Was this really just over a year ago?
Darian Durant had the monkey taken off his back. The Riders had won the 2013 Grey Cup and all was great in Riderville. Fast forward to now.
This season isn't done and I'm not even going to suggest it is, but the chances of being in and winning the 2015 Grey Cup took a huge hit when Durant's season came to an end. Can Kevin Glenn take this team to a Grey Cup? He absolutely can, but things have to go right and it is safe to say the first turn in the road to that 2015 Grey Cup is as rough as the highway leading into Rowan's Ravine.
The Argos are here Sunday and it certainly isn't a must-win situation as far as the standings go, but I would dare to say it's a must-win when it comes to confidence. The negatives certainly outweighed the positives against Winnipeg and a much better performance is needed under dire circumstances with the amount of injuries suffered to even their record at 1-1 against a Toronto team that Edmonton will tell you was more than they could handle. Week 2 is a huge challenge for this football team and while I think they can win, I am not 100 percent positive about that. An 0-2 start will not sit well with the masses and it will not sit well with Corey Chamblin or Brendan Taman who told the Sportscage this week that injuries will not be used as an excuse. They can't be. Yes, the Riders aren't the same without Durant, much like the Eskimos are not the same with Mike Reilly and the Lions without Travis Lulay. It is time to dig deep and see what this team has. I hope we find that out on Sunday.
When was the last time Weston Dressler caught a pass from Durant? Did he catch one in the Banjo Bowl before Durant got hurt and if not, was it his catch in the endzone to seal the 2013 Grey Cup? It has been a long time since those two have hooked up and it will be a long time before we see it again.
I wonder if Darian has sought out Kory Sheets to talk to him about what is needed both physically and emotionally to recover from an Achilles injury. Kory has been through it twice!
Would you rather be in the position of the Riders right now or the Eskimos? Durant is done for the season meaning its Kevin Glenn's team the rest of the way while in Edmonton, Mike Reilly will be back for the stretch run meaning its Matt Nichols' team, I think I would take the green and white in that scenario going into Week 2. There is no doubt the big beneficiary is Winnipeg as it would seem those injuries are what is needed for them to catapult themselves into a Western Conference playoff spot.
Kevin Glenn is the starting quarterback again, Jamel Richardson is one of the starting receivers and Paul McCallum is the kicker again. Have Scott Schultz, Chris Szarka, Jason Clermont and Luc Mullinder been called to suit up for Week 3? Yes I am kidding, but I'm not kidding when I say it is too bad the late, great Bob Hughes isn't still with us, because somewhere the Loyal Disorder of Rider Priders have called an emergency meeting and a column on his thoughts of what has happened early on would be tremendous reading! Somewhere the drums are beating on the shores of the mighty Wascana.
Enough Rider talk for now! Let's move on over to the Regina Pats and I couldn't have been happier to find out Monday that the legendary Graham Tuer is coming back to the team as a scout and a liaison with Hockey Regina. If you know Graham Tuer, you know what type of quality individual he is and I'm sure he is tickled pink having an opportunity to once again work for the team. You don't find many better individuals than Graham. Well done Pats!
Congratulations to Lorne Molleken as he moves on to become the head coach of the Vancouver Giants. He will do well there. I have to admit though I didn't see his name on the radar at all when it came to who would take that job.
How ya feelin Penguin fans? Phil Kessel is yours! Some think he will bounce back and could be a 50 goal guy playing alongside Sidney Crosby. I'm not one of them, but I will say this and that is Toronto didn't even come close to getting what they should have for Kessel. Scott Harrington is a good defenceman, Nick Spaling is a plugger and we have no idea what to expect out of Kasperi Kapanen. I would have thought a David Perron or Brandon Sutter might go the other way.
At what point do you start to talk about Josh Donaldson being the American League MVP?
It was "nice" to see so many people have so much disrespect for Wascana Park. Many of all shapes, sizes and colour showed up in the park to take part in Canada Day festivities and good for them, but many of these people also felt they could just leave their garbage lie for someone else to pick it up. I would like to think we are better than this, but it is obvious we are not. There are just wayyyyyy too many people walking our streets who think they are a lot bigger than what they actually are. To see the park left that way was absolutely disgusting.
Moose Jaw's Mosaic Place showed once again why it is perhaps the best venue outside of Regina or Saskatoon in Saskatchewan on Tuesday night. Toby Keith brought his act to M-P and he didn't disappoint this blogger, but I thought the crowd was dead. Others felt the same way and some didn't like the performance at all which surprised me. As we were leaving, I couldn't help but overhear a couple that I presume was from Regina saying Mosaic Place is taking all the good acts away from Evraz Place. I don't know if that is the case, but if its for country music it might be an accurate statement seeing Mosaic Place has had Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson in recent memory
I thought baseball salaries were out of control, but it is obvious NBA salaries are in another dimension. Some of the numbers being thrown about in that league border on ridiculous.
Farewell Martin St. Louis. You showed us the little guy in the NHL can play the game. It only makes me wonder as I have said before what Dale Derkatch could have done if he had a chance. He was a few years too early. Is St. Louis a Hall of Famer? I would say yes. Is he a first ballot Hall of Famer? That is debatable.
Glen Sather is 71? That one floored me! I knew Slats was up there, but I didn't think he was 71. It is now time to put his name on a banner that will hang above Rexall Place this year and Rogers Place in the future as he was the architect of those great teams. The Oilers need to make that happen.
It was pointed out to me last weekend that a Saskatoon kid went in the first round of the NBA draft (Trey Lyles), but a Saskatoon kid did not go in the first round of the NHL draft. That doesn't sound right!
If I am a CFL quarterback, I am making sure my health insurance is covered. Drew Willy took a hellacious head shot against the Ti-Cats and it will surprise me if he is back for Week 3.
That's all I got. Have a great weekend! GO RIDERS!!