Monday, May 31, 2010

Who Starts On The Line

As Rider training camp nears closer and closer, there will be many interesting battles. Who backs up Darian Durant? Who replaces John Chick and Stevie Baggs? Another interesting question is what five men will start the season on the offensive line. The Riders will take 13 men to camp--14 if rookie Patrick Neufeld signs a deal. On the surface, I would think Jeremy O'Day would of course anchor the line at center with the other starting four being Gene Makowsky, Wayne Smith, Dan Goodspeed and Joel Bell. If that's the case, it leaves this group backing up Belton Johnson, Kelly Bates, Chris Best, Marc Parenteau, Nick Hutchins and Jordan Rempel. Don't forget about Dan Clark either. You have to think Jonathan St. Pierre makes the final roster because he is a center to back up O'Day.
With the line playing so well last year without Smith, does he become trade bait. What about Best and Parenteau because they filled in so admirably. I can't see Bell going anywhere because of his youth and his talent. Johnson is a stud, but has spent a lot of time on the injured list. One would think the team would have made a trade involving one of their hoggies by now with everyone thinking a starting calibre defensive end would come in return. You would have to think Brendan Taman has been talking with teams, but so far no bites. Will that continue into camp and if so, for how long.
By the way, just a friendly reminder that single game tickets go on sale this morning and tickets for the 2010 Grey Cup go on sale today too.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final was nothing like Game 1. It was still entertaining, but it didn't resemble the opener. Chicago's speed just seems to be a little too much for the Flyers, but the next two games are in Philly. I would expect the Flyers to take Game 3 and if they do, its anyones series going into Game 4.
I just saw the Mike Conway crash at the Indy 500. How did he survive that? That was incredible!
The Jays go into June just 3 and a half back of AL East leading Tampa. If they are this close going into Canada Day, its time to start thinking playoffs and make a run at some players that can help them get there. If Houston's Roy Oswalt would agree to a trade, that might be a good place to start. As I mentioned the other night, Toronto would be ahead or tied for the lead in every other division with their 31-22 mark. As for the Cubs, they are four games under 500. SIGHHHHH!!
How tough it is to navigate your way through downtown Regina now that one way streets have turned into two way streets. How difficult is it to park now? Perhaps its a good job that I'm not doing any "Sportscage" duties right now. Then again, I wasn't having problems parking late in the afternoon when I was there for the past two weeks.
As you start your Tuesday, I ask you this. If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
Have a good one!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let The Week Begin

Ok, the weekend wasn't a total loss. The rainclouds moved out and left us with a pleasant day to spend some time outside. I don't know what it was like where you were, but it was a gong show where I was with people forgetting about how to drive(I must have seen at least six near-accidents today), and some people just not looking into a mirror before going outside. How some people can go outside looking the way they do if they know they look a certain way is beyond me. Whatever! Not my problem, but don't look at people wondering why they are giving you a strange look.
Speaking of strange looks, some wonder why they are getting them when they are engaged in a conversation with someone and stop to see you staring. Why are people (like my wife) glaring at you? ITS BECAUSE YOU"RE TOO STUPID TO MOVE!!! The ignorance that some show when they stop because they see someone they want to have a chat with in a store thus leaving their cart in a position where they are either blocking the aisle or not allowing you to get your goods of choice is astounding. Do these people just think the world comes to a stop during these little chats. NO! MOVE!!! I seriously see this 90 percent of the time when I go out.
Enough about social behaviour. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is going back with Michael Leighton in Game 2 of the Cup final tonight. I'm thinking that is the right call. I think Leighton might have been caught up in everything in the opener, but he now knows what the finals are all about. If you put Brian Boucher in for Game 2, you may destroy Leighton's confidence and then what happens if Boucher doesn't play well. We'll see how Philly responds tonight. One might argue they played better than Chicago in the opener with the exception of the goaltending. If the Flyers give the same effort tonight and Leighton plays better, this series will likely be even going back to Philly. That being said, Chicago knows Kane and Toews have to be better and so do those two players. I expect another dandy.
Watching the Blue Jays beat Baltimore Saturday and Sunday, I like what I see. This team is playing very well right now and their two best hitters--Adam Lind and Aaron Hill--haven't even heated up. Toronto will get a good test over the next three nights as East leading Tampa comes to town. If Toronto could somehow sweep the Rays, people might start paying attention to them. They are flying under the radar with the NHL and NBA seasons coming to an end. In a couple of weeks, people will start seeing just what this young team is doing.
Jack Nicholson asked Jessica Simpson out on a date. I'm not kidding! Jess said no! Jack said he wanted to go to dinner with her. Can't blame the guy for trying. One organization has labelled Nicholson as the male version of a cougar. They have referred to him as a "manther". Is that the name for an older man pursuing young hotties! LOVE IT!
Good for the Pats in getting their first round pick in the bantam draft to sign a contract. With the war between the Canadian Hockey League and the NCAA heating up, teams don't want to draft guys and see them take the US college route. Both sides in that dispute are not pulling any punches. It is ugly!
I'd like to thank Albert Pujols by breaking out of his slump by hitting not one, not two, but three homers off of the Cubs pitching staff yesterday. I'm not sure, but I don't know if that 3rd one has come down yet.
Another good weekend for Graham DeLaet. He takes home another 33-grand after finishing the Crowne Plaza Invitational with a score of 9 under. That was well back of the winner--Zach Johnson was 21 under. All in all though, another good performance for DeLaet in his rookie year. I don't think the Weyburn native has to worry about losing his card anytime soon.
A question for you as you start your Monday. We aren't even halfway into the year and the names of Alex Bilodeau, Steve Nash, Justin Morneau, and Jonathan Toews lead the way when it comes to Canadian athlete of the year. Even then, the honor might go to Jon Montgomery. Who says Canada isn't producing world-class athletes. Who would you pick amongst that bunch?
Have a good Monday.

2012 RBC To Humboldt

Hockey Canada has awarded the 2012 RBC Cup to Humboldt and the SJHL's Broncos.
While nothing official has been forthcoming as of Sunday afternoon, several reliable sources have indicated that each of the four finalists to host the 2012 event have been notified as to the decision. Humboldt was competing with Alberni Valley (BC), Fort MacMurray (AB), and Kingston (ON).
Humboldt won the RBC Cup in 2008 and finished as the runner-up in 2009. They also won three straight SJHL championships from 2007-2009.
The club is already in full rebuild mode in advance of having a highly competitive team in 2012. More details from Hockey Canada are expected later today or Monday.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stealing The Thunder

On a night where one Philadelphia sports team was vying for the sports spotlight, another took it over in a big hurry. On a night where the Stanley Cup finals started, former Blue Jay Roy Halladay is stealing the headlines, and for good reason.
"Doc" pitched the 20th perfect game in major league history and the second this month as the Phillies beat Florida 1-0. Considered to be the best pitcher in the game today by many, this has to cement his legacy which was already pretty strong. Whether or not Halladay pitches in and wins a World Series is yet to be seen, but adding this to his already impressive resume should get him into Cooperstown just a little quicker I would think.
I'm guessing even Blue Jays fans are saluting Halladay's accomplishment. While some are bitter that he left, most Toronto baseball fans understand the reason he did and gave them their blessing. Its too bad he won't be able to go back to Toronto like he was supposed to because you know Jays fans would have given him a huge ovation---especially after this.
That being said, I must admit Toronto isn't missing Halladay as much as I thought they would. Shawn Marcum has taken over with some Halladay like performances and as a result, the Jays are still in the race two months into the season. They are only five and a half games back of Tampa in the East. If I were GM Alex Anthopoulos, I'd be taking a look at my roster and how to upgrade it.
I don't know about you, but I LOVED Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. Yes, the goaltending sucked, but it was good old fashioned hockey. Up and down the ice, no trap, no crap. I was thoroughly entertained by the opener that saw 11 goals go in with the Hawks getting six of them. Both teams will need better goaltending, and it will be interesting to see if Peter Laviolette goes back to Michael Leighton for Game 2 or if he gives the reins back to Brian Boucher. If you're Chicago, you have to go we won this game without Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews doing their thing, we won it with guys like Troy Brouwer, Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg doing their thing and then some. That is very encouraging if you are a Hawks fan.
I had someone tell me that it won't take Chad Lang long to start making his mark on the Regina Pats seeing he watched them a lot last year. I was told to expect trades and a lot of them soon. That's all and good, but who is Lang going to deal and for what? You're not going to trade Carter Ashton, Jordan Weal, Garrett Mitchell, Brandon Davidson and Myles Bell. You have a good Euro in Hampus Gustaffson. What's left? There aren't many marketable players on that roster that you can trade. Chad has his work cut out for him if he is in fact ready to start doing some dealing.
I gotta wonder if all the players that have come to the various Saskatchewan places from the US for the Western Major Baseball League are asking themselves if the sun shines on the Canadian prairies. The forecast is calling for sun and highs in the mid 20's next weekend. I hope so!
The Lakers and the Celtics in the NBA finals. Will Robert Parish and Michael Cooper make an appearance?
I now own a Blackberry! GULP! Are they as addictive as everyone says. I guess I'll find out very soon.
Have a dry Sunday!

