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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1 – SMILIN’ HANK HOLDS GRUDGE: Henry Burris created a stir with his CFL quarterback ranking back in February when he left Zach Collaros out of his top 9 but that isn’t the only dig he’s been throwing around lately.

Calling Chris Jones somebody “who doesn’t understand quarterbacks” and suggesting if he had played football last year instead of retiring, he would have wiped the floor with the Ticats. His appearance on a CFL podcast sounded like a guy without much respect for Tabbies coach June Jones either.

So why is Hank throwing all these daggers? Let me explain:

Henry was not re-signed by the Tiger-Cats following his 2013 Grey Cup loss at Saskatchewan when his coach Kent Austin chose instead to sign Collaros. I love Hank’s smiling personality and think he’s great for the league and the country but the bottom line is Hank still likes to hold grudges. He never forgave Roy Shivers for not giving him the keys to the Cadillac here in Saskatchewan and he won’t forgive John Hufnagel, Kent Austin or the Ticats for giving up on him either.

You got your digs in at Grey Cup 2016 Hank! Let it go, partner. Life’s too short for that nonsense.

2 – ANOTHER REASON WHY DURON IS DURON: While sniffing around old podcasts over the weekend, I stumbled across another one from down south where Duron talked about his “Uncle Randy” as in Randy Moss having the biggest influence on him other than his own dad, pro football Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Randy Moss was a crazy, erratic mess off the field when he would have played the role of “Uncle” for Duron.

Randy Moss today appears to be a level-headed, likable NFL analyst. It’s possible that he could perhaps influence Duron to clean up any bad habits today.

3 – ARLAND BRUCE III NOT THE RIGHT CHAMPION FOR CONCUSSION ARGUMENT: When reading about the case of Arland Bruce’s concussion lawsuit being tossed out by the Supreme Court, I couldn’t help but feel conflicted.

On one hand, I love the discussion being had in the hopes that we can root out the concussion epidemic in pro sports by helping those affected and finding solutions to keep our great games safe. But on the other hand, Arland Bruce’s lawyer spoke at great length about Bruce struggling to adjust to a post-football career. She indicated he has had problems keeping up with child support payments and Depression. These are worrisome issues but not unique to somebody with concussions. We need to know more about CTE and find out if in fact it is unique to football players and not everyday Joe’s before we start forking over a fortune to every ex-football player who's depressed.

And based on Arland’s behavior when he played, I wouldn’t put it past him to use this concussion crisis to his advantage for a big payday. I’m just sayin.

4 – JETS DREAM SEASON CFL’S WORST NIGHTMARE?: CFL Week was a slam dunk in Regina last year and I assumed this year in Winnipeg would be no different. However, this might be the greatest NHL team The Peg has ever seen. They are starved for a deep playoff run in Winnipeg and it threatens to overshadow the CFL offseason caravan this weekend. If that happens, it’ll be curious to see if the league makes it to a 3rd CFL Week in 2019.

5 – SASKATOON BLADES OWNERSHIP SHOULD LOOK IN THE MIRROR: Shook my head Sunday when I read on this blog about the Blades firing of head coach Dean Brockman. I’ve known Dean off and on for 15 years going back to his glory days running the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and have always found his competence and dedication second to none. They needed a scapegoat and the head coach is always an easy target. Funny how teams trade away their star players for draft picks and prospects and then are surprised when their season goes off a cliff.

I confess to knowing very little about the Blades or their happenings behind the scenes but just about everyone I’ve talked to including one anonymous source close to the team is pointing the finger at upper management. The General Manager is the owner’s son and lacks the resume most successful GM’s boast. The family business model has worked out okay for the Pittsburgh Steelers but failed miserably for the Regina Pats with Brent Parker, the Cincinnati Bengals with Mike Brown and just about any other organization who’ve tried it.

6 – CANADA SHOULD AVOID FIFA WORLD CUP BID: Legendary columnist Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette just put out a scathing critique of that city’s involvement in the North American bid for the World Cup of soccer in 2026. Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton are still going great guns with their efforts to host games after B.C. Premier John Horgan pulled Vancouver out saying “FIFA will want nothing less than a blank cheque”. I don’t always agree with B.C.’s government but we are on lock-step with this one.

FIFA’s demands include making Canada a tax-free zone for pretty well the duration of any profits made from the events along with hundreds of millions in straight-up cash. All Canadian cities—not just Montreal—should say no to this ridiculous idea of feeding the most corrupt sporting enterprise in the world. Montreal’s baseball community is pushing its bring-back-the-Expos campaign, only to be ignored by its mayor who seems fine with this horrible idea as well as wasting another quarter-billion dollars on a roof for the useless dump that is Olympic Stadium. What a disgrace!

7 – SASKATOON SHOULD BID ON VANIER CUP: This is one bid that actually would give a town some bang for its buck. I was there in 2006 and had an amazing time. I’ve covered a Super Bowl week, national Junior “A” Hockey Championship and a Stanley Cup final. I would put that experience up there with them all. There's no overlap with the Rush lacrosse regular season either. Saskatoon is an underserved sports market and deserves this again.

8 – BLUE JAYS RADIO SHOULD HIRE ELLIOTT PRICE: The Jays radio broadcast crew is still in flux just 2 weeks before the season starts. Jerry Howarth retired in February after 36 years of full-time duty with the team and Joe Siddall has moved over to the TV side to replace the manalyst Gregg Zaun sitting beside Jaime Campbell.

The radio broadcasts in spring training have featured a rotating crew auditioning for the full-time gig including Mike Wilner and other men who spent last year in the minors with the Buffalo Bisons and Vancouver Canadians. I would like to see them involve long-time Montreal Expo broadcaster Elliott Price. He knows baseball history inside and out and calls a great game. Jays fans would be lucky to have him.

