Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Five Burning Questions

It’s the day Rider fans circle on their calendar. It’s the day their football heroes begin work on what they hope will be a Grey Cup championship season. As we all know, the team has been close for the past two years getting to the doorstep, but not being able to walk through the door thanks to the Montreal Alouettes.
As is the case with every season, there are questions revolving around the football team and here is what I think is most pertinent going into the season. Of course, feel free to comment away or add anything that I’ve missed

There is no doubt this area needs a lot of improvement from 2010. Right from the get-go, the green and white had problems with their special teams and it got to the point that fans just started to wait for that first mistake and just how many would be made. The team acknowledged it had to improve that area and they have. Craig Dickenson takes over for Jim Daley and he knows better results are needed from the area he looks over.
Tristan Jackson will have the first opportunity to be the primary return guy. Eddie Johnson will be the punter and Christopher Milo will be given an opportunity to kick field goals until Luca Congi returns from last season’s knee injury. There is nowhere to go but up for this unit.

The loss of Andy Fantuz to the NFLs Chicago Bears is a big one, but the football team can overcome the loss much the way they have to other key players over the past few years. Chris Getzlaf should get the first opportunity to fill Fantuz’s shoes and there is no reason to think he won’t have his biggest year yet. Getzlaf just gets better and better and better and he no longer will work in Fantuz’s shadow. There are other questions in the receiving core as well, but none of them are dire. What will Jason Clermont’s role be? When will Rob Bagg be back? Where do you put Cary Koch? How many more balls will Weston Dressler see?

Head Coach Greg Marshall has already said he can’t wait to see what a healthy Brent Hawkins does this year. Hawkins can certainly be a force on one side of the ball, but what about the other. I don’t know if the team can find a duo like John Chick and Stevie Baggs again, but there will be many contenders for that other defensive end spot.

What does Richie Hall have in store for Tad Kornegay? If it wasn’t for Gary Etcheverry, Kornegay may no longer be in the CFL as he successfully transferred him from being an ordinary defensive back to an all-star linebacker. Richie has a more conventional defence and in that defence, I wonder if Kornegay can flourish. If he can’t, does he get the starting corner job that Omarr Morgan had last year and if he does, will he be the impact player that he has been. Some believe Kornegay can be a tremendous shut-down corner. We will see.


This is something that not many people have discussed, but its there and it needs to be talked about. There is no bigger Durant fan in this town than yours truly. I think the sky is the limit for what this guy can do. I will always wonder what 2008 would have ended like if Durant hadn’t suffered broken ribs against the Argos thus starting the ridiculous quarterback carousel that ended with Michael Bishop’s brutal performance in the Western semi. As good as Darian has been, he hasn’t been a pillar of health. Yes, all quarterbacks go through bumps and bruises and he isn’t as fragile as Buck Pierce, but he has had some problems. Remember Darian did admit he wasn’t at 100 percent for the Grey Cup. If Darian can stay healthy, he will establish himself as the top quarterback in this league and he may be getting some pictures of himself with the CFL MOP trophy during Grey Cup week.

If you want a bonus question, it would have to be the transition from Ken Miller to Greg Marshall. The relationship Miller had with his team the past few years is unique in pro sports. Marshall is said to share the same philosophies and attributes Miller had, but will he be able to share the same relationship. Harmony in the locker-room is obviously key. Miller had the smarts to find someone that he could confidently pass the torch to. The relationship between players and coach can't be the same as the one Miller had with the team, but it will be doable and it will give the Marshall the building blocks to what I think is another appearance in the GC game.

Bob Barker Is Cheering For The Canucks

Riders Name Guest Coaches

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

Bryce Bevill is a former Rider who played defensive back for the Green and White from 1996-98. He played a total of 41 games in Saskatchewan. Since finishing his playing days, Bevill has gone on to coach at a variety of levels in the United States. He will be working with Richie Hall and the Rider secondary.

Paul Charbonneau will be working with Steve Buratto and the offensive line. Charbonneau comes from the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux where he is the running backs coach. He originally joined the Fighting Sioux in 2005. This marks the third straight year Charbonneau is a guest coach with the Green and White.

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

Rich Glover has decades of experience in football as a former Outland Trophy winner and former New York Giant. Glover’s esteemed career as a defensive lineman took him from his hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey to a national champion with Nebraska then on to be selected in the third round (69th overall) in the 1973 NFL Draft by the Giants. After his playing days concluded, Glover went into coaching and spent time at New Mexico State and Washington State where he coached current Rider d-line coach Mike Walker. He is currently coaching and teaching back in Jersey City. He will be working with his former player and the Rider defensive line.

Benjamin McDaniels spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos which included coaching the quarterbacks in 2010. McDaniels played quarterback at Kent State and during his three years as a starter led the team to a 37-3 record and two state championships. Benjamin’s brother Josh was the head coach of the Broncos for the last two seasons and is now the offensive coordinator with St. Louis. Benjamin will be working with the Rider quarterbacks.

Edward W O’Neil has been coaching since 1982 when he was named the linebackers coach at Eastern Michigan. Since then he has gone on to coach college teams in the United States including a decade spent at Rutgers University. After three years as the defensive coordinator with the University of Buffalo, O’Neil made the switch to pro and spent eight years coaching in NFL Europe. In 2007, he headed north of the border to the CFL where he was the defensive coordinator in Hamilton for one season. In 2009, he held the same title with the Toronto Argonauts. Currently he is coaching the linebackers and special teams with the Niagara Wheatfield Falcons. He will be working with Alex Smith and the Rider linebackers.

Blair Thompson will be attending his fourth Rider training camp as a guest coach since 2004. Thompson currently is the running backs coach with the University of Regina Rams. He will assist Bill MacDermott and the Rider running backs


I have found the final moments in which Gary Bettman reluctantly allowed the NHL to return to Winnipeg. Take a look!!!

2011 Plaza Of Honor Inductees

Today the Saskatchewan Roughrider Plaza of Honor Committee announced three new members will be inducted into the Plaza of Honor. This year Corey Holmes, Dan Rashovich and Mike Saunders will have their names forever etched into Saskatchewan Roughrider history.

Besides being Saskatchewan’s most prestigious sporting dinner, the Plaza of Honor Dinner has contributed over $5.9 million to the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club.

The Plaza of Honor Dinner presented by SaskTel has inducted 110 individuals who have made major contributions to the proud tradition of the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club. The club has also inducted the 1966, 1989 and 2007 Grey Cup championship teams.

The cairn honouring the Plaza of Honor Inductees is situated outside the main gates on the west side of Mosaic Stadium. The Plaza of Honor cairn is sponsored by SaskTel, SASK SPORT INC. and the City of Regina.

This year’s dinner is set for Friday, October 14th at the Queensbury Centre at Evraz Place. For information on tickets or corporate tables, contact the Saskatchewan Roughrider Ticket Office at 525-1281 or 1-888-474-3377 or any committee member.

Rejoice Winnipeg!!

Winnipeg is back in the NHL. After a 15 year absence, Gary Bettman and Mark Chipman announced the Atlanta Thrashers are relocating. Here is the story.

