Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Catching Up

I've been a little busy over the past couple of days, but there are a few things that I haven't talked about that I do want to mention. Here we go.

1. If you heard the "Sportscage" Monday afternoon, you heard Rod Pedersen talking about how much CFL commissioner Marc Cohon loves the Riders and that he was glad they were in the Grey Cup. Many in Edmonton felt the league wanted the Riders to win the Grey Cup. I don't think that's the case, but I do think the league was glad the Riders were in the big game. Why wouldn't they? The Riders are "the team" in the CFL right now. They are driving the bus. Look at the money they are generating for themselves and the league. Most teams see their biggest home draw when the Riders come to town. If Cohon is openly cheering for the Riders to win that is wrong because the commissioner shouldn't be doing that (nor should any commissioner), but like Gary Bettman wants the Penguins or Capitals in because of Crosby and Ovechkin and like Bud Selig wants the Yankees in the World Series, Cohon wants the Riders in the Grey Cup because of what they bring to the table.

2. Ken Miller is debating as to whether or not he wants to return to the Riders as head coach. It looks as if he will say he is returning and I think that is great news for the football club. I realize Miller has his detractors (although I'm really not sure why), but the numbers don't lie. With Miller around, the Riders have gone to three of the last four Grey Cups and they might have gone to a 4th if it wasn't for the failed Michael Bishop experiment. The man knows what he's doing. He has a genuine love for his players and his players return that love. This is a guy whose only fault may be his age because it brings him closer to retirement than it should. If Miller was in his mid to late 50's, he could coach here for a number of years and threaten the win totals of Eagle Keys. Rider fans should be very confident that with Miller at the helm this team will continue to win.

3. When do we start talking about Anthony Calvillo as being one of the greatest QB's that the CFL has seen? He's not in Warren Moon territory, but would you put him ahead of Doug Flutie? How about Damon Allen? His numbers stand up to anyones. Calvillo now has another health scare that he is facing, but I am sure he will come out of that and be back firing to his targets again next year. In fact, I don't know when he may call it a career. He could right now if he wanted to and no one would blame him, but it would seem as if he has a few years left.

4. Boise State lost a chance at a national US college football championship this past Saturday when they were upset by Nevada. That loss is believed to have cost Boise State 4 1/2 to 5 million dollars. I mention the money because the players that represent the University aren't supposed to see a nickel or else the program gets slapped. I just find that and other parts of the BCS so ridiculous. US college football needs a playoff to determine who the best team is instead of having this endless controversy year after year after year.

5. The SJHL Hall of Fame ceremonies in Humboldt last weekend was a tremendous affair. Yes, the scheduling of the event did hurt publicity because it went on the same weekend as the Grey Cup, but those who were inducted and those who took in Saturday's banquet could have cared less. It was a tremendous ceremony and it was a weekend that those who were inducted will always remember. Many acquaintances were renewed, many stories were told and good times were had by all. Isn't that what you want?

6. I don't know if its the fact that Al Murray is no longer the guy helping form the team, if its the fact that the rest of the world is catching up or if its that many more juniors are making the NHL, but I don't think Canada's roster for the World Juniors is as strong as it has been in past years. If the Canadians are once again to grab gold, they will really have to make a statement and work their tails off. Here's hopin'

7. Does anyone have a clue as to who will be in the Super Bowl? There are many teams that you could say has a shot at being in the NFL's big game. There are at least 10 teams that you could say right now has a legitimate chance of hoisting "The Vince". In a prediction that could change weekly, I'm going to say a Falcons-Chargers Super Bowl.

8. If Jon Gruden takes over as head coach at the University of Miami, it will leave a big hole on Monday Night Football. Gruden has been great on MNF. He is better than John Madden if you ask me.

9. I don't care what the city says when it comes to snow removal. A grader should be going down streets that are well travelled. I can no longer go down one road that I normally take to get home because of the ruts that have been created. I saw a guy go out of those ruts and spin yesterday morning just about taking out a couple of kids. I did phone the city, but all I received was the lip service I thought I would get.

10. Guys, how many of you shaved off your mustache after Movember. How many of you liked it so much that you are keeping it?

11. The Honky Tonk Man is coming to High Impact Wrestling. He will be here for the December 10 card at the Victoria Club. Oh how I would love to see him smoke his guitar over the head of Rex Roberts. I hate that guy!!! Methinks the feelings are mutual. Lets just say there's no love in the air when we converse with one another. Isn't that right Rob Vanstone?

12. Sidney Crosby is MacLeans newsmaker of the year. Really? Sid scores the "golden goal" and now he is being feted for it. Crosby had a terrible Olympics and if the U-S had won, I think he would have been roasted. If you are going to give this honor to someone in the sports profession, I'd give it to Jonathan Toews for his play in Vancouver AND with the Hawks or I would consider Joey Votto (National League MVP) or Jon Montgomery whose skeleton gold might have been the 2nd most popular gold that Canadian athletes received in Vancouver.

13. There was no NHL on TSN Tuesday night. Yes, the Hawks and Blues were on TSN 2, but I know a lot of you don't have that. Was it coincidence that on a night where there is no hockey on TSN or Sportsnet, that the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show comes on. I think not!

The SJHL This Week

The SJHL has inducted its Hall of Fame Class for 2010. This past Saturday night in Humboldt, the league recognized five individuals and one team. The five were referee Mick McGeough, former Humboldt Bronco Bill McDougall, Humboldt’s native son-Glenn Hall, two men whose name is synonomous with the Bronco organization—Dr. Gerry Rooney and Dr. Terry Henning and the 2002-2003 RBC Cup champion Broncos. A banner ceremony was held in which each hall of fame inductee was saluted by the crowd at the Elgar Petersen Arena during the hall of fame game featuring the Broncos and Melfort. A formal dinner was held the next night.

The Broncos and Mustangs have been battling with the La Ronge Ice Wolves for first place in the Bauer Conference in what has been a fierce three way race that could soon involve a 4th team. The Flin Flon Bombers are the hottest team in the league having won six straight to move them to within 5 of the Ice Wolves in the Bauer.

While the Bombers are trying to make it a four way race for first in the Bauer, the Yorkton Terriers are threatening to run away from the rest of the Sherwood Conference. Trent Cassan has the best team in the league right now when it comes to points as they have 42, and they start the week riding a four game winning streak. That streak puts them 11 points ahead of 2nd place Estevan. One must note though that the Terriers have played the most games in the league so far at 31.

Four SJHL players will be off to Dauphin, Manitoba next month for the CJHL Prospects game. The four, who will play on Team West December 5 and 6, are Battlefords defenceman Brody Luhning and teammate Kyle Hall, Melville’s Lucas Froese and Humboldt defenceman Josh Roach.

All four of those players will be in Weyburn this coming weekend as the annual Showcase takes place. All 12 teams will play a pair of games in front of many watchful eyes as scouts and coaches from NCAA and CIS schools are expected to take in the weekend action. The first game goes Friday morning at 11 AM with everything wrapping up Sunday night.

Kindersley Klippers captain Andrew Dommett has declared his intention to play for Lake Superior State next season. The 20 year old from Major, Saskatchewan hasn’t had much of a chance to strut his stuff this year due to an early season injury, but he is a player that tied for the league lead in goals last season with 36. Dommett goes to the same school that currently has former Weyburn Red Wings Andrew Perreault and Kyle Haines along with former Yorkton Terrier Chad Nehring on its roster.


Travis Eggum – (La Ronge Ice Wolves) – The 20 year old from Saskatoon was one of three La Ronge forwards who had double digits in points this week. Eggum had 12 points (6 goals -6 assists) in three games. One of those games was a four goal, one assist night against the Battlefords. Eggum leads the league in goals with 25 and is in the top 5 in the overall scoring race.


Tanner Korchinski – (Flin Flon) – One of the reasons why the Bombers are the hottest team in the SJHL right now is the play of Korchinski on the Bombers blueline. The 20 year old Flin Flon native has been a pillar of strength as the team continues to lurk just behind La Ronge, Melfort and Humboldt in the Bauer Conference


Devin Peters – (Yorkton) – Peters has once again established himself as one of the top, if not the top goaltender in the SJHL. He leads the league in wins with 15 and sits third in goals against average at 2.83. Peters was in net for all three of Yorkton’s wins this past week stopping 93 of 97 shots and posting a goals against average of 1.33


1. Yorkton Terriers – Does this team have a weakness right now? If they do, its not showing.

2. Flin Flon Bombers – The Bombers have won seven in a row and are taking a legitimate run at the top three teams in the Bauer. Mike Reagan has made many changes to the team so far this year, but those changes appear to be paying off.

3. La Ronge Ice Wolves – Doug Lindensmith, Marc-Andre Carre and Travis Eggum are giving opposition goalies nightmares with their play. The three combined for 15 goals and 20 assists over three games this week.

4. Humboldt Broncos – The Broncos have definitely cooled off after their fast start, but Friday’s Hall of Fame game win over Melfort may have been the tonic that was needed to get going again.

