Friday, October 21, 2016
This and That
Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--Oh CFL, you try not to, but you just can't help embarrass yourselves. The decision to slash ticket prices for the Grey Cup with just over a month to go until the big game is yet another black eye to the league.
The Argos and the league will try and tell you the reason for the fact that half of BMO Field is unsold for the CFL's biggest game of the year is because the Blue Jays, the Raptors, the NBA All-Star game, the World Cup of Hockey and the NHL outdoors game. Did the Argos and the league not know about these things in advance? They aren't that stupid are they? They don't think we're that stupid do they?
Who thought these ticket prices would work anyhow? It is rather mind-boggling.
--A question for Rider fans. Are the Riders showing signs of getting out of it, or are they taking advantage of weaker teams and winning the games they should? Take nothing away from what they have done over the last few weeks, but they have beaten three teams from what we have seen is a very weak Eastern Conference. Would they have been able to beat Calgary with the performances they have put in? I would sure love to see them have another shot at the Stampeders before the season is over, but that won't be happening. As assistant GM Jeremy O'Day proclaimed last week, the worst is over. I think you can put a little bit of weight on what the opposition has been for the Riders, but you still have to give credit to the football team for winning the games and somewhat salvaging what has been a less than stellar season.. What we are seeing now is a lot more palatable than what we were seeing a month ago. The future looks bright, and that is what Rider fans have been waiting for since early in the 2015 season.
--Saturday's game against the Alouettes will be my last Rider game at Mosaic Stadium. When the Riders are taking on the BC Lions on the 29th, I will be in Winnipeg with the Rams as they close out the regular season against Manitoba. At some point, I have to figure out who does the scheduling. It makes no sense to me that you would have the Rams playing at the same time as the Riders. It happened in Edmonton last weekend as well. Why wouldn't you have a Rams game on the Friday night followed by the Rider game Saturday in a Farewell Mosaic weekend. Hopefully the Rams will give us one, if not more home games at Mosaic before we say goodbye to the old girl forever. A win over UBC tonight will make that a certainty. It would be a great to see a solid turnout of Rams fans at this one.
--From Chris Zelkovich's weekly Yahoo/Canadian Sports TV ratings column
With no Blue Jays and no CFL games on Sunday, CTV's 4 p.m. NFL offerings averaged 1.26 million viewers -- a 30 per cent increase over the same weekend last year. The early games came close to the million mark.
That column also shows more Canadians watched Game 1 of the NLCS than the Alouettes-Stampeders game which was on at the same time. You can't tell me the CFL isn't taking notice of this. If they're not, they have their heads firmly in the sand. To be fair, that Dodgers/Cubs game also outdrew the first Sunday night NHL game of the year between Buffalo and Edmonton.
--When is a shutout not a shutout? Ask Ryan Miller of the Canucks. He went to the bench Saturday night for the extra attacker and then watched as Loui Eriksson accidentally put the puck in his own net for a Calgary goal. Miller stopped all shots sent his way as the Canucks beat the Flames in a shootout. He stopped all 25 shots he faced, but he didn't get credit for the shutout. At least not yet. Should he? I say he should.
--Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine and Connor McDavid are going to lead the NHL into the next decade. I'm OK with that. Yes, you can add Johnny Gaudreau to that list too. What Laine did Wednesday night against the Leafs was as spectacular as what Matthews did against Ottawa on opening night. Lots of goals are being scored in the NHL this season. The goalie equipment hasn't changed. The skill level has. Let's stop trying to "fix" the game and let these kids play,
--Speaking of Laine and McDavid, how much fun will the Heritage Classic be in Winnipeg this weekend. I don't know if I'm more excited in the actual game which will see two young, fast teams battling one another or the alumni game where the guys I grew up watching hit the ice one more time. I am guessing Winnipeg will jump out into a lead only to see Edmonton come back and win because that is what happened in so many playoff series. Is Mark Lamb coming back for this one? I'm not big on the outdoor games anymore. As I have said previously, the first outdoor game years ago between the Oilers and Habs at a frigid Commonwealth Stadium can't be duplicated. Winnipeg will do a great job, but the game could go at MTS Centre and I would be excited for it seeing Laine, Schiefele, Ehlers, McDavid, Eberle and Pulijarvi do their thing.
--Regina lost a good man last week when Terry Hincks succumbed to cancer. There was no doubting the love he had for the Rams and the Regina sports community. His passion for this city and its sports teams shouldn't be forgotten. He should be remembered in some fashion, Is it too much to ask and request that the "practice field" at the University of Regina be known as Terry Hincks Field. I think that would be a tremendous tribute to the former Ram. If not the practice field, is there some place in this city that can have Terry's name attached to it? Maybe Mount Pleasant Park can be known as Terry Hincks Park.
--I will be bluntly honest. I am not disappointed to see the Blue Jays lose the American League Championship Series. I don't hate the Jays as some suggest, but I certainly don't like what they were this year, and yes, maybe it goes back to the Bautista bat flip from last year. That team was just too whiny for my liking. They didn't like it when inside pitches were thrown, they constantly complained to the umps about balls and strikes leading to numerous ejections for John Gibbons, the actions of Bautista right from prolonging the feud with Texas to the end when he threw out there the Jays lost the first two games in Cleveland because of "circumstances" to not talking to the media after Game 3 to suggesting Cleveland pitcher Ryan Merritt would be shaking in his boots which fired up the Indians.
--That being said. the Blue Jays once again had people talking about baseball in this country and I have no problem with that. They also aren't going away. The window didn't close with Wednesday's loss. It might if Edwin Encarnacion isn't there, but with guys like Martin, Tulowitzki, Estrada, Stroman, Osuna and yes, the actual face of the franchise Josh Donaldson, this team will be back. If Toronto had more players like Donaldson, they would likely carry the World Series trophy north of the border for a 3rd time.
--Week 7 NFL Lock of the Week --- Falcons over Chargers
--Week 7 NFL Upset of the Week --- Jaguars over Raiders
--NFL coaches are wondering about being able to challenge pass interference. We have seen what that has done to the CFL game. Think carefully before proceeding NFL, think very carefully.
--It is good to see some south of the border are finally saying what I've been saying for a couple of years. We should be able to get 5 minutes with a referee/umpire after a game to get comments on why this was called or not called. I think a lot of people would like to know why there was no pass interference on Richard Sherman last Sunday in the waning moments of the Seahawks/Falcons game, and baseball fans would like to know why Adrian Gonzalez was called out in Game 4 of the NLCS when replays appeared to show he was safe. Hearing first hand from the official as to why the call was or wasn't made would be very beneficial. The human element should never be ignored.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend. GO RIDERS, GO SEAHAWKS, GO CUBS