Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eskimos Get John Chick In Trade With Hamilton

Image result for john chick hamilton tiger cats

 The Edmonton Eskimos have landed defensive end John Chick in a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Chick heads to Edmonton along with a fifth round draft pick while the Eskimos send a second round pick to the Ticats. Both draft picks in 2018.

The trade was confirmed by both teams on Sunday.

Now in his eighth CFL season, Chick is widely considered one of the league’s most dominant pass rushers. The 34-year-old has recorded 69 sacks in 117 career outings for Saskatchewan and Hamilton along with 15 forced fumbles.

While he’s mostly remembered for his time in Saskatchewan, which includes two Grey Cup Championships in 2007 and 2013, the Utah State alum enjoyed a rebound season with the Ticats in 2016 after being released by the Riders that off-season.

This season, however, has seen a drop-off in production for Chick, who’s recorded only two sacks over eight games. Over that span, the Ticats have failed to win a football game while their defence ranks at or near the bottom of the CFL in nearly every major statistical category.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

3Down Nation: Former NFL RB Trent Richardson Added To Riders Neg List

Image result for trent richardson

Vince Young's comeback attempt appears to have failed, but maybe another one-time high draft pick in the NFL can resume his career in the CFL with the Riders.

3 Down Nation's Justin Dunk is reporting the Riders have added Trent Richardson to their negotiation list.

The article can be found right here

Friday, August 18, 2017

Riders Send RIcky Collins To Hamilton

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Friday that the football club has acquired international wide receiver Ricky Collins Jr. and a seventh round pick in the 2018 CFL Draft from the Saskatchewan Roughriders in exchange for international defensive end Mike McAdoo and a sixth round pick in the 2018 CFL Draft.

Collins Jr., 25, has appeared in 15 games with the Roughriders over the last two seasons (2016-17), posting 48 receptions for 720 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned eight kickoffs for 151 yards (18.9 average) and five punts for 42 yards (8.4 average). Prior to joining the Roughriders, Collins Jr. had a brief stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2016 and spent time with the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers in 2015.

McAdoo (6’7 – 250) has spent the last two weeks on the Tiger-Cats practice roster after signing with the team August 7th.
The University of North Carolina product has had previous stints with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys since turning pro in 2011.
The 27-year-old Tennessee native also played two games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2013, registering one tackle and one quarterback sack.

This And That

Welcome to Friday!  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--Jaws started flapping Tuesday morning when word came down the Riders had traded for Vernon Adams Junior. Make no doubt about it, this trade is for next year as barring an injury to Kevin Glenn, he won't see much time. If he does get hurt, do you go with Brandon Bridge or Adams?  I am guessing short term it would be Bridge, but long-term it would be Adams. He seems to have a better grasp on the game, and I think he has more game experience.

There is also talk this could either A) mean the Riders send Adams to Edmonton in a deal for James Franklin or B) the dream Chris Jones has had in getting Franklin has gone up in smoke. I'm not convinced its "B", but if he is traded before the season is over, I will feel that way.  No team is getting a young quarterback for a couple of months and then losing him before free agency. Any deal will be a sign and trade. That would be the smart way to go. As for "A", I don't see that happening.

--The new commissioner of the CFL has made quite the impact in his first month on the job, and he isn't stopping in his quest to get the league back on solid footing.  Randy Ambrosie hit the ground running with his almost immediate tweak to the challenges, to the solid decision to release the "Diversity is Strength" t-shirts campaign in Regina in the days after the extreme stupidity we saw in Virginia to now saying he is considering making a change to the playoff format.

Sorry, but East vs West doesn't do it for me. Yes, an Eastern team won the Grey Cup last year, but it was a team that was under 500 who got hot at the right time and capitalized.  For years, I have favoured having 1 and 2 get a first round bye with 3 playing 6 and 4 playing 5 in the first round of the playoffs.  You then have your CFL semi-finals the week after that followed by the Grey Cup.  Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages, but isn't it that way with just about everything. At the end of the day, I want to see the two best teams competing.  If that were to mean a Stampeders-Eskimos Grey Cup this year than so be it.  If it meant somewhere down the road, the REDBLACKS played the Argos than so be it.

The argument was made "The Nashville Predators were the number 16 seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs" and they just about won!  This is true.  However, the Predators didn't play one game series to get there, If Ottawa and Calgary had a best of 7 to decide the Grey Cup, is anyone going to tell me Calgary wouldn't have won?

--When do we start to stand up and say Winnipeg is for real? We've seen this act before, and we've seen how it ends. #swaggerville.   Have fun while it lasts. 

--When news came out Tuesday that Regina and Mosaic Stadium had been put on a list for potential venues for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, I raised my eyebrows.  Many questions went racing through my mind.  Is the stadium big enough?  Is there enough room for the teams, fans, dignitaries, etc. etc that would be needed? Why would FIFA look at Regina when there are much bigger venues like BC Place, Commonwealth Stadium and yes, even the archaic Olympic Stadium in Montreal?  However, after processing all that, I went why not.  Yes, I will admit the chances of Regina having a small part to play in the world's biggest sporting event would be remote, but there are a lot of good people in this city and this province that could make it happen.  Would I expect a world powerhouse like Brazil, Italy or Portugal to play here? The answer to that is no, but could you put a game involving Canada here? Why not?  When Canada played in its only World Cup in Mexico in 1986, they played Russia.  Canada/Russia on grass instead of ice, that would be outstanding!

--Two sure signs that hockey is right around the corner came this week.  1) My Hockey News yearbook arrived in the mailbox and 2) The Pats held their annual Wickenheiser Golf Classic which from what I have heard was once again a first-run show.  Why wouldn't it be that way when you have top-notch people running it? Rookie camp starts right away and then main camp which will lead into what should be a tremendous winter at the Brandt Centre!  Some don't like the new Pats 100 logo that was unveiled.  It doesn't do anything for me, but I'm not in it for the logo. I'm in it for the performance. If the iconic logo we have known for years was going to be front and center on the jersey, I might have been a little upset, but its not.

 I don't know if the Pats are as good coming into this season as they were last, but I know they will do everything they can to get back to the WHL Championship and hopefully provide Regina hockey fans with a moment in May that the Riders gave their fans in November of 2013 at Mosaic.  That my friends would be something special, and I won't lie. For this Regina boy, it would be a little emotional as well.

--The Oilers have now locked up Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and there is talk of a second dynasty about to erupt in the Alberta capital. Let's put the brakes on that talk a little. Connor and Leon are not Crosby and Malkin, they are not Kane and Toews, they are not Yzerman and Fedorov.  The blocks are there, but the onus is on Draisaitl.  He is making an awful lot of money and has been rewarded for one good season, and one good playoffs. He needs to do more moving forward. A lot more seeing that paycheque is north of 8 million dollars.  It will be fun to watch though, there is no doubt about that.

--With Draisaitl signing for what he did, what does it mean for guys like Mitch Marner, Max Domi, Dylan Larkin  and Matthew Tkachuk? What about Patrik Laine?  I think its a given Auston Matthews will make McDavid money as he deservedly should.

--What are the best  sports podcasts out there? (besides Sportscage!!) When I go for an evening walk, I usually listen to the Cubs game if they are playing or will find something to listen to for the 20-25 minutes that I am out and about.  I can't sit at a computer and listen to podcasts while doing things  so what are the best ones out there?

--Congratulations to the Swift Current 57's. They made it back-to-back WMBL championships Thursday night at home. The defending champs were close to seeing their run end a few times in the playoffs, but they found a way.

--The Regina Thunder are back on home soil after losing the season opener to Saskatoon last weekend. I am guessing Scott McAulay and company will be looking for a much better effort than the one given against the Hilltops when the Edmonton Wildcats come a callin. Game time is 7 o'clock. If you can't make it, it will be on Access.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Regina Sports Hall of Fame To Add 6 in October


For the 15th straight year the Regina Sports Hall of Fame is honouring
people who have contributed to sports within the city by inducting
them into the Hall.

