2 - MORE: Wendel Clark walks on water in Saskatoon. He's simply royalty in that town. That's a little astounding because he only played 2 seasons with the Blades but OMG were they memorable. His stories from his days with the Blades and later with the Toronto Maple Leafs could've filled the entire evening by itself but there were other Leafs greats on the stage who had plenty to say as well. What a great night. We need to get on something this big in Regina.
3 - CUJO: Love the guy. It was awesome to shake his hand, reconnect, and hand deliver his copy of Heart & Soul of the SJHL. I told him he's all over the book and he immediately plunged into it just like everyone else does when they see it for the first time. He's got the most wins by an NHL goaltender in history without a Stanley Cup ring. Yes, I've always been fascinated by Curtis Joseph. He was a goalie in Wilcox and I was a goalie 15 miles away in Milestone at the same time! What a connection. I can't wait to dive into his autobiography in Mexico next week.
4 - JONES'ING: It would seem Chris Jones left this province having won over very few people. The Riders' Brendon Labatte and Charleston Hughes were part of the program Friday night and when MC Glenn Healy asked Labatte about Jones' sudden departure for Cleveland, the crowd started booing. "I guess he left for greener pastures," Blue shrugged, with the boos - and tension - in the room rising rapidly. "He did a lot of great things for this organization. But we're in great hands with Craig Dickenson". And to that, the place erupted into raucous cheers. Dickenson is very popular in the Rider Nation and that support will serve him well.
5 - DO THE CHARLESTON: CFL sack king Charleston Hughes was only on stage for a brief time Friday night but had the crowd in stitches. Regarding Jones, Hughes shrugged as well saying "Everyone in football grows up aspiring to be in the NFL. It's the cream of the crop". Regarding Charleston's innovative sack dance, he told Healy he came up with it while playing with the Philadelphia Eagles and tweaked it when he came to Canada. He calls it "snow-surfing".
6 - GOT THE SHIVERS: Onto other things. When I predicted earlier this week that Jason Shivers (pronounced SHY-Verz) would be the next defensive coordinator of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, I actually forgot he has the most experience on that side of the ball on that staff. In fact, only Dickenson and OC Stephen McAdoo have more CFL experience in that locker room so promoting Shivers makes even more sense. I've talked a lot with him over the years and he's ready. Nothing against Mike Benevides, but bringing in an outside voice could upset the apple cart.
7 - BO KNOWS: The word I'm getting is to not expect Bo Levi Mitchell to sign in the NFL. The reigning CFL MVP is not tickled with the offers he's getting and isn't interested in holding a clipboard on the sidelines. He wants to play. So expect him back in Calgary in 2019.
8 - ALS REBRAND: The Montreal Alouettes unveiled their new logo and new uniforms on Friday but it's being reported franchise face Johnny Manziel missed the event due to the flu. Man, he has the flu a lot. But who cares if he was there? You don't need your best players for a jersey launch. You need a couple mannequins. Have you ever noticed though, that it's always the losing teams who re-brand or threaten to move out of the city (Coyotes, Raiders, Chargers, Rams, etc.)? TRY WINNING and see how that works for ya.
9 - CFL ABROAD: If I had a nickel for everytime somebody's said to me, "Whaddya think of the CFL in Mexico and Germany?" On its surface, I think it's completely cockamamie. However I have so much confidence in Commisioner Randy Ambrosie that I'm more than willing to see how this all plays out. To quote John Frenzy, "He's a winner all the way". And as a former CFL GM pointed out to me this week, if these expansive efforts yield even just one player per team, it's worth it. I understand scouting and personnel enough to know that's true.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: You used to be able to negotiate with the RCMP over speeding tickets. You know the old, "What's your rush?" as they approach the car. Now, it's all business and they don't care what the excuse is. My bad; I've been nabbed twice on my cross-province trips this winter and it's time to slow down. ... Everyone scoffed at Saskatoon Blades ownership ever since they bought the team from the Brodskys but no one's scoffing now. ... The Saskatchewan Rush have now lost back-to-back games and it's already not sitting well in the Bridge City! Particularly, I'm sure, with ownership. What expectations! ... We've got a few seats left for Sober Bowl II at Famoso for Sunday's Super Bowl. Click here to order yours. ... And then after that we're headed to Mexico on the annual CKRM client trip and we'll be enjoying the annual Rider Party in Puerta Vallarta. Life is good!