Friday, September 23, 2016
This And That
Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
The weekend is here, and what a weekend it will be for the Regina sports fan as the Pats, Rams and Riders are home--albeit two are playing at the same time. Why is that anyhoo? Can teams not converse with one another to see if there are going to be conflicts. Never mind, I know the answer to that because it happens more than once.
Despite the forecast, I am hoping to see a solid turnout at Mosaic Stadium tonight for the 2-1 Rams vs the 3-0 Calgary Dinos in a battle of top 10 teams. How is Steve Bryce doing in his first year as head coach of the Rams? Look at their record and you will see. I think all of us knew this team would be a lot better than last year, but I think a lot of us also thought they would win 2 games and maybe get a break go their way to win a 3rd game. Let's throw that out hypothesis out the window.
The job Bryce and crew are doing is fantastic, and that was seen with the first top 10 ranking the team has had since 2012. It will be very, very tough for Regina to stop a very good Calgary team, but as the Rams showed in Vancouver against the defending Vanier Cup champs, it can be done. Bryce and crew has re-generated some excitement and enthusiasm towards the Rams. It's great to see! If you can't get to Mosaic, it will be on Access/SHAW with yours truly doing sideline work. Lee Jones I am not. With the forecast being the way it is, I may have to get some waterwings before heading to Mosaic. SIGHHHHH!!!
Let's stay on the football front and talk about the Riders game Saturday night against Hamilton. The green-and-white are feeling good about themselves after last week's overtime win to Edmonton. They should be feeling good about themselves, but a loss to the Hamilton whether it be by 1 or 51 means they are spinning their wheels. A victory over the Tabbies will really send some shockwaves out across the CFL as we will see that Chris Jones has finally gotten this team's act together. On paper, Hamilton has the better team, but the Riders are somewhat choked after what happened in Hamilton and are coming out wanting to atone for that tilt. I'm thinking we will see a ring-a-ding-dong dandy.
As for the Pats, they are ready to take a run at the Ed Chynoweth Cup! How long has it been since the Regina hockey fan could say that! Too long! This might be the best team they have had since the mid 80's. Oh how that 84 final still burns a hole through me. The team you see on the ice tonight won't resemble the team you see in a month as 5 players (Brooks, Steel, Wagner, Zborovskiy and Hobbs) are still at NHL camps. Once these 5 return, this team should start making some noise that will hopefully last all winter and go into the spring. Regina hockey fans are long overdue!
--The Blue Jays are coming off a series where they played two of three home games in Seattle against the Mariners. If you watched the game, you know half the fans at Safeco Field for the three game set were Canadians as many flocked from BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan to see Donaldson, Bautista, Edwin, Sanchez and company. It had Jay and Dan wannabes (and never will be's) Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro salivating over the fact they had never seen that before. This just in boys, you might want to go to a Riders game in Calgary and see what that is like.
--MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was on TSN Vancouver this week and suggested Vancouver could someday be a spot for expansion. I don't know if that will happen considering the proximity of the Mariners and if Canada is to be home to a 2nd MLB franchise, it must go back to Montreal before Vancouver, but I would be all for it. Would you play in BC Place? Would you build a new stadium and if so, would it be covered because of the rainy climate. I think baseball in Vancouver would be a hit. You see how fans flocked to Seattle for the Jays.
--A great question from TSN's Dave Naylor. Why is it the Jays are referred to as "Canada's team", but the Raptors are Toronto's team. Is there a difference? Of course, all of us know Canada's team resides at Mosaic Stadium, but I digress.
--Who would you rather have---Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott. I think the Eagles and Cowboys are in good hands for many years with these two guys calling the signals.
--Week 3 NFL Lock Of The Week --- Tampa over L-A
Week 3 NFL Upset of The Week ---Eagles over Steelers
--The New England Patriots destroyed Houston with their 3rd string quarterback. I am positive Tino Sunseri could start a game for New England and win. That team could very well go 4-0 without Tom Brady. How do ya like that Commissioner Goodell?
--Back to the CFL in a second, and yes, this NFL fan finds it hard to believe that for the first two weeks of the season, the NFL is beating the CFL in Canada when it comes to viewers. Should we be surprised though? Monday night I was at the Great Canadian Brewhouse. As was the case last year, the Brewhouse is giving away a helmet every Monday night and a chance to go to the 2017 home opener of your choice. If you go on Thursday, you can win a jersey of one of the teams competing. Go to Boston Pizza, Brewsters, Birminghams, the Press Box, the Four Seasons and you will find Monday night giveaways. What do you get at those locales when you go for a CFL game---cheap wings and beer and the wings may not be on special!
Once again, the CFL doesn't get it and Commissioner Bozo---I mean Orridge is apparently too dense to see it. Get on board with some of these places---especially the national ones like a Boston Pizza and offer some schwag and a trip to two for the Grey Cup. Give that person 55 yard line seats, free tix to the events that make up Grey Cup week and ideal hotel accomodations. I am guessing you would have some fans coming in to watch games in venues across this great land of ours.
Instead of thinking of ideas to grow this league, they would rather sanction writers like Rod Pedersen, Justin Dunk and Jason Gregor for writing articles critical to the league. Add the term "thin-skinned" to our friends at the CFL office who seemingly don't like the repeated reality slaps they are getting. Suck it up boys because it isn't even close to being over.
There is so much this league could do yet doesn't for one reason for another. One of my pet peeves has always been why isn't there CFL players in advertising campaigns. Yes, perhaps that is the fault of the Players Association, but if Marks is a corporate sponsor of the CFL, shouldn't players like Bo Levi Mitchell, Weston Dressler and Naaman Roosevelt be involved in some kind of ad campaign---even if it is just modelling some apparel. It's not that hard, but the CFL wants to make it look as if doing something like this is like climbing Mount Everest. As I have said before, I don't like bashing the CFL, but when the CFL keeps making idiotic moves like the ones they have been making week after week after week, you can't help but ask why as you point out their glaring mistakes.
--Team Kid or Team North America as it was more formally known have been the story of the World Cup of Hockey. McDavid, Matthews, McKinnon, Gostibehere and others have dazzled. Sadly, they won't play Canada in a game that I think the entire country wanted to see. There were a lot of comparisons from long time NHL personnel about the kids reminding them of the 80's Oilers. I don't disagree. If these guys are the face of the NHL moving forward, the league is in great shape with some great young stars to lead the way. If the league can give us games like the North America-Sweden game on Tuesday on a consistent basis, the interest will sky-rocket on both sides of the border.
--That's all I got. Stay dry! GO RIDERS, GO SEAHAWKS