Tuesday, November 28, 2017
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK
2 - ON THE MARC: Toronto's 27-24 Grey Cup win over Calgary to cap a 9-month rebuild begs an obvious question: "Is the CFL easy for Marc Trestman?" It sure seems that way. Trestman is flamed south of the border but it seems the NFL has far more moving parts. And how did the Argos win a championship in nine months while it's taken the new Rider regime at least two years? Two words: Ricky Ray.
3 - ARGONOTES: Many say the Argos "got lucky" by finding Jim Popp and Marc Trestman available after free agency last winter but I'm beginning to believe there's no such thing as luck. I've learned you can go great places FAST by living right, working hard, valuing people and being kind. Who knew?
4 - SAVE A HORSE: You're not supposed to take pleasure in others' misfortune but Rider fans are reveling in Calgary's second-straight Grey Cup implosion. This week, Rider fans can be forgiven for that. Maybe that rule doesn't apply to sports. But the Stampeders head home with some big problems, not the least of which is the fact their head coach is 0-2 in Grey Cups. If I'm John Hufnagel, I'm getting to the bottom of what his team is missing during championship week.
5 - THAT IMPRESSED ME MUCH: Shania Twain's halftime show was electrifying and her Twitter trolls should be ignored. The Grey Cup halftime act should always be Canadian and on Sunday, Shania proved why. She's still got the moves, the talent and the charisma. It was all part of a staggeringly successful Grey Cup Week in the nation's capital. She's Still The One.
6 - THE COMMISH: Randy Ambosie continues to have the Midas Touch. However he's going to be met with plenty of resistance if he follows through on the plan to move the regular season up a month. I, for one, am in favour of it. But I don't get the media's agenda to tar and feather Ambrosie when it comes to the concussion issue. HE'S ALUMNI! You think he's not concerned about the players? Meanwhile it doesn't help when Duron Carter and Chad Owens tell a news conference that they wouldn't let their kids play football. The CFL doesn't have a concussion crisis. It has a PR crisis.
7 - HALIFAX: Details are slipping out and it's becoming clear that the CFL will be expanding to Halifax very soon. The two lead forces behind the franchise are former Arizona Coyotes owners Anthony Leblanc and Gary Drummond. I know them both very well and can tell you they're great guys with ample resources. Hopefully they learned from the Arizona fiasco. Meanwhile I'd be surprised if the Schooners group doesn't include Drummond's close friend Carm Carteri in some form of advisory role. I'm already hearing there are some other Regina investors in the ownership group besides Drummond.
8 - AIR CANADA GROUNDED: I learned from CFL agents at Grey Cup that we'll have to wait at least a year until Canadian quarterbacks are classified as "nationals" for the ratio. It's all part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which doesn't expire until after the 2018 season. Had they made this switch this winter, Bridge's free agent stock would've gone through the roof.
9 - QB CAROUSEL: Free agency doesn't open for almost three months but that won't stop the speculation from hitting overdrive. Edmonton's James Franklin is rumoured to be interested in the NFL but the big question is if the NFL will be interested in him with so little film and playing time. Brandon Bridge will be in play and so too may Zach Collaros. For what it's worth, football maven John Lynch told the SportsCage on Monday that he expects Bridge to be the Riders' Week 1 starter in 2018.
10 - GO PATS GO: Rider season is over and it's time to look closely at the Regina Pats. A quick check of the standings has the Pats in a wildcard playoff position at 13-12-2 after an unsuccessful West Coast swing. The fear mongerers are chirping that the Pats could lose the 2018 Memorial Cup, but just stop it. That's never happened in the modern era of the CHL. John Paddock is fond of pulling a rabbit out of his hat and I expect he'll do it again. While the Warriors, Broncos and Wheat Kings aren't assured of a Memorial Cup berth, the Pats ARE. And it's not even December yet.