Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stanley Cup Final Starts Wednesday


Based on their superior regular-season point total, the Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Lightning will host Games One and Two of the best-of-seven Final, as well as Games Five and Seven, if necessary.
Games Three and Four, as well as Game Six, if necessary, will be hosted by the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
In the U.S., NBC will broadcast Games One and Two of the Final and, if necessary, Games Five through Seven. NBCSN will telecast Games Three and Four.
In Canada, CBC and TVA Sports will televise the entire series.
All games also will be carried on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. NHL Network will feature special programming surrounding the Stanley Cup Final and will continue to provide extensive digital coverage.

All times listed are ET and subject to change
NEW YORK (May 30, 2015) –
Game DATE TIME (ET) Chicago vs. Tampa Bay Networks
Game 1 Wed., June 3 8 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Game 2 Sat., June 6 7:15 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Game 3 Mon., June 8 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Game 4 Wed., June 10 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Game 5 Sat., June 13 8 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
*Game 6 Mon., June 15 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Chicago NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
*Game 7 Wed., June 17 8 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
* if necessary

Edmonton Eskimos Extend Chris Jones' Contract

Today, the Edmonton Eskimos announced the contract extension of Head Coach Chris Jones, keeping him in Green and Gold through 2016.
“Chris is passionate, driven and well-deserving of this extension,” says Ed Hervey, Eskimos Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager. “Stability paves the way for consistency. Under Chris’s leadership, and with the work of his coaching staff, our team is headed in the right direction.”
Jones was named the 20th Head Coach of the Edmonton Eskimos on Nov. 27, 2013.
In his first year at the helm, the Green and Gold began the season with a 7-1 start, finishing with a 12-6 regular-season record. Dominant on home turf, the Eskimos 7-2 record in Commonwealth Stadium was the best since 2008.
The year that set a club record for single-season turnaround included an 18-10 West Semi-Final victory at home against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and an appearance in the West Final against the eventual Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders.
Jones also served as defensive coordinator. Under his guidance, the team led the league in key defensive categories, including fewest first downs allowed, fewest net passing yards per game, interceptions, lowest points against and fewest points allowed.
For his efforts, he was selected as a finalist for the 2014 Canadian Football League Coach of the Year Award.

Riders Training Camp Times

Saskatchewan Roughrider 2015 Training Camp officially opens on Sunday, May 31st at the University of Saskatchewan’s Griffiths Stadium. All times are approximate and subject to change.
SUNDAY, MAY 31st      
  9:45 am                Walk through
10:45 am                 Players and Coaches available to media
  3:00 pm                Practice
MONDAY, JUNE 1st    
  8:30 am                1st practice
10:30 am                 Players and coaches available to media 
  3:00 pm                2nd practice
TUESDAY, JUNE 2nd     
  9:45 am                Walk through
10:45 am                 Players and Coaches available to media
  3:00 pm                Practice

  8:30 am                1st practice
10:30 am                 Players and coaches available to media 
  3:00 pm                2nd practice

  9:30 am                Walk through
10:45 am                 Players and Coaches available to media
  2:30 pm                Walk through - Alfred Jenkins Field House in Prince Albert

FRIDAY, JUNE 5th     
  8:30 am                1st practice
10:30 am                 Players and coaches available to media 
  3:00 pm                2nd practice
SATURDAY, JUNE 6thGreen and White Fan Day
  3:15 pm                Warm up
  4:00 pm                Mock Game
                              * media availability to be determined
SUNDAY, JUNE 7th     
                              No practice – No media availability

Friday, May 29, 2015

This And That

Its time for the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, these come in no particular order.

--Riders training camp has finally arrived. June is here! The football team like every other team in the CFL breaks camp with championship aspirations and they break camp with question marks surrounding them.  Here are just a few questions I have as the team goes into 2015.

1. The team did a great job of strengthening themselves in the off-season by adding Shea Emry, Nic Demski, Kevin Glenn and Alex Hall. They are a very solid team, but while the o-line is still very formidable, they took a big hit losing Dominic Picard and Ben Heenan. Heenan may or may not be back, but Picard won't be. The battle between Dan Clark and Corey Watman to see who gets the number one job might be the best one in camp.

2. Tino Sunseri came in last year as the number 2 guy and after a less than stellar performance, he begins camp this year as the number 3 guy behind Darian and Kevin Glenn. Will he stay at number 3 or can he beat out Glenn for the backup spot? I am guessing he won't lose that number 3 spot to Brett Smith unless he really struggles or Smith really shines.

3. Who is the starting tailback?  I think Anthony Allen could have a huge season----I don't think he has a Kory Sheets 2013 season, but I think he can be a huge contributor to the offence. That is if he is the starter. You have to think Jerome Messam will be ready to compete for that starters job. It could be a great 1-2 punch.

