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HEADLINES & SIDELINES: The Occasional Mid-Week Edition

Random Sports Thoughts:

• We didnt need another reason to despise the New England Patriots, but we have one: the officials working the NFL playoff game on Sunday called just one penalty the entire game against the Pats, while eight were called on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even worse, the on-field officials were seen congratulating and yukking it up with Patriots players right after the game. Its a wonder the referees didnt start pouring champagne over Tom Bradys head at mid-field.

While the NFL head office likely would prefer New England in the Super Bowl instead of once-lowly Jacksonville, I dont think the NFL is rigged.

It only seems that way sometimes.

• The Pictou County Scotians shouldnt worry about first place. I get why coaches and players want to focus on the next goal in front of them, and try to reach it, and I also understand that if a team has to play a Game 7 in a playoff series, better to have it at home as opposed to on the road.

But once the playoffs start, it doesnt matter: they should just win as many games as possible the rest of the regular season, and if they finish first or second, no big deal either way. As the Scotians showed last season on their way to a Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League title, the important thing is being on a roll going into the playoffs, then staying on it.

• And then we have the Minor Midget Rhinos, who play in the Nova Scotia Minor Midget Hockey League, which is in its inaugural season. The Rhinos have not had an easy time of it this year, winning just twice in their first 19 games, but the Pictou County-based team doubled their seasons victory total in two short days, winning twice this past weekend to up their season totals to four wins and 17 losses.

On the surface, that record is not much to brag about, but hopefully the recent success is a sign of things to come. Furthermore, if a hockey team is going to begin posting wins with greater regularity, late January would be a good time to start doing it.

Non-Sports Thought of the (Mid) Week:

• It was bound to happen: sooner or later, there would be rumblings of opposition from Prince Edward Island over the idea of Northern Pulp pumping effluent directly into the Northumberland Strait.

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan wants the federal government to take a close look at Northern Pulps plans for a new effluent treatment facility for the mill, just in case, you know, the ecosystem doesnt get destroyed by all that pollution pouring into the water.

Its heartening that at least one provincial premier has enough intestinal fortitude to, at the very least, cast a wary eye at the proposal.

Kevin Adshade is sportswriter with The News. His regular column appears each Saturday.

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