Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ken Miller Era Is Over

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced that Head Coach and Vice-President of Football Operations Ken Miller will announce his retirement at the end of this season following today's practice.

Here is what sounded like along with comments from Darian Durant and Mike McCullough.

MillerHopson by mitchellblair

DurantOct31 by mitchellblair

McCulloughOct31 by mitchellblair

If I Had A Vote

We will find out later this week what players have been nominated for CFL year-end awards. Its never easy for those who have to make the choices and sometimes the decisions are questioned by players themselves. (Isn't that right Stevie Baggs??). I used to have a vote on what Riders won player awards, but I don't anymore. Here is who I would be selecting for the various year-end awards and yes, you are more than free to agree or disagree and comment away.


There's no doubt in my mind that the Riders best player game in and game out this year has been Jerrell Freeman. He just gets better and better. He is, and might be, the only CFL'er to have a 100 tackle season this year as he registered that 100th tackle Saturday. He also has three interceptions, five sacks and four forced fumbles on the year.


I've got to go with Keith Shologan here. The defensive tackle has been solid all season long. Teams have had a tough time running inside when Shologan and Dario Romero are manning the fort. Sholo is a free agent and he is someone that is a huge part of the Rider future as far as I'm concerned and is someone that needs to be kept.


Jerrell Freeman---see above. Freeman is also a key part of this team's future, but sadly I think he is the future for an NFL team as well. If he's back in 2012, I'll be very surprised. If the record of this team sways the voters than so be it, but I think Freeman could be named the best defensive player in the league after the season he has put together.


His career may have just one more game left, but Gene Makowsky is still as good today as he ever was. Its been a bad year for guys like Marc Parenteau, Dan Goodspeed and Alex Gauthier, but Geno has just brought it game after game after game. If he wins in Regina Dewdney, Friday will be his last game as a Rider thus ending what is a hall-of-fame career. If he should lose, I am not convinced that he doesn't return.


This isn't an easy decision seeing the Riders have had two rookies who have made a significant impact in 2011. In the end though, I go with safety Craig Butler. The 2nd round draft pick has been outstanding. Right from training camp, Butler showed that he had a knack for making the play and being around the football. He got into the starting lineup early and did a tremendous job in replacing all-star James Patrick. He has had 42 tackles and a team high 5 picks.


Perhaps one of the reasons why I give Butler the top rookie nomination is because I can get both Butler and this guy some recognition. Chris Milo had a tough start to the season, but one wonders if his 2011 has made Luca Congi expendable. The 4th round draft pick has really seen his game take a turn for the better since Ken Miller told him that he was their guy. He has made the most of his opportunity. His punting average is a very respectable 43.6 yards and he has made 20 of 24 field goals with a majority of those four misses coming I believe in his first couple of games.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en

Ryan Getzlaf Blows Off Some Steam

Regina born NHL'er Ryan Getzlaf has a message for Brendan Shanahan, and it has nothing to do with head shots. As you will see here, Getzlaf wants Shanahan to do something about a certain kind of player.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Riders 19 Ticats 3

Its a win! It means squat as far as the overall standings go, but the Riders made sure that their last appearance at home was a successful one as they won 19-3. Here are some comments from stars of the game....

Dinwiddie by mitchellblair

Butler by mitchellblair

West by mitchellblair

Miller by mitchellblair

Just some thoughts on today's game....

Both Craig Butler and Chris Milo made it tough for those voting on Rider rookie of the year. Who do you choose?

Tyron Brackenridge and Kenny Rowe are definite keepers for next year.

Butler, Milo, Brackenridge and Rowe were all outstanding----yeah, that Brendan Taman guy who brought those four into Riderville is a terrible GM. Oh yeah, add Brandon West to that list too. (sarcasm off)

The Riders won this one without Durant, Fantuz, Cates, Simpson and Frazier. Go figure!

How can Hamilton look so good one week and so bad the next?

Was it as cold in the stands as it was on the sidelines?

Was that Gene Makowsky's last game in a Rider uniform? I think it was if he is the successful candidate in Regina Dewdney?

Rod Pedersen called the fake punt that was botched by the Ti-Cats. How did RP know?

I have never seen as few people on the practice field as there was before this one. Didja all think the game started at 2 instead of 1?

What was with Ryan Dinwiddie and all the running.

Who starts next Friday in Edmonton?

Uber Rider fan Ricky G made it to the game, but he was wearing a Tiger-Cats hoodie. Yes, a Ti-Cats hoodie!!! He claims he got it from ex-Rider Belton Johnson, That's reason to turn in his pledge pin is it not? He tweeted me that it was warmer than a Rider hoodie. I'll give him that, but that is still highly unacceptable as far as this blogger is concerned.

Other mentions....

Congrats to the Rams for beating Manitoba to get into the Canada West playoffs. They will play Calgary next weekend. The Saskatoon Hilltops will play the Hamilton Hurricanes in the Canadian Junior Final after ending a 44 game win streak by the Vancouver Island Raiders.

The Winnipeg Jets get nine against the Flyers on Thursday and then get blanked by Tampa on Saturday. ??????

The Phil Kessel trade looks OK now doesn't it Leaf fans.

Week 8 NFL Lock Of The Week--Niners over Cleveland
Week 8 NFL Upset Pick Of The Week --Minnesota over Carolina

Friday, October 28, 2011

That's A Wrap

It didn't come close to the drama of Game 6 and really, did you think it could? One night after being one strike away from losing the World Series twice, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series with a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers in Game 7.

I don't know about you, but one thing I love to see when a season is over is the championship celebration. A year of blood, sweat and tears ends with you on top. Seeing it in the pro ranks and seeing millionaires acting like little kids on the playground is worth it to me. It brings it home a little I think.

Did you see the post-game celebration and the ridiculous actions of Commissioner Bud Selig? He had to read his congratulatory message to both the Cardinals and to WS MVP David Freese. It was if someone had given Selig the words and then someone else filled in the blanks. He had to read what teams were playing in the Series for gods sake. Unacceptable!!
Thumbs up to FOX for what they do at the end of the World Series. They get all the cameras on the players and on the dugout so that the reaction of everyone is seen by everyone. CBC should really think about that for the Stanley Cup--albeit having one camera each for 20 players can be a bit much. I guess CBC does their special thing by interviewing everyone on the winning team so perhaps I shouldn't bitch about that. I do like what FOX does though.
The look on Nolan Ryan's face in the bottom of the 9th really said it all didn't it. It looked like he was ready to punch anyone out.
The one question that has been asked of me many times this week. How many people will be at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday? I would like to say about 21-22 thousand, but I think the combination of the Riders poor play and the fact that its supposed to be crappy weather-wise means perhaps 18-19 thousand. There is a lot of apathy out there. A lot of it. World's greatest fans??? No way. To those who bitch, whine and moan about that statement, you are the one that needs to look in the mirror and see if you are still bleeding green. If you are, see you at Mosaic. If not, shut up and move on to one of your other teams that is winning.
Things to see tomorrow

1)Likely the last home game for Gene Makowsky
2)Jason Clermont's 500th catch
3) An opportunity for Chris Getzlaf to go over 1000 yards
4)What will most likely be the last appearance on the sidelines for Ken Miller.
5)The last appearance in a green uniform for Jerrell Freeman. He is NFL bound. BLOGGER NOTE: He would look great in Seahawks blue.
6)Gainer beating the crap out of that Tiger....always a great moment. Can I call for the elbow drop now? How about the eye-poke?
7)Yours truly in the bright CKRM yellow jacket. Hey, if its wet and rainy, I'll look like an Atlantic fisherman

