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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rider Transactions

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the following roster moves:

SIGNED:

·       International wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood
·       International defensive back Warren Gatewood
·       International defensive back Cedric Hill
·       International defensive lineman Ja’Boree Poole

ADD TERRITORIAL JUNIORS:

·       National offensive lineman Logan Ferland (Regina Thunder)
·       National running back Logan Fischer (Saskatoon Hilltops)

MOVE TO SUSPENDED LIST:

·       International offensive lineman Derek Dennis
·       International wide receiver Bakari Grant

##Both are tending to personal matters in Calgary. The Riders say they will miss one or two days of camp.

RETIRED:

·       National safety Marc-Olivier Brouillette
·       National running back Aaron Milton

Riders Trade Armanti Edwards To Toronto




The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired national offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski from the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for international wide receiver Armanti Edwards.

 Dyakowski (6’5 – 320) is entering his 11th season after originally being selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the second round (11th overall) of the 2006 CFL Draft. Through ten seasons with the Tiger-Cats, the 33-year-old Vancouver native played in 148 regular season games, with 131 starts. He also added ten playoff games and two Grey Cup appearances.

Dyakowski had signed with the Toronto Argonauts as a free agent in February, 2017.

He was named a 2012 East Division All-Star and received nomination as the Tiger-Cats Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2011.

Pats F Sam Steel Takes Home CHL Award

Photo: Keith Hershmiller

Windsor – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the 10 national award winners for the 2016-17 season including Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters who earned Sportsnet CHL Player of the Year honours.

A trio of Western Hockey League representatives brought home hardware from the national awards, including Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings/Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award), Sam Steel (Regina Pats/Chrysler Top Scorer Award) and Tyler Wong (Lethbridge Hurricanes/Mastercard Humanitarian of the Year Award).

The awards were presented as part of the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup festivities in Windsor.

2016-17 CHL Award Winners:

Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award: Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings
Brandon Wheat Kings captain Nolan Patrick is listed number one in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.  The 18-year-old forward from Winnipeg, MB, wrapped up his third WHL season with 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points limited to just 33 games played due to injury.  He is the first WHL player to earn this award since Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in 2013, and could be the first western Canadian to be chosen first overall since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels in 2011.  Finalists for the award include Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads who was listed second by NHL Central Scouting, and Gabe Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires ranked fourth.

Chrysler Top Scorer Award: Sam Steel, Regina Pats
Anaheim Ducks prospect Sam Steel led the CHL with 131 points in 66 games played scoring 50 goals and 81 assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-49 helping the Regina Pats to a first place finish atop the WHL’s regular season standings.  The 19-year-old from Sherwood Park, AB, delivered the CHL’s highest point total since Brendan Shinnimin of the Tri-City Americans recorded 134 points in 69 games played during the 2011-12 campaign.  Finalists for the award were Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters with 127 points in 63 games, and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Vitalii Abramov of the Gatineau Olympiques who scored 104 points in 66 games this season.

BRP Sportsman of the Year Award: Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack
2017 NHL Draft prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack finished fifth in OHL scoring with 96 points including 45 goals and 51 assists in 65 games played with a plus-minus rating of plus-51 while recording just 10 penalty minutes.  The 17-year-old from London, ON, is listed tenth by NHL Central Scouting and helped the Attack secure franchise best marks of 49 wins and 102 points this season.  Finalists for the award were Tyler Steenbergen of the Swift Current Broncos and Hugo Roy of the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

Mastercard Humanitarian of the Year Award: Tyler Wong, Lethbridge Hurricanes
Lethbridge Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong is the CHL’s Humanitarian of the Year after being named a finalist for the award last season, establishing himself as an exceptional ambassador for his team and the league both on and off the ice.  The 21-year-old from Cochrane, AB, carried forward the ‘Canes KidSport program he introduced a year ago which donates $5 to KidSport Lethbridge & Taber for each goal he scores.  Powered by 51 goals of his own and with the help from teammates, alumni, and the community, the initiative surpassed all expectations and raised over $13,000 this season.  Finalists for the award were Garrett McFadden of the Guelph Storm and two-time nominee Samuel Laberge of the Rimouski Oceanic.

CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year Award: Sasha Chmelevski, Ottawa 67’s
2017 NHL Draft prospect Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s achieved a 98% average across his six Grade 12 courses through Michigan’s Virtual Charter Academy.  The 17-year-old from Northville, Michigan, also scored 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points in 58 games appearing 43rd among North American players listed by NHL Central Scouting.  Finalists for the award were Brian King of the Everett Silvertips and Antoine Samuel of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

Sofina Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award: Ryan McGill, Owen Sound Attack
Ryan McGill led the Owen Sound Attack to an all-time franchise best record of 49-15-2-2 for 102 points surpassing the club’s previous highs of 46 wins and 97 points set during the 2010-11 season.  The 48-year-old from Sherwood Park, AB, helped the Attack become the league’s most improved team in just his second season behind the bench increasing their win total by 17 and point total by 27 while establishing a franchise record 15-game winning-streak and surrendering an OHL-low 177 goals against.  McGill was previously nominated for this award in 2013 during his tenure with the Kootenay Ice.  Finalists for the award were John Paddock of the Regina Pats and Danny Flynn of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

CCM Rookie of the Year Award: Nico Hischier, Halifax Mooseheads
2017 NHL Draft prospect Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads led all rookies in scoring with 86 points in 57 games including 38 goals and 48 assists.  The 18-year-old from Naters, Switzerland, was chosen sixth overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft and is listed second in NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings.  He becomes the second Moosehead to win the award following current Winnipeg Jet Nikolaj Ehlers in 2014, and will challenge for the NHL’s top pick in June where he would follow 2013 first overall pick and Moosehead grad Nathan MacKinnon who currently stars with the Colorado Avalanche.  Finalists for the award were Aleksi Heponiemi of the Swift Current Broncos and Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm.

Vaughn Goaltender of the Year Award: Michael McNiven, Owen Sound Attack
Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McNiven of the Owen Sound Attack carried a record of 41-9-2-2 including six shutout victories that tied for an OHL-high, while also posting a league-low goals-against-average of 2.30 and save percentage of .915 that ranked sixth overall in the OHL.  The 41 wins by the 19-year-old from Georgetown, ON, led the OHL this season and established a new Attack single season record while his shutout tally brings his three-year career total to 11 which is also a new team mark.  Finalists for the award were Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart who was the 2015-16 recipient, and Francis Leclerc of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Superstore Defenceman of the Year Award: Thomas Chabot, Saint John Sea Dogs
Ottawa Senators prospect Thomas Chabot of the Saint John Sea Dogs is the CHL’s Defenceman of the Year after scoring 10 goals and 35 assists for 45 points in just 34 games played.  The 20-year-old from Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, QC, was also a member of Canada’s National Junior Team earning a silver medal and Tournament MVP honours at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.  The 18th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft helped the Sea Dogs to a first place finish in the QMJHL this season.  Finalists for the award were Edmonton Oilers prospect Ethan Bear of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Darren Raddysh of the Erie Otters.

Sportsnet Player of the Year Award: Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters led the OHL with 127 points in 63 games scoring 65 goals and 62 assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-60.  The 19-year-old from Farmington Hills, Michigan, helped the Otters capture a second straight regular season title and set a CHL record with their fourth straight 50-win season.  The former CHL Rookie of the Year set a team record for goals in a season while eclipsing the 50-goal and 100-point plateau for the third straight season.  He is the second Otter to win the award in three seasons following current Edmonton Oilers star and NHL Top Scorer Connor McDavid who received the honour in 2015.  Finalists for the award were Anaheim Ducks prospect Sam Steel of the Regina Pats, and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Vitalii Abramov of the Gatineau Olympiques.

Questions Abound as Rider Training Camp Hits



The wait is over! Rider training camp begins as another season gets underway.  As the excitement for another year gets started, there are questions that need to be asked that will hopefully get answered over the next few weeks as the team gets ready for its season opener against Darian Durant and the Alouettes on June 22.  Here are some of the questions I have going in

1. WHERE DOES VINCE YOUNG END UP ON THE DEPTH CHART?

  All eyes will be on the former NFL quarterback who hasn't played a competitive football game in many years. Will he be able to understand the Canadian game to continue on as a member of the team moving forward or will the grind of a CFL camp and the nuances of the Canadian game be too much for the former University of Texas standout.  Young looked good at the Florida mini-camp, but we know those camps don't see a lot of 12 on 12 action if any. There is still a lot for Young to learn. I would have to think Kevin Glenn comes in as the starter, but if Young makes the team will he be the backup or the clipboard holder. I would think Brandon Bridge would like Young to hold the clipboard. It will be up to Young to show Chris Jones and Rider Nation what he can do.