Priority #1 ---Talk to Anaheim and work out a trade for Teemu Selanne.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Single Game Tickets Go On Sale Wednesday

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are reminding fans that single game day tickets will go on sale Wednesday, June 1st. All remaining tickets for the 2011 season will be available starting at 9:00 am Saskatchewan time. Fans are encouraged to buy their tickets online at

“With our high season ticket base, we are encouraging our fans to get their game day tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment,” stated Roughrider President /CEO Jim Hopson.

Getting Ready For 100th Grey Cup

We all know the 2011 Grey Cup will go this November in Vancouver and those that bleed green are hoping the Riders make their third appearance in as many years and this time get over the hurdle and win the game. The CFL is already thinking about the 2012 game which will be the 100th Grey Cup game played. Here are the details of what you can expect.

Jerry Seinfeld Will Visit Regina

The Leader-Post (the new-look Leader Post) is reporting comedian Jerry Seinfeld will perform in Regina on September 9. Tickets go on sale this Friday with the cost being between 92 to 112 dollars. I might have to check that one out.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

JR Hildebrand---Welcome To The World Of Infamy

Auto racing's version of the 13th man (sorry Rider fans) hit Sunday. JR Hildebrand will go down in infamy as having it all and blowing it. The rookie driver was seconds away from winning the Indianapolis 500. He just had one more turn to make at the famed brickyard and the title was all his. The only thing standing in his way was another car---a car he didn't need to try to pass, but one that for some reason he decided to. WRONG!!! Hildebrand got too high and slammed into the wall. He bounced down the final straightaway hoping to hold off the rest of the field, but Dan Wheldon caught him and beat him to the checkered flag in an ending that will be discussed forever. It made Hildebrand look and sound like this when it was over...

Perhaps he shouldn't be blamed, I hear he got a congratulatory text from Steve Bartman going into lap 200. This kid better have thick skin because he is going to be getting it from everywhere over the next little bit.
It could have been worse because going into the final few laps, some guy named Bertrand Baguette was winning the race. It prompted my good friend Tom "Mongo" Pura in Grande Prairie, Alberta to start delivering some Vanstone-esque tweets like "Will Baguette be the toast of the sporting world if he wins". Will he say it was difficult to win no matter how you slice it", "Winning the Indy 500 won't have him in a crusty mood", etc, etc, etc. Personally I felt like going to Superstore and buying a Bertrand Baguette just to honor the man but alas I didn't. However, I can't help but think of the "bread" he would have won. Sorry!
Speaking of Twitter, I am now following my 200th person or group. That 200th person is Ed the Sock---truly a Canadian legend. Damn I miss those end of the year "Fromage" specials he had on MuchMusic.
Speaking of MuchMusic, do they have VJ's anymore? Do they play music videos anymore and if so for how long. The channel is nothing like it was when we were growing up. Oh for the days of Laurie Brown, Mike Williams and "The Power Hour".
Congratulations to the Saint John Sea Dogs for winning the Mastercard Memorial Cup. It makes me wonder when a Saskatchewan team will hoist that trophy----its been way too long a wait. By the way, apologies to those that say the Memorial Cup is the hardest trophy to win because they're wrong. The Royal Bank Cup would be the toughest because after you win your league championship you have to play another best of seven and win that just to get to the national championship.
Will the performance of Jonathan Huberdeau elevate him above Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when it comes time for the Edmonton Oilers to make the number one selection in the NHL draft? I doubt it, but whoever gets Huberdeau will get a helluva player.
I wonder if Peter Loubardias or Sam Cosention own a VISA card. Think about that one for a second. By the way, I realize those two are good friends of mine, but I think that combo is very under-rated and is one of the best we've got.
News that Gary Carter's brain tumours are malignant and inoperable is sad. Hopefully a medical miracle will occur for one of baseball's good guys.
Nothing wrong with the jacuzzi suites at the Ramada in Regina--nothing whatsoever. I took Mrs. Scruffy for their our anniversary/her birthday on the weekend and it was a good time---and a relaxing one.
More rain in the forecast....great!!!! At least it means no mosquitoes, but when the sun comes out, LOOK OUT!

Just In Case You Forgot

Former Rider quarterback/coach Kent Austin is now the head man at Cornell University. He is getting ready to lead that team into battle and has these thoughts on the Big Red

Saturday, May 28, 2011

This And That

It will be the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup final. Who ya got? I said Boston and Anaheim when the playoffs started and I think I said Boston would win so I can't go back now. Vancouver is favoured and for good reason, but Boston will give them a run. The fact the series doesn't start till Wednesday helps Boston recharge the batteries after their seven game run and hurts Vancouver who will have been off for a while. The battle will be between Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo. Both have looked great in thse playoffs and both have looked shaky. I'll also be interested in seeing if Claude Julien puts Zdeno Chara out on the ice against the Sedin line or the Kesler line.
Hats off to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is a team that will be back and can be considered a Stanley Cup contender for the next few years. All you had to do was take a look at the face of Marty St. Louis last night to see how much losing that game meant as he was in tears during the post-game handshake. I've always been a closet Lightning fan because of guys like St. Louis, Lecavalier and Brad Richards when he was there. If they can get a good young offensive defenceman and a younger goalie, they will be right there. Steve Yzerman will get his name on a Cup again and that is a guarantee.
I didn't like the fact Boston didn't touch the Wales Trophy last night, but I did like the fact they had a group picture taken. That was different.
Is it just me or has Zdeno Chara turned it down a little bit since the Max Pacioretty incident. He needs to play with more of an edge and I haven't really seen it.
What will be bigger in this country? A Canucks Cup win or the return of the NHL to Winnipeg?
Bill Daly has told a Seattle TV station that the league has looked into the possibility of having a team there. The Seattle Coyotes??? The Seattle Panthers??? What would the Canucks say about that?
The Jays may have been forced to trade Roy Halladay, but getting Kyle Drabek was worth it. This guy might be another Halladay in the making.
The Kootenay Ice couldn't get past the host team at the Memorial Cup so it will be Saint John against Missisauga in the final. It should be a good one, but without the WHL champs in it, I don't know if I'll watch.
Dustin Penner isn't making any friends with his new team. Check out this statement from Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
Dustin is at the crossroads of his career," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi wrote in an e-mail to Sporting News.
"He can choose to use his athletic ability to either become a dominant power forward in the National Hockey League or be a dominant number four hitter for the El Cid Lounge in a men's softball league -- the choice is his."

Not a glowing endorsement.
I'm starting to get the feeling that this spring/summer is going to resemble last years. Just as I type this, the sound of rain hitting the leaves begins.
I don't know if there is such a thing as "the parking gods", but I continue to not have a tough time parking in downtown Regina (where parking is an issue) when doing "The Sportscage". I somehow manage to find a spot without much hassle close to the Harvard headquarters. I'm guessing going in mid to late afternoon helps that cause somewhat though because I'm thinking it wouldn't be that way late morning-early afternoon.

Advice for the day: If you have a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: Take two, and keep away from children.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals Sked

Based on their NHL-best regular-season performance, the Canucks will host Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, as well as Games 5 and 7, if necessary. Games 3 and 4 will be played in Boston, as well as Game 6, if necessary.