4. Alex Hall and John Chick are no doubt your ends to start the season with Tearrius George inside. The team may have realized they need a Canadian at that other d-tackle spot after thinking they could go without when Keith Shologan and Zack Evans went to Ottawa. The team drafted some Canadian defensive linemen so if one can show he is ready to be a starter, it just might happen.

5. Chris Milo had a terrible campaign last season and he is the probably the first to admit that. I expect Milo to bounceback, but Hugh O'Neill and Denton Kolodzinski are ready to give him a challenge. How does Milo handle it?

The answers start Sunday and likely more questions will also pop up. I wish I was in Saskatoon to see it, but I will just have to do you what many of you do and that is listen to the Sportscage to get all the information needed.

--Riders GM Brendan Taman told Regina's #1 rock station--the WOLF 104.9 Wednesday morning that his football team would finish 12-6 this year. I don't argue with that, but lets say the Riders end with a record of  14-6 if you get what I am saying!

--I can't see Jim Popp using Michael Sam as a publicity stunt. The Alouettes are saying all the right things as Sam gets set to start his professional football career.  I don't know if he is the same player that he was going into St. Louis Rams camp last year because he didn't impress at the veterans combine and he seemed more content on "Dancing With the Stars" then continuing to pursue his football dream, but he has a chance. I just hope the Alouettes give him a fair chance. If he gets one, he will succeed as he seems to be a guy who has the right build to be a CFL defensive lineman.

--Are the Argos going to start the season without Ricky Ray? They might be and if so, they are behind the eight ball right from the start. Like the Riders last year, the Argos don't have a capable backup. Trevor Harris will likely get the number one reps, but it will be interesting to see if Blake Sims can adapt to the Canadian style. Sims was the quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide who lost out in the NCAA National Championship semi-final to Ohio State. He has CFL written all over him, Can he play the Canadian game? If he can, the Argos may have found their successor to Ray.....albeit I am sure they don't want him stepping in this year.

--As I put on Twitter Monday night, I wish the Hawks/Ducks series could be a best of 11! That series has been everything hockey fans thought it would be.  Its been great to watch! The East final has been OK too. In the end, I still think we are seeing an original 6 matchup in the final which of course means it will be Anaheim vs Tampa.

--If the Ducks were to win the Stanley Cup, I wonder if the Shooting Stars Foundation could convince Ryan Getzlaf to be a part of Sticks on Rose and could he bring a certain something with him. Imagine playing for that on a nice weekday afternoon in downtown Regina.

--Lebron James vs Steph Curry in the NBA Finals. Bring it on!

--What the hell has happened to Genie Bouchard?

--Jon Ryan did his thing on American Ninja Warrior this week and all was fine. It would have been disastrous though had the Seahawks punter and Regina native suffered some sort of injury with training camp right around the corner.  I think it is safe to say no NFL punter is getting more notoriety than the hometown guy. I also think it is safe to say he had the Seahawks blessing to do this otherwise it wouldn't have happened.  His golf tournament basically sold out as soon as it was announced and tickets for Wednesday Night Live featuring his fiance--comedian Sarah Colonna along with Gord Bamford and the Trews are selling well from what I hear. It is great to see Jon give back to the community.

--Another WMBL season starts tonight as the Regina Red Sox welcome the Weyburn Beavers. The baseball season is too short so get out there and support this team when you can. It is good ball and if you haven't been out to watch, go check it out. Hope to see you either tonight or tomorrow.

--Happy 50th birthday to my Locker Talk and High Impact Wrestling co-host Pete Paczko. Tell me what I'm in for Pete although sadly I think I already know. Ladies, he drives a Lexus and he's single!!

--Speaking of High Impact Wrestling, The stars of HIW have their first Regina card since the highly successful "Spring Meltdown" tonite. The grapplers go back to Gronkville after being at the Highland Curling Club for Meltdown as the bus people and others who are more dignified  will gather at the Hungarian Club with a celebration in store for the new champ---Robbie Gamble. I hope that celebration isn't interrupted. That wouldn't happen would it???

---Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Good Baseball Coming to Regina This August

Regina’s Optimist Baseball Park will be the center of junior baseball in Canada during the week of August 10 through 17, 2015.

The week begins with the Toronto Blue Jays Honda Super Camp on August 10 and 11, followed by the 2015 Baseball Canada Junior (U21) National Baseball Championship, August 13 to 17. This is the first of two consecutive years in which the championship will be held in Regina.

 “It’s wonderful when Regina hosts national events. The Junior National Baseball Championship will bring almost $1 million dollars in economic impact between 2015 and 2016,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “In addition this is an opportunity to make a great impression to the over 200 athletes that will visit our city, many of the first time.”

