Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top 10

2010 is over and I gotta say I didn't really have any complaints about the year. It was pretty good. Lets just say, it was a lot better than 2009. I had the opportunity to do a lot of things I never ever thought I would get a chance to do and with my SJHL duties (which has been as challenging and rewarding as I thought it would be), my plate is quite full, but I'm not complaining.

TSN, Sportsnet and many other media outlets have had their top 10 moments of the year. So why are Scruffy's top 10 sporting moments

#10--"The Sportscage"

It wasn't a surprise for Rod Pedersen to phone me up and ask if I had time for lunch at the Press Box. It was a surprise when I got there and he asked me how the hell do I do two hours of sports-talk radio a day. With a little advice here and there and a little help here and there, the day came where Regina got a two hour sports show that has quickly become a staple. It was mid-May when that show signed on. I know this will be taken as a shot at my former employer and its not, but I can say that show is much better six months in than the show I was with five years in. Its become huge--bigger than I thought it would be at this stage. Its because of people like Scott Schultz (pictured above), Derek Meyers, Kelly Remple, John Lynch along with Rod himself. Having the chance to get back behind the mike with these individuals and talk sports has been great. It was fun going in the past two weeks with gameplan in hand, knowing what was going to be done and doing it. I don't know if I would want to be doing that again full-time, but dipping my feet in from time to time and hosting when Rod isn't around is OK with me.

9. Eberle's pro career starts with a dandy

Those that know me know I am a big Edmonton Oilers fan. It has been tough watching that team over the last couple of years, but knowing Jordan Eberle was Oiler property and that he would be wielding his magic with the team soon made it bearable. Add Taylor Hall's name to that equation and the Oilers are on their way back to respectability and then some. Night one of the NHL season meant Eberle's NHL debut against Calgary and it didn't take him long to show Oiler fans why there was so much fuss....

8. Mitch McDonald hits for the Triple Crown

I'm a baseball guy and I love watching games especially at the ballpark. I spent a lot of time at Currie Field this year watching the Regina Red Sox do their thing in the Western Major Baseball League. Each and every night that I was there, I just watched Mitch McDonald make a mockery out of the other teams pitching staff. A hit here, a hit there, an RBI here, a home run there. The guy was swinging some hot lumber from the first at bat of the season to the last one. McDonald ended up doing something that doesn't happen very often in the sport---in fact it hasn't happened in the majors in over 40 years. He led the Western Major Baseball League in homers, RBI's and batting average to accomplish the Triple Crown. I guess its because the Red Sox don't get the same press as the Riders or the Pats and I know he had stories done on him for the season he had, but I don't think he got the press he deserved. Those that saw his season saw something special. Those that didn't go to Currie this year missed something that you may never see again. If McDonald is back with the Sox in 11, I suggest you make the trip one or two nights.

7. Perfection from Doc

The baseball playoffs started with a bang. Roy Halladay was getting his first career playoff start with the Philadelphia Phillies and he was doing it at home against the Cincinnati Reds. All he did that day was throw the second no-hitter in post-season history. It was unbelievable watching him on that afternoon as he struck out eight while walking just one batter. He was in firm control right from the get-go.
I don't think its the best game I've ever seen someone pitch, but its right up there.

6. Ken Miller steps down

Like many of you, I was left disappointed on Grey Cup Sunday. The Riders walked off the field after the CFL championship as the losing team for a 2nd straight year. It wasn't as emotional a loss as the 2009 game was, but it hurt nonetheless. I had always believed from the time the 2009 game was over that this team would rally around themselves and win one not only for themselves but for their coach. The Riders love Ken Miller and vice-versa. Miller deserved his moment in the sun. He had inexplicably to me not been named CFL coach of the year in 2009 and I truly thought he would lead his team to victory and then walk away smiling. In the days after the Grey Cup, Miller told myself and the rest of the Regina media that he would make a decision on his future soon. I couldn't see him leaving. I told him after that media gathering that the job isn't over and that he deserves to have the tag 'Grey Cup winning coach" attached to his resume. It didn't happen. As I sat at Mosaic waiting for the press conference to begin, I didn't want to believe it until he actually said he was retiring. It didn't matter to me who the Riders replaced him with (and it looks like it will be Greg Marshall), that person has some big shoes to fill.

5. Meeting a legend

The SJHL hall of fame weekend in Humboldt was a great one. One of those being enshrined in only the 2nd year of the league's hall of fame was the great Glenn Hall. If you are a Saskatchewan hockey fan, you know all about Glenn Hall and his storied career. What I didn't know until my dad told me is that my late grandfather used to be one of Hall's coaches. I interviewed Glenn for HOF ceremonies for Access and it was an interview that could have lasted forever as far as I was concerned. I was talking to hockey royalty. I was talking to one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game. It was phenomenal. He didn't remember my grandfather coaching him, but he did say he has had a lot of coaches over his career and that at his age, its easy to forget a few people. It didn't matter.

4. The Canada Day Classic

The Montreal Alouettes don't normally draw the wrath of the Rider Nation the way Calgary, BC or Edmonton does, but they did on July 1. The Alouettes opened the season against the Riders in a rematch of the Grey Cup. It was a painful winter for many that religiously cheer for the /=S=/. They wanted their team to take it out on the Als and they were ready. The Als silenced the crowd as they were up 33-12 in the 2nd half. The Riders responded and in the last minute, they tied it at 40 on an Andy Fantuz touchdown. A Chris Getzlaf TD in overtime followed by the two point conversion made it 48-40. It looked as if the Riders had won when a 3rd down Anthony Calvillo pass in the endzone fell incomplete, but there was a flag. When it was announced the Riders had 13 men on the field, an unreal and almost comical feeling settled over the stadium. They couldn't! They didn't! Yup, they had! SJ Green then scored on perhaps the catch of the year in any level of football, but the Riders eventually won it on a Weston Dressler touchdown. It was a great way to start the 2010 season.

3. The World Juniors

I was pretty happy when it was announced the World Juniors were coming to Saskatchewan. I was surprised because I didn't think it was going to happen. Being out of the media, I didn't think I would have as much to do with the event as what I did. A Hockey Canada based group called Fasthockey does games over the Internet for those wanting to see games not done on TSN. They were looking for someone in Regina who could do play-by-play. Les Lazaruk (Blades play-by-play), Kevin Waugh (CTV Stoon) and Wray Morrison all said they knew who to call and before you knew it, I was calling a handful of games from an event that I think is one of the best events in the world. I wasn't calling any Canadian games, but I could have cared less. I had the opportunity to call what was a fantastic game between Russia and Finland, along with a near upset of Sweden-Austria. The production value was second to none as were using TSN cameras, graphics, etc. It was a surreal experience and it was one I won't soon forget. The good people at Fasthockey and Hockey Canada asked me a few months later to be the voice of the Esso Cup for them. I was more than happy to do so, but my voicebox took a beating. Lets just say I was pretty happy when I had called my last game. I did 11 of the 19 games there, but I met some great people and had a great time doing it. The Fasthockey bunch said they may call me for the 2012 RBC in Humboldt. Chances are I will be there with my SJHL duties, but if they need me and I can do it, I'll be there.

2. The Golden Goal

Canada was closed for business on the final day of the Winter Olympics. It was Canada and the U-S in the gold medal game in mens hockey. It went to overtime and well you know the rest. It capped off what had been a tremendous Olympics and what had been two weeks of Canadians showing their pride in this country. From Alex Bilodeau's first gold on home soil to Joannie Rochette's skate just days after losing her mother to Jon Montgomery walking through the streets of Whistler with a beer in hand, we were proud to be Canadian for two weeks and no more so than when Crosby gave us gold.

1. The Western Semi-Final

Having been involved with "The Sportscage" on CKRM, I was asked for the last regular season game of the year to work the sidelines of the Edmonton Eskimos because Michael Ball was unavailable on the Rider radio broadcast with Rod and Carm Carteri. I was then asked by Willy Cole if I could work the sidelines for the Western semi-final seeing he was unavailable. You know what happened. The Lions forced overtime on the last play of the game and then the Riders won it on Jason Clermont's touchdown catch. The sound of the crowd when Clermont caught that ball was absolutely deafening. I could not hear the broadcast in my headphones because it was so loud. I've been to Mosaic for years and I don't know if I've ever heard it louder. That revelation on this blog made Global's Tom (I am Howard Wolowitz's twin)Vernon do a story on the crowd noise using yours truly. That was a moment that was not only the top one of 2010 for me, but one that is definitely in the top 10 all time.

That's my top 10. I guess I probably should have put in there the fact that my step-daughter should have been crowned city wrestling champ in her weight class in her first year and would have been had some people known how to add and how she went on to place 5th in the province making her step-daddy awfully proud of her, but that is on another list. If only she had smoked someone with a chair or come off the top rope with a flying elbow. :)

I just about forgot---if there was a picture of the year, this had to be it.....

Is there anything better than Canadian girls in hockey gear with gold medals around their neck while smoking a cigar and enjoying some Canadian. This truly is one of the best ever pics dont'cha think?

