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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1 – ROUGHRIDERS ISSUES HAVEN’T CHANGED: The Saskatchewan Roughriders left the field from the Eastern Final loss in Toronto back in November with 2 glaring issues: A) The Offensive Line, & B) The Starting Quarterback.

Five months on, those same 2 question marks remain. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Although Zach Collaros is clearly the guy coach Chris Jones is going all in on, the question of whether or not Zach can rise to be the next Anthony Calvillo or will sink to the next Nealon Greene still lingers. It’s going to be that way until they finally step on the field with the lights on. It’s been a long, miserable winter on the prairies and football season can’t come soon enough. #Isitmayyet?

2 – RIDERS AMERICAN MINI-CAMP SHOULD BE EARLIER: Now I was all in favor of these American mini-camps when they first started but I’m still perplexed in how these offseason workouts happen less than a month before teams across the CFL break for the real training camp.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to do it at the beginning of March?

That would give the new free agent signings a chance to wear their new unis and coaches to evaluate where everyone is physically and put them on the proper workout regimen with months to get in shape before preseason. Not to mention fans having a better reason to book their winter getaways along with these camps and keep them more engaged with the product in the slow season.

3 – MOVING CFL SEASON UP STILL A MISTAKE: I’m telling you the league is really flirting with fire on this one. 2018 won’t be bad because they aren’t moving up all that much and the playoffs are still going to be a November thing but if they push it too much further, like it sounds like Commissioner Ambrosie wants to by next year, the CFL runs a serious risk of having their first 2 weeks of the regular season completely whitewashed by the Stanley Cup finals.

That’s 10% of your overall gate revenue and the league can’t afford to spare it right now. Could you imagine trying to sell Blue Bomber tickets in Winnipeg while the Jets are in the finals? Not to mention competing with playoff and World Series baseball for a Grey Cup TV audience.

It’s a bad idea. The league governors should run for the hills from this one.

4 – SJ, DUB PLAYOFFS WELCOME DISTRACTION: I owe a big thanks to Amanda Wanner in the Estevan Bruin office and my old pal Jeff Pierson who runs the Days Inn down in Estevan for helping arrange me a spot on the fan bus going from E-town to Nipawin for game 7 of the SJHL championship. I’ve always loved the SJ largely because there are usually no agents, no over-aggressive owners or overpaid athletes/coaches. No sharks really. Just hockey.

I’ll be rooting for my Bruins and their fans who were nice enough to put up with me broadcasting their games on the radio from 2002-2005. But no matter what happens, we should all be so grateful to the SJHL and Swift Current Broncos for reminding us all why we love this game in what has been an otherwise miserable spring.

5 – UNIFORMS MATTER: I take a lot of heat for bringing this up and I don’t care. Sharp looking and sometimes cheesy, historic uniforms make a difference in performance. It’s not just superstition, it’s fact. If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. Deion Sanders even said so.

The Swift Current Broncos had great success with their re-entry into the dub unis from 1986 through 1993 winning 2 league championships and not a lot after that while muddling along with some really ugly-looking horsey cartoon drawings. Now they’re back to what they knew and it’s working. Swift hasn’t had a team this good in 25 years.

Hey, it worked for the Blue Jays and my Estevan Bruins too. Retro is in. Now if only we could get the Riders back to that Safeway “S” of Ronnie and George, we’ll be all set.

6 – THE REAL STANLEY CUP SEMI-FINALS: It's still a couple of weeks before the Conference Finals start but don’t kid yourself, we’re looking at them right now. Nashville-Winnipeg and Washington-Pittsburgh will produce the Stanley Cup Finalists. MARK MY WORDS. Never before I have I been so confident in a prediction like this.

What happens in Vegas-San Jose and Tampa-Boston or Toronto will produce some great theatre (and laughs if the Leafs are involved) but nothing more. The Golden Knights have been a great story but they don’t have the horses to hang with the Jets or Preds in a 7-game showdown.

7 – SASKATOON NEEDS BASEBALL: It’s no secret Saskatoon has been that place where semi-pro and collegiate sports teams go to die. Until the Rush came along, no marketing department seemed to figure out how to grab Toon Town’s attention. One of my old sportscasting bosses who has lived in both cities once told me ‘Regina is a far better sports town. Saskatoon is more of an artsy fartsy kind of place.’

I don’t disagree but still choose to believe if Melville and Brooks, Alberta can have Western Major Baseball League teams to compete with the Regina Red Sox, then so should Saskatoon.

A fellow by the name of Jason Bender was leading the charge to find investors to fund a new franchise for the city within the last 2 years but recent text and email messages to that cause have gone unanswered. Looks like that dream has died. At least for now.

8 – BLUE JAYS AT MOSAIC?: Very few people seem to remember but the Toronto Blue Jays did, in fact, appear in Regina for a charity exhibition match during their glory days, early in the 1993 season. Joe Carter wasn’t there but Todd Stottlemyre--who’ll be in town for the Red Sox dinner this coming weekend--and the rest of the Jays were. Darnell Coles smacked 3 homeruns into the sunny side bleachers that day. Taylor Field configured for baseball was hilarious and makes me wonder: If we could do it in that old dump, why not in the new park?