2.  STRENGTHENING THE O-LINE 

  I don't think it is any secret the Rider weakness last year was the offensive line.  They allowed 57 sacks while using 10 bodies. Getting Derek Dennis in free agency should fix that. Having a healthy Brendon Labatte also helps.  How much progress does Josiah St. John take from year 1 to year 2 and is the number one pick overall in the 2016 draft ready to establish himself? I don't think its any secret to think Dennis, Labatte and Dan Clark can be pencilled in as starters, but after that I'm not sure and I don't know if Chris Jones and company know at this time either.

3. WHO IS THE STARTING RB?

   At the end of the season this wasn't a question, but the tragic shooting of Joe McKnight meant the team had a hole to fill seeing Curtis Steele left via free agency.  Former NFL running back Daniel Thomas and former Bomber Cameron Marshall will vie for that job as will Kienan Lafrance who was brought in via free agency from Ottawa. Lafrance had a break-out game in the Eastern final, and obviously the Riders are hoping that performance was the tip of the iceberg.  Marshall may be the odds-on favourite to start the season.

4. WHO IS THE STARTING SAFETY?

   This question may have gotten a lot easier with word Saturday afternoon that Marc-Olivier Brouilette has decided to retire. It may answer why the team went out and traded for Mike Edem late in the off-season.. I would have to think Edem is the favourite to take the job now.

5. CAMERON JUDGE 

    As of the time of this posting, the Riders first round draft pick Cameron Judge is not signed, sealed and delivered. The UCLA linebacker needs to get into camp ASAP much like St. John last year. Losing reps at the start of the camp and not being there with the guys can mean that hill gets steeper and steeper for the rookie. Just ask St. John

6. WHAT ROOKIES WILL SHINE? 

    Every year in every camp there are rookies that turn head during camp, and there are rookies that have expectations on them coming in.  I want to see what DB Zavian Bingham can do after having a great Florida rookie camp, and I have heard nothing but great things about receiver Mitchell Baines who will try to fit in to what is an already stacked group of pass-catchers. Obviously, you want to see how Rams receiver and 2017 draft pick Mitch Picton will do with DB's Alfonso Dennard and Erick Dargan being guys that I think have a future with this team moving forward.

7. WHAT VETS ARE ON THE BUBBLE? 

  Can that question be answered before camp gets started? I think we need to see a few days of two-a-days and perhaps a game before that can be answered.

8. IS THIS A PLAYOFF TEAM?

   I would think it has to be considering what has happened the last two years. The pressure is on Chris Jones and company. Some believe this team can compete for a playoff spot, but I think the best they can do as it stands today is 3rd place behind BC and Calgary. Are they better right now than Edmonton or Winnipeg? That might be the biggest question of all!

Let the long road to the Grey Cup begin!



Friday, May 26, 2017

Regina Red Sox Season Ready To Go


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The  Regina Red Sox are announcing 2017 Training Camp will begin on Saturday, May 27. The team will be on the field from 3 pm to 6 pm.

From Sunday May 28 to Tuesday May 30, Manager Mitch MacDonald will have his team of the field from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The final day of Red Sox training camp will be Wednesday, May 31 from 4 pm to 6 pm. All practices will be held at Currie Field. Fans are welcome.

The Red Sox home opener is set for Sunday, June 4 when the Yorkton Cardinals visit Currie Field.
First pitch is set for 2:00 pm.

All Regina Red Sox information can be found at reginaredsox.com 

Riders Sign Some Draft Picks; Getzlaf Going Back To Edmonton


The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed six of their selections from the 2017 CFL Draft.

Offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek, Eddie Meredith and Marc Glaude, wide receiver Mitchell Picton, linebacker Alexandre Chevrier and defensive lineman Emmanuel Adusei have all signed with the team and are schedule to attend training camp on Sunday, May 28th.

The Roughriders have yet to sign linebacker Cameron Judge (1st round – 2nd overall), receiver Antony Auclair (4th round – 46th overall) and offensive lineman Danny Sprukulis (6th round – 46th overall) from the 2017 draft class.

Auclair is currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after signing an NFL rookie contract in April, while Sprukulis is currently tending to a program requirement at the University of Toronto to complete his degree.  

The Riders also announced additional roster moves:

SIGNED:

·       National defensive lineman Albert Awachie
·       National defensive lineman Emile Charron-Ligez
·       International defensive lineman Davis Tull
·       International defensive back Sammy Williams

ADDED TERRITORIAL JUNIORS:

·       National offensive lineman Brendon Philogene (Regina Thunder)
·       National running back Johnathon Thebaud (Regina Thunder)

(Ryan Pollock/Riders PR)

--

The Edmonton Eskimos have signed free agent, national slotback Chris Getzlaf.
Getzlaf originally joined the Green and Gold in February 2016. Last season, he recorded 41 receptions for 455 yards and two touchdowns in 18 games.
Originally selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 2007 CFL Draft, he was traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders where he would play for eight seasons.
The two-time West All-Star (2012, 2013) has amassed 6,149 receiving yards on 409 receptions with 40 touchdowns.
A member of two Grey Cup championship teams, Getzlaf was on the practice roster for the 2007 Rider win and named the Most Valuable Canadian in the 2013 Grey Cup victory.

(Edmonton Eskimos)



Monday, May 22, 2017

On Holidays!


Anyone needing me over the next few days could likely find me here.  Enjoy the week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Memorial Cup Preview



The 2017 Memorial Cup tournament to determine the champion of the Canadian Hockey League will take place at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, beginning Friday and concluding with the championship game May 28.

The four-team, round-robin tournament includes the host team, Windsor, along with Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John, Western Hockey League champion Seattle, and Ontario Hockey League champion Erie.

Since the round-robin format was introduced in 1972, the OHL has won 16 times, including last season when the London Knights won 3-2 in overtime against QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda in the championship. Erie eliminated London with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 7 of the 2017 OHL Western Conference Semifinal.

Here's a closer look at the participating teams:



ERIE OTTERS

Coach: Kris Knoblauch

Memorial Cup championships: None

How they got here: The Otters went 16-6 in the OHL playoffs on the way to their first OHL championship in 15 years. Erie defeated Sarnia in the first round 4-0; London in the second round 4-3, Owen Sound in the Western Conference Final 4-2 and Mississauga in the J. Ross Robertson Cup 4-1.

NHL prospects: Forwards Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks, 2016 NHL Draft, No. 39), Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes, 2015, No. 3), Anthony Cirelli (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2015, No. 72), Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2016, No. 58), Warren Foegele (Carolina Hurricanes, 2014, No. 61), Kyle Pettit (Vancouver Canucks, 2014, No. 156); defensemen Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings, 2016, No. 137), Erik Cernak (Los Angeles Kings, 2015, No. 43),

Top 2017 draft-eligible prospects (CSS final ranking): Forwards Ivan Lodnia (No. 36, North American skaters), German Poddubnyi (No. 130, North American skaters).



SAINT JOHN SEADOGS

Coach: Danny Flynn

Memorial Cup championships: 2011

How they got here: The Seadogs went 16-2 in the playoffs and won the QMJHL championship for the third time (2011, 2012, 2017) in seven seasons. Saint John defeated Rimouski 4-0 in the first round, Val-d'Or in the quarterfinal round 4-0, Chicoutimi in the semifinal round 4-2, and Blainville-Boisbriand in the President's Cup 4-0.

NHL prospects: Forwards Mathieu Joseph (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2015, No. 120), Matthew Highmore (Chicago Blackhawks, 2017, free agent), Spencer Smallman (Carolina Hurricanes, 2015, No. 138), Julien Gauthier (Carolina Hurricanes, 2016, No. 21), Bokondji Imama (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2015, No. 180), Samuel Dove-McFalls (Philadelphia Flyers, 2015, No. 98), Nathan Noel (Chicago Blackhawks, 2016, No. 113); defensemen Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators, 2015, No. 18), Simon Bourque (Montreal Canadiens, 2015, No. 177), Jakub Zboril (Boston Bruins, 2015, No. 13); goaltender Callum Booth (Carolina Hurricanes, 2015, No. 93).

Top 2017 draft-eligible prospects (CSS final ranking): Forward Cedric Pare (No. 146, North American skaters); goaltender Alex D'Orio (No. 13, North American goaltenders).



SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS

Coach: Steve Konowalchuk

Memorial Cup championships: None

How they got here: The Thunderbirds finished 16-4 in the WHL playoffs and will be making their second appearance in the Memorial Cup in the 40-year history of the franchise. Seattle defeated Tri-City in the first round 4-0, Everett in the second round 4-0, Kelowna in the Western Conference Final 4-2, and Regina in the Ed Chynoweth Cup 4-2.

NHL prospects: Forwards Ryan Gropp (New York Rangers, 2015, No. 41), Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders, 2015, No. 16), Keegan Kolesar (Columbus Blue Jackets, 2015, No. 69); defenseman Ethan Bear (Edmonton Oilers, 2015, No. 124).

