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Preview to the 98 Grey Cup

362 days ago, I was sitting at Schanks Sports Bar with my good buddy Nick Cherniawsky and Dexter Nolais. Cheering hard. Drinking beer. Fighting with Als fans. All dreaming I could be two or three miles south at McMahon Stadium.

On the edge of my seat, I watched as Damon Duval missed a field goal, giving the Riders the Grey Cup. No need for me to go any further into the play by play because everyone who is anyone should know this story by now.

Fast-forward three minutes. I’m driving back to my house. We lost. I almost broke my hand on the table. I almost punched my buddy in the face. I swore a few too many time. People judged, let’s leave it at that.

Here’s a video of what happened on the field, not Schanks (thank god):

Over the last year, every single god damn Roughrider anguished over the game. Picked on by absolutely everybody. There were even rumours of Pilsner (Riders unofficial beer) coming out with a 13-pack.

Now it’s all going to come to an end.

As much as the Montreal Alouettes can complain about Roughrider favoritism, I’m willing to bet anything on my beloved Green and White. (Read this story by Bruce Arthur for what I believe is a humorous account on this)

Let’s do a position by position breakdown for both teams:

Quarterback: Both Darian Durant for the Riders and Anthony Calvillo for the Als have the big play potential. Both have Grey Cup experience (although Calvillo has 7 times the experience). Both put up 5,000 yards. In last years game, Durant surprisingly outplayed the veteran counterpart although I can’t find the statistics to back it up right now. I could go either way on this. Calvillo is more consistent. Durant seems to be hitting his stride again in the playoffs. Got to go with Double D

Edge: Roughriders

Running Backs: Avon Cobourne and Wes Cates combined for over 2100 rushing yards, practically split down the middle. In the playoffs, Cobourne has 50 more all-purpose yards in one less game. But the deciding point for me is touchdowns. Cates ran for a lead league 15 TDs with only three fumbles. Cobourne had six touchdowns and four fumbles.

Edge: Roughriders

Wide Receivers: Montreal has three game changing receivers: Watkins, Cahoon and Richardson. Saskatchewan has more: Fantuz, Dressler, Getzlaf (if only he could play the Stamps every game), Koch and thankfully Jason Clermont.

Edge: Roughriders

Offensive Line: Calvillo will get the protection to make the plays, Durant won’t get it so much. But he does make plays with his legs. Age is a concern for the Riders with one to possibly three playing their final game in Green and White.

Edge: Alouettes

Defensive Line: I’ll admit it, I haven’t watched the Als closely enough to get a fair look at their defensive line but I’m going to give them the edge strictly on the fact the Riders have not been getting the quarterback pressure lately.

Edge: Alouettes

Linebackers: Two words- Barrin Simpson. ‘Nuf said. The Minister of Defense will be a major player as he goes for his first Grey Cup in his illustrious career.

Edge: Riders

Secondary: I’ll take James Patrick over the whining of Étienne Boulay every day of the week.

Edge: Riders

Special Teams: All in all, completely on the side of the Alouettes. Riders have no kicker, and their returner almost fumbled away the game last week, giving me half-a-hear-attack in the process.

Edge: Als

Coaching: For the last four weeks into the playoffs, every Rider fan wanted Ken Miller (head coach), Doug Barry (Offensive Coordinator),  and John Daly (special teams coach) on a silver platter. Trestman has more experience and in possibly his final game (University of Minnesota maybe?) he gives the Als the edge.

Edge: Als

Fans: This will be more of a factor than my American readers can comprehend. Guarenteed 80 per cent of the fans in the stands will be wearing Green and White. In fact, any game west of Winnipeg is practically a home game for the Riders.

Edge: Riders

Maybe it’s the Rider Pride running through my veins but this game seems like a blowout to me. Unfortunately, this won’t happen. My guess: Riders 31 Als 22. Pilsner drank in Saskatchewan, 630,482 cans. The last one is my lock of the week.

For insights during the game, follow me on Twitter

Also, check out this video. Brought a little tear to my eye.