This year’s inductees into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame are: Jackie
Moore (Athlete; basketball); Brian Desjarlais (Athlete; weightlifting);
Kim Bergey Kaip (Athlete; judo, wrestling); Jerry Zbytnuik (Builder;
football); Don McDougall (Builder; multi-sport); and Kim Walker
(Athlete; golf).

The 15th annual induction ceremony is slated for Thursday, October 5 at
Evraz Place. Reception starts at 7:30 p.m. with the ceremony slated
for 8:15 p.m. Snacks and a cash bar are available. Tickets cost $35
each and $20 for children (12 & under). Tickets are available from
RSHF directors, Ceremonies chair Cathy Glasser (306-584-7230)
and Security Key & Lock (306-525-5651), 2512 Dewdney Ave.

There are now 90 inductees in the RSHF — 38 athletes, 35 builders, 13
teams and four patrons. There are also 150 honourary members with
Regina connections who had previously been inducted into the
Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

The Regina Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that was
formed to honour athletes, builders, teams and patrons who have
contributed to sports in
Regina. Our display site is in the Co-Operators Centre inside Evraz
Place. Information and the list of past inductees are on our website: Nominations must be submitted by June
1 annually.


RSHF 2017 Inductees

Kim Walker (Athlete; golf)
-- Still active; won Regina amateur championships in 1993, 2002 and six
straight from 2012-17; Saskatchewan amateur champ in 2016 after
runner-up finishes in 2014-15, represented province at Canadian
championships 2014-16; Saskatoon amateur champion in 2015; provincial
mixed team champ (with Randy Gilewich) in 2014-15; Royal Regina
women’s club champion in 1993-94, set record for winning 12 straight
club championships at Wascana Country Club 2005-16; Saskatchewan
Women’s Order of Merit Tour winner in 2015-16; born May 28/67 in
Logan, Utah.

Don McDougall (Builder; multi-sport)
 -- Long-time teacher and principal in Regina Public School Board,
served on numerous boards and coached boys and girls school teams while
also active member of Order of Demolay, Masons and Wa Wa Shriners;
board member, president (1997-98) of SaskSport, with whom he chaired
several committees and served as president of the Hall of Fame
(2003-04); committee member and provincial chair of KidSport; minor
football coach-of-the-year in 1967; director and president of Regina
Rams (1980-81, winning national championships both years) and presdient
of Prairie Junior Football Conference; game-day productions for
Saskatchewan Roughriders and served on team’s management committee;
born Nov. 17/43 in Regina.

Jerry Zbytnuik (Builder; football)
 -- Coached Miller High School football team for 10 years before
joining junior Regina Rams (1977-83), spending last six years as head
coach and appearing in three straight national championships, winning
in 1980 and 1981 with teams since inducted into SaskSport Hall of Fame;
also coached high school wrestling before coaching sons and daughters
in ringette, hockey, t-ball, baseball and soccer; teacher and
vice-principal for 30 years with Regina Catholic School Board; received
numerous volunteers awards for long-time work with Football
Saskatchewan and Football Canada, both of whom he served as president;
born Jan. 30/44 in Kamsack.

Kim Bergey Kaip (Athlete; judo, wrestling)
 -- Canadian judo champion in 1991 and junior champion in 1989, world
masters champ in 2003; first female in Judo Saskatchewan’s history to
attain 5th degree black belt; CIAU wrestling champion in 1997-98 and
four-time winner at Canadian championships (1993, ’95, ’96, ’97);
attended international competitions in both sports, highlighted by
three first-place finishes in Sunkist International Wrestling
championships and silver medal at 1991 US Open International Judo
championships; four-time SaskSport athlete-of-the-year also served as
official in both sports; born Aug. 7/72 in Brandon.

Brian Desjarlais (Athlete; weightlifing)
-- Started weightlifting after playing competitive softball; after
winning Master category (40-49) bench press at 1998 Can-Am Police Fire
Games, he moved to Grand Master (50-59) and won seven more golds at
subsequent events; also has six gold medals and two silver medals from
four World Police Fire Games between 2003 and 2013; list of gold-medal
performances includes 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2015 Canadian championships,
2015 North American Powerlifting championships (for three lifts: squat,
bench and deadlift) in the 60-69 category; won bench-press and 3-lift
gold medals at provincial championships in 2004, 2007 and 2013; born
June 17/49 in Fort Qu’Appelle.

Jackie Moore (Athlete; basketball)
-- Competed in basketball, volleyball and athletics at Thom Collegiate
before five-year basketball career at University of Regina; won three
straight GPAC championships and qualified for CIAU tournament, winning
silver in 1991, her final appearance; only player in U of R history
with three All-Canadian and five conference all-star selections -- GPAC
second-team in 1987, first team 1988-91 and All-Canadian 1989-91;
university’s record-holder for points per game (18.5); playing for
Canada, she averaged 5.4 points for Canada at the 1992 Olympic
qualifying tournament, won bronze at 1991 Summer Universiade and played
in 1991 Pan-American Games; played professionally in Germany’s second
and top division until 1997, un-retired in 2009 to form a successful
club team; teaches phys ed and English at a high school in Cologne;
born Nov. 11/68 in Regina. 

(Darrell Davis/Regina Sports Hall of Fame)


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Oilers And Leon Draisaitl Agree On New Deal

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The Edmonton Oilers have signed centre Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year contract extension, through the 2024-25 season, with an average annual value (AAV) of $8.5 million.

The 21-year old native of Cologne, Germany completed his third National Hockey League (NHL) season in 2016-17, setting career highs with 77 points (29G, 48A), also finishing with a +7 plus-minus rating and 20 penalty minutes in 82 games. He finished second in team scoring behind only Connor McDavid and ranked eighth among all NHL scorers. He also set a new record for points by a German player in an NHL season, surpassing the record of 59 points, set by Marco Sturm in 2006.

The 6'1", 216-pound forward tied for the team lead with 27 power play points (3G, 24A) and also had five game-winning goals, three of which came in overtime. His 27 power play points ranked tied for eighth in the NHL.

He also led the Oilers in scoring during the 2017 playoffs, posting 16 points (6G, 10A) in 13 games.

Over 191 career regular season games with the Oilers, he has accumulated 137 points (50G, 87A) and 44 penalty minutes.

Draisaitl has played internationally for Germany at three World Hockey Championships (2014, 2016, 2017), two World Junior Hockey Championships (2013, 2014) and two Under 18 World Hockey Championships (2012, 2013). He was also the youngest member of Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, contributing two goals in six games, reaching the final against Team Canada.

Draisaitl was selected by the Oilers in the first round, 3rd overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

(Edmonton Oilers)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2026 World Cup At Mosaic Stadium?

The United Bid Committee of Canada, Mexico and the United States officially started its outreach for cities to declare their interest to serve as Official Host Cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ by sending Requests for Information (RFIs) to 44 cities across the three nations. The RFI asks each city to declare its interest to take part in the bid process by September 5, 2017.

A total of 49 stadiums located in or around those 44 candidate cities will be considered for inclusion in the official bid that will be sent to FIFA by March 16, 2018.

After cities declare their interest, the United Bid Committee will review the submissions and intends to issue a shortlist of cities by late September. The Bid Committee will then provide more detailed bid documentation to the cities and conduct meetings to discuss any questions as candidate cities prepare their final bid, due early January 2018.

The Bid Committee plans to include 20-25 venues in its final bid to FIFA. If selected to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, subject to FIFA’s determination, it is anticipated that at least 12 locations could ultimately serve as Official Host Cities. If a city is not selected to host matches, there may be other opportunities to be involved in the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. Those cities, as well as other cities not on the initial list, could be selected as the location for the International Broadcast Center, host Team Base Camps or host major events such as the Preliminary or Final Draw.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first tournament with the expanded 48-team format and will require world-class facilities and infrastructure. Canada, Mexico and the United States are uniquely suited to accommodate the high-level standards FIFA has for hosting a FIFA World Cup™.

