Realty One

Saturday, April 20, 2019


1 - STRIKE: It's unfortunate the top news item of the week in the CFL was of the league's stars threatening to strike if a new CBA isn't signed by May 16. It's unfortunate because this is bad publicity the league can ill-afford. In the end, the owners will get their way and the simple fact is revenues are NOT up. In fact attendance is down from the last time the CFL went through this (2014). The CFL has never seen a work stoppage in its 108 years and there won't be one this summer. All it's going to take is for the players to accept it, and cave like they always do.

2 - TRADE-OFF: The Toronto Argonauts will have two Canadian QBs in camp in Brandon Bridge and Noah Picton. An interesting trade-off in the Canadian starter ratio reduction debate (7-to-5) would be if Canadian QBs began counting towards the ratio in the new CBA. Would you take that deal?

**UPDATE** Noah Picton has apparently been released by the Toronto Argonauts.

3 - THE CARETAKER: It's been ages since we've heard from Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young but he took to Twitter this week to wade into the labour talks. A Ticats season ticket holder went after Young regarding the owners 'starving' the players by denying their off-season bonuses. Young replied, "Negotiations are never easy. And you are only getting one side of the story. Commish Randy Ambrosie has too much respect for the players and the process to comment publicly". I believe that to be true. Randy is a smart, and good, person. But he works for the owners. End of story.

4 - CFL 2.0: People mock what they don't understand and at times over the past few months, that's included me. I was skeptical of the CFL's European movement but my football contact across the pond says people are talking about the CFL over there like they never have before. There's a buzz. He also says the top five picks in last week's European draft will stand a good chance to crack CFL rosters and that includes Rider draftee Max Zimmermann. My guy says Zimmerman could make the team as a solid special-teamer. That'll get Europeans tuned into CFL games on TV. And why would European players choose the CFL over the NFL? My guy says there's a better chance to actually play in Canada and the NFL spots pay peanuts anyway. All CFL 2.0 needs is a salesman.

5 - J.R.: The Jon Ryan story has gone cold and, frankly, I don't understand it. Jon's a very big name in football and he's worked out the past two weeks at free agent camps for Saskatchewan and Toronto. However no photos have surfaced, nor interviews or evaluations. Why? The story will pick up again and hopefully it ends with him signing in Saskatchewan but for some reason the league doesn't want the positive publicity. I don't get it. The league that doesn't want coverage.

6 - FEEL THE RUSH: The Saskatchewan Rush has the opportunity to takeover the headlines in the weeks and months ahead. The reigning NLL champs are on the verge of clinching 1st place in their conference and heading down the road of defending their title. I've been all over this province the past few months and have bumped into Rush season ticket holders in every corner of the 306. THIS franchise is excellence from top to bottom. If you've never been to a Rush game (and I'm still shocked at how many Saskies haven't), join me at the last regular season home game on Saturday, April 27 against the Colorado Mammoth. It's SuperHeroes Night to boot!

7 - BOOM!: How many Stanley Cup Playoff drafts have gone in the dumpster? Obviously, mine did with Tampa Bay doing a faceplant. However - with all due apologies to blogger Brendan McGuire - these playoffs have been anything BUT boring. Predictability breeds boredom and the NHL has been just the opposite this spring. And for anyone who doesn't like the fighting and has picked up the crusade to ban it altogether, you need to stop talking. The game would be far dirtier and far more dangerous if fighting was eliminated. If you don't understand that, ask someone who knows.

8 - S-JAY: Clearly I've been having the time of my life following the Canalta Cup and broadcasting the SJHL championship series on MaxTV at the gracious invitation of the SJHL's Logan Fraser and Bill Chow. I got hit in the head by a puck in Melfort and got to pull the train horn in NB. Awesome!

Two years ago I identified the SJHL as an under-served market since the big TV stations and daily newspapers dropped their coverage due to budgets. Now, in the past few weeks, my Twitter feed has erupted with fans from Flin Flon to Estevan and gotten nasty comments from upset fans in Melfort and the Battlefords about our comments on TV. THESE are the things that make my heart flutter. Broadcasting is fun again.

9 - P.A.: A trip to the conference finals and their best regular season ever has made the Raiders relevant again in Prince Albert after a 20-year slumber. With a capacity of a paltry 3280, the Art Hauser Centre has been bursting at the seams all winter and now there are calls for a new arena. Funny, when I mentioned that on the mic at a fundraising breakfast in June in P.A., I was met with eye-rolls and a scoff? Of course it's time for a new arena in PA! There are better facilities all across the S-Jay including Melfort, Melville, Estevan, etc. All it took to start the conversation was a winning team.

