Friday, October 20, 2017

Depth Charts For Friday's Riders-Stampeders Game

620 CKRM's game-day coverage starts at 4 with kickoff at 7 

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Home Schedule – Friday
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Calgary, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Hockey – vs. UBC, 7:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Calgary, 8:00 PM (CKHS)

Home Schedule – Saturday
Women’s Soccer – vs. Winnipeg, 12:00 PM (U of R Field)
Rams Football – vs. Calgary, 2:00 PM (Mosaic Stadium)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Calgary, 5:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Calgary, 7:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Hockey – vs. UBC, 7:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)

Home Schedule – Sunday
Women’s Soccer – vs. Manitoba, 12:00 PM (U of R Field)

Away Schedule – Friday
Men’s Basketball – at Thompson Rivers, 3:00 PM PDT (Kamloops, B.C.)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Thompson Rivers, 5:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)
Men’s Hockey – at UBC, 7:00 PM PDT (Vancouver, B.C.)

Away Schedule – Saturday
Cross Country – at Sask Athletics Age Group Championships (Yorkton, Sask.)
Men’s Basketball – vs. UBC Okanagan, 11:00 AM PDT (Kamloops, B.C.)
Men’s Hockey – at UBC, 2:00 PM PDT (Vancouver, B.C.)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Victoria, 7:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)

Rams Football (U SPORTS Ranking: No. 8) – The Rams (4-2) clinched a playoff spot after emerging victorious in what was the highest-scoring game in team history, outlasting Alberta for a 58-55 double-overtime road win on Saturday afternoon. Atlee Simon became the school’s all-time touchdown king and was named the Canada West Offensive Player of the Week, Mitchell Picton took over as the U of R’s career leader in touchdown catches, and Daniel Scraper earned Canada West Special Teams Player of the Week honours after drilling a 26-yard game-winning field goal in the second extra session. The Rams will take a crack at unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Calgary (6-0) this Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:00.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (3-1-0-0) vaulted into a tie for first place in the Canada West standings with a big six-point weekend against Mount Royal, taking a 4-2 win on Friday and a 3-2 win on Saturday. Jaycee Magwood and Jensen Smigelsky both had three-point weekends to lead the way offensively for the Cougars, who are right back at home this weekend with games against the team they’re tied with for tops in the conference standings. They’ll play UBC on Friday night and Saturday night at The Co-operators Centre, with both games set to start at 7:00.

Women’s Volleyball – Now finished with the non-conference schedule after a pair of tune-up matches against Saskatchewan at Ochapowace First Nation, the Cougars will move into Canada West play beginning this weekend at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport. The Cougars will host Calgary on Friday night (6:00) and Saturday night (7:00) to start off the conference schedule.

Men’s Volleyball – Now in their 40th season of intervarsity competition and 17th season as full members of Canada West, the Cougars lift the lid on the conference schedule this weekend with two matches against the University of Calgary. The Cougars, who played a non-conference schedule consisting of tournaments hosted by Brandon and the U of R, will meet the Dinos on Friday night (8:00) and Saturday night (5:00) at the CKHS.

Women’s Soccer – The Cougars (0-6-6) suffered a 5-0 loss to Canada West-leading Trinity Western last Friday, but battled Fraser Valley to a hard-fought 1-1 draw on Saturday thanks in large part to a goal in the 63rd minute by Daniela Castro. The Cougars still have a chance to qualify for the playoffs but will need wins over both Winnipeg and Manitoba this weekend combined with a Saskatchewan win over Manitoba. The Cougars will battle the Wesmen on Saturday and the Bisons on Sunday. Both games are scheduled for a noon start at the U of R Field.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-2-1) had a three-point road weekend at Mount Royal, taking a 7-6 shootout win on Friday before losing 5-4 on Saturday in another shootout. Brody Luhning and Ian McNulty both had four-point weekends for the Cougars, with Luhning racking up four assists and McNulty scoring a goal and adding three helpers. Regina heads to the West Coast this weekend for a pair of games against a 1-3-0 UBC squad.

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars marched through their second straight three-win weekend with home victories over Windsor (79-46), Saskatchewan (74-73), and Brandon (107-55) to take the Cougar Classic title. The team now has a 7-1 non-conference record and will take a seven-game winning streak into Calgary this weekend, where they’ll play Thompson Rivers and Victoria in two of their final three tune-up contests before Canada West play starts.

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars travelled east for the second consecutive weekend, this time playing in the Naismith Classic at the University of Waterloo. After losses to Ottawa and Wilfrid Laurier to start out the tournament, the Cougars finished off with a nice 93-75 win over host Waterloo to improve their non-conference record to 2-4 on the season. The Cougars will play Thompson Rivers and UBC Okanagan this Friday and Saturday at the WolfPack Invitational in Kamloops, B.C.

Cross Country – Adam Strueby was second overall and the first U SPORTS runner across the line on Saturday at the Vikes Invitational in Victoria with a 10K time of 31:17. Alex Eiswerth and Marc Turmel finished in 10th place and 11th place with times of 32:20 and 32:21, respectively, to help the Cougars place fourth in the tightly packed team standings. The Cougars will send a small crew to the Sask Athletics Age Group Championships this Saturday in Yorkton.

Swimming – The Cougars had their first meet of the 2017-18 season over the weekend at the Lawson Aquatic Centre. Brian Palaschuk won both the 100-metre freestyle and the 100-metre backstroke at the Fall Break Out, while newcomer Etienne Paquin-Foisy took first in the 100-metre butterfly and Noah Wasyliw won the 100-metre breaststroke. Eva Madar led the women’s team with first-place efforts in both the 100-metre freestyle and the 100-metre butterfly. The Cougars will now prepare for the Colleges Cup Pacific, which will be hosted by UBC on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4.

Braden Konschuh
Sports Information Director
University of Regina

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 the Riders go into Calgary tonight to play the Stampeders, I think it is safe to say this has been the most interesting and perhaps the most chaotic week the team has had under Chris Jones' watch.  It all started with the fight Monday involving Duron Carter.  One that had the enigmatic receiver sending Rider Nation into a frenzy with one cryptic seven-word tweet and one that will end with Carter playing receiver and defensive back against the Stamps.  What happened Monday? We will never know.  We know Carter and Sam Williams were involved, but that is it.  The team isn't talking about it, the coaches aren't talking it and everyone just wants to forget it.  If it wasn't Carter that was involved, it probably would be by now. 

As Chris Jones mentioned on Tuesday, boys will be boys and fights will happen. It is part of football. This team is fired up coming down the homestretch. Did Carter's attitude have anything to do what happened? Whether it did or it didn't, it doesn't matter because it shows an intensity around here that wasn't around last year when the team's fate was basically sealed by this time.  Yes, I have questions as to why Carter is playing on the corner against a good Calgary offence in what is a big game, but there is a method to Chris Jones' madness.

  Like he has numerous times in his short tenure here, he is rolling the dice. On some it has worked, on others it hasn't.  The one thing that can't be denied is he has all eyes on his football team again this weekend. The CFL won't admit it, but they love it.  The Riders move the needle much the way the Yankees do in MLB, the Patriots do in the NFL and the Leafs do in the NHL.  When people are talking about the Riders, they are talking about the CFL. It makes me wonder if the CFL would get more attention if Carter's antics were happening with him being a member of the Argos. You can't tell me it wouldn't help! No one at the league office is complaining when TSN leads its afternoon Sportscenter with the latest in Riderville because everyone who is a CFL fan is watching and those who aren't have to have a passing interest. 