Getting You Ready For Game 1$FILE/gn-2009030411.pdf

Friday, May 28, 2010

Let The Debate Begin

From the time Brent Parker stepped down as Pats GM, it was thought by many as if he would hire Chad Lang to be his replacement. That is exactly what has happened. The former Warriors GM who watched his team lose to Vancouver in the finals a few years ago has the task of building the Pats back to the playoffs. The hiring has caused a fierce debate amongst Pats fans. Some who believe Parker has hired a "puppet" in Lang and others who believe the right choice has been made. Where are you in this debate? I've stated before that I think Chad is a good candidate, but perhaps at the wrong time because of the "puppet" references that will be made. I have previously stated that to avoid that scenario, Brent needed to look elsewhere. That hasn't happened. Its now imperative that Brent lets Chad do his thing. If he does than a change could result. If he doesn't, have things really changed? Once again. the ball is in Brent's court.
The SC finals begin tonight. After a few days without hockey, I am ready to see the Hawks and Flyers get things going. I think that first game will be very interesting. I can't see the young Hawks being that nervous considering Toews, Kane, Seabrook and Keith all played at the Olympics. I expect the Flyers to step up their physical game to try and keep Chicago at bay. If they are able to do that, we will have a series. If they don't, Chicago wins this one going away.
CTV had a story Friday night as to how many people have been caught by police using their cellphones. The answer wasn't many. I guess police either aren't looking hard enough or are too busy giving out tickets for other chintzy reasons. The reason I say that is I see at least one or two people a day yapping on their phone while driving. I dropped my daughter off at school today and was waiting to cross the street only to have a car go by with the woman driver talking away on her phone making no attempt to hide what she was doing.
Since the Lotto Max lottery started, I don't think I have won a single cent. I had stopped buying tickets because of this, but I bought some Friday night because the jackpot was at 40 million. Once again, I don't even get a free play.
Hedo Turkoglu has told the Toronto Raptors he doesn't want to come back. The team might lose Chris Bosh in free agency. I would not want to be GM Bryan Colangelo right now. He is under the gun to perhaps make two big trades to bring some big-time talent to Toronto. Methinks his legacy is about to be defined.
The Riders release single game tickets on Tuesday. I'm thinking many of those will be swallowed up very quickly. Is it too early to predict that every home game will be sold out and then some this year?
A sporting record that I thought would never be broke is close to being broken. Garrett Wittels of Florida International singled in an NCAA Sun Belt Conference game to give him a 52 game hitting streak. Joe Dimaggio has the major league record at 56 while former White Sox 3rd baseman Robin Ventura has the college record at 58. I don't think a major league player will ever break Dimaggio's record and I didn't think anyone would come this close to Ventura's. Speaking of records that will never be broken, do you think anyone will ever get close to Wayne's 92 goal season. How about in the WHL where Ray Ferraro scored over 100 times. That's just incomprehensible when you see the way the game is played today.
Graham DeLaet has made another cut in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. He is well back of the leaders after two rounds of the Colonial, but you just never know how high he might be able to get. Here's hoping we get to see him hit a few shots this weekend.
The Celtics are in. Will the Lakers join them? Chances are they will, but I would love to see that series go 7 with Phoenix and Mr. Nash taking it. I think the series can go 7, but I think Phoenix blew their chance at winning the series Thursday.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported this week that New England Patriots players have a clause in their contract saying they must make at least 10 charitable appearances a season. More teams should adopt that.
Have a great weekend. Stay dry!

Lang Gets The Job

Regina Pats President, Brent Parker is proud to announce Chad Lang as the clubs new General Manager.
Lang has a strong resume from his time as the General Manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors. He was originally hired by the Warriors in 2003 as its Director of Marketing and Corporate Sales and took over the G.M. role with the Warriors partway through the 2004-05 season.
Chad helped build a team that won the Eastern Conference title in 2006 and a berth into the WHL Finals. For his work that season, Lang was the Eastern Conference nominee for the WHL’s Executive of the Year. During his tenure with the Warriors Lang guided the team to 2 of its 3 best records in franchise history. He has sent the likes of Tomas Fleischman, Troy Brouwer, Dustin Boyd, Kenndal McArdle to the National Hockey League.
Lang has just finished up a stint as the Director of Hockey Operations for the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Brandon.
He is a product of the Regina Minor Hockey system and played for the Regina Pat Canadians as well as the Kindersley Klippers of the SJHL.

Lang, as well as his wife, Shaulen and children Ethan and Daxton have made Regina their home.

Regina Pats President, Brent Parker “I am pleased to have Chad joining our organization as the new General Manager. He brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of our league and our team and he has a good track record of success. I look forward to handing over the reins of our hockey department so that Chad can begin the process of putting his stamp on our team”

Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang “I’m extremely excited for this opportunity to be a part of the long history of the Regina Pats. I know there is a big job in front of me, and I’m confident that through the process the organization will be back at the top of the WHL.”

Lang signed a 3 year, deal that will begin immediately.


If you read Rod's blog this morning, and many of you have, he told you I have taken a job at Capital Ford Lincoln. That is correct. I've had a lot of texts, e-mail, facebook messages wondering what is going on since I just got back into radio doing "The Sportscage" with Rod. Here is some clarification.

First off, I was not, nor was I at any time over the past couple of weeks a full time employee of CKRM. I was approached by Rod about sports-talk radio a few weeks ago because of my experience in the field. The fact that Rod has been a good friend of mine for many years made this request a very easy one. I helped him in every way possible and I think you have seen and heard how successful the show has been in its first two weeks. It will continue to be Regina's most-talked about daily sports show. If Rod's name is on it, it is not going to fail.

Many have asked what this new job does for my role on "The Sportscage". The immediate answer is I don't know. I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me the last two weeks and I know I am welcome at any time to sit in with him and do that show. The hours I will be working don't make doing that conducive at this time. Is that going to change? I have no idea. As I told Rod yesterday, I am not abandoning him just after he has embarked on this new challenge. After two weeks, I think I can push him on that bike that doesn't have training wheels and let go knowing he will be fine. :)

Lastly, some have said, you are selling cars??? NO! My role at Capital will not be selling cars as far as me being one of the faces you see when you come to the dealership. My job title is internet communications specialist. In this on-line world, many people are now asking questions on-line and filling out things on-line. With a team that I am working on, we will be filtering through those questions hoping that those who are asking the questions will come to the dealership and purchase the vehicle they are looking for. Nothing against those who are car salesmen, but that is something I just could never see myself doing. This is something I can see myself doing, and I thank the people at Capital for giving me the opportunity to begin what is going to be a new challenge.

To those that have asked and not gotten a response yet, there you go. Thanks for the kind words surrounding my involvement with "The Sportscage". It has been a lot of fun working with RP and the rest of the Harvard gang, and I'm sure there are many fun days ahead doing that.

The Voice Of The Oilers Says Farewell

Edmonton Oilers radio play-by-play hall of famer Rod Phillips will highlight the 2010-2011 Edmonton Oilers season by calling radio play by play for 10 ‘Rod’s Classics’ games. The ‘Rod’s Classics’ Series will mark the end of Rod’s illustrious career as ‘Voice’ of the Oilers, a career that spanned 37 years.

The ‘Rod’s Classics’ games will be carefully selected to highlight the biggest games, the biggest playoff series, Stanley Cup victories, and the storied connection the Oilers radio games have established between listeners and the team. The ‘Rod’s Classics’ series will be announced when the NHL Schedule is officially published.

The ‘Rod’s Classics’ series will also mark the conclusion of a career spent bringing Oilers hockey to the lives and living rooms of Edmonton Oilers hockey fans for nearly four decades. The ‘Battle of Alberta’, the Stanley Cups, the Greatest NHL players in living memory including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Mario Lemieux and Guy LaFleur have all been described by Rod Phillips as he called Oilers hockey from fall through winter and into spring every year. He verbally painted Oilers pictures with his radio description of the Oilers in action from inception in the WHA, and every moment since.

The Oilers have never had another radio voice and while the announcement of next years’ ‘Rod’s Classics’ series of games will provide Oilers fans the chance to enjoy his ‘call,’ it also signifies the end of an era in Edmonton.

“I think today’s announcement is remarkable. The series of games Rod will call next year is the perfect way to properly let our fans appreciate everything that Rod has brought the team and the city. This is the ultimate tribute to our Hall Of Fame broadcaster," stated Oilers President and CEO Patrick LaForge. “Generations grew up listening to Rod, and it’s only fitting he is allowed this kind of tribute.”

Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe commented: “It’s hard to imagine that Rod is hanging up the mic. There is only one Rod Phillips, and there will never be another like him in our city. He’s been the voice of this franchise and has called every single significant moment in Oilers History. He also left nothing on the table and cared as deeply about this team and this city as anyone ever has. To me, he’s an Oiler icon, a great Edmontonian and has left his mark on NHL hockey and Canadian hockey. I hope the entire city gets a chance to listen to these games next season and appreciate what we have been able to enjoy.”

