Sunday, July 31, 2011

Red Sox Up 2-0

Around 800 people were at Currie Field Sunday night to watch the Regina Red Sox beat Weyburn 5-2 to take a 2-0 lead in their WMBL best of 5 first round series. The Red Sox look for the sweep Monday night in Weyburn.

Stamps 22 Riders 18

They aren't back at square one, but after beating Montreal last week in Montreal, the Riders took a step backwards on Saturday night losing at home for the 3rd time in three tries this season as they were on the short end of a 22-18 score at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders. Here are the thoughts of some Riders at the end of the game.

ShologanJuly30 by mitchellblair

Darian Durant July 30 by mitchellblair

MarshallJuly30 by mitchellblair

Here are the thoughts of a random blogger.

--Can someone please tell me how Romby Bryant didn't fumble after this hit????!!!
--Darian Durant is not a pocket passer! Why isn't Darian Durant running the football!!
--The acquisition of Tristan Jackson by GM Brendan Taman was gold. The guy is showing us he is more than a return specialist
--Did the offence miss Wes Cates in there?
--The Riders deserved a better fate on this night, but they didn't get it and they didn't deserve to because they didn't make the big play at the big time.
--The way the first half ended was terrible, but the botched time management is not the reason they lost the football game.
--Eddie Johnson should be punting in the NFL. Why isn't he?
--Why didn't the fans on the west side get on Michael Bishop's case. The hell with Henry Burris, I would deliver my wrath on the man that cost us the 2008 West semi. Then again, Bishop might be too dumb to realize what abuse he is taking.
--I may have zero points in this week's Leader-Post football pool.
--There's nothing wrong with a girl with long legs and jean shorts wearing Rider gear and there was a lot of that on the West side.
--Jim Hopson looked at me in my bright yellow CKRM shirt and referred to me as "Sunflower". Thanks Jim!! Actually, that was the most creative line of the night and was better than some of the ones delivered by luminaries such as Larry Mueller, Chris Cuthbert, Trent Fraser and Twitter followers. Did I just call Larry Mueller a luminary?
--Andy Fantuz, I wish you success in the NFL, but this team in green really needs you!
--At least the Regina Red Sox won Saturday as they scored two in the ninth to beat Weyburn 6-5. Game 2 is Sunday night at Currie Field at 705.

One other thing. It looks like TSN's Jay Onrait didn't enjoy his Mosaic experience. Why?

Perhaps one reason is that Dan O'Toole wasn't with him, but Cabbie was. Why on earth would the Riders allow Cabbie into Mosaic. Allowing Art Mann into the stadium for a Rider game is one thing, but Cabbie??!!! Did he think Darian Durant was Kevin Durant? I'll pass on whatever tripe he filmed tonight. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anderson Up To His Old Tricks

From the National Post

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have passed on a report to the Canadian Football League alleging that Montreal Alouettes defensive back Dwight Anderson spat at fans following Friday night’s game at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

“We have not filed a formal complaint, we have simply let the league know that there has been a security report that alleges Dwight Anderson spit on a fan [or fans],” said Ticats president Scott Mitchell in a statement. “We have a responsibility to the fans when a report like this is filed and will work with the league to investigate it. At this point, we are not ‘alleging’ that Anderson spit on anybody, just passing along information from the stadium and Ticats security staff.”

The Ticats beat the Alouettes 34-26 handing the defending Grey Cup champions their second straight defeat.

Anderson denied spitting on fans in a post-game interview with the Hamilton Spectator.

“Nah, man. That’s crazy. What else are they going to blame me for?” Anderson said.

CFL Gets Embarassed By Bad Officiating Again

I don't know if Andre Proulx would make a good WWE ref. I do know though that watching him do CFL games provides me with complete entertainment as he just takes it a comedic level with his performance. Can someone please tell me why virtually every time this man is in charge of a CFL game something wacky happens.

You know that Jim Barker was pissed after last week's game against Winnipeg, but would one blame him if he went absolutely ballistic on Proulx and his staff for the way they botched last nite's Edmonton-Toronto game. It wasn't just the half-time controversy either. How many calls were overturned? There were at least two including a Fred Stamps TD that was shockingly called a TD when everyone could see he didn't have possession of the ball with the exception of the striped shirt standing 5 feet away.

What does Tom Higgins think when he sees these displays. The CFL's director of officiating isn't going to throw any of his guys under the bus, but he must want to rip his hair out (if he had any) and wonder just what is going on. What is commissioner Marc Cohon thinking? What are people watching the game in the US on the NFL network thinking. I often wonder if NFL refs like Ed Hochuli watch the CFL and see what goes on and wonder how these guys get jobs.

I could understand if the referee was a rookie or had limited experience, but Proulx has been at this dance for a while. Its time to clean house and its time to start with Andre. Yes, it would mean the comedy would be saved for something else, but at least we could talk about the game and not the work of the guys in the striped shirts.
It is gameday in Regina with the Riders playing the Stamps at 730 tonight. Remember though that the Regina Red Sox start playoffs this weekend. They are home this afternoon to Weyburn at 205 at Currie Field and are home to the Beavers again tomorrow at 705. Good luck to Rob Cherepuschak and crew. I know it might be tough to have a good crowd this afternoon considering the Rider game and the fact it is a Saturday afternoon. but if the weather nice, get out there tomorrow and cheer the Red Sox on. I would be there tomorrow, but I have to go pick up by munchkin from a week at the farm with the grandparents. I'm guessing the grandparents will need two weeks off after a week off with the energetic Annika J.
Haven't seen a storm that hit Regina early this morning quite like that for a while? Is your street fine this morning because by the sounds of it, there are many that aren't. I've lived at Casa de Blair for eight years and I haven't seen anything that vicious come rollin through. I was starting to wonder if my backyard might have some unwanted foliage in it this morning, but our block seems to have survived. I've heard one report say the winds were around 115 km an hour. WOW!!
I am very happy to see that Dan O'Connor is moving from the SJHL to the WHL. The voice of the Battlefords Stars and the host of "The SJHL This Week" audio and video version is moving on to become the voice of the Prince George Cougars. Dan has worked hard for this opportunity and I'm ecstatic that he is getting one step closer to his ultimate dream. Best of luck Danno. The league won't be the same without you...then again how will I know?
Saw some pictures of the Moose Jaw multiplex last night. The building is just about ready. The red seats in there make it look like the Brandt Centre in some shots. They also had some thing that looked like a scoreclock that was sitting on the ground at center ice. A scoreclock at center ice??? Who dares to think such a thing? Sorry Brent, sorry Cliff, I had to take that shot. Who's kidding who, the people of Moose Jaw have never seen a center ice clock at one of their WHL games over the year much less the other side of the arena. It will be great to walk in there for some Warriors games this year.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Latest From Riderville

The Riders held a short workout before addressing the media for the final time before Saturday night's game against Calgary. That game is now sold out by the way as the team let us know that during the noon hour on Friday.

It looks like Wes Cates won't play because of what is believed to be a foot injury that is preventing him from running at full speed meaning Hugh Charles will get the majority of reps at tailback. Here is what was being said at the stadium today from Charles, Luc Mullinder (who as a Michigan State grad did not like the fact I was wearing a University of Michigan golf shirt), Darian Durant and Coach Marshall....

Charles by mitchellblair

MullinderJuly29 by mitchellblair

DurantJuly29 by mitchellblair

MarshallJuly29 by mitchellblair

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kornegay Has New Home

After being released by the Riders earlier this month, Tad Kornegay has a new home. TSN is reporting Kornegay has signed a contract with the BC Lions.

Thunder Getting Ready for 2011 Season

The Regina Thunder will open their 2011 Training Camp this weekend at Scotty Livingstone Field.

Over 80 hopefuls will take to the field Friday night battling for a roster spot on this year’s edition of the Thunder. With 14 - fifth year players returning for training camp, Coach Klempner and his coaching staff will be looking for veteran leadership in their quest for Canadian Junior Football supremacy.

“We have worked very hard in the off season as a team and will have outstanding competition at every position during training camp,” said Klempner. “We lost some very good players this year to graduation and the CIS, but we continue to improve our talent base due to the great minor football programs across Saskatchewan.”

Training camp starts Friday night at Scotty Livingstone Field and ends with the Thunder traveling to Brandon for an exhibition game against Winnipeg on Sunday, August 7.

The Regina Thunder finished the 2010 season at 6-2, which was good enough for second place in the PFC. The Thunder defeated the Calgary Colts 17-6 in the semi finals and earned a chance to play the Saskatoon Hilltops for the Prairie Football Conference Championship. In the PFC Final, the Thunder fell 32-24 to the Hilltops.


