Thursday, October 25, 2018
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK
2 - ON TO BC: The Green & White won a playoff-type showdown in Week 19 and now turn around and host another one in Week 20. Saskatchewan is home to the BC Lions Saturday at 5:00 pm (TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network) in a huge game for both. The Riders need a win to keep their shot at finishing in first-place alive, and a win would also clinch a home playoff game for the first time since 2013. The Lions, meanwhile, are the hottest team in the CFL by going 6-1 in the second half and could still finish 2nd. Amazing.
3 - WALLLLY: CFL icon Wally Buono makes his final regular season visit to Saskatchewan in this one. If the Lions don't come here in the playoffs, this Saturday's game will be Wally's last-ever visit. Has there ever been a bigger villain in Riderville - or target of Rider fans - than Wally, besides Henry Burris? He's been coming here since 1973 and been taunted on the visitors sidelines ever since. Will Wally, in his curtain call, turn around and acknowledge the crowd on Saturday with a bow?
4 - ED HERVEY: The first year Lions GM may go down as the most key acquisition in the CFL this past off-season. His nifty mid-season pick-ups of RB Tyrell Sutton, WR Devier Posey and DL Shawn Lemon are a big reason why BC's caught fire, and note that the team hasn't lost since he called out QB Jonathan Jennings in the media. I've got a lot of time for Ed Hervey.
6 - CALGARY: Driving around Calgary last weekend reminded me of that city's sheer size and beauty. I went to college there. Calgary is definitely world class so it's mind-boggling that they don't have the sports facilities they deserve. Two things on that: 1) My guilty pleasure is football games at McMahon Stadium because the atmosphere is electric and 2) People complain that the concourses at the Saddledome are too narrow but they weren't too narrow 30 years ago. My vote is to tell Gary Bettman to "Sit on it", but there's no way Calgary can be without an NHL team. None.
7 - REGINA: Popular Roughriders DB Ed Gainey caused a stir when he Tweeted this week, "Regina is so boring". 3 days later, the Tweet is still alive and has elicited 130 responses. My response? HE'S RIGHT! Sometimes the truth hurts. The best response came from Regina Pats captain Jake Leschyshyn who offered Ed a swap of Pats tickets for Rider tickets. So far, no response from Ed.
8 - QB CAROUSEL: We are primed for the most volatile off-season in CFL history and that is not an exaggeration. CBA stuff aside, pretty much every big name QB is due to become a free agent and with Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell expected to sign in the NFL (his youth and success are impossible to ignore), that will touch off an avalanche of dominos. One player agent told me reigning league MVP Mike Reilly could get interest from Edmonton, BC, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, and will likely be the first $600,000+ QB of the salary cap era. Other QB FA's include Zach Collaros, Brandon Bridge, Jonathan Jennings, Trevor Harris and Kevin Glenn.
9 - THIS IS OIL COUNTRY: Ending my 30-year grudge over the Gretzky Trade and returning as an Oiler fan is one of the best things I've ever done. As a fan of a Canadian NHL team, you feel part of something. Cheering for the Stars, Coyotes and Golden Knights over the years was fun, but you had nobody to talk about the games with. This is different, since most of my friends are Oil fans. Now all I need is an orange McDavid jersey. It's nice to see there's a spark back in Edmonton for their team, and they're competitive in games. But a playoff team? Not until they get a top-tier goaltender.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: I went to the Pats-Everett game on Sunday and was glad I did. The Pats can be a playoff team, but they have to work their cans off every night and make no mistakes. However it can be done. ... I'd like to see a lot more love put into the hotdogs at the Brandt Centre. The bun needs to be tightly wound around the wiener, not slapped together like two pieces of bread. This, from a frankfurter connoisseur. ... We need a lot more hockey on national television, particularly the AHL. I'm talking about live games, and coverage of the teams. Why there's so much soccer coverage on the networks still astounds me. The need for more hockey on TV struck me while walking past Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg a few weeks ago, during the Manitoba Moose home-opener. ... Arrests of NFL players are down 38% since 2014. The Packers and Jets have had the most arrests at 15 players each. Drunk driving makes up for 25% of all NFL arrests. You'd be amazed at the statistics I get sent, by working in both the pro sports and substance abuse industries. ... Don't forget to bring extra cash and support the Cameco Touchdowns For Dreams effort at this Saturday's Rider game, and be sure to come early.