5. Melfort Mustangs – The Mustangs only played a pair of games this week splitting them. Adam Wihak continues to be perhaps the most under-rated player in the league.

6. Estevan Bruins – The Bruins lost both of their games this week to fall further back of Yorkton. Like other teams in the Sherwood, the Bruins can’t lose sight of Weyburn otherwise they will be just trying to preserve 2nd.

7. Battlefords Stars – The Stars split their four games this past week, but they are showing that they are a much better hockey team than their record indicates and that they are a tough team to beat right now.

8. Weyburn Red Wings – The Red Wings are four points out of 2nd in the Sherwood. On the flip side, they are only four points up on last place Notre Dame. The offence is coming by committee right now as no one player has taken the reins.

9. Kindersley Klippers – Larry Wintoneak has been auditioning goalies all year long. He may have found one in former AJHL all-star Sean Cahill.

10. Melville Millionaires – The Millionaires had a big win scoring in the last minute Friday to tie and then beat Kindersley, but it’s the only game they played.

11. Notre Dame Hounds – Its never easy playing those back to back road games in Flin Flon and La Ronge and like many others before them, they left the northern part of the league without any points.

12. Nipawin Hawks – Doug Johnson’s team is at the bare minimum right now. It may be one reason as to why the losses are piling up.

Good News For East Side Fans at Mosaic

Wally Buono is staying on as both head coach and general manager of the B.C. Lions, the CFL club said Tuesday.

There had been speculation Buono may give up the coaching duties and concentrate on being GM, but the announcement of his return was made during a news conference.

The Lions started this season with a 1-7 record. It was the worst start in Buono's 21-year coaching career. Some critics suggested he had lost his touch and couldn't communicate with the young players.

The team turned around the season, finished 8-10, and claimed third place in the West to make the playoffs. The Lions lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in overtime of the CFL West semifinal.

"Having had time to stand back and evaluate where we were as a team and an organization at the beginning of the 2010 season and seeing how far we have come, I believe it's in the best interest of our players and coaches to maintain stability and consistency in all areas," Buono said in a statement.

Buono has 243 regular season victories, more than any other CFL coach. The former Montreal Alouettes player spent 13 years coaching the Calgary Stampeders before coming to Vancouver in 2003.

Sickening Doesn't Even Start To Describe This

MONTREAL - A heartbreaking crime was committed at Pat Burns' funeral.
While the hockey world gathered yesterday to mourn the death of the old coach, someone was smashing into his widow's car.
Montreal police say someone broke into the car belonging to his wife, Line, and stole a number of the Burns family's valuable possessions.
The stolen items included 30 autographed hockey jerseys, jewelry, and the late coach's wallet.

Burns, an award-winning coach of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils, died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

At his funeral yesterday, people remembered the gruff ex-cop as a tough but fair man who cared about his players and knew how to motivate them.

Burns' widow discovered the crime this morning.

Police say they will launch a public appeal to the thieves, asking them to leave the stolen items in an agreed-upon spot where they could be recovered.

Was Darian Hurt?

Darian Durant didn't roll out and be a dual threat the way he normally is on Grey Cup Sunday. TSN's Matt Dunigan said on the Grey Cup pre-game show that Durant was being bothered by a bad hamstring that was getting worse and worse with each passing week. I brought up the topic on the "Sportscage" yesterday if he was 100 percent and if there was any truth to what Dunigan had said. I asked him today during garbage bag day if he was 100 percent. The response...
"You know what, honestly, I didn't have the burst and the acceleration that I had earlier in the season. It was also a situation where I felt like I could move around and do some of the things that I'd been doing. Its that time of year where everyone is banged up. We all wish we were 100 percent, but the reality is everyone has some nicks and that was the case."

You will hear more from Darian, along with others like Coach Ken Miller during the Sportscage this afternoon on 620 CKRM from 4-6. I spoke to many Riders seeing RP was taping "In the Huddle" so he has his choice of guys like Makowsky, Cates, Frazier and Eddie Johnson to choose from.

Eskimos New Coach Won't Be Austin

At least it doesn't sound like it according to this story.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Audience For GC 98

The Grey Cup continues to be one of Canada's biggest celebrations. Overnight data from BBM Canada confirms that an average audience of 6.04 million viewers watched last night's CFL championship game, making it the second most-watched Grey Cup game ever –slightly behind last year's record setting game (6.1 million).

The audience for the 98th Grey Cup peaked at 7.6 million viewers on TSN and RDS late in the fourth quarter as Montreal's Billy Parker intercepted Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant's errant throw in the final minute allowing the Alouettes to hold on for a 21-18 victory.

Overall, close to 14 million Canadians, or nearly 42% of the country's population tuned in to watch some or all of last night's broadcast on TSN and RDS.

TSN's 98th Grey Cup average audience of 4.94 million viewers ranks as the third highest audience ever recorded for the network (2010 IIHF World Junior Gold Medal Game– 5.4 million viewers and 2009 Grey Cup – 5.073 million viewers).* The Grey Cup caps off another extremely successful year for CFL ON TSN, that saw the network set numerous audience records throughout the regular season and playoffs.

RDS' French-language broadcast attracted an average audience of 1.1 million viewers making it the network's second most-watched Grey Cup ever.

"The Grey Cup is truly a national celebration and last night's impressive audience is a testament to that," said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. "Our CFL team delivered another outstanding broadcast capturing all of the drama that makes the CFL so special. We can't wait to kick off another outstanding season next year." "These ratings underline once again how the Grey Cup brings Canadians together, and how the CFL and TSN have worked together to make this national experience extra special for our fans," said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL. "It makes us all even more excited as we look forward to the 2011 CFL season, the 99th Grey Cup next year in Vancouver, and 100th Grey Cup in 2012."

TSN's support programming also had impressive audiences with Grey Cup: Countdown to Kick-Off attracting 2.7 million viewers and the Grey Cup Post Game Show averaging an audience of 1.6 million viewers.

17 WHL Players Invited To National Jr. Camp


TORONTO, Ont. – Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) announced on Monday that 39 of Canada’s top junior-aged hockey players (born in 1991 or later) have been invited to take part in Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, December 12-15, 2010 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ont.

Among the 39 players invited, 17 are currently playing in the Western Hockey League, including the Spokane Chiefs’ Jared Cowen who helped Canada earn the silver medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Regina and Saskatoon, SK. Other notables include the WHL’s current leading scorer Linden Vey (Medicine Hat Tigers), first WHL player selected at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft Ryan Johansen (Portland Winterhawks), reigning WHL Defenceman of the Year Tyson Barrie (Kelowna Rockets) and top rated prospect heading into the 2011 NHL Draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels). Over the past 10 years, WHL players have made up over 40% of Team Canada’s National Junior roster, and close to 60% of Team Canada’s defenceman corp.

WHL Players invited to Team Canada's National Junior Team Selection Camp

Club Team
Pro Status

Calvin Pickard
Winnipeg, MB
Seattle (WHL)
COL ’10 (2, 49)

Tyson Barrie
Victoria, B.C.
Kelowna (WHL)
COL ’09 (3, 64)

Jared Cowen
Allan, SK
Spokane (WHL)
OTT ’09 (1, 9)

Brayden McNabb
Davidson, SK
Kootenay (WHL)
BUF ’09 (3, 66)

Ryan Murray
White City, SK
Everett (WHL)
2012 Dft/Rep.

Mark Pysyk
Sherwood Park, AB
Edmonton (WHL)
BUF ’10 (1, 23)

Carter Ashton
Saskatoon, SK
Regina (WHL)
TB ’09 (1, 29)

Brett Connolly
Campbell River, B.C.
Prince George (WHL)
TB ’10 (1, 6)

Cody Eakin
Winnipeg, MB
Swift Current (WHL)
WSH ’09 (3, 85)

Brendan Gallagher
Delta, B.C.
Vancouver (WHL)
MTL ’10 (5, 147)

Curtis Hamilton
Kelowna, B.C.
Saskatoon (WHL)
EDM ’10 (2, 48)

Quinton Howden
Oak Bank, MB
Moose Jaw (WHL)
FLA ’10 (1, 25)

Ryan Howse
Prince George, B.C.
Chilliwack (WHL)
CGY ’09 (3, 74)

Ryan Johansen
Port Moody, B.C.
Portland (WHL)
CBJ ’10 (1, 4)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Burnaby, B.C.
Red Deer (WHL)
2011 Dft/Rep.

Brad Ross
Lethbridge, AB
Portland (WHL)
TOR ’10 (2, 43)

Linden Vey
Wakaw, SK
Medicine Hat (WHL)
LA ’09 (4, 96)

Among the invited, two other returning players – Calvin de Haan (Carp, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) and Ryan Ellis (Freelton, Ont./Windsor, OHL) helped Canada earn the silver medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask. Ellis also won a gold medal with Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa, Ont. In addition, thirty-four of the players named to the selection camp roster were drafted in either the 2009 or 2010 NHL Entry Drafts, including eighteen first-round selections and four second-round picks.

