Category Archives: Viewpoint
Well it’s amazing that the football season has come and gone. With that in mind and a closer look at championship week here are my thoughts in no particular order on this top 10 Tuesday.
10 – Despite, from all accounts, no one in Toronto being aware that the CFL showcase event was on in their city the 104th Grey Cup game itself seemed to go off without a hitch. The question that will always hang over the game itself will be why would Calgary try to throw the ball on 2nd and Goal from the 2 yard line with their third string quarterback as opposed to running the ball with the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian (Jerome Messam) or having the league’s Most Outstanding Player (Bo Levi Mitchell) throw the ball.
9 – The play also should trigger the debate; why do CFL teams bring in their 3rd string quarterback to run short yardage plays? It seems that the risk for things to go wrong is much higher than the reward of keeping the starter healthy. I can’t recall a quarterback injured on a short yardage sneak.
8 – One troubling fact from the highly entertaining overtime championship game was that the excitement did not translate into television numbers. Viewership was down from 4.3-million viewers in 2015 to 3.9-million this year. Some are pointing to the idea that the game was anticipated to be a blow out. I wonder if TSN is the right carrier or whether or not the game should be broadcast on one of the big three national networks (Global, CTV or CBC).
To say the last little while has been a bit auspicious would be an understatement. However, time to get back on the saddle so to speak with my random thoughts from the world of sports.
So in no particular order here is today’s Top 10 Tuesday:
10 – Well it may be a week late but definitely never too late to recognize excellence. Congratulations to the Saskatoon Hilltops on the winning of their third consecutive Canadian Bowl. Unbelievably one critic pointed out to me that the only reason the Hilltops win is that they are able to keep their older players on their roster. My response, I think that speaks to the program not the athletes and perhaps if other teams could get the same dedication and commitment they would could emulate the success.
9 – Question, if a Grey Cup is held in Toronto and no one knows does it really happen? It will be curious to see the number of butts in the seats for Sunday’s Grey Cup game in the big smoke. Right now the forecast for Saturday is calling for a Mix of Sun and Cloud and high of +6.
8 – Organizers of the Grey Cup have to be ecstatic that Ottawa will provide the opposition for Calgary on the weekend. I don’t think that it has to do with the East vs. West tradition argument that now can be avoided (With Edmonton eliminated in the Eastern Final). Instead, I think that organizers can thank their lucky stars that Ottawa fans who may be more apt to travel than those of the Eskimos will make the trip to scoop up some tickets.
7 – What is the CFL doing Part 1: Did you catch who will be performing the national anthem on Sunday? The CFL is bringing out The Tenors to sing O Canada. If the group sounds familiar they are the Canadian crew that performed at the MLB All-Star game while holding up cards and changing the words to the anthem. What could possibly go wrong?
Well it seems like forever since my schedule has been “normal.” With that being said there is a lot happening in the world of sports. So here is a quick look at what’s going on! AND in no particular order my Top 10 on this Tuesday.
10 – Hank Barking Away Well we start with the spouting off of Henry Burris to TSN’s cameras at halftime of their game on Saturday against Edmonton. The reporter in me (AKA the guy who has had to hold a microphone at that exact instant) is ticked off that a professional athlete would use that platform in-game to try and convey a message to a rights holder. I had a similar situation occur to me (albeit not on the air) my first game on the Rider sidelines! A Calgary Quarterback who used to play for Saskatchewan was poised to become the Stamps new starter and when I requested he join me for a post-game interview he in no uncertain terms told me how he would never appear on the Rider Radio network after feeling like he was slighted. (The language was kind of colorful)
Well it’s been a little slow around here for a couple of weeks thanks to me taking some time off!
It’s been eventful since I’ve been gone. The Riders picked up their first win of the Chris Jones era on Friday night, the Toronto Blue Jays stumbled a bit coming out of the All-Star Break, they reached the halfway point of the Wyant Group Raceway, and Team Canada won gold at the World Junior Football Championships in China.