Top 2017 draft-eligible prospects (CSS final ranking): Forwards Sami Moilanen (No. 110, North American skaters), Matthew Wedman (No. 210, North American skaters); defenseman Jarret Tyszka (No. 41, North American skaters).



WINDSOR SPITFIRES

Coach: Rocky Thompson

Memorial Cup championships: 2009, 2010

How they got here: Windsor lost 3-2 to London in Game 7 of the OHL quarterfinal round, but automatically qualify for the Memorial Cup as the tournament host.

NHL prospects: Forwards Jeremy Bracco (Toronto Maple Leafs, 2015, No. 61), c (Ottawa Senators, 2016, No. 11), Graham Knott (Chicago Blackhawks, 2015, No. 54), Julius Nattinen (Anaheim Ducks, 2015, No. 59), Jeremiah Addison (Montreal Canadiens, 2015, No. 207), Cristiano DiGiacinto (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2014, No. 170); defensemen Mikhail Sergachev (Montreal Canadiens, 2016, No. 9), Logan Stanley (Winnipeg Jets, 2016, No. 18), Jalen Chatfield (Vancouver Canucks, 2017, FA), Sean Day (New York Rangers, 2016, No. 81).

Top 2017 draft-eligible prospects (CSS final ranking): Forwards Gabriel Vilardi (No. 4, North American skaters), Lucas Boka (No. 201, North American skaters), Cole Purboo (No. 189, North American skaters); goaltender Michael DiPietro (No. 4, North American goalies).



2017 Memorial Cup schedule

May 19: Saint John vs. Windsor (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 8 p.m. ET, NHLN)
May 20: Erie vs. Seattle (3 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 7 p.m. ET, NHLN)
May 21: Windsor vs. Seattle (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports)
May 22: Erie vs. Saint John (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 8 p.m. ET, NHLN)
May 23: Seattle vs. Saint John (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 8 p.m. ET, NHLN)
May 24: Windsor vs. Erie (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 9 p.m. ET, NHLN)
May 25: Tiebreaker, if necessary (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 8 p.m., NHLN)
May 26: Semifinal (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports; 8 p.m. ET, NHLN)
May 28: Final (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports)

(Canadian Hockey League)

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.



--After the defeat of the Edmonton Oilers in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Regina Pats in Game 6 of the WHL final, my hockey interest has gone out the window.  I can't be the only one who spent Monday night thinking I should be at the Brandt Centre.


--Was Islanders coach Doug Weight really at the Brandt Centre for Game 6?  I was told he was. I'm not buying it.  If he was, I missed Oilers royalty.  Number 39 was a favourite for this guy.


--Thank you Adam Brooks!  I can only wonder where this kid would be in all-time Pats lore if he had been allowed to get some solid ice time in his first few years as a Pat.  Chances are Brooks wouldn't have a shot at the NHL if it weren't for John Paddock who saw what coaches before him didn't.  It was tough watching that kid say good-bye on Tuesday as the Pats cleaned out the room.  The best Pats captain I have seen is Rick Rypien, but Brooks has to be near the top of that ladder.  If the Toronto Marlies aren't playing in the AHL playoffs next May, I am guessing number 77 will be back at the Brandt Centre watching his junior team compete for the Memorial Cup.  Some are wondering if Brooks is one of the all-time best Pats. Nothing against Adam, but I can't go that far.  You certainly can't take away what he did here though especially over he last two years.

--What will the Pats look like next year? Brooks, Dawson Leedahl and Chase Harrison are gone. Connor Hobbs, Austin Wagner and Filip Ahl may not be back. The same could be said for Sam Steel. Is Tyson Jost a possibility? That is a question no one seems to know the answer to.  John Paddock was on the Sportscage Tuesday and admitted he doesn't even know what the situation is as he has heard many different things about what happens to Jost if he fails to crack the Avalanche.  Joe Sakic could make it easy for everyone and keep him in Denver, but if he doesn't what happens? An answer on that is needed right away.   FWIW:  I think Wagner is back as a 20. I would be more confident in that if Darryl Sutter was still the coach in L-A as the Kings will shed some of their older players which could create room in the minors for Wagner, but I somehow think he will back. Time will tell!

--Home ice advantage? PFFFT.   The home team was 44-41 in the WHL Playoffs this year.

--This won't be a popular statement, but Yorkton's Turner Ottenbreit could play on my team anytime. The guy is an old-school defenceman who can hit and hit hard. You have to be accountable when on the ice and know where he is. Guys from Erie, Saint John and Windsor will find that out over the next week.  Imagine him as a 20 year old on the Pats next season!  I doubt that happens, but you never know.

--People think the Ottawa Senators are boring.  Go watch the NBA playoffs then if that is your take. They may not be high-flying like the Hawks, Oilers or Penguins, but it's working and they just might be in the Stanley Cup. Did you know Ottawa has made more appearances in a conference final over the last 20 years out of the Canadian teams. Absorb that for a few moments. Yes, those Ottawa Senators could be Canada's best team over the past two decades. Again, let that sink in for a bit.

--Jose Bautista, what are you thinking? Down 8-3 to Atlanta  in the 7th, Jose was Jose by doing another batflip,  Sorry, guys batting less than 200 on a team that is in last place in the division and is down 5 don't do batflips. I wouldn't even endorse that if it were a Cub doing it.

 At least he was somewhat apologetic after Wednesday's game.  It's no secret I have no time for this guy, and this is just another reason why.  His ego is just off the charts.  I really don't know why because he isn't and hasn't been one of the game's best.  No one wanted this guy in the off-season so the Jays took sympathy on him.  If he keeps playing the way is batting under 200, his Jays career will officially end come the beginning of October.

As for Kevin Pillar, that one shocked me. In the heat of the battle whether it be on the diamond, the court or the field, things are said that shouldn't be. 10-15 years ago no one would have batted an eyelash at what Pillar said to Motte, but in these times you can't say that anymore.  He has handled this in a very classy like fashion. As some have said though, how you act now isn't the key, it is how you react the next time. That is true. 

-- Riders training camp is now less than two weeks away.  Are you ready Saskatoon? Are you ready Rider Nation?  Of course you are. What is the expectation Rider Nation? Kevin Glenn told a conference call this week they are Grey Cup calibre. Some believe they aren't even a playoff team. I think they'll be better, but I don't know if they are a playoff team. At this juncture, they certainly aren't in the same stratosphere as the Lions and Stamps.  All CFL fans know though that you don't crown a champion in mid-May.

--Tom Brady really needs to tell his wife to zip it. Maybe Bill Belichick needs to tell Brady to tell Gisele to zip it. Why on earth would she say her husband played the season with a concussion. Does she not know what type of firestorm that would and has created.  Did Belichick extend and ignore the rules again? Does anyone in New England really care?  They would if the Patriots were 5-11.

--Six weeks into the baseball season and your division leaders are the Yankees, Minnesota and Houston in the American League and Washington, Milwaukee and Colorado in the National League,  ????? Houston and Washington might have been the only teams I would have put in there. If it's like this in August, there will be a lot of good teams having questions asked of them.

--That's all I got. Have a great long weekend! The summer starts now






Monday, May 15, 2017

John Chick Signs Contract Extension With Ti-Cats


Image result for john chick

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Monday that the football club has signed international defensive end John Chick to a contract extension through the 2018 CFL season.

“John’s performance last season proved that he is still an elite and impactful player in this league,” said Tiger-Cats Vice-President of Football Operations and Head Coach Kent Austin. “His professionalism, intensity level and the way he prepares himself on a daily basis both mentally and physically is infectious to our locker room. We’re very excited to have a player of his calibre locked up through 2018.”

Chick, 34, started all 18 regular season games and the Eastern Semi-Final for the Tiger-Cats in 2016, and was named a CFL All-Star and Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in his first year with the team. The 6-4, 253-pound product of Utah State finished the season tied for second in CFL sacks (14) and tied for third in forced fumbles (4), while adding 40 defensive tackles, four tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries and five pass knock downs.

In seven CFL seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2007-09, 2013-15) and Tiger-Cats (2016), Chick has registered 210 defensive tackles, 67 quarterback sacks, 24 tackles for loss, one interception, 14 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries in 109 career games. The native of Gillette, Wyoming, is a three-time CFL All-Star, previously earning the honours with the Roughriders in 2009 and 2014. He is also a two-time Grey Cup Champion (2007, 2013) and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2009.

Something To "Mitch" About




A "TRUE" HEARTBREAKER -  So much for a Game 7 at the Brandt Centre.  With 7 minutes left, it looked as if the Regina Pats were going to send the WHL Final to a deciding game, but as they have so many times in this final, the Seattle Thunderbirds showed they wanted it more and as a result, they are headed to the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Windsor starting Friday.

