Combine proposals

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Could the two stadium proposals currently before the Winnipeg Blue Bombers be more diametrically opposed?

One calls for a dome, one an open-air facility.

One's in the east part of town, the other west of the Red River.

And one calls for the team to remain community-owned, the other to go private.

Any chance we could combine the two and take, say, David Asper's open-air design at the current site, but keep the team community-owned?

Come to think of it, how about getting Asper and Leo Ledohowski together on this?

Imagine the mega-project they could build using their combined visions, not to mention chequebooks?

Give 'em both a permanent seat on the Bomber board, if they want.

How do you think football fans in this town, not to mention the corporate community, would respond to that kind of team effort?

This club could become a model franchise, as wealthy and successful as the community-owned Edmonton Eskimos.

SMELLS LIKE PAYBACK: Halfway through last season, the guy looked like the CFL's defensive player of the year.

Yesterday, he was traded for a Canadian defensive back who's played all of one game.

So how did ex-Blue Bomber defensive lineman Ron Warner's stock fall so fast?

Look no further than his little foray into the Arena League, and the surrounding dispute over his contract with the Bombers.

Going into the final year of his CFL deal, Warner joined the San Jose SaberCats when he and the Bombers couldn't come to terms on a contract extension.

Bomber brass was miffed because Warner was still under contract.

The two sides insisted all was smoothed over last February, but yesterday's deal says otherwise.

I'm not sure the Bombers received enough in return for the big guy, either.

Warner was a force the first half of last season, but his play tailed off, along with that of the whole defence, in the second half.

The Bombers' signing of ex-Saskatchewan free agent Nate Davis and Eric Wilson's move back to defence certainly made Warner expendable.

Regret deal

But defensive back Jason Nugent played just one game in Edmonton last year.

If Nugent doesn't stick around longer than the last Rutgers University product Taman traded for (Wes Lysack), and if Warner regains his form, the CFL's busiest trader will soon regret this deal.

SCARY FUTURE: I know it was 5-1 in the gold-medal final, but if I'm Team Canada brass I'm looking at the U.S. women's hockey team with a touch of trepidation.

For a team stacked with kids, relatively speaking, the Americans gave the Canadians all they could handle at the world championship.

Take away Canada's disputed second goal, and the final could easily have swung the other way.

Heck, if 23-year-old Natalie Darwitz's shot had been on the other side of the goal post in the first period, we might have been singing a tune other than O Canada after the final buzzer.

Darwitz, tiny Erika Lawler and Gigi Marvin, both 20, head up an awfully talented group of emerging U.S. players that could be a force, come the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

The average age of the American team here was 23, compared to 27 for Canada.

The Canucks have injected some youth into the lineup since the '05 worlds, people like Meghan Agosta, Tessa Bonhomme and Katie Weatherston. And the sheer depth of the Canadian talent field is still this country's strong suit.

But no matter how good the cards in your hand, it can't hurt to have an ace in the hole.

The U.S. may have more than one.

AND THE WINNER IS: Nobody asked me, but I'm picking Anaheim and Buffalo to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

After that, you're on your own.


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