One for the road
■ A caller to CJME’s “Green Zone” on Monday opined that tailback Kory Sheets deserved most of the credit for the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 2013 championship season. The blood pressure instantly soared. Although Sheets was incontestably a key player during a storybook season, it is overly simplistic to refer to him as the reason why Saskatchewan captured the fourth Grey Cup title in franchise history.
■ Consider the 2013 West Division semifinal, in which the Roughriders outlasted the visiting B.C. Lions, 2925. Sheets wasn’t even the Roughriders’ leading rusher in that game. That distinction was held by quarterback Darian Durant, who gained 97 yards on six carries en route to helping Saskatchewan erase a 25-16 deficit. Durant also completed 19 of 23 passes for 270 yards, including two touchdown tosses to Weston Dressler, in that game. Sheets’s stats were atypically modest — 17 carries for 68 yards.
■ Don’t get me wrong. The Roughriders could use the 2013 version of Sheets in 2015. But if Sheets does return to the CFL following a stint with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, how likely is it that he can regain top form after suffering a torn Achilles tendon for the second time in his career? Given the circumstances, it does not seem that the Roughriders’ football-operations staff is salivating at the notion of Sheets resurfacing in Saskatchewan.
■ Even without Sheets, and with a revolving door at tailback, the 2014 Roughriders were among the CFL’s better teams along the ground. The critical issue on offence is the resuscitation of the passing game.
■ The Regina Pats have announced that their pricing structure for home games will be overhauled, effective with the 2015-16 WHL season. On the surface, the restructuring makes sense, and is perhaps overdue. As per the current pricing format, which allows for discounted senior and youth rates, the highest revenue isn’t always derived from the prime seats. But here is a cautionary note: Leading up to the 1985-86 season, the Regina Exhibition Association imposed a $1 parking fee. It was a nominal cost, but customers nonetheless balked and sub-2,000 crowds quickly became the norm. The owner, Saskatoon-based Herb Pinder Jr., quickly became fed up and sold the team — which was perilously close to moving to Swift Current. And it was all over a dollar.
■ This is not to suggest that the Pats are in any danger of facing instability.
An Anthony Marquart-led ownership group is committed to the franchise, and the city of Regina, for the long haul. But it has been demonstrated, albeit nearly 30 years ago, that Regina hockey fans can be resistant to a fundamental change in the cost of attending a game. The customers will ultimately decide whether the division of the Brandt Centre into “gold” and “silver” sections is a sound idea or a reason to spend more time watching hockey on television.
■ Let the record show that Saskatchewanians have made two of the greatest pressure shots in Canadian curling history — courtesy of Pat Simmons (2015 Brier) and Sandra Schmirler (1997 Olympic curling trials).
■ Any curlers who complain about having to participate in a bronze-medal match at the Brier or the Scotties Tournament of Hearts need to reassess why they participate in the roaring game. Presumably, curlers get involved in the sport because they find it enjoyable. If so, what is wrong with playing for a bronze medal — with money as an inducement — and contributing to the exposure of the sport?
■ Movies that are worse than Unfinished Business: (1) The Love Guru; (2) Land Of The Lost. End of list.
■ The Montreal Alouettes now have 25 players under contract who will be 30 or older by the time the 2015 regular season concludes. And all this time, I thought that “Old Montreal” was strictly a reference to a neighbourhood in one of the world’s great cities.
■ Nice people who deserve a plug: Pat Simmons, Cyndi Cherney, Tyris Nikbakht, Doug Schneider, Suzanne Schneider, Zoe Sargent, Barry Ault, Lance Ford, Hunter Litke, Wanda Harron, Barbara Woolsey and Kelly Marce.
■ Time for a vacation. The readers deserve a break. Aloha!