Friday, June 30, 2017
SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT
- Rider Nation, are you ready! The days of watching your favourite football team at an antiquated facility are over. Welcome to your new home!
A new chapter in the long and storied history of the franchise will begin July 1, and what a night it should be. It will be made even better if the Green & White can make sure that the history books show the first Rider game in the place was a victory over Winnipeg. Hey, if the Rams could beat the Huskies in the first-ever event at the place last October, the Riders can do the same right?
- Rider president and CEO Craig Reynolds has publicly stated Saturday is one of the most important days in the history of the franchise because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He is right! It is a day that can't go down as a Bombers win. Things can change from one week to another, and we haven't seen Winnipeg yet, but I do believe after watching the narrow loss to Montreal that the green-and-white can rebound and even their record.
Does that make Saturday night a must-win? Any game in the CFL should be treated as a must-win, but in this case, it is imperative for Saskatchewan to walk off the field with a 1-1 record. I've got them winning this one from anywhere between 5-9 points.
- I think the NFL had thought Vince Young had gone away, but he came back and he came back with guns a blazin'. I think it is safe to say some of the words Young had about wanting to stay in the CFL may have been false as it appears he wanted to perhaps use the Green & White as a stepping stone back to the NFL which is a league he think fails him. Reaction to the article has been mostly negative when it comes to Young with a lot of people saying he needs to look in the mirror. It may be safe to say we have seen the last of Vince because I just can't see him trying to keep the comeback alive, but who knows.
What a tremendous job by all involved for these pieces that will draw people to the northeast commons of the stadium which is right where you turn in off of Elphinstone. Some are upset over the fact Ron Lancaster and George Reed aren't being honoured in some fashion, but I am told that honour is coming. I don't know if it will be a statue of 23 handing off to 34, but if it is, I hope we also have something to document Dave Ridgway's famous kick in the 1989 Grey Cup, Gene Makowsky holding the Grey Cup aloft in 2007 and once his days as a CFL'er are over, Darian Durant holding the trophy high in 2013. They are the most iconic moments in this franchise's history. We don't need a Junior Mertile whiffing on Adarius Bowman though.
- Sportscage Insider Arash Madani was openly opining on what Canadian venue has the best atmosphere while visiting with Rod and myself this week. While Madani had the atmosphere at Taylor Field on his top 5, I have to think that atmopshere will be surpassed with the new stadium. I think the gathering places both at the statue and fan walls along with Confederation Park will make Rider game day an even more hallowed experience. If this team is winning, it may rival and surpass everything this country has seen including playoff hockey in Edmonton, awinter Saturday night in Montreal at the Bell Centre or a Friday night at the Hungarian Club for High Impact Wrestling. OK, perhaps I exaggerated on that final one just a little.
- I will talk more about Week 2 in the CFL once all four games have been played, but it is safe to say the best rivalry in the game right now is the one between Ottawa and Calgary. The last three games between the two have had it all. When do they play again? Oh yeah, it may not be until next year unless there is a Grey Cup rematch. I hate back-to-back games against the same team in the CFL except for Labour Day weekend. Who had the great idea of putting the Stamps and REDBLACKS against one another in the first two weeks. They could be done with one another for the rest of the season and if they aren't, they won't see each other again until late November barring a crossover. I don't like it, and I don't think I'm alone.
- If they only had 13,000 for a game in Toronto against Hamilton, what will the Argos get for a visit from BC tonight. Is it safe to say under 10-grand? Under 8? I don't know what you do to get people in the GTA interested in the Argos again, but if you can get almost 27 thousand on a rainy night to watch TFC while the Blue Jays are playing at home, you should be getting that for Argo games as well. Yes. it is easier said than done, but the move to BMO has to start paying dividends for this club. If not, how much longer will they have?
- RIP to Dave Semenko. As a life-long fan of the Oilers, I was shocked and stunned to get up Thursday morning and learn of Semenko's passing after a short battle with cancer. Dave won many fights during his career in an Edmonton uniform, but he couldn't win this one. While the numbers of Gretzky, Messier, Coffey and Fuhr hang in the Rogers Place rafters, all will tell you the play of number 27 was a big reason for those first two Stanley Cups. He truly was a gentle giant, and in the lone time I met the man, he was as warm and as good a guy as could be with many a story.
- The news surrounding the Oilers was much better Wednesday when we learned Connor McDavid is poised to sign an eight year contract extension worth 13 1/4 million US on Wednesday. As legendary Edmonton sportswriter Terry Jones says, it is a deal that should have Oiler fans doing cartwheels from West Edmonton Mall to Jasper Avenue and beyond. Not only will it mean McDavid will be around for 11 years in an Edmonton uniform which should translate to a Cup or two, but it is also a deal that some thought wouldn't happen as McDavid is taking the maximum. Some Oiler fans worry about what it will mean once Leon Draisiatl gets paid, but many are saying if Pittsburgh can do it with Crosby and Malkin and Chicago has done it with Kane and Toews, that Edmonton can do it with McDavid and Draisaitl.
- Congratulations to Adam Brooks. Do we really expect he won't be playing Saturday nights on our TV in the near future. The Leafs love the former Pats captain and if he can take his game to the next level with the Toronto Marlies next year, there is no reason to think Brooks won't be skating alongside Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and others by the 2018-19 season. Many here will be pulling for last year's captain and why shouldn't they be.
- Congratulations to another former Pat Jordan Weal. He signed a two year contract with the Flyers on Thursday night. It finally appears as if Weal is getting the chance he wasn't getting at the NHL level for whatever reason. He made the most of a late-season stint with Philly and should be a player to watch next season. Could he be a late round pick in your hockey draft? Speaking of drafts, NFL Radio has been talking about upcoming fantasy drafts. Training camps haven't even started yet!! Settle down! It shows you just how big fantasy sports is in Murica, and in some places Canada as well.
- With all apologies to TSN and Sportsnet, I won't be glued to my TV on Canada Day watching Free Agent Frenzy or whatever they are calling it this year. I am sure my phone will be going off constantly telling me this player has gone here and that player has gone there. It will be interesting to see if Chris Kunitz leaves Pittsburgh though. Kunitz, who has won three Stanleys in Pittsburgh, is someone contending teams would love to have on their roster because of his playoff pedigree. How much are they willing to pay though and for how long. It is said Kunitz could be lured back to Western Canada as there is interest from the Flames, Jets and Oilers. If one of those three get him, they will be better.
- Yes. it is Canada's 150th birthday tomorrow. Would it be safe to assume in those 150 years, our greatest sports moment is Paul Henderson's goal in 1972. If it isn't that, is it the Olympic win in Vancouver or Salt Lake City. Does Joe Carter's homer off Mitch Williams even get into the discussion?
- That's all I got. Have a great week.