Speaking of, I got scores of messages from viewers watching the Canalta Cup wondering why there are so many empty seats in the Northern Lights Palace and North Battleford Civic Centre in this series? I asked around and got the usual justifications. The chief one was, "money's tight these days". Sorry, but IT'S 15 DOLLARS! People need to get off their asses in this province, open their wallets and stimulate the economy.

10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: Will the world implode if you back-up while going through the carwash blowdryer? It seems they would have you think that. ... A junior hockey team in BC is instituting a No Cannabis policy in its standard player contracts this upcoming season. That should be interesting. ... If the Winnipeg Jets crap the bed here, how much more heartache can Winnipeggers take? ... Apologies to L.A. Kings coach Todd McLellan if I ever intimated he was part of the problem with the Edmonton Oilers. Clearly he is not. The more immersed in the hockey world I get, the more I realize what an absolute disaster that franchise is. WOW! ... Everywhere I go, people are asking 'How was Brock Lesnar?' After spending an evening with him in Assiniboia, I can reiterate: don't judge a book by its cover. He's a really solid, down-to-earth dude who just happens to be one of the toughest bastards on the planet. ... The junior players have gotten me into downloading the podcast Spittin' Chiclets. I like it. It's got me feeling optimistic about the podcast I plan to launch in May. Watch for it!

Y'er welcome,


Anonymous said...

A few things:

1) There is SO much good hockey out there. I sit in the Cooperators at 11:30 p.m watching my son's adult safe team. I have a lot of free time so I've always been a rink rat at Pats games. There was a time I'd watch U of R Cougars, and based on geography and relatives the SJHL was always on the radar. The SJHL is as good a hockey league as you'll find and this winter I caught Regina Capitals Jr B - as John Paddock once said, "Hockey is hockey". I also pvr a tonne of NHL games.

Over the years I've seen SJHL guys and wondered well why are they not in the WHL? They are taking the NCAA route and are as good as anything out there.

2) CFL Strike - there won't be a strike. It's a give and take. The Owners have to give those guys something whether it's a raise or some post-career help, but end of the day this league is on such a thin line. Nobody and I mean nobody should ever say boo to Bob Young. He hemorrhages money every season. He does it as a civic service, but without him Hamilton would have been long gone. Wettehnal in Montreal doesn't need the headache, and BC is a heart beat away from that owner deciding enough is enough or he just flat out dies. Then you have Toronto.....- every year as I get older I just am thankful we have the CFL.

3) NHL Pool - I do a bracket - I'm loaded up with Maple Leafs, a couple of Blues, and a couple Calgary guys - my final is St Louis vs Toronto. When Toronto is bounced and I can feel it coming....summer is here.

4) As far as garbage franchises go - Edmonton is on the level with Arizona they just get fans to go to games and buy merchandise. If the New York Islanders have shown all it takes is that one guy at the top...76 year old Lou Lamorello and it changes on a dime. He did it in Toronto and then the Island the most improbably of all places. Jim Hopson is an example of that as well here.

Y'er Welcome

Anonymous said...

Pt 1. Things always remain the same until they're not. This looks different because the league has done a lot to rub salt in the wounds. Hold back money legally earned, spend much of the off-season on things deemed more important. Where's their priority? Oh yeah. The players always cave so let's ignore them until 3 weeks before camp. That should be enough to solve all the long standing issues. Attitude of the press is the same as the league. I'm not so sure.
Pt 2. If the ratio goes to 5 or 6 starters, bye bye QB's even if they're counted. They still have to be 1 of now 5 or 6 starters. Can't see that happening.
Pt 5. Jon Ryan is a great punter who had a great career in the NFL. As a hometown boy he should be a story in Regina. That doesn't make him a story in the rest of the CFL. BC & Toronto need services of a punter but likely would prefer a guy who handles all 3 kicking positions. Not sure I would dump Bartel for Ryan but that's me. For teams in Calgary, Edmonton & Winnipeg, why would it be a story? This is not Vince Young or Johnny Manziel.
Pt 10. Like your other points, right on. Oilers only team in history to miss playoffs 12 times in 13 years. Too much of an old boys club with a Paul Messier on scouting, a Keith Gretzky @ GM & ex-Oilers Gretzky, Lowe, MacTavish, Coffey et al scattered through the organization. How long have Howson & Green (brought over from Oil Kings) been there? Easy to say that Lowe, for instance, is not on the hockey side anymore but anyone coming in has got to wonder how much control he has with all these guys around. Add that to a bad team hamstrung with awful contracts & you have a really bad situation.

SWC said...

Here's the scenario if we keep dropping the number of Canadians required on a CFL roster.

How much longer do you think it will take before we're playing on a hundred yard field with 11 players and four downs?

