Dave’s Dis N’ Dat: Can You Handle The Truth?

Another seven days have come and gone which has meant some more R & R for yours truly.

That has meant for a bit of a slower time here at toontownsports.net but it has been anything but slow in the sports pages. So, here is a look back at the past seven days with my take and some cold hard truth. Can you handle it?

Kicking things off this morning is the Saskatoon Hilltops. I had the opportunity to literally drop in on their golf tournament and ring ceremony at the Dakota Dunes Casino and Golf Links yesterday. One of the reasons I feel so privileged to have been working with this team for the last decade is the family philosophy that they have built. The supporters that were on hand last night to salute the 2014 Canadian Champions, one last time, were oozing with pride.

Staying with football and the word from some in Regina and around the CFL is that “apparently” Head Coach Corey Chamblin’s job may be on the line after an oh-and-4 start to the campaign. Wow! With more than 12 players on the team’s 6-game injured list and a combined 12 points being the margin of defeat how can anyone blame the Head Coach? Literally the Riders are three plays away from being 3-and-1.

Unfortunately those three plays have been defensive ones. That being said the Riders are missing the quarterback of their defence Shea Emry. In the off-season the Riders identified a young group of Linebackers that would be utilized in 2015. To address the need the Green and White acquired Emry from Toronto. Unfortunately, Emery has missed all but two quarters of the season. I guarantee that if you insert him back in the line-up the defensive group looks a lot different.

Speaking of different looks you don’t have to look any further than the secondary to see a rotation of faces not only shift to shift but heck series to series at times. If you look around the entire CFL no other defensive backfield has had close to the amount of turnover due to injury that the Riders have. That lack of continuity in my mind is a big reason as to why the team seemingly hasn’t adapted to the new pass coverage rules.

I know what you may be thinking, “injuries are not an excuse.” Sorry to say but the truth is they are and a gigantic factor at that when you consider the names; Weldon Brown, Tristan Jackson, Shea Emry, Keenan MacDougall, and Mark LeGree.

One name that I haven’t mentioned is that of Taj Smith. The Receiver has been “off” all season. His lack of performance has lead the team to shut him down for the remainder of the season, reportedly due to a knee injury. The Riders haven’t made that diagnosis official, but I will say that Taj hasn’t been the same player since his dust up on Dewdney in Regina. Not sure what the issue is but I will be curious to see if any other team comes knocking on the Riders door looking to add a veteran receiver.

More CFL and the new rule changes are working! OK I may have gotten sick typing that, geesh. Through four weeks the CFL is touting that scoring is up. Yes it is by about a field goal per game. Oooooh the excitement.

Also, the time per game is down by about five minutes. Thank-fully that has given me more time to…… Oh wait, if I am tuning in to see a quality product for two hours and 55 minutes those five minutes do not mean a thing to me. The only people that they do is apparently the TV people so that they can get back to their darts, bowling or whatever else they are showing on their five channels.

One good thing to come from the new rules is that the average margin of victory has dropped to just over 8 points a game. So in limiting the defence the CFL has created parity. Heck if no one can or has to play defence that takes away one complete facet of the game that coaches and personnel need to worry about.

Last one on the CFL and reading some message boards some fans appear miffed that TSN, the CFL’s official broadcaster hasn’t been tougher on the league’s officials and the perceived poor job that they are doing. The truth on this one is simple. TSN owns the Toronto Argonauts!!!!! They cannot point to poor officiating or even be critical of the league. Not only does Bell Media need the Argos to succeed but they also need to sell the game to advertisers.

Back in the Bridge City the Saskatchewan Rush are now a reality. The NLL has officially moved to Saskatoon for the 2015 season. Skepticism is running rampant, though, as all I have been asked is will the team work? I’d love to give you a definitive answer but the truth is that Saskatoon’s track record to support events is pretty good but their ability to turn out for baseball/basketball and soccer has been less than stellar. Some will even point to the Saskatoon Blades attendance as a red flag. I do believe that the Rush are coming into the Bridge City with their eyes wide-open and have a plan moving forward. Will the team catch on? I hope so.

Getting back to being an events town, I had an intriguing conversation with a pair of gents on coffee row and they were offended that I would classify Saskatoon as an events town as opposed to a sports town. I don’t think the term is derogatory at all. In fact it may be a compliment showing our diversity in our sports selection. My argument comes down to the truth. Las Vegas is not a sports town but it is an events town! I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all and when you consider that Saskatoon in the last decade has hosted the World Junior Hockey Championship, Canada Cup of Football, Memorial Cup, Canadian Tire Nascar Series, Vanier Cup, Brier, etc. it seems to me that supporting events is OK.

That all being said Saskatoon’s claim as being an event town could be in the air as the last two major events, The World Juniors and Memorial Cup were not sell outs and even though organizers won’t admit it I believe that they quietly are disappointed in the attendance figures. Here’s hoping the Rush can turn Saskatoon back into the Events Town that it has come to be known for with 9 home-date “events,” that will establish the Bridge City on the professional sports map.

Speaking of events a tip of the cap to the Sportsman Division at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway. This past Saturday night the entire division hopped on board for the Race For a Cure. I was very honored to be asked to have a small role in the event that raised more than $18,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. The race was great. Incorporating the fans to determine the race order was ingenious. BUT the moment that I will not soon forget was the lap of silence. In a show of solidarity the racers broke from the starting grid to circle the lap three abreast while all in attendance stood in a moment of silence. The quiet was deafening, moving and powerful all at the same time. Well done gents!

Last one and I see that the Toronto Maple Leafs have went off the board to secure Lou Lamoriello as their new General Manager. The Buds scooped him up from New Jersey after Lou was pushed away from the hockey operations side of the Devils. You can’t fault Toronto for hiring the soon to be 73 year old as his track record has been impeccable working with the tight-budgeted Devils.

However, if the rebuild the Leafs are proposing actually takes 5-7 years will Lou still be the right guy at age 80? Then again after 38 years there are some 80 year-old Leafs fans that are still believing that the Stanley Cup drought may end in time for them to see it. Lou you are on the clock!

That’s it for today. Enjoy the weekend… And that’s the truth!