--It didn't take long once the Saskatchewan Roughriders announced its Plaza of Honour inductees for 2018. No one was raising an eyebrow at the fact Jim Hopson was one of the two going in because of his service to the football club both on and off the field, but many including this blogger were left shaking their head because once again Kerry Joseph had been omitted.
Nothing against the many who are in the Plaza. They have all contributed to the history of this team in one manner or another, but so has Kerry Joseph. With all due apologies to the selection committee, it is time you took your heads out of your you know what and put him in.
KJ was not only a tremendous ambassador to the football club during his time here, but he was named the league's most outstanding player and he is one of only four quarterbacks to guide the team to a Grey Cup. To say he wasn't here long enough is ludicrous especially when he did more for this team than Rhett Dawson who only played for two years and was inducted. That isn't a shot at Dawson either who was one of the most prolific pass-catchers we have seen in green-and-white. There is a level of hypocrisy here, and it has been brought on by the group making the decisions.
The press release announcing the induction of Hopson and John Terry states the club has inducted 127 individuals who have made major contributions to the proud tradition of the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club. Kerry Joseph hasn't done that? He wasn't here long enough yet another player who also wasn't here long enough was inducted. Cmon guys! You are better than that. This he had to have played so long with the team is farcial. If he made a major contribution to the proud tradition of the Riders than officially make him one of the all-time greats.
If the Riders were to win the GC for the next three years with Zach Collaros at the helm and Collaros left for whatever reason after that 3rd year, are you really going to say he doesn't meet the criteria because he wasn't here long enough. It would seem as if yes you would.
Right this wrong when it comes time to who gets in in 2019.
--From one quarterback who has worn 4 and done great things for the Riders to another quarterback who wears 4 and does great things for the Rams. I couldn't have been happier to learn Friday Noah Picton had signed with Toronto. About an hour before finding out, I had heard he was going to Ottawa. Say what you will about Noah, but he deserves an opportunity at a pro camp. He has faced obstacles throughout his football career and he has met them.
Getting to this level is no different. Chances are high he comes back to finish off his university career with the Rams---one that will likely end up seeing him as the most prolific passer in the history of Canadian University Football. Noah has made the most of every chance he has gotten so I wouldn't be surprised to see him impress the Argos and Marc Trestman. If he can show enough, he just might come back to Regina for that final season as property of Toronto and get a legitimate opportunity to be a CFL'er in 2019. It won't be easy, but that will come as no surprise to Picton.
--The Everett Silvertips and the Swift Current Broncos are embroiled in a highly entertaining WHL Final. Too bad, the fans of the league aren't able to see it. As was discussed on the Sportscage Wednesday, there are many to blame for that including SHAW who decided to axe its sports programming. That decision prevented people in Western Canada from seeing Canada West Football and the WHL, but wait a minute, Canada West found a way to get its games on and showcase the product. They found the budget, they found the advertisers. The WHL didn't.
You can't tell me you can't sell the WHL final. You just can't. If the league couldn't bring the games into our living room on TV, then open up the WHL Live feature and give us the final games for free on the website. The WHL needs to showcase its product especially at this time of year.
--So where are we on Alex Ovechkin? There is no doubt the Russian will go down as one of the greatest goal-scorers in the history of the NHL and perhaps the best we've seen in the last 40 years. While a great goal-scorer, he has taken his fair share of criticism for not taking the Washington Capitals far in the playoffs.
Ovie has now beaten Sidney Crosby in a series and will play in his first Eastern Conference Final. There seems to be a groundswell of support for him. Are we rooting for him to now get his hands on the Stanley Cup to cement his legacy. If he were a Canadian player, you could say absolutely much the way many were cheering so hard for Colorado to win hockey's holy grail so Raymond Bourque could get his name on the Cup.
If Bourque hadn't won, would it have diminished his career. He is still a Hall-of-Famer as Ovechkin will be once his days are over. While I would like to see the Capitals win the Cup because of the Saskatchewan connections (Trotz, Mahoney, Stephenson), I am not rooting for them just because of the Great 8.
--Did the Winnipeg Jets win Game 7 or did Pekka Rinne lose it for the Nashville Predators? What a Patrick Lalime-like effort by the Preds tender who didn't even last until the midway mark of the first period before being chased. Give Winnipeg all the credit for moving on and winning three games of the series in Nashville in a series that resembled the Pats-Swift Current first round playoff matchup as the two teams alternated wins throughout the best-of-seven. If Winnipeg was wild before, imagine what it will be like Saturday night. Those in the US will get to see the whiteout first hand as the game will be on NBC. By the way, how good does GM Kevin Cheveldayoff look by making that trade for Paul Stastny.
--As an Oilers fan, I am intrigued by the debate on both sides of whether or not the Oilers should trade the #10 pick in the NHL draft. Some are saying they need to trade down, others are saying they need to trade up. Others say keep the pick. There's no doubt the Oilers were one of the biggest disappointments in the NHL this season. They arguably might have been the biggest altthough Ottawa may have a firm stake in that claim.
They have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisiatl and.....and......and. Well, one thing they need is a puck-moving defenceman and while he will likely be available, I can't see Erik Karlsson wearing Edmonton colours considering the $$$$ he gets. There are some options out there. The names of Rasmus Ristolainen (Buffalo), Justin Faulk (Carolina), Colin Miller (Vegas) and Colton Parayko (St. Louis) have been mentioned. Parayko is one that interests me seeing St. Louis doesn't have a first round pick this year. There are a lot of good defencemen in this draft---guys like Ty Smith, Noah Dobson and Quinn Hughes. One of those three is likely there at 10. Does GM Peter Chiarelli take one of those guys and let them develop or does he get a defenceman that is NHL ready who can contribute now? I am leaning towards the latter, but if it also means giving up a roster player than I don't know. I guess it all depends who that player is.
--Where are we on the Toronto Raptors? I don't think it matters if you are a hard-core fan of the NBA or a casual one, there is no denying the Raptors had a lot of championship talk surround them this year after a season in which they finished first in the East and had the second best record in the regular season. The playoffs are a different animal as we all know and you have to adapt. Once again, the Raptors didn't as you painfully saw if you endured the entire four game sweep.
As one person texted me hours after their Game 4 defeat, the Raptors are the Moose Jaw Warriors of the NBA. That's cold! A team that had no problems going through the 82 game season had problems once Game 83 hit. They need to get playoff tough. They are more like the San Jose Sharks of the mid-to-late 2000's.
Who takes the fall? It looks like Dwayne Casey may not be back, and I am guessing if they can find a way to get rid of some big contracts that Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka may not be back. Someone said the best thing for the Raptors would be for Lebron James to move to the Western Conference. That would actually be the worst thing for them as it would mean no changes to a team that is desperate need of change.
--The WMBL sent out a tweet Wednesday night saying the start of the regular season is three weeks away. That means many a night at Currie Field watching the Red Sox. If the weather co-operates, it is always a great night at Currie watching baseball.
--Sportscage's Jim Lang told us this week he doesn't like ketchup on his hotdog. What?
That's all I got. Have a great weekend!