We have to keep CANADIANS in the CANADIAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE or we become the equivalent to the Federal League in hockey.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting this up so I don't have to read the crap below it. You don't work with that clown anymore, so ditch his column.

Randolph Charles said...

SWC...rubberstamping your comment right now. And if those of you that like the "how come we aren't punting on third and ten" league have an idea that the NFL would set up a franchise if there was no CFL, you are dreaming in technicolor. No way Sask., Wpg, Cgy, or even Edm. have a hope in hell. Montreal, so many needs. And why would NFL set up in Toronto when they don't come even when the Argos win? Vancouver highly unlikely but they are close to Seattle so who knows? I am for keeping the Canuck content or even increasing it. Keep the 'Canadian' in the league.

Anonymous said...

This CFL Canadian ratio thing is driven by American coaches & GMs with their 'win now so I can move on' attitude. They want to be able to fix a problem with a couple of phone calls.
The reality is the ratio is the same for every franchise so the team that scouts, drafts and develops the best Canadians usually wins.
What's wrong with that?

Steve said...

Roddy. Spittin' Chicklets is awesome! Go back and listen to some older ones. They have some legends on there with jaw-dropping stories of days gone by (Adrian Aucion). Can't wait to see what you have coming at us down the pipeline!

Anonymous said...

I would concur about dumping that column below. The guys who have stuck with this blog basically they back Rod. I listened to SportsCage yesterday on my way home back to Regina. I couldn't help but get the irony. You have Mitch as the Host who used to be on the distant number two show on the competition. Then you have Vanstone who was a contributer on the distant number two show in the market. Both are now on this show? Just remember who built the foundation, but I'm not going to be tuning in as much if at all when the new guy starts. What for.

Anonymous said...

Brendan McGuire's column isn't below this one.

Randolph Charles said...

So Rod my thoughts about #1 and #2:

1) you are correct, attendance is down, and TV ratings have flat-lined, not good.

We should thank Reilly and Mitchell for staying in, and also the ref committee for toughening the rules for late/ malicious quarterback hits. Also Zach is a very gifted quarterback if the new rules can keep the head hunters at bay. We need these guys, all of them, as they put butts in the seats, and generate revenue. Which leads me to:

2) Ambrosie may turn out to be genius if his Euro/Mexican experiment works. The fans there may take to the league better than the NFL for the reason you gave (real chances for players) but also for the game excitement overall. When they show the stands during the NFL London series most fans look bored out of their gourde unless they are drunk or have wagered a ticket.

So the spin-off could be future lucrative TV deals, not to mention merchandising, in those countries. Which of course equates to money generated. Then there are chances to increase wages/benefits and that equals win/win for all.

Anonymous said...

"Not sure I would dump Bartel for Ryan but that's me"

Hahahaha. How about a league-worst 40.9 yards-per-punt average?? 11 CFL punters and 5 punters in USPORTS had a better punting average than Bartel.

Jon Ryan only had 2 years under 44 yards-per-punt in his time in the NFL. He even had 6 years with over 45 yards-per-punt.

Yikes. Please give me one good counter argument. This should be a no brainer. Drop an international player for a national player.

Anonymous said...

Randolph, Collaros has yet to play more than 14 games & ask your new guy, Derek Taylor, about Zach's efficiency when NOT under pressure. 2nd Worst guy in the league last year. Worse than Jennings, even worse than Bridge and Manziel. When the head hunters are at bay, he's not good. Bottom line? The Riders wanted to move on from Bridge and Zach. Jones said publicly they were ready to spend big and they threw a truckload of cash at Mitchell. Even the oft injured Lulay stated the Riders offered him a contract after Zach was signed. He may be gited but he no longer plays like one.

Anonymous said...

There's more to punting than yardage as Ryan himself said. How many punts did Bartel place inside the 10 ? One of the top guys in the league. There's guys with big legs who can't place punts. If you're on the opponent side of the field, a team isn't happy if you send a 50 yard punt in for a conceded single when you can pin your opponent on the 5. It's not all about yardage. That's true in both leagues.

Mike said...

Last I look Bartel is a national player as He didnt go through the US football system.

Anonymous said...

Scored 4 touchdowns in a single game, Polk High School Panthers, 66.

Al Touchdown Boondy

Anonymous said...

Re. Empty seats... I am an SJHL season ticket holder. I love the league, but it was 24 degrees outside today! Who wants to be in a rink now? Shorten the season... each games means more... hand out the RBC cup by now and go enjoy summer.

Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for. The cfl is a minor league with part time players. Bring in Mexican players , they can’t be any worse than the guys playing now.

Anonymous said...

The best part is having to have a receiver as the backup placekicker because the punter doesn't know how to.