With all of that being said here is my take from the World of Sports and a look inside the Toronto sports scene after spending some quality time in the ‘Big Smoke.’ So in no particular order here’s today’s Top 10 List:
10 – How about this first? For the first time in Toronto sports history the Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays played a home game at the same time. Since moving to separate facilities this off-season this was the first time that it has happened and the numbers are not pretty for the Argos. The Boatmen drew 16,048 fans or 59% of BMO Fields capacity while the Jays across downtown brought in 41,483. SO of the total paying sports customers in Toronto on a Monday night 72% chose MLB over the CFL. Further inside the numbers the Blue Jays over the weekend drew 138,000 fans not including Monday’s draw. I’m just sayin’
9 – Doing the Argos no favors are the CFL schedule makers, who by the way are the Argos owners (TSN who factor in big time in broadcast timing). The Argos after opening BMO went not only out on the road but also away from Toronto for two straight games as they stayed in Western Canada between games in Regina and Vancouver (Hard to create buzz about the team when they are not around). In addition, the league scheduled home games for the Boatmen on a Wednesday, Thursday and Monday (thus far this season) which are not exactly big nights to draw fans. Now the Argos will point to the weather being so nice that people didn’t want to sit in a stadium on a summer night. That’s hog wash as the 138,000 fans for Blue Jays baseball on the weekend sat through Humidex factors of 42+ degrees. Not to mention sitting in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day and not in the evening or under the shades of BMO.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders kicked-off their 2016 season on Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays played a marathon game on the weekend, and Team Canada is going strong in China that and more on the way with my top ten musings from the week that was.
So buckle-up in no particular order here we go:
10 – The Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped their opening game of the season, 30-17 to Toronto. Some of the descriptors from the game were; Disappointing, predictable and not as bad as it could have been. In all honesty the Riders were a handful of plays away from a different outcome. The one sure thing to come from the contest is the fact that the group assembled by Chris Jones et all is fast, focused and fierce. This is going to be a fun team to watch when they come together.
9 – Credit where it is due! Lost in the loss to Toronto was the return of Quarterback Darian Durant to the field from his Achilles injury a year ago. In his first game action in a year the Rider pivot only went 31-48, for 310 yards 1TD and rushed for 15 yards. Not to mention catching his own pass for 3 yards. Not bad for a guy who only had one quarter of pre-season action to get up to game speed.
7 – Cudos to the Riders for sticking to their guns this week, Part 1: First overall pick Josiah St. John was on the field after signing with the club late last week. The Riders took a hard-line stance on the number one pick sticking to their salary structure. Good on the Riders now St. John can show his worth on the field.
6 – Sticking to their guns, Part 2:
Lots to get to in today’s top 10 so let’s get at it! In no particular order here are my ten random thoughts from the week that was in the world of sports.
10 – The million-dollar question in the province this week is how will the Riders be this season? The general consensus is that they will be OK after taking some early lumps to start the year. With that being said the formula is simple. The Riders will rise and fall with the fortunes of Darian Durant and his grasp of the offence, health and cohesion with the receivers.
9 – One more thought from the Riders is the fans negative response to VP of Football Operations, G-M, Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Chris Jones bringing in more players after training camp. As I mentioned on the air last week, it’s like doing a remodel of your home and then finding the furniture just don’t fit with the renovation so you go looking for a better fit. Plain and simple! No disappointment in what is or isn’t in the locker room, just looking to upgrade which is what makes organizations successful.
Summer officially arrived in our province yesterday afternoon! However, panic arrived early Saturday evening after the Riders dropped their second, and final, pre-season game in Edmonton. Is it panic time? No! BUT there is some cause for concern.
To help ease the panic, I think, here are my weekly thoughts in no particular order.
10 – So what to make of the Riders oh-and-2 pre-season in which they were outscored 53-26 by B.C. and Edmonton? I think a fair assessment is that the Riders were doing just that. With only thirteen hold-overs from last year’s 3-and-15 team the Green and White had to figure out what exactly they have as opposed to preparing for the regular season. So no need to panic but there should be some concern especially on the offensive side of the ball.
9 – Calling a spade a spade; So, while the Riders needed to upgrade in all areas of the team to me the most pressing need was finding someone to develop at Quarterback behind Darian Durant. Unfortunately, for the Riders Darian lost two years of his prime dealing with injuries. The cold hard fact was that no one was able to step up and guide the offence in his absence in either 2014 or 2015. I am not entirely sure that the Riders have that on their roster yet, however, there are whispers around the league the Riders are shopping to address that need.
8 – Back to the offence and all isn’t doom and gloom when you look at the stat line that the Green and White only put up 26 points in 8 quarters of football. Keep in mind that the Riders did turn the ball over in the score zone a couple of times last week which could have padded those numbers. Additionally, the Riders being on a bye week (despite no formal work-outs) will allow the number ones an opportunity to study film and learn more of the play-book which should allow them to hit the ground running when they return to the practice field on Saturday.
