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Friday, January 26, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

SportsCage contributor and LastWordOnSpots.com writer Brendan McGuire drops in on this blog to provide a 10 Things column!

1 – NHL STILL BORING: As someone who grew up on a farm playing hockey in a small town on the prairies, it still bothers me to see how uninteresting the NHL has become. Scoring might be up this season to just under 6 goals per game but not nearly enough. They averaged 9.5 goals per game when they started the NHL 100 years ago and it jumped back up to 8.5 goals per game during the scintillating era a la Gretzky and Lemieux in the 1980s. Jacques Lemaire ruined a great thing with his neutral zone trap of a Stanley Cup win with the New Jersey Devils in 1995 and the copy-cat league has never fully recovered. They could fix this problem with my 3-step approach, but explaining that would take up far too much space than I’m allowed here.

2 – WILDER RIGHT, ARGOS WRONG: Nothing bothers me more than some old, rich football executive telling a star player to suck it up and play for less than he’s worth. Argos GM Jim Popp is reportedly pulling down roughly half a million dollars/season to find players. James Wilder Jr. is due to make $56,000 Canadian next year to be the running back of the Toronto Argonauts. He plans to sit out and work construction instead. A ploy by he and his agent to pry more cash out of the Argos? Probably. But can anyone honestly say his contributions to the Argo Grey Cup this past November wouldn’t warrant a hefty raise? I say “PAY THE MAN”! Offer him $150 k per year over the next two seasons. That way, he gets his money and the Argos/CFL keep a stud talent from the NFL for at least 2 more years.

3 – XFL RELAUNCH OFFERS NOTHING NEW: Vince McMahon plans to spend the next 2 years “listening” beforebringing back the XFL in 2020. “Listening” is always a great quality in any business leader, politician or coach. But it’s not enough. You need a vision. His introductory speech didn’t offer one. Look for this edition of the XFL to get a lot of attention, Vince to flush a lot of money down the drain and to fail just like the first one did.

4 – MANZIEL MANIA A DUD: Johnny Manziel’s social media posts and ultimatums through his agent have done little to inspire confidence from this scribe that he’s put his past behind him and is ready for a fresh start. I was excited about the media hype this project would create at first, but have since downgraded my expectations with this to match Matt Nichols, Bob Irving and Dave Campbell in the thought of “Sign, don’t sign. Let’s just move on already.”

5 –TOO MANY ARE WRITING OFF THE ALOUETTES: CFL fans/analysts everywhere are already writing off the Montreal Alouettes and their management team lead by GM Kavis Reed. The Wetenhall family are still very smart business people and dad (owner, Bob) still loves the Alouettes. He’s allowing sons Andrew and Bob Jr. to figure this one out on their own. They are both very savvy business people in their own right and will get this project figured out eventually.

6 – NHL HAS TOO MUCH PARITY: You always want some level of parity. The late 90’s were a disaster for both the NHL and Major League Baseball. Small market teams had to choose between sucking or going broke trying to compete with the New York Yankees and Detroit Red Wings of the world. Nobody wants to go back to that. But seriously, an expansion team like the Vegas Golden Knights fighting for the league’s best record heading into the all-star break? That’s embarrassing.

7 – BELICHICK DESERVES MORE RESPECT: The New England Patriots get a raw deal from the mainstream fans/media over such transgressions as recording other team’s signals (Don Matthews did it all the time) and deflating footballs(seriously). As a Denver Bronco fan, it pains me to admit the Patriots are the greatest dynasty of the salary cap era in any sport, let alone greatest football dynasty of the Super Bowl era. Coach Bill deserves his due for thriving in a dual coach-GM role which has eaten so many others alive.

8 – NFL SHOULD BUILD THEIR OWN STADIUMS: I’ve made many a trek to NFL games including the old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis before they tore it down a few years ago to build US Bank Stadium on the same site which will host Super Bowl 52 in a just over a week. It’s a beautiful facility and very unique but I just can’t bring myself to perpetuate the use of more than a half billion dollars of taxpayer money to make the NFL richer than it already is. It’s a 14-billion-dollar industry and yet continues to bend regular joe’s over with the threat of losing their franchise. This kind of behavior is what forces other municipalities/state or provincial governments to do the same just to stay competitive. It’s partly why the Montreal Expos, Quebec Nordiques and Vancouver Grizzlies no longer exist. We don’t put up with nearly as much of that BS as they do down south which makes me proud to be Canadian.

