Baby steps for Stamps

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

There is some good to take from the Stampeders' season-opening loss to the Toronto Argonauts. Expectations of the team -- especially quarterback Henry Burris -- will be more reasonable from this point onward.

Not to say bank on Smilin' Hank tossing a pair of picks and surrendering two fumbles every game but the fact is he's still going to be prone to mistakes.

Remember, Burris is really only in his second season as a team's undisputed starter -- the other being 2000 in his first stint with the Saskatchewan Roughriders -- and only his third year where he'll take the bulk of the reps.

All those who figured he'd hit the McMahon Stadium turf with a flowing red cape can now step back and take things more realistically.

Better short-term results would have come with Khari Jones but going through a few more growing pains with the gunslinger from Oklahoma will pay huge dividends down the road.

With another week or two -- thank those schedule makers who have the Stamps next playing Winnipeg and Ottawa -- Calgary's offence may come as advertised.

The running game will be there courtesy of Joffrey Reynolds, as proven on Canada Day, and it's a matter of time before Burris really starts to click with Jeremaine Copeland, Ken-Yon Rambo and Nik Lewis.

Baby steps, folks.

RINK RAP: Brace yourself for the complaints from NHL players when a new collective bargaining agreement is settled between the NHLPA's executive committee and Gary Bettman. For those stuck in the past who compare what they get now to the deal they had for a decade, it's going to feel like they've capitulated on everything. However, two reminders: 1) A better deal, with linkage and a hard cap at the same numbers, would have come two years ago if the players would have believed the owners were serious, and 2) It'll still be better for the bulk of them than they'll find anywhere else, especially the real world ... Congrats to Flames defenceman Andrew Ference. He and wife Krista are busy but still celebrating the birth of their first child, daughter Ava Tye, who arrived two weeks ago today. Proud papa reports, "She already has me wrapped around her little finger."

SQUEEZE PLAYS: Giving Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers a 20-game suspension for his attack on two cameramen is an absolute joke. At worst, that's five starts, hardly much of a punishment for such disgraceful actions. I'm not a fan of lawsuits but I hope the cameraman who was sent to hospital gets enough from Rogers to retire ... Don't you wish you had Washington closer Chad Cordero in your fantasy pool? For 29 saves already, the Nationals are paying Cordero an annual salary of $346,500. New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has a $10.5 million price tag, and has 18 saves.

GLOBE TROTTING: Last weekend, women's golf had twice the entertainment value as the men. This past weekend, women's tennis absolutely blew away the men at Wimbledon. Not sure what to make of this, just thought it was worth pointing out ... So Jacques Villeneuve calls an eighth-place finish "not bad." Man, it must be nice to mail it in and still collect millions and millions of dollars from you employer.

LAST RITES: One question to NHL players who are now quickly pointing out the obvious by saying a better deal could have been gained in February -- why didn't you say as much back then? It's easy to say it now but there were plenty of people, including some within the union, trying to get that point across to plenty of doubters.


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