Monday, November 2, 2015
Something To Mitch About
A happy Monday to you and welcome to November. Before we go on, would you please rise for the playing of our national anthem with Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar!
That my friends is the way to do the national anthem! That happened Friday night at the Brandt Centre before the Pats took on the Moose Jaw Warriors. While that was going on, just a few blocks over at Mosaic Stadium was either A) an outstanding comeback by the University of Saskatchewan Huskies or B) a colossal gag job by the University of Regina Rams. It was a little of both.
There was no way the Rams should have lost this game, but they found a way as the Huskies came back from a 34-11 deficit to win it 38-37 with the winning touchdown coming from Jarvis James with 20 seconds left on a drive that most everyone in the park knew would end up in the endzone. Whenever the Rams defence had to make a stop this year, they failed to do so and in a game where they could have gotten their first win for Mike Gibson, they didn't come through. It was a story repeated throughout the season and it is a story that must change starting with Game 1 of the 2016 season or you can look at another 0-8 perhaps slapping you right in the mouth because Canada West has too many talented offences who can move the ball up and down the field including the Rams who had another outstanding night from Noah Picton as he went 26 of 33 on the night setting a school record for completion percentage yet it was said the offence didn't execute. Yes, every play didn't go the way it was drawn up including a botched 3rd down snap late in the game that resulted in the Huskies taking over on downs, but to suggest this one be pinned on a lack of execution from Picton and the offence is a joke if you ask me and an insult to every player on the offensive side of the ball including what might be best tailback in the CIS next season--Atlee Simon,
Recovering from an 0-8 season is not an easy thing to do and Gibson has a huge mountain to climb as he tries to find players who will help him get this program back to respectability, but right now there are many who would rather do their thing for the Thunder instead of the Rams and from what I am hearing in this town, there is more support for the junior franchise than the university one so it makes the challenge an even stiffer one. Like there is at Mosaic with the Riders after what will likely be a 2-16 season, there had better be a long look in the mirror by everyone connected with the Rams program to see just what direction this team is headed in and if that decision has been made, you might want to double and triple-check much like the other team that wears green at Mosaic will be doing to make sure that direction is the right one because right now, I don't know if it is and that's a shame! The kids on that team deserve better and when you look at the "school up north" as Gibson likes to call them, they are going into the playoffs for a 16th straight season. The Huskies are doing something the Rams aren't doing and it's time that changes. I am hoping it does,and so do many others who are in a state of disbelief over this team going winless this season. Yes, they should have won some games, but the bottom line is they didn't and the record shows that.
From one less than stellar squad to another and the Riders didn't pull an upset out of the Jack O'Lantern on Hallowe'en afternoon, but I don't think a lot of people were expecting them to. John Hufnagel certainly saw what the Riders did to Edmonton a week ago and he didn't want a repeat of the Riders quick start. Bo Levi Mitchell and company took it to the /=S=/ right off the bat and they cruised to a relatively easy victory. Believe it or not though, I saw some good things for the future especially at quarterback. In watching Keith Price, I liked what I saw and I am hoping he gets the start in Montreal to finish off the season. That isn't a condemnation of Brett Smith, but I would like to see what Price can do off the start of a game. His style is drastically different than that of Smith and that style may be more conducive to the CFL game. Quarterbacks will be brought in during the off-season, but I don't think this team needs a vet to backup Darian Durant like they did this year with Kevin Glenn. They need to keep working with these two kids with one of them in a couple of years being the heir apparent with my money on Price.
While Price impressed me, what didn't was another shoddy effort by this defence when it comes to tackling--especially in the secondary. As one person texted me during the game, I have seen high school teams tackle better than this group. I have no idea who the head coach of this team will be in 2016, but whoever that coach is needs to find a staff who will have some guys to teach the DB"s how to tackle because that just isn't happening and it is sooooooooo frustrating. Yeah, I know that's a thanks Captain Obvious statement, and I am telling you nothing you don't already know, but while shoring up the Canadian talent on this team is an off-season priority, it has to be ranked below revamping that secondary which to me is the number one thing which must be done when it comes to the roster.