Miller has been rather testy over the last few weeks. Every thing he has done has been second-guessed. Would you like being second-guessed for every move you made. I don't think so. He had a spring in his step when he took over at Labour Day for Greg Marshall, but he looks like a tired, beaten man and it won't surprise me one bit to see Ken ride off into the sunset shortly after the game in Edmonton in one week's time. Like last year, Miller won't take a lot of time to decide his future.
As a parent, I have no problem with the Saskatchewan Party saying that kids will go back to school after Labour Day. That is the way it should be. That is the way it should have been for years. The decision to start school before Labour Day that was made by whoever was asinine.
Four of Winnipeg's losses this year have come at the hands of the two teams that won't make the playoffs. I'm not sure what to make of that.
The Winnipeg defensive back that knocked Steven Jyles out of the football game shouldn't play for a couple of weeks. That was brutal!!!
The Oilers are in first place in the Northwest Division 10 games into the season. I don't know how long the good play is going to last, but I'm enjoying this.
Thumbs up to both the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampeders for wearing decals featuring the emblem of the Grande Prairie Composite High Warriors for the rest of the year. 4 members of the team were tragically killed by a drunk driver last weekend and its been a week of emotional hell for the Northwestern Alberta city that I spent a lot of time in. Its been a long time since I was there, but there is a closeness amongst that community and I'm sure the deaths touched everyone in some fashion. For the Stamps and Eskimos to honor these four young men by doing something so simple is a tremendous act. I know Jim Hopson would have the same thing done if something like that happened here (and I hope we never have to deal with something like that here).
Prince is coming to Saskatoon December 11. Are we going to party like its 1999 on that night. Will he be wearing his raspberry beret? Prince? Really?
If the GC is coming to Regina in 2013, is it too early to call for "The Sheepdogs" to be the half-time entertainment and for Brent Butt to be the Grey Cup Marshal.
I'm with the majority on the poll question. I don't care who wins the CFL West either!
4400 and change showed up at the Brandt Centre Friday night to see the Pats beat Edmonton 4-1 on the pink ice on Breast Cancer awareness night. With each win, more and more people are starting to think the Pats could be a playoff team this year. I have no problem with that. Its been too long.
The story out of Manitoba involving the Neepawa Natives and hazing is something giving hockey a black eye. What was done to the young man is something that was done and I think still is being done in many a dressing room these days, but this kid decided to speak out. Bottom line is you just can't do those things anymore. From talking to people, Neepawa has never had a good reputation and this just cinches that, but I'm sure there are a lot of coaches who are rather squeamish after hearing what happened knowing that at one time they have done something similar. The sad thing is, is I just don't see this kid having a hockey future because I don't see him fitting in with whatever team he is traded to because of the baggage he contains. We'll see.
Is it a bad sign when your credit card bill has a comma and your bank statement doesn't?

PA Raiders Make Coaching Change

The Board of Directors of the Prince Albert Raiders announces they have made a change in the hockey operations of the organization. Effectively immediately Bruno Campese will be solely the General Manager with Steve Young taking over as the Head Coach and Craig Bedard remaining as the Assistant Coach. Previous Campese was the Head Coach and General Manager, and Young the Associate Coach and Assistant General Manager.

The Raiders are currently 4-11-1-1 and 10th in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference having lost their past 4 straight games.

“Bruno Campese approached us today about making this change”, said Team President Dale McFee. “It was a move that is not easy to make, but with our play of late it was obvious a change was required. We expect more from the players than their current record.”

“In the best interest of the team I have decided to step aside as Head Coach and focus solely on the GM’s role”, commented Campese who has been the Head Coach of the team since June 21, 2007, taking over as GM on January 14, 2008. “The team is not playing to expectations as I feel we have underachieved to this point. I will take full responsibility and hold myself accountable.”

Young, who becomes the 12th Head Coach in Raiders history, was hired as Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager on July 5, 2008. Previously Young was the Head Coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL from 2005-07 leading them to the Eastern Conference Championship in 2006 before losing to the Vancouver Giants in the WHL Championship Series.

Young will be behind the Raiders bench when they host the Saskatoon Blades tomorrow night at 7 PM as the Raiders go for the 1,000th win in franchise history. The Box Office at the Art Hauser Centre opens at noon tomorrow.

Sounds from Mosaic

Sadly, it was the last pre-game festivities of 2011 as the Riders close out the home portion of their sked tomorrow afternoon against the Ti-Cats. Here is what Craig Butler, Cole Bergquist and Coach Ken Miller are saying,.

Butler by mitchellblair

Bergquist by mitchellblair

MillerOct28 by mitchellblair

In addition to those comments, here is an interview done with Jason Clermont as he sits just one catch away from 500 career going into what you think has to be his last home game as a Rider.

Clermont by mitchellblair

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It Can't Get Any Better Than That Can It?

If Game 6 of the 2011 World Series featured the Chicago Cubs doing what the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals did, I wouldn't be typing this. I would instead be either curled up in the fetal position babbling like an idiot or I would be in a state of shock while celebrating with some doubles and maybe even triples. Game 6 of the 2011 World Series will go down as one of the best ever if not the best ever baseball game ever played. The only thing this game didn't seemingly have was Nolan Ryan ripping off his suit jacket, putting on a uniform and pitching to Mark McGwire with the game on the line. It was incredible. This was real "reality TV" and not that crap like "Survivor", "The Amazing Race" and all those other stupid shows out there. This was reality TV at its finest and it proves why sports is reality TV.

The Rangers were one strike away from celebrating the title----twice!! Yes twice!! They let a two run lead get away in the bottom of the 9th and after Josh Hamilton hit a two run homer in the 10th, the Cardinals tied it again before winning it in the 11th on a David Freese homerun. The unbelievable was unthinkable and it became reality just like that. In the 9th, they were so close to seeing Nelson Cruz snag the ball in his glove only to see it bounce off the wall.

The rollercoaster of emotions painted itself out on TV, yet it was likely nothing compared to the air of tension at Busch Stadium as Cardinal fans prayed for and received a miracle.

Like the Red Sox and Mets in 86, the two teams have to put this one aside and re-energize themselves for one more showdown. You have to like the chances of St. Louis after being on the edge of the cliff twice and fighting back to win in such dramatic fashion. However, picking a winner in what has been one of the best World Series I have seen in a long time is too hard to do. Game 7 can't live up to Game 6 can it? Do these two teams have one more thrilling chapter to write or does this book have an ending that is less desirable than one would hope. There's only one way to find out. If you are a baseball fan, you will be watching this one or PVRing it and watching it later while trying to stay away from the score.

For FOX"s Joe Buck, it was a chance to re-live a famous line from his dad as he copied Jack's words from 1991 when Kirby Puckett homered off of Charlie Leibrandt at the Metrodome to send the Braves and Twins to a Game 7 that I will never forget. "We will see you tomorrow night". Baseball fans wouldn't miss it.

It should be a ring-a-ding-dong dandy!

WHL Announces Super Series Roster

The WHL released its roster today for the Subway Super Series games against the Russians that will go next month in Regina and Moose Jaw. Take a look at who will be where by clicking right here

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Pink Ice

This is what the ice at the Brandt Centre looks like today. The ice is pink because the Pats will play Friday night in their annual breast cancer awareness game against the Edmonton Oil Kings. Game time is 7 p.m. If the ice isn't enough of a reason to draw you in, the play of this team should.

Hitmen-Warriors Make Deal

The Warriors have acquired 20yr old Kenton Miller and 19yr old Justin Kirsch from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for 20 yr old Collin Bowman, 18yr old Joey Kornelsen and a 4th round pick in the 2012 Bantam Draft.

Standing 6’0” and weighing 191lbs, Miller hails from Redvers, SK. Last season with the Spokane Chiefs Kenton notched 10 goals and added 18 assists in 28 games before being acquired by the Hitmen in July of this year. This season Kenton has managed 3 goals in 11 games with Calgary.

6,2”, 173lb Justin Kirsch played in 66 games for the Hitmen last season racking up 25 goals and 17 assists for a 42 point total. This season in just 10 games, Justin, who hails from Chilliwack, BC, has registered 3 goals and 2 assists.

Both players will be joining the tribe immediately and are expected to practice with the team tomorrow.

The Reaper Retires As A Rider

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that import linebacker Reggie Hunt has signed a one-day contract with the team and will subsequently retire as a Roughrider.
Hunt played six seasons with the Roughriders (2002-2007) before leaving the team to sign as a free agent with the Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos.
“Reggie was very athletic, made big plays and was always all over the field,” said Defensive Coordinator Richie Hall. “He was very quiet and caring off the field and had a great sense of humour.”
In his time with the Green and White, Hunt tallied 452 defensive tackles, 45 special team tackles, 27 quarterback sacks, 26 tackles for a loss, eight fumble returns, seven forced fumbles and five interceptions in 106 regular season games.
The Texas Christian product was named a West Division All-Star in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, a CFL All-Star in 2007 and was a member of the 2007 Grey Cup Championship team.
Nicknamed “The Reaper”, Hunt has recently moved back to his hometown in Texas after spending the last few years working for SaskTel in Regina.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Durants Season Is Done

I was not at Riders practice today, but the quarterbacks were the big news. It has been revealed that Darian Durant will not play again this season. Head Coach Ken Miller says Ryan Dinwiddie will start Saturday against the Ti-Cats in the home finale with Cole Bergquist seeing some action.