The 68-year-old Calmar, Alberta native called over 3,500 Oiler games in a 37-year career.

Phillips started calling professional games in 1973 in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Oilers and then continued with the team in 1979, the Oilers’ inaugural season in the National Hockey League. Over the next 29 years Phillips would miss just two games; one due to illness and one when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.

Phillips’ first career WHA game called was on October 12, 1973 versus the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers won 6-4. His first career NHL game was called on October 10, 1979 at Chicago Stadium where the Blackhawks beat the Oilers 4-2.

Phillips called all seven Oilers’ Stanley Cup Finals appearances including their five Stanley Cup wins against the New York Islanders (1984), the Philadelphia Flyers (1985, 1987), and the Boston Bruins (1988, 1990).

Phillips was the 2003 recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, an award named after Foster Hewitt and presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame to members of the radio and television industry who make outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of ice hockey during their broadcasting career. The award winners are selected by the NHL Broadcasters' Association.

Prior to working in the WHA and NHL, Phillips worked at CFRN where he co-hosted Edmonton’s first ever late-night weeknight sportscast. The 1964 graduate of the National Institute of Broadcasting started working in Lethbridge, Alberta at CHEC Radio before moving back to Edmonton to join CFRN.

Phillips, who was born September 9, 1941 in Calmar, Alberta, is married to wife, Debbie. They have two children, Quinn (28) and Devan (25). Phillips will be making “the 53 steps from the media lounge to the broadcast booth” a few more times during the 2010-11 season as part of his ‘Rod’s Classics’ series farewell.

Two New Riders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have signed import linebacker Byron Bullock and import defensive lineman Steven Riddick to contracts. Financial details of the contracts were not released.

Bullock (6’0 – 212 lbs) started all 11 games in senior season at South Dakota and finished the year with 59 defensive tackles. He was an honorable mention on the Great West Conference all-conference football team. The 23-year old transferred from the College of the Canyons where he played for two seasons and was named all-conference honorable mention for defense as a freshman where he had four career interceptions, 62 tackles, six sacks, and five forced fumbles.

Riddick (5’11 – 275 lbs) spent four seasons at the University of Texas El Paso where he started all 12 games as a senior and had 29 defensive tackles, four tackles for a loss and one quarterback sack. He was selected as an All-Conference USA Honorable Mention in his senior season. The 23-year old started every game at nose tackle in his junior season and led all defensive linemen with 32 defensive tackles to go along with 4.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 quarterback sacks.

Is Lang The Guy?

The Regina Pats have called a news conference for this afternoon. It is expected the team will announce Chad Lang is taking over as general manager. Details later!

Guest Coaches For Rider Camp

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to once again welcome a group of experienced guest coaches to training camp this year.

Paul Charbonneau will be working with Tom Freeman and the offensive line. Charbonneau comes from the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux where he is an assistant coach and works with tight ends. He originally joined the Fighting Sioux in 2005. This marks the second year Charbonneau is a guest coach with the Green and White.

Jerry Friesen is the head coach for the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Rosthern native played linebacker for the Saskatoon Hilltops before moving on to play for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Friesen entered the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes in 1978 where he spent three seasons before moving back to Saskatchewan and signing with the Roughriders were he played six seasons. He was honoured with the CFL's Tom Pate Award for contributions to the team and the community in 1986 and later became the defensive coordinator with the Huskies in 1988, sharing in a Vanier Cup national title in 1990. Friesen will be working with Jim Daley.

Rob Harley is an assistant coach at Evangel University in Missouri. He has also coached at Eastern Oregon University, Azusa Pacific University and the University of Redlands. He will be working with Marcus Crandell during this year’s training camp.

Don Lawrence has over 45 years coaching experience. He was the offensive coordinator for the Berlin Thunder in NFL Europe and won two World Bowl rings with Amsterdam and Frankfurt. He also served as the tight ends coach for the Buffalo Bills and helped take them to four consecutive Super Bowls. Lawrence also coached at the collegiate level with Notre Dame, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Texas Christian, Missouri and was the head coach at the University of Virginia. He played three seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins. Lawrence will be working alongside Ken Miller during this years camp.

Former CFL kicker Gerry McGrath will be brought in to work with the Rider kickers for the fourth straight training camp. McGrath spent seven seasons in the CFL with Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. After serving as offensive coordinator with the University of Concordia for eight seasons he was named head coach in 2000.

Also attending training camp to assistant in a variety of coaching areas are Ted Bilderbeck - a retired football coach who spent most of his time coaching at Imperial Valley in Southern California and Darrick Yray – an assistant in the Fresno State football program.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

C'mon Theo, You're Better Than That

It was with great sadness that I heard Thursday that CBC was going to do a season 2 of "Battle of the Blades". That's CBC's version of "Dancing With The Stars" as hockey players of old are partnered with figure skaters. It made me stick my finger down my throat when I heard about it the first time, and needless to say the fact that its coming back makes me just shake my head. Did anyone watch this schlock last year. I guess the answer is yes. Anyhoo, Fleury and Russ Courtnall are two of the eight hockey players that will compete. Theo shouldn't be waltzing around the ice and contributing to this. He's better than that. He doesn't need to do this. Why Theo why? Let Doug Gilmour do it, let Lanny MacDonald do it, let Trevor Linden do it, but Theo? NO!


I exited the studios of Harvard Broadcasting after doing another two hours of Regina's most talked about sports show, said farewell to Rod Pedersen and got in my car. Knowing my 15 year old daughter has a ball tournament scheduled for this weekend, I turned on the radio to catch the end of the 6 o'clock news. It was then that I heard my former CJME co-worker Patrick Book or Kevin Newman Junior as I affectionately call him utter that nasty four letter word. Yes, Patrick told me it could "snow" Sunday. Snow! Its the end of May! I, and many others, won't be happy if the ground is white this weekend.


It was great speaking with former CFL commish Tom Wright on "The Sportscage" Thursday. Wright is heading up the UFC's Canadian office and will work to get MMA regulated in Ontario and other provinces including Saskatchewan. (Why isn't Saskatchewan regulated and who do we talk to to rectify that? Perhaps thats a topic for another show)Wright is just as passionate as ever when discussing MMA. Rod talked about the fact that he hated the move to oust Wright when it happened and I also was one that was against the move. I think Marc Cohon has done a great job since taking over for Wright as CFL commish, but I seriously wonder if Cohon was really needed because a mistake was made when the marriage between the league and Wright ended.


It was also very cool speaking with former Flyer and Blackhawk Rich Sutter. Rich has involved himself in a project that is a social gaming platform for sports fans. Go to and check it out and perhaps sign up. With the weather being so crappy, I'm probably going to play Saturday night.


I hate the Lakers. I always have and I think I always will. Kobe Bryant perhaps tops the list of athletes I don't like. Needless to say I was cheering for the Phoenix Suns in last nite's Game 5 of the NBA West final. The Suns came back from a double digit deficit to tie the game in the final seconds. It came to a last second Kobe shot---that shot failed, but Ron Artest, who had been terrible all night long, came out of nowhere to grab the ball and put it in as the buzzer sounded to give L-A a win. My eyes just rolled in the back of my head. I've seen it so many times before. Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, Kobe and now Artest with playoff buzzer beaters that nauseate me. It must be an annual rite of spring. By the way, Steve Nash just continues to prove that there may be no better Canadian athlete than him right now. You have to love the way this guy plays the game. Watching him do his thing at an elite level is amazing.
During that game, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry threw up a couple of times. He blamed it on a deep fried avocado that he ate before the game. Deep-fried avocado?? No thanks! That's gotta be a California thing, although I'm thinking it might make an appearance at the Buffalo Days midway. I'm guessing Gentry and many Suns fans vomited after the way that game ended.
MacLeans Magazine is actually praising Regina! The mag says Regina is the 5th smartest city in Canada. Then again, it says Saskatoon is 2nd. (ITS A JOKE!!!!!!)

Weather permitting, the Regina Red Sox are supposed to start their 2010 season in Yorkton Sunday night. I'm guessing that game won't go on, but I don't know if its supposed to be as miserable there as it is here. The Red Sox home opener will go next Friday against Yorkton. It should be a good night. It will be if the weather co-operates. The weather will co-operate won't it! Speaking of the Red Sox, they have a Twitter account. Its at

The NHL will announce two Winter Classics on Friday. One will be in Pittsburgh as the Penguins will play the Capitals at Heinz Field. This means Crosby will face Ovechkin on New Years Day on NBC. The other game will have the Canadiens playing in Calgary in February on what obviously will be Hockey Day in Canada. Nothing against Montreal being in this game, but they were the visiting team at the Heritage Classic when they played the Oilers way back when. It should be the Leafs taking on the Flames. For that matter, why not make it a battle of Alberta? Then again, I've grown tired of the outdoor game. That's just my two cents on the issue.
Its starting to look more and more as if Ottawa will be back in the CFL in 2013. Here's hoping that perhaps a team can be ready to go in the Maritimes by the same time or 2014 and that the CFL is a ten team league. That would be great on many different levels.
Have a great Friday and ask yourself this. Do coffins have a lifetime guarantee?