The difference in this series was the fact the T-Birds simply never ever stopped. In Game 5, the Pats were up 2-0, but Seattle roared back to tie it at 2.  That to me was the turning point of this series.



With 6:48 to go and needing a win to send it to Game 7, the Pats just weren't strong enough to stem the tide and when Seattle tied it at 17:06 I had a bad feeling.  It set the stage for Alexander True to win it for the T-Birds in OT crushing the Pats dream.  They just seemed hungrier. Whether or not it was the fact they lost the final last year or something else, the T-Birds just seemingly wanted it more.

It's a tough lesson for John Paddock's crew to take, but perhaps they will have an opportunity to take that lesson into next year and use it to their advantage when they host the Memorial Cup next year.  Of course they will do it without Adam Brooks, Dawson Leedahl and Chase Harrison, but this team will be good next year.  They may not be 52 wins good, but there is no reason to think John Paddock and crew will have this team back in the hunt again.

This one stings, but in the end Regina, you have a hockey team you have been dreaming to see for a long time and they aren't going away.


CITY OF CHAMPIONS -  Do the fine people in Ottawa need to steal that moniker from Edmonton.  The REDBLACKS are Grey Cup champs, the Senators are trying to get to the Stanley Cup championship, Rachel Homan's curling rink are Canadian and world champs, and Carleton seemingly wins the USports Canada men's basketball championship every year.   Do you think the NHL wants to see Ottawa in the final when it comes to TV numbers in the states. Having Anaheim oppose them as they did a decade ago would at least have a large market in the final, but I would think an Ottawa-Nashville final wouldn't draw many to their TV's south of the border.  In Canada, we will watch no matter who is in the final, but we all know the U-S is a different story.

By the way, do Leafs fans care considering the rise they took this year that Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf are opposing one another in this series. I wouldn't think so.

GIVE NOAH A CHANCE -  Message to all 9 CFL teams.  Someone draft Noah Picton in the 2018 CFL Draft and give him a meaningful chance to be a member of your team moving forward.  Yes, I know that is a tall task to ask since CFL teams don't look at the talent at the game's most important position but rather the birth certificate instead.  The 2016 Canadian University football MVP went out Saturday and won the MVP honours at the East-West bowl where players for the 2018 draft will be eligible.

At the combine, Picton was making all the throws that had to be made. He has shown what he can do at the University level and will likely have another fine season in front of him as the Rams look to finish first in Canada West for a second straight season.

He deserves the opportunity. Do I realistically think he will get it? NOPE!  I've said it once, and I'll say it again. If Picton and other Canadian QB's  past and present went to school in the U-S, they would be looked at seriously. If Brandon Bridge had gone to school in Canada, he wouldn't be in the CFL right now.

I know its far down the  list on priorities for the league, but they must find a way to get the "Canadian" quarterback into the "Canadian" Football League.

SALUTING THE CAPTAIN -- Derek Jeter will never go down as one of the best players in the history of baseball, but he does go down as one of the greatest New York Yankees to have ever played the game.  The long-time shortstop of the Yankees who did many great things including 5 World Series titles in a 20 year career got his due Sunday as the team retired number 2.  All that is left now is a trip to Cooperstown.

Image result for derek jeter retirement

In a city that has swallowed up numerous athletes, Jeter did it right.  The guy is pure class. Those who aren't Yankee fans had to respect what Number 2 meant not only to the Bronx Bombers but baseball as a whole.  He had a flair for the dramatich which was stamped in his final at-bat which was a game-winning hit.

He penned his own thank you to New York, and in only the way Jeter can, he hit a homer with it.

By the way, it was somewhat ironic that the Yankees had the retirement ceremony in between games of a doubleheader needed because of a rainout Saturday.  I guess the baseball gods wanted the Yankees to play "2" on Sunday.


WHAT NOW -  The Thunderbirds win was also the last WHL game on SHAW.  Thanks to some extremely short-sighted decisions by suits, it has been decided that coverage of the WHL along with Canada West Football is no more.

The big loser in that are both the WHL and Canada West Football along with you the fan. You got to see other players and other teams that you don't see thanks to the hard-work of the people at SHAW.

 You can't tell me that Canada West Football didn't see a record amount of players drafted because scouts had more of an opportunity to watch games along with film. You also can't tell me that more people became invested in the WHL because of what SHAW has done over the last many years bringing us games we would otherwise not see.  Both need someone to step up and pick up the ball.  Fingers are crossed, but once again there is the stark reality that sports fans in Western Canada have perhaps seen the end of the road of two properties that deserve the coverage they have received and more.

With 5 TSN's and numerous SNET's, it baffles me as to why Canada can't have a sports channel to showcase its amateur athletes and leagues,   It's something we could ask decades down the road as well, as we all know that sadly won't happen.

That's all I got, Have a great week and thank you to the Regina Pats for once again giving the Queen City a team we can be proud of moving forward.




Saturday, May 13, 2017

Just Another Normal Day For Noah Picton




University of Regina Rams quarterback Noah Picton was named Team West’s Most Valuable Player after throwing for 228 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for one more major in a 37-13 win over Team East on Saturday afternoon in the Valero East-West Bowl.

Picton completed 15 of his 20 pass attempts as he also finished with a 75% completion rate in the win. Picton, who moved the ball around with at least one pass to 10 different receivers, had a 42-yard toss to √Čtienne Moisan in the fourth quarter which went down as the longest play of the game for Team West.

The Rams were also represented by linebacker Danny Nesbitt, running back Atlee Simon, and defensive lineman Eric Wicijowski at the East-West Bowl and all three also made impacts for Team West. Besides a key fourth-quarter interception deep in Team West territory, Nesbitt also had a second-quarter sack and finished the game with one solo tackle and three assisted tackles. Simon formed an effective one-two punch with Saskatchewan running back Tyler Chow and finished with 11 carries for 64 yards, while Wicijowski got through for a half sack late in the second quarter.

After a slow offensive start to the game which saw a conceded safety by Team East stand as the only points of the first quarter, Team West got the offensive moving in the second. Team West was quick to cash in after Jayden McKoy’s interception gave them the ball on Team East’s four-yard line, with Will Watson’s 15-yard catch going down as the first major of the game. Picton engineered a seven-play, 71-yard drive that he finished off himself with a three-yard run with second left in the half to give Team West a 20-7 advantage at the break.

It was a two-score game for the majority of the second half until two late touchdowns put it away for Team West. Picton found Watson in the end zone from three yards out to finish off a nine-play, 75-yard drive with six and a half minutes left to put Team West up 30-13, and any hopes of a Team East comeback were dashed after Picton connected with Rich Nketiah for a 23-yard touchdown with 75 seconds to go.

NOTES: The Valero East-West Bowl capped a week-long event showcasing U SPORTS players eligible for the 2018 Canadian Football League Draft ... the victory was the second in as many years for Team West.

(Braden Konschuh / U of R) 

Jordan Eberle Hopes To Remain An Oiler



Jordan Eberle should be a man on a mission this summer.

As satisfying as it may have been to round out his game by playing much more responsible defensively, the Oilers winger must regain the offensive touch that brought him into the National Hockey League in 2010, albeit as an unfinished product.

He’ll be 27 on Monday; not a spring chicken anymore. He needs to work on his release, core strength and foot speed, to keep up with the 20-year-olds who are running away with the game.

Motivated by team success and personal disappointment — he scored just 20 goals in the regular season and went 13 playoff games without one — he plans to attack all of it and be better.


“I think, looking back at the season, the chances were there. You’ve just got to capitalize. That goes back to confidence issues, that goes back to just feeling good and putting the puck in the net.”

But the best set of tools is essentially useless without desire. Eberle has to put in a foundation of mental, physical and technical work that will bolster his lost confidence. And most importantly, he has to develop a willingness to go straight to the net, to take the game head-on, rather than continue playing around its edges.

He had 22 shots on goal and just two assists through the playoffs. Not nearly good enough.

“That’s the biggest thing, that’s the one that really stings,” he said. “You take this long to get to the playoffs and you don’t perform and play to your standards. That’s what hurts.”

He started slowly, it snowballed, and he looked for ways to contribute. But he’s a goal scorer and too often he looked lost on the ice, when you noticed him at all.

“I like to think of myself as a goal scorer. So if that’s not happening, you’ve got to be able to do something. So I tried to be a bit more physical in the playoffs and play with a little bit more edge. But ultimately you want to score, put the puck in the net. If we do that, especially our line, in the last series I think we have a better chance of winning.”

He’ll have to live with that regret awhile, and he’d love the chance to make amends next season. But there is no telling when or if Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will call off Eberle’s mission. Chiarelli certainly isn’t going to stand pat on a roster that won a playoff round and came within a whisker of another. Players will be coming and going, as always.

