Favourites of 2011 and predictions for 2012
Autumn McDowell, Edward Dodd, Colton Hordichuk, Dietrich Neu, Taylor Shire
This week's roundtable
What is your New Year’s resolution?
Autumn McDowell: I have honestly never made a New Year’s resolution, or maybe I have but I’ve just forgotten about it the very next week, which is entirely possible. I have goals, obviously, but I wouldn’t say they’re “resolutions.” Yes, they are two very different things in my mind.
Edward Dodd: My New Year’s resolution is to actually do something physical at least once. But not right away, probably in June or July, sometime long after everyone else has broken their resolution to go to the gym every day.
Colton Hordichuk: Every New Year I cut a fast food chain out of my diet. Last year, I went without McDonald’s, and I think this year I’m going to cut out either Dairy Queen or A&W. I guess this relates to my fitness, right? I also think it would be great to get back into the sports I quit but once enjoyed like lacrosse, volleyball, and dirt biking.
Dietrich Neu: I do not even make New Year’s resolutions anymore, because I have never successfully pulled one off. If I cannot get my shit together normally, then why would I magically turn things around when a few numbers on a calendar change? With that said: stop smoking, exercise more, work harder at school, etc.
Taylor Shire: I never make them. If you really want to change something in your life, just do it now. It’s pretty simple.
What was your favourite sports memory of 2011?
McDowell: Personally, it would have to be covering the Winnipeg Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins. Seeing the entire Penguins team naked wasn’t bad, either.
Dodd: My favourite sports memory of 2011 is of the three glorious weeks after Ken Miller replaced Greg Marshall, during which the Riders won three straight games. My subsequent worst memory is of the failure that was the rest of their season after that.
Hordichuk: Easily my favourite sports memories are Corey Perry’s 50-goal season and Teemu Selanne’s return. It’s always a treat to see one of your favourite players win the scoring race in the NHL, and I think Teemu is the only Duck on the posters in my room that’s still on the current roster. I don’t even want to talk about his retirement. With the way the Ducks are playing this year, it’s become a touchy subject. We suck and need him.
Neu: Watching mixed martial artist Jon Fitch get knocked out in 12 seconds this past Friday. Fitch is one of the most boring fighters in MMA, but he is also practically unbeatable. This has forced MMA fans to watch what has amounted to hours of lackluster bouts. Fitch deserved a good smack to the face.
Shire: The Riders laying a beat down on the Bombers in both the Labour Day and Banjo Bowl. It was sweet to go to Winnipeg and come out on the winning side. The Bomber fans were pretty quiet after that happened.
Which Cougars team will have the best season in 2012?
McDowell: If were talking best in terms of championships – and what the hell else would we be talking about – then the answer has to be the women’s basketball team. If it’s going to finally bring home that goddamn national championship, this is the year to do it. That is, as long as the players don’t choke.
Dodd: I’m going to go out on a limb and say the women’s curling team will become CIS champions again. I believe it is the only team that even comes close usually.
Hordichuk: All of them! Actually, I hope football. It’s a big part of the university, city, and Saskatchewan sports in general.
Neu: The women’s basketball team, hands down. It opened the season as the No. 1 team in the country and currently sits 7-0. Success breeds enthusiasm, and no doubt these girls are taking their season very seriously. I predict more of the same in 2012.
Shire: When I get this Cougar beer pong team organized, we are going to have a very successful first season.
Who will be Team Canada’s MVP at the World Juniors?
McDowell: None other than Mark “Hands of Stone” Stone. I guess it’s not a blatantly obvious choice; it’s not like he’s tied for the most goals and points in the tournament – oh, wait, yes he is.
Dodd: It’s totally going to be Mark Stone. His awesome showing in the first game of the round robin and his key goal against the United States on New Year’s Eve, combined with what I am sure will be a stellar performance during the playoffs, will easily make him Canada’s MVP.
Hordichuk: My inner Darcy Hordichuk wants to say Boone Jenner. That guy hits everything that moves and I love that grinder style of play. But my real vote is going to either Wedgewood or Stone. Wedgewood looks way stronger than Visentin so far, and Stone is lighting the lamp every game.
Neu: I would have to say Mark Stone. He is one of the team’s top scorers, and he is on a hot streak right now. Last time I checked, he was still leading the WHL in scoring, after being out of WHL action for almost three weeks. People like Stone stepping up to the plate is what Canada needs with Devante Smith-Pelly out of action.
Shire: There are a lot of character players on the team, but I think the team’s success depends on scoring. With seven goals in the first four games, Mark Stone is my pick.
How many NHL players will get concussions in 2012?
McDowell: Too many. One is too many, and there will surely be more than one. The number of concussions that have popped up in the last couple of weeks alone is unreal, and that trend will likely continue into 2012.
Dodd: It’s likely going to be a number much higher than we’ve been seeing previously, as officials take hits more seriously and the resulting scrutiny brings even minor concussions more and more to the fore.
Hordichuk: Whether it’s increased shoulder pad or helmet protection, I think the 2012-13 campaign will see some equipment modifications meant to reduce concussions. My guess is 15; anything more than zero is high, but the NHL just isn’t what it used to be back when the likes of Scott Stevens and Cam Neely once ruled the ice surface.
Neu: Probably many more than will be reported. Concussions are inevitable in full-contact sports like hockey. The thing about concussions is that, unlike injuries to joints or muscles, many athletes feel like they can still play. Moreover, unless you are Sidney Crosby, missing ice time only gives an opportunity for someone else to take your job.
Shire: Sure, the game is faster and the players are stronger, but concussions are more relevant because everyone is more aware of them. Back in the old days, if a player got corked in the head, he would go to the bench seeing stars, grab a shot of water, and shake it off. Then he would get right back out there and finish the game, even though he might be a little woozy. Now, we have a “quiet room” and all that jazz. Player safety is at the top of the list for the NHL.