Monday, January 26, 2015

Tyron Is "Brack" In Green

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today international safety Tyron Brackenridge has signed an extension to remain with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.   

Brackenridge (6’ – 190) will remain with the Green and White for his fifth CFL season after originally signing with the team as a free agent in October, 2011. He also re-signed with the Riders as a free agent in February, 2013. 

Last season, the California native collected 64 defensive tackles, ten special teams tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, three tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks and one blocked field goal in starting all 18 regular season games. He was named a West Division and CFL All-Star for the second time in his career and second consecutive season. 

For his career, the 30-year-old Brackenridge has recorded 196 defensive tackles, 16 special teams tackles, nine interceptions and two quarterback sacks in 59 career regular season games. He won his first Grey Cup in 2013 as a member of the Riders.   

Brackenridge was eligible to become a free agent on February 10th.

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson and Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 25.
Capping a weekend that celebrated the sport and the fans, Johansen was named the MVP – via Twitter vote – of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game. The 22-year-old Vancouver, B.C., native led Team Foligno (captained by Blue Jackets linemate Nick Foligno) with 2-2—4, including a pair of goals in the opening period, in a 17-12 loss to Team Toews Jan. 25. He also was the top pick in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings Jan. 23 and the winner of the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Jan. 24. The Blue Jackets’ leading scorer in 2014-15, Johansen was held without a point in each of team’s two outings earlier in the week – a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild Jan. 19 and a 4-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Jan. 21. That snapped his point streak at 13 games (8-8—16), a franchise record, career high and the longest in the NHL this season. Johansen paces the Blue Jackets (20-22-3, 43 points) with 26 assists and 43 points in 45 outings in 2014-15. He also is the only player in the NHL with two point streaks of at least 10 games this season (also Oct. 9-31: 5-8—13 in 10 GP).
            Karlsson tied for first among all players with three goals/points in two contests, helping the Senators (19-18-9, 47 points) pick up three out of a possible four standings points. He scored his ninth goal of the season in a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers Jan. 20. Karlsson then found the back of the net twice, including the game-winning tally, in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Jan. 21. It marked Karlsson’s seventh career multi-goal game and first since Nov. 5, 2013 (2-0—2 at CBJ). Since entering the NHL in 2009-10, only Shea Weber (9) and Mike Green (8) have more multi-goal performances among defensemen. A 24-year-old Landsbro, Sweden, native, Karlsson shares first on the Senators with 11-22—33 in 46 appearances this season. His 33 points also rank sixth among all defensemen in 2014-15.
            Parise also tied for first among all skaters with three goals/points in two outings for the Wild (20-20-6, 46 points). He notched his 17th goal of the season in a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Jan. 19. Parise then recorded two markers, helping the Wild rally from a three-goal, third-period deficit in an eventual 5-4 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 20. The 30-year-old Minneapolis, Minn., native has found the back of the net in four consecutive games (5-1—6), his longest scoring streak since Jan. 31 – Feb. 5, 2012 (5-1—6 in 4 GP). Parise leads the Wild with 19 goals in 39 contests this season and also ranks second on the club with 36 points despite missing seven games.

(NHL Media)

Something To "Mitch" About

So much for a quiet Saturday! One minute you are doing some stuff around the house and the next minute you are getting a tweet from someone asking what the hell are the Riders doing in trading Ricky Foley. Before much longer, I received the e-mail from Riders media guru Ryan Pollock saying Shea Emry was coming here for the popular defensive end.  It took me a couple of moments to properly comprehend that deal and make sure it was a one for one before going that's a good deal for the green and white albeit at a costly price. The reasons

1. The Riders needed a MLB last year and could not find one. They have now and a damn good one at that.
2. New D-C Greg Quick would have worked with Emry in Montreal when he was there. He knows what the guy brings to the table
3. A Canadian at MLB may mean the team doesn't have to start a Canadian at free safety which may bode well in the efforts to retain Tyron Brackenridge
4. Emry is 27 while Foley is 32

Losing a player of Foley's quality does hurt, but to get quality you have to give up quality and the fact Saskatchewan isn't even giving up a pick which I thought they might because of the age difference swings this ball into the Riders corner. I don't think the salaries would differ all that much but if Emry is making less than Foley, the money saved could be used to retain Brackenridge and Dressler.

UPDATE: Ricky Foley put up a thank you on his Twitter account late Sunday night. Ricky's Twitter address is @Foley4Real and it shows you how the business can suck and how much he loved playing for the Riders. It's not just words being written in this case. You can take this one to the bank as being genuine.

