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Friday, November 27, 2015


It is Friday meaning its time for the weekly set of thoughts from my muddled mind, and as always, they come in no particular order:

-- The time has come. Grey Cup 103 is upon us with the Edmonton Eskimos battling the Ottawa REDBLACKS.  I don't think when teams got together for training camp in June that anyone had this matchup happening on Sunday. The Eskimos were in the equation for sure, but how could have anyone seen what was going to happen in Ottawa.  Their rise to prominence in year 2 of existence is the story of the year in what has been a bad year for the CFL on a variety of levels.

While I do believe the Eskimos are the better team, I think Ottawa gets it done.  I don't know why and I have no rhyme or reason when making this pick, but I think they somehow get it done even though they are outmatched just about everywhere except one thing. They have the experience on their side as guys like Henry Burris, Greg Ellingson, Keith Shologan and Zack Evans have been to the big game while the Eskimos feature a roster of players that mainly haven't been on this stage.  I don't know how the REDBLACKS do it, but I say they do and I will say they do it by a score of 29-21 with Burris being named the MOP, Would that be enough for Burris to call it a career?  I can't see that happening. If he does, there is a spot at TSN waiting for him.

-- There is a lot of talk about Greg Ellingson's TD on 2nd and 25 to win the Eastern final and how it is a play that will go down as one of the greatest in CFL history. Whoa, whoa, whoa!  As great a play as that was by both Ellingson and Burris, if Edmonton wins it all Sunday night, that play means as much as Jose Bautista's homer against Texas in the deciding game of the American League Divisional Series and that is nothing. All it did was get you a little more time. Take nothing away from the play because it was fantastic and it was perhaps the biggest play in the short history of the REDBLACKS, but it doesn't mean a lot if Ottawa doesn't win, It gives you something to talk about, but it didn't get you what you wanted.

-- If the CFL is going to refer to non-imports as "nationals" now, don't you think it is dumb to still have a Top Canadian award, Why not call it the Top National? Here's a better idea, just go back to calling players who aren't imports either non-imports or Canadians.

-- Congrats to Henry Burris on being named the M-O-P. Some can argue the award would have gone to Zach Collaros had he not gotten hurt, but there is no denying the numbers the 40 year old put up. He deserves it.

-- Was it really just two years ago we were still celebrating the Riders win over Hamilton in the 2013 Grey Cup. The L-P's Rob Vanstone wrote a column this week asking if the cost was worth it after what was experienced in Riderville this season, I say absolutely. I also say this season would have seen the team make the playoffs if Darian Durant and Shea Emry do not get hurt in the opening half of the season. Would they have been playing on Sunday? NO! Would Corey Chamblin and Brendan Taman still have their jobs. YES!!---at least for now. Championships are special and they don't come easy. When that chance is there, you have to take it and hope everything falls into place. The euphoria of that night for Rider Nation is one I don't think many would give up if someone was to tell them what would happen two years later.

-- Who exactly is Brock Sunderland? His name is getting more and more press over the last few days regarding the much sought after GM vacancy here. I will be honest when I say I had not heard of him until the Gary Lawless report last weekend. Talk about flying under the radar.

-- I don't know what the bottom line was for the Grey Cup in Vancouver last year, but I do know Regina's 2013 Grey Cup meant over nine million dollars for the football club. It is safe to say the Bombers will turn a tidy profit, but is it a franchise-saving profit. I can't see the Bombers being in need of money because of the TSN deal and the benefits they are getting from Investors Group Field, but the product on the field has been sub-standard and that must be having some kind of impact on their bank account.

-- Johnny Manziel = Idiot. He got help and he still doesn't want to let go of his party-boy image even though it is costing him his NFL football career. The Cleveland Browns make Manziel their starter and this is how he thanks them.  Johnny Football has probably played his last snap in the NFL for quite a while and he may have played his last snap period. A couple of weeks ago, NFL Radio was talking about him and wondering if he would be a quarterback who could end up in the CFL. I think Manziel could be outstanding north of the border if he could understand the game. The problem is I don't think he is mature enough at this time to even give it a shot. Then again, maybe he would be a perfect fit for the Cowboys and they have an opening at QB now.

-- I can't decide if the Eagles or Cowboys had a worse Thanksgiving. Both were absolutely brutal.

-- The Brett Favre/Bart Starr moment was just powerful! Starr is to Green Bay what Ron Lancaster is to Saskatchewan. Legend doesn't even start to describe it.

-- I wonder how Bill Belichick would respond if someone asked him the question of players having sex before the game that is asked at Grey Cup every year. I'd love to see it happen. I am thinking Pete Carroll would love the question. Most coaches are so stone-faced these days and many give cookie-cutter answers. This isn't a question where a cookie cutter answer is given.

-- Week 12 NFL Lock of the Week -- Cardinals over 49ers (yeah, going out on a limb there)
    Week 12 NFL Upset of the Week -- Broncos over Patriots

-- The David Price rumours are flying, One day it is said he wants to come back to Toronto, the next day you hear he is too expensive for them. It is the same with many other players and teams. I don't know what the Blue Jays can give Price for a maximum deal in their budget, but I would consider it because of the talent that team will possess in 2016.

-- I am guessing it isn't easy being Todd McLellan these days. If it is frustrating to watch the Oilers play, I can't imagine how frustrating it must be coaching them, I think Todd knew going in that he had a major job in front of him, and I think he sees they are close and will be better when Connor McDavid gets back, but the amount of one goal games they are losing is maddening. Of course with the effort they gave in Carolina, the Edmonton Oil Kings might have beaten them, The trade spotlight is now apparently on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I'd be OK with that.

-- Still with the Oilers, I was shocked to hear an assist by Nail Yakupov on Wednesday night was his 100th career point and that he is the leading scorer amongst players taken in the 2012 draft.  I had to go back to see who went in the first round that year and it was the year of the defenceman as guys like Morgan Reilly, Griffin Reinhart, Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot were taken in the first round as were Filip Forsberg, Tomas Hertl and Teuvo Teravainen.

-- It's great to see the NBA coming to Regina with its all-star tour to promote the game that will be in Toronto. There are other leagues and events that could take note of what the "Association" is doing to help grow the game in this country. The event will be here December 3-6 at various spots across the city with some clinics and a lot of other things being held.

--That's all I got. Have a great weekend! Enjoy the game!