Thursday, September 30, 2010

Say What??

Regina has been known as being Canada's stolen car capital, Canada's crime capital, having the worst neighbourhood in the country (North Central) according to McLeans Magazine. Things that don't portray the city in a positive light. However, Global's Amanda Ferguson let us know last night that Reginans apparently have the best sex life in Canada. More details will be coming from Amanda on Friday night as Global continues a 5 part series on various topics. I think we will be watching for that report. I say we get the word out on that and promote, promote, promote. Do you not agree?
The Friends of the Riders held their Touchdown Lottery draw tonight and one of the major winners is Regina MP Andrew Scheer who gets a new vehicle. He bought the ticket fair and square. There should be no bitching. Somehow I'm guessing that won't be the case.
I was in a Pats hockey draft last night. I took Taylor Hall in the 4th round thinking I could come back and snap up Jordan Eberle. Pats trainer Greg Mayer beat me to it. Pedersen texted Eberle to let him know he had gone in the draft to which the reply came back "In what round??" I have a bet with a friend of mine that Eberle gets more goals in his rookie season than what John Tavares had. I am confident Ebs can get 25.
Besides Tavares, name me 5 other forwards on the Islanders. Name me 10 players.
When will the work on the Arcola Street bridge get done?
Jose Bautista hits two more home runs giving him 54. A lot of people think he isn't clean. Is that fair or is that to be expected after the steroid era.
Is Bautista the American League MVP?
Will Bautista hit 25 homers next year?
Lebron James is now playing the race card. Does this guy have any credibility left or can we just call him a first class a**hole no matter if he is white, black or whatever. What a clown!
Its Scott Schultz and I on another "Four Seasons Football Friday" on 620 CKRM's "The Sportscage" Friday afternoon from 4-6. I'm gonna have my take on the Henry Burris story. I know Schultzie will throw in his two cents as well.
Have a great Friday and remember --We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

Check Out The Bling!!

Here is the ring that the Chicago Blackhawks were given for winning the Stanley Cup. Fancy!!!

Guess Who is 50 Today

If you are in your mid 40's, you know that you ran home during lunch hour to catch the adventures of Fred and Barney. That is of course until CTV pulled the plug on it. Damn you CTV!!!!

What was your favourite Flintstone episode? I think mine was when they suspected their neighbour Alvin Brickrock had killed his wife in a rather Alfred Hitchcockian mode. The line of the show came to Barney (one of the great actors of our time) when he says to Fred after picking up a book that says "Archeology". "His name isn't Alvin Brickrock," Barney concludes. "Its Archie-Oogly. Classic!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pats Get "W"

Its not how you start, its how you finish. The Regina Pats were gawd-awful in the first 20 minutes of their home game against the Swift Current Broncos. They went into the final 20 down 3-1, but they got three goals in a 77 second span in the 3rd and beat the Broncos 4-3. At times this team didn't look very good and at other times they looked OK. The addition of Thomas Frazee gives them some more punch offensively and Myles Bell and Brandon Davidson do look a lot better than last year. Import blueliner Ricard Blidstrand also didn't look out of place. There is some promise here with this team, but they have to work their tails off if they are going to be successful. I'm sure that first win will give them a lot of confidence though as they head into a Friday game at home against Edmonton and then what will be a tough Saturday night encounter in Saskatoon.


As the Pats were coming out for the 2nd period, the tune they came out too was very familiar. I couldn't put my finger on it until they came out for the 3rd. The Pats entrance song is the same tune that WWE villains Nexus use. I had to You-Tube it when I got home and it turns out it's called "We are One" by 12 Stones. Is this an actual group? I've never heard of them. God, I'm getting old!!

My skin crawls at the thought of David Frost once again hanging around young impressionable kids wanting to learn hockey. Frost is about on the same level of the human food chain as Graham James if you ask me. He assumes an alias to teach kids in California and then tries to worm his way out of it when he is caught. This guy needs to be teaching hockey in the crowbar hotel. He needs other inmates to be using a stick on him for various purposes.


Did you catch the Cito Gaston tribute before the Jays game last night? Is Cito a hall-of-famer? I would say yes! Some will say anyone could have coached those Toronto teams that he led to World Series. If that's the case, I guess Joe Torre doesn't get in because anyone could have managed his Yankee squads to titles and there were many years that he didn't even get that done. By the way, Torre will be a Hall of Famer.


That's all I got. Have a good Thursday!!

Bid on Coach Millers Pants

Remember the pants that Riders head coach Ken Miller wore for the 100th anniversary game. Yes you do, admit it!!! You can now own those pants. Check it out...

The proceeds will go to Jesse's Journey.

What's your bid??

What A Joke!

I wouldn't have given you two cents to go to the NHL exhibition game in Saskatoon this year and it looks like it would have been money saved.
As I thought, the Calgary Flames will not have their marquee player in the lineup tonight when they take on the Islanders at Credit Union Centre. Jarome Iginla is not playing and Miikka Kiprusoff is serving as the back-up goalie. Who else on the Flames would you really want to see?
Did Iggy play last night in Calgary against Phoenix? Could the Flames not have sat Jarome last night and had him in the lineup tonight seeing he is the marquee attraction. I'm sure those at the Saddledome wouldn't have cared knowing they will see him 40 more times this year. NHL teams can dress whoever they choose, but this is a damn poor excuse for trying to grow the fanbase in Saskatchewan as far as I'm concerned.
The Islanders are the home team and they are bringing their star player John Tavares. Considering two of their other top players are hurt (Streit, Okposo) that is a good thing.
If I was promoting this game, I'd have egg on my face today. For those of you who bought tickets, I feel sorry for you. However, I know you likely won't go next year---if there even is a game next year.

Honours For Durant And Fantuz

Saskatchewan Roughrider quarterback Darian Durant and slotback Andy Fantuz have been acknowledged with Player of the Month awards for September. Durant was unanimously selected as the Gibson’s Finest Offensive Player of the Month while Fantuz was unanimously selected as the Gibson’s Finest Canadian Player of the Month.

Durant wrapped up the month of September with a stellar game in Hamilton on Saturday, in the team’s 32-25 victory over the Tiger-Cats where he completed 23 of 31 pass attempts for 418 yards and three touchdowns. The 28-year-old tallied 1,387 passing yards in September after completing 88 of 140 pass attempts and threw five touchdowns. In addition the quarterback added 19 carries for 152 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Fantuz proved he is one of the CFL’s elite receivers as he finished the month with 22 catches for 449 yards and one touchdown. Already this season the Western Ontario product has tallied 60 catches for 944 yards and four touchdowns, putting him just 56 yards away from his first 1,000 receiving yard season.

This marks Durant’s first Player of the Month award this season, while Fantuz received the same honour for the month of July.

A Pleasant Surprise

I went to get my paper yesterday and saw there was something in a plain brown envelope in the box already. I opened up the envelope to find a copy of "The Greatest Grey Cup Ever". That is the book on the 89 Riders written by Rob Vanstone. Its more than just the 89 Riders though. It basically goes through the trials and the tribulations of Canada's team from that emotional 1976 Grey Cup loss at the hands of Tony Gabriel to the equally emotional--albeit for entirely different reasons--2007 Grey Cup victory.

The reason why Rob had dropped off one of the first copies to me was the fact that I helped Rob out in making this book a reality. In January of 08, Rob invited me for lunch at Houston Pizza saying he had a proposition for me. He then proceeded to tell me how much of the work on the book he had done on the 66 Riders was spent transcribing the many lengthy interviews he had conducted. He wanted to know if I would help him out on those interviews and transcribe them so that he had the files right there ready to go when he needed them. After chowing down on some pizza and asking about a thousand questions, we were ready to go. Rob gave me a list of players and contact numbers and away I went. It then got to the point where I asked him about this player or that player that he didn't have. One of them was Brian Walling. Rob had no idea where he was, but after a night of searching I found him and had a great interview with him. I was watching my daughter play softball one Saturday when my cell-phone went off. It was Al Bruno! He was returning a message I had left with his alma-mater down south.

Being a Rider fan, it was great talking to guys of that 89 team like Eddie Lowe ( I could have talked to him forever), Dave Albright and Bobby Jurasin just to name a few. I also had the chance to speak to members of the 1976 team to get their thoughts on that heart-breaking afternoon. Guys like Tom Campana, Steve Mazurak and John Payne. To get their thoughts and memories of that game was quite surreal. I still remember being a 10 year old boy seeing that play and realizing that my dream of seeing the Riders win the Grey Cup had been snuffed out. I had not been born until a week after the 66 game so I had never experienced a Rider Grey Cup win. It was also interesting speaking with members of the 89 Eskimos team that the Riders upset to get there. They had some great quotes and stories. I won't ruin it for you because I want you to read the book, but Tom Richards--the former Edmonton receiver, had what may be one of the funniest lines of all when he was asked how long that loss lingered in his mind.

I thumbed through the book yesterday and it was funny reading it and seeing the quotes and people that I had delivered to Rob who could only then turn it into the magic that only he can.

I can honestly say that this project was one of the most fun things I have done in my broadcasting career and something that was very was also very therapeutic for reasons I won't get into.

If Rob's name is on it, I don't have to tell you that the book is a very good one because even though he is one of my best friends out there, he is also what I consider to be one of the top sports-writers in Canada. Regina is lucky to have someone that is so creative and dedicated to his craft. Many others would have been swallowed up by Toronto or a bigger market, but Rob is staying right here. Its one of the reasons why I think the LP has the best sports department in all of Canada.