Its my understanding there are three teams besides the Riders who really, really, really want to have Weston Dressler playing for them. Sadly, I think the wishes of those teams(Ottawa, Winnipeg, BC) will be unfulfilled

Its also my understanding the Calgary Stampeders would love to get their hands on Rams WR Addison Richards and are trying to trade up to get him knowing he won't be there when it comes time for them pick at the end of the 1st round. With Marc Mueller and Brett Jones likely bending the ear of John Hufnagel, this doesn't surprise me one bit. I think Richards would be a great fit for the Riders. Do you? If not, what area of the ball are you looking at when it comes time to pick 6th in the 2015 draft.

Has the league given us a date for said draft? If not, why? Its OK CFL, you can tell us,

Could former Riders QB Marcus Crandell be the replacement for Bernie Schmidt as Rams O-C? I heard that over the weekend, but I don't know if I should buy into that one or not.

A weekend without football! Guess we all have to get used to the fact that after next week's Super Bowl that is it until CFL training camps begin and that is a long ways away my friends. By the way, don't say "Scruffy, you forgot about the Pro Bowl". I said football and not some glorified game that doesn't resemble the sport. The same goes with the NHL all-star game. I didn't watch a second of the festivities. I saw Ryan Johansen and Phil Kessel went 1-2 at the draft and immediately thought the Comedy Network must have been doing the draft.

How many years has Sidney Crosby skipped the all-star game? If the game's supposed biggest star doesn't want to play in it, why are we having it?

While Sidney Crosby didn't help his popularity any, Alex Ovechkin sure did. Check this story out if you haven't seen it already. Great move by Ovi and by HONDA as well.

Another World Cup of Hockey is coming. What intrigues me about this event is the under 23 team. Who will be on that team and how well will they perform? Will we as Canadians develop a hatred for the under 23's on the night we play them.

Another enjoyable weekend at the U of R watching the Cougar basketball teams do their thing. I don't know how Dave Taylor keeps doing it with a team that is one short and one player that doesn't see a lot of court time, but they keep getting victories against quality teams. The girls knocked off Alberta twice at the CKHS this weekend and while Saturday's game became a little closer than it should have been, they were by far and away the better team. The mens team lost both of their games to the Bears, but both were close contests before it Alberta's experience came through. Steve Burrows is molding a nice team and I think next year if he gets all his returnees back, they could be very formidable,

Regina--how did you like your new toy? It sounds like the unveiling of the scoreboard at the Brandt Centre and the reaction to it was all positive. Then again, after what we've had, anything above center ice would have been an improvement. The Pats have a while until their next home game and I know I won't be able to make that one. I don't think that clock is going anywhere. I'll see it at some point.

As predicted in "This and That", Roman Reigns wins the Royal Rumble. Those in Philly watching didn't like the fact Daniel Bryan did not win, but one has to think he will beat Seth Rollins for the title somewhere down the road. I'm saying right now Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania by beating Lesnar after he has beaten Reigns. We'll see. Rollins wins the move of the night category for his leap from the ring to the Spanish announce table where he decimated Lesnar begging the question. Why does the Mexican announce table always get squashed at PPVs?

Congrats to Stefanie Lawton and her rink for repeating as provincial curling champs. The Saskatoon foursome will be the home rink for the Scotties in Moose Jaw and its a nice field. Rachel Homan and Jennifer Jones should be the favourites going in, but Lawton and Alberta's Val Sweeting should be right there as well and you have to figure the Ontario rink will be strong as well. Its going to be a good week of curling in Moose Jaw.

Tell me I wasn't the only one who was shifting in the chair a little uncomfortably watching Tom Brady's press conference the other day where he kept talking about how he likes his balls and how he handles his balls. Thanks Tom! They should have brought Gisele in for that one,

Cubs royalty passed away on the weekend as Ernie Banks said goodbye to us at the age of 83. He is one of the best shortstops to ever play the game and his infectious smile and attitude will definitely be missed at Wrigley Field. He seemed to be a regular there. Major League Baseball should honor Banks by having an all-doubleheader day. That would be cool!

Finally, congrats to Mark McMorris. Regina's own (can we call him that or is he Milestone's) won a pair of gold medals at the Winter X Games. I truly don't know how that kid can do what he does. I'd be dead if I tried that now or back when I was his age.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Riders Acquire Shea Emry

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have acquired national middle linebacker Shea Emry from the Toronto Argonauts. In exchange, the Riders have sent national defensive end Ricky Foley to the Argonauts.

