Pages

Friday, May 24, 2019

This And That



--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order.

-- If you're not a Boston Bruins fan, how can we not cheer for St. Louis in the Stanley Cup final? This is a team that years ago just about ended up in Saskatoon.  They had training camp in Regina for a few years.   They have had the likes of Bernie Federko, Doug Wickenheiser, Barrett Jackman, and Ed Staniowski play for them.  They have Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Tyler Bozak now.  The Blues are Team Saskatchewan!  The Gloria thing still doesn't make sense to me, but whatever.  By the way, why aren't we starting the Stanley Cup until Monday?  A Saturday start would have been much better.

--It's tough to get a good gauge on what is happening at Riders camp in Saskatoon, but it would appear as if Jon Ryan can still kick the ball.  Word has it he was booming punts on Wednesday with several of them being over 60 yards.   Word also has it the 37-year-old is the first guy on the field each day.  His leadership is going to be huge as the year goes along.

--If Zach Collaros remains healthy, are the Riders fighting with Edmonton and Winnipeg for 3rd or are they fighting for a home playoff game?  I say it's the latter. Sadly though, I just don't see Collaros staying healthy for a whole season.  From the people I talk to, many feel the same way.

--I love what I'm been hearing from Craig Dickenson in post-practice scrums this week. He's what this football team needed after Chris Jones.  Players will play for Dickie the way they did for Jones, but for different reasons.

--Shouldn't Solomon Elimimian be at Rider camp instead of going around to other camps talking to players about the CBA?   Is there no one in the PA that can do Solomon's job for him.  He needs to be on the field and not the boardroom right now.

--The new deal ends at the same time TSN's contract comes up.  I don't see Sportsnet wanting to get involved with the CFL because of the Blue Jays and the NHL.  Would CBC want back in?  If the answer is no, TSN basically controls the purse-strings and can give the league as thin an offer as possible if they desire.  I guess there is no use worrying about this for three years, but it is something to remember moving forward.

--I am guessing there are no Vegas Golden Knights fans that are disappointed to see St. Louis beat San Jose.  Of course those fans still don't want to admit the team gave up four power play goals on a five minute major to get into the position they did.

--I'd rather have Patrick Marleau win a Stanley Cup than Joe Thornton and you know how I feel about the Leafs.

--The decision to give Vladimir Guerrero a day off on Monday was one of the dumbest things I have seen a pro sports team do.  VGJ is the future.  He is coming off a four homer week. It was a holiday Monday matinee game so I am guessing there were many kids at Rogers Centre.  For some, it might have been their first and only game of the year.  VGJ is who they came to see and someone in the Jays organization said nope, he sits.  What a great way to appease a fan base that is already dwindling.

--The Golden State Warriors or the New England Patriots.  Who has had the better decade?

--What would happen if a Rider fan came on the sidelines and gave Craig Dickenson a shoulder massage or yelled at an opposing player?  Security would haul his or her ass off the field immediately.  Yet there is Drake looking like a complete ass-clown.  He is worse than Spike Lee was in the Knicks heyday.  Its embarrassing and it makes the Raptors look bad.  Somebody in the organization needs to sit him down and tell him to continue sitting and not being a part of the game.

--Are the Raptors going to the NBA Final? I'll be the first to admit I didn't think the Kawhi Leonard trade would be that great for them, but he has taken that team on his back in the playoffs.  If Toronto gets past Milwaukee, will it do for basketball what the Jays did for baseball in Canada when they reached the World Series.  The Raptors have already made Canadian basketball better, but this could take it to a new level.

--Dave Tippett as the new coach of the Oilers?  It's a move that doesn't excite or disappoint me.  I just want results. Is it too late to call John Paddock?

--Why can't the WHL win a game at the Memorial Cup anymore.  Add Prince Albert to the list as their 0-3 mark in Halifax means the WHL champ has lost 13 straight dating back to Kelowna's loss in the 2015 final.  There are many thoughts out there. A lot of them are valid.  What's yours?

--The WCBL(formerly the WMBL)  season starts next week.  It will be great spending some time at Currie Field watching baseball.  Its too bad we couldn't have had games last week when the weather was perfect. If you have never been to a WCBL game, go and enjoy.

--Once again this year, some NHL teams are allowing fans to come and paint the ice with a message or something once the season is over before the ice is taken out. What a great idea!  I'd love to see the Pats do something like this.  It would be a blast for the family.  By the way, I would take no responsibility if the phrase "Phil Andrews Sucks" was found in one of the corners, but some kid might find himself $20 richer!  😃

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






Thursday, May 23, 2019

Riders Day 5 Training Camp Report

Photo: Saskatchewan Roughriders 

The pads were back on for a beautiful fifth day of training camp. The team practiced special teams drills and the quarterbacks had a pretty good day. Receivers K.D. Cannon and Naaman Roosevelt wowed the crowd with some big catches.



ROSTER MOVES



None


INJURY REPORT



Paul McRoberts (illness)
Jordan Reaves (knee)
Mitch Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (undisclosed)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)


PLAY OF THE DAY



Naaman Roosevelt came through with a big 50-yard touchdown tossed by Zach Collaros during the team scrimmage.


QUOTE OF THE DAY



“Zimmermann’s a tough kid. He’s had an ankle (injury), I think a quad (injury). He just keeps playing. He’s out here running gassers at the end of practice and I’m like ‘dude you need to stop running.’ But he’s a tough kid, he just wants to make this team and he’s willing to do anything and everything to do that, so we’ve been really pleased with him.”  – Head Coach Craig Dickenson on German wide receiver Max Zimmermann


TOMORROW



Practice runs from 9 a.m. to noon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Riders Day 4 Training Camp Report



Day four was the warmest day of training camp so far it was also the shortest day of practice. It was marked by some big plays by the quarterbacks, but it was the defence who put an exclamation point on the day with a pick six.


ROSTER MOVES

 None

INJURY REPORT

 Paul McRoberts (illness)
Jordan Reaves (no update)
Mitch Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (undisclosed)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)

PLAY OF THE DAY

 On the very last play of the day Ed Gainey made his presence known with a big interception he returned for a touchdown.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 “I’m a little old school that way. I think the run game sets up the pass game and I believe football is still won by the more physical team.” – Head Coach Craig Dickenson

TOMORROW

Practice runs from 9 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.

(Riders PR)

May 22nd Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate



THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM TUESDAY

 * The Blues netted their second five-goal outing in as many contests to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years.

 * St. Louis is the only team in the expansion era (1967-68) to have been in last place in the overall League standings at any point after its 20th game of the season and rebound to make the Stanley Cup Final. They also did so in their inaugural season, reaching the Final after holding the No. 12 seed through games played Dec. 12, 1967.

* The Bruins and Blues are set to face off in their third Stanley Cup Playoffs series and will meet in the Final for the second time. In 1970, Bobby Orr scored his famous Cup-winning goal to help Boston defeat St. Louis in four games.


BLUES ADVANCE TO THE STANLEY CUP FINAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 49 YEARS


Veterans David Perron (1-1—2) and Ryan O’Reilly (0-3—3) led the way offensively as the Blues, who are in search of the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup championship, tallied five goals for the second straight game to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years and fourth time in franchise history.

 Vladimir Tarasenko extended his point streak to six contests and led the Blues offensively in the Western Conference Final (3-5—8 in 6 GP) - finding the score sheet in each game. He also became just the third player in Blues franchise history to score 30 career playoff goals, joining Hall of Famers Brett Hull (67) and Bernie Federko (35).

* Alex Pietrangelo assisted on Brayden Schenn’s second-period goal. Pietrangelo has collected 13 points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-11—13 in 19 GP), trailing only the Sharks tandem of Brent Burns (5-11—16 in 20 GP) and Erik Karlsson (2-14—16 in 19 GP) for the most among defensemen. In the process, the Blues captain set a new franchise record for points in a single postseason by a defenseman.

 Perron opened the scoring 92 seconds into Game 6, the second time the Blues have done so in the Conference Finals after Ivan Barbashev found the back of the net 35 seconds into Game 4. The Blues improved to 5-0 when scoring in the opening two minutes of a game in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (also Game 6 of R1, Game 3 of R2, Game 6 of R2 and Game 4 of CF).


* With his team entering the final frame with a two-goal lead, Jordan Binnington turned aside all 10 shots he faced in the third period to improve to 12-7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2.36 GAA, .914 SV%, 1 SO). The 2018-19 Calder Memorial Trophy finalist became the fifth rookie netminder in NHL history, and first in 32 years, to be responsible for each of his team's first 12 wins in a playoff year.

* The Blues clinched a series on home ice at Enterprise Center for the third time in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, also doing so against the Jets and Stars in the First and Second Round, respectively. Only two teams in NHL history have clinched four series at home in a playoff year: 1988 Oilers and 2007 Ducks.


STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: ST. LOUIS’ COMEBACK SEASON

The Blues, who ranked last in the overall standings as recently as Jan. 2 when the club was 45% into their 2018-19 campaign (15-18-4, 34 points in 37 GP), look to continue a comeback season unlike any other in NHL history as they pursue the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

 * St. Louis became the seventh team in the NHL’s expansion era to make the playoffs after ranking last overall at any point after New Year’s Day (min. 20 GP), joining the 1976-77 North Stars, 1979-80 Oilers, 1982-83 Maple Leafs, 1987-88 Kings, 1987-88 Maple Leafs and 1996-97 Senators. The Blues are the only team in that group to advance past the opening round of the playoffs.