If you are a Rider fan, you will want this book and you will want to get extras for friends and family not living in Saskatchewan. It will make for a great Christmas present. I know a few books will be under trees courtesy of me this year. I just wonder if Rob is going to make me pay for those books or if he will just give them to me. I'm sure we'll strike up some kind of deal.
Belated congratulations to Amber Holland. She made it two in a row at the Schmirler Curling Classic on Monday. Amber had a great winter last year and was oh so close to representing Canada in Vancouver. Don't be surprised if she is Saskatchewan's rep at the Scotties again this year and perhaps Team Canada for the 2012 event. Yes, I think the Jennifer Jones train is about to reach a screeching halt this winter after the upheaval that the rink went through in the off-season.
I heard a great discussion on ESPN Radio the other day about the oh so small gap between winning and losing and how it can affect a team. Two examples---the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers. The Falcons are 2-1, but they could easily be 3-0having lost an overtime game in Pittsburgh to start the season. They could also be 1-2 after escaping with an overtime win in New Orleans this past Sunday. Their record of 2-1 doesn't indicate how good of a football team that they are until you start to peel back the layers. The same goes for San Diego. The Chargers are 1-2. They lost in the last seconds to Kansas City when they couldn't punch it over from inside the 5 and they lost to Seattle because they can't cover kicks and even then lost on the game's last play when Phillip Rivers threw an endzone pick. The Chargers should perhaps be 3-0, but two offensive series have them at 1-2 and as a result, they don't feel very good about themselves.
When I translate that to the Riders, I say the record of 8-4 is pretty accurate, but I do wonder if they could have won in Montreal had it not been for that terrible start. Nothing can sugar-coat the losses in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
The Pats are home to Swift Current tonight. I guess I will go check out the Pats and see first-hand how they are looking. I had someone at Sunday's home opener tell me that the improvement in guys like Myles Bell and Brandon Davidson is very noticable. Assistant coach Shaun Sutter was with Pete Paczko and myself on Access 7's "Locker Talk" Tuesday night. He says Bell, if he continues on his pace, has a chance to be a very high draft pick and an elite NHL defenceman. No kidding! I was impressed with Bell last year and can only imagine how good he will be come draft time. One thing you can't argue about is the great defencemen that this team has trotted out during the Parker era. Derek Morris, Barret Jackman, Brad Stuart are just three that come to mind right off the bat. Logan Pyett, Colten Teubert and Filip Novak were no slouches either. Where is Novak these days anyhow??
Would this latest story about the Riders and the too many too many men on the field penalties be getting this much exposure if it weren't for how the Grey Cup ended. I have seen a lot of teams get too many men penalties this year----albeit I'm sure the Riders do lead in that category. Just a thought to consider.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Facing A Familiar Face

Word out of Toronto is that Cleo Lemon will miss Saturday's game against the Riders because of a concussion. If he can't go, it means Dalton Bell will get the call. I hope Dalton doesn't have the same success Steven Jyles had.

I Wonder What The Tip Was

Remember the situation Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant got himself into during training camp when he refused to do the "rookie" thing and carry a veterans pads back into the dressing room after practice. He took a lot of heat for that move before apologizing and doing it. The team got even with him last night. A veterans dinner was held and Bryant was stuck with the cheque. How much was it you may ask-------$54,896. Yup, almost 55 thousand dollars.

How long was the receipt I wonder. How much of it was alcohol sales and like the title says, I wonder how much the tip was.

38 Years Ago

The greatest goal in Canadian hockey history was scored............

SJHL This Week

The Humboldt Broncos are the host team for the 2012 Royal Bank Cup. Many wondered at the start of the season what Dean Brockman’s game plan for the upcoming season would be. Would he trade some of his better players like Andrew Bodnarchuk and Justin Buzzeo to get some young talent that he could use for next year, or would he take a run at the SJHL title this year. The answer may be the latter.

The season is still young, but the Broncos have shown they are more than ready to compete for the Credit Union Cup this year by winning their first four games of the season. They are the lone unbeaten team in the league after two weeks which once again shows the tremendous parity the SJHL has this season.

Hot on the heels of the Broncos are the Melfort Mustangs. They won all three of their games this week thanks to the play of goalie Charles Corsi. Corsi had been playing US college hockey at Dartmouth but decided to return to the ranks of Junior A because he was upset with the amount of playing time he was getting. Head coach Darrell Mann made a deal with Quesnel of the B.C. Hockey League to get Corsi’s rights and so far it has proven to be an outstanding move.

In the Sherwood Division, the Estevan Bruins were expected to be at or near the top of the division ladder and they are on top with a 3-1 record, but they have some company on that top rung in the Yorkton Terriers. Big home wins over Nipawin and Kindersley leave Yorkton tied for first with the Bruins. The two teams will meet in Yorkton this Friday in what will be a big early-season game for both.

Speaking of the Bruins, one of their players revealed this week that an SJHL cancer awareness campaign made him realize he should visit a doctor. Kyle Johnson found a lump on his scrotum. He says he feels fortunate that he was educated by last season’s campaign to raise awareness for testicular cancer and how if affects young men his age. As part of the campaign, a video was produced in which SJHL players were quizzed on their knowledge about the disease. While he still has some follow-ups, he has been given a clean bill of health. His battle may be behind him, but he is urging men his age to be aware of such a thing saying it can happen to anyone at any age.

Eight SJHL players were hoping to impress Hockey Canada brass at the World Junior A Canada West selection camp this past weekend in Penticton, B.C. The eight were part of 41 players who tried to impress the coaching staff including Kindersley’s Larry Wintoneak.

The league has issued one of its lengthiest suspensions in recent memory. La Ronge Ice Wolves forward Justin Ducharme has been handed a 16 game suspension after an incident in La Ronge earlier this month in which Kindersley forward Andrew Dommett suffered head injuries after what is being called a “late, blind side hit”. Ducharme won’t play again until November 19.

Two SJHL teams are in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20. The Humboldt Broncos move from number 17 to number 8 in the country while the Flin Flon Bombers fall from number 4 to number 11.


Regan Nabseth-Melfort Mustangs – The 20 year old forward from Leroy, SK was one of three Mustangs to have a big week offensively. Nabseth had four goals and two assists in three games---all games that the Mustangs won.


Zach McLellan-Battlefords North Stars – The Stars still haven’t hit the win column this year, but the 18 year old rookie from Coquitlam B.C is making an impression for Ken Pearson’s crew. McLellan had 5 points in 3 games this week.


Charles Corsi-Melfort Mustangs – Mustangs coach Darrell Mann made a deal with the Quesnel Millionaires of the BC Junior Hockey League to get the 20 year old from Rosemere, Quebec who left Dartmouth after playing there last season. Corsi won all three of his starts this past week stopping 73 of 83 shots that he faced.


1.HUMBOLDT BRONCOS - The Broncos are the lone unbeaten team in the league after two weeks. The Broncos have shown that while their eyes are on the 2012 RBC that they host that they haven’t forgotten about trying to be there in 2011.

2.LA RONGE ICE WOLVES – Had it not been for a power failure Saturday night, the Ice Wolves may have had a chance to knock Humboldt off and keep the number one ranking. Travis Eggum, Marc-Andre Carre and Doug Lindensmith are making life difficult for opposition defences.

3.MELFORT MUSTANGS – There may be no better trio in the league right now than Regan Nabseth, Brody Haygarth and Cole Gibson. The addition of Charles Corsi in goal is paying huge dividends early for the Mustangs.

4.ESTEVAN BRUINS – The Bruins have jumped out into a tie with Yorkton for first in the Sherwood Division with very balanced scoring. The off-season trade that brought Ben Findlay and Joel Danyluk to Estevan from La Ronge is already paying off as both have had good starts.

5.FLIN FLON BOMBERS – The Bombers had been flying until getting shut down by Weyburn Saturday night. Mike Reagan’s crew is proving they will be very tough to beat if the first four games of the year are any indication.

6.YORKTON TERRIERS – Clarke Breitkreuz and Robbie Ciolfi were expected to do a majority of the scoring, but rookie Zak Majkowski is showing he might be ready to step into a more prominent role with a couple of impressive performances.

7.KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS – The Klippers can’t wait to get back into their home rink as the West Central Events Centre is ready to be used again after last year’s tragic fire. Kindersley started 2-2 on the road and don’t seem to be missing captain Andrew Dommett as much as some people thought they would.

8.BATTLEFORDS STARS – If excitement level had a bigger role in these rankings, the Stars would top the list. They have lost a game in overtime and lost a shootout game this year. Once Ken Pearson’s crew starts putting a 60 minute effort together, they are going to be tough.

9.NOTRE DAME HOUNDS – The Hounds are having a tough time getting the offence going, but they have been strong defensively. If the goals come and the defence keeps playing the way it has started the season, the Hounds will start moving up the rankings.

10.WEYBURN RED WINGS – While a lot of goals have been scored early on in the SJHL season, the Wings aren’t. They are averaging less than 3 a game and Dwight McMillan knows that won’t cut it. He has to be pleased with the first SJHL start by rookie goalie Lucas Feibel as it was a shutout.

11.MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES – Head coach Jamie Fiesel had said he was upset with the play of his veterans. Captain Brayden Metz didn’t disappoint with a 5 point evening against Nipawin. That performance could spur the other veterans to get their game going.

12. NIPAWIN HAWKS – Doug Johnson has his first point as an SJHL coach, but he is still looking for his first win.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pulling A Prank On Hank

That's what he's saying in this story written by Ian Busby of the Calgary Sun..

Henry Burris finds the whole situation ridiculous.

When asked about photos circulating in cyberspace of him and a girl (who’s not his wife) posing shirtless and both wearing bras, the Stamps quarterback can’t believe a birthday prank has gone this far.

The pics — which have caused quite a stir in Saskatchewan where Burris is still Public Enemy No. 1 — were simply a harmless gag, he said.

Despite the online uproar and fan websites lit up with chatter about the images, Burris said the pics are innocent, his wife knows about them, and they are no big deal.

“It was a birthday prank my friends ran on me,” said Burris, of his big day back on June 4. “Now, all of a sudden, I see ones with Gainer (the Roughriders mascot) and Nik Lewis is in one. “It was a harmless birthday prank.

“They blindfolded me and threw a bra on me. Then I took it off and surprise. Next thing I knew, it was that. I don’t know why people are just getting them now. It was back in June.”

There are four photos in total, two of which are with a shirtless woman wearing a bra (one of his friends), while in the other two she has her top on. Burris dons a black bra, sans shirt, in all four.

“Nicole (Burris’ wife) knows everything about when it happened and all the hoopla of it trying to get started now,” he said.

Burris isn’t impressed with the way it has been blown out of proportion, but says he knows how it happened.

“I heard one of the guys sent it out to a buddy in Saskatchewan,” Burris said. “I pretty much know who did it.”

Burris didn’t elaborate on who his friends were or their names, but said he wasn’t angry about it despite the embarrasing situation.

Some Roughrider fans have blown the pics up and even modified them with Nik Lewis’ head on some and displayed them at games at Mosaic Stadium.

SJHL Hands Out Big Time Suspension

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is suspending La Ronge Ice Wolves forward Justin Ducharme for 16 games. The suspension comes after Ducharme delivered what the league calls a "late, blind-side hit" to the head of Kindersley Klipper Andrew Dommett during a game in La Ronge September 19. The hit left Dommett with multiple facial injuries. His return to the Kindersley lineup is not known at this date.