“Official Host Cities included in the bid will be critical to the successful United Bid of Canada, Mexico and the United States to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ and we look forward to working with all levels of government and our stakeholders to find the best possible candidate cities in Canada,” stated Peter Montopoli, Canada Bid Director and Canada Soccer General Secretary.  “The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ is an incredible opportunity for our country to develop the men’s game and ensure that Canada continues as a leading soccer nation for the next generation.”

The 49 stadiums represent a wide spectrum of facilities, including stadiums for soccer, football, and domed and retractable roof stadiums. All stadiums are required to have at least 40,000 seats for group stage matches, and a capacity of at least 80,000 to be considered for the Opening Match and the Final.

A list of the candidate cities and venues can be found at the end of this release.

Municipal leaders in each city have been asked to provide information about each city’s transportation infrastructure, past experience hosting major sporting and cultural events, available accommodations, environmental protection initiatives, potential venues and more.

In addition to a stadium capable of hosting international soccer, each city has to propose top international-level training sites and locations for team base camps, and hotels for teams, staff and VIP’s. The Bid Committee will also evaluate cities on their commitment to sustainable event management, aspirations to develop soccer, and the positive social impact they anticipate in the local community and beyond stemming from the event.

Proposed stadiums and metropolitan markets for further consideration 

Ambrosie Considering Change To CFL Playoff Format

Image result for randy ambrosie

Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie is a big fan of the East-West dynamic but says he would entertain discussions about a change to the league’s playoff structure.

“I would tip my hand and say that I’m a passionate believer in East vs. West … I think it is part of what has made the league special,” Ambrosie said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It has that uniquely Canadian identity.

“Having said that, I also know that we have to bring modern thinking to everything about our league. I’m willing to have the conversation for sure. We have to be open-minded because the world is changing around us and we don’t want to have our heads in the sand.”

A major imbalance in the strength of teams in the West and East this season has spurred talk of a change to the playoff format.

Currently, the top three teams in each division make the playoffs, unless the fourth-place team in one division has more points than the third-place team in the other. In that case, there is a crossover, which has occurred nine times since it was introduced in 1996, with West teams crossing to the East every time (most recently last season when the Edmonton Eskimos crossed over).

However, this year all five teams in the West have records that are as good or better than all four teams in the East. The Edmonton Eskimos alone, with seven wins, have as many victories as the four Eastern teams combined.

Going back to last season, the Ottawa Redblacks won the East and hosted the division final with an 8-9-1 record, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-7) and Eskimos (10-8) had to try to win two playoff games on the road.

In a column on Sunday, we suggested it’s time for the league to look at scrapping the East-West format and going to one division, with the top-six teams making the playoffs.

“I’m happy to have that conversation with everyone and I think we should have it,” Ambrosie said. “This has been, in the early days, one of the things I’m having the most fun with. I think we should have a national conversation about our game. I think the more people that engage in the conversation, the better. I think the CFL is the perfect expression of what being Canadian is all about. Where that leads us I don’t know but I think those conversations make us better and I’m happy to have them.”

Ambrosie, who was an offensive lineman in the CFL from 1985 to 1993, has been on the job as a commissioner for only a little more than a month, but has already shown a propensity for decisiveness and a willingness to converse, listen and change, if necessary.

It seems unlikely he’d be voting in favour of a change to the East-West structure himself, however.

“Like most who have a history with something, my history with East and West goes back to being a kid and we used to do fundraisers, selling football pool tickets,” Ambrosie said.

“We went around to all our friends and neighbours and it was East vs. West and it was like that in my earliest recollection of Grey Cup games and Grey Cup parties. I was from Winnipeg and rabidly cheering for whoever was representing the West over the evil empire from the East, whoever that happened to be, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s just a big part of being Canadian, East vs. West.”

Ambrosie also likes the fact that a team like the Redblacks, despite not having a great regular season, was able to win the Grey Cup last year, beating the 15-2-1 Calgary Stampeders in an overtime thriller.

“I went 16-2 in Edmonton in 1989 and we lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who were 9-9, in the Western Final, and they went on to win the Grey Cup.” Ambrosie said.

“I was in Regina this weekend and I saw how proud they are of that Grey Cup. It’s a reminder that regular seasons are important but playoffs matter more. Calgary last year, right? Sometimes there’s just some magic in getting hot at the right time.”

(Winnipeg Sun)

New QB For Riders; Vernon Adams Junior Acquired From Alouettes

Image result for vernon adams jr montreal alouettes

There is another quarterback in Riderville.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced Tuesday morning they have made a trade with Montreal that sees Vernon Adams Junior and a 5th round pick in the 2018 draft come to Saskatchewan in exchange for DB Tevaughn Campbell and a 3rd round pick both in 2018 and 19.

This is Adams' 2nd season in the CFL. Last year with Montreal, he completed 42 of 75 passes for 575 yards and four touchdowns.  He had been the back-up this year and had dressed in all seven games for Montreal while seeing limited action.

Adams joins starter Kevin Glenn, backup Brandon Bridge and third-stringer Marquise Williams on the roster.

The Riders are on their bye week and will not play again until August 25 when they are in Edmonton to play the Eskimos.

Monday, August 14, 2017

New Logo For Pats In 100th Anniversary Season

The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce its 100th Anniversary Logo and center ice logo for the 2017/18 season.

“We are extremely excited to celebrate 100 years of history,” said Pats COO Stacey Cattell. “These new logos are a great representation of the centennial celebration we can’t wait to kick off this season.”

 Numerous theme nights and functions are planned for the season, new merchandise is on the shelves and the club is set to move into new office space on Dewdney and Albert.

The Pats have set a franchise record already with five thousand season tickets sold for 2017/18. The atmosphere at the Brandt Centre, night in and night out, will make it the place to be, yet again.

The Pats kick off the regular season on September 22nd on the road against the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Pats will host their home opener the next night, September 23 at 7 p.m. against the same Wheat Kings.

Something To "Mitch" About

A SUNDAY NIGHT STOMPING -  Sunday night games that start at 6 o'clock aren't my ideal cup of tea, and I'm guessing those who drove into the Queen City from wherever before making the long trek home were saying the same thing. They were also probably saying if the Riders can play like that on a Sunday night, they'll come again and again and again.  Where did that come from? No doubt that is the best game the Riders have played since the Chris Jones era began, but while it was one to remember, its not enough.  This team needs to play well on the road before they can be considered as a football team to be beware of.

At home is one thing where they have scored 156 points, but the road is another thing.  With a game in Edmonton following their 2nd bye week, they must do what they didn't do in BC and Calgary and stay with the Eskimos and perhaps beat them.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy what you saw because it was something to behold.  Kevin Glenn fired 3 more TD's to give him 14 on the season. Cameron Marshall was running and catching the ball, Ed Gainey was out of this world with a team-record 4 INTs and a fumble recovery.  It was a game where everything went right.

The Lions didn't look ready, and Wally Buono sensed that before hand. Did his guys think it was too easy last week and all they had to do was get dressed and put their helmet on. I don't know what the answer was, but Wally knew something was up and he was right as he usually is.

Just some other thoughts

  --Derrick Moncrief was solid at outside linebacker.  As this guy learns the game, he could be a very good one. His first CFL game saw him make several big plays

  --As good as Ed Gainey was, Crezdon Butler was just as good. Butler did not allow himself to get into bad positions and it showed.

  --I didn't know who Christion Jones was, but I do now and so do you.  The Alabama grad made several big returns and gave the team a spark in that area.

 --Did Brendon Labatte's talk with Rod Pedersen last week pay some dividends.  Labatte let it be known he was embarassed with the record and what was happening.  Jones indicated after the game he had heard some of the comments coming out of the room in the wake of what happened in Vancouver.  His "put up or shut up" message given to reporters on Saturday definitely rang true on this night.