Hockey Canada can still add additional players prior to the opening of the selection camp on December 12, in the event that NHL teams loan Canada’s National Junior Team junior-aged eligible players currently playing in the NHL.

“On behalf of Hockey Canada, we want to congratulate the players named to the camp roster today, along with their club teams, parents and minor hockey coaches that have helped them reach this level,” said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior director of hockey operations/national teams. “As well, we would like to thank the Canadian Hockey League for its partnership and support of the Program of Excellence.”

“Thanks to Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, many of these players have already received the experience necessary to deal with high-paced international competition such as the World Juniors,” said Kevin Prendergast, Hockey Canada’s head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence. “The quality and skill of the 39 players invited to the camp next week is a testament of the hard work, commitment and development of all those involved in the Canadian minor hockey and junior hockey systems.”

Prendergast, who was named head scout in September, travelled coast to coast during the early months of the 2010-11 season, assessing players in preparation for the selection camp.

“On behalf of the Canadian Hockey League, I would like to congratulate all players who have been named to the selection camp roster,” said David Branch, president of the CHL. “This is a tremendous honour, and all have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today.”


There will be two Red-White intrasquad games (December 12, 13) and one game against the Canadian University National Team (December 14). The team, made up of CIS players, will be representing Canada at the 2011 FISU Games in January 2011. Due to limited seating at the MasterCard Centre, accreditation (team, media, scouts) will be required for all practices and games. A select number of passes will be offered in a contest for Hockey Canada followers on its social media platforms. A draw for passes will occur on December 8. For information on the draw, go to and

Once the final roster is named at the conclusion of the selection camp in Toronto on December 15, Canada’s National Junior Team will play in three pre-competition games in southern Ontario prior to the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship, December 26 to January 5 in Buffalo, N.Y.


Canada will play its first game of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship on Boxing Day, December 26 versus Russia, a game that will be broadcast LIVE by TSN/RDS and on The FAN Radio Network (check local listings).

Canada has medaled at twelve straight IIHF World Junior Championships, including gold medal performances in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, silver medals in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2010 and bronze medals in 2000 and 2001.

Some Further Thoughts on GC98

Its the morning after. You know I don't feel as bad after this year's loss as I do last. I guess its because I know that on this night the better football team won the football game. It still stings, but last year, it seemed as if Saskatchewan had a football hangover that lasted for a couple of weeks. I don't think that is the case today.

Having had a night to sleep on things and add some info from last night's post-game post, here ya go

1) The loss is terrible for the Rider Nation, but as we found out after the game, it is just a game. Anthony Calvillo is once again dealing with something that puts football on the backburner for him. Revealing that he will undergo surgery after doctors found a cancerous lesion on his thyroid gland. Its something he played through after finding out about it when he was hurt earlier this season. This made the game secondary to many after the game. This is almost a bigger story this morning.

2)Kudos to TSN for once again giving Canadians a Grade A plus performance with their coverage of the game including pre and post-game. The piece about the Riders season leading up to GC Sunday was outstanding and left me with goose bumps.

3) Where does Brian Williams find the information out about the stories he does? The story on Andy Fantuz and his calf injury that just about resulted in him losing a leg while he was at Western is something I didn't know about. Did any of the Regina media know about it? He's been here long enough so you would think the LP would have had something years ago. His pipeline of information is astounding.

4)The turning point to me was not the fake punt. It was the interception taken off the board by Byron Bullock. It was pass interference and I'm not going to debate that, but on the next play, A-C found Richardson on the deep ball to put it at the Rider 2. If Bullock intercepts that pass, the game would have had a different outcome.

5) A lot of people are talking about the fact Ken Miller didn;t try any long field goals and that if Luca Congi had been there, he would have. I don't know. If you remember the regular season games, Congi missed two long field goals that Tim Maypray took back for touchdowns. Montreal seemed content to play a game of field position and Miller took that stance. I don't blame Miller for that at all. In fact, I might have done the same thing no matter who my kicker was.

6) Speaking of Miller, I hope he comes back for another season, but I certainly understand if he doesn't. I've said it before in this forum, but I have nothing but the greatest respect for the man. I think he gets a raw deal from many outside the province. All he has done since coming here in 2007 is be a part of three Grey Cup teams.

7) I can't be overly critical of this team this morning. They got beat by a very good football club. I didn't think they would lose after last year, but they did. I thought the Alouettes whiny take on the week was a little over the top because of the class that organization has, but when it came to doing what they had to do on the field, they did it. You have to tip your hat to them. They were the best team in the CFL this year and they proved it on GC Sunday.

8) Can we have Chapter 3 in Vancouver in November between these two. The gap is shrinking in both conferences and if we do have Riders-Als Pt 3 at BC Place in the 99th GC, it will be an accomplishment for both teams.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Not To Be

The Riders have failed to end their 100th season with a championship. In a football game that was not pleasing to the eye, the Montreal Alouettes beat the green and white to take the Grey Cup for the second straight year. This one doesn't hurt as much as last year, but it still stings. It would seem as if early on Darian Durant is taking the heat for the defeat.
Darian did not look comfortable right from the get go. TSN's Matt Dunigan said before the game that Durant had told him that he had a bad hamstring that was getting worse. Is that why he wasn't rolling out and doing what he does best? What seemingly has many hot under the collar though is his last minute interception to Billy Parker on a ball that frankly he shouldn't have thrown.
Here's where I will defend the Rider quarterback. I know I probably won't have many agree here. but here ya go.

Durant is a guy who refuses to say quit. Its been his mentality ever since he has been here. Its that gunslinger approach that he takes to the game. After Andy Fantuz went offside to make it first and 15, he knew he couldn't take a sack. He was trying to make a play. He was trying to do something like this.

Remember that play! With the exception of the end, it looked very similar. Its Durant trying to make a play when there is no hope of him doing so. Everyone loved his desire and his fire to get it done when he made that play. As I have said before, you can't have it both ways. If somehow that balls floats into the hands of the intended receiver and the team goes down and scores what would have been a game-winning touchdown, Durant would have been hailed as a hero. Bad throw--you betcha. Am I pinning the loss on Durant because of that throw....not a chance!

I feel bad for guys like Omarr Morgan and Barrin Simpson. They have been through a lot and they still don't have a championship ring. I think Simpson will be back, but I don't know about Morgan. Will Jeremy O'Day be back? Will Geno be back? Will Szarka be back? I don't know if that window of opportunity is closing or not, but I think this team will lose some veteran leadership.

The Rider Nation is disappointed and heartbroken and well you should be. However, the sun will come up tomorrow. I hope many of you are at Mosaic tomorrow to welcome the team home and I hope you are appreciative of their efforts. This could be a team like Winnipeg has been or it could be a team in need of a major overhaul like Edmonton. This is still a damn good football team and despite the fact they have allowed the Alouettes to take the Cup back to Montreal again, I still believe we haven't seen the last of the good times.

Is it safe to say we will see the Alouettes here again on Canada Day?

While I wanted to put up "Paint the Whole World Green". I'll have to settle for this. Its certainly true today.

One other was just a bad day for Saskatchewan all around as famed actor Leslie Nielsen has passed away. It makes me want to go out and get a copy of "The Naked Gun". He was a great export for Saskatchewan. Men like him are rare.

Comment away with your thoughts on the game.

Here We Go!!

Good morning Rider Nation! How are ya feeling? If you are in Edmonton reading this, how are ya feeling and how much Advil have you taken? Is your breakfast consisting of Fantuz Flakes this morning? Do you have that feeling in your gut? Are you constantly looking at the clock? It will be a day to remember in Saskatchewan and hopefully it will be a historical one.

After what I have seen and heard this week, I think the Riders are ready to right the wrong. I have said all year that this will be like the Steve Smith situation for the Oilers back in the mid-80's. Smith had that embarassing gaffe by shooting the puck into his own net and was the victim of many jokes. The Oilers just turned around and won the Stanley Cup the next year.
By the way, if you want to do your Christmas shopping, I'm sure you won't find Walmart busy tonight around 6. You can probably get everything done in about a half hour -45 minutes top.
Is Number 4 bringing home Number 4. I hope so!! Talk to you tonight and oh yeah------GO RIDERS!!!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SJHL Hall of Fame Weekend

While many of you have your thoughts on Edmonton and what is happening there this weekend (and I'm one of those), I am spending the weekend in the city of Humboldt. The SJHL's Hall of Fame weekend is happening and it started last night as the 2010 inductees were recognized during last night's game between the hometown Broncos and the Melfort Mustangs in what was a pretty spirited tilt.

Mick McGeough, former Bronco Bill McDougall, the 02-03 RBC champion Broncos, Dr. Gerry Rooney, Dr. Terry Henning (men that helped create the organization) and Humboldt's favourite son Glenn Hall are going in this year. The formal ceremony goes tonight.