NBC will telecast Games 1 and 2 and, if necessary, Games 5 through 7 of the best-of-seven series in the U.S., while VERSUS will broadcast Games 3 and 4. In Canada, CBC and RDS will provide coverage for the entire series. All games also will be carried on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

NHL Network, the League's 24-hour, all-access pass to the most comprehensive hockey coverage, will feature special programming surrounding the Stanley Cup Final. will continue to provide extensive digital coverage.


Wednesday, June 1 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Saturday, June 4 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Monday, June 6 at Boston, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, June 8 at Boston, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Friday, June 10 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Monday, June 13 at Boston, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Wednesday, June 15 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS

Saskatoon Wants A UFC PPV

From Sportsnet's Showdown Joe Ferraro

After week’s of speculation that the UFC is expected to make their fifth stop at the Bell Centre on December 10th, Tom Wright, the Director of Operations for UFC Canada, made it clear that, the deal to return to Montreal, is far from signed, sealed and delivered.

“Well as you know, I wouldn’t believe everything I read in the newspaper. It’s not a foregone conclusion”, stated Wright.

Thus far, the only guarantee is that the Ultimate Fighting Championship will host an event in The Great White North in the final month of 2011.

“We’ve looked at the December 10th date. I think what is a foregone conclusion is that there will be an event in Canada, but there’s lots of places we are looking at, lots of different venues. We of course would love to go back to Montreal. We’ve had great success at the Bell Centre, have a great relationship with the Commission there, great UFC fans also, throughout the province.”

With UFC President Dana White often referring to Canada as “The Mecca of MMA”, Wright hinted that it is not just Montreal that is in the running to host UFC 140.

After a successful event in the City of Toronto, MMA fans should not be surprised if the promotion chooses, instead, to return to the very location where the North American record was set for the largest attended MMA event in history.

“We’re also looking at potentially coming back to Toronto. We look at the ACC (Air Canada Centre), conceivably look at the Rogers Centre.”

The demand to host a UFC event has also spread right across the province of Ontario.

“There’s other places. I’ve been contacted by Scotia Bank Place in Ottawa, there’s Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, there’s lots of different opportunities, and lots of different places.”

While Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton are all in the running to host UFC 140, Wright may have hinted that there are also thriving metropolis’ right across the country that may also be considered. Cities like Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and even Halifax, are all chomping at the bit to host a numbered pay per view event, chalk full of fans hoping that it is their city that is the one selected.

“What I can tell UFC fans, is that, the thing I feel more confident about, is saying there’s going to be a December 10th event in Canada. Where in Canada? It’s a big country.”

Training Camp Times


2:00 pm Rookie practice

4:00 pm Rookie players and coaches available to media


9:30 am Rookie practice

11:30 am Rookie players and coaches available to media


9:30 am Rookie practice

11:30 am Rookie players and coaches available to media




8:15 am 1st practice

10:45 am 2nd practice

12:45 pm Players and coaches available to media


8:15 am 1st practice

10:30 am 2nd practice

12:20 pm Players and coaches available to media


8:15 am 1st practice

10:30 am 2nd practice

12:20 pm Players and coaches available to media

Friday Randoms

Its the last weekend without football. Rider rookie camp begins Wednesday with main camp on the weekend. WE MADE IT!!!

Much of the talk around town today surrounds Gary Etcheverry. I was at the eye doctor yesterday getting a regular check-up when I got the message that Etch had left. Yes, I can see where one would think Etch is abandoning the club and that losing his spot as defensive co-ordinator ticked him off to the point that he no longer wanted to be there. However, Sportsnet's Arash Madani was on the Sportscage yesterday and he said in speaking to Etcheverry there was no ill will and that he simply got a business offer that to him meant more than coaching football and that he got along great with both Greg Marshall and Richie Hall. I find the situation very similar to Scott Schultz' retirement. He didn't want it to happen, but when the opportunity came up, he took it. Schultzie was playing great football at the time and all you have to do was ask Ken Miller to verify it.
Besides, if Etcheverry didn't like the role he was going to be in, do you think he would have stayed for this long?
I think Rod put it best on his blog. It must be football season because people are bitchin. The latest bitchfest is the new Rider marketing Many fans don't like it for whatever reason. OK geniuses, what would your marketing idea be? It amazes me how some that root so religiously for this franchise can bitch and complain so easily when the team is winning. Why do they have to find something to complain about? Enjoy the ride! As for those who are critical of president and CEO Jim Hopson. If it wasn't for Jim's efforts, this football team would be nowhere close to what it is both on and off the field. It all starts at the top and what Hopson did to help get this team to a championship in 2007 and what he has done since is simply remarkable. Some people really need to take a step back as far as I'm concerned and others really need to give their head a shake.
Adriano Belli got a TV job with Sportsnet this week. Good for Adriano, but I think Scott Schultz would be twice the analyst that Belli is/will be. Belli is a name in the GTA though and we all know that region needs something to market the game so Belli will do the trick. Who will be the first Sportsnet personality that he lays a big smooch on?
I had to laugh yesterday because I heard Rod Pedersen, Chris Schultz and Jamie Nye all refer to Ken Miller as coach yesterday. I only laugh because I say the same thing when I see Miller. I can't speak for Chris or Jamie, but as Rod said on the Cage yesterday and I agree with him 110 percent, "He'll always be Coach to me". YUP!
What the hell got into the Kootenay Ice? They hammered Owen Sound last night! They will try to take out Mississauga tonight to get a date into the final against Saint John.
Game 7 tonight between the Bruins and Lightning. Who ya got? I don't think there is any doubt Dwayne Roloson will start for Tampa and I'm surprised that there has been so much talk about this. Will Tampa win? I don't think they will, but they're not going to quit and Boston will have to play 60 minutes and then some.
Be careful Canucks fans, Rob Vanstone picked Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup in his weekly "Robservations" yesterday. The only person I trust less with predictions is that dude who said the world was going to end last weekend.
I love the choice of Don Hay to coach our national junior team at the tournament in Alberta next year. Its time to get that title back after not having it for two years.
The cost of having flowers delivered in this town ain't cheap. YIKES!
The Jays are slowly starting to slip away in the American League East. Yes, they aren't far back of the division leaders, but they need some kind of a pick-up. I wonder if GM Alex Anthopoulos wishes he hadn't made the Shawn Marcum deal. I haven't heard anything lately about Dustin McGowan. Is he done?
Some in baseball thinks there needs to be a change on plays at the plate after San Francisco's Buster Posey was run over Wednesday resulting in a broken leg. Some think there needs to be a rule put into place ending these car wrecks at the plate for the good of the catcher. Did anyone ask Buck Martinez what he thinks of the idea? Did anyone ask him if there should be a rule change years ago when he suffered a similiar injury. The thing was on that play if you remember, Martinez actually tagged two men out at the plate. For what its worth, I say you don't change a thing.
ESPN's Colin Cowherd (one of the best, if not the best sports talk guy out there) said on his program this week that the biggest problem in sports is alcohol sold at the stadium. I don't know if its the biggest problem, but its one that's not going away. The beer companies invest way too much in the respective leagues for stadiums to go dry.
Good for the Miami Heat if they win the NBA championship, but in my eyes, it won't loft the legacy of Lebron James any. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, etc. etc, etc didn't leave their team to go elsewhere to win a championship. They did it with the team they went to and Lebron didn't. He had to run away from Cleveland to get his. You can blame the Cavs management all you want, but I don't think the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls were that good when Jordan, Magic and Bird were brought in and I can't remember what the state of the Lakers was when Kobe was drafted.
New CKRM program director Grant Biebrick was seen patrolling the halls of the Harvard headquarters last week wearing a Matt Hasselbeck jersey. In meeting Grant, it seemed like he was a good guy and the fact he is a Seahawks fan only enhanced that until he informed me yesterday he's a Flames fan. I guess you can't have it all!
Has someone really come out and said the new NHL team in Winnipeg WON"T be called the Jets. I can't imagine them not being the Jets.
Drinking & driving is extremely dangerous. Last night, I stuck my arm out of the window to indicate I'm turning right & someone stole my beer.
ITS A JOKE!!!!!!
Have a good Friday!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Go With The Triple Reverse Flea Flicker

