Friday, January 22, 2016

This and That

Welcome to the usual set of Friday thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they are in no particular order.

  --I hope the University of Regina Rams brought in someone to clean up the clubhouse carpet after Mike Gibson's farewell news conference on Monday afternoon because there was a whole lot of you know what being spewed by the new Eskimos offensive line coach, but then again there was a whole lot of you know what spewed by this guy in the short time he was in Regina. Shortly after he was announced as the Rams head coach, I was told by three people in CFL circles that he would jump at the first gig he could find and he might not even start the season with the Rams. After his debacle in Ottawa, it was obvious that job wasn't coming last year, but when it came he predictably jumped. He states the move was for family, but when you are leaving a place where there is job security for a place where you could be out after one year and you are taking what is reported to be less money in Edmonton than what you were getting here, I say those reasons were pure BS.  Gibson's year in Regina was a joke on several levels from going to Saskjobs to find an offensive co-ordinator (which in truth turned out to be a good hire in Mark McConkey), to his embarrassing display at the end of the first home game against Alberta, to his I don't need Grade 12 comments, to his telling Rod Pedersen on the Sportscage he didn't have good players to his farewell address in which he basically gave those in the room the old double middle fingered salute.  I could go on, but I won't

  As a wise sage told me this week, Gibson was probably put in a no-win position as the person replacing Frank McCrystal and there might be some truth to that. In fact, there is probably a whole lot of truth to that.  After all, Frank didn't replace the legendary Gord Currie as Gerry Zbytnuik coached the Horns for a couple of seasons until Frank took over. The new person won't be the guy replacing Frank, he will be the guy replacing Mike Gibson and that should put that person in a much easier spot as the transitionary period is now over. The key now is hiring the right guy. This program can NOT go through this again. There are people out there, and the favourite would have to be Thunder coach Scott McAulay. He has a great thing going with the Thunder, but he has Ram written all over him. Others can turn this program around, but Scott deserves the first opportunity IF he wants it. For those suggesting Marc Mueller, I think he is firmly entrenched in Calgary with the Stampeders and has no desire to take the job. If this had happened a year ago, the story might have been different. 

 I don't know who will get the job, but I do know this. There is a deep divide between the once-proud Rams and its alumni. A very deep divide. It has something which has worsened what is a bad situation. It has to stop and it has to stop yesterday.  The Rams and their alumni need to work together. There are no ifs, buts or maybes in this scenario. There are problems that exist and both sides need to swallow some pride and start working together to make the Rams what they used to be and that is something Regina can be proud of because right now I don't think that is the case. A reputation needs to be restored. If they can't, the Huskies will continue to be the dominant University program in this province and while that will be considered OK in Saskatoon for obvious reasons, it won't be well-liked here much like the hopefully soon to be forgotten Mike Gibson era which ends with a big fat zero on many levels.  I won't miss him and there are many others who feel the same way I do. As one CFL person texted me Monday morning after hearing the news..."I can't believe Jason (Maas) was that desperate".

 Many will be watching what happens very carefully. The future of the program is at stake!

--The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers aren't wowing anyone right now, but Kelly Hrudey started a debate last weekend on Hockey Night in Canada and some others have jumped on board when it comes to the future of these two teams and are we ready for another Battle of Alberta the way it used to be like.  Hrudey suggests the Flames are in a better spot right now with young players like Dougie Hamilton, TJ Brodie, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett while the Oilers have Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom and Leon Draisaitl. Being an Oilers fan, I am biased, but how can you not put Edmonton ahead on this list when they have the once in a generation player in McDavid. His script has yet to be written and it is a great debate, but I have to lean Edmonton's way on this one. I will say this. All 10 players are going to make a once great rivalry great again.

--The NHL got it right with the John Scott story. It's a crime he is playing in the game, but it would have been a bigger crime if he had not been allowed to play. I've said it once and I will say it again---I hope he has the time of his hockey life in Nashville. I think it would be hilarious if he dropped the mitts against someone like Jaromir Jagr who may need a rest after asking fans not to vote for him because he is too old for 3 on 3 for that long. A "fight" between JJ and Scott would make the weekend. I'd watch the highlights though, because John Scott or no John Scott, I'm not watching the game.

--Where are all those people who said Phil Kessel would score 50 in Pittsburgh this season?

---Saskatchewan lost a legend Thursday with the passing of Sam Richardson. Those who watched him speak at countless dinners in this province know what a character he was. He was maybe a better story-teller than a curler and that is saying a lot because he was a damn good curler from what I've been told. It didn't take him long to walk into a room and have those inside in the palm of his hand. The curling world has lost someone special. RIP Sam!

--I expect Sunday's game between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to be the last head-to-head matchup between the two. In fact, I think if the Broncos lose (which I believe they will) that we will have seen the last of Peyton on the field with his next gig being a talking head on one of the major networks--likely ESPN. Manning has the numbers, but Brady has the titles. Who would you rather have? I'll go with 12.  In the NFC game, I think Arizona is a more complete team than Carolina. I still don't think Carolina is as good as advertised even though they deserved the "W" last week so I am going with the Cardinals.