Who is the 3rd stringer?

Doug Flutie To Regina???

I'm just going to throw it out there and yes, I don't really think this would happen, but you just never know.

Doug Flutie would apparently like to come back to the CFL in some sort of coaching capacity. While I think Flutie would go to Toronto as an O-C if this were to happen, I will just ask this. Could you see Doug Flutie being an O-C or a quarterbacks coach with the Riders.

His style isn't the same as Darian Durant's (or many others for that matter) when it comes to being a QB coach, but what about an offensive co-ordinator?

Comment away.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cleveland, You Should Be Embarassed!!

There were good football games on early yesterday in the NFL. Atlanta-Detroit, Chicago-Tampa and the Jets-San Diego to name three. However, the sadist in me and the fact I'm a Seahawks fan (which may be one and the same this year) made me watch the Seattle-Cleveland game. Horrid doesn't even come close to describing this contest. It was god-awful. It was pathetic. NFL Films should really just take all video of this game and burn it and then try and tell people it never really happened. It did set football back decades.

It was in the second half of this game that I saw something which, if I was a citizen of the fine city of Cleveland, I would just shake my head at. It is this.....

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Captain Cleveland!  WTF? OMG? It is bad enough the team doesn't actually have a logo, it is bad enough the team doesn't have cheerleaders, it is bad enough they don't have a corporate name attached to their stadium (its known as Cleveland Browns stadium), but they do have this attached to them. Cleveland is famous for the Dog Pound in which fans don dog masks and bark at the opposition. They've even been known for throwing dog biscuits onto the field at the opposition, but this. Captain Cleveland? Believe it or not, there is a Browns fan in Regina and I had to text him when I saw this thing and go WTF? He had no response. At the end of the game, I said Cleveland may have won 6-3, but I have this to hang over your head so its a wash. He quickly agreed. If I was in Cleveland, I would much rather have Lebron James back than this. Cleveland has the Indians, the Cavaliers, Drew Carey, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and  yes, ladies and gentlemen, they now have Captain Cleveland! Rider uber-fan Ricky G could mop the floor up with this thing.  I'd actually like to see that---then again!
Cleveland, you should be embarassed. If something like this ever showed up at Mosaic, I would hope he would be laughed out of town. What would he be called----"Sergeant Saskatchewan". I would mercilessly boo the you know what out of this guy he showed up in that garb for "High Impact Wrestling".
I wouldn't want to be an Indianapolis Colts fan today. CTV weatherdude J.C Garden is a Colts fan and I'm sure Lee Jones won't bring up last nite's game at all to him. In fact, knowing Lee he probably engaged several texts and messages to JC during that contest. 62-7. OUCH!! I wonder what was going through the minds of NBC execs knowing a pretty good Game 4 of the World Series was on FOX. If only the networks knew Peyton Manning wasn't going to play this year before the schedule came out.
A Raiders fan got on my case over the Seahawks performance yesterday. Fair enough! He didn't respond when I brought up the fact that the Seahawks got three more points than his Raiders and that my quarterback(s) didn't throw 6 interceptions in the game. BRUTAL!!!!
Tebowmania is alive and well. Should it be? Look at his numbers for the first 58 minutes of that game against the Dolphins. Would Tebow make a good CFL quarterback?
I don't care who you are voting for in the upcoming provincial election. A few of my Facebook friends saw this and posted it on their wall. This is funny!!

I'm sure those that support the New Democrats don't think its as funny as those suppporting the Sask Party or the Liberals, but it is funny.  Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see what happens in my riding. A lot of signs for both candidates are out. One has been front and center and one was actually at my door on the weekend while the other hasn't been seen or heard of. We will make our choice in a couple of weeks and yes, you should vote and you have no excuse not to.
Picking up the L-P this morning, I see that its one year until the civic election. I am guessing one Pat Fiacco will be running for mayor again and why not? Hey, the city isn't perfect and there's a lot of things yet to be accomplished, but Pat is slowly stroking the to do things off what's a long list and Regina is a much better place than it was when he assumed the role of "top dog".  I just wonder if there are any serious candidates out there to run against Pat.
I had a lot of people say they enjoyed my Thursday interview with Bret "Hitman" Hart on the weekend. If you didn't hear it, its on this blog a couple of posts back. A lot of you said you just scratched the surface and they were hoping to hear this or hear that. I only had 20 minutes. I wish I had more and even then, I wouldn't have gotten to everything, The guy is a true icon.
An interesting tweet from Global TV last week. They asked where you would put traffic cameras in Regina. There are many different spots, and I suggested Fleet and Vic and Vic and Park seeing those are two major intersections and two dangerous intersections when it comes to accidents. Sask Drive and Albert would be another, but where would you want them? The answers are many.
If I had to vote for Riders rookie of the year, I would have a tough time choosing between Craig Butler and Christopher Milo. Both have put up solid arguments as to why they are worthy.
So much for my Mark Schiefele for Calder Trophy winner. The Jets sent him back to junior yesterday..
The Oilers wouldn't send Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back to Red Deer would they? If they did, Hockey Canada would be doing cartwheels as he would be certain to wear the Maple Leaf at the World Juniors. I don't think its going to happen.
Who, in all honesty, thought the Pats would have won 9 of their first 13?  Congrats to Chad Lang and Pat Conacher for the job they are doing. This team that no one thought would be playoff bound this year might be. While no longer with the team, you have to think former head scout Todd Ripplinger is smiling too seeing some of the young guys he brought in are flourishing.
The future of the WHL and the NHL will be on display in Moose Jaw this weekend with the Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Cup happening. That will be a great event. If it wasn't for the Rider game next Saturday, I might have spent my day at Mosaic Place as that tournament followed by the first ever Pats-Warriors game at the new place will be going on.
It looks like we are going to get to Hallowe'en without any snow in Regina. YESSSSSSS!!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Doomsday Night

American Christian radio host Harold Camping predicted that the world was going to end last night. As everyone receives this release; it is obvious that the rapture has not ravaged the world.

This means everyone that attends tomorrow’s game between the Pats and Raiders will get a free ticket for an upcoming Pats game in November. Fans will use their ticket stub from Sunday’s game to redeem their free ticket to either the November 1st game against Saskatoon, the November 5th game against Calgary or the November 6th game against Medicine Hat. Tickets can be redeemed at the Brandt Centre ticket office.

The Brandt Centre will also debut “Six Pack Sundays” tomorrow night. You can bring the whole family out for a Sunday treat and feed them too! Enjoy six jumbo hot dogs or six 24oz fountain beverages or six regular size tubs of popcorn for just $15.00!

Tomorrow will be the back half of a home and home series with the Prince Albert Raiders that begins tonight at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. This is the first of three straight games against Eastern Division opponents with the third coming Wednesday in Saskatoon.

Sunday Thoughts

In a story in Saturday's Montreal Gazette, the headline read " We're trying--Canadiens tell irrational fans". The story by Dave Stubbs then went on to say how Canadien fans already feel the season is over, Carey Price is garbage, Jacques Martin should be replaced by Patrick Roy and how owner Geoff Molson should just fire himself. Does that sound familiar? It didn't get any better last night for the Habs as they were beaten in overtime by Toronto making the wolves cry a little louder this morning. The fan base is an important one and one that purrs like a kitten when all is well, but when all is not well, well you know.

