Top Ten Tuesday: April 26

Here we go again and it’s time to take a look at the top ten sporting that have caught my attention. In no particular order:

10 – Well the word on the street is that Rogers is having a heck of a time drawing eyes to their NHL play-off broadcasts. The low numbers are so troubling that the hockey host broadcaster is going to go over their content with a fine tooth comb this off season. Having said that, one simple change could make a world of difference: Find a consistent platform to deliver your product! For example, if you have to keep telling me where I have to go to see certain games at different times and it is not in the same place I probably won’t take the time to look.

9 – Staying with the NHL and apparently anything goes in the NHL play-offs. As you probably know the no-holds-barred approach to officiating in the play-offs drives me nuts. Exhibit A: The final minute of New York Islanders, Florida Panther game on the weekend. Two clear trips were overlooked before the Isles put the game-tying puck in the net. Then, nothing short of a homicide was going to get called in extra time. I read an interesting analysis on the final minute shame in the game and it was pointed out that the players want to be able to decide the game and that most are in favor with no calls late in games or in overtime. Firstly, that smacks of the roosters ruling the roost. Secondly, if the players are in favor of not having any penalties called in critical game moments in the play-offs would they be as content to carry that over to the regular season.

8 – Pet Peeve Alert: Kids at News Conferences. It drives me crazy when athletes show up at post-game news conferences with their children. Their interruptions and pulling at the microphones drives me nuts. I get that you, as an athlete, want to be with your kids BUT from my perspective I have to do my job so that I can get home to my kids, so, could you please hold off seeing them for 15 minutes?

7 – Reading social media, predominantly from Edmonton, and Roughrider GM and Head Coach Chris Jones is being slammed for wearing Rider gear while taking the grey Cup home this past week. He most certainly wasn’t going to wear Eskimos gear as he is no longer with the team, geesh!

6 – More from the CFL and last week the league introduced a new drug policy! Good move and extending it to athletes that test positive in the CFL Combine/Draft process is an overdue, but good move.

5 – Meanwhile the CFL announced that their officials along with stripes from the NFL will work together next season. I like the mentoring idea but the games are completely different. Speaking with members of Team Canada and Football Sask there is a lot that goes into preparing the athletes for the different, American four-down and Canadian three-down, games. I can’t imagine what goes on for officials. You want to fix it? Pay referees full time wages, make mentors available to grass roots officials AND quit undermining your own officials by providing an eye in the sky with video replay available on each and every play. Allow officials to be human. And support them – period!

4 – To Toronto and what a shocker, the 80 game ban handed to the Blue Jays Chris Colobello for steroid use. To be honest I am on the fence with this one. Good people do bad things and it is hard to come out in defence of him with him not offering any proof or explanation of how the banned substance could have entered his body. With that said when he was in ToonTown for the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner in February he was a complete class act. Took the time to listen and meet fans and did everything and more that was asked of him in his 24 hours in the city.

3 – One more on the Jays and how much longer will the Jays give manager John Gibbons to turn the scuffling Blue Birds around? With Bautista and Encarnacion in the final years of their contract the time to win is now. Simply put the Jays have lead in all but one of their games this season which points to game mismanagement, in particular the bullpen. It will be interesting to see if how long the leash is, especially with the team playing to near sell-out crowds.

2 – Staying in the centre of the Universe and the Toronto Raptors have a huge opportunity to be relevant in not only the Big Smoke but also the entire country and they know it. There is huge pressure on the players coaches and management to have a long and meaningful run in the play-offs. Bowing out in the first round will set this franchise back 10 years.

1 – Back to football and I had a great conversation this week with someone extremely knowledgeable in junior football administration and to say that there are a lot of questions and concerns towards the Prairie Football Conference’s Inter-Locking schedule is an understatement. While there appears to be little risk financially to the individual teams the schedule imbalance and possibility of the plan being scuttled after one season is of concern.