I had the privilege of interviewing the inductees for Access and it was a thrill interviewing someone like Glenn Hall who has story after story after story even though he says he's a bad interview. It was great talking to the others as well, but having the chance to speak with one of the best ever players to play the game was a treat.

When it was over, Access play-by-play man and fellow blogger Mike Stackhouse did a tremendous job in a 20 minute hot-stove league with all the inductees as more stories were told. I'm expecting a pretty good night tonight as well. Its nice having Mike still connected with the league as his knowledge of the league and other things is extremely beneficial. I'm hoping he has no plans of leaving this gig anytime soon.

I am still shocked over the behaviour of the Montreal Alouettes going into the Grey Cup and this "we are being slighted" attitude that they have taken. The latest complaints now center around their hotel. Really? I've stayed at the Chateau Lacombe and its a nice hotel. Would the Als rather have stayed at Edmonton's equivalent of "The Empire". I'm actually starting to develop a dislike for this team. When it comes right down to it, the comments were from two guys who were rather inconsequentional. If they came from Calvillo, Cahoon, Flory or one of their other long-time vets, I would give it a little more attention.
I am surprised at one thing though and that is why the CFL makes the home team the team of the conference where the game is played. The Grey Cup has been played in Western Canada for the last two years and will be played in Vancouver next. I don't care if the Riders are in next year or not, but they shouldn't be the home team three straight years. Either flip-flop between East and West or take the best record to determine who is home team.
Its sounding more and more like Ottawa will be back in the CFL soon. That is great news. Its now time to get the ball rolling on a team in the Maritimes and make it a 10 team league.
TSN is your place to be this weekend. You can just put down the remote.
How's Riderville? How's Spirit of Edmonton? Word from one of my friends this morning that a buddy of his was talking to me in Tigertown last night. Hmmmmmmm!!!!
So much for Boise State winning a national championship in US College Football. The little school that has the big BCS schools quaking in their boots lost to Nevada last night so they won't be in the title game. Thankfully Alabama won't be either after losing to Auburn. I can't stand Nick Saban.
How does one spend a Saturday in Humboldt?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Making The Most of Second Chances

In life, we sometimes get a second chance if the need arises. If you have the will and the intestinal fortitude, you can make the most of that 2nd chance. The same can be said on the athletic field.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick got a 2nd chance and he is making the most of it. He is being considered as an MVP candidate in the NFL. A few short years ago, no one thought Vick would ever play professional football again as he sat in a prison serving dogfighting charges.

Eric Tillman got a 2nd chance. Legal problems forced Tillman to give up a job that he truly loved, but after a year out of the game, he got a 2nd chance and he is making the most of it as there are signs the Edmonton Eskimos are already on the road to respectability.

Damon Duval got a second chance. The Montreal kicker could have been the Scott Norwood of the CFL after missing a potential game winning field goal in last year’s Grey Cup only to get a 2nd chance---one that he made the most of.

While players get an opportunity to right a wrong and capitalize on a 2nd chance, so do teams. The Oilers got beat by the Islanders, but they got a 2nd chance and they made the most of it to start their dynasty years. The Penguins got beat by the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final, but Pittsburgh got a 2nd chance and made the most of it.

What I’m getting at here if you haven’t already realized it is the Saskatchewan Roughriders also have a 2nd chance staring them right in the face. They remember the heartbreak and the pain they suffered almost one year ago when they lost the Grey Cup thanks to that infamous too many men on the field penalty. Chances at championships don’t come every day. A great season in 09 meant nothing as the team started back at square on when the first of two-a-day practices started last June. There was no guarantee that the Riders would get an opportunity to right the wrong from last November. No guarantee that they would ever feel redemption. Many players that walked off the field in Calgary last November were on that same field last weekend earning their 2nd chance. They have accomplished what they wanted. They have gotten back to the Grey Cup and they will play the same team that ripped the trophy from their hands. While they wouldn’t publicly admit it, you know the fire of last November’s pain still burns a hole in the guts of those who played.

Like Vick, Tillman, Duval, the Oilers, the Penguins and many others, the Riders will not fail. The 98th Grey Cup will not come down to a field goal. It will be over before the final gun sounds. It won’t be a Rider runaway, but it will be a Rider victory. This team is too good and too motivated to have what happened last year happen again. Get ready to invade the Green Mile Sunday night and get ready to be at Mosaic Monday to greet your football team because they will be coming back from the Alberta capital with a little souvenir that they will share with you.

Saskatchewan 34 Montreal 23 -MVP Weston Dressler

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bulletin Board Material From The Avon Man!!

If the Riders need any more motivation for Sunday, they may have received it from Montreal running back Avon Cobourne Thursday night. Cobourne obviously isn't an Andy Fantuz fan. This is what he tweeted moments after #83 was named the CFL's top Canadian.
@AvonCobourne: Fantuz win Canadian award.. Bet Stala neva had no catches in a game..?
If that doesn't do it, then how about this story coming from the National Post. This story only begs the question. "When did the Alouettes become such whiny little bitches?" Have they become Calgary 2.0? I'm actually quite surprised at this because the Alouettes are a very classy organization that doesn't talk a lot of smack. I'm guessing Marc Trestman will be chatting with Monsieurs Boulay and Proulx today.
Congrats to Henry Burris for winning the MOP. Hank made a fool out of himself in Montreal a couple of years ago by whining that he should have won. It appears to me as if Hank wants personal accolades and if the team ones should follow, so be it. I thought Global's Derek (please call me Duke) Meyers hit it on the head on the Sportscage Thursday when he said when we grew up we dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup or the Grey Cup, not winning the Art Ross Trophy or the CFL's MOP trophy.
US Thanksgiving---3 NFL games. A day to park it watching some football with some good buddies over some cold ones. Nothing like it!
One year ago today we woke up to hear Tiger Woods had been in an accident. You know what happened after that.
The Oilers are struggling, but when you see Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall combine on the game-winner against Colorado like they did Thursday night, you know good times are on the horizon. Those two will be lethal as they get more NHL experience.
The SJHL Hall of Fame weekend is this weekend in Humboldt. That is where I will be spending my Friday and Saturday. I am looking forward to meeting Glenn Hall and going to Humboldt. The reason---my late grandfather used to coach in Humboldt and one of the players he coached was a youngster named Glenn Hall. I don't know if Mr. Hall will remember my grandfather, but I am going to ask him. Humboldt has a sports hall of fame similar to my hometown of Indian Head. I will have to see if I can find an artifact with Grampa's name on it.
Speaking of Duke Meyers, I wonder if he has found a tiger in his bathroom yet in Edmonton. The same goes for Pedersen. Did they take police tape with them???
Anyone want a broken guitar? No strings attached!!!!

The CFL's Top Canadian Is......

Is anyone surprised by this??

Riders 1 Alouettes 0

I don't care how Montreal coach Marc Trestman and his Alouettes want to spin it, they don't like the cold and it affects them. The Riders had a bone-chilling practice on the Commonwealth Stadium turf yesterday and they loved every second of it. Of course, they were used to it after having to do it leading into the Western final. They did what they wanted to.

Trestman says the Alouettes did what they wanted to as well and that is have a walk-through. They decided to stay indoors and do things at the University of Alberta. Advantage Riders! It will be warmer than what its been on Sunday night, but it will still be chilly. The Riders are used to the conditions and Montreal isn't. I will give this one to the Riders.

Here's a debate for you. The Alouettes have plenty of playoff experience having been in the big game virtually every year in the last decade. I think this is the 8th Cup for guys like A-C, Cahoon, Scott Flory, etc. etc. This will be the 3rd Grey Cup for many Riders. The question is does Montreal get the edge in playoff experience because so many of them have been through this so many times. I don't think it does. In fact, if you boil the numbers down, you might find there is more GC experience on the Saskatchewan sideline than the Montreal one. I would think Wes Cates has been in more GC's than Avon Cobourne. Andy Fantuz has been in more than SJ Green. I think too much is being made of that stat.
How many of you that are not going to Edmonton have taken the day off? I'm guessing many (and I know of quite a few) aren't working today because its American Thanksgiving and that means a tripleheader of NFL games. The Saints-Cowboys game had the potential to be a dandy at the start of the year, but that has fizzled even though Dallas is seemingly getting it back together under Jason Garrett. The debate has started again about whether or not Dallas or Detroit should keep hosting Thanksgiving Day games. I don't have a problem with it. That being said, I do like what some in the U-S have suggested. That being the winners of todays games get the right to host next year and that if you keep winning, you keep hosting.
I wonder how many requests Jordan Eberle has had for tickets for tonite's home game against Colorado. I wonder if Jordan Eberle has put in a request for a Grey Cup ticket. He's a huge Weston Dressler fan if you didn't know and I'm guessing at some point this week the two might rub shoulders. Maybe Ebs needs to get Ken Miller to come over to Rexall for a pep talk because whatever he says to the Riders is working.
It sounds like Carm Carteri is losing his voice at the most inopportune time if his appearance on "The Sportscage" meant anything. I know its Grey Cup Carm, but trade in the Pilzners for some hot chamomile tea. Once you put down the headset for the final time Sunday night, go hard!!!
As expected, Rob Vanstone, Murray McCormick and Ian Hamilton are doing a bang-up job with Grey Cup coverage in Edmonton. Good job gentlemen(and you too Rob!!)
One of the best parts about GC week when it comes to player interaction is happening today. Both teams have meals to which the media is invited. This is where I got a majority of my work done when covering GC's because the players aren't rushed when it comes to meetings, its a very casual environment and you get some great stories. You also can get some guys that you normally wouldn't get in a one on one environment. Trust me, if you can get someone like Durant or Fantuz or Calvillo or Cahoon by yourself by five minutes during GC week or for that matter the head coaches, you have accomplished something.
That's all I got for now. Later!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Rider Prayer

From Kathy

Our quarterback, who art in Edmonton...Darian be thy name...thy game be done, thy will be WON, in Commonwealth as it was in Mosaic... Give us this game The Grey Cup Game and forget about Calgary's we forgive those who can't measure up to us. Lead us not into interception, but deliver us from Calvillo... For thine are the Riders with Power and Glory. Forever and ever, the Grey Cup we WILL claim.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It Has Started!