As I said, the team still has a long ways to go before they can be considered as a team to be reckoned with. They are a different team in green than they are in white and that has to change.  They need to come back from the bye week and get focussed on taking on a good Edmonton team and giving them everything they have.  An effort like we saw in Calgary and BC and they will be what many think they are despite the win----that being a team that can't get it done away from Mosaic.

RIP BRYAN -  The hockey world is mourning the loss of Bryan Murray. The long-time NHL coach and GM passed away Saturday from colon cancer at the age of 74. If you are a long-time Pats fan like this guy, you remember Bryan's one lone season behind the Pats bench, but what a season it was.

With the likes of Wickenheiser, Blaisdell, Flockhart, Veitch, Varga and others, the Pats won the league title beating Victoria on home ice on a Brent Pascal goal to win it all.  They then went onto the Memorial Cup where the hatred of Mike Keenan started for many Pats fans.

Were you in the building the night the Petes were "beaten" by Cornwall.  Talk about chaos! What a night! Did Keenan's Petes throw that game to Dale Hawerchuk and the Royals as has been suggested to eliminate the Pats.  Whether he did or didn't, it didn't work thanks to the Royals and an end-to-end rush by someone named Robert Savard.

That season was one of the first I really remember. Yes, I went to games at the old Exhibition Stadium and saw the likes of Sobchuk, Joly and Staniowski, but that 79 team was the first one I vividly remember because I went to a lot of the games. I always thought it was cool seeing Murray behind the Washington Capitals bench knowing he used to be behind the Pats bench. 

The talk this past season was whether or not the Pats squad that got beat by Seattle in the WHL Championship was the best ever.  The Memorial Cup team of 1974 still tops the list, but this one was close if not ahead of the current Pats squad.  John Paddock had a chance to be the first since Murray to take the Pats to a WHL title. He will try again this year.  Until then, the honour belongs to Murray.

TAKE NOTE CFL  -  I love the fact that MLB players can personalize their jerseys and put nicknames on the back at the end of the month. It's like stealing a page from the XFL!!  The fact players will be on the field with their nicknames is something other leagues should adopt.  Of course in the NHL, it would look cheezie because the lack of colourful nicknames has somewhat eluded them, but why not do in the CFL.  Seeing Durant take the field with "DOUBLES" on his jersey, Dressler with "WD7" and Derek Dennis with "BONECRUSHER" or Chad Owens with "Flyin Hawaiian" would be awesome! What would Winnipeg's Poop Johnson have on his jersey? I don't wanna know!

THUNDER ROLLED -  I can't imagine Scott McAulay and the rest of the Regina Thunder are happy after getting spanked by Saskatoon in the season opener.  The Thunder believe they have what it takes to end Saskatoon's run atop the PFC, but the Hilltops showed that they aren't giving up anything to their provincial rival.  It was only Game 1, but there was sloppiness from the home side especially on special teams. I am guessing that will be the focus going into this week's practice.

GOTTA BE LUCKY TO BE GOOD -  The PGA without Tiger Woods is a much better PGA.  Some will dispute that, but once again, some of the game's youngest stars were on display at the PGA Championship. Justin Thomas became the latest "young gun" to win a major, but if it weren't for a little luck, would he have done so.  It was fortunate enough for Thomas that his tee shot on 10 went off a tree into the middle of the fairway, but his putt on 10 that hung on the lip for 12 seconds before falling in reminded all of Tiger on 16 at the Masters.  When that happens, you know destiny is on your side. 


Golf is in great shape right now with the likes of Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and others. The talent on the Tour from top to bottom may be at its all-time best.  While it wasn't a win, Graham DeLaet once again showed he can play with the big boys.  His efforts on Saturday where he went 6 under on a 4 hole stretch was something very few have done---especially at a major!

I don't know when that first place cheque is coming for the Weyburn native, and yes I think it should be sooner than later, but it will happen. All the signs are there.

That's all I got. Enjoy the week! 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Players To Watch

The Riders and Lions meet in the back half of a home-and-home at 6 o'clock.  Here are some players to watch whether you be in the stands or watching at home.

JON JENNINGS - Jennings re-assumes the starter's role as he is healthy again after suffering an injury against Hamilton combined with the fact Travis Lulay isn't 100 percent thanks to Willie Jefferson. Can Jefferson and the Rider "D" make Jennings uncomfortable? Does he have any rust?  If he struggles, does Wally go back to Lulay.

DERRICK MONCRIEF - I think the Oklahoma State product has potential to be an impact player in this league. I said that the day they got him. What can he do from the strong-side linebacker spot and can he be a force in his first CFL game. Will Jennings or Lulay try to expose him one-on-one with Jeremiah Johnson

RIDER SECONDARY - They've been the weak link this year. Too many big plays have been registered against them including last week. In the CFL, you are going to give up big plays, but they have to be limited. If BC has 4 or more 30 yard pass plays this afternoon, it could be another tough night for the green and white.

CAMERON MARSHALL -  This one is a no-brainer.  The Riders offence needs to be balanced. Running the football a few times would help with that. Marshall can do the job when asked. Ask him a little more!

BRENDON LABATTE -  I could put the whole offensive line in here as they have been shuffled around thanks to the Dan Clark injury.  Labatte can do the job, and I expect him to be just fine. As for the rest of the line, we will see what happens.

CHRIS RAINEY -  As I said last week, this guy can change a game every time he touches the ball. He might be the best return man in the league. You have to keep him contained.

Enjoy the game!

Depth Charts For Sunday's Lions-Riders Game


Game time at Mosaic Stadium is 6 o'clock.  Watch it on TSN or listen on 620 CKRM starting with the pre-game show at 3. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Former Pats Coach Bryan Murray Passes Away at 74

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Former Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray has died after a battle with colon cancer at the age of 74.

Before entering the NHL as the head coach of the Washington Capitals in 1981, Murray spent one season behind the bench of the Regina Pats.

In that 1979-80 season, the Pats finished with a record of 47-24-1 behind players like Doug Wickenheiser, Darren Veitch and Mike Blaisdell.

That team ended up winning the WHL crown defeating the Victoria Cougars in five games to advance to the Memorial Cup,

That tournament was a controversial one as going into the final game of the round-robin, Peterborough had clinched first place overall and with a win over the Quebec champs from Cornwall would play the Pats in the final which would be played at the Agridome.

Cornwall won the game with many believing Peterborough deliberately threw the final game of the round-robin so they would not have to play the Pats and battle a weaker team.  The move did not work as Cornwall won the Memorial Cup the next day.

Besides coaching the Capitals, Murray was behind the bench of the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Ottawa Senators where he served as both head coach and general manager.  He was the first ever GM of the Panthers and saw the team advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996 before losing to Colorado.

He was also behind the bench of the Senators when they were defeated by Anaheim in 2007.
In his 17 years as an NHL head coach, Murray had 620 wins which places him 10th all-time.

Friday, August 11, 2017

North Battleford's Andrew Albers Traded To Seattle


North Battleford’s Andrew Albers is going to be in a pennant chase.
The 31-year old pitcher was acquired by the Seattle Mariners on Friday from the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations.
Albers had the 3rd best ERA (2.61)  in the International League where he was pitching for the Braves AAA affiliate. He was 12-3 on the season striking out 115 while walking just 19.
He has 17 career major league appearances with most of them coming as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
He joins a Seattle team battling several others in the American League looking for a wild-card spot.

This and That

Welcome to Friday!  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--As Sunday approaches, the two big questions are A) What version of the Riders will show up against BC and B) What part of the stadium will people bitch and moan about this time?  OK, hopefully B isn't a factor, but just what Riders team will show up for the back half of a home-and-home against BC is a valid question.

