Friday, June 29, 2007

You Are Looking Live... Saskatchewan vs. Montreal

Ok folks, here we go - this is the moment you've been waiting for since October - it's officially Rider season. Let the compaining begin!

But I want to start off tonight with an impression:

City of Regina Official #1 - "Hey, when do you think we should re-pave the Broad Street Bridge and Wascana Parkway to cause the absolute maximum inconvenience for people in the city?"
City of Regina Official #2 - "How about the Canada Day Long Weekend?"
City of Regina Official #1 - "Perfect."

It's shortly after 5 here in the Graceland and we're watching TSN's CFL pre-game show. Oh how I've missed Jock Clime, Glen Suitor, and Chris Shultz. These three guys are the poster children for why players should not become analysts.

We've just seen Montreal's new offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille, who Saskatchewan fans know was the creator of the Prarie Offence. Did putting that on his resume help him get the Montreal job. The over/under for hitch screens has just been set at 37.5 - Cooper wanted the over. Tim thinks that a reasonable number is 15 and he's taking the under. He's just real excited to see the shotgun draw again.

Dave Randorf tells us that the pre-game show is being brought to us by Wendy's new burger, the Bacon-Eater... not what it really is, the Bacon-Ator. Sponsorship money well spent.

Ok before the game starts we're going to go around the room and get some predictions for the season opener.

Tim - Montreal 28, Saskatchewan 21 (but he qualifies this by saying that if Crandell plays the Riders win 32-28. Riders win with Crandell in, I'm told.)
Pat - Saskatchewan 29, Montreal 24 (the one true believer)
Luke - Montreal 34, Saskatchewan 21

5:39 - Here we go... kick-off

5:40 - Tim is already calling for Crandell. Joseph almost overthrows Armstead, but he makes a great catch. That was a fantastic catch by Armstead. Tim calls a challenge upcoming.

5:41 - Good call, here comes a challenge. I don't think he had control, the other two think they might give him the catch.

5:43 - Wow, they gave him the catch. CFL officiating at its finest... well maybe that was closer than I thought upon further inspection.

5:44 - R-Kal Truluck sighting, I'm all kinds of fired up.

5:45 - Well it wasn't a three and out, but close. We'll call it a 4 and out. Thus came and went the first Roughrider possession of the season. I think it's going to get a lot less detailed from here on out. This is a lot to type in a quick time.

5:47 - Ok Montreal's got the ball now, let's see what the defence looks like.

5:49 - Pass defence not looking good so far. There's some discussion as to whether that was a hitch-screen or not. We might have to go to the judges. The official ruling is that was not a hitch-screen. Devastating.

5:51 - Think the Riders miss Nate Davis? Montreal just ran the ball up the middle untouched for about 15 yards.

5:52 - Ok, interception by James Johnson on the goal line, probably saving at least 3 points. I would put that in the category of bullets dodged.

5:52 - The pizza's here. I'm taking a break.

6:10 - Well we're back - if you weren't watching the game, you didn't miss anything. It's still at 0-0 with 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter. We're starting to think that the first rouge will win the game. I'd rate the Riders as a solid C right now, both offensively and defensively.

6:13 - Kerry Joseph gets sacked quicker than you can say revamped offensive line. Terrible read by Joseph. A professional quarterback has got to be able to read that blitz.

6:14 - Riders give up a safety, 2-0 Montreal. Game over. (well maybe not, but 2 points looks insurmoutable for the Riders right now)

6:17 - Cooper comes in with a late prediction, Monreal wins 24-9. Tim thinks it'll be closer than that once Crandell comes in.

6:20 - The best way to sum up this game so far is sloppy.

6:23 - Wow, that was almost 6 the other way. Joseph threw that about 4 feet over the head of a stationary Andy Fantuz.

6:26 - Luca really Congi'd that one. Riders lead 3-2 halfway through the second quarter. This is CFL football at its best.

6:36 - Tim's very upset by Kerry Joseph's play. He didn't have to sit through this last year. We're all use to it by now.

6:40 - Glen Suitor officially moves into the creepy zone, commenting on the Montreal cheerleaders standing in the rain, "Nothing wrong about that!"

6:43 - This hasn't exactly lived up to its biling so far, everybody's getting a little bit testy. Tim thinks the game should be called at halftime.

6:45 - You know, as much I've been ragging on the Riders and their offence - Montreal has looked just brutal on offence. The only points they've scored is from the safety Saskatchewan conceded.

6:48 - The three minute warning in the first half. I can't remember being more bored by a half of football. There will be no play by play in the 2nd half. This was a bad idea right from the start. Oh well it was worth a try...

6:52 - I think blitz recognition will be high on Saskatchewan's list of things to work on this week. I think it's a bad sign when we know at home the blitz is coming and Joseph doesn't seem to.

6:55 - Well it's now 6-2 for Saskatchewan. I'm actually a little disappointed, I was hoping to see a rouge.

7:01 - I guess it's halftime now and I've officially had enough. Here's a video clip Cooper just sent me with the title "Kerry Joseph's Halftime Interview" -

That was the best thing I've seen all night.

Lesson learned.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gary, Gary Quite Contrary...

Gary, Gary Quite Contrary,
How does your little league grow?
With glowing pucks and no T.V bucks,
To Kansas City lets all go.

Those of you that read my earlier post today know that it is now likely that the Nashville Predators will end up in Kansas City, Missouri rather than Hamilton, Ontario. Fine. If that's the way the NHL wants to be, so be it. In the words of George Costanza and Bruce Wayne -

"You wanna get nuts... lets get nuts!"

Let's do a little comparison of Nashville, Tennessee (the city that couldn't support the Predators) and Kansas City, Missouri (the city that will supposedly support the Predators), shall we?

First and foremost, I need to say right off the start that Kansas City had an NHL team once before? Remember that? Maybe not because they folded and moved cities faster than you can say lack of fan support. The Kansas City Scouts existed for two years in the NHL, from 1974-1976, before they became the Colorado Rockies, who became the New Jersey Devils. Now I'm not saying that a city should be excluded from getting a franchise just because one failed there previously but there was a whole lot less to do for entertainment in the mid-70s. No computers, no Internet, no video games, no 300 channel Hi-Def plasma Dolby 7.1 TVs. And still nobody cared about hockey apparently. Admittedly there was a serious economic crunch in the mid-70s in the States, but still.... Let's just say that because of its past failure to keep a franchise Kansas City already has one strike against it.

Ok, on to the Kansas City vs. Nashville comparison. In each category a city will be picked based on positive impact for the NHL.

Let's start with population because if you don't have a large enough population base, its tough to find 18, 000 fans to fill the rink every night. According to Wikipedia, the population of Nashville is about 700,000 people. Wikipedia says that the population of Kansas City, Missouri is 450,000 people - that doesn't really seem like a smart business move, the team couldn't sell tickets in a city of 700,000 what chance do they have in a city of 450,000. However, when you look at the Kansas City Metropolitan Area (including Kansas City's, Missouri and Kansas - and surrounding area) the population becomes just under 2,000,000 people. Now on paper this looks like a much more appealing number, until you take into consideration that these 2 million people are spread out over 14,000 square kilometers and 15 counties. It doesn't appear that there is a whole lot of population density here. Result - edge to Kansas City, but begrudgingly because that population is so spread out.

Now let's look at competing sports leagues in each area, because lets face it, the NHL is not a top draw and will have to compete with the NBA, MLB, NFL, and college sports throughout the states.

The NBA - Neither Nashville nor Kansas City has an NBA franchise, so the NHL will not face direct competition from the NBA in either city. There is an NBA franchise in Memphis, Tennessee but Memphis is 350 kilometers from Nashville. And lets be honest, nobody in Memphis cares about the Grizzlies, so no excuses from the NHL in Nashville here. Result - slight edge to Kansas City here, although it really should be a draw.

Major League Baseball - The seasons of the NHL and MLB do not really run concurrent to one another, except a little overlap at the beginning and end - so they don't really compete with one another. But of these two cities, only Kansas City has a MLB franchise, the ever-competitive Kansas City Royals. And the 17 people who buy Royals season tickets might not have a lot of money left over to buy hockey tickets. Even though they don't directly compete, money spent on the MLB probably means money not spent on the NHL. Result - edge to Nashville.

The NFL - As the most popular and lucrative sports league in the U.S, the NFL always crushes its competition - every time. And wouldn't you know it, the NFL has franchises in both Nashville (The Tennessee Titans) and Kansas City (The Kansas City Chiefs). So that means from September until January, the NHL probably won't even be on the radar in either of these two cities. Result - draw. The edge could be given to Nashville here based on the fact that Kansas City also has an Arena Football team.

College Sports - This is the category that really sets the two cities apart in my mind. College sports are huge in the U.S, probably bigger than most people in Canada realize. College basketball is a religion in Kansas and the college basketball season runs pretty much parallel to the NHL season, at least until March. College football is also a fall sport, generally running from September until December. Kansas City is 65 kilometers from the basketball mecca that is the University of Kansas and 190 kms from Kansas State University, which always has a competitive football team.

Compare this to Nashville, which is the home of Vanderbilt University, which generally fields competitive basketball and football teams - but nothing like those in Kansas. The University of Tennessee is the sports powerhouse in the state but the Volunteers play almost 300 kilometers from Nashville, in Knoxville. Result - Big edge to Nashville.