What does 2011 have in store? I have no idea, but it starts tomorrow and I'll be ready. Could this be the year the Cubs bring home a World Series? If all goes well, I will be at Wrigley this June when they take on the Yankees. That could very well be number one when and if I do this again in one years time.

Happy New Year to one and all and thank you again for coming here to check things out. It will be two years in February that I started this blog and in that time, I've had almost 375-thousand hits, and over 520-thousand views along with many complimentary and some non-complimentary comments. Thanks again!

Hypocrisy Is Alive In Tampa

Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Tampa Bay Lightning were incensed with Edmonton's Linus Omark for his spin-a-rama goal in the shootout. Guys like Marty St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Dan Ellis and Steve Stamkos were not impressed. Lets fast forward to last night and see what Stamkos did against the Habs.

For those that have forgotten Omark's move, here it is...

I have no problem with what Omark did and I don't have a problem with what Stamkos did either. However, it would appear as if the Lightning don't mind being hotdogs as long as they aren't on the receiving end.

RIP Tony Proudfoot

The much-publicized battle against ALS that former Montreal Alouette player and broadcaster Tony Proudfoot has fought for the past few years has finally come to an end. Proudfoot has passed away. The story from the Montreal Gazette can be found here

Many in the football community knew this day was coming, but its never easy to hear the news. Many in the football community also know they are a better person for just having met Tony and watch him battle so courageously. His death brings a sad ending to the year. RIP Tony. You were a great man.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Riders Appear To Be Under "Marshall" Law

From's Arash Madani....

The Saskatchewan Roughriders shortlist for its next head coach is officially down to one: Greg Marshall.
Marshall, first an assistant and then coordinator for nearly two decades in the Canadian Football League, has been offered the head coaching job in Saskatchewan.
By Dec. 31 the four remaining finalists – Riders offensive coordinator Doug Berry, Montreal Alouettes offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich, Calgary Stampeders defensive backs coach Corey Chamblin and former Edmonton Eskimos head coach Richie Hall – were told they were out of the running to succeed Ken Miller as head coach of the two-time defending West Division champions.
That means the long wait is over for Marshall, a former Riders assistant and current Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive coordinator, to get his first head coaching position.

After previously being passed over for the top job in Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Montreal, the former CFL defensive lineman is expected to be unveiled in early January as the 28th head coach of the Saskatchewan franchise in the modern era.
"Promising, but nothing has been finalized," said Marshall, cryptically on Thursday evening. "We’re in discussions, but nothing is done yet. It’s close."
But a CFL source was more revealing.
"All they need to do is dot some I’s and cross some T’s. Greg is the guy," the source told
Marshall was interviewed twice, in person in Regina, as was Chamblin, who quietly came in and out of the Roughrider headquarters with little fanfare throughout the month of December.
Milanovich had a two-day session in the Queen City earlier this month, meeting with Riders’ general manager Brendan Taman, vice president of football operations Ken Miller and team president Jim Hopson.
Berry, who was the play-caller for the third most efficient offence in franchise history last season, was Marshall’s boss in Winnipeg between 2006 and 2008. It is unknown if he would accept a job on Marshall’s staff if asked.
It is believed Marshall would want to keep some members of the 2010 Riders coaching staff. Among them is Alex Smith, who would be pegged as special teams coordinator. It would be stunning if Marshall would not try and pry defensive line coach Richard Harris from Winnipeg.
The two are close friends and worked together in Ottawa in 2005, then for the next three seasons with the Blue Bombers.
One of Bill MacDermott or Bob Wylie, two veteran offensive line coaches that Marshall was on staff with in Edmonton and Winnipeg, respectively, would be on his priority list to direct the group up front. What happens on the offensive side of the ball depends on who will be coordinator and if Berry can be convinced to remain in Saskatchewan.
Marshall and Hall are also quite close from their time working together with the Riders in the ‘90s.
Hall may very well end up being the team’s defensive coordinator if Marshall is able to convince him from going to Winnipeg and Hamilton – where there is said to be interest in his services.

Right This Wrong

I brought this up on Thursday's Sportscage and I now put it on the blog.

This story is very sad. Why would whoever stole this do such a thing? Do you think you're a somebody? Do you think you are a hero? If you did this or if you know who did this, get this jersey back to the Ford's by whatever means you can---and perhaps add a sincere letter of apology!

Schwartz' WJC Is Over

(From the National Post)

Canadian winger Jaden Schwartz has broken his ankle and will miss the rest of the world junior hockey championship, Hockey Canada has announced.
The 18-year-old from Wilcox, Sask., had been playing on the team’s top line with centre Brayden Schenn and fellow winger Louis Leblanc. Schwartz was injured in Canada’s 7-2 win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.
Canada was without four players in Wednesday night’s win over Norway, and Schwartz was the only one of those players who did not practise with the team on Thursday. Zack Kassian (suspension), Calvin de Haan (lower body) and Cody Eakin (undisclosed) were all on the ice as the team skated at Buffalo State College.
Canadian officials could not be reached immediately for comment. Head coach Dave Cameron is to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Back To Work

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Christmas break is over and its time for the stretch run to begin. While very few people predicted a La Ronge-Yorkton final last season, the two teams have shown the league and its fans that they are more than ready to stages a rematch of last year’s series won by the Ice Wolves as both teams have comfortable, but not uncatchable leads in their respective divisions. However, several teams are ready to try and get to the final and get their hands on the Credit Union Cup themselves.

The hottest team going into the break was the Kindersley Klippers. After releasing head coach Larry Wintoneak and replacing him with assistant Rockie Zinger, the Klippers won five straight and head into 2011 having won six in a row. The Klippers also know that while trying to catch the first place Yorkton Terriers, who are 10 points ahead of them, that they have to make sure what is in their rear-view mirror as 3rd place Weyburn is three back with 4th place Estevan just four behind Kindersley.

The Melville Millionaires have lost their last four heading into the break and coach Jamie Fiesel has suggested he will be a dealer instead of a buyer at the deadline. If Notre Dame isn’t a seller, the Hounds may catch Melville for the final playoff spot as they start the 2nd half just four points back.

In the Bauer Conference, it is anyone’s guess as to who could finish where. As it stands right now, La Ronge is six points ahead of Melfort, but it has been topsy-turvy all season long and its expected to be that way right through until the end of the season. The Mustangs are 2nd with 42 points, but Humboldt is one point back with Flin Flon and the Battlefords just six points behind Melfort. The Nipawin Hawks have occupied the conference basement for much of the season, but the Hawks played their best hockey of the year going into the break and are determined to make some noise in the final 20 plus games of the season.

It was a very entertaining first half, and its expected the second half will be just as entertaining with teams fighting for playoff position each and every night.

The Champ Is Down

UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder during his fight two months ago against Brock Lesnar, a source close to the situation confirmed to

News of the injury to Velasquez surfaced Wednesday when reported the 28-year-old heavyweight would require surgery for an undisclosed shoulder ailment, causing him to miss six to eight months.

"We're told he needs surgery but we're trying to get another opinion," said Javier Mendez, Velasquez's trainer. "... We want to make sure that surgery is something that has to happen."

Velasquez will seek second and third opinions next week from doctors in Las Vegas and near his home in the Bay Area.

A recent MRI on his right shoulder revealed the injury was "a lot more severe" than previously thought and showed a 90 percent tear of the rotator cuff. The morning following his first-round win over Lesnar, Velasquez complained about pain in his shoulder.

"We were hoping he'd be back on track," Mendez said. "We gave him two months to rehab. But we did another MRI and it was clear it's torn."

If surgery is required, the Velasquez camp would like it to happen as soon as possible. The heavyweight has trained sparingly since defeating Lesnar, working only on footwork and kicking.

BLOGGER NOTE: Velasquez was apparently going to be the headliner for the UFC event in Toronto. That will now not happen.

Two Hours Of Rider Talk

Its the last Sportscage of 2010. What better thing to do for two hours then talk Saskatchewan Roughrider football and what better person to help me do that then the man Kelly Remple has dubbed as "The Don Cherry of Football in Saskatchewan", the one and only John (Frenzy) Lynch.
We will look back at the 2010 campaign and look ahead to what 2011 may bring with both the Riders and the CFL.

You know where it is and you know what time its on.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sweden Gets By Bombers

The Swedish Under 17 team started its four game tour of the SJHL with a hard fought and exciting 5-4 win over the Flin Flon Bombers Wednesday night in front of over 12-hundred fans at the Whitney Forum. The Swedes looked like they might make it a one-sided affair as they led it 2-0 after one on goals by Nick Sorensen and Axel Waltott.

Sorensen’s 2nd of the game on the power play at the 6:46 mark of the 2nd made it 3-0 for the yellow clad Swedes, but Flin Flon got on the board less than a minute later on a goal by James McNulty. Jesse Mychan’s power play goal three minutes into the 3rd closed the gap to one, but Sorensen completed the hat-trick on the power-play at 11:28. Ryan Fox made it 4-3 at the 13:31 mark, but Sorensen completed a four goal evening with an even strength marker at 18:26. Flin Flon came right back though as Fox netted his 2nd of the evening just 15 seconds later, but the Bombers could not get the equalizer.

The Swedish squad will move into La Ronge for a game against the SJHL champion Ice Wolves on Thursday night.

