Monday, September 23, 2019

Something To "Mitch" About

--I didn't see it as I was flying home from Calgary after having called the Rams game Friday night ( more on that later), but it would appear as if I missed the game of the year in the CFL.   The Bombers-Montreal game sounds like it was a ring-a-ding-dong dandy that had its fair share of controversy.

Why wasn't Vernon Adams kicked out of the game for swinging the helmet of Adam Bighill at the Bombers linebacker after a 4th quarter INT?  Yes, he did get a 15 yard penalty, but he should have been told to hit the road.  That may have been the difference between a victory and a loss for a Montreal team that win or lose has become the most exciting team in the league to watch.  One has to wonder if the league will step in and hand some supplementary discipline to Adams---then again if it is a suspension, it probably won't take effect until next year knowing the way the CFL works.

Win or lose, the Bombers have to ask themselves why it is they have let three leads slip away in the game's dying moments with two of those leads being of 20 points (Toronto & Montreal).  Rider fans will be quick to tell you that's what you get with a Richie Hall defence as they have seen that act play itself out here.  To me, it is simply a lack of focus in playing a 60 minute game and that is squarely on the shoulders of Mike O'Shea   The same Mike O'Shea who may have kicked off a career in politics when he told Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky that he strongly believes Andrew Harris does not take performance-enhancing drugs.  The paperwork would tell you otherwise Mike and at this time, there is nothing to suggest wyour running back had something that was tampered with enter his system.  Perhaps if he would r34al what it was that he was taking, we could clear this up but he doesn't want to.

--There is talk the BC Lions now have their game together.  Have we forgotten they beat Ottawa in back-to-back games.  Ottawa!!  Weren't they the team picked by many to be last or as Derek Taylor said on the Sportscage earlier this year -----dead ass last!   Beat a quality team and we can talk.

How many different ways has Duron Carter registered a TD in his CFL career?  He threw one on Saturday, he has had a pick six, he has obviously caught passes for touchdowns and he took a missed field goal back for a score along with a blocked punt return for a major.  Am I missing anything? I feel like I am.

--Aren't backup or young quarterbacks supposed to struggle in the NFL?  Daniel Jones and Kyle Allen would shake their heads no and Teddy Bridgewater would disagree as well.  Where are all those Giants fans who booed Jones on draft night? Who is Kyle Allen? So much for the Saints being vulnerable with Drew Brees out of the lineup.  There were some impressive performances from guys who aren't supposed to.  By the way, 20 of the quarterbacks that started on Sunday were 26 or under.  The game is in good shape at that position down south.  As for the CFL, uhhhhhhhh

--Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio says there are three teams interested in Antonio Brown.  Who and why?  Any team which signs him (and that includes the Seahawks) will prove that talent wins out over character in the NFL any day of the week.  Roger Goodell should just step in and say this guy isn't playing for anyone until this mess gets resolved.

--How many of you have been watching the Cleveland Browns looking for a Chris Jones sighting? Cmon, let's be honest! I think he is up in the pressbox, but I'm not sure.  I'm guessing he has to be because I haven't seen him on the sidelines.

--The Rams had to have basically everything go their way if they were to beat Calgary on Friday night.  They certainly gave it a shot.  The potent Calgary offense didn't have some weapons due to injury, but they still had defending Hec Crighton Trophy winner Adam Sinagra.   The Rams didn't give him a lot as Calgary had to fight and scratch for what they got.  They also benefitted from what was a terrible penalty on linebacker Josh White which took a pick-six from Jaxon Ford off the board.  I don't know White could be penalized when Sinagra ran into him, but much to the Rams disgust they did.

The team has lost three in a row, but there is a lot to be optimistic about with this team.  Steve Bryce and company will get it right.  The second half of the season won't be as tough as the first half, but there will be some solid tests for this team as they try to get into the playoffs. 

-_When did Jason Spezza become a Leaf?  I missed that one!

--It is becoming fairly obvious that Patrik Laine probably won't be a Winnipeg Jet as the interest in re-signing the RFA doesn't seem to be there.  What is a fair price in trade for the Finnish winger who has a lot of game left. With Dustin Byfuglien perhaps on the verge of calling it a career, I would think you need a top four defenceman to start. 