Now make of all this information what you will. To me, these facts seem to say that Nashville would be the better choice for an NHL franchise, despite the lower population. The lack of competition from other major and college sports teams should have given the NHL a chance to get a foothold and gain an sustained following in Nashville. But the fact of the matter is the team didn't get that following.

Now in a city like Kansas City, where there is more population granted but also more competition for people's money and time, what chance the does an NHL franchise have of surviving?

Right In The Balsillies

I sat down at the Sports Desk this morning with the intention of writing about Jim Balsillie. However, I read the news today and now everything has changed - The Spice Girls 'once in a lifetime' reunion tour includes no Canadian dates. I don't know if I'll recover. But we're all professionals here and the blogging must go on, right? Right.

Oh... you thought I was talking about the story in the National Post this morning saying that Balsillie's agreement to buy the Nashville Predators now has about as much worth as 17 hobo nickels. Guess again. But don't worry we'll get there.

On Ten Question Tuesday this week I included an item about Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of the company that is responsible for unleashing the Blackberry on us, and whether or not he could potentially be the guy that saves the NHL. Now admittedly this was a bold statement, especially since I hadn't properly explained my position on him. So here it is...

I firmly believe that Jim Balsillie has the potential to save the NHL. Now I know this statement opens up an enormous can of worms - and there's no way I'll be able to deal with all of those worms here, at least not today. I could still be writing late next week if I went deep into all of the issues.

That being said, I'm still going on record to say that Jim Balsillie could save the NHL. I say this for 2 reasons. Firstly, he is a Canadian billionaire who loves hockey and knows the game. And secondly, I believe that deep down, in places he won't admit he has, even at night, Gary Bettman is absolutely terrified of Balsillie.

The hope I have/had for Balsillie is that he would become the NHL's version of the NBA's Mark Cuban. Cuban is an absolute thorn in the side of NBA commissioner David Stern. As a young man with a lot of money who passionately loves basketball and his Dallas Mavericks, Cuban is an outsider in the NBA owners club. And as such, his priorities are taking care of his team and the game itself. He is brash and he is vocal, for which some people can't stand him, but he always makes sure the NBA commissioner's office is accountable for every decision it makes.

Can you think of one owner in the NHL who has ever been vocal about anything, for any reason except needing a salary cap... didn't think so. During the lockout Commissioner Bettman beat the NHLPA like a gong and because of that he made the current group of NHL owners a lot of money.

Ah, there's the rub.

As long as the money keeps rolling in, you aren't likely to hear a peep out of the current NHL owners. If you think they care about the game in and of itself, you're crazier than Lindsay Lohan after her third vodka and Red Bull

However, I think Balsillie might be a different story. He was not part of the owners club that went through the lockout and therefore would feel no real loyalty to Mr. Bettman. He was going to buy the Nashville franchise and move it to Canada, where people would actually care about the team. It was my hope that he could be the guy that would stand up to the commissioner and not just be another crony.

But of course Mr. Bettman knew all of this as well and today the National Post reported that he torpedoed Balsillie's deal harder than the USS Indianapolis ("So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb. ") It's reported that Bettman has been putting all kinds of pressure to scuttle the Balsillie deal on current Nashville owned Craig Leipold. Now it seems that a guy named 'Boots' is likely to end up with the team, for 50 million dollars less than what Balsillie offered.

Oh the lawyers would be feeling joy in their hearts if they possessed that anatomical device. Does this not reek of conspiracy (in the legal sense, not the draft-fixing sense) and collusion?

Just when you think a league could not possibly embarrass itself any more publicly, this happens. I'm not sure what Mr. Bettman hopes to prove with his over the top power trip. However, there are already rumours that a group of current NHL owners are making a push for the Balsillie deal to be approved. They're businessmen after all and 50 million dollars is 50 million dollars.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

10 Question Tuesday

  1. Do you think the integrity of the NHL Draft is at all in question, after Alexei Cherepanov and Angelo Esposito mysteriously fell to the Rangers and Penguins?
  2. Is Jim Balsille a potential NHL saviour or just a rich blowhard?
  3. Does Gary Bettman most resemble a rat or a weasel?
  4. Where are the NHL's biggest free agent names going to end up? (Oiler fans burst in to tears)
  5. What are reasonable expectations for the Saskatchewan Roughriders this year? .500 record, home playoff game, Grey Cup?
  6. In what century does the CFL adopt a drug testing program? (cause it ain't going to be this one)
  7. Are you at all interested in watching the NBA Draft? (at least the first round)
  8. Which league is going to have the more exciting off season, the NBA or the NHL?
  9. Does Akili Smith take Henry Burris' starting job in Calgary sometime during the season?
  10. Have you watched one baseball game on television this season?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Artist of the Week

This weeks artist is Ryan Star. Admittedly I don't know much about him, his CD was passed my way. He seems to be an indie guy from New York - but seems to have a pretty big following in certain circles. I would liken him to what the love-child of Neil Diamond and Axl Rose would sound like, if he played power piano ballads. Check him out at:

Whether you agree with the Neil Diamond comparison (or the Axl one) or not is irrelevant. I mostly put that in there just so I had an excuse to link this -

"No I will leave you in!"

Monday Headlines


Well the moment I'd been waiting 3 years for finally happened Saturday Night. Jason French was finally sent packing by the Riders, down the CN line to Hamilton. By all accounts a nice guy, but nobody was more maddeningly inconsistent and apt to fold like a cheap suit under pressure. But all that being said, why am I feeling just a little bit sad today? There is no doubt the Riders are better off without French, but still...

With both French and Charles "Turnstile" Thomas gone, all of my whipping boys are gone. Who am I going to crush now? Say what you will about those players, they were always there to wail on - willing to make a mistake just so you wouldn't forget about them.

Basing personnel decisions on talent and accountability? I'm not sure I like the direction this team is heading in.


Now I'm not going to rip the trades Eric Tillman made this weekend - trading away Rob Lazeo, Thyron Anderson, and Jason French for a running back (Wes Cates) and a defensive back (Tad Kornegay). At first glance it seemed like quite a lot to give up for maybe not so much in return - like say, oh about 30 cents on the dollar. But my CFL guy tells me that both of these players are potential starters - so it's wait and see time. Although I should say I'm all kinds of fired up about having a guy name Tad on the Riders.

What happened to Thyron Anderson though? Everybody was praising the team 3 months ago for getting this guy. Now he's apparently had an Angelo Esposito/Brian Bosworth fall from grace.

Did you happen to see that both Dwan Epps and Dominique Dorsey were both cut by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers? So that means that the Riders traded away two players that Winnipeg cut for a guy who didn't even come to Rider training camp. Don't you love the CFL?


Wow, is that not the most awkward headline you've ever read in your life? It sounded a lot better in my head than it looks in type. But I'm not going back to change it now, we've already gone to far.

As you've probably heard by now, Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan was three outs away from a no-hitter on Sunday afternoon against the Colorado Rockies. The first Rocky up in the ninth ruined the no-hit bid with a single up the middle. McGowan did get those final three outs for the complete game one-hit shut out. As someone who was actually watching the game, I can tell you those last three innings were pretty exciting. It almost made a person pick up the phone to tell their friends - almost.

It's hard to imagine that Toronto has only had one no-hitter in franchise history - in 1990 Dave Stieb threw one against Cleveland. You can catch it on ESPN Classics Canada every three days or so - right in between TNA Wrestling and a CFL game between Ottawa and Hamilton from 1986.


Nowhere in this space will you ever read about anyone being Henry Burris' Akili-es heel... ever. That being said, after witnessing Burris' Marvin Graves-esqe performance on Friday night, I would be very surprised if Akili Smith isn't Calgary's starting quarterback at some point this season. And good for him too. It's not everyday that a guy deemed a bust in the NFL gets a chance to redeem himself.

Now if we can just get Todd Marinovich to stop skateboarding and lay off the PCP.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Special NHL Draft edition of untitled (Formerly Cooper's Corner)

Well the 1st round of the NHL entry draft is finally now over. My mind has turned into a liquefied goo state after making it to pick #24. My editor in chief didn’t think I could make it past #7, and frankly neither did I. Here is a recap of the draft… real player analysis or stats or any of that crap. Just views and opinions from yours truly. I have left out a few picks that were uneventful, but I guarantee I did watch them

5pm: Turn on TSN’s draft coverage and of course within the first 3 minutes they have on John Ferguson Jr discussing his Leafs. Could TSN kiss any more ass for that team, oh wait they have Crosby’s ass now, nevermind.

5:05pm: I am already sick of this s%*t. Pierre Maguire is a tool. Nice shot of Kyle Turris and his mom…..more on that in a bit.

1st Pick (Chicago): Patrick Kane of the London Knights. Has a good looking mom, nice grill on her. That red hawks jersey is still the best looking in the NHL. Pizza arrives, pepperoni with mushroom and tomatoes? WTF! Thanks a lot Christa.

2nd Pick (Philly): James Van Riemsdyk of the US development team. He looks like he is 13 years old and has a name that sounds like he will be a giant bust. His mom is not too bad looking, could use some aftermarket customization however, maybe a hood scoop.

3rd Pick (Phoenix): Kyle Turris of the BCJHL. Drafting a player from a tier 2 league this early seems risky too me due to the lack of talented opposition. I mean he played at the same level that the Nipawin Hawks play in. However his mom is a real MILF. The hottest mom of the draft. No aftermarket add-ons needed. Sexy time! I like how Gretzky got a standing ovation when he got to the podium. I got an idea….how about Commissioner Gretzky!

