I don't know if the Riders will beat the Stampeders next weekend and if they do, I don't know if they'll beat the Argos or the Ti-Cats in Grey Cup 101, but I do know this-----the Darian Durant haters can simply find the nearest cliff and jump off of it. If it weren't for number 4, the season would be over. What an effort by Durant as the Riders found a way to beat the B.C Lions 29-25 in what was a great Western semi-final.
Like he has numerous times this year, Durant put this team on his back and willed them to victory and the defense made the stop when it had to. As head coach Corey Chamblin said after the game, Darian was the Darian of 2009 and 2010 killing teams with his legs as well as his arm. That was Durant at his best. If he and the team can play two more games like that, this month and year will end with a bang.
That being said, I will admit I thought it was over after three quarters. The Lions were having their way running with Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan and Travis Lulay was showing no ill effects from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup. The biggest play of the game as far as I was concerned was the huge hit Dwight Anderson laid on Emmanuel Arceneaux early in the 4th. I don't know if it woke the defence up, but they were a different group after that play.
Just some thoughts before you hear some audio from the room....
--This might be being nitpicky, but if the Lions could use Harris and Logan as a powerful tandem, can't the Riders do the same with Sheets and Jock Sanders or Chris Garrett?
--With tongue firmly in cheek, Chris Milo I've had enough of you hitting the uprights on field goals. STOP IT!!! STOP IT NOW!!!! Seriously though, Milo rebounded from it and hit four big three pointers including that 45 yarder in the 4th quarter that just squeaked over the crossbar. I don't know if he would have been good from 47 and it had to be like kicking a brick.
--I have watched it several times and I still don't know how Taj Smith came down with that ball in the first quarter.
--I have come to the conclusion that we have gotten soft. I just have a hard time comprehending the fact there were less than 31 thousand in there for a game of that magnitude. It wouldn't have been that way 10 years ago. I thought we were Saskatchewan Tough, but we are not. A huge tip of the hat to those who did come out though as it was chilly out there. If you dressed for it, you were OK though. Those that did go didn't shy away from being beers. I was upstairs in the 200 level before the game and sales were go
Alright, here is some audio starting with Dwight Anderson...
Two other things before I move on.
1) At the end of the 3rd quarter, I put out a tweet asking if the Riders had it in them to win and how this game would end up. I received a tweet back almost immediately from former Pats president and general manager Brent Parker. All it said was "Riders 29-25". I congratulated Brent for his pick after the game and advised him to get a lottery ticket pronto. He returned that saying he wished he could have been that good in predicting Pats wins.
2) I told Rod and the audience driving in or listening from wherever that the winner of yesterday's game would be back at Mosaic in two weeks representing the West. I still believe that!
From the Riders to the Thunder....
What a great picture taken by Thunder president Brin Werrett and forwarded on to me as head coach Scott MacAulay and the man he took over from --long time coach Erwin Klempner embrace at midfield moments after the Thunder had captured the Canadian Bowl. I had the privilege of calling the game on Access and while I have had very little to do with this team over the past few years, you could not help but feel the excitement in Mosaic as this game got ready to go and got going. Its fun calling a Canadian championship game when your team is involved and it was one of the top moments for me in my broadcasting career to call what was a historic moment and a game-changer for the Thunder. Its the first of what I know will be many.
They always say in the big game, your best players have to be your best players and that happened as Asher Hastings was unbelievable while Mitch Thompson, Nick Brown and Will Heward had fantastic games as well as did Tanner Hope and Brett Selinger on the other side of the ball. Congrats to everyone involved with the Thunder on a job well done.
Some other odds and ends
--Good to see the Pats playing well on their West Coast trip having won two of three. It looks as if GM Chad Lang has made another shrewd move in getting defenceman Jesse Zgraggen from Calgary as he is fitting right in. He even found a team to send disgruntled goalie Teagan Sacher to. I'll be interested to see if Sacher goes to Lethbridge after saying he wanted to pursue education back home.
--I don't know about you, but I love the fact games are now on an hour later. Its great having the NFL start at noon and not 11 and Hockey Night in Canada and other NHL games coming on at 6. Too often, I was missing the first little bits of games because I was at work.
--There are many out there who can't believe the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat Montreal. I didn't see all of it, but from what I saw, the Alouettes seemed to be the better team.
--I've said it before on this blog and I'll say it again. The top announce team in the NFL might be Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock on the NFL Network. The two guys are just gold. Nessler is an employee of ABC as he does a lot of college football for ESPN and ABC. I would remove Mike Tirico from the MNF equation and put Nessler in there and if a three man booth would work with him, Mayock and Gruden go for it.
--The long term weather forecast for the Grey Cup is calling for temperatures to be near zero. Its also calling for that in Calgary next weekend for those who might care.
--The Jacksonville Jaguars won a game!
--WTH happened to the Indianapolis Colts
--The Seahawks were dominant in Atlanta and are perhaps just a Monday night win at home against New Orleans from being top seed in the NFC which may be a guarantee of another Super Bowl appearance. That game is three weeks from tonight and I will be there in what will be my first visit to CenturyLink Field. Needless to say, I can't wait!
--Ilya Bryzgalov is an Oiler! SIGHHHHHH!!!! Lars Eller might have been right. I heard from a good source the other night in Edmonton that the team was very close to acquiring defenceman Mike Del Zotto and/or forward Brian Boyle but it broke down at the end. There was also a report linking forward Wayne Simmonds from Philly going to Edmonton, but in both cases, I hear the asking price is Jordan Eberle and I just don't think GM Craig MacTavish will pull the trigger on that deal.
--Can we just give the Jack Adams trophy for coach of the year to Patrick Roy now. He has the NHL's worst team one year ago sitting with a record of 14-2. There is no doubt they are the biggest surprise of the first few weeks of the season. Would Edmonton be the biggest disappointment or does that honor go to Buffalo or Philly? I would say the Flyers just because they canned Peter Laviolette. Other surprises in the first month---Tampa leads the Atlantic, Alexander Steen is amongst the NHL goal leaders ----WHO?? and Josh Harding is playing at a tremendous level as he is in the league leaders when it comes to goals against average and save percentage.
--On this Remembrance Day, a thank you to all of those who served and are serving our country. Your efforts will never be and should never be forgotten. To those that paid the ultimate sacrifice, thank you is not enough.