Wyatt Catley QB 5th Yr

Koloton Solomon WR PFC All Star and member of 2011 Roughrider Training Camp

Sach Evans DL PFC All Star and member of 2011 Roughrider Training Camp

Philmon Bairu LB

Mark Ingram DB PFC All Star

Joey Todd DB PFC All Star

Max Amyotte DL


Dan Clark OL CJFL All-Star; now member of Roughrider Practice Roster

Mark Coons RB PFC leading rusher; now with Regina Rams

Jay Smith WR PFC All-Star; now with Regina Rams

Cody Johnstone DB All-Canadian; now with Saskatchewan Huskies

Reid Quest QB CJFL Offensive POY; now with Concordia


Brett Wade DL Miller High School

Landon Bessel QB Winston Knoll

Robert Ingram OL Melfort Comp. HS

Michael Bittman LB Estevan Comp. HS

Spring Camp Schedule

Friday, July 29 6:00 pm Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Saturday, July 30 8:00 am Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Sunday, July 31 8:00 am Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

12 noon Scrimmage at Scotty Livingstone Field

Monday, August 1 Day Off

Tuesday, August 2 7:00 pm Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Wednesday, August 3 7:00 pm Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Thursday, August 4 7:00 pm Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Friday, August 5 7:00 pm Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Saturday, August 6 10:00 am Practice at Scotty Livingstone Field

Sunday, August 7 1:00 pm Exhibition game vs Winnipeg in Brandon

Pats Trade For Defenceman

Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang is proud to announce the acquisition of 19 year old defenceman, Brandon Underwood, from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for a 4th round pick in the 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Brandon is a 6’3” 210 pound rearguard from San Marcos, California and will be entering his 4th season in the WHL. With the Blazers last season, he played in 58 games picking up 10 assists while racking up 97 minutes in penalties.

Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang “We are happy to have the opportunity to add Brandon to our line-up. He will provide experience and size which are areas we were looking to address this off season.”

Random Thoughts

A lot of things are whirling through the old mind these days so here are those thoughts in no particular order

--The death of Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive line coach Richard Harris is one that has shaken the entire CFL. In a league with eight teams, its not hard to find common ground and Harris seemed to have that with virtually every team including the Riders where he worked with and was more importantly a friend to people like Greg Marshall, Brendan Taman and Doug Berry. To hear Marshall break down when talking about Harris on Wednesday shows you the effect the man had. I don't know if the CFL asked the Bombers if they would like to postpone tonight's game against BC for a couple of days considering the freshness of the death, but would it have hurt anyone if the game was moved to Sunday. Perhaps I'm going too far in asking that question, and perhaps I am making too big a deal of this, but I don't think its fair for the Bombers to have to play this game just over 48 hours after the death of a coach who was loved in the locker room.

--Another reason as to why the Saskatchewan Roughriders are a class organization. Rider prez and CEO Jim Hopson has said the Riders will wear "RH" stickers to remember Harris at Saturday's game against the Stamps. It would behoove the entire CFL to wear those stickers this week and for the rest of the season.

--Rod and I spoke to QR77's Dave Rowe about the Calgary Stampeders on the Sportscage Wednesday afternoon. Rowe said the only way Michael Bishop would get into the game to take some meaningful snaps is if Henry Burris got carted off the field due to injury. Rod suggested many Rider fans would like to see that. I don't want to see Hank suffer a serious injury, but I would love to see Bishop come in to take some meaningful snaps because I'm guessing that would mean a few INTS for guys like Frazier, McKenzie and Patrick. I don't know about you, but when it comes to recent quarterbacks the Riders have had, I would rather hate Bishop more than Henry Burris because of that disastrous semi-final loss to BC in 2008. That's the only move made in the Ken Miller era when it comes to players that I don't back him or Eric Tillman on. There was no need to bring that guy here and the way Miller handled the QB's with the merry go round that he did was dumb--but then again when you think of the word dumb in these parts, the Rider Nation thinks Michael Bishop do they not?

--For those who hate Burris, I give you this Tweet that he had Wednesday night.  @AndyFantuz Good luck buddy! You're great, so just be you. Classy move if you ask me. I understand the hatred for Burris, but I do wonder why it remains so intense. This organization is in a much better spot and if Hank was still here, Kerry Joseph wouldn't have done what he did and Darian Durant probably isn't wearing a Rider uniform. As I asked on the Sportscage Wednesday, if Henry got traded to another team would the hatred still be there.

--The best line from Regina Pats coach Pat Conacher upon his hiring was that its going to be one, two or maybe three years before the team gets to where it wants to be. Conacher is at least putting his cards on the table and is telling the I think impatient Regina hockey fan that he or she is going to have wait a little bit longer for this team to make a long playoff run. I know some have run out of patience, but anyone expecting this team to make a serious run at things next year is sadly mistaken. Chad Lang will likely deal a player like Jordan Weal at some point this season to acquire some more youth that will hopefully develop the way the team thinks it will so that they come together as 18 and 19 year olds. I know a lot of people who aren't happy over the recent struggles of the Pats and those struggles will continue for at least another year. Hopefully that Regina hockey fan will be patient enough to see this team turn it around without giving up on them.  We'll see.

--The Jays took a chance on shortstop Yunel Escobar when he came from Atlanta and that worked out. If the same can be said for Colby Rasmus, the Jays found themselves a player. However, re-acquiring Brian Tallet does nothing to help a bullpen that is terrible. He just adds to the legend that is Frank Francisco if you ask me.

--There is word that baseball is going to expand its playoffs to allow more wildcard teams. If this is the case, I think playoff baseball returns to Toronto as early as next season.

--The Cubs wanted the Yankees to take Carlos Zambrano and his massive salary off their hands, but the Yankees have said no. I guess the Bronx Bombers realize they already have one overpaid doofus on their staff in A.J Burnett so why add a 2nd.

--Jerry Meals' bizarre safe call at the end of the Pirates-Braves game on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is just another reason as to why baseball will have instant replay very, very soon. That call was worse than the Jim Joyce call that took a perfect game away from Armando Gallarraga.

--The Mike Richards "dry island" story is a little baffling. Word is Richards and Jeff Carter were traded by the Flyers because they refused to take part in a program Head Coach Peter Laviolette had organized asking players to abstain from alcohol for a month. Laviolette has no right to ask his players to do that or to go eat at this establishment or dress a certain way. They are professionals. The last time I looked neither Mike Richards or Jeff Carter had their play suffer because of what they allegedly do off the ice. Perhaps Laviolette should be asking his goalies to stop a puck instead of not have a beer. Several NHL'ers have really criticized Laviolette since this story came out and I can't blame them.

--Viking fans should be celebrating because the team got six years younger at quarterback with the addition of Donovan McNabb.

--Seahawk fans, how do you feel about Tavaris Jackson as the new quarterback? At least he has Sidney Rice to throw for. This Seahawk fan would rather have Darian Durant than Tavaris Jackson. Oh well, I guess it could have been worse---it could have been Matt Leinart.

--It would seem Vince Young has run out of suitors in the NFL. Is it just me or would Young make a great CFL quarterback. Of course, at one time he was on the neg list of your Saskatchewan Roughriders. I don't know if he is still on the neg list of a team or not.

--You can be what you choose to be. But you can never be an elephant.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rockets To Host Prospects Game

The Canadian Hockey League in association with the Western Hockey League, the Kelowna Rockets Hockey Club, and Home Hardware Stores Limited, today announced that the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be held at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, home of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday February 1, 2012.

“The Canadian Hockey League is very excited to bring the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to Kelowna,” said CHL President David Branch. “This event is highly anticipated by our players who have the opportunity to showcase their skills for Kelowna Rockets’ fans and before the eyes of all 30 NHL teams in attendance and CHL fans nationwide watching live on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.”

The 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will mark the 17th annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL draft eligible players featuring talent from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The two-day event also features an exciting skills competition and three-on-three challenge taking place on Tuesday January 31, 2012.

“On behalf of more than 1,080 Home Hardware Dealers across Canada, we look forward to heading west to the Okanagan Valley for the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game,” said Paul Straus, President and CEO of Home Hardware Stores Limited. “As title partner of this event for 13 straight years we continue to enjoy watching these players bring excitement to hockey fans across the country as they prepare for careers in the NHL.”

This marks the second time the event will be held in British Columbia following 2005 when it was played in Vancouver. It is also the sixth time it will be hosted in Western Canada and the first since 2008 when it was played in Edmonton, AB.

“The Kelowna Rockets are thrilled to host the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Prospera Place,” said Rockets President and General Manager Bruce Hamilton. “This event provides our fans the chance to see the next wave of NHL talent from across the CHL while we have the opportunity to showcase our community to the hundreds of NHL personnel in attendance.”

