Tuesday, August 31, 2010


For fun, I used a crosswalk twice today as a pedestrian.  Both times, I had difficulty with vehicles stopping to let me cross.

Is this a Yorkton problem, or do people just pay no mind to crosswalks anymore?

There have been times I've stopped to let someone cross and I can see someone else (through my rear view mirror) coming hard with no intent of stopping until the very last second when I have braced myself to get smoked from behind.

I have an even bigger fear of being in the right hand lane, stopped, and have another vehicle come barreling down the left lane and go cruising right on through.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I spent the weekend in Moose Jaw and two things irked me on the way home, so I thought I'd share:

--If the speed limit is 110 on a four-lane highway, please don't drive 100 in the left hand lane.  You want to see my road rage in a hurry?  Do exactly that if you see me coming!  I passed a guy today who was Sunday Driving along in the left hand lane and I gave him a glance when I finally got by him on the right hand lane and he looked at me without the faintest clue in his head.

--There is a particular fast food restaurant in Fort Qu'Appelle that I've paid my last visit to.  A 20+ minute wait last summer with just 3 other vehicles in front of me was strike one.  Today's 3 minute wait before anyone even bothered to get my order in the drive thru speaker was my final straw.  I'm just thankful nobody was behind me and I was able to back myself out of there.


Dustin Paxton laughs as charges read in torture, confinement case

I understand people get the benefit of the doubt and are innocent until proven guilty, but regardless does anyone other than Paxton find this funny? If this case is funny to you, please send me an email so I can understand the humor. This is so far from funny it's not even describable.

I wonder how much of this is an act. I just read another story about the homeowner who was renting to Paxton and he talked about what a genuinely nice guy he seemed to be.

There is also this disturbing story that is nowhere close to funny either:

The victim, Dustin LaFortune, spoke out today:

I realize there is a lot of reading there, but this is a fascinating story.

This maybe one of those cases where an 'eye for an eye' punishment fits the bill.


A few thoughts about this game, although I didn't watch it as close as I usually watch.

How many times will Jim Daley be hired as a coach on the Saskatchewan Roughriders before it's determined he doesn't do a good job?  I am not a CFL historian, being a relative new fan (the last 10 years), but hasn't he been hired and fired by this team a couple of times already?  The special teams are a laughing stock and I say for this two people have to pay:  Daley and Dominique Dorsey.  Dorsey is getting a lot of money to suck.  Enough is enough.

Speaking of enough is enough, this is the halfway mark and I'm ready to pass judgement on a couple of things:

Darian Durant reads his own press clippings and it has to stop.  Remember his two game start where he had 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions?  I think it's 5 TDS and 12 INTS since then.  Horrible.  Tonight was a night where we should have seen Ryan Dinwiddie, even if it was for two or three series' just to see if some momentum could be established (see Zambransky in for Ray).

Chris Getzlaf has to make some of those catches.  The heat is on Prechae Rodriguez and rightfully so.  Getzlaf isn't helping either, but I sense he gets a free pass because he's from Regina. 

I would like to see Jordan Sisco now please.

Can we try Hugh Charles on returns?

I got a sense of overconfidence with this game, so I'm not entirely surprised at the result.

Let's put things in perspective:  It's not a crushing loss.  The Riders are still comfortably in second place and the real test will be seeing how they respond to having played poorly.  Will they make the Blue Bombers pay on Labour Day? 

Friday, August 27, 2010


Admittedly, I was never an elite athlete.  I didn't play sports at a high level, although I did have a short teenaged career as a baseball player (mainly a pitcher).  I pitched a lot.  Often twice a week and never once did I have arm soreness.  I wasn't on a pitch count, simply an innings limit; which at the time was designed more in fairness so that other players could pitch rather than protect a hurler's arm.

Today it has been revealed Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg has a torn elbow ligament and will need Tommy John surgery before he can pitch again.  He's looking at a 12-month recovery and probably 6-months after that before he's back to full speed, although some guys don't ever get back to previous form.  The list of pitchers that have undergone this surgery is lengthy, but the number of guys who have had the surgery just in the last 10 years is staggering.  In my opinion, it's because pitchers are now babied right from minor baseball through to the pros.  The arm isn't conditioned the way it needs to be in order to be a real effective power pitcher at the major league level. 