Commercial break…flip to Arrested Development……girls with low self esteem….priceless!

4th Pick (LA): Thomas Hickey of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Say’s his idol is Bobby Orr yet this kid is born in 88? How can this be? Mother is an old withered hag. Pointless to even bother with aftermarket customization, too much work needed. The labour costs alone would be killer.

5th Pick (Wash): Karl Alzner of the Calgary Hitmen. Good to see that the Caps are going back to their old jerseys, sort of. Was only able to catch the back of moms head so nothing to report but I am sure Mrs Alzner is - as Mike Yanagita from “Fargo” would say - “such a super lady”.

7th Pick (Columbus): Yakob Voracek of the Halifax Mooseheads. He is supposed to be very talented however watching him skate is almost like looking at a fridge on skates. Very awkward looking. His mom looks very Eastern European, very Slavic-like. Wait is she wearing a puffy shirt? My god she is wearing a puffy shirt!

8th Pick (Boston) : Zach Hamill of the Everett Silvertips. The son of a poor Jedi warrior, and what looks like a mob wife out of “Goodfellas”. His mom looked very scrapping in a puke green blouse, giant gold hoop earrings and as my co-worker Erin put it “cheetah print hair”. Good to see Cam Neely upright and walking again no thanks to Ulf.

9th Pick (SJ): Logan Couture from the Ottawa 67’s. Mom is ok looking but as Erin put it “check out the rack on the blonde in his entourage. Looks like an old Christy Brinkley”. I noticed that the chief of scouting for the Sharks is sporting a nice $30 suit from Woolco. He looks like he should be a manager at a warehouse that sells discount mattresses. He must have gotten his wardrobe tips from Mike Smith. (I have a feeling only 1 or 2 of you will get this reference.)

10th Pick (Fla) : Keaton Ellerby of the Kamloops Blazers. Looks like a good kid. Mrs Ellerby is a quite attractive, however could use some aftermarket addons. At this point Erin and I have a lengthy conversation about after-market customizations and the woman who get them. Very Nice!

11th Pick (Carolina) : Brandon Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels. At this point in time I became irate that the Flames didn’t try to trade up for this guy. Why not give up Zuzyin for this pick? Brent Sutter is a lucky man. Mrs Sutter is how you say sexy time!

12th Pick (Montreal) Ryan McDonagh from some high school in Minnesota. I love the snub of hometown boy Angelo Esposito, (he became a little misty eyed) but how can you truly judge the talent of a player when he is playing at the same level that me and Chris H played while at Sheldon. I mean c’mon. Mom was well, couldn’t really tell, the camera turned away when they realized they had a surfboard in the shot. At this point the panel is saying that Cherepanov and Esposito are the Leinart and Quinn of the NHL draft. Please, give me a break.

13th Pick (StL): Lars Eller from the Swedish Elite League. He is Danish, nuff said for his future as an NHL’er. Camera pans to Cherepanov and Esposito looking beleaguered. No mom present?

14th Pick (Colorado): Kevin Shattenkirk of the US development team. Mom is looking hot in a nice flower print summer dress, no add-ons needed. Camera pans to Cherepanov and Esposito looking even more beleaguered. I have a theory about this kid. Shatten (Shatner), Kirk (Cpt. Kirk). Could this be a love child of Bill Shatner? I will look deeper into this.

15th Pick (Edm): Alex Plante of the Calgary Hitmen. The son of a former and the brother of a current Brandon Wheat King (Cam Plante) and (Tyler Plante). Yet again the camera pans to Cherepanov and Esposito. Mom could use an after-market hood scoop to cover that chicken neck.

16th Pick (Minnesota): Colton Gillies of the S’toon Blades. Mrs Gillies maiden name must have been grizzly cause she is a bear of a woman. Yikes! Camera thankfully pans over to Cherepanov and Esposito. I am getting sick of the comparison to Leinart and Quinn.

17th Pick (NYR): Cherepanov…..FINALLY! This guy was ranked top 4. Good to see him go. He has quite the mullet. Must still be big in the eastern block. No mother present, however there is a Gene Principe look-a-like with him. Pierre Maguire has an obvious man crush on this kid, or should I say boy crush? That’s just creepy, but so is Maguire.

18th Pick (StL): The moment I have been waiting for, Calgary’s pick. What? A trade? You can’t be serious! Sutter is trading down to #24? WTF! Sutter must have been birthing a cow and got kicked in the head cause nothing he has done in the past 2 weeks has made any sense. Ok so St Louis picks Ian Cole from the US Development team. “I’ve already forgotten his name”. Mom looks like a medieval ogre. Camera shot to Esposito almost in tears. Bob Mackenzie compares him to Brady Quinn….again.

20th Pick (Pitt): Finally Angelo Esposito from Quebec. The Pens have now just become an offensive juggernaut. Mom is an ugmo. You need a whole aftermarket body kit for her. Hood Scoop, grill, glass packed muffler, headlights, tailfin, etc.

21st Pick (Edm): Riley Nash from the BCJHL. Mom is pretty good looking and is showing a lot of bra-strap…wha wha wee wha!

24th Pick (Cal): The moment has arrived. The Calgary Flames are proud to select Mikael Backlund from the Swedish Elite League. WHAT? Ok he was ranked high but fell down 10 spots or so. Hmmm wonder why? Oh he has a history of knee injuries! I swear to god this is was my immediate thought: However if the hotness of Moms ranked players this guy will be the 2nd best player in this draft class easily. His mom was looking very nice with a hot librarian look. A nice red dress, with the black rimmed glasses. Sexy Time!

At this point I lost complete interest. I had enough. I couldn’t take it anymore. I am pretty sure there was not much else to see anyway, just a bunch of surfboards probably. Now can I go a couple months without hockey please unless it involves the Flames somehow landing Crosby and Ovechkin in a blockbuster deal.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Ok, so maybe not everything changes. For a few minutes in the first half, Section 28 was speaking with one voice again. But it's Henry Burris, everybody hates him. Then everybody turned their attention back to the feud growing in the stands. Trust me it was much more exciting than anything happening on the field. In the end, no punches were thrown - much to every one's disappointment. By the way, the security at Taylor Field is an absolute joke. Are the 70 year old man and the 260 pounder (no muscle in sight) standing in front of Section 28 really going to be able to get up into the crowd to stop anything?

Yes, for the first time in 2 years I sat in what used to be the University Section for a Rider game. And some of it was the same. The drunks were still there. And some people were still befriending those around them for no real reason. It was still a place you could shout at fellow fans, "Didn't they teach you to play volleyball in prison," when the beach ball got tossed into the crowd.

But there was serious, open hostility between people in the section - which created an us against each other vibe, instead of us against them. And there were kids, kids all over the place - it was like Vegas in there. I'm not sure what the parents who took their young children into that section were thinking. But I guess that's the crowd that sits there now. No longer is it students and rowdies only.

The changes in Section 28 and the poor play on the field were not the real problems though (but seriously, if that's what the offence is going to look like for the Riders this year, could be a long year). No, the real problem was outside the stadium. For the first time ever in team history your game ticket now has a bar code on it and every ticket was getting scanned on the way into the stadium. Now this is fine for a sold out Springsteen show at MSG but this was a preseason game at Taylor Field! Wow, talk about delusions of grandeur.

And as if the absurdity of this ticket scanning wasn't bad enough (seriously were there a lot of bogus tickets being passed off at Rider games? sometimes I wonder who this team thinks it is) - on the East side of the stadium there were approximately 6 people scanning tickets with scanners that either weren't working or the people were just totally over matched by the task of scanning tickets. Here's the deal - there were literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people outside standing in lines to get into the stadium - and this was after the game had already started. I have been going to Rider games for a long time and I have never seen a fiasco that bad while trying to get in - not even on Labour Day. There are two gates on the East side and both were open - but only half of each gate was open, which basically means that there was one fully functioning gate (and I use that term very loosely - they were woefully under prepared to deal with that situation. as we finally got in to Taylor Field, they finally abandoned the scanners and went back to ripping tickets).

I'm not lying or exaggerating when I say that it was waaaaay easier to get into the Rolling Stones concert than it was to get into the preseason Rider game tonight. We literally waited 20 minutes to get in and there were people who were waiting a lot longer than us. I think it's safe to say there were people who showed up at the beginning of the game and didn't even get into the stadium until the 2nd quarter.

Make of all this what you will. I just felt that I should pass this information along. Be prepared for long lines at Rider games this year. Get there early.

The Links

Here's the links for a Friday when you really should be outside instead of sitting in front of a computer.

- I have no idea what this is or how it works, but it's still pretty interesting. Don't the people seem to be standing a little close though. I know I'd have my rubber shoes on, that's for sure. And is it just me or did I hear Super Mario Bros music and the Inspector Gadget theme in there?

- Spare me your shock and outrage, this is funny.

- Are you prepared to be blown away? Watch this guy's performance. Almost makes a person want to watch reality TV. After watching that, how many cocktails do you think Hasslehoff had before the show? Or maybe he just doesn't have any rhythm. He struggled with that beat harder than he struggled with the cheeseburger.

- Hey, speaking of drunk celebrities - "I wanna kiss you... I couldn't care less about the team... I wanna kiss you." A ha, ha ha, a ha. This clip is even funnier because of Joe Theismann trying to cover it up at the end by saying, "Joe's just a happy guy." Followed by Paul McGuire saying, "Oh boy is he happy."