Ducharme will not be eligible to rejoin the Ice Wolves until November 19.

Isn't It Ironic...Don't Ya Think???

The multi-millionaire owner of the Segway company died in a freak accident yesterday when he rode one of the high-tech two-wheel machines off a cliff and into a river.

Former miner Jimi Heselden, 62, plunged into the River Wharfe while riding around his West Yorkshire estate in Boston Spa on a rugged country version of the Segway.

He bought the firm last December and was using one of the machines - which use gyroscopes to remain upright and are controlled by the direction in which the rider leans - to inspect the grounds of his property

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something To "Mitch" About

Nothing too earth shattering here, just some random thoughts and collections after a day of watching football.

--It was 30 degrees out was it. Ok, I'll take your word for that.

--Its just bad luck on the Pats part when they schedule their home opener on the first really nice day we have had. I'm sure many didn't go to the Brandt Centre because they wanted to be outside---or watch the NFL like me.

--What does it say when the Wheat Kings don't dress either of their 20 year old goalies and Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie are still at NHL camps and they beat the Pats who have all their guys back from NHL camp twice. YIKES!!

--I still think the Warriors are the class of the Eastern Division with all apologies to Swift Current Broncos fans.

--A Chargers fan twittered me before the San Diego-Seattle game wondering if I was ready for the ass kicking my team is about to receive. He isn't answering any of the Twitters I have sent him back. Hey, at least I acknowledged Vanstone last week after the Broncos beat the Seahawks.

--Has CFL officiating invaded the NFL. Check this piece of comedy out....
--Was Touchdown Atlantic a success? It bothered me somewhat to hear Brian Williams say there was no mention of the game in Moncton in a Halifax newspaper. Does Halifax have a Moncton mentality and vice-versa like Saskatoon and Regina? If the CFL is going to succeed in the Maritimes, everyone has to get on board.

--I still think the Riders should have been playing in the first regular season game in Atlantic Canada. Then again, the $$$$ that the Argos would lose from probably their biggest home gate of the year is probably the reason why.

--One week to go in the baseball season and there are still six playoff spots to be decided. Thats OK.

--One week and a couple of days until baseball playoffs start and my fears of those baseball playoffs being on Sportsnet One which we can not see have not been eased any.

--Jordan Eberle has a big night for the Oilers in an 8-2 win over Vancouver in a game that was on Sportsnet One. GRRRRRR!!!!!!

--I thought the Islanders were holding training camp in Saskatoon again this year. If they are, I haven't seen a thing or read a thing about it.

--Why do people park vertically in a lot that is horizontal. Doing this definitely makes you a douche!

--I never thought Michael Vick would ever be a good quarterback in the NFL again. He might be better as an Eagle than he was as a Falcon.

--Did you see Rex Ryan take the Gatorade bucket and dump it over the head of Jets player Jason Taylor after their team had beaten Miami last night. I would love to see Ken Miller do that to a Rider after a game. Admit it, so would you!!!!

--The LP's Murray McCormick went to the CFL hall of fame when in Hamilton and wonders aloud how many current Riders will someday be in there. Gene Makowsky is a no-brainer. You have to think Andy Fantuz is on his way. You can't put Darian Durant in that category yet. Would Barrin Simpson? Would Omarr Morgan? Would Jeremy O'Day? I would think Jason Clermont would get in there. Its just a matter of time until Eddie Davis goes in, but he's not with this team. Its a good question.

--When did Alexis Serna start kicking for New Orleans? Perhaps a better question might be could Alexis Serna be kicking for New Orleans next week. I'm guessing Garrett Hartley is done.

--Did I mention that the Seahawks beat the Chargers and are atop the NFC West at 2-1. HA HA HA HA!!!

--Did a plainsclothed Nik Lewis really take a swing at a member of the BC Lions as the teams were leaving the field Saturday night? If he did, lets hope the league does something about it.

--There's no truth to the rumour that La Senza is the game day sponsor for the October 17 home game against Calgary is there?

--I wonder how many dads out there thought Katy Perry was too hot for Sesame Street. More importantly, I wonder how many kids did? Exactly! No son, you can't watch that, but sit up on the couch with Mommy and watch this Jerry Springer guy or Dr. Phil. Puh-leeze!

--Who are the Jays going to hire to replace Cito Gaston as manager? I forgot that he was stepping down at the end of the season. The rumour mill has former Expo 3rd baseman Tim Wallach and my all time favourite baseball player--former Cubs 2nd baseman Ryne Sandberg as two candidates. Part of me wants to see Sandberg managing the Cubs next year, but part of me doesn't. I want Ryno to do for the Cubs what Kent Austin did for the Riders. Oh wait, Sandberg didn't win a World Series for the Cubs. He was close though. Damn you Steve Garvey in 84.

--Line of the day on the NFL on Fox pre-game show. Frank Caliendo imitating John Madden says the Viking receivers are so bad that they went out with Jets receiver Braylon Edwards last week and couldn't catch a buzz.

--Does anyone really care about the Commonwealth Games? Until this story broke about the filthy conditions in Delhi, I didn't even know they were about ready to start. Is CTV or CBC broadcasting the event if our athletes do go?

--Would Wade Redden fit in with the Oilers?

--I am in desperate need of a haircut. That must get done Monday.

--When there's blue stuff in the toilet, does it make Sunday morning just a little better for those of you that do excessive partying on Saturday night? Maybe I don't want to know the answer to that!

The Dressler Catch

Yahoo's Andrew Buchholtz talks about the Weston Dressler touchdown at the end of the first half and says football fans shouldn't be surprised at what the little guy from Bismarck can do. Read on.

Another Nailbiter

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders want to start marketing products (ie: Fantuz Flakes), I have a suggestion. How about Rider heart pills? Once again, the /=S=/ did not make it easy on themselves or the Rider Nation watching as it went right down to the last play before victory was theirs as they beat the Ti-Cats 32-25. Here are my thoughts.

--Why does this team sleepwalk through the first quarter? Does Wes Craven run things in that opening 15 minutes because its a complete horror-show.

--I don't want to watch another Rider road game this year with Gord Miller and Matt Dunigan. Speaking of Dunigan, what the hell was with the Marcel Bellefeuille eyes comment. CREE-PEE!!!!!

--The Weston Dressler TD catch at the end of the first half was the play of the year this season as far as the Riders are concerned. What a great call!! Where's the Doug Berry detractors today?

--Where are the Ken Miller detractors? What a great challenge on the DeAndra Cobb fumble at the goal-line. That play should have ended up being a Rider TD as whoever recovered it (Frazier??) would have taken that ball back for six.

--Did anyone catch the reaction of Hamilton defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall on Rob Bagg's 70 yard TD. The endzone replay from TSN shows Marshall flipping out once Bagg catches the ball because of the broken coverage. Priceless! Speaking of the TSN endzone camera, watch how the one of the refs actually helps out on that play by running into the Hamilton defensive back thus freeing up Dressler on his TD at the end of the first half. OOPS!

--With the exception of the one play (and what a play it was), did Stevie Baggs have any impact out there? I would dare to say Joel Bell won that matchup.

Other thoughts from Saturday

--What was worse. The Lions-Stamps game (end result not counting) or UFC 119?
--To those who watched UFC, have you ever seen a bigger cut than the one Evan Durham sustained. HOLY CRAP!!
--Frank Mir's knee saved what might have been the worst "fight" I have ever seen. I almost fell asleep.
--To those watching the football game, did Henry Burris seem a little pre-occupied about other things that may or may not be happening?????
--With the Calgary loss and the Stamps having two against Montreal coming up, it would seem as if the October 17 game is larger and larger and larger.

Its time to watch some NFL. Gee, I would hate to see the Cowboys go 0-3.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Josh Harding's Season Is Over

From Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Wild backup goalie Josh Harding has torn the ACL and MCL in his right knee and is likely out for the rest of the season, according to the team. He will undergo reconstructive surgery on the ACL after his MCL heals a bit.

When Erik Johnson tore his ACL and MCL in 2008, he was given a 6-to-9 month timetable. I talked to St. Louis Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford, and he said Johnson didn't start skating until the following June after the injury took place in September. Johnson did wait a few months for surgery so his MCL would heal.

"I heard the pop. I kind of went into shock. ... I was hoping it wasn't this," said Harding, who said he's not ruling out a return this season. "It's going to be a battle. I'm ready to take on that battle."

Harding was injured Friday night in the first period of the Wild's exhibition game in St. Louis when forward Brad Boyes accidentally fell on his leg.

