Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Regina Red Sox 2014 Sked

See ya at the ballpark!

05/30/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/01/14 2:05 PM Swift Current Indians
06/02/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
06/03/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
06/04/14 7:00 PM Moose Jaw Miller Express
06/06/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
06/07/14 7:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
06/08/14 2:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/10/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
06/12/14 7:00 PM Lethbridge Bulls
06/13/14 7:00 PM Lethbridge Bulls
06/14/14 7:00 PM @ Medicine Hat Mavericks
06/15/14 2:00 PM @ Medicine Hat Mavericks
06/16/14 7:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
06/17/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/18/14 7:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
06/19/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
06/20/14 7:00 PM @ Saskatoon YellowJackets
06/21/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
06/22/14 2:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
06/24/14 7:00 PM @ Swift Current Indians
06/25/14 7:00 PM Moose Jaw Miller Express
06/26/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/28/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
06/30/14 7:00 PM @ Edmonton Prospects
07/01/14 7:00 PM @ Edmonton Prospects
07/03/14 7:00 PM Swift Current Indians
07/04/14 7:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
07/05/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
07/06/14 2:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
07/07/14 7:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
07/08/14 7:00 PM Saskatoon YellowJackets
07/09/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
07/10/14 7:00 PM @ Swift Current Indians
07/12/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
07/15/14 7:00 PM @ Moose Jaw Miller Express
07/16/14 7:00 PM Okotoks Dawgs
07/17/14 7:00 PM Okotoks Dawgs
07/20/14 6:00 PM @ Saskatoon YellowJackets
07/21/14 7:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
07/24/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
07/25/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
07/26/14 7:00 PM Saskatoon YellowJackets
07/27/14 7:00 PM @ Moose Jaw Miller Express
07/28/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
07/30/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers

Pats Sold To Local Group

The Regina Pats are no longer owned by the Parker family. At a news conference in Regina today, Russ Parker announced he is selling the team to Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group. That group is led by businessman Anthony Marquardt.

It brings to an end what can be termed as a rather sad chapter in the history of the franchise. Despite efforts to make the team a success, the Pats struggled mightily having reached the 2nd round of the playoffs just three times during their tenure which started in 1995. That being said, the team did see many players come through who went on to have NHL success the most notable being Jordan Eberle and Josh Harding.

Marquardt was not at today's get-together. It is believed he will be joined by former Pats goalie Todd Lumbard, local businessman Shaun Semple and that former Pat Mike Sillinger may also have some involvement.

The WHL board of governors will vote on the deal April 30 with two thirds majority needing to see the sale go through. A price-tag for the team was not disclosed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Morris To Skip Team Canada

The reigning Canadian men's curling champions have a new skip for the next Tim Hortons Brier.
John Morris will join forces with third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen as Team Canada makes its debut at the 2015 Brier in Calgary.
He replaces Kevin Koe, who left the champions to form a new team with third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert.
"We're thrilled to be able to bring aboard a player of John's calibre," Simmons said in a statement. "Of course, we've always had a great deal of respect for John as a player and a rival, and we're excited about what we can do together on the ice next season."
At the 2014 Brier, Morris skipped the B.C. team (third Jim Cotter, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky) that lost to Koe's Alberta foursome in the final.
Morris said he will play a limited schedule during the 2014-15 season due to work commitments.
"My plan was to take the 2014-15 season off as I move ahead in my career as a firefighter," said Morris, who lives in Chestermere, Alta., just outside of Calgary. "But to be able to play for Team Canada, and considering the Alberta events are so close to home, it was hard to pass up on this offer. I talked it over with Jim, Tyrel and Rick and they were very understanding. I can't thank them enough for the season we had, and I wish them nothing but the very best going forward."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

Back to work! After a nice extended Easter long weekend its time to get back at it. Did the Easter Bunny bring you goodies?

It was great being able to sit down and watch playoff hockey and there have been some great games. How many people looked at the struggles of the St, Louis Blues when it came down to the end of the regular season and said they will have no shot against Chicago because of injuries and the fact the Hawks were getting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back. Oops!  Yes, St. Louis could easily be down 2-zip in the series having won both games in overtime, but they are in firm control going back to Chicago and look nothing like the team that limped to the finish line. I had the Blues winning the West before they started to slide---I should have stuck with that.