“Regina Optimist Baseball has been very successful in hosting many regional and provincial baseball tournaments of all descriptions, thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and valued sponsors that have made each event a tremendous success,” said Rodney Palaniuk, President of Regina Optimist Baseball Association. “We’re honored to host this tournament in Regina and to promote baseball as one of the greatest sports to play and watch.”

Director General of Baseball Canada, Jim Baba said “Regina has done a great job in the past hosting Canada Games Baseball and other National Championships and we look forward to having them host the 2015 and 2016 Junior National Championships. Bidding to host these events has become extremely competitive and winning this bid is a testament to what Regina offers in baseball facilities, accommodations, local travel and as a hosting group.”

The exciting week begins with a tremendous opportunity for young ball players to learn from the best, with two days of training by Major League Baseball stars. The camp features former Blue Jays: Jesse Barfield, Denis Boucher, Lloyd Moseby, and Duane Ward. The camp is open to girls and boys ages 9 to 16. Visit the Regina Optimist Baseball website to register.

 The Junior Boys Baseball Championship will feature ten teams from across Canada, including two from Saskatchewan. All games will be played at Optimist Park and Currie Field.

Tournament passes will be available exclusively at Western Cycle Source for Sports, starting June 15, 2015.

Baseball Saskatchewan and Regina Optimist Baseball wish to recognize important sponsors of this event, without whom it not be possible: City of Regina, Tourism Saskatchewan, Regina Optimist Club, Citi Financial, SaskTel, SaskPower, Sask Energy, Saskatchewan Lotteries, Western Cycle Source for Sports, Regina Hotel Association and Tourism Regina.

 John Lee, President and CEO of Tourism Regina said, “We were very happy to work with Regina Optimist Baseball and the Regina Hotel Association to bring this prestigious event to our  city. Regina Optimist Baseball has celebrated over 50 years of dedication to the support of minor baseball in Regina and they will be ready to showcase Canada’s finest baseball talent.” Tourism Regina in partnership with Regina Hotel Association, work to position Regina as a premier destination for events of all kinds. The partnership has been instrumental in bidding on and securing major events for the city including the Juno Awards, BMO Skate Canada Challenge, Canadian Gymnastics Championships, Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championships, Ford World Men’s Curling Championships, and a long list of many more prominent events

 For more information about the tournament and game schedule visit or

TSN Will Continue Being Exclusive Broadcaster of CFL Until 2021

At the Canadian Football League (CFL)'s annual #InsideTheCFL event in Toronto today, Bell Media's TSN and RDS announced they have extended their long-term, successful partnership with the league through to 2021.
As part of the extension, TSN and RDS continue to hold exclusive media rights to all CFL games, including pre-season, regular season, playoffs, and the iconic celebration of Canadian sports that is the Grey Cup. In addition to broadcast and digital rights, the deal features exclusive radio rights to the Grey Cup for Bell Media's Grey Cup Radio Network.
TSN has been broadcasting CFL games since 1986 and RDS has been a CFL broadcaster since 1989. In 2008, TSN and RDS became the exclusive broadcasters of the CFL and the Grey Cup. Since that time, the networks have established new audience records for CFL broadcasts.
TSN and RDS's current agreement with the CFL was scheduled to expire at the end of the 2018 season.
The 2015 CFL regular season kicks off with the Ottawa REDBLACKS visiting the Montreal Alouettes on June 25th and culminates with the 103rd Grey Cup presented by Shaw, on Sunday, November 29th in Winnipeg.

Montreal's Mayor Letting MLB Know His City Wants Baseball Back

First, Montreal had to prove it still cared passionately about baseball. That happened last year, when crowds of 46,121 and 50,229 witnessed a pair of exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.
Then Montrealers needed to demonstrate that the robust turnout in 2014 wasn’t a one-off nostalgic burst. They took care of that in April, when even more fans returned to the suddenly reinvigorated Stade Olympique to watch the Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds.
Thursday, Montreal’s dream of regaining a Major League Baseball franchise — and, for now, a dream is what it remains — will take another necessary step, with Denis Coderre, the charismatic Montreal mayor, set to meet MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in New York.
“I think we’re sending a strong message,” Coderre told FOX Sports in a Wednesday telephone conversation. “I want to open the channel with Mr. Manfred. He spoke very highly of Montreal when he was first elected. He went to the Blue Jays’ (home opener) and spoke highly of Montreal there.
“This is going to be our first meeting. I want to show him our love of baseball, the fact that the political will is there to make this happen. I’m not going to negotiate publicly, but I’m going to send the strong message that we have the tools. I’m going to show him that we’re serious.
“This is the beginning.”
MLB officials already are aware of the renewed baseball fervor in Montreal, as well as the recent feasibility study that concluded an MLB franchise could be successful in a new downtown ballpark built with public and private funds.
So, Coderre’s presentation to Manfred will include additional elements — including the city’s recent $11-million investment in local baseball fields, along with what Coderre said is a 25-percent increase in youth baseball registration in Montreal over the past two years. Coderre cited the popularity of Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin — who grew up in Montreal — as another reason for growing local interest in the sport.