9 – RAPTORS DISAPPOINTING: Just when the Toronto Raptors have me thinking they’re ready to take that next step, they lay a couple of eggs including Sunday night’s 3rd quarter collapse en route to squandering what was their 2-0 series lead to the lowly Washington Wizards. I still see too much chirping from Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. I love DeMar DeRozan and respect his quiet, lead-by-example way of doing things but still wonder if he needs to get in their faces a little more for the Raps to get over that hump and finally crack the NBA finals.

10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: Speculation with the Blue Jays baseball crew is rampant about Josh Donaldson’s dead-arm and whether or not it’s 100% mental with no real physical problem. Seems strange this could happen to pro like that until you check out ESPN’s 30 for 30 short “Fields of Fear”. This outstanding 15-minute piece chronicles the career-ending struggles of Mets catcher Mackey Sasser who all of a sudden couldn’t seem to throw the ball back to the pitcher without double or triple-clutching. Very bizarre indeed, but a solution is ultimately found.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are so out to lunch about moving the CFL up.
There will be very little or NO conflict over NHL teams still in Stanly cup playoffs. Not all CFL fans care about hockey and there are far more people who will always go to see there CFL team. Also, not all CFL teams make the playoffs
There will be much more benefit by having late season games earlier in the fall.

Jim said...

Are you kidding me!! Regina is a Rider town and that's it, a Pats town if they are winning. Saskatoon out draws Regina in every other sport except Whl. Hilltops-Thunder not even close, Huskie-Cougar hockey not close, Huskie-Rams not even close. Saskatoon university teams totally out draw Regina's. Regina should be embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with #1 and #3.

mister winnipeg said...

I think the Bombers will draw a normal crowd to their season opener next year even if the Jets are by then deep in the 2019 playoffs defending their Stanley Cup championship. As long as the Bomber game isn't scheduled to go head to head with hockey, it will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Read the autobiography about Rick Ankiel. He was in the most literal sense a phenom and in the middle of a game just lost it. This happens, and it happened to David Duval on the PGA. - when they say ability is God given it really is. These guys are bestowed gifts that yes hard work nurtures, but it's there and when it goes away it can happen fast.

The CFL season can be moved up. Just put the NHL cities on the road. CFL will be supported in Regina, and Edmonton so that solves the issue of Winnipeg or the Argos playing when their respective hockey teams do.

Uniforms are a revenue stream and they need to change stuff up. I agree however when the retros come back they just seem so much better than the first go round. I don't recall ever saying the Sabres or Jets had great original uniforms. I see them now and think absolutely they're great. Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia are playing in threads that are incredible to see.

Regina and Saskatoon are both great cities. I like the artsy/fartsy feel of Saskatoon then in Regina it's a Rider town. Best of both worlds.

Eastender said...

I think moving the CFL season up is a great idea! Get some games going before people go on holidays. Get them done with before you are playing in blizzards. What is not to like?

The problem isn't that the CFL would be starting too early, it is that the NHL is going too late. Who wants to be stuck inside watching hockey when it is 25 degrees outside? Summer is too short to waste it watching TV. I would rather be sitting at a Rider game.

Have fun on the Bruin trip! It should be a great game! Go Bruins!

Russell Cone said...

You said 10% gate loss because of moving the season up. What about the gate loss when it's -10 in Edmonton, Calgary and Regina?? As the Riders what percentage that is? Keep in mind the NHL will always have a saturday night game for CBC, so don't schedule a game saturday and you win. Maybe there's a game friday, but you schedule a Double header and you'll have an audience no matter what.

As far as baseball in Saskatoon. They need a new Ball park. Baseball in Saskatoon will never succeed without a new park. People don't want to travel to that area of the city. Build one out by the new Costco or by Wilsons and you'll pack the park every night.


Russ from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

I believe in moving the schedule up but you can't do it by more than a few more weeks. You could start training camp in most Canadian cities by first week of May. You would still be playing the Grey Cup on the first Sunday in November, maybe the last Sunday of October.
1) You can never predict who will be in the Stanley Cup finals and what the schedule will be. So you don't really know if it will have much of an effect. Could be another 25 years before a CDN based teams is in the cup finals. Problem with the NHL playoffs is the amount of days they take in between some games. These teams play back to back games all year long, no reason they can't do it once in awhile in the playoffs.
2) Again, can't predict who will be in it and the schedule. Baseball needs to adjust their schedule, they could cut out 25 - 30 games and be done the playoffs by mid October if not earlier.

Anonymous said...

Anon: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME" ! You hit it right on Buddy. If Regina didn't have the Riders
( WHICH BELONG TO THE PROVINCE) THEY WOULD HAVE NOTHING , EXCEPT FOR THE PATSIES WHO COMPETE ABOUT EVERY 8 YEARS. Years ago an owner of the Winnipeg Goldeyes came to Saskatoon and offered to put a team in Saskatoon if they would build a new stadium in the down town area by the river but that was turned down , just like the offer to put a huge Casino in down town was turned down.

Anonymous said...

Yes whoever the promoter is for new Mosaic needs to start generating some revenue for this city other than Rider Football, and senior citizen musicians. Blue Jay's baseball would be great! I'd certainly attend that over the Vince Geagles..