Do I Really Have To Put A Title To This Posting!

Thanks to Tim Purvis at Omni Studios. ( for providing this. I'm thinking now we need a Sports Cage calendar. What month should Lynch be? (HA HA!!)

Riders Release Two

The Riders have released wide receiver Johnny Quinn and long snapper Kevin Scott.

Hamonic And Islanders Come To Terms

The New York Islanders announced today the signing of Travis Hamonic to a three-year entry-level contract.

Hamonic completed his four-year junior hockey league career with the Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday as they were defeated by the Windsor Spitfires in the Memorial Cup Championship. The 6’2, 215 pound defenseman was named a 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup All-Star, totaling 11 points (four goals and seven assists) in 15 games.

Hamonic represented Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, SK. In six games, Hamonic scored a goal and two assists.

A native of St. Malo, MB, Hamonic played the majority of his junior hockey career with the Moose Jaw Warriors. In 171 games played with the Warriors, Hamonic tallied 28 goals and 76 assists for 104 points. He was traded from the Warriors to the Wheat Kings this season and played 10 regular season games with Brandon, registering five points (1 goal and 4 assists).

Lots of WHL Flavour In Cup Final


Calgary, AB -- The 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final is set to begin on the weekend, with the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Eastern Conference Champ Philadelphia Flyers. 15 Western Hockey League graduates are among the players who will be battling for hockey’s most prized possession.

The WHL continues to be one of the World’s top development Leagues for supplying talent to the National Hockey League. Over 21% of all players who played at least one game in the NHL during the 2009-10 regular season are WHL graduates.

The Philadelphia Flyers are making their first Cup Final appearance since 1997, and are looking for their first Stanley Cup win since 1975, when WHL great Bobby Clarke led the team to the championship.

The 2009-10 edition of the Flyers features five former WHLers including former Prince Albert Raider Scott Hartnell, former Red Deer Rebel Arron Asham, former Portland Winterhawk Braydon Coburn, former Prince George Cougar Blair Betts and Tri-City Americans’ alumnus Brian Boucher.

Hartnell, a product of Regina, SK, who played for the Raiders from 1998-00, has appeared in 17 playoff contests for the Flyers, scoring three goals and eight points.

Asham, a Portage La Prairie, MB, native, played four seasons with the Rebels from 1994-98, scoring 131 goals and 292 points. He has three goals and five points on Philly’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

Coburn, from Shaunavon, SK, spent four seasons with the Winterhawks from 2001-05, and was the WHL Rookie of the Year in 2002 and WHL Humanitarian of the Year in 2004. The 6’5”, 220-lb defenseman has one goal and two points for the Flyers in the post-season, and has been a key contributor to the Flyers’ outstanding defensive play.

Betts, an Edmonton, AB, product, spent four seasons with the Cougars from 1996-00, leading the Cougars to the 2000 WHL Western Conference Championship series. Betts has notched one assist in 17 post-season contests for the Flyers, but leads the team with a 56.6 percent faceoff winning percentage.

Boucher, from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, played three seasons with the Tri-City Americans, and was the 1997 WHL Goaltender of the Year. He appeared in 10 playoff contests for Philadelphia, posting a 6-4 record with a .915 save percentage before suffering an injury that has kept him out since Game 6 of their second-round series versus Boston.

The Blackhawks are making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 1992 and are looking for their first Cup win since 1961.

The Hawks boast a whopping 10 former WHL players in their lineup including forwards Marian Hossa (Portland), Dustin Byfuglien (Brandon, Prince George), Kris Versteeg (Lethbridge, Kamloops, Red Deer), Tomas Kopecky (Lethbridge), Troy Brouwer (Moose Jaw), Andrew Ladd (Calgary) and Colin Fraser (Red Deer), and defensemen Brent Seabrook (Lethbridge), Duncan Keith (Kelowna) and Brent Sopel (Saskatoon, Swift Current).

Hossa, a native of Slovakia, spent one season with the Winterhawks in 1997-98, scoring 45 goals and 85 points while leading the Hawks to the Memorial Cup Championship. Making his third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final, Hossa has two goals and 11 points through 16 playoff contests for Chicago.

Byfuglien, a Minneapolis, MN, product, played three seasons in the WHL from 2002-05, beginning his career with the Brandon Wheat Kings before moving to Prince George. The 6’4”, 257-lb behemoth has been a force for the Blackhawks in the post-season, scoring eight goals including a team-leading four game-winners.

Versteeg, a Lethbridge, AB, native, played four seasons in the WHL – his first three with his hometown Hurricanes – notching a career-best 22 goals and 52 points during the 2004-05 season. Versteeg, a Calder trophy finalist last season, has four goals and nine points for the Hawks in the 2010 playoffs.

Kopecky, from Slovakia, played one season in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2000-01 where he scored 22 goals and 50 points in 49 contests. The 6’3”, 203-lb forward has three goals and four points in 11 post-season games for the Hawks.

Vancouver, B.C., native Troy Brouwer played 287 games over five seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors from 2001-06, and won the WHL scoring title in 2005-06 while leading the Warriors all the way to the WHL Championship series. Brouwer has two goals and three points over 13 games for the Hawks in the 2010 playoffs.

Ladd, who hails from Maple Ridge, B.C., played two campaigns in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen from 2003-05 where he partnered with Anaheim Ducks’ all-star Ryan Getzlaf to form one of the WHL’s most dangerous duos. Ladd, who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, has two goals and three points through 16 post-season contests with Chicago.

Fraser, a Sicamous, B.C., product, spent four seasons with the Rebels from 2001-05, and was the WHL’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2005. Fraser has appeared in three playoff games for the Hawks.

Duncan Keith, a Winnipeg, MB, native, joined the Kelowna Rockets midway through the 2002-03 season and helped lead them to the 2003 WHL Championship. Keith, a finalist for the 2010 Norris trophy, has been stellar for the Hawks in the post-season, notching 10 points in 16 games.

Delta, B.C., product Brent Seabrook played four seasons for the Lethbridge Hurricanes from 2001-05, piling up 39 goals and 176 points. Seabrook has partnered with Keith to form one of the NHL’s best defensive duos through the 2009-10 season.

Sopel, a Calgary, AB, native, played 207 WHL contests with the Saskatoon Blades and Swift Current Broncos from 1993-97. The veteran of 588 NHL games has picked up three assists through 16 games during the Hawks’ run to the Cup final.

From The Pats To The Cougars

May 27, 2010 []

REGINA, Sask. – University of Regina men’s hockey head coach Blaine Sautner announced Saturday that former Regina Pats centre Matt Strueby has committed to the Cougars.
Strueby, who finished second on the Pats as a 20-year-old last season with 37 goals, is expected to fill an offensive role with the U of R next season as the team moves into its new home at The Co-Operators Centre.
“We’re a team that will benefit from his offence, and he’ll bring size and skill up the middle for us,” Sautner said. “It’s a great conference and always tough to come in as a rookie, but he has the skill and competitiveness needed to have success at this level.”
Strueby added 22 assists last season to register a career-high 59 points for the Pats. Over three full seasons in the WHL, he accumulated 70 goals, 57 assists, and 127 points in 206 regular season games.
Strueby, the first member of Sautner’s 2010-11 recruiting class, has family ties to the Cougars. His uncle Darren Wilcox was in net for the Cougars during their march to the Great Plains Athletic Conference title in 1982, while his cousin Nathan Strueby played with the Cougars during the 1998-99 and 2000-01 seasons.

A Sure Sign Of Summer

Its what Rider fans have been waiting for, for a long, long time. Here is the first set of training camp times for 2010.

2:00 pm Rookie practice
4:00 pm Rookie players and coaches available to media

9:30 am Rookie practice
11:30 am Rookie players and coaches available to media

9:30 am Rookie practice
11:30 am Rookie players and coaches available to media


8:15 am 1st practice
10:45 am 2nd practice
12:45 pm Players and coaches available to media

8:15 am 1st practice
10:30 am 2nd practice
12:20 pm Players and coaches available to media

8:15 am 1st practice
10:30 am 2nd practice
12:20 pm Players and coaches available to media

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who's The Backup?

The debate can officially begin now. I had heard from people within the Rider organization earlier this month that both Todd Reesing and Ryan Dinwiddie would be at training camp meaning it would give fans something to chew on. If early indication is anything, the debate will go on for a while.

Who is Darian Durant's backup going into camp? Who will Ken Miller slot at #2 on the depth chart? You have Cole Bergquist who was here for most of last season and learned the offence. You have highly touted college quarterback Todd Reesing who impressed at Kansas. You have relative unknown Kent Smith who has drawn high praise from the coaching staff and you have Ryan Dinwiddie who has CFL experience from his time in Winnipeg.

