Wednesday, March 13, 2019
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK
2 - CFL QUIET: Watch for next week's Out Of The Tunnel column in which we'll rate the Top 25 Remaining Free Agents in the CFL. Will Weston Dressler and Rob Bagg be on the list? Who will be #1? Check back here Monday to find out. There are rumblings the Riders should - or could - re-sign Weston Dressler at age 33 but a nagging feeling in my gut tells me the new O'Day/Dickenson regime would prefer to look forward and not back. Can you blame them? This season still feels like a rebuild to me. Chris Jones got a pass from the fans in Year 1 and so should these guys.
3 - COMBINING: The CFL's Regional Combines are being staged this week and that's where you'll find the Roughriders braintrust. There is little fanfare. The events are a necessary evil - I guess - but they still seem so academic. For instance, have you ever heard TSN's Glen Suitor or Duane Forde say on a CFL broadcast, "Oh, and he put up __ bench press reps and his shuttle cone time was ___ at the combine!" Not that I can recall. The term Underwear Olympics really does fit.
4 - STEAK, BOOZE AND DULL DREAD: The NFL has made their combine a Made-For-TV event much like TSN did with the World Juniors but it would be nearly impossible for the CFL to do the same. There just doesn't seem to be the interest. Is the CFL Combine a booze and tail fest like the NFL's as was reported by ESPN? I don't know. I've never seen that at the Canadian events, but I also don't run in those circles anymore. 20 years were enough.
6 - S.J. PLAYOFFS: The SJHL created a helluva brand with their "Survivor Series" which dates back 20 years. Everybody knows it's a Best-of-3 series to advance to the Final 8. This year, Flin Flon swept Weyburn in one and Yorkton downed Notre Dame in the other. The Quarterfinals are now set and they are: Humboldt vs Estevan, Nipawin vs Yorkton, Melfort vs Kindersley and Battlefords vs Flin Flon. Get out to a nearby rink and check it out! I think we're going to be headed to Humboldt next week to check out some live action.
7 - BACK IN THE BOOTH: Yikes. When I climbed the ladder into the broadcast booth at Duncan McNeill Arena in Wilcox to call Game 2 of the Hounds-Terriers on HockeyTV, it had been 28 years since I'd been on the mic for an SJHL game. The last was 1991 on CJVR as I pinch-hit for the Mustangs-Hounds. In truth, the last time I called a game there was 2001 for a preseason game between the Pats and Wheat Kings. Brandon had a bruising rookie named Dustin Byfuglien whose helmet sat up on the crown of his head because it wasn't big enough. I pronounced his name "Bye-FOOL-Yen", which apparently is the correct way to say it.
8 - THE ROLLER COASTER: It's difficult to find the best word to describe tonight's Pats-Broncos WHL encounter in the Brandt Centre. Ironic? Too bad? These two iconic clubs will miss the playoffs after this weekend but their playoff series and Memorial Cup clashes the past few years have been absolute wars. They made memories that will last forever! Adam Brooks, Connor Hobbs, Tyler Brown, Glenn Gawdin, Tyler Steenbergen, Stuart Skinner, etc. Such is life in junior hockey. Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
9 - GOIN' TO WINNIPEG: Would you pay $50 to hear Paul LaPolice speak on Leadership and Teamwork? The Bombers Offensive Coordinator will be one of the keynote speakers at our Champion Your Own Success conference at the Clarion Hotel & Suites this Saturday in Winnipeg. We'll also cover Mental Strength, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Prevention and Nutrition. The whole event is specifically designed for young athletes and their families and it's only $50 per head. DM me for details!
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: Why the love for the S.J.? Because 2 years ago they came to me and said "Will you help us?" It's been a fantastic partnership and I'm thrilled to say I'll be calling selected playoff games on TV later this spring. But that's for them to announce where and when. ... I’ll believe the Alouettes-For-Sale story when I see it. However for now, these reports are Fake News. ... Loving the time change! This Is Us is now on an hour earlier. However I was quite upset that Kevin couldn't/wouldn't stay sober. ... The newspaper business is dying but the news business is not. That's why this blog is cleaning up. (For instance, you're here.). ... March Madness: The time when Canadian white men pretend they've been following NCAA basketball all year long. ... A lot of my days are filled with watching A Football Life marathons on NFL Network. If someone ever produced a CFL version, they'd have a grand slam on their hands. Kevin Glenn truly is the CFL's Dan Marino. ... Kudos to Red Deer's Brent Sutter for notching his 500th career win this week. His secret? "Living in the present". That means: Not fretting over the past and not worrying about the future. i.e. One Day At A Time. ... That's all for now. See you at the rink!