Multiple matters in the world of sports confuse and surprise yours truly every day, opening up a variety of questions that only occasionally are resolved. Today would be no exception, and here are three queries begging for answers. Feel free to help.
1. Are the Tiger-Cats preparing to trade Jesse Lumsden?
A year ago, two months ago, this would have been unthinkable, as the young Canadian back was at the centre of everything the rebuilding Tabbies were trying to do. Sadly, he just can't stay healthy, and for a team in desperate need of reliable assets, that's a tough thing to carry on the roster.
Signing Kenton Keith doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a team that was already leading the CFL in rushing unless there's another shoe to drop. This is a team that didn't need another running back. It needed offensive line help, and assistance at every position on defence, particulary experienced assistance.
After missing completely on Jason Maas and being frustrated with the play of Casey Printers, the Cats don't exactly have a great record at bringing in high-priced talent, and one does wonder where the CFL's salary cap goes at times like this.
But after trading star linebacker Zeke Moreno to Winnipeg last week for a first round pick in next year's Canadian college draft and the rights to non-import defensive lineman Corey Mace, currently on Buffalo's practice roster, it's clear Hamilton GM Bob O'Billovich views no Ticat as untouchable and wants to add depth to his roster.
Lumsden, as a Canadian back, could bring a solid price in return, particularly from a team who sees opportunity in being able to tweak its lineup by using a homebrew in the backfield.
When this kid plays, he's terrific. Sadly, he just hasn't been able to play enough to help the sad-sack operation in Steeltown.
2. Will the Argos turn back to Kerry Joseph against Calgary this weekend?
After being pummelled for a third consecutive week, the Argos took the day off yesterday. Today around noon, head coach Don Matthews will deliver his latest thoughts, including whether Joseph, the reigning league MVP, will sit again this week in favour of backup Cody Pickett. Pickett was ineffective in the one-sided loss to the Stampeders last weekend, and Matthews painted him as the "victim" of teammates errors in the same way he said Joseph was victimized by teammates' mistakes when he sent him to the bench.
The guess here? The Argos know they'll have to turn back to Joseph soon, but Matthews might start Pickett again this week in case there's any lingering doubt as to who is in charge of this football team now. Either way, Matthews will soon have little choice to start examining the work of his good pal, offensive co-ordinator Steve Burrato, if the Argo offence continues to go nowhere.
3. Would the Leafs ever seriously consider keeping Luke Schenn in the NHL this fall?
The answer should be no, a thousand times no, and certainly both GM Cliff Fletcher and coach Ron Wilson have been upfront with their sentiments that Schenn would have to play out of his mind to stick with the big club this season.
But then, we've heard that before. The Leafs, historically, have not been very good at either identifying young defencemen through the draft or carefully sculpting those that they do take into quality NHL players. The best two defence draftees in Leaf history were probably Ian Turnbull and Tomas Kaberle (Borje Salming was never drafted). Turnbull came to the NHL after four full seasons in junior hockey, while Kaberle arrived at the age of 20 after playing two full seasons with Kladno in the Czech elite league.
To maximize Schenn's chances of being full value for being drafted fifth overall, he needs to go back to junior for a fourth and final year and play on the national junior team, then needs two full seasons in the AHL. That would have him ready for full-time NHL work for the 2011-12 season. He would still only be 21.
If he dazzles before then, you could get him to the NHL for the 2010-11 season. But no matter how good he looks this fall or next fall, putting him in the NHL before 2010 at the earliest will be rushing him. It's been proven time and time again.
The biggest challenge for Leaf management is to set a course and stick with it, and ignore the inevitable suggestions that if Schenn isn't in the NHL soon, he's a bust. They're already saying that about 22-year-old Justin Pogge, who still has a chance but needs more grooming and more patience.
So the answer is no, there's no chance the Leafs will keep Schenn this fall. But the pressure on this franchise to prove it has a future by getting kids to the bigs fast is unrelenting, and has only rarely been resisted for very long.