I'm starting to think the Colorado Avalanche could be the next great thing in the NHL with the team they have got. The play of their forwards has been magical in the first two rounds against Minnesota and this team is only going to get better as the years go by. I don't think they have what it takes to win it all this year, but they are going to make some noise for a long, long time. They have that Forsberg, Sakic, Roy look to them. Funny how this team has managed to rebuild in seemingly one season while another team in Northern Alberta that I root for has taken how long? Then again, the Avalanche have guys like Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic in the front office. Speaking of which, if he wanted a job in the NHL (and I wonder if he does anymore), would it not be right for the Oilers to hire Wayne Gretzky in some capacity?. He has to be better than Kevin Lowe doesn't he.

The NHL disciplinary committee is once again out of whack in these playoffs. Joel Quenneville grabs his crotch to protest a call and gets dinged 25-thousand dollars for it. Milan Lucic tries to castrate Danny DeKeyser with a gutless move from behind and gets 5-thousand. ??????  Shouldn't that maybe be the other way around?  By the way, I didn't see the Corey Perry spear so I can't comment on that.

How many different goalies have the Philadelphia Flyers used over the years when it comes to the playoffs? Here's what I can remember from the 2000's and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone.  Steve Mason, Ray Emery, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov, Brian Boucher, Roman Cechmanek, Michael Leighton. I know I'm missing a few.  Then you look at teams like the Rangers and its been Lundqvist or the Habs and its been Price. I often wonder how good Philly would be if they ever ever find an established goaltender.

The Lightning got jobbed in Game 2. There's no other way you can put it. Montreal may have come back and won the hockey game, but Tampa should have been credit for the goal that would have made it 1-1. The story is the right call was made, but really was it?  As CBC's Elliotte Friedman said on HNIC, some kind of mechanism must be established for that play to be reviewed. If it was, that game is 1-1.  Credit to Lightning coach John Cooper for not going completely bats##t after the game. He kept it quite composed while others wouldn't.

You can't say the Habs go half hearted when it comes to pre-game ceremonies. That one on Sunday was off the charts. It bordered on going over the top, but it was outstanding.

WTF has happened to the defensive-minded LA Kings? What blogger said they would beat Boston to win the Cup? YIKES!! They look horrible!!

Two thumbs up to Toronto Sun sportswriter Steve Simmons, He absolutely obliterated Jays pitcher RA Dickey on the Reporters Sunday morning. Simmons said and I quote....

My thumb is down to RA Dickey, the erstwhile Blue Jays ace, the former Cy Young award winner who seems to lead the Major Leagues in just one category - excuses. With RA, there's always something. Something wrong. It's either too cold or it's too hot. The roof at Rogers Centre is either open or closed. The wind is blowing in or it's blowing out. It's day or it's night. Everything, it seems, affects the knuckleball. He would be one of the three bears of pitching but with him, it's not often just right. Dickey has made four starts for the Jays in this young season, and he already owns a 6.26 earned run average. I'm sure he has a plausible explanation for that: I just don't want to hear one.

Bravo! I couldn't agree more. Quit with the excuses and throw the damn ball the way you're supposed to.

Congrats to Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play man Bob Ridley. He called game number 3542 in his storied career Sunday night in Edmonton. That is how many games Rod Phillips--the long time voice of the Oilers called. Ridley is a true icon. I had a chance to work with him during a playoff game in Moose Jaw many, many, many years ago. A member of the Tigers had a penalty shot and that player scored, I started to write it down when I looked up and saw that I was leaving him hanging as he was looking for a high five.  He's one of the greats without a doubt.

I saw the movie "Draft Day" on Friday night. Lets just say its not the best football related movie out there, but its not the worst either. What I will say though is the NFL (who helped out immensely on this movie) and the director might have wanted to look at the current NFL landscape before deciding what teams to use in the storyline. I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it, but as you're watching it, you will see what I mean. Jennifer Garner plays Kevin Costner's love interest in the movie. At one point in the movie, Garner utters out some lines that would make any football fan fall in love with her instantaneously. Mrs. Scruffy looked over at me just as I was about to say something and said "You love her don't you?" All I could do was nod my head in agreement. You will too when you see it.

I actually was anticipating sitting down and watching the Raptors playoff opener. I don't watch a lot of  NBA basketball, but I was excited to see the Raptors play their first post-season game in ages. They looked like a young inexperienced team against a Brooklyn team that has been through this before. I can't see it being like that the whole series. Paul Pierce was just lethal in Game 1 down the stretch. He's been down this road a few times before.

