A Top 10 Tuesday With More Rumblings Of The CFL Coming To Saskatoon????

We might be in the midst of a frigid spell in Saskatchewan but football is front and centre on this top 10 Tuesday.

So here in no particular order are ten thoughts that are rattling around in my cranium in no particular order…

10 – CFL free-agency opens today at 11am SK time. Some are calling this year’s pool of potential free-agents shallow. Time will tell but the entire exercise is once again a head scratcher from a league perspective. First off the hop is the CFL’s official broadcast partner has shown remarkably little attention to this off-season public relations opportunity. The league, however, has no one to blame but themselves as the lack of information that they provide to fans and the amount of tampering that they allow in the off-season with teams courting potential free agents is almost blush-worthy. (See Edmonton signing Odell Willis 60 seconds into free-agency in 2013)

9 – More CFL blushing… Sportsnet and View From The Sidelines analyst this past season, Arash Madani has uncovered a major cover-up by the CFL. When reviewing potential free-agents Arash discovered an expiring deal between the B.C. Lions and the reigning league Most Outstanding Player and Defensive player of the year, Solomon Elimimian. Elimimian was left off the league’s free-agent tracker on their website (which you can check out here) and was never indicated as a potential free-agent. Madani is also reporting that a deal has been struck between the Lions and Solomon but the bigger question is why was his name left off the list? My two theories; firstly so that NFL teams were not made aware of his availability. Secondly to keep other teams in the CFL from influencing his contractual decision.

8 – A big free-agent in Brett? For my money the biggest potential player to hit the open market later this morning is Calgary Centre, and Weyburn product, Brett Jones. Some are reporting that the league’s most outstanding player has a contract worked out with the New York Giants of the NFL. If that’s the case it’s curious that the Stamps didn’t grant him a release like the Riders with Ben Heenan and Montreal with Duron Carter to sign the deal. That tells me a couple of things; firstly the deal may not be done and secondly the Stamps are going to do everything that they can to keep Jones in Cowtown.

7 – The Green and White’s plan… One would have to think that a back-up quarterback is a priority for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The common belief is that the Riders will look to Kevin Glenn who has been discarded by B.C., however, lurking in the weeds is Dan LeFevour who had a solid albeit injury shortened season in Hamilton last year.

6 – Who else? If I was able to draft a wish list of free agents for Rider Nation realizing that I don’t have to worry about salary caps it would have Centre Brett Jones at the top, followed by; LB Rennie Curan, REC Sam Giguere, QB Dan LeFevour, and LB Brian Peters. At the end of day it may come down to how the Riders plan to deploy the ratio as to who them may or may not pursue via free-agency.

5 – The story that won’t go away… So is the CFL coming to Saskatoon? I’m not here to suggest that expansion is anywhere near imminent; however, the Bridge City is apparently in consideration for a pre-season game. Now Rider fans don’t get too excited as it won’t be the Green and White. Instead it may be the B.C. Lions. The Leos, due to the Women’s World Cup of Soccer, cannot play a game in BC Place Stadium from June 12 to July 6. That leaves them without a place to play their “home” exhibition game. Saskatoon is on the radar but so is Kelowna, Victoria, and U-B-C. Now Rider fans again don’t get too excited that the Riders will be the opposition for the Lions in that game as the Riders have already committed to a pre-season road game with Edmonton in Fort McMurray on June 13. (The Northern Kick-off) That would leave one game left and that is their home exhibition contest which undoubtedly will be held at Mosaic Stadium.

4 – Speaking of the Women’s World Cup of Soccer, I see that games will be played in Moncton this summer. I wonder the type of facility that they are going to have there. Will it be permanent? Will it be the opportunity that the Canadian Football League has been looking for to expand into the Maritimes?

3 – To hockey and what a magical night in Saskatoon on Friday for Gordie Howe. The Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner set themselves apart from the rest with the biggest names in hockey attending the event. To me having Gretzky, Bobby and Brett Hull, Kelly Chase and Marty McSorely on hand was outstanding. However, having Lanny MacDonald, Tiger Williams and many other former NHL’ers buy a ticket and show up at the event to pay tribute to Mr. Hockey is amazing!

2 – One fear that the NHL has to have is the drop in the television ratings in the first year of their 10 year deal with Rogers. Hockey Night in Canada audiences have dropped 20% in the first five months of the deal and numbers for the league’s showcase All-Star game significantly dropped. Where are the people going? I’m not sure but I think it is a major red flag for the league if their almost automatic Canadian numbers are dropping.

1 – On the topic of almost automatic…. Steve Laycock was in control at the men’s provincial tankard in Melville on the weekend but Jason Jacobson had him on the ropes in Sunday’s final. Full marks to the Jacobson crew for staying classy after a tough loss. As for Laycock you could see that there was no sense of panic when he was down one coming home and with the field that is being assembled for next month’s Brier in Calgary Laycock has a real good chance to end our province’s drought.