 * An NHL team has never gone from last place at any point after their 20th game in the regular season to Stanley Cup champion in the same campaign. In fact, only four other teams in the expansion era have reached the Final after ranking among the bottom three in the standings at any point after their 20th game, with the first such instance involving both the Blues – in the franchise’s first NHL season – and the Canadiens in 1968. The others: 1991 North Stars and 2010 Flyers.

 * The 1968 Stanley Cup Playoffs were the first of the expansion era – when the NHL grew from six teams to 12 – and the Blues became the first of the new franchises to reach the Stanley Cup Final after advancing out of the all-expansion West Division with a pair of seven-game victories. In the Final, the Blues would meet the Canadiens – winners of two of the previous three Stanley Cups – and fall in four games despite the heroics of Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in a losing cause. The 1968 Canadiens are the only team in the expansion era to win the Stanley Cup after ranking among the bottom three in the standings at any point after their 20th regular-season game.


STANLEY CUP FINAL OPENS MONDAY IN BOSTON

The Bruins will host the Blues in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, May 27 at TD Garden in Boston.

* This will mark the third all-time playoff meeting between the Blues and Bruins and second in the Stanley Cup Final - Boston’s Bobby Orr scored his legendary Stanley Cup-clinching goal against St. Louis in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final. The teams also met in the 1972 Semifinals, also a four-game sweep by Boston en route to a Cup win.

* Boston holds an overall record of 74-42-29 against the Blues combining regular-season and playoff games (STL: 53-74-18), with each team earning one win in the 2018-19 season.


* Boston (1-0-1) won the first meeting this season between the clubs at TD Garden on Jan. 17, with Tuukka Rask making 28 saves to match the Bruins franchise record for career wins. St. Louis (1-1-0) emerged in the second contest, with Jordan Binnington posting a 31-save performance on Feb. 23 at Enterprise Center - the 14th win of his NHL career - to defeat Rask (28 saves) and the Bruins. Sammy Blais scored the shootout-winner in the latter contest as St. Louis improved to 13-2-0 since its first meeting with Boston, while also ending the Bruins’ season-high winning streak at seven games.

 * Bruins forward David Backes will be making a run at his first Stanley Cup against the team that selected him 62nd overall in the 2003 NHL Draft. Backes tallied 206-254—460 in 727 regular-season games over 10 NHL seasons with St. Louis, serving as captain from 2011 until 2016 when he helped them reach the Western Conference Final.

(NHL Media)


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Day 3 Riders Training Camp Report

Picture: Saskatchewan Roughriders 

The Green and White strapped on the pads for the first time at Coors Light Training Camp leading to some spirited exchanges and some fun in the trenches. The running backs got a lot of touches and the defensive and offensives lines squared off in one-on-one drills.

 ROSTER MOVES

None


INJURY REPORT



Jordan Reaves (no update)
Mitch Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (undisclosed)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)


PLAY OF THE DAY

 Defensive lineman Tresor Mafuta, the Roughriders sixth round pick in the 2018 draft, blasted by offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek in Tuesday one-on-one drills much to the chagrin of Bladek and the delight of his fellow defensive linemen.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We do have a saying if you would, something we want to live by, which is team above self.”– Head Coach Craig Dickenson


TOMORROW

 Practice runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Griffiths Stadium

May 21st Stanley Cup Playoff Report


BLUES RETURN HOME LOOKING TO CLINCH FIRST FINAL APPEARANCE IN 49 YEARS

The Western Conference Final shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6 with the Blues looking to clinch their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since the League expanded beyond 12 teams in 1970-71.

* Over half of St. Louis’ all-time series-clinching wins have taken place on home ice (16 of 29; 55.2%), including both so far in 2019 (Game 6 of R1 vs. WPG and Game 7 of R2 vs. DAL). The Blues own an all-time record of 16-9 in potential series-clinching games as hosts (.640).

* The Blues earned a series-clinching win at home to reach the Final on one prior occasion – a 2-1 double-overtime win over the North Stars in Game 7 of the 1968 Semifinals. They also reached the Stanley Cup Final via road wins in 1969 and 1970.

* St. Louis holds a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series for the 13th time in franchise history, owning a 10-2 series record in the 12 previous instances. The Blues were in the same 3-2 scenario before two of their three trips to the Final, earning a seven-game triumph over the North Stars in the 1968 Semifinals and a six-game win over the Penguins in the 1970 Semifinals.


* In Game 5, St. Louis matched its franchise record for largest margin of victory in a shutout win during the Conference Finals/Semifinals (also 5-0 W in Game 5 of 1970 SF vs. PIT). Overall, the Blues have scored 52 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 GP) – the franchise’s third-highest total in a postseason behind 1986 (64 GF in 19 GP) and 2016 (57 GF in 20 GP).

* The Sharks trail 3-2 in a best-of-seven series for the 15th time, having forced a Game 7 in three of the 14 previous scenarios. They won two of those series, doing so in the 1995 Conference Quarterfinals against Calgary and 2019 First Round versus Vegas.

 * The Sharks own an all-time record of 16-20 in games when facing elimination, including a 4-0 mark in 2019. Only one team in NHL history has reached the Stanley Cup Final after winning at least six elimination games - the 2014 Kings earned seven such victories before facing the Rangers.

 * The Sharks own an all-time postseason record of 7-2 in the contest following a loss by a margin of five or more goals, including a win in Game 5 of the 2019 First Round on the heels of a 5-0 defeat in their previous outing. San Jose is 11-10 all-time immediately following a shutout loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 2-0 mark in 2019.


SHARKS MUST REPLICATE RIVAL KINGS TO REACH FINAL

The Sharks must win three Game 7s to reach the Stanley Cup Final, a feat accomplished by only one team in NHL history – the intrastate rival Kings. In 2014, Los Angeles became the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s en route to the Final.

 * Los Angeles began the 2014 postseason by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit against San Jose, then surrendered series leads against Anaheim (2-0) and Chicago (3-1) before eliminating each opponent with a road win in Game 7. The Kings capped their impressive run with a five-game defeat of the Rangers in the Final.

 * Aside from the 2014 Kings, only one other team in League history has won three Game 7s at any point in a postseason: the 2011 Bruins claimed Game 7 victories in the Conference Quarterfinals against Montreal and Conference Finals versus Tampa Bay before clinching the Cup in a winner-take-all showdown in Vancouver.

 * Sharks goaltender Martin Jones was part of the 2014 Kings roster, appearing in two games as a backup to Jonathan Quick.

BLUES FORWARDS SCHWARTZ, TARASENKO LOOK TO STAY HOT

 * Jaden Schwartz has four goals in the Western Conference Final (4-1—5 in 5 GP) and 12 overall this postseason (12-4—16 in 18 GP). He needs one goal to tie the franchise record for most in a postseason (Brett Hull: 13 in 1990, 12 GP) and one to match Red Berenson (5-2—7 in 1969, 4 GP) for the most by a Blues player in the Conference Finals/Semifinals.

* The franchise record for most goals in any Stanley Cup Playoffs series is eight, a mark set by Hull in the 1990 Division Finals (8-3—11 in 7 GP) and matched in the 1991 Division Semifinals (8-5—13 in 7 GP).

 * Vladimir Tarasenko has collected at least one point in each game of the Western Conference Final (2-5—7 in 5 GP). He has scored 29 career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (29-15—44 in 62 GP), trailing only Hull (67-50—117 in 102 GP) and Bernie Federko (35-66—101 in 91 GP) for the most in franchise history.

* Tarasenko can become the second player in franchise history to collect at least one point in each game of a Conference Finals/Semifinals - Gary Sabourin is the only one to do so (4-1—5 in 1969, 4 GP).

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL QUICK HITS

* The Blues line of Oskar Sundqvist (2-0—2 in 5 GP), Ivan Barbashev (1-1—2 in 5 GP) and Alexander Steen (1-1—2 in 5 GP) has combined for almost a quarter of the Blues’ goals in the Western Conference Final (4 of 18; 22.2%), including the winner in Game 5.

 * Sharks forward Logan Couture leads all players with 14 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (14-6—20 in 19 GP), one shy of establishing a franchise record for most in a postseason. Five of those goals have come against the Blues (5-1—6 in 5 GP), tied for the most by a Sharks player in the Conference Finals (Patrick Marleau in 2010).

 * Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has collected 12 points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-10—12 in 18 GP), trailing only the Sharks tandem of Brent Burns (5-11—16 in 19 GP) and Erik Karlsson (2-14—16 in 19 GP) for the most among defensemen. Pietrangelo is one point shy of setting a franchise record for most in a postseason by a Blues defenseman.


* Craig Berube, who took over as Blues head coach on Nov. 21, 2018, is one win away from becoming the 11th head coach in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final after taking over midseason.