Goaltender Carey Price is facing a lot of the heat and he should be because he isn't playing well. That being said, the Canadiens goalie hasn't had to read an editorial saying he should be traded. That is what the Vancouver Canucks and Roberto Luongo woke up to this week when the Vancouver Province suggested Luongo, who just can't find a way to make Canuck fans happy, be traded to Tampa for Vinnie Lecavalier in a deal that would benefit both. That little piece of writing did not amuse the Canucks one bit. How bout this....Price for Luongo?
Meanwhile back home, the Riders are back and they were answering questions about what happened in Calgary. I think Darian Durant basically said its time to shut it down for the season. If that is the case, the man isn;t concussed because he is speaking sense. The only thing is its a week too late. I know Darian has his critics, but the guy wants to play and he can't be blamed for that. However, he also has to realize, and I think he has, that enough is enough. He has nothing left to prove or accomplish. I don't want to see number 4 on the football field for the rest of the season. I still want the team to win its last two games, but with either Ryan Dinwiddie or Cole Bergquist quarterbacking.
I believe it was yet another 0-4 weekend for this cowboy in the CKRM football pool. SIGHHHHHH!!!! I didn't think Winnipeg would beat Montreal and I certainly didn't see Hamilton laying a beating on B.C. WOW!!! Who do the Riders play next? Yes, that Hamilton team that put up 42 on the league's best. GULP!!!
Quote of the week from Rod Pedersen when asked if there was any chance of Henry Burris ever resurfacing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. "John Madden has a better chance of coming back to coach the Oakland Raiders". So there is a slight chance then.
Kent Austin had the people at Cornell University draft a statement about his future and whether or not it has the Canadian Football League and the Riders back in it. Predictably, the answer was no. What else is he going to say when his season is on? I'm sure those at Cornell would have been real impressed if Austin had said "Oh  yeah, I'd love to come back and coach the Riders and I can't wait for this season to end here so I can head back." Austin is a lot smarter than that. By the way, he is not coming back!
I don't care if its US or Canadian college or pro football that I watch, I will never understand what is and what isn't pass interference. The sad thing is either do the refs in these games.
Tough one for the Rams last nite as they lose by one to the U of S. If Marc Mueller had been healthy all year, this team would not be fighting for the last playoff spot in the conference. I believe they have to beat Manitoba in Winnipeg next weekend to get that last spot.  Speaking of the Rams, their game was live on Access 7 last night and at the start, a crawl kept going across the screen saying Polkarama was cancelled this week because of the game. Did angry seniors flood the Access call centre demanding their show? Was it like Grandpa Simpson looking for Matlock? One can only wonder.
Bad Teacher isn't a classic, but its a good show. Cameron Diaz in the car-wash scene is well----if you're a man and you don't appreciate that then you are beyond help.
If Allen Craig and Albert Pujols keep playing the way they are, they will be asked to start at quarterback for the Riders soon. The soon to be free agent first baseman made a few more $$$$ with his performance in Game 3 as he homered three times to put the Cardinals ahead 2-1 in the series. The guy is the best player in the game. I would love to see him in a Cubs uniform and I would hate to see him in a Boston or Yankees uniform, but the Red Sox have Adrian Gonzalez at first and the Yankees have Mark Teixiera so I can't see that happening.
FOX has announced they have acquired the TV rights to the next two World Cups of Soccer. Will Cleatus the robot be a part of the FOX team. Those Euro soccer players don't want to mess with Cleatus!!!
What will be the better game today---St. Louis vs Dallas in football or in baseball with both happening what I believe a hop, skip and a jump away from one another. I haven't been to the new Texas Stadium (I wasn't at the old one either), but I am told it is within eyesight of the Rangers ballpark.
With Game 3 of the World Series on FOX and it being in Texas, I am surprised Ronnie Dunn sang "The Star Spangled Banner", I thought it might have been Hank Hill.
You don't get a better finish in football than what Michigan State and Wisconsin had  on Saturday night. Find the video.
The Pats keep rolling as they beat the Raiders 4-1. Prince Albert is back at the Brandt Centre tonight in a 6 o'clock start.
All these channels at our disposal and yet no "Married with Children" or "WKRP". That's sad. I guess "Night Court" is on Comedy Gold, but alas I don't have that channel.
I want to see Vic Rauter and Jay Onrait host Sportscenter one night. I love it when TSN puts Vic behind the desk.
Oilers fan or not, I love seeing that line of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins on the ice. They are fun to watch.
Week 7 NFL Lock Of The Week---Cowboys over Rams
Week 7 NFL Upset Of The Week--Jets over Chargers
Enjoy your Sunday wherever you may be!

Friday, October 21, 2011

At Least They Scored A TD!!

(photo courtesy Canadian Press)

The Riders found the endzone, but they still lost the game dropping a 25-13 decision to the Stampeders Friday night meaning the team is now 4-12 on the season. Like the game last Sunday at Mosaic, it was a good effort from the guys with the "S" on their helmet, but it wasn't good enough. Just some early thoughts on what I saw.

--Brandon West is a keeper. He will get blamed for letting Mobley go on the hit that ended Durant's night, but he did take one blitzing Stampeder on the play.

--That has to be it for Darian Durant. You simply can't risk his status anymore. If he has a concussion, even if its a minor one, shut him down for the season even if he tells you he wants to play. No good can come of it now.

--The Henry Burris era in Calgary is over as Drew Tate has shown he is more than adequate as a starter.

--Tackling has been a problem all year and it continues

--If the Riders had 46 players who played like Weston Dressler did, they would be 12-4 and not 4-12. You can say all you want about Andy Fantuz, but I would rather have Dressler than Fantuz if I could only keep one.

--Will Cole Bergquist ever get some meaningful snaps? He should have replaced Durant.

--Will there be 25-thousand in attendance next Saturday? I hope so, but I wonder.

--That's all I have with the exception of this game that was played by a Seattle radio duo this week which I found to be humorous. Thanks to "anonymous" who sent it knowing I'm a Seahawk and a Rider fan. Roddie, if you're reading this, lets do this on the Cage this week for tickets to the home finale.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Hitman and I

The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be joined me in "The Sportscage" Thursday afternoon. It was my pleasure to speak with former Stampede Wrestling great and WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart. Take a listen....

 Scruffy and Hitman on SportsCage by mitchellblair

Random Thoughts

Its late October and while the temperatures are getting colder and the leaves continue to fall, there is no immediate sign of snow and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

What isn't a good thing is that there might not be any meaningful football in Regina to speak of in November. The Riders are three games away from their season ending, the Thunder are done and the Rams might not make the playoffs. YIKES!!!

Ken Miller has seemed a little more agitated this week at practice as he gets questioned on why this is being done and why that is being done. I personally don't understand some of the moves that are being made, but in some cases he can't do what he might like to. With guys like Dan Clark, Nick Hutchins and George Hudson on the 9 game injury list, the team can't do anything there because they have used up their nine game exemption by taking Ernie Wheelwright off. What is disturbing there is that Wheelwright went back on to the 9 game list this week after just one appearance in which he made I think just one catch. That doesn't make a lot of sense unless he was re-injured severely on Sunday. I didn't see it.

If Gene Makowsky wins for the Saskatchewan Party in Regina Dewdney, his football career will be over. If he should lose, I would not be surprised to see #60 back next year. The guy can play. I think he's been the Riders best o-lineman again this year.

What type of coin is it going to take to keep Andy Fantuz in Rider green? Who gets sacrificed for the money that will be thrown Andy's way?

Rod Pedersen thinks Ken Miller will be back as Head Coach in 2012. I agree and disagree with him. I think Miller will be back in 2012 IF he is back in 2013 as well when the team hosts the Grey Cup. If a two  year commitment can not be given, I think he will be bought out.

The only person that has the answers, and I don't know if he has them yet, is Riders President and CEO Jim Hopson. I have confidence that after the year is over, he will sit down with the board and formulate a plan that will get this team back to the upper echelon of the CFL. I have said it once and I have said it before, Jim Hopson is a huge reason why this team is enjoying the success it has been (this year's on-field product excluded) and the Hoppy hate that some have is to me just inexplicable and foolish. Yeah. the Greg Marshall thing didn't work out, but are you going to tell me that every decision you have made has worked perfectly?

You gotta admit that the decision made by John Hufnagel to bench Henry Burris and start Drew Tate when his team is fighting for first takes some cajones. I've got to think that Henry's days are over in Cowtown and that he will be with another team in 2012. He's not going to BC with Travis Lulay there and Ricky Ray appears to have some years left in him in Edmonton. Darian isn't going anywhere here despite what Marty York says. If A-C were to retire, he could end up in Montreal, but his best bet is Toronto or Hamilton. Would Calgary want the #1 pick overall in a deal involving Burris?