What if Carter makes some impact plays on "D"? If he were to grab a pick six, Bo Levi Mitchell's Twitter account would be rudely assaulted by Rider fans. BLM threw the first salvo which Carter graciously accepted and threw back. Any chance Rider Nation has to chirp BLM is one they will take and like it or not, the Calgary quarterback is ready for it.  Like him or not, what he does on Twitter to get the fires rising is what the CFL needs.  It is harmless fun!  It is why we need more of this. 

--As we approach the final 3 weeks of the CFL season, here is a look at the standings if you seeded teams 1-9 

1. Calgary    27 pts
2. Winnipeg  22 pts
3. Edmonton 18 pts
4. Saskatchewan 16 pts
5. Ottawa 15 pts
6. Toronto 14 pts 
7. BC 12 pts
8. Hamilton 8 pts
9. Montreal 6 pts

We know that there will be a crossover team and that Calgary and either Ottawa or Toronto will get a first round bye as winners of the East.  IF you went 1-9, you would see the Stamps and Bombers would have a first round bye with Edmonton playing Toronto and Ottawa in Saskatchewan for Round 1.  However, going into the final 3 weeks BC would still have a shot and so would Ottawa and Toronto in a quest to get a first-round playoff game.  A Riders home playoff game would be there now, but would it be there after the weekend? There is a lot more drama in the 1-9 scenario than what we are currently getting.  While I know many want the current format to stay, there are many others who want change including me. 

--The Gordon Hayward injury from Tuesday night is absolutely horrific.  It might be one of the worst ones I've seen. The only one worse may be from the 2007 Vanier Cup when a running back from Manitoba suffered a gruesome broken leg.  When it was shown on the big screen at Skydome, a collective "OHHHHHHHH" came out from what was a good-sized crowd.  Many outlets decided not to show the sight of Hayward sitting on the court with his ankle and leg not looking the way it should.  It's out there if you haven't seen it. If you are squeamish, don't look for it.  If not, have at er, but be warned!

--Can we just fast forward the NHL season and have the Leafs play Vegas for the Stanley Cup? Meanwhile, Oilers fans like me are wondering what exactly is happening as the start has not been what we were expecting.  Connor McDavid has only scored in one game, the defence has been horrible and the goaltending has been sub-standard.  From what I have seen, the decision to trade Jordan Eberle instead of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a mistake as RNH continues to play soft as he did in the Carolina game. Perhaps its the fact the Oilers are wearing those ugly orange uniforms at home instead of the traditional blue . Change it back! Maybe an OT win in Chicago will start turning the fortunes around. 

--While the Riders are in Calgary, the University of Calgary will be in Regina this weekend.  Much like the CFL, the road to the title will go through Calgary. The Dinos are 6-0 on the season so the 4-2 Rams have a huge challenge in front of them.  It will be a tough test for a Regina defence that has given up a lot of points in its last two games, but if Noah Picton and company can find a way to get 35-40 points, I like their chances. It is going to be a lot of fun Saturday at Mosaic. Game time is 2. Get out there and watch the likes of Noah Picton, Mitch Picton, Atlee Simon, Danny Nesbitt and Nick Dheilly. 

--On Sunday in Saskatoon, the Thunder and Hilltops will meet again for all the PFC marbles. It will be meeting #3 on the year between the two with each team having won on the road. This will be an outstanding football game with the winner likely going on in a couple of weeks to take the Canadian Bowl.  I am sure a lot of Regina fans will make the trip north and I am sure they will be met by many Hilltops fan to make it another October afternoon to remember with a lot on the line.

--Week 7 NFL Lock Of The Week --- Cowboys over 49ers
   Week 7 NFL Upset Of The Week --- Packers over Saints

The Sunday night game has the Falcons in New England in a rematch of last year's Super Bowl. It doesn't matter what the score is after three quarters, KEEP WATCHING! 

--It's been very quiet in Calgary since the re-election of Naheed Nenshi as mayor.  Yes, some members of the Flames weren't happy about it and voiced that displeasure on Twitter, but it would appear the Flames camp is either re-grouping or pouting. Whatever it is, the team should look to get a new person in front of the camera.  Ken King isn't going to help the cause any.  In my opinion, he should be replaced as the face of this fight.  I'm not the only one that feels that way as some in Calgary believe the same thing. If not, this situation won't improve anytime soon.

--RIP Gord Downie. The impact you had on many in this country is immense. Your music will keep your memory alive for years.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Week 7 NFL Capsules

Image result for alex smith 

Week 7 of the NFL season starts off with a game between AFC West rivals Kansas City and Oakland. For a look at that game and all the others in the NFL this weekend, click here 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Riders Discuss Monday's "Fight"

Duron Carter was talking, but wasn't really talking one day after an alleged fight with teammate Sam Williams during Monday's practice.  Jovon Johnson and Chris Jones also spoke out today. Here is a recap of what they said.




Make of it what you will!

Monday, October 16, 2017

MLB Expansion and ReAlignment???

Image result for major league baseball

Ever since the Expos moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005, there has been an ongoing movement in the Canadian city to regain a major league franchise. There has even been talk of support for building a ballpark downtown, which was one of the missing ingredients that led to the Expos' departure.

In September, the folks in Portland, Ore., were given hope that they, too, could be home to an expansion team when commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking in Seattle, for the second year in a row mentioned Portland as a potential site for a franchise, and was quoted as saying "a team in the West" would be a part of any expansion.

And there is a legitimate ownership group in Portland that has the necessary financing along with support for a stadium, which would be partially funded by a $150 million grant. Approved by the state of Oregon to help finance a stadium when efforts were underway in 2003 to be the site for the relocation of the Expos (who instead moved to Washington, D.C.), the grant is still available.

There seems to be a building consensus that baseball will soon be headed to a 32-team configuration. It will lead to major realignment and adjustments in schedule, which will allow MLB to address the growing concerns of the union about travel demands and off days.

One proposal would be to geographically restructure into four divisions, which would create a major reduction in travel, particularly for teams on the East Coast and West Coast, and add to the natural rivalries by not just having them as interleague attractions, but rather a part of the regular divisional battles.

Consider four eight-team divisions with the addition of teams in Portland and Montreal:

East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington.

North: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, both New York franchises and Toronto.

Midwest: Both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas.

West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

Key elements of this alignment:

A 156-game schedule would include 24 total games against the eight teams in each of the three other divisions—three games against each opponent.
The schedule would include 12 games—six home and six road—against each of the seven divisional opponents.
 The format would provide for an off day every week (such as every Monday or Thursday) and would fit into the same foot print for beginning and ending as the 2018 schedule. The season could start on a weekend, which would offset only one three-game series played the week of the All-Star Game.
The 156-game schedule would reduce each team's slate by six games, but revenue could be made up by a major reduction in travel costs.
Fan interest could be maintained by allowing for the four first-place teams in each division to advance to the postseason, and having play-in games against the eight remaining teams with the best records.
The winners of the four wild card games would advance to the Division Series, which would feature a wild card team against each division champion.
Those four winners would advance to the Championship Series, and the winners of that round would meet in the World Series.
That would add postseason product to the broadcast packages and provide postseason hope for 12 of the 32 franchises, which could boost attendance in September, again offsetting any impact from the season being six games shorter.
With a day off every week, there would be a regular rest routine, much like prior to expansion when teams would often play Sunday doubleheaders and Monday would be off. It could be used for travel so teams did not have to make long flights, arriving in cities at 3 a.m. or later.
And the schedule would drastically reduce travel, while keeping teams in their time zones, except for the Rockies and Twins. They, however, would be playing teams in a time zone an hour earlier, which is less demanding than an hour later, and also provides increased TV ratings because of prime time viewing. The other intra-division teams would have to travel to Colorado or Minnesota just six games per year.
All teams would open the season with an inter-division series, and all out-of-division road trips would be two-city trips.