(NHL Media)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Day 2 Riders Training Camp Report



ROSTER MOVES

SIGNED:

International wide receiver Austin Ellsworth
International defensive back Solomon Means

INJURY REPORT

 Jordan Reaves (left practice with injury believed to be severe)
Mitchell Picton (undisclosed)
Dan Clark (car accident)
Christion Jones (foot)
Brayden Lenius (hamstring ---expected to miss 10-14 days)
Justin McInnis (hamstring)


PLAY OF THE DAY

 Kyran Moore seemed unstoppable during one-on-one drills continually finding ways to make space between him and the defensive back covering him but one catch in particular during scrimmage saw him pop up his reception then pull it back in, leaving even the defensive backs around him wondering how he did it.


QUOTE OF THE DAY

 “I want my dogs ready to hunt.” – Defensive Coordinator Jason Shivers.


TOMORROW

 Practice runs from 9 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium

(Riders PR)

May 20th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM SUNDAY

 * The Blues, who held the No. 31 seed in the NHL standings on Jan. 2, moved within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in nearly half a century.

 * St. Louis forwards Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko as well as goaltender Jordan Binnington all achieved franchise-firsts on Sunday.

 * When the Conference Finals/Semifinals are tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 owns an all-time series record of 19-8 (70.3%).

 BLUES ONE WIN AWAY FROM FIRST FINAL APPEARANCE IN 49 YEARS

After ranking last in the NHL on Jan. 2, the Blues – powered by Jaden Schwartz’s second hat trick of the 2019 postseason – now sit one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years after posting a Game 5 victory in San Jose.

 * St. Louis will return home for Game 6 on Tuesday with a chance to clinch its first trip to the Final since the League expanded to 14 teams in 1970-71. The Blues have made three Final appearances all-time, emerging from the all-expansion West Division in each of its first three seasons (1968-70).

* The Blues improved to 11-7 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and established a franchise record for most wins in a postseason, eclipsing the previous high of 10 set in 1986 (10-9) and matched in 2016 (10-10).

 * St. Louis moved to 7-2 as visitors this postseason and became the 18th team in NHL history to win at least seven of its first nine road games in a playoff year, a feat Washington also accomplished in 2018 (7-2) en route to capturing the Stanley Cup for the first time.

* St. Louis owns a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series for the ninth time in franchise history, owning a 7-1 series record in the eight previous instances. The Blues were in the same 3-2 scenario before two of their three trips to the Final, earning a seven-game triumph over the North Stars in the 1968 Semifinals and a six-game win over the Penguins in the 1970 Semifinals.



SCHWARTZ, TARASENKO AND BINNINGTON ACHIEVE FRANCHISE-FIRSTS

Blues forwards Jaden Schwartz (3-0—3) and Vladimir Tarasenko (1-2—3) as well as goaltender Jordan Binnington (21 saves) all achieved feats that had never been accomplished in franchise postseason history prior to Sunday.

* Schwartz scored the sixth hat trick of his NHL career and second of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (also 3-0—3 in Game 6 of R1 vs. WPG). He became the first player in franchise history to score multiple hat tricks in a postseason and first on any team to do so since Johan Franzen (2) in 2008 en route to capturing the Stanley Cup with Detroit.

 * Schwartz became the second player in franchise history to score multiple playoff hat tricks at any point, joining Frank St. Marseille who posted a three-goal outing in 1970 and again in 1972.

 * Schwartz now ranks second in the NHL with 12 goals this postseason (12-4—16 in 18 GP), one more than he scored in the entire 2018-19 regular season (11-25—36 in 69 GP). He is one goal shy of matching the franchise record for most in a postseason, a mark set by Brett Hull in 1990 (13-8—21 in 12 GP).

Tarasenko became the first player in franchise history to score a penalty-shot goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only other Blues player to attempt a penalty shot in the postseason is Jimmy Roberts, who failed to convert against Minnesota’s Cesare Maniago in Game 4 of the 1968 Semifinals.



* Tarasenko became the fourth player in NHL history to score a penalty-shot goal in the Conference Finals/Semifinals, joining Wayne Gretzky in 1984 (w/ EDM), Mats Sundin in 1999 (w/ TOR) and Joe Sakic in 2001 (w/ COL).

* After allowing five goals on 32 shots in Game 3, Binnington has stopped 50 of 51 shots in the 120 minutes since - including all 21 he faced Sunday to record the first rookie shutout in franchise history. He became the second St. Louis goaltender (rookie or veteran) in the last 15 years to blank an opponent in the postseason, following Brian Elliott in Game 1 of the 2016 First Round.

* The Western Conference Final will resume on Tuesday night with Game 6 at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

BLUES AIM TO ACHIEVE AN NHL-FIRST

An NHL team has never gone from last place after their 20th game to Stanley Cup champion within a season. In fact, only four teams in the expansion era have reached the Final after ranking among the bottom three in the standings at any point after their 20th game: the 1968 Canadiens, 1968 Blues, 1991 North Stars and 2010 Flyers. The Canadiens are the only one of those clubs to win the Stanley Cup.

 * Montreal ranked 10th of 12 teams with a record of 9-12-7 (25 points) after games played Dec. 15, 1967 (28 GP) before winning 33 of their remaining 46 contests to finish the regular-season first overall. The Canadiens then posted a 12-1 playoff record – including four-game sweep of the expansion Blues in the Final – to win the Stanley Cup for the third time in four years.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Sharks will have to become the second team in NHL history to win three Game 7s to reach the Final; they would join the Kings, who did so in 2014 en route to capturing the Stanley Cup. Aside from Los Angeles in 2014, only one other team in League history has won three Game 7s in a postseason: Boston in 2011, who earned its third such victory in the Stanley Cup Final.

(NHL Media)

Something To "Mitch" About

Photo: Saskatchewan Roughriders

--It looked a little dicey on Saturday night as to whether or not training camp was going to start as the CFL tried some last-second shenanigans by the sounds of it, but camp is on up in Saskatoon.  No, I am not up there so like you I will be an observer through what I hear from people like Murray McCormick, Derek Taylor and Ian Hamilton---oh wait scratch that last one for whatever reason.  Like you, there are questions that need answering.  Here are my top 3 and I'm guessing your number 1 and mine are similar


  • Who is the backup quarterback going to be? While I would love to sit here and say Zach Collaros will be able to play the whole season, I am just not confident that he can after a season last year where he sustained one too many concussions.  With all apologies to those in camp, they just don't bring me any confidence when it comes who is in charge of the offense if Collaros goes down.  The season may very well depend on his health. That health that arguably cost the Riders the WSF versus Winnipeg 
  • What impact will Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius have? The two Canadian receivers taken with the first two Rider picks in the draft are expected to be contributors right from the opening quarter of the season.  Both suffered hammie pulls on day 1 so that question may not be answered for a while.  
  • How will the defence look? Chris Jones is gone so the "D" is in the hands of Jason Shivers. Is it realistic to expect something like what we saw last year?  Shivers needs to show us quickly that he has the personnel and the scheme to keep this "D" in the top 3.  With Johnson, Evans, Elimimian, Gainey and Moncrief, I think they will be fine, but we need to get some proof. 

--What was with the Saturday night stunt pulled off by the CFL?  Did they really try a "bait and switch" as has been suggested? .  If owners changed the wording on parts of the deal, the association had every right to be somewhat choked thus resulting in a late night conference call being held to straighten everything out.  The league needs to do some damage control here and tell us the story and just who is to blame.  I am guessing that won't be happening though. 

--We have to start talking about Jaden Schwartz being a solid candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy don't we?  As we approach the final, one has to think Tuukka Rask is still the favourite, but Schwartz has been St. Louis' best player and has to be in that conversation.  Its great to see Jaden have this success with the spotlight shining so brightly.

--Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes the NFL should get rid of or at least decrease the amount of instant replay we are seeing.  What do you think about that and not just in the NFL. Do we want to put all the authority and the blame on the officials after having it the way we have.  Instant replay is a slippery slope and at the end of the day you want to get the call right (unless it is Game 4 of the NHL West final), but there is no doubt replay has become a bigger factor in pro sports. As I have said before, give the refs or the command centre 60 seconds to look at the play and then make a decision.

--As baseball hits the quarter-pole, the trend of the game becoming boom-or-bust continues.  Strikeouts are on pace for another record high and are up for the 14th straight season. Walks have reached their highest rates in almost 20 years and home runs are being hit at a record level.   Strikeouts, walks and homers are accounting for over 35 percent of plate appearances. It was 31 percent in 2015.  Balls put into play are down for a 6th straight year.   That should be concerning for major league baseball.  I'm not sure how you fix it though.

--They said if you let Vladimir Guerrero Junior do his thing, he will get it right.  After a bad two weeks to start his major league career, he is getting it right as he hit four homers in the last week.  He is the only thing worth watching for that Blue Jays team right now.  I think even Blue Jays fans agree with that. 

--Has anyone paid attention to the World Hockey Championship?

--Did anyone think Brooks Koepka was going to lose the PGA Championship after taking a seven-shot lead into the final round.  I'll raise my hand on that one.  Koepka was leaking oil big-time coming down the stretch and it looked like Dustin Johnson just might catch him until he faded in the last couple of holes.   Once again, a major was great theatre to watch on a Sunday afternoon.  While I'm in the minority, it was great to watch the PGA Championship without having to see Tiger Woods.  It allowed CBS to concentrate on the leaders.  Watching some of Friday's coverage, there was more given as to whether or not Tiger would make the cut with every shot being analyzed and shown while Koepka was tearing Bethpage Black apart with very little notice.