Personally, I would go with Dinwiddie. I know a lot of Rider fans aren't impressed with the Boise State product, but he is experienced and should Darian Durant go down, the dropoff won't be as large. It leaves Reesing and Bergquist fighting for number 3. If Reesing gets it, do you put Bergquist on the practice roster for another year. If its Bergquist, it allows Reesing a year to grow and a year to learn. By the way, it wouldn't surprise me if whoever is number 4 comes down with some sort of freak injury that will have him on the nine game list. Ken Miller has a hearty handshake and he "could" accidentally break a finger or something. (SARCASM ON) Gee, I hope that doesn't happen! (SARCASM OFF)
I had a good chat with Darian Durant today for a story that will be on Riderville next week. (If you heard "The Sportscage" today, you heard that interview.)Ken Miller told me last week that Darian was more confident than he was last year and you could see that today. He is ready to go and he is ready to improve on his 2009---a 2009 that he called "mediocre". Mediocre!! You were the West's all-star quarterback, some felt you were the West MVP and you got your team to within a whisker of the Grey Cup in what was your first year as a starter. Talk about being your own biggest critic. I was expecting a big year from Darian already. After talking to him and seeing his demeanour, I think you will see a big year from number 4.
I'm guessing Rider fans (and fans across the CFL) are breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing a new CBA has been tentatively agreed upon. Did you really think there was going to be a lockout? Both sides are way too smart to let that happen.
I just hope this new agreement doesn't mean less Canadians. I would not be happy with that.
Have you heard about the golf round of a lifetime? Jamie Kureluk is a golf pro in Calgary. He was competing in the RBC Alberta Open Tuesday and shot a 61. That's 10 under par. What makes this round about one or two levels below sick is that Kureluk on the back nine shot a 25. A 25! He had seven birds and two eagles on the back nine. Beat that Tiger! Beat that anyone! 25!! That's absolutely insane!!!
I'm guessing Boston sports fans are walking around with a great big lump in their throats. After seeing the Bruins choke a 3-0 lead and lose to the Flyers, the Boston Celtics are now facing a similar situation. After dominating a rather disinterested Orlando team for the first three games, the Magic have come back to win the next two. Game 6 is in Boston Friday. It can't happen twice in one year to the same city can it?
I have now come to the conclusion that Don Cherry and TNT's Craig Sager go to the same place when it comes to gaudy sports jackets. Have you seen some of the stuff Sager is wearing. Looks nothing like Regina's GQ coverboy and host of Regina's most talked about sports show. Did you see RP's blog and the duds he had on yesterday? I howled when someone commented he looked like Horatio Kane only Horatio wouldn't wear pink. LOVE IT! That person should really identify himself (or herself) because that is a great, great line and a pretty good dig too.
I did not see this, but a friend's wife told me Wednesday night she was watching the American Idol final when a TSN commercial came on advertising the new season and a Grey Cup rematch between the Alouettes and Stamps. WHO? Can this be confirmed? Did anyone else see this ad? If you did, what are you doing watching American Idol!! That will be demerits on your man card. It was bad enough when TSN promoted "Kevin" Durant and the Saskatchewan Roughriders during Grey Cup week last year, but this is just heinous and inexcusable.
After posting photos twice in the last month of Jennifer Aniston looking her best, a friend of mine has said I can not forget about my first ballot hall of famer Heather Locklear. He's right. Heather is turning 48 this year and she looks damn good too. Agree or disagree?

Speaking of looking damn good, my 80's crush is also looking damn fine. I'm going to save that picture for later this week. Those that have known me for a long time know exactly who I am talking about.
Yes, I am going to finish this posting without mentioning game on ice in which players use sticks!
Another weekend of cold weather and rain! ARRRGGHHHHHH!!!!
I'm back with Rod on "The Cage" at 4 today. I have no idea what we're doing at this time. By the way, there is a Facebook "Sportscage" page. Join it wont'cha. You can find it at!/group.php?gid=127602600586353&ref=ts. The more fans, the better!!!
As you go into your Thursday, remember this. Never, ever try to slam a revolving door!

No CFL Lockout

The CFL and its players' association have reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement, avoiding a potential lockout this season.

The deal still needs to be ratified by the players and the league's board of governors.

The current deal expires at the end of the month. With negotiations not going well, there had been talk in the off-season of a possible lockout.

According to a statement from the CFL on Wednesday, the new agreement includes a drug testing policy but no details will be released until the deal is ratified.

No other details from the agreement were released in the statement.

"By agreement of the parties, there will be no further comment on any of the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement until the ratification process is complete," the statement said.

The ratification vote will take place prior to the start of the 2010 season on July 1.

Training camps open early next week.

Labour issues are rare in the CFL. In years when the two sides couldn't get a deal done before the expiration of the previous one, they've operated under the terms of the old CBA until a new one was reached.

Keeping games on the field is of vital importance for the league, given its teams draw a big chunk of their operating revenue from ticket sales.

Two of the more contentious issues on the bargaining table were daily work hours and reducing the number of Canadian-born players teams must start.

Under the current deal, CFL teams have their players for 4 1/2 hours a day. That means they must cram in meetings, practices and film study during that time, creating challenges for coaches to work out any kinks, let alone implement weekly game plans.

Sources told The Canadian Press last fall that the CFL would like its players to be available to teams for six hours a day.

Another sensitive issue was the league's proposal that the number of Canadians teams must start be slashed from seven to four.

Canadian content was a bone of contention last season as many teams scrambled to find capable Canadians to replace non-imports who have been hurt. That prompted suggestions that teams be able to have one less Canadian on their roster. That player would be replaced by an extra American.

Currently, CFL teams must carry 20 Canadians, 19 Americans and three quarterbacks (Canadian or American) on their 42-man active rosters but only start seven a minimum of non-imports.

Riders Sign Reesing And Dinwiddie

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have signed import quarterbacks Ryan Dinwiddie and Todd Reesing to contracts. Financial details of the contracts were not released.

Dinwiddie (6’1 – 195 lbs) played three seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after signing as a free agent with the team in 2006. During that time, the 29-year old completed 207 of 417 pass attempts for 1,581 yards and six touchdowns. At Boise State, Dinwiddie was a three-year starter and a two time first team All-Western Athletic Conference all-star. He set school career records for passing yards, completions, and attempts. Dinwiddie finished his time at Boise State with an impressive 168.89 passer rating after completing 662 of 992 pass attempts for 9,819 yards and 82 touchdowns.

Reesing (5’11 – 200 lbs) spent four seasons playing at Kansas University where he completed 313 of 496 pass attempts for 3,616 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior year. He finished his collegiate career completing 932 of 1,461 pass attempts for 11,194 yards and 90 touchdowns. The 22-year-old led his team to a 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl victory over Virginia and also led his team to victory in the 2008 Insight Bowl. Reesing was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.

For those who care, Reesing will wear 11, Dinwiddie 8.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm OK With A Big Apple Super Bowl

The NFL has done an about face and awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York City. The league has had a mandate about cities having to have a temperature above 50 degrees in February if they wanted to host a game in an outdoor stadium. Even though, NYC does not meet the requirements, the league is waving the rule allowing the NFL championship to be played in the new 1.6 billion dollar facility that both the Jets and Giants will play in.
Some football purists are saying the NFL is taking a huge risk here by having their championship game played in a blizzard or in frigid weather conditions. So? Isn't that what football is about? I'm guessing the chances of the field looking the way it did on the night of the infamous "Tuck Rule" game between the Patriots and Raiders are slim, but the two teams could be playing in the middle of a snowstorm. I'm guessing the temperature won't be as cold as the 82 AFC championship game between the Bengals and Chargers when the windchill was 59 degrees below zero. What about the famous 1967 Ice Bowl between the Packers and Cowboys? Those that are whining about this game are ones that might have to end up wearing a parka instead of shorts to the game---a game they would rather see in San Diego or Tampa.
Here in Canada, we could play the Grey Cup in places like Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, but we huddled up in Saskatchewan in 1995, we saw the Riders and Argos play on a cold afternoon in Edmonton for all the marbles and lets remember how cold it was when Rocket Ismail and the Argos won it all in Winnipeg. Those in Saskatoon reading this remember how cold it was for the Vanier Cup.
If its a cold day, its a cold day. Live with it. The two teams will be playing under the same elements. Its not going to happen every year and it could be a beautiful day when whoever plays whoever for all the marbles. To those that don't like it, get over it. A New York Super Bowl might be one to remember.
The LP's Greg Harder says the Pats are close to naming Brent Parker's replacement as GM. While Chad Lang remains the favourite, Harder says many have emerged as possible candidates. One of those candidates is Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray. He is the architect of the world junior team. He knows how to build a winner. If Murray is interested, strike an agreement and hire him a-s-a-p. I never even thought about Al and I'm guessing either did a lot of you. I'm thinking he would turn things around.
The Islanders send Blades defenceman Jiri Niemi to the Rangers for a draft pick. I find that one odd. Why would the Islanders trade Niemi for a 6th round pick. Do they have that low of an opinion of the Finnish born blueliner. If so, why?
I'm not disappointed one bit to see the Suns tie the Lakers at two in the NBA West Final, but Phoenix must find a way to beat L-A at the Staples Center.
Was I supposed to shed a tear when Jack Bauer said goodbye to Chloe as "24" signed off. I say that because I did. ( I know, I am the definition of "wuss")
Tom Wright is going to work for Dana White as his right hand man in Canada. What a great choice! Nothing against Marc Cohon, but I always thought Wright got screwed around when he was forced to leave the CFL commissioner's chair. What a great hire!
I didn't think I would win the "Should Jordan Eberle's jersey be retired by the Pats?" argument with Rod on "The Sportscage" Tuesday afternoon, but I had to voice my case. I'm a huge Eberle fan, but I said there are many other players that deserve to see their sweater retired as well. Guys like Jock Callander, Josh Holden and Mike Sillinger (why didn't I mention his name during the show?) If Eberle gets his #7 retired, I'll be happy for him, but I will wonder why some others don't get the same recognition.
Why do I think the Tampa Bay Lightning made a move today that will have them as one of the NHL's top teams in the not too distant future. Its obvious that Steve Yzerman has his work cut out for him, but you know Stevie Y will associate himself with winners. He will build that team around players like Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. One thing Yzerman needs is a goalie. How about this. Vinnie Lecavalier goes to Montreal for Carey Price and something else. Vinnie would be treated like a god in his home province and Price might fill the void of a quality tender. Its just a thought!
A lot of people believe free agent to be Patrick Marleau would be a great fit in Toronto. If I remember correctly, Marleau wasn't seeing eye to eye with then Sharks coach Ron Wilson. That would be the same Ron Wilson that is now coaching the Leafs. Why would Marleau want to work under Wilson again. Its not going to happen!
Will the Sharks dangle Joe Thornton somewhere to land a top 1o pick in this year's draft. I'm hearing its a possibility. Can you imagine if he went back to Boston?
As you go into your Wednesday, ask yourself if its true that nylons give women a run for their money.