(Baseball America)

Canada West Recognizes Two Rams After Double OT Win in Alberta

Courtesy: Piper Sports Photography 

University of Regina Rams running back Atlee Simon and kicker Daniel Scraper were both honoured as Canada West Players of the Week on Monday for their roles in the team's thrilling 58-55 double-overtime road win over Alberta.
Simon was named the Canada West Offensive Player of the Week after not only collecting a career-high 265 all-purpose yards, but also scoring three majors to pass Jason Clermont as the school's all-time touchdown king. He collected 206 of those yards on the ground as he finished just two yards short of also setting a career high in rushing yards, while also catching five passes for 59 receiving yards including a pair of touchdowns. Simon, who had a 53-yard touchdown run in the second quarter which goes down as the longest run of his career, is now second in the conference in rushing yards.
"After struggling with a high-ankle sprain for most of last year, Atlee has become the player that I knew he could be for this team," Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. "He's a formidable player in this league, and I think Atlee would be the first to tell you that much of his success over the past few weeks is due to the tremendous play of the offensive line."
Scraper earned Canada West Special Teams Player of the Week honours after going a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals during the win, including a 26-yard effort in the second overtime session which finally put an end to the longest game in U of R history. He also connected on 19-yard and 34-yard field goals, both of which came in the fourth quarter.
"Daniel's been improving week in and week out and has become much more consistent in recent weeks," Bryce said. "He's an outstanding competitor and is extremely hard on himself after a miss, so I'm very happy to see him have a game like that for us."
The Rams clinched a playoff berth with the win over Alberta and will take a two-game winning streak into their next game, set for this Saturday afternoon (2:00) at home against a Calgary team that's a perfect 6-0 through the first six weeks of the Canada West schedule.

NHL Three Stars of Week

Stars of the Week, Ehlers, Matthews, Backstrom

Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 15.

Ehlers led the NHL with five goals (5-2—7), including a pair of winners, to propel the Jets (3-2-0, 6 points) to three straight victories. He recorded 3-1—4, including a natural hat trick and the decisive goal, in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers Oct. 9. In doing so, Ehlers became the third player in Jets/Thrashers history to post a natural hat trick, joining Ilya Kovalchuk (Nov. 11, 2005 vs. TBL) and Marian Hossa (Jan. 15, 2008 at DET). Ehlers added one goal in a 4-2 triumph against the Vancouver Canucks Oct. 12 and collected 1-1—2, including the winning tally, in a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Oct. 14. The 21-year-old Aalborg, Denmark, native has totaled 45-64—109 in 159 career NHL games, including a team-high 5-2—7 in five outings this season.

Matthews recorded four goals (4-0—4), including two in overtime, to power the Maple Leafs (4-1-0, 8 points) to a pair of wins in three starts. He collected his second career overtime goal in a 4-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks Oct. 9. Matthews also scored in a 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils Oct. 11 before capping the week with two goals, including the overtime winner, in a 4-3 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens Oct. 14. The 20-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native and reigning Calder Memorial Trophy winner has registered 45-32—77 in 87 career NHL games, including a club-high 5-3—8 in five contests this season. His 45 career goals are tied for second in the League since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, behind only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (47).

Backstrom paced the NHL with 3-6—9 in four games with the Capitals (3-2-1, 7 points). He posted 1-2—3, factoring on all three Washington goals in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Oct. 9. Backstrom added one assist in a 3‑2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins Oct. 11 before recording 1-3—4, his 19th career four-point game, in a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Oct. 13. He closed the week with one goal in an 8-2 loss to Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 14. The 29-year-old Gävle, Sweden, native has collected 191-548—739 in 740 career NHL games, including a League-high 3-8—11 in six outings this season. Backstrom’s 548 career assists rank third in the NHL since his debut in 2007-08, while his 739 career points place fifth.

(NHL Communications) 

Something To "Mitch" About

Talk about a gut-punch, but it is one you could see coming considering the opponent.

I knew the Ottawa REDBLACKS were going to give the Riders a tough game, and I knew it would come down to the final seconds.  The Riders "D" was called upon to stop Ottawa, but like Toronto's defence did with the game on the line last week (and I guess again this week), they failed as instead of the Riders getting a last second TD to win, it was Ottawa.

Considering Ottawa's history this year, no one should have been shocked to see this game come down to the wire, but I guess considering Ottawa's history this year, we should have been surprised to see them come out on top.  

Here are some thoughts on what transpired

  • I'm not pinning this one on Kevin Glenn despite the fact many are.  Yes, he threw one interception in the endzone, and one that went back for a touchdown.  The interception in the endzone was not his fault. The receiver, which I believe was Christion Jones, ran the wrong route and made Glenn look bad.  All interceptions are not on the quarterback! 
  • The Trent Richardson experiment may be a positive one.  The former NFL running back is running with some power.  He was ballin on Friday. The one play in the 4th quarter when he picked up a fumble and willed his way to a first down on a 3rd down gamble looked like it might be a huge play. I liked what I saw from Richardson.  As he understands the game more, he will be a force
  • In the department of "Thanks Captain Obvious", the Riders simply left too many points on the board. This game shouldn't have been close and wouldn't have been had the team gotten 6 instead of settling for 6 field goals from Tyler Crapigna.  None of the 6 were from over 35 yards, and a couple were from less than 20.  If even one of those 3's ended up as a TD, they would have won. 
  • Who told Chris Jones to challenge an illegal contact call on what was the endzone interception?  It was evident to seemingly everyone that Glenn had thrown the ball before Carter was interfered with. You have one challenge now. It has to be used better than that. 
  • Christion Jones continues to be the kick returner this team has not had for a while. He can break one at any time. 
  • Save me the Duron Carter hate. Yes, he made a stupid play and was a little too fired up, but what you saw was the good Carter and the bad Carter. The good Carter is something you love and as long as he continues to produce, you have to accept it for what it is.  Not everyone can be the cookie-cutter player you want.  You can say all you want about him, but his play certainly didn't suffer any because of his behaviour.
Can someone in the CFL office explain why you would have the Argos in Edmonton on a Saturday night at the same time as the Leafs are playing Montreal on Hockey Night in Canada? That does nothing to increase interest in the Argos.  Why wouldn't you have that game in the afternoon? 

While it wasn't nice to see the Eskimos win, it was nice to see John Chick win a game for the first time this season and make an impact play to decide the game.  He isn't what he used to be, but he still has plays in him.  I have to wonder what his future is in the league after being a healthy scratch in Montreal. I am guessing he won't be back in Edmonton next year. 

South of the border, and oh my goodness, how things can change with one snap.  There won't be many happy Green Bay Packers fans today after hearing Aaron Rodgers may be done for the year with a broken collarbone.  With that, the Packers can be likely removed from any Super Bowl talk.  Would they call Colin Kaepernick? Would they try and make a trade with the Giants for an aging Eli Manning who might be done. How about Phillip Rivers?  Rivers still has some time left, but Manning is running out of it.  What would it cost the Packers? Would the Giants want Brett Hundley? Speaking of the Giants, how about that effort in Denver without any of their main receivers.  It was great to see Michaels and Collinsworth give a lot of love to former Ram product Brett Jones.  They must have been grinning from ear-to-ear in Weyburn. Why wouldn't they? 

