I can’t imagine cutdown day is easy for those involved. Coaches and general managers telling players that their dreams of playing professional football have reached a dead end, with said player wondering what the next step in their life is going to be, and how they are going to achieve it. It has to be even tougher when that player is one of the good guys who have been a veteran and a leader for many years.
That was the case Saturday when the Riders told defensive back Lance Frazier his services were no longer needed by the football club. In all the years I have dealt with the football club, Frazier was a guy who would always talk to you win or lose and was always a guy that would never sugar-coat anything. Its why I have a lot of respect for the old 96er Scott Schultz. He got out before he got got if you know what I mean. Schultz could have still played for a couple of seasons before he retired, but he got the chance to get out of football and he left before the Riders told him to leave. Have we seen the end of Frazier? Time will only tell if that is the case on the field, but Riders coach Corey Chamblin said he could see Frazier being a front-office guy at some point and that wouldn’t surprise me. Thanks for the years Lance and good luck at whatever you do next.
I can’t say the cuts announced by the team on Sunday surprised me. Kenny Rowe was a huge disappointment to me as I thought the way the guy ended 2011 that he could perhaps be an impact player in 2012. Nope! Davonte Shannon was a guy that played well at practice but when it came to game time, he couldn’t make the cut. He’s not the first to do that and he won’t be the last. Let the regular season begin. I don’t think this team can be mentioned in the Grey Cup debate at this time, but I do think this team will be better than the 6-7 wins that some are predicting. Of course, if Darian Durant should get injured for a lengthy amount of time, all bets are off.
Other odds and ends from the weekend….
--I will never get tired of being around Mosaic Stadium on game day. You just feel “it” as you get closer and closer to the park. Like I’ve said before, there is no better spot to be in Canada than at the park on gameday. I hope the new facility provides the same feeling.
--Now that people have gotten a good look at the new Mosaic, the question is out there as to whether or not this is good enough. The answer is NO! A new stadium is needed and a new stadium is coming like it or not. The people of Saskatchewan deserve a new facility and they deserve to sit in comfort while watching football or whatever. There really shouldn’t be any debates, but some just want to stir it up so go at it if you absolutely have to.
--One mayoral candidate tweeted on the weekend that he hasn’t spoken to one person in favour of the new stadium. I’m guessing this candidate hasn’t really gotten out there and I’m guessing this candidate won’t be seeing an “X’” besides his name on my ballot when I vote.
--If you couldn’t tell, I wasn’t overly thrilled with the Oilers selection of Nail Yakupov with the number one pick in the NHL draft. The Oilers needed a young defenceman and with so many of them out there, this was the year to get one---and a damn good one at that. Taking Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart at one would not have upset me and trading the pick wouldn’t have upset me either. Yakupov had better deliver and get the Oilers into the playoffs next season. This BS that Edmonton hockey fans have had to go through should be over. Steve Tambellini is now under the gun to get this team some quality defencemen whether it be through free agency or trade. If he can’t and the Oilers don’t perform this year, he can hit the highway.
--The clear draft winner was the Pittsburgh Penguins. They trade Jordan Staal (not interested in him Mr. Tambellini???) and get a good hockey player in return in Brandon Sutter and then they take Weyburn’s Derrick Pouliot with the 8th overall pick while clearing out enough cap room to likely take a run at soon to be UFA Ryan Suter. If Suter ends up a Penguin, they are the odds-on favourite to win the Cup next year and for the next couple.
--Luke Schenn gets dealt (again, not interested in him Mr. Tambellini) for James Van Riemsdyk in a deal that could once again bite Brian Burke in the hindquarters. There is no doubt Schenn lost his confidence in Toronto and Ron Wilson can take a lot of the blame for that. The kid can still play and play at a high level if given the opportunity unless Wilson completely shattered him. As for Van Riemsdyk, he has a bad hip and that will likely plague him for years. I don’t know if Toronto made a good deal on this one.
--Morgan Rielly getting drafted by Toronto probably spelled the end of Schenn. It’s a good job Wilson isn’t in Toronto now so that he could do the same things with Rielly that he did with Schenn. I hope the kid can do well in Toronto---but not too well since I hate the Leafs if you know what I mean.
--A tip of the cap to CTV Regina's Julie Stewart-Binks. She did a great job in bringing the NHL draft to our living rooms with her coverage from Pittsburgh.
--Being a goaltender when a game goes into penalty kicks in soccer must really, really suck.
--It amazes me that more people aren’t killed or seriously hurt on the Ring Road the way some people “drive”. The actions of some on that stretch of road is something to behold.
--My oldest daughter graduates from Grade 12 today. HOLY CRAP! I still remember her first day of school as if it was yesterday and I can’t believe she has now gone through and is ready to enter a new stage of her life. I’ll be a proud papa when I see her get that little piece of paper. Just don’t trip! That’s the only thing that went through my mind when I graduated high school and college when my name was called to get the diploma---DON”T TRIP!!
--Graham DeLaet has inched a little closer to getting his PGA Tour Card. He earned just over 12-thousand dollars this weekend at the Travellers. He would have gotten more if it wasn’t for a final round of 5 over 75.
--A tip of the hat to Sportsnet (and Sportscage) Insider Arash Madani. The guy is in Miami covering the NBA final and the Jays series and he still has time to work his CFL contacts to break several transactions this weekend. There is no one better than Madani out there. I'm glad he's on the same team as me.
--Some have asked why I wasn't a part of the Riders broadcast on Friday night. Relax!!! I will have a role once Michael Ball and Phil Andrews get busy with the Rams and the Pats. For those that did send a message asking where I was, Thanks!
--It was a classy move by the Riders to remember Cal Murphy during the game Friday night. It was different being back in the pressbox after not being up there for over a year. It was strange not seeing Cal in there though. Somehow, I think he was watching.
--I don't know how they managed to get him to do it, but Jim Hopson as Commissioner Gordon from Batman in the SGI ads that ran Friday night were hilarious. Is there an award that he can be nominated for? Can he wear that garb on the sidelines? I hope those ads find their way onto a TV screen near you and that they aren't confined to Rider game day.
--As we approach the end of June, the Jays are six games back in the American League East and three games back in the wildcard chase. Are they a buyer or a seller? As much as I hate to say it, I think its time to sell some guys because of the damage that has been inflicted on their starting rotation. I thought at the start of the year Toronto could make the playoffs, but the injuries they have suffered to their starting pitching likely means that won’t happen. To trade some of their assets for starting pitching that may or may not return next year will help short term, but not long term.
--What did we do as the human race to have Justin Bieber and Adam Lambert bestowed upon us?
--Can the US justice system put Jerry Sandusky in with the other inmates for just a week? Please? Is that too much to ask?