Playgirl's hunks? The hairy, chubby & poor!
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Forget waxed chests and rock-hard abs. A new survey finds ladies like their
men scruffy, a wee bit chubby - and definitely not a metrosexual.
Playgirl asked 2,000 of its readers what they find sexy in a man and the
answers were surprising: 42% said they thought love handles were kind of
sexy and 47% approved of chest hair.

The mag, which often features toned, hairless males in its beefcake photo
spreads, is now searching for a man who meets readers' standards.

Average Joes everywhere can send photos to to compete
for a shot at a pictorial in a future issue.

Rich playboys need not apply - only 4% of women said the size of a man's
wallet mattered. Metrosexuals are also out: 73% want a guy who is "rough
around the edges."

"This survey shows that the guy who's most attractive to our readers is not
your average Hollywood hunk," said Playgirl editrix Jill Sieracki. "It's the
average Joe who came up on top. Women are practical about their choices, and
they're smart."

New York matchmaker Janis Spindel, a self-described specialist at setting up
"highly successful, well-educated, attractive professionals," confirmed the
survey's findings. "It's scary, but women don't care [about looks]," she
said. "Men are very superficial and very shallow."

But Spindel disputed the claim that women don't care about finding a rich
man: "Women want a man who makes more money than they do," she said. "They
want to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle."

Steve Yzerman Leaves The Wings

The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Steve Yzerman to be the team's Vice President, General Manager and Alternate Governor, Owner and Chairman Jeff Vinik announced today. Yzerman becomes the sixth general manager in Lightning history, bringing with him four Stanley Cup rings earned with the Detroit Red Wings as a player and executive as well as a Gold Medal, earned as the executive director of Hockey Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Yzerman will report directly to Vinik.

“I am thrilled to introduce Steve to the Tampa Bay community today,” said Vinik. “I am confident that he is the right person to lead the Tampa Bay hockey team as we strive to become a world class organization. We are pleased Steve has elected to join the Lightning, bringing with him strong leadership qualities and a competitive desire to win through hard work and determination.”

"Steve Yzerman is driven to succeed,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “His level of accomplishment - as a champion with the Detroit Red Wings and as a gold medal team builder with Team Canada - represents precisely the type of individual Jeff Vinik wants for the Tampa Bay Lightning: a person committed to the team, to achievement and to the fans."

Yzerman, 45, has spent the previous 27 seasons with the Red Wings as a player, captain and executive. He is a four-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning three as a player in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and another as a member of Detroit’s management team in 2008. Yzerman ranks sixth in NHL history for points with 1,755, seventh in assists with 1,063, eighth in goals with 692 and 13th in games played with 1,514. He spent 20 seasons as the captain in Detroit, the longest such tenure in NHL and major sports history. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility.

After retiring from the game, Yzerman became an integral part of Hockey Canada’s management team. He served as general manager for Canada at the 2007 and 2008 IIHF World Championships, bringing home Gold and Silver respectively. He then led Hockey Canada to a magical moment this past February when his team defeated the United States in overtime to win the Gold Medal on home ice at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he served as executive director. Yzerman also won an Olympic Gold Medal as a player with Canada in 2002.

“I am extremely excited to join the Lightning organization as we look to re-establish the organization as one of the most respected in the NHL,” Yzerman said. “There is a great nucleus here and Jeff is a proactive, enthusiastic and committed owner. I look forward to getting started right away.”

Yzerman becomes the sixth general manager in Lightning franchise history, following Brian Lawton (2008-09 – 2009-10), Jay Feaster (2001-02 – 2007-08), Rick Dudley (1999-00 – 2001-02), Jacques Demers (1998-99) and Phil Esposito (1992-93 – 1998-99).

Rider Plates Selling Well

Rider fans blitzed SGI offices over the past week in order to be among the first to own a new Saskatchewan Roughrider licence plate.

As of this morning, six days after the plates became available, SGI has received 3,508 orders for Rider plates.

"SGI has given Rider fans another way to show their passion and support for their favourite team, and we are just thrilled with the response," Minister responsible for SGI June Draude said. "Pride truly does live here."

After covering administration costs, SGI is providing net revenues earned from the sale of Rider plates to the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club.

"We are very excited about how this special and unique opportunity has been embraced by the province," Riders President and CEO Jim Hopson said. "Thanks to our great partnership with SGI, Rider fans can take their pride with them wherever they travel."

Rider plates can be ordered from any SGI motor licence issuer throughout the province. The cost for a single Rider plate is $50 plus GST. Fans can also buy a duplicate plate to display on the front of their vehicle for an additional $20 plus GST.

Personalized Rider licence plates cost an additional $75 plus GST, over and above the $50 plus GST cost. Existing personalized licence plates that have five characters or less can be moved to a Rider plate for the Rider plate fee of $50 plus GST plus a $20 charge for plate replacement.

More information on ordering Rider licence plates is available at

Jennifer Aniston Just Continues To Impress

I had a blog posting that was entitled this a month ago. However, once again she continues to prove that she just might be the hottest 41 year old on the planet. This picture was taken on the weekend from a movie she is currently working on.

I asked it last month, and I will ask it again. Agree or disagree?

I Can't Wait

I put this up on last week. I think a lot of you are in the same boat as me.

I don’t know about you, but I keep watching the clock tick closer and closer and closer to the beginning of the 2010 season.

I don’t know if the pain of last year’s Grey Cup loss has entirely gone away, but I am more than ready to get on what should be another great ride as this team looks to capture the trophy that eluded them last November.

I can’t wait to see how Darian Durant looks and if, and how much he will continue to improve. If he stays healthy, this could be Durant’s season to shine. One can only imagine what type of numbers he might be able to put up with the weapons he has on offence.

I can’t wait to see the further emergence of players like Chris Getzlaf, Stu Foord and Chris McKenzie. I can’t wait to see how Prechae Rodriguez fits in the offensive scheme. I can’t wait for Andy Fantuz to reach those mammoth hands up in the air and come down with a pass that not many receivers would come down with. I can’t wait to see a healthy Weston Dressler running routes.

I can’t wait to see the intense battles that will be staged at defensive end and linebacker, and I can’t wait to see how number one draft pick Shomari Williams and other highly touted rookies perform in a professional environment.

I can’t wait to see 30-thousand people pack into Mosaic Stadium and I can’t wait for the team to emerge from under the helmet for the first time.

I can’t wait for Head Coach Ken Miller to step on the field with clipboard in hand and blow that whistle to officially begin training camp. I know you feel the same way.

Monday, May 24, 2010

And Then There Were Two

OK, how many of you at the start of the playoffs said the Chicago Blackhawks would play the Philadelphia Flyers in the finals? C'mon, raise your hands! I think a lot of us would have taken Chicago, but only hardcore Philly fans would have taken the Flyers. It will be the Hawks and the Flyers for all the marbles. Two of my favourite players (Toews and Richards)will get the chance to take the mug from Commissioner Bettman and live a life-long dream. Who ya got? I would have to think Chicago is heavily favoured, but in these playoffs, who knows!
That's the poll question this week, so answer away.
I talked on the blog yesterday about how the NHL needs to get rid of the conference championship presentation if teams are going to make a mockery of it by not touching the trophy. That being said, I loved it when Mike Richards grabbed the Eastern Conference championship trophy and took it to the dressing room with him. Attaboy Mike.
Here's your Cup final sked....

