EWC champs dominant win very impressive

While fishing is the farthest thing from my wheelhouse when it comes to my personal sporting preferences, the intrigue that always occurs during the final weigh-in of any tournament is always dramatic.
Last year was a perfect example of that here in Rainy River District, especially with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championships, when the teams of Jon Austin/Richard Rud and Glenn Leroux/Trevor Zimak finished in a dead heat for the title.
So when I walked into the Emo/La Vallee Arena for both weigh-ins at this year’s Emo Walleye Classic, I felt as if I knew what to expect when the anglers brought their four fish onto the stage.
As it turned out, however, the 2012 event turned out to be far different than I could have expected.
After an impressive Day 1 catch of 13.51 pounds (thanks, of course, to a 7.32-pound lunker which turned out to be the biggest walleye that was reeled in all weekend), Dryden’s Jason Rostek and Emo’s Paul Allan held an nice lead heading into Day 2 on Saturday.
However, with so many top teams behind them in the standings, and a new format that saw the leaders from Day 1 going out last instead of first the following day, I felt there would be a tight battle to capture this year’s title.
But as each team in the top 10 from Day 1 rolled in front of the stage to show off their four fish, no one had that big Rainy River walleye to put them over the top, which left Rostek and Allan with a ceremonial lap of honour as they came into the arena with the title already theirs.
Was it because of the weather changes that led to tough time catching fish on Saturday? Or was it the early spring that led those big fish to already head out of the Rainy River?
It’s tough to say exactly what the reasons were why everyone seemed to have a tough time Saturday, but a lot of credit has to go to what Allan and Rostek were able to accomplish.
Not only did Allan haul in the biggest fish in the EWC since the Fort Frances pair of Mike and Evan Maxton caught a 8.51-pound hog back in 2009, they also were the only team that had a four-fish total over 10 pounds during the entire weekend.
This is a team that has been together for a few years now, and had just missed out on lifting the hardware back in 2009.
So from that perspective, it was nice to see the two fishermen be rewarded for their hard work, not just this weekend but over the past few years.
• • •
Another man who continues to have dominant performances, though in an entirely different sport than tournament fishing, is 2012 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti.
The 39-year-old from Scotland now has three wins in the Greatest Spectacle of Racing to his name, to go along with four Indy Car Series titles, which include the last three-consecutive crowns.
But what’s most impressive about this latest feat is the fact that he had walked away from open-wheeled racing back in 2007.
Having won his first Indianapolis 500 and series title in the same year, Franchitti decided to leave the Andretti Green Racing team at the end of that season and go race stock cars for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.
That career switch did not going according to plan for the Scot. An ankle injury during an incident early in the season, and the shuttering of his team due to sponsorship issues, led to him to be out of a ride by mid-summer.
However, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Franchitti as Ganassi’s Indy Car team, which is one of the best in the business, had a seat open for the 2009 season when the late Dan Wheldon announced he was leaving the team.
Since then, Franchitti has been nearly unstoppable behind the wheel on his way to three-straight titles as he’s been able to hold off Australian Will Power in a trio of tight title chases.
The only unfortunate thing for Dario is that he’s racing in an era where open-wheeled racing in North American languishes far behind the 800-pound gorilla that is NASCAR in popularity and notoriety.
In other words, his exploits aren’t very well known to the general public.
However, if you get a chance to watch him race, you should take advantage of it as Franchitti truly is one of the best talents of any generation of racers, not just the current one.
• • •
Tonight marks the first game of the Stanley Cup final between the L.A. Kings and New Jersey Devils as the NHL playoffs finally will come to a conclusion after what seems like an 800-year trek (well, to me anyways).
While I personally think this will have a hard time topping last Sunday’s Memorial Cup final between the Shawinigan Cataractes and London Knights, which, in my opinion, was the best game of hockey I’ve seen in a long time, this has all the makings of a goaltending duel.
On one side you have Jonathan Quick for the Kings, who finally is getting his due as one of the best netminders in the league today with a great post-season run. On the other, the ageless Martin Brodeur has turned back the clock for the Devils and seemingly shut up everyone who thought he was done years ago.
It’s hard to choose a winner, especially when you see the squads that both teams have beaten just to get to this point. But I’m going to say that it will be the Devils who will win this year’s title in six games.
And more than likely, rookie Adam Henrique will be clutch once again as he’s been throughout the playoffs—and before his NHL career with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires—by scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal.

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