Let's look at some of the great power pitchers from years gone by:  Steve Carlton (minimum 24 starts each year from 1967-1984), Nolan Ryan (minimum 26 starts each year from 1971-1992 except for strike shortened 1981 season), Tom Seaver (minimum 21 starts each year from 1967-1985), Don Sutton (minimum 32 starts from 1967-1980), and Gaylord Perry (at least 30 starts each year from 1966-1983).

Now, let's look at some current pitchers who have ALREADY had this procedure done:  Erik Bedard, Kris Benson, Ryan Dempster, Kyle Drabek (not even in the majors yet), Octavio Dotel, Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, Joe Nathan, Carl Pavano, John Smoltz, Rafael Soriano, Joakim Soria, Edinson Volquez, Billy Wagner, Brian Wilson, and CJ Wilson.  All of these guys are power pitchers. 

This year, Ryan is heavily involved in the development of pitchers with the Texas Rangers and he's using the pitch count as a measuring stick to a certain degree, but it's not the be-all end-all when determining when a pitcher should come out of the game.  It will be interesting in a few years, once some of these young Ranger pitchers reach the majors to see if their arms are better conditioned and can, therefore, avoid serious arm/elbow issues.

Think of it this way:  if you are a parent and you are over-protective of your children for 18-years, there is a good chance that first year they are away from home, you are going to have major issues.  The child doesn't know how to look after himself/herself in the real world without having the fallback of mom or dad.  Pitching arms are the same way.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Sportsnet One battle turns into a shooting war - thestar.com

Customers are going to lose out on this one. I said it at the start and say it again. Eventually, cable/satellite companies will pay for the channel and so will you!

Rogers should know all about making things work for limited costs though and in my opinion they know even more about maximizing profits and having no regard for people.

After all, it's Rogers that recently advertised for two positions of hockey play by play (Moncton and Halifax) and declared the positions to be part-time. Even a non-hockey fan should laugh at this. Hockey play by play guys are not only NOT part-time, but they log more hours than just about any other full-time employee at their respective radio stations.

But, Rogers is smart. They know there is someone out there that will suck it up and work for peanuts just to try and 'get ahead' with his career.

The proof is in the pudding all the way up the food chain. One has to look no further than the on-air talent at Sportsnet Connected and compare it to TSN and it's easy to decipher which channel is paying their on-air personalities more (although both stations have taken backward steps in this area over the last 15 years).

I am proof positive on how cheap Rogers is. I was once offered a morning co-host job in Edmonton and I was floored when told the pay was just barely $40 000 a year. Crumbs. Still, I think they eventually found someone who was happy enough to say he hung around a few Oiler hockey players and lived in a small one bedroom apartment with two roommates. Even the person doing the hiring said, "I will have to settle for the fourth or fifth best person for the job because the top talented people will pass when they see how little we pay for such a high profile spot."


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


CBC News - Saskatchewan - Web may help find LaFortune torture suspect

While I have to agree with police regarding vigilantism, the reality is that the best chance Dustin Paxton likely has is to turn himself into authorities.

Reading what I've read on this story, I suspect that would be the safest route for him to go.

Keep in mind people are innocent until proven guilty, but if Paxton is 100% responsible for what happened to Dustin LaFortune, I have no sympathy for him if LaFortune's friends find him first.


Cox: Hockey summit in Toronto features sanitized agenda - thestar.com

Perhaps one topic that will be discussed is why people see money as no object when it comes to hockey. $300 hockey sticks are cheap when you compare it to the $450 you have to pay to say you attended this summit.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Our family went to Winnipeg for the weekend to meet our brand new nephew.  The trip takes five hours from Yorkton, so sometimes you have to get creative when it comes to entertainment.  I travel a lot, so I’m used to it.

Podcasts are, generally, how I make the time fly.  Friday night, I listened to Bob McCown’s Primetime Sports and, often, I find the first hour of the show (which is not available on television) is the most entertaining.  Twice a week, he takes phone calls and he didn’t mince words about his own employer when a number of individuals took liberties with the decision by Rogers to move a great number of the Blue Jay broadcasts to Sportsnet One, even though the majority of the country cannot access the station through local cable providers (Rogers is also the only cable provider offering Sportsnet One to its customers).

