I spent just every day around the Roughriders when Kerry Joseph put up with tough love from his head coach at the time, Kent Austin. The eventual Grey Cup champs from 2007 waited until after training camp before anointing KJ as the starter ahead of backup Marcus Crandell. Everything was under review week-to-week until game 13 when Joseph exploded for a 5-game winning streak and put up fantasy-like numbers.
He was challenged all season long and finally rose to the occasion for the final third of the season. Collaros should be challenged the same way.
2 – MEDIA TOO HARD ON ALOUETTES: Some of the hate for the way Kavis Reed is running the Montreal Alouettes is justified and some of it is getting ridiculous. First, there was a report quoting an anonymous agent saying all free agents would avoid Montreal. So, of course 4 free agent defensive players all signed with the Alouettes within 48 hours.
Matt Ross of 3DownNation came out with a scathing piece on the Als' choice to cut 37-year-old star linebacker Kyries Hebert. Ross may have connections to Hebert through TSN radio and former Alouettes assistant GM Joey Abrahams through multiple interviews since Abrahams was dismissed by the Alouettes a little over a year ago. Sour grapes? Perhaps.
The truth is, the people railing on Kavis for these choices are the same people who would be railing on him for not making moves to get younger and better on defense. He was classy enough to let Hebert keep his roster bonus before releasing him. Reed earned my respect for taking the bullet over the 13th man fiasco from Grey Cup 2009 so Jason Armstead wouldn’t have to. He’s thinking outside the box for rebuilding the Alouettes. Give the guy a chance.
3 – WHAT THE CFL SHOULD GET FOR HALIFAX: If I’m Randy Ambrosie, I’m doing all this work for adding a CFL team to Halifax for no less than a big fat jackpot for my owners. How big of a windfall? I’m going to say 18 million bucks! It’s a nice even number that would put 2 million dollars into each existing team’s coffers and Anthony Leblanc is eager enough to own this team that he would surely cough it up. Some estimates indicate the Roughriders are worth as high as $100 million! Expect the Commish to throw that number around when trying to convince this Halifax ownership group to pony up.
4 – OLYMPIC HOCKEY AND CURLING GOLD MEDAL LOSSES NO BIG DEAL: Canada’s loss to Germany in the men’s hockey semi-final was of course disappointing but not the end of the world. Gilbert Brule’s hit to the head of a German player in the second period - and his whining to the ref about the call while the player lay motionless on the ice - is a sign of perhaps why Brule, who once dazzled for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, never really lived up to his hype as a pro and is playing in the KHL. It’s not like this event was ever going to tell us who the best country is at hockey. That’s not even a debate anymore, is it?
Both curling losses stung but the American gold medal win for the men got fantastic coverage from NBC and will do nothing but raise the profile of the sport in North America. And that’s a good thing.
5 – I.O.C. TOO SOFT ON RUSSIA:This is the exact same heading from a previous column but in the wake of the Russians winning the gold in hockey, I’ll say it again. Anything short of a blanket ban on the Russians for their government-run doping schemes is unacceptable. Vladimir Putin is an evil narcissist suffering from small man syndrome and the best way to handle those people is to completely eliminate them from the competition so they get no attention and are ignored. Only then will positive change begin to happen in that country.
His disturbing Instagram posts last week tagging Incognito and other ex-teammates shows Martin is in desperate need of counselling and will hopefully get it now that he’s behind bars. We’ve all been wronged by someone at some point. We can choose to dwell on it and live with the negative energy it caused or we can move on with our lives and choose to not be a victim. We all still have to own our own happiness.
7 – RAYS SHOULD LEARN FROM EXPO MISTAKES: The Tampa Bay Rays are lowering the bar for Major League Baseball competition yet again with their spring training fire sale. Star players Evan Longoria, Steven Souza and Jake Odorizzi have all been jettisoned in the Rays' latest salary dump. If history is to tell us anything, Tampa owner Stuart Sternberg had better be careful about jading his fan base too far.
The Montreal Expos of the 90’s chose to do things on the cheap when auctioning off 4 of their best players after the strike of ’94 killed their best chance at a World Series. That move angered Montreal fans. The trade of Pedro Martinez just 3 years later pushed them over a cliff. That was when they really stopped caring. The San Diego Padres meanwhile lost money and went into debt to fund a world series appearance in ’98. That gave them just enough momentum to get beautiful Petco Park built.
MLB fans in San Diego still have their team. Baseball fans in Montreal don’t.
8 – LOCALS FINALLY LEARNING ABOUT SPRING PLAYOFF RUN: Growing up on a farm near a small town, I was fortunate enough to experience a long playoff run for my home team well in the spring on many occasions. Sure, it was only senior hockey but there’s just something magical about the snow melting away, the days getting longer and double overtime magic on a school night. Living through that makes life just seem a little more bearable.
With so many small town teams disappearing and our WHL teams becoming irrelevant for about 20 years, too many people around these parts have missed out. Until now.
The Regina Pats gave us a taste of it last year and will have to fight through both Moose Jaw and Swift Current to get back to the finals again this year. Throw in the Memorial Cup tournament at Regina in May and the Winnipeg Jets having their best team in 30 years at least, it’s shaping up for an embarrassment of riches this hockey playoff spring.
It’s about time.
9 – STASTNY A BARGAIN FOR THE JETS: Speaking of the Winnipeg Jets, the NHL has long lost my attention but this team has caught my eye. They had to cough up a pretty good prospect to snag Paul Stastny from the Blues but those green apple prospects rarely ever turn red anyways and it will cost the Jets less than 900 thousand dollars in salary to add the scoring threat.
He sounds curious about his dad’s experience starring for the Quebec Nordiques after defecting from Czechoslovakia in the 1980’sand his uncle Marian still lives in Quebec City to this day.
Paul waived his no-trade clause to go to Manitoba and appears ready for his own Canadian small market experience. And that could mean the Jets might get more than just a rental player out of this free agent to be.
10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: “A.C. Green Iron Virgin” is a hilarious 30 for 30 short film on YouTube about the LA Lakers iron man resisting the temptations of stardom in Hollywood to keep his virginity intact.
The guy has willpower. I will say that.