As many of you know, I have had the privilege for the past two seasons to write stories for Prior to the start of the season, I was given the opportunity for a one on one with coach Ken Miller in his office. Before turning on the tape recorder, we talked about a variety of things and one thing that had to be discussed was his thoughts about the way last year's Grey Cup ended and how he wanted to approach that. He said he wanted to just erase the memories from his mind and related it to the death of a close friend and how you never really forget even though you want to. I asked him if he knows that Canada won't let him forget because every road trip that is made, someone will ask and that when he sits down for the coaches news conference at the Grey Cup (I knew back then they were going) that what happened last year will be more important for some than what this year was and was he ready. His response was "Hopefully I get a chance". He has it, but the questions are already being asked.

If you have read Rod's blog, (and I know many of you have) you see what the Riders had to face upon landing at Edmonton International Airport. Even though its a year later, the identity of the 13th man at last year's Cup that cost the Riders the title remains a mystery. The team has said they won't reveal who that player was. However, the first questions that came out of the mouths of the national media wasn't about the big Western final win or having another shot at the Alouettes or how to get Andy Fantuz involved in the offence again or will Barrin Simpson play. Questions that are much more relevant. No, those first questions were "Who was the 13th man." Omarr Morgan stood up and said it was me. I hope every player---even guys like Shomari Williams and Cary Koch who weren't here last year says it was me to every one who asks that question. Is it that important that we know? Have we tossed and turned for almost 365 days wondering just what player was on the field that shouldn't have been. Will the world be a better place if the culprit is identified?

There are many more things to discuss about the 10 Riders than the end of 09. Bring up the way last year ended if you have to (and that is a story leading into the game), but does it really matter who the 13th man was a year later. The bottom line is the team lost in the most cruellest of fashions possible. Re-opening that scar does no one connected with the /=S=? any good. That being said, I wonder how many 13th man questions Miller will be forced to field tomorrow. I would hope Kenny would put everyone in their place right off the bat by saying he wants to concentrate on the now and not the past.
Eddie Johnson is turning writer for five days as he writes a column for the Leader-Post. Here is the first installment from the "coolest Rider ever".
The Vince Young saga is an interesting one to watch. Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams is a Young fan and basically told coach Jeff Fisher last year that he wanted Young as his starting quarterback. Young threw a temper tantrum at the end of last week's overtime loss to Washington and walked out on his team. He said later that he didn't walk out on his team, he walked out on his coach. If Young comes back, Fisher can't. Its one or the other now. The thing is Fisher is probably hoping that Adams sides with Young. If he does, Fisher will leave and with marquee jobs like the Cowboys and Vikings out there, it wouldn't take him long to find work with a team that has arguably more talent than what his current team has.
We haven't even hit December 1 yet and I've had enough snow for this winter.
I know I have to, but I have no desire to go Christmas shopping. Are you with me on that one?
"The Big Bang Theory" episode where Penny falls in the shower dislocating her shoulder causing Sheldon to take her to the hospital is side-splitting. Penny making Sheldon sing "Soft Kitty" to her is outstanding. This episode might be one of the best ones in the brief history of the show.
TSN's Dave Hodge is asking you what is your favourite arena--past or present--in a column. That's a great question. I don't know if I can answer that question. I never had a chance to enter the Montreal Forum, but I did get to go to Maple Leaf Gardens. The old Winnipeg Arena had character. Closer to home, I still remember going to Pats games at Exhibition Stadium. In fact, I wish the Pats would play one more game there before the wrecking ball is taken to that facility. As ugly and antiquated as it is, I want to see at least one if not more games at the Civic Centre in Moose Jaw this year before the team finally moves into a new facility. If I had to say I have a favourite, I would have to say the Brandt Centre just because its home to me. That may not be a great reason, but there are many memories I have from that building. What about you?
Speaking of memories, I can't help but think back to 1984 whenever I see a a game between the Regina Pats and Kamloops. It was in 1984 that Kamloops beat the Pats in the WHL final when it looked like the Pats were going to be champions. I can still remember being absolutely devastated when Ryan Stewart scored late in regulation after Dean Evason had been stopped on a penalty shot by Jamie Reeve just moments before. Stewart then scored in overtime to force a Game 7. That loss lingered with me for a long time. It was one of the more painful losses this sports fan has had to endure.
FACT: All you need is 2 1/2 inches to please a woman. After all, that is the size of your credit card isn't it?????? :)

Would You Go?

While I am not a huge fan of hers, I do like her and I think I would go check this concert out if it came to fruition. I'm thinking Taylor would have enough of a fanbase in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana to make it happen. Would you go?

The SJHL This Week

SJHL games can be cancelled for various reasons. Severe winter weather, bus problems, rink problems, etc. etc. Add illness to that list now. A game this past Tuesday between the Melville Millionaires and Weyburn Red Wings had to be called off because the Millionaires couldn’t ice a competitive lineup. The reason for that was several players came down with a severe case of the flu. Coach Jamie Fiesel says he came to the rink Tuesday for a pre-game skate and found out he only had 11 guys that could go. When it was discovered that one of the players had mononucleosis, it was thought that those who were sick get completely checked out so that the situation didn’t escalate into anything worse.
The Flin Flon Bombers and Battlefords Stars are doing their best to get back into the Bauer Conference race. Both teams were 3-1 this week with Flin Flon winning all three of their games on the road. Those results combined with Humboldt going 1-2, La Ronge 1-1, and Melfort 0-2 have tightened up the division somewhat.
In the Sherwood Conference, the Yorkton Terriers continue to lead the way even though they won just once in three tries this past week. The Terriers hold a five point lead over Estevan who also posted just one win in three tries this week. After that, its wide open with just five points separating 3rd place Kindersley from last place Notre Dame. It means that as is usually the case that inter-conference games are huge contests.
It’s a big week for the SJHL this week. The league honors its Class of 2010 with Hall of Fame ceremonies this weekend in Humboldt. The inductees will formally be recognized with a banner presentation Friday night before the Broncos game against the Melfort Mustangs. They will be formally inducted Saturday at a banquet. Keep coming to for bios of this year’s inductees and footage of this year’s ceremonies.

SHER-WOOD PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Keith Grondin (Battlefords)
Grondin is one of many talented forwards on a Battlefords team that is starting to get its wheels underneath them after spinning for the first third of the season. The 1990 born forward from Winnipeg had four goals and two assists in four games this week---three in which the Stars were winners.

The Hawks haven’t many good weeks this season, but they had one this week beating two of the top teams in the league. One of the reasons for that was the fine play of the 1990 born defenceman from Nipawin. He didn’t get his name on the scoresheet that much, but he did help neutralize some talented Yorkton and Melfort forwards.

The 1990 born puckstopper from Orange, California had a busy week going 3-1. Those three wins came on successive nights against Humboldt, La Ronge and the Battlefords. In the victories over the Broncos and Ice Wolves, Musico stopped 48 shots on both nights. In all this week, he faced 171 shots—an average of well over 40 a game.