--Are we ready for the NHL season to start?

--Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion will both be involved with playoff baseball this year.  Just sayin!

--The Chicago Cubs thanks to a bullpen that is maybe double A at best won't be involved with playoff baseball this year. Just sayin!  I need to know how many times they have had the lead or been tied after 7 and gone on to lose.  What a pathetic group of relievers! I gotta think within the next two weeks we will be hearing the Cubs need a new manager.  It sounds like Joe Maddon is gone.  Thanks Joe!

That's all I got.  Have a great week!

Friday, September 20, 2019

This Week In The CFL

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The Stampeders make the trip east to face Toronto for Friday Night Football with kickoff at 7 p.m. ET. The game will wrap up the season series, following Calgary’s Week 6, 26-16 win at home. The visitors are looking to push their winning streak to a season-high four games after last week’s slim 19-18 victory against Hamilton. Calgary owns a 3-3 record against the East Division this season and is 3-2 away from McMahon Stadium. The Argonauts are coming off an impressive 46-17 win in the nation’s capital. The contest will mark the first of three interdivision matchups for Toronto with Saskatchewan in town next week before a visit to Vancouver.
The second half of Friday evening’s doubleheader will see the Tiger-Cats in Edmonton. The hosts are coming off a bye week and will be looking to return to the win column after three consecutive setbacks. The Eskimos are 4-2 at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium this season, but Hamilton has found success outside of its division and owns a 5-2 mark against the West. The Tiger-Cats’ Week 14 loss in Calgary halted a four-game winning streak. The Eskimos will induct Ricky Ray into their Wall of Honour and the first 20,000 fans will receive a commemorative flag. Kickoff is slated for 9:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s back-to-back set will begin with Winnipeg visiting La belle province at 4 p.m. ET. The Alouettes will be looking to rebound from a narrow 27-25 loss in Saskatchewan. The two sides have yet to face one another in the 2019 campaign and Montreal is 3-2 at home. The Blue Bombers top the West Division and are coming in well-rested after sitting out Week 14 action. Winnipeg holds a losing record (1-2) on the road against the East Division, with its lone victory coming in Week 4 against the REDBLACKS.
Week 15 concludes with Ottawa welcoming the Lions to TD Place for the backend of a home-and-home series. BC took the opener last week with a decisive 29-5 victory. The visitor’s two wins on the season have come at the expense of East Division foes, including a Week 4 win in Toronto. The reeling REDBLACKS will attempt to snap a string of five straight losses, but Ottawa has not claimed a victory at home since Week 2. At halftime Ottawa will pay tribute to Kaye Vaughan’s accomplishments by adding him to the Wall of Honour at TD Place Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
TSN’s Live Mic game will be Winnipeg at Montreal.
ESPN+ will be home to all four games this week.
Ottawa loss AND Hamilton Win OR Tie = Hamilton clinches a playoff spot
Standings through 14 weeks last season:
  • Winnipeg has four more wins than last year and sits first in the West Division.
  • Saskatchewan has one more victory than last season and are slotted in the same position – third in the division.
  • Hamilton has three more victories than a year ago and sit atop the East.
  • Montreal has doubled its win total from last year and sits second.
  • Parity: points from first to last:
    • 2018 West Division: 20 (CGY) to 10 (WPG)
    • 2018 East Division: 14 (OTT) to 6 (MTL/TOR)
    • 2019 West Division: 18 WPG) to 4 (BC)
    • 2019 East Division: 18 (HAM) to 4 (TOR)
  • Head-to-head: Point differential of division leaders year-to-year:
    • West Division: CGY 2018 (+132) and WPG 2019 (+127)
    • East Division: OTT 2018 (+21) and HAM 2019 (+118)
  • Last week, Calgary’s Reggie Begelton (1,036) became the first player to surpass 1,000 receiving yards this season. It was the first time he has reached the mark in his career. Since 2018, he has played 18 games (seven in 2018, 12 in 2019), and has tallied 95 receptions for 1,464 yards and eight receiving touchdowns.
  • Four receivers playing this week are within 150-yards of the benchmark:
