Als showed why they're winners

JOHN SHORT

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

It can't be a surprise that the Eskimos lost yesterday.

Bouncing back after two dismal seasons, they were beaten by a Montreal Alouettes team that overcame early setbacks and proved itself perfectly qualified to win the Grey Cup on Sunday.

When former Edmonton Huskies junior star Justin Cooper blocked a punt and recovered for the opening touchdown, it seemed likely the geographically-challenged "East final" would be a battle of special teams.

If not for the early penalty that nullified a long Tristan Jackson return and prompted Edmonton to concede a safety, the Eskimos might have kept their momentum and won the game.

But, the scoreboard does not lie.

Let the criticism of Danny Maciocia begin again, as it certainly will.

For me, there was much truth in a televised pre-game comment that the Argos, the Tiger-Cats and the Blue Bombers got what they deserved for dismissing their coaches the way a lot of people change socks.

Every year, they wind up in the outhouse, where disorganized teams are sure to arrive sooner or later.

BURKE'S LAW

It's likely to be a lot of fun when (not if) Brian Burke takes over as chief cook and bottlewasher of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Not that you can ever expect the Leafs to win again, but having Burke on this side of the border, where his inflammatory comments will receive far more notice than they did in Southern California, can only help to keep the NHL fires blazing.

Hockey talk rules for 12 months a year in this country -- everybody knows that -- but Burke's colourful approach has been missed ever since he left Vancouver. He doesn't expect everyone to agree with him, and really couldn't care less, but he has a talent for saying things in a bright and shiny manner.

He's a good hockey man, one of the best. Also, he's a love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy, in common with many outspoken individuals.

Personally, I like him a lot -- which is not the issue.

The point is that Leaf-lovers, conditioned almost entirely because of a Saturday hockey epidemic, will continue to stay attached, thanks to Burke.

Those who recognize the organization's ongoing failings will find new cause to celebrate when they fall on their faces.

DAZZLIN' DALE-MARIE

For a few weeks last season, Dale-Marie Cumberbatch received high-level media attention for her scoring exploits in women's college basketball scoring exploits. It happened again last week.

A record is a record, and Cumberbatch keeps setting new ones.

On Friday, the likeable young woman showed mental toughness to match her shooting ability.

All through the game, she struggled to run. She would have been entitled to sit out. Sore backs can cause serious discomfort.

But she played almost the full game and collected 23 points, tops for both her NAIT Ooks and the victorious MacEwan Griffins, who win with team basketball more than individual brilliance.

Griffins coach Jim Lazaruk wouldn't have it any other way.


Videos

Photos