Top Ten Thoughts On A Tuesday: Including Your Chance to Be A WHL GM!

Yes it’s a Tuesday and there is a lot going on in Toon-Town and beyond and here is my take on what’s happening with my random thoughts in no particular order.

10 – The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced that Omar Morgan and Chris Szarka will be the latest inductees to the team’s Plaza of Honour. Starting with the “Canuck Truck,” who played 14 seasons in Green and White, Szarka was a leader on and off the field. Szarka had that “it” factor that saw fellow players and fans levitate to him. Heck Rider Nation constantly called for him to be a bigger part of the Rider offence. Yes, they wanted their fullback to get the ball more. That says a lot about the respect and regards the fans had for him.

9 – Omar Morgan was a find of Roy Shivers and came into the league during the Danny Barrett era. Morgan was great on the field covering the likes of Geroy Simon, Milt Stegal, Ben Cahoon and many more elite pass catchers in his time. What set Morgan apart from the rest was his ability to lead on the field. Many former team mates would testify that it was like having an extra coach on the field. His ability to make adjustments on the fly in my mind makes him one of the best ever to suit up in the Rider secondary. The lone blip on Morgan’s record was the 2007 season when he signed with the Edmonton Eskimos. The one year with the Double-E was rough on Morgan who never found his footing in the Alberta capital but perhaps rougher considering that he missed out on the Riders 2007 Grey Cup victory and his opportunity to get a Grey Cup ring.

8 – Back to Roy Shivers and should he not also be in the Plaza of Honour? The majority of the 2007 Grey Cup winning team was assembled by Shivers. His downfall as the General Manager of the Riders many will argue was not replacing Head Coach Danny Barrett when the team seemed to be stuck in a rut. The word that comes in to play when assessing the Barrett coaching tenure in Saskatchewan is loyalty which cannot be said for a lot of GM – Head Coach relationships in professional sport. I digress; Shivers should be named to the Plaza simply for the work that he did to make Saskatchewan an attractive place to play football!

7 – OK I have gone this far talking football without mentioning the CFL-CFLPA labour strife. The situation is an absolute train wreck and the public feud is alienating fans on both sides of the dispute (pro-owners, pro-players). From someone close to the talks they feel that training camps across the league will be scuttled as will the pre-season. He believes that the players will get a substantial increase but it won’t come until after a week of the regular season is forfeited. He even went as far as to say that an alternate schedule has been drafted in case this scenario plays out.

6 – On the other hand I have heard from folks in the TV industry who suggest a revolt from rights holder TSN if there is any sort of work stoppage. According to this source, TSN is smarting and is very vulnerable after losing the hockey rights and needs the CFL to gain some momentum. Apparently, any sort of games missed, regular season or pre-season may have an effect on what the league collects in television money.

5 – More TSN and I caught the end of the Los Angeles, Chicago game last night. The contest which was game four of their series was also the last nationally televised game on TSN for 12 years. Chris Cuthbert had the call and it more than likely is the last time we hear him on a national hockey broadcast. Meanwhile, host James Duthie came on to reassure the viewers that they would still be around. Duthie, though, could not hide his emotions with tears in his eyes. Truth be told, we sometimes forget as viewers that the heads on television, voices on radio or guys typing at the paper are all human beings and even though you may not like their delivery, etc. they are real people with real lives that are impacted by such moves.

4 – OK speaking of moves how much fun is it going to be at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway this season? Two track records fell on the weekend and racers are telling me that the track is faster than ever. This should be a great season on the track.

3 – Also gearing up to start their season are the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets. While news on the team was quiet all winter the team has a pretty good coach and some interesting prospects lined up for the 2014 campaign. The season opens on the weekend. Head out and catch a game at Cairns Field. Great family fun!

2 – More and more names are being tossed around the Birdge City with the continuing search for a General Manager and Head Coach for the Saskatoon Blades. The one thing that is for sure is that the ownership isn’t going to give us much in the way of names until they have made a decision. I’ve been told to look for that announcement within the next two weeks. AND if you are one of those people waiting to get your season tickets until the Hockey Operations department has been defined, don’t! Early bird pricing ends on Friday!

1 – One more on being a General Manager in the WHL and let’s face it the pressure is on to produce wins. Alan Caldwell from, “Small Thoughts At Large,” broke down the Blades trade that saw them acquire Brayden Schenn from Brandon in 2011. You can see how the trade worked for both teams by clicking HERE.

As you can see there is an amazing complexity to any deal done in any league. Oh, and for the record, I would make the deal again in a heartbeat even knowing how the play-off run ended early. How about you?

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