Can the NFL simply relegate the Cleveland Browns? My god, they are disgusting!

Pittsburgh's loss to Jacksonville last week removed many from Survivor pools. Did the losses by Atlanta, Green Bay and maybe Denver basically bring those pools to a handful of players left. 

--I don't know how many people would have seen the Regina Rams-Alberta Golden Bears football game Saturday, but those who did saw the best football game of the weekend.  It was Madden-like as both teams marched up and down the field. In the end, Regina won it 58-55.  It was a lot of fun to call with big plays from both teams.  Games like that are so much fun for so many reasons.  The win clinches a playoff spot for the Rams.  Calgary will be here next weekend in a game that will be very tough for Steve Bryce's crew, but if the offence can keep going the way they are, they will have a good shot at pulling off what many would consider to be a upset.  A few in Edmonton said after, the Hardy Cup will be between the Rams and Dinos. I think UBC might have something to say about that and the Huskies might too. 

--For the umpteenth time, the PFC final will feature Regina vs Saskatoon as the Thunder and Hilltops both pulled out semi-final wins with Saskatoon winning at home and Regina going up to Edmonton to take on the Huskies. Safe to say that Gordie Howe Bowl may be the place to be for football next weekend. 

--It's obvious now that trading Jordan Eberle has had a disastrous effect on the Oilers. (sarcasm off)  No doubt that they are the biggest disappointment early on in the NHL season---a season that admittedly is less than two weeks old.  That effort against Ottawa Saturday night was the second Saturday night stinker Edmonton has had this season. That was ugly!

--Are they planning the parade route in Vegas yet? We knew the team would be better than the expansion teams, but were we expecting this? I'm not calling them a playoff team yet. It's far too early for that. 

--The Edmonton Oil Kings have a kid on their team named Connor McDonald. Yeah, that can't be too difficult playing hockey in Edmonton with a name similar to you know who.  While they weren't convincing wins, the Pats have won two games since John Paddock and the coaching staff let them know what they thought of their game against Saskatoon last week. Time will tell if that calm level-headed rant Paddock delivered both after the game and to me the next day will have long-lasting benefits or not. Early on, it seems to have wakened the squad up albeit the two wins have come in overtime.

--Speaking of ugly, the Cubs bullpen let another one get away and it is starting to look as if the Dodgers will not only wrestle away the National League title from Chicago, but perhaps the title of "World Series Champion" as well.  If you can't hit, you don't win.  The Cubs simply can't get hits off the Dodgers much like Washington couldn't get hits off of Chicago in the Divisional Series.  The Dodgers have a deeper bullpen and a better bullpen than Chicago so once the starter leaves, they have the advantage.  The Yankees are also having a problem getting bat on ball as Justin Verlander proved Saturday in Game 2.  Both New York and Chicago go home now, but it is going to be tough to win 4 of 5 to move on for both.

--For yours truly, the WWE couldn't have picked a worse time to come to Regina after many years as they were at the Brandt Centre while I was in Edmonton with the Rams. By all accounts, it was a great night and hopefully they will be back a lot sooner than the last period between visits. Hopefully, I will be able to make that one.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Regina Rams Win Wild One In Alberta

It was a game that at times more closely resembled a basketball game than a mid-season football game, but the University of Regina Rams were finally able to come away with a 58-55 double-overtime victory over Alberta on Saturday at Foote Field.

After both teams scored majors in the first overtime, the No. 8-ranked Rams got a big break in the second overtime when Brent Arthur’s field goal attempt for Alberta from 41 yards out glanced off the right upright. That meant the Rams only needed a single point to win it, and they got three when Daniel Scraper punched a 26-yard field goal right down the middle to put an end to the third highest-scoring game in Canada West history.

The win improves Regina’s record to 4-2 on the season and the Rams lock up a postseason berth thanks to Calgary’s win over Manitoba.

“They’re a formidable opponent and we knew they were going to be with the way they can run the ball,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. “Records be damned, we knew we were in for a battle and that’s exactly what happened today. Our boys played tough for four quarters and beyond, and hats off to the U of A because their players did as well.”

Not surprisingly given that it was the most combined points ever scored in a game involving the Rams and the most points they’ve ever scored on the road, a monumental list of individual accomplishments piled up during the afternoon. Atlee Simon became the University of Regina’s all-time touchdown king after a career-long 53-yard rush for a major in the first half, and Mitchell Picton passed Chad Goldie as the school’s all-time leader in touchdown catches after hauling in the 22nd of his career for the Rams’ first points of the game. Noah Picton tied former Rams quarterback Teale Orban for Canada West’s all-time lead in completions and and also needs just 18 more passing yards to surpass Orban for first in conference history in that category as well.

Simon had a huge outing for the second consecutive game, finishing with 25 rushes for 206 yards as well as catching five passes for a total of 59 yards to set a new career high with 265 all-purpose yards in the win. Two of his catches were for majors and the fourth-year running back added one more touchdown on the ground, marking the sixth time in his Rams career he’s finished with at least three scores.

Noah Picton, who completed 34 of his 45 pass attempts for a total of 386 yards and four touchdowns while also running one in himself, hit Mitchell Picton and Ryan Schienbein for majors in addition to the two to Simon. Schienbein was the team’s top receiver with 10 catches for 112 yards, while Picton had six catches for 102 yards and Kyle Moortgat accumulated 90 yards on his nine catches.

In perhaps the unlikeliest touchdown scored by the Rams in recent years, they also scored a third-quarter touchdown on a pass from short-yardage quarterback Frankie Gray to defensive lineman Eric Wicijowski. It was Wicijowski’s first career touchdown, and Gray’s first touchdown pass since he connected with Connor Haas in a game way back during the 2012 campaign.

The Rams forced five turnovers in the victory, three of which came off interceptions by Nick Cross, Polis Koko, and Braedy Will. Nicholas Dheilly had a big late forced fumble for the second consecutive game, knocking the ball loose from Ilnicki deep in Rams territory and into Cole Benkic’s hands with under five minutes to go. The Rams also had a turnover on special teams when Ryder Varga – playing his first career game – knocked the ball loose from Alberta’s Nathan Rowe on a punt return with Will there for the recovery.

Rowe finished with nine catches for a game-high 230 yards and two big touchdowns for Alberta, hauling in 54-yard and 67-yard passes from Brad Baker for majors. Ilnicki had another massive game for the Golden Bears, rushing 32 times for 201 yards and a touchdown. Tylor Henry and Adam Zajdel also had touchdown catches as Baker finished 26-for-47 for 437 yards and four touchdowns.

The Rams will now prepare for a showdown against No. 2-ranked and unbeaten Calgary next Saturday afternoon (2:00) at Mosaic Stadium. The Dinos improved to 6-0 after their tight 36-27 win over Manitoba today.

Alberta was quick out of the gates, scoring the first 10 points of the game and leading 18-7 at one point early in the second quarter after Baker found Zajdel from 14 yards out. But the Rams outscored Alberta 21-1 the rest of the quarter, getting touchdowns from Schienbein and Simon and adding a one-yard run from Noah Picton on the last play of the half to take a 28-19 lead into the break.

