Wednesday, October 11, 2017
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK FOR CAPITAL FORD SERVICE
2 - GET YOUR TICKETS: Having said all that, surprisingly there are still tickets remaining for Friday night's game against the RedBlacks (some as low as $25). The 2007 Grey Cup champions will be honoured at the game and that includes an autograph session in the Party In The Park before kickoff. The first 20,000 fans will receive Pepsi light sticks as well. Get your tickets at www.riderville.com or the Mosaic Stadium Box Office.
3 - THE SCHEDULE: A popular question around here this week is, "Who scheduled an 8:00 pm kickoff on a Friday night in October?" Who knows, but it's likely the worst possible game time for out-of-town Rider fans. Still, Friday's forecast calls for 7 degrees Celsius and clear skies. Bundle up, and know that it could be far worse! The Riders are 3-point favourites.
4 - HOLY CRAPIGNA: Riders' 3rd-year kicker Tyler Crapigna has quietly put together a nice string of 10 consecutive field goals made which stretches back to Week 10. The McMaster product hasn't missed a field goal since August 25 when the Riders trounced the Eskimos 54-31 in Edmonton. Can we finally put to rest any criticism over the 2015 Trade Deadline deal which sent Jerome Messam to Calgary for Crapigna? Messam was a pending free agent and likely wasn't coming back anyway so the trade (engineered by Jeremy O'Day) has turned out to be a steal.
5 - DEAD DEADLINE: The 2017 CFL Trade Deadline turned out to be a major dud. Thank God TSN didn't deliver a CFL Trade Deadline Special because the panel would've been left twiddling their thumbs all day. The only trade of note came 10 days ago when Hamilton dealt RB C.J. Gable to Edmonton well in advance of the deadline. The immediate inclination is to scrap the Trade Deadline altogether but we have to remember it wasn't put in place to please the fans and media. It's a strictly "Football Operations" edict.
6 - ARGO ATTENDANCE: We are loathe to discuss the pathetic crowds for Toronto Argonauts home games because it's become a cliche, yet people still bring it up. They announced 15,102 for last Saturday's Riders-Argos game at BMO Field but that was clearly an inflated number. What more can the Argos do? They have stable ownership, a fantastic stadium, a strong Coach/GM combo and a first-place team. And still, crickets. It's their problem - not ours - but Toronto sports fans say the team needs to be marketed far better. TSN's Dan O'Toole yelled over the P.A. system at Saturday's game, "How is this game not soldout?" But again, crickets. I refuse to believe it's hopeless.
By the way the Riders did their part. The team purchased 75 extra tickets for players' families at the Toronto game and Chris Jones personally bought 35 tickets and donated them to Toronto inner city youth so they could witness CFL football for the first time!
7 - BURNING BRIDGES: CFL.ca's Matt Cauz wrote a column this week suggesting the Argos' best hope to sell tickets would be to acquire Canadian quarterback Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, ON. Some Rider fans felt the column adds up to a whole lot of tampering but it's fine if someone in the Toronto media says it. The Argos themselves cannot. However I'm sure the Rider brass is saying, "Hands off". Either way it's adding up to be one of the most intriguing CFL off-seasons in many years. But there's plenty of excitement to be had before that.
8 - #VEGASSTRONG: The highlight of the sports week was the stirring pregame ceremony before Tuesday's Vegas Golden Knights home-opener against the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena. 58 seconds of a moment of silence were observed along with dozens of First Responders being honoured at ice level. Vegas defenceman Deryk Engelland grabbed the mic and delivered a powerful speech to the soldout crowd. Then, the Golden Knights went out and mollywhopped the Coyotes 5-2 to become the first expansion franchise to begin 3-0. There is something very special being built in Vegas.
9 - LOCAL FOOTBALL: Scott MacAulay's Regina Thunder finished the regular season at 5-3 and now face the Huskies in Edmonton in a PFC semifinal Sunday at 1:00 pm. MacAulay told the SportsCage this team is capable of playing in the Canadian Bowl ... Meanwhile Steve Bryce's U of Regina Rams take a 3-2 record into Saturday's date with the Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton. A Rams win could clinch a playoff berth. The crispness in the air at Mosaic Stadium this week has signaled that the most important time of the football year has arrived.
10 - WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE PATS?: It's a question I've heard a lot this week, and it's made me wince. The Queen City Kids fell 6-4 at home to Saskatoon on Wednesday which dropped their record to 3-4-1. They've long dropped out of the CHL Top 10 and seen rivals Swift Current and Moose Jaw take their place which stings even more. However watching Wednesday's game, I realized there's nothing wrong with the Pats. They haven't even played 10 games yet! (Although Coach & GM John Paddock told CKRM on Thursday their performance was "disturbing" and a "lack of respect for the game of hockey") Yes, they have a lot to figure out but you'd be a fool to think John Paddock doesn't have plenty up his sleeve in the months ahead.