Is Marshall The Man?

TSN's Dave Naylor believes the Riders have found their man. Have they?

Wednesday In The Cage

It is going to be a busy two hours as we step inside the radio octagon this afternoon at 4 o'clock. "The Silver Fox" Kelly Remple will join me in studio for the entire two hours. We will be joined by

--Rogers Sportsnet junior hockey analyst Sam Cosentino as we discuss World Juniors.
--Saskatoon Blades p x p man Les Lazaruk as we talk about the first half of the WHL season football writer Jim Lang will talk NFL with us

I also want to get your take on the Regina sports story of the year. The nominees can be found right here.

Hope yer listenin'

Kassian Gets 2

The Canadians will have to do without Zack Kassian for two games.

Kassian has also been suspended for Canada's game against Sweden on Friday, this coming after Kassian knew he would not be playing against Norway on Wednesday.

Kassian drew an automatic one-game suspension when he was assessed a match penalty for hitting Petr Senkerik in the head and neck area during the second period of Canada's 7-2 win on Tuesday.

Former NHL referee Dan Marouelli, who is the disciplinary judge for the 2011 World Junior Championship, made his decision to suspend Kassian for one more game on Wednesday morning.

Canada also is dealing with injuries to defenceman Calvin de Haan and forward Jaden Schwartz, which means the bench against Norway could be short by as many as three players.


Now What?

The Darryl Sutter era is over in Calgary. He did not leave the team in good shape. What do the Flames do now? I think they have to do what they did in Edmonton and that is gut the franchise and start from square one. That being said, their record is much better than Edmonton's was last year and they aren't that far out of a playoff spot. I think Calgary hockey fans know that this team has to start getting rid of salaries and getting rid of them soon.
Some guys simply have to go, but the Flames need to find takers. Two guys they should get rid of if they can convince them to get rid of their no-trade clauses are Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff. I actually think Calgary could get more for Kipper than Iggy. Teams like Washington, Philly, Tampa and San Jose would have to be in the mix. All three have players, picks and prospects they could send. As for Iggy, he would be a steep price as well and there are many teams where a player of his ilk would fit in.
I'll be interested to see if the Flames use the Oilers blueprint or if they go another way. That blueprint by Edmonton was pretty successful when used in Chicago. Time will tell.
I will never understand the NFL! Joe Webb outperforms Michael Vick and the Vikings beat the Eagles. WHAT? Maybe the Seahawks can get in and surprise someone in the playoffs. You just never know what can happen on any given night. Its one of the reasons why I love the NFL.
Was Zack Kassian's hit on that Czech player really that bad? I didn't think so.
Was there anyone else but Joanie Rochette to win Canada's top female athlete. The figure skater didn't only capture a nation's attention, but the world's attention with what she did in Vancouver. Many couldn't do what Rochette did.
Memo to Burlington City Council.....DONT SCREW THIS UP!! Get a stadium for the Ti-Cats and then laugh at the city of Hamilton for years.
With Portland getting Craig Cunningham, does this mean Brayden Schenn won't become a Portland Winter Hawk. I am beginning to think more and more that Schenn will be going home to Saskatoon. Will the offer Lorne Molleken gives to Kelly McCrimmon be similar to the one he supposedly offered Regina for Jordan Eberle. I've heard a couple of different stories on that deal if ever one was on the table.
What is it with the Pats and the Broncos this year? Regina owns their Highway 1 rivals.
Rob Vanstone thinks Greg Marshall will be the new Riders coach. I disagree. I think when all is said and done that Doug Berry is your guy. Who does that make as offensive co-ordinator then---that's a good question. Is Khari Jones out there? Where's Danny MacManus? Where's Tracy Ham? Just think about that last one for a second.
Sometimes I pretend to be normal, but it gets boring. So I go back to being me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WinterHawks Get A Little Stronger

The Portland Winterhawks have acquired center Craig Cunningham and a sixth round pick in the 2011 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for forwards Spencer Bennett, Teal Burns, a first round pick in the 2011 Bantam Draft and a second round pick in the 2012 Bantam Draft.

Cunningham, a 20-year-old center, was the Western Conference finalist for the WHL’s Player of the Year Award last season when he amassed 37 goals and 60 assists for 97 points, sixth in the league. He then added 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 16 playoff games. This season Cunningham has 10 goals and 35 assists for 45 points in 36 games, tying him for sixth in the league.

“Craig is an elite player, as evidenced by being named the Western Conference finalist for the WHL’s Player of the Year Award last season. We’re very excited to have him join our team,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston.

For his career, Cunningham has registered 86 goals and 136 assists for 222 points in 295 games. Cunningham was a fourth round pick, 97th overall, by the Boston Bruins in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Going to Vancouver are Spencer Bennett, 20, and Teal Burns, 18. Bennett was in his second season with the Winterhawks, and in 108 games had totaled 31 goals and 30 assists for 61 points. This season he has 21 points in 37 games. Bennett was a fifth round pick, 141st overall, by the Calgary Flames in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Burns was in his first WHL season, and had seven points in 37 games. He was Portland’s eighth round pick, 156th overall, in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft.

Darryl Sutter Steps Down In Calgary

Darryl Sutter is stepping down as executive vice president and general manager of the Calgary Flames, the team announced Tuesday.

Jay Feaster, who led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004 as GM and had been Sutter's assistant since July, was appointed acting general manager and will assume full and complete responsibilities for day-to-day hockey operations.

"Darryl has performed valuable service to the Calgary Flames organization for eight years," Flames President and CEO Ken King said. "He was the leader that ignited a renaissance of Flames hockey, moving us from a non-playoff team to an organization that was viewed as a respected and popular contender each year. We thank Darryl for his leadership and his important contributions to re-establishing the Calgary Flames as a model franchise. As we enter the next phase of our growth in the NHL, we are restructuring our leadership and processes. We are pleased that Darryl has agreed to assist in an orderly transition and will provide his valuable guidance in the process. He remains dedicated to the success of the team he worked so hard to build

"We will move forward under a new administration with Jay leading our hockey operations as Acting General Manager. For the remainder of this season, Jay will be provided the opportunity to evaluate the team from the GM's chair and build a long term plan. We believe that while we continue to compete for a playoff position this season, this period will provide both the organization and Jay time to decide on critical future decisions."

Calgary entered Tuesday with a 16-18-3 record, sitting 14th in the Western Conference and six points out of a playoff berth.

Feaster joined the Flames organization on July 8, 2010. His managerial career includes the Stanley Cup title with Tampa Bay in 2004 and a Calder Cup Championship as the President of the Hershey Bears (American Hockey League) in 1997.

I'm Sure I'll Be Ready By Sunday

I was not openly chastised by Regina's biggest Falcons fan last nite, (Yes, I have discovered there's more than one!!) but he did express his disappointment in me for not being all rah-rah and gung ho for this week's win and get in game between the Seahawks and Rams.

I couldn't get fired up for last week's game between the Falcons and Seahawks because I knew Seattle would get crushed and even though they are in the playoffs if they win this weekend, I can't get excited because they will win the division at a putrid 7-9 and likely get destroyed the weekend after. Add this to the fact it seems as if Charlie Whitehurst could be QB'ing the Seahawks and there are plenty of reasons for dulled optimism. However, I am sure that when Sunday night hits, I will be ready to go cheering the Hawks onto victory and that the game face will be on. I know it will be come playoff time even though that game face may be one of pain, anguish and despair by the 2nd quarter. All you have to do is get into the dance--right! No one makes apologies for their records once they get into the playoffs.

The Leader-Post's Murray McCormick in a tweet last night wondered aloud if Faith Hill had to re-do her intro for Sunday night football saying "I've been waiting three days for Tuesday night" instead of "I've been waiting all week for Sunday night" as the Eagles and Vikings will play their snow-delayed game. It will also determine whether or not I am the champ in an fantasy league I am in. I go into tonight's game down 4 points. I have Adrian Peterson and Desean Jackson while my opponent has Percy Harvin. I like my chances. If I win, I will have won one of the three leagues I was in this year. In one, I can win it all, in the 2nd, I finished first after the regular season only to get smoked in the playoffs (thank you Ray Rice) and in the 3rd, I was near the bottom of the ladder. I love the article in today's L-P from former Rider o-lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek about fantasy football. Its a story that could be told by many I'm sure.

Canada plays the Czechs this afternoon at the World Juniors. That game will be on at the same time as I am doing the Sportscage on 620 CKRM. I will try and update you as best as I can on that game this afternoon. Yes, you have to endure the rest of this week with me before Rod returns next week. Derek "Duke" Meyers from Global will be in with me today. Kelly Remple will sit in with me tomorrow and then John Lynch will co-host Thursday. There will be no show Friday.

Speaking of Friday, the Weather Network now says the high will be -26. -26??!!! I'm thinkin any New Year's Eve plans will involve staying nice and warm and comfy inside Casa De Blair. Will that first sound of 2011 that you hear be the sound of a car trying to start----it very well might. SIGHHHHH!!!!!

