Four days of Rider training camp are in the books. The team will play its first pre-season game of the year next Wednesday in Edmonton before returning home to play Calgary on the 23rd. Its then up to the coaching staff to make decisions. Have some of those decisions been made or has the talent this team has make the decisions tougher?
Arena Football 2 defensive player of the year Joe Sykes looks as if he will have one of the rush end spots, but Stevie Baggs has had a good showing at camp. Could this mean John Chick loses his starting job? After a great rookie season in 2007, there was so much optimism for Chick last year, but he was one of many that had his season ruined by injury. Many, including me, pencilled Chick in as one of the defensive ends. Perhaps we were wrong.
I don't think many thought Anton McKenzie's replacement at weakside linebacker would be Tad Kornegay but more and more it appears as if he is the guy that will take McKenzie's spot in Gary Etcheverry's new defence. I thought Kornegay would vie for the nickel spot in the secondary.
Donovan Alexander seems to have the inside track on being the Canadian that occupys one of the corners, but could there be a change in philosophy because of the play of Chris McKenzie. I doubt it. Does that make McKenzie the nickel guy that I thought Kornegay would be or does he then draw into the safety equation and if so, can he beat out James Patrick.
On the offensive side of the football, head coach Ken Miller has indicated two Americans--Bobby Harris and Belton Johnson--will start on the offensive line. Gene Makowsky and Jeremy O'Day aren't going anywhere so does that right tackle job go to Joe McGrath or does Jordan Rempel or Chris Best beat him out. I would think the more experienced McGrath would get the nod.
Several receivers have had a great first four days of camp. Todd Blythe, Byron Ross and Johnny Quinn are all making life difficult for the coaches---but difficult in a good way. Hugh Charles and Justin Beaver are fighting it out as Wes Cates' backup. We haven't even seen what running back Jason Geathers can do seeing he just got here.
Bottom line is this team is full of talent. There is talent all over the football field. The coaching staff needs to see guys play so they can evaluate them in a game situation, but if they are as good in a game as they have been during practice, how do you decide who stays and who goes. Its a good problem to have. The sad thing is there will be some good football players who leave here that will likely end up with another team. So I ask whether or not the questions are getting answered or if more questions have arisen??
Who was the last player to score the game-winner in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. If you took Frantisek Kaberle of the Carolina Hurricanes, you can move on to double jeopardy. His goal at 4:18 of the 2nd period was the winner as the Canes beat the Oilers 3-1 in 2006. GRRRRR!!! Kaberle won't have a chance to make it two Game 7 winners on his resume, but one player will. There will be one player on the ice Friday night that has a Game 7 winner. Who is it??? Think about it...think, think!!!! Ruslan Fedotenko is the answer. His Game 7 winner gave Tampa a win over Calgary in 2004. What a great night that was!!!! A much better night than the Game 7 where Kaberle was a hero.
Will Saskatchewan be divided over Game 7 of the final? Either Regina or Saskatoon will get a visit from Lord Stanley's mug. Will Chris Kunitz bring hockey's holy grail to the Queen City for a 2nd time or does the Cup have another date in Saskatoon with Mike Babcock. I still think Babcock and the Wings win meaning Regina will have to wait.
One losing season costs Dave Tippett his job. The Moosomin product was given his walking papers by the Stars as new GM Joe Nieuwendyk makes his first move. Its believed Marc Crawford will take over for Tippett. I can't see Dave being out of work for long. Perhaps he ends up in New Jersey. Maybe add him to the Calgary mix if Brent or Darryl Sutter don't take over.
Futurama fans rejoice. New episodes are coming. In a move similar to the rebirth of Family Guy, ratings have been so high for the show on Comedy Central that new episodes have been ordered meaning more new adventures of Fry, Layla and Bender will hit our TV screens in 2010. I'm not a huge Futurama fan, but I do watch it from time to time.
The UFC makes its first ever stop in Germany this weekend, but some aren't thrilled about that. Read on.....
And......former tennis player Monica Seles is a Buffalo Sabres fan. At least I'm assuming she is. Why you ask??? Well, the 35 year old Seles has confirmed she is dating Sabres owner Tom Golisano....he is 67. OK!!! I'll just let you make your own opinions on that relationship.