Thursday, December 8, 2016

Week 14 NFL Capsules

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Two of the top teams in the NFL meet to kick off Week 14 of the season as MVP candidate Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders hit the field against Kansas City in an AFC West matchup. For a preview of that game, and all the others this week, just click here

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Justin Cox Signs Contract Extension With Riders

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today international defensive back Justin Cox has signed an extension to remain with the team through 2018. As per team policy, financial details of the contract were not released. 

Cox (6’0 – 187) completed his first season in the Green and White after signing with the team in May, 2016. The 23-year-old Mississippi native started the first 15 games before suffering an injury that forced him to miss the final three contests. In his first CFL season, Cox picked up 42 defensive tackles and a team leading four interceptions on his way to being named the Riders Most Outstanding Rookie.    

(Ryan Pollock/Riders PR)

Monday, December 5, 2016

NHL Three Stars Of Week

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Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason, St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 4.


Mason led the NHL with four wins in four outings, compiling a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 save percentage to propel the Flyers (14-10-3, 31 points) into the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He made a season-high 45 saves - and turned aside eight-of-nine shootout attempts - in a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins Nov. 29. Mason then posted 19 saves in a 3-2 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators Dec. 1 before collecting back-to-back weekend victories: 26 saves in a 3-1 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks Dec. 3 and 30 saves in a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators Dec. 4. The 28-year-old Oakville, Ont., native owns a 9-8-3 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and .904 save percentage in 21 appearances this season. His four-game winning streak is one shy of his career high, established Dec. 17-30, 2013 (5-0-0).


Tarasenko shared the League lead with four goals in three outings (4-1-5), and also paced the NHL with two game-winning tallies, as the Blues (14-7-4, 32 points) earned five of a possible six standings points to maintain second place in the Central Division and Western Conference. He scored his sixth career overtime goal - and second of the campaign - in a 4-3 triumph against the Dallas Stars Nov. 28. Tarasenko (3-1-4) then registered his third career hat trick, including the winning goal, and matched a career high with four points in a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 1 before being held off the scoresheet in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets Dec. 3. The 24-year-old Yaroslavl, Russia, native ranks third in the NHL with 13-14-27 in 25 contests this season.


Jones went 3-0-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average and .962 save percentage, yielding only one goal in each of his three appearances, to guide the Sharks (15-9-1, 31 points) into first place in the Pacific Division. He made 18 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes Nov. 29, 26 saves in a 4-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Kings Nov. 30 and 31 saves in a 2-1 victory over the League-leading Montreal Canadiens Dec. 2. The 26-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native shares second place in the NHL with 13 wins in 22 outings this season (13-8-1). He also ranks fifth in goals-against average (1.99) and tied for seventh in shutouts (2).

Something To "Mitch" About

--The first weekend without CFL action. How did you cope? The first weekend of December meaning many were out and about doing Christmas shopping. How did you cope?  It's nice to know that whether it be December, March or July, Regina drivers seem to forget they have signal lights in their car.  Driving about on Saturday in the east and north end, I saw many incidents where we were very close to seeing a fender-bender.

--I realize the Prince Albert Raiders aren't a very good hockey team this season, but holy jeezus did the Pats lay a dirty beating on them Saturday night. 12-2!! They scored four goals in each period on Dale Derkatch bobblehead night.  They should have played a 4th period to get "16" to properly commemorate "The Rat"! I'm sure some are probably bemoaning the fact Tyler Brown let in 2 though because they have to have something to complain about.  They are not going to get 12 every night, but I don't know how you effectively shut this team down.

--Now that the Pats ownership and the Regina Exhibition Association have a new lease in place, is there any reason to think Regina won't be getting the Memorial Cup in 2018. You have to think John Paddock believes that he will be guiding the host team in that tournament with the acquisition of 17 year old blueliner Jonathan Smart this past week. Smart is an up and comer and will be a mainstay of that blueline for a couple of seasons. What else does Paddock have up his sleeve? We'll find out.

--I said a couple of weeks ago the MLS season seemingly never ends. Why after TFC's win over Montreal last week do they have to wait until December 10 to play the final?