    • Brandon Banks (967) is looking to reach the mark for his third consecutive season and is on pace for a career-high 1,494 yards. The last Ticat to notch three straight seasons with 1,000+ yards was Darren Flutie from 1999-2001.
    • Bryan Burnham (943) is in search of his fourth straight 1000-yard season. He is also on pace for a career year (1,457 yards).
    • Derel Walker (897) needs 103 yards on Friday against the Stampeders to reach the mark for the third time in his career, and the first since 2016. Toronto’s prized free-agent signing is on pace for 1,467 yards this season.
    • Bralon Addison (854) is attempting to hit the mark for the first time in his first full CFL season. He is on pace for 1,320 yards. Through 15 career CFL games, he has totaled 967 yards on 82 receptions, while adding six touchdowns.
  • Last season, nine receivers reached 1,000+ yards:
    • Duke Williams (1,579)
    • Banks (1,423)
    • Brad Sinopoli (1,376)
    • Luke Tasker (1,104)
    • S.J. Green (1,095)
    • Greg Ellingson (1,086)
    • Burnham (1,029)
    • Diontae Spencer (1,007).
  • The most 1,000-yard receivers in one season was set in 2005 when 19 players reached the milestone.
  • After serving a two-game suspension, Andrew Harris is set to return to the lineup. He needs 92 yards to record his third consecutive 1,000+ rushing yard season and the fifth of his career.
  • Last season, only three backs accumulated 1,000+ rushing yards:
    • Harris (1,390)
    • William Powell (1,362)
    • C.J. Gable (1,063).
  • The most rushers in one year to reach 1,000-yards was seven, set in 2009.
  • Through Week 11, CFL games were taking 2:54 to complete. The past 11 games since have averaged 2:47.
  • If Calgary clinches a playoff berth, it will be the team’s 15th season in a row – a new club record which would tie Saskatchewan (1962-1976) for the league’s fifth longest streak.
  • In the last 10 games (Weeks 12-14), the home team has won eight matches. In 2019, home teams are 33-20 (.623) – the highest home winning percentage since 2004 (50-31-1, .623).
  • Last season, five players tied for the league lead in interceptions with five. This season, Winston Rose has eight, Tre Roberson has seven, two players have four and five players have three.
  • Ticats DL Dylan Wynn’s streak of consecutive games with a sack ended at five. During that stretch, he recorded seven of his nine sacks on the season. Entering the 2019 campaign, he had eight sacks across two seasons.
  • Winnipeg’s Willie Jefferson is looking to extend his streak of games with at least one sack to five games. Over that period, he has seven sacks and has already established a new career-high (11).
  • Trending upwards: Toronto went 0-6 in its first six games, scoring 12.5 points per match. In the Argos' past five, they have averaged 29.8 points and have gone 2-3. In those five games, McLeod Bethel-Thompson has 12 TD passes and only 2 INTs.
  • Last week, the Argos scored their first rushing touchdown of 2019 to break a string of 12 games without tallying one – a new CFL record
  • BC’s Mike Reilly passed for two touchdowns in Week 14 versus the REDBLACKS. It was the first time he passed for multiple touchdowns since Week 9. The game also marked the first time he rushed for multiple touchdowns this season.
  • Logan Kilgore will get the nod for the Esks. It will be his fourth career start (1-2).
  • Canadian Cory Greenwood continues to lead the league in tackles with 78. Ottawa’s Avery Williams sits second with 69.
  • CFL kickers this year are 20-for-26 from 50+ yards. Justin Medlock leads all kickers with six made field goals from that distance.
  • Two kickers are perfect on converts this year: Medlock (40/40) and Rene Paredes (20/20).
  • Toronto’s Tyler Crapigna has the highest average of made field goals (37.5 yards).
  • Joe Montford is the only player to lead the league in sacks for four consecutive years (1998-2001). Charleston Hughes will match the mark if he emerges as the league-leader this year.
  • Simoni Lawrence is one tackle away from 500 in his career. He ranks No. 38 all-time and trails Baron Miles by five.
  • Hamilton's record of 5-2 (.714) is the highest win percentage by an East Division club against the West since 2012 when Montreal went 6-2 (.750). Hamilton is in the midst of a four-game stretch against western clubs.
  • Edmonton has one defensive TD return in its last 34 games and has gone 75 contests without a kick return TD (dating back to August 28, 2015).
(CFL Communications) 