The Rockets have had four players participate in this event in the last four seasons including 2008 first round picks Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres selected fourth overall, and Luke Schenn of the Toronto Maple Leafs chosen one pick later at fifth overall. 2010 WHL Defenceman of the Year Tyson Barrie also competed in the 2009 event in Oshawa, ON, before being selected in the third round by the Colorado Avalanche. Most recently, Shane McColgan participated last season in Toronto, ON, before being selected in the fifth round by the New York Rangers. Notable Rockets graduate and Olympic Gold Medalist Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators also competed in the 2003 event held in Kitchener, ON, before being selected in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 10 players that were selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft including Chris Phillips, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Marc-Andre Fleury, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who was named Player of the Game for Team Orr following a 7-1 win over Team Cherry at the 2011 event in Toronto before being selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in June.

Nugent-Hopkins was one of 19 CHL players from the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that were selected among the record 21 CHL players chosen in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft along with Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Sea Dogs who was selected third overall, and Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs who was selected fifth overall..

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pat Will Lead The Pats

General Manager of the Regina Pats, Chad Lang announced today the Regina Pats have hired Pat Conacher as Head Coach. Pat has many years of professional hockey experience as both a player and coach. He recently served as an Assistant General Manager/Assistant Coach with the Chilliwack Bruins. Prior to his time in Chilliwack, Pat was the Head Coach of the Utah Grizzlies (AHL) and the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Assistant Coach of the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), Kelowna Rockets (WHL) and of the Canadian National Team.

Pat’s playing career spanned 17 seasons and was he originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the 4th round, 76th overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He played 521 total games in the NHL with the Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames finishing with 139 total points. Pat won the Stanley Cup with the Oilers in 1984 and made it to the finals again in 1993 with the Kings. His AHL career spanned 459 games finishing with 326 points. Prior to turning pro, his junior career was spent with the WHL’s Billings Bighorns and Saskatoon Blades.

“Pat’s 20 plus years of experience in hockey, and his reputation speaks for itself.” Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang continues, “His experience and knowledge of the game will prove to be valuable assets for our organization. He is a quality person with strong communication skills. He has experience at the NHL, AHL and WHL level and has proven that he can work with young players. We are very pleased that our organization will benefit from his experience.”

Pats Head Coach, Pat Conacher, “I’m extremely excited to be part of such a storied franchise in the Regina Pats. I’m honoured to be working with the current and future talent the Pats possess and look forward to having success together both on and off the ice.”

Bombers DL Coach Dies In Office

Tragedy in the CFL today. Long time Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive line coach Richard Harris died of a  heart attack in his office shortly after the team had finished practice. Harris was 63.

"This has struck our entire organization from the top down," Bomber president Jim Bell said in a release. "We are all in a state of shock and first and foremost would like to express our deepest sympathies to his family. The Winnipeg Football Club has lost not only a great coach, but an even better man."

Harris was in his 6th season with the club and also had the title of assistant head coach.

O'Donnell Joins NFL Team


Matt O'Donnell is off to join the Cincinnati Bengals.

The towering six-foot-10, 340-pound offensive lineman with the Queen's Gaels signed as a free agent with the NFL club Tuesday.

With the lockout ending Monday, NFL teams started getting back to the business of football Tuesday as they were allowed to sign their own free agents, draft picks and undrafted players, plus make trades.

O'Donnell was selected in the second round, 15th overall, of the CFL Canadian college draft in May by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
However, he opted instead to take part in a tryout with the NBA's Boston Celtics despite having not played basketball since high school.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The New Coach Is....

We have heard Cory Clouston's name, we have heard Ryan McGill's name, we have heard Ted Nolan's name and now Pat Conacher's name has surfaced. The question as to who the next head coach of the Regina Pats will be will be answered Tuesday afternoon. The club has called a 230 pm news conference for Tuesday afternoon at which time they will announce who Curtis Hunt's replacement is.

The NFL Is Back

The NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team reps have voted unanimously to approve the terms of a deal to the end the 4½-month lockout.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, one of the 10 named plaintiffs in the players' antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, said in a statement, "I want to get back to work."

"My objectives were two-fold when joining the group of named plaintiffs in the labor-related lawsuit. First, to show unified strength on behalf of benefitting all players; second, to see a resolution that recognizes the interests of players and management. I believe both objectives have been achieved," Manning said in the statement. "As a fan of the game, I'm pleased the two sides have reached a deal and, as a professional, I want to get back to work."

Manning was invited to attend the NFLPA press conference Monday but said he was unable to do so because of his rehabilitation and therapy recovering from neck surgery on May 23 to repair a bulging disk.

According to the timeline for league business to begin, trades can be made beginning Tuesday and free-agent signings can be filed with the league office Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
Teams may begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents beginning Tuesday.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pass the Salt and Pepper!!

I admit it. I didn't think the Saskatchewan Roughriders would beat the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal after what I saw in Hamilton. Neither did many of you. The crow that many of us are eating today is something we deserve, but I get the feeling many of us are OK with it. After looking nothing like a football team in Hamilton and having some emotional practices this week, the Riders look as if they have it put together as they beat the Alouettes 27-24 in a game that shouldn't have been as close as the final score indicated.

Many non-believers will say the Riders would not have won this game if Anthony Calvillo did not get knocked out with a 2nd quarter concussion courtesy Dario Romero. We will never know the answer to that, but Calvillo was struggling when he got hurt even though he had just led the team to a touchdown drive. I thought Greg Marshall said it best when he said after the game "Nobody is taking this one away from us. He didn't leave. We knocked him out and that's football. That is 100 percent right. If you want to say it that's fine, but the bottom line is the Riders took Montreal's key weapon away from them and they couldn't regroup.

Other thoughts

--A much better effort by the defence in all areas of the game. The pass rush was there and so was the coverage on Jamel Richardson and SJ Green. With one, you get the other.

--Dwight Anderson should be suspended for his eye poke on Weston Dressler at the end of the game. That just can't be tolerated. At the least, he should be fined.

--Has Anderson's brash style rubbed off an Alouette team that I thought was extremely chippy. How many roughing plays did they take?

--Will the NDP look at Gene Makowsky's rough play penalty and somehow use it as a way to say this is how you will be treated by the Saskparty if they get back in. Will they splice the footage to make it look as if Mean Gene is hitting Dwain Lingenfelter late?

--When will the CFL do something about its shoddy, shoddy officiating? Once again, the work of the men in the stripes was less to be desired and that goes both ways. A good product on the field is being hampered by the work of the stripes.

--Why is Hugh Charles in the football game at the end? Charles is known to put the ball on the ground. Please keep Wes Cates in there!

--Is it just me or does Remond Willis remind you of another Rider that wore 41 (Fred Perry).

All in all, its a good win for the Riders. With a Calgary team that doesn't look close to being the team it was last year, the Riders are ready to perhaps start playing the football we knew they could.

Yahoo CFL blogger Andrew Buchholtz liked the win, but he's not sold yet. You can get his take on the Riders right here


If you were watching the Canadian Open on Sunday, you might have overheard CBS' Bill Macatee say that Canadian Adam Hadwin--who was two strokes behind the winner--was from Moose Jaw. I didn't even know who Hadwin was before yesterday, but I was sure I had never heard of him before in local golf circles. I put a message out on Twitter and before you know it, several from Moose Jaw were letting me know that Hadwin was indeed born in Moose Jaw and that his dad used to be the pro at the Lynbrook course in the 80's. OK?! Does this mean that Saskatchewan has two golfers on the PGA Tour in Hadwin and Graham DeLaet of Weyburn?
What am I reading about the Philadelphia Eagles and Brett Favre? Please, please, please tell me this is a joke. In fact, NFL owners and players should put a clause in their new agreement saying no more Brett Favre.
Did you watch the baseball hall of fame ceremony? I thought the intro of current day hall of famers would never end. Its good to see Robbie Alomar in Cooperstown as a Jay, but he's not the greatest 2nd baseman in there. That honor goes to my favourite all time ball player if not athlete---former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg. One can't argue that he was a little classier during his playing days than Alomar. Some have reminded me as to how arrogant he was when the Jays spent some time in Regina.
Congrats to Riders PR guy (and friend) Ryan Whippler. He and his wife are now proud parents for the first time after welcoming 6 pound Alexis Whippler to the world on Sunday morning. I'm sure Dad is doing fine, but he is a germaphobe so I'm not really sure what's going to happen when he has to change that first diaper. I'm thinking hand sanitizer sales have gone wayyyyyyyy up. Break out the cigars at Tuesday's practice Whip!
Have a good Monday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Wild And Wacky West

