COLE’S NOTE: Closing time 2016 means new beginnings
And you know what they say: "Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end." And by "they" I mean the band SemiSonic!
So the new beginnings we look forward to are the semi-final games of the World Junior tournament and the NFL Playoffs.
Based on what we have seen in the World Juniors so far we know that Canada deserves to be where there and to be honest they also deserve to be the lower seed moving into the next round.
Yes, Canada scored 10 goals in the first two games but the game against the U.S. flushed away whatever faith was instilled at the beginning. Canada wasn't disciplined in the first period which led to an early deficit and then to not regain the lead after getting a five minute power play.
Thankfully, Canada played a much weaker Czech Republic and beat them handily in the quarter finals. The only really worry after this last game has been the worry the whole tournament... GOALTENDING. Neither Ingram nor Hart have grabbed the starting job by the throat but Ingram seems to be a little steadier between the pipes.
If you are willing to sacrifice your tournament life with him in the crease for the quarterfinals you might as well keep him in.
The next game against Sweden will be the toughest task yet, as it is almost every year we have the chance to play the gold and blue. This semi-final game needs to be the game that Dylan Strome plays like the hero he was labeled to be at the start of the tournament.
To be honest, Strome doesn't measure up to the likes of Canada's past superstars, and it's not even close. But he's got the chance to lead his team into the finals and he the type of player then can be the clearcut Number 1 Star of any game, if he puts his mind to it.
Beating the best team in the tournament should be the motivation he needs to put the rest of the kids on his shoulders and push through to the Finals where they should have a shot at redemption against 'Merica.
From the ice to the grid iron the match-ups have been set for Wild Card Weekend.
On Saturday you've got the Raiders, and their third string quarterback, going to Houston to take on the "Someone had to win the division" Texans and the Lions will head to Seattle to take on the 12th man and the Seahawks.
Sunday gives us a Dolphins and Steelers game in Pittsburgh and the most intriguing game of the weekend with the New York Giants going to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers, who are currently on a six-game winning streak.
I won't make my predictions until later this week but what I can say is that you shouldn't assume any of your picks, or mine, to be a lock. A third string QB with the Raiders offense still might be able to out-score the 72 Million Dollar Man (Brock Osweiler).
Seattle might be one of the best home teams in the league but Detroit always seems to make games exciting. Pittburgh, with a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and arguably the best running back in the league, should be able to beat the Dolphins who are being led by their back-up QB in Matt Moore, but there isn't a lot of game film for the Steelers to study on Moore so who knows what he might have up his sleeve.
And yes Green Bay has won six games in a row but Eli Manning always seems to win playoffs game that he has no business really competing in.
Should be a Wild one! See what I did there? Wild Card weekend... Wild one??? You get it.
With the end of the regular season it means closing time for a lot of teams and unfortunately it means the end for a lot of coaches.
I don't like to comment on people losing their jobs regardless of which occupation they are in. The one exception is Rex Ryan. If you are going to make the season all about you and try and take the focus off your mediocre team at least do it with some form of plan and prestige. No drama, laughs, and mockery. It's another coaching skill he should learn from Bill Belichick.
That's it for this edition of Cole's Notes folks. Happy New Year! You don't have to go home but you can't stay here. *That was another SemiSonic reference*
P.S. The Denver Nuggets are giving the rest of the league a good game tape to watch on how to compete with the Warriors. For the first three quarters they had Golden State taking a lot of bad shots.
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