After 2 1/2 weeks off, its time to wear pants again. Holidays are over and its time to get back to Harvard headquarters and get down to work and the first day back won't be one of those where I slowly ease back into it. In fact, I will walk in the door just as the Ottawa REDBLACKS start the expansion draft and of course, that will be something that will dominate the day.
I had a lot of people ask me what if anything I knew about what the Riders gameplan is and who they have protected and the answer is "I've been on holidays, I don't know." I have let it be known what I would do if I were Brendan Taman (and thank god I'm not), but at the end of the day Taman and the other GM's across the league can only do so much with the REDBLACKS braintrust picking players. There seems to be a thought process out there Keith Shologan or Dominic Picard will be the Canadian player taken. If either one goes, it leaves a big hole in the middle of each d-line. I certainly wouldn't like seeing Sholo leave as he is one of my favourite Riders, but if he isn't protected, how can you pass on arguably the best Canadian interior d-lineman in the league? The big question surrounding the REDBLACKS is who they will take at quarterback. I have to think they will go with whatever young QB Calgary doesn't protect---Tate or Mitchell. Why wouldn't you as they are the deepest at QB while head coach Rick Campbell knows what those guys can do and what they are all about having been Calgary's defensive co-ordinator. With Zach Collaros being a free agent, I can't see the REDBLACKS risk taking him and then losing him or so that means guys like Thomas DiMarco, Justin Goltz, and Tanner Marsh enter the equation as does Dan Lefevour in Hamilton if the Ti-Cats don't protect him. I think they do though. It will be an interesting day though that's for sure. With Rod gone on holidays starting today, I will have all the info for you on "Sportscage" at 4 o'clock as we break it down.
By the way, I have heard of some people who are actually taking today off so they can see what is happening with the draft and not miss anything. I love the passion, but some need to ease off the throttle just a little bit if you ask me. The dispersal draft is not a reason to miss work as far as I'm concerned.
Tony Romo is the butt of many jokes again today, but the Dallas quarterback didn't do anything to help his reputation as he threw two and some will argue three interceptions as the Cowboys had a massive collapse at home losing 37-36 to Green Bay in a game the Cowboys led 26-3 at the half. While Romo does have to bear a lot of the blame, he doesn't share it all on this one. What the hell was Dallas coach Jason Garrett doing in continuing to throw the football when they were up. Running the ball kills the clock yet while FOX"s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman watched the Cowboys gag this one away in amazement, they like a lot of people kept wondering why they wouldn't run the ball when Demarco Murray was having his way with a Green Bay defense that wasn't having a lot of success stopping him, Garrett needs to be put on the hotseat for his coaching on this one, but once again Romo goes down as a guy who can't get it done when it matters. I tweeted shortly before he threw a game-changing pick that everyone was waiting for it. If you have read this blog, you know I've never been a fan of Romo's so his performance makes me chuckle, but I just have to wonder how much longer the Cowboys will put up with it.
While Romo didn't do anything to help his reputation, Russell Wilson added to his as the Seahawks QB looked good in winning in cold weather as Seattle stuffed the Giants 23-0 at MetLife Stadium. Is there anyone in the NFC who can beat Seattle if the Seahawks are the number one seed and are home for the entire playoffs. I can't see San Francisco or Carolina doing it and I don't think Philly or Chicago can either. The Seahawks D forced Eli Manning to throw five interceptions so this Seahawks fan can only hope the other Manning has just a good a day at MetLife Stadium should Denver and Seattle meet in seven weeks time.
Speaking of Peyton, nothing against what he has done this year or the comeback he has had, but Sports Illustrated should have went with Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera when it comes to "Sportsman Of The Year". Rivera just oozes class and while Peyton is classy as well, I think Rivera should have been given the nod.
I'm a fan of ESPN's Michael Wilbon as I think "Pardon the Interruption" is one of the best shows out there, but the Chicago born Wilbon really got under my skin with some tweets on Sunday during the Browns-Bears game, Wilbon is obviously not a fan of Marc Trestman and he's not a fan of the CFL by the sounds of it either. At one point Wilbon tweeted Trestman is not an NFL ready coach and should go back north of the border. I let Mr. Wilbon know there are coaches in the NFL who would do squat in the CFL. No response!