I am still somewhat miffed at what happened at BC Place last Saturday.  The Riders didn't show us a lot for the second straight road game. It's become obvious this football team is quite different when at home compared to the road. It doesn't make up for the complete horror show we saw in Vancouver and even if there is a win, will that create optimism going into Edmonton? Not for me!  A loss will further exasperate a fan base looking for change, but a win shouldn't change the thought process either.  Wins at home were followed by terrible performances on the road.  Why should that thought process change if the Riders improve their record to 3-4? Until this squad decides it wants to go on the road and actually compete and try to win a game, any optimism should be tempered.  We saw in rather ugly fashion that there was no lesson learned from the loss in Calgary. Did they learn enough in Vancouver to make amends for what happened? We will see starting at 6 o'clock Sunday night.

--Who is to blame for the quarterback controversy talk that started in the wake of last week's ugly loss? Despite the urgency of some to anoint Brandon Bridge as the starting quarterback I ask why? Nothing against Bridge, but Kevin Glenn gives you the best chance to win a football game. Yes, Bridge threw a pair of TD's in mop-up time to make the final score last week look more respectable than it was, but it was against a BC defense that had called off the dogs. Why the need to rush Bridge into action? Did Calgary rush Bo Levi Mitchell into action? How has that turned out!  Drew Willy had an opportunity to stay in Saskatchewan, but he didn't want to wait around and went to Winnipeg as soon as he could. How did that turn out?  How did it turn out when guys like Keith Price, Seth Doege, Jake Waters and Brett Smith were thrown to the wolves when they weren't ready. Glenn is coming off the best 5 game start of his career. He had one bad game. Yes, in Saskatchewan that is enough to get you run out of town, but really? At some point, a certain faction of the fan base needs to dial it back just a little.  Giving a quarterback some reps in mop-up time for his development is OK, but doing that when it matters could shatter the confidence that has been built up.  Besides, I would rather find some defensive backs who can cover a receiver without long plays burning this team time and time again.  You don't think Bryan Burnham, Manny Arceneaux and that Lions receiving core are licking their chops knowing they can likely pad their stats again on Sunday. At the end of the day, the secondary has been awful and that must improve, and improve immediately.  An interception or two from that group would help immensely as well.

--There have been many squabbles over the years over the start times of Rider home games, but I am guessing there are many in agreement that Sunday at 6 is not an ideal time. Who scheduled that? I can't remember the last Sunday night CFL game. Was there one last year? It's going to make those who want to spend their weekend out at the lake come back a little earlier than usual, but for those out of towners it is going to mean a late Sunday night which will translate into an early Monday morning.

--Two thumbs up to former Regina Rams lineman Akiem Hicks.  The Chicago Bears defensive lineman was interviewed after training camp this week and he was proudly wearing a Rams shirt.  Attaboy Akiem.  Be proud of where you came from!

--Speaking of former Rams, it was tough to see Addison Richards be forced to call it a career this week. His body just would not co-operate and it cost him a chance to be a CFL'er. When he came out, I thought he could be an impact guy and I think coming out of college he may have had a bigger impact than Nic Demski.  We never saw what he could have been.  If he wants to, he will make an outstanding coach with the Rams or Thunder.

--Eugenie Bouchard did nothing to help her Anna Kournikova 2.0 campaign with a first round loss in Montreal at the Rogers Open.  She then said it is time for someone else to carry the flag as she bemoaned her defeat. If you can be considered as someone who represents, and has the ability to carry  the flag, I would consider that to be an honour and not a detriment. If she is serious about her tennis career, she puts the modelling career on hold and actually concentrates on the game that made her famous.  If she wants to continue a career in modelling and showing herself off,  then ditch the tennis and quit making excuses. Its as simple as that.  There is as much pressure on her as there is Milos Raonic, and I don't see him complaining.

--Finally, I want to take you back to November of 2007.  This blogger was in the dressing room of the Saskatchewan Roughriders after they had won the Grey Cup.  What a moment for this guy!  I can still remember just about everything from that day including a man walking up to me as I was about to interview Reggie Hunt. That man grabbed my camera from me and joked "I'll be your official photographer".  As I spoke with Hunt, Gene Makowsky and others, this individual who was just days into his new job took several pictures. I put one of them up on my Twitter account Thursday morning. Over the next 9 1/2 years, I have had many opportunities to speak with this man on a variety of issues and talk football which he is about as passionate for as he is for the province he lives in and represents.  That man who was my official photographer that day  is outgoing Premier Brad Wall.

 You can say what you like about the man, and I certainly understand the negativity being thrown his way.  I think he does too if the truth be known. However, as many have said, there is no bigger advocate for this province and there won't be for quite a while. What he has done for the reputation of this province over the last decade is something even his foes are praising him for.  He will be missed and whoever fills his shoes whether it be a Saskatchewan Party member or an NDP member will have quite the task in front of him or her.  I have cherished the discussions I have had with Brad Wall the football fan, and Brad Wall the politician. I wish him nothing but the best as he prepares to leave office and hope he can now understand what a mistake he has made in cheering for the Raiders over all these years.  I have often joked with him that I would know his time was up when he came out to meet reporters wearing a silver and black track suit that Al Davis made famous.  Part of me somewhat expected that when he announced his resignation on Thursday.  It is safe to say I would have fallen off my chair had he come out with that garb on.

He closed off his address by saying Thank you Saskatchewan. I say Thank you Brad for what you have done, and how you have stood up for little ol Saskatchewan. Your love for this province is unequalled and while people may not appreciate that today, it is something they will see with time.

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Grey Cup Halftime Show Announced

I think most of you have heard of this person.  If not, here's a couple of her videos.

Yes, Shania Twain will do her thing in Ottawa at halftime of the 105th Grey Cup. I'm OK with that!

CFL Officials To Work NFL Pre-Season Games

 For the second consecutive season, current Canadian Football League (CFL) officials will help officiate a National Football League (NFL) game.

Dave Foxcroft (Hamilton, Ont.) will be one of six officials that will work NFL exhibition games this year as part of the CFL-NFL Officiating Development Program.

Foxcroft will work Thursday night’s game when the Philadelphia Eagles play against the Green Bay Packers for a pre-season game at Lambeau Field. This will be his second NFL game after being part of the inaugural program last year. He’s worked in 260 CFL games during his 17-year career.

Rob Hand (Mississauga, Ont.), who has worked 106 CFL games, will also be working a game Thursday night when the Washington Redskins visit the Baltimore Ravens. This is Hand’s first time in the CFL-NFL Officiating Program.

To conclude Week 1 assignments, Jason Maggio (Oakville, Ont.) will work the Oakland Raiders versus Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. Maggio has worked in 239 CFL games in his career and first time being a part of the program.

Additionally, Dave Hawkshaw (North Vancouver, B.C.), Brian Chrupalo (Winnipeg, Man.) and Justin McInnes (Edmonton, Alta.) will take part in NFL games later in pre-season. For Hawkshaw and McInnes, it’ll be the second-time they have taken part in the exchange program.

“In its second year, the partnership between the National Football League and Canadian Football League continues to grow and be beneficial for both sides,” said Senior Vice President of Football, Glen Johnson. “With the program expanding to six, it allows more officials to continue their professional development and absorb best practices from both sides of the boarder and share their learnings with their peers.”

NFL officials joined CFL officiating crews for pre-season and regular season CFL games earlier this summer. Their final Canadian assignments wrapped up in mid July. The program expanded from three to six officials.

NFL officials working in the CFL were primarily deep wing officials, to minimize some of the rules differences between the two leagues. CFL officials will work primarily as downfield officials south of the border, a position comparable to Side Judges in the Canadian game.

Officials from both leagues have had the opportunity to attend training camps and work games, while studying video with veteran officials, reviewing mechanics and analyzing rule differences between the NFL, CFL and college football.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MLB Announces Players Weekend

Aug. 25 through Aug. 27 will be the first annual Players Weekend throughout major-league baseball. Teams will wear bright and colorful uniforms and the players will be allowed to wear nicknames on their jerseys. Also, they'll each wear a patch with the name of someone who helped get them to the big leagues.