- Meh, I think that's it for today. Go outside.

Travelling Through Hyperspace Ain't Like Dusting Crops, Boy!

Sage wisdom, especially on draft day.

No, travelling through hyperspace is not like dusting crops - in the same way that playing junior hockey is not like playing in the NHL. The two levels of play are vastly different and the number of draft picks that go down in flames greatly dwarfs the number of people blown away on Alderaan.

You can look it up.

Which is why I'm left wondering why the NHL does not have a pre-draft combine or on-ice workouts. Or maybe they do. Can anyone tell me that? I believe the teams have physicals done on the players and conduct interviews with them. But do they make prospects get on the ice and do any drills? If they don't, why not? And if they do, why don't we hear about it?

The NHL needs to hold an NFL-style combine where most, if not all, prospects and herded out onto the ice and put through drills so teams can see how they stack up - much like the Skywalkers' going through the droid selection of the Jawa's. Isn't this the only way to find out if what you're going to buy has a bad motivator?

Failing that, do teams hold individual on-ice workouts with prospects they like, much the same as teams do in the NBA? Wouldn't you want to see how a player performs when dealing with your coaching staff? Seems to me if I had a high, first round pick I'd be all over the prospects, having them run drills and seeing how they perform. I'd be going over them closer than Admiral Ackbar going over Death Star plans. From the outside looking in, it seems that NHL teams rely very, very heavily on video and scouting, which is fine if your scouts do a good job. But if it was me, I'd be a little more hands on.

And since we're sort of talking about it anyway...

If Sydney Crosby is Luke Skywalker, does that make Alex Ovechkin Han Solo? You know, he's a little bit bigger, got more of an attitude, less of a whiner and the guy that people just generally like better. Sure Skywalker got all the glory but wouldn't you rather have a beer with Solo? Food for thought.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Holy Humpday, Batman!

Wow, it's days like today that make me wish I would have called this Sports As a Hobby, Sports As Something To Do, or even Sports As a Passing Interest.

Sports As Life? That sets the bar pretty high, especially on a Wednesday where nothing much seems to be happening in the sports world, at least nothing I feel like writing about.

But maybe that paints a pretty bleak picture because if Babe Ruth had his DNA reconstituted in the body of a gorilla and was signed by the New York Mets, I still don't think I would feel like writing about it. So when I say that nothing is happening in the world of sport, that's not exactly true. The truth is that I don't care what's happening. It's not that I'm not aware of what's going out there in the wide world today, I just can't be bothered to come up with anything witty or clever to say about it - although it's probably debatable whether I ever come up with anything witty or clever to say.

However, if you would like to read something about sports today, here are some stories you might be interested in:

...and please feel free to make up your own sarcastic comments...

- Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Tennessee Titans was officially charged with two felonies today, stemming from a shooting at a Las Vegas 'gentleman's club' called Minxx during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February. However, police have been unable to find 'Pacman' to question him about another shooting at a 'gentleman's club' in Atlanta over the weekend. Waakka waakka waakka waakka. Sorry. Would you like to know more?

- The NHL is holding its annual entry draft this weekend. The first round is going to be held on Friday night, while the rest of the rounds are on Saturday afternoon. I really hope this is not another misguided attempt to get interest in the league, by holding the first round in prime time. Are you going to stay home and watch on Friday night? I'm not, that's for sure. I will be at the Roughrider pre-season game on Friday night. Cooper is going to provide all of the NHL draft first round coverage. He claims that he will watch the entire first round. I'm setting the over/under at the 7th pick before he gets bored and changes the channel (not a slight against him, but a slight on the draft). This has to be the worst draft class that I can remember, with 3-5 guys that could be the 1st overall pick. Still excited about your 3 first round picks Edmonton Oiler fans? I'm just hoping that there are some blockbuster trades at the draft just to give it a little excitement - I'd even settle for Roger's Video trades. Would you like to know more?

- The draft that people are actually excited about and looking forward to is not this week but next week. The NBA draft is the night of the 28th. Now that's a draft I'll actually stay home for. Unlike the NHL, this years NBA draft class is the deepest in years - at least since the Lebron, Carmello, Wade draft - and I still say that Darko is going to be the best of that group when all is said and done. The Oden/Durant question will finally be settled that night and there is the possibility of some huge trades as well, possibly involving Kobe, KG and Amare Stoudemire. I do not profess to have a wealth of knowledge about the ins and outs of the NBA draft, so read this if you would like to know more.

Well that should be enough reading to keep you busy for the rest of the afternoon and if not.... go outside, it's nice out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reader Mail

Lots to get to today in the ol' Sports As Life Mailbag - so let's get to it.

Letter #1, from Rk:


Happy to oblige as always. (for some reason you have to log in to You Tube to view this video, no idea why - there's no objectionable material or anything)

Here's another one that someone has spliced some footage of Kane into for some reason. But this one is good because it shows Mr. Mcmahon's walk of shame. I'm not sure if you have to be logged in to see this one or not.

Letter #2, from Cooper:

"Your facts and stats deptartment must be slacking off. The Bluejays actually won 2 of 3 this past weekend vs the Nats. Not vice versa"

Looks like your spelling and editing department is slacking off. But this is true and 100% my fault and very embarrassing, I blame it on the 11pm fire drill Sunday night. This is why I need a Stat Boy. I guess it's just that even losing 1 game to the Nationals seems like a failure. I know that the Jays lost at least 2 of 3 to Tampa Bay a couple weeks ago - so same difference.

Letter #3, from CH:

"It's funny how few people in Canada can tolerate Mr. Woods. Every single person in the U.S. was emotionally invested in Tiger winning on Sunday. I sensed and heard alot more disappointment in Cleveland over Tiger, than when the Cavs got swept last week. They were all blind to his nipple-showing shirt. I too, think something a little more conservative would have sufficed, but now that he's married, I'll give him the benefit of assuming she picked it out."

I wonder if people in the U.S are always heavily emotionally invested in Tiger or if this was just because it was the U.S Open, and they didn't want to see someone who wasn't American and couldn't even speak English win the trophy. For some reason I got a twisted sense of pleasure out of seeing someone who couldn't speak English hold the U.S Open trophy.

Letter #4, from B:

"The last time Mike Keenan was anywhere near effective as a coach (I'm not professing he ever was), the Ottawa Roughriders (or is that Rough Riders) played in the CFL and Saskatchewan had a Conservative government (which by the way was about as ineffective and less corrupt than Keenan's coaching tactics).

Why do NHL teams continue to regurgitate over the hill has-been coaches (hello Ken Hitchcock) when there are so many young up and comers (hello Craig Hartsburg).I am not a real fan of the Calgary Flames, my team will remain anonymous, it's simply the principle of the thing that is ridiculous."

First of all... Gold.

Secondly, this is especially appropriate considering the Boston Bruins are going to announce Claude Julien as their head coach today. Now Julien is far from over the hill or a has-been (he actually might be a never was), but it bears mentioning that this will be the 3rd NHL team he's coached in 5 years. Now if that isn't a coach getting recycled I don't know what is.

Here are 4 coaches currently coaching in junior hockey who could make the jump:

Craig Hartsburg (as mentioned above) - Coach of the Sault Ste. Marie (spent a month there one night - I sill maintain that 15 year old at Subway was hitting on me - and not the other way around) Greyhounds and coached Canada to the World Junior Gold Medal in 2007. Will be back to coach the juniors again in 2008.

Brent Sutter - The man who coached the Canadian Junior team to back to back gold medals in 2005 and 2006 and currently the head coach of the Red Deer Rebels. Some of us thought he might be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames.

Dale Hunter - Coach of the London Knights. Led them to the 2005 Memorial Cup championship. But that might have had less to do with his coaching and more to do with the ridiculous amount of talent he had on that team, including Corey Perry, Rob Schremp, Danny Syvret and Danny Fritsche. Also might be discriminated against in NHL circles because he holds the title for Worst NHL Playoff Cheapshot of All-Time.

Don Hay - Calgary Flames' fans with long memories just had collective stroke. But you can't argue with his junior record - he's won 3 Memorial Cups with 2 different teams, including this years. He does have previous NHL coaching experience and it isn't flattering but I don't think he had a lot of talent to work with on those Phoenix and Calgary teams he coached.

Letter #'s 5, 6, 7, 8, from T.H, Trebor, Chris and Cooper in that order (all dealing with the same subject, so all getting grouped together):

"Well put, I think that I now have a tear in my eye…seriously. The University section was the place where I learned to love watching the Riders (people would try and stay to the bitter end even if it was a crushing defeat, or else endure the chants of “part-time fans” from certain individuals who shall remain unidentified, lets call him Chris H.).

I have not been to a game in the University section-less Taylor Field (or whatever it is called this year)due to being away, but I don’t know if I am going to like it. Sitting on my hands reminds me of going to a game in BC place where people clap…at that giant cave of theirs that can only be filled with a few thousand people for a lions game.

My question is why didn’t/don’t the people who use to sit in the infamous section 28 still sit there? Is it the price that is keeping them away? Where do all these ‘hard-core’ fans now sit? Or have they merely stopped going to the games? Why?

Oh and can someone explain why the ticket prices have leapt so much since 2005? I don’t see new heated seats or a dome or, heck, even a grey cup winning side on the field. What is the justification for these grossly overpriced tickets? Do you have the answer Mr. Sportsaslife?

Once again, great article."

