Friday, March 20, 2015
This and That
The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind and as always these are in no particular order,
--The CFL has its new commissioner. He is Jeffrey Orridge and he comes from a place that lost CFL football---the CBC. First off, Orridge has tough shoes to fill as he replaces the charismatic Marc Cohon who did many good things for the CFL. Orridge's first task is to do something many have failed at over the years and that is get interest revived in Toronto. I don't know how he does it, but there must be a way. I would also like to see the new commissioner keep the movement going to see if there is enough interest for a 10th CFL team in the Maritimes. If there isn't, he should look out West to see if that 10th team is there. What also interests me is if he can get his old workplace and his new workplace together. I have nothing against the product TSN puts out when it comes to the CFL. They do a tremendous job of bringing the game into our living rooms and they make the Grey Cup a must watch production. However, it would be nice if there was another network with new faces to talk about the game. One thing Rogers has done with the NHL package is bring various hosts to the table whether it be Strombo, David Amber or Leah Hextall. If TSN were to do that, I would be OK, but I think there is room in this country for a 2nd network to do CFL games and it would make the league stronger.
--A strange tweet from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star on Tuesday afternoon as he talked about the appointment of Orridge. He said he would have very little impact if he didn't get a 10th team in the league and oversee a new generation of quarterbacks??? How is it his job to get a new generation of quarterbacks? Does that not fall on the current GM's and besides when you have Bo Levi Mitchell, Mike Reilly, Drew Willy and Zach Collaros and yes, I think you can put Darian Durant in there, I think this league is fine at the pivot position, Thanks for coming out Damien! Go back to mocking the Leafs now!
--A retirement dinner was held for outgoing Riders president and CEO Jim Hopson on Thursday night.
What is Jim's legacy? Is it being the boss when two Grey Cups were won including that magical Sunday night at Mosaic Stadium in 2013 that no Rider fan will forget. Is it taking this team and turning it into the marquee franchise that it is? Is it the new stadium? Whatever it is, fans of the green and white owe Hoppy a huge debt of gratitude. I don't know where this team would be without his work. The Riders have gone from being a laughing stock in the late 90's to being the envy of the CFL now, Wouldn't it be nice if there was a road leading to the stadium called Jim Hopson Way.....it would have to be somewhere between streets named for Lancaster and Reed, but I think there is a way someone could do that. It would be a very fitting tribute because that stadium may not be happening if it weren't for Jim. I know Craig Reynolds (who may be able to moonlight as a comedian ) is going to do a fantastic job, but I will miss seeing Hoppy on the sidelines. I'm sure I will be seeing him somewhere around Mosaic and the new Mosaic in the upcoming years though.
--I'm starting to get revved up for the baseball season. I don't think the Chicago Cubs can be a contender this year, but they will be a lot better than the last few years and they might set the table for a 2016 playoff run. My MLB TV subscription is paid up and I'm ready to go.
--Thumbs up to those at the MTS Centre who made life miserable for Joe Thornton on Tuesday night by chanting "Who's your Captain"!!! If the Jets make the playoffs ( and I am hoping they do), I hope they have a Saturday game on their schedule, because that is one I think I might make a roadie for. The place is electric enough in the regular season and I am sure it would be amped up somewhat for what would be Winnipeg's first playoff game in years.
--The Brandon Wheat Kings showed me the other night just why they are a serious contender for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Do they have a weakness? One person has suggested goaltending. We are about to find out in the playoffs. If the Pats get by Moose Jaw or Swift Current in the first round, they will be hard pressed to beat Brandon in Round 2, but that's what playoffs are far right. You just never know what might happen.
--The game against the Wheat Kings was my first at the Brandt Centre since the new scoreclock went in. I was sitting in the corner at the west end of the building near the popcorn stand in the lower level. It seemed to me like the place was darker since the new clock came in. Was it just me? It was refreshing not to have to turn my head to see replays though.
--Eagles coach and director of player personnel Chip Kelly is either a genius or a goof. We will find out soon. His off-season moves have been the talk of the NFL. I don't think its any secret he wants the #2 draft pick to get his former quarterback Marcus Mariota. There is talk he made the trade for Sam Bradford so he could package a deal with Tennessee (team that owns the #2 pick) so he can get Mariota. Why would Tennessee want the oft-injured Bradford? The Titans brass are smarter than that....at least I hope they are.
--What would it take? ESPN's Craig Custance had a sit down with some GM"s at the recent NHL GM's meetings to talk about Connor MacDavid and what it would take to trade him. Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff joked if he traded the top pick this year, the Jets would likely need a new GM. Buffalo GM Tim Murray says he knows the phone will ring with many teams making offers for that number one pick which will likely be McDavid, but he doesn't know how he could really make a deal. Florida's GM Dale Tallon then chimed on by talking about how the Oilers screwed up years ago when they took Nail Yakupov, Tallon's quote "If there was a team that should have done it since, it was Edmonton in 2012, when the Oilers selected Nail Yakupov rather than moving down and grabbing one of the defensemen in that draft like Morgan Rielly, Jacob Trouba or Hampus Lindholm.
“Edmonton would have been a great example,” said the GM. “They didn’t need a forward. They have three guys who are studs and you need a defenseman. They needed to figure out a way to get out of that slot.”
I couldn't agree more!
Tallon then goes on to say if Edmonton gets McDavid, they move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and get a top young defenceman.
Here's what I ask.....
What would Tim Murray say if Craig MacTavish phoned up and offered him the #2 or #3 pick along with their first rounder next season and the first rounder they got in the David Perron trade along with a Nugent-Hopkins or a Taylor Hall to get number 1 and say a Zach Bogosian. Would Murray go for that? It would be tempting.
--March Madness is upon us and many believe Kentucky can complete a perfect season. I like the Wisconsin Badgers to upset the apple cart. Sorry Braden Konschuh, but I think Gonzaga gets to the Final Four this year as well. I've also got Virginia to be in there as well. If the first day was any indication with many games being decided by 5 points or less and a few going into overtime, its going to be a helluva tournament. Bt the way, USA Today reports there were 11.57 million brackets filled out and after day 1 with upsets, there were only 273 perfect ones remaining. I dare say this means the Cleveland Browns have a better chance at winning a Super Bowl than there is of having the perfect bracket.
--The best place to stand if you're cold is in a corner, because its 90 degrees!!!
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!!