“We have a strong foundation for baseball,” Coderre said.
Separate from Montreal’s effort to bring a permanent franchise to the city, Coderre said he’s interested in hosting regular-season games at Olympic Stadium in the near term. That fits with Manfred’s goal — articulated during a recent MLB Network interview — to stage larger numbers of games in Canada and Mexico on a more sustained basis.
Make no mistake: There’s money to be made in Montreal. Only 17 of this season’s 688 MLB games through Tuesday — roughly 2.5 percent — exceeded the 48,223 average attendance of the Blue Jays-Reds exhibition series in Montreal.
Montreal, often described as the most European metropolis in North America, also represents a cultural link to the European markets MLB wishes to capture in coming years.
“Montreal is a gateway,” Coderre said. “Montreal adds value, because of our cultural mosaic and the unique diversity we have within the Americas. We are a hub, and clearly we’re a great place to be as a strategic position to get anywhere else.”
Montreal is the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. or Canada without an MLB franchise, and evidence is mounting that one would thrive in the city — particularly given the revenue potential of media rights in English and French.
Of course, there’s the rather significant question of a franchise becoming available through relocation or expansion. Manfred said at the MLB owners meetings last week that expansion is not a “hot topic” for the moment — but suggested that could change in the next five or 10 years, depending on the game’s economic conditions.
It could be problematic for the league to expand with the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics still struggling to secure new stadiums. The Rays, in particular, seem likely to remain at Tropicana Field — where they have a lease through 2027 — for at least the next several years. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has remained frustrated in his effort to receive permission from the St. Petersburg (Fla.) City Council to evaluate new stadium sites in the Tampa Bay region.

Coderre doesn’t sound concerned that the momentum of the city’s effort would stall if it takes years to woo the commissioner’s office and/or a team owner who is willing to sell.
“I think what we need to do is establish a roadmap,” Coderre said. “Our enthusiasm for this project is clear. We love the sport. We’re serious about it. This isn’t just a gesture. We’ve put forward a new baseball policy in our city, and we’re spending $11 million on baseball fields here. We’ve seen the increase in registration. That already shows the positive impact of the comeback.
“It’s one step at a time. I’m not going to negotiate publicly, of course, but we’re going to be able to show those steps to the commissioner. I don’t know about a timeframe, but this is a town for baseball, and we’re keeping the flame.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Baseball at the Quarter Pole

In our world, Memorial Day is about more than barbecues, beaches and banishing the snow plows for the next six months. It's about (what else?) baseball.
It's about looking up from your beach chair, wiping the sunscreen out of your burning eyeballs and recognizing that we've got ourselves a real baseball season taking shape, with all sorts of twists and turns you never saw coming.
So now that all 30 teams have finally played 40 games, the season has reached a milepost I used to refer to as "the quarter pole." Except that I've apparently been banned from using that terminology by all you horse racing experts out there who can't wait to tell knuckleheads like me that, in the world of American Pharoah, the quarter pole arrives with a quarter mile to go, not a "quarter" of the way into the race.
OK, so I've finally gotten that memo. But hopefully, it's still allowable for me to write my annual column looking at the first quarter of a fun season and handing out a little imaginary hardware. Anyone object? Awesome. Now here we go.

NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Your attention please. Bryce Harper is 22 years old. Born after every USA Today minor league player of the year of his lifetime and every rookie of the year of his lifetime (except, of course, for himself). And "finally," his time has arrived. His stat line over is one big blob of black ink -- meaning he leads the National League in pretty much everything. And that's what MVPs are made of, especially on teams that are in the midst of going 20-6 in their past 26 games. But I'd like to try to put Harper's phenomenal season in even better perspective with these two nuggets: (1) He's already accumulated more homers (17), RBIs (42), walks (40) and extra-base hits (27) than he had all last year -- and that's unreal, considering he came to bat 395 times last season. And (2) if he somehow keeps up this pace, he'd finish this season with 60 home runs, 96 extra-base hits, 141 walks, 148 RBIs and 141 runs scored. In the history of baseball, you know how many guys have ever put up that stat line (or thereabouts) in any season? Exactly one. Babe Ruth. In 1921. Who was not 22 at the time. Crazy, right?

