Items that may grow up to be columns, Vol. XVII, Chapter 13:
WHERE NICE TEAMS FINISH: All right, firing a coach and still expecting compensation for him when he signs somewhere else is a little over the top. So the Vancouver Canucks getting a second-round pick from Columbus for John Tortorella is a loophole that needed closing.
But what of the head coach who just signed a contract extension six months ago and is now purloined, a week after winning the Grey Cup, by another team … in the same division, yet?
Professional courtesy, career advancement, yadda, yadda — understood — but it’s daylight madness for the Edmonton Eskimos to be morally bound to let Chris Jones out of the final year of his contract to go to Saskatchewan for zero return, just because the Roughriders are adding the GM title to his portfolio and throwing a ton of money at him.
CODE, SCHMODE: If that escape clause is part of the unwritten CFL code, it’s about as smart as the lopsided arrangement the league has with the NFL, wherein Canada is a not-very-productive (and non-funded) farm operation, taking only those players the NFL didn’t want in the first place and turning the best of them back to the American league as soon as they’ve sufficiently polished their skills up here. With no quid pro quo.
Chris Jones was as valuable a piece of the Eskimos’ franchise, if not more so, than QB Ricky Ray was when then-GM Eric Tillman traded him to Toronto so that the Argos could win the 100th Grey Cup. That, too, was a ruinous deal for Edmonton.
PAID POLITICAL ANNOUNCEMENT: It’s roll-your-eyes time when the NFL broadcast team uses the minutes after some poor receiver gets beheaded by a helmet-to-helmet hit to talk over an on-screen graphic outlining the league’s strict concussion protocol.
Then the meat wagon comes on and hauls the victim off, and nothing changes. The helmet is still the weapon of choice, and the giver and the taker of the next hit, and all the ones after that, accept the consequences until they end up dazed and confused at age 55.
Oh, and by the way: the NFL is also super serious about telling us how much it values its female fans and kids (hint, hint: don’t close down that pipeline, mom.)
TO THE BACK BURNER: The NHL board of governors is in no hurry to get the ball rolling any faster toward expansion, probably because it still wants a couple of hungry cities panting after existing teams that may need relocating.
The NHL’s reluctance to give up on markets that prove, year after year, to be financial sinkholes leaves the expansion suitors looking like patsies in the league’s never-ending quest to inflate franchise values … artificially, where necessary.
BETTER OFF PRICELESS: So now we know what a 30-year-old who’s been in six post-seasons with three different teams and has zero wins and a 5.37 earned-run average as a starting playoff pitcher is worth: $217 million over seven years. Enjoy David Price, Boston. He seems like a real nice fellow, but saying he’d have stayed with the Blue Jays if they’d offered him the moon isn’t exactly a compliment to their intelligence.
TURFED AGAIN: The World Cup-champion U.S. women’s soccer team abruptly cancelled a Victory Tour match against Trinidad and Tobago because the artificial turf in Oahu’s Aloha Stadium was too dangerous.
It seems like a repeat of the power play the team tried, unsuccessfully, prior to the Women’s World Cup in Canada earlier this year — but with the added clout now of being reigning world champs. The other difference is that the playing surface at the stadium near Pearl Harbor actually looks scary, unlike the new turf the women played on in Canada.
Strangely, U.S. Soccer had reportedly looked at the Hawaiian field in advance and declared it satisfactory, which means the women are not fighting FIFA this time, but their own soccer federation. Given what they’ve done for the sport in their country, they’ve never been in a stronger position to demand the same treatment the men’s national team gets.
TIGER SAYS UNCLE: Heartwarming on one level, sad on another, Tiger Woods’s confession to Time magazine that he is now a dad first, golfer second and besties with his ex-wife Elin is the next thing to a declaration that his days as a major championship contender are over.
He sounds like a man whose fires have gone out, and who’s looking for a soft place to land, somewhere unconditional and forgiving and low-stress.
That leaves Jack Nicklaus’s place in history, as the greatest of all time, undisturbed. Which, all things considered, is a better result for golf.
Source: nationalpost golf news