In fact, McCown publicly rebutted a Rogers/Sportsnet response to a customer who expressed disappointment at the move.  “They are accurate in saying your cable company has the option of putting the free preview on, but the reality is that until there is a hard deal in place to carry the channel when it’s available on a pay basis, they aren’t going to offer the free preview.  I’m not saying there isn’t a cable compay giving the free preview right now, but I’ll guess there isn’t a single one.  If you aren’t offering the channel, you aren’t putting the free preview up.  So that’s a BS way of putting the onus on the cable companies.  Number two, Sportsnet cut a deal with TSN so that Sunday Night Baseball would get moved to TSN and the 25 games TSN was going to carry of the Blue Jays was moved to Sportsnet.  I don’t recall an announcement at that time that said those 25 games would go to Sportsnet One; but rather that Sportsnet was going to have all the Blue Jay games.  At the time there was no Sportsnet One.  So, a decision was clearly made that after August 14th, most Blue Jay games would go to Sportsnet One because they want to sell you Sportsnet One.  It has nothing to do with putting it on free.  This has everything to do with ‘the hook’.  So, at the very least, this response is misleading and misrepresentative.”

He didn’t stop there.  “I understand business.  I get what they are doing, but this is bad business, bad public relations, and a bad idea.  If I’m Rogers I fix this idea right now.  By next week, let’s put those games back on one of the other four channels and put it on Sportsnet One as well.  You can’t suck it off all four regional channels and just put it on this channel.  It’s just wrong.  I am imploring Rogers to undo this mess.  At the very least, put the 25 games that are scheduled to be only on Sportsnet One, on one of the other channels.  That’s the basic minimum you can do.  This is bad marketing for Sportsnet, Rogers, and the Toronto Blue Jays (Jays are also owned by Rogers).  There is nothing good that can come from this.  The passion from the people is clear.  If you thought there was no passion left for Blue Jay baseball in this country, you have been advised.  People are mad.”

My own opinion surrounds the CRTC and whether they can step in.  McCown has a message for them too.  “To the boneheads at the CRTC, it is time for the people to be allowed to choose what they want to watch and don’t want to watch.  I’m tired of bundles of channels I have no interest in.  This system is broken.  I’m tired the entire population of Canada has to prop up channels that no one is the least bit interested in.  There is so much unwatchable crap on Canadian television today and the only reason it’s still on there is because they get a piece of subscriber fees that none of us want to pay, but they are buried in there for packages of other channels.  This is 2010.  Let us choose what we want to watch and the channels that nobody wants to watch will disappear and no one will care.”

McCown is 100% right and deserves two huge thumbs up for taking a stand against the very company that writes his paycheque.  Anyone reading this blog today knows full well that if he/she did that, they would be given a pink slip immediately.  It further goes to show just how much power McCown has when it comes to the sports public.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010


For the second time in three years, the Trans-Canada Highway near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba is closed.  I don’t understand what can go so drastically wrong since the last maintenance job that it would require both west bound lanes to be closed.  I recall the issue a few years back was the safety of the overpass.  This came to light in lieu of a couple of tragedies in Quebec and Minnesota.  Now, I’m not sure what the issue is; but it’s hard to believe they couldn’t get it fixed at that time.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Apparently not......

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Sask. licence plates to be made in N.S.

There is a laughable line in there about the Nova Scotia company having to use Saskatchewan people to deliver the plates.  Yes, I would assume the Purolator driver that arrives on the doorsteps of the legislature everyday is from Saskatchewan and I don't think his job would be in jeopardy whether or not he's delivering licence plates.


Rogers has created a new sports channel called Sportsnet One.  It looks like a nice channel as they have taken all of their elite programming off the regular Sportsnet channels and put it on this one, including the bulk of the remaining games on the Toronto Blue Jays schedule.

The problem is that Rogers is also the only cable/satellite provider carrying this channel and they figure to hold the other cable/satellite providers hostage on this as customers will demand to have access to it.  So, at the moment only a fraction of Canada even has access to this channel.

Rogers also owns the Blue Jays and you'd think they would want to drum up as much interest (positive) in their team as possible.  Not so. 

Rogers will win this.  They'll get what they want ($$$) and, eventually, customers will be happy and everyone will forgive and forget.