A-C Astounds Again

After returning from his sternum injury, Anthony Calvillo's Alouettes beat the Eskimos, but A-C said he wasn't happy with his performance. He couldn't have said that after last nite's game. Calvillo shredded the Bombers for almost 500 yards in passing and five touchdowns in a 44-40 win. That 5th touchdown took some major league onions as he called for the deep ball on a 3rd and 4 and ended up throwing perhaps his best pass of the night over two Bomber defenders right into the hands of Brian Bratton for a touchdown.
Bomber fans will argue that Calvillo should never have gotten the chance to throw that pass because Jamel Richardson had fumbled the ball away after a hellacious hit by Ian Logan. They might be right. Its becoming more and more troublesome to me that every week we are talking about a controversial decision by the referees. The CFL has to do something to correct this. It isn't an anomaly, its now a recurring theme and its been this way for a while.
Ben Cahoon caught his 1000th pass in the victory. In fact, it came the play before the Bratton touchdown. I threw this out there on the Sportscage yesterday with Scott Schultz about Cahoon. The question being is Cahoon the greatest Canadian receiver the CFL has ever seen. I know full well that in Saskatchewan, Rider fans are going to say that honour goes to Ray Elgaard. I understand that and would probably vote that way too. However, if you take your loyalty out of the equation, one could make a solid argument for Cahoon. One argument you can't take away though is that there has been no better quarterback-receiver combo in this league than Calvillo to Cahoon. There have been great combos, but none equal that one.
I don't have to tell you its a big game for the Riders today as they are in Hamilton. Its a big game for the hometown Tabbies too as they and keep the pressure on Montreal. I think this will be a very good football game and it will be one of those ones that the Riders pull out in the 4th quarter.
How about the U of R Rams! They went into Vancouver and pasted UBC 41-6. Adrian Charles had 193 yards for the winners who are now 4-1 on the season. Reginans can't complain about their football teams this year. The Riders, Rams and Thunder are all championship calibre. Its been a long time since we could say that around here. In fact, have we ever had a chance to say that in Regina. By the way, I thought that game was supposed to be live on Access last nite. What happened??
I talked about Scott Schultz co-hosting the Cage with me yesterday. The man is a natural and just keeps getting better and better. There is only one Schultz that Saskatchewan football fans should depend on for analysis of the game and I'm not talking about the big guy in Toronto.
Huge news for the Pats as Carter Ashton is returned to the team by Tampa. I know many thought he wasn't coming back and some of those people can be found at the Brandt Centre. Ashton makes the Pats a much better team and they got some help with the pick-up of Thomas Frazee from Moose Jaw. I guess that's what you get when you get Chad Lang involved. He ruins the rivalry by making a trade. Just kidding Chad!!
Congrats to a friend of mine who is moving home. Scott Clark, the first media and public relations man for the Pats under the Parker regime, is moving back to Saskatchewan after spending eight years with the Blue Jays. He has been named the first general manager of the new Moose Jaw multiplex. Clark is a good man with a shrewd mind. He also used to play a mean centerfield for my slowpitch team. This is an excellent hire. I'm sure it will be an interesting lifestyle change going from Toronto and working for the Blue Jays to the mean streets of Moose Jaw, but he'll survive. Someone may have to remind him though that if he starts work at 830, he doesn't have to leave the house at around 6. I'm thinking he won't have many traffic problems to deal with in Moose Jaw.
Before leaving Yorkton yesterday, I stopped in at a 7-11 to grab some water for the trip home. Imagine my surprise and my joy when I saw the cover of the latest MAXIM Magazine. ANNA KOURNIKOVA!!!!!! She has re-confirmed why she is an all Scruffy team first ballot hall of famer. YOWZA!!!
The Mrs and I ordered Chinese food from our favourite place to get Chinese last night. we've been giving a lot of business to the local neighbourhood restaurant and we may be giving more in the future. I don't know if they have changed something up at this place, but its just not as good anymore. The neighbourhood place is better and much cheaper. Maybe the last couple of visits have just seen us order at the wrong time, but its two strikes. Do you have two strikes or have you just stopped going to a certain business because of bad service or something else. The Mrs. has a long standing vendetta against one south end Regina restaurant because of an incident that had to have happened over 10 years ago. She swore she would never be back and she hasn't. It really sucks because I love going to this place.
How many of you have decided to take one last run to the lake to spend the weekend at the cabin? I know of a few. Why not?
Get out there and enjoy your day. I think I'm hosting the post-game show on CKRM from the Four Seasons after the Rider game today, but I'm not 100 percent certain of that. If I am, I'll talk to you over the air then. If not, I'll give you my thoughts tomorrow as its going to be a late night watching UFC after the Rider game. Have a good one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Happening In Cougarville?

Home Events
Women’s Basketball – vs. Briercrest College, Wednesday (5:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women’s Volleyball – University of Regina Invitational, Friday to Sunday at CKHS
Women’s Hockey – vs. Alberta, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Men’s Basketball – vs. University of Regina Alumni, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at CKHS Gym 2
Women’s Hockey – vs. Team Saskatchewan Under-18, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Women’s Hockey – vs. Team Manitoba Under-18, Sunday (10:00 a.m.) at The Co-operators Centre

Away Events
Men’s Hockey – at Alberta, Friday (7:00 p.m.) in Edmonton, Alta.
Rams Football – at UBC, Friday (7:00 p.m. PDT) in Vancouver, B.C.
Cross Country – at Roy Griak Invitational, Saturday (9:50 a.m. CDT) in Minneapolis, Minn.
Women’s Soccer – at Lethbridge, Saturday (12:00 p.m.) in Lethbridge, Alta.
Men’s Hockey – vs. Calgary, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) in Edmonton, Alta.
Women’s Soccer – at Calgary, Sunday (12:00 p.m.) in Calgary, Alta.

Pats-Warriors Make Deal

The Regina Pats are proud to announce the acquisition of 20 year old centre, Thomas Frazee, as well as a 4th round Bantam pick in 2011 and a 6th round pick in 2012 from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a 2nd round Bantam pick in 2012 and a 5th in 2013.

Frazee had a solid regular season with the Warriors in 2009-10 scoring 20 goals and accumulating 55 points in 17 games. He broke out in the Warriors playoff series with the Hitmen last season with 10 points in 7 games.

The 6’4” centre began his career with the Portland Winter Hawks as a 16 year old in 2006-07 and was a 1st round pick of the ‘Hawks in 2005. Tomas was a free agent invitee to Dallas Stars camp this past month where he played in 3 games, picking up an assist.

From The Road

Greetings from Yorkton. Home of the Terriers who beat Kindersley on the Access 7 SJHL game of the week. I was part of that broadcast as I did colour with Mike Stackhouse. I had a severe coughing attack about 40 minutes before the game. It made me wonder if I was going to be able to continue or if I was going to have find the Yorkton hospital. When the asthma hits you, life can sometimes be a little overbearing. Got through it though and that's the main thing. Hopefully no repeats today when I host "The Sportscage" on 620 CKRM from 4-6.
Who says the goalscorers should get all the ink? The game last night in Yorkton was proof positive why each team needs that energy guy. Yorkton looked bad in the first period last night, but in the 2nd, they got a couple of good shifts out of Keon Vick and it turned the game in the Terriers favour. Vick was rewarded for his efforts by being named the 2nd star. Those guys that just go out with that Tasmanian Devil approach hitting everything that moves and not stopping eventually get some chances and he did capitalizing on one of them.
If you have not seen the season premiere of "The Big Bang Theory" and you are a fan, then find it online and watch. Warning though---get ready to laugh so hard that you may cry. Oh my god that show had me in stitches last night. I won't ruin it for those who didn't see it, but it was one of the funniest half hours of TV I have seen in a long time.
Making the trip to Yorkton just validates why I love my satellite radio. A little NFL talk, a little NHL talk, a little Dierks Bentley, George Strait and Miranda Lambert, a little Ratt, Def Leppard and Damn Yankees, I even caught a little Debbie Gibson on the 80's channel.
I hate hotel showers.
Have hotels changed their pillows or something? The last two I have stayed in have actually had comfy pillows to sleep on.
Any time you need tire work done on your vehicle, I would highly recommend KAL Tire. They do a good job and you won't have any problems. Thanks to the group on University Park Drive for helping me out before heading to Y-Town.
Time to head back to YQR. As I said, I'm hosting the Cage today since Rod Pedersen is off to Hamilton. Its Four Seasons Football Friday so I'll be joined by Scott Schultz. We'll tee you up for the Rider game tomorrow and we won't forget about the Rams-UBC game (that one is live on Access tonight at 8 I believe) and we won't forget about the Pats season opener in Brandon. Until then amigos....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Changes on The Rider D

With injuries to Chunky Adams, Brent Hawkins and Daniel Francis. the Riders are forced to make some lineup changes on the defensive side of the ball. Montez Murphy, Ryan Lucas and Kye Stewart are all on the active roster. Head Coach Ken Miller is also activating Ryan Grice-Mullen and Joel Bell with Nick Hutchins coming off.

With Lucas coming onto the roster, could we see an all-Canadian front four at some point on Saturday (Luc Mullinder, Keith Shologan, Shomari Williams and Lucas). When was the last time a team had an all Canadian d-line?

Really?? Part 2

Is this just another example as to how the education system might be failing some. What's next? Read on!

Bautista Hits 50

Jose Bautista has become the first major leaguer to hit 50 homers in a season since Prince Fielder and Alex Rodriguez did it in 2007. Bautista hit number 50 this afternoon in a game versus Seattle.


It will give the game the exposure it needs in the U-S, but do we really need this?


The rival Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will be featured in a reality show as part of their showdown in the Winter Classic.

HBO will air four hour-long episodes in its "24/7" franchise before and after the Jan. 1 game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

The NHL and the network announced Thursday that the series will premiere Dec. 15 and air on each of the next three Wednesdays.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Somebody's Got Some "Splainin" To Do

Perhaps I should be flattered, but I'm not. In fact, I'm a little choked. No, I'm a lot choked. Why is that you may ask? I would like you to take a look at the story that I wrote for the Riders on about Ken Miller's reaction to the overwhelming criticism he received for his decision to punt instead of kick the game winning field goal against the Stamps last Friday. Take a good read of this story.

OK, now that you have done that. I would like you take a story written by "The Canadian Press". A story that appeared on both the CFL website and on TSN.

Is this not basically the same story? Don't get me wrong, its nice to have a national news service take my story off a team website, edit this, add that and publish it as their own, but while I get paid by the Riders to write stories for them, I do not get paid to do stories for the Canadian Press even though I obviously have. As I let CP know in an e-mail after seeing this, I will gladly do stories do them for well and to please send me what information is needed. I would like to know who actually wrote this story. Well, I guess I know the answer because I did, but I would like to know who actually penned this story to CP and shuffled it off as their own. That person is guilty of committing a huge violation when it comes to ethics in journalism as far as I'm concerned. I'm just wondering now if I will get an e-mail back from CP and if so, just what it will say. BRUTAL!!!
Speaking of brutal, I finally saw the Jason Jimenez hit on Brent Johnson from Saturday's game in B.C between the Lions and Ti-Cats. What a cheap shot. Jimenez tried to end the career of Johnson much like he ended the career of a Calgary player a couple of years ago. Johnson should have gotten up and beaten the crap out of Jimenez. What a coward! I don't like Nik Lewis, but I would never hope a career-ending injury for him (unless it was his loss of tongue), but when it comes to Jimenez, I would hope somewhere someday that a defensive lineman does to him what he likes doing and he ends up rolling around on the turf clutching his knee knowing his football days are over.
The LP's Craig Slater had an interesting tidbit in his baseball column in Wednesday's Leader-Post. He said the Seattle Mariners are hitting a major league low .234 this season. It makes you wonder how bad the Mariners would be if it weren't for Ichiro Suzuki and his 314 average. Here's another interesting tidbit that Slater missed, but I found courtesy USA Today. Reds first baseman Joey Votto has had over 500 at bats this year and unless he did it from Sunday on, not one of those 500 plus at bats have ended with an infield pop-up. That's unreal!
Why isn't there a Taco Time in East Regina?
What is the over/under on Pats wins this year? 27? If Carter Ashton doesn't come back, does that number go as low as 20? I don't think he is coming back----at least not for a while.
There is no way Carey Price survives the season in Montreal. He gets booed in the first pre-season game. SACRE BLEU! The only person that might get more abuse in Canada than the starting goalie of the Habs when he isn't loved by the fan base is the starting quarterback of the Riders when he struggles.
How bout the fact we can't see Jordan Eberle play any exhibition games because all the Oilers pre-season games are on Sportsnet One. Correction--TSN has the Oilers/Tampa game on tonight, but still. This is something that must be fixed and very soon. Sportsnet One has gone over as big as new Coke so far.
The weather network was calling for 26 degrees on Sunday yesterday, but now the forecast high is 21. I'm thinking what--16 or 17 degrees on Sunday.
Access 7 has another live SJ game tonight. It comes from Yorkton as the Terriers take on Kindersley. I'll be a part of that in some manner.
Those who see their limits are those who stop stepping forward.