This And That

Welcome to Friday and the usual assortment of things running through my muddled mind.   As always, these come in no particular order

--The third and final bye week of the season is upon us.  There is no Saskatchewan Roughriders football to watch this weekend, but the team is once again in the spotlight.

Before a recent game, A&W filmed a commercial outside Mosaic Stadium using Rider fans to promote their "Beyond Beef" burger.  A&W is a corporate sponsor and used that opportunity for a commercial---one that angered the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association.   So much so, a meeting was held with the Riders having to issue a statement and an apology.  Why?

Before we go any further, I just want to categorically state that I have not had an A&W hamburger in quite some time and will not be eating one of these plant-based burgers.  It simply isn't my cup of tea.  Give me a good old hamburger or steak any day of the week. Like many of you, I am a beef-eater.

The commercial used Rider fans in Rider garb outside Mosaic Stadium.  The commercial did not use Cody Fajardo, Charleston Hughes, Craig Dickenson or any other member of the organization. If they had done that. the tone of this conversation would change.  Some have said there was a commercial featuring players that was quickly yanked.  I think one airing of said ad would have generated the wrong publicity so until I see it, its fake news.

If A&W had gone to Wascana Park and found people wearing Rider jerseys, would this change? Would it change if they did it downtown?  I have no problem with the fast-food company using Rider fans in a commercial---some who might actually like the Beyond Beef Burger.  Vegans are people too ya know. For the Riders to issue a statement on the matter and apologize was as ludicrous as the statement that they felt had to be made in the wake of Gainer acting inappropriately during the BC game. It was something that didn't have to be done but they had to because of the fear of negative publicity.  Perhaps in today's society, the team should just have a form letter and fill in the blanks. Who's next?

Tim Hortons is a corporate sponsor of the football team and they were selling something that wasn't meat until earlier this week so why aren't they included in this.

As mentioned, I will take good old Canadian beef ahead of whatever is in these plant burgers any day of the week and I understand the positioning of the Stock Growers Association in requesting a meeting, but for the team to have to issue a statement is wrong.  Once again, we as a society just need to pull back the reins a little.

--With six games to go, the Riders are 8-4.  What do you think happens in the final six games.  I see wins over Toronto, Winnipeg, BC and Edmonton and losses in Calgary and Edmonton.  At 12-6 and a win over Winnipeg, that should get Saskatchewan a home playoff game and maybe a WSF rematch against the Bombers.  Can we take Winnipeggers coming here four times this year?  YEESH!! Of course if it happens, you'll take it.

--Andrew Harris will play for the Bombers this weekend after his two-game suspension.  The talk has started as to whether or not he should be the MOP this season after what happened.  NO!!!  Barry Bonds wasn't baseball's MVP when he hit 73 steroid-assisted homers.  Andrew Harris did the crime so you can't have him benefit.  What message would that send?

The question now is "Who would you vote for".  Is Trevor Harris a candidate even though the Eskimos at this point of the season are in 4th.  Is it Brandon Banks? Would a defensive player get consideration and if so, would Willie Jefferson or Charleston Hughes fit into that spot.  I'm still not convinced Hughes will get the nod as top defensive player ahead of Derrick Moncrief this season so would he get consideration for MOP? Do you still think Harris should be despite what has happened?