No one won the Lotto Max jackpot on Christmas Eve meaning it stands at 68 million for the New Year's Eve draw. What a way that would be to end off 2011. Imagine!!!! Hell, I might have to go to Seattle for that Rams-Seahawks game Sunday if I won that $$$$$. I might even have to stay in Seattle for the whole week leading up to the playoff game.

Women are very greedy. They want all things from one man. Men are so simple. They want only one thing from all women.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Regina's Top Sports Story of 2010

2010 was a very busy year in the Queen City when it came to sports. There was no shortage of headlines over the calendar year. What story was the biggest in your mind? I will let you decide. Read this post and then please vote on the poll that will stay up for the next week as I let you choose what the biggest Regina sports story of the year was


The 2009 Rider season was an odd one for the fact that general manager Eric Tillman still worked for the team despite the fact he wasn’t at Mosaic Stadium. Tillman had been charged with sexual assault in an incident involving his babysitter. He was granted an absolute discharge and had no criminal record as he walked out of the courthouse in early January. Despite his innocence, Tillman and the football club decided he could no longer serve as general manager. He resigned a few days later and was replaced before January was over by Brendan Taman with Ken Miller assuming the role of vice president of football operations. Miller guided the team to another Grey Cup appearance, but just days after the loss to Montreal, Miller stepped down as head coach with his successor yet to be chosen.

2. 2010 ENDS THE SAME WAY AS 2009

After a heart-crushing defeat in the 2009 Grey Cup, the Riders came back in 2010 looking to avenge the defeat to the Alouettes and take what many felt was theirs had it not been for the unfortunate 13th man penalty. Some questioned if the Riders could get back to the big game after losing star defensive ends John Chick and Stevie Baggs and middle linebacker Rey Williams to the NFL along with the retirement of Eddie Davis. The team answered its nay-sayers by proving they were once again one of the top teams in the CFL. Darian Durant continued to show why he is the best young quarterback in the game. Andy Fantuz led the CFL in receiving yards which was the first time a Canadian player had done that in a decade. That translated into Fantuz being named the CFL’’s top Canadian. Those were just a couple of many honours the football team had. After an overtime win over B-C in the Western semi-final, the Riders went to Calgary and knocked off the Stampeders to get their much desired rematch against Montreal. The dream died on the Commonwealth Stadium turf though as the Alouettes beat the Riders to claim the CFL championship again.


Regina and Saskatoon played host to the World Junior Hockey Championships. The Canadian team played a pair of exhibition games at the Brandt Centre with Reginans cheering loudly for the Pats duo of Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert who had once again made the team after winning gold in Ottawa the year before. While Canada played its round-robin games in Saskatoon, Reginans got treated to some great games courtesy of Sweden, Russia, Finland, the Czechs and Austria. In the end, the Americans took the gold medal in a dramatic overtime win over Canada, but it didn’t’ damper what was a tremendous performance both on and off the ice in both cities.


One of the toughest things to do in baseball, if not the toughest thing to do is to lead your league in homeruns, RBI’s and batting average. Its called the Triple Crown. It has not been done in the majors since 1967. Regina Red Sox first baseman Mitch MacDonald accomplished the feat in 2010. The Regina born MacDonald had a season to remember as he led the Red Sox to their first ever division title. MacDonald hit .476 on the season with eight homers and 48 RBI’s. He was named the WMBL’s MVP for that performance.


The Vancouver Winter Olympics captured the imagination of all Canadians in February. If we weren’t in Vancouver watching some of it live, we were glued to our TV’s. Regina celebrated three gold medals in three different sports. Ryan Getzlaf took gold in mens hockey, Ben Hebert took gold in mens curling and Lucas Makowsky in speed-skating. The efforts of these three helped Canada to their best ever showing in a Winter Olympics.

Jordan Eberle was the best player to don the uniform of the Regina Pats in a long time. The Edmonton Oilers first round draft pick became a national celebrity after his heroics in a semi-final win over Russia at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa. He was one of the top players at the 2010 event in Saskatoon/Regina, but many in Regina wondered if their days of seeing Eberle in a Regina uniform were over. The team had made a trade for Lethbridge’s Carter Ashton in hopes that it could propel them into the playoffs. The gamble by GM Brent Parker fizzled as the team played terrible hockey in the time Eberle and Teubert were gone. It started the debate as to whether or not Parker should keep Eberle and Teubert or trade them away at the WHL trade deadline. Parker did not see a deal come his way that he thought would help his team in the long run and kept the two star players. The Pats didn’t make the playoffs. It’s a debate that many still engage in today as the team continues to flounder in the bottom half of the WHL’s Eastern Conference standings.


When the Regina Rams left the world of junior football to the university ranks, it left a gaping hole in Regina football for a few years. The Regina Thunder were born a few years after the Rams left for the CIS and it took a long time for them to garner some respectability in the Prairie Football Conference. For whatever reason, the team couldn’t finish in the top two and host a playoff game---until this year, Led by quarterback Reid Quest and many others, the Thunder had a tremendous season that had them finish 2nd in the PFC. It meant they got to host their first ever playoff game. They won that game to advance to the PFC final against the Saskatoon Hilltops. The Hilltops won that game as they went on to another Canadian title and while it left sadness that a championship season had once again passed them by, many connected with the Thunder organization knew a major hurdle had been crossed.


Regina has many great sporting venues and it unveiled its newest one in the spring of 2010. The brand new Co-Operators Centre opened its doors for the first time as the best female midget hockey teams in Canada competed for the Esso Cup. While Thunder Bay emerged as the winner on the ice, the winner off the ice was the brand new facility on the grounds of Evraz Place as many raved about a rink that many felt was needed in the city. The Co-Operators Centre is just one in a series of rinks on the Exhibition Grounds that has seen its fair share of activity this winter. The Pats used it for some pre-season games and practices while the rink has become the home of the U of R Cougars and the Regina Rebels female hockey team. It has also sparked talk that Regina could host many more national championships like the Telus Cup because of a facility like this.

Did I miss anything? If I did, I do apologize. Anyhow, please vote away and please feel free to leave any comments. Thanks!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Good Start

The Canadian Juniors looked pretty good in their opening game of the World Juniors Sunday afternoon against the Russians. Russia scored first and I'm sure that had much of Canada on edge, but the Canadians really took it to their opponents in all aspects of the game and came out a 6-3 winner.

Just a couple of things I took away from the game---

--Ryan Ellis was the best Canadian on the ice and might when all is said and done, the best Canadian at this tournament. The Nashville Predators have themselves a player.

--There is no flashy offensive force and while Brayden Schenn is expected to get the lions share of points, it will have to go around and should go around as there is a lot of offensive talent on that team once again.

--Dave Cameron made the right choice in starting Olivier Roy.

--If you want to beat Canada, you will have to outwork Canada and that didn't happen on this night.

My Seahawks are a bad team, but they are one win from the playoffs. Once again, they were pathetic as they got batted around by Tampa. The sad thing is if they beat the Rams next Sunday night (yes, believe it or not that will be the night game on NBC) they win the putrid NFC West with a disgusting record of 7-9. I don't like it, but what are you gonna do? The rules dictate (and rightly so) that division winners get a home playoff game. If they get in, you just never know.
While still on the Seahawks, they need two new quarterbacks. Matt Hasselbeck is simply too old (the guy got hurt when no one hit him Sunday--not even Favre does that) and Charlie Whitehurst is just plain brutal. I would rather have Charlie Harper QB'ing my team. If Arkansas' Ryan Mallett or Auburn's Cam Newton are around when Seattle picks, grab them!

Just some other thoughts from Sunday's NFL play...

--I'm still not sold on the Bears

--The Chargers will never become an elite team until they can win on the road in cold weather climates.

--Can Tim Tebow actually be an NFL quarterback?

--You don't want to play the Packers in the playoffs

--How many different nights will the Vikings play on this year?

--Does Sunday's cancellation mean there will be another Brett Favre sighting?

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner at the ripe old age of 84 has announced he is getting engaged to a 24 year old playmate. Bless this man fellas. We can only wish to spend 15 minutes in his smoking jacket!!!!
I am now the proud new owner of a Jordan Eberle Oilers jersey. OK, I will be soon as the first one had to go back because it was just a tiny bit on the small side---not much though, The question I have now though is do I wear said jersey or do I just get Ebs to sign it for me. I know that won't be a problem. Decisions, decisions, decisions!! I also got a print of his first NHL goal. That may be the piece of paraphernalia that I ask him to sign.
Does any of my blog readers go out into the madness that is Boxing Day? Are the sales worth it? I've never been for that.
How many of you got something with the /=S=/ on it for Christmas or something that was Rider related? How many of you gave someone a present with the /=S=/ on it or something that was Rider related? Guilty on both counts!
A couple of congrats are in order. Saskatchewan's self-proclaimed sexiest blogger has become a father for the 2nd time. The SSPSB now has a boy and a girl so he has the complete set. Meanwhile, my good friend Jayson Hajdu---a Regina boy who has become a sports information officer at the University of North Dakota -- has somehow convinced his girlfriend to marry him and he appears to have been sober when doing so. Good job Jay. Does this mean there is a stag on both sides of the border?
Later today, I will have up my poll for Regina sports story of the year. A post will give you the nominees. I ask you to please vote.

Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

I am not talking about Boxing Day shopping either. Are you stuffed with turkey? Did Santa bring you what you wanted? Are you ready for some hockey? Yes, it is the 2nd to last Sunday of the NFL season, but its also the start of the World Junior Hockey Championship and Canada wants to do the U-S what the Americans did to us in Saskatoon and that is take the gold. It starts this afternoon with Canada vs Russia in what should be a dandy. Here's the best overall preview I could find so take a look as this has a lot of info in it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Pre-Christmas Post

One last post to wrap things up before Christmas with just random thoughts

1) What the hell is Devils GM Lou Lamiorello thinking? I can understand the team wanting to remove John McLean as head coach, but doing it on December 23rd just two days before Christmas is rather Scroogelike. He wasn't acting like Scrooge when he signed Ilya Kovalchuk to that huge contract and it isn't working. The Devils failure has to be pinned on him and then he does something as gutless as firing McLean two days before Christmas. It couldn't have waited?

As for McLean, this is the worst thing to happen to a John McLean before Christmas since Hans Gruber took a bunch of people hostage in 1988. (If you have never watched the Die Hard movies, you won't understand that one)

2) Funny moment while driving in Regina's East end this morning....a woman giving the one fingered gesture to another vehicle. The thing that made it funny was that said woman was wearing a Santa hat.

3) The situation involving the Ohio State Buckeyes football team is just stupid. The NCAA is penalizing five players on the Buckeyes for selling championship rings and other stuff. The suspensions start next year meaning the players can play in this year's Bowl game. This is just wrong on so many levels. Some of these players may not even be at Ohio State next year including quarterback Terrelle Pryor. This is like the NHL suspending a player in the Stanley Cup final, but saying the suspension doesn't begin until next season so that the player can play. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB!!

4) I am thinking we might see one of the most competitive World Junior Championships ever. The U-S, Canada, Russia and Sweden should all once again very good hockey teams. It will be must watch TV again this holiday season and you know I will be glued to the couch to watch Canada-Russia on Boxing Day.

5) Should I be mad when a company that has been very good to me when it comes to on-line shopping doesn't come through. I ordered a Christmas gift for a friend of mine on December 9 and it still hasn't shown up. Is it stuck at Customs? I would say what it is, but I know said friend reads this blog. I've gotten things from this place before and it has been here right away, but not this time. GRRRRRR!!!!

6) It looks like the weather will be nice on Christmas Day so that is good for those that want to do something outside tomorrow or for those who will be travelling. If its the latter, keep it between the lines. Now is not the time for anything tragic to happen.

7)TSN2 is showing the final of the World Junior Hockey Championship from Saskatoon this past January tonight and is showing the 2010 Grey Cup tomorrow night. That's not in the holiday spirit for people from this province if you ask me.
If you missed it from yesterday's Sportscage, here's the Scruffy Christmas wish list....
Dear Santa:

I got a little busy to write to you this year with Christmas wishes for myself and others, but I have been given some air-time to just verbally give you my list. I know you listen to the Sportscage every day and I know you have a big /=S=/ on the side of your sleigh, so with that I give you my list

To Rider president and CEO Jim Hopson --- a bigger vault to put all that money the team is making inside of it.
To Ken Miller --to turn back time and give you the opportunity to hoist the Grey Cup high. A man of Miller's stature deserved to. Kenny is a great coach and an even greater man if you ask me. I have nothing but a tremendous amount of respect for him and I wish it would have ended better.
To Riders kicker Luca Congi ---that you are back at 100 percent and ready to go when training camp hits
To Riders punter Eddie Johnson ---that the drinks are cold and the women are hot at whatever California bar you are working at this winter. Send us some snapshots please.
To Riders quarterback Darian Durant – a CFL MOP distinction. If it doesn’t happen this year, it will happen.
To Regina born Seahawks punter Jon Ryan---a chance to punt in the 2011 pro bowl and the 2012 Super Bowl both wearing the same uniform of the team you play for now.

To Regina Pats captain Garrett Mitchell – a chance to experience some WHL playoff action. Has he done that yet?
To Pats play by play man Dan Plaster – Advil and a lot of it.
To the players with Saskatchewan connections representing Canada at the World Juniors----a little something that is colored gold.
To Oilers forward Jordan Eberle---a Calder Trophy
To LP sports editor and good friend Rob Vanstone---a way to put three more hours on the day so he can work those as well because 24 isn’t enough for him.
To CTV’s Chris Hodges---that you get more Twitter followers since you seemingly don’t like the fact that I have considerably more than you if a recent Tweet by you meant anything. Merry Christmas to you Hodgey and the same to Lee Jones
To Global’s Derek “Duke” Meyers -----ownership stake in Habano’s.
To frequent blog poster (on this blog and Rods) named Obama. That you find quick enrollment in the witness protection program should your true identity ever be revealed. You're a good man in my books Obama. We don't agree on everything, but what fun would it be if we did right.
To High Impact Wrestler Jeff Tyler---new tights!!!!
To fellow High Impact Wrestler Principal Richard Pound----RESPECT DAMMIT!!! :)

To the old 96er Scott Schultz---that you break out of your shell and let your real character shine through when talking football on this show. Don’t be afraid to let it all out big guy. Is there any reason why we in Saskatchewan should accept football talk from any other Schultz expect Scott.
To John Frenzy---just one piece of clothing that doesn’t have the /=S=/ on it. Just one! While I don’t want to know the answer to this question, I’m thinking Frenzy has Rider bedsheets.
To the Calgary Stampeders duo of Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson---that you get NFL jobs or some other job that takes you to the U-S meaning we don’t have to deal with classless jerks like you ever again.
To the Rider Nation ---do you really need the answer Santa?
To the Regina sports fan---well Santa, I know you gave that gift a little early---it was May 16 I think when this show hit the airwaves and everyone here thanks you the Regina sports fan for making this show the success it is---now if only Rod could find a better host when he isn’t around.
To the fine host of this program---the one and only Rod Pedersen---- A week hanging out with Eddie Johnson in southern California. If not that, then serving as a roadie for George Strait. (I could say more but Cindy might be listening and may disapprove!!)

To everyone out there---a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas the Last Cage Before Christmas

Who was that mustachioed man beside me on Saskatchewan Drive today? It certainly looked like Greg Marshall, but was it him? Was he the first person to get a second interview from your Saskatchewan Roughriders as they search for a head coach. I have been told--and this should not be taken as absolute---that the final three candidates on Brendan Taman and Ken Miller's list are Marshall, Cory Chamblin and Doug Berry. I still think Berry gets it because of his offensive panache. We'll see.
Mark Masters from the National Post joined us to talk about the situation in Hamilton. Its not a good one and no one really knows what is going to happen next. It would appear though as if the Ti-Cats may not be calling Hamilton home much longer if something isn't done very, very soon. Is Ottawa ready? Would the league consider moving the Ti-Cats to Ottawa? How about Moncton or Quebec City? Could Bob Young be bluffing, I think the answer is no to that last one.
Red Sox manager Rob Cherepuschak stopped by to talk about his ball team for 2011. I think the team will really build off of last year's effort and be right back in the playoffs this time around.
Derek Boe--the chair of the World Mens Curling Championship--also stepped into the Cage to talk about ticket sales for the event. "The Rocks in your Socks" promotion is about to end If you need that last minute gift Itfor the curling fan, you might want to get him or her some tickets.
You also missed Scruffy's Christmas wish list for Santa---which probably is a good thing. Later!

Last Sportscage Before Xmas

I think its going to be a busy two hours on the Sportscage this afternoon.

Global's Derek "Duke" Meyers is going to step into the radio octagon once again this afternoon. He was hanging outside the Harvard headquarters with cup in hand so I told him to come in at 4 to stay warm for a couple of hours.

We'll start off the show with Regina Red Sox manager Rob Cherepuschak. He just signed a new deal with the club.

Derek Boe with the World Mens Curling Championship will join us to talk about a ticket promotion that is quickly winding down and one that you might want to take advantage of if you are looking for a last minute gift for the curling fan that you shop for.

Mark Masters with the National Post will also come on board to talk about the situation involving the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

I also touched upon this the other day and then never got to it so I want to get back to it today----tell me what's the best sports-related Xmas present you ever received.

I've also got Scruffy's Christmas wish list to Santa.

Talk to ya at 4.

UFC To Saskatchewan???

UFC Canada's director of Canadian operations Tom Wright was a guest of mine on CKRM's Sportscage Wednesday afternoon. The former CFL commissioner is having a blast working with the UFC and admits its been a pretty nice start as he has seen successful pay-per-views in Montreal and Vancouver with one coming shortly in Toronto.

Being a UFC fan and knowing there are many in Saskatchewan, I had to ask Wright if there were any plans to bring the UFC to our fine province. He said he would love to see the UFC visit either the Brandt Centre or Credit Union Centre and that if all went well, it could happen perhaps as early as 2012. Keep your fingers crossed.

