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Friday, May 24, 2019

This And That



--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order.

-- If you're not a Boston Bruins fan, how can we not cheer for St. Louis in the Stanley Cup final? This is a team that years ago just about ended up in Saskatoon.  They had training camp in Regina for a few years.   They have had the likes of Bernie Federko, Doug Wickenheiser, Barrett Jackman, and Ed Staniowski play for them.  They have Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Tyler Bozak now.  The Blues are Team Saskatchewan!  The Gloria thing still doesn't make sense to me, but whatever.  By the way, why aren't we starting the Stanley Cup until Monday?  A Saturday start would have been much better.

--It's tough to get a good gauge on what is happening at Riders camp in Saskatoon, but it would appear as if Jon Ryan can still kick the ball.  Word has it he was booming punts on Wednesday with several of them being over 60 yards.   Word also has it the 37-year-old is the first guy on the field each day.  His leadership is going to be huge as the year goes along.

--If Zach Collaros remains healthy, are the Riders fighting with Edmonton and Winnipeg for 3rd or are they fighting for a home playoff game?  I say it's the latter. Sadly though, I just don't see Collaros staying healthy for a whole season.  From the people I talk to, many feel the same way.

--I love what I'm been hearing from Craig Dickenson in post-practice scrums this week. He's what this football team needed after Chris Jones.  Players will play for Dickie the way they did for Jones, but for different reasons.

--Shouldn't Solomon Elimimian be at Rider camp instead of going around to other camps talking to players about the CBA?   Is there no one in the PA that can do Solomon's job for him.  He needs to be on the field and not the boardroom right now.

--The new deal ends at the same time TSN's contract comes up.  I don't see Sportsnet wanting to get involved with the CFL because of the Blue Jays and the NHL.  Would CBC want back in?  If the answer is no, TSN basically controls the purse-strings and can give the league as thin an offer as possible if they desire.  I guess there is no use worrying about this for three years, but it is something to remember moving forward.

--I am guessing there are no Vegas Golden Knights fans that are disappointed to see St. Louis beat San Jose.  Of course those fans still don't want to admit the team gave up four power play goals on a five minute major to get into the position they did.

--I'd rather have Patrick Marleau win a Stanley Cup than Joe Thornton and you know how I feel about the Leafs.

--The decision to give Vladimir Guerrero a day off on Monday was one of the dumbest things I have seen a pro sports team do.  VGJ is the future.  He is coming off a four homer week. It was a holiday Monday matinee game so I am guessing there were many kids at Rogers Centre.  For some, it might have been their first and only game of the year.  VGJ is who they came to see and someone in the Jays organization said nope, he sits.  What a great way to appease a fan base that is already dwindling.

--The Golden State Warriors or the New England Patriots.  Who has had the better decade?

--What would happen if a Rider fan came on the sidelines and gave Craig Dickenson a shoulder massage or yelled at an opposing player?  Security would haul his or her ass off the field immediately.  Yet there is Drake looking like a complete ass-clown.  He is worse than Spike Lee was in the Knicks heyday.  Its embarrassing and it makes the Raptors look bad.  Somebody in the organization needs to sit him down and tell him to continue sitting and not being a part of the game.

--Are the Raptors going to the NBA Final? I'll be the first to admit I didn't think the Kawhi Leonard trade would be that great for them, but he has taken that team on his back in the playoffs.  If Toronto gets past Milwaukee, will it do for basketball what the Jays did for baseball in Canada when they reached the World Series.  The Raptors have already made Canadian basketball better, but this could take it to a new level.

--Dave Tippett as the new coach of the Oilers?  It's a move that doesn't excite or disappoint me.  I just want results. Is it too late to call John Paddock?

--Why can't the WHL win a game at the Memorial Cup anymore.  Add Prince Albert to the list as their 0-3 mark in Halifax means the WHL champ has lost 13 straight dating back to Kelowna's loss in the 2015 final.  There are many thoughts out there. A lot of them are valid.  What's yours?

--The WCBL(formerly the WMBL)  season starts next week.  It will be great spending some time at Currie Field watching baseball.  Its too bad we couldn't have had games last week when the weather was perfect. If you have never been to a WCBL game, go and enjoy.

--Once again this year, some NHL teams are allowing fans to come and paint the ice with a message or something once the season is over before the ice is taken out. What a great idea!  I'd love to see the Pats do something like this.  It would be a blast for the family.  By the way, I would take no responsibility if the phrase "Phil Andrews Sucks" was found in one of the corners, but some kid might find himself $20 richer!  😃

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






Thursday, May 23, 2019

Riders Day 5 Training Camp Report

Photo: Saskatchewan Roughriders 

The pads were back on for a beautiful fifth day of training camp. The team practiced special teams drills and the quarterbacks had a pretty good day. Receivers K.D. Cannon and Naaman Roosevelt wowed the crowd with some big catches.



