Welcome to Saturday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order
--A lot of good and a lot of bad. That is how you have to look at what happened in Ottawa Thursday. As discussed with Derek Taylor in the Sportscage on Friday, I never in my wildest dreams thought the Saskatchewan Roughriders offence would score 41 and lose. How could that happen with that defence especially with Dominique Davis calling the shots It did! Back to the D in a moment. Let's start with the good:
- Cody Fajardo showed us he can run the offence. Fajardo looked nothing like he did against Hamilton. He was "huckin and chuckin" it and he was succeeding as he set a team record for passing yards in his first start as a Rider. Will this continue against Toronto?
--Kyran Moore and Shaq Evans were two players who had to step their game up going into this season and early on both have. Both will be needed moving forward
-Was it just one of those nights for the D. The same D that shut down Jeremiah Masoli and the Ti-Cats a week earlier. If this had been Game 1 of the season, I would have some worries. I am taking this as a one off and hoping it doesn't repeat itself against the Argos
--While Nick Marshall had a night to forget, lets credit Davis for making some great throws. Would we be on Marshall's case if had been Bo Levi or Mike Reilly throwing the football?
--Micah Johnson where are you? Is this a repeat of the Derek Dennis signing that was not a good one from a couple of years ago?
--Mak Henry's shoulder into Davis was not as egregious as the Lawrence hit on Zach Collaros, but it was just as dumb. There was no need for that play from Henry and in my mind he should have gotten 25 yards and not 15. I'll be interested to see if supplementary discipline comes If the league is serious about player safety, he will. Yes, this likely means he won't
--The punt cover team is atrocious. Jon Ryan averages 48 yards a punt, but the net is terrible because no one downfield can make a tackle. The hang time is there, the execution is not. It is as simple as that. This is a team that had problems covering punts when Josh Bartel was here as the opposition ran four punts back for TD's last season.
At the end of the day, there was a lot to be optimistic about, but there is also a lot to be worried about. The team gets over a week to prepare for Toronto. It's not a must-win at Mosaic on Canada Day, but 0-3 won't go over well with anyone.
--Everyone is upset with the fact the CFLPA is grieving the two game suspension issued to Simoni Lawrence. The association is protecting the Hamilton linebacker, but doing nothing for Zach Collaros. This situation is no different than any other where a player gets suspended. While the association sticks up for Lawrence, the question about who sticks up for Collaros is more than valid and fair. The association should answer that question. I am guessing they won't though. Who's kidding who, you know they won't.
The PA could have made it easy and said they stand alongside the league when it comes to player safety initiatives. They could have said no to Lawrence's grievance and made him serve his penalty. Lawrence himself could just be a man and accept his punishment but that won't happen.
--The Toronto Blue Jays make stops across the country during the off-season to promote themselves and Major League Baseball. In Regina, they had Kevin Pillar and Marco Estrada pop in a couple of years ago and we see alumni come in for Honda Supercamps and the Regina Red Sox dinner. I hope the Raptors take notice of this and start something similar after what we saw from Canadians during this playoff run. I will take it one step further. You can't tell me that people didn't notice the crowds that showed up at Mosaic Stadium. How about possibly rewarding those people by coming here for an exhibition game and bring the "Larry O-B" with you so we can get a good look at it. The Raps have played exhibition games in Winnipeg and Calgary so why not Regina and Saskatoon?
--If you saw the piece with Carey Price at the NHL Awards Wednesday night, you can't tell me you didn't tear up just a little. What a moment that was! I didn't think it could be any better than it was when the Habs goalie first met his young fan whose mom died of cancer during the season,,,,,but it did. Robin Lehner's speech was a close second.
--Remember when people were asking where all the talent in the WHL was. I think those questions can be silenced after seven went in the first round of Friday night's NHL draft. It's far too early to see who won and who lost in the first round, but the fact Cole Caulfield slipped all the way to Montreal at 15 may be one discussed in future years. That kid could score 20 with his eyes closed.
What happened to all the rumoured trades?
Tell me Gary Bettman doesn't love being booed. He embraces it as evidenced by his opening address on Friday night.
----If Brett Hull ever hangs out with Alexander Ovechkin in the summer, we need to make a reality TV show of it. Imagine!
--The Tampa Bay Rays/Montreal Expos story was one that caught most off guard when it came out Thursday morning. Is there any doubt that you have to call the team the Ex-Rays? (All credit on that goes to my good friend and baseball afficianado Craig Slater). I don't know how this will actually happen because there are a lot of hurdles to cross including permission from the Players Association, but if it can somehow get Montreal back on the MLB grid, its great.
--Is Global Regina ever going to replace Tiffany Lizee?
--The late week rain may have been frowned on by some, but you can guess everyone in the agricultural community was loving it. There is nothing like the smell of a fresh rain and the sound of it pounding down. I've missed that and I'm guessing some of you have as well.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!