It looked like the Rams might have been off to the races after they scored on their opening possession of the second half to go up 35-19, but Alberta had other ideas. They scored 16 points in a span of just three and a half minutes to tie up the game, including majors by Rowe and Henry and a conceded safety by the Rams.

That paved the way for the Wicijowski touchdown, and after a pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Scraper put the Rams up 48-36 it looked like the U of R might be able to outlast the Golden Bears in regulation. But that would make things far too easy, and Alberta got – in order – a conceded safety, an Ilnicki touchdown, and a 39-yard field goal with 15 seconds left to tie it up.

The first overtime saw the Rams start out with a quick-strike offence that put them in the end zone off a completion to Moortgat, a 19-yard Simon rush, and a touchdown pass to Simon. The Rams put Alberta in peril after a Dheilly sack put them into a 3rd-and-21 situation, but Baker found Rowe for a 41-yard completion that set up Ilnicki’s second touchdown run of the game and pushed the game to the second overtime.

NOTES: The 58-point outburst represents the most points ever scored by the Rams in a road game and is tied for the second highest single-game total in team history ... the Rams also scored 58 in a win over Saskatchewan in the 2001 Canada West semifinals ... the team record for points in a game is 59, also set during the 2001 season in a 59-21 win over UBC.

(U of R Athletics) 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

National League Championship Series Preview

Image result for national league championship series preview 2017

The 2017 National League Championship Series is finally set.

Thursday night the Chicago Cubs knocked off the Washington Nationals in Game Five of the NLDS (CHC 9, WAS 8) to clinch a spot in the NLCS. The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, earned an NLCS spot earlier this week when they swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in three games.

The Dodgers had baseball's best record during the regular season, going 104-58 with a +190 run differential. The Cubbies went 92-70 with a +127 run differential, so while they won the NL Central and had an excellent record, they were still 12 games back of Los Angeles in the overall standings.

Here is the NLCS schedule and pitching matchups:

Date & Time


Pitching Matchup

Game 1

Sat., Oct. 14 at 8pm ET

Dodger Stadium

Clayton Kershaw vs. TBA

Game 2

Sun., Oct 15 at 7:30pm ET

Dodger Stadium

Rich Hill vs. TBA

Game 3

Tues., Oct. 17 at 9pm ET

Wrigley Field

Yu Darvish vs. TBA 

Game 4

Weds., Oct. 18 at 9pm ET (or 8pm ET if ALCS is over)

Wrigley Field

Alex Wood vs. TBA

Game 5*

Thurs. Oct. 19 at 8pm ET

Wrigley Field


Game 6*

Sat., Oct. 21 at 4pm ET (of 8pm ET if ALCS is over)

Dodger Stadium

TBA vs. TBA 

Game 7*

Sun., Oct 22 at 7:30pm ET

Dodger Stadium

TBA vs. TBA 

* Games 5-7 are if necessary in the best-of-seven series.

A strong case can be made the Dodgers and Cubs are the two current teams most likely to be baseball's next dynasty. The Cubs of course won the World Series last season, and their excellent young position player core ensures they'll remain in contention for years to come. The Dodgers have a very good young core as well, not to mention gobs of money and a farm system that is still producing quality players.

Furthermore, the Dodgers and Cubs both have brilliant front offices with a strong track record of developing talent internally and identifying undervalued players with other teams. Under Theo Epstein, the Cubs have shown more willingness to really go for it with an aggressive trade at the deadline. The Dodgers made their first true all-in trade deadline move under Andrew Friedman this year, when they brought in Darvish.

Here are seven things to know about this year's NLCS.

This is a rematch of the 2016 NLCS

These two clubs met last year in the NLCS, as you may remember. The Cubs won the series in six games despite being shut out in Games 2 and 3. There were a few days there when "why can't the Cubs hit in the postseason?" was a thing. Here are the final scores:

    Game 1: CHC 8, LAD 4 (box score)
    Game 2: LAD 1, CHC 0 (box score)
    Game 3: LAD 6, CHC 0 (box score)
    Game 4: CHC 10, LAD 2 (box score)
    Game 5: CHC 8, LAD 4 (box score)
    Game 6: CHC 5, LAD 0 (box score)

Of course, the 2017 Cubs are not the 2016 Cubs, and the 2017 Dodgers are not the 2016 Dodgers. Based on their regular season records and nothing more, the 2017 Dodgers are better than the 2016 Dodgers and the 2017 Cubs aren't as good as the 2016 Cubs. Yes, this is a rematch of last year's NLCS. It certainly doesn't mean it'll play out in a similar fashion.
The Dodgers won the season series

Since these two clubs are in different divisions, the Cubs and Dodgers played only two three-game series during the regular season. The Cubs won two of three at Wrigley Field in April, in their first home series of the year. They raised their 2016 World Series banner before the series opener and walked off with a win in that game.

The Dodgers returned the favor by sweeping three games from the Cubs at Dodger Stadium in May. It's been a while since these two teams have seen each other.
Chicago's pitching staff is gassed

Game 4 of the NLDS between the Cubs and Nationals was rained out, meaning Games 4 and 5 were played on consecutive days. There wasn't the usual off-day for travel between Games 4 and 5. Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards Jr., and Wade Davis all pitched in both Games 4 and 5, with Davis throwing 44 pitches in 2 1/3 innings as part of a seven-out save in Game 5. He has to be running on fumes.

Furthermore, the Cubs used Jon Lester in relief in Game 4, and let him throw 55 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. He won't be on regular rest until Game 3 of the NLCS. Also, Jose Quintana, who is expected to start Game 1 of the NLCS, threw 12 pitches and got two outs out of the bullpen in Game 5. The Cubs are apparently still comfortable letting him work Game 1.

As for Game 2 of the NLCS, the Cubs have three options. One, Lester on short rest following the 55-pitch relief outing. Two, Jake Arrieta on short rest after throwing 90 pitches in his NLDS Game 4 start. (Arrieta is coming off a hamstring injury, remember.) And three, John Lackey, who hasn't thrown a pitch in an actual game since October 1, the regular season finale.

Between Davis presumably being taxed for Game 1 -- I'm sure he'll be asked to get three outs in a save situation, if necessary, but it's hard to think he'll be able to give more than that -- and the Game 2 starter up in the air, the Cubs aren't exactly coming into the NLCS with their pitching staff in great shape.

The Dodgers won't start Kershaw on short rest

Or so they say. Manager Dave Roberts insists Kershaw will not pitch on three days rest in the NLCS -- they've already announced Wood as their Game 4 starter -- which is same thing he said prior to the NLDS. We've heard this before. Even before Roberts took over as manager, the Dodgers would say Kershaw will not pitch on short rest in the series and then bam, a few days later he's out there on short rest.

Why think this time will be different? Well, two reasons. Once, Wood is the best No. 4 starter the Dodgers have had in a long time, giving the team a viable Game 4 option. And two, Kershaw missed approximately two months with a back injury for the second straight season this year, and the Dodgers might not want to push their franchise player too hard and risk further injury. What happens if they're down 1-2 or even 0-3 going into Game 4? Who knows. But for now, the Dodgers insist Kershaw will not pitch in Game 4 on short rest.