I had someone ask me on Saturday which guys would I gas in the off-season and that is tough to say because of contract status and other things so I won't get into it, but when I look at that roster right now, there are quite a few guys who I think will be playing their last game representing the Riders in Montreal next Sunday.
There was an NFL game that ended with one quarterback throwing seven TD passes and the other throwing 6 in a game that saw 101 points get scored while there was a CFL game that finished 12-6. Please remember this when bashing on the NFL for what same say is their "boring" product.
I will be very surprised if the Edmonton Eskimos aren't hoisting the Grey Cup at the end of the month. They are just solid from top to bottom. I have no idea who will come out of the East and the story coming out of Ottawa is just fantastic after what that city has gone through over the years. With the Ottawa resurgence though, does it mean we are going to see being the highlight of Tony Gabriel's catch over and over and over again. God, I hope not! I don't like my chances.
As I was typing the "This and That" column on Thursday night, Miami Dolphins defensive end Cam Wake went down with an Achilles tear as he is the latest player to go down with that injury this season. What is going on? It has been suggested to me that perhaps the athlete of today is almost too tight when it comes to their muscular structure because of the workout regimen they are on and that it is resulting in many players in the CFL, NFL and college ball suffering this serious injury. I can't argue with that. We might have seen one or two guys go down a year with an Achilles tear a few years ago, but now the injury is more prevalent with it seemingly happening every week. In fact, Baltimore's Steve Smith did it on Sunday. I understand that need for players to be as strong as they can be, but I think its being overdone with many paying the consequences.
From the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons. The Blue Jays had their choice of trading Aaron Sanchez or Noah Syndergaard to the Mets when they acquired R-A Dickey and choose Syndergaard. Hindsight is 20-20, but I think outgoing Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos would like to have that one back.
I did not think the Kansas City Royals would knock over the New York Mets with the ease that they did, but they showed why they are baseball's best team as they out-pitched, out-hit and out-worked the National League Champs in the World Series with everything ending Sunday night. The most inpressive stat was they outscored their opponents 51-11 in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings while allowing the Mets just two hits in Game 2, 6 hits in Game 4 and 4 hits in the decider. They were loaded from top to bottom and it showed.
Who knew curling was such a rough sport? If you didn't see what happened to Brad Gushue this weekend, do a Google search. I'm actually surprised what happened to him doesn't happen more. Brad did a rather sheepish interview with Joan McCusker after all was said and done. That's a moment he won't live down and I am guessing his fellow curlers knowing he is all right will not let him live down.
A huge congratulations to Regina Pats p x p man Phil Andrews. Phil missed Saturday's game in Moose Jaw, but he had a very good reason. He became a dad for the second time as he and his wife gave birth to a baby boy. The next Sam Steel may be upon us. Oh wait, Phil's the dad so the next fourth line grinder may be upon us.
How many kids did you see for Hallowe'en? I thought with the warm weather we had Saturday, there would be more than normal at Casa de Scruffy, but we only had 27 kids which I thought was low. I know there are kids in my area, but it would appear as if they either didn't wander my way or didn't go out. Kids aren't losing their desire to go trick-or-treating are they? If they have, that's sad, Those that did go out though got their fill that's for sure.
The Edmonton Oilers may not win every game, as was evidenced on Saturday night, but they are fun to watch. In the past when that team got down two, they were done, but that isn't the case anymore. Those forwards are finally starting to fly and we haven't seen Jordan Eberle yet. They still have a ways to go before they make the playoffs and getting a top-notch defenceman would help, but I think the decade of disaster is over. Thank god!
11 games into the season and Sidney Crosby has 5 points and Phil Kessel has 6. Wasn't Crosby supposed to make Kessel a better player? I think Kessel has turned Crosby into an ordinary player.
Its time to buy a poppy or perhaps a few if you are one of those that lose your poppy each year like I already have. I saw someone on Newsworld asking how much Canadians should put into the donation box when buying a poppy with the answer being whatever you choose. That is fair, but its my opinion we can at minimum plunk a toonie into that box to get that poppy because of what it symbolizes. Reminder to self---get a 2nd poppy today and try to make this one last.
Have a great week everyone!