The game-worn Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned off with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation. That is a "a joint effort established in July 2015 by MLB and the MLBPA with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada."

(MLB Communications)

MLB Playoff Schedule Released

Image result for chicago cubs final out

Major League Baseball released the 2017 postseason schedule on Tuesday -- and it is similar to last year's, except in one important way: The 113th World Series will begin Oct. 24 on FOX at the home of the league champion with the better regular-season record.

The standard playoff tiebreaker rules will apply should the two pennant winners finish with identical regular-season records. First is head-to-head winning percentage during the regular season, then higher winning percentage in intradivision games.

Gone are the days when World Series home-field advantage went to the league that won that year's All-Star Game. It resulted in fun times in Miami at the Midsummer Classic, and now it means hypothetical fun and unrelenting focus on divisional opponents.

If anything, the new World Series home-field rule, a byproduct of the latest collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, adds even greater incentive for runaway division leaders like the Dodgers and Astros to keep pressing the gas pedal through September and leave no key tiebreaker scenario exposed.

Let's just say those two teams, which each has the best record in its respective league, zoom through the postseason and meet in Game 1 of the World Series. As of now, the Series would open at Dodger Stadium. But the Dodgers and Astros have no Interleague meetings in 2017, and that means that if they finish with identical regular-season records and meet in the Fall Classic, Game 1 would be at Minute Maid Park, because Houston has a better intradivision record.

Now let's say it's a rematch of the historic 2016 World Series, which the Cubs clinched in Game 7 despite the Indians' home-field advantage. Cubs fans would have loved those four home games instead of three, right? Cleveland (59-50) currently has a slight lead over Chicago (59-52), but they have no Interleague head-to-head meetings in 2017, so a tiebreaker would go to intradivision records. Right now, the Cubs would have that tiebreaker by a slight margin.

Until 2003, World Series home field alternated back and forth between leagues. There have been 90 World Series under the 2-3-2 format, and in only 46 of them did the team with the better regular-season record have the home-field edge. For fans hoping for a Dodgers-Astros matchup in late October, note that since 1999, the only time the teams with the best record in each league met in a World Series was 2013 (Red Sox over Cardinals). It's a rarity.

The regular season will conclude again with all 15 games played concurrently starting at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 1. Then any potentially necessary regular-season tiebreaker games would be telecast exclusively by ESPN on Monday, Oct. 2. The American League Wild Card Game will be on ESPN on Tuesday, Oct. 3, followed a day later by the National League Wild Card Game, televised exclusively by TBS.

Both AL Division Series will be scheduled to begin on Thursday, Oct. 5. The first full slate of Division Series games, featuring two NLDS openers and a pair of ALDS Game 2 contests, will be held on Friday, Oct. 6. Overall, the Division Series are scheduled to run from Thursday, Oct. 5, through the following Thursday, Oct. 12, with potential Game 5s on Wednesday, Oct. 11 (ALDS) and Thursday, Oct. 12 (NLDS).

TBS will cover all NLDS games, while FS1 or MLB Network will cover the ALDS.

The AL Championship Series, beginning on Friday, Oct. 13, will be telecast by FOX or FS1. The NLCS, set to start on Saturday, Oct. 14, will be telecast by TBS. A potential Game 7 of the ALCS is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21, while a potential Game 7 of the NLCS is set for Sunday, Oct. 22.

Game 1 of the 2017 World Series is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24, and the best-of-seven series will change sites for Game 3 on Friday, Oct. 27. If a Game 7 proves necessary once again, it is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 1. Scheduled days off are Oct. 26 and 30 (if a Game 6 is necessary).

FOX Sports will present live telecast coverage of the World Series for the 20th time.

Since the Wild Card Game was instituted in 2012, the annual total of actual postseason games played was 32 in '12, 38 in '13, 32 in '14, 36 in '15 and 35 in '16.

All playoff games in Canada will be shown on Sportsnet.

(MLB Communications)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Something To "Mitch" About

EPIC FAIL  -   What else can you say about what transpired on the turf at BC Place Saturday night? Hey, at least there were no challenges!!  That might have been the only positive of the night as a 30-15 score flattered the Riders.  The BC Lions were by far and away the better team as the Riders now decisively showed us they aren't capable of playing with the big boys----at least not yet.

There's no excuse for the latest 60 minute debacle we saw.  Travis Lulay and the BC Lions were ready for this game, while the Riders once again looked like they would like to be elsewhere. Perhaps some of them should be after this one.  We heard how the team was asleep at the switch in Calgary and how the message had been harped on them all week that a better start was needed. I guess that message didn't get through.

You had to have the feeling when Lulay hit Chris Williams deep down the sideline on yet another play this season where the secondary was basically invisible that it could be a long night. It was!

Who's kidding who, in the 3rd quarter, TSN was showing an ad for a movie and the phrase "A must-see horror experience". I thought TSN was critiquing the performance of the visiting team as I asked why is this a must-see? Besides, I saw that act in Calgary. 

This was a chance for the green-and-white to show people they have the talent to compete. Instead, we are left wondering just where this team is with the thought process of are they really better than last year's squad becoming valid. The talent is better, but the effort and results aren't.  It is as simple as that.

They could have gone into Vancouver and come out with a statement victory. Instead, they made a statement of another kind and it isn't really a good one.  I don't know if they beat BC next weekend and really after an effort like that I doubt it. What I do know is win or lose next weekend, you would be a fool to take them to win in Edmonton.  Why would you after what you have seen on the road against Western Division opponents this season. 

GLENN IS THE GUY - The 4th quarter performance by Brandon Bridge has some believing Air Canada should be the starter next week. PLEASE!!  Bridge played when the game was over, and BC had called off the dogs.  They didn't have some of their regulars in there. It was mop-up time. Tino Sunseri may have been able to do that. OK maybe not!  Bottom line is KG gives the Riders the best chance to win at this time and until they have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, there is no need to change it up if he is healthy.  Once it is apparent, this team is going to be missing the playoffs again then you can look at making a change. Until then, stop it.  You're smarter than that.

A TALE OF TWO TEAMS - The Winnipeg/Ottawa game on Friday night certainly was a snapshot of their season.  Winnipeg has won three of their four games by a total of seven points while the defending Grey Cup champs have lost their 5 games by a total of 13 points.  Despite what Henry Burris is saying, that's just bad luck.  As for Winnipeg, they are making the most of their opportunities and the record shows it. 

THANKS BUT NO THANKS -  I understand Hockey Canada and TSN are in bed together, and I understand the three letter's need to show hockey, but I'm not watching this World Junior Showcase in Michigan going on.  Watching hockey on TV in early August in Saskatchewan is not for me.  If its the World Juniors, let's talk.  Yes, by looking at my Twitter feed it would appear as if Pats forward Sam Steel is impressing everyone. Good! Do it in Buffalo in late December-early January when the interest will be much higher for many.

CUTLER TO MIAMI -  HA HA HA HA HA!!!  Sorry Dolphins fans, but the arrival of the former Chicago quarterback shouldn't bring optimism.  I heard some this weekend saying this gives the Dolphins a chance to compete with the Patriots in the AFC East. Uhhhhhhhh no!  All this does is give the Patriots defence a chance to add to Poutyface's woes.  This is a 10 million dollar investment that I don't think will be worth it for the fish.

DON'T CROWN THE CHAMPS YET -   It would seem many are ready to say the Los Angeles Dodgers will be World Series champions this year.  There are still six weeks to go until the playoffs start.  As we saw last year, the best team has no guarantee of winning as it took the Cubs until extra innings in Game 7 to win it all.  Take nothing away from the Dodgers as they are stacked, but let's get to the playoffs first.  The National League playoffs will be compelling with the Dodgers, Nationals, Cubs (maybe) and the Rockies or Diamondbacks. 