--A tip of the hat to Ian Hamilton. The long-time Leader-Post sportswriter "retired" Friday night with his last assignment being the Cougar basketball games against the U of S.  This is a huge loss for the Regina sports community especially the University. There are a lot of good guys in this business who know what they are doing and Ian was one of them. He had a tradition of handing out Dubble Bubbles or some other kind of chewing gum before Rider games. Who does that now at the new stadium? I should also recognize reporters Will Chabun and Bruce Johnstone along with photographers Don Healy and Bryan Schlosser who also "retired".. All of those individuals were also very instrumental in the day-to-day operation of a newspaper which is slowly dying not just here but across Canada.  The L-P product bas been diminishing and will look even worse starting with today's edition.

--This past April, former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot in a road rage accident in New Orleans. The man accused in that shooting has been in custody since and will go on trial on a charge of second degree murder this week.  Meanwhile, the man who shot Joe McKnight is lounging at home with no charges being issued as of the time of this being written. What is the difference?  Do a Google search on the people accused in both crimes and take a look at what they look like. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out.  It is still inexplicable to me as to what happened to McKnight.  Original reports stating the accused stood over the Riders running back as he fired his weapon have turned out to be false, but the sheriff's department says McKnight was standing outside the car on the passenger side when he was shot.  Was there really a need for this? There is no indication McKnight was trying to get in the car and it sounds like the passenger door was locked. Again, you can make your own conclusions on this.

--How does Jeff Fisher keep his job? The guy has been under 500 with a Rams team that is going nowhere yet he manages to get a two year extension. I don't understand!

--Earl Thomas is in the prime of his career and the Seahawks safety is considering retirement after a broken leg. I don't understand that one.

--Its time the Oilers sent 1st round draft pick Jesse Puljujarvi down to the minors, The 4th overall pick can't get any footing as a pro when it comes to his role unlike his friend Patrik Laine in Winnipeg. Sending him down would be a plus for both him and the Oilers.

--The Winnipeg Jets still confuse me. If they confuse me, they must really be doing a number on their fans.

I saw this on the weekend while out and about. How long has this been for sale? Perhaps its time it was taken down. 

That's all I got. Have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pats Have New Lease With R.E.A.L

The Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) and Regina Pats ownership group Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group (QCSEG) are pleased to announce a new lease arrangement has been signed for the Brandt Centre at Evraz Place.

“We’re pleased to see this positive step forward and look forward to building our partnership with the Pats ownership group,” said Mark Allan, REAL President and CEO. “We will continue to work in partnership with the Pats to enhance guest experience, while supporting the team in their efforts to grow and engage the fan base.”

“We are pleased that a new lease arrangement has been struck,” said Regina Pats Governor, Anthony
Marquart. “We’re looking forward to playing the balance of this season, given it’s been a huge success so far.  We are also looking forward to making our 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup bid presentation led by the Chairperson, Shaun Semple. The prospects of celebrating our 100th birthday and the 100th Memorial Cup in the same year is indeed a momentous occasion for hockey fans.”

Although details are confidential, the new agreement is based on WHL mid-market guidelines.

Statement From Regina Pats President Todd Lumbard
“Both parties are pleased with where we are today. Achieving a new lease arrangement is positive for our organization.  We continue to move forward and focus on the future. Since purchasing the hockey team, the ownership group has been committed to building a championship team on and off the ice. Since laying a strong foundation through the hiring of John Paddock as our Head Coach and General Manger, we have all witnessed the results on ice. The addition of our centre-hung, high definition score clock has elevated the in-game fan experience to a whole new level for the Pats Regiment.  Now the Regina Pats Hockey Club is looking forward to working with Evraz Place to continue improving the fan experience.  We are equally excited to have our organizing committee, led by Chairperson Shaun Semple, bid on the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup. I cannot think of a better way to cap off the hockey club's 100th birthday next season than by hosting the Memorial Cup and celebrating that across the country.”

