1 - The CFL season can't get here soon enough. We've been through five months of a turbulent off-season and now each day in May seems to take forever to pass. And, this wasn't the greatest week the Saskatchewan Roughriders have ever had. With the retirements of players Bruce Campbell and Tearrius George, coupled with with Tearrius's recent brush with the law, we are longing for better things to discuss.
2 - And the ongoing case of receiver Maurice Price got some gas dumped on it this week as well. As has been reported several times, Saskatchewan acquired the veteran receiver from Ottawa in January and restructured his contract which reportedly included a $30,000 bonus. Then, he retired. Took the money and ran.
It seemed as though the original fire had turned to embers, but on Wednesday Price took to Twitter to tell his side of the story. Price wrote, (and I'll clean it up somewhat to make it readable), "Let's get to the bottom line of this ... If you all think I'm the first or will even be the last, ya'll and the CFL are in for a rude awakening. Maybe, just maybe, if CFL players got paid better, things like this wouldn't be an issue. ESPECIALLY for an international player. Meanwhile, I'm guessing CFL fans didn't know about Chris Jones negotiating the Toronto job (in 2012) behind the Stamps' back. Not mad at him, just saying. But I'll be the bad guy and even go to hell and be a fake and a poser and whatever else for retiring with a few extra dollars in my bank account."
Why bring Chris Jones into it? And it sounds like Maurice Price's side of the story is exactly the same as everybody else's; he figuratively robbed the Saskatchewan Roughriders. All that's missing are the mask and the gun. And it's my belief that somewhere deep down Price's conscience is bothering him and that's why he took to social media.
The fact is this: he got the money for a job he never completed.
Illegal? I don't know. Immoral? Absolutely.
We haven't heard the last of this.
3 - There are some who feel this recent rash of retirements somehow makes the Roughriders look bad. I don't. The naysayers - including some within the Rider Nation - will always find some negative to exploit. To others, Chris Jones has come off very admirably with the way he's handled the whole thing. He's basically shrugged his shoulders and said, "Life goes on". His unflappable demeanour has been impressive.
Again, can May 29 hurry up and get here please?
4 - A Roughrider fan asked me this week if the alleged domestic dispute involving Tearrius George could be chalked up to early stages of C-T-E (the disease caused by repeated head trauma from playing football). He said the situation is eerily reminiscent of a scene from the movie Concussion. Obviously I have no idea if this is the case here, but it's food for thought.
5 - Another shocking retirement belongs to Ben Heenan who continues to shun interviews about the matter. A request by TSN this week was declined by the Heenan camp as well. Hey - that's Ben's right. However if he were to simply hold a news conference and close the book on his football career properly, he can move forward with his life. However what's proper is in the eye of the beholder.
6 - Speaking of Heenan, the annual Dog's Breakfast football fundraiser for the U of S Huskies goes Thursday morning at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. Heenan was drafted #1 overall by the Roughriders at the Dog's Breakfast in 2012. Many Saskatoon football fans have written to ask if I'll be speaking at this year's event just as I have the past two years. (Last year's event with Ronnie Lott was a career highlight). However I was in Saskatoon on behalf of Prairie Mobile Communications who no longer sponsors the event. That's too bad, but it's going to be a superb event regardless.
8 - If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The discussion of video replay in football, hockey, basketball and baseball is getting so nauseating but every time I turn on American sports talk radio or watch the sports networks, that's all they're talking about. So here's my latest take: if video replay and reviews can't be abolished entirely (which is my preference, and have it simply left to the television broadcasts rather than the field of play), then a 90-second time limit should be placed on the actual review in the spotter's booth. If the replay officials can't make a ruling within that time frame, then the call on the field should stand and play shall continue. They're trying to make the games perfect yet for a hundred years they haven't been. The human element is what has made sports so great.
It'll be fantastic to get the referees' actual take on this matter. The way it's going, referees won't be needed at all. For instance, goal judges are nothing but window dressing in hockey nowadays. Take Game 1 of the Washington-Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Playoff series. It was impossible for a goal judge to see if T.J. Oshie's overtime winner was a good goal or not. Video decided the outcome. In the end the right call was made, but the goal judge was useless.
9 - Lo and behold, pundits tabbed Swift Current Broncos legend Joe Sakic as the WHL's #1 all-time player on Wednesday. I'm proud to say that way back in the fall when this contest was announced, I tabbed "Burnaby Joe" as the top candidate. Interestingly enough, Sakic only played two seasons in Swift Current and wasn't a part of their 1989 Memorial Cup championship team. However, he's likely the best I ever saw in the Dub and I've been following since 1979. The two other candidates I suggested were Jarome Iginla and Dennis Sobchuk. It would've been nice to get a vote.
Meanwhile congratulations to former Regina Pats captain Chris Schlenker who was named the WHL's Official of the Year, and Allan Paradice Memorial Award winner at Wednesday's awards luncheon.
Kudos also to former Regina Pat Dryden Hunt - now of the Moose Jaw Warriors - who was named WHL Player of the Year on Wednesday.
10 - "We Love Lou!" The fundraiser for Calgary Flames broadcaster and SportsCage contributor Peter Loubardias has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at the Four Seasons Sports Palace. It's a Pizza/Past night where you can enjoy All-You-Can-Eat for just $25. ALL proceeds are going to Lou as he battles this mystery illness and his medical costs continue to pile up. He hasn't worked (or been paid) for two months and has minimal health coverage due to his contract status. We'll be broadcasting the SportsCage live on 620 CKRM that day from the Four Seasons and the event runs from 5:00-9:00 pm.
If you'd like tickets, contact me through this blog, Facebook, Twitter or email and I'll come to you if you're in Regina. You can also contact Kelly Remple (306-537-2007) or George Yannitos at the Four Seasons. Donations are welcome as well, and broadcasters such as Dave Naylor and Geoff Currier have stepped up in that regard as well as Peter's high school friends from Saskatoon. A bank account is being set up at Conexus Credit Union under the name We Love Lou Fundraiser and donations can be made directly to that. When the details are arranged, I'll pass along the info.
That's what we do in Saskatchewan --- be there for our friends.
THAT'S ALL! TALK TO YOU THIS AFTERNOON FROM ESTEVAN