This will never happen, but I'd like to see the cable companies agree to axe the other Sportsnet channels as they won't be worth watching anymore.  I mean, airplane racing?  That's what you got to watch last night instead of the Blue Jays.

Moving the Jays midseason from one channel to another is a very dirty play.  They've also signed contracts to televise regional broadcasts of the NHL teams they already have rights to.  Guess what?  I'm betting you won't be able to watch the Ottawa Senators on Sportsnet One if you live in Yorkton.  It will be blacked out just as it is if you subscribe to all four Sportsnet regional channels at the moment.  I could be wrong on that, but I don't think Rogers has national television rights to the NHL.  Therefore, all this new channel is is a cash grab.  There isn't anything more to watch.  They've just moved around what we are already watching, only you will pay more for it in the long run.

In the meantime, feel free to join this group on Facebook:

STACKHOUSE SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week August 18/10)



This is not meant to be a slight against Winnipeg, but two of the more ridiculous crime stories I've read in recent weeks both come from Winnipeg.

In the first case, a 13-year-old boy was slashed for 33-stitches in his back just because some loser wanted the kid's t-shirt.

The read the unbelievable story:


The second instance involves a woman who fears for her and her family's safety upon learning a sex offender is about to be released and there are indications he may continue to stalk her.

This case is maddening.  I understand authorities say they can't help you until something happens; but in the event that a crime is quite likely to occur I would hope that maximum protection could be made available to this poor lady.

Surely, there is nothing worse than dealing with a very serious crime that isn't a surprise to anyone.

There is also something wrong with a society that releases a guy like this back to the general public.  Read the story to learn more of what I mean.


Monday, August 16, 2010


This story is further evidence that what goes on in Afghanistan is far beyond anything I can possibly understand.  A husband and wife were stoned to death for eloping.  The husband's father and brother participated in the execution as well as the woman's brother.


It would probably be cheaper to develop the frostland of northern Canada by conducting interviews with Afghan citizens and determining which ones want to leave and start a new life somewhere else.  The ones that either don't want to leave or are deemed to be terrorist in nature can stay in Afghanistan and live under the anarchy and archaic laws that exist there.  I know it is over simplifying everything, but more people would get a chance at a better life than what goes on there now even if errors of up to 10% were made when making decisions.

I read a story like the link above and then see the bleeding hearts for Omar Khadr and I shake my head.

Again, I just don't understand.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


They say common sense is very uncommon and that was certainly the case at the PGA Championship on Sunday as Dustin Johnson failed to qualify for a playoff to determine the champion on Sunday.

Johnson grounded his club in a 'bunker' on the 18th hole and that's a two-stroke penalty.  The infraction was such that the television announcers didn't catch it, the PGA official walking with Johnson didn't catch it, and I don't imagine any other golfer watching on TV would have given it a second thought either.

In case you missed it, here's the video.  Gotta love golf.  It's the snobbiest sport out there.  Don't get me wrong.  I love to play.  But, really.....


Saturday, August 14, 2010


If you see this movie, feel free to comment on how it was or send me an email with a review.  Interesting all-star cast of characters.  I definitely want to see it.  Sure, it's bound to be a 'leave your common sense at the door' flick; but who cares.  That's why it's a movie and not real life!




This is a spectacular story without the added drama.

It's amazing no theories have been put forward and even more bizarre was Friday's story in The Leader Post about Regina Police submitting a survey for residents to fill out.

I guess they have no time for face to face interviews?

Hopefully this case is solved in short order. 



Friday, August 13, 2010


--BC is terrible.  Just awful.  I don't feel bad for Wally Buono at all.  I sit 9 rows up from field level and he's a miserable son of a gun to just about everyone he comes into contact with during the game.  I guess I'd be in a bad mood too if I was him, but still.

--Another example of political correctness gone way over the top:  The public address announcer referred to the folks on the sidelines as Roughrider CheerPeople.  I think I heard Cheer Team later in the game.  Still....

--There are some real obnoxious Roughrider fans.  I was waiting to meet someone after the game and a couple of BC fans got big-time heckled.  Actually, heckled is too nice a word.  I thought one of them was going to be assaulted.  I mentioned this to someone yesterday and he replied, "Well, I was in Tim Horton's (in Regina) today and a lady wearing a BC Lions shirt had a timbit thrown at her."