Speaking of guys on new teams. Is it safe to assume Luca Congi has kicked his last ball in green. Where does he end up?

The Calgary Flames are one borrrrrrrrrrrrrrring hockey team.

What happened to the kid that used to dress up as Miikka Kiprusoff and imitate him at games? Did he finally grow up and realize how stupid he was?

Are the Leafs actually a good team now?

The love affair between Roberto Luongo and Vancouver Canucks fans continues to crumble. Why do I see Luongo not being in Vancouver at this time next year?

I have met Bret "The Hitman" Hart many, many times, but I have never interviewed him. That changes on "The Sportscage" today at 5 o'clock as he will be in studio with me. I wish I could give him more time cuz I could talk to him all day. I don't know where to start.

"The Hitman" is here to sign autographs before tonight's Pats-Calgary game at the Brandt Centre. Game time is 7. Go out and watch this Pats team that shows no signs of slowing down.

I know a lot of people out there don't like Joe Buck, but I'm a fan

If ESPN can give Dan Lebatard a show, TSN can surely give a show to Rob Vanstone.

Take a good look at the new Sportsnet logo. The swoosh starts just where the "T" ends and continues through the "S" and the "N". In other words, the swoosh highlights "TSN". Apparently Chris Cuthbert also noticed this and tweeted it last week. I tweeted it last night only to be told about Chris' tweet. OOPS!!!

Who are these idiots occupying Victoria Park and why? Two words---water cannons!! I have no time for these people.

I knew who I was voting for before the election was called and there is no reason for me to change my thought process after seeing the first couple of weeks of the campaign.

Have you noticed that no one really cares about the NBA lockout. When the NFL lockout was on, it was getting attention daily high up on places like Sportscentre. Not so this time around. The average NBA player makes 5 million a year and that is higher than baseball and football. A lot of these players are just sitting on the bench earning that coin. No thanks!!

That's all I got. See ya on the Cage at 5 and maybe at the Brandt Centre tonight. Its either that or Game 2 of the World Series or the Oilers-Minnesota game. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Rider Roster Changes

Dallas Baker and Freddie Barnes come on the 46 man roster while Ernie Wheelwright and Luca Congi come off.

That''s it!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Real-Life Wrestler

If you saw the movie "The Wrestler", you saw Mickey Rourke play a down and out individual who used to be a star on the professional wrestling circuit. Scott Hall was not the guy that Rourke portrayed in that movie, but he could have been. The guy who became famous thanks to the character "Razor Ramon" is a shadow of his former self. Take a look.

NOTE: This video is 15 minutes long

Clearing Up Any Rookie Confusion Staff
 Below is a list of players who are eligible for the 2011 Most Outstanding Rookie award.

In order to be eligible as a candidate for the League award for the "Most Outstanding First Year Player" (Rookie Award), a player must meet the following criteria:

1. He had, in the current season, been named to the active roster of a member Club of the Canadian Football League at the time it played in a regular season game; and

2. He had not:

a) In any prior season dressed for a member Club of the Canadian Football League at the time it played in a regular season or playoff or championship game;

-- and –

b) In the current season or in any prior season, dressed for a member Club in the National Football League, at the time it played in a regular season or post-season or championship game.

The Rookie of the Year is selected by voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and CFL head coaches. The winner will be announced at the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards on Thursday, November 24 in Vancouver, B.C.

The following players meet the above requirements this for this year’s voting:


Dublanko, Curtis LB North Dakota
Floyd, Perry KR Wingate
Hect, Jeffery DB St. Mary's
Laybourn, Greg CB Oregon State
McCuller, Jeraill T North Carolina State
Ridgeway, Brian LB Simon Fraiser
Surla, John LB Western Ontario
Williams, Seth DB Richmond


Boldin, Demir SB Wake Forest
Clement, Nicholas DS North Carolina A&T
Coughman, Edawn OL Shaw
Hall, Bakial QB Troy State
Kackert, Charles RB New Hampshire
Kouame, Djems WR Montréal
Mapp, Durell LB North Carolina
Murillo, Armando DC Nebraska
Robinson, Alexander DL Western Ontario
Tranks, Samuel SB Seton Hill


Boltus, Jason QB Hartwick College
Carter, Michael DB Maryland
Denson, Brandon LB Michigan State
Forbes, Maurice DT Concordia
Grant, Bakari WR UC-Davis
Grant, Terry RB Alabama
Kanya, Nathan LB UBC
Kelly, Aaron WR Clemson
Mahoney, Liam WR Concordia
Means, Loyce DB Houston
Powell, Darius DE Fayetteville State
Rwabukamba, Chris DB Duke
Simmons, Brian OL Oklahoma
Thomas, Carlos DB South Carolina
Williams, Chris WR New Mexico State
Young, Marcell DB Jackson State


Brown, Tim SB Rutgers
Denmark, Clarence SB Arkansas-Monticello
Etienne, Jade WR Saskatchewan
Fritz, Rodney DL Tennessee State
Mainor, Kenny DE/LB Troy
Muamba, Henoc LB St. Francis Xavier
Poblah, Kito WR Central Michigan
Pontbriand, Michel-Pierre FB Laval
Summers, Brandon QB Youngstown State
Turner, Bryant DT Alabama at Birmingham
Vega, Jason DE/LB Northeastern
Volny, Carl RB Central Michigan


Boulay, Mathieu DL Bishop's
Brown, Patrick WR Bethune-Cookman
Butler, Craig DB Western Ontario
Graham, Chris LB Michigan
Krausnick-Groh, Alex OL Calgary
Milo, Christopher K Laval
Neufeld, Patrick OL Saskatchewan
Roberts, Roosevelt DE Troy
Russ, Eddie CB Harding
Sisco, Jordan WR Regina
West, Brandon RB Western Michigan
Rowe, Kenny DE Oregon


Antwi, Akwasi LB Mount Allsion
Bulcke, Brian DL Stanford
Coker, Lamarcus RB Hampton
Conn, Justin LB Bishop's
Davis, Torrey DL Jacksonville State
Deane, J'Michael OL Michigan State
Dixon, Kevin DL Troy
Morley, Demetrice DB Tennessee
Paredes, Rene K Concordia
Parker, Anthony R Calgary
Sinopoli, Brad QB Ottawa
Turner, Junior DL Bishop's
Washington, Tony OL Albilene Christian

Coehoorn, Nathan WR Calgary
Henry, Marcus WR Kansas
Laurent, Ted DT Mississippi
Lopez, Hugo DB Toronto
Miller, Michael DB Acadia
Mitchell, Scott OL Rice
Munoz, Damaso LB Rutgers
Osaisai, Wopamo DB Stanford
Pierre, Youssy WR Montreal
Sherritt, JC LB Eastern Washington


Bighill, Adam LB Central Washington
Brown, Tim RB Temple
Cronk, Tim FB Bishop's
Iannuzzi, Marco WR Harvard
Johnson, Kierrie WR Houston

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Darian Remains The Starting QB

I don't really understand why Darian Durant needs to quarterback the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the final three games when the season is done and he is hampered by a broken foot, but when the team takes the field Friday night in Calgary, he could very well be directing the offense. Durant spoke about it today as did Ken Miller and Cole Bergquist. I was unable to be a part of the Durant scrum as I was speaking to Jerrell Freeman, but Rob Vanstone was and relays the conversation right here

As for Bergquist and Miller, here is what they had to say....

 Cole Bergquist by mitchellblair

 MillerOct18 by mitchellblair

Tillman Taken Off The Hook By CFL

(from Canadian Press)

Edmonton Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman has been cleared of tampering allegations made by the Saskatchewan Roughriders regarding receiver Andy Fantuz.

"The CFL reviewed Mr. Tillman's comments and concluded that there was no violation of our tampering rules and therefore no discipline," the league said in a statement.

The Riders filed a request with the league to investigate following comments that Tillman made to an Edmonton Radio station last week after the CFL trade deadline.

"We tried to get Andy Fantuz out of Saskatchewan," Tillman said during the interview.

Fantuz is in the final year of a contract he signed with Tillman when he was general manager in Saskatchewan. The Roughriders say they remain in talks with Fantuz's agent and hope to re-sign him without the former Most Outstanding Canadian hitting the open market.