--Week 3 NFL Lock of the Week --- Dallas over Miami (DUHHH)
   Week 3 NFL Upset of the Week --- Texans over Chargers

--When the Riders won the 2013 Grey Cup, there were many guys I was happy for.  However seeing Rob Bagg hoist the Grey Cup as he had reached the pinnacle of his career was the one that made me smile the most.  I don't have to tell you the Bagg story because if you are a Rider fan you know it.  I remember being on the sidelines when it looked like he had suffered a third major knee injury.  You could see the pain on his face and the tears in his eyes as he walked off the field thinking it was over.  Thankfully for him it wasn't.

I don't know in all my years covering the football club if I have ever met someone as strong-willed, as perserverant and as tough as Rob Bagg.  When he wasn't in the lineup, he was working his ass off to get back in it.  Watching him do his thing was more of a spectacle than the practice going on around him.  To say Bagg was driven would be an understatement.

Rob won't go down as one of this team's best-ever receivers, but he has to go down as one of the toughest players to wear the uniform.  May retirement be good to you and may Regina hold a special place in your heart Mr. Bagg. Rider Nation can't wait to salute you when you go into the Plaza of Honour and that day will come.  How can it not?

--The Rams are in Calgary tonight and it won't be easy to come out of MacMahon with a win.  The Rams, who go into the game riding a two game losing streak having lost to Alberta and the Huskies, face the 3-0 Dinos.   The Rams will need a lot to go right for them to pull this one out and one of the things that needs to be right is their mindset.  There have been some stupid penalties taken by this team over the past couple of weeks to extend drives.  That simply can't happen against a team like Calgary.  I'll be on a flight to Cowtown later today and will have the call for you on 620 CKRM starting at 7.

--If I wasn't going to be at MacMahon Stadium, I would be at the Brandt Centre to get a look at the Pats and Warriors as the WHL season begins.  This Regina team will be a better team and I expect them to be in contention for a wild-card spot at the trade deadline.  At that time, deals will be made and the team will either sink or swim when it comes to the playoffs.

As far as the division goes,  I think a lot of that depends on Kirby Dach and the Chicago Blackhawks.  If the 3rd overall pick in this year's draft stays in Chicago, its advantage Prince Albert.  If he comes back to Saskatoon, its advantage Blades.   I see it at this moment being PA, Saskatoon, Brandon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg.   I just about put Swift Current there before realizing they are now in the Central.  I still don't like that, but whatever.

--Back in the early 80's, I got my first taste of WGN TV in Chicago.  Having some afternoon spares, I got to watch a lot of daytime baseball from Wrigley Field.  I fell in love with the place and the team.  Those who know me know that is a marriage that continues today.  On Saturday afternoon,  the Cubs will play their final home game with WGN broadcasting it as the contract is up and the Cubs move on as they establish their own network "Marquee Sports Network" which will be Cubs-dominated.  It is something the Yankees and Dodgers have done with more likely to do it over the years.

I don't tape many sporting events when I know what the final will be, but seeing I will be coming home from Calgary and missing the broadcast, I will tape it knowing it will be full of memories of Cubs baseball.  Thanks WGN for making this Canadian kid a Cubs fan.  A Cubs fan who is coming to the realization that there will be no playoff baseball this year because of a god-awful bullpen that has blown many games after the 7th inning.  Nothing like scoring three in the 9th and then giving up a homer in the top of 10 like they did Thursday night.  Who's kidding who,  I don't need that stress of playoff baseball.  Yeah right!

--High Impact Wrestling is shutting it down.  That news didn't really come as a big surprise when it was announced.  While I have not visited "Gronkville" for a while, there were stories about how the product was diminishing.  Those associated with HIW and the local independent wrestling community are good people.  They put their bodies on the line and do things they really shouldn't just to entertain the fans and entertain them they do. They do it because they love it and they love performing for the fans.

  It was a lot of fun doing the Access broadcasts of their events.  Its something I never, ever thought I would do.  .    Danny Warren will be bringing CWE to Regina and I applaud him for doing so.  I have been to CWE events and the fun will continue.   Neither can compare to Stampede Wrestling back in the 80's at the old Exhibition Auditorium, but then again I don't know if any independent wrestling promotion could rival Stampede.

