Thursday, June 30, 2016
SCRUFFY'S GAME DAY THIS 'N THAT
-- What do I expect on the Taylor Field turf tonight? The answer is I don't know! The Argos really disappointed me in Week 1. Ricky Ray did not look crisp, the Argos defence did not look good. The Riders come off an 0-2 pre-season where Darian Durant didn't play a lot and we aren't sure what the defence is going to look like. It's a completely different set of starters from what left the field last year. I think the Riders can win this game, and I think Durant can have a big game as he was on the verge of having one last year in the season opener before getting hurt after being away for a long time. It comes natural for DD. Whatever team plays smarter football will likely come out with the win. I give Toronto the slight advantage simply for the fact they have a game under their belt. Remember though, that prediction comes from a guy who went 0-4 in opening week play. Let's just say it should be more entertaining tonight than it was much of last year.
-- If the Bombers put in a less than stellar effort against Calgary, will they start pushing the panic button in Winnipeg? If Calgary loses the home opener to the Bombers and falls to 0-2, will they start pushing the panic button in Cowtown?
-- TSN's Chris Cuthbert sent out a tremendous tweet this week after word came down who would be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Cuthbert said it is time to start recognizing teams like Team Canada 72, the 1980 U-S Olympic Hockey Team and the 77 Habs. I couldn't agree more. I still think its a joke Paul Henderson isn't in the Hall when he scored the biggest goal in Canadian hockey history, but now the whole team can be (and should be) recognized.
-- After a quiet draft when it came to trades, the NHL world exploded Wednesday afternoon with three big announcements in a short time. Taylor Hall going to New Jersey for Adam Larsson is definitely a deal that short-term goes to the Devils as New Jersey gets a forward who can be top 15-20 in scoring, but who does he have to play with? Edmonton clears out cap space to presumably get Milan Lucic on Friday. There was no room on the left side and it became evident when word came out Lucic to Edmonton was apparently going to happen. A big salary had to be moved and this was the one. If Lucic was a right winger, Jordan Eberle was likely gone. I like the deal and will like it more after the Lucic deal is done. If Lucic doesn't come, this is bad, very, very bad! In the end, GM Peter Chiarelli knew he had to give up value to get what he needed and he has done so. This isn't a trade that can be judged immediately, but it is one that will be remembered by Edmonton hockey fans when they see if he sinks or swims. By the way, Chiarelli is now responsible for trading the top two picks of the 2010 draft as he also sent Tyler Seguin away, albeit for different reasons.
-- The PK Subban trade is a great one----for the Montreal Canadiens. It is no secret I have no time for Subban, I find him to be extremely over-rated. Montreal is giving up a liability on defense for one of the top blueliners in the game. He is a guy who will make it tough to cross the Montreal blueline and he will give up his body to block shot after shot after shot. Look at the resumes of these guys and its no contest. As for Steve Stamkos, is anyone really surprised by this? Give some props to Steve Yzerman for keeping Stamkos and not giving in to the trade demands of Jonathan Drouin. He has some cap-work to do though. Yakupov and a 3rd for Hedman? Yes, I'm joking!
-- The announcement Ron MacLean is back as host of Hockey Night in Canada has been met with a resounding yes by many including myself. The question now is where did George Stromboulopoulos go wrong? Was it just a bad fit right from the start? Was it a case of whoever replaced MacLean was doomed for failure because of the respect and admiration Canadians have for Ron or was it something else. The move to get MacLean back in the host's chair is a smart one, and while some have wondered about Glenn Healy getting the hook, I applaud that move too as he was just too grating for me. Don't be surprised to see Healy with another job very soon whether it be with TSN or MSNBC. I don't think the changes are over yet either. What happens now may be minor, but Rogers has to do something and they have started in that process.
-- Back to football, and it would appear as if Josiah St. John will be making his way to Riderville soon. Rod Pedersen was the first to inform Rider Nation and the CFL universe that the number one draft pick in this year's draft and the team had come to an agreement. I believe it was Rod in training camp who said chances are this will drag on until the start of the season and then he will be here. Technically, he is a week late in that assessment, but it does come on the eve of the season opener. How long will it take for St. John to get up to speed with the offence? Don't expect him on the field for a few weeks.
-- Hasn't been a good week for England. First it was Brexit and then it was leaving the European Championships getting beat by Iceland. C'mon, did you even know Iceland had a soccer program? I am guessing many of you would say no! Seeing that defeat and the words of extreme angst that followed from the Brits was priceless. There were several classic lines. I've said it once and I'll say it again. I would love to see North American football and hockey announcers steal some lines from their British counterparts. It would be outstanding!
-- Has there been any buzz about the upcoming Olympics? All I am hearing is this athlete isn't going and that athlete isn't going, but there has been no publicity about these games and those who are going. Shouldn't the hype machine be going?
-- That's all I got. Have a great Canada Day weekend! Don't let the Riders spoil it for you if they lose.