ROSTER MOVES



None


INJURY REPORT



Paul McRoberts (illness)
Jordan Reaves (knee)
Mitch Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (undisclosed)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)


PLAY OF THE DAY



Naaman Roosevelt came through with a big 50-yard touchdown tossed by Zach Collaros during the team scrimmage.


QUOTE OF THE DAY



“Zimmermann’s a tough kid. He’s had an ankle (injury), I think a quad (injury). He just keeps playing. He’s out here running gassers at the end of practice and I’m like ‘dude you need to stop running.’ But he’s a tough kid, he just wants to make this team and he’s willing to do anything and everything to do that, so we’ve been really pleased with him.”  – Head Coach Craig Dickenson on German wide receiver Max Zimmermann


TOMORROW



Practice runs from 9 a.m. to noon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Riders Day 4 Training Camp Report



Day four was the warmest day of training camp so far it was also the shortest day of practice. It was marked by some big plays by the quarterbacks, but it was the defence who put an exclamation point on the day with a pick six.


ROSTER MOVES

 None

INJURY REPORT

 Paul McRoberts (illness)
Jordan Reaves (no update)
Mitch Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (undisclosed)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)

PLAY OF THE DAY

 On the very last play of the day Ed Gainey made his presence known with a big interception he returned for a touchdown.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 “I’m a little old school that way. I think the run game sets up the pass game and I believe football is still won by the more physical team.” – Head Coach Craig Dickenson

TOMORROW

Practice runs from 9 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.

(Riders PR)

May 22nd Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate



THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM TUESDAY

 * The Blues netted their second five-goal outing in as many contests to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years.

 * St. Louis is the only team in the expansion era (1967-68) to have been in last place in the overall League standings at any point after its 20th game of the season and rebound to make the Stanley Cup Final. They also did so in their inaugural season, reaching the Final after holding the No. 12 seed through games played Dec. 12, 1967.

* The Bruins and Blues are set to face off in their third Stanley Cup Playoffs series and will meet in the Final for the second time. In 1970, Bobby Orr scored his famous Cup-winning goal to help Boston defeat St. Louis in four games.


BLUES ADVANCE TO THE STANLEY CUP FINAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 49 YEARS


Veterans David Perron (1-1—2) and Ryan O’Reilly (0-3—3) led the way offensively as the Blues, who are in search of the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup championship, tallied five goals for the second straight game to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years and fourth time in franchise history.

 Vladimir Tarasenko extended his point streak to six contests and led the Blues offensively in the Western Conference Final (3-5—8 in 6 GP) - finding the score sheet in each game. He also became just the third player in Blues franchise history to score 30 career playoff goals, joining Hall of Famers Brett Hull (67) and Bernie Federko (35).

* Alex Pietrangelo assisted on Brayden Schenn’s second-period goal. Pietrangelo has collected 13 points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-11—13 in 19 GP), trailing only the Sharks tandem of Brent Burns (5-11—16 in 20 GP) and Erik Karlsson (2-14—16 in 19 GP) for the most among defensemen. In the process, the Blues captain set a new franchise record for points in a single postseason by a defenseman.

 Perron opened the scoring 92 seconds into Game 6, the second time the Blues have done so in the Conference Finals after Ivan Barbashev found the back of the net 35 seconds into Game 4. The Blues improved to 5-0 when scoring in the opening two minutes of a game in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (also Game 6 of R1, Game 3 of R2, Game 6 of R2 and Game 4 of CF).


* With his team entering the final frame with a two-goal lead, Jordan Binnington turned aside all 10 shots he faced in the third period to improve to 12-7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2.36 GAA, .914 SV%, 1 SO). The 2018-19 Calder Memorial Trophy finalist became the fifth rookie netminder in NHL history, and first in 32 years, to be responsible for each of his team's first 12 wins in a playoff year.

* The Blues clinched a series on home ice at Enterprise Center for the third time in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, also doing so against the Jets and Stars in the First and Second Round, respectively. Only two teams in NHL history have clinched four series at home in a playoff year: 1988 Oilers and 2007 Ducks.


STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: ST. LOUIS’ COMEBACK SEASON

The Blues, who ranked last in the overall standings as recently as Jan. 2 when the club was 45% into their 2018-19 campaign (15-18-4, 34 points in 37 GP), look to continue a comeback season unlike any other in NHL history as they pursue the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

 * St. Louis became the seventh team in the NHL’s expansion era to make the playoffs after ranking last overall at any point after New Year’s Day (min. 20 GP), joining the 1976-77 North Stars, 1979-80 Oilers, 1982-83 Maple Leafs, 1987-88 Kings, 1987-88 Maple Leafs and 1996-97 Senators. The Blues are the only team in that group to advance past the opening round of the playoffs.