Latest on Joe McKnight Shooting

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There are still more questions than answers in the Joe McKnight murder. One that has rocked the Saskatchewan Roughriders. While 54 year old Ronald Gasser has not been charged yet, there were some new developments Friday. To get the latest from New Orleans, click here

Meanwhile in Regina, Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds was emotional and visibly shaken speaking with reporters Friday morning less than 24 hours after news of the death broke.

“It’s a very emotional time for our organization,’’ Reynolds said. “It’s shocking, it’s sad and it’s devastating. It’s senseless because you just feel for Joe and his family. He had a young son and I feel for that. I feel for his teammates, our team and our coaches. As an organization we are just devastated.”

Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones is in Florida at a mini-camp, but his voice was full of emotion as well as he described someone whom he had kept an eye on for a long time.

 “I don’t think Joe had reached his potential,’’ Jones said. “We had some talks and he had a little trouble staying healthy. We talked about different things that he needed to do in the off-season to let him play at least 15 ball games next year. We had plans to have him back and every talk I had with him was he wanted to be back.’’

When asked to describe the goings-on, Jones said it was "unsettling", and that Greg Knox Junior and Greg Morris have taken the death extremely hard.

Reynolds said the team will make counsellors available if needed, and the team's pastor is reaching out to any player in need as well. 

This and That

--I am shocked and stunned over the senseless death of Joe McKnight.  One minute, he is driving to wherever after doing who knows what when he strikes the car of someone. That someone, who just isn't stable, decides to settle it by shooting the 28 year old. If what a witness is saying is true, the shooter actually stood over McKnight as he laid there and shot him again. While shocked and stunned, this crap is happening in the U-S every day. Was race involved? The shooter was white and McKnight was black. I'll let you decide on that one. Joe McKnight was a good football player. I watch a lot of US college football and he was on those USC teams that were a national power after Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush left. McKnight was supposed to be the next Reggie Bush. That didn't happen. I couldn't believe it when I saw his name in the CFL and after one game this year, I told him I loved watching him play. He wanted his name on an NFL roster. That won't happen now because of something that didn't need to occur. RIP Joe! My thoughts and sympathies are with those in the Riders organization who got to know the 28 year old. From the sounds of it, he was a helluva guy to be around.

--Has the ink on the Grey Cup game dried? There are many who are saying it was the best GC they have ever seen. I'm sorry, but that honor goes to 1989. The 1996 game between Toronto and Edmonton in the snow at Ivor Wynne Stadium and the 2005 overtime game between Edmonton and Montreal also come to mind. This game was exciting, and it had its drama, but it wasn't the best one. Not in this guy's opinion at least. Had Ottawa and Calgary gone up and down the field on one another the way the Ti-Cats and Riders did in 89, I might have said otherwise, but that was a game which was all Ottawa in the first half, and all Calgary in the 2nd half. The other three games also had no frivolous challenges.

--The question remains why Calgary took the ball out of Bo Levi Mitchell's hands at the end of regulation and tried to get in the endzone with Andrew Buckley. Some are saying that's what happens when you put the ball in the hands of a Canadian quarterback. ?????  Really?  No one had a problem with Buckley scoring in the game before or the numerous TD's he received. Would Drew Tate have been able to put the ball in the endzone on that play? Yes, Buckley shouldn't have been in the game at that point, but to say its because he's a rookie Canadian quarterback is a little bit of a stretch and does nothing to foster the development of Canadian quarterbacks in the CFL

--While Dave Dickenson is being roasted for his play calling at the end of regulation, it seems no one wants to pat him on the back for the short kick call that enabled Calgary to get into position to tie the game. Without that gutsy move, he never has the opportunity to make what turned out to be the wrong call.

--Henry Burris needs to do the Peyton Manning and leave when he is on top, Damon Allen had that chance and so did Anthony Calvillo. Neither did, and two of the all-time greats limped to the finish line. Hank doesn't have to be like those two and his resume speaks for itself. Get out while the gittin is good Hank!