Tillman denied any intent to tamper with Fantuz.

"My comment wasn't an attempt to tamper," Tillman told the Regina Leader-Post. "It couldn't possibly have been anything further from that intent. We all know Andy has family in southern Ontario, but I truly hope that he retires a Rider. Is that clear enough?"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Riders Upset With Tillman

TSN's Dave Naylor is reporting the Riders have asked the CFL to look into comments made by Eric Tillman to an Edmonton radio station last week.

Tillman made it known that the Eskimos tried to trade for Andy Fantuz at the CFL trade deadline.

Fantuz is a free agent at the end of the season and the Riders believe that this was a form of tampering.

The league is reviewing the matter.

Pats And Cougars Make Deal

Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang announced this morning that the Regina Pats have traded 19 year old forward, Campbell Elynuik to the Prince George Cougars in exchange for a conditional 6th round WHL Bantam Draft pick in 2012.

Elynuik played in 8 games as a member of the Regina Pats in 2011-12, registering a goal and two assists as well as picking up 24 minutes in penalties.

Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang stated, “With the youngsters flourishing and the acquisition of Matt Marantz, Campbell became a victim of a numbers game. He will get a great opportunity in Prince George and I would like to thank him for his time with the Pats and wish him the best the rest of this season.”

The Pats now have 14 forwards, 8 defencemen and 2 goaltenders currently on the roster as they prepare for Thursday night’s battle against the Calgary Hitmen on “Rivalry Night”. It’s a 7:00pm puck drop at the Brandt Centre, but get there early because Bret “The Hitman” Hart will be there to sign autographs beginning at 6:00pm.

Tickets to this or any other Regina Pats home game are available at any Ticketmaster location or by calling 543-7800.

That's All Folks!!

Its now official. The Saskatchewan Roughriders will not be a part of the 2011 CFL playoffs. I think the stark reality of that statement has been felt for a while, but it became a certainty yesterday afternoon as the B.C Lions made it eight straight wins with a 29-18 win over a Riders team that played a damn good football game----for three quarters.

Here are the sounds coming from a very quiet dressing room....

 DurantOct16 by mitchellblair

GetzlafOct16 by mitchellblair

McKenzieOct16 by mitchellblair

MillerOct16 by mitchellblair

Here are just some thoughts from the sidelines as I watched the season go POOF!!

--This team is so fragile when it comes to confidence that as soon as one big play goes against them, its game over. I think many of us knew that the season was done when Arland Bruce III trotted into the endzone in the 4th quarter. The resiliency this team had been known for is gone.

--The offense did not put the ball in the endzone, but you hafta admit they were a lot better than what we had seen. Yes, the name of the game is to score touchdowns and the team didn't do that, but at least they had an idea as to what they were doing.

--I don't blame Darian Durant one bit for yelling at Andy Fantuz in the 3rd quarter. Have you ever seen Peyton Manning or Tom Brady yell at receivers when they aren't doing what they are supposed to. Those two are pretty good and no one bitches at them when they bitch out receivers. Kent Austin was never one to hide his emotions if his receivers weren't doing the job.

--Chris Milo's 2nd half has likely meant the end of Luca Congi in a Riders uniform. Sad, but true.

--Dario Romero's continued braincramps has likely meant the end of him in a Rider uniform in three weeks. I've had enough of the boneheaded play. Aggression is one thing, stupidity is another.

--We are seeing the end of the Wes Cates era. The home game against Hamilton will likely be his last and the same can be said for Gene Makowsky no matter if he wins or loses the political race in Regina Dewdney.

--The o-line will be younger and will have a much different look in 2012. Dan Goodspeed and Alexandre Gauthier are past their best before date.

--Geroy Simon is a player. What more can you say about the guy?

--Sorry Lions fans, but I think Paul McCallum is the best kicker you guys have had and not that guy named Passaglia. Of course if it hadn't been for Roy Shivers' stupidity, guys like Congi and Milo would never be in the equation here and McCallum would still be here.

--Corey Holmes looks like he could still play. It was great seeing him this weekend.

--If you're not a Weston Dressler fan, you aren't a football fan.

--I don't care what you say, this team is not as bad as their record indicates. If I had told you at the start of June that this team would have what it has on both sides of the ball, you wouldn't have told me this team would have fired its head coach and won just four games.

---I don't know if they will win again this year.

--I don't care what you say, Andrew Harris was NOT in bounds on his touchdown. He went out!

Just some other thoughts on happenings today

---I think Jim Schwartz went a little overboard in his post-game scuffle with Jim Harbaugh. Yeah, Harbaugh may have been a little too exuberant, but Schwartz embarassed himself in my opinion.

--The Niners are 5-1. The Niners? The Alex Smith led Niners?

--Aaron Rodgers makes more and more Packers fans go "Brett who?" with each pass he throws.

--What happened to Indy Car driver Dan Wheldon should remind us all that while frustrated over the performance of your favourite football team, that is nothing compared to the pain and agony that his friends and family will feel over the upcoming days, weeks and months.

--I will take Texas to beat the Cardinals in the World Series. This Cubs fan will never take the Cardinals.

--Its 1 AM and I'm damn tired. Thats all!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Did The Texas Rangers Win The World Series??

The Texas Rangers are going back to the World Series for a 2nd straight year. They deserve it after clubbing the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win the American League pennant for a 2nd straight year, but their celebration was a tad over the top Saturday night. You'd have thunk they won the World Series by the way they and their fans were acting in Arlington Saturday night.

Winning the American League is nice, but there are 4 more games to win before you can start having a celebration like that. Oh well, at least they are willing to celebrate a league title. If it was the NHL, they simply would have run into their dugout and hid leaving someone to come to home plate to get a picture taken with the trophy.

Give some credit to the Rangers. In an American League that contains the high spending Red Sox and Yankees, they are right there because they have built a winner the right way. They haven't gone out and bought a winner. They have identified their needs and had the knowledge to keep the young players they brought up through the system with them while making some solid trades.

One of those trades---Mike Napoli for Frank Francisco. Sorry Blue Jays fans!!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOGEEEEEEE!!!! The Oilers didn't beat the Vancouver Canucks in the Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night finale, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins showed the country why he was the number 1 draft pick overall and why he won't be going back to Red Deer. He had all of Edmonton's goals in a 4-3 loss to the defending Western Conference champs. I know the season is only three games old for the Oilers, but I like what I see from this group. They're not a playoff team and there is still some work to be done, but you can see this team is on the right track. They are fun to watch. I wish they would have traded Ales Hemsky though, because it looks again like his shoulder is basically mashed potatoes.
Speaking of young teams with talent, the Pats are coming home from a 2-1 Alberta road trip after a loss in Red Deer. When do you stop talking about this team's surprising start and start considering them as perhaps a playoff team. You gotta hand it to Pat Conacher for the job he is doing as head coach and Chad Lang deserves a lot of credit too for sticking to his plan and seeing it come to fruition earlier than I think he expected. I can't wait to see this team start playing the Brandons, Saskatoons and Moose Jaws to see how they stack up. Those teams had better be ready.
Who on earth convinced Michigan and Michigan State to wear the uniforms they did today. They out-uglied one another.
Is Henry Burris done in Calgary? One has to think there will be a strong push to have Drew Tate as the starter in 2012 as he has shown he can do the job. Could Hank be headed to Toronto? Could Hank be throwing balls to Andy Fantuz in Toronto? I wouldn't discount either of those questions.
If Andy Fantuz were to sign somewhere else in the CFL, would he be given the same treatment upon returns to Mosaic Stadium that Burris receives. Its an honest question!
Ken Miller turned 70 years old on Saturday. The players that he loves so much could certainly provide him with a belated birthday present by coming out to play on Sunday. That means all 42 and not just a handful of them.
If the Rider offence sucks on Sunday, how ugly will be it be from a crowd that will turn quite quickly on them. This team can't afford to put in another stinker after what we saw in Calgary and Edmonton. If they do, it could be a long 2nd half and an ugly one. They will hear it from a very upset fan base. I shudder to think of what could happen.
Andre Proulx will be your referee on Sunday.  Yeah, I know!
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said if Lebron James is serious about wanting to be an NFL'er as he suggested this week that he would gladly take a look at him. Lebron says he is a TD maker. If that is the case, shouldn't Brendan Taman be calling him. Sorry!
If the new entertainment facility is ready to go by 2014, (and yes, I know that means you would have to ramp up the plans quite a bit) wouldn't it be great to say good-bye to Mosaic Stadium with a Riders Grey Cup win. I dare to say that some might help tear down the old girl if they won that night. I can't even imagine what it would be like if that scenario were to unfold and the Riders won it all in their home park.
Don Cherry admitted he was wrong???? Holy crap!!! TSN's Dave Hodge replied to that on Twitter Saturday night by saying he was sorry for throwing his pen all those years ago. Remember that! I also took time out to apologize----apologize for the antics of one Rob Vanstone. I'm sorry you have to see that.
Speaking of Rob, he is excited to have the Jets back in Winnipeg. I just wonder when he will be able to celebrate a win with that team. They aren't very good. When will Winnipeg fans realize that?
What would the Blue Jays have to give up to get Joey Votto out of Cincinnati? I don't think I want to pursue that unless Edwin Encarnacion and Travis Snider are part of the equation and I somehow don't think that will happen. Having Votto playing first would definitely make Toronto a much better team and might be the thing they need to push them into a playoff spot in an American League East that I think is starting to change.
There is nothing like going to the monthly installments of High Impact Wrestling. As former Pat Jamie Heward, who was in attendance Friday night said. "Its the best 12 bucks I ever spent". You just need to go to see the degeneracy in person. You also need to go to realize that wrestler Jeff Tyler and CTV's Lee Jones are twins.
Bret Hart will be in Regina on Thursday to sign autographs before the Pats game against the Hitmen. He will also join me in the Sportscage Thursday for a half hour in a segment I can't wait for. Who's kidding who, we could start the show at 4 that day and I could go all afternoon with him. It will be a lot of fun! Where do I start?