--Has "The Ginja Ninja" kicked his last ball for the Seattle Seahawks? Jon Ryan is a free agent. Does he want to go back to Seattle? Do the Seahawks want him back. I would think the answer is yes, but who knows. I am guessing he will get some offers. 

 --Canada's greatest athlete died this week as pro wrestler Iron Mike Sharpe passed away at the age of 64. His gig was outstanding! He was maybe not Canada's greatest athlete, but he was Canada's greatest jobber. Then again, he won more matches than Mike Gibson won CIS games. I digress!

--Still with wrestling, the WWE trots out the Royal Rumble on Sunday. It is always entertaining, but I think this year, it will be big-time lame especially if current champ Roman Reigns hangs on to the belt. If you didn't know, Reigns used to play for the Edmonton Eskimos under the name Joe Anoai. It was back in 2008 and he played five games getting nine tackles.
--A lot of heat is being thrown at ex-Riders GM Brendan Taman for the fact Weston Dressler and John Chick were released. However, Rob Vanstone of the Leader-Post makes some great comments in a Wednesday column. The rumpled scribe makes a very good point when he states the blame being thrown Brendan Taman's way is a little unjustified. Taman did his all to get Chick and Dressler back here so they could be a major part of the 2013 Grey Cup victory. Both could have gone elsewhere after returning from the NFL, but Taman made sure they came home. What would you have said if those two had been playing elsewhere for the past couple of seasons? As Chris Jones said the day of the release----it comes down to simple economics!

--You may want to mark April 23 on your calendar if you're a Blue Jays fan or just a baseball fan. Robbie Alomar is the guest speaker for the Regina Red Sox Sportsman Dinner at the Turvey Centre. That is always a great night and I don't see it being any different this year.

--Is the NBA all-star weekend in Toronto now made seeing Kyle Lowry is a starter for the Eastern Conference? It's nice to see the NBA and its fans don't make a joke of their all-star balloting by voting some schlub in that doesn't belong.

--Why is there such a furor over the price of cauliflower. You can't tell me anyone REALLY eats that stuff can you? Why? Broccoli yes, but cauliflower?

--That's all I got. Have yourselves a fantastic weekend!


Anonymous said...

The U of R needs to decide whether they want a competitive football program to represent the U of R and compete for Hardy Cups and Vanier championships. If the Rams braintrust only wants the Rams to exist for the alumni to revel in past junior championships and provide a place for their sons to play CIS football, the program is doomed. The Rams recruiting outside of the progeny of former Rams has been brutal for years and we have seen the results. The alumni speaks of Frank McCrystal as if he didn't have two 0-8 CIS seasons and that somehow always having the Rams on the cusp of mediocrity is something to be celebrated.
Gibson might not have been the best choice, but if you want the top Regina players to stay here, this program needs to change drastically.

Anonymous said...

The UofR football team can turn things around starting with changing their name to the Cougars.
The Rams were a junior football team, get with the bloody program.

Anonymous said...

Well said on the Rams Scruff. I don't know if I agree with everything stated, but Gibson was a disaster. He made McAuley's job very easy this winter when it came to recruiting.

Anonymous said...

There is a little too much chatter on university football these days. Does anyone really care?

Anonymous said...

How exactly do the alumni of this team support the program? They do a lot of bitching and moaning about how things are being run, but I don't see what they are doing. BC and Calgary have deep pockets with their alumni and you see what is happening with those programs. With all the players the Rams have trotted out to the professional level, I would think they wouldn't have a problem with this, but they do. I do agree the Regina Rams have became a shadow of what they used to be, and perhaps the decision to go to the University ranks was a mistake because they weren't as good as they thought, but I also think the past is not helping contribute to the future and the present-day team with sufficient financial support.
If any alumni would like to respond, please do so!

Anonymous said...

Edmonton doesn't deserve a break after winning the lottery, but have we seen the actual team they want to ice this year. It has been one injury after another. It may be too late to make the playoffs now, but if they ever get their stars are playing at once, they will be a good team.

Chris G

Anonymous said...

Having McConkey serve as interim coach is the right move for the Rams. Was he in the mix last year when they hired Gibson?

Other names to consider have to be John Ford at Leboldus (4 HS prov champ'ships) and here's an outside name for you----Mike Thomas from Football Sask. Former Ram is he not?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see more positive comments as we look forward rather than backwards. Lots of talk about who the new head coach of the Rams should be but a good start will be to look at the qualifications when they come out. And from there, only those who actually want the job will apply. Everyone seems to bemoan who didn't get the job last time but if they didn't apply, is it any wonder they weren't picked to be the head coach?

Anonymous said...

The Alumni do lots for the Rams. Sponsorships, fundraisers and the really involved ones are on the Board, where they get to have rocks thrown at them. Sometimes I wonder if Huskies fans don't participate in this blog simply to try and create divides amongst the Rams supporters. I wouldn't put it past any of them given how jealous they are of Regina!!
P.S. I'd put my name to this but it might actually impact my job. They are that petty, vindictive, small minded. Need I say more.