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Change of heart on concussions

I’m wrong.

It’s not something I would admit lightly, ask my parents.

But I am wrong.

Or at least I was wrong.

For years, I’ve been saying how all of this concussion talk is just a fad, something overprotected parents worry about.

But after reading the following two stories, I admit, I was wrong.

Story one by Wayne Drehs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time to pull the plug on Phoenix, Columbus and Atlanta

Is it really that hard to understand why 98 per cent of Canadians hate Gary Bettman?

In his tenure since 1993, he’s expanded to Anaheim, Florida, Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus and Minnesota. He also packed up the Winnipeg Jets and repackaged them as the Phoenix Coyotes. And add it two lockouts.

Great commissioner we have.

Now I’ll give credit where credit is due. Bringing back hockey  to Minnesota was a smart idea. The Wild sold out every home game from their very first day all the way up until an exhibition game this year.

Anaheim has even grown accustomed to the Ducks, with a solid fan base of 15,000 people or about 85% of capacity. Add in the couple of Stanley Cup appearances in the last decade and he put in a solid franchise there.

But when you look at the bottom six in attendance right now in the season, Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus and Phoenix— all middling around the 10,000 people mark. However even that is misleading. Pictures don’t lie.

This picture was from a game a few weeks back between Phoenix and visiting Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.Com Arena.

 

That is absolutely pathetic. I’m willing to bet money I could fit all those people into the old Civic Centre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. This was in front of an announced 6,706 people. I say closer to 4,000.

Why is it that Bettman is fighting for the Coyotes to remain in Arizona when the NHL has a far better opportunity in Winnipeg? Oh ya, I forgot Bettman is a cement head who will never admit he is wrong.

It’s the same problem with Atlanta and Columbus. Both teams have been in the league for ten years but have yet to gain a hold in attendance, or even fielding a solid team. (Neither team has ever won a playoff series)

One could argue there is a prime example of a muddling team turning is the Chicago Blackhawks. In the late nineties and half of this decade, they were constantly at the bottom of attendance and did not win a playoff series between 1997 and 2009.

The difference between the Hawks and the other teams was that they have a long rich history full of Stanley Cups and Golden Jets.

If I was Bettman, I would do the right thing and move the Coyotes back to Winnipeg; admit I was wrong and contract the Thrashers, Panthers and Blue Jackets. It would create for better hockey with less players and the league wouldn’t have any embarrassments left.

Chances of that happening with Bettman at the helm— 0.0000000001%.

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Sad, Sad Story

It’s a tragic story that always seems to come up. A young hockey player’s career is untimely ended thanks to a hit.

This time, it’s Jesse Martin of the University of Denver who is left with a broken neck after this hit from Brad Malone from the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

However, unlike the case with Todd Bertuzzi, Steve Downie, Patrice Cormier and countless others, this was the farthest possible from being malicious.

Malone ended up recieving a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct— a slightly weak call in my books— if you watch at the tape, it looks to me he glided for a half a second before making contact.

Some of you even might argue it was a hit directly to the head. Technically, yes it was. But Martin unfortunately had his head down, and was looking to make the pass out of the zone. It adds a little grey area to the black and white of hit to the heads.

With the ever increasing evaluation of hits to the head, people will be calling for a suspension of some sort.

But even Martin’s coach wouldn’t say it was a poor hit.

“I certainly don’t believe that it was malicious, I don’t think it was intentional and I don’t think it was intended to be dirty,” said George Gwozdecky, head coach of the University of Denver. “It was just a hard hit. In fact, probably two or three years ago, people would have said `darn good hit.”‘

In no way am I justifying this hit. But this was a very, very unfortunate accident.

Since the referees called a charging call, I would look for a suspension. Nothing long at all. Two games tops.

In the end, all that matters is that everyone pray for Martin.

HT to Bloge Salming.

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My thoughts on concussion reports

For the god-only-knows what number time, another study has been released about concussions in hockey.

This one says 25% of all players on two teams suffered a concussion last hockey season.