From The National Post

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will let their fans pick their first offensive play from scrimmage during a game Oct. 7 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

People will be able to vote on the possible plays via the team’s website. And Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille plans on giving fans plenty of choices when it comes to the play selection.

“We don’t want to limit the fans, just like we don’t want to limit our players,” Bellefeuille said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “I think the list will have to be fairly extensive and somewhat creative to really put a little bit of moxie behind what we’re trying to do and not make it just one of those ornamental type of things. We’ll give them lots of opportunity and we’ll put some creativity in there.”

The play will not be the only thing the fans can vote on as part of the club’s “Your game, your rules” promotion.

“That game they’ll be selecting everything, from the ticket deals to the player uniforms to the music to the cheerleader routines, concession deals, and the merchandise deals at the stadium that day so just a chance for our fans to engage with us and really dictate their own experience at the game that day,” said Ticats president Scott Mitchell.

Etch Steps Down

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today Gary Etcheverry has resigned his role as defensive assistant coach for the club.

“Due to personal and family commitments, Gary expressed his desire to pursue business opportunities outside of football. While the timing is unfortunate, we understand that this opportunity is what’s best for Gary and his family,” stated Riders Vice President of Football Operations Ken Miller. “We’d like to thank Gary for his hard work and dedication he has shown to the Riders over the past few years.”

Etcheverry spent the past three seasons coaching with the Riders, serving as the defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010. Etch joined the CFL coaching ranks in 1997 after a number of years coaching in the U.S. college system and NFL Europe.


The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League prides itself on not only the entertaining action on the ice, but the fact that several of our players move on from their junior "A" careers to play either US or Canadian college hockey. This year is no different as many of our graduating 20 year olds are moving on to play the game and get an education. The following list is a group of players who have already been recruited. The SJHL would like to congratulate these young men on not only helping make the SJHL the top Junior "A" league in Canada, but for being ambassadors for their respective communities and for our league.


Sean Cahill (Kindersley) - Alaska-Fairbanks

Andrew Dommett (Kindersley) - Lake Superior State

P.J Musico (Flin Flon) - Penn State

Riley Hengen (Weyburn) - Minot State

Doug Lindensmith (La Ronge) - Norwich

T.J Wees (Weyburn) - Lake Superior State

Ben Findlay (Estevan) - Arizona State University


Mark Cross (Estevan) - York University

Cris Neurauter (Battlefords) - SAIT

Tony Oak (Battlefords) - Simon Fraser University

Tyler Mah (Flin Flon) - Simon Fraser University

Kyle Birch (Battlefords) - Portage College

Cody Folstad (Battlefords) - Portage College

Troy Hunter (Estevan) - University of Regina

Johnathon Sonntag (Kindersley) - University of Regina

Cory Tyrell (Flin Flon) - SAIT

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Riders Deepen TC Roster

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced they have signed import defensive end Courtney Harris, import defensive back Eddie Russ and import linebacker Johnathon Smith. The financial details of the signings were not released.

Harris (6’3 – 259 lbs) played two years at Miami before transferring to North Alabama where he played the last two seasons. In his senior year he tallied 55 defensive tackles, ten quarterback sacks and was named a First Team Division II All-American and was one of eight national finalists for the Gene Upshaw Award which is presented annually to the NCAA Division II Lineman of the Year. The 24-year-old also played in the Cactus Bowl in December.

Russ (6’0 – 185 lbs) has played at Harding University where he tallied 70 tackles, six interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the past two seasons. In 2009, the 24-year-old also returned 19 kickoffs for 388 yards and had four punt returns for 27 yards. Previous to attending Harding, the Florida native played at Antelope Valley College where he set a record by returning six kickoff returns for touchdowns in one season.

Smith (6’2 – 227 lbs) played two seasons at Connecticut before transferring to the University of Delaware. The 27-year-old is a multi-dimensional player who spent time on both sides of the ball as a running back and a linebacker. Offensively he had 99 carries for 430 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons. And defensively Smith tallied 31 defensive tackles and a sack in two seasons as a linebacker.

Touch It, It Won't Bite

I have to wonder if the conference championship trophies in the NHL are like strippers giving a lapdance. You can look, but don't you touch. Once again, a team made a mockery of a trophy presentation as Henrik Sedin (or was it Daniel) wanted no part of the Clarence Campbell Trophy when it was presented to the Canucks by NHL deputy commish Bill Daly after Vancouver won the West with a 3-2 double overtime thriller.
The NHL really has to look into this because the scene will be repeated in Tampa tomorrow or in Boston on Friday as neither the Bruins or Lightning will want to touch the Prince of Wales trophy. I don't think the NHL can make it mandatory, but perhaps have a famed alumni come out or give it to the team owner or something. Make the ceremony worthwhile or just scrap it altogether. Who decided not to touch the trophy and is this the same person that made the playoff  beard famous.

While we're at it, whose bright idea was it to have confetti rain over the ice surface at Rogers Arena. What type of delay would have been caused had replay overturned the final goal for whatever reason? Did whoever was responsible not realize the danger they are putting the players in by having all of that stuff on the ice. STOOOOOOOOOOOO-PID!!!!

Game 5 was a great one as the Sharks were all over Vancouver only to see the Canucks repel chance after chance after chance and when it was said and done, Kevin Bieksa scored perhaps one of the ugliest goals in Vancouver history to send them to the Cup final.
I thought guys like Brandon League and Kyle Farnsworth were horrendous relievers, but they are nothing compared to the ever-popular Frank Francisco. What a pile of steaming dung this guy is for the Jays as his performance snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Tuesday. Its not the first time he has done this. I'm starting to think Frank Francisco is Spanish for Crap Crappola because that is what he is.
The jinx continues when it comes to fantasy baseball. I picked up Colorado starter Jorge de la Rosa on Sunday night. Monday, he pitched less than 2 innings before his elbow ligament went on him meaning he is done for the season. Thanks for the contribution Jorge. Back to the waiver wire. I SUCK!
Hines Ward apparently won "Dancing With the Stars". Good for him. Did he celebrate with a Terrible Towel?
A book is coming out about the day to day life at ESPN and it apparently is a tell-all book. Apparently Tony Kornheiser and Mike Tirico didn't see eye to eye many times when on Monday Night Football. This is just one of the juicy stories in the book that will be a must-read.
USA Today wants you to pick the greatest ever Blue Jay. You can find the article right here. I gotta go with Robbie Alomar, but its hard not to pick Roy Halladay. Garth Iorg apparently didn't make the list.
Sandro De Angelis has been released by the Ti-Cats. Didn't he once proclaim himself as the world's greatest kicker? I know the Riders are searching for a kicker because of Luca Congi's injury, but add me to the many that don't want him wearing green.
Roller Derby is at the Callie this Saturday night. I can't make this one, but I might have to go to the June show. Hey, if I can go to High Impact Wrestling, I can check out roller derby. I'll even drag Vanstone along because like me, he loves this stuff.
To blog reader Darryl, I know what you're saying, but I didn't publish your comment because it is a little mean-spirited to a friend of mine so I rejected it. However, I do understand what you are saying and I do thank you and no I don't know what goes through their mind and haven't for quite a while. To tell you the truth, I don't really care and either should you or many others.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Memo To Riders Promotion Staff

If it can happen in Milwaukee, then you know something like this could happen here and across Saskatchewan if Gainer-related.

