-- I'm not really sure how to take the news coming out of the CFL about expanding video review. If what TSN's Gary Lawless is reporting is correct, the rules committee is going to get together in Toronto next week to discuss things. The big item on the agenda is adding a second video official who would be able to discuss penalties and other things that can't be challenged. I think this will add to games even though others seem to feel different.
Lets imagine this scenario....it is the season opening game between the Eskimos and Ottawa, Mike Reilly is under shotgun barking out the signals as the receivers move to the line of scrimmage. Reilly drops back and zips a 25 yard pass to Adarius Bowman. FIRST DOWN!!! Wait a minute, the crews are huddling together and now the head referee is going to talk to Jason Maas to tell him the play won't count because Bowman was offside as declared by the referee upstairs. That conversation won't be a short one. Maas will want an explanation and he will have words with the stripes. It will take time. If we have this on a constant basis, the game will take forever to play. Is this what the league wants?
They also want to add to what coaches can challenge with things like no yards, illegal contact on a receiver and offensive pass interference being eligible for coaches to throw the flag. The amount of challenges doesn't change, but the amount of things you can challenge possibly goes up. When is enough enough? I think the league is once again opening themselves up for a lot of negativity, and it comes at a time where they need to engage the fans, and not alienate them. I hope I'm wrong with what I think is going to happen, but I just think there is more bad than good to this idea. Time will tell. Perhaps the bigger news out of all of this is it took Lawless to tell us the rules committee was going to have a sit-down because god knows the CFL wasn't going to tell you. ?????
-- The Tim Hortons Brier which starts Saturday in Ottawa might be the best one curling fans in this country have ever seen. The roster is stacked with the likes of Jim Cotter, Brad Jacobs, Kevin Koe, Glenn Howard, Brad Gushue, Pat Simmons, J-M Menard and Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock. It is almost impossible to determine who will come out, much less who the playoff teams will be, because of the field which has been assembled. You have six former champs in the field! Some very good teams will be on the outside looking in come playoff time. It will be one marquee game after another and it will probably be better than the field assembled for the Worlds.
-- The NHL is into its stretch drive. For fans of the Oilers, Jets, Leafs, Canucks and Flames, it also means we are into the final days of watching our team play until next October as the playoffs won't be happening. It means that instead of focusing on the hunt for the Stanley Cup, we will be focusing on the draft lottery. It is something in Edmonton that should be declared a national holiday. I digress. With the Oilers floundering yet again this season, an article was written saying the NHL should simply prevent Edmonton from having the number one choice if they should get it. In the words of John Frenzy "How dumb can you be?".
The league would never do something stupid by alienating one team no matter how bad they have been. Gary Bettman isn't that stupid. The thing is the Oilers aren't tanking, like Buffalo did last year and like Toronto is doing this year. Tanking is the way some front offices believe is the way to eventually succeed, but it looks bad on the league. The NHL won't do anything about it (including preventing a team from selecting #1), but should they? Here are two ideas to prevent tanking and have teams play it out to the end.
1. Do what you did after the lockout when Sidney Crosby was available. All teams with first round picks go into the Bingo machine and out come the balls. The first one gets pick 30 and so on, and so on until we get to number 1. What if the Stanley Cup champs end up having the last ball come out and they pick 1. My answer---so be it! This might end the day of teams trading first round draft picks away, but it would be something which would engage all 30 fan bases.
2. Take your playoff teams and seed them as you normally would, and give the #1 pick to the team that just failed to make the playoffs. If you look at the standings at the end of play Wednesday night, you have Philly at 69 followed by Colorado and Carolina at 68 and then New Jersey and Ottawa so give those teams the first 5 picks with the worst team picking at 16. It would prevent tanking, and would give some kind of reward for a team that couldn't quite get there.
-- Winners and losers at the NHL trade deadline. The winners were Chicago and Florida. They have made some nice additions for the playoff push. The losers were Vancouver and the Wild. The Canucks couldn't find a buyer for either Dan Hamhuis or Radim Vrbata while the Wild didn't do anything of substance as they try and fight off a Colorado team battling them for a playoff spot. While the Avalanche acquired some assets, the Wild didn't hoping what they have is good enough.
-- Where would Jaromir Jagr be when it comes to points if he had played his entire career in the NHL and not tried his luck in the KHL. He won't be in the Gretzky stratosphere, but one has to think he would be at the 2-thousand point mark.
-- The Oilers are 3-0 since the Justin Schultz trade to Pittsburgh!!
--- Can the Pats catch Moose Jaw for 3rd in the East? They are only five back with two to play against the Warriors, and Moose Jaw doesn't have an easy sked to finish things off.
-- Should be a great weekend of basketball at the University when the #10 ranked Calgary Dinos come in to take on the #5 ranked University of Regina. These two had a great matchup in Calgary a couple of weeks ago with each team winning once with Calgary's coming in overtime. It all starts at 7. Meanwhile, congrats to the mens team as they walked into Kamloops and beat Thompson Rivers 100-94 thanks to 29 from Jonathan Tull and 24 from Alex Igual. A win tonight or Saturday and they are off to the Canada West final four.
-- That's all I got. Have a great weekend!