AND AWAY WE DOHHHHH ---- After Week 1 of the CFL season, I can rest assure the Rider Nation that on Thursday night when the Toronto Argonauts visit Mosaic Stadium to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders, I will be firm and take the Argos to win the game in the 620 CKRM pick pool. Why wouldn't I take the Argos after an opening week which saw this camper go 0-4. Yes, I took the Argos, Bombers, Eskimos and Stampeders to win the opening week games and well, we know how that turned out. I just wonder what Mullinder's excuse is as he took the same combo as did Phil Andrews, but I'm guessing Phil just tried to look smart and copied Luc's picks.
I will also be honest about it when I say the only game I watched this weekend was the season opener on Thursday night between the Argos and Hamilton and the last quarter of the rain-delayed Bombers/Alouettes game. I had a pretty valid reason though as I served as the best man at the wedding of my best friend/brother who finally decided after almost a decade of being with his new bride that he should finally just do the deed and tie the knot. So basically, while keeping tabs on the games, I saw very little if any action. From what I did see and read though, I came to the following thoughts
1. Trevor Harris showed he was the best free agent signing in the CFL during the off-season. How could Toronto let him get away? What an effort out of the bullpen that was!
2. Winnipeg is what I thought they were.
3. Those aren't Chris Jones' Eskimos anymore
4. Are the Lions better than what I thought or is Calgary worse than I thought
5. Football in Toronto just may be back
While I wasn't able to watch a lot of football, I did monitor what was going on, but instead of doing so through the Score app or the CFL app on my phone, I did so through Draftkings. I am guessing there are many of us who were more invested in the games being played this weekend because of Draftkings. A game between Montreal and Winnipeg in the past would have meant zip to me and I would have had little interest, but I found myself on Friday checking my Draftkings app several times to see how Weston Dressler was doing. I didn't realize the game had a weather delay, and when the "Q" came up behind Dressler's name, I knew something was up which Twitter confirmed a short time later. If WD7 stays in the game for a full 60, I probably would have gotten my money back, but he didn't and that's the way the game is played. There is a risk-reward factor every week. I think a lot of people became more interested in the CFL this weekend after playing some Draftkings and I don't see that momentum slowing down until the NFL season starts if it even does.
CAN Y'ALL DO ME A FAVOUR? -- Chris Jones shouldn't have had to do it, but he did and good on him for doing so. The Riders HC/GM wandered into the stands during the first Riders practice of the year at Mosaic Stadium. He wanted to speak to those who were watching practice with the message being a simple one---that message being please keep what you see in house and don't let the league know what we are doing.
Jones told the gathering "In years past I’ve been able to go online and use what was written on the message boards as a scouting report. This is something that we just can’t have and I’m trying to educate our fans to let them know that this could be detrimental to our football team. I assume if they are here watching practice that they want us to win."
In this social media world, it is tough to keep secrets, but Jones is asking the fans to help him out and not divulge any secrets. He has every right to do that. He also has every right to lock the doors to the stadium and say practice is no longer a place for Rider fans to congregate and watch them get ready for a game. I don't know if he would go that far, but if some decide to not adhere to his wish, it could happen. If he did, I wouldn't blame him one bit.
BUFFALO BOOS BETTMAN -- Seeing Gary Bettman enter an NHL arena whether it be for a Stanley Cup presentation or to welcome people to the draft is always something that makes me chuckle. Friday night was no exception. As soon as Bettman took the stage at the First Niagara Center, he was "welcomed" with a cascading serenade of boos from all in attendance. Bettman took it all in stride like a WWE heel saying thank you for the rousing welcome. Give Gary credit, he knows he isn't liked and he doesn't shy away from it. He seems to revel in the hate. It isn't going away anytime soon.
YAWWWNNNN!!! -- What happened to all the wheeling and dealing that was supposed to be done at the draft. Marc Andre-Fleury, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, PK Subban and others who were thought to have new homes by the time teams left Buffalo were still with their respective teams. Yes, there were some deals made, but nothing huge. If you are a Detroit fan though, you have to love the fact Pavel Datsyuk's salary is off the board as you are now in prime position to sign possible free-agent to be Steve Stamkos. There is still a lot of talk he will end up in Toronto, but Stamkos wants to win now and Toronto is not going to win immediately. Going to Detroit ( if he goes anywhere) would be a good move for Stamkos.
HEY PETE, YOU FORGOT SOMETHING -- Many left Buffalo grumbling under their breath that the Edmonton Oilers had arguably gotten the best player in the draft. While I think Auston Matthews fits in that category, there were several who were shaking their head after the Columbus Blue Jackets took center Pierre-Luc Dubois with the 3rd overall pick leaving Jesse Puliujarvi in the hands of the Oilers. It is said Puliujarvi and McDavid could be the next Gretzky-Kurri. I am OK with that. While Chiarelli went out and drafted some big defencemen, it still doesn't help the Oilers out now. I am guessing they will be aggressive in pursuing blueliners who are available in free agency July 1. Truth be told, I am glad rumoured PK Subban to Edmonton stories were once again not validated as I am not a Subban fan, but sooner or later Chiarelli has to pull the trigger on a deal. It will likely cost him at least Nugent-Hopkins, but with Puliujarvi on the roster, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall could come into play as well since the team has a winger who is ready to step in on opening night. Let's see what this week brings.
THE SHANNAPLAN - If Stamkos does not sign in Toronto, it throws a monkeywrench into the "Shannaplan", but the Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be on the right track---Stamkos or no Stamkos. Fredrik Andersen could be the answer, but Toronto fans thought Vesa Toskala was years ago. The addition of Auston Matthews is huge, and the fact the Leafs have added to their young forward crew by taking Pats forward Adam Brooks and a couple of young Russians. The times of laughing at the Leafs may be nearing an end.
VEGAS FRONT OFFICE - When is the new Las Vegas team allowed to start making front office hires. Would the fiery John Tortorella be a good candidate to be the first head coach in Vegas. He would certainly create some headlines. Would recently ousted Don Maloney make a good GM? Questions, questions, questions.
That's all I got. Have a great week!