--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order
--It was about two weeks before 2008 Riders training camp. I was sitting in the Southland Mall Food Court wearing a station jacket when a man came up to me and asked if I worked at a radio station. He then proceeded to tell me about a young man who had worked out at Taylor Field for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and had signed a contract with the team after that workout. He also then proceeded to tell me about the great career at North Dakota Weston Dressler had.
I got back to the office and phoned the Riders, but PR man Ryan Whippler could not tell me anything. Little did we know at that time what type of impact Weston Dressler would have in a Riders uniform.
There are so many memories this blogger has of Dressler during his time in Rider green. One of my favourites is being in the VIP area of Riderville at the 2008 Grey Cup when he showed up after winning the CFL rookie of the year the night before. As he stood over the legions of Rider fans below him, Dressler said he was going down to get a couple of beers. He was told that if he went downstairs he wouldn't get back up because he would be mobbed. He didn't think that would happen. He was wrong! We watched as one fan after another gathered wanting an autograph. One can only imagine what it would have been like today with cellphone cameras. I forget who it was that finally went down and rescued him. He came back and said that was nuts. I looked at him and said you really thought they wouldn't notice.
From day one of the 2008 rookie camp when Head Coach Ken Miller admitted he was special to the final TD, and I believe the final pass caught from Darian Durant, of the 2013 Grey Cup game there were many Dressler moments for Rider fans to enjoy. What's your favourite Dressler moment?
Good luck with life after football Weston. Come back and sign a one-day contract with the Riders so you can retire as a member of the green-and-white and then await your call to both the Plaza and the CFL Hall of Fame because they will come.
Thank you WD7!
--You know when you think about it, if you bought a 7 Dressler jersey, you have gotten good use of it seeing Willie Jefferson had that number and now it belongs to Cody Fajardo. What does Fajardo have in store for us tonight in Montreal? I'm not really sure what to expect in this battle. Part of me feels with Antonio Pipkin in for Vernon Adams that the Alouettes struggle, but another part of me thinks Pipkin can succeed because of the bodies missing on the Riders defence. At the end of the day, I would take Fajardo over Pipkin so go with the Riders.
--With all due apologies to many of the great beat writers in the CFL and Murray McCormick (I keed Murray, I keed!!), there aren't many better than former Winnipeg Sun and current "The Athletic" writer Kirk Penton. His column this week in which he gets little nuggets of information from people across the league is fascinating. Some of the tidbits include:
- Getting a decent draft pick for Zach Collaros was unbelievable. Jeremy O'Day schooled Jim Popp
- We needed a good backup and didn't consider Cody Fajardo and now he is one of the best in the league
- Micah Johnson has hit the wall. He can't make plays. The Riders would have been better off throwing more money at Willie Jefferson
- Referees Al Bradbury and Kim Murphy are getting worse rapidly.
What are your thoughts on these comments from people across the CFL?
--As it stands right now, just over a quarter of the tickets available for the Packers-Raiders pre-season game in Winnipeg have been sold. That game isn't far away. Some continue to hammer on the powers that be at Evraz Place for not having this event here. REAL CEO Tim Reid has said the ticket prices for the game were outrageous especially when you have the Heritage Classic and Garth Brooks coming to town. Oh yeah, the cheapest ticket is 191 dollars. I don't think I have paid that much to see any NFL, NCAA, NHL or MLB game that I've been to and they have been regular season or playoff games. Is the cost more than a ticket for this year's Grey Cup game?
The fact tickets for this game are more expensive than a regular-season game between these two tells you everything you need to know. While some organizations bash Reid for his stance to advance their own agenda, he should be saluted for seeing this wouldn't work as much as he wanted it to. Why embarrass the city and the facility for an event where there was very little appetite. Hey, I would loved to have gone to an NFL pre-season game in my own backyard and so would a lot of others but not at the outrageous price the promoter is calling for. This isn't Week 5 of the season and while the regulars will play, they won't be playing the whole game. Let Winnipeg and the promoter explain why the game was a bust.
--I have no problem with the CFL not playing Sunday games once the NFL season starts. That being said why are playoff games and the Grey Cup still on a Sunday. I still think a 6 PM Eastern start for the Grey Cup on a Saturday night would be huge.
--The Stampeders lost in Hamilton because of poor kick coverage. They lost in Winnipeg because of poor kick coverage. Winnipeg may be sitting in first, but they aren't the best team in the West. If Calgary gets that kick coverage thing sorted out, look out!
--When CFL free agency hits, you will have Chris Streveler, Nick Arbuckle, Jeremiah Masoli and Cody Fajardo as free agents. Am I missing anyone else? Is Vernon Adams Junior a free agent? I am guessing Masoli will command the most interest and money for obvious reasons, but then who would you go after.
--Jays president Mark Shapiro answered his critics on Thursday by saying everything is solved by winning. Congratulations Toronto baseball fans, you have Captain Obvious in charge of your team.
--Rogers Centre is now the 7th oldest ballpark in the majors. Really? Remember when Skydome was state of the art. Oh how times have changed!
--Its great when you can turn on the NFL Network and see pre-season football. Soon the NFL will be going, the Thunder and Rams will be going and NCAA Football will be going as well. I have no problem with that.
--Are you ready for Garth Brooks? If you are going to the show tonight, you should be dry. If going Saturday, the forecast is showing that may not be the case. Yes, I'll be at tomorrow's show. It might be a cool, wet night but it should still be a fantastic night.
--If the Regina Red Sox can polish off Moose Jaw, they will play either Swift Current or Weyburn in Round 2 of the WCBL playoffs. I am thinking Game 1 will probably be Monday. Get yourselves out to Currie Field and cheer this team on.
--Congratulations to James Hillis as he was named to the Regina Sports Hall of Fame. Hillis helped build the mens basketball program at the U of R. The long-time coach of the team now sits back and watches his sons carry on the family name. When you think basketball in this city, you have to think of Hillis and his contributions to the sport.
--Last but not least, congratulations to Jim Hopson. The former Rider president and CEO formally gets inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame this weekend. Its an honour well deserved. Congrats Hoppy!
--That's all I got. Enjoy the weekend!