"Great article, but have to kinda agree with the first comment, if it wasn't just about cheap tickets...where did they all go ???

I do wish that they could have kept that atsmosphere if not the area. But when you want the famalies at the games and keep raising prices and start calling it mosaic stadium, your going to lose the university/party type crowd. Luckily it can still be found elsewhere, last year in Calgary was amazing...much louder than anytime I was at the unveristy section.

One last thing, last year when the name changed to mosaic, everyone was saying "it'll always be taylor field to me"... less than a year later though i'm not seeing/hearing that. When listening to drew remenda on cjme, a lot of callers refer to it as mosaic, news papers... mosaic. Where did Taylor field go? We all knew that eventually it would be fazed out... but this soon??"

"Ahhh, i cannot agree more. A tear escaped me when the mic died on the anthem singer two years ago, and was saved by an even more intense than usual rendition by the university section.

The university section kept you honest. I believe the only sacred people in that section were pinball clemons (as witnessed when an anonymous fellow made advances on his wife, only to get ostracized) and perhaps bobby jurasin, although i can't fully vouch for this. You're a roughrider and you happen to suck on a particular day -- the university section will let you know. You're a U of R grad putting up awesome numbers for the opposing team -- we'll openly question your abilities and family. You're a quasi-local celebrity -- we'll throw things in your direction, just to keep you real.

Great memories. The only time i made national TV was when the "6 Canadians on a Bus", witnessed first hand the power and notoriety of the university section (the only time i made local television was high-fiving a certain blogger after the Canadien men won the gold medal, almost costing him his job, as previously mentioned a few articles below - in beautiful soft-lens slow motion, no less).

Where else can you find a local NFL punter puking in the aisles on labour day, a year before making his big break with the bombers?

All i can really say is that it will be sorely missed. The atmosphere can still be found when the riders visit alberta, and all the ex-saskatchewanians invade commonwealth or mcmahon. I think the resurgance will have to come from the underground. I for one, am willing to spend the extra $15 to sit in 28. Perhaps a grassroots movement via the saskatchewan bloggers association is necessary on a given home date to bring it back.

If someone in an adjacent section doesn't like it -- I WILL FIGHT THEM."

"I am feeling a little choked up after reading that. I have to admit that games have never been the same since the death of section 28. I remember the ti-cats game last year and even with a 30 point spread the crowd sounded as if it was on life support. Reading this brought back memories of section 28 screaming in unison "Benn-drops", "Benn-Drops"."

Wow, there's a lot to deal with there and I honestly have no idea where to start, so I guess I'll just start. First of all, thanks to everyone for their responses to the University Section piece, it really seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people. Tony Soprano once said that, "Remember When is the lowest form of discourse," or something to that effect, but it's nice to take a stroll down memory lane every know and again.

As far as the ticket price thing goes, I said it wasn't just about getting a cheap ticket but obviously that was a big part of the reason that people sat in that section. Going from a $25 ticket to a $40 ticket is quite a big jump and the Riders, like so many other professional sports franchises, seem bound and determined to out-price their fans. The cheap tickets were what drew people to the section and when the cheap tickets went away, so did the fans - make of that what you may. There obviously are some hold-overs, mostly season ticket holders I think. But the non-season ticket holders don't automatically look to the University Section for tickets anymore. I think the team made such a big deal and went to such lengths to squash the University Section that it just turned a lot of people off.

I had the Mosaic Stadium discussion on the weekend, about how people are starting to not call it Taylor Field anymore. And the conclusion we came up with was that certain people in media are obligated to call it that, as that is the stadium's name now. So if you have to report fact, you have to call it Mosaic Stadium. And as for regular people, I think people just sort of get brainwashed after hearing it so many times. Obviously some of us will only ever refer to Taylor Field but if you're not careful you might start to fall into the Mosaic Stadium trap.

See I wasn't going to bring up the Jon Ryan thing, but since Chris did anyway, I think I'm in the clear. The university section was the only place you could see a soon-to-be NFL all-star punter puking on his shoes, nearly passed out. Good times. And the anthem thing too, priceless. The anthem singing in the University Section was almost better when you weren't sitting there, so that you could hear them from across the stadium.

And of course, how could I have forgotten "Ben-drops"? That was maybe the loudest and most in-sync the University Section ever was - it was just like a wall of sound. He was never the same after that.

And just so everyone who wrote in and admitted to getting a little emotional when reading about the University Section doesn't feel left out, I can admit too that even when I read it I get a little misty.

So thanks again to everyone for writing over the last little while. Keep your comments coming and I'll keep answering or responding.

And as always, tell your friends.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Artist of the Week

I've got a bit of a departure for you this week - just in case anyone felt that Artist of the Week was starting to fall into a rut. This week's feature is DL Incognito, a hip-hop artist out of Toronto. I'm putting him in here because he's got a song called Fight This in which he samples and puts a beat over Day Old Hate by City and Colour. It's quite phenomenal actually. Check him out at - you can actually download Fight This from his myspace site, a nice touch as well.

Monday Headlines

Yes I know, this segment was finished, crushed like John Muckler is going to be crushed by the Ottawa Senators sometime today. But here it is, it just won't die - like Mike Keenan, like Tiger Woods.

And I'm not saying that the fire alarm going off in my building last night at 11 caused the work to be of substandard quality today - I'm just saying it probably didn't help.


That's Hamilton, New Zealand not Hamilton, Ontario for those of you keeping score at home. And the headline is a lyric from a song by Ike Reilly that only me and 3 other people I know have ever heard. Anyway, this was supposed to be about Canada's 64-13 rugby loss to New Zealand on Saturday. On paper this looks pretty bad but Canada played extremely well, especially in the first half, but ran out of gas in the second (it was 26-13 at halftime). It was a pretty impressive showing all around that led to praise from the New Zealand head coach, as well as the New Zealand Television crew that were working the game. But really how could you possibly compete after 20 giant Kiwi's, most of them channelling their Maori warrior ancestors, do this right in front of you before the game. Terrifying. Just terrifying.


Nope this isn't about Oakmont being so difficult that it was comical to see the pros try to survive it. Not about Tiger failing to come from behind to win again, as he did at the Masters this year. Not even about the worst golf commentator ever (maybe even the worst commentator ever - narrowly snatching the crown from Joe Theismann) Johnny Miller, who comes across as just a condescending, know-it-all of a man who talks like he has peanut butter in his mouth. This is about being forced to look at Tiger Woods' nipples for 5 hours on Sunday. The richest golfer in the world couldn't break out a better shirt than that? I can't believe his wife let him leave the house looking like that.


"They are who we thought they were... That's why we took the damn field. If you wanna crown 'em then crown their ass." - Dennis Green, October 16, 2006

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to put that quote in there, other than I love and will use it at every opportunity. It was the greatest NFL post-game press conference in recent history. I think it applies to the fact that people probably shouldn't get too excited over one preseason game - in which the two men competing for the starting QB job went a combined 6-14 for 135 yards in one half of football. Let's maybe hold off on engraving the Grey Cup for now is all I'm saying.


I'm serious. The Toronto Blue Jays need to be dismantled immediately for the good of the franchise. They need to sell some players while they can still get something for them, such as Troy Glaus and Alex Rios. This team needs to go young, get some good prospects and draft picks. The strategy of signing aging veterans and mediocre pitchers with histories of serious arm problems really hasn't worked out very well. Yes the team has been devastated this year by injuries but even with a healthy roster was this team good enough to compete with the Red Sox, Tigers, Indians, or even the Yankees? Nope. When you lose 2 of 3 to the Washington Nationals at home it's a pretty good indication that you're not ready for prime time yet.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Links

Wow, 3 posts today and still going strong... must be Friday...

- The saga that is Mike Keenan continues (although this may not be as interesting for non-Flames fans as it is for fans of team - bear with me). Sports radio talk-show host Steve Czaban had this to say about Keenan today, "when you're out of ideas and you're out of options, you can always hire Mike Keenan." (Thanks to Cooper and his satellite radio for that one)

- Ok, that one wasn't really a link, but it was still funny wasn't it? Here's a story from that hypothesises the Keenan hiring as a potential catalyst for the destruction of the franchise - or at least the reason that Calgary's two best players may not be with the team after next season.

- So I was looking for the infamous Luca Congi spy footage on You Tube that everyone is suddenly so paranoid about and I came across this. How I forgot to mention this guy in the University Section tribute I'll never know. Inexcusable.

- It's amazing what happens when you go to You Tube and type in Saskatchewan Roughriders. I have no idea where this came from, it may have been released to the members only section of It must be from the 2005 season because Scott Gordon was still here and pre-knee injury. And Jason French was still number 87.

- To make up for the gruesome injury video I put up a couple weeks ago, I thought I should put this one up just to even things out.

The NHL is Still My Favorite Drunken Uncle

So I've come to the conclusion that the NHL is like one of those Chinese finger traps... the harder I try to pull away, the tighter I get pulled back in.

Just when I thought I was out again...

First the Mike Keenan saga, which is still so bizarre that one person I was talking to thought this might be a deliberate plot to destroy the Calgary Flames in hopes of moving it elsewhere, a la Major League. I quickly dismissed this as dangerous hearsay, however absolutely nothing about this situation makes sense, so I guess that means that nothing can be ruled out. More on this to come...