While one ESPN personality did not respond(which I expected), another one did much to my surprise. Colin Cowherd is a guy I listen to every day. I think Dan Patrick and him are simply the best guys out there. Cowherd says what he believes and he doesn't care if he pisses you off or not. He has pissed me off at times with comments he has made and the defense he has for his guys, but that's his job. While waiting to get my oil changed, Cowherd went after Seahawks coach Pete Carroll saying he was fortunate the team drafted Russell Wilson otherwise he'd be a 500 coach stuck with Matt Flynn as QB. Cowherd went on to say Flynn had lost his starting job to Wilson which was a mistake. Flynn never started a game for Seattle as Wilson started the 3rd pre-season game for the team in 2012 and went from there to writing the story he is. I informed Cowherd of that not even thinking I would get a response. About 10 minutes later, Cowherd explained he considered Flynn the starter because he was number one on the depth chart when the season started. Fair enough. Cowherd just wrote a book I have started reading. I'd love the opportunity to chat sports with him, but I can't see that happening. I joked I should tweet him asking him to be a guest on the Cage. I'm guessing that won't happen even though some said "What have you got to lose?". Those people are right, but I doubt you will be hearing him on the Cage anytime soon. We'll see.
I took in the Pats game Saturday night to take a look at the top team in the league. Its a shame only a few others felt the same way. Were there even two thousand people in the Brandt Centre? I had a couple of buddies who were watching the game against the Kelowna Rockets on Access ask that question and I know Rod had a few statements about it on his blog. I've said it once and I'll say it again---the Pats are a much different team both on and off the ice and the way they are playing right now, they do deserve your dollar. I know the relationship between the organization and the Regina hockey community is razor-thin right now, but the organization is doing what it can to be a winner so get out there and help cheer these kids on. It has to be disappointing for them to come out and see such a low turnout.
The defending WHL champion Portland Winterhawks lost guys like Seth Jones and Ty Rattie after winning it all last year, but that doesn't seem to matter. The team has scored a WHL high 163 goals after 34 games. The next highest team is Kelowna at 131. This is another reason why I'd like to see every team from the other conference play in Eastern Conference buildings and vice-versa. We should be able to see Portland every year instead of every second year. I hate that rule. It needs to be changed so fans aren't getting short-changed as is the case now.
The NHL got it right for Shawn Thornton. 15 games is a good sentence for his gutless crime. It didn't surprise me to see Don Cherry say it was too much and then criticize Brooks Orpik.
Canucks tough guy Zack Kassian made a real a-hole out of himself Friday night by mocking Sam Gagner's broken jaw. A jaw broken when Kassian swung his stick in out of control fashion during a pre-season game. The Canucks had no problems with his antics, but they didn't like Brad Marchand mocking them Saturday by kissing his Stanley Cup ring and doing some other things to get under their skin. If you are going to dish it out, you better had learn to take it Vancouver.
Does Josh Harding deserve a chance to be on the Canadian Olympic team with his play this year. Why not? He leads the NHL in goals against average. He would be the number 3 guy in my mind, but why not?
Who's ready for Anchorman 2?
When I hear Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth talk about the future of Steelers defensive co-ordinator Dick Lebeau and I think about the relationship Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has with Corey Chamblin, it makes me wonder. I doubt Chamblin would head south of the border and pull off a Kent Austin, but in this business who knows.
The second to last Saturday before Christmas was simply insane on the roads as people try finishing or starting in some cases their Christmas shopping. I know it will be even worse next weekend. The patience of many had to be tested. I was glad Mrs. Scruffy was doing the driving. I refuse to go out after 12 o'clock on the last Saturday before Christmas. If its not done by then, its not going to get done or I will go at night when everything calms down. There used to be a time when there would be NFL games on Saturday to watch while the others were shopping. What happened to those games?
There's been debate as to whether or not Roy Halladay is a first ballot Hall of Famer. I say why wouldn't he be. Halladay was the best pitcher during his time and if he had played on the Toronto teams that won the World Series there would be no doubt.
Red Sox president Gary Brotzel let me in as to who the team is looking at for a guest speaker for their annual dinner. I won't spoil the announcement as I will leave that for Gary if he can get this guy to sign the papers, but lets just say if he gets him, the dinner will be an instant sellout.
The WWE is taking a big chance having Randy Orton as its champ. He is just one failed drug test away from throwing the organization into a major state of chaos. There is also no doubt in my mind Orton will now lose to Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. Remember where you heard that one first wrestling fans.
Why are Iphone chargers not called "Apple Juice"
Talk to ya in the Cage at 4. It should be a good one.