If someone had told me that after four weeks of the CFL season that the Edmonton Eskimos would be 4-0 and that the BC Lions and likely the Saskatchewan Roughriders would be 0-4, I would have been asking just how much alcohol they had in their system. However, that is the case. The Eskimos stayed perfect by hanging on in Calgary on Saturday night to defeat the Stamps 24-19.
You have to hand it to the Eskimos as they are playing good football right now and you are going to have your hands full if you are going to beat this team. Chances are they will go 5-0 next weekend when they are home to Toronto.
I don't know if the media got on John Hufnagel for this, but I am pinning that loss on his shoulders. What a stupid decision it was by Hufnagel to have Edmonton kickoff after their late 4th quarter field goal. Calgary needed field position and they would have had it at the 35. Instead, a bad decision by rookie Anthony Parker meant Calgary scrimmaged at the 12. Those 23 yards he gave up were huge.
The more and more that I watch the game, I don't know if I am more frustrated with what is and what isn't pass interference or what is and what isn't roughing the passer. I have seen several very questionable roughing the passer calls and the two CFL games today provided more examples of it. I can understand wanting to protect the quarterback, but like it is in the NFL, the guy is part of the game and is going to be contacted from time to time. You can't flag a guy 15 yards when he is following through on a hit as has been the case a few times this year including one late in the Calgary-Edmonton game when the Stamps were penalized on a play where I thought the Stampeders defender did nothing wrong. Remember, this is coming from a guy who has no time for the Stamps. Its almost getting to the point that you have to just put a flag on the quarterback's waist and you have to grab it before he throws the ball.
Can the Riders make tomorrow's game in Montreal interesting? I hope so, but I don't see this team coming within 14 of the mighty Als at home.
That being said, they can come back home and take out what I think is a very beatable Calgary team.
How many games has the Jays bullpen cost them this year. It wouldn't be enough to get them into a playoff chase, but their 8th and 9th inning work has been less than stellar. It would serve Alex Anthopoulos well to go out in free agency this winter and find a grade "A" closer.
The NFL is back so when do the fantasy football drafts begin?? For that matter, when does the Brett Favre is coming back stories start to surface.
Why is there a "Final Destination 5". Shouldn't it have just ended at 1.
Those Moores commercials on the CFL games say 79 percent of women think the sexiest thing a man can do is dress well. Do 100 percent of those 79 percent look at the man's bank account? I asked Mrs. Scruffy what is the sexiest thing a man can do is and her reply was "clean the house". Obviously, there must be another reason why she finds me damn sex-ay. No, I don't know when her laser eye surgery appointment is.
Did you know who Adam Hadwin was until today? I didn't. How much longer till Mike Weir does the right thing and hang it up.
Did anyone see John Daly's Canadian golf pants that he wore Friday. Those would make Norwegian curlers jealous.
The trio of Kate Beirness, Natasha Staniszewski and Sara Orlesky simply embarass Ivanka Osmak.
Oops!! Did anyone notice that the CFL on TSN ad featuring the Riders involves Tad Kornegay. EDIT!!!!

Rider Roster Changes

Five changes have been made to the 46 man roster from last week's game in Hamilton

ON: C. Graham. Patrick, Charles, Russ, Boulay

OFF: Kornegay, West, Murphy, Brown, Butler

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pats Look To Red Deer To Find Ripplinger's Replacement

The Regina Pats are proud to announce the addition of Dale McMullin as the team’s Director of Scouting.

Dale has spent the past 9 seasons with the Red Deer Rebels and has most recently been their Senior Scout. He had a major role in rebuilding the Rebels back into one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference by helping identify players such as Alex Petrovic, Justin Weller, Brandon Sutter, Landon Ferraro, Matt Dumba and the 2011 NHL Entry Draft’s 1st overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Dale is also a former player in the Western Hockey League, playing 5 seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings eclipsing the 100 point mark twice. He was selected by the Atlanta Flames in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and by the Phoenix Roadrunners in the 1975 WHA Amateur Draft.

Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang, “We are excited to name Dale as our Director of Scouting. With his experience in the WHL both as a player and as a scout, we feel his extensive knowledge will be a significant addition to the Pats moving forward.”

Regina Pats Director of Scouting Dale McMullin, “I would like to first thank Brent Sutter and the Red Deer Rebels and would also like to thank Chad Lang and the Regina Pats for the opportunity to become their Director of Scouting.”

The Regina Pats would like to welcome Dale to the organization and he will start immediately in preparation for training camp.

Off To Montreal

The Saskatchewan Roughriders held one last practice today before leaving for Montreal tomorrow and Sunday's game against the Alouettes.

James Patrick will be back in the lineup and it looks like Hugh Charles will also return after missing the last couple of games with a bad hamstring.

Not many people are picking the Riders to win this week, and you can't blame them for that. Here's what Head Coach Greg Marshall had to say when all was done today....

MarshallJuly22 by mitchellblair

Jets Unveil Their New Logos

The Winnipeg Jets have unveiled their new logo. As you will see, it looks nothing like their old logo. What do you think?

Shaun Sutter Finds Work

Jesse Wallin, General Manager/Head Coach of the Red Deer Rebels Hockey Club, and Randy Peterson, the team’s Director of Scouting, announced today that Senior Scout Dale McMullin has resigned from the team. McMullin had been with the Rebels since 2002.

Wallin and Peterson also announced today that they have hired Shaun Sutter as the team’s new Senior Scout. Sutter spent the last two seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Regina Pats. Prior to his time with the Pats, Sutter played professionally for 8 years. He also played in the Western Hockey League from 1997 to 2001 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and the Calgary Hitmen. Sutter was a 4th round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 1998 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Jesse Wallin - "We have been aware of the possibility of losing Dale for some time, so the succession planning process has been ongoing. This process has revealed Shaun to be the perfect fit to fill this position. It was important for us to find youth; someone who'd bring enthusiasm and a fresh perspective, but also someone who will grow in the organization and has the potential to take over the lead role should Randy ever move on. Shaun certainly fits the criteria, and combined with his experience in the game and in our league, I'm confident he will be a tremendous asset to the organization.”

Randy Peterson – “Shaun is an intelligent, hard working young man with a very good hockey background as a player and coach in the WHL I look forward to working closely with Shaun, and I'm excited for what he will bring to our scouting staff.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This And That

The Riders performance or lack of it has obviously dominated things over the past couple of days, but despite what one may think, the day to day operations of the /=S=/ is not the only thing happening. Just some other things crossing my mind....

--Congrats to Dan McIntosh. He is the new 6 o'clock anchor at CTV Regina. He has informed me that his famed yellow sports jacket may become a thing of the past.

--The city must do something to protect motorists on the Ring Road in the wake of Tuesday's tragic accident in which a car lost control and crossed the median hitting another car head-on. A barrier of some sorts should be put up. There are way too many accidents on the Ring Road (most of them because of driver stupidity) and something needs to be done. I am actually amazed that more people don't see their lives come to an end on the Ring Road with the way some people drive.

--Is it just me or has Tad Kornegay made his release all about him thus making him look like a "me" guy. I understand his frustration in being released by the Riders, but asking Rider fans to start a "We want Tad" chant at the next home game is a little narcissistic if you ask me.

--In looking at the film of Saturday's debacle in Hamilton, not only was Kornegay steamrolled by Marcus Thigpen, but it was also him who was burned terribly by Marquay McDaniel on that 2nd and short play in the first quarter. It almost appeared as if he gave up on the play and was fortunate to see McDaniel drop the ball. Was that the reason for his dismissal?

--Some of you commented as to the sound quality of yesterday's interviews from Mosaic. Lets just say its not easy to have the greatest quality of sound when there is an 80 kilometer an hour wind howling through.

--I really don't know if I'll watch the new Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher taking over for Charlie Sheen. I'm not that big a Kutcher fan.

--Congrats to the Regina Red Sox for winning the East Division title. Still a lot of work to do for Rob Cherepuschak's gang as they look for a league title, but they have the talent. Here's hoping the weather co-operates so the finals can be played the way they are supposed to instead of being shortened or not played at all as has been the case the last two years.

--There has to be a relationship somewhere between the Western Hockey League, SHAW TV and the recently put out of work Peter Loubardias. It would behoove Shaw and the WHL if it asked the voice of Junior Hockey in this country to be their play-by-play man this winter. Speaking of Peter, I find it very gutless of Sportsnet management to not say why Loubardias was let go. There are rumours that hockey honcho Scott Moore didn't like Peter's style. If Moore can actually say that and then listen to some others that do hockey on his network then its obvious Moore really doesn't have a clue about what a good hockey broadcaster is.

--What comes first. A Rider win or the announcement of a Pats head coach?

--Is Rob Vanstone on holidays or not? The man has written two columns while on his holidays from New York on the state of the Riders. There is devotion and there is being a workaholic----I think we know where Rob is on that ladder. SHUT YOUR COMPUTER OFF ROB!!!! Enjoy New York City!

--Speaking of Vanstone, the two of us along with the one and only Tony (don't hate me cuz I'm sexier than all of you) Playter went to Moose Jaw last Friday night for wrestling seeing Principal Richard Pound was involved. It amazes me as to how this event wasn't the first one in the brand new Moose Jaw multiplex. And yes, all of Moose Jaw's finest were there with the exception of one Rob Carnie and one James Gallo. It is obvious that something pressing must have come up for them to pass this event by on their social calendar.