That's all I got.  Enjoy your holiday Monday!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jon Ryan Loving Life As Owner of Baseball Team

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NFL training camps are underway meaning Jon Ryan is getting ready for yet another season with the Seattle Seahawks.

If you didn't know, Ryan purchased a minor-league baseball team earlier this year, and as this article would suggest, he is loving it.

BC Lions Sign Ricky Foley

What’s old is new again in the den. Free agent defensive end Ricky Foley  has agreed to terms on a contract for the remainder of 2017.
The native of Courtice, Ontario spent his first four CFL seasons with the BC Lions, winning a Grey Cup in 2006 and enjoying a breakout season in 2009 where he amassed 47 defensive tackles, 12 sacks and won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award.
Foley’s addition should immediately help improve a defensive line that has struggled at times to pressure the quarterback. The defence is tied for fifth in the CFL with 13 sacks, 12 behind the leading Toronto Argonauts.

Following his award-winning season of 2009, Foley tried his hand at the NFL, working out with both the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets before returning North with his hometown Argonauts. Foley’s most productive season came with the boatmen in 2011 when he picked up 66 defensive tackles, six sacks and his lone career interception.

He helped the Argonauts win a Grey Cup in 2012 and was also the game’s Most Outstanding Canadian.

Foley won his third Grey Cup ring with Saskatchewan in 2013 and returned to the Argonauts for the 2015 season, prior to his release in March of this year.

He will begin practicing with his new/old teammates on Wednesday as the squad prepares for a rematch in Saskatchewan next Sunday at new Mosaic Stadium. The possibility of him suiting up against one of his old squads should be intriguing in itself.

(BC Lions)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Players To Watch

The Riders and Lions meet in the first half of a back-to-back in Vancouver at 5 o'clock (TSN, 620 CKRM, Sirius/XM 167).  As you get set for the contest, here are some players to watch for on both sides.

KEVIN GLENN -  Kevin Glenn continues to fire on all cylinders.  He has thrown four touchdown passes in two of Saskatchewan's five wins this season, and has thrown for 300 or more in three of the five games.  Some across the league say he's never played better which is a statement considering his longevity.  This is the best start of his career, and he is 109 yards away from passing the great Ron Lancaster for 6th all-time in CFL passing yards. Tell me again why he isn't a hall-of-famer?

CHRIS RAINEY -  The Lions all-purpose back is someone the Riders need to control.  Not only is Rainey a nice compliment to Jeremiah Johnson in the backfield, but he is one of the top kick returners in the league and break a game open at the snap of a finger.  Craig Dickenson has had not many problems on special teams this year, but that trend needs to continue against someone like Rainey.

WILLIE JEFFERSON -  Jefferson has been a monster this year as expected.  He has 20 tackles, three sacks, four knockdowns and a league leading 12 quarterback pressures.  The Lions are giving up the most sacks in the CFL so this could be a day for Jefferson and the front four to shine.  Making it uncomfortable for Travis Lulay will go a long way to the Riders evening their record at 3-3/

QUINN VAN GYLSWYK -  He makes his season debut kicking for the Riders today and what a place to do it.  Van Gylswyk will kick in his home province as his hometown is Victoria, and he will do it in the same place where he played his college ball as he is a grad of UBC. If he was doing his thing at Thunderbird Stadium, it would be a day in the park for Quinn, but it is BC Place.  Will he have some nerves when he goes out there? We will find out!

CHANDLER FENNER -  Who? The Holy Cross grad playing next to Solomon Eliminian has perhaps been outshining the CFL's top defensive player in recent weeks. He leads the league in tackles over the last three weeks with 24 (20 DEF, 4 ST).  The Lions defence may be hurting, but their linebackers remain solid.

STAT OF THE GAME - The Lions have seen their second down productivity decrease the last four weeks. It has gone from 67 percent to 60 to 44 to 42.  If that trend continues today, I like the Riders chances.


Depth Charts For Saturday's Riders Game

The pre-game show on 620 CKRM starts at 2 with Rod Pedersen and Luc Mullinder on the call starting at 5.

Friday, August 4, 2017

10 Minutes With CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie

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On Friday afternoon in "The Sportscage", I had the chance to talk with CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie about the tweak to video review made this week and some other things. The interview starts around the 2:40 mark.  Enjoy!

This And That

-- Welcome to Friday!  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--All hail Randy Ambrosie! The new CFL commissioner is making an impact in his first month on the job.  Ambrosie has been touring the different cities checking out the games and talking with the fans. He realized what was wrong and he is fixing it.  Good on him!  Time will tell if allowing coaches just one challenge per game win or lose will be worth it, but on the surface it appears as if it would.

Yes, coaches are still allowed to challenge pass interference and illegal contact which I am against, but they can only do it once so do it wisely.  This should alleviate the BS we saw in the Riders-Calgary game earlier this season and the BC-Edmonton game last week.  Is it a perfect solution? No, it is not, but it is something which is workable until the end of the season.  Ambrosie should be credited for taking this move as should the nine teams who were in support of this unanimously. They realized what was going on, but they also realized they had a job to do in trying to win a football game thus they were using the rules to their advantage.  Coaches were throwing flags to get penalties, not to see if a player had caught the ball, had his foot in bounds or was down before fumbling. That was the intent of review. Getting a penalty called was not.

Ambrosie has said at the end of the season, there will be a complete review of video review and I am OK with that. I think there is a spot for it in the game much as there is in baseball, hockey, basketball, but you can overdo it and the CFL is guilty of that.

You don't have the ability to call balls and strikes in the majors. You don't have the ability to challenge a slashing call or a tripping call in hockey, and you should not have the ability to call for pass interference, illegal contact, roughing the passer etc. etc. in football.  Those in charge need to be allowed to do their job. If that job means you have to check on some things during the course of the action to make sure its right. that's fine. I have said it once and I will say it again. Limit the reviews to turnovers, scoring plays and possession.  After that, let the stripes do their job. Yes, you will have calls that will go your way, and you will have calls that don't.

--What do the Riders and Lions have in store for us Saturday night? I think we could see a good old-fashioned shootout.  Both teams have great offenses so we could and should see 60 or more points get scored. There is no reason to think we couldn't have another CFL game go right down to the last seconds before being decided.

The win over Toronto has some in the Rider Nation feeling good about their football team again hoping they are on the right path.  That was the thought process after a win over Hamilton, but a bye week was followed by a horrible performance in Calgary.  That can't happen again in Vancouver.  Yes, the Riders can win in BC, but if they don't, they need to put in a solid performance and show they are capable of competing with their Western Division foes.

Bring it on!!

--The water episode at Mosaic was simply a head-shaker for yours truly and many others as well. The furour that broke out over the lack of water fountains was tremendously over-blown in my opinion.  If its the middle of December and its 30 below, you take the necessary precautions so why wouldn't you when its 30 above. You knew it was hot, and you knew you could get water from a vendor or the bathrooms as many did.  The entitlement today's society has is somewhat amazing.  Let's see what those lineups at the four water fountains are for those October/November games.  One week, you can't drink craft beer, the next week you can't get water. What's next? Yeesh!

--Sorry CFL lovers, but this blogger couldn't be happier with the fact NFL training camps are underway. Soon, football at all levels will be back whether it be Canadian university, junior, NCAA, NFL or CFL, the game will be found and will be available making Saturdays and Sundays much more pleasurable. I can have my CFL, but I can have my NFL too and act like a fan when it comes to the Seahawks.

--Did the Calgary Stampeders send a message over the last couple of days? One could very well say they have or one could say they beat two football teams that weren't very good.

--Why doesn't anyone talk about Colin Kaepernick continuing his football career in the CFL? Who has his rights? At one time, BC did, but I don't know if they still do or not.

