Marcus Thigpen only has to miss 2 starts out of an 18-game schedule. That hardly seems like anything more than a traffic ticket for a player who was retired for most of last year anyway. The CFL needs to take a hard line on this kind of stuff because if they don’t, other players face the troubling decision of either doping themselves and deal with consequences long-term, or not dope and risk falling behind.
The league has to learn from past mistakes made by other outfits like Major League Baseball.
2 – DURON CARTER SITUATION NOT COMPARABLE: Duron Carter’s marijuana possession doesn’t fall into the same category as this. Carter’s sins were worthy of a slap on the wrist at most. A doping offense is far more serious than that. Thigpen is easily replaceable. Duron? Not so much.
3 – CFL SHOULD DANGLE GREY CUP FOR HALIFAX: If CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie wants to seal the deal for his new partners in Halifax trying to get a stadium built with public money than he should go to City Hall and the Legislature with promises of a Grey Cup to be played in that stadium shortly after completion. I would hope he’s made these guarantees already and it’s a similar tactic the NFL used to solicit a massive expansion bid from the Houston Texans when they entered the league.
And besides, who wouldn’t want to see a Maritime Grey Cup?
4 – FIVE ROCK RULE WILL REVOLUTIONIZE THE BRIER: The Canadian Curling Association put on a great show at this year’s Brier and Brad Gushue is clearly emerging as the face of the franchise which is great for the sport although I’m sure Kevin Koe and his people would have something to say about that. The game is in great shape. That's precisely why the Association deserves credit for expanding the free guard zone from 4 rocks to 5.
This will give the game more unpredictability and put less emphasis on who has last rock. Kudos to the World Curling Federation and Curling Canada for being pro-active at finding ways to make the games better for the fans, unlike the NHLPA who for years fought to keep goaltenders in over-sized pads to the detriment of the game as a whole.
5 – RUSH WILL PREVENT NEW STADIUM FOR SASKATOON: This is a good thing. Saskatchewan Place opened up 30 years ago as the Taj Mahal of indoor sporting venues in the province and with a few exceptions sat mostly empty as an oversized elephant where the experience got lost in the abundance of empty seats and the long distance from downtown.
Whispers had started as early as 2006 that a smaller, more intimate downtown arena would get built. That would have lay waste to an awesome project that dared to think big on the heels of Bill Hunter’s NHL dream for Saskatchewan. The Rush have saved SaskTel Centre and that might be their biggest contribution of all.
6 – PATS BEING OVERLOOKED: The groaning over the Regina Pats disappointing start to the season and canceled outdoor game has grossly overshadowed the fact this team is still unbeaten in March and has won 9 of its last 10 games overall. Head honcho John Paddock promised us all the flurry of trades he made prior to the deadline would pay off in time and that appears to be happening now.
It's very likely the Pats will play Swift Current in the first round of the playoffs and that will be as good of a series as you’ll find anywhere.
7 – RAPTORS NORTHERN UPRISING GREAT FOR SPORT: We know a Toronto Raptors appearance in the NBA finals would be great for basketball in Canada. What most people don’t realize is how great it would be for the game all over North America and the world. Basketball has always been a superstar-driven sport and there’s nothing wrong with that but ultimately it does lead to individualizing what is supposed to be a team game.
But the Raptors are not a superstar-driven team. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry lead the way but it’s largely contributions from a supporting cast and in particular their bench that makes the Raptors what they are. I recall the 2004 Detroit Pistons inspiring many with their similar “no one single superstar” championship upset over the Lakers. This year’s Toronto team has the potential to have that same impact but in a much bigger way.
8 – ALOUETTES SHOULD RE-BRAND WITH RECYCLED LOOK: I confess to being one of those who obsess over uniforms and how the brand looks. When thinking about what I would do if I was in charge of the Montreal Alouettes to re-ignite that brand in that part of the country, I would replace the tired look of the current Alouettes gear with a simpler logo which the team used in the 1986 season.
Other issues caused the team to fold going into the next season and so the very sharp look was retired forever. Google image it or search it on YouTube if you’re wondering what I’m talking about but it couldn’t hurt that franchise to do something of a facelift to get merchandise sales going and at least encourage someone in that city to start showing off their brand in public.
9 – WINTER BLUES OFFICIALLY OVER: If your entertainment life revolves around the weather and what’s happening in the sports world (like mine), there’s usually an awfully big gap between the Super Bowl and March Madness. It wasn’t so bad this year because we had the Olympics to watch on TV, Regina hosting Hometown Hockey, the Brier, and the women’s University basketball championships. But the foot of snow from that blizzard still gave us the blues.
March Madness is finally here and there’s no greater feeling of spring upon us than to get that email from ESPN to fill out my bracket. I hope you get yours too.
10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: Netflix film ‘Long Shot’ caught my eye over the weekend because of its setting in Dodger Stadium. It’s a real-life short documentary about a young man was wrongly arrested and charged with a murder that happened while he was at a Dodger game. His lawyer struggles to find video footage of him at the game to spare his innocent client from the death penalty. I give it 2 thumbs up!