Congratulations Greg Marshall, now bring us the Grey Cup
Jonathan Hamelin, Matthew Blackwell, Rhiannon Ward, Autumn McDowell, Colin Buchinski
This week's roundtable
The University is Regina Rowing Team is looking for rowers. Have you or would you ever consider trying the sport?
Jonathan Hamelin: I actually tried kayaking, which is similar to rowing, when I was in British Columbia last summer. It was a lot of fun. While it was a bit tiring at first, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to get used to it. However, rowing is a tough sell in Regina where the weather is less than cooperative most of the time.
Matthew Blackwell: Oh god no. I have the utmost respect for rowers, but I have the upper body strength of an eight-year-old, so…
Rhiannon Ward: Rowing looks like the single most demanding sport. Just thinking about it makes me feel weak. I wouldn’t consider trying it, in other words, but I would consider watching it and swooning.
Autumn McDowell: Never. I am by no means a rower and I have absolutely no desire to try the sport. Let’s just say they won’t be seeing me at tryouts anytime soon.
Colin Buchinski: Never tried the sport and probably never will. I just can’t see myself out there.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders hired Greg Marshall as their new head coach last week, ending weeks of speculation. Was this the right call? Would you have hired someone else?
Hamelin: From all the reports I’ve read on Marshall, he is a nice guy. But don’t nice guys finish last? Ken Miller was a nice guy, and the Riders choked in two consecutive Grey Cups under his reign. The Riders may regret passing on the offensive-genius Scott Milanovich in favour of the players’ coach Marshall.
Blackwell: I think that Greg Marshall will do OK and bring some fire to the sidelines that we didn’t have with Ken Miller. That said, I think I was more in the Scott Milanovich camp, personally, if only because he seems like more of a cerebral presence.
Ward: Only time will tell if this was the correct call, but I’m going to be positive and say it absolutely was. If we hold onto our core players, Greg Marshall will have lots to work with and he should be able to put together a successful season. There’s also always the added incentive of hundreds of thousands of angry Rider fans to deal with should he underperform.
McDowell: No, I don’t think it was. Like I said last week, I think that Scott Milanovich would have been a better choice. I mean, we could have had a guy that coached Anthony Calvillo and has multiple Grey Cups under his belt. Instead we picked a guy with Hamilton and Winnipeg on his resume.
Buchinski: I’m not sure I can say whether it was the right call or not. However, I can say that Greg Marshall was not at the top of my list. I would have rather seen Chris Jones, Scott Milanovich, Dave Dickenson, or even Matt Dunigan take the reins.
Fans are certainly hoping that other Riders coaches, like offensive coordinator Doug Berry and special teams coordinator Jim Daley, will be fired. With Marshall now hired as the new head coach, what will the future hold for Berry and Daley?
Hamelin: Since the Riders didn’t promote internally and hired Marshall, I can only assume it means they’re cleaning house. They’d better. That means Berry, Daley and defensive coordinator Gary Etcheverry should go. Berry can be replaced with a young up-and-coming offensive coach and Richie Hall can take Etcheverry’s job. As for Daley, well, hell, you could give the job to almost anyone and it would be an upgrade.
Blackwell: I was OK with Berry’s offence, but there’s certainly better out there. Daley has to go, obviously, and if we could get Richie Hall to replace Etcheverry (seriously, our run defence was more porous than a thirteen-year-old’s face), that’d be swell as well.
Ward: It was an interesting season. We heard a lot of blame for losses and poor plays going directly to coaching staff rather than players. I happen to agree, and I hope that general manager Brendan Taman can build a better staff around Marshall. It’s important – these guys hold so much responsibility for the way the team plays.
McDowell: It’s hard to say. I wouldn’t be overly opposed to the firing of either of them, especially Jim Daley. Let’s face it, our special teams absolutely blew this year.
Buchinski: If Jim Daley is still coaching this football team in July, I’m giving up my season tickets. OK, maybe I won’t go that far, but he’s pretty bad. I shouldn't have to hold my breath every time the ball is kicked in the air. As for Berry, I seem to think he’ll return.
At the world junior hockey championship gold-medal game in Buffalo last weekend, Canada gave up a 3-0 lead to lose 5-3 to the Russians. Thoughts?
Hamelin: It is funny how Canadian fans went from a feeling of utter pride in their team, to an unfathomable loathing towards them after they choked. It was just a game. The Russians outworked Canada when it mattered. And no, Russia did not celebrate excessively. Any Canadian fan who thinks that needs to realize that our players would have done the same thing.
Blackwell: Pah… I just… gah… I don’t want to talk about it.
Ward: I was at the gym during the gold medal game, watching on the machines. The timing was just such that I saw the game up to 3-0 for Canada. I left the gym and carried on with my evening feeling pretty proud of my country. That made it particularly jarring and disappointing to later find out what happened in that bizarre third period.
McDowell: Heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking. They had it, it was in the bag and then they let it slip away. Choke artists is the only way to describe them. I love Team Canada probably more then the next person, but that was just brutal, and left me speechless.
Buchinski: We just saw sport in its purest form. I love the world junior tournament, because anything can happen on any given night. Over the years we’ve seen many classics. Personally, I was getting a little bored seeing Canada win every year. The other teams in this tournament are getting better and better every year. A great example is the Swiss team, who is capable of skating with any team in the tournament.
There have been some pretty big surprises in the opening round of the NFL playoffs. The Seahawks earned and upset over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints and the Jets topped Peyton Manning and the Colts. What stood out for you the most in the opening round of the playoffs?
Hamelin: I was surprised to learn that games were played on Saturday! I’m not an NFL fan – I much prefer CFL – so I don’t really make an effort to watch, even when it is the playoffs. However, I do know enough to realize how big an upset the Seattle-New Orleans game was. Wow!
Blackwell: The run by Marshawn Lynch is probably one of the best football plays of all time. The YouTube clip I found of it says “Marshawn Lynch goes into Beastmode.” I think that about sums it up.
Ward: OK, seriously, I was floored by the Saints-Seahawks game. People were calling it a bye for the Saints. And I hardly need to mention that run by Marshawn Lynch – incredible. The Seahawks are a team that I cheer for but in a sad, resigned-to-failure way, so it’s very fun to be a legitimately proud fan this week. With that and the Colts’ loss to the Jets, we have the beginnings of some very strange and exciting playoffs indeed.
McDowell: The Seahawks beating the Saints, definitely. Everyone was bashing the Seahawks because they made the playoffs despite of their atrocious record in the regular season. But they shut everyone up pretty fast with that victory. However, they will get crushed in the next round, let’s make that clear.
Buchinski: Michael Vick’s return to the playoffs was the big story for me. The fact that Vick basically came right out of prison into the NFL and within two years led his team to the playoffs, with the possibility of making some noise, is crazy. People love those down-and-out guys that just rise above themselves and return to greatness. It was truly an underdog story … no pun intended.