--Rob and I have determined that the Principal should be named to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. How does one go about in nominating someone for that? If not the Canadian one, then the Regina one for sure.

--Is Chris Osgood a Hall of Famer? That's an interesting debate.

--Is Dave Dickenson a Hall of Famer? That too is an interesting debate.

--If the Blue Jays were in the American League Central, they would be in the midst of a pennant race. How can they be in a pennant race when they play alongside the Yankees and Red Sox. It just won't happen unless baseball expands its playoff system.

--Has anyone seen an NFL preview magazine on the store shelves? Are people like Pro Football Weekly and ESPN just waiting for the lockout to end before putting out the yearly mags?

--Listening to people talk in the US, it doesn't look like we will see the NBA for a long, long time. Unlike the NFL, there is seemingly no optimism for both sides to get together on a labor deal in the basketball world.
What if anything will the NHL do to try and make Americans notice their game with pro basketball on the sidelines.

--My PS3 has been dormant for at least a month. I guess I should get back to playing Tiger Woods 12 or go out and buy NCAA Football 12, but its too nice outside to spend the day inside playing video games.

--As you know I do sideline work for CKRM during Rider games. I think I can truly say that if you look down at the visitors sideline, you will be able to spot me like a sore thumb---unless of course the game is played in a driving rain then I may blend in. Lets just say bright yellow is NOT my colour. Oh well, at least I have logoed clothing from the big 620 and I'm not even a full time employee. I worked at the other place for how many years and got I think one piece of clothing with the logo on it and then they changed that logo a short time later.

--One of my Facebook friends believes Brendan Taman and I were separated at birth. The way things are going in Riderville, I hope no one mistakes me for Brendan. What an insult for Taman as well as he weighs quite a few pounds less than me.

--Can you win a lifetime achievement award twice?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Estevan Beats Out Swan River

Toronto, ON (July 20, 2011) – You did it Estevan! After an intense inter-provincial battle, the southeastern Saskatchewan city has been declared the seventh winning community in the Kraft Celebration Tour.

As part of the Kraft Celebration Tour, Estevan hosts a special edition of SPORTSCENTRE featuring anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole when they broadcast live from the community on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. ET.

Estevan also receives a $25,000 community award from Kraft Canada that goes towards expanding the city’s three-year-old youth football program and repairing its football fields, which were recently damaged by devastating floods in the area.

Known as the Energy City, Estevan boasts large coal, oil, gas and power industries. Its energy sector, along with Estevan’s farming and agricultural trade, employ a large part of the city’s more than 10,000 residents. Bordering North Dakota and just west of Manitoba, Estevan prides itself on being a community dedicated to quality of life and offers a multitude of recreational sports, arts and cultural activities.

Estevan joins Armstrong, BC, Wallaceburg, ON, Devon, AB, Pembroke, ON, Kyle, SK and La Durantaye, QC as one of the 10 winning communities in the Kraft Celebration Tour. Estevan was named to the tour after winning a national head-to-head vote over Swan River, MB.

The Day After

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were back at work today as they started getting ready for Sunday's game in Montreal without Tad Kornegay. Many people had many different things to say about what is happening with the football club and here is what I got.  The comments from Brendan Taman, Gene Makowsky, Luc Mullinder and Greg Marshall can be heard below. Enjoy!!!

Taman by mitchellblair

Mullinder July 20 by mitchellblair

Makowsky July 20 by mitchellblair

Marshall July 20 by mitchellblair

Great Pix Of Last Nite's Storm

Did you watch the storm roll through Regina early this morning. My teenage daughter and I sat out on the deck for about 20 minutes just watching the lightning show that we were treated to and it was something to behold (and very cooling too).  CKRM's Facebook page has a link to a Regina photographer who captured some great shots of the storm over the city. Take a look.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Shakeup Begins In Riderville

When the Riders start practicing for Sunday's game in Montreal, one player who will not be on the field is defensive back Tad Kornegay.  He twittered this just before 10 o'clock tonight...

#RiderNation sorry to say but as of Midnight I will no longer be a Roughrider. Placed on waivers. Wish it wasn't true.

Reaction has been quick via Twitter

Shomari Williams -- I will never understand this business at a loss for words right now.
Luc Mullinder -- I hate this business. Absolutely numb right now

Kornegay has also Tweeted that he will wait until tomorrow (Wednesday) before airing things out and that knowing him, it should be interesting.  He has also tweeted that he feels bad for the locker room and that they should have known he was the gatekeeper.

More Analysis On What's Gone Wrong

The biggest topic in the CFL today is what's wrong with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A team that has been in three of the last four Grey Cups now looks nothing like those squads. Everyone has their theories as to what has derailed this football team and what needs to be done to get things going again.'s Matt Cauz is the latest to give his two cents. Here is what he has to say as he looks back at the disaster that was Hamilton....

Jays To Retire Alomar's Jersey

Hall of Fame second baseman ROBERTO ALOMAR will be given the TORONTO BLUE JAYS highest honour on July 31, 2011 when his uniform number will be retired in a pregame ceremony at Rogers Centre. Alomar's number 12 will be the first number retired by the Blue Jays in their 35 year history. Jackie Robinson's number 42 was retired by Major League Baseball on April 15, 1997.

"Roberto is a very special part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization and arguably the greatest second baseman of all-time," said Toronto Blue Jays President and CEO, Paul Beeston. "His number deserves to be retired so that his contributions and excellence can stand as a model for all those who have the honour of wearing a Blue Jays uniform."

Alomar was elected to the Hall of Fame on January 5, 2011 by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He received over 90% of the ballots which represents the highest percentage of any non first ballot electee.

"This is an honour that I was not expecting," said Roberto Alomar. "I knew my numbers were worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame but for the Blue Jays to select my number 12 to be the first number they retire is a great honour. I am truly blessed to be a Blue Jay and I'm looking forward to the ceremony on July 31st."

Fans are encouraged to join Roberto and some special guests for an on-field celebration of Roberto's career on July 31st. On Roberto Alomar day the first 20,000 fans entering the stadium will receive a collectable Roberto Alomar Hall of Fame bobble head. Our ceremonies will honour Alomar one week following his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 24th in Cooperstown, New York.

Alomar played five seasons with the Blue Jays including the World Championship teams in 1992 & 1993. In each season with the club, from 1991 through 1995, he was selected to both the All-Star game and awarded Gold Glove honours for fielding excellence. His .307 career average as a Blue Jay is the highest mark in club history (min 2000 plate appearances). He also ranks 2nd in stolen bases (206) and 5th on the Blue Jays list in triples (36).

His best work, however, may have been reserved for the post-season. The 1992 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player batted .373 in 29 playoff games as a Blue Jay, with eight extra base hits and 18 RBI. His 9th inning home run against Dennis Eckersley in Game Four of the 1992 ALCS remains one of the greatest moments in club history.

Alomar completed his 17-year career in 2004 with 12 All-Star game selections, an ALCS MVP award (1992), an All-Star game MVP award (1998), four Silver Slugger awards (1992, 1996, 1999 & 2000) and 10 Gold Glove awards. The 10 Gold Gloves are the most for any second baseman in Major League history and the four Silver Slugger awards are second to only Ryne Sandberg.

He was inducted into the Blue Jays Level of Excellence on April 5, 2008.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Grey Cup 2012 Announces Ticket Prices

Tickets for the 100th Grey Cup next year will range from $150 to $399.
The CFL championship game is scheduled for Nov. 25, 2012, at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Argos season ticket-holders will receive first crack at the 2012 Grey Cup, with access to their same seats or equivalent.

The tickets will cost $150, $199, $250, $325 and $399.

The Kraft Celebration Tour Winner In Sask Is......

After a hard-fought showdown in Saskatchewan, the province’s town of Kyle has been named the fifth winning community in the Kraft Celebration Tour.

As part of the Kraft Celebration Tour, Kyle hosts a special edition of SPORTSCENTRE featuring anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole when they broadcast live from the community on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. ET.

Kyle also receives a $25,000 community award from Kraft Canada that goes towards upgrading and maintaining Kyle Community Centre, which first opened in January 1985.

Just over 300 kilometers west of Regina is the town of Kyle, a farming community that took root with the arrival of the railway. The Kyle Community Centre serves as the epicenter of the small community of 400 people and is home to local hockey and curling programs in the winter.

Kyle joins Armstrong, BC, Wallaceburg, ON, Devon, AB, and Pembroke, ON as one of the 10 winning communities in the Kraft Celebration Tour. Kyle was named to the tour after winning a national head-to-head vote over Meadow Lake, SK.

Ripper Finds Another WHL Gig

Vancouver Giants Executive Vice-President and General Manager Scott Bonner is pleased to announce the hiring of Todd Ripplinger as the club’s new Director of Player Development. No stranger to the WHL, Ripplinger joins the Giants scouting staff following 14 years as a member of the Regina Pats, the last 13 as the club’s Director of Scouting.