--When did Marcus Stroman become a whiny you know what? First, he complained about the baseballs after a bad performance, then he said he should have been on the all-star team, then he got tossed for arguing balls and strikes and this week, he got into it with Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.  Perhaps if he didn't try to quick-pitch some players there wouldn't have been a shouting match.  Stroman is competitive, I get that. I also get his act is wearing thin on a lot of people in baseball.  Some say teams didn't approach Toronto at the trade deadline for the pitcher because of his quick temper.  Perhaps he should wear 19 next year and keep the tradition going.

--Many asked me this week what I thought of Steve Bartman getting a World Series ring from the Cubs 14 years after that infamous night at Wrigley Field when he became famous for all the wrong reasons.  I think it is OK that Bartman is getting a ring as I know the Cubs have wanted closure on this incident. That closure won't come though until he shows up at Wrigley Field and throws out a first pitch or something.  Bill Buckner went back to Boston and was saluted by the fans after his famous gaffe in 1986. If he can do it, so can Bartman.

 Not only does he need to be welcomed back to Wrigley Field, but he needs to tell the world what the last 14 years has been like.  What was it like for him to see the Cubs win? Where was he? Did he ever go watch the Cubs at Wrigley or somewhere else disguised.  Would we even know what he looked like now?  I gotta admit that while at Wrigley, there was a small part of me that wondered if he was there or if he has ever been back. Hell, he could have been standing right beside me in the beer line, the bathroom or entering or exiting the place. I wouldn't have known.

--Jon Jones vs Brock Lesnar? Hell yeah! I would be way more excited for this fight than Mayweather-McGregor.  Could Jones really take down the beast? It would be fun to see him try!  I somehow get the feeling this will happen sometime late in 2018.

--A guy on Twitter was asking people for their 5 most memorable sporting moments good or bad.  I threw that out there on the Sportscage Thursday and got a lot of great answers.  For me, there are many, but to rank it to 5 would be

1.  Riders win 2013 Grey Cup
2.  Cubs win 2016 World Series in Game 7
3.  Oilers win first Stanley Cup with me at Northlands
4.  Seahawks win 1st Super Bowl
5.  First trip to Wrigley.

There are so many more though both good and bad like the 09 Grey Cup, the Bartman game, the Steve Smith game, the Pats losing in overtime to Val D'or at the Memorial Cup, the 07 Grey Cup, Golden Tate's catch in the endzone in the Monday nighter against Green Bay and the NFC Championship game comeback against Green Bay.  If you want to share yours, please do so.

That's all I got. Have a great long weekend! GO RIDERS!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Changes To CFL Video Review Are Being Made

Coaches will be able to challenge only one play per game under changes to the video review system approved Tuesday night by the Canadian Football League, the CFL announced Wednesday.

“We have a super game. Our elite athletes are treating us this year to incredible plays, close contests and even miracle comebacks. Scoring is up, penalties are down, and games are shorter. The last thing we want to have in place is an artificial impediment to our fans’ enjoyment of it all,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

”Video review, unfortunately, has become just that. It was put in place to fix egregious and indisputable mistakes that could affect the outcome of a game. It’s not being used that way now. Too many challenges and reviews are interrupting the game. Coaches, understandably since they are under pressure to win, have been using it to try to gain an advantage. Fans have been very clear with me that they want a change. We are delivering that change.”

The change is effective immediately.

Prior to this change, each team had two challenges per game, and a third challenge was earned if a coach was successful with their first two challenges. Now they will only get one challenge for the entire game. They will still need to have a timeout to initiate a challenge. And if their challenge is not successful, they will still lose a timeout.

Ambrosie ordered an evaluation of the process after his latest visits to CFL stadiums this past weekend. The resulting proposal, to restrict coaches’ challenges to one a game, was approved last evening in a series of calls with the league’s Competition Committee, team presidents and lead Governors.

“We at the CFL want our players to know we want the focus on the field and on their amazing talents,” Ambrosie said. “We want fans to know we are in the business of doing all we can to provide the very best experience for them.”


Monday, July 31, 2017

WMBL Hands Out Award Winners and All-Stars

WMBL President Kevin Kvame announced the 2017 League Award winners today. The winners were voted on by selected officials from each team. The selection process was done after a very competitive season that saw entertaining baseball played throughout the WMBL.

Most Valuable Player - Kody Funderburk (Okotoks Dawgs)
Kody Funderburk from the Okotoks Dawgs was named the WMBL MVP.  The Queen Creek, AZ product had a spectacular season. He played in 45 games with a .339 batting average and he led the WMBL in home runs with 15 round trippers. He also made nine pitching appearances and did not allow a run while striking out 11 and earning one save.

Rookie of the Year - Blake Adams (Swift Current 57's)
Swift Current’s Blake Adams was award Rookie of the Year honours. The junior outfielder from Tarleton State University in Texas was very impressive in his first WMBL season. Adams hit .360 with eight doubles and 12 homers. He also registered 54 RBI and 18 stolen bases.

Canadian Rookie - Matt Lloyd (Okotoks Dawgs)
The Okotoks born Matt Lloyd impressed the home town fans all season long. Lloyd who attends Indiana University had a 24-game hitting streak in 2017. Overall Lloyd hit .402 with eight homers, 38 RBI and seven stolen bases.

Coach of the Year - Phil Curtis (Weyburn Burns)
Phil Curtis has been the Weyburn Beaver’s head coach for five years. This season he led his team to a second-place Eastern Division finish with a 30-18 record. Curtis also won the Coach of the Year award in 2015.

WMBL Award Winners

Most Valuable Player
Kody Funderburk -  Okotoks

Rookie of the Year
Blake Adams - Swift Current

Canadian Rookie
Matt Lloyd - Okotoks

Coach of the Year
Phil Curtis - Weyburn

WMBL All Stars
The Okotoks Dawgs sported the top record in the WMBL at 35 and 13. They also led the WMBL with eight League All Star selections (5 first team and 3 second team).

The Regina Red Sox had six players named to the All-Star squads, three to each team.

Eastern Division leader Swift Current followed with five selections (3 on the first team and 2 on the second team).

Lethbridge had four players named to the second All Star team while Edmonton had three selections (2 first teams and 1 second team).

Medicine Hat had two players named while Weyburn and Fort McMurray each had one member make the All-Star team.

Brooks, Melville, Yorkton and Moose Jaw did not have a representative named to either team.

First Team
Blake Adams - Swift Current
Broderick Rodocker - Regina
Justin Erlandson  - Regina

Second Team
Zach Hanna  - Okotoks
Jesse Hilyard  - Lethbridge
Jordan Schulz  - Regina

Third Base
First Team
Eddie Sanchez - Okotoks

Second Team
Riley Campbell - Swift Current

First Team
Zane Takhar - Edmonton

Second Team
Greg Cullen - Okotoks

Second Base
First Team
Matt Lloyd - Okotoks

Second Team
Blake Rowlett - Medicine Hat

First Base
First Team
Kody Funderburk - Okotoks

Second Team
Alex Bishop - Lethbridge

First Team
Bodie Cooper- Swift Current

Second Team
John Hawk  - Okotoks

Designated Hitter
First Team
Erik Sabrowski -  Edmonton

Second Team
Aden Campbell - Regina

Utility Player
First Team
Blake Rowlett - Medicine Hat

Second Team
Brett Esau - Swift Current

Starting Pitchers
First Team
Bobby St Pierre - Swift Current
Anthony Balderas - Okotoks
Tyler Hodder  - Fort McMurray

Second Team
Jake Waters - Regina
Connor Dinaro - Weyburn
Erik Sabrowski - Edmonton

Relief Pitchers
First Team
Preston Minor - Regina

Second Team
Dawson Moser  - Lethbridge

Closing Pitchers
First Team
Tyler Burdett -  Okotoks

Second Team
Chris Stodolka - Lethbridge