Top 10 Thoughts On CFL Free-Agency, Curling And Figure Skating!

On the eve of the opening of the Canadian Football League’s Free-Agency period here are my Top Ten Thoughts on this Tuesday Morning.

10 – Well let’s start with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and for the first time in a number of years the Green and White appear to be poised to lose a pair of key players through free-agency. The most impactful, if you will, is going to be linebacker/defensive back Craig Butler. Versatility and Intensity are the two best adjectives to use when describing the four-year pro out of Western. If Brendan Taman can find a way to meet his financial needs, which the Rider GM openly admits that Butler deserves, than it will be a major coup for the team.

9 – Craig Butler of course may not be the only member of the Green and White to leave for more green. So, if Butler is the consensus at the top of the list who would be next? My vote would be for Jock Saunders who has proven that he can carry the ball out of the back-field and after a mid-season case of the dropsies on punt returns he has turned into a valuable asset that is starting to hit his stride.

8 – The other loss for the Riders may come on special teams as both kicker Chris Milo and punter Ricky Schmitt have expiring contracts.

7 – So who are the best fits for the Riders to add in free-agency? Well with the pending loss of Kory Sheets to the NFL, Winnipeg running back Chad Simpson may be a nice fit seeing as how the Riders released Chris Garret yesterday.

6 – Also on the Green and White radar? Kicker Luca Congi may come in to replace Milo, who he lost his job to prior to the 2012 season. Speaking of former Rider returns would receiver Cary Koch consider a return to the Green and White after a pair of seasons in Edmonton. It may seem unlikely after his tumultuous departure from Riderville. However, his hands may be a nice addition to a receiving core without Weston Dressler.

5 – So with those possible fits with the Riders who is left on the board? I would submit that DB/Returner Jovon Johnson, receiver Nick Moore, linebacker Shea Emery and defensive back Pat Watkins will all garner a great deal of interest.

4 – One more on football and one of the classiest guys that I know officially hung them up yesterday. Rider fullback Graeme Bell, who didn’t get into a game in 2013, officially announced his retirement as he now will start his life after football in Edmonton. Bell, who overcame a traumatic brain injury after an incident outside of a Saskatoon night club, fought his way back onto the field. While doing that he gave up numerous hours to dedicate himself to minor football in Saskatoon, even serving as President for a short time. He always had time to say hello and take time out for his fans and supporters. All the best in the future Mr. Bell.

3 – Speaking of good guys and congratulations to Saskatoon Hilltop running back Andre LaLonde. He was named the Kinsmen male athlete of the year on Friday night at the Kinsmen banquet. Rushing for more than 1400 yards in 2013 he literally carried the Toppers on his back as they attempted to win a fourth straight Canadian Championship. His efforts were rewarded with a contract from the Saskatchewan Roughriders where I am sure you will see him flourish in 2014.

2 – Over to the pebbled ice and what about the performance by Rachel Homan at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal? Not only did she go undefeated in winning her second straight national title but she never threw her final stone in any game. Absolutely one of the most dominating performances ever at the event and definitely despite her young age must have her in the conversation as one of the best teams ever.

1 – Lastly a Sochi note and is it time to toss Figure Skating from the Olympics? Word around the games is that the Russians and American judges have reached a deal in order to promote their athletes. This is nothing new as ten years ago today the Canadian Ice dance duo of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were robbed of a gold medal after a French judge admitted to bowing to pressure from Russian officials. As is the case in any judged event corruption is a possibility. However, it only takes one sport to be made an example of in order to clean it and other sports up!


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