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Friday, January 15, 2016


Welcome to the usual set of Friday thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they are in no particular order.

-- WOW!! It is safe to say January 14, 2016 will go down as a bellweather moment in the Chris Jones era. If he didn't know how the Rider Nation can be infuriated with just one move and go completely off their rocker, he did at about 3:17---two minutes after the release came out stating John Chick and Weston Dressler had been released.  I didn't like the writing on the wall for Chick after he stated during a Sportscage visit this month that he hadn't spoken with Jones, but I will admit I was floored to see WD7 get his walking papers. I don't know what type of season Dressler would have had if Darian Durant were throwing him the football, but it would have been a lot better than what he had and he still just about 1000 yards receiving. Dressler has a lot left in his tank as far as I'm concerned, but his salary and I hate to say it, but his size had a lot to do with it. I'm not going to speak for Chris Jones, but he likes big receivers and Weston while tough is not big and obviously doesn't fit into what Jones has planned for this team.

Like the rest of this province, I am a huge Weston Dressler fan. How can you not be? The guy just gets the job done and is as tough as can be. You can't replace a player of his calibre, but Jones and company will try. As tough as these moves are, they are moves that have to be made to improve a 3-15 football team. If you had your choice between keeping Chick and Dressler and going 3-15 again, what would you take? I think the answer to that one is clear. I don't like it, but I understand it and I accept it. Many of you will as well, but it may take some longer than others.  The bottom line is we fall in love with players as fans, but the game is a business and sometimes that business does some things we don't like.  John Chick and Weston Dressler are no longer Riders (but they could be at a cheaper price somewhere down the road), but their time in green will not be forgotten and when the time comes, they will be Plaza inductees.

Many are now wondering what is next. Shawn Lemon is apparently part of the Rider plans as he has reportedly signed a deal, but more moves are coming. Do we have to start wondering about Darian Durant's future in green?  I would say right now as I said yesterday on the Cage, I think everything is on the table and nothing should surprise anyone now.

More CFL lower down in today's column!

-- The Canadian dollar is sitting at 70 cents. That is not good news for the NHL, but is it going to mean a return to the last time the dollar sat in such a bad position. Back then, the low dollar meant it was tough for Canadian teams to keep marquee players. I think the overall economic picture of the NHL is a lot brighter now then it was back at that time for the Canadian teams, but how big of an impact will a low loonie have when it comes to companies who have luxury boxes, tickets and other things. Will it slow down talk of Quebec City getting a team back. The question as to how big that impact will be won't likely be felt until we find out what the salary cap will be for next season and how the Canadian teams deal with their big salary players. The same can be said for the CFL as well.  A low dollar won't help when it comes to trying to recruit players north of the border.

-- Naheed Nenshi is certainly getting some ink for basically telling Gary Bettman to stuff it when the idea of proceeding with the massive Calgary NEXT project was suggested by the suddenly scruffy-looking Bettman. There is no way the 890 million dollar project Ken King wants is going to happen, but at the end of the day, there will somehow be a new rink for the Flames to play hockey in.  King needs to scale back his project and find another location that is more suitable. He may also have to scrap plans for a new football stadium as well. That would reduce the price and perhaps make the cost a little more friendly to a city which continues to reel from the price of oil and the cost of the dollar.

-- Timing certainly is everything. You can't tell me the new Mosaic Stadium would have been built if the idea to do it came now instead of when it did. The same can be said for Edmonton's new rink. The timing was right to get those facilities up and built and the benefits will be felt for a long time.

-- Could Duron Carter end up back in the CFL? After what happened yesterday in Riderville, is there any chance of him wearing green. My spidey senses say no to both,

-- Could Alabama quarterback Jake Coker be a CFL'er. I don't know if Carter comes back to the CFL, but I think Coker could have a nice career here if an NFL team doesn't take a flyer on him. Who has his rights?

-- Now that Paul Lapolice and Mike Benavides have coaching jobs, who replaces them on TSN? That is a segment the network needs to continue. Could we see Tom Higgins on "the panel"?

-- The New York Yankees have very quietly assembled the best 7th, 8th and 9th inning bullpen in the American League if not the majors. They may be heading back to the playoffs sooner than you think. I would rather have that pen than what Toronto has and that includes Drew Storen who to me is no better than what Casey Janssen was. Time will tell!

-- Is there a better player in the WHL right now than Regina's Adam Brooks?

-- The more I watch Russell Wilson, the more I wonder if he is related to Houdini. That play to get Seattle off the canvas in Minnesota where he found a wide-open Tyler Lockett after having the snap get past him is just amazing to watch. 5 guys were bearing down on him and he casually picked up the football, avoided the five and lobbed one to Lockett to send Seattle on their way.

-- It was good to see no idiot threatened physical harm or dumped manure on Blair Walsh's driveway after his unfortunate gaffe to end the Vikings season. Whatever happened to the guy who did that to Paul McCallum way back when?

-- If you get caught jaywalking in Nova Scotia, you could pay a 700 dollar fine. When the bars let out in Halifax, the cops must get writers cramp handing out tickets. That's just a little insane.

-- Speaking of insane, someone texted in during Thursday's Sportscage (of course it was from anonymous) saying I was a corporate suckup because I was siding with Chris Jones with the moves made. A corporate suckup??!! You can call me many things, but a corporate suckup?? I need to see if I can get that put on a business card.

-- That's all I got. Have a great weekend! Oh yeah, GO SEAHAWKS!! I'm taking Seattle, Arizona (in a tight one), the Chiefs and Broncos.