AL MVP: Nelson Cruz, Mariners

Nelson Cruz
I have to admit something. I was totally ready to type the familiar name of a gentleman named Miguel Cabrera into that line above until I took one last look at how Miggy's numbers compare with Cruz's numbers. And once I did, it became clear that if you don't think Cruz has been the best offensive player in the American League so far, you're working with a different set of metrics than I am. Even though Cabrera actually has as picturesque a slash line so far (.341/.442/.605) as he had the year he won the Triple Crown, Cruz has outhomered him (17-11) and outslugged him (.680-.605) by margins way too mammoth to ignore. And Cruz also leads Miggy in OPS, total bases, runs scored, extra-base hits and RBIs over in the traditional stat columns -- plus adjusted OPS, offensive winning percentage and wRC+ on the non-traditional leader board. So what's the case for Cabrera exactly? Or for Mike TroutPrince FielderJosh DonaldsonJason Kipnis and others for that matter? It's too early in the season to use wins above replacement as the No. 1 separator, because it's skewed by defensive metrics that derive from too small a sample for my money. It's even too early to use the standings, because nobody has won anything and pretty much nobody is out of anything yet. So MVP races at this stage, for me, are all about who has done the most raking when it has been their time to hit. And the correct answer, at least so far, is: Nelson Cruz. Any questions?

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Nationals

Max Scherzer
Here's how impossible this race is: After spinning in circles for 24 hopeless hours, trying to separate Scherzer, Zack GreinkeMichael WachaShelby MillerA.J. BurnettGerrit Cole and a half-dozen other aces, I approached one of the most thoughtful scouts I know for help. And even he told me, basically: "It's a dead heat. Nobody has got a nose in front yet. How can you pick anybody at this point?" Well, on one hand, I agree. On the other hand, the column-writing biz doesn't work that way, I've noticed. So I'll go with Scherzer, who really ought to be 8-0 right now, to go along with a 1.67 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. Has he been dramatically better than any of the other guys I mentioned? Can't say he has. But I look at it this way: He's dominated in all nine starts he's made. He leads the league in fielding independent pitching and double-digit strikeout games. In his three losses, he has a 1.25 ERA, 22 whiffs in 21.2 innings and a total of two runs scored for him. And had manager Matt Williams not sent him out for the eighth inning, with 101 pitches already logged, in a May 6 start against the Marlins (leading to two quick hits and a three-run Giancarlo Stanton homer), his ERA would sit at an insane 1.25. And then we wouldn't even be having this debate. Now would we?

AL Cy Young: Dallas Keuchel, Astros

You know all that stuff I just wrote about the NL Cy Young derby? Rinse and repeat for the AL portion of these festivities. Want to make a case forFelix Hernandez or Sonny Gray? I'd never say you're wrong. I could make sizzling cases for both of them without even breaking a sweat. And I almost did. But have you noticed that Keuchel pretty much never loses? OK, so technically, he lost his last start, in Baltimore on Monday. But that was his first loss in over nine months. In between, the Astros went 13-1 in games he started -- and 32-33 when anyone else pitched. But forget the wins and losses. Keuchel leads the league in lowest opponent average (.190), lowest opponent OPS (.507) and most innings per start (7.3). He has a 1.98 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP (0.96). And the only negative you could possibly use to deduct points is his 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings, paired with a .223 average on balls in play that would seem unsustainable. But when we make these awards picks, we're not supposed to judge what's likely to happen tomorrow. We're judging what's already happened. And you know what's happened in 2015? Dallas Keuchel has been the best pitcher in the American League. That's what.

NL Rookie: Joc Pederson, Dodgers

Joc Pederson
Did you know that no rookie in the history of the National League has ever hit 40 home runs? Did you know that only one rookie in the history of the Dodgers -- Mike Piazza -- has ever even hit 30 home runs? And now that we've got the preamble out of the way, did you know that Pederson is on pace to hit 43 home runs this year? And that he's also on pace to slug .554, with a .390 on-base percentage and .944 OPS that would be the highest by any Dodgers rookie in history, including Piazza? (This is a franchise that has produced 12 rookies of the year, by the way. Just thought I'd mention that.) Of course, Pederson also is on pace to strike out 194 times and walk 112 times -- which would give him an Adam Dunn-esque collection of numbers that has never been equaled by any rookie in history. But all the good stuff he's done -- including his leatherworking in center field -- still mostly negates the swinging and missing, and gives him at least a slight edge, for now, over Wrigleyville's polished and talented Kris Bryant. Those two already have pulled well ahead of the rest of this field. So they've set the stage for a fun little rookie-of-the-year mano a mano over the next four months. Ought to be a blast to watch.