--If the Winnipeg Jets start the NHL season with no Patrik Laine and no Kyle Connor, their season will be over before it starts.  How the team hasn't at least re-signed one is a huge error if you ask me.  The Jets window is not as wide as it was. They are probably in the NHL's toughest division with St. Louis, Nashville, Dallas. what will be a very good Colorado team and a better Chicago team.  Its time to do something that should have been done a while ago Mr. Cheveldayoff.

That's all I got.  Have yourselves a great weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Rams-Dinos To Meet Friday In Calgary


• The Rams will be looking to pull back up to .500 on the season and move up into a tie for third place in the Canada West standings, while Calgary is alone in first place and remains one of four undefeated teams in the nation.

• The last time the Rams defeated an opponent ranked No. 4 or higher was back during the 2016 season, when they held on for a 32-27 victory over then-No. 2 Calgary in a Week 4 game in Regina.

• For the second consecutive week, the Rams will square off against an opponent they'll see only once in conference play. Calgary won't make the return trip to Regina for the first time since 2014.

The U of R's defensive line has combined for eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Eric Wicijowski alone has collected three TFLs, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

The Rams defence has forced a total of six turnovers through the first three weeks of the season including two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and two on downs. Opposing defences have forced five Rams turnovers, all of which have come on interceptions.

WR Riley Boersma has been QB Josh Donnelly's favourite downfield target this year. While he's just fourth on the team with 10 receptions, Boersma has a team-leading 254 receiving yards and enters Week 4 just one yard behind Alberta's Ben Kopczynski for the conference lead in that category. Boersma is averaging 25.4 yards per catch, thanks in large part to a 75-yard touchdown catch at UBC and a 76-yard reception last week against Saskatchewan.

QB Josh Donnelly threw for at least 300 yards in last Friday's game for the third week in a row. He's the Canada West leader in passing yards (1034) and ranks second in the nation in passing yards per game (344.7).

RB Semba Mbasela got his first career start last week, finishing with 12 carries for 35 yards and four catches for 79 yards. Mbasela is second on the Rams with 231 all-purpose yards this year (120 rushing, 111 receiving) as he trails only Boersma in that category.

SB Ryan Schienbein continues his ascent up the school's record book in all major career receiving categories, most notably receptions where he's currently fifth with 168 in his career but within striking range of both fourth-place Mitchell Picton (169) and third-place Chad Goldie (173). He's also tied for fourth with Jason Clermont in receiving yards (2169) and remains tied with Mike Thomas for fourth in school history with 17 touchdown catches.

After rumbling his way to three one-yard touchdowns in the first half of the season opener at UBC, RB Sam Varao is still tied for the Canada West lead this year in touchdown runs. He's also tied for third in all of U SPORTS in that category.

The U of R's offensive line got back to full strength last week as Andrew Becker returned to start at right guard after missing the Week 2 game against Alberta due to injury. Jesse EnsLiam JensenMaguire Abell, and Theren Churchill have been the other four starters on the line for each of the first three games of the season.

The Dinos hold a 21-7 all-time advantage over the Rams in conference games and have won 12 of 14 conference games between the two teams at McMahon Stadium. The Rams' four wins in Calgary came during a four-season span starting with a victory in the 2000 Canada West semifinals. They also beat the Dinos in Calgary twice in 2002 (once in the regular season and once in the postseason) and once during the 2003 regular season.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics)

Week 3 NFL Capsules

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The third week of the NFL season starts with a game that doesn't jump off the charts, but it is an AFC South battle as the Jaguars and Titans meet in Jacksonville. 

For a preview of that game and all the other Week 3 games in the NFL, click here

(NFL Communications)

4 WHL Teams in CHL Top 10

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The Canadian Hockey League announced the pre-season edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2019-20 season today. The weekly rankings of the CHL’s Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

