Monday, June 15, 2015
Something To "Mitch" About
Is it safe to say this could have been you at halftime of the Northern Kickoff? There is a reason why pre-season football---especially the first one of the year, shouldn't be televised. While Shell Place in Fort McMurray looked great, the performance of the Riders and the Eskimos led a lot to be desired in the mind of this blogger.
55 penalties??? There were more flags on the ground then you would find at the United Nations. As I said on Twitter, I kept waiting for TSN to put the Benny Hill music underneath Gord Miller's call. If Miller got 50 bucks for saying the word "flag" Saturday night, he can retire. I know guys are learning the game and everything, but that is not what the CFL wants when it comes to showcasing the game and a lot of the penalties were very chintzy when it comes to the rule for defensive backs. You have to let them play the game. There were more penalties than points when you look at the penalties that weren't accepted. That was painful, but that is what you will have to expect for a while. It isn't great for the fans, but that's the way I think it will be for the next couple of weeks
That being said there were positives
1) Darian Durant should have put all fears to bed about his elbow, He looked good in his time in there
2) Jamel Richardson looks like he may be able to make a contribution. I don't know if he should be a starter, but he certainly has a role he can play on this team if he can stay off the injured list
3) Nic Demski showed what he can do and why the Riders picked him 6th overall. He is just going to get better and better with time. In fact, I don't know how the team is going to determine who stays and who goes at receivers because a lot of guys looked good on opening night. Ryan Smith may make the decision a little easier after he was rocked in the 1st quarter. Don't be surprised to see the team place him on an injured list of some kind
4) The special teams looked a lot better. Then again, after last season.........
5) If Corey Chamblin wants to do what he did in 2013 splitting the kicking duties, he can do that with Chris Milo and Ray Early. That guy can kick! Sorry Milo-haters, I don't think he is going anywhere and I think he bounces back after a dismal 14 campaign.
6) Alex Hall looks like he is ready to re-join the football team and contribute. I noticed his play on defence along with that of the rookie Tyree Hollins.
They'll do it all over again Friday at Mosaic against the Stampeders in a game where more regulars will see more game time and hopefully it won't be as much as a flag-fest as Saturday. Games at Mosaic are always special and those times are fast fading as the new Mosaic goes up. Then again, it also means the climb up the ramps begins for another season. SIGHHHHHHH!!!!
As you have seen, Tino Sunseri has been cut by the Riders and yes while he did not play well on Saturday, I thought he would get one more chance with the new offensive co-ordinator, but Corey Chamblin obviously saw his time was over. It just seemed to me as if Tino could not get the ball away and never, ever seemed comfortable. Will we see him catch on with another team? If he does, he will have to learn to get the ball away much quicker or else he will get another call.
While on the topic of Fort McMurray, the legendary "Fake Gainer" of Twitter fame threw out a great and age-old on Saturday with that question being with Fort McMurray and Quebec City having stadiums that are maybe not quite CFL standard size-wise, but could be and a stadium in Moncton that is ready to go because of the FIFA Womens World Cup, where would the best spot be for a 10th CFL team. I said Quebec City because the game is exploding there. I think the desire to have a team in the Maritimes has been diminished somewhat and will be until someone with deep pockets approaches the CFL and Fort McMurray while growing is just in the wrong location. As I said in an earlier post, if that facility was in a place like Medicine Hat, it would be huge. I do think though the CFL through the Eskimos will be making Fort McMurray a frequent stop in the pre-season. A Stampeders-Eskimos game would be huge there.
Should there be concern in Ottawa? The REDBLACKS didn't dazzle anyone last year and after a season of seemingly improving themselves, they put in two less than inspiring efforts in the pre-season. That squad needs to be somewhat competitive in year 2 I would think to keep the fanbase strong. The pressure is on
Is Michael Sam going to play a CFL game? Word of him leaving camp last week caught me by surprise and I'm not buying the fact he had to go all the way back to California because of migraines. Is he the latest player of name to try his luck in the CFL thinking it can't be that difficult and then discovering it is. The Alouettes say the door is open for his return, but I think this experiment may have come to a screeching halt.
Access Communications now has TSN GO for their subscribers. This was great for me Saturday night as I watched the first half of the Riders game and then watched UFC while able to maintain watching the goings-on in Fort McMurray. Its now time for Access to get the WWE Network and MLB Network. #patience
There was a story in Saturday's Leader-Post and I'm guessing the Star-Phoenix as well about a Saskatoon man who is upset because he was given no warning that a forest fire was raging near the cabin he was at. The guy says he and his wife were hot-tubbing when neighbours came and told them to get out with the fire then destroying his cabin. Ummmmm.....how do you NOT know a forest fire is not burning around you and why are you hot-tubbing in the middle of this? It's terrible this guy lost his cabin, but don't bitch and moan about not getting any help when you obviously had no clue what was going on around you. YEESH!!!! I would think when you saw you saw waterbombers filling up the lake and the obvious smoke around you that you might want to leave and not go hot-tubbing. Perhaps I am wrong with this!
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, who in my mind is pound for pound the best Canadian sports journalist out there, said Saturday night the Calgary Flames plan to be aggressive in the off-season as they improve what is already a pretty good lineup. I love it! With the Oilers improving their stock because of Connor MacDavid, I think the Battle of Alberta could be seriously revived. Calgary has the upper hand right now and they want to keep that upper hand which is great. It will make for great hockey between the two for years to come. Gaudreau, Monahan and Bennett against McDavid, Ebs and Hall will be outstanding.
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final was great. The hockey was fast and there were many chances. I love seeing the game played that way. Its so much better than the trap crap we see on a nightly basis.
Mike Babcock, Dave King, Willie Desjardins and Glen Gulutzan---4 very good Saskatchewan coaches were in Regina Saturday to speak at a coaching symposium put on by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association. I have no idea if those four watched Game 5 together, but that would have been fascinating to be in the room with them as they watched because you know the way they watch and the way we watch are different.
A tweet from the legendary voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Bob Irving on Saturday night read "Just struck me again--who in their infinite wisdom decided the gifted Ron McLean should be marginalized on tv hockey--what a waste!!". Many agree with you Bob, many agree!
There is a long ways to go, but the American League East might be the best division in baseball as there isn't a lot separating Baltimore, Tampa, the Yankees and Toronto. I didn't think Tampa nor the Yankees would be that good this year. I still think Baltimore is the class of the division, but the way Toronto is playing just reinforces the notion they need a closer and they need one now. The bats are making up for the warts this Toronto team has, but getting a 9th inning guy like Jonathan Papelbon (Philly), Brad Ziegler (Arizona) or Francisco Rodridguez (Milwaukee) would give that much-maligned bullpen some credibility.
If Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were healthy, the Cavaliers might just beat Golden State, but Lebron James just can't do it alone. Add that to Steph Curry seems to have found his shooting touch again and I think the NBA title is heading to Oakland.
One last thing, Phil Mickleson wins the weekend for this extreme act of class. Nice job Lefty!!
Have a great week everyone!