A Final Top Ten Tuesday For November:

Hard to believe that the month is running down and perhaps more apropos time is ticking on some of the hideous mustaches (including yours truly) that are part of the Movember Campaign, which is raising awareness for a great cause.

That all being said it is time to reflect on the week that was in the world of sports. So in no particular order here are my random observances:

10 – All is right in the CFL…. Hamilton and Calgary will clash in Grey Cup 102 in Vancouver on Sunday. The regular season champions from each division will tangle on the turf this weekend in front of what will hopefully be a full house in Vancouver. The Stamps have been the best all season and have earned their way to the big game. Meanwhile, after a shaky start to the season the Ti-Cats just keep getting better and deserve a return ticket to the big game after coming up clutch down the stretch.

9 – Not all is right off the field… Anyone that voted for the CFL awards should feel shame! Solomon Elimimien and Ricky Ray both had solid seasons and should have been mentioned in the conversation for the league’s Most Outstanding Player but the oversight and slight of Edmonton Quarterback Mike Reily is inexcusable. I know voting is done prior to the end of the regular season (I don’t understand that either) but Ray didn’t get his team into the post season while the B.C. defence was lit up by Montreal two weeks ago in the Eastern Semi-Final. Yes I realize that Reilly did not get the Eskimos into the Grey Cup but he was instrumental in turning the team around this season.

8 – A Breakthrough? Many in Edmonton are pointing to this being a breakthrough season for the Edmonton Eskimo franchise. Others are saying that it was a bad break. Of course, Mike Reilly played in Sunday’s West Final on a broken foot with a bad leg and hamstring. All told it was a gutsy effort that should never have been the case. Reilly was injured in the fourth quarter of a blowout victory over B.C., the score at the time was 30-3. Having him in the game at that stage was ludicrous and the heat should be turned up on first-year Head Coach Chris Jones.

7 – Michael Says… Speaking of Chris Jones, Mike McCullough didn’t mince his words when it came to Edmonton’s Head Coach and his refusal to shake the hand of opposing coaches this season. McCullough pointed out that if a player plays with his knee showing on more than three consecutive plays they are found in breach of the league’s dress code and fined $250. He was adamant that the league needs to fine Jones to adhere to the time honoured tradition of the coach’s post-game handshake.

6 – Speaking of post-game… As you know I am not exactly the biggest supporter of the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, I will admit to following Saturday night’s Leafs/Red Wing game closely, especially when it became abundantly clear the Leafs would score a 4-1 win over the Wings. Why the intrigue? Well of course the Leafs snubbed their fans by not going to centre ice and raising their sticks in victory after a win earlier that week. Instead they let emotion cloud good judgement and after being roasted for some pitiful play they fought back by not saluting the crowd. Fast-forward to Saturday and I had to see if the Leafs would get it figured out and reinstitute the salute. (Which they did, half-heartedly) Now will ownership and management hold their leadership group accountable for the public-relations nightmare?

5 – Getting What You Deserve… Back to the grid iron and the Montreal Alouettes mouths were running prior to the East Division Semi-Final almost as fast as they ran off the turf at Tim Horton’s Field after being blasted by the hometown Ti-Cats. I don’t understand the yapping teams do prior to football games as it very rarely seems to end well for the offenders. Ask Calgary in the recent post-season past.

4 – Get rid of the hardware… Am I the only one who thinks that the CFL needs to get rid of the Divisional Championship trophies? To be truthful; Hamilton and Calgary only needed one win in the post season to get the hardware. Then when presented the trophy the Ti-Cats, as superstition suggested, didn’t touch it. Meanwhile, I’d be surprised if the silver statue wasn’t taken for a victory lap around McMahnon Stadium. All-in-all there is no historical significance to the trophies and with TSN battling technical issues to even get the presentation on the air why not just get rid of them. Save it for the Grey Cup.

3 – Who said they can’t score? The Saskatoon Blades traded a scoring threat in Cory Millette to the Prince Albert Raiders last week and the whispers among many critics wondered who would now score for Saskatoon. The Blades responded on Saturday night by netting 7. The unfortunate, part was that they forgot to play defence and allowed 8 to the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

2 – On the pebbled ice… I will be the first to admit I don’t watch a lot of curling on television, however, I will tell you that I am in complete favour of the eight end games that the teams were playing on Sportsnet this weekend. No blank ends, rocks in play all the time a quicker pace made for a very enjoyable viewing experience. Hopefully that excitement can translate into the grass roots of the game. Unfortunately, many a curling rink is nowhere near as busy as it used to be even 10 years ago, a disturbing trend for the sport.

1 – RIP Pat – The hockey world is still mourning the passing of Pat Quinn. The former player and coach was a gentle giant. The lone opportunity that I had to mingle with Quinn, prior to a Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner, was extraordinary. As much as I quizzed him about my beloved Canucks he was equally as excited to hear about the Saskatoon Blades, grass roots hockey and share his thoughts on the importance of family. Although I didn’t know him well his reputation truly is that of a great man.

 

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