October gives array of options
BY DECLAN SCHROEDER
As the weather cools, the sports world heats up.
Fast approaching is that magical time of year where the stars align and the schedules of the four most popular sports in North America – hockey, baseball, football, and basketball – overlap, overjoying sports fans everywhere. The sports world truly reaches its apex as leaves start to fall.
While baseball and Canadian football have been more than enough to consume a lion’s share of my time spent rapt and vegged in front of the idiot box this summer, many hanker for more.
Ladies and gentlemen: more has arrived.
NFL players are back on the gridiron, the puck has just dropped denoting the start of the NHL’s season, the MLB postseason is looming large, and NBA players are set to hit the hardcourt later this month.
Even for a person like me who doesn’t go out or have friends, it can be onerous to keep up with it all. Even if you’d like to bar yourself in your basement or strap yourself onto your sofa with a cache of comestibles colossal enough to last until Christmas, you probably have that boring old thing called a job, errands to run, and other obligations that require you to turn off the television and put on pants.
So, here’s one man’s opinion on the top three things you should keep your eyes on this October.
1: Canadian NHL teams
After an abysmal showing in 2016, in which no Canadian clubs made the playoffs, the seven squads came back with a vengeance last spring, with five out of seven qualifying to vie for Lord Stanley’s mug. Expect no less this year, as Canadian teams look to be stronger than ever as their young sprouts blossom into superstars.
In Toronto, the Maple Leafs’ trio of baby-faced big guns – Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner – who combined for 191 points last year, all have a year of experience under their belts.
In Edmonton, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli emptied his pockets, spending a combined $168 million to lock up the faces of his franchise, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, after the team made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
In Winnipeg, it’s a make-it-or-break-it season for the Jets, as fans are losing patience for the “we’ll win down the road” rhetoric repeated by ownership and view the team as having enough talent to win now rather than later.
2: MLB playoffs
The MLB has gone streaking this year – the Cleveland Indians won 22 games in a row and the Los Angeles Dodgers, at one point, went 43-7 in a 50-game stretch. But playoff baseball is a funny thing – every mistake is magnified. A few bad games and any team, no matter how dominant in the regular season, can be unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs.
These playoffs promise to be fascinating. The Indians will look to avenge their game seven loss, the Chicago Cubs will look to win back-to-back pennants after not winning a World Series since before the invention of the modern-day zipper, and the Arizona Diamondbacks will look to take a bite out of their opponents after playing above .500 for the first time since 2011.
3: The CFL down the stretch
With NFL currently a political sideshow and everyone focused on #TakeAKnee, CFL players are actually concentrated on football. The final third of the CFL season is when teams show their mettle and fortitude as the shifting weather makes everything just a little bit harder. Specifically, watch the Bombers strive to host the first ever playoff game at Investors Group Field.
These are only a few of the dishes available to you in October’s buffet – you can have a little or a lot of everything. It’s time to grab a big plate and dig in.