ABC cancelled Charlie's Angels this week. You just don't try to re-create the original. Somewhere above us Farrah Fawcett smiles. By the way, for what its worth, the three best Angels were Cheryl Ladd, Farrah and then Tanya Roberts. Jaclyn Smith was a close 4th.
Week 6 NFL lock of the week----Raiders over Browns
Week 6 NFL upset of the week ---Panthers over Falcons
A plastic surgeon gets paid way more than a tire mechanic even though they both get paid to fix flats.


Thoughts of Cates, Durant and Miller

CatesOct15 by mitchellblair

DurantOct15 by mitchellblair

MillerOct15 by mitchellblair

Friday, October 14, 2011

Plaza Of Honor

The Riders honor their past tonight. The annual Plaza of Honor dinner goes at Queensbury Centre, and I'm guessing it will be a positive night as the announcement of yesterday overshadows what has been going on on the field this year.

Congrats to Dan Rashovich, Corey Holmes and Mike Saunders for this year's distinction of being in the Plaza.  All three are more than worthy of the honor being bestowed on them.

While Regina's finest will be at the Plaza dinner, others will be at High Impact Wrestling. Three guesses as to where Vanstone and I will be found---and the first two don't count.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We Deserve To Host The Grey Cup Again

The worst kept secret in Regina became official Thursday night. The 101st Grey Cup game will be played at Mosaic Stadium on November 24, 2013. It will be the 3rd time the CFL's championship game will have been played at Taylor Field/Mosaic Stadium and you know what, we deserve to have another opportunity to host football fans from across this great country of ours and to showcase this city for what it is---a vibrant, growing community that is fast becoming the place to be.

At one time it was said Regina was too small to host the Grey Cup, there weren't enough hotels. You could not depend on the weather as you never know what you are going to get in Saskatchewan in late November. Its all a bunch of blah, blah, blah as far as I'm concerned. We showed Canada in 1995 and again in 2003 what a Grey Cup in the middle of the prairies can be all about and in 2013, we will "Party On the Prairies" and party we will.

I think we know in Saskatchewan that our attendance is what makes a Grey Cup special. Other teams can crow all they want, but whether the game be in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton or wherever, there are more Rider fans on the street helping make the party and the week-long festival the success that it is. That party is now coming to our backyard. We have the hotels, we have the warm-weather gear if we need it (and hopefully we won't) and we have the spirit to make the 2013 Grey Cup the best damn Grey Cup there's ever been.

Jim Hopson and Roger Brandsvold are acting as co-chairs which is nothing but good news and if Neil Donnelly can do as executive director what he has done for the past number of years serving at Evraz Place and bringing Regina top notch event after top notch event, we are already off to a winning start as some great people are behind what will be a week to remember.

Regina and Saskatchewan are ready to show Canada what Pat Fiacco and Brad Wall have been telling us and what we have been seeing up-close. That is that Regina and Saskatchewan are the places to be. Its hard to think its just 772 days away. With that, the mission is also clear for someone else to ensure that the party ends on a great note. I don't think I have to tell you who I am talking about when it comes to that statement.

Can you imagine what it would be like from Estevan to La Ronge if for some reason (and there's nothing saying they can't do it) Marc Cohon ended the week-long festival by presenting the Grey Cup to the Riders. We might never stop celebrating. I can't wait for November 24, 2013 and I'm guessing you can't either. Congrats to all involved in bringing the Grey Cup back to Regina and back to Saskatchewan. We deserve it!!!

The 2013 Grey Cup video can be seen at

Its Official!!

Canadian Football League Commissioner Mark Cohon announced today the 2013 Grey Cup game and festival is coming to Saskatchewan.

“Our Board of Governors, our teams and our fans are thrilled that the 101st Grey Cup is coming to Riderville,” stated CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

Saskatchewan’s passion for Canadian football is legendary. Its hospitality is second to none. And its pride in all things Canadian is tremendous. The 2013 Grey Cup will bring all of those ingredients – as well as thousands of Canadians – together in a very special way.”

The 101st Grey Cup game will be played on Sunday, November 24th, 2013 at Mosaic Stadium. This will mark the third time Saskatchewan has hosted this event, with 1995 and 2003 looked at as two of the most successful Grey Cups ever.

“Saskatchewan is very proud to host this national treasure,” said Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. “Grey Cup week is a tradition that attracts fans from across the country for an amazing week, culminating in a world class sporting event. I guarantee our friends across Canada that the spirit of Saskatchewan will be on full display once again.”

“Hosting the Grey Cup is a wonderful opportunity to welcome the country to Regina and showcase our amazing city,” stated Mayor of Regina Pat Fiacco. “Football fans from coast to coast to coast will come together to celebrate what being Canadian is all about - the Grey and a great party.”
It’s a tremendous privilege and honour to host the Grey Cup and bring Canada’s largest annual sporting tradition back to Saskatchewan,” stated Riders Chairman of the Board Roger Brandvold. “I am extremely confident in our supporters and the province of Saskatchewan to embrace this opportunity yet again and welcome fans and friends from across the country to make Grey Cup 2013 a truly special event.”

Brandvold and Riders President/CEO Jim Hopson will serve as co-chairs of the event. It was also announced that Neil Donnelly has been named the Executive Director for Grey Cup 2013. Donnelly has been an instrumental figure in attracting and organizing some of the major events in Regina over the last few years and will be called upon for his experience in planning and organizing the different functions that make up Grey Cup week.

More details on the 2013 Grey Cup -- including news on the full composition of the organizing committee, the event’s logo, activities and ticket sales – will be unveiled in the months ahead.

Bret Hart Is Coming To Regina

"The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be" will be in Regina next Thursday night. Bret "The Hitman" Hart will be at the Pats-Calgary Hitmen game and will sign autographs before the contest.

The Hitman says "I am very much looking forward to watching a great WHL game between my Calgary Hitmen, and an old favorite, the Regina Pats. Most of all though, I can't wait to see my fans in attendance, sign some autographs, take some pictures, and have some fun. I've always said, Regina is, and always will be a special place for me."

Next Thursday will also be the first ever “Thirsty Thursday” at the Brandt Centre. For Thursday games only, 32oz. Molson product will be just $8.

Call the Pats office at 522-5604 or visit or the Brandt Centre Box Office to get tickets.

Did I Just Bump Into Who I Think I Bumped Into??