Guys like Koepka, who has four wins in the last eight majors, DJ, Spieth, Rory and others are the guys the game needs to concentrate on. If Tiger is doing what he did at the Masters than great, he deserves the publicity, but when he is hacking it down the fairways move on.

--Have you had enough of road construction yet in Regina? We've only just begun.  It was sure nice of the city to basically destroy the east service road between MacDonalds and Glencairn Road last year while fixing the Ring Road and then leave it this year.  That road has more craters in it now than the moon.  I'm not sure if that stretch of road is in the schedule for repair this year, but it should have been done already.

--That's all I got.  If in Saskatoon, enjoy Riders camp. Have a great holiday Monday. 


Sunday, May 19, 2019

May 19th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


BLUES, SHARKS DEADLOCKED HEADING INTO GAME 5

After the Sharks and Blues split the first four contests, the Western Conference Final shifts back to SAP Center in San Jose on Sunday for Game 5. When the Conference Finals/Semifinals are tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 owns an all-time series record of 19-8 (70.3%)

* The Sharks find themselves tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven series for the 19th time in franchise history and second in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have gone on to capture the series in seven of the previous 18 instances, including a seven-game triumph over the Avalanche in the Second Round.

* The Blues are knotted at two games apiece after four games of a seven-game series for the 25th time in franchise history (9-15) and third time this postseason. They advanced in each of the opening two rounds after the series was tied 2-2, knocking off the Jets in six games and the Stars in seven contests.

* San Jose heads home to SAP Center boasting the postseason leader in goals and points, Logan Couture (14-6–20 in 18 GP). Couture, who sits one tally shy of establishing a single postseason franchise record for goals, is one of 13 players to average at least one point per game (1.11 P/GP) in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (min. 7 GP). After 19 players accomplished the feat in 2018, the NHL can feature consecutive postseasons with at least 13 such instances for the first time since a three-year run in 2008 (16), 2009 (16) and 2010 (17).


* Couture (8-5–13 in 10 GP) and teammates Tomas Hertl (8-5–13 in 10 GP) and Brent Burns (4-9–13 in 10 GP) have each collected 13 home points during the Sharks’ playoff run and sit one point shy of matching the single postseason franchise record for home points, set by Couture (7-7–14 in 12 GP) and Joe Thornton (3–11–14 in 12 GP) during the club’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016.

* Additionally, the duo of Couture and Hertl have already established single postseason franchise records for home goals and now sit two shy of becoming just the sixth and seventh different players in the last 30 years to tally at least 10 goals on home ice - a list paced by Cam Neely’s 14 home goals with the Bruins in 1991, which tied Reggie Leach’s NHL record set in 1976 with the Flyers.

* Conversely, Blues forwards Jaden Schwartz (4-4–8) and Ryan O’Reilly (3-5–8) pace their teammates with eight road points in eight such contests this postseason. Only Bruins teammates Brad Marchand (5-5–10 in 8 GP) and David Pastrnak (4-5–9 in 8 GP) have collected more road points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* During St. Louis’ previous appearance in the Conference Finals in 2016, Robby Fabbri (2-8–10 in 10 GP) became just the fourth player in Blues franchise history to notch at least 10 road points in a single postseason. The others: Doug Gilmour (9-6–15 in 1986), Bernie Federko (2-9–11 in 1986) and Rod Brind’Amour (4-6–10 in 1990).

BLUES CAPTAIN SETS SIGHTS ON FRANCHISE MARK

Captain Alex Pietrangelo has collected 2-10—12 in 17 playoff games in 2019, surpassing his previous postseason career high of 2-8—10 (20 GP) set in 2016. Pietrangelo sits one point shy of establishing a Blues franchise record for points in a postseason by a defenseman.

* Pietrangelo has proven to contribute when it matters most as a three-time champion on the international stage. He was a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning entries at the 2009 World Junior Championship and 2014 Olympic Winter Games and helped his country win World Cup of Hockey 2016.

(NHL Media)

Last Minute Snag Almost Results In CFL Players Going On Strike

Image result for randy ambrosie


Labour peace between the CFL and its players’ association held together after reports that a tentative collective bargaining agreement between the two sides had fallen apart with some players taking to Twitter to say the strike was on again.

There were several reports saying  the two sides had to have a conference call to iron out a misunderstanding in the memorandum of agreement that had been agreed to on Wednesday.

Statements by the CFLPA and the CFL issued late Saturday confirmed that there had been a discrepancy between the two sides but that it had been worked out.

“The language in the (memorandum of agreement) is now agreed upon and is exactly what we communicated to you earlier,” said the CFLPA’s statement to the players. “We are now prepared to sign and move forward with our unanimous endorsement for the tentative collective agreement.”

CFL training camps are set to open on Sunday.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Stanley Cup Playoffs May 18th Morning Skate


THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM FRIDAY

 * Jordan Binnington recorded 29 saves to help the Blues even the series and become the first goaltender in franchise history, and 10th rookie in NHL history, to record 10 wins in a single postseason.

* St. Louis improved to 10-7 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs to match the franchise record for wins in a single postseason (also 1986 and 2016).

* The NHL announced the Stanley Cup Final will open with Game 1 on Monday, May 27 in Boston.


BINNINGTON, BLUES REBOUND TO EVEN WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Ivan Barbashev opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the contest as the Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, while Jordan Binnington turned aside 29 of 30 shots to earn his 10th win of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. St. Louis, which evened the Western Conference Final at two games apiece, tied a franchise record for wins in a single postseason (10), first accomplished in 1986 and matched in 2016.

When the Conference Finals/Semifinals are tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 owns an all-time series record of 19-8 (70.3%).

* After establishing a single-season franchise record for wins by a rookie goaltender in the regular season (24-5-1), Binnington became the first netminder in Blues franchise history to win 10 contests in a single postseason and just the 10th rookie netminder in NHL history to accomplish the feat.


* Binnington improved to 5-2 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in games following a loss, a trend he started in the regular season when he compiled a 6-0 record under the same scenario. Overall, Binnington improved to 10-7 this postseason with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

 * No stranger to big moments, Binnington captured the OHL championship with the Owen Sound Attack in 2010-11 and was later named the Most Outstanding Goaltender at the Memorial Cup - weeks before the Blues selected him in the third round (87th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.

* Barbashev became the second Blues player to score in the opening minute of a game this postseason, joining Jaden Schwartz, who tallied 23 seconds into Game 6 of their First Round series against Winnipeg. Teams that score in the opening minute of a game in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs own a 5-2 record in those contests.

* The Western Conference Final will resume on Sunday afternoon with Game 5 at SAP Center in San Jose.

STANLEY CUP FINAL TO BEGIN MAY 27 IN BOSTON

The NHL announced the dates, starting times and television information for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Monday, May 27, at TD Garden in Boston 


(NHL Media) 


Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate




THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM THURSDAY

 * “Perfection Line” of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand combined for all four goals as the Bruins swept the Hurricanes to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

* Tuukka Rask blanked Carolina to record his second clinching shutout in as many series and the third of his NHL career overall.


* The Sharks and Blues face off in a pivotal Game 4 at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

 BRUINS SWEEP HURRICANES, ADVANCE TO STANLEY CUP FINAL

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and the line of Patrice Bergeron (2-1—3), David Pastrnak (1-2—3) and Brad Marchand (1-1—2) combined for 4-4—8 as Boston swept Carolina to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the 20th time in franchise history and third in the last eight years (2011 and 2013).

* The Bruins became the fourth franchise in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final 20 or more times, joining the Canadiens (32), Red Wings (24) and Maple Leafs (21). Ten of Boston’s 20 all-time Stanley Cup Final appearances have occurred in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68), the second-most in that span behind only Montreal (11).


* Boston swept a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series for the 15th time in franchise history and sixth time in the Conference Finals/Semifinals (also 1970 vs. CHI, 1972 vs. STL, 1977 vs. PHI, 1990 vs. WSH and 2013 vs. PIT). The four-game triumph over the Penguins in the 2013 Conference Finals was also their last sweep overall.


* The Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final with a 7-0 record in their last seven games, marking the third-longest single-postseason win streak in franchise history behind runs of 10-0 in 1970 and 9-0 in 1972.

* Boston will face either San Jose or St. Louis in the Stanley Cup Final, with the former owning a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final. The Bruins are 2-0 in two all-time head to-head postseason meetings with the Blues, earning four-game sweeps in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final and 1972 Semifinals; Boston has never faced San Jose in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 * Despite missing his first postseason game since 2011, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara suited up to hit the ice with his teammates for the presentation of the Prince of Wales Trophy. 

RASK RECORDS SECOND CLINCHING SHUTOUT IN AS MANY SERIES

Tuukka Rask recorded his third career series-clinching shutout and second of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (also Game 4 of 2013 CF and Game 6 of 2019 R2). He established a franchise record for most series-clinching shutouts, eclipsing the mark for two set by Gerry Cheevers (Game 6 of 1972 SCF, Game 4 of 1977 SF) and matched by Tim Thomas (Game 7 of 2011 CF, Game 7 of 2011 SCF).