Scott Schultz made his weekly appearance on the show to talk Riders. Like many others, Schultzie pumped up the tires of Mike McCullough who had re-signed with the club earlier in the day. When it was suggested that the team needs to strengthen its interior linemen, Scott also defended Keith Shologan saying the guy is a monster and that we have only just started to see how good he is. Agreed! I've said it before in this forum and I know Rod has on his blog as well, but the old 96er has just gotten better and better and better in his role on the Cage. If he gets too good, TSN might come calling---or CBC or Sportsnet if they ever get back in the game. When you look at it, guys like Matt Dominguez, Mike Abou-Mechrek and Schultz have all done quite well doing radio and TV this year. I wonder who else on the team would be great as an analyst when their days are done. I think Jason Clermont would be outstanding in breaking it down.

GX 94's(Yorkton) Craig Stein stopped in to talk a little SJHL. The voice of the Terriers and Millionaires (who has helped me out immensely since I started working with the league as have many others) talked about the first half of the season. It was a La Ronge-Yorkton final last year and that surprised many, but it won't surprise anyone if we see a rematch this year seeing the two teams are atop their respective divisions.

I also had a little bit at the end of the show that I wished I could have spent more time on but didn't. L-A Lakers coach Phil Jackson is upset that the Lakers have to play on Christmas Day. He doesn't think there should be any games on Christmas Day and the NBA will have five games with the NFL having one. Jackson brings up a good argument, but I have no problem in sitting back on Xmas afternoon after the gifts have been opened and finding some sports to watch. In fact, I think if the Pats ever played a game on December 25(which I know will never happen) that I would go just to get away for a while. Perhaps I'm in the minority in that thinking. I would like to know what you think about games being played on Xmas Day. For what its worth, the NBA takes January 1 off.

Have you got your Xmas shopping done yet? My wife convinced me to go to Chapters last nite and it was nutty in there. We went to the Southland after just to poke around and it was relatively quiet. That surprised me a little, but I guess when Zellers isn't open yet and the Harbour Landing Wal-Mart is just down the street that will happen. When is the Zellers going to open in the Southland? I had said earlier this month that the sports memorabilia place in the Southland had a picture of Jordan Eberle scoring his first pro goal against Calgary and that might look good hanging on a wall in Scruffy's basement. I see now that same store has a photo of both Ebs and Taylor Hall. HMMMMMMMM????

I'm not a political guy, but while in Chapters last nite, I browsed through John Gormley's book that he has written on Saskatchewan politics. I have a tremendous amount of respect for John and I quickly looked through a couple of chapters. I think I might have to pick that one up. If you are a political junkie, I suggest you do too.

As I watch the news and see the weather that people in the Maritimes are going through and the rain that is falling in California and Arizona, it makes me think that maybe its not that bad here and that we shouldn't complain as much as we do about the weather. Then again, we do like to complain in Saskatchewan.

Q: What did Adam say on the day before christmas? A: It's Christmas, Eve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday's Sportscage

It will be a jam-packed two hours in the Sportscage this afternoon. The old 96er Scott Schultz is supposed to join me today seeing there is no Football Friday this week.

You will hear what Mike McCullough and Brendan Taman had to say as they met the media this morning. It was rather uneventful, but you can take a listen and check it out for yourself.

UFC Canada's Tom Wright will join me as we talk about UFC and its rising popularity not only in Canada, but around the globe.

Craig Stein from GX94 in Yorkton will join me to talk a little Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League as they are in their Christmas break. Craig is one of many fine play-by-play men in the league that has their finger on what's going on so we'll recap the first half of the season with him.

That and whatever else I can dig up coming this afternoon at 4 on 620 CKRM.

Taman Updates HC Search/Ti-Cats In Jeopardy

Riders GM Brendan Taman brought everyone up to speed on the head coaching search while talking about the Mike McCullough signing today. He didn't really shed a lot of light on what is going on. Here are the highlights...

--The first phase is done. Its time to sit down now and narrow it down to two or three candidates for a 2nd interview.
--A decision likely won't be made until the new year
--Won't say how many people have been interviewed, but the shortlist will be done by the end of the day
--There are two or three guys that he and Ken Miller really like
--They are not waiting for the NFL season to end when it comes to George Cortez. Tom Higgins has expressed some interest.
--The team has spoken to Bob Wylie as he contacted them.
--Candidate doesn't necessarily have to have coached here
--laughed at tweet suggesting Scott Milanovich had been offered the job saying it was so far-fetched that it was a joke.

Meanwhile, the future of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is once again up in the air. To see what I am talking about, click here

McCullough Is Back

The Saskatchewan Roughrider announced today they have signed non-import linebacker Mike McCullough to a new contract. Financial details of the signing were not released.

McCullough has spent the last eight seasons with the Riders after being originally selected by the Green and White in the 3rd round (23 overall) in the 2003 CFL College Draft. In 2010, the 30-year-old played in all 18 regular season games where he had 29 defensive tackles, seven special team tackles, four quarterback sacks, three pass knockdowns, two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery.

In 140 regular season games played for the Riders, McCullough has tallied 143 defensive tackles, 86 special team tackles, 30 fumble recoveries and seven quarterback sacks.

McCullough was set to become a free agent in February, 2011.

Recapping Tuesday's Cage

A solid two hours of sports talk radio on Tuesday as Global's Derek "Duke" Meyers joined me to discuss a variety of topics.

We talked about Brett Favre's legacy and whether or not he is hurting himself and that legacy by continuing to play as he did the other night. I think he is and that people are now just shaking their head at him asking why he continues to fight on when its so evident that its over. I don't find him to be a warrior anymore. I find him to be rather pathetic and that's too bad when you look at the great career that he has had.

Bruce Boudreau's f-word filled rant in the first episode of HBO's 24/7 was entertaining, but while its getting a lot of press, I've come to the point that "swearing" has just become commonplace in pro sports these days whether it be the athlete or player. Some of you called in to say you have no time for that especially in minor sports. I wholeheartedly agree with that as there should be no coach at any high school or minor level throwing out curse word after curse word, but in the junior hockey and football ranks along with the pro game, its going to happen and its going to happen a lot so we should just get over it.

Dan Clark from the Riders joined us. Dan has a new contract from the Riders in his backpocket which I'm sure is a great Christmas gift. I really like the fact the Riders stocked the cupboard with four Canadian offensive linemen because they are so important to the CFL. You can never have enough good Canadian o-lineman. With Gene Makowsky and Jeremy O'Day in the twilight of their careers, the team has made sure they have guys who can step in. All four have impressive resumes, but then again a PR staff does have to try and make a guy look good, but when you have CIS all-star attached to it, you know you are good.

Now that the Riders have re-loaded at o-line, I threw out the question what area does the team need to upgrade in. Duke says the Riders need to find that stud d-lineman that can be on the other side from Brent Hawkins so that we have a John Chick-Stevie Baggs scenario. I think linebacker is where the team has to re-load. I don't know if Sean Lucas will be back seeing he is a free agent, and while Byron Bullock and Jerrell Freeman are good and can step in, you need to keep the cupboard full. If Freeman goes to the NFL, a hole is created. I also think this could allow Tad Kornegay to go back to being a defensive back. Some of you felt that what is needed the most is a guy who can flip the field in the return game. Brendan Taman thought Dominique Dorsey was that guy, but the experiment failed---at least last year. There was no return game even when Weston Dressler was out there so what do you do. If Jim Daley is relieved of his special teams duties, does it mean Dorsey gets another chance? That's up to the new head coach---and I don't think we will know who that is for another couple of weeks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday's Cage

It is Tuesday so that means Global's Derek (Duke) Meyers makes his weekly appearance inside the radio octagon. We will throw about a lot of different things, but one thing I want to talk about is Brett Favre's legacy. How is he going to be remembered and how much has this season hurt him?

We will also talk to Rider o-lineman Dan Clark at 505 and I want to know if you are offended by "swearing" in sports.

Hope you can listen in to Saskatchewan's fastest growing sports talk radio show. It is out of control dont'cha know.

Riders Add Some Canadian Depth At O-Line

The Saskatchewan Roughrider announced today they have signed four non-import offensive linemen to the roster. The team has added to their Saskatchewan depth with the addition of Regina natives Dan Clark and Patrick Neufeld. In addition the team continues to bolster Canadian talent with the signings of McMaster product Justin Glover and Laval product Michel Boudreault. Financial details of the signings were not released.

Clark (6’2 – 300 lbs) spent the 2010 season on the Rider practice roster while playing for the Regina Thunder. The 22 year-old was named a 2010 CJFL all-star and a CJFL All-Canadian in his final year of junior eligibility. Clark originally signed with the Riders in June 2009 and spent the season on the team’s practice roster.

Neufeld (6’4 – 290 lbs) was drafted by the Riders in the 5th round (33rd overall) of the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft. After attending training camp with the Green and White, Neufeld went back to the University of Saskatchewan for the 2010 season. In his senior year, the offensive tackle was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian as well as earned a spot on the Canada West All-Star squad.

Glover (6’2 – 315 lbs) played the last five seasons at McMaster and was named a CIS First-Team All-Star last year and has been an OUA All-Star the past two seasons. The offensive lineman has experience at playing all positions on the line and most recently anchored the team at centre.

