Friday, December 29, 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.
--The last Friday column of 2017. As we look back at what was a solid year in sports, the question is what would go down as the number one Canadian sports story of the year? Is it safe to say that story would be the CFL hiring Randy Ambrosie as commissioner? It was a move which was roundly applauded and it was a move that has paid off handsomely for the league and its fans in the one season he has been in charge.
Tweaking the challenge rule, extinguishing the Art Briles controversy, wheeling out the "Diversity is Strength" campaign, etc. etc. etc. Ambrosie is the fresh air the CFL needed. Not all moves he will make will be popular with all, but his hiring and subsequent moves have to be the Canadian story of the year does it not?
--One thing Ambrosie will decide on soon is whether or not the schedule will be moved up. It is an issue he wants to consult on with everyone from TSN to the teams to the fans. Those who know me, and have read this blog know I am one to keep the schedule the way it is now. Others agree with me and others don't. The main reason being people don't want to sit in the cold to watch a football game. That was evident here in the last couple of games of the regular season when the temperature dipped below zero.
Why is it 80-thousand fans packed into Lambeau Field on December 23rd to watch their Packers play the Vikings on a night where it was minus 12 degrees Celsius at kickoff? The Packers weren't going to the playoffs so it was a nothing game to them. Fast forward to Sunday and the Browns and Bears---two of the worst in the NFL played in Chicago and Soldier Field was sold out on a day where the temperature was about minus 6 at kickoff. Why was the snow game between the Bills and Jets sold out with everyone cheering away? It is because they do what they have to do when the weather gets cold and cheer their favourite football team because it only happens so many times a year. If they can do it south of the border in December, we can do it here in November. As stated, some agree, some don't. It says a lot about the love and passion they have for their team(s) though.
--Week 17 NFL Lock Of The Week -- 49ers over Rams (Rams not dressing Gurley, Goff or Donald)
Week 17 NFL Upset of the Week -- Chiefs over Broncos (how is Denver favoured by 3.5 pts?)
--I know he can now come to the CFL, but I just don't see Johnny Manziel ever playing a down of Canadian football. I think the chances of him being the marquee player for Vince MacMahon's XFL 2.0 are a lot greater because Manziel won't have to answer to anyone and can be the Johnny Football that we know today. He will also be playing a game he is more familiar with. If he does come, I just don't see him lasting. Time will tell! I also don't see him being a Rider especially after the Brandon Bridge signing. The Riders are headed upwards and Manziel would not keep the team on that path. Maybe a year ago, they could have partnered up, but not now.
--Enjoying the World Juniors? Do the people in Buffalo even know its on? The US played Denmark the other night and while it was Denmark, the rink was half empty. It isn't like that when Canada is playing a Latvia, Belarus or Denmark when the tournament is played here. As I have said before, TSN (which does a first-rate job with the event) has made the World Juniors bigger than it actually is. The hype for this tournament seemingly comes from one country and that's it.
As Canada goes for the gold, I feel bad for Pats d-man Josh Mahura. To be one of the final cuts was tough enough, but to be cut again with that second cut coming just hours before the first game of the event had to be crushing for Mahura. He did know what could happen when the call came for him to come back and yes, he could have said thanks, but no thanks knowing this could happen, but he didn't. For that, he should be saluted. It is still a crappy way for his Christmas to be spent though. I think a decision on the health of Dante Fabbro should have been made earlier than it was, but the argument is there you want to field the best team so you wait until the last possible minute to do so. The kid should be commended for handling it as well as he did.
--If the NHL could give us more games like the game Wednesday between the Jets and Oilers that would be fantastic. You couldn't ask for a better hockey game. It was a prime example as to how the game should be played, and how great it is when it is played like that.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend! Stay warm and Happy New Year's. Oh yeah, GO SEAHAWKS!