* Rask became the third goaltender in NHL history to record multiple series-clinching shutouts in the Conference Finals/Semifinals, joining Jacques Plante (3) and Glenn Hall (2). Rask improved to 8-0 in eight career appearances in the Conference Finals (also 4-0 in 2013); he became the seventh different goaltender in League history to earn wins in eight or more consecutive appearances in the Conference Finals/Semifinals.

* Rask extended his personal win streak to seven games, the second-longest by a Bruins goaltender in a playoff year behind only a 10-0 run by Cheevers in 1970. Overall, Rask improved to 12-5 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (1.84 GAA, .942 SV%, 2 SO), including a 6-2 mark on the road (1.64 GAA, .952 SV%, 2 SO).

 * Rask recorded his seventh career shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs overall and passed Miikka Kiprusoff (6) for the most in NHL history by a Finnish-born goaltender.



LINE OF BERGERON, PASTRNAK AND MARCHAND COMBINE FOR ALL FOUR GOALS

* Patrice Bergeron scored his League-leading sixth power-play goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the second-most in a postseason by a Bruins player behind only Cam Neely in 1991 (9) – who shares the NHL record for most in playoff year (w/ Mike Bossy in 1981). Boston leads the League with 17 power-play goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the fourth-highest total in a postseason in franchise history.


* Bergeron scored his 38th and 39th career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (39-60—99 in 129 GP) to leapfrog Peter McNab (38-36—74 in 79 GP) for sole possession of fifth place on the franchise’s all-time list. Bergeron moved within one point of becoming the sixth player in Bruins history to collect 100 career postseason points – a milestone teammate David Krejci (36-65—101 in 125 GP) reached in Game 3.

* David Pastrnak scored his 15th career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (15-24—39 in 35 GP), the second-most by a Bruins player before turning 23 behind only Barry Pederson (21-29—50 in 28 GP). Pastrnak has scored 147 career NHL goals (regular season and playoffs combined), the highest such total by a Bruins player before celebrating their 23rd birthday – six more than Pederson (141).

 * The line of Bergeron (8-5—13 in 17 GP), Pastrnak (7-8—15 in 17 GP) and Brad Marchand (7-11—18 in 17 GP) have combined for over a third of the Bruins’ goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (22 of 57; 38.6%), including six game winners.

SHARKS, BLUES SET FOR PIVOTAL GAME 4 IN ST. LOUIS

After Erik Karlsson’s overtime winner gave San Jose a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final on Wednesday, the Sharks and Blues will face off in a pivotal Game 4 at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Friday. There have been 36 one-goal games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, eight more than all of 2018 (28).

* The Sharks hold a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven series for the 16th time in franchise history and own an all-time series record of 11-4 in the 15 previous instances. San Jose is up 2-1 in the Conference Finals for the second time in franchise history – they also held a 2-1 advantage against St. Louis in the 2016 Western Conference Final before advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time.

 * San Jose has been led offensively by Logan Couture, who has found the back of the net in each game of the Western Conference Final while also pacing the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in goals and points (14-6—20 in 17 GP). The 30-year-old forward sits one goal shy of matching Sidney Crosby (15 in 2009) and Alex Ovechkin (15 in 2018) for the highest goal total in a single postseason over the last 22 years. He also sits within five of the NHL record for most goals in a playoff year, set by Philadelphia’s Reggie Leach in 1976 (19-5—24 in 16 GP) and matched by Edmonton’s Jari Kurri in 1985 (19-12—31 in 18 GP).

* In his second career appearance in the Conference Finals, Karlsson (2-13—15 in 17 GP) scored his first two goals of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 3, including the overtime winner. During Ottawa’s run to the Conference Finals in 2017, the two-time Norris Trophy winner collected 2-16—18 in 19 postseason games and 0-5—5 in the Eastern Conference Final before his club bowed out to the Penguins in seven contests.

 * Karlsson is tied with teammate Brent Burns (5-10—15 in 17 GP) for the most points among defensemen in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It marks the first time in 20 years that a pair of defensemen on the same team both reached the 15-point mark in a postseason; the last instance occurred in 1999, when Sabres blueliners Jason Woolley (4-11—15 in 21 GP) and Alexei Zhitnik (4-11—15 in 21 GP) did so.

 * A pair of Blues players can establish franchise records in Game 4. Goaltender Jordan Binnington (9-7) sits one win shy of setting the Blues record in a single postseason, while captain Alex Pietrangelo (2-10—12 in 16 GP) needs one point for the most in a playoff year by a St. Louis defenseman.

 * Like Karlsson, David Perron also scored twice in Game 3 and is tied for fourth on the club with 5-5—10 in 16 games this postseason. He is making his second consecutive appearance in the Western Conference Final after posting 1-8—9 in 15 games during the Golden Knights’ historic run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018.


Who To Watch At Memorial Cup




Not sure who to watch during the Memorial Cup? Here’s a cheat sheet on 10 key players.

1. Nick Suzuki, C, Guelph Storm: Suzuki arrived in Guelph after a major mid-season trade with the Owen Sound Attack. He had 49 points in 29 games down the stretch in the regular season and then won the playoff scoring race with 42 points in 24 games. He finished 11 points ahead of Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s. The OHL’s playoff MVP was drafted 13th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 but was traded to the Montreal Canadiens last year with Tomas Tatar and a second-round pick for Max Pacioretty. Suzuki was the OHL’s most sportsmanlike player in back-to-back years and also won the CHL award in 2016-17. He only has 44 penalty minutes in 251 regular season OHL games.

2. Joel Teasdale, LW, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies: Like Suzuki, Teasdale is Habs property and was the top playoff scorer in his league (20 GP, 34 points). Unlike Suzuki, Teasdale’s bread and butter is his physical play. At six feet, 203 pounds, he plays a heavy game and is a devastating forechecker. He was also a mid-season acquisition and had 42 points in 29 regular season games after coming over from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Teasdale led the QMJHL in playoff shots with 102.

3. Ian Scott, G, Prince Albert Raiders: The Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick (fourth round, 2017) led the WHL in goals against average (1.96) and save percentage (.925) in the playoffs to earn league MVP honours. But as amazing as those numbers are, they are actually inferior to the stats he put up during the regular season — 1.83 GAA and .932 save percentage. Scott also had 13 total shutouts this year — eight in the regular season and five in the post-season.

4. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax Mooseheads: He scored more playoff goals (20) than anyone in major junior hockey this year. Lavoie also finished second to Teasdale in Q post-season scoring with 32 points in 23 games and is the highest-rated 2019 NHL draft prospect in the tournament. Some scouting services have the six-foot-four winger ranked as high as the top 10 for next month’s draft.

5. Noah Dobson, D, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies: There isn’t much the Summerside native hasn’t already achieved. He won the Memorial Cup last year with the Bathurst Titan and was a tournament all-star after putting up seven points in four games. One month later, the New York Islanders drafted him in the first round (12th overall) and he followed that up by leading Canada’s defence at the 2019 world junior championship. Dobson won a second straight President Cup with the Huskies on Saturday and was the playoff MVP.

6. Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert Raiders: The 20-year-old is the definition of a late bloomer. He has already been passed over twice in the NHL draft but many scouts have him ranked as a first-rounder this year. Leason improved his point totals from 32 in 2017-18 to 89 this season and played for Team Canada at this year’s world junior championship. He finished second in the WHL playoff scoring race — by one point — with 25 points in 22 games.

7. Samuel Asselin, C, Halifax Mooseheads: Not many folks outside of Shawinigan and Bathurst had even heard of Asselin before last year’s Memorial Cup. The former Cataractes captain stepped up with five goals in four games to earn a spot on the tournament all-star team. The Mooseheads certainly took notice and made him their first target on the trade market this season. The overager rewarded them by leading the QMJHL in goals with 48 and is even more valuable for his leadership qualities.

8. Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph Storm: His 50 goals and 102 penalty minutes are the key regular season numbers but take note of these stats as well — six-foot-six and 204 pounds. Ratcliffe rides shotgun with Suzuki and is one of nine Guelph players who is six-foot-two or taller. The other winger on the Storm’s top line — MacKenzie Entwistle — is six-foot-three so size often matters in Storm wins. Ratcliffe led the OHL with 99 playoff shots and was third in goals (15) and points (30).

9. Rafael Harvey-Pinard, LW, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies: While Teasdale and Dobson were stealing all the headlines, the Huskies captain was the most productive player in the championship series against the Mooseheads. Harvey-Pinard finished with eight goals and 14 points in six games and finished the playoffs on an 11-game points streak. He registered two or more points in five of the six games in the final, including three three-point performances.

10. Dmitri Samorukov, D, Guelph Storm: Dobson (29 points) was the only defenceman in the CHL with more playoff points than Samorukov (28 points). He, too, was a standout at the world juniors, putting up four points and a plus-9 rating for Russia. Only Suzuki (plus-22) had a better rating in the OHL playoffs than Samorukov (plus-18).

This And That



--How many Jon Ryan jerseys has the Rider store sold?  I am guessing a few with a lot more ready to go.  The story of hometown boy who goes away, makes a name for himself, wins a Super Bowl ring and returns to finish his career off with the hometown team to fulfill a dream he has had since he was seven  is one that 95 percent of the fanbase loves.  They'll love it even more if Ryan gets a Grey CUp ring to go with his Super Bowl ring. For the five percent who don't, well you can go suck an egg.