AL Rookie: Devon Travis, Blue Jays

Devon Travis
On a related note, the Blue Jays have not had 12 rookies of the year in their glorious history. They've had two. I'm sure you recall them. There was Eric Hinske in 2002. And Alfredo Griffin in 1979 (although he had to share his trophy with John Castino, which must have been awkward). And now there's the mysterious Devon Travis, who jumped all the way from Double-A to the big leagues this year and was happily separating himself from the pack in this race when an April 30 ground ball took a funky hop and drilled him in the left shoulder. Next thing we knew, he was hitting .185 in May, after an awesome April. And now he's on the disabled list. To be honest, it was kind of shocking for a 5-foot-9 second baseman to thump six homers in his first 68 big league at-bats in the first place, even coming from a guy who'd hit everywhere he'd played in the minor leagues. So it's hard to forecast what this team will get from Travis from here on. But as I mentioned, handing out these awards is not an exercise in fortunetelling. It's about what's happened so far. And so far, Travis has been worth 1.5 wins above replacement, despite his May troubles. And no other AL rookie has outperformed him yet (although watch out for Mariners sidearmer Carson Smith, who has allowed just nine hits and fanned 24 over his first 21 innings). But the upshot is, it's possible the ultimate AL rookie of the year winner hasn't even been called up yet. And yeah, we're talking about you, Carlos Correa.



The Saskatchewan Roughrider 2015 Rookie Camp schedule has been released. On field workouts on Wednesday and Thursday at Mosaic Stadium are open to the public! All times are approximate and subject to change.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 27th       
11:45am               On field work
12:45 pm              Select players available to media
THURSDAY, MAY 28th      
11:45am               On field work
12:45 pm              Select players available to media

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Riders Inducting Two More in 2015 To Plaza of Honor

Today the Saskatchewan Roughrider Plaza of Honor Committee announced two new members will be inducted into the Plaza of Honor. This year Scott Schultz and Tim McCray will have their names forever etched into Saskatchewan Roughrider history. 
As a result of being Saskatchewan’s most prestigious sporting dinner, the Plaza of Honor Dinner has contributed over $6 million to the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club. 
The Plaza of Honor Dinner presented by SaskTel has inducted 118 individuals who have made major contributions to the proud tradition of the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club. The club has also inducted the 1966, 1989 and 2007 Grey Cup championship teams. 
The cairn honouring the Plaza of Honor Inductees is situated outside the main gates on the west side of Mosaic Stadium. The Plaza of Honor cairn is sponsored by SaskTel, SASK SPORT INC. and the City of Regina. 
This year’s dinner is set for Friday, September 25th at the Credit Union Eventplex – Evraz Place. Four seasons ago the Dinner was moved to the Eventplex in order to accommodate a much larger audience. The space allows patrons the opportunity comfortable mingle and meet friends and associates throughout the evening.  Many changes are in the works for this year’s dinner.  The committee is working diligently to renew this event in order to ensure it continues to be an exciting, memorable, and unique experience for everyone involved.  
For information on tickets or corporate tables, contact the Saskatchewan Roughrider Ticket Office at 525-1281 or 1-888-474-3377 or any committee member.

Scott Schultz
North Dakota
Defensive Tackle

  • Born in Moose Jaw, SK in 1978
  • Played nine seasons in the CFL – all with the Roughriders
  • Played his college football at the University of North Dakota
  • Originally selected in the 1st round (1st overall) of the 2001 Canadian Draft
  • Played 128 regular season games
  • Played in 11 playoff games
  • Won the Grey Cup with Saskatchewan in 2007
  • Named the Riders Most Outstanding Canadian in 2005 and 2006
  • Finished his CFL career with 168 defensive tackles, nine tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
  • Sits sixth all-time in franchise quarterback sacks with 35.
  • Was known for the “Moose Jaw Stomp” sack dance

Running Back

  • Born in Waycross, GA in 1960
  • Played seven CFL seasons; five with the Roughriders
  • Played collegiately at Tulane University
  • Was acquired from Ottawa on June 21, 1986
  • Played 70 career regular seasons games … 54 with the Riders
  • Played in four playoff games … three with the Riders
  • Won the Grey Cup with Saskatchewan in 1989
  • Was named a West Division All-Star in 1989
  • Was named a CFL All-Star in 1989
  • Finished his Rider career with 519 carries and six rushing touchdowns. Currently sits seventh on the franchise all-time rushing list with 2,898 yards.
  • Had 171 receptions for 1,538 yards and seven touchdowns. 
  • Also added 81 kickoff returns for 1,829 yards putting him in ninth all-time.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Riders Ink Demski To Contract

When the Riders hold their first practice at rookie camp Wednesday morning at Mosaic, Nic Demski will be there. The football team used their website to make the announcement Demski has signed a contract.  Click here to see it and get Demski's thoughts on being a member of the green and white.