I love what Raptors GM Masal Ujiri said before Game 1. The correctness of today has taken so much away from people saying what they truly feel. There needs to be more of that. I and the rest of the Regina media would have loved it or would love it if someone from the Riders said F### Calgary! Vice-versa too. Its called a part of the game.

Gregg Popovich's interview with Craig Sager Junior Sunday was pure class. If you didn't see it.....

Popovich then goes back to the huddle as you see and gets a handwritten note from the entire Spurs organization that he gives to Sager. If you don't know, the legendary broadcaster has started treatments after being diagnosed with leukemia. Once again, pure class from Popovich! There aren't a lot of coaches out there who would do that,

Dave Taylor and the University of Regina should be very proud of its womens basketball team both present and past for coming through this weekend. It was great seeing so many alumni come forth in a game to help raise money for Crystal McGregor (Heisler) as she continues her battle with cancer. Many of the past players took part in the game while others watched while some of the present team helped out with other duties. Christine Stapleton, Jeff Speedy and Dave deserve so much credit for leading what is a first class group of ladies. It sounds as if Crystal is struggling right now and it would have been great to have seen her Saturday, but that wasn't the case. I just pray she can be at a game next year and the year after that and so on and so on. Many people are praying for you every day Crystal and I am one of them, Beat this thing!

The Telus Cup starts today in Moose Jaw as the Canadian midget hockey champion will be decided. I may have to take a couple of trips to the Friendly City this week to check the action out. It will be great and I know the city and Mosaic Place will put on a first notch show.

Somebody told me a while back I should limit these to between 1000-1500 words. I am way over that total so its time to go. Have a great week!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Nets vs Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors are in the NBA playoffs. They had their best regular-season ever and now it is time to see if success in the regular season can be translated into playoff success as they begin a best of 7 at home against the Brooklyn Nets

The games were close in the regular season with not a lot separating the two teams.

November 26th: 102-100 Nets

January 11th: 96-80 Raptors

January 27th: 104-103 Raptors

March 10th: 101-97 Nets

In the playoffs, in order for the Raptors to claim dominance, they will have to use their young players to their advantage. All of the Raptors starters are below 30 years, while the Nets start 3-5 players above the age of 30. The Raptors are slightly inexperienced, and need to push that fact to the side. Game 1 will be huge for the Raptors, as they need to finish the series early. The Nets veterans know how to close out series, and they know how to win close and pressure games. The Raptors, on the other hand, have never been in close playoff games. If they can win game 1, and maintain the lead the entire series, the Raptors will have a great chance of advancing to the 2nd round.

PLAYER TO WATCH: For the Raptors, there are two. Forward Terrence Ross is explosive, but some nights he for whatever the reasoning of head coach Dwane Casey does not become an option for the offence. You can't go from scoring 51 one night to limited minutes and single digit scoring the next. Ross has the potential to score 20 a night if the game-plan is there and be becomes a great option if plays are designed for him, The other player is Grevis Vssquez. The bench player can heat it up at times and change a game, If he is on fire, Toronto gets a much-needed additional weapon. For the Nets, the player to watch is Paul Pierce, This guy can still get it done and with the playoff experience and championship experience he has had with Boston, he may be able to single-handedly turn close games into Brooklyn's favour.

PREDICTION: Raptors in seven hard-fought games where the margin of victory in each is less than 10.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kevin Martin Hangs Up His Slider

Forget about a victory lap for Kevin Martin next season. One of the greatest skips to ever slide out of a hack is ending his career.

After a legendary 27 year curling career, the future hall of famer has announced that this is, indeed his last season as a player. His immediate future is now crystal clear as he plays his last tournament at The Players' Championship, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

Speaking to Rob Faulds during Friday nights Sportsnet broadcast of Players' Championship action, the 47 year old announced that he will hang up his curling shoes and join Sportsnet as an analyst. As well, Martin will take on a role with that network's Grand Slam Of Curling, which will grow from four to five events next season.

Martin's future had been unclear over the last few weeks ever since the news was leaked that two of his current teammates, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert, were joining forces with Kevin Koe for the 2014-15 season. With team vice Dave Nedohin almost certain to be stepping back from the game after this season as well, it appeared Martin was a man without a team, even as star players all around were finalizing new rosters.

