Willes' Musings: Leos’ win at Calgary showed us something, P.K. gets paid and more
We’re now in the dog days of summer and, speaking of dogs, here are the musings and meditations on the world of sports.
— True, the CFL doesn’t really begin until Labour Day, but the B.C. Lions’ win in Calgary over the weekend was still a game-changer for the locals.
A defeat in Calgary would have left the Leos 2-4 with no real hope of catching the Stamps or the other frontrunners in the West.
Making the playoffs, in fact, would have started to become an issue and that would have brought a host of unwanted questions, most to do with head coach Mike Benevides and Khari Jones and Mark Washington, his two rookie co-ordinators
Now, they’re not only 3-3, but they’ve revealed something about themselves over the first six weeks of their schedule.
They came back on the road against the CFL’s best team while overcoming a brutal holding call that negated a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Their defence, running game and special teams are all good enough to win a championship. They just need consistency and efficiency from the quarterback position, and Travis Lulay is poised to reclaim the starter’s role.
Add it all up and that might have been the most significant win of Benevides’ short tenure here. The full measure of its importance won’t be known for another couple of months but, right here, right now, it feels like the start of something for the Lions.
THE HARRIS REPORT
— After six games, Andrew Harris leads the CFL in rushing and is second in receiving yards.
Think about that for a minute, because there are times you have to remind yourself about the extraordinary nature of Harris’s story. This is a graduate of Canadian junior football. He isn’t particularly big or particularly fast but he’s the most versatile back in the league and, this year, he’s in the conversation for the league’s best player.
This, in short, is a Hall of Famer in the making. You just want him to stay healthy this season to see what kind of numbers he can put up.
— Moving on, you can debate P.K. Subban’s new deal with the Canadiens and the way the two sides went about it. But the Habs had no choice but to man up and sign Subban, because there just aren’t that many 25-year-old, minute-eating, point-producing defencemen who’ve already won a Norris.
As of this writing, the only defenceman more valuable than Subban is Drew Doughty. Duncan Keith and Shea Weber are 31 and 29, respectively. Victor Hedman and Alex Pietrangelo are close, but they don’t have Subban’s resumé. Erik Karlsson fits in there somewhere, but he’s a different breed.
In the end, eight years and $72 million isn’t exactly a bargain, but you can’t put a price on the qualities Subban and his ilk represent. Just ask all those teams who don’t have a true No. 1 on their blueline.
A FUNNY MOVIE
— Take this to the bank. The funniest movie of the year is Alan Partridge, and second place isn’t particularly close.
RED SOX HAD TO DO IT
— Only the Red Sox could dismantle their team less than a year after winning a World Series, but if RS Nation were honest with themselves they understand this had to be done. The 2012 Sox will always have a place in the hearts and minds of Sox fans and last year’s Series will forever be remembered as David Ortiz’s defining moment. But the plain fact is that team caught the wave of a perfect storm and really wasn’t that good. Hanging on to that nucleus would have been a huge mistake.
JAYS: MANY MAYBES
— As for the Blue Jays, maybe Marcus Stroman is the arm they need to make the playoffs, maybe they were right to stay out of the big deals at the trade deadline, and maybe their lineup will be good enough when Edwin Encarncion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie all return.
It just never seems to work out that way for the Jays.
— What Rory McIlroy has done between winning the British Open and the Bridgestone has separated him from the rest of the golf world, but save a thought for poor Sergio Garcia. Dude had his brains beaten in by Tiger Woods for a decade before Woods fell apart. Now McIlroy looks like Tiger II, The Sequel.
ONE TO FILE
— One more on McIlroy. A year and a half ago, Greg Norman said the Northern Irishman had a better chance of catching Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors than Woods. At the time Woods had 14 majors and McIlroy had two. File that one away.
THE LINDEN WAY
— Finally, had a lengthy sit down with Trevor Linden last week and the takeaway here is the quality of the individual the Canucks have hired to lead them.
There will be challenges along the way, starting this season, when it will be a minor miracle if the Orcans make the playoffs in a stacked conference. But the big-picture issues — the organization’s values, the way it will conduct itself, what the Canucks will represent — will no longer be a concern. Maybe that over-romanticizes what Linden, Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins bring to the table, and you wonder if everything will be as warm and fuzzy if the Canucks are in 11th place in February.
But I’ve known Linden since he was 14. I know this is a guy you’d bet on.
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