1. La Ronge Ice Wolves – The defending champs got a little better this week with the addition of defenceman Robert Monfore. Having someone with championship experience returning to the lineup doesn’t hurt Bob Beatty’s club at all.
2. Yorkton Terriers – The Terriers may only have won one of three games this week, but they are still the class of the Sherwood Conference for now.
3. Estevan Bruins – Like the Terriers, the Bruins only won one of three games this week. The team has entered the toughest part of its schedule so it will be interesting to see if they rise or fall in the rankings over the next couple of weeks
4. Humboldt Broncos – After having a mini-slump, Justin Buzzeo and Jeremy Boyer seem to have gotten their game back. That spells trouble for the other 11 teams.
5. Melfort Mustangs – Not much is separating the Ice Wolves, Broncos and Mustangs right now. A good week from Darrell Mann’s crew and they will move up.
6. Flin Flon Bombers – Mike Reagan’s crew got bombed 10-2 by La Ronge at home and then proceeded to rattle off three straight wins. Perhaps that lopsided score served as a wake-up call for this team who still has work to do to catch the top three teams in the Bauer.
7. Battlefords Stars – Last week it was suggested many in the league are wondering when this team will start playing up to its capability. The answer may be now.
8. Kindersley Klippers – Will this team start to rise up the rankings now that captain Andrew Dommett is back in the lineup?
9. Melville Millionaires – The departure of Kyle Jahraus means the goaltending is now in the hands of Zach Rakochy. Can the 17 year old run with the job or do the Millionaires need some more experience between the pipes?
10. Weyburn Red Wings – The Red Wings have been up and down all season. Right now, they are on a down, but it won’t be much longer till that changes if this season is any indication.
11. Notre Dame Hounds – The Hounds are playing better hockey of late. They are involved in one of many interesting races that the SJHL is seeing before December 1.
12. Nipawin Hawks – The Hawks still come in last in this week’s power rankings, but more weeks like last one and they will get out of the cellar.

Hamonic Gets The Call

The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Travis Hamonic has been recalled on emergency loan from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Hamonic, 20, leads all Sound Tigers defensemen in scoring this season with seven points (two goals, five assists) in his first 19 professional games. The rookie out of Winnipeg, MB, is expected to make his National Hockey League debut on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. when the Islanders take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Islanders selected Hamonic in the second round, 53rd overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Last year, the 6-2, 208 pound defenseman split his fourth Western Hockey League season between the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Brandon Wheat Kings, totaling 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists) in 41 regular season games, and adding eleven points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games during the Memorial Cup Playoffs with Brandon. On the international stage, Hamonic earned a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship, scoring one goal with two assists in six games.

Getzlaf, Freeman Get POTW/Sunday's Ref


Avon Cobourne, Jerrell Freeman, Tim Maypray and Chris Getzlaf were named the Gibson’s Finest CFL Players of the Week for the Division Finals weekend, the Canadian Football League announced today.

The four players were chosen by a panel of judges that includes former Canadian Football League players Matt Dunigan and Duane Forde, now of TSN, and Pierre Vercheval of RDS.

Cobourne was a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Final, leading the Alouettes to a dominant 48-17 victory over the Toronto Argonauts at Olympic Stadium. The Montreal running back accumulated a game-high 163 yards on 17 carries to go along with one rushing touchdown. Cobourne also added four receptions for 53 yards to bring his total to 216 yards from scrimmage in the winning effort.

The reigning Grey Cup MVP had eight plays that resulted in first downs for the Als, including five rushing and three receiving. His performance was highlighted by a 22-yard TD run in the third quarter.

Cobourne’s teammate Jamel Richardson was named as the runner-up

Saskatchewan linebacker Jerrell Freeman may very well have saved his team’s season by recovering a fumble in the Riders endzone late in the fourth quarter to help his team secure a hard fought 20-16 victory over Calgary in the Western Final. The Saskatchewan linebacker dove onto the ball after kick returner Ryan Grice-Mullen muffed a punt and the Stampeders knocked the ball into the Rider endzone. Fortunately, Freeman was in the perfect place at the perfect time and the recovery resulted in a touchback to get the Riders out of danger.

The second-year Rider led the way with a game-high nine tackles and one sack for a team loss of nine yards and the one fumble recovery.

He was a unanimous choice defensive player honours.

Special Teams Player of the week Tim Maypray was dynamic for the Als in the Eastern Final, returning a punt 85 yards for a touchdown to give his club a commanding 17-0 lead midway through the first quarter against the visiting Argos. The spectacular return opened up the game and Montreal never looked back, defeating Toronto 48-17 to earn their third straight Grey Cup appearance.

The Als’ rookie was solid in his playoff debut, finishing the contest with 130 total return yards in the game, including three punts for 105 yards and two kickoffs for 25 yards. He was a unanimous choice for the award.

This week’s top Canadian,Chris Getzlaf continued his exceptional play against the Stampeders with a crucial six-yard touchdown grab from Darian Durant late in the first half. The TD got the Riders on the scoreboard after falling behind early 11-0 and helped shift the game’s momentum in favour of Saskatchewan.

The Regina native played a vital role in his team’s 20-16 triumph over the Stamps in the Western final with game-highs of eight catches and 109 yards to propel the Riders to a Grey Cup rematch with the Montreal Alouettes.

Sunday's referee will be Bud Steen. It will be his 7th Grey Cup, but the first in which he has been the ref. Steen is a 30 year vet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Boo To Boomer!!

ESPN's Chris Berman is a big CFL fan. He will show a CFL highlight whenever he can---especially come playoff time. It came time for the fastest 3 minutes in football at halftime of the Broncos-Chargers game last night and Berman had some CFL highlights---but not all of them. After going on and on about Toronto and Montreal and showing footage of players like Guy Lafleur and Frank Mahovlich, Boomer then talked about the Alouettes playing for the Grey Cup. One problem---he didn't mention who the Alouettes will be playing or show a highlight of the team the Alouettes will be playing. I think people in the good old US of A deserved to see Cary Koch's touchdown or James Patrick's INT. In the words of the segment that he has helped make popular on Monday Night Football Countdown.....CMON MAN!!!!


Were you at the rally today? Good for you if you were. I loved Premier Wall's line about having a speech but he dropped it and couldn't find it until Jerrell Freeman recovered it.


Ken Miller and Andy Fantuz didn't mince words on Monday. Both came right out and said "many people in the province lost faith" . Of course these people are post under the moniker anonymous or some other clever nickname on message boards. However, as I have found out thanks to a couple of friends of mine, it would appear as if the Stampeder fans (at least some of them) can be just as delusional on their message boards. Bottom line here is many did give up on this football team thinking they could not rebound after the loss to Calgary here and the losses that followed. They shut those people up. Will those people learn? I would like to hope so, but I doubt it.


Here's a question for you and I think I know the answer to this least I hope so. Both Dwight Anderson and Brandon Browner are free agents. Would you want either of these "exemplary citizens" wearing green next year? What would your reaction be if the Riders put out a release seeing one or both had signed. As I said, I think I know the answer from many of you.


I said Chris Getzlaf would have a big game against Calgary and for once, I hit that one. Here's another one. The MVP of the 98th Grey Cup will be Weston Dressler.


I'm not a big fan of his, but the more I see him this year, the more I think Phillip Rivers might be the best quarterback in the NFL right now. He would be putting up some sickening numbers if he actually had some top-notch receivers to throw to.


Who's the better Canadian born first baseman? Joey Votto or Justin Morneau. I was shocked to see Votto win the National League MVP. It wasn't because of the season he had, it was just because I thought someone like an Albert Pujols would be a shoo-in because of his name.

Will Cory Boyd be back in the CFL next year. If he is and Toronto finds a quarterback, I will say Montreal's reign atop the East will be over. Winnipeg will be much better, Toronto will be better and Hamilton will take another step up in 11.
Sportsnet's Perry Lefko has some "interesting" rumours in his latest column. Amongst his little tidbits are that CFL commish Marc Cohon will step down after the 2012 Grey Cup, the Argos may pursue Jeff Garcia and Richie Hall will end up in Hamilton.
Where has Wayne Gretzky gone? He just seems to have disappeared has he not?
"The Miz" gets the belt on RAW?? I don't understand that one.
Why is Monday so far from Friday, but Friday so close to Monday?

Big Numbers For Division Finals

Toronto, ON (November 22, 2010) – The road to the 98th GREY CUP continues to deliver record television audiences. Overnight data from BBM Canada confirms the Western Final featuring Saskatchewan @ Calgary on Sunday afternoon had an average audience of 2.54 million viewers – making it the most-watched CFL playoff game ever recorded*. An average audience of 2.3 million viewers watched the game on TSN with an additional 233,000 watching in French on RDS.

Audience levels for the Western Final peaked at 3.8 million viewers late in the fourth quarter as Saskatchewan secured a spot in the 98th GREY CUP.

Earlier in the day, an average audience of 1.7 million viewers saw Anthony Calvillo lead Montreal to a decisive victory over Toronto in the Eastern Final. 1.2 million viewers watched the game on TSN, while 599,000 viewers watched the game on RDS.

Overall, more than 11.2 million Canadians tuned into watch some of the CFL Playoffs on TSN and RDS.

TSN and RDS have exclusive coverage of the 98th GREY CUP live from Edmonton on Sunday, Nov. 28.

Last year's thrilling GREY CUP, featuring the same two teams, was watched by an average audience of 6.1 million viewers on TSN and RDS – making it the most-watched GREY CUP ever*.

What More Needs To Be Said?

Childress Era Ends

From being oh so close to the Super Bowl one year to being one of the worst teams in the NFL the next, the Vikings have fired coach Brad Childress. Defensive co-ordinator Leslie Frazier takes over. I wonder what Brett Favre thinks about this. Chances are he's smiling.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Never Lost Faith!

