1 - You likely came here looking for CFL news. The fact is there's plenty going on in the Canadian Football League this week, whatwith the series of Regional Combines leading up to the National E-Camp in Toronto this weekend. More on that in a minute. The CFL Rules Committee meetings began on Wednesday in Toronto but it's a case of, "If a tree falls in the forest ...". Thank God for TSN's Gary Lawless, because otherwise we wouldn't even know the meetings are taking place.
Without Gary, we would have no idea what they're even talking about.
TSN's Darren Dreger reports on the NHL's proposed rule changes ad nauseous. Then we can call debate them as fans. But in the CFL, it's a cone of silence.
Oh well, what do I know.
Clearly the CFL is getting an abundance of coverage from coast-to-coast.
2 - The proposed rule changes aren't as salacious as the nine which were adopted last year, and this time around CFL football types are reportedly discussing adding another video replay official, increasing the types of calls or non-calls which coaches can challenge and debating "peel-back blocks". Definition: When an offensive player blocks a defensive player who is running towards his own end zone (from the side or behind).
This type of block below the waste has been illegal outside the tackle box in the NFL since 2005. On March 20th 2013 the NFL voted to make peel-back blocks below the waste illegal inside the tackle box as well, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
Last year, then-Roughriders GM Brendan Taman was gracious enough to come on 620 CKRM's SportsCage from outside the meeting room to explain the discussions. It's interesting to note that Taman revealed Saskatchewan voted against many of those rule changes at that time.
Riders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones is representing Saskatchewan this year and we're hoping to get someone on the air Thursday from Toronto to discuss the meetings.
3 - It seems rather elementary but apparently it needs an explanation. Some Rider Priders wondered this week why 45-year old kicker Paul McCallum would sign a one-day contract with B.C. in order to retire as a Lion even though he spent the majority of his career with Saskatchewan. Well, Paul's from Vancouver, began his career there, won two Grey Cups with B.C. and still lives there all-the-while prospering in the real estate field. Throw in the fact his two tenures with the Roughriders didn't end too well (to put it mildly) and you start to see why he's hanging it up in orange. Next stop, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Sigh. You have to wonder how many times Chris Jones and John Murphy have to address this? Jones said he's not here to win a popularity contest but rather to win games and Murphy has stated they inherited a nightmare. Perhaps those weren't his exact words, but you get the picture.
We can't go around and around on this on the radio or on this blog every day. Everybody simply has to sit tight and watch how it all unfolds. Jones has earned as much, judging by his record. And he's nowhere near as ruthless as many think.
And to clarify, I have no opinion one way or the other on the Chick/Dressler/Getzlaf thing. Some fans wrote on Facebook flaming me for chastizing the Jones Regime when I did nothing of the sort.
5 - The football types in the CFL are scratching their heads as to why there isn't more fan and media interest in the combines they're running this week. It's understandable, because evaluating players is these guys' bread and butter. However as I've explained to them, it's tough to get excited about following players we've generally never heard of run in what amounts to a track meet. The NFL Network generates hours upon hours of coverage of the NFL Combine but they've got days and days of airtime to fill. And even watching that becomes eye-glazing after awhile. If you want to argue that fans should be more aware of CIS football players, well that's a much larger issue which needs to be addressed at another time.
6 - In the meantime, people seem giddy to predict the order of finish in the CFL West Division and it's only the first week of March! What are we going to talk about in May? Frankly I haven't put much thought into it but for starters it seems tough to expect the Blue Bombers to make the playoffs in 2016. Perhaps a crossover berth? One thing with Winnipeg is for certain; they can't blame Joe Mack anymore. This regime has had sufficient time to turn the franchise around and their fans' hopes are sky-high.
7 - Of all the teams vying to land the #1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery and the right to draft Scottsdale's Auston Mathews, I'm pulling for the Columbus Blue Jackets the most. (The Coyotes aside because they're not that low in the standings). Maple Leafs fans have been howling about my statement but Toronto will be fine - financially - even if they don't get #1. As for Columbus, it's hard to imagine they still have a fanbase at all given the fact they've never won a playoff series in their fifteen seasons. Mathews would give them the shot-in-the-arm they require. As for the Oilers, conspiracy theorists are suggesting the NHL is trying to make it tougher for them to get the #1 pick in the lottery again. If they end up with it again this June, that might be the worst thing for the NHL.
8 - CKRM football analyst and former Roughrider Luc Mullinder and I agreed on one thing this week; the best place to take the family out for supper in South Regina is the Southland Mall food court. It's got something for everybody's tastes. I even saw Regina Pats career games-played leader Frank Kovacs there Wednesday evening.
9 - Saskatchewan's Steven Laycock is tied for sixth-place through Wednesday at the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa with a mountain to climb on Thursday with games against Ottawa and Alberta. Not many expected Saskatchewan to end our Brier drought of 35 years and because of that, no one seems that disappointed this week. With Pat Simmons, Ben Hebert and Braeden Moskowy curling elsewhere, there appears to be no end in sight. How deflating.
10 - These "Letters To My Younger Self" seem to be all the rage and the latest is from Doug Gilmour at Derek Jeter's website ThePlayersTribune.com. Bryan Trottier wrote a similar letter to his younger self on that website months ago to considerable fanfare. They're cool to read but not worth the time they took to write. People were telling us these things when we were that young, but we weren't ready to listen till years later. Some people will never be ready to listen.
11 - There's a really interesting feature in the Coyotes Yearbook asking players what their favourite app is on their smartphone. Some listed TSN or Instagram while many mentioned video games. My favourite app - the one I absolutely can't live without - is The Score however I spend the most time on Facebook. What's your favourite app?
12 - It's going to be a very exciting weekend. The Pats host the Warriors Friday night in the Brandt Centre and I'll have the call along with Jeff Odgers across Western Canada on Shaw/Access at 7:00 pm. Then on Saturday night at Regina's Orr Centre we'll be live across Canada on The Fight Network with Prestige Fight Club's MMA Queen City Coronation. I'll be performing the role of Bruce Buffer. That show is already sold out so tune in if you can!
THAT'S IT! SEE YOU IN THE CAGE AT 4:00 PM