Friday, December 15, 2017
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.
--There are things that you really don't expect and news of the schedule being released made me wonder if instead of getting Christmas gifts for Mrs. Scruffy, did I have to get a Valentines Day gift for her instead because it had turned to mid-February. Who saw that one coming? The release of the CFL schedule days before Christmas keeps the league in the minds of CFL fans. The days of hanging the "Gone Fishing" sign on the door of the league office is over and you can thank Commissioner Randy Ambrosie for that. I had a great chat with Ambrosie on Friday's Sportscage as we talked about the release and other issues.
Ambrosie wants the CFL to have a bigger piece of the pie and he is willing to engage with the fans that are the lifeblood of the league when it comes to key issues. He wants to take the moving up the schedule issue with fans from one side of the country to the other, he wants to talk about the playoff format with fans from all over. He wants what he thinks will be spirited debate on the issue. Why not? He likely has an idea as to where he wants this league to go moving forward, but he wants the input of the fans as well. They likely won't have the final say, but they are getting a say. How can you not like that?
How can you not like the Rider schedule? Yes, it isn't perfect and a bye in the last week of the season could be very interesting and dramatic considering where the Riders could be sitting at that time. Some have quickly noticed that if they were to be first in the West that they would have a long break. If the Riders finished first in the West, I don't think anyone would care one bit about the break they would have because it would mean they would have finished first!
People are complaining already about the Thursday game in July. Shocking! Look at the schedule and either work around it and take a long weekend or don't go. It's as simple as that! You have been given plenty of notice. The decision is now up to you! It's not a Riders thing, its a you thing and the same thing goes for the Thanksgiving Monday game against Edmonton. I personally think that will be outstanding. Is it safe to say we know what the halftime spread in the pressbox will be that day. Yeah, it will probably be smokies!
--The news Wednesday of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment buying the Toronto Argonauts fits into that category of things you don't expect as well. It is great news for the Argos and the CFL though. How can it not be? This will have to move the needle somewhat. Those going to Leafs and Raptors game will get a dose of the Argonauts with in-game advertisements. There is also perhaps a way to work together with those two teams when it comes to ticket sales.
The same can be said with Toronto FC. BMO Field is now a "stadium of champions". How do you and can you capitalize on that? What is done now will be key for a franchise that is trying to claw its way back to relevance, but it is still a long way from doing so.
There are things you do expect, and I did expect the Saskatchewan Roughriders to sign Chris Jones to a contract extension. Say what you will, but the plan is on track. Yes, it would have been through the East, but Jones had this team just seconds from competing in the Grey Cup. Would they have beaten Calgary on that snowy track in Ottawa? It's a question we will never know the true answer to, but one would have had to like their chances.
The team is on an upswing. It would be unrealistic to see the team take another 5 win progression in 2018 and go to 15 wins, but don't tell that to Jones. He has said it many times before Monday and he said it again during his news conference. My goal every year is to win the Grey Cup and if we don't, the season is a failure. That is a logic shared by many. His expectations are high, but Craig Reynolds has said getting a home playoff game is satisfactory to him for 2018. That home playoff game means you finish first or second and your path to the Grey Cup is easier. I don't disagree.
--Week 15 NFL Lock of the Week -- Falcons over Bucs
Week 15 NFL Upset of the Week -- Raiders over Cowboys
--Congratulations to Balcarres for being named the Hockey Day in Saskatchewan host venue. It will be a fun time in the home of the Broncs on the January 19-20-21 weekend as the town becomes the center of activity with the game we all love. Once again, there will be many different leagues showcasing their teams and the game during that weekend. I fully understand why it doesn't happen, but I would love to see a WHL game played at this event as well.
--As you walk through Safeway and you see Pic-A-Pop, tell me you don't think back to your childhood if you are in my age bracket. Unlike me, you probably leave it on the shelf.
--The Regina Pats are not making it easy on themselves. The comparisons being made to the Saskatoon Blades of 2013 that hosted the Memorial Cup are accurate. The question being asked now is will John Paddock give up too much or will he completely dismantle the team the way Brent Parker did back in 2001 so that they are competitive come May. It won't be much longer now as the trade deadline is January 10th. A frustrated fan-base awaits.
--Something about subtraction doesn't add up.
--Have a great weekend. If going out into the chaos that is Christmas shopping, godspeed to you. Chances are I could see you. SIGHHHHH!!!