Riders coach Ken Miller told me last week he has had a nervous feeling in his stomach for the past 10 days waiting for training camp to start. How ya feelin' now Kenny??!! Main camp isn't underway, but rookie camp began yesterday. I wasn't out there today, but Rob Vanstone was there so without further adieu.....
Everyone I spoke to yesterday says Todd Blythe is the guy who really stood out on the opening day as he showed off his great set of hands. Yes, its only one day, but many are high on the Iowa State product. We will see.
As Coach Miller begins year two of his reign, do you realize he is tied for 2nd when it comes to coaching longevity in the league. Think about it. Wally Buono is the most experienced coach followed by Miller, John Hufnagel and Marc Trestman who are all going into their 2nd year. Marcel Bellefeuille has been on the job for less than a year while Mike Kelly, Richie Hall and Bart Andrus are rookie head coaches in the league. Will the huge amount of new blood in the coaching ranks change the Canadian game any. I guess we are going to find out aren't we. I'm OK with the transition that we are seeing in the coaching ranks. Old guys aren't being recycled. Different ideas and approaches are going to be tried and debated and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Have you been wondering what happened to Corey Holmes??? Wonder no more....
I don't know if I've ever met a nicer athlete than Holmes. Those that knew Corey when he was here know what I speak of. I'm not sure how long you have to be gone before you get inducted into the Plaza of Honor, but I'm guessing Corey will be in there within the next five years.
ESPN Classic had on a Riders game yesterday from 1988 vs Calgary. Kent Austin came off the bench to lead the Riders on a last minute drive culminating it with a touchdown pass to Tim Kearse to give Team Green a 24-21 win over the Stamps. It was great seeing guys like Austin, Elgaard, Lewis and Ridgway do their thing. It was even better to hear the play-by-play duo of Don Wittman and Ron Lancaster. I don't care what anyone says, the former Rider quarterback could have been and would have been better than John Madden if he ever had the chance to do his thing south of the border. Ronnie knew the game and he brought out that knowledge during his TV work. Add to that the call of the great Wittman who did play-by-play of many sporting events for CBC, but football was number one. If only all CFL games could be called by guys like Wittman, Chris Cuthbert and Dale Isaac. Have their been any three better at calling CFL games on TV than that trio?
It was 20 years ago last night that Skydome opened. WOW!!Think back of the great moments that has happened in that place over the past two decades. Rider fans think fondly of Grey Cup victories in 1989 and 2007. Those are big moments for sure, but they will never live up on a national basis to Joe Carter's homerun that gave the Jays the World Series in 1993. This wrestling fan can't forget that two Wrestlemanias have been held there. You can't forget Hulk vs the Ultimate Warrior at WM 6 and Hulk vs the Rock in WM 18 along with Trish Stratus in those real cute Canadian shorts. Speaking of Trish, is there any truth to the rumour that she was to fight MMA pin-up girl Gina Carano at the last WM, but the Carano camp didn't want to do it. One of the other great Skydome events was when Donovan Bailey shut the yap of American sprinter Michael Johnson who didn't want to acknowledge that Bailey was the world's fastest man. Johnson coming up lame and Bailey saying Johnson was lame in the post-race interview was pure gold.
The NBA final begins tonight---on the same night that Pittsburgh and Detroit play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final. This is so stupid on so many levels that two pro leagues are staging their finals on the same night. Anyhoo, the L-A Lakers will take on the Orlando Magic in the final. Orlando completed an upset of the league's best team--the Cleveland Cavaliers--to get here. Orlando used the approach that we will let Lebron James score his 40 plus points, but we will shut down his supporting cast. If that is their plan of attack for the Lakers, then Kobe and crew will win the title. I hate Bryant, but he has a much better cast to work with with guys like Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Andrew Bynum.
Still with basketball, how about FOX Sports Radio's Steve Czaban yesterday. He described Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas as a "seven foot penis with a hook shot". I'm not sure what Ilgauskas has done to draw the wrath of Czaban, but that is funny. I can think of other things I'd like to be compared to.
I read an article yesterday suggesting the Islanders will take Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman with the number one draft pick overall this year and not take John Tavares. If the Islanders don't take Tavares or trade his rights elsewhere, GM Garth Snow should just simply hand in his resignation. If Tavares were to go to Tampa--the team that holds the number two pick, can you imagine them with St. Louis, Lecavalier, Stamkos and now Tavares. YEESH!