WHL Eastern Conference Preview


Brandon Wheat Kings
General Manager / Head Coach: Kelly McCrimmon
2010 pre-season: 4gp, 3-1-0-0
2009-10 Record: 50-18-1-3, 104 pts (1st in East Div., 2nd in Conf.) GF: 321 GA: 204
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 9th (21.9%) PK 17th (76.8%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in five games to Calgary in WHL Eastern Conference Final.
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Matt Calvert 68gp-47g-52a-99pts
Brayden Schenn 59gp-34g-65a-99pts
Scott Glennie 66gp-32g-57a-89pts

Up Front: The Wheat Kings lose a large number of forwards from last season’s offensive juggernaut, but still return a few key pieces to their attack, including Dallas Stars prospect Scott Glennie, who has put up an impressive 217 points over his three WHL seasons in Brandon. Brayden Schenn could be back in the fold, should he not stick with the Los Angeles Kings. If Schenn returns, bet on him being among the WHL scoring leaders yet again. Also returning are veterans Shayne Wiebe and Mark Stone, who will both be expected to take on a bulk of the offensive load. Sophomores Brenden Walker and Jesse Sinatynski will step up into bigger roles for the Wheat Kings this season, as will Calgary Flames’ 2010 draft pick Michael Ferland. 20-year-old David Toews, the brother of Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews, should have in impact after joining the Wheat Kings from the NCAA’s University of North Dakota.

On The Blue Line: Similar to their forward situation, the Wheaties lose a number of big names on the blue line from last year’s team, including veterans Colby Robak and Travis Hamonic, and Swedish standout Alex Urbom. Returning veterans Brodie Melnychuk, Mark Schneider and Darren Bestland all have 100+ games of WHL experience, meaning they will lead what will be a younger Wheat Kings’ blue line this season. Sophomore Ryley Miller will need to take on a bigger role this season while continuing to provide toughness and a physical presence.

Goaltending: Jacob DeSerres and Andrew Hayes, both 20, return to the fold, ensuring the Wheat Kings have a veteran presence in the net. However, it’s not likely that the team will keep two 20-year-old goaltenders, meaning a spot will open up for one of the talented youngsters waiting in the wings. 18-year-old Ty Rimmer got into one game last season for the Wheat Kings, but 17-year-olds Liam Liston and Corbin Boes are also candidates for a spot on the roster.

Player to Watch: Mark Stone
The graduation of several of the Wheat Kings’ top offensive players opens the door for the likes of Mark Stone to step into a much bigger role. The 6’3”, 200-lb Winnipeg, MB, product enters his third WHL season after being selected by the Ottawa Senators in the 2010 NHL Entry draft. A big-bodied, gritty player in the power forward mold, Stone boasts a good shot, solid puck skills and a willingness to go to the net. Having already put up good numbers in a more limited role over the last two seasons, expect Stone to become a regular contributor on the score sheet for the Wheat Kings this season.

Moose Jaw Warriors
Director, Hockey Operations: Alan Millar
Head Coach: Dave Hunchak
2010 pre-season: 7gp, 5-2-0-0
2009-10 Record: 33-27-5-7, 78 pts (4th in East Div., 8th in Conf.) GF: 243 GA: 247
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 6th (23.4%) PK 16th (77.2%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in seven games to Calgary in first round.
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Quinton Howden 65gp-28g-37a-65pts
Jason Bast 60gp-33g-31a-64pts
Brendan Rowinski 68gp-30g-31a-61pts

Up Front: Even though the Warriors lose heart & soul veteran Jason Bast to graduation, the team returns an impressive group of forwards that will ensure a dangerous offense in Moose Jaw. Leading scorer Quinton Howden is back to lead the attack. The Florida Panthers’ first-rounder is poised for a dominant campaign after averaging a point per game last season. Also back are Brendan Rowinski, Dylan Hood and Thomas Frazee, who all topped the 20-goal mark last year. All three, along with Spencer Edwards, are 20 years old, meaning the Warriors have good options to fill out their overage contingent. Sophomore Antonin Honejsek should step into a larger role this season while Czech rookie Michal Hlinka has impressed in pre-season play, and adds more scoring depth to a strong forward unit.

On The Blue Line: The Warriors shaved off 105 goals-against last season from the previous season thanks to an improved, more experienced defense. With up to five defensemen returning from last year’s team, plus the addition of veteran Collin Bowman from Kelowna, the Warriors should continue to improve defensively this season. NHL-drafted rearguards Dylan McIlrath and Kendall McFaull, and returning blue liners Connor Cox and Dallas Ehrhardt are all back and looking to build on last season’s improvements. Promising rookie Morgan Reilly also looks capable of contributing. Already a physical force and intimidating presence, McIlrath will be expected to increase his contributions offensively this season while continuing to play his punishing style. Adding Bowman from the Rockets gives the Warriors plenty of playoff experience on the blue line.

Goaltending: The Warriors parted ways with last season’s starter, Jeff Bosch, while bringing in 20-year-old veteran Thomas Heemskerk from Everett to take on the top job. Heemskerk provides the Warriors with top-caliber goaltending, considering he led all WHL netminders in save percentage last season. With last season’s back-up Brandon Glover not returning, 17-year-old rookie Brandon Stone will slot into the back-up role this season.

Player to Watch: Dylan McIlrath
A solid defensive defenseman, McIlrath has built a reputation as one of the toughest and most intimidating blue liners in the WHL. Selected 10th overall by the New York Rangers at the 2010 NHL draft, McIlrath has a big frame, huge wing span, and can hit like a freight train. Yet, he also boasts fluid skating skills and footwork for such a big presence. As strong a presence as he is in his own zone, McIlrath has untapped offensive potential which began to emerge towards the end of last season.

Prince Albert Raiders
General Manager / Head Coach: Bruno Campese
2010 pre-season: 4gp, 2-1-0-1
2009-10 Record: 32-35-3-2, 69 pts (5th in East Div., 9th in Conf.) GF: 230 GA: 249
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 14th (18.3%) PK 8th (80.9%)
2010 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Craig McCallum 72gp-27g-45a-72pts
Brandon Herrod 70gp-37g-28a-65pts
Dustin Cameron 71gp-30g-27a-57pts

Up Front: The Raiders lost two of their top three scorers from last year to graduation and dealt their fifth-leading scorer, Ryan Harrison, to Medicine Hat. However, the team returns offensive power in the form of 37-goal man Brandon Herrod and 27-goal man Igor Revenko. Both veterans will be counted on to equal or better their offensive numbers from last season. Also back is talented pivot Justin Maylan and sophomore Mark McNeill. McNeill could step into a much larger offensive role for the Raiders this season after a good showing as a 16-year-old last year. 17-year-old Todd Fiddler, acquired in the Ryan Harrison trade, could add offensive punch to the Raiders after posting 44 goals and 93 points to lead the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League last season, while promising 16-year-old Mike Winther heads up a solid group of young guns in Prince Albert.

On The Blue Line: The Raiders return up to six rearguards from last season, including veterans Jordan Rowley, Nathan Deck and Ryan Button. Those three vets combined for 23 goals and 120 points last season from the point, and should be able to produce offense again this season from the blue line. Also back are sophomores Emerson Hrynyk, Tyler Yaworski and Harrison Ruopp, who should see more responsibility with a season under their belts. The Raiders owned the WHL’s eighth-ranked penalty killing unit last season, but will look to improve their 5-on-5 defensive play in an effort to snap a three-year playoff absence.

Goaltending: Veteran Jamie Tucker, 19, looks to be the main man in the Raiders’ net following the graduation of Garrett Zemlak. Tucker was acquired from Vancouver prior to last season’s trade deadline and got into 11 games for the Raiders, posting a 4-5 record with a .891 save percentage. He should be able to handle a heavy workload in the Raiders’ cage. 17-year-old rookie Eric Williams, the Raiders’ fourth-round Bantam pick in 2008, will take over the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Mark McNeill
The Raiders’ first-round pick (5th overall) in 2008, McNeill appeared in 68 games as a 16-year-old, potting nine goals and 24 points. The 6’2”, 210-lb NHL Draft-eligible center is a highly intelligent player with outstanding hockey sense, and the ability to create time and space for himself and his line mates. Using his big frame and his strong skating and puck skills, McNeill is very good at protecting the puck. A very well-rounded player, McNeill will surely play an important role in the Raiders’ offense this season.

Regina Pats
General Manager: Chad Lang
Head Coach: Curtis Hunt
2010 pre-season: 6gp, 1-4-1-0
2009-10 Record: 30-35-3-4, 67 pts (6th in East Div., 10th in Conf.) GF: 246 GA: 278
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 4th (25.5%) PK 13th (78.6%)
2010 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Jordan Eberle 57gp-50g-56a-106pts
Jordan Weal 72gp-35g-67a-102pts
Matt Strueby 69gp-37g-22a-59pts

Up Front: With the departure of 2010 WHL Player of the Year Jordan Eberle and veterans Matt Strueby and Brett Leffler, the Pats will need to find a way to replace the 105 combined goals those three provided. Fortunately, the team returns 18-year-old Jordan Weal, fresh off a 35-goal, 102-point campaign, and Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder Carter Ashton. Weal and Ashton will need to generate a large chunk of offense. Sophomore Hampus Gustafsson should be able to build on a solid rookie campaign where he tallied 14 times, while veteran sparkplug Garrett Mitchell will also need to take on a bigger role offensively in addition to providing leadership and energy. Dane Muench, who got into a handful of games for Swift Current last season, has impressed in pre-season with his goal-scoring prowess. If he can carry that offense into the regular season, he could add valuable scoring depth.

