Friday, October 23, 2015

This and That

 It's Friday meaning its time for the weekly set of thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they are in no particular order.

--The stark reality of what the Toronto Blue Jays have done to the CFL has hit home, and it is something the league must be worried about. The latest ratings show how Blue Jays fever has struck across Canada leaving everything in its wake including the CFL.

Yahoo's Chris Zelkovich tracks what we are watching and it is great news for Sportsnet and the Blue Jays, but terrible news for everyone else including TSN and its football package.

How about these numbers. For Monday's Game 3 of the ALCS, 3.64 million Canadians tuned in while at the same time, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles drew 134-thousand for Monday Night Football on TSN.  It goes much further than that according to Zelkovich.  CFL games this year have averaged 575-thousand, but this past weekend saw just 350-thousand which is a 37 percent drop from that weekend one year ago.   Only 256-thousand watched the Stamps-Argos game which was the marquee game of the weekend, but was also on at the same time as Game 2 of the Jays-Royals which drew 3.86 million.  TSN and the CFL are hoping the ratings will come back once Toronto is gone from the playoffs which could be as early as tonight if they don't win in Kansas City. Will they though? When I put this info up on my Twitter feed, many responded saying the game has killed itself because it has become boring, there are too many penalties and the game has not been good this year. I can't argue that.  The putrid play of the Saskatchewan Roughriders could be a reason for many, but I have not been as invested in the CFL this season as I normally am and the reasons stated above are part of the reason.  The constant penalties at the start of the season really weaned my desire to watch the games and it has been tough to go back. Yes, the playoff appearance by the Blue Jays and the Cubs along with the CFL's desire to go up against the NFL has played a lot into it as well.

The sad thing for the CFL is I don't think the Blue Jays are going away anytime soon. They may come back to beat Kansas City and they could beat the Mets for the World Series or they could lose tonight or to the Mets, but they will be back.  As mentioned in an earlier column, the Blue Jays will have their position players back as Martin, Encarnacion, Goins, Travis, Tulowitzki, Donaldson, Pillar and Bautista will all be back. David Price could be back, but admittedly that would surprise me. I think the team can keep Marco Estrada and Marcus Stroman isn't going anywhere. This team will be good again in 2016 and it is something the CFL will have to be very cognizant of especially if the Blue Jays are showing us by the start of the football season they are contenders again.  Jeffrey Orridge, you and your member teams have some work to do.

--The 2nd to last year of Saskatchewan Roughrider football at Mosaic Stadium will come to an end Saturday night at around 8 o'clock. Sadly, I will be some place in Calgary watching the home finale as I will have the Regina Rams-Calgary Dinos game on CKRM2 ( for you in a game which starts at 1 o'clock.  I am glad this isn't the last game at the old girl seeing I won't be there and while I am guessing the University and CFL schedule may not match up next year and the possibility of missing the last ever regular season game at Mosaic is there, I keep my fingers crossed hoping I can be there to witness what will be a very emotional game on a variety of levels for everyone.  What do I expect from the Riders this weekend? Not a lot to be honest. They are putting out the best roster possible, but this is a chance for many young guys to show the organization if they have what it takes to be a part of this team in 2016 and beyond. It is an audition for them. Some will succeed, some will fail. Yes, they can beat the Eskimos on their home turf, but everything will have to go right for them and I mean everything. I just ask that this passionate fan base realize what is going on and accept the growing pains you are going to see over the next three weeks. It may not be pretty, but it will hopefully pay off in the long run. The Eskimos did it a couple of years ago and look at them now. A lot of work needs to be done between now and 2016 training camp, but there is no way this team will allow for a repeat of this year. Those days are over!

--Back to baseball.  The performance of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series disappointed me greatly. The New York Mets basically shoved it right down Chicago's throat from the first inning of Game 1 until the final out in Game 4. They deserved it.  While I am not happy over a four game sweep, I am realistic enough to see what happened this year at Wrigley Field. Most baseball experts saw the Cubs being a team on the upswing on Opening Day, but very few had them making the playoffs much less being the 3rd best team in baseball record-wise. They thought 2016 would be the year they start contending. The plan became accelerated. Watching the Cubs play baseball until October 21 was something I never ever thought would happen back on April 1 and I can't wait to see what is done in the off-season as this team competes again to hopefully get eight more wins come playoff time and end the 100 plus year drought. Thank you Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein for bringing winning baseball back to Wrigleyville. How many days is it until Opening Day 2016!

