Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Views from the West

How 'bout those Mike Kelly led Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

First he blows up a team to start the season, then he complains he doesn't have the horses to run an offence. No one will disagree the Bombers need significant help, especially at quarterback, but who brought these guys to town in the first place?

Based on fan reactions, the flat out strange method of calling plays in from the sidelines and the fact the Bombers can't gain yards unless they run the ball — generally a bad sign in a quarterback's league full of pass-happy offences — Kelly will be lucky to start the 2010 season with the club. He hasn't earned any confidence he's been given.

• Speaking of Gong Show reruns, it's interesting to note how the NHL may prefer to expand — yes expand — to Winnipeg rather than to allow for a relocation. There would be more money involved for existing owners doing it that way. Is it also possible the NHL decided to get into the game of purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes from Jerry Moyes to eventually move them back to Winnipeg? If so, they would be moving into the 18th-busiest indoor stadium in the world according to Billboard's 2008 rankings. And for those naysayers, Winnipeg's arena ranks eighth overall when compared to the other 30 NHL venues and third amongst all Canadian teams, trailing only Toronto's ACC and Montreal's Bell Centre.

That's factor can't be dismissed. The reason the Edmonton Oilers now want to build their own downtown arena is so they control the revenues for concerts and other events. The last time Winnipeg had an NHL team, the Jets had no control over those revenues, as that cash went to an Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation, a group initially set up by the City of Winnipeg to run the Winnipeg Arena, so it's understandable why the OIlers would want that cash for themselves to compete with Calgary, whose financial picture is rosier because the Flames control the Saddledome.

Another factor to note? Copps Coliseum ranked 60th overall on the same list, with less than half of Winnipeg's numbers, and sit just behind Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.

• Any talk of NHL expansion has to be met with hearty laughter when several other teams, while not quite as bad off as Phoenix, nevertheless are in bad enough financial shape to consider finding greener pastures. THAT is where Hamilton should focus its efforts, given they will need to work something out with the Maple Leafs somehow. The NHL could also consider contraction to solve those money woes, as Major League Baseball did, though the MLB's plan to contract the Minnesota Twins now seems rather silly given the shiny new ball park set to open next year.

• Could the Saskatchewan Roughriders have gotten a better game on Sunday had they played the University of Saskatchewan Huskies?

• Why was Serena Williams surprised to hear umpires and line judges don't respond well to threats of forcibly placing tennis balls into their esophagus? Would she appreciate alleged death threats thrown her way? If she winds up getting suspended for future Grand Slams, she'd deserve every second of that penalty.

• Has anyone heard news about a new football stadium in Winnipeg? (Insert sound effect of one single cricket)

• The Canadian Hockey League announced on Sunday that the Memorial Cup host Brandon Wheat Kings secured a larger allotment of tournament tickets for their home fans based on one simple fact. They can sell them basically tomorrow.
The increase of 350 ticket packages means up to 3,652 Brandon Wheat Kings season ticket holders will get a chance to buy Memorial Cup packages in the arena that has a capacity of 5,102.

• The new jerseys Canadian Hockey League players will wear this season, using the same technology as the NHL ones introduced a year or so ago have more often than not made a good jersey worse. The Brandon Wheat Kings, with a distinctive wheat sheaf stripe down the arms and bottom of the jersey, now have a plain look that doesn't do anyone justice. A few teams got it right by maintaining the club's tradition, be it the barber poles used in the jerseys of the Ottawa 67's and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, the old-school look of the Oshawa Generals, Edmonton Oil Kings, Red Deer Rebels, Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks. Brandon tried to stay close to what they had with the road whites and failed. Most look like failed copies of NHL jerseys, including the several versions of the Washington Capitals uniform in all three of the CHL's leagues. There's room to modernize, but no one liked the white skates of the California Golden Seals and the Cooperall craze that was the 1980s. This was not Reebok's finest hour. But there was one big change of note in the WHL logo department. The Prince George Cougars took a big step forward when they redesigned their primary graphic image.


Cory Schneider Fan said...

Chipman if raking it in with MTS Centre. The arena is a ridiculous revenue generator and would be when the NHL returns as well.

The main two factors that lead to the Jets leaving were the arena and a low Canadian dollar. Those two have been corrected.

Keith Borkowsky said...

It's not all about the arena though. There has to be solid corporate support as well and that will ultimately be where Winnipeg's NHL hopes live or die.

Dennis Prouse said...

One factor protecting Mike Kelly is the fact that he has a three year contract, and CFL teams are generally reluctant to pay guys not to coach. If he goes, I am betting Lyle Bauer goes with him, and the Bombers start their football operations from scratch.

Keith Borkowsky said...

Also can't discount the fact Doug Berry also got a buyout, which I'm sure didn't come cheap.

Trust me when I say this: It's hard for any BC fan to admit Lyle Bauer has done a pretty good job with the Bombers club when:

a) they never have to buy a bag of peanuts when they go to a game, as the entire section will share their bag one nut at a time, usually aiming for the head;

b) even friends dump full bottles of water on them during games for cheering for the Lions;

c) as a 15-year-old fan just trying to leave a stadium after a BC overtime win in Winnipeg gets challenged to a fight by a drunken 30 something fan suffering from fits of rage;

d) same 15-year-old fan nearly has BC hat stolen from his head by a fan unknown to them just for sitting in the east side stands;

e) a BC fan has not one, but two whole sections of fans chanting: "BC SUCKS" as I climb the stairs to go to the concessions to buy their own peanuts so I have something to snack on.

You see, I've hated the Blue Bombers since 1983. I am still pissed about the pick that cost BC the 1988 Grey Cup, and take it out on television sets (verbally, as I want to see the game) every time BC plays Winnipeg.

But for the most part, he has. Dave Ritchie wasn't the most friendly sort all the time, but he was a winner. Doug Berry was brought in to win. So was Mike Kelly. They were brought in because based on their presentations, they were the best candidate the Bombers could get. Kelly was a good offensive co-ordinator, but somewhere, he forgot his humility. So the football gods have given him the 2009 season to rediscover it.