Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--I could talk about the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their game in Edmonton tonight to lead off this week's column, but let's go with another team in Regina who starts off what should be a great season and that is the Regina Pats.
Is there any reason to think this year won't be the best season the Pats have had since before the Brent Parker era? That was when just getting to the 2nd round was an accomplishment and you didn't have to gut a hockey club and pay for it years down the road to have a chance at a Memorial Cup. The work John Paddock has done since his time year started to show off at the end of last year, and it should show off this year. Despite the fact there was very little promotion in the summer months thus derailing some of the excitement of a long playoff run, it shouldn't take long to get the excitement back. Sam Steel, Connor Hobbs, Austin Wagner, Tyler Brown, Adam Brooks and others are ready to get going on what could be a year to remember around here. There are actually some whispering Pats and championship team in the same breath. While it will be a long time before we will see if those whispers become reality, it is nice to talk about the Pats in that fashion. Real nice! I get the feeling the Brandt Centre will be a very popular place this winter. Why shouldn't it?
--Here's some free advice for the Pats, Warriors and other teams out there. The Minnesota Wild just asked their season ticket holders and fans what song should be their "goal song". I wouldn't think it would be that hard to do that around here by giving fans a choice of 5 songs, sending season ticket holders an e-mail advising them of this and giving them a chance to voice their input. That e-mail could be a link to the teams website where the vote could be made. Engage your fans in some decision-making. Marketing 101 folks. It's a lot easier than ya think! (BLOGGER NOTE: If this results in the Pats having "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" as their goal song, I will have no one to blame but myself)
--OK, let's talk about the Riders and yes, they are in Edmonton tonight. I don't think many are expecting the green and white to come out of the Alberta capital with a "W" and that is understandable considering what has gone on. I think it is safe to say "We just want to see a game!!". What we saw in Montreal and Hamilton this year was beyond atrocious. The last game at Commonwealth was one the Riders should have had and if they use the same game plan, they might get a win---a much needed win! I'm not confident, but I'm optimistic. What else can you be? If you think another 30 point blowout is on the way, save yourself the aggravation and go out Friday night to a place where a radio or TV is nowhere in sight.
--Is it safe to say the Riders free agent signings this year weren't exactly the greatest. Just to recap--Shawn Lemon (traded), John Chiles (released), Justin Capicotti (back-up) have not done what was expected and then there are Shawmaud Chambers and Kendial Lawrence.
--Could not help, but laugh and laugh hard at the extremely weak story down on 3DownNation.com by Drew Edwards of the Hamilton Spectator. Drew does some good stuff, but this wasn't. He wrote a story on the Riders taking down their billboard outside Tim Hortons Field after the shellacking they took last week. WELL DUHHHHHHH!!!! Someone should inform Mr. Edwards that poppies don't sell very well after Remembrance Day, back to school sales end once classes begin, and Hallowe'en costumes don't sell very well on November 1. In the words of Lynch "How Dumb Can Ya Be!!". This just in, there's a sign outside of Commonwealth Stadium this week. I am guessing that sign will disappear win or lose by mid-week.
--The Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones wrote a fantastic article on the Rider Nation this week. They just can't figure out in Edmonton why Rider fans keep coming and coming and coming to the games when their team isn't good. Once again, a big crowd is expected in Edmonton when the teams hit the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. When do the Eskimos get their biggest crowd of the year? When do the Stampeders? What team did Dennis Skulsky guarantee a win against? Teams know what the Saskatchewan Roughriders mean to the CFL. I wonder when "Jeff" will clue in on that.
--Speaking of "Jeff", Rod Pedersen asked a great question this week. Has the Commish been spotted at games? If he has been, we haven't seen it. FWIW: I surmised he was on the CNE grounds Saturday while the Argos were playing, but he was at the exhibition stuffin down a corndog and riding the Roller Coaster. Marc Cohon was visible during his time in charge, and Tom Wright was visible too Orridge----well you know. CMON JEFF!! Actually "Jeff" is having to defend himself from statements about Johnny Manziel and the CFL attributed to him as he says he was misquoted. Let's face the facts, Johnny Manziel is not coming to the CFL anytime soon so let's put that story to bed right now. That being said, just imagine Johnny Boy in Montreal! Hamilton owns his rights and have supposedly had them for quite a while.
--Jay Bouwmeester was named to Canada's team at the World Cup of Hockey replacing the injured Dustin Keith. Why not PK Subban? The braintrust behind Canada's team is smart enough to realize Subban is not a guy they want on their team. I've said it and it has been proven again. Like I said when he was traded, Montreal came a lot closer to a Stanley Cup and Nashville got a lot further away. Speaking of the World Cup of Hockey, I just can't get excited for that event. Perhaps I will as it nears closer, but it is doing nothing for me right now. I still want to know what happens if "The Young Guns" win the whole thing. Does that mean they will own hockey?
--The Colorado Avalanche have a new head coach. 44 year old Jared Bednar is the new bench boss in Denver. My first take when I read this was WHO? I asked Phil Andrews and he said WHO? Not only is Bednar the coach of the Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters, but he is a Yorkton boy. That means in the 30 team NHL, one-fifth of its head coaches are from the wheat province as he joins Todd McLellan, Glen Gulutzan, Willie Desjardins, Mike Babcock and Dave Tippett. That is a pretty impressive feat and is one Saskatchewan hockey should toot its own horn over.
--The race in the American League East could very well go right down to the last day with a possible tiebreaker needed. Toronto finishes the season with three games at home against Baltimore and three in Boston. The Red Sox and Orioles also have three games against New York. It is going to be a very tense time for Blue Jays fans coming down the stretch. Meanwhile, this Cubs fan just waits to see when the team clinches a playoff spot before going into full panic mode once Game 1 of the NLDS starts. I wonder where Steve Bartman is these days anyhoo? Would the Cubs actually have him come to a game? If they were to win, I am guessing he throws out the first pitch of a game next year and it could very well be the season opener.
--If you're a Cowboys fan, and you aren't excited about Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, there's something wrong with you.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend! GO RIDERS!