Saturday, May 29
at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Monday, May 31
at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, June 2
at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, June 4
at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Sunday, June 6
at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Wednesday, June 9
at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Friday, June 11
at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
It was nice to get one good day out of the weekend. I spent part of it in Wascana Park at a barbecue. A lot of people were out, but then again they might have had a little cabin fever and needed to get out.
Speaking of Cabin Fever, you might want to check this out next weekend....

Having a concert out at Rambler Park. That will be a little different, but at the same time, what a great venue. It should be a good time. Here's hoping the rain stays away.
You would think with the Habs having the run they did, there would have been someone who would have started the website I'm sure these two would have been more than happy to be a part of it.....

With the World Cup of Soccer almost upon us, Argentina decided it needed an easy tuneup so they called on Canada. It was like the Thunder or the Rams playing a division 1 NCAA school. The final was predictably one sided as it ended 5-0. This game was played in Argentina, but why. Wouldn't it have been a big payday for the Canadian Soccer Association to have one of the world's biggest powers play on our soil? If we are going to get crushed, at least lets do it here.
Why is it when Rob Vanstone appears on Global Sports Mondays that he never extols the virtues of High Impact Wrestling. You would think that someone who is such an ardent supporter of the local crew would give a kind word to those that provide us with some much-needed yuks on a Friday night once a month. CMON ROB!!! Someone still needs to explain to me why Lee Jones look-a-like Jeff Tyler is the champ. This guy looks like he couldn't beat up a Grade 8, so why is he carrying the belt. Then again, its not Rex Roberts.
Bret "The Hitman" Hart is the new GM of RAW! If he gets a couple of months experience, could he be Brent Parker's successor?!
Orlando beats Boston in the NBA East Final to avoid a sweep. After what happened with the Bruins, I wonder how many in Boston have a lump starting to form in their throat.
I'm back in the Cage with Rod Pedersen at 4 o'clock this afternoon on 620 CKRM. By the way, there is a Facebook page dedicated to the show if you want to sign up. It sounds as if RP wants to preview the SC finals and that's fine with me. It sounds as if he is trying to line up people connected to both teams playing so we'll see if he can get confirmation.
I'm thinkin and hopin this is going to be a good week. Lets see!

Kiefer Sutherland Reflects On "24"

I have loved "24" ever since it went on the air, and no Elisha Cuthbert's presence in Season 1 had nothing to do with it. I've never been as addicted to non-related sports show as I have been with this one. The small screen adventures of Jack Bauer end tonight as the final season comes to a close with a 2 hour season finale. Its one that I hear is very dramatic as Jack ties up all the loose ends from yet another hectic day in his life. Kiefer Sutherland spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the show and its legacy...

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Back in 2001, did you have reservations about debuting the show after Sept. 11?
KIEFER SUTHERLAND: Huge, massive concerns. It was something that was really transcendent to the population, and it wasn’t about the show. I think we all went through a period for three weeks, that if you weren’t a doctor, a policeman, a fireman, or a nurse, and you weren’t able to actually physically help, you just felt moronic for what you were doing. And me being a professional actor for a living, I think we felt the dumbest of all. So it wasn’t about the appropriateness of the show. But at some point, something’s got to jolt you out of the unbelievable mourning of a situation like that, and the sadness of that kind of day, and movies and television and music and literature are all things that do that.

Is Jack Bauer an anti-hero?
I think so, because my perception of a hero is someone who is victorious at the end of the day, and I don’t think Jack was ever that. From season one, he managed to save his daughter and the incumbent president but he lost his wife, and there has always been something to pay for Jack Bauer. I think one of the reasons the audience has gravitated to this character is because there is a reality in that. 24 worked really well in that gray area.

How did you originally feel about the plan to kill off Jack’s wife, Teri, in the first season finale?
Negatively! I thought it was going to be the biggest mistake of all time. How on earth can you have an audience stay with you for 24 episodes, and then do this to them? It was one of those classic things of underestimating what an audience can handle. It doesn’t change the fact that people sent in thousands of letters and emails, and tens of thousands, all of which started off with, ‘I hate you guys for doing this,’ but at the end of the letter, they somehow managed to work themselves back through to ‘I also love you for it.’

The show was often criticized for relying on tropes like moles in CTU, or someone — or some thing — destroying CTU.
If I was going to do a show about Wall Street, would people be like, ‘Why is there another financial crisis?’ Take a look at the number of people who have been arrested for spying either on a technological level or on personal levels all around the world. It happens. It’s in the world where the show lives. And that’s what the show is.

Talk about the way the show cracked the zeitgeist.
One of the interesting things, and I’ve always taken it as some kind of compliment, is that people forgot that it is a TV show, but talked about it politically as if it happened. It didn’t. A lot of things we were doing to create drama and circumstances were misunderstood.

What about the show’s past depiction of Muslims?
In the second season, we worked with the Muslim community, and I know we did a PSA. But, if you want to just take a look at 9/11, they were Muslims. Deal with it. It’s a fact, and Muslim extremists exist, and we have also done Christian right extremists, and we have also done political, Eastern block terrorists, and those who had financial and religious motives — all kinds. We weren’t going to pretend that the 22 hijackers in 9/11 weren’t Muslim. By the same token, I do believe you have a responsibility to say that this is a show about extremes. And I think you have to do whatever you can to make sure that people understand that this is not a commentary on what you believe people of the Muslim faith are doing. There’s a very, very small group, and so we did everything we could to do that, while protecting the right to tell the story that we wanted to tell.

Jack Bauer became an icon. How did that make you feel?
It’s a double-edged sword. You love the fact that people are enjoying your show, and then there’s the water-cooler discussion in which people start to manufacture what this meant, and what that meant. I think that on some levels, people read a little more [in the show] than was intended.

What were your favorite season finales?
Certainly the first one, just because it set a precedent for us for the rest of the show. I can’t remember the season, but there was one where Jack Bauer gets in the truck, the day is over, and he’s on his way home. Jack comes unglued. And it was the one moment where we got to show that all of the stress, all of the pressure, and all of the terrible things that happened in that 24-hour period do have an amazing, profound effect on this guy.

Your favorite villain?
Nina Myers [Sarah Clarke] was fantastic as a villain because we had gone through half of the first season thinking we were going to be partners. And then the writers turned that around on us! That was certainly an education for me as an actor. I think Nina was the first character I ever saw a T-shirt about. She had betrayed Jack so badly and they had an intimate relationship before that! I always loved that character.

What about tonight’s series ender?
What’s interesting is how it almost goes back to year one, where it’s not about saving the planet. It’s not about a nuclear bomb. It’s not about any of these things. It becomes about two characters. It was much more moving than I had ever anticipated, and for the people that I know who have seen it, I think they felt the same way.

Does it feel good knowing that you don’t have to say goodbye to Jack Bauer because of the 24 film?
It’s a huge relief for me. To go out on what we believe is a very strong high note was really important to us, and we still get to go make this film that we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

What will be the legacy of 24?
That the issues we’re dealing with in 24 no longer exist, and that it is an earmark of a time gone by.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Worst Mem Cup Ever Comes To An End

Do you think Kelly McCrimmon and the Brandon Wheat Kings have seen enough of the Windsor Spitfires? After getting pumped 9-3 by the Ontario League champs in the tournament's opening game, the host team got embarrassed again in the final this time by a score of 9-1. There just aren't enough superlatives you can use when it comes to describing how good this Windsor team is. This squad might be the best team to ever win the junior hockey title. Taylor Hall showed why the Edmonton Oilers should take him with the first pick overall in this draft, Cam Fowler showed why he is a top 5 prospect, Ryan Ellis showed why he's a first rounder, etc, etc, etc. That team was scary, and almost made a mockery of this year's event.

