OT loss should keep Stamps from falling asleep

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

Losing in Regina Friday could just be the best thing to happen to the Calgary Stampeders all season long.

Despite all the optimism and hype surrounding a Stamps team that is still the CFL's best, perhaps a reminder was needed that the road to the Grey Cup has to go through Gang Green.

Message heard -- loud and clear.

An eight-point lead in the West Division would have made it awfully hard for the Stamps to stay focused as they played out the string. However, the overtime loss re-emphasizes that unless the Stamps stay sharp right until the end, their four-point lead on the Saskatchewan Roughriders could quickly evaporate, as could their stranglehold on hosting the West final.

No matter how much momentum the Stamps build, it's evident their season will inevitably come down to a snowy Saskatchewan showdown Nov. 21.

And on that day, overconfidence will no longer be an issue.

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering how Reggie Bush hands back his Heisman Trophy for taking cash, yet O.J. Simpson keeps his despite taking lives.

AROUND THE HORN

Given all that Ilya Kovalchuk has cost the New Jersey Devils -- fines of US$3 million and two big draft picks, $100 million in salary, four players in trade and one or two to be shipped out to get the team back under the cap -- it is quite simply impossible for the guy who has won one playoff game to be worth it. Saddest part of all is the biggest cost could ultimately be Zach Parise, who is the heart and soul of the franchise. Lou Lamoriello and the Devils -- who used to be all about 'team' -- have jumped the shark with what could be the most crippling deal since Alexei Yashin's $87-million doozy ... Inez Sainz. There, I said it. Now we have an excuse to run her photo again ... Great piece by Global TV's Ryan Leslie on Stamps long-snapper Randy Chevrier, which featured the veteran hiking a ball from half-court into a basketball net on the very first try. Sadly, cameras weren't rolling, so he did it again after another handful of tries ... Edmonton Eskimos CEO Rick LeLacheur should be fired -- not for hiring GM Eric Tillman but for waiting so long to do it while the rest of the football world knew it was the obvious choice ... Friendly reminder for NFL poolies who missed the memo: Nobody cares about your fantasy team or your weekly picks, so stop talking about them ... Yes, that is indeed former Score reporter-turned-mom Deb Matejicka doing TV commercials for the Great Canadian Superstore.

PARTING GIFTS

Alex Kovalev said this week he wants to play until he's 50 -- ironic given 50 is the exact number of games he's actually given his all over the course of his uninspiring career ... This explanation from downgoesbrown.comon the difference between the NFL and the NHL: "NFL: A 'dime back' refers to a sixth defensive back who enters the game on likely passing downs. NHL: A 'dime back' refers to what you'd better be ready to give Patrick Kane once he's paid you for his cab ride." ... Admit it, the irony of someone named Woody Johnson calling to apologize for the New York Jets' sexual harassment of Ines Sainz is rich ... There's a better chance Charley Hoffman will get his hair cut than there is the U.S. can beat Europe at the Ryder Cup ... For what it's worth, The Hockey News is picking the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup this year, which can't be easy for Calgarians to hear ... Hard not to believe the Montreal Canadiens are set for the type of fall the Flames endured following their playoff run of 2004. Both unlikely runs were fuelled by all-world goaltending, triggering unrealistic expectations the following season ... As suggested here, Stamps legend Kelvin Anderson is coming back to Calgary next week to be honoured during halftime for a rushing record eclipsed by the equally classy Joffrey Reynolds. Nice reunion as Anderson hasn't been able to forgive the club for cutting him seven years back.

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca


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