Top Ten Tuesday: Listening To A Legend

Another busy week in the world of sports. Here is my take on the week that was with my top ten thoughts in no particular order except for number one. You have to hear a living legend share one of his hilarious memories from his time on the field.

10 – Tino Time! It’s amazing what happens when you give an athlete an opportunity to make plays. That was my thoughts when I saw the Riders open the playbook for Tino Sunseri in the second half of their win over Ottawa on Sunday. The REDBLACKS were not going to get beat by the Riders running game, and when George Cortez opened up his playbook the over-aggressive Ottawa defence couldn’t contain the Rider receivers.

9 – Coaching Not To Lose. Yes there is a difference between coaching to win and not to lose and I believe I mentioned that the Riders were perhaps guilty of the latter on Sunday. The team appeared apprehensive and more reactive to what Ottawa was doing instead of asserting their will.

8 – Speaking of coaching. Even though they only have one win on the season I think a strong argument can be made that the Ottawa REDBLACKS are the best coached team in the league. Ottawa players seem to have an amazing grasp at their team concepts and the rules and nuances of the Canadian game. Two plays in particular stood out for me on Sunday. First the 55-yard ball advancement on a punt return when Ottawa used a lateral pass across the field to set up a return. Secondly, the final play of the first overtime when the returner for the REDBLACKS knew enough to stay in bounds (or at least attempt, right Coach C?) and kick the ball out of the end zone. That to me all comes back to coaching and preparing your players to compete.

7 – Biggest Loser: No I’m not talking about the NBC reality show. The biggest loser this week in my opinion is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and they weren’t even on the field. I am sure that the Bombers were happy with Calgary, Edmonton and B.C. all losing this week. However, I think the Bombers have their sights set on the Darian Durant-less Roughriders in their quest to make the play-offs. Granted the Bombers don’t play the Riders again this season nor do they have the tie-breaker against the Green and White, however, while the Riders have three against Edmonton, two against Calgary and a trip to Montreal to wind-up the season Winnipeg I think was hoping to capitalize on that tough schedule.

6 – So let’s play what if. If the CFL play-offs were to start today, Saskatchewan would host Edmonton in the West Semi-Final while the Calgary Stampeders would get a bye into the west final. Meanwhile, Hamilton would claim top spot in the East with Toronto hosting B.C. in the East semi. Now what would happen if just the top six teams in the league were in? Calgary and Saskatchewan would get byes in the the Grey Cup semi-final, while Edmonton would host Hamilton in one quarter-final and the other would have Winnipeg at B.C. I know where Manitoba Top 10 followers would vote.

5 – Climbing to the Hilltop? The Saskatoon Hilltops won their second in a row over the weekend to improve their record to 3-and-2 for a share of second place in the Prairie Football Conference. I am so excited to get back into the play-by-play chair after no broadcast in Edmonton on September 13th and a Rider conflict last season. Jared Andreychuk had perhaps his best game as a Hilltop in Sunday’s win at Calgary and if he and the receivers get on the same page with a healthy Wayndel Lewis the offence will be a force to be reckoned with. Incidentally it is Young Toppers Day at Saskatoon Minor Football Field on Sunday so bring the family out to check out the new-look facility and win some great prizes.

4 – On a Different Field: More football in a moment first to the majors and believe it or not the Toronto Blue Jays are still playing. They are completely out of the play-off picture and a six game losing streak last week has me scratching my head. Time to blow it up and attempt to end the 20 year play-off drought in a couple of years with a cohesive group of players that have proven they know how to win.

3 – Offence on ice: The Saskatoon Blades made a bold move yesterday. After struggling for scoring chances and ultimately goals the Blue and White dealt their leading scorer from a year ago in Nakita Scherbak. The dynamic forward was deemed expendable because of his value around the league. The Blades in first round and second round picks and young goaltender Nick Amundrud received three players for one, not a bad trade off if the Blades can make the most of the picks. There doesn’t seem to be a grey area on this deal for Blades fans as most seem to either love it or hate it. Basically at the end of the day it is more short term pain for long term gain, hopefully.

2 – More on the WHL! Read some great blogs over the weekend discussing the rush to start the WHL’s regular season. I understand that the schedules of the OHL and QMJHL have to match up with the Western Hockey League’s in order to play the Memorial Cup in May. However, the number of points that are being won or lost when their best players are away at NHL training camps seems to be counterproductive. Fans get upset with the best players not being on the ice while paying regular season prices, while teams should be upset especially when play-off spots are being determined by four or five points, points that could be traced back to the start of the season when their best players were not with the team.

Geroy Simon

1 – And Talk About Good Guys: I was fortunate enough to be involved with the Saskatchewan Roughriders Alumni Golf event yesterday at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club. Geroy Simon, George Reed, Rob Brescianni, Carm Carteri, Roger Aldag, Jim Hopson, and Steve Mazurak were among the alumni on hand. Proceeds from the event went to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. Now not only did the alumni come out to raise money for the HOF but did you know that they paid their own way? That’s right the alumni believe in supporting our province in every way possible to the extent that they will pay their own way into their own golf tournament! All told a great afternoon was had by fans of the Green and White and a lot of money was raised! One of my favorite moments came when the legendary George Reed shared the story of the hardest hit he ever took. Hear his description below:

http://toontownsports.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/George-Reed.mp3|titles=George
  • George Reed — The CFL legend describes the hardest hit he ever took.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

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