Almora is going to be a factor

Between Kershaw, Hill, and Wood, the Dodgers are going to start a left-hander in five of seven games should the NLCS go the distance. Thy also have lefties Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson in the bullpen as well. Albert Almora generally platoons with Jon Jay in center field, and check out his 2017 numbers against righties:
Albert Almora CF / Cubs
AVG/OBP/SLG: .342/.411/.486 OPS+: 142

The 23-year-old Almora, who was picked sixth overall in the 2012 draft, annihilates lefties, and he figures to see a lot of them this series. Almora went 2 for 6 with a walk in the NLDS, with five of those seven plate appearances coming against lefties. He's going to play and play a lot in the NLCS.
The Dodgers have a secret weapon in their bullpen

Everyone knows about Kenley Jansen, arguably the best closer in baseball and inarguably the best closer remaining in the postseason. He's a monster at the end of games and he will routinely close things out by going more than one inning. Brandon Morrow has revived his career this season and serves as Jansen's primary setup man.

In Kenta Maeda, however, the Dodgers have a right-on-right matchup monster for guys like Almora, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez, among others. Here is what Maeda, who worked as a starter during the regular season, did against righties this year:
Kenta Maeda SP / Dodgers
AVG/OBP/SLG: .214/.258/.389 OPS+: 72

Maeda threw two innings in the NLDS -- it was two one inning appearances out of the bullpen -- and retired all six batters he faced, including four on strikeouts. He figures to see a lot of Bryant in the NLCS.

Winning Game 1 is important

Obvious statement is obvious: Win Game 1 of a best-of-seven series and your odds of winning the series increase. According to, the team that wins Game 1 of a best-of-seven series has gone on to win the series 64.1 percent of the time. Win Game 1 at home and it jumps to 67.3 percent. You always want to grab that first game to put pressure on the other team.

That said, the Yankees just showed winning Game 1 isn't everything. They came beat to beat the 102-win Indians in the ALDS after falling behind in the series 0-2. Winning Game 1 is important, but it doesn't guarantee a series win. It sure as heck improves your odds though. Lose Game 1 of a best-of-seven and you have to beat a very good team four times in the span of six games to advance. That's tough. So yes, you want to win Game 1 and improve your odds of winning the series. Just don't think the series is over after the first nine innings.

Back To Work For Canada West Football

After a bye week, Canada West football gets back at it. There are three weeks to go with some big games happening.  For a preview, click here

620 CKRM will have the Rams/Bears game from Edmonton with Addison Richards and myself at 1.

Friday, October 13, 2017

American League Championship Series Preview

Image result for american league championship series 2017

The 2017 American League Championship Series is now set.

The New York Yankees punched their ticket to the ALCS with Wednesday night's Game 5 win over the Cleveland Indians (NYY 5, CLE 0), completing the comeback after losing the first two games of the ALDS. The Houston Astros dispatched the Boston Red Sox in their ALDS matchup in four games earlier this week.

At 101-61, the Astros had the AL's second best record during the regular season, behind the 102-win Indians. The Yankees went 91-71 during the regular season, though they had a slightly better run differential (+198) than the Astros (+196). Here is the ALCS schedule:

Game 1
Fri., Oct. 13 at 8pm ET
Minute Maid Park
Dallas Keuchel vs. Masahiro Tanaka
Game 2
Sat. Oct. 14 at 4pm ET
Minute Maid Park
Justin Verlander vs. Luis Severino
Game 3
Mon. Oct. 16 at 8pm ET
Yankee Stadium
TBA vs. CC Sabathia
Game 4
Tues., Oct. 16 (time TBA)
Yankee Stadium
TBA vs. Sonny Gray
Game 5*
Weds., Oct. 17 (time TBA)
Yankee Stadium
Game 6*
Fri. Oct. 20 (time TBA)
Minute Maid Park
Game 7*
Sat. Oct. 21 (time TBA)
Minute Maid Park
* Games 5-7 are if necessary in the best-of-seven series.

Here are eight things to know about the ALCS.

The Astros won the season series
These clubs played seven games during the regular season -- four at Yankee Stadium in May and three at Minute Maid Park in late June/early July -- and the Astros won the season series 5-2. That includes a doubleheader in the Bronx on May 14, the day the Yankees retired Derek Jeter's No. 2, which the Astros swept. New York's starters that day:
Severino in the first game: 2 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Masahiro Tanaka in the second game: 1 1/2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
The Astros outscored the Yankees 21-13 during the Jeter day doubleheader sweep, and they outscored the Yankees 43-41 in the season series overall.

They have some postseason history
The Astros have spent the bulk of their existence in the National League, and these two clubs never met in the World Series. This is Houston's fifth season as an American League team and their second postseason trip. Their first came two years ago, when they beat the Yankees in Yankee Stadium in the AL Wild Card Game. Keuchel threw six shutout innings on short rest that night.

The Astros then lost to the Royals in the ALDS. That 2015 wild-card game was the only time the Yankees and Astros met in the postseason prior to this ALCS.

These are the top two power hitting teams in MLB
No surprisingly, the ALCS will feature the two most prolific power-hitting teams in baseball. Here is the regular season home run leaderboard:
Yankees: 241
Astros: 238
Rangers: 237
Athletics: 234
Orioles: 232

The Yankees hit seven home runs in their five-game ALDS win over the Indians while the Astros went deep eight times in their four ALDS games against the Red Sox. Both Minute Maid Park and Yankee Stadium are hitter friendly ballparks. There figure to be no shortage of home runs this series, even as each team shortens its pitching staff and relies on its best arms.

The Astros strike out much less, however

The Astros pair all of those home runs with the game's lowest strikeout rate. Houston's hitters struck out in only 17.3 percent of their plate appearances during the regular season, well below the 21.6 percent league average.

The Yankees, meanwhile, had baseball's 13th highest strikeout rate at 21.8 percent, so they were essentially league average. That's the big difference between these two offenses. They both hit for a ton of power, but the Astros swing and miss less often. More contact is generally a good thing, as long as you don't bang into a double play.

The Yankees need Judge to rebound

Judge, the runaway AL Rookie of the Year favorite, had a brutal ALDS against the Indians, going 1 for 20 with 16 strikeouts in the five-game series. The Indians fed him a steady diet of breaking balls. The 16 strikeouts are a new record for a postseason series, including seven-game series.

The Yankees beat the 102-win Indians despite getting nothing from their best player because, well, they're a really good team. It's not an accident they qualified for the postseason and reached the ALCS. The Yankees probably can't count on that happening again, though. They'll need Judge to contribute to beat the Astros this series.

The Yankees will be able to run on the Astros

No team threw out a lower percentage of base-stealers during the regular season than the Astros. It's not even close. Here are the bottom five teams in caught stealing percentage:
Astros: 12 percent
Blue Jays: 18 percent
White Sox: 18 percent
Rays: 21 percent
Mets: 22 percent
The MLB average was 27 percent in 2017. The Astros weren't even half that. Catchers Brian McCann, a former Yankee who was traded to the Astros in the offseason, and Evan Gattis both struggled throwing out runners during the regular season.

The Yankees, who ranked 12th in baseball with 90 stolen bases and first with a 80 percent stolen base success rate, figure to try to take advantage of those weak arms behind the dish. Speedsters Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks will likely have the green light at all times.

New York's bullpen might be short in Game 1
The Yankees built their team from the ninth inning forward, meaning they hoarded power strikeout arms and have a postseason-ready bullpen. We saw it in the wild-card game last week, when Severino bowed out after recording only one out, and four relievers combined for 8 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
That bullpen is crucial to the Yankees' success so far this postseason, though in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday, that bullpen might be slightly compromised. Closer Aroldis Chapman and setup man David Robertson, manager Joe Girardi's two most trusted relievers, both threw multiple innings in ALDS Game 5 on Wednesday. Chapman threw two innings and 32 pitches while Robertson threw 2 2/3 innings and 29 pitches.