One can only imagine what type of ovation he will get when he steps on the Mosaic Stadium field for the first time.   A standing ovation for a punter?  Don't laugh.  This is Saskatchewan so it just might happen. If it does, it will be one of those "Only in Saskatchewan" moments.

Ryan says this is what he has dreamed of since he was 7.  When you think of the career he has had, one could easily forgive him if he had forgotten about that dream a long time ago.  He never did.  Somehow, one thinks this day was one the 37-year-old had been waiting for.   What a thrill it must be for him and his family.  You won't find a better person on this planet than Barb.  I can only imagine how ecstatic Bob would be knowing his boy was kicking for the /=S=/.   What a great story! Let's just hope he isn't kicking 9-10 times a game. Speaking of 9, he got his number 9.  Will we ever find out what he gave David Watford for it?

--Do the Calgary Stampeders finish first in the West again or is this the year someone beats them out? I think Calgary has finished first every year since 2012.  If any team is going to beat them to the tape this year, it will be BC. Sorry Winnipeg,  sorry Edmonton!

--Now that the Friends of the Riders Touchdown Lottery is done, one has to ask if Tom Shepherd saved the green-and-white.  With their dire financial situation, Shepherd found a way for fans to help with the bottom line by creating a lottery that resonated with Rider Nation both in rural Saskatchewan, urban Saskatchewan and across the country if not North America.  Nearly 22.6 million dollars went into the Rider bank account because of the lottery.  That wouldn't have happened without Rider Nation and Shepherd.

--There is labour peace in the CFL.  In the back of our minds, I think we all knew the CFL couldn't afford a work stoppage, but the two sides definitely teased with us until the last second before getting something done.  In looking at it, there is a lot to like for the players.  I love the fact players can now stay in Canada and work here in the off-season. It will allow some to maybe move their families north of the border and become a part of the community.  A community that maybe they will stay in once they become a free agent.

--We sit and bitch at officiating no matter the sport, but can we all agree that the officiating in the Stanley Cup playoffs has been beyond terrible.  The latest example coming Wednesday in St. Louis as a hand-pass led to a goal in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks yet another huge break in these playoffs.  That's three for those who are counting! How do the four on-ice officials miss that hand-pass?  The NHL says that can't be reviewed. Why?  It's time that changed!

The NHL rewards its best officials with a Stanley Cup assignment.  Maybe this time around its the officials who have screwed up the least.  This has gone past embarassing. Changes are needed moving forward. Current players are calling for it and so are former players.  Martin St. Louis   You can't even blame this one on instant replay.   It just makes me call again for officials to be held accountable.  We deserve to hear from the officials why that call wasn't made.  If we can hear from the teams about why they won or lost, let's hear from those calling the game when a controversial call is made that decides a game.

--The Prince Albert Raiders were the last of the four teams to be decided for the Memorial Cup as they won Monday night.  They play in the first game Friday in Halifax against the host Mooseheads.  As much as I would like to see the Raiders do well, I just think that a gruelling seven game series followed by a trip across the country is too much.  I hope I'm wrong.  I just remember the Seattle Thunderbirds beating the Pats in 2017 and then getting their clock cleaned in Ontario as they only had a few days to recover.   Screw this talk of moving the CFL back by a couple of weeks, let's do it with the WHL.

--There was anger Monday night with Sportsnet over the fact Game 7 was not on the network that holds the CHL rights.  I understand the anger, but could Sportsnet really take the risk of coming to Prince Albert and setting up for a game that wouldn't have been played had the Raiders won Game 6.  I still say your blame should be centred on the WHL.....them and SHAW Communications for their ludicrous decision a few years ago to stop their sports programming.

-I love the fact Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole are growing playoff beards. I can't believe they hadn't done it before.

--I had no idea former NHL Commissioner Clarence Campbell was a Saskatchewan boy.  Did you?  He's from Fleming!  If you don't know, he is going into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame as is Wendel Clark.  I thought Clark was already in.  What took him so long?

--The UFC is coming to Edmonton in late July.  The timing couldn't be worse for me so you won't find me sitting at Rogers Place. .  When can we get the UFC back in Saskatoon or even Regina?

--Saskatchewan is getting a 3rd area code? I think I know one person with in this province with a 639 area code.  Saskatchewan will always be the 306 to me.

--The Big Bang Theory wrapped up Thursday night.  How do I get my Kaley Cuoco fix now? Oh right, I just watch the re-runs on just about every channel.  TBBT was one of the few TV shows that I actually watch anymore.  There are way too many reality shows, medical dramas, etc. etc out there for me.  The only show I really try to watch anymore because it grabs my attention is "Billions".  That being said, there are some shows on Crave I need to start watching like "Brockmire".  As for network TV, nope!

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



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Friends Of The Riders Touchdown Lottery Comes To An End

The final gun sounds on Friends of the Riders Touchdown Lottery


A major fundraiser for the Saskatchewan Roughriders is coming to an end.

Citing his age and the fact the team’s bottom line is no longer an issue, Friends of the Riders Touchdown Lottery founder Tom Shepherd says after 33 years the lottery has come to an end.

Shepherd says it was a tough decision because of all the work he put into it, but the time was right.

“It was a great labour of love for me, but at the age of 76 it was time.” Shepherd said. ” I loved every second of it, and I drove many people crazy, but again I loved every second of it.  Another factor was the fact the team’s bottom line is no longer a concern which it was when it started.

The lottery helped the Riders through some tough financial times when it started and got to the point where nearly 22.6 million dollars was raised with more than 32 million in prizes being handed out to Rider fans and CFL fans across Saskatchewan and Canada.

May 16th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate



THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM WEDNESDAY

 * The Sharks won in overtime after scoring a tying goal with 1:01 left on the clock to win Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final.

 * When a best-of-seven series is tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 owns an all-time series record of 215-104 (67.4%) – including a 54-17 mark in the Conference Finals/Semifinals (76.1%).


* The Bruins look to close out the Hurricanes and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the 20th time in franchise history and third time in the last eight years (2011 and 2013).


SHARKS TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD IN WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

St. Louis scored four second-period goals to overcome deficits of 2-0 and 3-1, but Logan Couture tied the game with 61 seconds remaining in regulation, setting the stage for the overtime winner by Erik Karlsson (2-0—2) to lift the Sharks to a 2-1 series lead.

 * The Sharks own a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series for the 16th time in franchise history and own an all-time series record of 11-4 in the 15 previous instances. San Jose is up 2-1 in the Conference Finals for the second time in franchise history – they also led 2-1 in the 2016 Western Conference Final against St. Louis before reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time.

 * The Sharks won a postseason game after scoring a tying goal in the final 90 seconds of regulation for the third time in franchise history. The other instances: Game 2 of the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals and Game 2 of the 2013 Conference Quarterfinals.

 * San Jose became the first team to win a game in the Conference Finals after scoring a tying in the final 90 seconds of regulation since 2011, when Vancouver did so against them in Game 5.

 * Couture scored his League-leading 14th goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (14-6—20 in 17 GP) to match the franchise record for most in a postseason, a mark set by teammate Joe Pavelski in 2016 (14-9—23 in 24 GP).

* Couture, who extended his goal streak to three games (5-1—6), now sits one goal shy of matching Sidney Crosby (15 in 2009) and Alex Ovechkin (15 in 2018) for the most in a postseason over the last 22 years. The NHL record for most goals in a playoff year is 19, a mark set by Philadelphia’s Reggie Leach in 1976 (19-5—24 in 16 GP) and matched by Edmonton’s Jari Kurri in 1985 (19-12—31 in 18 GP).

 * Karlsson scored his first two tallies of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-13—15 in 17 GP) to snap a 31-game goal drought dating to Dec. 29, 2018. Karlsson became the second defenseman in NHL history to record a multi-goal game in the Conference Finals/Semifinals which included the overtime winner, joining Montreal’s Georges Mantha who did so over 88 years ago in Game 3 of the 1931 Semifinals (2-0—2 vs. BOS).

 39-YEAR-OLD THORNTON SCORES TWICE, RECORDS THREE POINTS

Thirty-nine-year-old Joe Thornton (2-1—3), a veteran of 21 NHL seasons, became the oldest player in League history to post his first career multi-goal playoff game – doing so in his 176th career postseason contest.


* Thornton also became the oldest player in franchise history to score multiple goals in any game (regular season or playoffs). The previous mark for the playoffs was set by Jeremy Roenick (38 years, 96 days) in Game 7 of the 2008 Conference Quarterfinals (2-2—4 vs. CGY).

* Overall, Thornton became the 11th different player in NHL history age 39 or older to record a multi-goal game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and first since Boston’s Mark Recchi (43 years, 125 days) in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final (2-0—2 vs. VAN) – who tops the list as the oldest.

 * Thornton now has 444-1,167—1,611 in 1,742 carer games (regular season and playoffs combined), surpassing Bryan Trottier for sole possession of the 16th-most combined points in League history.


JOE PAVELSKI NOTCHES 100TH CAREER PLAYOFF POINT

Captain Joe Pavelski (0-1—1), who was selected by the Sharks in the seventh round (205th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft, recorded his 100th career playoff point. In doing so, he became the fourth player drafted in the seventh round or later to collect at least 100 postseason points.