--Remember when Commissioner Orridge said the Riders damaged the reputation of the CFL with roster-gate? I wonder what Jeffy boy thinks of the Toronto Argonauts and how they damaged the reputation of the CFL with what they did to Grey Cup. I have talked to more people this week about the disaster that was Grey Cup week. From empty hospitality suites to ticket prices to giving away free tickets to that awful Pizza Pizza promotion. Am I missing anything? Thank god the game was entertaining because if that had been a one-sided contest, especially in Calgary's way, it would have been a bigger disaster.  Ottawa will put on a great Grey Cup next year because Jeff Hunt knows what he is doing. However, he does have the task of bringing the Grey Cup Festival back to what Canadians expect and not what they received in Toronto.

--The Old 96er Scott Schultz went off on Orridge during an episode of Saskatchewan's #1 sports show---the Sportscage.  Schultz wasn't happy with Orridge's statement at his state of the league newser during Grey Cup week that there's no conclusive evidence at this point" of a link between football and CTE (the degenerative brain disease caused by head trauma).  Schultz was not enamoured with those comments and finished by saying Orridge should step down or be removed from his position because he thinks  in all facets, he hasn't been good for the CFL." Agree or disagree? I think you know where my stance on this matter is. Has the league grown and is the league making money for the teams. If he has, he stays like Gary Bettman in the NHL, if not, he has one more year to pull up his socks. He may not even have that much time.  One CFL person told me facetiously this week that wouldn't it be something if Orridge's dismissal came during CFL week.  That isn't going to happen. I countered with perhaps they get rid of him and announce the new guy at CFL week. That isn't going to happen either.

--What was the best moment of the year for the Riders? Is it the "Farewell to Mosaic" ceremony after the home portion of the schedule had concluded?  I asked two people that and that was their answer. Was there nothing better?

--The NFL is thinking about scrapping Thursday Night Football. I would be OK with this because the Thursday night games aren't generally good ones and is something the players bitch and moan about. Have your opening Thursday night game and have your Thanksgiving Day games, but that's it.  If the NFL wants more prime-time games, could they do a Monday Night Football doubleheader every week?  The logistics of that may be too difficult though as you would need to have the 2nd game on the West Coast or close to it all the time.

--Week 13 NFL Lock of the Week -- Packers over Texans
  Week 13 NFL Upset of the Week --Ravens over Dolphins

--Someone at Hockey Canada needs to explain why Pats blueliner Connor Hobbs was left off the list for the national junior team training camp.  The guy is a rock on the blueline and as some have already said, he may be NHL ready.  That one is a head-scratcher. There are guys every year left off the list for one reason or another sparking similar debates. When it hits close to home though like it did with Jordan Weal, it makes you wonder.

--The latest Boston Pizza ads with the hockey coach can go at anytime. In fact, most ads for Boston Pizza can go. Great food, poor ads!

--Are Guns N' Roses coming to Regina? If some of the billboards around town are any indication, it would appear as if one of the first events at the new Mosaic might come from the iconic band. Word is some kind of announcement is happening Monday.

--Finally, a thank you to Principal Richard Pound......or John Cozman as he was better known. The local wrestling legend passed away this week after a battle with cancer at the age of 52. There have been many who have had a unique schtick in the ring, but the way John (Principal Pound) did his thing every night was something to see and something to behold. He was great and yes, I took pride in standing up whenever he came out to give him a solid round of applause while letting Gronkville know they should show him some respect. The wannabes just had no clue what they were going to get when the Principal entered the ring and those at ringside had no idea what they were going to get if they dared talk smack to him, Isn't that right Toots!! While I have had many enjoyable nights at wrasslin, I have never laughed so hard as a night at the Victoria Club when he got into it with a wrestler named Mr. Intensity Mark Posey. I won't get into the whole story, but I was amazed the cops didn't show up, He had me literally on the floor laughing with my ribs aching. I am laughing now just thinking about it.  After the show he came out and said "I think I riled some people up tonight" with a huge grin on his face. Those who know me know I love my wrestling, and I have to admit had it not been for John, I don't know if I would have started going to High Impact or Hardcore Wrestling as it was known back in the day. He was a beaut! Those who watched him would agree! School is sadly no longer in session.  

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