--A police car leaving the game last night didn't escape the fans either.  Some tough guys pounded on the trunk as it went by.

--I saw Matt Dominguez leaving Mosaic Stadium last night wearing a Don Narcisse jersey.

--I happened to walk into the stadium with the Boechler family last night.  Luke's transplant has been delayed three or four times, but still slated to happen at some point in the near future.  Luke's mom says doctors indicate it may be a blessing in disguise for him so that he can rebuild some strength.  Luke was at the game last night and I thought he looked real good.  Keep the family in your prayers.

Monday, August 9, 2010


CBC News - Nova Scotia - Coyote attacks girl in N.S. national park

I must admit, I've gotten used to our camper. Tenting? I would never do that.

On a side note, we spent part of the July Long Weekend (not all of it because of the flooding) at Riding Mountain National Park in Wasagaming, Manitoba. There was a notice to all campers about a bear in the park. Well, Mike's Luck says the bear would be right in the campsite that I was attempting to park in. Anyway, the bear eventually scatters and we don't see him again. But, that doesn't mean he isn't returning. Because of the flood, we went back to Yorkton and left the camper to see what the damage was. Once we had things under control, we returned to Clear Lake to finish our camping trip. I look at the gazebo and there are noticeable bear paw prints all over the side of it.

Give me my Super 8, my fresh bed sheets, a hot shower in the morning and I'm happy. That's camping!

It's like my boss (Kirk Weinmaster) once asked me, "Why do people work so hard for 51 weeks a year just so they can afford to pretend they are homeless for that 1 week?"


Not sure how long the new stop signs have been up, but I was surprised to see the two four-way stops on King Street today.

This is a good idea.  It should slow down traffic a little bit on what it is a street that rivals Circlebrooke Drive when it comes to speeding.  I have seen vehicles go more than 75 km/h on King.  Circlebrooke speeds have reached more than 90 km/h I'm sure.  Something very bad is going to happen on that street someday.  In the meantime, let's applaud the work done on King to try and slow things down.

A couple of streets (Darlington and Gladstone) opened their bike lanes today.  Again, this should be applauded as Yorkton stays current with the times.  Hopefully,. we see these lanes utilized and motorists understand those streets are no longer two lanes each way.

Friday, August 6, 2010



I always enjoy reading the comments posted on the CBC news stories.  Most of the time, I laugh at how dumb we make ourselves sound; but one particular comment made by MadMaxRulez makes a lot of sense and it is something I have been saying for years.

I wish I lived in the 70s and 80s, because I would be filthy rich.  The fact of the matter is that income has increased only a fraction when compared to what expenses are.

If you are someone who can recall those years, think about the prices of the following:

--General utility bills

Consider that now, we not only have increased expenses but we are also pretty much obligated to pay bills that didn't exist in the 70s and 80s (internet, cell phones).  Those of you that suggest internet and cell phones are luxuries aren't living in the real world.  That are, basically, necessities.

Read below for what MadMaxRulez has to say (I wish these people would not post under anonymous handles because this person should be applauded and recognized for this).

The truth of the matter is that "the new generation" has to work very hard to get ahead. Disposable income has not changed since the 1980's and, in fact, is now decliining. For example SaskPower just got approved for a 5% rate hike but most people's wages will not go up by 5% this year will they? The bottom line is that more than ever many people (especially young people mnay of whom can only find part time work at low wages) have to work harder to maintain even a modest standard of living and their lack of time requires them to cut anything that doesn't put food on the table or doesn't pay the rent. Instead of being judgmental of the "new generation" perhaps organizations that rely on volunteers need to be more understanding and more flexible in what they require of volunteers?


--The Rider return game is gross.

--Darian Durant is a stud, but he has to try to harness his ability a little better.  Both of his interceptions tonight were a result of trying to do too much.  I still say he's the best quarterback in the CFL right now.  He had over 450 yards passing tonight.

--In a Grey Cup game, Saskatchewan will beat Montreal; but the Riders better make sure they don't lose focus and get ahead of themselves because they won't get that far if they take the rest of the league for granted.

--Wes Cates is back.  That drop late in the 4th quarter was not good though.

