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THE MOJ: Canucks and Lions overcome adversity to bank wins

Plus, an NFL coach needs to learn the axiom of ‘only losers point fingers’
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Edmonton’s Connor McDavid battles with Vancouver’s Filip Hronek during Saturday’s game in Edmonton. The Canucks would win 4-3 despite being outshot 40-16. Photo courtesy Edmonton Oilers

NOT SO FAST

Admit it. When Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers scored 42 seconds into Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, you were tempted to get on the computer, log onto your betting site and take the Oilers and the over.

After all, the Oilers were embarrassed 8-1 in the season opener for both teams at Rogers Arena last Wednesday and Connor McDavid and company promised a different result come the rematch at Rogers Place.

Despite Draisaitl’s early marker, the Oilers never romped to that expected win. Instead, the Canucks responded to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play and would never trail the entire night en route to a 4-3 win. It wasn’t pretty and being outshot 40-16 probably isn’t one of the ‘staples’ that Canuck head coach Rick Tocchet likes to refer to when it comes to his team’s success but the Canucks got the job done.

The bottom line is that the hockey club found a way to overcome adversity and beat a fired-up Edmonton team. It’s early but it’s a good sign.

LESSON LEARNED

Speaking of overcoming adversity, the B.C. Lions had their own challenges in knocking off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-30 Friday night at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton.

The Lions overcame some horrible officiating and losing their starting quarterback in Vernon Adams Jr. late in the game due to injury but came away with a victory nonetheless. Dane Evans went 4-for-4 for 42 yards off the bench on the final drive of the game that culminated in a 48-yard Sean Whyte field goal to win it.

Ironically enough, the Lions were faced with the same scenario from the week before against Winnipeg in needing a completion to get into field goal range with little time left on the clock. Evans hit receiver Keon Hatcher, who immediately went down after a 10-yard catch leaving one second on the clock for Whyte to do his thing.

Of course, the previous week Dominique Rhymes tried to find the end zone instead of going down but was tackled, nullifying an opportunity for a game winning field goal and forcing the game into overtime, which Winnipeg eventually won.

Considering what had happened the week before, it was a much-needed win.

As for Adams Jr. (knee), he should be good to go Friday against the Calgary Stampeders at BC Place but safety Adrian Greene (knee) will be out of the lineup.

ONLY LOSERS POINT FINGERS

If you’ve ever watched the Netflix series “Last Chance U” you might remember Buddy Stephens, the head coach of the East Mississippi Community College football team.

There’s a memorable scene in an episode in season two in which Stephens is tearing into one of his players and tells him that ‘only losers point fingers.’ Ironically enough during his tirade, Stephens is continually pointing his finger at the player he is berating.

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll kind of reminds me of Stephens. During Sunday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills, the Giants completely mismanaged a goal line situation at the end of the half and came away with nothing to show for it. As the half ended, Daboll yelled at an assistant coach and then scalded quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

The fact of the matter is that as a leader you accept all responsibility. If you need to ‘refresh’ someone on their responsibilities, you do it in a private manner not in full view of a national television audience.

Daboll’s sideline antics remind of then-Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens 2019 season in Cleveland. I predicted then that Kitchens would be looking for work at the end of the season and he was let go after a 6-10 campaign. I’m getting the same vibe with Daboll. The lack of composure and poise eventually filters down to your players.

FUN FACTIODS

Talk about a fall from grace, Kitchens is now the Tight Ends Coach at North Carolina. Stephens coached Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly during the 2014 season at EMCC. Former Lion defensive lineman Tim Bonner also played at EMMU and was featured prominently in the first season of the series as well.

DOING DOUBLE DUTY

In the words of David Pratt, there has to be some ‘connective tissue’ between the CFL Command Centre and stewards at Hastings Racecourse.

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Dana Todd to the two stakes races honoring her dad - the late Glen Todd – on Saturday at Hastings. I had known ‘GT’ since the early 90’s and felt honored to be invited to the festivities.

Upon arriving at Hastings, I met Darryl Jones. Yes, that Darryl Jones – best known for his TV commercials as the President of Save On Foods. Darryl had bought a share of a horse that Glen had owned named Addendum, who was in the seventh and final race of the day. Going off at 5-1 and with Darryl speaking confidently about the horse, I decided to spend $30 across the board.

The race went off but with one small hitch. Addendum came out of the gate sideways with jockey Kerron Khelawan almost falling off the horse in the process. Jones, Todd and everyone else in our group saw the same thing on the TV replay after the race, which was that the horse had been held back coming out of the gate. So when the enquiry sign came on, we felt confident that we’d get a refund on all of our tickets.

That didn’t happen as the stewards ruled that the horse’s issues were of its own ‘volition’ with the race results standing as is. Between the CFL Command Centre and the stewards at Hastings, it was a frustrating weekend.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.

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