Big Announcement From Riderville!!

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today the first four of 12 Founding Partners: The Mosaic Company, SaskTel, Harvard Broadcasting A Hill Company, and Capital Automotive Group.

The 12 Founding Partners, known as The Starting 12 , will provide support to the Roughriders construction commitment of over $40 million towards the new Mosaic Stadium.

This select group of corporate partners receive lifelong recognition within the new facility and the ability to secure exclusive multi-year sponsorship and partnership assets, naming rights and other activation opportunities with our fans.

Founding Partners will also have access to premium hospitality areas, including suites and lounges that will provide an exclusive environment for building relationships with clients, vendors and preferred customers.

On May 22, 2014, the Riders announced that their current partnership with The Mosaic Company will be renewed in a 20-year stadium naming rights agreement between the two organizations. With the new Mosaic Stadium, and renewed naming partnership, the two organizations will continue with the partnership that began in 2006.

Our naming rights sponsorship of Mosaic Stadium represents our long term commitment to the province of Saskatchewan, said Walt Precourt, Senior Vice President Potash for The Mosaic Company, we are proud to help usher in an exciting new era for the Roughrider Football Club, the community and all of Rider Nation.

SaskTel is the leading, full-service communications provider in Saskatchewan specializing in voice, data, Internet, entertainment, security monitoring, messaging, cellular, wireless data, and directory products and services. Through the agreement SaskTel will be the Riders exclusive communications partner.

"Together with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, SaskTel s vision is to create a world-class technologically innovative facility and deliver the best fan experience possible for the hundreds of thousands of Saskatchewan people who visit the stadium annually," said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO.

Harvard Broadcasting will continue to be the Roughriders exclusive radio broadcaster on the newly expanded 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network until the year 2031 under today's announcement. Combined with Harvard s Mobile Apps and Streaming options, Rider Nation can follow Game Day broadcasts of Canada s Team in all corners of the Province and anywhere in the world.

We are delighted to continue our relationship with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This new agreement will mark 49 years of Harvard s broadcast partnership with the Football Club, but moreover, it will be the culmination of 49 years of support and dedication to the Riders by The Hill Companies and the Hill Family, stated Paul Hill, Chairman, President and CEO of The Hill Companies. That support has taken many forms, highlighted by initiatives such as the Television and Radio-thons (1987&1997), Save the Turf campaigns (2000 & 2007), Jersey Auction (1989), East & West Side Club Seating builds, Centennial Fund & Camera Tower build (2005), Rider Shares, Major Sponsorships of the 1995, 2003, and 2013 Grey Cups, plus ongoing support of the Plaza of Honor Dinner and Friends of the Rider s Lottery.

The Capital Automotive Group is one of Western Canada s largest automotive retailers comprising Capital GMC Buick Cadillac, Capital Ford Lincoln and Universal Collision Centre in Regina, Capital Kia in Yorkton, Capital Used Cars in Saskatoon, and Thrifty rent-a-car in Regina. Capital will provide Rider coaches and executive staff with promotional vehicle

Capital Auto is proud to be one of the founding partners of new Mosaic Stadium, as well as to be the exclusive vehicle supplier to the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club, stated Capital Automotive Group President & CEO, Bruce Axelson. The staff of the Capital Automotive Group are honored to be part of this new venture in support of the City of Regina, province of Saskatchewan and the Roughrider Football Cub for many years to come.

(Photo and release courtesy of Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Something To "Mitch" About

What a weekend! If you didn't spend a majority of it outdoors, why not? Mother Nature certainly made it up to us after what was a pretty wet and cool long weekend.  The sticks came out for the first time and nothing has changed from last year. If I ever decide to get serious about the game, I will definitely work on everything from 150 yards in. It looks so easy on TV!! Bottom line was it was good to get back out on the links and swing away. 

Good on the Montreal Alouettes for signing Michael Sam to a contract. I hope he is there to actually compete for a job and not as a stunt to sell tickets. Sam can play the game. He showed that in last year's NFL pre-season only to be jettisoned by the St. Louis Rams. The talk about Sam is there because of his sexual preference, but there is no difference here between Michael Sam trying to make a career for himself in the CFL as there is any other player coming north of the border. Like many, he has a story and we know about it. Lets let him do his thing and hopefully he is good enough that Jim Popp and Tom Higgins will allow him to stick around. The CFL and Alouettes  will get some added exposure during training camp much like Chad Ochocinco gave them last year, but at the end of the day, the story is can the guy play football. We will find out. All the best to him! I hope he comes in with the right attitude.