 * An NHL team has never gone from last place at any point after their 20th game in the regular season to Stanley Cup champion in the same campaign. In fact, only four other teams in the expansion era have reached the Final after ranking among the bottom three in the standings at any point after their 20th game, with the first such instance involving both the Blues – in the franchise’s first NHL season – and the Canadiens in 1968. The others: 1991 North Stars and 2010 Flyers.

 * The 1968 Stanley Cup Playoffs were the first of the expansion era – when the NHL grew from six teams to 12 – and the Blues became the first of the new franchises to reach the Stanley Cup Final after advancing out of the all-expansion West Division with a pair of seven-game victories. In the Final, the Blues would meet the Canadiens – winners of two of the previous three Stanley Cups – and fall in four games despite the heroics of Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in a losing cause. The 1968 Canadiens are the only team in the expansion era to win the Stanley Cup after ranking among the bottom three in the standings at any point after their 20th regular-season game.


STANLEY CUP FINAL OPENS MONDAY IN BOSTON

The Bruins will host the Blues in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, May 27 at TD Garden in Boston.

* This will mark the third all-time playoff meeting between the Blues and Bruins and second in the Stanley Cup Final - Boston’s Bobby Orr scored his legendary Stanley Cup-clinching goal against St. Louis in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final. The teams also met in the 1972 Semifinals, also a four-game sweep by Boston en route to a Cup win.

* Boston holds an overall record of 74-42-29 against the Blues combining regular-season and playoff games (STL: 53-74-18), with each team earning one win in the 2018-19 season.


* Boston (1-0-1) won the first meeting this season between the clubs at TD Garden on Jan. 17, with Tuukka Rask making 28 saves to match the Bruins franchise record for career wins. St. Louis (1-1-0) emerged in the second contest, with Jordan Binnington posting a 31-save performance on Feb. 23 at Enterprise Center - the 14th win of his NHL career - to defeat Rask (28 saves) and the Bruins. Sammy Blais scored the shootout-winner in the latter contest as St. Louis improved to 13-2-0 since its first meeting with Boston, while also ending the Bruins’ season-high winning streak at seven games.

 * Bruins forward David Backes will be making a run at his first Stanley Cup against the team that selected him 62nd overall in the 2003 NHL Draft. Backes tallied 206-254—460 in 727 regular-season games over 10 NHL seasons with St. Louis, serving as captain from 2011 until 2016 when he helped them reach the Western Conference Final.

(NHL Media)


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Day 3 Riders Training Camp Report

Picture: Saskatchewan Roughriders 

The Green and White strapped on the pads for the first time at Coors Light Training Camp leading to some spirited exchanges and some fun in the trenches. The running backs got a lot of touches and the defensive and offensives lines squared off in one-on-one drills.

 ROSTER MOVES

None


INJURY REPORT



Jordan Reaves (no update)
Mitch Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (undisclosed)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)


PLAY OF THE DAY

 Defensive lineman Tresor Mafuta, the Roughriders sixth round pick in the 2018 draft, blasted by offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek in Tuesday one-on-one drills much to the chagrin of Bladek and the delight of his fellow defensive linemen.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We do have a saying if you would, something we want to live by, which is team above self.”– Head Coach Craig Dickenson


TOMORROW

 Practice runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Griffiths Stadium

May 21st Stanley Cup Playoff Report


BLUES RETURN HOME LOOKING TO CLINCH FIRST FINAL APPEARANCE IN 49 YEARS

The Western Conference Final shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6 with the Blues looking to clinch their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since the League expanded beyond 12 teams in 1970-71.

* Over half of St. Louis’ all-time series-clinching wins have taken place on home ice (16 of 29; 55.2%), including both so far in 2019 (Game 6 of R1 vs. WPG and Game 7 of R2 vs. DAL). The Blues own an all-time record of 16-9 in potential series-clinching games as hosts (.640).

* The Blues earned a series-clinching win at home to reach the Final on one prior occasion – a 2-1 double-overtime win over the North Stars in Game 7 of the 1968 Semifinals. They also reached the Stanley Cup Final via road wins in 1969 and 1970.

* St. Louis holds a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series for the 13th time in franchise history, owning a 10-2 series record in the 12 previous instances. The Blues were in the same 3-2 scenario before two of their three trips to the Final, earning a seven-game triumph over the North Stars in the 1968 Semifinals and a six-game win over the Penguins in the 1970 Semifinals.


* In Game 5, St. Louis matched its franchise record for largest margin of victory in a shutout win during the Conference Finals/Semifinals (also 5-0 W in Game 5 of 1970 SF vs. PIT). Overall, the Blues have scored 52 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 GP) – the franchise’s third-highest total in a postseason behind 1986 (64 GF in 19 GP) and 2016 (57 GF in 20 GP).