While I'm sure the fine people of Brandon put on a great show, I don't know if I've ever seen a worse Mem Cup week. The only exciting game for me was the Wheat Kings semi-final win over Calgary. Yes, Calgary beat Moncton 5-4, but the Wildcats choked up a three goal lead in that one. Yes, Windsor beat Moncton 4-3 in overtime, but the Spitfires took their foot off the pedal in that one. For the most part, Windsor (to use a John Foley analogy) got rid of the competition. They dominated Calgary and they destroyed Brandon twice. It was not a good week of hockey, but when one team is head and shoulders better than all the rest, you will get that.
The WHL will host the Memorial Cup again in three years time. With the event being a huge success in places like Rimouski and Brandon, it can go anywhere. This has been proven. With that being the case, could and would Swift Current apply, how about Moose Jaw as the Multiplex will be operating by then. Just a thought! Its said Saskatoon wants the 2013 event.
No finale of "Lost" for me. I checked out the Brooks and Dunn farewell with all the great names in country music performing. What will the world do without Brooks and Dunn? We'll miss Brooks, but will anyone give a rats ass about Dunn. Really, who needs Dunn? Not I! (ITS A JOKE!!!). The only thing that show was missing was Peggy Hill giving a peach cobbler to the country crooners.
The Sharks had some people saying they weren't playoff failures after they got to the West final, but the talk has been revived after a four game sweep at the hands of the Blackhawks. San Jose did everything they could to win three games in that series, but they just didn't have enough to control the speedy, talented Hawks. If Philly wins, can you imagine the battles between Byfuglien and Coburn/Pronger.
The more I watch Jonathan Toews, the more I love the way the kid plays. A guy phoned up on "The Sports Cage" this past week saying he'd rather have Toews on his team than Sid. I applauded that comment! He's only going to get better and better as his career goes on. I predict an MVP trophy or two by the time he is done.
Do you think Shawn Chambers has gotten sick of seeing Mario go around him on the Hockey Night in Canada intro yet? Who was the other d-man on that play?
I will agree with something Drew Remenda told me when we were doing the CJME sports show together. Drew believes the NHL should get rid of the conference championship trophy presentation because its a joke. It is! The captain of the winning team wants nothing to do with the trophy, because its not the trophy they covet. Why bother with this production then?
So lemme get this straight, the Russians don't medal at the Olympics so 14 of them go back to play in the Worlds to get the country back on top and they lose the gold medal game to the hated Czechs 2-1. I'm thinking there are 14 players with whom the Russian Ice Hockey Federation aren't very happy with right now.
The final "24" airs tonight. Those that watch know the Russians REALLY pissed off Jack when they shot Renee Walker. You don't kill Jack's woman and get away with it. Word is at some point in the 2 hour finale, Jack has a showdown with Chloe that some say might be the best scene in the history of the show.
The Blue Jays lead the majors with 76 homers, yet Adam Lind and Aaron Hill who combined for 71 last year only have 12 this year. If they get their bats heated up, look out! Who am I kidding, Toronto isn't going anywhere in the AL East as long as the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox are there.
Less than two weeks until training camp.
Have a great holiday Monday!

What A Crappy Weekend!

Isn't the May long weekend the unofficial start to summer? Can we just go back to work Monday and have another long weekend in June when the weather will co-operate. I'm guessing the campgrounds are empty, the barbecues are quiet and the patios are closed because of what we've seen so far---and its not getting any better.
Are the Habs done? Philly seems to have their number. As the Capitals and Penguins found out though, that 4th win is the toughest. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see this series go back to the Bell Centre for a 6th game. Meanwhile, I think the Sharks are done today. Chicago just looks too good. Perhaps a loss would be good for the Hawks if it means a long layoff, but I can't see San Jose pulling one of those Flyer comebacks.
The Orlando Magic are done! I have never seen a less inspired team than what I saw from them last night. Then again when Vince Carter is one of your featured players, what should you expect!
Criminal Minds is a show I really should watch more.
It wouldn't hurt my feelings one bit if someone just beat the living you know what out of the guy in these Old Spice commercials.
With the weather being the way it is, its hard to think that one week from today is the start of the 2010 Western Major Baseball League season.
Nothing against the WHL, but I am rooting for Windsor in today's Memorial Cup final.
Why wouldn't an NHL team be interested in making a deal for Jason Spezza? Is there something here I don't know.
Say what you will about Chris Pronger, but the guy makes winners out of those around him. If the Flyers go to the finals, he will have been in 3 of the 6 Stanley Cup finals since the lockout. He'll be a first ballot hall of famer. He'll likely get booed at the ceremony!
Blue Jays fans, how about this. Toronto's record of 25-20 leaves them 3rd in the AL East--seven back of Tampa. That same record would have the Jays leading or right behind the leaders in just about every other division. Meanwhile, the Cubs are four games under 500 and just continue to flounder along. It might be time to make some sweeping changes very soon. Can I start the Ryne Sandberg for manager campaign on a little-known Canadian sports blog?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

One Last Junior Award For Eberle

Jordan Eberle finishes a fantastic season by winning the 2010 Canadian Hockey League’s Player of the Year this afternoon.

He beat out the Red Tilson Trophy (OHL player of the year) winner, Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers and the Michel Briere Memorial Trophy (QMJHL player of the year) winner, Mike Hoffman of the St. John Sea Dogs at the CHL Awards Dinner at the Memorial Cup in Brandon.

This is the third time that a member of the Regina Pats has won the CHL Player of the year as Eberle joins former winners Ed Staniowski (1974-75) and Doug Wickenheiser (1979-80).

In just 57 games this season, Eberle was second in WHL scoring with 106 points and was also second in goals with 50. He was the first Pat player to hit the 50 goal plateau since Ronald Petrovicky scored 64 in 1997-98.

Eberle was also a unanimous pick as a 1st team Eastern Conference all-star for the second time in his career (the first was in 2007-08) and was named the Four Broncos Memorial Award winner as the WHL’s player of the year, beating out the Vancouver Giants Craig Cunningham.

Regina Pats General Manager, Brent Parker, “this is a tremendous moment for Jordan and our organization and he certainly deserves of all the accolades that he receives. I have said all along that as good a player as Jordan is, he is even a better person and it great to see him finally rewarded for all he has done for the Regina Pats and the Western Hockey League."

Jordan could not be in Brandon after competing for Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Germany. In 4 games, he had a goal and 3 assists and was a +2, with all of the points coming in a 12-1 win over Norway.

Eberle did pass on the following, “I am humbled to win this award and to join the amazing list of players that have come before me and put their name on this prestigious trophy. Hockey is a team sport and if it wasn’t for my teammates on the ice, the coaching staff behind the bench and the front office, none of this could have been possible. This is a great way to cap off the season and my junior hockey career.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

The Brandon Wheat Kings have not looked that great at this year's Memorial Cup. They were beaten rather handily by Windsor in the tournament opener and Calgary gave them a solid beating in the final game of the round-robin. It doesn't matter. The Wheat Kings are one game away from hoisting the trophy after rallying to beat Calgary in the semi-final. Brandon was down 2-0, but they came back to tie it and take the lead only to see the WHL champs send it into OT. Jay Fehr then sent those at Westman Place home happy as Brandon takes it 5-4 meaning they will play Windsor Sunday night at 6 for all the marbles. I hope its not a repeat of the round-robin game. I don't think it will be.
Is Dustin Byfuglien making a late run at the Conn Smythe Trophy? He could be. Byfuglien's goal in overtime gives Chicago a 3-2 win over the Sharks and a 3-0 series lead. That series could end Sunday afternoon. The Habs and Flyers meet this afternoon in Montreal. A Habs win and its a best of three. A Flyers win and we are one step closer to a Chicago-Philly final.
Interesting statement from Caps owner Ted Leonsis. In a story on, Ted Leonsis told the National Press Club on Friday that he's getting a firsthand look at the NHL-NBA differences as he prepares to take over as majority owner of the Washington Wizards. I'm surprised because now I see all of the NBA financials," Leonsis said. "And I'd honestly have to say at this point in time that the NHL is stronger than the NBA, clearly because it has a CBA in place that protect owners from taking stupid pills.
"There is a hard cap in the NHL. In the NBA, you can spend a lot of money and every dollar you're over this luxury tax you get fined. And there's a lot of basketball teams who are losing a lot of money."
The NBA is expected to push for changes in its flexible salary cap structure when its collective bargaining agreement expires after next season, and a lockout is possible if the players' union doesn't agree.
Leonsis has already been through that scenario, overspending for Jaromir Jagr and other players not long after buying the Capitals in 1999. After the NHL lockout in 2004-05, Leonsis rebuilt his team through the draft under a new CBA with a hard salary cap.Leonsis plans the same approach with the Wizards, once the NBA approves his purchase of the team from the estate of the late Abe Pollin. It starts with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which the franchise won earlier this week in the NBA lottery.
A question for those of you that have satellite radios? If you listen to the Scott Van Pelt show, is it just me or does he have a lot of NHL chatter on his show. This past week, I heard Barry Melrose, Dustin Byfuglien, Joe Pavelski and a member of the Flyers who I can't remember at this time. I don't hear FOX Sports Radio ever interview NHL guys. Having the NHL on ESPN Radio is huge.
What exactly were GSP and Georges Laraque doing on "Off the Record"? The point of that was.......
So lemme get this straight, Rod had Brendan Taman, John Chick and Todd Reesing on Friday's edition of "The Sportscage". John Lynch co-hosted with him. He must have wanted that show to go on for four hours. It sounds to me as if Reesing is on his way here and that Chick will only be coming here for a visit.
The Jays hit six homers and lose? WOW!
This will be the last item under this blog for the day with the exception of telling everyone to have a good weekend. I say that because if you're squeamish, stop reading now because of the picture you will see. It is of a Spanish bullfighter who was gored yesterday in Spain. This picture is quite graphic so beware. It is one helluva picture though....

I'm not going to show you the video. Believe it or not, this guy is recovering in a Madrid hospital and is expected to be alright.

Have a good weekend. If travelling, keep it between the lines.