Like many of you, I stood in a state of disbelief as the Riders had the Grey Cup yanked from their grasp last November in Calgary. It left a mark. Soon after I said this team would take a page from the Edmonton Oilers after the Steve Smith episode. They would get back to the Grey Cup, they would play the Alouettes and they would take what was theirs one year later. I have been saying all year the Riders would be in the Grey Cup and yes my confidence level did waver a little bit during that losing streak, but I never ever did not think this team would go to the Grey Cup. They will go to Edmonton next week and they will beat the Alouettes. This 100th season will be a magical one.


Here are some thoughts from the 20-16 win

1)Will the Stampeders ever learn that their cockiness just kills them. Nice job Romby Bryant on getting that 15 yard taunting call. Yes, it was one of those iffy calls, but if you just go back to the huddle and shut up it never happens. You sir, get a Wiser's clap for being the dumbass of the day. The runners-up for that award would definitely go to Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson who apparently both took the defeat in "gentlemanly" style.

2) Jerrell Freeman doesn't have to worry about buying a meal or a drink anytime soon. His hustle on that muffed Ryan Grice-Mullen punt was the play of the year as far as I'm concerned. Freeman saved Grice-Mullen from leaving town on a rail-car. As many in our media will tell you because I said it at practice, the one thing that scared me going into this game was having Grice-Mullen fumble a punt at a key time. Please put Weston Dressler back there next week! On a side note, how many of you soiled your underwear as that ball was being batted back towards the Riders goal line.

3) Would Cary Koch have had a chance at being the CFL rookie of the year had he played all year? If Rob Bagg didn't get hurt, would we know how good Koch is? What a catch he made at the end of the first half for that touchdown.

4)The cold seemed to affect the Stampeders more than it did the Riders which didn't surprise me. Henry Burris didn't seem like Henry Burris. He seemed to be content being a pocket passer. When he is like that, its advantage for the other team.

5) Wes Cates continues to prove that he can get it done.

6)Chris Getzlaf deserves a lot more ink than he currently gets. Having Andy Fantuz and Weston Dressler will take away his deserved place in the spotlight, but tell me that any CFL team wouldn't love having Getzlaf on their team. Kudos to Eric Tillman for getting him as a throw-in in the Corey Holmes trade in 2007.

7)Any and all talk of Ken Miller being too old and that he needs to go can simply go. Ken Miller is a great coach who I think outcoached John Hufnagel on Sunday. Miller will have his team ready to play Montreal next week and if the team can keep track of how many guys are on the field, they will win.

As always, your comments are more than welcome.

Lets just end this posting with this.

Off To The Grey Cup!!!!

Gainer celebrates with Rider fans. They are off to Edmonton to face the Alouettes in the Grey Cup that everyone has wanted since that miserable Sunday one year ago. Final score 20-16.

Get ready Edmonton!!!!

How Do Ya Really Feel Stephen?

This Calgary Herald columnist isn't mincing words with this commentary. Makes me hope a little more that the Riders stuff it in the Stamps face today.

Are You Ready?

Good morning. Its currently -18 in Calgary and there is some light snow, but there is no wind. I haven't seen what McMahon Stadium looks like today, but I can only imagine what Mosaic looks like after yet another dump of the white stuff. Dare I say it might be better playing in Calgary than it would be in Regina today.
Can the Rider Nation take another heart-stopper. We have no choice. If we have problems riding the roller-coaster of emotions, imagine what its like for the players.
Global's Tom Vernon mentioned it last night and Rod mentions it on his blog today. Is there a Rider loonie placed under the turf at McMahon for good luck today? There are indications there could be. I wondered when the Rider loonie came out if this story would develop, but I thought it would develop in Edmonton.
Does anyone really have any interest around here in the Eastern final?
Memo to the Vancouver Canucks: The Chicago Blackhawks can change their roster up and so can you, but the bottom line is you are still Chicago's bitch. Did you catch that beatdown on HNIC last night?
I missed the Pat Burns tribute that the Habs had before the game against the Leafs. I hear it was outstanding. That's not surprising. Montreal does it right.
Rampage Jackson did not beat Lyoto Machida last night at UFC 123. Even Jackson knew it when the decision was announced. Rematch perhaps!
It took me longer to write that last sentence than the BJ Penn-Matt Hughes fight. Did anyone see that coming?
The Raptors made a five player trade to get Peja Stoyakovic. Who cares? When it comes right down to it, its still the Raptors and they are a bad basketball team.
If you are on your computer, go to and vote for Rob Bagg. If he wins the contest, the Rider receiver is giving 50-thousand dollars to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). The more votes, the better.
The Seahawks are in New Orleans today to take on the Saints. I don't think I'll be checking out much of that game. In fact, it could be over by the time the Riders take the field.
The Pats have three of four points after two games of their Western road trip. It looks like this trip will be different than the last two years which has basically submarined their season.
Gus Johnson is doing the Bills-Bengals game today so take a tie in Pro-Line.
WWE Survivor Series goes tonight. This is how I see it shaking down. John Cena needs to have Wade Barrett beat Randy Orton to get out of "Nexus". Cena will do something that allows Barrett to win. Knowing he is out of Nexus, he then attacks Barrett and leaves him laying in the middle of the ring. This allows "The Miz" to come out and cash his "Money in the Bank" and he leaves with the belt. It sets up Miz-Barrett and Cena-Orton for the Royal Rumble.
Riders 23 Stampeders 18. Star of the game---Chris Getzlaf!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not That Bad

St. Mary's and the University of Calgary are playing in the Mitchell Bowl this afternoon to see who goes on to play Laval in the Vanier Cup. The two teams are playing at MacMahon Stadium. If the field looks as good tomorrow as it does today, I don't think the offences will be hampered too much. That's either good news or bad news depending on how you want to look at it. I think its good news.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Last Gathering??

Its the last time the Saskatchewan Roughriders will gather at the 55 yard line at Mosaic Stadium in their practice gear this year. The question now is "Did they take their practice gear off for the last time?" I hope not, but the reality is that it could have been.

The next time that we hopefully see the Riders at the 55 yard line at Mosaic is when they have the Grey Cup in hand. Keep your fingers crossed!

It was cold out there today. Barrin Simpson asked me how cold it was to which I replied---20 below with the windchill making it -29. He just shook his head. The boys were bundled up though---both on the field and off of it.

There's Rod Pedersen (looking like the Unabomber dont'cha think) and the LP's Murray McCormick. For someone who spends his winters in the curling rink, Murray is almost too bundled up.

If you want to know how cold it was, take a look at this football that died on the foot of Eddie Johnson....

I was going to wait until Sunday to tell you why the Riders are going to win, but the hell with it. I'll tell you now.

The reason the Riders will win this game are in alphabetical order --Jason Clermont, Weston Dressler, Stu Foord, Chris Getzlaf, Neal Hughes, Gene Makowsky, Keith Shologan and Chris Szarka. Yes, they will need the Durants and the Fantuzs and the Fraziers and Kornegays to come through too, but the names I mentioned are good old prairie boys who have endured this before. I'm guessing the Regina guys are guys that when younger had to be called inside even though it was freezing. They are prairie tough! These conditions won't bother them the way it bothers some others. Take a look at Calgary's roster....they don't have the prairie presence that the Riders do. Trust me, that will be huge.

Head coach Ken Miller says Barrin Simpson and Omarr Morgan are game time decisions, but I know they will both play. Simpson may kill someone if he has to miss two playoff games.

I just can't see this team losing. They were so agonizingly close to winning it all last year and they are one game away from having the chance to right that wrong. I have said all year the Riders and Alouettes will play in the 98th Grey Cup and the Riders will win it. I hold true to that statement now. I know a lot of you agree.

By the way, here's a breakdown of the Western final as done by yours truly on Riderville.

