Top Ten Tuesday: The Next Big Thing For ToonTown? Why The Jays Won’t Win AND Fallen Leafs!

Another interesting seven days has come and gone from the World of Sports. Here’s my take on the week that was with a prediction and some answers, in no particular order.

10 – The Saskatchewan Roughriders held a min-camp in Florida this past weekend. Good news for Rider Nation is that Darian Durant reports to be back at 100% after his elbow injury from a season ago. No matter what you may be lead to believe that was not the most significant news from the weekend.

9 – Other news from the Rider mini-camp revealed that receiver Jamel Richardson may not be ready for the start of training camp if at all for the 2015 season. Richardson was penciled in as one of the starting five receivers for the season but may need to seriously contemplate his future as the knee appears to be nowhere near where it needs to be. Again, not the biggest news of the weekend.

8 – Also this weekend the Riders tipped their hats that they are looking at starting a pair of International’s at Tackle. The move means that the Riders are going to find another starting spot for a national. With the news that Jerome Messam is anticipating a bigger role on offence this year one would have to wonder if he draws into the starting tailback spot. Again, not the biggest news from camp.

7 – The three days afforded the Riders an opportunity to look over Jacques Chapdelaine’s offence. For me this was the biggest news out of the camp as all of the veterans from Darian Durant to Weston Dressler and Rob Bagg to Chris Getzlaf all appeared to support the new scheme. Getting those vets to buy in was crucial as far as I am concerned.

6 – Back home congratulations to the four University of Saskatchewan Huskie, draft eligible players that were invited to the East-West Bowl. QB Drew Burko, REC Brydon Ozmun, OL Drew Digout, and DB Dylan Kemp were among the players included on the rosters for the event that showcases – for the most part – CIS players who will be eligible for the following year’s CFL draft. For Burko, in particular, this will be part of a big eight weeks for him as he will be front and centre at the Dog’s Breakfast and Spring Camp at the end of the month and I have it on good authority that he will get an invitation to attend a CFL training camp as well.

5 – Speaking of the East-West game I heard whispers that it may become the next big sporting event for Saskatoon. There is no doubt that ToonTown has the facilities and the volunteers to make the event a huge success. The question now is can local organizers convince the CIS/CFL that the weather in Saskatchewan won’t be that big of a deal in early May.

4 – On a different field the Toronto Blue Jays are 4-and-3 to start the 2015 campaign which has some in the Big Smoke excited for the season and the Blue Birds chances at breaking their play-off drought. I hate to rain on the parade but the Jays have a couple of big problems. First off Jose Bautista is a great player but can’t seem to elevate those around him to be better. Case in point last night he single handedly stymied a ninth inning rally by get caught stealing with big bats coming up behind him. The second issue the Jays need to overcome is manager John Gibbons. I’m not sure that he elevates the play of the athletes in his charge and I often wonder if he isn’t out-managed more nights than not.

3 – One more from baseball and I thought that MLB was going to prioritize pace of the game as opposed to allowing managers to challenge calls. Supposedly gone were the days when the manager would leave the dugout after a close call and stall the game awaiting word from his bench whether to challenge the play or not. Well seven games into the Jays season and in all but one a manager has circumvented the rules and found a way to delay the game while getting the thumbs up or thumbs down to challenge from the bench. Geesh!

2 – To hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs cleaned house yesterday. So is GM Dave Nonis, the scouts and Interim Coach Peter Horachek solely to blame? Absolutely not! In large part the blame has to hang on impatient Leafs fans. They want a winner and they want it now. I can’t blame them but the team needs a complete restructure from the development system to the leadership group. I hate to say it but ask the Edmonton Oilers how long it can take especially when your city isn’t a preferred destination for free-agents!

1 – Last one this week and staying with hockey can someone explain to me why the SJHL isn’t playing their final on back to back nights? The Mustangs opened the best-of-seven championship with a win back on Friday night before increasing their lead over Notre Dame in Wilcox last night. Game three in the set now won’t go until tomorrow night back in Melfort. Game four by the way will be Thursday in Wilcox. What I don’t understand is why not create some momentum for the series with two games in each centre before going back and forth for the final three games if necessary? It would be a lot easier for the media outside of those communities to follow not to mention the increased emotion it would create on the ice.