Eberle is a bona fide commodity, though obviously a pricey one at $6 million U.S. He has averaged 27 goals per 82 games played as an NHLer. That’s a very good number. But he is coming off a disappointing playoff run and if there is an upgrade to be made at right wing, one that will help them win in the post-season, Chiarelli might not hesitate.

After all, he traded Taylor Hall, who had to watch the Oilers make the playoff run that eluded him here. It would be a shame for Eberle, another Oiler lifer, to miss out on the next one. He’s 507 regular season games into his tenure in Edmonton, and the team is just now turning itself into a contender.

“Obviously this team took a huge jump this year, a huge leap in the way that we performed and I loved being a part of it,” Eberle said Friday. “You watched this city and how it went during the playoff run. I heard about it the whole time I was here and finally got a taste of it. I loved it. So, obviously, I want to be back and be a part of that. It’s a special group right now.”

He can make it better one of two ways. The least appealing for him would be to follow Hall out of town and bring the Oilers a piece of the puzzle they need to go at least another round. If he stays, he can certainly help them more on offence and defence than he did this year.

“He’s a tremendous player,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “He scores 20, 25 goals every season. You can count on it and that’s not going away. … We didn’t get to the playoffs without him. He had an impact on our team, especially down the stretch when we won I don’t know, 15 of 18 games, he was a key, key piece.

“You can’t completely evaluate him and pin his whole season on the playoffs. Of course that’s a time when you want guys to rise to the occasion. He didn’t quite get it done but he’s a very important asset for our team and confidence is huge moving forward. He’ll get it back and he’ll be just fine.”

(Dan Barnes/Edmonton Journal)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Seattle 7 Regina 4 -- TBirds Can Win WHL Title in Regina Sunday


If the Regina Pats are going to represent the WHL at the Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ontario, they will need to win both Game 6 and 7 on home ice.

The Seattle Thunderbirds will return to Regina Sunday night with a chance to win their first ever WHL title after a 7-4 victory Friday night in Game 5.

Josh Mahura and Jeff De Wit got Regina started off on the right foot scoring two goals early in the game, but Seattle bounced back to tie it at 2 before the game was 6 minutes old.

Seattle then broke the game open scoring twice in the final four minutes of the 2nd to take a 4-3 lead and adding another two in the first four minutes of the third to take control of the game and the series.

Game 6 goes Sunday night in a 6 o'clock start. If Regina can force a 7th game, it goes Monday night in a 7 o'clock start.

---
1st Period-1, Regina, Mahura 7 (Wagner, Ahl), 1:05. 2, Regina, de Wit 5 (Holmes, Hobbs), 3:17. 3, Seattle, Neuls 8 (Eansor, Tyszka), 5:09 (PP). 4, Seattle, Barzal 6 (Kolesar, Bear), 6:01 (PP). Penalties-Zborovskiy Reg (high sticking), 3:30; Holmes Reg (closing hand on puck), 5:32; Moilanen Sea (interference), 13:04.

2nd Period-5, Regina, Leedahl 12 (Hobbs, Mahura), 9:37 (PP). 6, Seattle, Kolesar 11 (Barzal, Neuls), 16:40. 7, Seattle, Barzal 7 (Bear, Gropp), 17:37 (PP). Penalties-Schioler Reg (slashing), 3:10; True Sea (roughing), 3:10; Ahl Reg (inter. on goaltender), 6:00; Strand Sea (interference), 8:19; Kolesar Sea (tripping), 10:07; Wagner Reg (roughing), 16:40.

3rd Period-8, Seattle, Volcan 5 (Moilanen), 2:21. 9, Seattle, Gropp 6 (Strand, Kolesar), 3:55. 10, Regina, Wagner 15 (Smart, Sloboshan), 11:22. 11, Seattle, Ottenbreit 3 (True), 19:58 (EN). Penalties-Ahl Reg (slashing), 7:04; Ahl Reg (10-minute misconduct), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Regina 9-8-20-37. Seattle 16-14-9-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 1 / 3; Seattle 3 / 5.
Goalies-Regina, Brown (38 shots-32 saves). Seattle, Stankowski (37 shots-33 saves).
A-6,223
Referees-Chris Crich (20), Reagan Vetter (39).
Linesmen-Nick Bilko (66), Kelsey Mahoney (138).

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.



--We know the Regina Pats and the Seattle Thunderbirds are coming back to the Brandt Centre for Game 6 of the WHL final with one team having the chance to end the season. We don't know what team that is yet, and won't until the end of the night as Game 5 is tonight, but there are some wondering if the T-Birds solved the Pats as a result of their 6-1 beating in Game 4.  All you have to do is look at the Edmonton Oilers to see the answer is no. The Oilers shook off a beatdown from San Jose in Round 1 to win that series and after clobbering Anaheim in Game 6, the Ducks came back to win Game 7.  After Game 4, John Paddock said a loss is a loss no matter what the final score is and that everything goes back to zero when Game 5 starts.   While Game 4 certainly wasn't as entertaining as the first three, I expect the two teams to treat us to another dandy tonight.  If the Pats win, one can only imagine what it will be like inside the sold-out Brandt Centre Sunday night.

--I was surprised to hear the Pats and T-Birds were together on the same plane when the series shifted from Regina to Seattle.  I am guessing the same thing will happen Saturday morning as the teams head back to the Queen City.  It is obviously a move done to cut the costs for both teams.  Here is a question I would like an answer to though because I don't know the answer.

The fact the series will go at least 6 games is good for the Pats bottom line because they will be getting 3 gates from the final.  If the series had ended in 5, the team that got home ice advantage would not get that gate. Those gates mean money. I'm sure Brandon would have loved to had 3 gates instead of 2 last year.  Does the WHL do something with gate money for Game 5 when it comes to the two teams involved? I am guessing they do or the 2-3-2 format would be scrapped. The team with home ice advantage should have that additional gate for Game 5 and in junior hockey, those gates can go a long way. How much do you think Brandon missed out on last year? How much will Regina make tonight. It's money they wouldn't have had in their pocket had one team swept the three games in Seattle.

  --The Edmonton Oilers are done for the season. A loss in Anaheim Wednesday was the end of the line for a team that proved "the decade of disaster" is over.  As the final buzzer sounded from the Honda Center, I was disappointed to see the Oil's season done, but I also realize what is right around the corner.   The Oilers of this year are like the Pats of last.  You knew when the team skated off the ice in Red Deer having lost to the Rebels in 7 that better times were ahead with guys like Steel, Hobbs, Wagner and Brown poised to have huge years. It happened!

   McDavid was what we thought. Draisaitl is just getting better, Klefbom is getting better. Talbot is solid. Tweaks have to be and will be made to get better, but the Oilers of 2016-17 have laid the groundwork for a possible parade or two down Jasper Avenue in future years.  As was mentioned a few times Thursday, the Oilers of now are like the Penguins of a decade ago.  That being said, expectations will be high next year, and the team will have to deliver unlike the Washington Capitals or the San Jose Sharks of the 2000's.  Will Jordan Eberle be a part of it? I hope so, and I have laid my argument down as to why that is, but it won't surprise me if he's not.   As for what does have to be done, for me its as follows

1) How much do you give Connor McDavid?  He can sign an extension as early as July 1. The Oilers aren't letting him get away. He will sign the 8 year maximum contract, but at how much.  What he signs for will dictate the future of others and your budget.  I am guessing he asks for the maximum which he deserves.  That will have an impact on the likes of Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and others. It has been suggested McDavid will do what Crosby did and take his number (9.7 a season) which would be a bargain and provide some flex room.

2) Get an experienced backup G.  If Cam Talbot had gotten hurt during the stretch run or the playoffs, the Oilers season wouldn't have lasted until May 10. Talbot was a workhorse for the Oilers this season, but I think he has to cut his workload down somewhat.  You need a guy to play 20-25 games a year.  Would Mike Condon or Peter Budaj be the answer? What about Cam Ward? The argument can also be made to give Brossoit a chance to earn the backup job. If he can, great. If not, make a move somewhere next season.

3) Tweak the D.  Keeping Kris Russell is a must. Matt Benning was a huge surprise, Oscar Klefbom is finally starting to be the player people thought he would be. I'm guessing you can't move Andrej Sekera because of his contract, but if you could get a 4-5 defenceman at a reasonable price, why not?

There are other things as well like the expansion draft, the entry draft and where guys like Jesse Puljujarvi are going to fit in, but those 3 top my wish list.

At the end of the day, the contract McDavid agrees to will have a huge part on what happens moving forward and don't forget Leon Draisiatil is a restricted free agent this year as well and needs to be paid, and paid handsomely.  It takes you back to what I said about the Oilers being like the Penguins 10 years ago. Crosby and Malkin then are McDavid and Leon now.