BLUES DEFENSEMAN COLTON PARAYKO MATCHES FRANCHISE RECORD

Trailing 2-0, the Blues scored four goals in the second period to take the lead, marking the first time in 19 years that they scored at least that many goals in a playoff period. Their last such instance also came against San Jose, when they scored five times in the middle frame of a 6-2 victory to stave off elimination in Game 6 of the 2000 Conference Quarterfinals.

  * Colton Parayko assisted on three straight goals to match the franchise record for points in a playoff period – a feat last achieved by Jochen Hecht in the game noted above.

* Parayko also became the 10th player in franchise history – and first defenseman – to record three points in a game during the Conference Finals/Semifinals. The only other Blues skater to collect three assists in a Conference Finals/Semifinals game is Ab McDonald (0-3—3 in Game 2 of 1970 SF vs. PIT).

BRUINS EYE BERTH IN STANLEY CUP FINAL

The Bruins and Hurricanes are set to clash in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena, with Boston needing a win to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the 20th time in franchise history and third in the last eight years (2011 and 2013). Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series own an all-time series record of 189-4 (97.9%) – including a 3-0 mark in 2019.

* With wins in each of their last six contests, the Bruins look to close out the Hurricanes and post their longest playoff winning streak in 47 years. Only three teams in the last 11 postseasons have had a win streak of seven or more games: the 2012 Kings, 2011 Lightning and 2010 Blackhawks.

 * Tuukka Rask has backstopped Boston in each of those six victories, posting a 1.50 goals-against average, .956 save percentage and one shutout over that span. Rask trails only Gerry Cheevers - one of three goaltenders to win multiple Cups with the Bruins - for the longest postseason win streak in franchise history (10-0 in 1970).

 * Rask is the second netminder in as many postseasons to post a save percentage of at least .956 over a span of six games, after Marc-Andre Fleury began the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a .967 save percentage with the Golden Knights.

* David Krejci enters Game 4 with points in each of his last five contests (2-4—6) and in 12 of 16 games this postseason (4-9—13). After netting 1-1—2 in Boston’s series-clinching game in Columbus, the 33-year-old now has 7-17—24 in 26 potential series-clinching games - the highest such total in franchise history. Only four active NHL players have more points in such contests: Sidney Crosby (10-28—38 in 37 GP), Evgeni Malkin (11-24—35 in 36 GP), Patrick Kane (14-15—29 in 21 GP) and Jonathan Toews (11-16—27 in 21 GP).

* Hurricanes captain Justin Williams, who has posted 15-13—28 in 24 games with his team facing elimination (17-7), played a part in one of the four instances in NHL history of a team overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to win. He registered each of his six points in the 2014 First Round in Games 4-7 to propel the Kings past the Sharks, winning both the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy.

(NHL Media) 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Riders Sign McInnis and Lenius




The Saskatchewan Roughriders will have their top two draft picks with them when training camp starts in Saskatoon next week.

On Wednesday, the team announced receivers Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius have signed contracts.

McInnis,  was chosen sixth overall and spent three seasons with Arkansas State University.  He hauled in 115 catches for 1,577 yards and 10 touchdowns and was second on the team last season with 56 receptions for 694 yards and six touchdowns.

Lenius, a Regina native, originally went to school at the University of Washington before transferring to New Mexico State.

The team also announced draft picks Jacob Janke and Christopher Judge have also signed and that Regina Thunder offensive lineman Logan Ferland along with Saskatoon Hilltops defensive back Colton Holmes and offensive lineman Mason Ochs.

May 15th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM TUESDAY

 * The Bruins took a commanding 3-0 series lead and moved within one win of their 20th all-time appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series own an all-time series record of 189-4 (97.9%) – including a 3-0 mark in 2019.

 * Tuukka Rask made 20 saves in the first period (35 overall) to extend his win streak to six games – the longest by a Bruins goalie in 31 years – and join a short list of top road playoff performers.

 * After pulling even in San Jose, the Blues return home for Game 3 against the Sharks.


RASK BACKSTOPS BRUINS TO 3-0 SERIES LEAD

Tuukka Rask made 35 saves – stopping all 20 shots he faced in the first period (including 11 in the opening 6:30) – as the Bruins handed the Hurricanes their first home loss of the 2019 playoffs and took a 3-0 series lead. Boston moved within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the 20th time in franchise history and third time in the past eight years (2011 and 2013).

* The Bruins own a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series for the 21st time in franchise history, holding an all-time series record of 19-1 in the 20 previous instances. Boston’s lone loss came to Philadelphia in the 2010 Conference Semifinals.

 * The Bruins are up 3-0 in a Conference Finals/Semifinals for the eighth time in franchise history and own an all-time series record of 7-0 in the seven previous instances, including five sweeps.

* Boston improved to 6-0 in its last six games, marking its longest playoff win streak in 41 years and tied for the third-longest postseason win streak in franchise history.

* After posting a 49-24-9 record in the regular season, Boston improved to 11-5 in the playoffs. The Bruins earned 60 or more combined wins in a campaign for the eighth time.

* Rask extended his win streak to six games, the longest by a Bruins goaltender in 31 years – Reggie Lemelin had an equal run to help Boston reach the 1988 Stanley Cup Final. Only one goaltender in franchise history has recorded a longer win streak in a postseason: Gerry Cheevers won 10 straight games in 1970 to backstop Boston to its fourth Stanley Cup.

* Rask became the third goaltender in franchise history to record a personal win streak of at least six games in both the regular season and playoffs during the same year; he joined Frank Brimsek in 1940-41 and Eddie Johnston in 1971-72.

 * Rask made 98 consecutive saves on the road before allowing a goal at 13:48 of the second period. He became the first goaltender to make 98 or more consecutive saves as a visitor in a postseason since Toronto’s Curtis Joseph made 113 straight stops on the road during the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 * Rask owns a career road goals-against average of 2.02 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (37 GP), the third-lowest in NHL history among goaltenders to appear in at least 25 postseason games as a visitor. Neither goaltender ahead of him on that list has played an NHL game in the last 67 years – George Hainsworth (1.86 GAA) and Turk Broda (1.87 GAA) made their final playoff appearances in 1936 and 1952, respectively.

NEWCOMER WAGNER, VETERANS KREJCI, MARCHAND PROVIDE OFFENSE

Offseason acquisition Chris Wagner scored the opening goal while Bruins veterans Brad Marchand (GWG) and David Krejci (0-1—1) also found the score sheet in Game 3:

* Wagner scored his second goal of the Conference Finals after being held off the score sheet in the Bruins’ opening two rounds of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Signed as a free agent in July 2018, Wagner (Walpole, Mass.) is one of three Massachusetts-born players to play for Boston this postseason – with each of them scoring in the Conference Finals (also Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelcyk).

 * The trio of Wagner (2-0—2 in 12 GP), Coyle (6-6—12 in 16 GP) and Grzelcyk (3-4—7 in 16 GP) have combined for over a fifth of the Bruins’ goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (11 of 53; 20.8%).

* Krejci collected an assist on the game-winning goal by Marchand to record his 100th career point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (36-64—100 in 124 GP) and move into a tie for third place on the franchise’s all-time postseason points list, trailing only Ray Bourque (36-125—161 in 180 GP) and Phil Esposito (46-56—102 in 71 GP).

 * Krejci (Sternberk, Czech Republic) became the third Czech Republic-born player to record 100 or more points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining Jaromir Jagr (78-123—201 in 208 GP) and Patrik Elias (45-80—125 in 162 GP).

 * Marchand, who appeared in his 100th career postseason game, scored his second game-winning goal in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff (also Game 2 of R1 vs. TOR). He paces the Bruins with 16 points this postseason (6-10—16 in 16 GP).

 DID YOU KNOW?

Only four teams in NHL history have overcome a 3-0 series deficit to win, with the last two such instances having ties to both teams involved in the Eastern Conference Final (2014 R1: LAK def. SJS; 2010 CSF: PHI def. BOS; 1975 QF: NYI def. PIT; and 1942 SCF: TOR def. DET).

* Current Hurricanes captain Justin Williams was part of the last group to do so, collecting each of his six points in the 2014 First Round in Games 4-7 for the Kings as he helped them rally past the Sharks en route to winning both the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy.

GATEWAY TO THE WEST WELCOMES BLUES, SHARKS FOR GAME 3

After earning a split in San Jose, the Blues return home to Enterprise Center in St. Louis for Game 3 against the Sharks. The clubs also were tied 1-1 in the 2016 Western Conference Final, with San Jose winning Game 3 at home – via two goals from Tomas Hertl and a 22-save shutout by Martin Jones – en route to a six-game series victory.

 * ICYMI: Laila Anderson, a young Blues fan who found a bone marrow match in December thanks in part to the organization, will be headed to her first playoff game tonight. Click here to learn more about Laila and watch as she gets the news about going to Game 3.

* The Blues are tied 1-1 for the fourth time in eight trips to the Conference Finals/Semifinals. They also split the first two games in 1968 against the North Stars, 1986 against the Flames and 2016 against the Sharks – they lost Game 3 in each of those instances, but rallied to win the series in 1968 against Minnesota.