On The Blue Line: The Pats return a number of rearguards from last year’s squad. Sophomore Brandon Davidson heads up what will be a young but talented defense corps in Regina. Davidson, a sixth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2010, impressed as a rookie last season, posting 34 points and a team-leading +15 rating in 59 games. Joining him is veteran Cody Carlson, who put up 28 points in 59 games for the Pats, and sophomores Myles Bell, Tyler Borstmayer, and Mitch Spooner, who should all take on more responsibility this season. Swedish rookie Ricard Blidstrand, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, has shown he could slide into a top-four spot on the Pats’ blue line.

Goaltending: Dawson Guhle and Damien Ketlo, the Pats’ goaltending tandem from last season, are both eligible to return. Both Ketlo and Guhle will look to rebound from difficult campaigns last year. The Pats allowed the fourth-highest number of goals last season with 278 goals against, and will definitely need to cut that number down if they are to push their way back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

Player to Watch: Jordan Weal
Weal enjoyed another outstanding season with the Pats last year, posting 35 goals and 102 points to become the first 17-year-old player to crack the 100-point mark since Pavel Brendl accomplished the feat for Calgary in 1998-99. Picked in the third round (70th overall) by the Los Angeles Kings this summer, Weal has established himself as one of the WHL’s premiere playmakers. With the graduation of Jordan Eberle, Weal becomes the centerpiece of the Pats offense for the upcoming season.

Saskatoon Blades
General Manager / Head Coach: Lorne Molleken
2010 pre-season: 6gp, 4-1-0-1
2009-10 Record: 46-19-3-4, 99 pts (2nd in East Div., 3rd in Conf.) GF: 258 GA: 227
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 19th (16.5%) PK 7th (80.9%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in six games to Brandon in second round
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Derek Hulak 72gp-31g-53a-84pts
Walker Wintoneak 70gp-25g-49a-74pts
Stefan Elliott 72gp-26g-39a-65pts

Up Front: The Blades may have lost their top two scorers from last season with Derek Hulak and Walker Wintoneak both graduating, but they still have scoring depth among their returning forwards. 20-year-olds Gaelan Patterson, Sena Acolatse, Jeremy Boyer and Marek Viedensky are all eligible to return. However, they are among a group of eight overagers that will need to be whittled down to three by October. Veterans Curtis Hamilton, Josh Nicholls and Darian Dziurzynski return to provide some offense and leadership, while sophomore Brent Benson will look for a bigger role in the offense. Rookies Lukas Sutter, a member of Team USA’s Under-18 squad, and skilled 16-year-old Ryan Olsen could step in and have an impact as well.

On The Blue Line: Though the Blades will be younger on the blue line this season, they possess some very talented rearguards that should help keep them among the League’s best defensive teams. Led by 20-year-old vet Teigan Zahn, the Blades return five rearguards who played at least 40 games last season. Colorado Avalanche prospect Stefan Elliott should again be among the WHL’s top offensive defensemen, while youngsters Duncan Siemens, Dalton Thrower and Tyler Kizuik will take on more responsibility after solid rookie seasons last year.

Goaltending: The Blades return their top tandem from last season, with 20-year-old Steven Stanford and 19-year-old Adam Morrison both back. Stanford has proven his worth as a No.1 goaltender, while Philadelphia Flyers prospect Morrison also has the talent to take on the starting job. Should Stanford or Morrison be moved, 17-year-old Adam Iwan could step in and take on the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Duncan Siemens
The Blades’ first-round pick (3rd overall) in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, Siemens is considered a top prospect for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’3”, 192-lb rearguard is a huge physical presence on the blue line, and a player who is very difficult to play against. A fearsome hitter, Siemens punishes opposing forwards and plays a solid game in his own zone. The Sherwood Park, AB, product also possesses strong skating ability and can move the puck effectively. Having enjoyed a strong rookie season as a 16-year-old last year, look for Siemens to establish himself as a key cog on the Blades’ blue line this season..

Swift Current Broncos
General Manager / Head Coach: Mark Lamb
2010 pre-season: 7gp, 2-5-0-0
2009-10 Record: 37-30-1-4, 79 pts (3rd in East Div., 7th in Conf.) GF: 231 GA: 232
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 18th (17.5%) PK 4th (84.0%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in four games to Brandon in first round
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Cody Eakin 70gp-47g-44a-91pts
Justin Dowling 72gp-32g-46a-78pts
Michael Stickland 69gp-25g-32a-59pts

Up Front: The Broncos return a solid group of forwards who should be able to put pucks in the net this season. Seven of the team’s top eight scorers from last year are eligible to return, including 47-goal man Cody Eakin and shifty 20-year-old pivot Justin Dowling, who could both be among the WHL’s top scorers this season. Veterans Brad Hoban, Dillon Wagner and Taylor Vause provide nice offensive depth while sophomore Adam Lowry is poised for a bigger role this season after an impressive year as a 16-year-old rookie. 20-year-old Czech Stepan Novotny is also eligible to return, and would add another potent offensive weapon to the Broncos’ arsenal should he be in their plans.

On The Blue Line: The Broncos return up to six experienced rearguards from last year’s team. The trade of 20-year-old Travis Bobbee leaves 19-year-olds Kyle Verdino and Joel Rogers as the elder statesmen in Swift Current. Verdino and Rogers have 314 combined games of WHL experience between them. 17-year-old sophomore Reece Scarlett, who is eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, also possesses good offensive skills and could help generate scoring from the back end. Returnees Graeme Craig and Jordan Evans add defensive depth, with Evans having some offensive upside that may help negate the loss of Bobbee. Tanner Muth, acquired in exchange for Bobbee, is another young and promising rearguard. At 6’1”, 191-lbs, Muth adds another big body to what will be a physically imposing defense corps in Swift Current.

Goaltending: The Broncos moved 20-year-old veteran Morgan Clark, meaning that fellow overager Mark Friesen will take on the top job in the Broncos’ net this season. Friesen has shown he is a very capable goaltender, having posted consistent numbers throughout his WHL career. 17-year-old rookie Austin Smith, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2008, will take over the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Cody Eakin
Eakin established himself as one of the WHL’s top players after breaking out for 47 goals and 91 points last season. The 19-year-old Washington Capitals prospect comes into the 2010-11 season having earned a Calder Cup ring after helping the Caps’ AHL squad, the Hershey Bears, win the League championship in the spring, following Swift Current’s elimination from the playoffs. An exciting player with an intense passion for the game, Eakin regularly wows Broncos fans with his outstanding skating ability and his no-quit work ethic. Expect Eakin to be one of the marquee players in the WHL this season.

Central Division

Calgary Hitmen
General Manager: Kelly Kisio
Head Coach: Mike Williamson
2010 pre-season: 5gp, 0-4-0-1
2009-10 Record: 52-17-1-2, 107 pts (1st in Central Div., 1st in Conf.) GF: 269 GA: 177
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 1st (29.0%) PK 1st (87.5%)
2010 Playoffs: WHL CHAMPIONS
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Brandon Kozun 65gp-32g-75a-107pts
Tyler Shattock 72gp-30g-48a-78pts
Joel Broda 66gp-39g-34a-73pts

Up Front: The Hitmen return just seven regulars up front from last year’s WHL championship team, and only three of their top 10 scorers. 20-year-old veterans Kris Foucault and Tyler Fiddler, and 19-year-old Jimmy Bubnick are the lone returning players who topped the 20-goal mark last season. All three will be heavily relied on for offense and leadership. 18-year-olds Cody Beach and Cody Sylvester enjoyed solid campaigns in support roles last season. Beach and Sylvester, particularly, will be needed to step into much bigger roles, as will fellow 18-year-old MacKenzie Royer. Contributions from rookies like John Lawrence and Brendan Santini will also be needed to fill the offensive void left by the departure of WHL scoring leader Brandon Kozun. Forward Riley Reinbolt was acquired from Moose Jaw to add some veteran experience and energy to what will be a much less experienced forward contingent.

On The Blue Line: The Hitmen’s defense corps has also taken a hit with a few of their top rearguards having moved on. However, they still return a solid group of defensemen with up to six defensemen coming back from last season’s second-ranked defense. 20-year-old Zak Stebner and 19-year-old Matt MacKenzie will lead the Hitmen defense corps. Both have demonstrated strong two-way abilities. MacKenzie notched 40 points last year, and should be able to top that as he moves up the depth chart this season, while Stebner is also effective at producing offense from the point. Also returning are 20-year-old Kyle Aschim (though, currently injured), and second-year rearguards Jaynen Rissling, Peter Kosterman and Ben Wilson, who will all be asked to take on a bigger workload this season.

Goaltending: The loss of WHL Goaltender of the Year Martin Jones to the professional ranks leaves a vacancy in the Club’s starting netminder slot. 19-year-old Michael Snider spent the last two seasons backing up Jones, while also posting solid numbers in limited playing time. Snider had the benefit of watching Jones, one of the WHL’s elite netminders, every day, much like Jones did with Justin Pogge. He’ll be pushed by 19-year-old Slovakian Juraj Holly, whom the Hitmen acquired in the 2010 CHL Import draft.

Player to Watch: Cody Sylvester
Calgary’s eighth-round pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, Sylvester spent most of his first two seasons in the WHL as a depth role-player for a very deep Calgary team. Then, during the 2010 WHL playoffs, Sylvester made a huge statement when he exploded for 11 goals to help the Hitmen win the WHL Championship. A fleet-footed two-way player who always works hard and plays with energy, Sylvester showed his offensive upside during the 2010 playoffs. If he can continue to build on his outstanding playoff performance, he could enjoy a breakout season for the Hitmen.