And by the way, Zaun has apologized for his inappropriate behavior. He can sit out this season and if Rogers can’t give him a second chance next year, someone else should. Potty talk around the office shouldn’t be an automatic life sentence for anyone.

9 – STEPHEN BRUNT IS BOB COSTAS NORTH: So great to hear Stephen Brunt talking CFL again now that the Rogers unofficial boycott of the Argos appears to be over. I’m one of the many TV viewers who misses the stirring commentary of Bob Costas on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and I think Brunt’s level-headed down-to-earth approach will be a nice replacement.

10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: Ken Dryden’s “Game Change” studies the life and death of NHL defenceman Steve Montador. Another victim of the concussion crisis, ‘Montie’ as his friends and teammates came to know him fell through the cracks at a time when we were just scratching the surface about the long-term effects from head injuries. I have yet to finish the book but have been glued to the first 3 chapters so far. Dryden explains why he thinks all penalties causing head contact should be an automatic penalty with no exceptions. I plan to finish this heart-breaking read this week and hope Gary Bettman follows through on his promise to Dryden and does the same.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

10 comments:

WesternManitobaRiders said...

As to Saskatoon, when they were in Brandon this year, they competed hard, much like PA. It was not at all a case of a lack of effort which contributed to the Blades losing to BWK, and instead, it was a lack of higher end talent which was a major factor,and this situation was only exasperated when there were moves made with what talented veterans they had at the trade deadline. In fact, if the cupboard was bare for the last while insofar as prospects, look no further than the moves made by the management of Saskatoon to trade away a number of high draft picks for Schenn and then Ferland the next year as the Blades were shooting the Memorial Cup. At the end of the day, the coach can only
work with what he is given, and Brockman did OK overall. He was not one of their major issues unless the end of season interviews with the players suggest otherwise. With respect, in a city that size with what it has going for it, the Blades should be a presence and return to being a regular playoff competitor, similar to the days of Wendell Clark as an example. By contrast, David Anning in Brandon is a younger coach with not a lot of experience either. However, and say what you may about Kelly McCrimmon being old school, hard nosed and tight fisted money wise, but he works hard, has an eye for talent, and consistently has his team's either in the playoffs or in the running to make the playoffs annually. He continually works to re-stock his player inventory and has built a culture where winning is expected. Ultimately, a shrewd business man, from whom Saskatoon's management could take some cues or pointers. Anyways, always next year.

Anonymous said...

The concussion is complete bunk from all sides around it. Who is to say these head injuries occurred in the CFL? they've been playing since they were six years old, and it's not the CFL's fault these guys didn't plan for life after football. This argument is similar to the losers that access WCB benefits and won't go back to work and then get cut off for some mysterious ptsd delusion. There is such a thing as wrong guy wrong job and to many people not just former CFL players don't just want a job they want the perfect job and that isn't out there. Good point on Duron being Duron. His dad at his core is a drunk and addict who then is buddies with Randy Moss another goof and these are his role models. Having said that 26 years on Earth should be enough time to get an act together. Having said that he could flame out of the CFL and still have millions to inherit and fall back on. Steve Montador didn't fall through anything. Again look at who makes it to the top of elite athletics. From a young age it's a 12 month out of the year, 24/7 training deal and the parents are usually hyper and living vicariously through them. It doesn't leave any time for social development so when the ride ends they have zero coping ability. That's not the employer's fault.

Anonymous said...


Saskatoon has had the Vanier Cup. How about Regina stepping up and playing host to the big game? Its OK. We know the thought process isn't one of your strong points!

mister winnipeg said...

CFL week in Winnipeg is fine, everybody knows about it. Winnipeggers can walk (Bombers) and chew gum (Jets) at the same time.

Terry in Mesa, AZ said...

Great read this morning Brendan! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Saskatoon must have someone in mind to replace Brockman. I can't think of an available coach in Major Junior hockey who could have done more with that Blades roster.

Willie said...

This garbage has been going on for years now in Saskatoon. I moved here in 1966 when Saskatoon had some great hockey teams for a good number of years . The past 15 to 20 years have shown nothing for Junior hockey in this city. Too much of a Buddy, Buddy system in my opinion. It is either relatives or friends that seem to run theses teams and they never go anywhere anymore. That big arena that holds 15,000 and only draws about 2800 to 3200 per game is like sitting in a morgue on Blade night. Smaller places like Swift Current, Moose Jaw , Brandon and even Regina always have better teams and draw much better crowds than Saskatoon .
Putting an arena downtown in Saskatoon will not draw any better, it's the caliber of hockey players and wins not losses that draw the crowds. Perhaps time for Saskatoon to bale out on Junior Hockey and try for an AHL Franchise. This city needs something better than the Blades who are cellar dwellers year after year.

Anonymous said...

Did I read this correctly? The CFL is so fragile that it might not make it past week 3 in 2019 if Winnipeg fans give too much of their attention to the Jets. Nonsense.

@mrt_man said...

"Perhaps time for Saskatoon to bale out on Junior Hockey and try for an AHL Franchise. This city needs something better than the Blades who are cellar dwellers year after year."

I THINK THIS COULD BE A CONTENDER FOR DUMBEST COMMENT OF THE YEAR SO FAR!

UH... IF YOU CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO KEEP UR CAR ON THE ROAD... NOBODY IS GOING TO WANT TO LET YOU DRIVE THEIR BIG RIG.


MAYBE HANK WAS BASING HAS RANKINGS ON QB'S THAT ACTUALLY PLAYED?

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to tell me where I could listen to Burris' latest bashing? I can't find any recent CFL podcasts with Hank. Thank you