And then today I find out that the NHL awards were handed out last night on CBC. Did you know the awards were on last night? Cause I sure didn't. This event was literally not even on my radar screen. At no point after the Finals were over did I ever think, "I wonder when the NHL awards ceremony is." I'm actually a little embarrassed by this. Not that I would have watched anyway but I usually try to be aware of what's going on in the sports world at least.

Despite my not watching the ceremony, my sources tell me I really didn't miss very much. Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur won as expected. Other than that I don't think there was much to see, except the cast of Little Mosque on the Prairie handing out an award for some inexplicable reason. As well as the requisite and over the top rah rah Canada grandstanding.

But what I really wanted to talk about were the ratings of the award show in the United States. Any guesses? Ok, I'll tell you - the U.S ratings for the 2007 NHL awards ceremony were ...... 0.00! And that's not even because nobody cared, although I can't really be sure about that. The TV juggernaut know as Versus had technical difficulties in picking up CBC's feed, so the awards show was seen live by absolutely nobody in the U.S (apparently Versus was going to try and rebroadcast later in the evening).

Wow, I'm almost beginning to feel bad for the NHL, this is really getting to be too easy. Here was the wrap-up of their season, the black tie gala where players are saluted for their excellence. It is supposed to be a celebration and showcase of everything that is great about hockey and the NHL. And the markets where hockey exposure is desperately needed saw absolutely none of it.

The league is now turning into a drunken uncle who continually makes a scene at every family gathering. You still love him and just really, really wish that he would see what he's doing and get his act together. But every Christmas, there's Uncle Gary, drinking a bottle of Casa Diablo and falling into the Christmas tree. It's a really sad situation but sometimes you just can't help but laugh.

With the show over and the awards handed out I suppose the season is officially done now. The 2008 season will begin July 1st when the free agent market opens.

I for one am looking forward to seeing whether Uncle Gary can clean up his act. Or we will as hockey fans once again be left scrubbing red wine out of the carpet on Boxing Day.

The Resurrection of Iron Mike

He was dead wasn't he? We killed him with our neglect and our indifference. He killed himself by trading the best goalie in the game for a back-up goalie and a goon with a bad back. He was done, washed up, a punchline. But no, now he's back. Back to ruin my life and turn me into a generally miserable person for at least one NHL season. And yes, I have made this all about me...

Now I'll be the first to admit that I was no fan of (now former) Calgary Flames head coach Jim Playfair. It always seemed that he lacked the passion and emotion to lead a team - a lot of the time he just looked like a deer in headlights. His stoic expressions got so frustrating that Cooper and I determined (as he explained yesterday) that Jim Playfair was in fact a cyborg, but unfortunately not the super-intelligent kind, who coached based on a complicated, shadowy punch-card system that nobody understood or acknowledged. However, he was a rookie head coach, so growing pains were inevitable. As a Flames fan, the frustrating thing was that last years Calgary Flames were an extraordinarily talented team but they seemed to lack passion, direction and focus - all of these things fell at the feet of Jim Playfair. And I admit that more than once I called for Playfair to get the big, ugly axe. However, that being said...

...Mike Keenan! Are you kidding me? I'd rather have Keenan Ivory Wayans behind the Flames' bench.

Wow, where should I even start to tell this tale? How about on Wednesday night... I arrived home at about 11pm on Wednesday on flipped on The Score, say what you will about their on-air talent, I love the Ticker. And what is the Breaking News that night - a source was claiming that the Calgary Flames were going to announce "Iron" Mike Keenan as their new head coach. As soon as I regained consciousness, I flipped on the computer to see if I could get in touch with any of my fellow Flames fans, but of course when I really needed someone to talk this over with, nobody was around. So I shot off a couple emails and went to sleep. I woke up Thursday morning thinking it was all a bad dream, no current NHL general manager would hire a coach who hasn't been relevant in almost 15 years, would they? Especially not one as savvy as Darrell Sutter. However, confirmed that no, it had not been a bad dream.

Once the announcement of Mike Keenan as the new Flames' head coach was official, the reaction of hockey people varied between 'stunned' and 'stunned'. Scott Burnside of said the only explanation was Sutter getting kicked in the head by a cow - and likened Keenan to a "cockroach" - you can read Burnside's article here. The only explanation I can come up with is that Keenan called in a favour for one last job and Sutter felt obligated - Keenan gave Sutter his first head coaching job in Chicago in the early 90's.

I am literally still stunned over all of this, I'd rather have Grace Sutter coach the Flames. I'd rather have Grace Slick coach the Flames.

Now you may ask yourself, why all the hostility, Keenan was a good coach for a lot of years in the NHL. And to that I would say that yes, he was a good coach for many years, unfortunately those years were in the mid 80's to early 90's. That was a long, long time ago and the game has changed a great deal since then. But even more than the game changing, the players have changed. Keenan's scream in your face, question your manhood, destroy your will to live coaching style just doesn't fly anymore. The players will simply not respond to this style - they'll quit on you faster than you can say "has been". It may have worked in the 80's but that was a long time ago. Just ask players and fans from his stops in Vancouver, Boston and Florida how they feel about Keenan. As one former player (Brett Hull) said, "He's the kind of guy who will stab you in the back right to your face." Fantastic, welcome aboard!

I think this could be particularly destructive to a Flames' team that thrives on team chemistry. By bringing in one of the most divisive coach's in NHL history, I think I'm well within my rights to be concerned about what this is going to do to the team.

Since he took over as the GM in Calgary, Flames fans have had a calming mantra - "In Darryl We Trust." However, the Keenan signing is so out of left field and unexpected that even the biggest Sutter supporters have had their faith shaken.

I suppose the season is many months away and I should take a 'wait and see' attitude towards all of this. And I will give management the benefit of the doubt but it's going to be a very short leash. I just wanted to go on record now so I'm not accused of jumping on the 'Fire Keenan' bandwagon if things start to go bad about the 3rd week of the season.

I just hope this doesn't turn out like I think it's going to. It could be a long winter.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

untitled (Formerly Coooper's Corner)

I was going to do my blurb this week on some hot info that I had discovered - the reason why wrestling is not as watchable as it was when we were kids. It has to do with Mean Gene Okerlund, however that will have to wait because of the breaking news regarding the Calgary Flames and a possible coaching change. I just have to air my two cents on the matter.

If you have not heard the Flames supposedly have hired “Iron” Mike Keenan as their new head coach. I must have missed it when they fired Jim Playfair. Did that actually happen? Now I do dislike, and am in no way defending Jim Playfair’s punch card coaching system* but the move to Keenan seems to be a drastic measure. I am already fearing for Miikka Kiprusoff’s mental state, with him knowing that now he will get the hook after 2 or 3 goals on no matter how many shots.

Remember the Greg Millen / Jacques Cloutier / Ed Belfour saga of the 1990 – 91 season? I distinctly remember Keenan pulling Belfour after 2 goals, putting in Millen, and then after 1 goal putting in Belfour again only to pull him shortly later for Cloutier. No joke! Then there was the saga in the 1992 finals between Belfour and Hasek. I am sure we all remember Belfour getting the hook in game 3 for Hasek and as well in game 4. I have searched for some evidence of this but with no success.

Keenan has also done the same in his other coaching stops which include Philadelphia (where he went to the Finals twice and lost), NY Rangers (where he won 1 cup), St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston, and Florida. Granted Keenan has had some success. However, the majority of that was in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And as for his Stanley Cup win with the Rangers, I think that the leadership of Messier and the rest of the former Oilers on that team had more to do with the win than Keenan’s coaching.

Wherever Keenan has coached his players have grown to loath him. I can see Iggy asking for a trade before X-mas.

I can sum up my feelings on this whole situation with a classic quote from Slapshot.... "They're f#*&ing horrible looking! What did the old man trade for these a%$holes? A used puck bag?"

On a somewhat unrelated topic... Remember after the lockout and the Flames were in the process of trying to sign Tony Amonte, Darren McCarty and Scott Neidermeyer? Hmmmm I wonder whom the Flames should have put more effort and dollars into trying to sign. (Editor's Note: Here's a hint, it's the one who just won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy - and not the two plumbers the Flames eventually ended up with) I can sum up my feelings on this debacle with another classic Slapshot quote.... "Boy every piece of garbage that comes on the market and you gotta buy it."

*Jim Playfair’s coaching system is something Luke and I came up with, if you were unaware of the reference. In our opinion Playfair is an emotionless cyborg (but not the super-intelligent kind) that accepts those old style punch cards which contain coaching information. They are fed to him through a slot in his neck by assistant coach Rich Preston. These punch cards then tell Playfair what coaching strategies to employ.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We Were Legion

As I was sitting in the stands at last year's Saskatchewan Roughrider home opener, I started to notice that something was wrong. At first it wasn't anything tangible. But as the game went on that feeling of something being out of place grew stronger, until I finally figured out what the problem was - those damn Korean dry cleaners had switched my pants with someone else's - no, no wait, that wasn't it - it was too quiet in the stadium.

Taylor Field has long been known as the toughest stadium to play at in the CFL. The concrete-esqe turf aside, it was always the crowd that made the experience unenjoyable for the visiting team. But that night in June last year there was almost no crowd noise at all. It was eerily quiet, so much so that you would turn to the person next to you saying, "What the hell is going on in here?" And I wasn't alone in thinking it was quiet in the stadium, more than one person who attended the game had mentioned the lack of crowd noise. It was like a mausoleum in there.

This got me thinking about what had changed, what was different. Why was the crowed at the home opener so mellow? After I had attended a few more games with similar decibel levels it finally hit me, the University Section was gone.

