A Chris-mas gift

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

For a short time this winter, Chris Cuthbert lived through something nobody in the television industry would enjoy.

Terminated from the CBC in February, the football and hockey voice was on the broadcasting unemployment line with his 50th birthday not too far in the future.

That is not a good spot for almost anyone in the cut-throat, youth-dominated broadcasting profession. But seven months later, life couldn't be any better for Cuthbert.

Now the main play-by-play football announcer for TSN, Cuthbert is the undisputed voice of the CFL, while the CBC has been stuck in a miserable and nasty labour dispute.

"I don't mean to be too glib about it, but it has worked out incredibly well," said Cuthbert, who would have just finished his seventh week of silence if he had stayed with CBC.

But Cuthbert has sincere empathy for his former football-broadcasting colleagues, who had been on the picket line while CBC managers aired silent games on Saturday nights.

"I know how passionate they are about doing football ... and how torn apart they are by (the lockout)," explained Cuthbert, 48, while in the spacious open-air TV broadcasting booth at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

However, late last night, a memorandum agreement was reached between the CBC and more than 5,000 locked-out employees

Canadian Media Guild spokeswoman Karen Wirsig says some details between the two sides still have to be worked out. She says the back-to-work protocol hasn't been negotiated.

Discussions between CBC officials and its employees' union were under way in Ottawa under the supervision of federal mediators.

SHORT YARDAGE ...

With Kenton Keith and Corey Holmes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders could become the first team to have two 1,000-yard running backs in a season since 1974 ... After enduring a rocky 2004 campaign, when he made just 59% of his field goals, Hamilton sophomore Jamie Boreham has the top field-goal percentage in the league this season. The non-import Manitoba alumnus has missed just three of 20 attempts ... Word out of Calgary suggests Henry Burris will likely return to the starting quarterback duties on Oct. 14 against Hamilton. More importantly for Rider fans in Regina, it means Burris will likely be behind centre - and under siege from Taylor Field faithful - when the Stamps make their only regular-season visit to Regina on Oct. 23. After Burris spurned Rider Nation for Cowtown in the off-season, Rider fans have been waiting all year for a chance to put down the not-so-welcome mat in Regina.

LATE HITS ...

Ottawa head coach Joe Paopao is regarded as a great individual off the field who is dealing with questionable ownership. But the bottom line is results - and Paopao's record in Ottawa is 21-47. The team has lost six straight and 22 of its last 29 regular-season games

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HITS & MISSES

HIT

Arland Bruce III had two touchdown receptions and a completed pass. Not bad for one night's work against Ottawa.

MISS

Mike Clemons, while using his cell phone to be interviewed on an Ottawa radio station last week, was stopped by police for driving without his seatbelt on. Oops.

HIT

Kahlil Hill, with good speed and good mitts, had a punt-return TD and caught another for a TD against the Esks.

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NUMBERS GAME

260 - The number of yards Ottawa's Kerry Joseph needs to reach Tracy Ham's single-season QB rushing record set in Edmonton in 1990.

0 - The number of wins at Rogers Centre/SkyDome in the Ottawa Renegades existence.

7 - The number of NFL teams Kahlil Hill spent time with over three years before signing in Hamilton last month.

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK

" And I'm not sure when we instituted instant replay in this league."

- Greg Marshall, Ottawa's defensive co-ordinator, upset at a call aired on the scoreboard and overturned

" I thought he was tossing a hand grenade."

- Toronto GM Adam Rita on a pass thrown by receiver Arland Bruce III

"He's a cute little guy. I hope I can ruffle his feathers a bit."

- Hamilton's defensive tackle Adriano Belli on Ricky Ray

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GAME OF THE WEEK

EDMONTON AT TORONTO, OCT. 10, 11 A.M. CBC, CHED

Will Edmonton rebound after a brutal performance in Hamilton? The Argos smacked the Eskimos 39-14 last year when they met in the centre of the universe. It's shaping up to be a wild finish in the Wild West this year.


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