Marvin Summarizes The Weekend

I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier, since I'm a Marvin the Martian fan. As we get up and get back to it for another week, the world is still with us meaning that wingnut's prediction that the Rapture was going to hit was predictably not met. It just makes me wonder if this is what said wingnut is saying today.

Of course for the people of Joplin, Missouri they might be thinking the world came to an end this weekend. The devastation out of the Midwestern U-S town is shocking and the pictures are incredible. One picture of what I assume to be one of the city's main drags with businesses everywhere being damaged just makes you shake your head that the death toll wasn't worse. Kudos to Global Regina's Jaclyn Whittal. She unexpectedly got thrust right into the middle of this story because of one she is doing for Global Regina. I'm not exactly sure why she was doing stories from Tornado Alley with a local storm-chaser, but they found a storm and now she is doing likely ten times the work she thought she would as she files for Global National as well as doing her stuff for Global Regina. She's doing a great job too considering the circumstances.
The Bruins are within a game of the SC final. Tim Thomas had a tough start, but he rebounded well last night as Boston won 3-1. I picked the Bruins to come out of the East, but I think this series is going 7.
The Canucks need to beat the Sharks tonight. They need to because they have had two elimination games on home ice in these playoffs and have failed both times. They have to deliver the knockout blow tonight. I think they will. If they do, it just means another season will go by without Dany Heatley's name on the Stanley Cup. What a waste of talent. The guy has just dogged it in these playoffs to the point that Puppy Chow should be his sponsor. Perhaps Jeremy Roenick should talk about Heatley's playoff performance....I'm guessing he would if asked.
Why would the NHL announce the league's return to Winnipeg when the playoffs are still on? Why steal the thunder that is happening on-ice by making the announcement that everyone now knows is coming. I am guessing you won't hear anything about the Thrashers being the Winnipeg whoevers until after the Cup has been presented.
Should Canadian hockey fans send cards of thanks to Atlanta. If it wasn't for them, Canada wouldn't have the Flames or whatever this team will be called-----and it has to be the Jets.
The NHL has to do division realignment if Winnipeg is in. It will look stupid to have Winnipeg in the Southeast Division. If a schedule maker has made games involving Winnipeg, I am guessing that schedule maker has taken division realignment into play as well.
Who has the crazier set of eyes? Lightning coach Guy Boucher or Mississauga coach Dave Cameron.
The Kootenay Ice look nothing like the team that won the WHL title. I don't know what happened to them, but that trip out east took something out of their game.
I'm starting to read some NHL mock drafts to see just who the "experts" think the Oilers will take with the number 19 pick that they got in the Dustin Penner trade. If the team can't move up, I think the guy is Portland blueliner Joe Morrow. He is a defenceman that fits the Edmonton mold nicely.
Jose Bautista shaves his beard and he still clouts homers. When will Toronto start to embrace this guy?
The Cleveland Indians are the best team in baseball? Am I watching Major League? Is Willie Mayes Hayes the AL's leading hitter?
I turned away from the Oklahoma City-Dallas NBA game last night midway through the 4th with OKC comfortably up. Oops! Dallas comes back from 15 down with 5 and a half to go and wins in overtime.
Something is definitely wrong with the Chicago Bulls when Chris Bosh is getting 30 some points to lead Miami to victory. I still think he must carry Lebron James and Dwyane Wade's bags to the bus.
Why is it whenever you go to the deli section of your favourite grocery store and you ask for a certain amount of product, they give you more. I don't think I've ever asked for 300 grams of roast beef or chicken and had the girl say is 285 or 290 OK. No, its always is something above 300 higher OK?
Kids have Wednesday and Thursday off this week. I will bite my tongue and reserve comment on that.
WWE fans, are you ready for an Alex Riley vs the Miz feud?
Anna Kournikova is going to be on next season's "The Biggest Loser" as a trainer for those who are on the show. Yeah, I don't think the appearance of Anna will make me watch---OK, maybe for a couple of minutes, but not religiously.
Kenton Keith as a member of the BC Lions doesn't bother me one bit.
What rookie are you most looking forward to seeing at Rider camp? I don't know if I can answer that question right now? What positional battle are you looking forward to. Global's Warren Woods said last night that he wants to see who comes out on top of the battle to replace Jeremy O'Day and whether or not it will be Nick Hutchins or Marc Parenteau. I think I'll be watching the d-line.
What vets if any are on the bubble in your mind?
Never underestimate anyone. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Long Weekend Blogging

Its a quiet Sunday morning at Casa de Blair. Quiet because my two daughters are elsewhere meaning its kid-free. If you are married, I don't think I have to tell you how much you relish mornings and evenings like this. Anyhoo, just some random thoughts as we are in the middle of the long weekend.

--It would appear as if Mother Nature might co-operate and give us half a long weekend to enjoy. It certainly didn't start out that way.

--Will the guy who predicted the end of the world please stop. I just heard he has now said the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup next year.

--Great Facebook status from Locker-Talk co host Pete Paczko about "The Rapture". He said the world can't possibly end on Saturday because he's been watching TSN and there is no mention of the Stanley Cup parade being held in Toronto. This from a Leafs fan.

--If you are an Oilers fan, there is a great write-up on the team's prospects. You can find it right here

--I think CTV Regina reporter/anchor Dan McIntosh is one of the best in the city, but will someone over at CTV please go into  his locker or whatever and grab that yellow sportsjacket and burn it.  Someone direct him to Moores when they have their two for one sale. There has to be a wardrobe budget over there when you see what guys like Jonesy and Garden are wearing, please get Dan in on this,

--Mrs. Scruffy and myself went to the Keg with my best friend and his lady last night. Lets just say if I don't eat again until Tuesday that's good. Stuffed doesn't even start to describe it. As one would expect from the Keg, it was some damn fine food. On a side note, I forgot how good their Caesars were.

--Davidson's Brayden McNabb should not be suspended for his hit on Owen Sound's Joey Hishon late in last night's 5-0 Owen Sound win at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Hishon went to duck the hit and got smoked by the much bigger McNabb--end of story. (UPDATE: McNabb has been suspended for a game)

--The Memorial Cup is a fine event,. but what if you take a page from the NCAA Frozen Four and have the tourney be a weekend event with three games. Two semis and a final.  You get one shot to advance to the final and that's it.