The two clubs had an off-day Thursday, so Chapman and Robertson will get one day to rest, but chances are they won't be ready to go multiple innings again in Friday's series opener, not after going multiple innings multiple times in the ALDS. Girardi has had to work his top two relievers hard and they need a rest. That means others like Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren will have to pick up the slack.

Winning Game 1 is important
Obvious statement is obvious: Win Game 1 of a best-of-seven series and your odds of winning the series increase. According to, the team that wins Game 1 of a best-of-seven series has gone on to win the series 64.1 percent of the time. Win Game 1 at home and it jumps to 67.3 percent. You always want to grab that first game to put pressure on the other team.

That said, the Yankees just showed winning Game 1 isn't everything. It's important, but it doesn't guarantee a series win. They were down 0-2 in the best-of-five ALDS to the Indians and came back to win the next three. The Indians hadn't lost three consecutive games since July before Games 3-5 of the ALDS. So yes, you want to win Game 1 and improve your odds of the series. Just don't think the series is over after the first nine innings.

Depth Charts For Friday's REDBLACKS-Riders game

Kickoff is 8 o'clock with the pre-game coverage starting at 5 on 620 CKRM

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.

--The stretch drive is here. 4 weeks to go in the CFL season and the Riders could clinch a playoff spot.  A win over the REDBLACKS tonight and a loss by BC and the /=S=/ are officially back in the playoffs with division to be determined.  Who thought that would be the case after the 30-15 loss in BC on August 5 when the Riders were god-awful.  It has been a tremendous turn-around. Chris Jones had a plan and while it may have taken longer than what some wanted it to be, the turn-around has happened.  With three of the final four at home, there is a solid chance this team finishes the season at 11-7. If they run the table, they are 12-6.

Before you start thinking about that though, one must remember the Ottawa REDBLACKS will be a different team than they were in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago.  Trevor Harris gives them a better chance to win.  Ottawa is trying to do what the Riders did in Eastern Canada by winning twice in back-to-back weeks. The defending Grey Cup champs would love nothing more than to win twice in Western Canada in back-to-back weeks.   We all know Ottawa has been involved in many close games this year, and I expect them to be involved in another close one tonight. I also expect the end result to be like it has for them for most of the season---so close, but so far.

--Tough for Chad Owens to get on the roster, but be told he will be one of the two game-day scratches. A Twitter follower asked me why the CFL does this because the two scratched players still get a cheque. The question being why don't you just play 46.  That is something that the CFL should answer though because would an extra two players be that harmful.  Perhaps its more of a players association thing than a league thing.

--If a trade deadline comes and goes and no deals are made, was there really a trade deadline?  I find it somewhat shocking that there were no trades made Wednesday before the CFL trade deadline. In fact the deadline was like the CFL office from late December until early February----there was nothing happening.  Thank goodness TSN didn't do a trade deadline day special!  I really find it hard to believe that the contenders are all satisfied with what they have and that Montreal and Hamilton didn't try to peddle away some assets for something as they begin rebuilding efforts.

--The time is approaching for year-end awards. Who do you have? I would have to think the odds-on favourite for Most Outstanding Player at this time would be Naaman Roosevelt.  The top defensive player remains a battle between Ed Gainey and Willie Jefferson. I flip-flop on this one all the time, but I'm leaning towards Willie.  Brendan Labatte would be lineman of the year, Tyler Crapigna would get special teams honours and the rookie of the year would would would be.....Christion Jones? Has there been another impact rookie? Would Dariusz Bladek count?  Can the stadium be nominated?

--The 2007 Grey Cup champs will be saluted this weekend. Would they have beaten the 2013 team? Would the 2013 team have beaten the 2009 team? Discuss!

--I had Cleveland going to the World Series and winning it. I forgot Cleveland can't put away a team. They had three chances to knock the Cubs out last year and three chances to knock the Yankees out this year.  Could this mean we are about to see yet another Yankees-Dodgers World Series. I'm not ready for that. 

--As I said in Monday's column, the 8th inning of Cubs playoff games are enough to make me reach for the heart pills. Game 4 on Wednesday was no different and either was Game 5 last night.  Playoff baseball is so much fun especially when your team is involved. Am I right Jays fans?

--Nail Yakupov has 3 goals in 4 games for the Avalanche. Clearly he is on his way to a Hart Trophy winning season.

--The Montreal Canadiens have 5 goals in 4 games. 4 players have at least 5 goals on their own. When will the Habs ever find a goal scorer?

--Those who hate the Leafs are going to have a long winter and long winters to come. That team is for real this year. I don't like it.

--Week 6 NFL Lock Of The Week --- Atlanta over Miami
   Week 6 NFL Upset Of The Week --- Rams over Jacksonville

--Big weekend for the Rams and Thunder in Edmonton--moreso the Thunder since their season is on the line against the Huskies in a PFC Semi-final. I was amazed to hear that even had the Huskies finished first ahead of Saskatoon that this would have been the semi-final matchup for the Thunder since the 4th place Winnipeg Rifles can't travel more than one province for a playoff game because of costs and travel.  It's the same for all teams. That's just dumb!  You can fly teams to Eastern Canada for games, but you won't allow them to go more than one province at playoff time.  DUMB! The Rams are in the Alberta capital to take on the Golden Bears.  A win puts them at 4-2 and if the Huskies can beat UBC,  Regina just might have a home playoff game in their cards for a second straight season.  You can hear that one on 620 CKRM with yours truly at 2 o'clock.

That's all I got.  I need to try and start breathing again after that Cubs game.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Memorial Cup 100 Logo Unveiled

– The Canadian Hockey League in association with the Regina Pats and the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup Host Organizing Committee are proud to unveil the official logo of the historic 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup which represents the 100th edition of the league’s prestigious national championship.

The 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup logo has been designed with official event colours and includes a large ‘100’ in recognition of the historic presentation of the Memorial Cup, with the wheat sheaves emblematic of Regina’s proud prairie heritage.  The logo continues to feature the traditional likeness of the Memorial Cup trophy atop logos for the CHL and Mastercard, entering their 20th straight year as title sponsor of the event.  The poppy also remains a fixture of the logo positioned at the centre and symbolic of the event’s longstanding support of Canadian Armed Forces.

“We’ve worked closely with the CHL to create a symbol that is consistent with the longstanding visual brand of the Memorial Cup, but that still reflects the unique nature of this 100th anniversary event,” says Shaun Semple, President and CEO of the Brandt Group of Companies and co-owner of Queen City Sports & Entertainment Group.

The unveiled logo will be the primary branding for the 100th edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup from May 17-27, 2018, at Regina’s Brandt Centre, featuring the host Pats along with the champions of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The CHL will continue to use the 100th celebration branding for all national initiatives and historical recognition.

The event returns to the city of Regina for the first time since 2001, an event that featured the host Pats, the Ottawa 67’s (OHL), and champion Red Deer Rebels (WHL) defeating the Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) 6-5 in overtime.  Regina also hosted the 1980 event with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Named for the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the WHL’s Pats are the CHL’s oldest franchise beginning operations in 1917 and celebrating their 100th anniversary this season.  The club has competed in a record 12 Memorial Cup Championship games including the inaugural final back in 1919 before winning major junior hockey’s prize three times in 1925, 1930, and 1974.