* San Jose owns an 11-7 series record when a series is tied 1-1 (.611), including a perfect 6-0 series record when splitting the first two games at home. St. Louis, meanwhile, is 12-19 in 31 previous best-of-seven series that were tied 1-1 (.387), including a 4-8 mark when starting on the road.

* Sharks forward Logan Couture leads the League with 13 goals and 19 points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (13-6—19 in 16 GP) and has scored twice in both games of the Western Conference Final. He is one goal shy of matching the franchise record for most in a postseason, a mark set by teammate Joe Pavelski in 2016 (14-9—23 in 24 GP).

 * Couture is one goal/assist shy of reaching the 20-point mark in a postseason for the second time in his NHL career and first since 2016, when he established a franchise record for most in a playoff year with 30 (10-20—30 in 24 GP). He can become the first player in Sharks history to reach the 20-point mark in multiple postseasons – a feat teammate Brent Burns (5-10—15 in 16 GP) is also within striking distance of accomplishing.

* Couture can become the second player in franchise history to score multiple goals in three consecutive team games within a playoff year; he would join Pavelski, who did so during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs (6-3—9 in 3 GP).

 * Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo scored the winner in Game 2 – his first career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1-2—3 in 31 GP). Defensemen have combined for seven of St. Louis’ 41 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (17.1%), the highest such percentage among remaining teams. Jordan Binnington (9-6) sits one win shy of setting the franchise record for a single postseason, while captain Alex Pietrangelo (2-10—12) needs one point for the most in a playoff year by a Blues defenseman.

(NHL Media)

Local QB's Heading To CFL Camps as Part of Canadian Quarterback Internship Program


The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced the U SPORTS quarterbacks that will participate in the Canadian Quarterback Internship Program at CFL training camps in advance of the 2019 season.

The Canadian quarterback internship program started in 2010 and was made mandatory for all teams by the CFL in 2012. The program allows Canada’s best young pivots to participate in practice drills as well as team and positional meetings while continuing to develop and hone their skills at the quarterback position.

Players who have taken part in the program over the years include: Michael O’Connor (18’ TOR, 16’ BC, 15’ BC), Chris Merchant (18’ HAM, 17’ CGY), Hugo Richard (17’ MTL, 15’ OTT) Noah Picton (15’ SSK) Andrew Buckley (14’ CGY) & Marshall Ferguson (13’ CGY).

TEAMQUARTERBACKSCHOOLHOMETOWN
BC LionsHunter GuenardAcadiaCalgary, AB
Edmonton EskimosAdam SinagraCalgaryPointe Claire, QC
Calgary StampedersMason NyhusSaskatchewanRegina, SK
Saskatchewan RoughridersDes CatellierManitobaCalgary, AB
Winnipeg Blue BombersSawyer BuettnerOttawaMoose Jaw, SSK.
Hamilton Tiger-CatsTre FordWaterlooNiagara Falls, ON
Toronto ArgonautsClay SequeiraTorontoPierrefonds, QC
Ottawa REDBLACKSBailey WasdalSt. FXCalgary, AB
Montreal AlouettesMaxime BouffardBishop’sSherbrooke, QC
Dimitrios SinodinosMcGillLaval, QC



Hunter Guenard | Acadia Axemen | BC Lions

In just his third season, first as a starting quarterback for the Axemen, Hunter Guenard had an outstanding 2018 campaign. He posted 1,910 yards passing last season to lead the AUS in passing yards, passing yards per game (238.8 years/game), touchdown passes (12), a passing percentage of 65.6% and a passing efficiency of 152.3.

Adam Sinagra | Calgary Dinos | Edmonton Eskimos
In 2018 Sinagra averaged more than 400 passing yards per game and set a U SPORTS record with 3,233 yards, leading the Dinos to a perfect 8-0 regular season. His offence was the most potent in the nation, averaging more than 570 yards per outing, with Sinagra tossing for 23 touchdowns and, in one outing at Saskatchewan, turning in the best single-game performance in 35 years with his 569 passing yards. His efforts landed him the Hec Crighton Trophy as the nation’s outstanding football player, along with University of Calgary and Canada West male athlete of the year honours and a nomination for the Lieutenant Governor Athletic Award as the U SPORTS male athlete of the year.

At last week’s East-West Bowl in Ottawa, Sinagra was the MVP after going 13-for-19 for 320 yards and two TDs as the West squad picked up a 35-17 win.

Mason Nyhus | Saskatchewan Huskies | Calgary Stampeders
Entering 2019 as the starting quarterback for the first time in his university career, third-year business student Mason Nyhus will take over the reins of a University of Saskatchewan Huskies team that won the program’s 12th Hardy Cup title in 2018. In two seasons as a back-up to Kyle Siemens, Nyhus has completed 43 passes for 690 yards and five touchdowns while playing in all 16 regular season games since arriving on campus. Primarily used in short-yardage situations last season, Nyhus also rushed for a touchdown in 2018.

Des Catellier | Manitoba Bisons | Saskatchewan Roughriders
Quarterback Des Catellier will enter his second year as Manitoba’s starting pivot in 2019. He made huge strides in 2018, throwing for 2,012 yards and 16 touchdowns, the latter of which tied him for second in the Canada West conference. Over the Calgary native’s last two seasons, he’s thrown for 3,154 yards and 23 scores while also holding the best completion percentage in program history (minimum 500 yards passing per year), at 62.6%.

Sawyer Buettner | Ottawa Gee-Gees | Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Buettner, a native of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, joined the Ottawa Gee-Gees in 2018 after three years under centre with the Regina Thunder of the CJFL. The 6-2, 210 lb. former Team Canada quarterback led the nationally-ranked Gee-Gees to a 6-2 (2nd OUA) regular season record in his first year on campus.

At the helm of the Garnet and Grey offence, Buettner racked up 1,470 yards, 14 touchdowns, and a 145.4 passer efficiency rating in seven regular season games played.

A highlight of his freshman season was leading the Gee-Gees to a victory over Carleton in the Panda Game. Buettner threw for 243 yards and five touchdowns en route to a 38-27 win in front of a sold out crowd of over 24,000 at TD Place. The following week at Toronto, The Moose Jaw native, who also played for the PFC's Regina Thunder, had his best statistical game of the year, throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns in the win.

Tre Ford | Waterloo Warriors | Hamilton Tiger-Cats
In only his second season as quarterback, Tre Ford (Niagara Falls, ON) electrified the crowd on a weekly basis by putting up eye-popping numbers, leading U SPORTS in touchdown passes (27), and OUA in passing yards (2,822) and completion percentage (74.1% – a new OUA single-season record). He also threw the fewest interceptions amongst all qualified passers (two) while rushing for 641 yards – good for sixth in the OUA.

Ford shattered several school records including most passing yards in a single game, doing so twice with games of 463 yards (win over Windsor) and 472 yards (win over Laurier that clinched Waterloo’s first playoff berth since 2003).

Ford followed up his OUA and U SPORTS rookie of the year awards in 2017 by winning the 2018 OUA MVP award. He was also awarded the 2019 Totzke Trophy as Waterloo Warriors’ male athlete of the year.

Clay Sequeira | Toronto Varsity Blues | Toronto Argonauts
Sequeira enters his fourth season with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues this fall. The native of Pierrefonds, QC dressed and started in four games for the Blues in 2018 before being sidelined due to injury. During those four games he went 72-for-127 for 875 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-high 367 yards versus Waterloo on September 1. Sequeira also ranked second on the team with 196 rushing yards and one touchdown last season. He represented U of T at the 2019 East West Bowl on May 11 in Ottawa.

Bailey Wasdal | St. FX X-Men | Ottawa REDBLACKS
A 6’1”, 193-pound business student from Calgary, AB. wrapped up his first season with the AUS champion St. FX X-Men. Third in conference passing, he went 121-196 in eight games played with a 61.7% passing percentage, averaging 186.8 yards per game and 7.6 yards per attempt. Wasdal threw nine touchdown passes and also rushed for six of his own TDs. A versatile QB out of the pocket, he was seventh overall in AUS rushing, averaging 43.4 yards per game with 52 carries for 346 total yards. The freshman pivot led the X-Men (6-2) to an AUS playoff semifinal win over Acadia, followed by a 33-9 Loney Bowl championship victory over SMU to earn them a berth in the national Uteck Bowl.

Maxime Bouffard | Bishop’s | Montreal Alouettes
Bouffard transferred to Bishop’s for the Winter 2019 semester after spending the fall at Concordia. The Sherbrooke native played his Cégep football in his hometown at the Cégep de Sherbrooke. He follows in his brother Alexandre’s footsteps as a Bishop’s Gaiter. The elder Bouffard was an annual Academic all-Canadian and a former quarterback turned receiver on the gridiron with the Gaiters.

Dimitrios Sinodinos | McGill | Montreal Alouettes
Quarterback Dimitrios Sinodinos just completed his sophomore year at McGill University. A 21-year-old electrical engineering major from Laval, Que., he became a starter in his second season and completed 94 of 224 pass attempts for 1,135 yards, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound pivot was also credited with 17 rushing attempts for 30 yards and one TD.

Sinodinos posted a career-best performance in a 57-13 loss to Laval, the eventual Vanier Cup national champions, going 17/36 for 223 yards, one TD and one pick, on Oct. 13, 2018. He was recruited to McGill from the Quebec CEGEP system, where he played for Vanier College.