The southern-most section of the East grandstand in Taylor Field was officially labelled Section 28 by the Saskatchewan Roughrider football club, but it was unofficially and affectionately known as the University Section. If you were a university student, looked like a university student, had a student ID, didn't have a student ID or were simply between the ages of 15 and 45 and wanted a cheaper football ticket, this was the section for you. It was consistently the loudest and most vocal section in the stadium and its volume was what I was missing on that opening day game.

Where do I even begin to tell you what it was like to sit there? First of all I should say that this section was not for everybody and those who purchased tickets in Section 28 unknowingly were seldom happy with the results. It took a special kind of person to sit there and enjoy it. There was a high probability that something was going to be spilled on you during the game - most likely an alcoholic beverage of some sort, beer or Rider rye. In rare cases it was vomit. It was drunk and it was loud and it was rowdy - but it was very, very rarely mean or nasty or confrontational, at least within the section. Those types of behaviours were directed towards the opposing players.

Maybe the best way to describe it is, it felt like being at a football game with 500 close friends. When the University Section spoke, it spoke with one voice. Everybody sang the national anthem together, loudly - and usually at least one or two lines ahead of whoever was singing it on the field. Everybody yelled and screamed together, unlike quite a few other sections of the stadium where it seems like people are obligated to sit on their hands and enjoy the game in quiet reflection. There were times when I was sitting there that I felt that we were affecting the game, that if we made enough noise we could will something to happen. I couldn't speak after the games sitting in the University Section, not because I didn't want to, but because I physically couldn't, my throat was raw and exhausted.

It was a section where you could stand and lean against the metal retaining wall on the end of the stadium and no one would hassle you (this is a surprisingly enjoyable way to watch a game). It was a section where you could scream things at opposing players like, "Hey number 20, tell your mother I love her!" and instead of being told to sit down, you were encouraged on. It was a section where you could lean over the side and leer at the females in the hot tub, or yell at a hot tub full of guys and question their sexuality (not that there's anything wrong with that). It was a section where you could heap abuse on a local radio personality for no other reason than he stood in front of you for some ill-advised reason. It was a section that when at its best, it felt like you were in a snake pit. It was a section that made you feel like you were a part of something bigger than yourself and part of something special. But it was also a section that was prone to the occasional scuffle and fight, and this was its downfall.

I was there the night the University Section died.

I wasn't sitting there that night, late in September 2005, I was in Section 2 - directly across the field from the University Section. You could tell something was happening before you could really see what it was. But soon you could tell - it was a fight. But it wasn't just a little scuffle, from across the field it looked like a full-fledged brawl. You could see the fight moving from all the way across the field, it looked like a wave rolling into the shore and breaking back. After everything was calmed down and one person was hauled away in handcuffs it was all over for the University Section.

Two months later, after the season ended, citing concerns over safety and creating a friendly environment, the team announced that the University Section would be moved from Section 28 to Section 20 - in the north end zone, as far from the field as was possible, and basically away from everyone else. I am suspicious of these motives however, as Section 28 immediately went from a $25 ticket to a $40 ticket after the move. But be that as it may, the move cut the heart right out of University Section, like Carl Spackler threatening to cut Judge Smails' hamstrings.

Now the "new University section" sits mainly empty for most games, which is a real shame. It was never just about getting a cheap ticket. There an experience that went with sitting in the old University Section that just cannot be duplicated in its current incarnation. I sat in the "new University Section" with some friends last season and we were almost the only ones there. It may end up being the same thing again this year when we sit there on opening day.

Sure it used to be a little rowdy and volatile, but it was also loud and it was infectious. The noise from Section 28 used to make everyone else in the stadium start to cheer or cheer louder. Whether it was cheers, boos or the national anthem, that sound almost always originated from the University Section and spread like wildfire around Taylor Field. And it was this noise that was missing last year on opening day - and to be honest, I'm not sure that the stadium was the same at all last year. And who knows, it may never be again. But I do know that for a few short years those of us that ventured in Section 28 were the driving force behind the mystique of Taylor Field - we were a part of the game. We were loud and we loved football in Saskatchewan.

We were legion.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Artist of the Week

What started as a blurb on Monday Headlines is now it's own weekly feature (and now called Artist of the Week), due mostly to the fact that I did in Monday Headlines Phil Leotardo-style.

So this week's artist is Wayne Petti. You can check him out at He's the lead singer of Cuff the Duke, as well as the keyboard player for Hylozoists. In one of those serendipitous moments that only music can provide, I happened to hear him randomly on the in-flight music station on an Air Canada flight from Regina to Toronto. And he'll be in the Queen City this summer at the Regina Folk Fest.


Requiem For a Hockey League

The NHL is dead... at least to me.

There I said it. I refuse to be another hockey apologist, who claims that everything is fine with the game, that the product has never been better. I have gone the other way completely. I'm afraid that I may have given up on professional hockey. I am deliberately hard on the NHL, I openly admit that and make no apologies for it. But my stance on the NHL is not arbitrary and without reason. And my reason is this - I used to love this game. Hockey defined my life as a young boy. But now I look at this game that I used to love and it makes me sick to my stomach at how the NHL continually embarrasses itself and drags the game of hockey through the mud. There, now at least my bias and agenda are out in the open and I can carry on with the NHL season wrap-up.

Did you ever hear the one about the U.S president who started a war that was so unpopular and who was so universally reviled, that he tried to distract his people anyway he could, even going as far as suggesting going to Mars? In a magic act this is what they call misdirection. The magician distracts the crowd's eye so they don't see him stuffing a rabbit down his pants. And I admit that sometimes it easy to fall for. But don't. You will never find any truth or substance with the misdirection. Always be wary of grand plans and out of this world goals, they are probably meant to distract you from the ugly truth.

Keeping that in mind, did you happen to catch NHL deputy-commissioner Bill Daly's comments last week and the following puff-piece from the CanWest News Service? The long and the short of it is that the NHL now apparently has strong interest in getting teams in Las Vegas and Kansas City, with Hollywood 'big deal' Jerry Bruckheimer apparently interested in owning a team. The article also mentioned the NHL's proposed expansion into Europe (thankfully, they are not seriously considering this, just theorizing about it).

Now haven't we all been taken on this ride before? As far as I can tell there was once strong interest in hockey in Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Atlanta and Nashville. Anyone know how those franchises are currently doing? I'll tell you - they can barely give tickets away. And now the NHL is considering expansion into another two non-traditional hockey markets. Even if I weren't a hockey fan, I don't think I'd be able to see how this makes any sense, especially from a business perspective. Apparently the NHL owners have no problem with bailing out another failed franchise 5 years down the road, as long as they get their money right now.

And the whole Europe thing... well you can just insert your own punch line here _________.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that the game is fine, the game is not fine. Let's go through it, shall we:

- The on-ice product has regressed greatly over the last 2 post-lockout years. The obstruction is being taken out of the game but this means an endless parade to the penalty box, which kills any flow a game might have. The solution to this? I don't know, I think an increase in the size of the ice surface needs to be looked at. The players are simply too big, too strong, too fast and wear too much equipment today for the size of the ice. Have you ever watched old NHL games on TV? I have and the one thing I notice more than anything is how small the players look compared to today. I think the key to the game is in the size of the ice. I know owners will complain about losing revenue from having to take out seats to accommodate the bigger surface, but come on, it's not like there selling all their tickets anyway.

- Scoring is way down from a year ago as well, which is hard to explain given all the penalties that are being called. Obviously more powerplays does not equal more scoring, much to the chagrin of the NHL.

- This years playoffs were uneventful at best and downright unwatchable at worst. Of everyone I talked to about the playoffs, almost everybody had lost interest and stopped watching after the first round. Not a good sign when even Canadians have stopped paying attention. The reason I think is that the season is at least 10 games too long, maybe even a month too long. Why on earth would I still want to be watching hockey in June?

- The TV ratings are so bad in the U.S it's just too easy to make a joke about it. I'll just tell you the facts - Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final received NBC's lowest rating ever for a Saturday night, beating out the previous champ, a 2 year old re-run of the West Wing. It's enough already, these rating are an embarrassment to the league. Some say that any press is good press but having your league mocked on a nation-wide scale does nothing to grow the game. The simple fact of the matter is that nobody is watching the games.

- The salary-cap that was supposed to save the NHL and give everyone an equal playing field has gone up for the second straight year. In less that 5 years the league is going to be in the same position it was before the lockout. Even though there is going to be a cap on what teams can spend, pretty soon teams won't be able to spend up to that cap. Montreal has already announced that they're raising ticket prices to deal with the cap increase. I thought that the cap supposed to stop things like that from happening.

- Attendance is very, very sad in a lot of cities. Sure places like Calgary, Toronto and Buffalo sell out all the time but for every Calgary there seems to be 2 Nashville's. The NHL's official attendance number's are lies, that's all they are. There may be 11,000 people at a game in Carolina on occasion but you can bet that 11,000 people didn't pay for tickets. The NHL's numbers are padded by corporate giveaway tickets and other giveaways of that nature. Sure it might be nice to have that many people in the seats, but giving tickets away doesn't do much for a teams bottom line. Even traditional hockey cities like Chicago and Detroit are struggling to sell tickets. Chicago because they are terrible and have been for over a decade, which is very sad and a whole other story, and Detroit because the economy there is so bad that there is not a lot of money left over for hockey tickets. Did you know that Detroit made it to the Conference Finals and didn't sell out one playoff game?