Edmonton Oil Kings
General Manager: Bob Green
Head Coach: Derek Laxdal
2010 pre-season: 5gp, 2-3-0-0
2009-10 Record: 16-43-4-9, 45 pts (6th in Central Div., 12th in Conf.) GF: 169 GA: 285
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 22nd (11.7%) PK 21st (74.3%)
2010 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Michael St. Croix 66gp-18g-28a-46pts
Garry Nunn 46gp-17g-21a-38pts
T.J. Foster 68gp-10g-27a-37pts

Up Front: The Oil Kings’ collection of young, talented forwards return, looking to improve what was the WHL’s 22nd-ranked offense last season. Sophomore Michael St. Croix led the Oil Kings in scoring last year as a 16-year-old. He’ll be a focal point in any offensive success the team has this year. Fellow 17-year-old Klarc Wilson could also step into a bigger offensive role, along with 18-year-old T.J. Foster. 20-year-olds Mike Piluso and Jordan Hickmott will play big roles up front, in terms of providing leadership and offense. Hickmott has proven he can generate goals, scoring 21 times last season in Prince Albert. Latvian forward Kristians Pelss, an Edmonton Oilers prospect, looks to have some good offensive skill. Pelss could be an impact player once he acclimatizes to the WHL level of play.

On The Blue Line: The Oil Kings return just four regular rearguards from last year’s squad. 18-year-old Mark Pysyk is back to lead the Oil Kings’ defense corps. The smooth-skating, heady defenseman, selected 23rd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in June’s NHL draft, is expected to be a dominant force on the Oil Kings’ blue line this season. 20-year-old Adrian Van de Mosselaer has 152 games of WHL seasoning with the Oil Kings, and provides a veteran presence in the defensive zone. 17-year-old Keegan Lowe is also back, looking to play a much larger role after a good showing as a rookie last season. Blue-chip prospect Griffin Reinhart should step into the line-up as a 16-year-old. The Oil Kings’ first-round pick, 3rd overall, in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Reinhart has all the tools and the size to become an elite defenseman in the WHL one day.

Goaltending: The graduation of veteran Torrie Jung opens the door for 18-year-old Cam Lanigan to assume the starting job. Lanigan has shown he is very capable of providing steady and consistent goaltending through his first two seasons in Edmonton. The Calgary, AB, product earned an invite to the rookie camp of his hometown Calgary Flames, and made an impression. 17-year-old Laurent Brossoit has appeared in three games over the last two seasons in Edmonton, and will take over the back-up role this year.

Player to Watch: Michael St. Croix
The Oil Kings’ first-round pick, 4th overall, in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, St. Croix enjoyed an excellent season for the team as a 16-year-old last year, pacing the team in scoring with 46 points. Though he started slowly – just two points in his first 16 games – the Winnipeg, MB, product found his game and managed 17 goals and 44 points over his final 50 games. An incredibly skilled player with mesmerizing puckhandling skills, St. Croix plays a finesse game while also bringing intensity and energy. He’s the type of player that makes his line mates better. Entering his NHL draft-eligible season, expect St. Croix to cement his reputation as one of the top prospects for the 2011 NHL entry draft.

Kootenay Ice
General Manager: Jeff Chynoweth
Head Coach: Kris Knoblauch
2010 pre-season: 5gp, 1-4-0-0
2009-10 Record: 43-24-3-2, 91 pts (2nd in Central Div., 4th in Conf.) GF: 252 GA: 215
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 17th (17.6%) PK 5th (82.7%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in six games to Medicine Hat in first round.
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Dustin Sylvester 68gp-35g-58a-93pts
Steele Boomer 71gp-26g-41a-67pts
Kevin King 69gp-28g-35a-63pts

Up Front: The Ice may have lost offensive star Dustin Sylvester to graduation, but they still return several of their top scoring forwards from last year. Coming back are Steele Boomer, Max Reinhart, Kevin King, Matt Fraser and Jesse Ismond, who all topped the 20-goal plateau last season. Reinhart, who was drafted by the Calgary Flames in June, tallied 21 goals last season, and has the offensive tools to become a go-to guy for the Ice this year. 18-year-olds Drew Czerwonka and Brock Montgomery and 19-year-old Joe Antilla also return, bringing the Ice energy, size and the ability to generate secondary scoring. 17-year-old Brendan Hurley, the Ice’s first-round pick in 2008, will look to contribute more after posting modest numbers as a rookie last year.

On The Blue Line: The Ice should be strong defensively, with six rearguards returning from last year’s squad that managed the seventh-best defensive record in the WHL. Brayden McNabb, 19, enjoyed an outstanding campaign last year, posting 17 goals and 57 points to rank sixth among all WHL defensemen. He will be a major force for the Ice this season. Also back are 19-year-olds Hayden Rintoul and James Martin, who both play a strong two-way game. 18-year-old Joey Leach put up three goals and 26 points last season while playing a rough and physical style. Drafted by the Calgary Flames in June, Leach will be counted on to take care of his own end while helping out on the power play as well.

Goaltending: The Ice have plenty of options in the crease this season, with both Todd Mathews, 20, and Nathan Lieuwen, 19, eligible to return. Mathews posted 33 wins and a .907 save percentage in 55 appearances last year while Lieuwen got into 26 contests and recorded 10 victories. Mathews has proven to be a quality starting netminder and Lieuwen has plenty of potential to become a consistent No.1 if given the opportunity. 17-year-old Brett Teskey and 16-year-old Mackenzie Skapski are also looking to fill a spot in the line-up.

Player to Watch: Brayden McNabb
Now in his fourth season with the Ice, McNabb’s game has developed by leaps and bounds in four year to the point where he was among the top-scoring defensemen and made the Eastern Conference First All-Star team last season. The Buffalo Sabres prospect boasts a huge 6’4”, 200-lb frame which he uses effectively, and has good mobility and puck-moving skills. Projected as a defensive defenseman early in his WHL career, McNabb has developed great offensive instincts and harnessed his booming shot to become a major threat on the attack. Expect McNabb to be a tower of strength at both ends of the ice in Cranbrook this season.

Lethbridge Hurricanes
General Manager / Head Coach: Rich Preston
2010 pre-season: 6gp, 4-1-0-1
2009-10 Record: 20-44-5-3, 48 pts (5th in Central Div., 11th in Conf.) GF: 178 GA: 275
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 20th (15.4%) PK 18th (76.6%)
2010 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Carter Bancks 70gp-19g-36a-55pts
Cam Braes 69gp-25g-28a-53pts
Mitch Maxwell 70gp-27g-17a-44pts

Up Front: The Hurricanes return up to 11 regulars from last season’s group of forwards, including 20-year-old Mitch Maxwell and 19-year-old Cam Braes who are the only returning forwards who topped the 20-goal plateau last year. Maxwell scored a team-high 27 times as a 19-year-old rookie last year. Expect him to be a key cog in the ‘Canes’ attack again this season. 18-year-old Graham Hood put up eight goals and 17 points in 38 games for the ‘Canes’ last year after coming over from Regina midway through the season. He’ll be expected to take on a larger role up front and continue playing his physical, hard-checking style. 19-year-olds Brody Sutter, Austin Fyten and Jacob Berglund should be able to step up their contributions this season, as will sophomores Mark Reners and Phil Tot. 17-year-old Russian Alex Kuvaev showed good offensive abilities during the pre-season. The ‘Canes will hope he can make an impact on the score sheet this season as a rookie.

On The Blue Line: The ‘Canes welcome back seven regulars from last season’s defense corps who will all be looking to help the team shave down its goals-against from the 275 they allowed last season. Veterans Brennan Yadlowski and Mike Reddington will anchor the group. The two combined for 60 points from the back end last season, and should be able to chip in some offense again this season while providing stability and leadership. Talented two-way rearguard Daniel Johnston will look to play a bigger role this season and should help out on the power play. Cason Machacek provides toughness and an intimidating presence in the defensive zone, while Landon Oslanski looks capable of providing some offense from the blue line.

Goaltending: Fresh off signing an entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals after impressing as a free-agent invitee, Brandon Anderson is back for his sophomore season and ready to assume the full-time starting job this season. The Langley, B.C., native got into 37 games last season for the Hurricanes as a rookie, performing well. 19-year-old Dylan Tait is set to take over the back-up role and push Anderson for playing time.

Player to Watch: Cam Braes
The Hurricanes’ third-round pick in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft, Braes has become an integral part of the Lethbridge’s roster over the last three seasons. An energetic, feisty player who does a lot of little things that make teams better, Braes took a big step forward last season in terms of offensive production, finishing the campaign with a career-high 25 goals and 53 points. As one of the ‘Canes’ older veterans, Braes will provide valuable leadership, both on and off the ice, and be counted on to contribute on the score sheet as the team looks to climb the ladder in the Central Division this season.

Medicine Hat Tigers
General Manager: Brad McEwenHead Coach: Shaun Clouston
2010 pre-season: 6gp, 4-1-0-1
2009-10 Record: 41-23-3-5, 90 pts (3rd in Central Div., 5th in Conf.) GF: 276 GA: 232
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 10th (19.8%) PK 10th (79.4%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in six games to Calgary in second round
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Linden Vey 72gp-24g-51a-75pts
Wacey Hamilton 67gp-24g-47a-71pts
Bretton Cameron 68gp-40g-27a-67pts

Up Front: The Tigers owned the WHL’s second-best offense last season, scoring 276 goals. With three of their top four scorers returning, plus the addition of a couple impact forwards, the Tigers should be able to field a strong attack again this season. Back are Linden Vey, Wacey Hamilton and Emerson Etem, who combined for 85 goals and 211 points. All three are candidates to rank among the WHL’s top scorers this season. Edmonton Oilers prospect Tyler Pitlick joined the Tigers in the offseason. The former Minnesota State forward is a strong two-way player who plays physical and can drive hard to the net. The Tigers also acquired forward Ryan Harrison from the Prince Albert Raiders in the offseason. Harrison is a physical presence who also put up 14 goals and 54 points last season. Also returning are veterans Kale Kessy and Joey Frazer, who are both capable of chipping in secondary scoring.

On The Blue Line: The Tigers could return up to five rearguards from last season’s team. Jace Coyle put up an impressive 10 goals and 36 assists from the point last season. Look for the 20-year-old to be a key figure on the Tigers’ blue line this season, and help their power play. Matt Konan, 19, is also returning. Konan put up 20 points last season, including five goals, and plays a sound defensive game with a physical edge. 17-year-old Dylan Busenius and 18-year-old Scott McKay are back and will look for more icetime in their second seasons in the WHL. Swedish rearguard Sebastian Owuya, an Atlanta Thrashers prospect, and 17-year-old Finn Patrik Parkkonen should be able to step in and contribute this season. Owuya already has experience playing in the Swedish Elite League.