Emry (6’ – 228) is a seven year CFL veteran; originally selected by the Montreal Alouettes in the 1st round, seventh overall, of the 2008 Canadian Draft. The Richmond, BC native spent six seasons with the Als before signing with the Toronto Argonauts as a free agent in February, 2014.

In his only season with the Argonauts Emry led the team with 72 defensive tackles while also adding five tackles for loss, four pass knockdowns, one forced fumble and one quarterback sack in starting all 18 regular season games.

For his career, the 28-year-old Emry has recorded 333 defensive tackles, 43 special teams tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback sacks and four interceptions in 112 regular season games. In 2012 he was named a CFL All-Star while also being nominated as the East Divisions Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Outstanding Canadian.

He is a two-time Grey Cup champion having won with the Alouettes in 2009 and 2010.

World Cup Of Hockey Returning

The World Cup of Hockey is back on the international hockey calendar, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Saturday afternoon during a press conference at Nationwide Arena.

The next edition will take place in September 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, with more than 150 NHL players expected to take part.

The two-week tournament will feature eight teams comprised of the world's best hockey players competing in a best-on-best international hockey championship. The World Cup of Hockey is a joint effort of the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and the NHL, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

"We are thrilled to partner with the NHLPA in planning and producing what we expect will be the world's best international hockey tournament," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will highlight not only our global reach, but also the skill and passion of the world's best athletes. We would like to thank our international partners - the IIHF and their members - for their cooperation in helping to make this event a reality.

"We expect the 2016 World Cup of Hockey to be the most competitive tournament of its kind, with the world's top players and best athletes," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "We look forward to working with the NHL, and the IIHF and its Federations on this extraordinary event. We expect that this is the initial step in a series of events that will elevate our game over the next few years, including a World Cup in 2020."

The last World Cup of Hockey was played in 2004, with the final also in Toronto. Canada defeated Finland in the championship game. The only other World Cup of Hockey was in 1996. The United States upset Canada in a three-game final, winning the final two games in Montreal after dropping the opening game at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The 2016 tournament will feature national teams from six countries: Canada, the reigning Olympic champion, the United States, the Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden and Finland. The other two teams will be new to the competition: Team Europe and Team North American Youngstars.

Team Europe will feature players from across Europe outside of the four European national teams already in the tournament. Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany will likely provide the majority of the players on the roster, but others will likely come from countries with developing national team programs, but established NHL stars, like Slovenia (Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings) and Norway (Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers).

The players for Team North American Youngstars will be selected from a pool of the best young hockey players from Canada and the United States. Those players age 23 and under will be available for selection exclusively by Team North American Youngstars.

Each of the eight teams will feature 23 players, 20 skaters and three goalies. The teams will be split into two groups and play a round-robin competition before moving on to a one-game semifinal round. The final round will be a best-of-three format between the two semifinal winners. Each national association will select its own team and must announce at least 16 members of its roster, including at least two goalies, no later than March 1, 2016, with the balance of each team's roster to be announced no later than June 1, 2016.

The NHL and NHLPA will jointly name each of the management teams for Team Europe and Team North American Youngstars. Those management teams will select the rosters for those teams.

The tournament be played on NHL-sized rinks using NHL rules and officiated by NHL officials.

It is anticipated that the initial portion of training camp for each team participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will begin Sunday, September 4. The training camps will be conducted in the location of each team’s choosing, with each team being permitted to host at least one exhibition game at a site of its choice. During the final days of preparation leading up to the opening of the tournament, the teams will be brought together in a more central North American location for a final pre-tournament exhibition game.

Friday, January 23, 2015

This And That

--The usual assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain in no particular order

 --Kavis Reed is back in the CFL and as a special teams co-ordinator. I'm sorry, but the last department I would have Kavis Reed in control of is my special teams. 2009 still stings. Yeah, he fell on the sword, but did he have any other choice.

 --What do the Calgary Stampeders have in store for Drew Tate this year? There are openings for Tate in this league to be a starter and he chooses to remain the backup for Bo Levi Mitchell, Does that say something about his desire to play?

--John Hufnagel is the coach of the year in the CFL and that's no surprise considering his Stampeders won the Grey Cup, but they were favoured to do that at the start of the year, Did anyone have the Eskimos finishing 2nd in the West winning 12 games? I don't think many people did which is why my vote would have gone to Chris Jones.