Rider Report Card

The guys at have graded out the Riders at various positions. I think its pretty fair. Here it is

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Have No Idea What To Expect Sunday

The weather is the big story leading into Sunday's Western final at MacMahon Stadium. We all know it is going to be nasty. It may seem somewhat calm for the Riders after what they went through on Thursday. I was not out there, but I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must have been. The conditions were absolutely horrible, yet coach Ken Miller said they got a lot accomplished. Really? If Miller is true to his word, the Rider offence may be able to do a lot of what they want Sunday.
In talking with some people about what we might see, it could very well be a survival of the fittest. The team that gets the last good bounce wins the football game. I can't help but think this game will be like the 1975 Grey Cup. That game was played in Calgary and when they kicked off, it was minus 15 degrees with a 25 k wind which played havoc with the passing and kicking game. No touchdowns were scored and the Eskimos won the game 9-8.
However, some will tell you the game could resemble the 91 Grey Cup when the Argos beat the Stampeders 36-21 in a game that was -27 at kickoff. I guess it all depends on how strong those winds are and what type of shape the MacMahon Stadium turf is. However, I just can't see both offences doing what they want to do. It could very well come down to who is better--Wes Cates or Joffrey Reynolds.
While everyone is talking about the weather for the Western final, everyone has seemingly forgotten that there is a University game there on Saturday. The Calgary Dinosaurs will play St. Mary's at MacMahon on Saturday afternoon. That might give us a good indication as to what conditions could be like.
A lot of CFL love in the Thursday night NFL battle. There was a Henry Burris mention, a Cleo Lemon mention, some Cam Wake talk, even a sentence or two about Israel Idonije being Canadian but not playing in the CFL. In the end, the Bears beat the Dolphins to go to a record of 7-3. How exactly are the Bears 7-3. I can't even start to mention them as one of the top teams in the NFL. Jay Cutler is horrible, they have no receivers, their defence is not as good as it has been in the past, yet somehow this team is getting it done. I'm confoozed.
I shovelled the sidewalk and the driveway today. The city is asking us to do that. Can we in turn then ask the city to have a grader go down our street on a regular basis. Oh wait, I'm on what I think is a Level 61 street or something. I doubt highly as if I'll see any city equipment coming down our street. It means our cars will get beat up going through the icy ruts, it means that delivery vehicles will have a tough time navigating down the street and hey, there's nothing like having to push out a neighbour when he or she is stuck in the middle of the road. Why should my neighbours with snowblowers be blowing our street to make it a much smoother travel down my little street. Ask us to do our part, but I ask you to do your part too.
When do we start putting Steve Stamkos in that Crosby-Ovechkin status. If we're not already, why not? I still can't believe this kid wasn't part of the Olympic team.
How about the Access Communications SJHL game of the week. The Battlefords had a 4-1 lead on home ice against Estevan midway thru the third only to see the Bruins tie it with 57 seconds left and then take the lead with 38 seconds left. Undaunted, the Stars tie it with just .8 seconds left and then take it with a goal with just 19 ticks left in overtime for a 6-5 win. You won't get much better than that one.
Did the CHL tell the Russians they wanted a competitive team for this year's Super Series or did the Russians just decide to ice something better against the stars of the three Canadian junior leagues. I have had no interest in this series for quite a while and I haven't watched a second of any game. The Russians have been playing the CHL teams tough though. They beat the WHL for the first time inwhat I think is a long time Wednesday in Kamloops and then they followed it up with a win in Prince George. In fact, the Russians won 4 of the 6 games in this series to win the event---that has to be a first.
I'm very interested to see what the future of Canadian sports television is going to be like in the next six months and beyond. Scott Moore has left CBC to join his good friend Keith Pelley at Rogers. There is talk Sportsnet may be getting ready to give TSN a run for its money. If they do, it will be good for all Canadian sports fans. Perhaps this will spur TSN to give us more ESPN programming like Baseball Tonight and it will prompt both networks to get rid of things like poker and darts. Maybe Sportsnet will start taking more of an interest in the CFL and perhaps, just perhaps maybe they can get in on the next CFL TV deal whenever that comes up.
Rod Pedersen says he wants to ask CFL commish Marc Cohon if there is any interest in moving the season up a month and starting in June. I don't know if we need a whole month, but maybe starting the season in mid-June. If Rod is going to ask the Commish anything, I would like him to ask if there is any thought of having teams start overtime further back. I had a good discussion with this with Carm Carteri this week. Carm thinks its fine because you want to get the game over with in a hurry, but I think a team should at least get one first down before being in field goal position. That is the case now with teams scrimmaging at the 35. Make them work for it by putting the ball at midfield.
The only good thing about the snow----it makes my yard look as good as the neighbours.

25 Years Ago Tonite

Were you watching??

How Cold Was It Cary??

Rider receiver Cary Koch put this photo on his Twitter account a few minutes ago. Hey, at least he's smiling. Coach Ken Miller actually said it was fun out there today. Guess I missed out on some fun. I'll be there tomorrow though.

Craven Calendar Details

I'm thinkin many of these will be sold before Christmas. They are now ready to be sold and if you're lucky, you might get one from one of the six women that pose in the calendar. If you want the details, go to

Doesn't Look Like Much Fun

Here's a photo that the L-P's Murray McCormick has twittered from Rider practice today. Is this what its going to look like Sunday in Calgary. YIKES!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This Would Never Ever Happen Here

Like many of you, I listen to CKRM's "Sportscage" on a daily basis. I laughed aloud in an empty home when RP shared this little tidbit.
I just can't imagine this ever happening in Saskatchewan.
I have to think its advantage defence on Sunday in Calgary as the cold weather will hamper both offences. Darian Durant disagrees. He believes that as long as there is solid footing that the offences shouldn't have any great difficulty. I guess we will find out.
If the weather is as cold as predicted (a high of minus 12 and a low of minus 20), Mother Nature could very well determine who wins this game. I think the kicking game will be a disaster and I can't see any long field goals being attempted.
What's the forecast for Grey Cup in Edmonton?
What is Tony Parker thinking? For those who don't know who Tony Parker is, he is the San Antonio Spur who is married to Eva Longoria. Correction! That should be was married to Eva Longoria. The "Desperate Housewives" star has filed for divorce citing Parker wasn't faithful. Tony, Tony, Tony!!! I ask again, what are you thinking?! Then again fellas, she is just a woman right?
Could the Blue Jays actually have some speed at the top of their lineup. They have made a trade with Oakland for Rajai Davis. He's an outfielder who stole 50 bases last year. With Travis Snider, Adam Lind, Vernon Wells and Jose Bautista already thought to be outfielders, where does Davis fit in. I think this means the end of the Lyle Overbay days in T-O as there is talk Snider may go to first.
While we're talking about the weather for Sunday's Western final, lets rewind the clock a little and remind you that it was minus 11 for last year's game in Regina. Who won that game again??? ---
Why was Saskatchewan's self proclaimed sexiest blogger not exuding his sexiness and instead hiding behind a luchadore mask at Sunday's Western semi-final. I don't think Alberta's sexiest blogger will do that this weekend in Calgary. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the shout-outs I was getting from SSB behind the Lions bench, but when you have 30-thousand people in the stadium and a chance at being on the Maxtron, why aren't you displaying your sexiness for all to see instead of hiding behind a luchadore mask. It makes me wonder if he went as Mr. Anonymous!!
I only saw the episode today because I've been busy, but Monday Night RAW Old School with many of the WWE guys that were around in the 80's was too funny at times. Whenever Ron Simmons yells "DAMN", it cracks me up.
My wife and I always compromise. I admit I’m wrong and she agrees with me.

It Was Cold, But It Could Have Been Worse!

(photo courtesy Regina Leader-Post)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were on the Mosaic turf Wednesday afternoon to start getting ready for Sunday's Western final in Calgary. The players were dressed for the elements as were those watching, but you would think by the comments of some that it was 40 below. This was tropical compared to what that will be like--I don't think I have to tell you that. It couldn't have been that bad because we did all interviews outside instead of inside.

It won't be pleasant weather-wise in Calgary Sunday with a high of just minus 10 projected so I asked a few guys about that in a story that will appear on tomorrow.

Omarr Morgan did not practice today, but coach Ken Miller says the injury he suffered late in Sunday's win over B.C is just a bone bruise and he expects him to play. Barrin Simpson was out for a while, but the coach says there has been no definite decision on his return to the roster.

That's all I got.

Two Riders Are CFL All-Stars

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to announce that two players have been chosen to the CFL All-Star team. The Green and White had one player picked on offence and one on defence. The All-Stars were selected by 53 voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC), the eight CFL head coaches and CFL fans from across the country.

ANDY FANTUZ (SB): In his fifth CFL season, Fantuz earns his first CFL all-star nod. The 26-year old started all 18 regular season games this season and had 87 catches for a league leading 1,380 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He was the first Rider to lead the CFL in receiving since 2000 and the first Canadian to lead the league since 1995. Fantuz was named CFL Canadian of the Month three times this season.

JAMES PATRICK (S): In his third CFL season, Patrick earns his first all-star nomination. The 28-year old safety led the Riders and the CFL with nine interceptions while starting 18 regular season games. Patrick added 68 defensive tackles, seven special teams tackles, a fumble recovery and three pass knockdowns.



QB Henry Burris CGY
RB Cory Boyd TOR
RB Fred Reid WPG
R Arland Bruce HAM
R Andy Fantuz SSK
R Nik Lewis CGY
R Terrence Edwards WPG
T Ben Archibald CGY
T Rob Murphy TOR
G Scott Flory MTL
G Dimitri Tsoumpas CGY
C Marwan Hage HAM


DT Doug Brown WPG
DT Kevin Huntley TOR
DE Phillip HuNt WPG
DE John Bowman MTL
LB Chip Cox MTL
LB Markeith Knowlton HAM

LB Juwan Simpson CGY
CB Dwight Anderson CGY
CB Brandon Browner CGY
DB Ryan Phillips BC
DB Chris Thompson EDM
S James Patrick SSK

K Paul McCallum BC
P Burke Dales CGY
ST Chad Owens