Time to join the Rough Riders

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

Goodbye and good riddance to the Ottawa Renegades. The CFL is better off without a team in the nation's capital.

Here's a news flash for all the people who so desperately want to revive the embarrassing Ottawa franchise next year -- it doesn't work. It hasn't worked for a long time.

The best owner in the world is not going to make Ottawa a football city, so why force the issue?

When the Renegades slipped into the abyss last weekend to join the Rough Riders in a far-too-shallow grave, the CFL got instantly better. Every team got upgraded through the dispersal draft and the level of play in 2006 promises to be the best of this millennium.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers found an instant fix to a perennial ratio problem by selecting two Canadian offensive linemen in the first round of the draft and every other team improved in similar fashion.

Two teams in the CFL are going to miss the playoffs, but given the talent on paper, you'd be awfully hard-pressed to say which two.

Shutting down the Ottawa franchise was like an extra strength Tylenol for the league's biggest headache.

A tiny spot of cancer has been cut out of an otherwise healthy league and now it's time to get on with life.

The Ottawa franchise has failed twice and no amount of resuscitation will transform it into a vibrant entity.

Let it rest in peace.

NHL RULES: There were people, particularly in places like Toronto and Detroit, who scoffed when scribes like yours truly suggested the NHL lockout was a good thing and that the game would be better because of it.

Few people can argue now that the NHL is once again a fine product. Rule changes have been a great success, the salary cap ensures teams can build for the future instead of trading away their marquee players, and a year away from the league has revitalized many of the top stars.

Also, because of the lockout, the rookie crop this season is unimaginably good and we are obviously seeing just the beginning of superstardom for guys like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Dion Phaneuf.

The playoff races have been scintillating -- especially if you are not a fan of the Maple Leafs and Canucks -- and the individual performances of guys like Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton and Teemu Selanne have been a joy to watch.

Thornton has as many assists (94) as 2003-04 scoring champion Martin St. Louis had points. In fact, Thornton has caught Jagr for the scoring lead and should he win, he'll be the first person to take the Art Ross Trophy after being traded in mid-season. He should be the first to win the Hart Trophy after getting traded in mid-season. Minus his terrible Olympics, Thornton has had one of the most memorable seasons since that Gretzky guy hung up the skates.

It has all combined to make it easy to be a fan again.

After years of holding our noses and watching crap hockey, we deserve this.

TO THE POINT: The popular line of thinking right now is the NHL should start awarding three points for an outright win, two for an overtime or shootout win and one for a overtime or shootout loss next season. Forget that. Why not just make it two points for a win and none for a loss? Old time hockey. Problem solved ... So, how's that Andy Murray firing working out for the L.A. Kings? Think they wish they had kept Murray and fired Sean Avery a while ago? ... Avery was such a problem this year, people in L.A. were comparing him to Terrell Owens, except without any talent ... You know Phil Mickelson has hit the big time as a golfer. Dude wins the Masters and he shows about as much emotion as I do when I successfully remove a beer cap ... The American feds are investigating Barry Bonds for perjury after his grand jury appearance in 2003. Not to worry though, we think Big-head Barry's in The Clear ... We've always known Darren McCarty was a tough guy, but now we know he's got something else in common with Mike Tyson -- money management skills.


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