--While channel surfing this morning, I found out that if you have Access Communications, you get the Oprah network. Let me get this straight---we can get the Oprah network  in Canada, but the CRTC will not give us ESPN. That is so wrong in so many areas. While I'm at it, I want the MLB network too.

--Terrible news about former Expo Gary Carter. He learned over the past couple of days that he has a series of brain tumours. He was perhaps the greatest of all who ever wore a Montreal Expos cap. Here's hoping Carter pulls through and that we aren't reading his obit anytime soon.

--I have said in the past that I enjoy the readings of Toronto Sun sports columnist Steve Simmons, but I have to disagree with what he says today about Derek Boogaard. I won't copy what Simmons says, but he feels Derek shouldn't be considered a hero for the way he went out. I understand what he is saying, but I can't subscribe to it. Sorry!

--I have heard from many hockey people over the past few days about what a great hire the SJHL made in hiring Bill Chow to replace Laury Ryan as president. I had very little problem in working with Laury and had a fun winter working with him this past one, but I'm looking forward to working with Bill and try to take the league to another level. It will be great to hear what his ideas and vision for the league are. I read an article on him this weekend in which he said he went to 344 hockey games last winter (he was a scout for the Spokane Chiefs). 344? That's a lot of bad arena coffee and rinkburgers.

--I am really enjoying the Boston-Tampa series. It has been great hockey. I love it when the game is played the way those teams have been going at it.

--Is a 3-0 lead the worst lead to have in the game these days?

--Can someone please to explain to me why Steve Downie was given a two minute minor for diving yesterday. The guy has his face slammed into the boards and he gets two for diving. WOW!!!

--If Aaron Rome doesn't turn away from Jamie McGinn on Friday night, does he get smoked face-first into the boards. NO! Don't shy away from the hit!

--I said I had made a mistake by downloading IE9 to my computer earlier this week. I corrected the mistake by putting IE8 back onto it. Much, much better.

--The sun is shining so I had better head outside and enjoy some of the long weekend. That is until the mosquitoes drive me back inside.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Boogaard's Death Ruled Accidental

The Hennepin County medical examiner has ruled Derek Boogaard died one week ago today because of an accidental mixture of alcohol and oxycodone toxicity. The news comes one day before he is to be laid in rest in Regina at the RCMP funeral chapel. Several NHL players along with dignitaries from the NHL, the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers are expected to attend.

RIP Macho Man

One of my favourite all-time wrestlers, perhaps #2 behind Bret "Hitman" Hart has died. Randy "Macho Man" Savage suffered a heart attack while behind the wheel of his vehicle in Florida and ended up going off the road and hitting a tree. He was 58 years old. RIP Macho Man and thank you for the memories.

One of those memories was this raw young broadcaster getting the chance to interview Randy and Elizabeth when the two were at the Agridome for a wrestling show in the late 80's. I was at the old 620 CKCK at the time and managed to get an interview. He walked into the room and was as gracious as could be. He then asked me if he wanted his real voice or his "Macho Man" voice as to which I laughed and said it had to be the stage voice. Moments later, I got an ever famous "Oooooooooh Yeah".

I know that Vince MacMahon and Randy weren't on the best of terms, but I hope he is given his due on this week's RAW and Smackdown because if ever someone deserves a fitting tribute, it is the Macho Man.

Riders Sign Four To Roster

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced they have signed import defensive back Derek Pegues, import receiver Dominic Bolden, import offensive lineman Devin Tyler and non-import offensive lineman Josh Buttrill. The financial details of the signings were not released.

Pegues (5’10 – 200 lbs) spent four seasons at Mississippi State where he played in 48 career collegiate games and finished his career with 146 tackles and 12 interceptions for 241 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 112 kick returns for 2,498 yards which was a new SEC record and 79 punt returns for 792 yards and two touchdowns. The 24-year-old was named to the All-SEC team once and the All-SEC team twice at Mississippi State.

Bolden (5’10 – 187 lbs) spent a portion of last season with the B.C. Lions after signing with the team as a free agent. Prior to that, Bolden attended a mini-camp for the Jacksonville Jaquars. The 24-year-old spent four seasons at Liberty where he became a full-time starter in his senior year. He surpassed the 1,000 receiving mark that season as he had 56 receptions for 1,056 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games. Bolden also specialized in kickoff returns as he averaged 29 yards on 49 returns in his senior year.

Tyler (6’7 – 300 lbs) most recently spent time with the Arizona Cardinals and originally was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens. Tyler played four years at Temple where in his freshman year made the switch from defensive end to offensive tackle. In his senior year he was selected to the All-MAC second-team and was named the team’s 2009 Offensive MVP. The 24-year-old was also the recipient of the team’s 2009 Carlos Diaz Award as the most improved player.

Buttrill (6’6 – 315 lbs) has spent the last four seasons with the Western Ontario Mustangs. Last season he took part in the East West Bowl and was named an OUA First Team All-Star.

Previewing The Mastercard Memorial Cup

The 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament kicks off on Friday, May 20th, in Mississauga, ON.

The CHL’s Championship tournament, which wraps up with the Championship game on Sunday, May 29th, features four teams – the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, the OHL Champion Owen Sound Attack, the WHL Champion Kootenay Ice and the QMJHL Champion Saint John Sea Dogs – who will battle for the storied Memorial Cup trophy.

The tournament format sees each team play one another in a round-robin format. The team with the best record after the round-robin advances directly to the Championship game, while the second and third-placed teams play a semi-final game to determine the other tournament finalist. If there is a tie for third place after the round-robin, a tiebreaker game will be played to determine the second semi-finalist.

Here’s a look at the four teams who will be vying for the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup:


Head Coach: Kris Knoblauch
General Manager: Jeff Chynoweth

2010-11 Record: 46-21-1-4, 97pts, GF: 272 GA: 218
2010-11 Final CHL Ranking: Not Ranked
2011 Playoff Record: 16-3 GF: 74 GA: 44
-Defeated Moose Jaw Warriors 4-2 in first round
-Defeated Saskatoon Blades 4-0 in second round
-Defeated Medicine Hat Tigers 4-0 in Eastern Conference Championship Series
-Defeated Portland Winterhawks 4-1 in WHL Championship Series

2011 Playoffs Top Scorers:
LW – Matt Fraser 19gp-17g-10a-27pts
C – Max Reinhart 19gp-15g-12a-27pts
C – Cody Eakin 19gp-11g-16a-27pts
D – Brayden McNabb 19gp-3g-24a-27pts

The 2011 WHL Champions, the Kootenay Ice are making their third appearance at the MasterCard Memorial Cup in franchise history. The Ice went winless in their first Memorial Cup experience in 2000, but won it all in 2002.