“We are extremely excited to have Todd join our hockey department and believe that his knowledge and experience will really help our staff,” said Bonner. “ Todd’s track record of finding players such as Jordan Eberle, Colten Teubert, and Jordan Weal speaks for itself.”

Todd joins his brother Jason as a member of the Giants scouting staff. Jason is the Director of Player Personnel and has been with the organization since day 1.

Vancouver Giants training camp begins August 25 at the Ladner Leisure Centre.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot

I don't know what is more intense right now. The overpowering heat that is coming down on us as the mercury hits well into the 30's or the fury that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are facing. The 0-3 start has people all over the place up in arms. As supporters of the football club, that is fine, but there are some out there that need to simply pull back and relax.

I really laugh at those who are getting on the media. Do you really think Darian Durant is going to come out and say he can't get along with Doug Berry? Do you really think Doug Berry is going to say that he and Durant don't get along?  Do you really think that Greg Marshall is going to say it was a mistake to hire Richie Hall or that Brendan Taman will say it was a mistake to hire Greg Marshall? If you do, you've spent a little too much time under the sun. This team is not going to say anything inflammatory to make the situation worse. They are going to stand together united until something is done and even then I doubt you'll hear anything. Just look at last season when special teams were an issue. Everyone knew it, but no player threw Jim Daley under the bus and no coach did either. At the end of the year, Daley was not retained, but at no time was he thrown under the bus. The situation is not a good one, but you will find no one at Mosaic Stadium who is going to pass along what it is like in that room. No one! Perhaps sometime down the road we will, but if you really think its going to happen now, you are sadly mistaken. The questions will be asked and the answers will be given. It will be up to you as to whether or not you want to believe those answers.  As always, I'm sure if someone wants to show up and ask the questions that you think the LP, Global, CTV, CBC, CJME or CKRM aren't asking, then come on down.
I'm still not impressed with the Eskimos even though they are 3-0. I'm also not sold on Calgary even though they are 2-1. I still (and perhaps I've had too much sun) say the teams that will finish first and second in the West are the teams currently at 0-3.
I was in an east end establishment early Sunday evening. Two girls (in their early to mid 20's) were in line in front of me and one was telling the other how she woke up Sunday morning with her hair, shoulder and ear covered in barbecue sauce. I wanted to ask her how Craven went, but perhaps she didn't remember. Oh yeah, EWWWWWW!!
The WWE's Money in the Bank pay-per-view was one that actually got me caught up in the hype. I watched it Sunday night and it lived up to its expectation. It might have been better than Wrestlemania and it certainly leaves a lot of questions going into Monday Night RAW.
As I write this, the Red Sox and Tampa are in the 16th inning of a scoreless game. If this was hockey, people would be calling for a homerun contest to end the game if its still scoreless after 12 or starting the inning with a runner on 2nd. Thankfully, no one in baseball wants to continously change the game the way they do in hockey.
The New York Yankees complained that the Blue Jays were stealing signs from them this week and wondered if they do that at  home quite a bit. Its obviously not working if something is up as Toronto has lost more games at  home this year than they have won and it obviously didn't work the last two days as the Yankees beat the Jays.
Northern Ireland is without a doubt the number one golf country in the world. Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have won three of the last six majors. You have to wonder when Dustin Johnson will finally break through and win one. The guy just has no luck in the final round of a major.
If you watched the Womens World Cup of Soccer and you liked it, I believe that event will be held in Canada the next time around. I'm guessing Saskatchewan won't be seeing any of the action and the reason for that is we have no facility with grass.
How many Pittsburgh Pirates fans are finally going to start coming out of the woodwork?
Global TV's Derek "Duke" Meyers and Rylee Carlson make a fantastic pairing on the weekend anchoring the news. Meyers did weather the other night....I'm guessing we won't be seeing a Meyers on news, Carlson on sports cast anytime soon...or will we?
Is Regina ready for an all-sports radio station? That's the poll question this week. Answer away!
Stay cool!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh My God!!

Does this sum up what we saw on the Ivor Wynne turf Saturday afternoon? I can't remember a Saskatchewan Roughrider team playing as bad as what I saw yesterday. A 33-3 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats showed very little if anything when it came to positives.

At 0-2, I said championships are won in November and not in July, but after what happened yesterday, there will be no talk of championships in Saskatchewan this year. In fact, it has become very evident that when Ken Miller walked away as head coach of this football club that something left with him and has not returned.

Under no circumstances should this be taken as a fire Greg Marshall posting because it is not. However, after what I saw yesterday, I wonder just what is happening. This football team would run through a wall for Miller and I don't think they would have run to the store for a carton of milk for Marshall. Every football player that wore the white jerseys yesterday should be embarassed with their performance and every football player that wore the white jerseys should seriously be wondering if they will be around in the next couple of weeks after that effort. Marshall was embarassed by what he saw and he should be. I'm guessing his half-time speech and his post-game address would have been Rex Ryan-esque or Bruce Boudreau-esque with all the F bombs that must have been dropped.

Despite what a lot of you want, this team is not getting rid of Doug Berry this week and Richie Hall, Brendan Taman and Marshall aren't going anywhere. Some players have to be held accountable for their effort or lack of it and once coaches go through the game tape they will see who perhaps the guilty party or parties are.

This team has been beaten twice by 14 points and once by 30. This is not acceptable anymore. A team that I thought had the best talent on paper going into the season is now arguably the worst team in the CFL. Did I say arguably? There is still a lot of time to get this ship sailing in the right direction, but this ship is taking on water and is in danger of sinking.

I'm guessing it will be a sleepless week for Marshall and company. It should be. The same should go for players who simply embarassed the /=S=/ logo that they represent and the logo that so many wear across this country. It doesn't get any easier with Montreal coming up next Sunday in Montreal. I can't imagine how many members of the Rider Nation---including John Lynch---would even think the Riders could win that game after what was shown in Hamilton. Greg Marshall said himself after the game that no one will think his team can win in Montreal but they will take the 42 players that give him the best chance of winning. If some of those 42 take the same work ethic and attitude into Montreal that they took into Hamilton, well I don't have to tell you what will happen.

The ball is in the court of the players. Lets see how they respond.


All I can say right now is this.  If you thought it was bad before, just wait. You ain't seen nothing yet!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Living In The Man Cave

I don't have a house that has air conditioning. I don't know if I can justify the $$$$ for it when you only need it X days a year. Right now, is one of those X days and yes, it is in times like these that I wish I had it.
There I was in the basement of Casa De Blair last night when the lovely and talented Morgan Reed of CTV (who really should be doing more than anchoring the late night cast because she is that good) is telling me to get ready for temperatures that will be above 30 for the next few days. Don't get me wrong, the mancave is comfy and its cool, but the couch is more of a nap couch than a sleep couch so there's not a lot of z's happening and it looks like it will be that way for a few days yet. SIGHHHHHH!!!!!
I don't know if its just because of the weather and all the fans that we have going in the house, but I woke up the other day with a case of the sniffles. I woke up this morning with a raspy throat and that is not good when hosting two hours of sports-talk radio as I will be today when I once again sit in to do "The Sportscage' on 620 CKRM with Rod in Hamilton with the Riders. It is "Four Seasons Football Friday", but the old 96er will not be in today as Scott Schultz has other plans. Former Leader-Post sports writer Darrell Davis will be with me for at least part of the show if not all of it. We will also have Rod from Hamilton and Drew Edwards of the Hamilton Spectator on the show.
Speaking of Rod, he blogs today that he is convinced all-sports radio could work in Regina. We have had a lot of dialogue on this topic over the past few months. I'm not as convinced as him, but I do admit that I have come over to his side quite a bit on the matter. Time will tell.
The Riders had to once again go through Calgary to get out East in what was a long and arduous day for them. Some have asked that with the 6.6 million they have in the bank account, why they don't charter all of their flights. If only it was that easy is what I'm told. I guess a lot of the Eastern teams when they come to Regina have to go through Calgary as well.
Interesting story on Rogers Sportsnet in the Globe yesterday. A Sportsnet muckety-muck says the network hasn't got all the people it wants to do what they want to do and how there is a shortage of available TV sports talent and what they are going to with staffing in Winnipeg because of the Jets arrival. They turn around and tell my good friend Peter Loubardias that his services are no longer needed with the network. Its obvious to me with this decision being made that this muckety-muck making the statements to the Globe has his head firmly entrenched up his ass and that the only thing coming out of the Sportsnet office is pure and utter b-s. If you haven't got the people you want, why are you inexplicably releasing someone who while controversial with his style has a huge amount of respect in hockey circles---especially junior hockey. Peter came to Regina to be close to his inner circle of friends and thankfully he considers me to be one of those people. He's devastated over what has happened. I got to know Peter many years ago and watched him claw, scratch and fight his way to a national network and achieve many a dream. He then gets the rug yanked out from under his feet and is given no reason as to why. He couldn't have been transferred back to the desk or to Winnipeg or given an expanded slate of junior games. Sportsnet has a lot of talented people working for them, but sadly it looks like none of those people are making the key decisions. Statements in the Globe article are completely diffused with this move. The good thing is I know Pete will be back in this industry and will look back on this in a few years and say thank god because the good people get rewarded and recognized for what they have done.
How many Blue Jays fans gasped when Jose Bautista was rolling around 3rd base in agony after twisting his ankle last night? Thankfully, it looks like he will be fine, but he might miss a game or two.
I sat at the "4 Seasons" last night and watched the Calgary Stampeders get two points they didn't deserve----or was it a case of Winnipeg giving it away. The Bombers dominated Calgary---at least that's what I thought, but a bad pass that ended up in a Keon Raymond touchdown followed by a hellacious hit on a Winnipeg receiver causing a fumble allowing Calgary to score a late TD for a win was all the Stamps needed for their second straight nail-biting win on the road. Winnipeg had the game won and had TJ Harris been tackled without fumbling, the Bombers may have been able to salt that one away. They gave Henry Burris a life though and he capitalized. That's what the good ones do.
Great article by Rob Vanstone as he defends Brendan Taman from those who want to know what he has done since taking over the GM chair from Eric Tillman. The Taman hate that is out there does confuse me, but then again so do some opinions from some fans who wouldn't know the first thing to do if they were to sit in Taman's chair.
If you're reading this while at Craven, make sure you've got sunscreen on, don't passout in a ditch and try to at least get her phone number.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Its A Busy Thursday In The Cage

