Top Ten Tuesday – No Garth… OK One Garth

Wow a week filled with highs and lows in and around Toon-Town last week. Time for my weekly recap and a warning if you are looking for a break from the Garth Brooks in Saskatoon stuff he does make his way into this week’s top 10 along with talk of a new downtown venue for Saskatoon.

That and more in my top 10 musings from the week that was in no particular order.

10 – First off need to start with condolences to the family of Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. I was fortunate enough to be in his presence on a handful of occasions. Of course, the most memorable was in the early 2000’s when he was the guest of the Saskatoon Blades at a hockey game. I knew that I was going to have a chance to meet him following our post-game show in the Blades offices and even was going to have a chance to ask a couple of questions for a feature that we would run later that season. After Les Lazaruk and I quickly wrapped up the post-game portion of the broadcast to get to the reception I needed to make a pit stop. Never being “the guy to ask the dumb question,” I was going over in my head some ideas of what I was going to ask the legend. After finishing the job I began making my way out to the office, obviously with my head down. That’s where I ran into Howe, literally! I tried to say something coherent and called him Mr. Howe-Key and mentioned that it was a great deal of my pleasure to meet him and something way more embarrassing, I’m sure. After babbling for what felt like an eternity Mr. Howe smiled ear to ear (you know the one that lights up a room) threw up his patented elbow and passed me into the washroom.  Later in the interview he talked about composure under pressure setting the great ones apart with a huge smile on his face while I probably soiled myself! Doh!

9 – Its’ too bad that a person’s death is the time when we further think of honouring someone. I read an article this week pondering whether or not the NHL should retire the number 9 for Gordie Howe like they did the 99 for Wayne Gretzky. Great question, better point.

RK GH8 – More on the passing of Mr. Hockey and it was pure class displayed by Garth Brooks not only donning Gordie Howe’s Number-9 on Friday night but also purchasing 100 bouquets of flowers for the Howe statue at Credit Union Centre. One quick take away from the Garth Brooks 6 Garth Brooks shows in four days with over 90,000 fans, is that Saskatoon definitely does NOT need a new arena. A new downtown concert facility yes but no to an arena. (OK I will make my point at a later date)

7 – To football and CFL Pre-Season  Week 1A has wrapped up and you have to feel for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers played their second and final pre-season game last night (a loss in Ottawa) Now they will wait 10 days before opening their regular season. So while the other teams have another week to measure their talent, install their systems and prepare for a final tune up the Bombers will have to do all of that without the benefit of an opponent. This is the second straight season that the Bombers have had the pleasure of two early preseason games and if I am a Bombers fan I am concerned as Winnipeg couldn’t upend a team that had more evaluation than preparation to play for.

6 – Staying in the CFL and the Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped a 28-16 decision to B.C. at home on Saturday night. What I learned; well the Riders defense is going to be OK. They moved a lot quicker and looked ready to make plays even though they didn’t create take-aways.

5 – What I learned part deux, the Riders still have not found a number two behind Darian Durant. Hard to believe that it was exactly one year ago today that the Green and White cut the heir apparent to Darian Durant in Tino Sunseri, they of course would bring him back after injuries to Darian Durant and Kevin Glenn before cutting him again after Labour Day, and the Riders haven’t seemed to have found their man since. That has some I have spoken with wondering in the Green and White will look to outside sources around the league.

4 – More of what I learned. The Riders kicking game is going to be much improved this season as the kickers were placing the ball and the cover teams had purpose. Here’s hoping with more starters back in the line-up this week the return game will follow soon.

3 – What I learned, the finale; Rob Bagg will be interesting to watch this season. Bagg had the Riders biggest play from scrimmage in what is a simple man vs. man play where the Rider receivers man handled the Lions secondary allowing Bagg to scamper away. Moving Bagg to the slot from wide out will give him the opportunity to make more plays and bring his physicality to the middle of the field.

2 – One more from the CFL and there is a ton of frustration in the CFL office as their new stats system was unveiled last week and it failed miserably. As I was once told if you are promoting the latest and greatest it better deliver as you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Would it have been the end of the world to wait to roll out it out after some Bata testing in week one of the pre-season?

1 – On a different field the Toronto Blue jays were shutout for the fourth time this season, last night. That has me contemplating if in fact there is an I in Blue Jays? Despite the team’s recent run I think there is with Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and R.A. Dickey all playing out expiring contracts there is a ton of personal incentive to have big years. So with things go bad the individual pressure ratchets up exponentially.  That to me is the recipe for disaster and the reason the Jays need to fish or cut bait with their big sluggers.