--The Blue Jays are having a better May than April, but at the rate guys are getting injured, they may be calling the Regina Red Sox to see what they have for players soon.  I think it is safe to say this team is not going back to the playoffs. If that is the case, Sportsnet will come nowhere close to having the audience for Jays games they have had the past two years come August and September.  Where does that leave the CFL? The CFL claimed the Jays ratings had an impact on their TV or lack of TV ratings, and there may be some validity to that. That reason won't be there this year so if the TV numbers aren't there, what will the league attribute it to?

--International soccer is ready to invade Regina. FC Valencia will take on the New York Cosmos in an international friendly. I realize soccer isn't everyone's cup of tea.  Soccer is to some what NASCAR is to me---it's a reason to turn the channel immediately.  That being said, there is no denying the rising popularity of the sport in this province and country. More and more are playing the game here with immigration having a large part to play in that. The question is what type of crowd should we expect? I would think having 20-thousand would be good. Can the Saskatchewan soccer community do that? People will come from neighbouring provinces and bordering states for the game as well. I think that is a reasonable number.  I just hope this leads to a World Cup qualifier--either mens or womens.  Years ago, I sat in Commonwealth Stadium for a friendly between Canada and Brazil. A friendly that Canada won believe it or not. It was an atmosphere unlike many other as there was a solid Brazilian contingent in the stands. I'd love to see that replicated here.

--Meanwhile, the Star-Phoenix's Kevin Mitchell had a story about former Rush president Lee Genier getting involved in trying to get a soccer team for Saskatchewan that would play in the newly-formed Canadian Premier League which is trying to get off the ground. Chances are the team would be based in Saskatoon which is fine. Kevin's story goes on to say a 6-8 thousand seat stadium would have to be built. Is that going to happen in these economic times? I hope that isn't a roadblock, but it could be. 

--What team is really going to want Ilya Kovalchuk?  If so, what do they give up?

--If you get the chance, don't forget about Mom on Sunday. I get the feeling many in Regina will say no to dinner Sunday, but yes to brunch because of a hockey game. Wouldn't it be great to see Mother's Day get punctuated with Ron Robison presenting the Ed Chynoweth Cup to the Pats? It could happen!

Have a great weekend everyone!



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Riders Acquire S Mike Edem from BC

Image result for mike edem bc

The Riders have strengthened their Canadian talent on the defensive side of the ball with the acquisition of safety Mike Edem from the BC Lions on Thursday.

Through four CFL seasons, the 27-year-old University of Calgary product has registered 91 defensive tackles, 29 special-teams tackles, six interceptions and five quarterback sacks while starting 33 of 60 regular-season games. He’s also seen action in seven career playoff games.

Edem joined the Lions last season as a free agent after starting his career in Montreal when he was taken with the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 CFL draft.  He had 37 defensive tackles and two interceptions in 2016.

The two teams are also swapping conditional draft picks in the 2018 CFL draft.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WHL Final Tied at 2

_BLP3003.jpg 
Photo: Brian Liesse


The best of 7 WHL Final is now down to a best of 3. 

The Seattle Thunderbirds evened the series at two Wednesday night with a convincing 6-1 win over the Pats.

Sam Steel got the first goal of the game for Regina, but Seattle roared back to take a 3-1 lead after 20, and added three more in the second to chase Tyler Brown from the Regina net as Jordan Hollett saw his first playoff action playing the 3rd. 

The T-Birds win means the Ed Chynoweth Cup will be handed out at the Brandt Centre as the series will return to Regina after Friday's Game 5 at the Sho-Ware Center.  The question now is will it be he Pats or T-Birds looking to end the season on Mother's Day in a 6 PM start.

If a Game 7 is needed, it goes Monday night at the Brandt Centre at 7.  

--

1st Period-1, Regina, Steel 10 (Leedahl, Mahura), 13:15 (PP). 2, Seattle, Gropp 5 (Kolesar, Barzal), 16:06 (PP). 3, Seattle, Moilanen 6   16:25. 4, Seattle, Volcan 4 (Eansor, Bear), 19:28. Penalties-Henry Reg (holding), 1:38; Bear Sea (hooking), 11:19; Schioler Reg (holding), 15:33.

2nd Period-5, Seattle, Tyszka 2 (Kolesar, Strand), 6:51. 6, Seattle, True 11 (Bear, Gropp), 13:52 (PP). 7, Seattle, Kolesar 10 (Strand, Neuls), 18:51. Penalties-Lockner Reg (tripping), 2:15; Ahl Reg (holding opp. stick), 13:46; True Sea (roughing), 14:35; Leedahl Reg (high sticking), 14:45.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Mahura Reg (slashing), 9:02; Andrusiak Sea (slashing), 9:02; Ahl Reg (holding), 11:51; Kolesar Sea (tripping), 12:56; Holmes Reg (cross checking), 16:39; Mahura Reg (roughing), 16:39; Volcan Sea (roughing), 16:39; Zborovskiy Reg (cross checking), 19:30; Adams Sea (slashing), 19:30.

Shots on Goal-Regina 7-8-4-19. Seattle 12-12-12-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 1 / 3; Seattle 2 / 7.
Goalies-Regina, Brown (24 shots-18 saves); Hollett (12 shots-12 saves). Seattle, Stankowski (19 shots-18 saves).
A-4,652
Referees-Derek Zalaski (8), Steve Papp (17).
Linesmen-Michael Roberts (87), Kelsey Mahoney (138).

Pats Take Game 3 Of WHL Final 3-2 For 2-1 Series Lead

brown_tyler

Without Tyler Brown (pictured), the Regina Pats are possibly not in the WHL Final, and they wouldn't have won Game 3 of the WHL Final. 

Brown was outstanding stopping 36 shots, 19 alone in the 3rd including an incredible save late in the contest off of Turner Ottenbreit as Regina held on for a 3-2 win in Game 3 and a 2-1 series lead. 

The first period of the game saw a different contrast to the first two games played at the Brandt Center as there was more offense and skating room for both teams with the end result being a 2-2 game after 20 minutes. 

In the 2nd period, the lone goal came off the stick of Robbie Holmes as he roofed one past Carl Stankowski to give Regina what would be the game-winner. 

The end of the game had some dramatics to it as Sam Steel was awarded a penalty shot with just over 7 minutes to play, but failed to convert. 

Regina then took a penalty from Austin Wagner at the 18:33 mark of the 3rd and looked to be going two men down when Wyatt Sloboshan was whistled down, but the referees decided to give T-Birds forward Matt Barzal a controversial "embellishment" call on the play at 19:24.  With the net empty, Seattle could not get the equalizer thanks to Brown.

Once again, the Pats were without captain Adam Brooks who was injured in Game 1 of the series. 

The Pats can take a 3-1 lead in the series Wednesday night in Game 4.  The puck drops at 8 on 620 CKRM, Access 7 and SHAW

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

International Soccer Comes To Regina

Image result for valencia soccer


– On Ice Management Group Inc. is bringing Regina’s first-ever international soccer friendly to new Mosaic Stadium on Saturday, July 22, 2017, when the New York Cosmos will host Valencia CF.

“It is great to bring this international event to Regina,” said John Graham, President of On Ice, who has been staging NHL exhibition games in Saskatchewan over the past 10 years. “When our partner Mark Taylor of PSC Limited reached out to us regarding the opportunity to stage an international match, our first calls were to the Government of Saskatchewan and the City of Regina because we knew the new world-class stadium would be the perfect location for this exciting event.”

City of Regina Mayor Michael Fougere and Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Hon. Ken Cheveldayoff were on hand at Tuesday’s announcement and look forward to seeing international soccer come to the province.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have this event coming to Regina,” said Mayor Fougere. “This is further confirmation that our iconic new stadium is a world-class venue. This is just one example of the myriad of ways this multi-purpose facility will be put to good use in the decades to come.”

“On behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan, I would like to congratulate John Graham and On Ice Management Inc. on their work to bring an event of this magnitude to the City of Regina and to our province,” said Minister Cheveldayoff. “When the plans for the new stadium were being developed, we wanted a facility that was world-class and multi-sport; new Mosaic Stadium offers that, as this match between Valencia CF and the New York Cosmos proves. I am looking forward to a successful event, and the opportunity to showcase this beautiful, new facility.”

Regina has a growing community of soccer fans, and the popularity of the sport continues to rise. Both international teams are looking forward to visiting the Queen City and entertaining fans in the new stadium.
"It's a great privilege to play in the first soccer match in beautiful new Mosaic Stadium,” said Erik Stover, NY Cosmos COO. “It's a world-class venue and we're looking forward to the challenge of playing a world-class club like Valencia CF.”
Valencia CF Marketing Director Damià Vidagany shares the enthusiasm about the upcoming event.

“All at Valencia CF are eagerly looking forward to our game against the New York Cosmos on Saturday, July 22,” Vidagany said. “This will be the club’s first visit to Canada, and we take great pride in being invited to play in the first major football game at the new Mosaic Stadium.”

Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 12 at 10 a.m. through ticketmaster.ca and the Brandt Centre Box Office (306-781-9300). Prices range from $22 to $66 plus applicable fees. Evraz Place Backstage Club members will have a pre-sale opportunity starting Wednesday, May 10 at 10 a.m. Sign up for the Evraz Place Backstage Club at evrazplace.com to get access to the pre-sale code.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Pats F Dawson Leedahl Signs Three Year Contract with New York Rangers

Courtesy: Keith Hershmiller 

Regina Pats forward Dawson Leedahl has signed a three year, entry-level contract with the New York Rangers. 

Leedahl, a product of Saskatoon, enjoyed a breakout year in 2016-17, scoring 35 goals and 54 assists for 89 points. The overager has carried that production into the post-season with 11 goals and 23 points in 19 games. 

“It’s pretty cool,” said Leedahl. “You grow up your whole life trying to make the NHL as a little kid and to finally get something (a contract). It’s a big step towards it.” 

Leedahl was acquired from the Everett Silvertips in a trade in July of 2016. His previous career high in points was 33 with the Silvertips in 2013-14. For his career, in 297 games, Leedahl has scored 72 goals and has 190 points. 

The Pats continue the WHL Championship Series on the road Tuesday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. The series is tied at a game apiece. Puck drops at 8 p.m. Regina time on 620 CKRM, The WHL on Shaw and Access 7. 

(Phil Andrews/Regina Pats) 

Something To "Mitch" About


Photo: Keith Hershmiller

IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS -  If you came to the Brandt Centre for Games 1 and 2 of the WHL Final or you watched it on Access and SHAW and said to yourself going in, the playoffs can't be any better than what we've seen.  I think you know your answer now.

Hockey fans in Regina and Western Canada were treated to two classics this weekend with both teams winning in overtime to send the series back to Kent, Washington even at one.

It has been fantastic hockey, and it is a series that likely will return to the Brandt Centre for a Game 6 and possibly a Game 7 as I can't see either team sweeping all three games at the ShoWare Center.

What strikes me about this Pats team in these playoffs is they find a way when they need to.  Down 3-1 in Game 6 to Swift Current, they found a way to win the game and extend the series.  Down 3-0 in Game 6 to Lethbridge, they found a way to win the game and prevent a Game 7 and once again on Saturday, they were down 3-1 and found a way.

At the midway mark of Game 2, the Pats had a meagre six shots on goal. SIX! A team that scored 353 goals in the regular season should be able to get six shots with their skateguards on most nights, but the T-Birds defence stymied the high-flying Pats and when they scored 3 goals in 56 seconds to take a 3-1 lead, I think its safe to say there were many in the crowd wondering just what the immediate future held.

Josh Mahura's late 2nd period goal gave the team some momentum, Filip Ahl's 3rd period goal got them back on even ground and then Mahura won it to rip the roof off the orange-top.

Speaking of ripping, I am guessing behind closed doors Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk had some words with Keegan Kolesar once Game 2 was over.  There is a time and a place, but Kolesar let his emotions get the best of him with his knee to Connor Hobbs.  He was lucky it wasn't a 5 and had it been the first period, it might have been which brings up that old debate.  The Pats will likely see if Kolesar can sit for a game or two after that. Why wouldn't they? If Regina wins this series, look back at that penalty as a big catalyst as to why they did.

Some fans think Yorkton product Tanner Ottenbreit should have sat Game 2 after his ferocious hit on Adam Brooks in Friday's opener.  I am not one of them.  Brooks got caught in the train tracks and he got run over by Ottenbreit in a hit that John Paddock very accurately said was a hit that got Scott Stevens into the Hall of Fame.  I've watched it several times, and I don't see anything wrong with it.   After seeing Brooks fight to get back into the lineup after being injured in the Swift Current series, I hope he's back before this series is over.  Like it was when he got hurt before, no one is saying anything thus the stories are flying.  I have heard he will back for Game 3.  I have heard he is done for the series and maybe longer.  I guess we will have to wait for Tuesday.

Bottom line---Tuesday night at 8.  Have your TV on Access or your radio on CKRM because you won't want to miss the latest in what has been a compelling and dramatic first two games.

WHAT IS GOALIE INTERFERENCE? -  That is the question many in the hockey world are asking after the Game 5 collapse by the Edmonton Oilers.  That doesn't go down in the "Miracle on Manchester" scale, but make no doubt about it, allowing 3 goals in the final 3 minutes of a Game 5 of a conference semi-final tied at 2 is a definite gag-job.  That simply can't happen.  However, the Oilers likely win the game if it weren't for Ryan Kesler's shenanigans that were ignored by both the officials on the ice and the NHL command centre,

 I don't know how you miss this, but inexplicably everyone did much to the amazement of many.  

Milan Lucic wants to know what goalie interference is because he doesn't know and I don't know if there is an answer. 

The Oilers are still choked over a goal in Game 4 where Corey Perry contacted Talbot, but I didn't think that was goalie interference.  This one was.  It made me wonder if Glen Johnson was in the NHL Command Centre,. Maybe it was Taylor Hall. 

It's an issue which has to be ironed out.  Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman said during Saturday's Pittsburgh-Washington game that every ref has a different interpretation of the rule.  It's like an umpire and the strike zone.  Do refs have to go to coaches before games and give them what their interpretation is? I don't think that is going to happen, but I see teams crashing the crease and doing things like what Kesler did in the hope the call won't get overturned.  I don't think the NHL wants that, but they have made their bed for the rest of the playoffs.

As for whether or not the bad call hurt them, I think the answer is no as they de-feathered the Ducks to a tune of 7-1, Game 7 is Wednesday.

UMMMMM -  So I just want to make sure I have this right.  Sidney Crosby suffers the 4th concussion of his career last Monday night, and there is concern about his career.  He misses Game 4 of the Washington series, but he takes part in full practice Friday and is back on the ice Saturday.  This is either a misdiagnosis which no one wants to admit, or is something that needs to be looked at.  Who gave the OK for Crosby to return? Is it the team? I am guessing they wouldn't jeopardize his career by saying he can go back on the ice when he isn't 100 percent, but when you have had four concussions, shouldn't you be held back for a bit longer before resuming play.  Something seems fishy here.

PREDS IN THE FINAL FOUR -  Once you get in the dance, you have just as good a shot at anyone. That can definitely be said for the Nashville Predators. The team that breezed past Chicago surprising everyone in Round 1 is now into Round 3 having disposed of St. Louis. There isn't a lot wrong with that team right now as Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne and Ryan Johansen have to be considered a legitimate threat to bring Lord Stanley to every honky-tonk going.

STAYING HOME - I can't even envision the roller coaster of emotions Rams receiver Mitch Picton went through on Sunday.  Slated to go somewhere in the late 2nd or early 3rd round of the CFL Draft. Picton. However 3 rounds passed by and Picton's name hadn't been called with some other receivers getting the call. After 4 rounds, his name still hadn't been called and I was wondering what the h-e double hockeysticks was going on. If I was wondering that, what must have been going through his mind.  The Riders then came to the rescue as they took Picton with the 37th overall pick in the 5th round.

I am guessing the phone call from the local team was everything that kid could want. Congratulations to both him and Rams team-mate Jeremy Zver who went in the 3rd round to BC. I imagine it will be quite the Monday for Picton as he walks around with a Rider hat on his head. Can you blame him?

He can come back to the Rams for one year as well with Chris Jones and company watching his every move.  It's a win-win for all.

As for the entire Riders draft, I love it.. Cameron Judge has the potential to be an impact player and getting Dariusz Bladek in the 2nd round is a steal.  Many including myself thought he was one of the best o-linemen at the combine if not the best.  Bladek is joined by three other offensive linemen as Jones looks to get younger in that area.

That's all I got. Have a fantastic week!




Sunday, May 7, 2017

Riders Take Cameron Judge With #2 Pick In CFL Draft


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Photo: Courtesy UCLA Football 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to announce they have selected University of California, Los Angeles linebacker Cameron Judge with the second overall pick in the 2017 CFL Draft.

Judge (6’2 – 235 lbs.) was selected by the Riders after spending four seasons at UCLA. The 22-year-old California resident played 47 collegiate games while with the Bruins, picking up 46 defensive tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one interception.

He was named team captain for his 2016 senior season.

(Ryan Pollock/Riders PR)

CFL Draft Goes Sunday Night With Riders Holding #2 Pick



The future of the CFL will be showcased Sunday night as the 2017 CFL Draft is held starting at 5 o'clock Saskatchewan time.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hold the first pick overall as a result of the trade that sent quarterback Drew Willy to the Argos last season.  If what Sportscage insider Arash Madani has reported is correct, they will take 24 year old defensive lineman Faith Ekatitie.  The Brampton, Ontario native has been playing at the University of Iowa.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are scheduled to pick at number 2.  It will be their first of nine picks in the draft.  Whether or not, the team holds on to the pick or trades it is another story though.