While it seemed that the decorated skip (Olympic gold, Olympic silver, one World Championship, four Brier championships as well as seventeen Grand Slam victories) was being marooned and forced into retirement earlier than he would like, Martin claims that is untrue and that he'd been planning to retire at the end of this season as far back as last year.

"Thought about shutting it down after Vancouver (the 2010 Olympics) to be honest," Martin told Faulds. "But, a little bit young at that point."

"We didn't really want this to get out but the guys... we talked almost a year ago, then Ben called me in December, called me in January (and asked) 'skipper are you still retiring this year?' 'Yes, I am' (Martin replied).

"So, it wasn't so much that Ben and Marc were leaving, it was more polite of them to make sure that I was shutting it down," said Martin, who added that he'd informed his sponsors of his impending retirement after last December's Olympic Trials.

Martin admitted that the announcement was coming a couple of weeks earlier than he would have liked. However, a tumultuous last few weeks in the men's game - a period that saw so many team changes prematurely announced - moved the timetable up.

Seems fitting that he would make the announcement during a Grand Slam event, however, as Martin was one of the key players in the development of the tour, spearheading a boycott of provincial play downs and The Brier, just after the turn of the century. Along with the likes of Wayne Middaugh and Jeff Stoughton, Martin and a group of curlers set out to play in events other than those sanctioned by the Canadian Curling Association. Their demands included a better piece of the financial pie from events like The Brier. Eventually, the renegade curlers and the CCA came to terms, but not before a couple of seasons of acrimony and squabbling ensued.

Now, the World Curling Tour - of which the Grand Slam events are a part - coexists with CCA events and has grown in status as the years have gone by.

With Sportsnet's announcement that the slams will go from four to five events next season, that growth continues. The announcement may come as a surprise to some, as there had been fear the the network's new blockbuster deal to carry a national NHL package might leave curling out in the cold.

The opposite is true, and total prize money in the new five-event slam series will rise to $700,000.00, with a million dollar bonus going to any team that can sweep all five events. The fifth event, called the Elite 10, will be held in Fort McMurray, Alberta, next March.

“When Sportsnet first acquired the Grand Slam of Curling, we made a commitment to curling fans that we would grow the sport in Canada,” said network president Scott Moore, in a Rogers media release. “I’m thrilled to be delivering on that promise to Canadians."

As well as the five slams, Sportsnet is likely to, once again, provide coverage of provincial championships as part of more than a promised 200 hours of curling coverage next season. Over the last two years, the network has aired men's and women's provincial championships in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

"It really is the future of our sport," said Martin, of the Grand Slam tour. "The best playing the best. That's the way it's supposed to be in all sport. That's what it's going to be here and it's going to be a whole lot of fun growing the brand."

Martin's past as a bit of a trailblazer for the sport and his outspoken nature make him a good fit for a role as analyst as well as tour organizer. His status as a curling legend gives the tour a famous face moving forward. He may have some bridges to mend, however, as that outspoken nature, over the years, has made him a few enemies in the game.

He takes a place in the booth that was opened up when current analyst Richard Hart decided to come out of retirement and rejoin Glenn Howard for the 2014-15 season.

Before Martin gets to work on his post-playing career, there is one more order of business as a player. This year's Player's Championship. Martin, Nedohin, Kennedy and Hebert are still in the hunt, having reached Saturday's quarter-finals at the event.

This And That

The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain----even on a holiday. 

--Tell the truth, how many of you got up this morning and thought it was Saturday?!! 

--If the first few games of the Stanley Cup playoffs are any indication, we should be in for some great hockey.  The Boston-Detroit series hasn't started yet and already we have seen some comebacks, a lot of overtime and generally some pretty good hockey. The first round usually is the best, but it would be nice to see this continue right through. 

--Ryan Getzlaf = TOUGH!! Would you expect anything different? 

--If the Colorado Avalanche win their series against Minnesota, remember the play by Erik  Johnson with about a minute to go  in Game 1 where he slapped the puck away from the empty net milliseconds before it went over the line. 

--If you haven't noticed Nathan McKinnon before the playoffs (and you should seeing he will be the rookie of the year), you will now. I had him as a guy flying under the radar in two hockey drafts and got him in both. I am looking for big things from him, 

--Congrats to the Yorkton Terriers on another SJHL title. If the Terriers aren't the benchmark franchise in the SJ than who is (with all apologies to Humboldt Bronco supporters). Trent Cassan and Don Chesney just keep pumping out winners. I keep wondering how long Cassan will stay in the SJ as he has to be on the radar of WHL teams, but like Dean Brockman in Humboldt, he has a good gig going where he is so why leave unless the offer is absolutely perfect. 

