Notebook – August 21, 2006

Many tidbits to cover in today’s notebook. Our CFL news covers firings, stadiums, potential owners and a scoring drought. We also throw a baseball and hockey story in there.

Roughriders Fire GM Shivers

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they had fired GM Roy Shivers after this week’s victory left the team at 4-5 at the half-way point of the season. The relationship between Shivers and the ‘Rider board has become increasingly acrimonious the last two seasons so it is no surprise that Shivers was fired. What is surprising is that only Shivers was fired. It was largely believed that a purge would involve coach Danny Barrett would take the fall first before Shivers contract would not be renewed in the off-season or they would be terminated together.

The firing of Shivers is actually the least disruptive to the club. Coach Barrett can continue to try to salvage the rest of the season with the current personnel. With the statement that a replacement GM will be announced later this week, the new GM can familiarize himself with the ‘Rider talent level and salary structure and prepare to scout for next season.

The Board announcing Shiver’s successor later this week leads to speculation about the possible candidates. Since it must be someone available currently, that narrows the choices. The obvious choice is Eric Tillman, currently CBC and Sportsnet CFL analyst. In fact, I cannot see a better candidate. Anyone else would be existing (assistant GM Danny Barrett), a relic (Al Ford) or completely unknown. I eagerly await the announcement for this person will be the sculptor of the football team the next few years. If it is not Eric Tillman, then the successor will have to have some excellent credentials.

Certainly, Shivers did a good job bringing better talent to Saskatchewan than his predecessor, but his stock fell as results failed to materialize in his six and a half seasons. His unrelenting loyalty to players and coaches, ignoring of off-field player problems and personality conflicts with the board when football management was questioned made the end of his tenure inevitable, as it was certainly a long shot his contract would have been renewed nor would Danny Barrett be his successor, even with a most outstanding season. The ‘Riders now are able to give a new GM a three month head start that will help them next year.

Notes

Alouette Stadium Plans On Hold

The Montreal Alouettes had their plans to expand Percival Molson Stadium put on hold by the public review board after concerns were raised in public consultations. The Alouettes plan to comment on the report this week but it is expected they will have to address the concerns raised by the local groups before the City of Montreal, McGill University and the Alouettes can proceed with the expansion, which was slated to begin this November.

Flamboyant Owner

Potential Ottawa CFL franchise owner Frank D’Angelo seems to be too much like other flamboyant characters that the CFL has had as owners the last two decades. That may be not the best for the CFL, even if he has the cash and a hands off approach. The Ottawa situation may not be suited for an owner who is the center of attention.

CFL Scoring Down

To actually see how much CFL scoring is down is surprising. Scoring has been down from its highs a decade and a half ago, but this year seems like an anomaly. I expect the second half of the season to increase the scoring averages some, but they will not likely bounce back to previous year’s levels. It is hard to pinpoint reasons for the decline, but lots of player movement, injuries on offence and coaching strategies all have a hand in it. What is of more concern is the lack of young quarterbacking talent that has any effectiveness. As older QB‘s retire (Damon Allen, Anthony Cavillo) or suffer career-ending injuries (one more concussion for Dave Dickenson) there does not seem to be the talent available to step in. This may be because American colleges do not groom QB‘s that are as comfortable with the CFL style of game anymore.

Back to the Red Sox-Yankee Network

Is anyone getting sick of the Red Sox-Yankee coverage? Would baseball not be better if these powerhouses did not challenge every year for playoff positions, eating up all the national broadcasts and media coverage? If any league is a model for how disparity will hurt interest outside of the league’s market cities, Major League Baseball is it.

Robitaille’s Jersey Retired

When I heard that Luc Robitaille’s number 20 jersey will be retired by the Los Angeles Kings next season I was surprised at first. Looking at his numbers, it seems fitting, he certainly helped me in a number of hockey drafts, but still odd as well. Maybe it is because it is so soon after his playing career or because this is a player whose career I remember from start to finish and is a reminder of my age. Either way, his jersey will be retired along side Marcel Dionne and Wayne Gretzky for eternity.

One Response to “Notebook – August 21, 2006”

  1. Bill Says:

    bye shivers – hello tillman!

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