The Riders took off for Hamilton this afternoon so that means Rod Pedersen is out and I am in as host of "The Sportscage" for the next two days. It will be a busy Thursday as I am joined by "The Silver Fox"--Kelly Remple.

You will hear from Arash Madani with the Madani Report, new Warriors coach Mike Stothers will talk to us live, we'll chat with Regina Red Sox manager Rob Cherepuschak and you will hear from Greg Marshall and Craig Butler.

All of that and whatever else we can cram into two hours of the best damn sports show you will find in this province coming up at 4 on 620 CKRM.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Comments from The Coach And The QB

Riders coach Greg Marshall and quarterback Darian Durant were front and center after Riders practice today to talk about life as an 0-2 team and the challenges the Ti-Cats face on Saturday. Take a listen to what both had to say....

MarshallJuly13 by mitchellblair

DarianJuly13 by mitchellblair

Some Quick Thoughts

--Now that the Warriors have officially hired Mike Stothers as their new head coach, how much longer will Pats fans have to wait for the official announcement of theirs.

--If reports of Ryan McGill are out there as the new man, I would go with that unless there is a last minute snag. When there's smoke, there's fire.

--Back to the Warriors for a second, I think the idea to use public transit to get fans to and from the game at the new Multiplex is an outstanding idea. It works for Rider games so why wouldn't it work for MJ games. The only question I have is didn't those who decided where the building would be located not realize that parking would be a problem and try to do something about it. I hope Warrior fans really adopt this idea because it is a great one and they should be commended for it.

--Oh good, the National League has home field advantage for the World Series. It means Wrigley Field will be the host venue for Games 1 and 2 with the Cubs playing who... WHAT?? A guy can dream can't he. SIGHHHHHHH!!!

-----Baseball's all-star game is the best one out there because the game doesn't change, but it just doesn't hold my attention the way a normal game would

--Just imagine Chuck Norris with Brian Wilson's beard for a second. That would be downright scary!!!!

--Katy Perry is in town tonight and my 16 year old daughter could care less. She had no desire to get a ticket once that concert was announced.

--If the Environment Canada forecast is correct, we are looking for a weekend of 30 degree plus temperatures. That means a lot of time in the basement for this cowboy. I'm not and never have been one for the extreme heat.

--I will be in the Sportscage riding shotgun with Rod Pedersen today as I do most Wednesdays. I will assume the hosts chair Thursday and Friday with the Riders gone to Hamilton.

--The last Locker Talk for a while was taped last night at Access 7. Pete Paczko and myself are taking the summer months off before getting it going again in September. I don't have to tell many of you that Regina is a very great and a very diverse sporting community with many athletes young and old representing themselves and their sports and their city in tremendous fashion. I love giving these athletes and organizations the 15 minutes of air time that they might not otherwise get with the exception of the paper. The TV stations and the radio stations for the most part just don't  have  time in their allotted windows to do more amateur sports stuff.

--I heard someone mention that Marcel Bellefeuille might be playing for his job Saturday when the Riders are there. I would think a loss followed by his dismissal would be a little premature on the Ti-Cats behalf. Much like it would if a team in green were to go 0-3.

--If early indications mean anything, I think more people bought Fantuz Flakes right off the bat than Darios. I've been to the Co-op and have had no problem in getting the cereal. I couldn't find the cereal last year after it first went on the shelves.

--Andrew Cogliano's time in Edmonton had come to an end, but I think the Oilers could have gotten more for him. Why do the Oilers always trade with Western Conference rivals. I would have much rather seen Cogs in Pittsburgh or New Jersey or any Eastern team.

--If the NHL is going to re-align divisions, lets have an all-Canadian division. Geographically, I know that won't work, but it would be fun.

--Steelers linebacker James Harrison should donate his brain to science when he leaves football, but his comments this week suggest to me that perhaps he doesn't have a brain. You aren't making any friends there big guy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rider Pride In The Maritimes

We know Rider Pride can be found all over Saskatchewan and all over Western Canada along with Ontario and Quebec. You can now add the Maritimes to that list. Click here

Defending The Defence

Whether you watch Global, CTV or CBC and I guess CJME for that matter,  read the L-P or listen to "The Sportscage" as so many of you do according to the ratings, the message out of Rider practice will be the same today. That is what the h-e double hockeysticks is wrong with the defence. Its the question everyone wants the answers to in wake of the Riders bad start to the 11 season. Here are the post-practice comments of Coach Marshall, Richie Hall and Sean Lucas.

Marshall July 12 by mitchellblair

Richie Hall by mitchellblair

Sean Lucas by mitchellblair

A couple of injuries of note. Lance Frazier didn't practice because of a swollen knee. Chris Getzlaf is being hampered by an injury to the back of his leg. Marshall discusses in that in his scrum. Marshall also talks about the addition of receiver James Robinson. He had a very inauspicious debut with the club as he had problems catching the ole pigskin on day 1.

Riders Add Receiver

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced they have signed import receiver James Robinson to a contract. Financial details of the signing were not released.

Robinson (6’3 – 213 lbs) spent three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. He tallied 52 receptions for 747 yards and three touchdowns in 27 regular season games played.

The Florida native entered the CFL in 2007 when he was signed by the Argonauts as a free agent. In 2009, the 28-year-old spent time with Miami, Cleveland and Washington of the NFL before returning the Argos in August, 2010.

Jets To Central?/Pats-Warriors With New Coaches?

It appears the Winnipeg Jets may be playing in the Central Division of the Wesern Conference after next season.

According to the Grand Rapids Press, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold said as much on Monday, telling Minneapolis radion station, KFAN that the Wild would be playing in the Central Division against the Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars and possibly the Columbus Blue Jackets. He made no mention of the Detroit Red Wings, which is the team most likely to move the Eastern Conference to accomodate the Jets' move.

The NHL Board of Governors are scheduled to meet in December to resume talks of realignment. The Jets will play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference this season, joining the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers.
If you've read Rod Pedersen's blog this morning (and chances are you have), he is reporting that both the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats have their new head coaches. The new guy in Moose Jaw is Mike Stothers---the former NHL'er was an assistant in Atlanta and at one time coached Owen Sound in the OHL. As for the Pats, they have supposedly hired former Kootenay head coach Ryan McGill. McGill took the Ice to a WHL championship and a Memorial Cup championship in the 2001-02 campaign.

Monday, July 11, 2011

North Dakota State Fair Cancelled

(From Minot Daily News)

There will be no North Dakota State Fair in 2011.

Fair manager Renae Korslien announced Sunday that the nine-day event that had been scheduled to begin July 22 has been canceled due to flooding. It will be the first time since its designation as a State Fair in 1965 that the event won't go on.

"We tried. We tried hard, but the timeline got too short," Korslien said. "It's a disaster a disaster in our heart and a disaster on our grounds."

Flooded by the swollen Souris River at the end of June, the fairgrounds was to be free of water by now, based on original hydrograph data from the National Weather Service. That forecast led the fair board to move forward with plans for a fair, although without competitive exhibits that include 4-H and FFA.
A revised hydrograph from the National Weather Service now shows the Souris River will be receding more slowly than originally forecast. Initially, the forecast was for the river level to have reached 1551 feet on Sunday. That level is critical for draining the fairgrounds, which still had two feet of water on the midway Sunday. Now it appears that level won't be reached until Thursday, due in part to significant rainfall in the river basin Friday. That's a key delay when it comes to having the grounds ready in time.

