College football, week seven: I don’t think anyone would have thought that Friday night college football would bring as much upset and excitement as this one did. There must have been something in the air, or dome, in Syracuse’s case, as the Orange took down second-ranked (and undefeated) Clemson 27-24. Yes, Bryant’s injury hurt the Tigers, but that shouldn’t take away from the prolific play by Syracuse’s offense, specifically, wide receiver Ervin Phillips. On the other side of the country, and a bit later into the night, California upset another undefeated and ranked team — Washington State — at home in California Memorial Stadium. Washington State’s Luke Falk threw five interceptions on the night, and the Cougars’ punter, called in with less than a minute in the second quarter, only managed to move the ball one yard. Talk about a disastrous night for Mike Leach’s team! Saturday brought plenty of excitement with Arizona State taking down Washington 13-7. Utah nearly took down USC, but with Utah failing to complete the two-point conversion in the final drive of the game, USC escaped having to go to overtime and are now 6-1. Michigan had to take their game to overtime to defeat Indiana. After losing to Michigan State at home the week prior, the Wolverines are trending down heading into their game against Penn State this weekend. With LSU taking down Auburn one week after taking down Florida, Ed Orgeron and his Tigers have rebounded quite well after their home loss to Troy.
The Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a solid 3-0-0 start with wins over Winnipeg, NYR and Chicago, but came out flat against New Jersey at home. The offensive play from the Leafs is mesmerizing, which makes it painful to see them waste away power play opportunities and give up short-handed goals. However, getting back in the win column against Montreal in overtime on Saturday night just about made up for the New Jersey game. Auston Matthews is just — wow. What a treat to watch him play. The Vegas Golden Knights may have put together one of the classiest opening night ceremonies the NHL has seen, honouring the heroes during the Las Vegas shooting. While the Knights twitter account is on fire, their goaltending took a huge hit on Sunday when the team placed Marc-Andre Fleury on the injured reserve with a concussion. However, Malcom Subban was stellar against the Bruins Sunday night, capturing his first NHL win.
The IceDogs took down Guelph on the road this weekend and fell to Erie in overtime on Saturday night. Niagara is 6-2-1 on the season, sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference, and return home on Thursday for the first time since October 5th playing host to the Mississauga Steelheads (1-7-0).
Let’s talk about concussions. I read an essay by Ken Dryden in The Globe and Mail on Sunday about concussions and head injuries. (If you’ve never read his book, The Game, before, it’s a must read). In his essay, he made it a point that in terms of concussions and head injuries, awareness is not enough — there must be action. His suggestion, at least to start, is to make every hit to the head (whether incidental or not) an automatic penalty. In my opinion, introducing another penalty isn’t a bad idea at all. Dryden said it best — other penalties like slashing, tripping, shooting the puck over the glass in your own zone — coaches and players adjust to the penalties, they adjust to the nuances of the game. Maybe, just maybe, starting with having an automatic penalty for a hit to the head will be one small step towards limiting the amount of concussions or career-ending injuries to the players.