Earlier this week, head coach, general manager, and vice-president of football operations Chris Jones said he has fielded numerous calls from teams looking to trade up.

Jones added his staff have done numerous mock drafts, and he feels the team is very well prepared for what will happen.

As for what position the team will look at with the number two pick should they hold onto it, Jones won't tip his hat saying there are several different options.

As mentioned, the team holds nine picks as of Sunday morning.  Besides number 2, they also hold picks 11, 30, 32, 37, 46, 55, 57 and 64.

They forfeited their 3rd round pick when they took Kevin Francis in the 2016 supplemental draft.  They received picks 30 and 57 in the trade which sent Justin Capicciotti and Xavier Fulton to Hamilton last year and they received pick 32 from the Montreal Alouettes in the Darian Durant trade.






Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pats Need OT To Even WHL Final At One







To quote Pats p x p man Phil Andrews "WHAT A WIN!!  WHAT A GAME!!"

Josh Mahura evened the WHL Final at one game apiece when his shot from the line got past Carl Stankowski into the Seattle net to give the Pats a 4-3 overtime win.

The goal was a power-play marker as Seattle's Keegan Kolesar was whistled for kneeing after delivering a knee to the midsection of Connor Hobbs in a post-play scrum.

The goal also marked another comeback by the Pats who once again showed character after getting knocked to the canvas again in these WHL playoffs.

Holding a one goal lead in the 2nd, the Thunderbirds scored three times in 56 seconds to stun a sold-out Brandt Centre squad who were starting to wonder if the team would head to Seattle down 2-0 in the best of seven especially with the fact the high-flying Pats could only muster 12 shots after two periods.

Mahura gave the Pats some life when he scored at 18:35 with Filip Ahl scoring at 5:20 of the 3rd to tie the game setting the stage for Mahura's OT heroics.

The series now goes to Seattle for Game 3 Tuesday, Game 4 Wednesday and Game 5 Friday.

It is not known if Adam Brooks will play in those games. Brooks suffered an upper-body injury when hit by Turner Ottenbreit in the second period of Game 1. Brooks did watch Game 2 from the Brandt Centre

--

1st Period-1, Regina, Steel 9   0:50. Penalties-Wedman Sea (faceoff interference), 2:31; Kolesar Sea (high sticking), 13:22; Sloboshan Reg (holding), 16:54.

2nd Period-2, Seattle, Strand 5 (Neuls), 3:56. 3, Seattle, Ottenbreit 2 (Barzal), 4:12. 4, Seattle, True 9 (Gropp, Bear), 4:52 (PP). 5, Regina, Mahura 5 (Leedahl, Steel), 18:35 (PP). Penalties-Sloboshan Reg (tripping), 4:28; Wagner Reg (interference), 6:45; Eansor Sea (tripping), 9:44; Strand Sea (high sticking), 11:27; Adams Sea (interference), 16:29; Neuls Sea (checking from behind), 18:00.

3rd Period-6, Regina, Ahl 5   5:20. Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period-7, Regina, Mahura 6 (Ahl, Leedahl), 5:22 (PP). Penalties-Kolesar Sea (kneeing), 4:59.

Shots on Goal-Seattle 9-10-10-1-30. Regina 5-8-11-2-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Seattle 1 / 3; Regina 2 / 7.
Goalies-Seattle, Stankowski (26 shots-22 saves). Regina, Brown (30 shots-27 saves).
A-6,484
Referees-Chris Crich (20), Steve Papp (17).
Linesmen-Chad Huseby (59), Cody Huseby (88).

WHL Final Is A Homecoming for Several T-Birds

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The Seattle Thunderbirds landed in Regina on Wednesday afternoon and found themselves in somewhat familiar territory.

Not only is it the club’s second straight trip the WHL Final but for several players on the roster, it’s a homecoming of sorts. The Thunderbirds have six players on their roster who call Saskatchewan home.

For those players, not only is getting back to finals exciting, but getting to play the Regina Pats on such a big stage in front of family and friends is icing on the cake.

“I can’t even describe it,” said Grenfell, Sask. native Donovan Neuls. “I just hope that we can finish what we left last year.”

Grenfell is just less than 130 kilometers from Regina, and Neuls expects family and friends to make the 1.5-hour drive to see him play the Pats in Games 1 and 2. The Pats sold out Game 1 in about two minutes, and Neuls says his folks did not get tickets.

He went on to say that the team was going to take care of his parents so there will be some friendly faces in the Brandt Centre’s stands.

“This is as close as it gets and I’m just going to try and limit the distractions and focus on hockey,” Neuls said. “I can visit with them after. They know that I’m there to play hockey and they’re just going to be there to cheer me on. I love the support.”

After a season spent far away at home, it can become a distraction for young players to get a bit of the home feeling. Seeing friends and family can be a distraction.

Head coach Steve Konowalchuk is aware of it and says it’s something they prepare the team for.

“We talk about it all year and in the playoffs we kind of have a playoff policy that we have in place as far as family and when you can talk to them,” Konowalchuk said. “Your family is your hockey team and the players on the team. So we’ll talk about that and they’re excited but they also have to prepare like it’s just another game.”

The town of Yorkton, Sask. is just more than a two-hour, 187-kilometer drive from Regina. It’s also the hometown of defenseman Turner Ottenbreit.

The 19-year-old veteran is also making his second WHL Final appearance close to home.

“It’s so exciting,” Ottenbreit said. “Even last year in Brandon, that’s not too far. To get to play Brandon and now Regina, to have that support is huge.”

Being that close to Regina, you would think that the locals are throwing their support behind the Pats, who haven’t been this far since 1984.

But it turns out rooting for one of their own might be forefront in this series. A local steak house, Mr. Mikes, ran a promotion earlier in the week to win two tickets to Game 1 and cheer the hometown Ottenbreit on.

Ottenbreit says he’s familiar with the restaurant and has dined there on a few occasions.

“It’s obviously very cool,” Ottenbreit said. “To have the community get behind you and support you is always very nice. It’s exciting.”

Along with Neuls and Ottenbreit, the Saskatchewan T-Birds contingent includes Ethan Bear (Ochapowace), Rylan Toth (Saskatoon), Zack Andrusiak (Yorkton) and Tyler Adams (Regina).

All six of these players have the extra motivation of winning the championship in front of friends and family. If Seattle is able to pull off the victory, you have to wonder if Mr. Mikes will chip in for steaks on the house.

(MyNorthwest,com)

Friday, May 5, 2017

T-Birds Take Game 1



The end result was not what a majority of the sold-out crowd at the Brandt Centre wanted to see, but no one could be disappointed with what the Regina Pats and Seattle Thunderbirds treated WHL fans watching in person or on TV across Western Canada in Game 1 of the Ed Chynoweth Cup final. 

In what was simply an outstanding hockey game, and a likely precursor to what we will see in this series, the T-Birds took Game 1 in overtime by a score of 2-1. 

Grenfell's Donovan Neuls ended it just 14 seconds into overtime when he knocked home a shot that rang off the crossbar courtesy Ethan Bear. Bear, a member of the Ochapowace First Nation, had Seattle's other goal

Connor Hobbs had tied the game with just under 8 minutes to go.

In the second period, Pats captain Adam Brooks was levelled by a hit from Turner Ottenbreit that left the 20 year old bloodied and dazed. He was helped off the ice and did not return. His status for Game 2 is not known/ 

After the game, Pats head coach John Paddock says the hit reminded him of one that made Scott Stevens an NHL hall-of-famer and wasn't necessarily dirty. 

The two teams will meet again at the Brandt Centre Saturday before heading to Seattle for Game 3, 4 and possibly 5. 


1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Strand Sea (hooking), 19:06.

2nd Period-1, Seattle, Bear 6 (Barzal, Gropp), 4:55 (PP). Penalties-Ottenbreit Sea (roughing), 3:27; Holmes Reg (roughing), 3:27; Hobbs Reg (holding), 4:39; Henry Reg (delay of game), 7:45; de Wit Reg (delay of game), 14:05; Moilanen Sea (checking from behind), 14:24.

3rd Period-2, Regina, Hobbs 5 (Leedahl, Steel), 12:11 (PP). Penalties-Zborovskiy Reg (interference), 2:09; Volcan Sea (roughing), 10:06; Lockner Reg (roughing), 10:06; Bear Sea (hooking), 11:23.

OT Period-3, Seattle, Neuls 7 (Bear, Barzal), 0:14. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Seattle 8-8-9-1-26. Regina 11-8-13-0-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Seattle 1 / 4; Regina 1 / 3.
Goalies-Seattle, Stankowski (32 shots-31 saves). Regina, Brown (26 shots-24 saves).
A-6,484
Referees-Jeff Ingram (82), Reagan Vetter (39).
Linesmen-Sean Dufour (50), Tarrington Wyonzek (137).