Wow a week filled with highs and lows in and around Toon-Town last week. Time for my weekly recap and a warning if you are looking for a break from the Garth Brooks in Saskatoon stuff he does make his way into this week’s top 10 along with talk of a new downtown venue for Saskatoon.
That and more in my top 10 musings from the week that was in no particular order.
10 – First off need to start with condolences to the family of Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. I was fortunate enough to be in his presence on a handful of occasions. Of course, the most memorable was in the early 2000’s when he was the guest of the Saskatoon Blades at a hockey game. I knew that I was going to have a chance to meet him following our post-game show in the Blades offices and even was going to have a chance to ask a couple of questions for a feature that we would run later that season. After Les Lazaruk and I quickly wrapped up the post-game portion of the broadcast to get to the reception I needed to make a pit stop. Never being “the guy to ask the dumb question,” I was going over in my head some ideas of what I was going to ask the legend. After finishing the job I began making my way out to the office, obviously with my head down. That’s where I ran into Howe, literally! I tried to say something coherent and called him Mr. Howe-Key and mentioned that it was a great deal of my pleasure to meet him and something way more embarrassing, I’m sure. After babbling for what felt like an eternity Mr. Howe smiled ear to ear (you know the one that lights up a room) threw up his patented elbow and passed me into the washroom. Later in the interview he talked about composure under pressure setting the great ones apart with a huge smile on his face while I probably soiled myself! Doh!
9 – Its’ too bad that a person’s death is the time when we further think of honouring someone. I read an article this week pondering whether or not the NHL should retire the number 9 for Gordie Howe like they did the 99 for Wayne Gretzky. Great question, better point.
Well there is a LOT of things going on in Toon-Town and the national sporting scene at the moment and in that vein it is my look at the top 10 observations from the week that was. In no particular order.
10 – Starting things off of the asphalt where I had a chance to announce my first race at the newly named Wyant Group Raceway. What an intriguing experience to be in the tower and hear the story behind the action. With that being said Richard Woodbine is a true treasure and amazing book of knowledge. The track is better for his efforts not to mention all of the great volunteers.
9 – I have tried to sneak into a couple of Rider work-outs to see who is who and what is what. It is pretty clear from the outside looking in that the Riders have some work to do. Fortunately for them I think that Chris Jones and company will be afforded a season or so to right the ship. The team is a work in progress and it could be a tough start to the campaign as the team gels.
8 – I still will wonder what might have been had Darian Durant, Sea Emery, Kevin Glenn, et all were dealt serious injury at the start of the season. With all of that being said I think the one area that the Green and White are focusing on shoring up is Quarterback. GM/Head Coach Jones knows the importance of a quality back-up in the CFL.
7 – More on the Riders and I applaud their stance on hold-out,
Hooray, Hooray, football season began on Sunday! Rider camp opened here in ToonTown on the weekend and this year’s team will be very interesting to watch. From some intriguing battles to new systems they are all on display right now in the Bridge City. At the end of the day the organizations and fans wanted change in the football department and they are going to get it.
On that vein some things remain the same in junior hockey thanks to some forward thinking and a possible second for a Saskatoon landmark on the weekend; that and other news that was in the world of sports from the last seven days. Here’s this week’s Top Ten list, as always, in no particular order:
10 – Battles to watch at training camp: Back-up quarterback. Brett Smith now has had a season and a half to lay claim to the number two job. The question is can he?
9 – Battles to watch part two. I’ll be very interested to see what happens along the defensive line. There definitely is a lot of a talent assembled the question is how do you get them all on the field, and within the ratio, especially with the sudden retirement of Rory Konnop?
8 – More CFL and you have to give the Toronto Argonauts p-r staff a lot of credit. They are doing absolutely everything in their power to make the Boatmen relevant in Canada’s largest city! From going over the top to promote their new jerseys to do anything possible to build momentum for their move to BMO Stadium. Unfortunately, as of this morning for the Argos there is only one section in the entire stadium that is sold out for season tickets which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
7 – A shot across the bow. Well this most certainly won’t help the Argos either. Bell, who also owns TSN in addition to the Boatmen, must be fuming after anchor Jennifer Hedger and the graphics department pointed out that Toronto has been without a professional sports team championship since 1993. The comment sparked a firestorm on social media from Argo player Matt Blanck who tweeted:
Matt Black: Interesting, could of sworn