A Top 10 Tuesday With A Solution for The WHL?

Well another interesting weekend has come and gone in the world of sports with a look back and a look to the future for the Western Hockey League here are my 10 thoughts of the week in no particular order.

10 – Well that was Quick! Seemingly days after being turned down by former BC Lions Head Coach, Mike Benevides, for the Saskatchewan Roughriders Defensive Coordinator position, Head Coach Corey Chamblin named Greg Quick the team’s new D-C yesterday. Chamblin won’t completely unshackle the new coordinator saying that he will call the defensive plays to start the season but it sounds like the well-respected Quick is going to bring a new look d-fence to the Riders.

9 – A Quick thumbs up! Well the hiring of Greg Quick is getting the thumbs up from a pair of former Riders that I have heard from. The players had gone on the record saying that recycling coaches in the CFL in their mind is ludicrous as it is dampening the games creativity. Both have repeatedly called for new blood and in turn new thought processes which I think the hiring of Quick will accomplish.

8 – Speaking of Ludicrous….. The search committee for a new commissioner for the Canadian Football League apparently has a short list complied. The salary for the new head of the CFL is reported to be in the range of $750,000 to $1-million a year. Considering the CFL salary cap in 2015 was $5.05-million per team, 20% of a team’s payroll to pay the commish may seem a tad steep. That being said you get what you pay for.

7 – More pig skin… South of the border the NFL’s final four have been determined. The question may be who has determined the all-star officiating crews? I was listening to the NFL network’s radio broadcasts of the games and they hold nothing back, even questioning every spot of the ball. The one thing I see is that officials in football like no other sport rely on team work and trust that is built by working together. When that bond is broken the product suffers. Watch any post-season football game in the CIS or CJFL and that is definitely the case as conferences between officials last incredibly long as officials work to get the call right, which is normally the case, but because the dynamic has been altered from the regular season the teamwork isn’t there.

6 – The Review… So with the debacle involving the Dallas Cowboys the last two weeks and calls that were perhaps erroneous that changed the outcomes of games the question is now being asked about Instant Replay. In one instance the inability to challenge a pass interference call may have cost Detroit the game. The next week, the call of a reception is overturned by replay, that same call if viewed at game speed by officials would more often than not been called a catch also may have affected the outcome. So what is the happy medium? I don’t think the NFL will move towards the CFL model of review but watch for pass interference to be next up on the NFL’s agenda.

5 – And The Most Fun This Week Goes To: Hats off to the Prince Albert Raiders. Head Coach, Marc Habscheid had his players practice outside yesterday to change things up. With the amount of time the players are on the ice and at the rink now as junior players it can become monotonous, especially if results are hard to come by, but with his team in the middle of a three-game winning streak and a number of new faces in the line-up the Raiders headed outdoors for practice. This wasn’t what the NHL calls a Winter Classic this truly was kids outside playing and having fun. Forwards playing goal and goaltenders playing forward. The smiles were evident, the bond created will be long-lasting and the dividends could be big! Well done Raiders.

4 – How to repair a flawed system: If you have been following these columns you will know my belief that a midget draft, similar to Ontario and Quebec, should take place in the WHL as opposed to a Bantam draft. By moving the draft up fans would get a chance to see their new prospect acquisitions in the line-up a year earlier and may give teams a better read on these young players development. The stumbling block may be implementation as you would have to essentially go a year without a draft and, as one WHL executive put it to me, teams are trading their first round picks like candy so ensuring that teams get their value in trades will be difficult. Here’s a solution, keep the bantam draft. Teams are no longer allowed to trade first or second round bantam picks. Instead they can trade players selected in the previous year’s draft. This would require an amendment to the WHL education contract that teams have players sign with a no trade clause, typically, until the players are done school.

3 – Who’s the best? Interesting conversation on TSN’s The Reporters this weekend. It was suggested the Sidney Crosby was no longer the best player in the NHL and that he should be as he is in his prime. Who is better?

2 – More questions? So who is the most exciting player in the NHL? I’m not going to lie this is tough to answer. Could it be Tyler Seguin who leads the league in goals with 26?

1 – Speaking of the best… While I am a casual fan of the Continental Cup of Curling and the World Curling Tour I do wonder if they are killing the sport. The best players in the world are competing in these events and to be the best you need sponsorship and the opportunity to focus on your craft. It seems to be coming alarmingly obvious that part time players in the sport cannot compete. I cannot answer what the solution is all I know is that curling rinks that were packed as little as a generation ago are now beating the bushes to find membership.