--Is it safe to say it took Connor MacDavid a few games to get comfortable in the NHL? He is starting to show why so many have spoken so highly of him. In watching him, what impresses me is what he is doing away from the puck. He has that awareness that so few seem to have.  Let's just hope though Mark Messier stops bothering him and that Messier doesn't start showing him places in Edmonton where he used to go if you know what I mean! Is it just me or those ads extremely dumb!

--Heading to work on Wednesday, three women in their mid 20's to early 30's were walking past me with Tim's in hand talking away when one said.  I would love to (rhymes with puck) Justin Trudeau! There were pictures of him shirtless from women on Twitter and others were seemingly swept off their feet by our new Prime Minister. I hope women did not vote for Justin because of his looks. If they did, that's simply not sound.  Canadians said they wanted change Monday night and they wanted Stephen Harper out. Harper's demeanour and his approach to this election was something that didn't resonate with many. What was funny was that Harper came out and actually showed he had a personality in his concession speech. If we had seen that Harper during the 11 week campaign, I don't think we would have had a change at the top.  I don't agree with all of Justin's thoughts, but I didn't agree with everything Harper was doing and saying either. Let's see where we are in a year's time and let's go back to not attacking one another over their political affiliation. At the end of the day, we are still Canadian aren't we? By the way, if the women are swooning over Justin. does this mean the Conservatives will try and recruit Kate Upton to be their leader?

--Week 7 NFL Lock of the Week  Rams over Browns
   Week 7 NFL Upset of the Week  Saints over Colts

-- I was shocked Thursday afternoon to see a story from TSN saying Canadians no longer are the majority in the NHL as only 49 percent of opening day roster players are from the Great White North. It is great to see the game globally expand with players from several countries dotting NHL rosters, but does this mean hockey isn't our game anymore? I've never been a big fan of the CHL import draft because I think "internationals" are taking the spot of Canadian kids and I wonder when this stat sinks in if the CHL will look at perhaps doing something. Yes, you want the best players possible and I am sure NHL teams like the fact that Euros and Russians can be seen playing in the Ontario, Quebec or Western league, but let them learn their game at home. By the way, according to Hockey Canada, there were just under 635-thousand registered hockey players in Canada in 2014.

--There might not be a better stand-up guy in this city than Thunder coach Scott McAuley. As Rod Pedersen so eloquently stated on Wednesday during his weekly Sportscage Thunder segment, whenever the Thunder lost, he was on with us the next week to face the music, but whenever they won, an assistant coach would come on. Not only did Scott come on the Sportscage Wednesday, but he did double duty by coming on Locker Talk with Pete Paczko and myself Tuesday to talk about his team's tough end to the season. Many coaches in many different sports could learn a lesson or two from Scott. I hope the Thunder realize how lucky they are having this guy in charge, but I do wonder how much longer he will be because he has bigger fish to fry. It would not surprise me to see him end up with a CIS program and someday be a CFL assistant coach or work with a CFL team. It's in his DNA. I know many in the Regina football community would agree with that assessment.

--Are we all waiting for John Tortorella's first explosion as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

--Is a hot-dog a sandwich?

--That's all I got. Have a great week everyone. GO RIDERS!!


Anonymous said...

If the CFL doesn't admit it has a huge problem at the end of the season, then it will just add to the misery fans are getting. A more exciting product is needed.

Anonymous said...

As we have seen over the last few years, it is not easy winning major international tournaments like the WJC and Olympics because of the way hockey has grown across the world. That number will keep going down and down if Hockey Canada doesn't do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Final score Eskimos 74 Roughriders 5
Rams/Thunder combine team a better choice to play the Eskimos with legit chance for winning.

Riders suck! as does the CFL

Anonymous said...

The CFL is quickly becoming an afterthought to many. I think #'s would be down substantially even if the Jays were no longer playing. Do you think there will be 20,000 in the stadium if Toronto wins tonight. Not a chance unless they announce they are going to put game up on Maxtron.

Big game for BC tonight and I bet they don't draw 25 grand and no one will be in Hamilton-------again!

Anonymous said...

Blue Jays aren't going anywhere for a couple of years. The CFL must be cringing!

Anonymous said...

Mike Gibson = disaster

Rams should be calling McAuley now to take over in 2016.

It would be the smartest move made by that team in the last 10 years.

Anonymous said...