--Those whining about NFL overtime in the wake of Sunday's Seattle win over Green Bay make me sick. The onus is on a defence to stop the other team from getting a touchdown on the first drive. Most times these days that means 80 yards because of touchbacks. Make the defence make a play to get the ball back where their team can score just a field goal and not a TD to win. I have no problem with the CFL or NCAA style of overtime, I just wish teams would start the ball at midfield so they have to at least work for their field goal by getting a first down or two.

--Are the Leafs trying to make a late run at Connor McDavid?

--I found out this week I will be bringing you the Sportscage from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw at the fabulous Mosaic Place from Feb 16-20. (GULP!!)  I have no idea if the usual assortment of co-hosts will be tagging along or not. I may have to put a call into Don Duguid. Who's kidding who, I'll have a plan up my sleeve.

--Masterchef Canada has a kids program. I had to ask if Fergie Olver would make a cameo since his "Just Like Mom" show was basically like Masterchef Canada Junior. Do you remember that show with Fergie and his wife? If that show came on today, he would come off as the creepiest individual on TV today----creepier than Darrell Romuld!!!  (Shot fired Patriots fan). Then again, Ferg was creepy then too.

--This winter or lack of it has been fabulous after what we've endured the past few. I still think we've got a few more days of arctic-like conditions in front of us, but its just about the end of January and we've gotten through it with flying colours.

--The New England Patriots or "Deflatriots" as one person said they should call them on Twitter are in trouble over deflating footballs for the AFC Championship game. There is talk about what type of punishment the Patriots will get for this after getting slapped for "Spygate". If the league suspended New Orleans coach Sean Payton a year for Bountygate, I would think an 8-10 game suspension and the loss of a draft pick or two would suffice here. Talk of suspending Belichick for the Super Bowl is absurd. Was it just me though or did Belichick throw his star quarterback under the bus on Thursday morning as he spoke about the situation. Was it also just me or was Belichick more believable than Tom Brady?

--I don't mean to rub the salt in the wounds of Green Bay Packers fans, but how the hell did your team lose that game Sunday? Watching it again, the Packers didn't play very well either, but they should have won the football game and would have were it not for several dumb decisions from Mike McCarthy. What the hell was he thinkin? In watching the game again, Seattle's defence played awfully well and had to to give Russell Wilson a sniff at the end.

--The Brandt Centre and the Regina Pats unveil their new scoreclock tonight. Its also a special night because after a long time away from the broadcast booth. Rod Pedersen and Al Dumba team up tonight to do another game. RP won't admit it. but he has had a twinkle in his eye as he gets set to do play by play this weekend with Phil Andrews away on family business. Nothing against Phil. but RP is one of the best behind the mic when it comes to hockey. I will be at the U of R doing the Cougar basketball games, but I may have to turn my CKRM app on at half time and in between games to hear how it sounds. By the way, I'm looking forward to seeing some great basketball at the University this weekend as the University of Alberta comes in. Dave Taylor will have his girls ready and Steve Burrows' improving mens team will give the Bears a good fight too. If you're going to the Pats game to see the clock on Friday, come to the CKHS Saturday night.

--Tweet of the week comes from the soon to be Mrs. Jon Ryan---comedian Sarah Colonna. Sarah sent this tweet to Mrs. Tom Brady---model Gisele Bundschen.

Speaking of Jon, its been an absolute pleasure to catch up with his brother Steve and his mom Barb this week. If you do not know this family, you are missing out on something because like Jon, they are  stellar, first class individuals. They are some of the best people I know and I'm sure it must be a little tough for them to get dragged into Jon's fame at this time of year as was the case last, but they are always ready to pick up a phone and have a conversation.  Steve was mistaken for Jon in the Seahawks dressing room after the win in the NFC Championship. He politely informed reporters he wasn't who they thought he was. but those reporters still asked him some questions and he ended up being the subject of a USA Today story. LOVE IT!

--I've got Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble. John Cena will beat Brock Lesnar in the main event but Lesnar will snap on Cena when its over and that will allow Seth Rollins to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase setting up Rollins-Reigns at WrestleMania.
--Falling oil prices are great for the wallet when filling up, but not so great when the dollar falls to 80 cents American and you were planning to make a trek to Wrigley Field this year. How much longer can one wait?

--Those getting antsy about the fact we are inching closer to free agency and there hasn't been word on Tyron Brackenridge or Weston Dressler resigning in green. I am going to quote Aaron Rodgers for you.......R-E-L-A-X!

