Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--We didn't think it would take long for Randy Ambrosie to start making changes in the Canadian Football League and it hasn't. Less than two weeks after presenting the Grey Cup to the Argos, Ambrosie is starting to develop his team. Glen Johnson is out as senior VP as he has "retired". Does this surprise anyone? Ambrosie knows what is what and he knows that one of the main critiques of his league is the officiating and the command center. Those were areas Johnson were in charge of. His job was not easy, but some of the things that we saw on a week-to-week basis especially from the command center were confusing to fans and obviously confusing to Ambrosie. He is starting to make internal change. This is good! This is very good!
--Are you serious June Jones? Do you really think Johnny Manziel could be the greatest player the CFL has ever seen? Do you know Doug Flutie played in this league? Do you know Damon Allen played in this league. If he saw the Riders of past years play, would he think Tino Sunseri was the organization's greatest ever QB. If you watched "Married with Children", do you think Ted McGinley was the greatest actor to ever grace our TV screens.
--The game was good, but the last half of the 4th quarter of Monday Night Football was disgusting. It's no secret the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers don't like one another and that might be part of the reason this game was a Monday niter. While the game came down to a last play field goal, it was the hits delivered by Juju Smith-Schuster and George Iloka that were disgusting and not called for in the game.
To be fair, the peel-back hit by Schuster on Vontaze Burfict was a hit we see in football all the time, but when Schuster then stands over Burfict and poses. ....thats enough. As for Iloka trying to take Antonio Brown's head off in the endzone after a catch, that is just unacceptable. It is as unacceptable in the pros as it is in college, as it is in high school, as it is in minor football. Why? When asked about it after the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shrugged it off and said "Thats AFC North Football". Sorry Ben, its not. It got worse when Brown said he would pay the fine Smith-Schuster would get because of past incidents involving Burfict. Sorry, that's not the way it goes. In this day and age where talk of concussions is so prevalent and the after-effect headshots have on players in later years, what happened Monday has to be categorized as "dirty football" and not AFC North Football. I'm all for hard-hitting, physical games, but the plays we saw late Monday have to go. How do you patrol it? The players certainly want no part of policing themselves by continuing to act in such reckless fashion.
The NCAA will kick guys out of a game if it happens. If it happens in the 4th quarter of a game, I believe they are forced to miss the first half of the next game. Should the NFL just start kicking guys out instead of flagging them 15 yards? They eject players if they receive two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in a game. Should it just be one? There will be a lot of talk about what happened Monday at some point when league heads convene. How they react will be the important question.
--Week 14 NFL Lock of The Week -- Cowboys over Giants
Week 14 NFL Upset Of The Week -- Panthers over Vikings
--Seattle has an arena deal, and now it looks as if they will have a team. That didn't take long! Can hockey thrive in the Emerald City? If its done right, it can. Will the expansion model if they are given a team resemble that of Vegas? I am thinking there are some teams seeing the success the Golden Knights have had and are saying wait a minute. I don't want another team being good instantaneously. If Seattle does get in, can we please cap the NHL at 32 teams. It doesn't need anymore. Sorry Houston, sorry Kansas City, sorry Quebec City. Having 32 teams puts you with the NFL. They don't need any more teams and either do you.
If Seattle is getting the NHL, please get the NBA back too. Seattle deserves a return of the Sonics!
--I would be shocked if we weren't watching Sam Steel with the Maple Leaf on his chest at this year's World Juniors in a few weeks time. The Pats forward is one of the top junior hockey players in the country so his invite Wednesday to the selection camp should be a precursor to him being on the team. I would think Brett Howden and Tyler Steenburgen will also make the squad. It sounds as if the defensive pairings may basically already be set which may make it tough for Josh Mahura, but never say never. A strong camp could mean two Pats on the team. Question that came from Thursday's Sportscage. Is the World Juniors still must-watch TV for you? The playoffs and finals definitely are for me, but missing a preliminary round game isn't the end of the world, unless of course its against the US.
--If there is one WHL game on the schedule that you need to go to, the Teddy Bear Toss game is a good one. I don't know who thought of this promotion first, but it is one a lot of teams are doing now as we lead up to Christmas. It is a sight to behold when the bears come flying down onto the ice. The game itself at the Brandt Centre should be pretty good as well with the Kelowna Rockets coming in. While there is a lot of talk about Moose Jaw or Swift Current representing the WHL at the Memorial Cup, I wouldn't discount the Rockets. They have three guys going to the World Junior camp in Cal Foote, Dillon Dube and Shaunavon's Kole Lind. They are a good hockey team and they will be a tough out in the Western Conference.
That's all I got. Have a great weekend!