9 – WENTZ NOT GETTING ENOUGH KUDOS: I feel for Carson Wentz because the one chance for the North Dakota kid to play in a Super Bowl within an 8-hour drive from his parents’ home was snatched away from him by that knee injury late in the season. Not only has he not sulked, but he has even hobbled down to the sideline to help calm Nick Foles down so he performs. Wentz has even cracked a smile or 2 while at it. Could you imagine Tom Brady doing it if he were in the same spot? I can’t see it.

10 – DURON CARTER NEEDS BETTER MARKETING FROM THE CFL: With NFL players making so much more than CFL players these days, it really was refreshing to see Duron Carter re-sign for another year with the Roughriders. Through his hall of fame/highly viewed morning talkshow host dad and YouTube highlight catches, Duron has an impressive following from the American sports fan already. When tailgating before a Rams-Eagles game back in December (the same game Carson Wentz suffered said injury), I was asked about Duron by no less than two separate groups of NFL fans. The CFL could do itself a real favour by embracing Duron’s quirks and celebrating his superb athletic ability.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should be a regular. You're right on 10 for 10. Rod's never done that, he's always got something wonky in there, sometimes several.

Anonymous said...

Great points on the marketing. There is nothing more frustrating than a company that advertises but has no message. To be fair, Ambrosie is probably still working through all that as his first off season as Commish continues. The CFL has a great story to tell and if they would start doing so it will pay off in spades.

Gunderson’s Yorkton

Anonymous said...

It hurts to admit, but nhl hockey is boring!!

Players are now too “professional “. The game has matured from the Gretzky era. Same thing happened to mma.

Playoffs are still exciting if you’re in a draft or have a team you like doing well.

I still love whl and world juniors hockey. That’s pure fun to watch!!

Anonymous said...

Duron Carter isn't doing anyone a favour by resigning. He had no offers that made any sense from an NFL team. If he did he would no longer be a Rider.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Love it, NHL is boring!

Jack Upshall said...

NHL - My interest in the NHL has also diminished. Thought I was the only one so good to know I am not alone. BTW when the measure of consecutive-passes-completed is two compared to past eras when 6 or 7 happened at least once a game, need I say more?

Anonymous said...

BANG ON!!! The NHL is boring it is to constrictive to creativity.


The CFL does need to market it's stars NATION WIDE and have the Promotions appeal to the younger generation.

Nice Read today

Anonymous said...

Belichick is a good coach/GM but that does not alter the fact that the Patriots have been caught cheating. If you have so much confidence in your team, why do you feel the need to cheat. They would almost undoubtedly have won without cheating and had more respect. And yes, I think that was cheating. Just because Don Matthews did it doesn't make it right; only means that he cheated too. And dont bother telling me that if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying.
The CFL should promote Duron Carter? Sorry but he promotes himself unashamedly. For the CFL to promote him would just make them look foolish when Carter implodes. And at some point, he will. The CFL has a good game. Promote that.

Tim said...

My vote is to make Brendan a much more regular contributor as well! I agree with almost every point he makes, and find his thoughts refreshing. On the one point about Montreal, I am also sure the owners will figure it out eventually, but I don't believe that having Kavis Reed in charge will get them there.

Anonymous said...


NHL boring? Where ya been? This league has so many exciting offensive players. McDavid, Crosby, Ovie, Laine, Matthews, McKinnon, Tavares etc. etc. etc. Do I need to continue?

The NHL was in a bad spot in the early 2000's, but they opened the game up and now it is a much better product.

Boring? PFFFTT

Anonymous said...

Duron should be promoted all over the league!!!! I loved him in Montreal! He’s excited and puts it all out there. That takes guts.

To date,I don’t think he’s done anything off the field other than be a great guy in the community.

Vince’s new league is marketing an image of no arrests etc. Going for the good guy image. DC wotbe a big hit.

NHL is boring. Watch a game live or on tv. If stars like Mcdavid, Mathews Tavares touch the puck ten times for a total of Ten seconds, and score one goal, all you hear about is how wonderful they are.