--Name a receiver in the CFL better than Weston Dressler.

--Duane Ford doesn't like the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


--Saskatchewan's special teams are still pathetic.  Aside from a few weeks last year when Jason Armstead gave them a real shot in the arm, the entire group has been pathetic from the start of the 2009 season up until now.  The 'so called' big play made by Neal Hughes last week was an easy one because the punter dropped the ball.  This could be the different tonight as Luca Congi misses from 42 and Tim Maypray goes back over 100 yards for the TD.  Instead of 17-10, its 24-7.  Ouch.

--The officiating is not great.  Questionable call resulted in a Montreal turnover becoming a touchdown after they got a second chance.  The unnecessary roughness penalty on Wes Cates was an unnecessary call as there were, at least, two infractions being committed by the Alouettes.



--Guys like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez are cheats and neither really has a personality designed to be likeable.  If Lance Armstrong is found to be a cheat, it figures to devastate a lot of people.  Armstrong successfully overcame cancer and I suspect will play the 'look at all the good I've done' card should the circle around him start to shrink, as I think it's going to.

--Bonds, Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, etc. should never go into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  I know there are people that suggest you can't ignore these guys; but cheating is cheating.  What kind of a consequence is it for these players to cheat, go through a small amount of public ridicule, and then get recognized for being great?  I say if you are a 'cheat', then you are a 'fraud' and the baseball world has every right to ignore you if so desired.

--I can't believe a wide spread performance enhancing drug scandal has not occured in hockey.

--Another reason to hate the New York Yankees:  They are paying Kei Igawa $4-million dollars (he doesn't even play anymore and was terrible when he did) this season.  The team worker that recovered A-Rod's #600 home run ball was rewarded with an autographed bat.  Classless.  If a fan got that ball, it would go for $100 000 minimum.  That's a drop in the bucket for the bottomless pit of money the Yankees have.

--The Neepawa Natives just picked up a goalie that was highly sought in the world of Junior 'A' hockey.  Perhaps things have changed in Neepawa.  When I lived in Brandon, they were an organization that ran on a shoestring budget.

UPDATE - The next part of the comment isn't fair to Wendell Vye.  I was notified by the Natives they were unhappy with the remark and upon a re-read, I can't say I blame them.  It was very poorly done.  I apologize.

There is no point in clarifiying it, although I will say small budget Junior 'A' teams usually are not successful in getting out-of-province highly sought players because of the future considerations that need to be compensated to the other Junior 'A' team that has the player's rights.  Suffice to say Neepawa is looking to be very serious at contending for an MJHL title this season

I see the Vye acquisition has generated a lot of attention for the folks who have a lot of what I call 'keyboard courage'.  These are people who post on the Network 54 MJHL Forum who like to make outlandish statements and not put their name behind it.  I will admit to making a mistake on the Vye comment.  At least I'm easy to find, maybe I shouldn't be in case I'm threatened with legal action.

--Tyson Gay defeated Usain Bolt in a 100m race today.  One report I read said Bolt ran a pedestrian 9.97 .  I wonder how fast that reporter runs?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I hope the Minnesota Vikings win about 4 games.

It's their own fault for falling for this.

They should have been all over Donovan McNabb when he was made available by the Eagles.

Favre will continue to waffle and probably show up a few games into the year to 'save' the Vikes.

The bottom line is the guy doesn't want to go through training camp, and now he doesn't want to play a few meaningless games at the start of the season either.  At the end of the day, the Vikings are not a Super Bowl team because they need their entire team all pulling for the same cause.  Favre is about ego and nothing more.  His ego is so big, I don't think money comes into play at all here.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to address it anymore.  Favre and his retiring/unretiring is such a non-issue I don't know why American sports media make such a big deal of it.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I hope some of you that trumpet salary caps in professional sports are Chicago Blackhawks fans.

Since the Hawks won the Stanley Cup two months ago, they have bid good-bye to eight players because they can't keep them within the salary cap confines of the National Hockey League.

This is not a New York Yankee situation where they just open up the cheque book and sign whoever they want.  This is a team that was built through the draft and with some clever trades.  Now, it's over.

