Fiddler's Facts: Hockey, hoops at Eastlink Centre this weekend

Fred
Fred MacDonald
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The Charlottetown Islanders, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and the professional basketball Island Storm both play at home this weekend at the Eastlink Centre, but, of course, not at the same time.

The Jekyl and Hyde Islanders are hard to figure out. One night they look like Maritimes Division champions and the next night like also-rans. When they bring their A game, the Islanders are entertaining and exciting, so let’s hope they come out smoking tonight. Game time is 7 p.m.

Sunday at 2 p.m., the Storm concludes a brief three-game home stand against Moncton Miracles in National Basketball League of Canada play. The Storm plays the last-place Moncton Miracles (1-7) but don’t let their record fool you. They lost in overtime to the Storm last time they met but have bolstered themselves considerably with the recent addition of six-foot-nine Zack Atkinson, a former player of the year in New Zealand, and point guard Daquan Brooks, a talented sharpshooting guard who has been an impact player throughout his college and pro career.

The Storm has its hands full and will not be at full strength. Forward Doug McKinney is out and may require surgery while talented point guard Sammy Zeglinski is also on the injured reserve list. When Zeglinski was sidelined last Sunday, the Storm was not nearly as efficient and Saint John almost stole the game. To compensate for the loss of McKinney, the Storm signed highly regarded Mike Martin, formerly of the Halifax Rainmen, and he made his Storm debut Friday.

 

Harness racing

Live harness racing continues today at the city track with a 15-dash card at 1 p.m.

Due to the large number of horses available, nine-horse fields will be the rule rather than the exception. The $2,300 feature goes in Race 14 and it includes from the rail out: The Big Bite, Van Zant, Mcjestic, Cheyenne Ford,Machinthesand, Carnivore, Astor, All Turain and Rash B Havior.

At Woodbine tonight, the $34,000 top class trot is a tough one with the likes of Daylon Magician, Riveting Rosie, Charmed Life, Nowucit Nowudon’t, Charlie is a Joker, Slip Into Glide and Catch the Dream who has plenty of Maritime connections. Catch the Dream is owned by Charlottetown’s Dan McIsaac, trained by Bruce MacDonald, of Saint John, N.B., and driven by Kingston’s James MacDonald.

Congratulations to Southport’s Jason Hughes and Meridian Farms for being nominated for O’Brien awards in horsemanship and as breeder of the year, respectively.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Forward was listed on a number of horses last week at Yonkers and flew in from St. John’s only to find out he does not have a driver’s license for New York State.

Red Rock, who campaigned here last summer, was fourth last week at the Empire State track versus $20,000 claimers. Saulsbrook Alanna was eighth in 1:50:4 at the Meadowlands. What hurts a lot of the Maritime horses that have been sold recently is the money earned places them in a much higher classification and most are not rested. In addition, the competition is usually fresher horses that have been prepped for the winter campaign.

Pigskin picks

The NFL heads into Week 14 and from this point onwards the games become much more meaningful. For example, there are five teams in the AFC at 7-5, which means all the games are a bearing on the playoffs.

New England Patriots (9-3) at San Diego Chargers (8-4) – The Pats were upset by Green Bay at Lambeau Field Sunday night and must keep winning if they hope to host the AFC championship game at Foxboro in late January. The Pats rarely lose two in a row, so jump aboard the New England bandwagon and bet the Patriots over the Chargers, who showed surprising grit in defeating Baltimore last week.

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (7-5) – As stated previously the Colts and Andrew Luck always beat the teams that are non Super Bowl contending teams. Colts win big over the Browns, who are staying with quarterback Brian Hoyer.  

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1) – These two teams are in and out, hot and cold. Sure the Bengals only have three losses and are at home, but I’m not sold on Andy Dalton. Are they for real? I don’t think so, and I believe the Steelers can pull of the upset.

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-3) – The Eagles really impressed in the demolition of the Dallas Cowboys while the Seahawks appear to be rounding into form and poised to catch first-place Arizona in their division. Look for the Seattle defence to shut down the upstart Eagles.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Islanders National Basketball League of Canada San Diego Chargers Cleveland Browns Pittsburgh Steelers Cincinnati Bengals Seattle Seahawks Meadowlands New England Patriots Lambeau Field Foxboro Indianapolis Colts Philadelphia Eagles Dallas Cowboys

Geographic location: Saint John, New Zealand, Charlottetown Newfoundland and Labrador Yonkers Empire Green Bay New England Baltimore Arizona Seattle

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Recent comments

  • Disappointed with firing
    December 08, 2014 - 15:00

    I certainly would not get too comfortable MR Cameron, they seem to go through coaches faster than any team. Makes us think the real problem lies with the players, or some of them. They might have appointed Neil or Phillips as captain, as Eric's play seems to have gone down since his contract and the letter C , in my opinion only. They seem to have a mental capacity of screwing themselves out of winning often. Perhaps they need more mental exercises and psych themselves up better. GOOD LUCK PAU MAC LEAN, I don't know what you could have done better. You should not have to molly coddle pros.