Bridge the next big hope for a great Cana­dian QB ... Duch­ene look­ing like a lost tal­ent ... Ja­panese phe­nom Otani a fas­ci­nat­ing prospect ... Eight­i­eth birth­day party for Ge­orge Chu­valo brings out some stars

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS -

Russ Jack­son. I grew up on He was a re­gal fig­ure in the Cana­dian Foot­ball League, revered by so many. He was the Cana­dian who could do what no other could mas­ter. And we still talk about him to­day in glow­ing terms be­cause of the way he played quar­ter­back and car­ried him­self. And be­cause no one else has done any­thing like him ever since. Jack­son’s last game was in 1969 — al­most half a cen­tury ago — and all this time we’ve been wait­ing for an­other Cana­dian quar­ter­back who could make a dif­fer­ence, who could grab our hearts. We have watched and

Greg Vavra hoped for and Gerry Dat­tilio Luc

and Tousig­nant Jesse

and Palmer Tommy

and Deni­son Dan Fer­a­day

and Gi­ulio Car­a­vatta and and Larry Jus­da­nis Bill

and Robin­son Jamie Bone

and Kyle Quin­lan Justin and and Dunk

and many oth­ers and then watched each of them dis­ap­pear, one by one. And now, hope again,

Bran­don Bridge with in Saskatchewan, throw­ing for three touch­down passes against Hamil­ton on Fri­day night, the first Cana­dian to throw that many since Vavra did it for the Stam­ped­ers in 1984.

Bridge is an ath­letic kid from Mis­sis­sauga via Al­corn State, South Alabama and the Mon­treal Alou­ettes. He’s only 24. This is re­ally just the be­gin­ning for him.

Does he have a chance to be the next Jack­son? Does any­one, re­ally?

But does he have a chance to play long-term in the CFL? That’s pos­si­ble. And for Cana­dian quar­ter­backs post-Jack­son, that may be as good as it gets.

THIS AND THAT

Two things to know about Mike Bab­cock,

if you didn’t know this al­ready. 1) He’s in­cred­i­bly loyal; 2) He’s in­cred­i­bly stub­born. So all those al­ready scream­ing

Zach Hy­man about play­ing

Aus­ton Matthews, along­side my best ad­vice: Save your voice and your venom ... Call me sus­pi­cious, but be­fore

Jof­frey Lupul I be­lieve flunked his med­i­cal be­fore Leafs camp, I’d like to speak to Lupul, who is nowhere to be found ... By my count, the Leafs have 16 NHL-cal­i­bre for­wards in train­ing camp — and that’s with­out in­clud­ing

Fred­erik the in­jured Gau­thier and in­trigu­ing

Jeremy prospects such as Bracco Miro Aal­to­nen.

and Coaches love this be­cause it makes for great com­pe­ti­tion. What it can also make for, though, is grip­ing about op­por­tu­ni­ties. That’s the fine line for Leaf man­age­ment. Keep­ing this many play­ers and keep­ing them happy is a chal­lenge ... First time I saw Matt Duch­ene

play, skat­ing for the Bramp­ton Bat­tal­ion, I was mes­mer­ized by his game and the joy he played with. You couldn’t take your eyes off him. All th­ese years later, I won­der where that player and that joy went. Who is Matt Duch­ene, want­ing out from Colorado Avalanche, any­more? Hon­est, I wish I knew who he is and what he is ... I think I went to high school with a girl named Calle Rosen

... This isn’t a sec­ond guess, it’s a first guess. If the Leafs were go­ing to spend $6 mil­lion a year on a vet­eran player, I would rather spent the money

An­drei Markov on rather

Pa­trick Mar­leau. than I’d

Mor­gan much rather see Rielly

play­ing be­side 38-year-old Markov, a first line de­fence­man his en­tire

Ron Hain­sey ca­reer, than ... There were no 50-goal scor­ers in the NHL last sea­son. I’m bet­ting there

POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers quar­ter­back Bran­don Bridge threw three TD passes on Fri­day against Hamil­ton.

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