For the record, I loathe salary caps and I also despise the New York Yankees, who lost 8-6 to the Toronto Blue Jays tonight despite a starting pitching rotation of $65 million dollars as compared to the Blue Jay staff of $6 million.

How can I hate both?  It's simple.  The Blackhawks built their team by the draft (Toews, Kane), through trades (Sharp, Ladd) and also with some astute free agent pick-ups (Campbell, Hossa).  Now, they did spend big on Campbell, Hossa, and Cristobal Huet (some would argue stupidly, but in the case of Hossa and Campbell significant contributions were made to the Cup team); but I would suggest you should be allowed to decide whether or not you want to keep your team together.  For example, I would say you can go over the cap to keep players in town; but you cannot go over the cap to bring them in.  Therefore, Antti Niemi's new contract shouldn't count against the cap. If the Hawks are up against the cap before re-signing all their players, I say it's fine.  Allow them to re-sign their players, but they can't add anyone from outside the organization until their team salary comes down to the point where it's affordable.

The Yankees are a different animal.  They have the financial resources to take on huge contracts without even giving up prospects.  The Astros were happy to rid themselves of Lance Berkman over the weekend.  Getting a warm body is a bonus.  The same was true years ago when Bob Abreu was moved from the Phillies to the Yankees.  Anyone remember what Philly got in that deal?  I checked today and Kei Igawa is still drawing a $4-million a year paycheck from the Yanks.  They are so flush with cash they can be middle of the pack as far as management acumen is concerned and they'll still easily win 100 games and be right there for a World Series.  If you are a Blue Jay fan, how can you have any hope at all knowing the Yankees will be first place?  You are left with hoping Boston (who spends a lot, but only about 1/2 of what the Yanks do) stumbles and Tampa decides to tear apart their talented young team (they will).

Players like Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter I have no problem with.  They were brought up through the organization and when their contracts were up, the Yanks paid them accordingly.  Where things become unfair is when CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and AJ Burnett become free agents.  The Yanks overpay them to the point of stupidity so that no team will even come close to matching.  Sabathia, for instance, didn't want to play for New York when he was a free agent, but how do you turn down $25 million a year?  Especially, when nobody else was willing to go higher than about $15 million.  Burnett used a clause that allowed him to opt out of getting $12 million from the Blue Jays because the Yanks said they'd give him $17 million and also extend him multiple years.

In short, I'd like to see salary caps thrown out the window; and I would like to see it replaced with a free agent acquisition budget. 

If the Yankes want to give Derek Jeter $20 million a year to remain a Yank, fine.  When Teixeira's contract is up and the team wishes to give him another $25 million a year then I have no issue.  But, Carl Crawford?  Different story.  I'd like to see it be a bit more of a level playing field when he becomes a free agent.  Tampa Bay should have the advantage though and be able to sign him to whatever they want without it counting against a cap.  But, mark my words.  Crawford will be a Yankee come next April.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


The Saskatchewan Roughriders got off to a slow start, but poured it on in the second half to defeat the Hamilton Tiger Cats 37-24 on Saturday night, improving their record to 4-and-1.

Luca Congi kicked 7 field goals and Wes Cates scored two majors on very short runs from the one yard line.

The positives:

Darian Durant didn't get a passing touchdown, but I thought he played a very efficient game and it was his gutsy 11-yard rush early in the third quarter that maybe turned the game around.

Punter Eddie Johnson can really kick the ball. 

Wes Cates was outstanding.  He ran well and also made a few nice plays when deployed as a receiver.  The best catch of the night was an over-the-shoulder grab by Cates early in the game or maybe a diving grab by Andy Fantuz on the Hamilton 1-yard line.

The negatives:

I'd like to hear an explanation from whoever made the call to pass on 3rd and goal from the one yard line in the first half.  The back field was empty, so there was really no suspense for the Hamilton defense, unless a QB draw was going to be called.

Thumbs down to the classless fan who threw a water bottle on the field in the direction of Dave Stalla and Arland Bruce after Bruce scored his fourth quarter touchdown.  For a team that has the best fans in the world, why is it Rider fans seem to be the only ones that launch cans and bottles?  I am not sure we are such great fans after all.  Some are, but quite a few aren't.  Apparently, Calgary boosted security by 30-percent last week.  Why would they have to do that if Rider fans were such 'good' fans?