- The Stanley Cup Champion is Anaheim. Just let that sink in for second. Anaheim. I don't really have a problem with the team, they had more Canadians than Ottawa, although I do think that Brian Burke needs to shut his mouth for the good of the game (nobody embarrasses himself more with old fashioned thinking, except maybe Don Cherry). But I don't think it's a good sign that a city where only about 12,ooo people show up to the victory celebration is the league champion. (How many would have shown up last year if Edmonton had won, or two years ago if Calgary had won?) Is the league going to benefit at all by having its champion in a city where nobody really cares about hockey? How do I know that nobody cares you may ask? Well I have a source in Irvine, California (which is about 10 minutes from Anaheim) and this person said that the day after the Ducks won the cup, nobody, absolutely nobody was talking about hockey. The only thing that people in the office where this source works were talking about was Paris Hilton. That is the sad reality of the situation.

What does all this add up to? I'm not really sure. All I know for sure is that I have never been less interested in hockey than I was this year. The NHL is sick and it seems like it's on the brink of being broken beyond repair. This game used to mean too much for me to watch it go further and further down the drain. And that is why I'm so hard on it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Links

Since I'm not going to be at work tomorrow again (ain't life grand?), I'm gonna throw The Links at you a day early again. This week I'm working with the theme of unforgettable sports moments (since I didn't come across any grisly videos of people getting injured this week). All of these videos are guaranteed to give you goose-bumps.

...if this doesn't give you chills, you're not a football fan - the highlights of possibly the greatest college football bowl game ever played (at least the greatest ending). In it you get to see: an interception returned for a touchdown, a hook-and-ladder play for a touchdown, a half-back option for a touchdown, and a Statue of Liberty play for a game winning two-point conversion. And as an added bonus, you get to see Chris Meyers of Fox Sports just absolutely ruin a post-game marriage proposal. you remember where you were when this happened? I almost lost my job over that game.

...this defined an entire generation of Canadian hockey fans.

...and I just threw this clip in because I have to be a little bit of a homer every now and again.

...I wasn't going to put this in because it has nothing to do with sports, but it's just too cool not to get out there for people to see. Although Bill Simmons had a link to it in one of his columns this week, so a lot more people saw it there than will see it here.

untitled (Formerly Coooper's Corner)

First off, the blog piece formally known as “Cooper’s Corner” would like to congratulate the Anaheim Ducks on their first Stanley Cup victory. It was very nice to see Teemu Selanne and Randy Carlyle finally get to hoist the cup. It is great to see some former Jets win the cup, especially Carlyle who spent many a year on some brutal teams. I am also happy to announce that the Ducks win also propelled me into 2nd place in the North East EMS office pool, thus getting me a handsome prize; I believe it is $50.00. Thanks to Luke for the many nights helping strategize a team. (Editor's Note: I am so glad that I was able to help Cooper win money, when my own pool picks were so woefully bad that I still haven't come to grips with them)

Now on to the topic at hand, wrestling.

Yes wrestling.

This is the part where most of you are probably clicking 'Back' on your browsers, or just closing your browser all together, never again to visit the page. Wrestling is a virgin topic so far on Sports As Life, so bear with me. Anyway this past Saturday night I was astonished to see NBC broadcasting “Saturday Night's Main Event”. (Probably had better ratings than the NHL)

For those of you unfamiliar with Saturday Night's Main Event I will give you a brief history. Saturday Night's Main Event was a late night, (Saturday night, as you might have guessed already) WWF program that was on occasionally from 1985 to 1991. This was not your ordinary hour long show like the ones WWF would show Saturday mornings where the biggest match was getting to see The Brooklyn Brawler lose for the 300th consecutive time to some bigger name like Mr. Perfect or the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiasse.

No, Saturday Night's Main Event was packed with the biggest matches, pay per view-esque matches. Matches like Hulk Hogan vs the Ultimate Warrior, or The Macho Man Randy Savage vs Jake the Snake Roberts. I mean BIG!

Now I imagine that most of you who frequent Sports As Life, if not all of you, have outgrown wrestling by some 15 years. I myself have not watched wrestling since The Rock was champ and Stone Cold Steve Austin was feuding with Vince McMahon, which was in early 2001. A lot has changed since I last watched regularly, a lot! For example.

1) The WWF is no longer known as the WWF but as WWE or World Wrestling Entertainment. Apparently the World Wild Life Fund had a beef with the later and sued for the name I believe and won. I will have to check my facts on that one.

2) The WWE now consists of the old WCW, ECW, and whatever else Vince McMahon has managed to buy out. I don’t think there is any competition for Vince anymore.

3) Vince McMahon is absolutely huge. I mean HUGE! As big, if not bigger than some of the wrestlers. I am talking about a Bonds-like physique change. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was taking some stanazolol or other similar product. But still he looks great for his age.

4) Vince McMahon is the ECW hardcore champ. I believe that is the world championship of the old ECW. From what I understand, is that there are now 3 major title belts, the old WWF heavyweight belt, the WCW world title belt and the ECW belt. As well as all the other belts such as the tag team belts, intercontinental championship belt, television title belt, etc, etc, etc. Too many to count. I believe that the ratio of wrestlers to belts is 3:1.

5) Everyone we grew up watching is no longer wrestling (go figure). They are all either retired or dead. However the Undertaker is still a mainstay of the show. Some dead figures we grew up with include Brian Pillman, Mr. Perfect, Gorilla Monsoon (I always envision a giant wave of apes coming towards me when I hear that name, terrifying), The British Bulldog, Miss Elizabeth etc, etc, etc.

6) Diamond Dallas Page is nowhere to be seen. I miss the “Diamond Cutter”.

Even though I watched the entire programme, I must admit I did not enjoy it. Wrestling today just doesn’t cut it for me. I did thoroughly enjoy watching a midget dressed as a leprechaun brandishing a shillelagh beat the hell out of another midget however. Other than that it wasn’t what I remember wrestling to be. No great characters to hook on too I guess. After watching the You Tube clips though I am seriously considering doing a regular wrestling column. We will see I guess.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

And You Thought I Didn't Like This Trade Before...

Now, I'm not saying it's easy to be the General Manager of a professional sports team. I'm certain that it is not. That being said however, I feel I have to take issue with something that has just happened with the Roughriders.

Last week the Roughriders traded running back Dominique Dorsey and defensive lineman Dwan Epps to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for defensive lineman Eric Wilson. When this trade happened I admit that I was a little surprised and I didn't like the trade. But really what do I know right, I assume that Eric Tillman has a little bit more information about the trade than I do. So fine.

But today I'm scanning the Leader Post for the latest Rider gossip as I always do and I see that Eric Wilson has been released because, and I quote, "The Roughriders wanted to re-work his contract..."

So to me, what this means now is that we traded Dominique Dorsey and Dwan Epps for...nothing??

Now maybe I don't have all the facts. Perhaps Wilson got released and they are going to try and work out a new deal or something. But as it stands now, the Riders gave up two players (one of whom was their all-purpose yardage last year) and got absolutely nothing in return.

I have two issues with this. First of all, am I the only one confused/upset/baffled by this decision. As a GM you would know what the contract status is of the person you are trading for. And if you had even the slightest inkling that he wasn't going to re-work it and take less money, why would you bother trading for him in the first place? And why would you expect someone whom you had just traded for to re-work his contract. I really fail to see the logic behind this. If I'm the only one, I'll shut up. But can someone explain this one to me please?

My second issue is that I'm not sure why the media has given Eric Tillman a pass on this one. You've just traded away two players, one of whom was a large contributor last year, and gotten nothing in return. And no one in the media bothers to question that? The info about Wilson being released was written in the fine print of Darrell Davis' daily training camp coverage. Obviously this is not earth-shattering news, but does Tillman not have to at least explain what went on here? Doesn't the media have a responsibility to find things like this out?

In every other major sporting league coaches and GMs have to face the media regularly. And they may have to do it in other cities in the CFL too, I don't know. But here it seems, especially since the regime change, that no personnel decision is ever questioned. I'm not suggesting that people in the media nit pick over every little detail but come on - ask a tough question every once and awhile, hold people accountable for their decisions - isn't that what being a journalist is about?

The one explanation I can come up with is that members of the local media don't want to lose their access to the team. I suppose it's tough to be a working journalist in a town with only one pro sports team if you're banned from that team. But the flip-side of the that is almost equally as bad. If a journalist is too buddy-buddy with the team then everything gets reported through rose-coloured glasses. The media here has to be unafraid to tell it like it is, not hyper-critical but not sugar-coating everything either.

One thing that people shouldn't lose sight of is that the Riders are a community-owned team. If anyone deserves information about the team it is the community that supports it and keeps it afloat. The people who support the Roughriders deserve to be kept in the loop about the decisions the team makes. If anyone says that the public doesn't have the right to know every little thing about this team, they're dead wrong. This is a community-owned team and the community has the right to be kept up to date on what is going on with the team. (Don't even get me started about the exclusive, for paying members only section on, what an embarrassment that is)

I don't mean to be negative for no reason, I just think there are issues here that nobody is willing to discuss.

Take heart though, we here at Sports As Life have no official access to the Roughrider organization, so we do not have to be worries about losing it. And quite honestly I think that puts us in a pretty enviable position - we don't have to be worried about biting the hand that feeds us, and other cliches of that nature.