Friday, November 20, 2015
This and That
It's Friday and that means that once again its time for some thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they are in no particular order.
--It has started. As we start to hear what players are going to CFL free agency, the armchair GM's are having a field day saying the Riders should go after this guy or go after that guy as the "retooling" begins. That's fine as everyone is entitled to have thoughts on players and whether he would look good as a Rider or not, but I am surprised to see so many people suggest the football team should pursue Ricky Ray or Travis Lulay. Why? I completely understood the need to have a veteran quarterback brought in last year for insurance because the 2014 season went right off the tracks when Darian Durant went down. The team didn't get want to stuck like that again when they thought they had the horses to repeat in 2014 and had to depend on the likes of Tino Sunseri, Seth Doege and Kerry Joseph. As the Riders approach 2016, there is absolutely no need for a veteran quarterback of Lulay or Ray's ilk. Having one of those two on the roster would have a negative impact on the development of Brett Smith and Keith Price.
--I have had many a conversation with Riders director of player personnel and scouting Craig Smith over the year, but I haven't had a chance to talk with him about this year's draft and how deep it is. There are many different ways the team can go when it comes to the first pick overall and perhaps this is a year where maybe they trade the pick to get some good veteran Canadian assets. That is always a risk though. I wonder how much interest there is in a guy like U of C running back Mercer Timmis or Manitoba d-lineman David Onmeyata. I am guessing the Bombers would cringe if another Bison came to Regina on draft day as they are still somewhat sour over the fact Nic Demski got away from them. At the end of the day, the team could just decide to stock up with another offensive lineman as they are valued, but I would think the team wants and needs someone who perhaps can step in and be a starter on opening day. In the CFL though, that is sometimes a tall order to ask for the number one pick to be a starter as it is much different than someone who is taken number one in the NFL, NHL or NBA.
--It's hard to bet against a Kent Austin team in a division final and if they had Zach Collaros and Eric Norwood in the lineup, I probably wouldn't, but I just don't see Hamilton beating Ottawa in the CFL East final. This game just means too much to Ottawa and its passionate fan-base that is coming close to matching what we have here. I also want to see Keith Shologan and Zack Evans get another shot at hoisting the Grey Cup. I am sure both guys never ever thought they would get an opportunity to perhaps do so again when they were taken in the expansion draft. As far as the Western final goes, I have pegged the Eskimos as the best team in the CFL for quite a few weeks and I think having homefield against Calgary will work in their favour. However, if Calgary gets off to a quick start and takes advantage of an Edmonton team that hasn't played in a long time, it could spell trouble for the green and gold. The first 10 minutes will be huge.
--Neither semi-final drew a million viewers. This matter must be brought up at Grey Cup week with Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge who certainly isn't as visible as the man he succeeded Marc Cohon, I was a big Cohon for a variety of reasons and I have had only one opportunity to meet the new boss, but it seems to me as if he is just sitting back and not being proactive. His address during Grey Cup week when he gives a State of the League speech should be very revealing. Is he still doing a Q and A with fans like what Cohon did. That was the best part of GC 2013 as it was something done in a more relaxed setting and something that let the fans of this league have a say on their game. While the fan support is dwindling, there are still hardcores out there who want answers and deserve them.
--It was great talking to Bob Ellard about the 1995 Grey Cup on Thursday. Ellard, who was the chair of the event, talked about how his committee just kept overcoming all the negatives thrown in front of them as the week drew closer and how the wind on that day just about caused the game to be played Monday. Ellard felt the Grey Cup may never have come back to Regina had that game been pushed to Monday because of all the people who said Regina couldn't pull it off. I remember walking to the stadium from the exhibition grounds that afternoon and how windy it was. I had just returned to Regina after working in Peace River, Alberta and I couldn't believe I was sitting in the press box with Canada's best sports reporters in what was Canada's marquee sporting event. It was a week I won't soon forget, and I am guessing many of you who experienced it feel the same way. Growing up, I never thought Regina could host a Grey Cup game and while we have grown as a city, it amazes me how well the three Grey Cups Regina have hosted have gone. Then again, many good people have gone above and beyond to make sure a Regina Grey Cup is a special Grey Cup. It will be that way when Regina hosts its 4th one and its first in the new Mosaic.
