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Eight touches? Seven carries?

That's all the Hamilton Tiger-Cats asked of DeAndra' Cobb in a playoff game on a dry surface? "You just go to the line and go with what the coaches call," said Cobb, the Tiger-Cats running back who had 267 yards rushing in two previous games against the B.C. Lions and 102 yards receiving and finished with 34 yards yesterday. "I didn't think [the Lions]took me out of the game. Not physically, they didn't. It is what it is." Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said after the overtime loss that B.C. "did a good job of putting extra people in the box and forcing us to the ends." Except the Lions said they didn't do anything different, and Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn said "I don't know if they shut down our run ... I don't know if we had a lot of run opportunities." Glenn tried to back-peddle in order to make it clear he wasn't criticizing the play-calling, saying he'd need to see the videotape of the game. When he does, he'll see Cobb is right: It is what it is, and it wasn't good enough.

All the signs point to

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the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds doing some pro-active payroll pruning, and if the Reds are serious about trading Brandon Phillips as has been speculated, the Toronto Blue Jays will be all over him. Blue Jays scouts think he has the arm to play third base - Phillips won a Gold Glove at second in 2008, but Aaron Hill's not likely to be moved - and Phillips is well-known to both general manager Alex Anthopoulos and adviser Tony LaCava. LaCava was with the Montreal Expos in 1999 when Phillips was chosen second overall, and as an adviser with the Cleveland Indians, he pushed for him to be included in the Bartolo Colon deal. Phillips has two years and $19-million (U.S.) left on his contract.

The NBA has properly

given short shrift to LeBron James's notion that the No.23 should be retired in honour of Michael Jordan. Jordan was the greatest player in the game and opened up new vistas of marketing, but he was not Jackie Robinson. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did at least as much as Jordan to re-establish the NBA, and Bird's sensitivity and appreciation of his black teammates and opponents makes him a seminal figure in the growth of basketball as a multiethnic sport. James might want to think about picking another uniform number than six, too. Not only was it worn by Dr. J, it was worn by the Boston Celtics' Bill Russell, who by playing for the greatest franchise in the league in a city troubled by race issues, had a career that ran much truer to Robinson's. The bottom line? Honouring players is a matter best left to the individual player or team. Just as baseball, which can't adequately explain why Roberto Clemente's career is less important than Robinson's and why the No.42 is retired but 21 isn't.

Are the Bills too low?

Could Toronto sports fans be experiencing an outbreak of common sense? The fact they aren't scooping up tickets for next month's NFL non-event between the Toronto Argonauts of The South and the New York Jets suggests so. Blue Jays season ticket holders who placed their deposit and scheduled payments by Nov. 27, 2009, will receive two complimentary tickets to the Dec. 10 meeting between Our Buffalo Bills and the Jets.

Garbage Time

The World Cup bobsleigh and skeleton circuit moves to Lake Placid, N.Y., this week but Germany's Andre Lange, who won double gold in the two- and four-man event in 2006, will return home to have a groin injury re-examined. Lange aggravated the injury in the two-man race at Park City, Utah, on Friday and was so sore that for Saturday's four-man race he started in the sled instead of pushing. "My leg is not ready," Lange said. "The plans, the whole thing is struggling. We'll talk about it and try to find a new way to come back and come back strong," ... scuttlebutt in Chicago is the Blackhawks will sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to contract extensions before the end of the month ... the New Jersey Devils can tie the NHL record for consecutive road wins from the start of the season tonight when they go for their 10th in Philadelphia. The 2006 Buffalo Sabres also won their first 10 road games. Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau called the Devils "the best team in the league," on Saturday ... let's see how much damage the Toronto Raptors big men can do against the Denver Nuggets when they meet Tuesday. In Friday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 7-footer Andrew Bynum scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but the Nuggets drove the ball at him and doubled him with Kenyon Martin, and after an eight-point, six-round first quarter took the measure of him. The Nuggest gave up 23 points and 12 rebounds to the Milwaukee Bucks Andrew Bogut on Wednesday .. weird occurrence at Ivor Wynne Stadium yesterday: the first measurement of the game didn't come until 3:05 remaining in regulation time.

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