Korslien said it was the unanimous decision of the fair board to cancel this year's event.

She said she is confident that the fair will be able to cancel the entertainers without cost. People who purchased tickets using a credit card will be automatically refunded by the end of July. It is not necessary to contact the fair if a credit card was used. People who pay cash will need to contact the fair office at 857-7620 or email The fair office will contact people with camping reservations by July 31.

Korslien reported the grandstand and State Fair Center remain dry because of the dedication of staff who have monitored those facilities around the clock and kept pumps running to ensure water stayed outside of the dikes.

"It was a great battle, and we won that battle. We would just liked to win them all," she said. "The city has been so wonderful to us, and so many other partners have come to battle this with us."
Korslien indicated the staff will be working now to be ready for Motor Magic over Labor Day and Norsk Hostfest at the end of September and other community events.

Chester Reiten, president of Norsk Hostfest, said there are no plans to cancel or change the venue for the Scandinavian festival. The preservation of the State Fair Center helps out Hostfest, although the event has outgrown that building and was using other fair buildings as well as relying heavily on the recreational vehicle parking.
The fair, which has no flood insurance, suffered damages to its barns, commercial buildings and other facilities that were not diked. Korslien said water remains in many of the buildings and mold was noticed growing above the water line in at least one structure, the Jaycee building. The north end of the fairgrounds is beginning to dry off, but drainage goes south, where the two feet of water remain. Korslien noted there's still a current on the grounds.

With Minot's water and sewer systems stressed by the flooding, there's also concern about whether infrastructure will be ready in just a few weeks to handle thousands of people on the fairgrounds.

Korslien said moving the fair to a different location never was an option. Finding another suitable location would have been difficult, she said.

The State Fair has been experiencing increased attendance in recent years. Last year brought a record attendance of 308,641 people.
The history of the fair dates back to a county event that started in Minot in 1922. A Minot delegation persuaded the Legislature in 1965 to designate its fair, known as the Northwest Agricultural, Livestock and Fair Association, as the North Dakota State Fair. The first State Fair was held in 1966. This year would have been the 46th annual State Fair.
In a prepared statement to fair supporters, Korslien stated, "We want to thank Minot city officials, our fellow North Dakotans from every corner of our state and the Minot residents for their support in these recent weeks. We were truly touched by the outpouring of support earlier last month when we announced our decision to proceed with the State Fair. It just reminds us all of what makes this state and city so special and it makes all of us in the State Fair family even more determined to make next year's fair even greater."

Free Slurpee Day!

-Eleven, Inc., the company that invented convenience retailing 84 years ago in Dallas, Texas, invites customers to celebrate its birthday this coming Monday with a free 7.11-ounce frozen Slurpee drink. Participating 7-Eleven stores across the U.S. and Canada will serve up 5 million free 7.11-ounce Slurpee frozen carbonated beverages this day while supplies last.

"7-Eleven Day and giving away free Slurpee beverages is our way of thanking customers for their patronage throughout the year and showing appreciation for their support," said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven's senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. "Five million is the most Slurpee drinks we've ever given away in a day; just two years ago, we handed out 3 million," he added.

"7-Eleven Day is synonymous with free Slurpee day, because of how popular the Slurpee giveaway has become. We've been serving free Slurpees on July 11 since our 75th birthday in 2002, and it continues to be a hit with customers. Even without the 5 million free Slurpee drinks, July is the biggest month of the year for Slurpee sales."

July 11 marks the day that the world's No. 1 convenience retailer observes its birthday and other company milestones. 7-Eleven, the world's first convenience store, began its run in 1927 when a Southland Ice Company employee started selling bread, milk and eggs on an ice dock in a Dallas suburb. Since that inauspicious start, "convenience" has become big business. The small ice company has grown into a major international retailing chain with 8,600 7-Eleven stores in North America and approximately 41,500 stores worldwide.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This And That

Another work week is upon us and people are angry. The 0-2 start by the Saskatchewan Roughriders has many people up in arms. I certainly didn't think that team would be 0-2, and I know a lot of others didn't either. Yes, with two road games coming up the football team is digging a rather large hole for itself, but I would be shocked if they come back here to play Calgary sitting at 0-4.

It would seem as if Richie Hall is the main scapegoat over what has happened and you can certainly understand that seeing the team has given up 80 points in its first two games. Gary Etcheverry wasn't very popular either and he got his defences to back to back Grey Cups. Championships aren't won in July---just remember that.

I think what has become evident though with this football team though is that the combination of injuries and defections have finally taken its toll. At one time, the Riders could see player after player after player go down, but a replacement was there. That is no longer the case. There is still a lot of talent on this team, but that talent is young and has to grow much like Darian Durant did. Players like Terrence Nunn, Marc Parenteau, Nick Graham, Chris Graham and Jerrell Freeman are still learning this game and when they do, they will be solid at their positions. The rebuilding phase has started.
If you haven't heard, there is a new feature on "The Sportscage". You can now phone 546-CAGE and leave your thoughts after hours. Why am I thinking Rod could just play comment after comment after comment and fill up the two hours allotted if not more on Monday's show.
What's with Premier Brad Wall? I read in Saturday's paper that he has a Minnesota Vikings helmet. The vaunted "Grand Poobah" who is as big a Raiders fan as I am a Seahawks fan has a Vikings helmet in his posession? Shame!!!!! At least he doesn't have a Bombers helmet in his office------or does he?????
The Regina Red Sox and Medicine Hat Mavericks met in a battle of the top two teams in the WMBL Sunday night. As expected, it was a great contest with the Mavericks finally prevailing 3-2 in what was a fantastic game on a fantastic night to watch a game. The Mavericks will be back at Currie Wednesday night at 705. On Tuesday, the team that beat the Red Sox in the WMBL championship last year---the Swift Current Indians will be in Regina. Go check one of those games out if not both.
Baseball ( and all sports for that matter) have to scrap their all-star games. Its become evident that many players don't want to play in the game even though they are voted in by either the fans or managers. Cubs 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez was asked to play in Tuesday's game at Arizona, but he said no because he wanted to go back to the Dominican to spend some time with his family. Others want injuries to heal and others just want time off. I don't blame them. The hockey game is the same way and many in the NFL are tired of the bumps and bruises sustained after 18 games if not more and don't want to play in a glorified exhibition game.
I watched the first game of the Womens World Cup of Soccer between Canada and Germany and I was hoping I would watch more. I haven't and from all accounts, I've missed a great tournament. Many were talking about the USA's upset of Brazil on Sunday as one of the best soccer games they've seen men or women. I'll have to try and catch the semis and final.
High Impact Wrestling was once again a tremendous way to spend a Friday evening. Luminaries such as Tony Playter, Locker Talk co-host Pete Paczko, and a late arriving Rob Vanstone were there to take in the frivolity. As much as I don't like Rex Roberts, I may have found someone to hate a little more. Some little French dude who goes by the name of Rich. He's wrestling's equivalent of Dwight Anderson. OK, he's not that bad, but he's close. Seeing him get thrown onto Victoria Avenue wouldn't disappoint me any. 
I know many are hoping that Craven is a huge success again this year, but many are thinking it will be a huge disaster because of the flooding situation. I know a lot of people are wondering why organizers didn't cancel it for this year and bring it back better and stronger for next year. Time will tell how the weekend goes, but at least it looks like the weather will co-operate. With the Riders gone for two weeks, there was a thought that everything would move to Mosaic. It would have been cool, but I don't know how well that would go over and where would you put all the campers.
When the Blue Jays and Cubs both see their games start before noon and end at 3, it just makes me cry out for Sunday football. Speaking of which, I expect the NFL lockout to be over by this time next week. If it isn't, you can kiss goodbye to one week of exhibition games and the owners don't want that. They want guys in camps so they can start making some money.
Congrats to all Rider fans who voted for "Thunderstruck" to be the 4th quarter stretch song on Saturday. Anything as long as its not "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" works for me.
Who hires a head coach first---the Warriors or the Pats? I have heard Jeff Truitt's name pop up to once again call Moose Jaw home. Does that mean the Dave Barr rumours are over?  How about the name Tim Kehler. The former Swift Current assistant just left his job in the BCHL as the head man with Salmon Arm to pursue other coaching opportunities. I keep hearing Cory Clouston's name in connection with the Regina job. Would Clouston want to be coach only. I would think he would want both coach and GM.
Tiger Woods is making a major announcement on Monday. Many are speculating Tiger will say he is done for this season and will be back on the Tour next year. There is also talk that he might just call it a career. He wouldn't retire would he? That would send shockwaves throughout the sporting universe.
5 things you can't do......1. Sneeze with your eyes open. 2. Tickle yourself. 3. Put your fist in your mouth. 4. Fly. 5. Take your own advice.