Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--RIP Don Matthews. One of the most colourful characters and without a doubt, the most colourful coach professional football has seen passed away at the age of 77 this week. Once news of his death became public, the tributes flowed. Many in the industry wrote tremendous articles with Sportscage insider Arash Madani perhaps taking the cake with his that started this way
“There’s only one rule around here,” Matthews told the team. “Nobody, and I mean nobody gets more (women) around here than I do.”
The players looked around at one another, and the session broke up. Six months later, the Alouettes won the first Grey Cup championship of their modern era.
Matthews didn't ask much from his players until gametime and when he did, he expected their best. The record will show he got it. The respect he has in the football world and the loss that has been created is huge.
--The Riders finish their pre-season in BC tonight. At this time next week, we will be discussing the season opener in Montreal. What will that team look like that takes the field against the Alouettes? Chris Jones and company have some tough decisions to make. Some of those decisions may be easier after tonight, but its' safe to say the coaches will have a lot of talk amongst themselves as they get down to the limit by Sunday. I'm not even going to try and guess who stays and who goes, Are there any vets on the bubble? I would suggest there would be.
--The speculation continues about Vince Young in the wake of the hamstring injury that is going to sideline him 4-6 weeks. Is the comeback attempt over? One would think the answer is yes. Young needs to develop and continue learning the CFL. That can't happen when he isn't on the field. Filmwork only takes you so far. While Vince has said he just wants to be one of the guys, some of those "guys" wouldn't get the chance to stick around like what Young will get because of his name. I'm interested to see if he ends this experiment, if the Riders do or if it continues.
--As the team heads into BC, is there still a position that leaves you with a big question mark? I would say the secondary, but it's not a big question mark. The same goes for running back. Where are you on that?
--The Jeffrey Orridge era is over. His tenure as CFL commissioner ended on Thursday after just two and a bit years. I asked the question on Thursday's Sportscage what his legacy would be and the answers ranged to "Does he really have one?" to "Just a footnote in the history of the CFL" to "His legacy will be likened to Kim Campbell's #forgotten". Safe to say Orridge was not popular in these parts for his constant fines towards the Riders, but I think he got put into a position he just wasn't ready for. Did he really know the league coming in? Did he know who the power-brokers were and did he really know what was good and what wasn't for the league. He just seemed confused from the moment he took over. Now it appears as if no one wants to take over. While that surprises me, it really shouldn't when you consider the commissioner has to make sure 9 teams with 9 different agendas are on the same page. It's not an easy job that's for sure.
Have the Bombers accomplished a CFL first? Two games and two ties in the pre-season. Verrrrrrrryyyyy Winnipegish if you ask me
--The IOC has approved 3 on 3 basketball for the next Summer Olympics. As far as I know, NBA'ers can participate. Would the IOC consider a 3 on 3 hockey to go along with the regular game?
--Pro golfer Kevin Na isn't impressed with the fescue at the Erin Hills course---the sight of the US Open. He even went as far as making a video in which he smartly doesn't ridicule the course itself, just the rough. Hmmmm, I don't see Na making a video saying a course is too easy when there is very little challenge and guys are shooting 63's and 64's. The US Open is supposed to provide a challenge and as Rory McIlroy said on Tuesday,
"Really? We have 60 yards from left line to right line," said McIlroy. "You've got 156 of the best players in the world here, if we can't hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.
"These are the widest fairways we've ever played in a U.S. Open. Even the first and second cut is another 10 yards on top of that. So if you've got 50 or 60 yards to hit into and you're complaining about the fescue that's wider than that, I don't think that's an issue."
Thanks Rory! In the end, Rory may have been more affected by the course than Na was as Kevin shot 68 while McIlroy came in at 78
--Are you excited to see Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor in August? I'm not! I have no desire to pay to watch Mayweather hug McGregor for 10 or 12 rounds. I don't even know how interested I would be if it were a MMA fight if the truth be told.
--Small-town Saskatchewan and how great it is was on display Thursday night in Rouleau. It was great to take the Sportscage to Rouleau for the "Hockey and Hearts" Sportsman banquet in an event Bill and Keith Aulie have really put on the map.
All you have to do is drive around the small town to see how the town has benefitted from money raised over the last six years. The whole town seemingly gets involved, and the whole town was seemingly in attendance for the dinner which followed the golf tournament featuring celebrities like Ben Heenan, John Paddock, Tim Hunter just to name a few. It was outstanding to see and congrats to all on what looked to be another great day despite the rain. Rain that really had no one complaining since the agricultural community needs it. Let's just say Big Ben wasn't frowning over the fact he had to dodge raindrops.
That's all I got. Have a great weekend all!