I was in the Northgate Mall over the lunch-hour. As I was walking past the "Bluenotes" store--the one right beside Jersey City, I went to grab my cellphone and OOMPH...I collided with a tiny woman with green streaks in her hair wearing sunglasses. We both said "sorry" to one another at the same time. I went on my way while the young woman, who was with a couple of other people, went the other way. I had that feeling that you get when you recognize someone and you're not sure who it is. About 30 seconds later, I realized who it was---or at least who I think it was--and went back to see if I could find her. I can't be 100 percent certain, but I think I ran into.........

Avril is in Regina tonight playing the Brandt Centre so it either was her or a damn good lookalike. If anyone goes tonite, please let me know if she has green streaks in her hair because if she does, I'll be 100 percent convinced it was her.

Oh yeah, sorry again Avril or whoever you were.

Cougar Athletics This Weekend

Home Events
Women's Basketball – vs. Concordia, Friday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS
Men's Hockey – vs. Saskatchewan, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Men's Basketball – vs. MSU-Northern, Friday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men's Basketball – vs. Medicine Hat College, Saturday (5:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Basketball – vs. Concordia, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Hockey – vs. Saskatchewan, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre

Away Events
Women's Hockey – at Saskatchewan, Friday (7:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.
Cross Country – at Vic Matthews Open, Saturday (12:15 p.m. EDT) in Guelph, Ont.
Women's Soccer – at Fraser Valley, Saturday (12:00 p.m. PDT) in Abbotsford, B.C.
Rams Football – at UBC, Saturday (2:00 p.m. PDT) in Vancouver, B.C.
Women's Volleyball – at Brandon, Saturday (5:00 p.m. CDT) in Brandon, Man.
Men's Hockey – at Saskatchewan, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.
Women's Soccer – at Victoria, Sunday (12:00 p.m. PDT) in Victoria, B.C.
Women's Volleyball – at Brandon, Sunday (3:00 p.m. CDT) in Brandon, Man.

Men's Hockey – The Cougars (0-2-0) have their home opener this weekend, as they'll entertain Saskatchewan (1-0-0) on Friday night at The Co-operators Centre with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. The Cougars – who will also face the Huskies on Saturday in Saskatoon – opened up conference play last weekend at four-time defending conference champion Alberta, with the Golden Bears securing the two-game sweep with 5-2 and 2-0 victories.

Women's Hockey – The Cougars open up the Canada West schedule with a home-and-home against Saskatchewan this weekend. The teams will square off in Saskatoon on Friday night before returning to Regina for a Saturday night game (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre. The Cougars had an even 3-3-0 record against CIS competition during the non-conference schedule.

Men's Basketball – The Cougars kick off the 2011-12 non-conference schedule with a pair of home games at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport this weekend. MSU-Northern visits on Friday night for a 7:00 p.m. tip, while the Cougars will face Medicine Hat College on Saturday night beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Women's Basketball – After an impressive three consecutive wins at last weekend's Bob FM Shootout in Winnipeg, the Cougars continue their non-conference schedule at home this Friday and Saturday against Concordia. The teams will play on Friday at 6:15 p.m. and on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Cougars scored wins over Manitoba (76-49), Lakehead (67-38), and Winnipeg (92-59) at last weekend's tournament.

Rams Football – Coming off their bye week, the Rams (2-3) will need to come up with a road win over No. 9-ranked UBC (3-2) on Saturday afternoon at Thunderbird Stadium to improve their position in the Canada West standings. Michael Ball and Marco Ricci will have the call live on the dial at 620 CKRM beginning at 3:00 p.m. Saskatchewan time. It's also the Shaw TV Game of the Week and will be broadcast live on Access7 in Regina.

Women's Soccer – The Cougars (0-7-1) had last weekend off, but return to action this weekend with a West Coast road trip that will see them take on Fraser Valley (3-5-2) and Victoria (4-4-2). After this weekend, the team will return home for its final home matches of the season on Oct. 22 (Lethbridge) and Oct. 23 (Calgary) before finishing off the Canada West schedule on the road against Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Cross Country (Men's CIS Ranking: No. 7) – After a week off, the Cougars return to action at the Vic Matthews Open in Guelph, Ont. this Saturday. Marc Beaton, Iain Fyfe, Matt Johnson, Michael Middlemiss, and Andrew Thomas will all run for the Cougars. After Saturday, the team's next meet will be at the Stewart Cup in Edmonton, Alta. on Oct. 29.

Women's Volleyball – The Cougars finish off their non-conference schedule this weekend with matches at Brandon on Saturday and Sunday. The team will then have a weekend off before kicking off the Canada West schedule on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 at home against UBC.

Men's Volleyball – The U of R hosted the six-team Cougar Invitational non-conference tournament last weekend, which was won by Brandon with a 4-1 record. The Cougars, who finished in fifth place after capping the tournament with a straight-sets win over UBC Okanagan, continue their non-conference schedule next weekend at the Husky Dino Cup in Calgary.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Comeback Win In Cowtown

The Regina Pats continue to be the story of the WHL season as far as I'm concerned.

Regina was down 3-1 late in the 3rd Wednesday night before fighting back to tie the game in regulation and then win 4-3 in a shootout.

Jordan Weal's power-play goal at 17:10 of the 3rd made it a one goal game and then Dyson Stevenson tied it at 19:09. In the shootout, Morgan Klimchuk and Weal scored to give Regina the win improving their record to 6-2.

If the game sheet is to be trusted, Calgary outshot Regina 36-23 including 20-1 in the 2nd period alone.

They are in Edmonton Friday.

2013 Memorial Cup Goes To Saskatoon

The Western Hockey League announced today that the Saskatoon Blades have been selected to host the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be held at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from May 17 to 26, 2013 and will mark the 95th edition of the Canadian Hockey League national championship. All games will be televised on Rogers Sportsnet.

Three WHL Clubs – Kelowna Rockets, Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades submitted applications to host the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The decision to award the hosting of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup to Saskatoon was made by a majority vote of the WHL Board of Governors on Wednesday, October 12th in Calgary.

The 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Shawinigan Cataractes from May 18 to 27, 2012 in Shawinigan, Quebec. The Memorial Cup features a four team round robin format with the host club competing with the Champions from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League.

“We are confident the Saskatoon Blades, the City of Saskatoon and the Province of Saskatchewan will serve as an outstanding site for the WHL’s hosting of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Having hosted many national and international events, including the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship, Saskatoon clearly understands what it takes to stage an event of this magnitude.”

“We are completely thrilled about having an opportunity to host the Memorial Cup in 2013. It’s something that we have wanted to do since it was last here in 1989 and it’s nice to have a chance to do it again,” commented Jack Brodsky, Saskatoon Blades Governor and Committee Chair. “For the fans of the Saskatoon Blades it’s just another opportunity to come out and witness great hockey. We’ve had many great events over the years and I know that this will be another good. Anyone that’s a fan of the Western Hockey League and the Saskatoon Blades knows the importance and scale of such an event. Overall, it will just be another great chance for the city of Saskatoon to showcase what it has to offer.

Jack Brodsky continues, “I think ultimately our community, our volunteers and our facility gave us the edge over Kelowna and Red Deer. The size of our city and the size of our facility gave us an opportunity to present an excellent business plan. The type of volunteers we have and the type of success we’ve had in the past with the World Junior tournament were also very key points for us winning this bid.”

The Saskatoon Blades are one of two Clubs whose origin dates back to the WHL’s inaugural season in 1966-67, along with the Regina Pats. The Blades hosted the MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship in 1989 where they lost the tournament final 4-3 in overtime to the Swift Current Broncos.

The City of Saskatoon and Credit Union Centre have played host to several prestigious sporting events including the 1989 and 2004 Brier Men’s Curling National Championships, 1989 MasterCard Memorial Cup, 1991 Scotts Women’s Curling National Championship, 1993 Canada Cup, 2009 Canadian Figure Skating Championship and the 1991 and 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships. The Province of Saskatchewan has hosted the modern day tournament format of the MasterCard Memorial Cup three times, 1980 (Regina), 1989 (Saskatoon) and 2001 (Regina).

The Western Hockey League has won a total of 18 Memorial Cup Championships since its inaugural season in 1966, including: Red Deer Rebels – 2001, Kootenay Ice – 2002, Kelowna Rockets – 2004, Vancouver Giants – 2007 and Spokane Chiefs – 2008.