Goaltending: With 18-year-old Tyler Bunz back for his third campaign, the Tigers know they have one of the WHL’s best netminders as their last line of defense. Bunz appeared in 57 games last season – his first as a starter – and posted 31 wins. His terrific performance in the playoffs cemented his status as a top prospect. Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in June, Bunz gives his team a chance to win every night. 19-year-old Deven Dubyk , who backed up Bunz last season, and 16-year-old Dawson Macauley are in the mix for the back-up role this season.

Player to Watch: Emerson Etem
A sixth-round pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, Etem took the WHL by storm as a 17-year-old rookie last season, leading all rookies with 37 goals while posting 65 points in 72 games. The Long Beach, CA, product showed enough potential for the Anaheim Ducks to draft him 29th overall in the 2010 NHL draft. A good skater with a natural nose for the net, Etem’s ability to score puts him among the WHL’s elite. With his NHL-caliber shot, Etem hits his targets with deadly precision. Yet, he’s also a hard worker who can be relied upon in defensive situations. With a strong contingent of offensive talent surrounding him in Medicine Hat, expect Etem to find the net with regularity again this season.

Red Deer Rebels
V.P. of Hockey Operations / Head Coach: Jesse Wallin
2010 pre-season: 7gp, 5-2-0-0
2009-10 Record: 39-28-0-5, 83 pts (4th in Central Div., 6th in Conf.) GF: 202 GA: 222
2009-10 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP 16th (17.7%) PK 9th (80.6%)
2010 Playoffs: Lost in four games to Saskatoon in first round
2009-10 Top Scorers:
Willie Coetzee 72gp-29g-52a-81pts
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 67gp-24g-41a-65pts
Andrej Kudrna 69gp-30g-24a-54pts

Up Front: The Rebels will see up to 11 of their forwards from last year return this season, including three of their top five scorers. Leading the way is 17-year-old phenom Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 6’0, 164-lb center is poised for a big year in Red Deer, and could find himself among the WHL’s top scorers. Also returning are veterans Andrej Kudrna and Brett Ferguson, who will look to be regular offensive contributors. Kudrna scored a team-best 30 goals last season, and should be able to duplicate or better the feat this year. 19-year-old Byron Froese was acquired from Everett in the Landon Ferraro trade. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect has put up 48 goals and 114 points over the last two season, establishing himself as a proven offensive producer. Other returning vets like Adam Kambeitz, Josh Cowen and Turner Elson should be able to step up and contribute more this season.

On The Blue Line: The Rebels could return up to five rearguards who were on last season’s squad that managed the eighth-best defensive record in the WHL. 20-year-old Colin Archer, the Rebels’ captain, is back for his final WHL season. He provides plenty of leadership and plays a solid, physical game in the defensive zone. 18-year-old Alex Petrovic is also back, bringing a mix of offense, puck-moving and punishing physical play. Experienced veterans Aaron Borejko and Justin Weller round out a very strong top four for the Rebels. 16-year-old rookie Matt Dumba is already a physical specimen, and could be a very good two-way defenseman for the Rebels once he gets used to the WHL.

Goaltending: The Rebels could return their goaltending tandem from last season, with 20-year-olds Darcy Kuemper and Kraymer Barnstable both looking for a roster spot. Kuemper, a Minnesota Wild prospect, was one of the better goaltender last season, posting a .908 save percentage and a 2.72 GAA. Kuemper could very well play in Minnesota’s system this year. Barnstable enjoyed a strong season last year, and was terrific in the three post-season games he played. It’s not likely the Rebels will keep two overage goaltenders, so 16-year-old Bolton Pouliot is a good pick to take on the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The first overall pick of the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, Nugent-Hopkins is a rare talent who is sure to have a long and productive career in the NHL. The Burnaby, B.C., native already displayed his incredible offensive ability by notching 24 goals and 65 points as a 16-year-old last year, earning the WHL Rookie of the Year award. Having followed up with a dominating performance for Canada’s Under-18 team at the Memorial for Ivan Hlinka tournament this summer, Nugent-Hopkins is poised for a monster season for an ever-improving Rebels team. A potential No. 1 overall NHL draft pick next summer, Red Deer fans will enjoy seeing just what the gifted Nugent-Hopkins can accomplish this season.

8 SJHL'ers Get Call From Hockey Canada

Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), announced on Tuesday the 41 players that will attend the Canada West evaluation camp in preparation for the 2010 World Junior A Challenge.

Of the 41 players, eight are from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. They are
· Clarke Breitkreuz (F) Yorkton Terriers –Springside, SK
· Trevor Cameron (F) Notre Dame Hounds-Mission, BC
. Lee Christensen (D) Melfort Mustangs- Winnipeg,MB
· Sean Flanagan (D) Kindersley Klippers-Kindersley, SK
· Drew George (F) Weyburn Red Wings-Regina, SK
· Jesse Mychan (F) Flin Flon Bombers-Saskatoon, SK
· Jordan Paddock (D) Melville Millionaires –Regina, SK
· Dylan Smith (F) Estevan Bruins –Big River, SK

“As a coaching staff, we are looking forward to bringing together 41 of the top Junior A players in western Canada for the evaluation camp,” said head coach Larry Wintoneak of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. “It will be exciting not only for us, but for the fans in Penticton as well to watch these players compete.”

The evaluation camp, scheduled for September 27-28, will be held at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C., the same venue that will host the 2010 World Junior A Challenge from November 8-14.

Canada West has appeared in the gold medal game at all four previous World Junior A Challenges, winning gold in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., and 2007 in Trail, B.C., before settling for silver in 2008 in Camrose, Alta., and last year in Summerside, P.E.I.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Women In The Dressing Room

The issue of female reporters in the dressing room surfaced once again this week. It happened after a sports reporter from a Mexican TV network claims to have been harassed by members of the New York Jets.

This issue is a fine line to walk. There are many outstanding female sports journalists out there. People like TSN’s Sara Orlesky, Saskatchewan’s own Martine Gaillard on Sportsnet and FOX Sports’ Charissa Thompson are just three. This trio are all very attractive women—but they are on TV so they should be.

However there are some female sports journalists out there that I don’t really have time for for a variety of reasons. Anyone wanting to know Jennifer Hedger's background should go to Youtube and type her name in. Is that how women get into sports journalism these days? I’m also not big on US “it girl” Erin Andrews of ESPN who can twirl around in scantily-clad costumes on “Dancing with the Stars.” Yeah, that says a lot for trying to break the gender barrier.

The woman at the center of the storm in this New York Jets fiasco is also one that I don’t have respect for. Inez Sainz is a very attractive woman and she shows why she is that way in a variety of pictorials. I don’t think you will ever see the day that Orlesky, Gaillard and Thompson are on the cover of a magazine wearing a bikini or wearing extremely tight jeans and a halter-top to a practice. Its because they have worked hard to achieve the position and status that they have. You also won’t see any of these three put on a wedding dress and ask a football player to marry them as Sainz did with Tom Brady at the Super Bowl a few years ago. Her credibility is shot as far as I’m concerned. What the Jets should have done is told her she’s not welcome---but yes, that would have opened another kettle of fish.

However, whether it be someone who is dedicated to their profession or not, I still think the locker room is no place for a woman---much like a womans locker room is no room for a man. Do you think I like walking into the Rider dressing room and seeing a bunch of sweaty football players walking around in towels if that? Not really. I’m guessing there are other reporters in this town and across the country that feel the same way. I wish there was a separate room where interviews could be conducted after Rider games, but that’s not going to happen. The Pats bring players out of their dressing room to talk to the media as do other WHL teams. Same with the NHL. Hey, I realize Mosaic Stadium is so archaic that there isn’t any room to do something like this, but I would much rather talk to players like Durant, Makowsky and Frazier in a setting that is comfortable for everyone. I think the players would say the same thing.

Bottom line---if you can do it, keep everyone out of the dressing room unless they are supposed to be there. If you don’t, you are just asking for more stories like the Inez Sainz story to happen whether the female reporter is one that is credible or one that is just as much of the story as the story she is paid to research and talk about.
This story about the hallucenogenic plant in Moose Jaw that sent five kids to hospital is scary. Its bad enough that parents have to worry about many things when it comes to their kids---and now this! Sadly, there are some kids out there, and some adults too, who will be looking for this plant knowing they can't be charged for having it. In fact, I don't know what's worse----this or the stories circulating about people consuming hand sanitizer because of its alcoholic content.
The Tide commercial in which the daughter asks Mom where her green shirt is is by far and away one of the stupidest ads I've seen. Yeah, like Mom is going to wash and dry that shirt and get it back in her daughter's closet in a short amount of time so that her daughter can wear the shirt. It doesn't matter what detergent you are using, its going to take a couple of hours and by that time, I think the daughter will have found another shirt.
With Carla Beynon doing her last shift at CTV Regina before moving on to Calgary on Friday, I am once again using this blog to endorse either Morgan Reed or Lindsey Hoemsen as her replacement.
I am in a fantasy football league in which you were allowed three keepers from the year before. I had to have my keepers in before the draft so one of the players I chose was Vikings receiver Sidney Rice. In the draft, I needed a running back so I took Reggie Bush. Both Bush and Rice are out indefinitely as are my chances of winning. Somehow I am 1-1 in this league. Lets just say I am not making plans for a celebratory parade. Then again, I fell for the Joe Flacco hype so perhaps its a sign that I was destined to go nowhere.
The Weather Network says the high on Sunday will be 26. I'll believe that when I see it.
The excitement over last night's season premiere of "Glee" was somewhat nauseating. I really don't understand the fascination over the show. There is better TV than that tripe.
The Twins are the first team to clinch a spot in the baseball playoffs. I have a soft spot for the Twinkies so seeing my Cubs aren't anywhere close to the playoffs, I will root for them. Perhaps the loudest venue I have ever been at was when I saw the Twins play the Cardinals in the 87 World Series at the Metrodome. Sitting three rows above the garbage bag in right field was certainly something I won't forget.
Ken Miller showed his tremendous sense of character on Tuesday. He laughed and joked about what happened Friday night and showed why he is the class act that he is. Now that everyone has questioned him on what happened Friday, can we now start to concentrate on Saturday's game against what will be a tough Hamilton team.
Would Eric Tillman consider Kavis Reed as a head coaching candidate in Edmonton. He thought very highly of Reed when he brought him to Regina and there were some whispers that he was head coaching material and might be considered after Miller was done. How about Dave Dickenson? CKRM and the WOLF's Michael Ball brought that name up during "The Touchdown Club" last Friday.
Please do not disturb me, because I'm disturbed enough already. Thank you!!