Kevin Baron said...

I am alumni. I broke my back for this team as an alumni member. The current executive has created this gap by the way they have treated the people who volunteer for the program. They took over in the executive and thought they could treat all of those volunteers as employees. Unfortunately, they don't know how to treat employees either. I do a lot of complaining about these guys but I also didn't just sit back and do nothing. I sacrificed countless hours away from my young family outside of the job I was given a pittance of reimbursement for. This program is in trouble unless the current executive leaves.

I also offered more of my time to serve as a member of the board, fully prepared to do more than I already did. I was told I would not be allowed on the board.
-Kevin Baron

Anonymous said...

Frank's time was up. He had to go! The Rams had one HC in his time there and everyone thought there would be so many more because of junior successes.

The culture had to change and the alumni got pissed off because Frank meant the world to those players. I understand that, but a page had to be turned.

Mike Gibson was brought in and yes, the decision by whoever to hire him was an awful one but it was made and the alumni hated it.

Say what you will about Gibson and I think he was a complete clown as well and failed miserably in his one year, but this team does have to get its collective shit together on and off the field or else. Changing the name to Cougars won't do anything to change the culture of that team. Saying it will is just stupidity coming out.


Anonymous said...

Interesting comments from Kevin.

Who is on the board? I know Dan Johnston is the president. but after that I don't know.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I equate Mike Gibson to the stain left in the back of your underwear when you don't wipe properly.

What do you do with your underwear? You throw it in the laundry, wash it and the stain disappears which is exactly what is happening with Gibson.

It was an awful year on a variety of levels. How do I know this you ask? I am a member of the Regina Rams football team.

Anonymous said...

I agree Gibson was a disaster , but also agree with anonymous that I'm sick and tired of hearing anything to do with university ball these last few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, how could anyone be jealous of Regina.

Anonymous said...

What will the Mike Gibson legacy be in the annals of Saskatchewan football?

Anonymous said...

Very Winnipegish Scruffy. Verrrrry Winnipegish indeed!

Kevin Baron said...

Matt. I agree with a lot of what you said. The one issue that needs to be understood is that Frank is gone and everyone was very upset because he played a big part in all of our lives. The most important thing to recognize is that Frank leaving was upsetting but the alumni as a whole were prepared for this eventuality. We moved on and we're ready for a new chapter to begin. Gibson said to me very soon after he took the job that he "badly needed me" and I was going to be "essential" for his plan for the Rams and he was going to find me more money because the amount I was getting was ridiculous (which was never the reason I gave my time to the program anyway). I was upset it wasn't Frank anymore but I moved forward happy to still be involved with an organization that I respected. 4 months later, (after countless hours of off season work) I was asked to leave with no reason given as to why. Actually, screamed at and sworn at and told to get out, and paid nothing for my hours of work. This had absolutely nothing to do with Frank. The only people still focused on Frank are the executive and university. Their hiring process has one requirement. The coach has to be "not Frank". I assume this is why they will not give any alumni a serious look because any alumni will have played under Frank. So it's not the alumni that are hung up on Frank leaving, it's the board and university hung up on their personal feeling toward him. The executive is full of several childish selfish men and ripe with massive conflicts of interest. Those that are the problem need to step down now, even though we know they'll be gone once they're sons are. That will be too late. Step down now and let the team heal.

Gary Chop Bresch said...

I have to back Kevin`s statement up. Everything will come out in the near future. We still back the club and the current players and coaches and we know this fighting needs to stop and stop now. In the best interest of the entire group we require certain people to step aside in order for the club to go forward. Gary Chop Bresch.

Anonymous said...

Chop, LET IT GO!

We know you have an axe to grind with the current executive on the team. In one breath, you say the fighting needs to stop and stop now and then you continue on your witch-hunt with the executive.

You are not helping manners any, you are worsening it.

Perhaps it is you who needs to step aside and let others work what is a very tenuous situation out.

BTW Scruffy, I want to commend you on your thoughts towards Gibson and the Ram program as a whole. Mike was the wrong hire and despite the "positives" being thrown out there about him, the reality is we knew early on that there were problems. They were problems that were not going to go away until he did. His treatment and comments towards many (including you and Michael Ball) was absolutely disgusting.

As you can tell, I work closely with the Rams. I am confident this program can hire someone who will take us back to the glory years, but it will take some work and it will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears from people right from the executive down to volunteers. I have a Rams tattoo on my ass just like many others do and I will never ever waver in my support for the club, but the fighting must stop. If it does, wins will follow and the University and Regina can hopefully celebrate a Vanier Cup in the next decade.

Kevin Baron said...

A witch hunt would imply there is no fault. Everyone needs to be made aware of the facts. The way the executive treats people is the problem. The fighting won't stop until they're gone.

The Rams I knew were all courageous people who were not afraid of anything. Hiding behind anonymity is not us.

Anonymous said...

Scruffy, just reading some of the negativity on this blog and Rod's.

Do you guys sit back and laugh at some of the idiots who come on here to troll the two of you?

NVM, I know both of you and know what the answer is!