To keep it nice and simple, here are my three thoughts on the subject:

1. Equipment- When you give the kids kevlar plated shoulder pads, they are going to use them. Parents are so afraid their little Johnny might bruise their shoulder that they don’t understand the equipment becomes a weapon. A hit in the head with those and the kid is down for the count. I’m not saying they need to go all the way back to the days where pads were practically paper thin, but at least those were never weapons.

2. Concussion coverage: Chalk it up to increased knowledge of concussions but now with the slight concussion symptom, parents I’m sure are taking their kid to the doctor for another visit. Let’s get one thing straight — just because there is a big hit, it doesn’t mean your kid obviously has a concussion. Also, if your kid has a headache, don’t assume it’s a concussion. I played hockey for 11 years, I had a headache at the end of a lot of games. Care to take a guess about why that was? I have a HUGE head. If my hair was long enough, my helmet fit too tightly and ended the ice time with a headache.

3. Continued Wussification of our Youth: This is a term I believe I coined and toss out time and time again. Wussification is verb and defined as “the way parents are way too overprotected of their kids.” For any family members, they can attest I use this term everytime I’m home. And you want to know why, every week there are more and more examples of this generation of parents pussifying their kids. So when I read stories about how parents are keeping their kids out of playing contact sports because they ‘might’ get a concussion, it’s laughable. Getting a concussion is not the end of world; it’s like parents are treating it as the same as getting AIDS. Yes, concussions can be serious. They can ruin lives. Just ask the Lindros brothers. But so can walking across the street and getting hit by a car. Or falling down the stairs. Or hitting your head on a corner. If parents are so worried about their little ‘Johnny’ getting injured, they might as well just home school their kid in a foam padded house.

All of this comes from personal experience too. I dealt with a few concussions growing up. I remember my first one was in novice hockey, a non-contact time of hockey. I’m sure I had few more from hockey, but it’s hard to say — I was a big, solid kid who was hard to knock down. And I know I got a lot more when I started playing football. I missed one game from one of them, but I know I had more because I regularly dealt with blurry vision and head aches after both practises and games.

And you know what? I’m still standing. I’m still breathing.

Concussions are not the end of the world.

I don’t feel any effects from them.

And when I have my kids (they better be all boys), they’ll be playing hockey. And football. And raging in the cage in the locker room (another sore point for me).

So let’s make a stand about the continued wussificiation of our youth. Whose with me?

Now after watching that video on Youtube, two more arguments.

1. Saskatchewan let’s their kids hit at the Atom level. But I forgot, Rider nation is full of families who grew up in the rough life on the farm. The same cannot be said about the rich oil families of Alberta.

2. And if they move hitting up to pure elite levels like that ‘professor’ said to do, I quit. I’m handing over my love of hockey. I’ll even hand over my Canadian citizenship because I would not want to live in a nation like that.

Also, since I know a lot of people will disagree with me, leave a comment. Tell me I’m wrong.

Peace

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Media Workshop for Class

1. In Vincent’s study, what are the primary factors he uses to gauge whether media coverage of the genders is equitable?

Looking at the quality and quantity of the stories. It defined quantity as how many stories published and how long they were. Quality was defined as the placement of the stories on which section it was published in and the placement on the page.

2. What are some of the conclusions and inferences of the study?

Women are viewed insignificant to men when it comes to their media coverage. They are not viewed equal as men, instead the majority of their coverage revolves around sexual innuendos and women succeeding in ‘male’ sports.

3. Are his recommendations realistic? In your opinion, why or why not?

With more and more female sports writers in the newsroom, it’s only a matter of time before women start receiving better coverage. However, the problem lies sometimes in the female sports writer. For every Vicki Hall from the Calgary Herald, a very respected sports journalist with the Flames, Roughnecks and Stamps, there will be an Ines Sainz who is there to flaunt their sexuality. It’s a delicate line but hopefully the sports world has progressed to the point where women will be taken more seriously in the locker room and newsroom. Once that happens, you’ll start seeing more complete women’s sports coverage.

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