--The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind and as usual, they come in no particular order.
--Are we in some sort of CFL bizarro world? No one has brought up the fact that in Week 2, we saw 4 East vs West battles, the East won all 4. All 4! When is the last time that happened? Is the balance of power changing with the Argos and REDBLACKS at 2-0 and Hamilton perhaps being the best team overall after two weeks? Edmonton certainly brought Ottawa back down to earth to start Week 3, but we will find out if the East has become more competitive in 2015.
--With the Eskimos beating Ottawa Thursday night, it means all teams in the West now have one win except for the Riders and Lions. Who gets that first "W"
--The CFL has changed its "stars of the week" to the performers of the week as the offensive, defensive and Canadian player have been scrapped. Did we know about this? It is like the international/national releases which first came out with any notification. The awards are always subjective as people will think Player A should have been recognized instead of Player B and while it was great to see Ryan Smith get honoured as one of the three for his efforts against the Argos, how could the league look past what Kevin Glenn and Henry Burris did. It is also interesting to note that after the first two weeks, there has been no defensive and no Canadian player nominated. On the surface, it just seems to me like the CFL has no desire in promoting defence and Canadians and is putting all their dough on offensive players. BTW: I started selecting my own players of the week and put them in the Monday column, but with a game being played Monday, that will either bounce over to this column next week or a separate post will be made Tuesday morning.
--Dennis Skulsky has been very, very quiet leading into tonight's game between the Riders and Lions. If you remember last August, the Lions president put his foot in his mouth bigtime when he guaranteed a win over the Riders and said those in attendance would get a free ticket if the Riders won---which they did! I wonder how much that stunt cost Skulsky? I also have to wonder what then Lions coach Mike Benavides would have thought of the statement, because it did motivate the green-and-white.
--I learned a couple of things in the Darian Durant press conference this week.
1) Never ever talk NBA with the Riders quarterback because he is a huge Kobe Bryant fan. This blogger can not stand the L-A Lakers superstar who I think is an extremely selfish individual despite his many, many talents
2) Never ever doubt the resolve of "Doubles". This guy worked his tail off to rehab his elbow injury and he will work his tail off to rehab this injury as well. I think the talk of a body breaking down is valid because it has happened to many others, but Durant isn't going out without a fight and he will be back on the field for the start of 2016 and a few years after that.
--The Regina Red Sox are having a tough season. I don't think I have seen a Red Sox team struggle as much as this year's squad. The problem is the Red Sox and the WMBL have to start from square 1 each year. The WHL have prospects, the CFL have prospects, etc, etc, but the WMBL doesn't have many players returning from year to year so you basically have to start over each year. This year, things aren't going well for the local side, but next year will be a different story. It doesn't help when your best player--pitcher Tyler Shumpert is summoned back to Baylor University to pick up a class.
-- Rory McIlroy is being "unfairly" criticized by some for injuring his ankle just two weeks before the British Open by playing soccer with friends. Some have wondered aloud why McIlroy would be kicking a soccer ball knowing golf's 3rd major is right around the corner. What is he supposed to do? Is McIlroy supposed to insulate himself inside a bubble and do nothing? Freak injuries occur and can occur at any time.
--The commercial which plays at Rider games and is now being shown on TV stations documenting the move from the old Mosaic Stadium to the new one is simply fantastic. If that doesn't capture the heart of a Rider fan, nothing will. I have said it once, and I will say it again, the last game at Mosaic Stadium will be an extremely emotional one when the Rider Nation says goodbye to the old girl. I think I know what it will be like, but the mood in that facility as the clock ticks to zero will be one to capture.
--It was only a scrimmage and the game was largely four on four with some three on three, but Connor McDavid showed why Oilers fans should be excited on Monday night as he scored five times with some of the goals just being pure "nasty". This kid has had and will have the spotlight on him for years and he isn't bothered by it one bit. I don't know if Edmonton has done enough to be a playoff team this year, but number 97 makes that team different. I can't wait for opening night!
--Has Alex Rodriguez figured out baseball has completely turned its back on him and wishes he would go away. There was no celebration when the Yankees DH got to 3000 hits and now when he is having an all-star calibre season, he is snubbed for the game, American League manager Ned Yost said he wanted one player from each position to serve as reserves and there really wasn't room for a DH. Ummmmm....A-Rod could play 3rd or short you know. I'm not a big A-Rod fan, but I think he is getting the shaft.
--The Riders have the 3rd strongest sports brand in Canada. That is no small feat to accomplish and there are many over at Mosaic who should be saluted for keeping the /=S=/ front and center. However, one has to believe the on-field performance has a lot to do with that with the way the team has played as people will back a winning organization. Then again, the Leafs were number 2 tgrand well.........you know. With the expected re-surgence of the Edmonton Oilers, will they crack the top 10 next year. It also surprised me to see the Alouettes as the only other CFL team on the list. Does that mean Montreal is the 2nd most popular team in the league. In all honesty, I thought that honour might go to the Bombers or Stampeders.
--RIP to Kenny "The Snake" Stabler. He was one of the NFL's best and perhaps the greatest lefty quarterback the game has seen.
--Enjoy Craven if you're out there and stay cool. I'm guessing many will be taking Monday off and some may need Tuesday as well. Oh to be young!
--That's all I got. GO RIDERS!