Friday, May 10, 2019
This And That
--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.
--I don't think anyone was surprised to hear Argos quarterback Ricky Ray call it a career on Wednesday. It was something we were waiting for since finding out he suffered a broken neck early in the 2018 season. The question now is where does the 39-year-old rank when it comes to all-time CFL greats. You can't put him in the same breath as Doug Flutie and Warren Moon, but was he better than Anthony Calvillo or Damon Allen? Rider fans, was he greater than Ronnie? Four Grey Cups, but surprisingly no Most Outstanding Player awards. He also has thrown the most Grey Cup touchdown passes at 9. I thought that was a mistake when you consider the appearances of guys like Calvillo, Flutie and Moon, but nope!
The debate is one of those great ones to have with everyone having a different answer as to why or why not?
When the game was on the line, you didn't want Ray under center as he more often than not got the job done. All Rider fans have to do is remember the last drive of the 2017 East Final. On a 3rd and I believe 7 or 8, Ray threaded the needle with a pass to James Wilder that got the first down leading to the game-winning touchdown preventing the Riders from going to the Grey Cup.
He is a first ballot Canadian Football Hall of Famer but in an age where many great QB's were under center, where does he rank? He's top 10, but is he top 5? If it comes to someone who is classy and humble, he may be number 1.
--Solomon Elimimian is a Rider! I didn't know if the team had the $$$$ to get him. They obviously did, but will it come at the price of someone else. I have no idea. What I do know is the defense became a lot stronger on Thursday. That's a great pick-up by Jeremy O'Day. Elimimian can still play the game at a high level. Now if we can just get a solid backup QB who may have to become the starter if Zach Collaros goes down.
--I have to admit I am surprised the Riders couldn't find a taker for Tyler Crapigna. I also think the team should have had a competition for the kickers job. As good as Brett Lauther was last year, Crapigna was no slouch in his time here. A competition between the two would have been good. This puts a lot of expectations on Lauther's shoulders---or should I say kicking foot. Let's hope what we saw last year continues. There is no indication to say it won't, but one never knows.
--Nothing but best wishes and prayers for Dan Clark. The guy is first-class. It sounds as if he escaped one big-time and was very lucky. Get better big man!
--Wouldn't the Brad Marchand-Kyle Bukauskas story that erupted after Boston's Game 6 win over Columbus been silenced had it not for been Bukauskas asking Marchand before Game 2 if he got his skate sharpened after stomping on Cam Atkinson's stick. That question was not needed and Marchand was choked. Choked enough that he felt he had to embarrass Bukauskas on national TV the way he interpreted Bukauskas doing that to him before Game 2.
All the Bruins had to do was tell Hockey Night Marchand did not wish to speak to Bukauskas again or Hockey Night saying talk to any member of the Bruins but Marchand. Neither did and you get what you get. That being said, what Marchand did after the game in post-game media sessions was uncalled for.
--With Boston playing Carolina in the East final, does this mean its The Jerk vs The Jerks?
--Are we ready for the Saskatchewan Rattlers? The Canadian Elite Basketball League team started play last night with a two point loss at home in the inaugural game for the new league. I don't know if the Rattlers can duplicate what the Rush have done in Saskatoon, but it would be great if they could. Basketball in this province is getting better and better and if the Rattlers can help grow the sport more, it would be great! The question now is where do we find some Rattlers merchandise in Regina?
--The Vladimir Guerrero Junior hype has died off hasn't it? Is it safe to say his debut has not gone the way many thought it would? The kid is going to be good, but you have to wonder if all the publicity he got affected him. Bottom line is let Vladdy breathe and be himself. Allow that to happen and he will be fine.
--Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez are hitting homers on a routine basis for the Cubs. No complaints here.
--Sports can be so funny when you have games on back-to-back nights. Game 3 of the WHL Final saw PA blow the doors off of Vancouver as they led 7-0 after 20 minutes and coasted to an 8-2 win. Less than 24 hours later, the teams were back at it in Game 4 and the Raiders had to hold on to preserve a 1-0 win. Game 5 is tonight. I don't see this series coming back to the Art Hauser Centre. The Raiders have outscored the Giants 13-2 in the last three games with two of the games ending in shutouts.
--I forgot to mention this in my Monday column, but a sincere congratulations to Saskatoon Star-Phoenix sportswriter Kevin Mitchell who was recognized last weekend for all the great work he does by being named the national newspaper journalist and sportswriter of the year. Its well deserved. The work he did and the stories he told on the Humboldt Broncos bus crash were second to none. A story he wrote on the town of Carrot River that lost four young football players in an accident was also one of brilliance. Saskatchewan is lucky to have Kevin. Very lucky!
--After someone (who will remain nameless despite the fact he should be outed) told me he puts ketchup on his steak, I shot him a look of confusion and anger and went to Twitter (@scruffyregina) to ask if this is acceptable or not. As expected, the responses were great and most of them were of the same opinion of me which is NO! The best steak is one that is not "sauced" up. Why would anyone put ketchup on a steak?
--When Kevin Lowe was in charge of the Oilers, he had an alumni rolodex that was seemingly used when the team needed someone in the front office. Lowe was replaced by Bob Nicholson, but did the Oilers rolodex simply get replaced by a Hockey Canada rolodex. I am all for the hiring of Ken Holland, but the Hockey Canada ties that the two have are a little worrisome. I am interested to see who the head coach of the hockey team is. I hope Glen Gulutzan gets a chance, but Todd Nelson, Jay Woodcroft and Trent Yawney deserve a shot too. While Dave Tippett's name is being mentioned, I just don't think he is the right guy and that's not a shot against Tippett. Woodcroft would be the easy choice considering what he has done in Bakersfield with many of those players like Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and Cooper Marody ready to take the next step.
--Goodbye and thank you to Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor. There aren't many Seahawks of note left from that Super Bowl team that throttled Denver. I'll have to ask to Rob Vanstone what the final score in that game was again when I see him next. Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner may be the only two of real significance that are still there. Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas are all gone just to name a few. They are all Seahawks royalty.
--The Raptors and Sixers will go seven. Kawhi Leonard will need to bring his "A" game to the table because no other Toronto player is really stepping it up in this series. Game 7 needs a solid performance from Kyle Lowry and at least one other. In the end, Milwaukee beats whatever team wins Sunday.
--If you can, treat Mom right on Sunday!
Have a great weekend!!