Realty One

Titan Auto

Thursday, May 12, 2016



1 - The New Mosaic Stadium is really coming along nicely.  On track for opening August of 2016.

2 - It's going to be real hard (I assume) going to games at the current Mosaic Stadium this season when the Belle-of-the-Ball is right next door, and is on target for its scheduled opening in August.  However, we must soak up Old Mosaic Stadium for all that it is and savour every final second of it during the 2016 season.

I'm told the final game in Mosaic Stadium - Saturday, October 29 vs B.C. - will be fairly similar in feel to the 2013 Grey Cup in which fans didn't leave the stadium until well over an hour after the game.

3 - A patron at least week's sports dinner in Hudson Bay, SK told me the 2013 Grey Cup was "the greatest single experience of his entire life".  He was a retired Sask Power worker in his 60's.  I'd have to say it was for me too, and I've had a multitude of great experiences.

4 - I expect each and every Roughrider home game this season will be sold out, thus making it very easy for Craig Reynolds to afford Chris Jones' salary.  Spending money to make money.  It works.

5 - Many friends and Rider fans have asked this question so I'll just answer it here:  How's my relationship with the Riders right now?  My answer is that it's the working relationship I've always dreamed of having with the football team.  The brief Austin-Tillman Era was really good as well, but this is as good or better.  There are many reasons as to why, but suffice it to say I have no complaints.  Now let's just kickoff training camp already!

6 - TSN's Farhan Lalji reported that Winnipeg and B.C. won the 2016 CFL Draft.  That's like declaring the winner of the Kentucky Derby after the opening furlong.

My assessment is that the Roughriders are - and should be - ecstatic with their Draft.  After holding onto the #1 overall pick (as I predicted they would), they got the best-available player in the Draft in Josaih St. John as well as the #1 prospect in David Onyemata.  My guess is one day Onyemata will be back in the CFL from the NFL because it seems like they always do comeback sooner or later (i.e. Scott Schultz, Austin Collie, Sam Giguere, Dan Federkeil, etc.).  Elie Bouka was the second-best DB in the Draft and the Riders got him as well, and all of this came with only one pick in the opening two rounds.

Since John Murphy is a Canadian talent savante, if he's happy, we should be happy.

Justin "Slam" Dunk
7 - What do we do with Justin Dunk?  The and reporter - and former Guelph Gryphons quarterback -  completely ruined TSN's CFL Draft coverage by Tweeting out the draft picks by as much as five minutes before Canada's Sports Leader got around to announcing them.  It got to the point where, as we were doing our own live Draft show on radio from the Rider locker room, I thought to myself "Why are we even watching TSN?"

One CFL on TSN Insider called it a "complete conflict of interest" that a CFL employee could moonlight for a competing sports network and then break pick, after pick, after pick and make the television rightsholder look so bad.

Is Dunk in trouble?  The last I heard CFL officials were still scrambling to find out how Dunk got all the information so quickly.  Chasing their tails.  And Dunk was smiling like a Cheshire cat.

Frankly, Justin Dunk is the ideal person to be covering the CFL.  He's a millenial with a football background and a flair for how the media works.  He went into CFL Draft Day with a plan and absolutely crushed it while TSN was caught with their pants down.

I loved it.

8 - There would have been a lot more hype around here for the CFL Draft if there was a stud local prospect like Ben Heenan or Brett Jones out of the U of R or U of S programs.  Why wasn't there by the way?

9 - Legendary Roughriders trainer Ivan "Guts" Gutfriend is being honoured tonight in Regina by classmates from the Class of 1969 from the University of Saskatchewan.  They've come from all over the country to celebrate the man who spent 39 wonderful years with Canada's Team.

10 - Awesome to see that the Seattle Thunderbirds avoided a sweep in the WHL Final by dumping Brandon 6-1 last night and will now host Game 5 on Friday with a 3-1 series deficit.

The WHL Final has been a very interesting story -- the Wheat Kings and Thunderbirds shared a charter aircraft which flew from Brandon to Abbottsford, BC earlier this week.  The Wheaties were seated in the back of the aircraft with WHL officials in the middle and the T-Birds in the front.  (They've been doing this in major junior hockey since the 1960's).  Once the plane touched down in BC, the Prince George Cougars' bus was at the airport waiting to pick up the Wheat Kings to drive them down to the Emerald City.

The T-Birds are too good of a team to lie down and this could become a very interesting series.  Plus, it never hurts to see Kelly McCrimmon sweat a bit.  However it's clear Crim made the correct call in turning down the Toronto Maple Leafs' job offer to stay and coach this Brandon team.  Obviously, they're special.

11 - 59-year old Mike Johnston returns to Portland to run the Winterhawks. It was announced Wednesday.  He was dumped by the Pittsburgh Penguins this year, and his replacement Mike Sullivan has guided the Pens into the Stanley Cup's Eastern Conference Finals.

12 - ESPN's Mike Wilbon got tongues wagging in Washington this week when he said the Washington Capitals need to dump Alexander Ovechkin if they plan to go anywhere in the playoffs.

He gets $5-million a year to give opinions like that?  I've been writing that here for at least the past two seasons.

13 - The rumour mill suggests as least these four candidates could be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames:  Ryan Huska, Randy Carlyle, Glen Gulatzan or Darryl Sutter.

14 - Chris Cuthbert is absolutely crushing the Stanley Cup Playoffs on NBCSN throughout the USA.  And to think Sportsnet could have had him when they acquired NHL rights but said, "Thanks but no thanks".

It brings up the question of who's better at calling NHL games:  Chris Cuthbert or Jim Hughson?  That's like comparing Sidney Crosby to Ryan Getzlaf.  Both are impeccable, and Hall of Famers.

15 - Why, why, why do we continously get sucked in?  ESPN's Barry Melrose predicted last fall that the Stanley Cup Final would consist of the New York Rangers and either L.A. or Chicago.  I fell for it hook, line and sinker and that included my Kenaston Playoff Draft sheet.  Now they're all in the playoff ditch and it's down to Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and San Jose/Nashville.  Who saw this coming?  The opinions on these panels are so much gobbledygook and baloney.  Much like a lot of what you read here!

16 - Back to the topic of broadcasters for a second - Sportsnet's Mike Johnston will have a long, distinguished career as a colour commentator.  TSN identified and groomed the former NHL forward, and Sportsnet stole him.  He's about as good as they come.

However there will never be another Harry Neale.