Watching and waiting

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

Watching the events unfold in Ottawa yesterday got me laughing, and thinking about football.

Laughing because of the line delivered by Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe.

Asked a few hypothetical questions about whether he could see himself supporting Prime Minister Stephen Harper if Harper tabled some real economic solutions, Duceppe finally delivered this gem: "If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor."

I stopped rolling on the floor long enough to wonder what all this political upheaval means to David Asper's efforts to pull home a deal for a new stadium.

BIGGER FISH TO FRY

Asper has been back-and-forth with the feds for a while, now, but they've currently got much bigger fish to fry, and will have until well into the New Year.

Heck, Stephen Harper's Conservatives may well get fried, leaving Asper holding the ball, surrounded by new teammates who might want to change the rules of the game -- or not play at all.

"We've spent a lot of time with the current government and it would be very helpful to be able to conclude the arrangements with them," Asper said yesterday. "It's a lot easier than starting up with someone new."

Asper has a meeting set up in Ottawa during this historic parliamentary timeout, during which he hopes to score some serious points.

"It was a bit difficult to pin anything specific down," Asper said. "But I expect I will be meeting with the federal government sometime in the next couple of weeks. The Conservatives remain the government of Canada, and the business goes on."

From everything we hear -- including comments yesterday by Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and senior cabinet minister Vic Toews, who's quarterbacked this thing for the feds -- the sides are close to a deal.

Ottawa sounds prepared to chip in $15 million, the province $25 million, Asper the rest (some $100 million).

But with a government that could easily be sacked in early '09, forcing another election, the clock is ticking.

"As I recall, members of the New Democrats and Liberals were supportive as well," Asper pointed out. "And that's because what is now on the table is a proper infrastructure kind of project."

Perhaps.

But I'll bet Asper, the football fan, has as much interest in this political game as any he's watched on the field for a long, long time.

KELLY A BUST AT VALDOSTA: So, if you're like me you've been wondering how new Blue Bomber coach Mike Kelly did in his only other head coaching stint, at Valdosta State University.

Kelly was at the Division II school from 1997-99, a period that's not exactly remembered fondly by Blazers fans.

His teams went 6-5, 5-6 and 4-5 before Kelly was fired with two games left in '99. And this was with a pretty good defence, led by co-ordinator Mark Nelson, who could well end up as the defensive co-ordinator here.

The year before Kelly got there, they were 10-3. The year after, 10-2.

The most startling aspect of Kelly's reign at Valdosta was how bad his offence was.

In '96, the team scored more than 38 points per game. During Kelly's three seasons, it averaged 21.4.

After he was fired, the team's scoring average shot back up to nearly 43 points.

Valdosta's passing numbers were horrid in this period, hovering around 2,000 yards per season -- compared to more than 4,000 in the years that bookended his stay, '96 and 2000.

Sure, that was a long time ago.

But if we're going to reference the gaudy statistics Kelly's offence put up here from 1992-96, when he was Winnipeg's OC, I thought it only fair we look at his only head coaching experience, too.

Simply put, for an offensive specialist, it was a disaster.


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