Up Front: The Ice have been getting plenty of mileage out of their older group of forwards. Veterans Matt Fraser, Cody Eakin and Max Reinhart combined to score 43 of the team’s 74 post-season goals, while veteran Joe Antilla, with nine tallies, was the only other player to surpass the five-goal mark in the playoffs. Even though much of their offense comes from their top guns, the Ice can roll four lines who all play with the same intensity, determination and fire. A relentless forecheck, tremendous work ethic and strict adherence to their system has enabled the Ice to breeze through several of the WHL’s top teams en route to the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

On The Blue Line: Buffalo Sabres’ prospect Brayden McNabb has anchored a stifling Kootenay defense corps. McNabb provides plenty of offense from the point, runs the power play, and has helped the Ice to an 88.8% penalty killing success rate throughout their playoff run. Veterans James Martin, Joey Leach and Hayden Rintoul provide solid defensive play, mobility and strong puck movement. Collectively, the Ice defense corps has enjoyed success in shutting down some of the WHL’s biggest stars like Brayden Schenn, Linden Vey and Nino Niederreiter through their run to the WHL championship.

Goaltending: 19-year-old Nathan Lieuwen took his game to another level during the 2011 WHL playoffs, posting a 16-2-1 record with three shutouts along with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage while starting all 19 post-season contests for Kootenay. A former first-round draft pick of the Ice, Lieuwen has a knack for making big saves at key times in games, and gives his team a chance to win in any situation.


Head Coach / General Manager: Dave Cameron

2010-11 Record: 53-13-0-2, 108pts, GF: 287 GA: 170
2010-11 CHL Final Ranking: 3
2011 Playoff Record: 15-5 GF: 79 GA: 44
-Defeated Belleville Bulls 4-0 in first round
-Defeated Sudbury Wolves 4-0 in second round
-Defeated Niagara Ice Dogs 4-1 in Eastern Conference Championship series
-Lost to Owen Sound Attack 4-3 in OHL Championship series

2011 Playoffs Top Scorers:
LW – Devante Smith-Pelly 20gp-15g-6a-21pts
LW – Maxim Kitsyn 20gp-10g-9a-19pts
RW – Justin Shugg 20gp-10g-9a-19pts
C – Casey Cizikas 16gp-5g-14a-19pts

The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors are making their first trip to the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament in the modern history of the franchise. Having moved from Toronto to Mississauga in 2007-08, the Majors come into the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup as the host team and runner-up in the OHL Championship series.

Up Front: The St. Michael’s Majors boast a balanced attack that led the OHL in offense during the regular season. Their top trio of Devante Smith-Pelly, Justin Shugg and Casey Cizikas combined for 30 goals and 59 points through the team’s run in the OHL playoffs while helping the team’s power play click at a 30.1% clip in the post-season. Shugg has plenty of Memorial Cup experience, having won back-to-back Memorial Cup titles with the Windsor Spitfires in 2009 and 2010, while Cizikas also has big-game experience as a member of the 2011 Canadian national junior squad. Russian winger Maxim Kitsyn has also proved to be an offensive threat with 10 post-season goals. He helped Russia defeat Cizikas and the Canadians in the World Junior Championship Gold medal game.

On The Blue Line: The St. Michael’s Majors were the best defensive team in the OHL during the regular season, allowing just 170 goals in 68 games. 21-year-old veteran Marc Cantin, who won the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup with Windsor, leads a St. Michael’s Majors’ defense corps that combined for a +48 rating in the OHL post-season and allowed just 44 goals through 20 playoff contests. Cantin, Mark D’Orazio and Brett Flemming are all capable in the offensive end as well, contributing to the team’s power play success in the post-season.

Goaltending: 19-year-old veteran JP Anderson enjoyed a terrific playoff run for the St. Michael’s Majors, posting a 15-2-3 record, including four shutouts, with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 20 contests. He even set an OHL record by notching three straight shutouts in the team’s opening-round series versus Belleville. The San Jose Sharks prospect was the runner-up for the OHL Goaltender of the Year award, edged out by just a four-point margin by Mark Visentin of the Niagara IceDogs.


Head Coach: Mark Reeds
General Manager: Dale DeGray

2010-11 Record: 46-17-1-4, 97pts, GF: 283 GA: 215
2010-11 Final CHL Ranking: 8
2011 Playoff Record: 16-6 GF: 83 GA: 65
-Defeated London Knights 4-2 in first round
-Defeated Plymouth Whalers 4-0 in second round
-Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4-1 in Western Conference Championship series
-Defeated Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 4-3 in OHL Championship series

2011 Playoffs Top Scorers:
RW – Robby Mignardi 22gp-15g-9a-24pts
C – Joey Hishon 22gp-5g-19a-24pts
LW – Garrett Wilson 22gp-11g-10a-21pts
C – Andrew Shaw 20gp-10g-7a-17pts

The Owen Sound Attack come into the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament as OHL Champions for the first time in their 22-year history, having knocked off the OHL’s regular-season champion Mississauga in a thrilling seven-game series that culminated with an overtime victory in the seventh and deciding game.

Up Front: The Attack possess solid offensive depth and star power in the form of NHL prospects Joey Hishon, Robby Mignardi and Garrett Wilson. Mignardi was the OHL playoff MVP after scoring 15 goals in 22 games, while Hishon and Wilson combined for 16 goals and 45 points during the playoffs. Veteran Andrew Shaw also provided consistent offense during the post-season, chipping in 10 goals and 17 points. A hard-working group, the Attack play a tight-checking game that limits time and space for their opposition. Two-way forwards Jarrod Maidens, Liam Heelis and Mike Halmo add good depth to the Attack’s forward contingent.

On The Blue Line: The Attack boast an impressive blue line, led by veterans Jesse Blacker and Matt Stanisz. Blacker, a veteran of Windsor’s 2009 Memorial Cup team, and Stanisz anchor a solid defensive unit and provide offense and strong puck movement, helping the power play to a 23.3% success rate during the post-season. Stanisz, Blacker, Matt Petgrave and Geoff Schemitsch combined for 10 goals and 54 points during the OHL playoffs.

Goaltending: The Attack used three different goaltenders during the 2011 OHL playoffs, with Michael Zador, Scott Stajcer and Jordan Binnington all seeing action during the team’s run to the championship. Binnington appeared in 46 regular-season games, the most of the three, and was the winning goaltender in the team’s Game 7 overtime win over the St. Michael’s Majors in the OHL final. While Binnington may have the edge, all three have shown they can perform in big-game situations.


Head Coach: Gerard Gallant
Director of Hockey Operations / Associate Coach: Mike Kelly

2010-11 Record: 58-7-1-2, 119pts, GF: 324 GA: 165
2010-11 Final CHL Ranking: 1
2011 Playoff Record: 16-3 GF: 84 GA: 39
-Defeated Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 4-0 in first round
-Defeated Victoriaville Tigres 4-1 in second round
-Defeated Lewiston Maineiacs 4-0 in Semi-Final series
-Defeated Gatineau Olympiques 4-2 in QMJHL Championship series

2011 Playoffs Top Scorers:
C – Jonathan Huberdeau 19gp-16g-14a-30pts
LW – Stanislav Galiev 19gp-10g-17a-27pts
RW – Zack Phillips 17gp-9g-15a-24pts
RW – Tomas Jurco 19gp-6g-12a-18pts

The Saint John Sea Dogs enter the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup as QMJHL champions for the first time in their six-year history. The top-ranked team in the entire CHL, the Sea Dogs tied a QMJHL record with an astounding 58 victories during the 2010-11 regular season. During their post-season run, the team managed a perfect 10-0 record on the road.

