Monday, November 19, 2012
THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE
IT'S GREY CUP WEEK!:
* We waited 51 weeks to find out who will go head-to-head in the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto and on Sunday we discovered who it will be: Toronto and Calgary. Honestly, who, outside of Calgary, would have predicted that?
* This is a glorious match-up although right after Toronto vanquished Montreal in the East Division Final, Twitter was abuzz about the potential of a Braley Bowl. Fans and media were anticipaing a scandal if Toronto were to face the BC Lions in the Grey Cup since both teams are owned by David Braley. Personally I thought that would be a fantastic story for the 100th Grey Cup but alas, it didn't happen.
* Given our squabbles with the Stampeders over the past couple of years it would be hard to make them our rooting interest in this year's CFL championship however we've found a reason: Kevin Glenn. He's first-class all the way and the story of him returning to Rogers Centre to finish the business he started in 2007 with Winnipeg is remarkable stuff. Plus, if I pull for Calgary, they'll probably lose! That's usually how it goes.
* This is the first Grey Cup appearance for the Argonauts at home since 1982. They're holding a pep rally in downtown Toronto Tuesday evening. It will be interesting to see what the Stamps do for a pep rally before leaving. Remember before the 2010 West Final against Saskatchewan when the Stampeders held a pep rally and only two people showed up? And one was a Rider fan!
* The media is grinning from ear-to-ear that the Argos are in the Grey Cup for the first time since 2004, when they beat BC in Ottawa. As one TSN reporter said to me, "What else can be said about Anthony Calvillo?" The Argos in the Grey Cup in Toronto has put a fantastic spin on the upcoming week.
* Montreal looked "off" in Sunday's East Final to begin with. They had three first half 2-and-outs and their offence was barely on the field. Their defence came to play in the first half however, as the Als led 17-10 at the break. They even had a chance to win it at the end, but for the inexplicable drop by Brian Bratton in the endzone. To hear his explanation of the play, see the post below. You've got to wonder if changes are in store for the Montreal defence.
* The Argos didn't have a 2-and-out until the fourth quarter. And hey, they've made it to the Grey Cup as a 9-9 team!
* There were 50,112 at Olympic Stadium for the Toronto-Montreal game. It begs the question; where were they all year?
* The TSN announcers said near the end of the game "This is why the Argos got Ricky Ray!" I'm sure they're right but it certainly adds to the conspiracy theory about how they got Ricky in the first place. The trade STILL doesn't make sense to me.
* All this is happening while Eric Tillman sits at home in Regina and watches. Some have speculated that he'll never work in the CFL again but I say not-so-fast! People said the exact same thing after his tenure with the Roughriders but eight months later he was running the Eskimos. Never say never.
* Last year we came up with the fictitious Leo Cahill Award for the CFL's GM of the Year. Please tell me this year's three finalists and I'll post a poll to decide the champ. The WHL hands out a trophy like this so why can't the CFL?
* Paul Lapolice looked good while hosting the Coaches Playbook segment on the TSN panel on Sunday. He looked so good that I bet he doesn't really want to leave however I'm sure he'll take the next good coaching job offer.
* Don't know if it was the beautiful backdrop of BC Place Stadium or what, but the TSN panel looked resplendent on Sunday. It looked like an NFL broadcast.
* While we're handing out bouquets, TSN's Sara Orlesky looked great in Rider Green on Sunday's broadcast.
* It seems to be in vogue to bash former Rider quarterback Drew Tate, now of Calgary. Some say the talk of his broken wrist is a smokescreen for a concussion but really, does it matter? And as for him taunting the fans in B.C. Place, our quarterback Darian Durant did the exact same thing in the 2011 Banjo Bowl. Sometimes it's hard to resist.
* One issue we haven't raised on here yet, but should, is the topic of Durant and the Rider offence "scoring too soon" in the last minute of last week's CFL WSF at Calgary, and leaving too much time on the clock. You know that's a ridiculous thought, right? When asked about that on locker room cleanout day, Darian rolled his eyes.
* Rider Pep Band leader Bob Mossing and I discussed this Saturday night at the Pep Band's fundraiser at Applause Dinner Theatre. "You score when you can!" Bob said.
Here are some photos from Saturday's performance at Applause. It's too late to get out and support the Pep Band, but definitely go watch this show over the holidays!!
* Over the weekend the Riders parted ways with assistant coaches Alex Smith (linebackers) and Mike Walker (defensive line). Not sure if production at these positions had anything to do with their departures as much as they were inherited by Corey Chamblin for 2012, and he may want his own guys. Both are great men so in that respect, it's disappointing to see change. After the playoff loss in Calgary I hopped on the team bus and Alex was staring out the window alone. There was something about that scene that made me think he might have been reflecting on his last-ever game with the Riders. Who knows? There are also rumblings that this split was mutual and that Alex is ready for retirement. We may find out after Grey Cup. Remember there's a moratorium on team announcements during Grey Cup week.
