My Top 10 Thoughts On A Tuesday:

IN no particular order here are my 10 top-most thoughts on this Tuesday morning:

10 After this weekend’s PFC final between the Saskatoon Hilltops and Regina Thunder head shots are once again up for debate. Saskatoon Quarterback Matt Karpinka was knocked out of the game in the second quarter when he took a head shot after delivering a ball downfield, a play that was not penalized. Don’t get me wrong a penalty call would not have changed the outcome of the game. Karpinka’s presence in the game may have. Unfortunately, the fifth year quarterback had to remain on the sideline and watch time expire on his junior career. The most disturbing of the entire incident was that it was not the lone time a player launched himself at the head of an opponent in the game. I know that the coaches are not coaching this method which points, in my mind to a lack of respect among players. Football is a collision sport! More needs to be done to educate the players on collisions that are acceptable.

9 With all of that being said you have to love the class of Hilltop Head Coach Tom Sargent. He was given the opportunity on more than one occasion to speak to the hit that knocked his quarterback out of Sunday’s PFC Final. Instead of taking the glow off the Thunder’s victory he instead took the high road preferring to compliment his opponent and shoulder the load for his team’s loss in the championship game.

8 From shouldering the load to passing the buck. Are the Saskatchewan Roughriders coming apart at the seams? The most disturbing part of Saturday’s loss in Calgary was Kory Sheets blow up on the sidelines and Dwight Anderson’s exuberance following the game. The Riders instead should have taken a more humble approach and if they want to be in their own locker room at the Grey Cup they will need to find a way to win in Calgary in a couple of weeks’ time not add more fuel to the fire.

7 So should Kory Sheets be upset? Sheets made the game personal against John Cornish proclaiming that he was the best back in the CFL but when things weren’t working George Cortez moved away from the run game. That obviously hurt Sheets ego as he could not compete on the stage that he created. Kory in my opinion is definitely in the wrong and if I was his offensive coordinator I would do everything in my power to ensure that Sheets would not have a starring role in my offence again. It’s that poison that may contaminate the Riders down the stretch.

6 As for the game itself. It will be overshadowed by a perceived lack of character and humility by the team. However, the Riders are not that far off. You can point to a number of correctable mistakes and missed opportunities that could have definitely swayed the game in the Riders favour. I think that more concern would be deserved if those chances were not there.

5 One last one on the Stamps/Riders and Calgary Safety Collin Fraser is being called out for his hit on Rider receiver Chris Getzlaf. The outcome of the play, a knee injury to Getzlaf, was definitely unfortunate but in Fraser’s defence he was doing what he was supposed to do. When a receiver comes across the middle his job is to punish the offensive player and try to separate them from the ball. He did both of those things on the play despite submarining the Saskatchewan pass catcher. If there is fault on the play it may be on the quarterback who threw a high ball forcing his receiver to leave his feet and expose himself to the physical play.

4 Meanwhile who had a bigger week coming off the bench in week 18 Drew Tate in Calgary or Buck Pierce on BC? Both came in and engineered wins when their teams were sputtering and both have brought in an interesting dynamic to their offence. We shall see if their success will lead to more playing time down the stretch and into the post season. The interesting trend in this is that Drew Tate came on in similar fashion two years ago and won the starting job away from Henry Burris despite a loss in the West Final. Will he get a chance for redemption? OR will Kevin Glenn get a chance to go back under centre, something that I would argue he deserves after his stellar season thus far.

3 Staying with the CFL, this week epitomizes my argument for getting rid of the league’s divisions. Week 18 will feature not one meaningful game. Teams will undoubtedly rest starters and go completely vanilla in order to get ready for the post season. That’s a tough sell to fans who have to come out and spend their hard earned money in cooler November conditions. For arguments sake let’s just say that there were no divisions and the top two teams in the league get byes into the Grey Cup semi-final with the next four teams battling it out in a quarter-final. That would mean that the Riders and Argos would need a win to secure second behind Calgary, BC could move past Toronto and into the 3rd seed with a win, Toronto with a win could clinch the third see and with a Saskatchewan loss could clinch a quarter-final bye,  Hamilton with a win and a Lions loss could move into the fourth seed and secure a home play-off game. Those are just a few of the scenarios and I realize that the season is long but if you are going to play an 18 game regular season schedule you owe it to your customers (fans, television viewers, advertisers) to make those games as meaningful as possible. Lastly, add into the equation Ottawa next season and it seems to make even more sense as opposed to unbalanced divisions in a 9 team league.

2 Last one on the CFL and I haven’t had a chance to talk up the numbers from the Riders/BC Lions game two weeks ago. That contest determined who would host a home play-off game and it went head-to-head on television with Hockey Night in Canada. That night the Leafs drew 1.8 million viewers, the top viewed sports program of the week. The Riders/Lions were number two with 800,000 viewers, out drawing the late HNIC game! It shows the popularity of the Rider brand and the importance that Saskatchewan has on the business model of the league as the Montreal-Hamilton game Sunday afternoon going head-to-head with the NFL didn’t even register.

1 Finally, do you think that Moose Jaw General Manager Allan Millar is kicking himself this week after the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Morgan Reilly would stay with the big club this season instead of being sent back to junior? The head of the Warriors hockey operations elected not to deal Morgan Reilly at last year’s WHL deadline instead keeping his fingers crossed that the Leafs would return their first round pick to the Friendly City this season. It was a gamble not to move him especially to a Saskatoon team that was all in to win and would have paid a hefty price to obtain the elite defenceman. Millar at the time announced prior to the deadline that he would not entertain any offers for Reilly instead opting to keep his team together. Who knows what he could have gotten for Reilly in a trade that could have helped the Warriors this season.

One Response to My Top 10 Thoughts On A Tuesday:

  1. Enigma says:

    I agree with most everything you point out except point 7. I don’t think three carries in the first half can constitute a running game not working. Ist and goal from the 5 yard line and you don’t give your most outstanding player the ball? Durant has said he is the “engine” that runs the the team. Don’t you then give your engine a chance to run? Cortez has to take the biggest share of the blame for creating this situation. Sheets can be faulted for reacting poorly. However Cortez disrespected Sheets in a manner that Dickenson wouldn’t have disrespected Cornish in the same position. Had Sheets even been give the chance to try and score I doubt he would have said anything. An extra 4 points would have made a hell of a difference. I think we lost by 4?

    Miller from MJ outsmarted himself. Even with Reilly back this year the club wasn’t a true contender. He could have set himself and his team up very well. A few years back Parker wouldn’t move Eberle and Tuebert. That has hurt them ever since.

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