STANDING IN THE DARK -- Well, wasn't that fun!! The last pre-season game at Mosaic Stadium will be remembered for all the wrong reasons because of a lengthy power outage. One that I am guessing came very close to the 2nd half not being played as both teams had charter arrangements that needed to be fulfilled.
Phil Andrews and I were about to hit the airwaves with the 620 CKRM half-time show and as we were putting on the headphones, everything went dark. As Phil tweeted, I knew there was opposition to us hosting the half-time show, but this is taking it too far.
It wasn't the first time it has happened at the stadium, but hopefully it will be the last. Someone shooting a confetti cannon knocked out some lines throwing the area and other parts of the city into darkness. It raised the question "What in the first half was so good that someone had to fire off a confetti cannon?" You don't expect Grey Cup calibre football in the 1st pre-season game of the year and what you got is basically what you should have expected as two teams ran in a lot of players playing their first pro game.
By the way, a shout out to Saskpower for getting out there and getting the fix made a-s-a-p. They said on their Twitter feed that power should be back up by 930, and at 927, the lights came back on. They took a lot of heat over what happened, and I understand that, but you can't blame them on this one.
As there are in any game, there are positives and there are negatives, but the one negative that I and many others took out of that game is a sense of uh-oh if something should happen to Darian Durant again as neither Brett Smith or BJ Coleman looked sharp. Head Coach and GM Chris Jones said he was very disappointed with the performance of both and expects both to put in a much better week of practice as they continue to learn the offence. The question is with Darian Durant needing time to get in there, how much does he play and how does Jones split the reps between Smith and Coleman in Edmonton, Regardless, I think all 3 quarterbacks as well as Phillip Sims will be around when the first roster of the year comes in with Sims being on the PR.
If that was the big negative of the game besides the final score, there were a lot of positives. I thought Terrence Cobb looked very good when he was in there as he battles for the starting RB job. Other Riders that stood out were punter Quinn Van Gylswyk who unleashed a couple of bombs, offensive lineman and former Ram Aaron Picton, receiver John Chiles, defensive lineman Shawn Lemon, and defensive back Tyree Hollins and the pride of Moose Jaw Levi Steinhauer.
While the final score did not go in the way of the Riders, I don't think anyone can take a lot away from the game as to what this team is going to look like. Darian Durant didn't play, I don't recall seeing Kendial Lawrence on the field, players were shuffling in and out and as Jones said after the game, nearly three quarters of the 77 players who were dressed were playing their first CFL game. Rome wasn't built in a day.
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK - When the CFL came out with the new look jerseys for its nine teams, I quickly surmised the BC Lions had the worst ones with their orange uniforms. Upon seeing them up close and personal on Saturday, my assumptions were correct. Those are hideous! They look like a bunch of pylons out there. Perhaps the BC Highways ministry should put a logo on those things. As for the helmet, no thank you. Riderville.com's Dan Plaster said the logo on the helmet was a hybrid of the old USFL's Michigan Panthers while the uniform looked like that of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys pull the look off better. Much better!
NEW JERSEY TIME - Speaking of jerseys, it was something I wanted to do since all the changes were made by Chris Jones in the off-season and that is how many people were in need of new unis after the purge of 2015. As Rod Pedersen and I were yapping away about Saturday's game before the contest started, fans were filing into the stadium and without having to look, I could see five Dressler jerseys, many more were seen as the night progressed. There were some Chicks, some Brackenridges, there were still some Sheets one kicking around too, I saw a Szarka and even someone wearing a Stevie Baggs 90 jersey (was that Fake Gainer??). There were also those that had Makowsky, Lancaster, Reed and I even saw an Eddie Lowe jersey. Nothing wrong with the vintage ones and I guess some day those Dressler and Chick ones will be vintage as well as they pay homage to hall-of-famers and Plaza of Honor inductees.
ANOTHER TSN HEAD-SCRATCHER - I love the fact TSN does CFL exhibition games. I don't know what the ratings for said games are, but I am guessing Saturday night's numbers wouldn't be that bad seeing the Stanley Cup and NBA Final were not competing against it, and the league's number 1 draw---your Saskatchewan Roughriders were involved. However, I can't help but wonder why the three letter would not have shown us the first Argos game at BMO Field after a year of hype and generating excitement. Saturday afternoon would have been a great time to show Canada what is happening in Toronto and there is nothing saying you couldn't have a CFL pre-season doubleheader. I continuously wonder if both sides really know how to move this project as we go forward.
BROOKS OVER STEEL? - This is not a knock on Regina Pats forward Adam Brooks, but I found it absolutely astounding that TSN's Craig Button put the 19 year old Brooks ahead of the 18 year old Steel in his draft rankings. In Button's Top 100, he has Brooks at 53 and Steel at 56. The NHL draft is a draft for 18 year olds and not one for 19 year olds. Yes, 19 year olds are taken, but they don't generally go high in the draft. I am positive that unless Steel does something very stupid over the next two weeks that he will go higher in the draft than his Regina teammate. It sounds like he will go no lower than mid 2nd with Brooks going late 3rd-early 4th.
SEVEN YEAR REUNION - June 12 is becoming Sidney Crosby's favourite day of the year. Seven years ago on that date he hoisted Cup #1 in Detroit and now he has hoisted Cup #2 in San Jose.
Photo Courtesy Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins were just too fast for the Sharks in the end. With all apologies to Guy Lafleur, it had nothing to do with the outlandish beards of Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, it was the fact San Jose just couldn't catch up with the quick Penguins. Many now ask if teams will start adopting Pittsburgh's method of play. Is that not happening already around the league? What a job Mike Sullivan did in taking over for Mike Johnston as he got Sidney Crosby back on his game and once that happened, the team put it into another gear. Congrats also to Chris Kunitz.
The Regina native will likely bring hockey's holy grail back to the Queen City as he did when he won it with Anaheim. He will also likely get that beloved trophy or hand it off to Weyburn's Derrick Pouliot. I would think even though Pouliot played very little in the playoffs that he will get a day with the trophy. I had wondered if he would get his name engraved on the Cup having not played a lot, but everyone I have asked say he should seeing he dressed in the playoffs.
UPDATE: Pouliot had to play a game in the Cup final to get his name on the Cup. He did not play enough games in the regular season so sadly for him and for Weyburn, he will not get a day with the trophy.
It is always special seeing the Stanley Cup get handed out as the emotions of players who have given it all comes out as they celebrate with something they have dreamed of winning since lacing on a pair of skates. Of course, that gets thrown out the window if the Cup is being handed off to the Flames or Leafs.
WHAT'S THIS? - On Sunday afternoon before pre-game coverage of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, Sportsnet had on a show called "Quest for the Stanley Cup". It was like the HBO Outdoor Classic series and while I only saw the final 15 minutes of it, it looked like a great program. Have they been doing this throughout the playoffs? A lot of the play-by-play footage featured Mike Emrick instead of Jim Hughson so I am guessing it is an American production, but who does this and will there be more of it moving forward. It is shows like this that really grow the game as it takes you inside and shows stuff fans might otherwise not see.
ORLANDO - How much more of this can we take? We keep hearing blah, blah, blah from politicians, but there is no action taken while lives are being lost. What happened Sunday morning shouldn't be happening, but it does far too often. Why?
That's all I got. Have a good week and if you are a Penguins fan, congratulations. Order that hat and t-shirt!