--That's all I got. Its going to be a great weekend so enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cougar Athletics This Weekend

Home Events
Women's Basketball – vs. Alberta, Friday (6:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Hockey – vs. UBC, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Men's Basketball – vs. Alberta, Friday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Basketball – vs. Alberta, Saturday (6:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Hockey – vs. UBC, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Men's Basketball – vs. Alberta, Saturday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS

Away Events
Men's Wrestling – at Minot State, Thursday (7:00 p.m.) in Minot, N.D.
Men's Volleyball – at Alberta, Friday (6:00 p.m. MST) in Edmonton, Alta.
Men's Wrestling – at Dickinson State, Friday (7:00 p.m. MST) in Dickinson, N.D.
Women's Volleyball – at Alberta, Friday (7:30 p.m. MST) in Edmonton, Alta.
Men's Hockey – at UBC, Friday (7:00 p.m. PST) in Vancouver, B.C.
Track & Field – at Golden Bear Open , Friday to Saturday in Edmonton, Alta.
Women's Volleyball – at Alberta, Saturday (5:00 p.m. MST) in Edmonton, Alta.
Men's Volleyball – at Alberta, Saturday (6:30 p.m. MST) in Edmonton, Alta.
Men's Hockey – at UBC, Saturday (7:00 p.m. PST) in Vancouver, B.C.
Women's Basketball – The Cougars (10-4) saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end last weekend, as they suffered 73-56 and 63-40 road losses to No. 5-ranked Saskatchewan to fall into fourth place in the Pioneer Division. And with first through fourth place separated by just 1½ games, it'll be a pivotal series this weekend with division-leading Alberta (11-2) in town to face the Cougars. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
Men's Basketball – The Cougars (7-7) saw their Canada West record fall to .500 for the season with close 72-68 and 88-80 road losses to No. 9 Saskatchewan. They're now tied with Winnipeg for the seventh and final Pioneer Division postseason berth, though the Wesmen have two games in hand on the U of R. The Cougars host sixth-place Alberta (7-6) this Friday and Saturday in a huge weekend series as both teams battle for playoff position. Both games tip off at 8 p.m. at the CKHS.
Women's Hockey – The Cougars (4-6-8-2) got a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to Manitoba last Friday, but were beaten 6-1 by the second-place Bisons on Saturday. The U of R is still in possession of the sixth and final Canada West postseason spot, six points back of fifth-place Saskatchewan but 12 points up on seventh-place Mount Royal. The Cougars host UBC this Friday and Saturday at The Co-operators Centre with 7 p.m. scheduled start times on both nights.
Men's Hockey – After a home split with Manitoba last weekend that saw the Cougars (7-15-2) win 5-3 on Friday before losing by the same score on Saturday, it's off to the West Coast for the U of R this weekend. The Cougars are five points out of the final Canada West postseason spot with just four games to go, so they'll not only have to take care of business against a solid fourth-place UBC team, but will also be hoping for Manitoba victories over Saskatchewan this weekend in Winnipeg. The Cougars and UBC play at 7 p.m. (PST) on both Friday and Saturday in Vancouver.
Women's Volleyball – Chelsea Ziolkowski was named the Canada West Third Star of the Week on Tuesday after powering the Cougars (6-12) to two home wins over Saskatchewan last weekend at the CKHS. The Cougars needed all five sets in Friday's win, but swept the Huskies 25-18, 25-18, 25-18 on Saturday for their sixth conference victory of the season. Ziolkowski finished with 31 kills and 23 digs for the Cougars, who are on the road this weekend for two matches at No. 2 Alberta.
Men's Volleyball – The Cougars (1-17) were defeated twice at home by Saskatchewan last weekend. Andre Borgeaud had another ace on Saturday, and now needs just three more to surpass former Cougar setters Ryan DeCosse and Caleb Eschbach as the school's all-time leader in the category. He'll get a chance to do that this weekend as the Cougars travel to Edmonton for a pair of matches against the No. 2-ranked Alberta Golden Bears.
Wrestling (Women's CIS Ranking: No. 7 / Men's CIS Ranking: No. 9) – Kayla Brodner led the U of R's women's wrestling team with a third-place finish at 69 kg on Saturday at the Guelph Open hosted by the University of Guelph. The men's team is back in action this weekend with a pair of duals against NAIA opposition. The Cougars will face Minot State on Thursday night before squaring off with Dickinson State on Friday.