--The news of the Flutie boys losing both their parents to heart attacks within a one hour span this week was certainly one that tugged at the heart-strings. No one deserves that. Don't tell me you can't die from a broken heart, because that is what appears to have happened here as Doug alluded to when discussing what had happened. The CFL community mourns with the Flutie brothers at what is a terrible time for them.
--Why must the NHL keep screwing around with the game? The latest decision to have the all-star game be a showcase of 3 on 3 hockey is dumb. I think the NHL all-star game is a joke anyway, but its more of one this year because now the league isn't giving us any semblance of the game that is played night after night after night. It is just another reason why leagues should just scrap all-star games altogether. Do we really need them especially when they don't play the game the way it is normally played?
--Is it safe to say the Regina Pats have hit perhaps the most important part of their schedule. A team that is 10-8-1 and certainly in the mix in the Eastern Conference at the one quarter pole hits the road for nine straight as Agribition moves in to the Brandt Centre (YEEHAW!!). A 4 or 5 win trip would keep them there. A 6 or 7 win trip would turn some heads while a 1 or 2 win trip might accelerate the plan as it moves forward. Still with the East Division, I think it is safe to say the Prince Albert Raiders are a force to contend with. I don't think anyone saw them sitting atop the Eastern Conference as we hit mid-November. Curtis Hunt is doing something right up there.
--With all apologies to Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson should have been a unanimous selection for the American League MVP. It was clear going into September who the league's best player was. With Donaldson and Bryce Harper winning the respective MVP's, you could say this was a year where a Blue Jay and an Expo were given baseball's biggest honour.
--Many people were complaining as that first blast of winter hit Wednesday. We ain't seen nothin yet!! Have we forgotten that!
--Have we seen the last of Peyton Manning? The hall of fame quarterback simply isn't getting it done anymore and will miss a game this week because of plantar fascitis (which hurts like a son-of-a-you know what). The Broncos signal-caller has had a terrible season and there is talk he perhaps might have thrown his last pass. If Brock Osweiler succeeds against the Bears on Sunday, that talk will escalate. It would be nice to see one last Brady vs Manning battle though---albeit that game will be on at the same time as the Grey Cup.
--Week 11 NFL Lock of the Week -- Panthers over Redskins
Week 11 NFL Upset of the Week -- Chargers over Chiefs
--How dominant were the Leboldus Golden Suns football team this year as they won another Saskatchewan 4A high school championship--their 4th in a row. They scored almost 500 points and gave up less than 100. That is impressive! The Rams and Thunder should be doing whatever they can to get these kids on their squads as they already have a winning pedigree which for the Thunder isn't a problem, but is for the Rams as they look to get off the canvas after their 0-8 season. I know the University squad has already secured one of Leboldus' o-lineman for next year, but there are many others who can move on to the next level as well.
--The best value for your sports dollar is on display at the University tonight and tomorrow as the Cougar basketball teams begin the home portion of their Canada West schedule against Lethbridge. Dave Taylor and his girls will once again be a strong team while Steve Burrows has a team that could be a playoff squad. I am excited to get another year going and once again, I am fortunate enough to have the best seat in the house as I will serve as the p-a announcer. Here's hoping the CKHS is full!
--TSN gets rid of "Off the Record" and Michael Landsberg, but keeps Cabbie Richards and his show? I'm not the biggest Landsberg fan, but I would much rather watch "Off the Record" than anything that Cabbie does. I don't find the guy funny at all. Others agree with me and others think he is the real deal. I don't get it.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!