Boudreault (6’3 – 290 lbs) played the last four seasons at Laval. The 26 year-old helped the Rouge claim their second Vanier Cup in three seasons as they won the 2010 championship title at home this season. The offensive tackle was a member of the East West Bowl squad in the 2009 season.

A New #1

There are many sexy country videos out there. This one from Shania used to be number one as far as I was concerned.

Who in their right mind doesn't love that red sweater?

It was replaced by this from Deana Carter.

Julianne Hough may have taken the top spot on the podium though after this.

What do you think fellas?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Brett, Brett, Brett

I don't know what he is trying to accomplish, but someone has to tell Brett Favre its over. There was no reason for number 4 to suit up on a cold night in Minneapolis. Correction, there was one reason. It was Monday Night Football. Favre couldn't stand being on the sideline with a national audience watching. He probably shouldn't have been out there, but he was and as has been the case for much of the season, his body could not take the punishment as he was knocked out of the game with a head injury in the first half.
His legacy is turning into a joke. Retire while you still have some dignity and while some can remember you as the quarterback you were and not the quarterback you've become.
I'm still not sold on the Bears!
It was great talking to Luca Congi on "Sportscage" today. (Was anyone out there?)The Rider kicker telling me its his intention to be back on the field doing what he does best when the 2011 season opens. A lot of people have wondered if the knee injury he sustained might be a career ender. I asked him that today and he said he laughed when he first heard that statement made, Congi saying it might have been that way a few decades ago, but with all the advances that have been made in medicine, he thinks that talk of his injury being a career-ender is just talk.
It was also great to speak to Mike Sillinger and congratulate him on getting his jersey 16 retired by the Pats. It will happen January 14th before a game against Edmonton. Sillinger is one of the best Pats I have ever seen play live. In talking to him, you can see how big of a thrill it is for this honour to be bestowed on him by the team he grew up wanting to play for. He is truly one of the best to ever wear the uniform. I joked with him on - air that perhaps he and Dale Derkatch will have to have a shootout to determine who is the real 16. Sillinger says he's happy with Derkatch being 16A and himself as 16B.
Renee Paquette would make a great WWE diva. I think I could handle watching a couple of episodes of "RAW" with her.
When can we start terming Brian Burke's tenure as GM of the Leafs a failure. Has it already started?
Canada beat the Swiss 8-0 in a tuneup game for the World Juniors. Are the Canadians that good? Are the Swiss that bad? I can't wait for tonite's tilt against the Swedes to see what type of Canadian team we have. Perhaps I was too early in writing them off as a team that I don't see winning gold this year.
Global's Derek (Duke) Meyers will join me inside the Sportscage this afternoon. Hope you can tune in.

No Rider Coach By Xmas

If what Sportsnet's Arash Madani is writing is true (and really, why wouldn't you believe what he has to say), it will be a while before the Riders decide who their new coach is. Madani wrote this piece for after Scott Milanovich had his interview. There had been a story going around for a short while indicating the job had been offered to Milanovich, but the team quickly threw cold water on that.

Monday's Cage

Mike Sillinger will join me right off the top of the show to talk about his number being retired by the Pats.

We will head to Ontario to see how Rider kicker Luca Congi is doing.

Winnipeg Free Press writer Ed Tait will join me to talk about the CFL and why it doesn't release the neg list. They really should.

That's coming up at 4 with yours truly on Saskatchewan's Sports Leader---62o CKRM.

Lions And Lulay Come To Terms

The BC Lions and quarterback Travis Lulay have agreed on a contract extension. You can read the release right here.

Sillingers Number To Be Retired

The Regina Pats are proud to honour one of the best forwards to have ever dawned a blue, white and red jersey. Mike Sillinger will have his number 16 raised to the rafters of the Brandt Centre during a pregame ceremony on Friday, January 14th as the Pats host the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“It’s truly an honor to have my jersey hanging up in a place where I have had some of my greatest memories,” says Mike Sillinger. “I was lucky to play my entire junior career here with the Pats and was always so proud to represent a great organization. As a home town boy, wearing that Pat Jersey was a dream come true and I will cherish those days forever.”
The home town Regina boy played with the Pats from 1987 to 1991 and is third on the all time Pats list in goals with 178, third in assists with 241 points and second in points with 419. When Sillinger broke into the league as a 16 year old in the 1987-88 season, he was teamed up with Jamie Heward and Frank Kovacs to form the famous “Pup Line”. He finished in the top 15 WHL scorers in the 88-89, 89-90 and 90-91 seasons. During the Pats playoff run to the conference semi-finals in the spring of 1989, Sillinger picked up 22 points in 11 games good for 9th among playoff scorers.

Regina Pats President, Brent Parker, “Mike was a great Regina Pat as well as being a tremendous ambassador for our organization and the City of Regina and this is an honour that is long overdue. The unique situation of having the #16 retired to two people is not lost on us, but we felt strongly that the accomplishments of both Dale Derkatch at Mike Sillinger while wearing this number were both worthy of this recognition. This night is really about honouring the person more than the number and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of being recognized for his accomplishments both here with the Pats and during a stellar NHL Career than Mike.”

The 1990-91 season was a fantastic cap to his WHL career as that winter, he put on the Red and White of Team Canada and helped the squad to a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Saskatoon, later that season, he was named a WHL Eastern Conference all-star.

NOTE: Mike Sillinger will join me in the Sportscage on 620 CKRM this afternoon to start off the show.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wouldn't Want To Be A Giants Fan

It was another ugly effort by my Seahawks. They once again had a promising first half and a disgustin)g 2nd one as they were beaten by Atlanta 34-18. I didn't expect Seattle to win this one, but when they are in at the half, you just never know. I should have known. As bad as Seattle was in the 2nd half though, it doesn't compare to the New York Giants and their colossal gag.

I was listening to this one on satellite radio while going out to watch the Falcons-Seahawks game. When I left the house, the Eagles were just scoring a TD to make it 31-17 and they then proceeded to get the short kick with about 4 minutes to go. A Michael Vick touchdown made it 31-24 and another one by Jeremy Maclin tied it up. You would think we were going to overtime, but oh no. In a special teams gaffe that was inexplicable, Giants punter Matt Dodge did not punt the ball out of bounds---he punted it to the dangerous Desean Jackson and the dangerous Desean Jackson took it back 65 yards for a game-winning touchdown. An epic special teams fail. Yes Rider fans, even Jim Daley wouldn't have screwed that one up (sorry Jim!). The Eagles came away with an improbable 38-31 win. If you know a Giants fan today, stay away from him. If you poke him with a sharp stick, beware! How is it that the Giants blow it in cataclysmic fashion in the final seconds at home against the Eagles.
I didn't think the Sunday nighter would be much of a game with the Packers going up against the Patriots. Matt Flynn starting in place of the concussed Aaron Rodgers didn't leave me with much hope of Green Bay putting up much of a battle. They did! Flynn took them right down to the New England 30 with a chance to win when time ran out. I'm guessing the suits at NBC had to be ecstatic because people actually tuned in instead of tuning out thinking this would be a one-sided affair.
Still with that game, how about the 71 yard kick return by the Patriots offensive lineman whose name escapes me at this moment. Is there anything better than big man running with ball??? Big man knew how to run with ball too.
I went 12-1 in one of my fantasy football leagues---a league with current and former Regina media. I had a first round bye and was in the semi-final today where I got just frickin crushed. FACCCCCKKKKKKK!!!! Ray Rice did me in in a survivor pool last year and he did me in this year in fantasy. This just in---I hate Ray Rice!!!
I had to go to Walmart with the Mrs. to find something for the kids for Xmas. The Mrs. didn't think the toy my seven year old daughter wanted would be around. We entered the store and made the turn and there it was "Go-Go The Walking Pup". It was quickly thrown into a cart. The problem is the damn thing doesn't shut up. It barked and panted all the time we were in there and when I took it downstairs to hide it, it did the same thing. A blanket is now covering Go-Go, but if Annika heads downstairs, I fear she could find "Santa's gift". If this damn thing is as annoying on Christmas Day as it was today, I might be doing my best Jon Ryan imitation on Christmas afternoon.
While in Walmart early on a Sunday morning, I ran into Pats captain Garrett Mitchell. I looked at him and asked him if he dragged his butt here right after getting off the bus from the team's loss in P-A. He said they got home at 330, but he was up to get a present or two before taking off out of town. Who's kidding who, I would have been sleeping till at least noon. Mitchy then told me he had done colour with Dan Plaster Saturday night because he had suffered a groin injury Friday. Knowing Garrett, I'm sure he did a great job. I would really like to see that kid get into the show one day. He's such a scrappy little you know what. Hey, if Rick Rypien can get there, so can Garrett and that's not a slam towards Rip either.
The HBO series focussing on the Penguins and Capitals leading up to the Winter Classic is outstanding television.
There is no better pizza in Regina as far as I'm concerned than Tumblers. Being a south-ender, I spent many great nights (and early mornings) in that establishment and while there are many competitors out there, I will take a Tumblers pie anyday of the week. Jimmy and the gang know what they are doing and they do it well.
I really don't want to look at my VISA bill when it comes in January.
If Bob Wylie is being considered as a candidate for Riders head coach, you won't be hearing anything this week or before 2010 comes to an end. If Wylie is being considered, I would think we are at least a month away from a head coach being hired.
Can the Oilers make the playoffs?
Finally, Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press has somehow gotten a list of neg list players and he has published what quarterbacks CFL fans should be looking out for in bowl games. Here's that list....