The Memorial Cup has a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America. The trophy was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March, 1919, in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in the First World War.  In 2010 the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian Military Personnel killed in combat serving our country.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week 6 NFL Capsules

Image result for carson wentz

The Thursday night battle to kick off Week 6 of NFL action should be a good one as the Carolina Panthers take on Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles.  For a complete look at that game and others this weekend, click here 

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Home Schedule – Thursday
Women’s Basketball – vs. Windsor, 7:00 PM (CKHS)

Home Schedule – Friday
Women’s Basketball – Saskatchewan/Windsor, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Hockey – vs. Mount Royal, 7:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)

Home Schedule – Saturday
Swimming – at Fall Break Out, 11:00 AM (Lawson Aquatic Centre)
Women’s Hockey – vs. Mount Royal, 3:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Saskatchewan, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Basketball – Brandon/Windsor, 8:00 PM (CKHS)

Home Schedule – Sunday
Swimming – at Fall Break Out, 9:00 AM (Lawson Aquatic Centre)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Brandon, 1:00 PM (CKHS)

Away Schedule – Thursday
Men’s Basketball – vs. Ottawa, 4:00 PM EDT (Waterloo, Ont.)

Away Schedule – Friday
Men’s Basketball – vs. Wilfrid Laurier, 12:00 PM EDT (Waterloo, Ont.)
Women’s Soccer – at Trinity Western, 5:00 PM PDT (Langley, B.C.)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Saskatchewan, 6:00 PM (Ochapowace First Nation)
Men’s Hockey – at Mount Royal, 7:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)

Away Schedule – Saturday
Cross Country – at UVic Invitational (Victoria, B.C.)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Saskatchewan, 2:00 PM (Ochapowace First Nation)
Men’s Hockey – at Mount Royal, 3:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)
Men’s Basketball – at Waterloo, 8:00 PM EDT (Waterloo, Ont.)
Women’s Soccer – at Fraser Valley, 5:30 PM PDT (Abbotsford, B.C.)

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-1-0-0) started out the Canada West schedule with a two-game split in a home-and-home with Saskatchewan, getting a shorthanded Bailey Braden goal in the second period that stood up as the winner in a 3-2 road win on Friday before being edged 4-3 by the Huskies on Saturday in Regina. The Cougars are at home for the next two weekends starting this Friday night (7:00) and Saturday afternoon (3:00) against Mount Royal at The Co-operators Centre.

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars improved their non-conference record to 4-1 after winning three consecutive games last weekend, defeating Acadia, Waterloo, and tournament host Calgary on their way to claiming the Calgary Cup. The team will host the Cougar Classic this weekend at the CKHS, a four-team tournament stretching from Thursday to Sunday which will see Windsor, Saskatchewan, and Brandon come to town. Admission is free for all five tournament games.

Swimming – The Cougars have their first competitive meet of the season this weekend with the Fall Break Out at the Lawson Aquatic Centre in Regina. Competition will start at 11 AM on Saturday and at 9 AM on Sunday. The Cougars are ramping up for an important November which will see them travel to Vancouver for the Colleges Cup on the Nov. 4 weekend before heading right back to the West Coast for the Canada West Championships beginning Nov. 24 in Victoria.

Rams Football (U SPORTS Ranking: No. 8) – After the bye week, the second-place Rams (3-2) will return to the Canada West schedule with a game on Saturday afternoon (1:00) against the Alberta Golden Bears at Foote Field in Edmonton. The Rams could clinch a playoff spot with a win over Alberta combined with a Calgary victory over Manitoba. After the Alberta game, the Rams will have only two games left on the Canada West schedule – at home against Calgary on Oct. 21, and at UBC on Oct. 28.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (0-2-0) were swept by a Saskatchewan team that’s now ranked No. 3 in the U SPORTS Top Ten. They lost 8-2 on Friday in Regina, then were topped 6-0 by the Huskies in Saskatoon. Now in the midst of five consecutive games away from The Co-operators Centre, the Cougars will travel to Calgary this weekend for games against Mount Royal on Friday night (7:00) and Saturday afternoon (3:00).

Women’s Soccer – The Cougars (0-5-5) battled to a 1-1 draw with Saskatchewan in a rare Thursday match at the U of R Field, but closed out the weekend with a 1-0 loss to the Huskies on Saturday in Saskatoon. The team will now embark on their final road trip of the Canada West schedule, with the Cougars set to take on Trinity Western (8-2-0) on Friday and Fraser Valley (4-4-2) on Saturday.

Men’s Basketball – Alex Igual was named a tournament all-star as the Cougars finished with a 1-2 record at the Concordia Classic, their first non-conference action of the 2017-18 season. The Cougars started out with a 92-74 loss to tournament host Concordia, but recovered by shooting the lights out in a big 101-42 victory over York on Saturday. They closed out the tournament with a 98-85 setback to Dalhousie the following day. The Cougars will head east again this weekend for the Naismith Classic hosted by the University of Waterloo and will play Ottawa on Thursday, Wilfrid Laurier on Friday, and Waterloo on Saturday.

Cross Country – The Cougars will get a good look at the U SPORTS Championship course this weekend at the UVic Invitational, which the University of Victoria will host on Saturday at Beacon Hill Park. After this weekend, the Cougars have the Stewart Cup on Oct. 28 in Edmonton before returning to the same Beacon Hill Park course for the national meet on Nov. 12.

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars close out their non-conference schedule with a pair of matches against the University of Saskatchewan at Ochapowace First Nation. They’ll play the Huskies on Friday night (6:00) and Saturday afternoon (2:00), their last tune-up games before the Canada West schedule starts against the University of Calgary at home on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21.

Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars hosted the Cougar Invitational over the weekend, which featured Canada West opponents UBC Okanagan, Brandon, and Saskatchewan. The U of S defeated Brandon in the tournament championship match, while UBC Okanagan took out the Cougars in four sets to claim third place. The Cougars will have this weekend off before hosting Calgary to open up Canada West action on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21.

Monday, October 9, 2017

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Philadelphia Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 8.

Ovechkin led for the League in goals and points (7-0--7) as the Capitals opened the season with two victories. On Oct. 5, Ovechkin notched his 18thcareer hat trick in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators. Two nights later he matched a career high by scoring four times in a 6-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. With hat tricks in each of the Capitals’ first two games, Ovechkin became the fourth player in NHL history and first since 1917-18 to record hat tricks in each of his team’s first two games of a season. His seven goals give the Moscow, Russia, native 565 for his career, good for 22nd on the all-time list of NHL regular-season goal scorers.

Fleury went 2-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average and a .973 save percentage as the Golden Knights opened the season with two victories. Fleury began the week by making 45 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Oct. 6 in the first ever regular-season game in franchise history. On Oct. 7, he stopped 27 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes, giving him 377 career victories -- good for 15th on the all-time NHL wins last. The 32-year-old Sorel, QC, native was the first overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft by Pittsburgh, for whom he won three Stanley Cups in 13 seasons.

Simmonds tied for second in the League in goals with four (4-0--4) -- including two game-winners -- as the Flyers began the season with two victories in three starts on the road. On Oct. 4, Simmonds recorded his second career hat trick -- including the game-winning goal -- in a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. After being blanked in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Oct. 5, Simmonds finished the week by notching the overtime game-winner as the Flyers defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2, on Oct. 7. The 29-year-old Scarborough, ON, native was the 61st overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft by Los Angeles and is entering his 10th NHL season, seventh with the Flyers. He has recorded 402 points (206-196--402) in 690 games played.