2 - GOING COMBINING: CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder would be a great salesman for the CFL. I asked him on Monday's SportsCage why CFL fans should care about the Regional and National Combines and he said it's simple: These are young Canadian football players who've put their lives into chasing a dream. It's important to follow them - and support them - through these Combines. Plus if you do, you'll have a feel for who they are once the CFL Draft rolls around and hopefully into their pro careers.
That's good enough for me!
If CFL Combine coverage is on a TV or computer screen near you, I encourage you to watch it.
3 - GETTING THIGGY WITH IT: Who wasn't disappointed to learn star Rider returner/running back Marcus Thigpen was nailed for a positive steroid test on Monday? But I don't think it's a reflection on Canada's Team. The Riders can't be responsible for what goes into their players' bodies year-round and frankly the only person hurt in this is "Thiggy". And that part is truly unfortunate but it doesn't make the Riders look dirty. The Stampeders' Roy Finch and Quinn Smith have both been suspended for the same violations. This has been a part of football for decades, but hats off to the CFL for actually getting serious about it. Is this crackdown Jeffrey Orridge's legacy?
4 - RIDER NEWS: It's been incredibly tough to come by. The only tidbits we heard came from 3DownNation's Justin Dunk who told the SportsCage former Rider LB Henoc Muamba appears to be chasing the money and is leaning towards signing with the Montreal Alouettes. We thought it was a slam dunk Henoc would sign with the Bombers ... Meanwhile Dunk reported there's not much of a market for Left Tackle Bruce Campbell (who's facing a 2-game suspension for PED use) and that's the reason why he's still unsigned ... Meanwhile I'd love to believe that the Riders and DT Eddie Steele are sitting on a deal, or are close to a deal, but no one's saying anything. In the meantime Eddie is travelling the province representing the Riders on a communities tour.
5 - SUPPORT COACH WALKER: Former Roughriders Defensive Line Coach and star Tiger-Cats D-lineman Mike Walker is going through a tough time and could use the CFL's help. Coach Walker is now a coach at Highline School District in Washington and went in for back surgery in Seattle. He wound up bedridden with spinal cord compression in multiple locations and is facing a mountain of medical bills. It's actually threatening to not allow Mike's daughter Taylor (a former Roughriders intern) to pursue her volleyball scholarship at Clark College. Taylor has set up a GoFundMe page here. So far they've raised $18,000 towards their goal of $25,000US. If you can help out, please visit the page today. There are many - including the late, great Don Mathews - who feel Mike Walker should be in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
6 - J-E-T-S: Okay, okay, I just might have become a fan of the Winnipeg Jets. I tuned in last night's 3-2 OT loss in Washington and was mesmerized by Paul Maurice's team. They may win it all - or they may lose it all - but they're going to be spectacularly entertaining in the process! I noticed that recently in a highlight package but it's the same if you sit down to watch a 60-minute game. They have to be the fastest team in the NHL! Do they lead the league in scoring chances? Now I get what everybody's been talking about all winter.
7 - FLAMES: A headline on Monday blared "FLAMES COACH GOES ON EXPLETIVE-LACED TIRADE" so of course I had to watch the video. What followed was 60 seconds of Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan speaking rather calmly to his team during practice and the only thing that raised eyebrows was that every third word was an F-bomb. Since when is a hockey coach swearing front page news? If the media's not careful (by reporting on things like this) they're going to wind up being barred from attending practice entirely. Go get 'em Gully.
8 - SILENCE OF THE RAMS: Some anxious callers into the SportsCage on Monday were dismayed with the X-rated nature of Saturday night's Chris Getzlaf Roast benefitting the UofR Rams Alumni Assocation. I choked on my water cup at their complaints. Excuse me? IT'S A ROAST! What did you expect? If the Rams Alumni are guilty of any tiny thing, it's by not putting a disclaimer on the tickets saying "Some language may be offensive". Otherwise, they did absolutely nothing wrong and if people are offended by the language, they need to deal with it on their own terms. This PC stuff has gotten entirely out of control.
9 - SPEAKING TRAIL: The upcoming events that I'll be a part of won't be as raunchy as that, but they'll still be a rip-roaring amount of fun. This Thursday NHL great Owen Nolan and I will be the speakers at the UofR Mens Hockey Alumni Dinner at Conexus Arts Centre. Call Sharky for tickets 306-539-4089 ... This Saturday in Sedley, SK, NHL referee Mick McGeough, Columbus coach Jerome Bechard and I will be the speakers at Sedley's sports dinner. For tickets call Brad Brown at 306-529-5025 ... Tickets are on sale now for the SportsCage's inaugural Rush Bus. For $40 you can join me on an Engelheim Charter bus to Saskatoon on March 24 to catch the NLL's Saskatchewan Rush against the Rochester Knighthawks. You can reserve yours in-person at 620 CKRM at 1900 Rose St. in downtown Regina.
10 - THIS IS US: Very few things in the sports world have ripped my heart out like Season 1 of This Is Us. Damn you Netflix! (Shakes fist). I have to quit watching before bed because the show gets me so worked up that I can't sleep.
BIRTHDAYS: Happy Birthday today to Rider Alumni Nealon Greene and Terrell Maze!
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