The call for the CFL season to be moved up again has started.  I am sure TSN wouldn't mind that seeing they don't have hockey, but will anyone watch if that were to happen. Say what you will about the Rogers package, but the Stanley Cup playoffs are the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I am guessing a majority of Canadians would be watching the final and not the CFL. Add that to the fact once the final starts, TSN will be all over it and then some and you wonder if the first two weeks would be a throwaway. That isn't what the league wants and it certainly not what advertisers or the network wants. I don't see this happening despite the cry out there to have it happen.

This question was asked of me on the weekend---What is David Braley's legacy as owner of the Argos? Hmmmmmmmm!!!

Mike Babcock is making more to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs in one year than what CFL teams are allowed to spend because of the salary cap. Let that sink in for a moment or two. A hockey coach is making more than an entire football team.

Speaking of salaries, give this a read as it is an excellent article on CFL pay.

The Miami Marlins had a charity night this past week where fans could mingle with the players. The problem is no players showed up. The players stated with their bad play of late, they didn't feel like socializing, but some believe it was a silent protest against the recent firing of manager Mike Redmond. Whatever it was, this was simply not right. You have 1) alienated a fan base who doesn;t get many chances to rub elbows with their favourite baseball players 2) you have snubbed your nose at whatever charity this event was going for and 3) you have embarrassed the organization. I can't imagine the backlash that would occur if this were to ever happen with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The only difference is there is wayyyyyy too much class and respect in the Riders organization from Craig Reynolds right on down to ever see that happen here.

The Memorial Cup has started and while I do love the tournament, I always have wished you could have more teams involved.  I think the host team has to be in to make sure there is local interest, but could you have a March madness style event where play-in games are required to get into the actual tournament. While Kelowna is in, what about a game between Brandon and Erie to see who advances to the tournament seeing there were two Quebec teams already in.  With the event being held in Red Deer, you will have two WHL teams so why not have the runners-up in Quebec and Ontario play one game with the winner moving into the tournament. Its an idea that certainly has flaws, but its a idea to get a 5th team in. The RBC has five teams in their event and they can get it done in a week so why couldn't the Memorial Cup?

It is safe to say the NHL Conference finals have been everything we thought they would be and the chances of both going 7 are high. Give a lot of credit to Chicago who took a knockout punch from the Ducks in the 3rd period Saturday night, yet they found a way to tie it and win it.

A question for the Saskatoonites who read this blog. If the Edmonton Rush move to Saskatoon and your city is home to a National Lacrosse League franchise, will it work? Will you support it?  Its not the pro team you want, but its a professional team.  I have never been to a lacrosse game, but friends of mine have been to Calgary Roughnecks games and say it is something else.

UFC 187 was one of the better ones of late with several good fights----fights I became more invested in for reasons I won't get into. Lets just say it involved some Yukon Jack that could have turned into a lot of Yukon Jack. Daniel Cormier had best hope Jon Jones does not get his you know what together because when he does, it will be bad news for Cormier,  The Andrei Arlovski-Travis Browne fight was one of the best I have seen in my years of watching the action inside the octagon.

Finally, good god was it really 25 years ago???

That's all I got. Have a great week! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lions Say Travis Lulay Will Be Ready For Training Camp

The B.C. Lions expect veteran quarterback Travis Lulay to be a full participant on Day 1 of training camp.
The 31-year-old has been plagued by injuries to his throwing shoulder over the last two seasons, but head coach Jeff Tedford said Friday that Lulay should be good to go when veterans report next weekend.
"He's very excited about his progress and about the upcoming season," Tedford said on a conference call. "We have to be smart with him of course, but he's a strong competitor. He has a great deal of admiration and respect from the people in this organization — his teammates, management, everyone in the building."
The 2011 Grey Cup MVP, Lulay originally hurt his right shoulder on a goal-line plunge back in September 2013. He returned for the Lions' playoff loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders that year before opting for surgery.
The belief was he would be ready for last season's training camp, but the rehabilitation took much longer than anticipated and his only start of 2014 was cut short when he injured the same joint in Ottawa against the Redblacks on Sept. 5, basically undoing the surgery.

Lulay — who opted against another surgical procedure and has been rehabbing the injury by doing some unorthodox drills this off-season with Tedford's guidance — took part in the Lions' three-day passing camp at the end of last month.
"I think he gained a lot of confidence. It's a mindset," said Tedford, who was hired in December. "He's doing a lot of other things as far as playing the position besides just throwing the football. Doing things off-balance, doing things off-platform, falling on his shoulder. Doing all those things that can clear him of any mind clutter that may be there as you're overcoming the setbacks that he's had with his shoulder.
"I think he feels really good about where he is. We're going into the first day feeling like he's going to be ready."
The Lions' rookie camp opens Thursday in Kamloops, B.C., before the main camp gets underway May 31.

(Vancouver Province)