many people expected the Eagles (2-4) to have a worse record than the Cowboys (4-2), but that is where both teams currently stand six games in. The Eagles have struggled defensively, as they’ve given up 145 points as a team, which puts them only 17th in the NFL. The Eagles are led by running back LeSean McCoy (569 rushing yards) and Michael Vick (1573 passing yards and 372 rushing yards).
Tags: akiko suzuki, alex steen, amelie lacoste, ashley wagner, ben roethlisberger, british columbia lions, buffalo bills, Calgary Stampeders, charles hamelin, da woon sin, drew tate, Edmonton Eskimos, Edmonton Oilers, elizaveta tuktamisheva, Figure Skating, francois-louis tremblay, Henry Burris, jerome messam, jinkyu noh, john beck, kexin fan, marianne st-gelais, miami dolphins, Mike Shanahan, montreal alouettes, nannan zhao, new england patriots, new york giants, nicklas backstrom, pittsburgh steelers, qiuhong liu, rachael flatt, Ricky Ray, short track speed skating, st. louis blues, tomas vokoun, valerie maltais, Vancouver Canucks, washington capitals, washington redskins, yoon-gy kwak