--Darian Durant made it perfectly clear Wednesday afternoon. He wants to be a Rider and he wants to win more Grey Cups as quarterback of the Riders. He realizes if that is to happen, he needs the guys around him and in a salary cap world, that means guys who cost some dollars need to be around. Durant could have been greedy and said I got to the top of the mountain once now pay me, but he didn't. Brendan Taman admitted they could have made Darian the top paid player in the CFL, but Darian wants to spread the wealth around so scenes like last November at Mosaic can be repeated.  There's no guarantee that will happen, but you have to love his attitude. Every game won't be perfect and every pass won't be great, but Rider fans should back this guy because more good times are around the corner. 

--Why is everyone wondering who will replace Weston Dressler when the answer is perhaps right under their nose. Have we all forgotten about Geroy Simon? He showed he can still get it done at GC 101 and he is the CFL's all time leading pass-catcher.  That's not a bad option to have.

--There's some excitement around CFL circles about Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson signing with the Alouettes. I'll start getting excited when he makes the team. With Jamel Richardson, SJ Green, Duron Carter and Brandon London all there, I don't think I'll be ordering an "Huit-Cinq" jersey anytime soon. 

--What an absolute embarassment from the Blue Jays pitching staff especially the bullpen on Wednesday night in Minneapolis. Eight walks, three wildpitches and six runs resulted in what was a disastrous and somewhat comical 8th inning. Eight walks??!! That's inexcusable. What made it funnier was Buck Martinez trying to justify it saying "It must be the weather" at Target Field where the temperature was hovering around the freezing mark. I didn't see the Twins pitchers having any problems there Buckster! 

--14 games into the season and the Cubs are in last place--six place back of the division leaders. Another 148 to go! HUZZAHHHH!!!!

--I realize Tuesday night's incident at the Cornwall Centre was a random incident that could happen anywhere and at any time, but its still a little scary seeing it happen in my own backyard.  The incident here certainly wasn't as traumatic or as tragic as the story that came out of Calgary this week, but it could have been. If anything, what happened at the Cornwall is just a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings and what's going on around you. It may not have changed what happened to the four people who were in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but still. 

--Why do PETA people visit Saskatchewan? Guess what, your message isn't getting through and you're being mocked. Please leave and on the way out, feel free to stop at any of our fine restaurants and get yourself a good old burger or steak as many of us do. Thanks!

--If your Saturday night is free, can I suggest going to the CKHS for a charity womens basketball game featuring U of R alumni against alumni from the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba, All proceeds from the game, which starts at 6, goes to Crystal (Heisler) McGregor, She is the former Cougar basketball player who is in the fight of her life as she battles cancer. It is great to see the Cougar alumni out there supporting one of their own and it would be tremendous to see a nice crowd at the University for this event. 

--I am actually going to try and sit down and watch the NBA playoffs. I watched a few Toronto Raptors games this year and this certainly is the best team they have ever had. I don't think they should have a problem in beating the Brooklyn Nets, but I don't like their chances against Miami in the 2nd round. 

--There are as many Canadian teams in the NBA playoffs as there are in the NHL playoffs. OUCH!!

--Should be somewhat concerned that six of the seven Canadian teams are on the outside looking in come playoff time? Does it bother you that only one Canadian team is in the playoffs? It doesn't matter to me albeit I'd love the Oilers to get back in someday---hopefully next year. Yeah I know. 

--Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports may be the top Canadian sports journalist out there. His story last Saturday night on Dominic Moore and his late wife Katie may have been one of the best pieces he has ever delivered. If you haven't seen it, see if you can find it on the CBC Sports or Hockey Night in Canada webpage. 

--What is the mood amongst those at TSN as their days of the NHL start to wane? On the flip side, what is the mood over at Sportsnet as better days are right around the corner.

--11 weeks from tonight is the first Friday night football game of the 2014 season and we are 19 Sundays away from the first Sunday of the NFL season. ITS GETTING CLOSER!!!!

--This has to find its way to Regina Pats games for next year. What a great intermission feature this could be!!!!!

--Koala bears sleep for 22 hours a day and eat for 2 hours. God bless the Koala Bear!!