A look at some of the quarterbacks on CFL negotiation lists playing in bowl games:


-- NATE COSTA, Oregon -- Was the backup QB to starter Darron Thomas but a knee injury last month appears to have ended his career; BCS National Championship game, Jan. 10

-- DOMINIQUE DAVIS, East Carolina -- Threw for 36 TDs, ran for nine more for the Pirates; Military Bowl, Dec. 29.

-- JERROD JOHNSON, Texas A&M -- The Aggies' No. 1 QB, so-so numbers; Cotton Bowl, Jan. 7.

-- TAYLOR POTTS, Texas Tech -- Big dude -- 6-5, 222 -- who threw for 34 TDs this year as a senior; TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1.

-- TREVOR VITTATOE, UTEP -- The Miners'w starter; New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 18.

-- T.J. YATES, North Carolina -- Another big one at 6-4, 220; the Tar Heels starter; Music City Bowl, Dec. 30.

-- MARTEVIOUS YOUNG, Southern Miss -- Threw just 23 passes this year as the back-up to Austin Davis; Beef 'O' Brady Bowl, Dec. 21.


-- DARRON THOMAS, Oregon -- Ducks starter has his team in national championship game; BCS National Championship, Jan. 10

-- CAM NEWTON, Auburn -- Heisman Trophy winner. He's 6-6, 250 and is a long shot ever to play in the CFL; BCS National Championship game, Jan. 10

-- TAYLOR MARTINEZ, Nebraska -- Solid season for the freshman pivot; Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30.

KYLE PADRON, SMU -- Starter for the Mustangs; Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 30.


-- B.J. DANIELS, South Florida -- Icky numbers -- seven TDs vs. 12 interceptions, but he has the Bulls in a bowl; Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 31.

-- ROBERT GRIFFIN III, Baylor -- Sophomore put up solid stats for the Bears, who finished fourth in the Big 12; Texas Bowl, Dec. 29.

-- KELLEN MOORE, Boise State -- Bronco QBs always throw up good numbers and Moore is no different -- 33 TDs and just five picks; MAACO Bowl, Dec. 22.


-- TATE FORCIER, Michigan -- Another sophomore and the No. 2 QB to Denard Robinson; Gator Bowl, Jan. 1.

-- BRYANT MONIZ, Hawaii -- Has thrown for 50 TDs over the last two years, including 36 this year; Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24.

-- RUSSELL WILSON, North Carolina State -- Just a junior, but threw for 26 TDs and ran for nine more scores; Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 28.


-- DWIGHT DASHER, Middle Tennessee -- His numbers were terrible -- a 6:14 TD-to-int ratio; but the Stamps must see something in him; GoDaddy.Com Bowl, Jan. 6.


-- G.J. KINNE, Tulsa -- Junior pivot helped guide the Golden Hurricane to a 9-3 record; Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24.

-- TYROD TAYLOR, Virginia Tech -- Helped the Hokies to an 11-2 record and was ACC Player of the Year; Orange Bowl, Jan. 3

-- DAN PERSA, Northwestern -- Junior QB threw for 15, ran for nine TDs; TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1.


-- COLIN KAEPERNICK, Nevada -- A 6-6, 225 pound senior who joined Tim Tebow and Auburn's Newton to be the only QBs to throw and rush for 20 TDs in a season; Fight Hunger Bowl, Jan. 9.

-- DENARD ROBINSON, Michigan -- Sophomore QB threw for 16 TDs but, more impressively, ran for 14 scores and had a 6.7 per carry rushing average; Gator Bowl, Jan. 1.

When I look at this list, the first thing I see is Kellen Moore of Boise State now being on the Ti-Cats neg list. When did that happen? I thought he was on the Rider list. I know we don't hear of neg list players being moved, but I was of the opinion until reading this that Moore was Rider property. As for Russell Wilson, I have seen him play well and I have seen him struggle. I don't know if he would be a CFL quarterback or not. The guy(s) that I do think have CFL written all over them are Denard Robinson (Michigan-BC), and Taylor Martinez (Nebraska-Toronto). You also see the Argos have Auburn quarterback and Heisman winner Cam Newton on the list. Do yourself a favour and take him off. I remember when Vince Young was on the Riders neg list and there was a thought that if he didn't get drafted (which was discussed at one time) that perhaps he could end up in Canada. After his game against USC in the National Championship game, I remember then coach Danny Barrett walking into a press gathering of some kind the next day and saying there's no way we'll ever see Young in Regina or the CFL after that performance.
Why is Monday so far from Friday, but Friday so close to Monday?

No Rest On A Sunday In Riderville

Sportsnet's Arash Madani has tweeted this afternoon that the interview with Montreal offensive co-ordinator Scott Milanovich took place today in Regina. No word obviously on how things went. I'm guessing this means Ken Miller, Brendan Taman and Jim Hopson weren't Christmas shopping this weekend---then again, maybe they were.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Have Fun Out There

Its the last Saturday before Christmas. One week from today we will be opening our presents, feasting on the beast and trying out all those new toys we have received. However, today its chaos. The malls will be packed, the parking spaces will be few and far between and the tempers will be short. Am I venturing out to any store today? NOT A FRICKIN CHANCE!!

It has been a personal goal of mine to not even venture out on the last Saturday before Christmas for the reasons mentioned above. Its been this way ever since I went to the West Edmonton Mall on the last Saturday before Christmas many. many years ago. I went along with the Peace River Stampeders senior hockey team to broadcast a pair of games against the provincial champs from Stony Plain. The games were Friday and Saturday at 9. Several members of the team (and wives that came along) wanted to go to West Ed to do some shopping so it was decided we would go at 11 and come back at 4 to get ready for the game. What a zoo! You couldn't move in the place. I was going to get some things at a Canadian Tire, but every checkout stand being used was about 10 deep. I said no and got things from the little stores where the lineups wouldn't have been as great. It was elbow to elbow traffic in there that day. From that day on, I said I am never hitting the mall again on the Saturday before Christmas. Besides, I have everything just about done and the only gift I have left to get can be bought in 5 minutes with a quick in and out.

Bottom line---while many of you are out looking for that final gift, I am safe and cozy at Casa De Blair looking for some football or something to keep me occupied on this Saturday afternoon.
The Green Bay Packers announced today Aaron Rodgers will not get the start against New England Sunday night due to a concussion sustained last week. It means Matt Flynn gets the start with former Rider Graham Harrell getting promoted off the practice roster to serve as backup. I get this sneaking suspicion that Harrell will get into the game somehow. With Rodgers being out, it means I am without my fantasy quarterback going into the playoffs. After finishing the regular season with just one loss (thanks to ARodge), I now must count on Ryan Fitzpatrick to come through for me against Miami. I have this awful feeling that my season is going up in smoke.
Get ready to hear a lot of Scruffy over the next little bit. Rod Pedersen has taken some holidays, so the Sportscage host will be yours truly for the rest of the calendar year. There will be shows Monday-Thursday this weekand Tuesday-Thursday the next. I think the old 96er will join me on the 23rd and I am looking for some guests for these shows so its not just two hours of me droning on and on. I know you guys will be out there so lets have some fun.
The Pats newest players made a quick impact. Shayne Neigum, Tanner Olstad and Nils Moser accounted for four of Regina's six goals in a 6-3 win over visiting Prince Albert. The two teams play in Prince Albert tonight and if Regina wins, they are just two points behind the Raiders and the last playoff spot in the East. Can the Pats make the playoffs this year after trading away Carter Ashton and Thomas Frazee. You can never say never.
I'm happy that Marcus Crandell is getting a chance to be an offensive co-ordinator in Edmonton. Selfishly, I wished he could have continued his coaching career in Saskatchewan, but I'm sure he will do a good job. Marcus is one of the good guys in this game and he deserves the opportunity.
The popular choice to be Riders head coach is now Montreal O-C Scott Milanovich. Everyone (including me) is saying he could be inheriting a gold mine. If Milanovich isn't the guy, how much sadness will there be in the Rider Nation. Methinks the media has pumped up his tires just a little too much and that it will be very deflating if he isn't coach Ken Miller's replacement. That isn't and won't be fair to whoever gets the job as well.
Andy Fantuz is working out for the Vikings today. He posted a picture (a rather blurry one)of himself and a soon to be retiring NFL quarterback on his Twitter page today. Here it is...

Nothing against the old gunslinger, but if I were Andy, I'd rather be catching passes on a full time basis from one Darian Durant. 10 years ago, I wouldn't have said that, but I will today. Nonetheless, it has to be thrilling for Andy to rub shoulders with Brett. I wonder if Andy rubbed shoulders from Ben Roethlisberger when he was in Pittsburgh. Maybe we'll find out the next time Andy goes to a nightclub if he "learned" anything from Big Ben.

Sometimes what you want isn't always what you get, but in the end what you get is so much better than what you wanted.