Friday, April 14, 2017
This And That
Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--I will walk into the Brandt Centre Friday night confident I will be walking out having seen the home team won. I will also walk out wondering if that is the last time I will see the 2016-2017 Regina Pats. The Pats are definitely behind the 8-ball, and while I do think they can win on Friday night, Game 6 in Swift Current could be a different story Give Emmanuel Viveiros and his team credit as they have taken it to the WHL's regular season champs in this series with Jordan Papirny being the Most Outstanding Player. Without Papirny, this series could very well be 3-1 the other way. That is no secret. Going into the Credit Union I-Plex in a must-win situation is no easy task although the Moose Jaw Warriors did it in Round 1. Many have said the Broncos are playing with "house money' and they're right. They have nothing to lose. As for the Pats, I think we all know the answer to that.
I'll be interested to see what the mood is of the Pats faithful who will cram into the Brandt Centre and whether or not they will sit on their hands or get into it much like those in Swift Current did for Games 3 and 4. Regina hockey fans are well known for not being the most lively bunch. It would be nice to see that change from the moment the home team steps on the ice.
--The CFL needs a new commissioner. Jeffrey Orridge is done. In a statement, Orridge said he and the board have differing views on the future of the league. I would love to know what Orridge's vision for the future was and what the board's vision is. With or without Orridge, I'd love to know what the vision for the future of the league is, and I am guessing there are many across the country who share that sentiment.
I just don't know if Orridge was the right guy for the job in the first place. He just didn't seem to grasp the enormity of what was in front of him. He's not to blame for that though. That is the fault of the board who hired him. Did they not see his weaknesses when speaking with him? It seemed to me as if the CFL was a little foreign to him when he assumed office, and it went downhill from there. The unveiling of the new logo and website was an absolute disaster for him, and his head had to have been spinning with all the off-season shenanigans that happened between the 2015 and 16 seasons.
Does Orridge leaving cure what is wrong with the CFL? Absolutely not! What it does do is put the onus squarely on the board to hire someone who is more qualified and more capable to do their bidding for them while taking the league and its reputation to a higher level. You can say what you will, but the bottom line is the game is broken and it needs to be fixed. Attendance is down, TV numbers are down and overall talk of the league----positive talk is down. There is a spot for the CFL in the sporting landscape of this country, and there always will be. Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps the suits take the fans for granted knowing they will come rain or shine. Guess what, that support is eroding.
The board isn't an "Old Boys Club" though. They get it. Guys like Jeff Hunt in Ottawa, the Riders Wayne Morsky and Hamilton's Scott Mitchell are smart enough to see what needs to be done. They just need to formulate a plan, and hire the right person to execute that plan. Who is that person? We will find out, but it has to be someone who is relatively young, has a keen marketing background and a solid business acumen. He has to be someone who can help engage the younger demographic while keeping the older demographic invested. He has to be someone in charge of a product that is entertaining, and not one that has gotten stale for a variety of reasons.
The new person won't be able to sell football in BC and Toronto. That is the job of the Lions and Argos. That new person has to sell the "CFL" though despite the warts it has in all 9 centers. It won't be easy, but it is imperative the board find someone to right the wrong they gave us two years ago by hiring someone who in the end probably should never have come close to a CFL football.
One last thing. Why is Orridge staying until the end of June? Is it a contractual thing? It looks bad to have a new season starting as the commissioner leaves.
-- The Blue Jays are floundering. I didn't think this team was very good coming out of Florida, but I thought they were better than 1-8. Who's kidding who, Milan Lucic has more hits than Russell Martin and others in the last week. It is only 9 games of 162, but Josh Donaldson's nagging calf injury has to be a concern, the lack of offence from Jose Bautista (surprise, surprise) has to be a concern and the fact Kendrys Morales isn't making people forget about Edwin Encarnacion has to be a concern. Again, we aren't even two weeks into the season, but it is a trend the Blue Jays need to reverse and reverse quickly if they want to contend for a 3rd straight year.
--The biggest loser in the "Leafs Make the Playoffs" scenario are the Toronto Raptors. Does anyone really know that the NBA playoffs start Saturday? We did for the last two years when the Raptors were good, and the Leafs weren't. The Raptors aren't as good this year, but they are still a team that is capable of having a solid run. It seems as if everyone has forgotten about them though. They'll be in tough against a Milwaukee team with one of the league's rising stars ( I won't even attempt to spell his name) who is seemingly emerging more and more with each passing week.
--Speaking of the Leafs, they got in thanks to youngsters like Marner and Matthews as did the Oilers behind youngsters like McDavid and Draisaitl. Both teams got up 2-0 in their games, only to lose 3-2 in overtime. Is there a parallel there? Did each team learn a valuable lesson. I guess we will find out in Game 2 of their respective matchups.
--Hands up if you had Tanner Glass scoring the first goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Hands up if you have the likes of Glass, Tom Wilson, Joel Edmondson or Matt Calvert in the hockey draft you were in---not your team, but the entire draft. If you do, you went deeeeep!
--7 NHL teams are in the playoffs this year that weren't last year. It's too bad that couldn't happen in other leagues. Parity and a revolving playoff door are good for a variety of reasons.
--If Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews traded places and put up the same numbers with their teams finishing where they did, would Matthews still be the odds-on choice for rookie of the year. Not a chance! Had the Jets gotten into the playoffs, would Laine have gotten more consideration? Yes, Matthews will be deemed the rookie of the year, but the place of employment shouldn't dictate that. Sadly it does.
--Is this the weekend for Graham DeLaet? The Weyburn product is two strokes off the lead going into the 2nd Round of the Heritage Classic today. DeLaet has had a fine season, and his PGA Tour career is nothing to sneeze at, but he needs to get into the winners circle. His time flirting with the winners circle is over. It is time to stand in there. Let's hope this is the weekend that happens!
--That's all I got. Enjoy the long weekend, don't o-d on chocolate and GO PATS!!