In the good old days players made some great plays and ragged the puck a bit.

I watched Subban play live in Phoenix. He was a joy to watch. Made plays tried moves etc!!! But of course he was traded for playing like that. How dare he not just pass the puck within 2 seconds.

Anonymous said...

Some no name hack could save the NHL with his three step approach. Get a life!

Anonymous said...


If Mr. McGuire believes Kavis Reed will turn things around in Montreal, it is obvious Mr. McGuire is not the CFL "expert" he comes off as. To quote John Lynch. "HOW DUMB CAN YA BE!"

Anonymous said...

I've stated before, when the stanley cup series are over the sports talk carries on to what each team must do for next year and it last all spring and summer long. I turn on a sport radio and it's hockey. When it does start for the new year I don't even care. This is the first year of my life where I have not watched a single game yet and don't see it happening soon. I am saturated.

Anonymous said...

So far, Vegas looks like an actual team of players that compliment each other well. It's evident George McPhee and Gerard Gallant assembled the best possible squad with the pieces that were available to them. That's a testament to their experience...which is what you'd want for an expansion franchise. That's not an embarrassment, that's a success story.

In my opinion, the embarrassment might be in Edmonton. What can you say about a franchise that stacks No. 1 picks like cordwood and is home to the planet's best player...but on an annual basis is either out of the playoffs by Christmas or scrambling for the #8 spot in the postseason.

Anonymous said...

Wilder has a contract (ie. an agreement enforceable by law) to play for the Argos for $56K next year. Yes, it's peanuts and yes, the Argos risk losing the next free agent if they are the only team who insists on holding players to contracts and they get a rep with the players as being sticky on these things; the good players would sign elsewhere first. But if all the teams take the Argo approach, players can choose to sign a contract or not. The players really have little leverage and the Argos are well within their rights to let him go work construction.

This 'pay me for last year' is what the older crowd is referring to when they talk about our entitled youth. I have no idea who this new contributor is, but I hope he wouldn't take this approach with his employer. It will likely go quite poorly and he would get a chance to find out exactly what he is worth on the open market (or in Wilder's case, after working construction for a year).

Anonymous said...


To the guy who talks about sport talk radio and hockey. HAVE YOU LISTENED TO SPORTTALK RADIO IN SASKATCHEWAN? RIDERS RIDERS AND MORE RIDERS. Its too much at times! You can't have it both ways dude!

Darren Muller said...

Great article and hope to read more in the future. Yes the NHL is awful to watch now. Can't complete three passes in a row. Being fast doesn't make it better. Replay after every goal and many other issues have made it very hard to be entertained. I watch the 3 on 3. It's pretty good for the most part. Extend it to 10 mins and eliminate the shootout. You're pretty much spot on the other 9 as well. A refreshing read. Cheers!!

Bryan said...

Great read Brendan.
Love the photo, like you were giving kudos to Vlad for his HOF achievement. Would have liked to see him go into the Hall as an Expo but we can appreciate his reasoning. Had great years with both the Expos and the Angels. First Angels player into the Hall (and the last Expo). Although we can always hope for a rebirth.

I can not agree with you on Carter. Although he has not done anything outlandishly offensive during his tenure with the Riders, thank goodness, the potential is ever present. Regardless, the CFL needs to promote players that are skillful AND have some class. The league tries to suggest this is good family entertainment. Tough to promote a "Jimmy, look at me" type of player. Tough for a parent or a coach to say to a young player who may be very skilled, act like Duron. He needs to take the advice of Momma Getzlaf, "act like you have been there before" when he scores TD or better yet, makes a first down. Carter is not a role model in any stretch of the imagination.

Look forward to another post.

Anonymous said...

Not only does Carter not have the class to act like he has been there before but also has the audacity to taunt some pretty good players. His latest prank is to taunt TJ Heath to play boundary against or retire. Get real! Heath will play wherever his coach wants him. Carter should let his on field play talk for him and take his mouth out of gear. The CFL should promote its good games and classy talented players, perhaps like Mike Reilly or Andrew Harris or Brad Sinopoli. Players that do not need the publicity to make them feel good about themselves but are hard working, consistent players.