With promising talent on their roster, the Saskatoon Blades earned the third spot in the pre-season rankings. The Blades posted a 4-0-1-0 record in five pre-season contests, leading the East Division and sitting fifth overall in the 2019 Western Hockey League Pre-season with nine points. While Kirby Dach, the third-overall selection from the 2019 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, was not in attendance, he will look to guide the Blades offensively if he returns. Younger players on the roster including 2020 NHL Draft prospect Kyle Crnkovic and rookie Colton Dach, who showed promise during the pre-season in terms of offensive production, generating nine points (3G-6A) and six points (4G-2A), respectively. The Blades begin their season on the road, visiting their division rivals, the Prince Albert Raiders, on Friday, September 20 (7:00 p.m. MT) at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Kamloops Blazers were the next WHL team featured in the Kia CHL Top 10 this week, earning spot number five on the list. The Blazers led the way in the pre-season  standings with seven straight wins. Rookie and 2021 NHL Draft prospect Logan Stankoven totaled 15 points (8G-7A) with Zane Franklin and Orrin Centazzo following in the second and third place, respectively. The Blazers will open their 2019-20 WHL Regular Season at home when they host the Spokane Chiefs on Friday, September 20 (7:00 p.m. PT) at the Sandman Centre.

Occupying the eighth spot on the list were the Edmonton Oil Kings. Much like the Blazers, the Oil Kings also achieved a perfect record, going 5-0-0-0 in the pre-season. With young stars in 2020 NHL Draft prospect Jake Neighbours and Dylan Guenther, the first overall selection from the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, the Oil Kings could be a top contender in the tough Central Division. On defence, New York Rangers prospect Matthew Robertson will also look to guide the team and improve on his 33-point (7G-26A) performance from last year. The Oil Kings' opening game of the season will see them play the role of visitor against the Red Deer Rebels on Friday, September 20 (7:00 p.m. MT) at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Alta.

The Vancouver Giants were placed 10th on the CHL's Top-10 Rankings. Bowen Byram, the fourth-overall selection at the 2019 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, could return to lead the Giants. In net, the combination of Arizona Coyotes prospect David Tendeck and Avalanche prospect Trent Miner, the back half of the Giants looks strong. Justin Sourdif, a highly-ranked 2020 NHL Draft prospect, will also look to step up his performance next season for the Giants and take on more responsibility as an offensive leader. Hitting the road to start their season, the Giants will face off against the Prince George Cougars (7:00 p.m. PT) at the CN Centre in Prince George, B.C.

Earning an honourable mention this week was the Calgary Hitmen. Although they went 2-2-0-0 in the pre-season play, expect the Hitmen to bring a strong performance to every game this season with their carefully-crafted roster. Building around captain and Ottawa Senators prospect Mark Kastelic for his 20-year-old season, the Hitmen have a talented group of forwards to lead them to the top. Combine that with the addition of Vancouver Canucks prospect Jett Woo, Philadelphia Flyers prospect Egor Zamula, and overage stalwart Dakota Krebs and Calgary looks ready to contend this season. Breakout star Jack McNaughton will also play a key role in Calgary's success between the pipes. The Hitmen will open their season against the Swift Current Broncos, on Saturday, September 21 (7:30 p.m. MT) in Swift Current, Sask.

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings – Preseason
Rank:Team:Last Week Rank:Number of Weeks Ranked:
1London Knights--
2Chicoutimi Sagueneens--
3Saskatoon Blades--
4Ottawa 67's--
5Kamloops Blazers--
6Halifax Mooseheads--
7Saginaw Spirit--
8Edmonton Oil Kings--
9Sherbrooke Phoenix--
10Vancouver Giants--
 Honourable Mention:  
 Peterborough Petes--
 Moncton Wildcats--
 Calgary Hitmen--


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Silvernagle Squad Invited to Canada Cup of Curling

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Some of Canada’s best curling teams will be on the ice in November when the Canada Cup of Curling goes in Leduc and one of the 14 participating will be North Battleford’s Robyn Silvernagle.

Silvernagle, who represented Saskatchewan for the first time at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts finishing third, will be one of seven rinks in the field.  Others are Scotties champ Chelsea Carey who will be Team Canada at the 2020 Scotties in Moose Jaw, Jennifer Jones, Rachel Homan, Casey Schiedigger and Kerri Einarsson.

The winner gets $40,000 and a spot in the 2021 Roar of the Rings Olympic trials.