* As for the vacant defensive line coaching position, Rider great Scott Schultz said he'd be willing to talk to the Riders about it.
* A more likely candidate is Rider great Bobby Jurasin who's sitting at home in Michigan waiting for a call. You'll remember he told us there are only two football teams he wants to coach: the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Northern Michigan. Now's the time!
* This blog will have you covered for all of Grey Cup week by the way. With our Canadian Press content, Jarrett Rusnak's festival columns and my photo-blogging and reporting from Toronto, we'll have all the coverage you need.
* If you're going to Grey Cup, please get your tickets to Friday's Riderville luncheon at the Westin Bayshore, sponsored by SaskCanola. I'll be the emcee for the event! Call the Rider office at 569-2323 for tickets or visit the Mosaic Stadium ticket office. Here's the poster once again:
* For three years running (2002 Edmonton, 2003 Regina, 2004 Ottawa) yours truly hosted the CFL Cheerleader Competition but for some reason the tradition died in 2005 in Vancouver. What happened?? Can we get it fired up again??? Did I do something wrong?! Likely.
* More heartache for Saskatoon. The Saskatoon Sirens lost the 2012 Canadian Lingerie Bowl to the BC Angels, 25-12, in Abbottsford, BC on Saturday. Here are some photos of the game courtesy of the LFL. Check out the referee in the pic above!
* Of course the Regina Rage lost out to Saskatoon in the semifinals. Here's hoping everybody is back for another kick at it in 2013.
* According to Jim Bender of the Winnipeg Free Press, the BC Lions were the most-searched team on Google in 2012. This, according to a statement from Google itself. Apparently the Blue Bombers were second and the Roughriders third. The least-searched team were the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I say good for BC and Winnipeg! These Google searchers likely already had the Riders bookmarked in their computers anyways ;)
* Happy belated birthday to former Rider Wayne Smith who turned 33 on Saturday.
* Speaking of Rider alumni, "Mr. Furious" Daved Benefield posted on Facebook on Sunday that he's considering dumping Facebook. I've gotta say that if that social media website wasn't so handy for blogging, I'd be with him.
* The Prince Albert Raiders suffered a 6-1 loss at Red Deer on Sunday which was their first loss to an Alberta opponent all season. They were a perfect 7-0 up until Sunday.
* How gratifying for the P.A. Raider Board of Directors (and President Dale "Mucker" McFee) to have followed their hunch and retained GM Bruno Campese, Coach Steve Young and head scout Dale Derkatch this off-season. The Raiders are 15-7-0-1 and in first-place in the WHL's Eastern Conference.
* The Saskatoon Blades won the annual Battle of the Brodskys Friday night by beating the Cougars in Prince George 4-0. The Brodsky family owns both teams. HEY they can do it in the WHL so why not the CFL?
* White City, SK's Ryan Murray of the WHL's Everett Silvertips injured his shoulder in a fall over the weekend and will reportedly miss some time. "It's not good news," Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson told the Columbus Post-Dispatch of their #2 pick. "He's in a lot of pain." Ryan will get an MRI done today or tomorrow.
* Stanley Cup champions Bryan Trottier and Troy Brouwer have been added to the list of talent at the annual Milestone Sportsman's Dinner on Saturday, December 1. The keynote speaker is St. Louis Blues alumni and current colour commentator Kelly Chase. Unfortunately I'm unavailable to emcee the event because I'll be in Dallas but if you want to go, call my brother Lee at 306-436-4515!
* WHEN this NHL lockout ends I hope the TV networks will continue with the spectacular coverage of the CHL and AHL. It's been amazing. Last week's feature on Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters was sensational and he's being compared to Wayne Gretzky by Eric coach Robbie Ftorek.
* Will there ever be another Wayne Gretzky? EVER??
* Who's better dressed: Gary Bettman or Mark Cohon? Bud Selig doesn't enter the equation and UFC President Dana White usually only wears t-shirts and jeans.
* The greatest television show I've seen in weeks was Undercover Boss: Tilted Kilt.
* I've been getting up real early on weekends and surfing Saskjobs.ca. I don't know why. On Saturday I found a part-time job as a Santa at the Southland Mall. That instantly brought back memories of the drunk Santa who was arrested last year at the Cornwall Centre. Remember that? It was AWESOME! It made international news. Here's the story:
* I think that's enough for today. Don't forget Monday Night Football tonight at the Press Box Sports Bar between Chicago and San Francisco in a 7:30 kickoff! You can enjoy a full rib dinner for $7.99 plus the Press Box features the All You Can Eat Soup & Salad lunch special for $7.99.
SEE YOU IN THE CAGE AT 5!