In front of a chilly, bi-partisan audience, the Saskatchewan Roughriders punched their ticket to a rematch with the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup, though it was almost not to be. Another critical special teams disaster was nearly in the cards for a second straight year at McMahon when Ryan Grice-Mullen muffed a punt late in the game, but Wes Lysack failed to fall on the ball for Calgary. The Riders hung on for a pretty exciting, albeit low-scoring, 20-16 win.
In the other semi-final, Jim Barker wanted to prove that his team could again win with Cleo Lemon at quarterback (11/21, 169 yards, 2 INT). Montreal scored early and often and registered 17 points before Toronto moved the ball for a single first down. Avon Cobourne is very much in form, running for 163 yards, coming off a post-season performance last year as the Grey Cup MVP.
Pat Burns died on Friday, meaning his eventual Hockey Hall of Fame induction will be post-humous. I never cheered for a team that employed Pat Burns as coach and I'm too young to remember the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens of the 1990s in any sufficient detail, but the Canadiens tribute to Burns before the Saturday night game probably nailed it:
A wee bit of houscleaning, here. You may notice that the bi-weekly Monday Morning Statgeek is not present right about now. This is for a number of reasons, one of them being that I've spent a lot of time digging into reaction to the now week-old Tyler Dellow story. Bill Daly, who convinced me last week of the overwhelming media and hockey insider support for Colin Campbell proves that nobody thinks that there's a conflict of interest.
Then, on a cold Saturday night when many people across the country were snowed in, the grand-daddy of hockey debate in Canada, Ron MacLean, sided with Mike Milbury against Eric Francis in a funny suit to state the obvious claim: no matter whether or not Colin Campbell is one of the "good guys", there is no way that Campbell can act impartially with his e-mails out in the forefront.
Colie discussed the story with James Duthie who seemed to be the first personality to really try to grill Campbell. Other than all of the stupid things he said, there was also some fact checking that needed to be done:
"I suspended a player for 10 games - Ruslan Salei - six, seven, eight years ago and he was Gregory's teammate in Florida."Salei was never suspended when he was Gregory's teammate, so the example is a pretty wild one.
I sent an e-mail to my two favourite NHL executives to find out what point Campbell was trying to make:
"I don't know what point he was trying to make"Colin Campbell:
"Who is this guy Bill? Seems like HE is on a witch hunt. Man...won't this go away?"