Top 10 Tuesday: A Fix For The Riders And The NHL?

Things are starting to get very interesting as the build up to Superbowl is on, and the heat is on CFL General Managers to shore up their free-agent wish list.

With that in mind here are my top ten scattered thoughts from the world of sports.

10 – Foley To T.O. You have to love social media! The haters were out in full force on Saturday when the Green and White dealt fan favorite Ricky Foley to Toronto for Shea Emery. Despite his gruff tattooed exterior, Foley was pure gold on and off the field and the heartbreak of the deal was felt by him as much as it was by Rider Nation. The deal in a small way was reminiscent of the late 90’s decision to release Bobby Jurasin. In this instance the Riders will get a key piece back in a much coveted middle-linebacker that is four years younger than Foley.

9 – Brack is Back…. The Green and White’s decision to sign Tyron Brackenridge was in a lot of ways a no brainer. You have a player that wants to stay and is a big part of your defence. Brackenridge was also the heavy hitter on the defence punishing the opposition constantly… Throw in the addition of Emery and the league will now need to be weary when heading through the middle.

8 – So who is next? Well, Ben Heenan and Weston Dressler are the reminants of the Riders “Big Three,” pending free-agents and one player’s importance over the other’s is an interesting debate. Let’s face it both can find homes and be paid handsomely anywhere else in the league. The question becomes are they willing to take a home-town discount to stay in the Green and White in the salary cap era.

7 – Success Sucks…. One last thought on the Green and White and there is no doubt that everyone in the CFL can see the financial success of the team. That is of course great for the future of the franchise but it also may be a hindrance. As a player I can see the money that the team is bringing in and I, rightly so, want a piece of that pie. Unfortunately that cannot happen in a cap era. That factor may be why other teams are able to sign their own free-agents easier as they don’t have to compete with their own success and might be better able to secure larger loyalty discounts.

6 – All-Star what? So the NHL all-star sham err, I mean game has come and gone. The event that is all about the money for the league can’t even attract the game’s biggest stars to take part as Sidney Crosby had a “lower body” injury and couldn’t participate. If I were in charge here’s my solution! Keep the All-star draft but instead of players picking their peers run a contest where two fans get to be coach and GM of their real life fantasy teams. The winning GM/Coach of the all-star skills competition gets a car, while the winner of the game wins $500,000 and a $100,000 cash bonus to players on the winning team (that doesn’t count against the cap)

5 – Speaking of stars? With seemingly so many injuries I still can’t figure out how P.K. Subban didn’t end up at the all-star game. Any thoughts?

4 – Closer to home… Watching the All-Star game with my 10 year old he had an interesting query, “When is the WHL All-Star game?” I have long been a proponent of bringing back the event that hasn’t happened for well over a decade. My reasoning; What better way to showcase the best of the best the league has to offer, especially to fans who do not get to see every team in their building every year? I’m sure at least one broadcast partner would salivate over the prospect of covering the event.

3 – Top Prospect Flop? So where would you put a WHL all-star game on the schedule? Simple the Top Prospects game has run its course. Small crowds now plague the Ontario focused event. Scouts and NHL types will argue that it’s an invaluable tool to assess the top draft eligible players as they square off head to head. That being said I would love to hear of one draftee that improved or had their ranking slip due to their performance in the game.

2 – What the blank? Congratulations to Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton for capturing her fourth provincial championship on the weekend. Her six four victory over Regina’s Michelle Englot will see her represent our province at the national tournament in Moose Jaw in March. Upon closer review there were 10 points scored in the final, at least two of which were scored accidentally when the teams botched an attempted blank end. So for at least four ends of the game teams were attempting to blank the end and not score. Not exactly a recipe for excitement or intrigue. Maybe shifting to an 8 end game wouldn’t be a bad idea after all?

1 – Speaking of intrigue… So is this the year that Weyburn’s Graham DeLaet breaks through at the PGA level and wins an event? Is this the year that he has too? DeLaet celebrated his 33rd birthday last week and is in the prime of his career. Health has been an issue for the Weyburnite but in order to keep the momentum that he has built through sponsorship and improved play and results I wonder if he doesn’t have to get that elusive win. Then again I’m speaking from the deep rough on this one.