* The Sharks trail 3-2 in a best-of-seven series for the 15th time, having forced a Game 7 in three of the 14 previous scenarios. They won two of those series, doing so in the 1995 Conference Quarterfinals against Calgary and 2019 First Round versus Vegas.

 * The Sharks own an all-time record of 16-20 in games when facing elimination, including a 4-0 mark in 2019. Only one team in NHL history has reached the Stanley Cup Final after winning at least six elimination games - the 2014 Kings earned seven such victories before facing the Rangers.

 * The Sharks own an all-time postseason record of 7-2 in the contest following a loss by a margin of five or more goals, including a win in Game 5 of the 2019 First Round on the heels of a 5-0 defeat in their previous outing. San Jose is 11-10 all-time immediately following a shutout loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 2-0 mark in 2019.


SHARKS MUST REPLICATE RIVAL KINGS TO REACH FINAL

The Sharks must win three Game 7s to reach the Stanley Cup Final, a feat accomplished by only one team in NHL history – the intrastate rival Kings. In 2014, Los Angeles became the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s en route to the Final.

 * Los Angeles began the 2014 postseason by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit against San Jose, then surrendered series leads against Anaheim (2-0) and Chicago (3-1) before eliminating each opponent with a road win in Game 7. The Kings capped their impressive run with a five-game defeat of the Rangers in the Final.

 * Aside from the 2014 Kings, only one other team in League history has won three Game 7s at any point in a postseason: the 2011 Bruins claimed Game 7 victories in the Conference Quarterfinals against Montreal and Conference Finals versus Tampa Bay before clinching the Cup in a winner-take-all showdown in Vancouver.

 * Sharks goaltender Martin Jones was part of the 2014 Kings roster, appearing in two games as a backup to Jonathan Quick.

BLUES FORWARDS SCHWARTZ, TARASENKO LOOK TO STAY HOT

 * Jaden Schwartz has four goals in the Western Conference Final (4-1—5 in 5 GP) and 12 overall this postseason (12-4—16 in 18 GP). He needs one goal to tie the franchise record for most in a postseason (Brett Hull: 13 in 1990, 12 GP) and one to match Red Berenson (5-2—7 in 1969, 4 GP) for the most by a Blues player in the Conference Finals/Semifinals.

* The franchise record for most goals in any Stanley Cup Playoffs series is eight, a mark set by Hull in the 1990 Division Finals (8-3—11 in 7 GP) and matched in the 1991 Division Semifinals (8-5—13 in 7 GP).

 * Vladimir Tarasenko has collected at least one point in each game of the Western Conference Final (2-5—7 in 5 GP). He has scored 29 career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (29-15—44 in 62 GP), trailing only Hull (67-50—117 in 102 GP) and Bernie Federko (35-66—101 in 91 GP) for the most in franchise history.

* Tarasenko can become the second player in franchise history to collect at least one point in each game of a Conference Finals/Semifinals - Gary Sabourin is the only one to do so (4-1—5 in 1969, 4 GP).

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL QUICK HITS

* The Blues line of Oskar Sundqvist (2-0—2 in 5 GP), Ivan Barbashev (1-1—2 in 5 GP) and Alexander Steen (1-1—2 in 5 GP) has combined for almost a quarter of the Blues’ goals in the Western Conference Final (4 of 18; 22.2%), including the winner in Game 5.

 * Sharks forward Logan Couture leads all players with 14 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (14-6—20 in 19 GP), one shy of establishing a franchise record for most in a postseason. Five of those goals have come against the Blues (5-1—6 in 5 GP), tied for the most by a Sharks player in the Conference Finals (Patrick Marleau in 2010).

 * Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has collected 12 points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-10—12 in 18 GP), trailing only the Sharks tandem of Brent Burns (5-11—16 in 19 GP) and Erik Karlsson (2-14—16 in 19 GP) for the most among defensemen. Pietrangelo is one point shy of setting a franchise record for most in a postseason by a Blues defenseman.


* Craig Berube, who took over as Blues head coach on Nov. 21, 2018, is one win away from becoming the 11th head coach in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final after taking over midseason.

(NHL Media)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Day 2 Riders Training Camp Report



ROSTER MOVES

SIGNED:

International wide receiver Austin Ellsworth
International defensive back Solomon Means

INJURY REPORT

 Jordan Reaves (left practice with injury believed to be severe)
Mitchell Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (hamstring ---expected to miss 10-14 days)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)


PLAY OF THE DAY

 Kyran Moore seemed unstoppable during one-on-one drills continually finding ways to make space between him and the defensive back covering him but one catch in particular during scrimmage saw him pop up his reception then pull it back in, leaving even the defensive backs around him wondering how he did it.


QUOTE OF THE DAY

 “I want my dogs ready to hunt.” – Defensive Coordinator Jason Shivers.


TOMORROW

 Practice runs from 9 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium

(Riders PR)