Up Front: The Sea Dogs have plenty of offensive weapons in their arsenal that helped them lead the QMJHL in goals during the regular season. Led by sophomore star and top NHL draft prospect Jonathan Huberdeau, the Sea Dogs scored an average of 4.42 goals per game in the post-season and boasted a power play that operated at 27.4% effectiveness. Huberdeau, the QMJHL playoff MVP, scored 16 times in the playoffs while Russian forward Stanislav Galiev netted 10 times. Zack Phillips, Michael Kirkpatrick and Tomas Jurco add offensive depth to the Sea Dogs’ powerful offense.

On The Blue Line: The Sea Dogs boast a talented and mobile defense corps that not only helped the team to the fewest goals-against in the QMJHL during the regular-season, but made significant contributions in the offensive zone as well. Canadian national junior team star Simon Despres and promising NHL draft prospect Nathan Beaulieu anchor the defense corps, with both having the ability to play strong defense and help the attack. Eric Gelinas adds even more offensive ability from the blue line.

Goaltending: Former WHL netminder Jacob DeSerres backstopped the Sea Dogs to the QMJHL title, posting a 12-3 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in the playoffs. DeSerres has Memorial Cup experience, having played for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2010 tournament. DeSerres also benefits the Sea Dogs with his familiarity with the WHL representative, the Kootenay Ice.

2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup Schedule:

Round Robin
Game 1 – Saint John vs Mississauga; Friday, May 20; 7:00pm
Game 2 – Owen Sound vs Kootenay; Saturday, May 21; 7:00pm
Game 3 – Mississauga vs Kootenay; Sunday, May 22; 7:00pm
Game 4 – Owen Sound vs Saint John; Monday, May 23; 7:00pm
Game 5 – Kooenay vs Saint John; Tuesday, May 24; 7:00pm
Game 6 – Mississauga vs Owen Sound; Wednesday, May 25; 7:00pm
Tie-Breaker (If Necessary); Thursday, May 26; 7:00pm
Semi-Final; Friday, May 27; 7:00pm

Memorial Cup Championship Game; Sunday, May 29; 7:00pm

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Oilers Fan Even Says They'd Better Be Called The Jets

If what Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail is saying is true, Winnipeg is back in the NHL. It will be made official next week. Here is Brunt's story.

One Step Closer to Fame

The Vancouver flasher is getting a lot of attention today for her stunt last night. One Vancouver radio station has been trying all day to find out who she is. That might be easier to do after this picture was revealed today.

I'm sure it won't be long before a name is put to face. I'm guessing it also won't be long until Roddy gets her in the Sports Cage. Hey, he found out in a quick hurry who the girl in the wedding dress proposing to Sid in Calgary was last winter.

McNabb And Sabres Come To Deal

Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today the Sabres have signed defenseman Brayden McNabb to a three-year entry level contract. McNabb was a third-round selection (66th overall) by the Sabres in the 2009 Entry Draft.

“Brayden is a big kid with great offensive abilities, and he’s continued to improve every year in Kootenay,” said Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier. “His outstanding performance in the WHL Playoffs was just another positive sign in his development, and we are thrilled to now have him under contract for the next three years.”

McNabb (6’5”, 216 lbs., 1/21/1991, shoots left) just finished his fourth full season with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League, and is headed to the Memorial Cup Championship that begins this weekend in Mississauga. McNabb’s 27 points led all Canadian Hockey League defenseman in the postseason, and his 24 assists were more than any other CHL defenseman’s total points.

A native of Davidson, Saskatchewan, McNabb was tied for second overall in WHL Playoff scoring, and had a 12-game point streak from April 3-May 10 where he scored 21 points (2+19). He also posted a league-best plus-23 rating in the Ice’s 19 playoff games.

The 20-year-old McNabb improved his regular season point total for the third year in a row, finishing second among WHL blueliners with 72 points (21+51) in 59 games. In four full seasons with Kootenay from 2007-11, McNabb had 176 points (50+126) in 258 games, along with 419 PIMs.

Riders Sign Two Import DB's

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced they have signed import defensive backs Jamar Love and Jeremiah Weatherspoon. The financial details of the signings were not released.

Love (6’1 – 200 lbs) spent time with a number of NFL teams during the past two seasons after initially signing as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots. The 24-year-old played four seasons at Arkansas and finished his career with 77 defensive tackles, eight special team tackles and three quarterback sacks.

Weatherspoon (6’2 – 221 lbs) spent time with the Calgary Stampeders in 2010 as well as attended mini camps with Cincinnati and New Orleans. Previous to that, the 24-year-old played four seasons at Florida International University. He finished his college career with 172 total tackles, two forced fumbles and five interceptions for 47 yards.

· The Riders also announced they have released non-import kicker Warren Kean, non-import offensive lineman Bart Archdekin and import defensive back Courtney Robinson.

SJHL Hires New President

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is proud to announce the appointment of Bill Chow as the league’s new president.

The 52 year old Chow, who comes from Prince Albert, has worked with the Prince Albert Police Service for the past 29 years. He also has hockey experience having served as a scout in the Western Hockey League for the past 25 years, most recently with the Spokane Chiefs for 10 years.

“I am very excited at taking on this prestigious position,” Chow said. “The SJHL is a tremendous brand of hockey and it’s my intention to work with the 12 member teams to ensure that our League continues to be an innovator and the best junior “A” league in all of Canada. It will be a big year this season with two of our teams moving into brand new arenas and another team hosting the RBC Cup.”

SJHL board of governors chair Rick Shultz is pleased to have Chow on board.
“We had many great candidates apply for the job, but in the end, the board and myself felt Bill had the best vision for the league.” Shultz said. “He recognized the challenges the league has going into the future, and as a board, we believe he had the best ideas to resolve the problems we face. We also feel his time with the Prince Albert Police Service will make him more than capable to deal with our member teams and other hockey-related bodies across Canada and expand the reputation the SJHL currently holds.”

Chow has signed a three year contract and takes over immediately from outgoing president Laury Ryan, who announced his resignation from the position after eight years on the job earlier this year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where Were The Green Guys

I  must have missed it, but it would appear Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss have replaced the Sedins in Vancouver because they were shark-killers last night in a 7-3 win. During the game, you may have noticed that Vancouver's famous green men weren't there. They were replaced though as Ben Eager and a national TV audience saw.....

Could this shut down the CBC? What did Ron McLean have to say about it. Did Glenn Healy hate it? Where was Elliotte Friedman for an interview?
TSN's Jay Onrait was everything I thought he would be on "The Sportscage" Wednesday afternoon. After saying he was without a doubt the crown jewel of TSN and one of their top anchors, he thought a mistake had been made and we were supposed to be talking to Rod Smith. Onrait also revealed he was in Saskatchewan last weekend visiting his grandfather in Balcarres and that he had been to the KFC in Fort Qu'Appelle. He also told us that he wished Indian Head would have beaten Outlook last year in the Kraft Celebration Tour because Balcarres is so close to Indian Head. That being said, he did admit it was a lot of fun in Outlook.
Onrait and O'Toole will be back in Saskatchewan later this summer as part of the Kraft Celebration Tour. I told him that if his crew ends up staying in Regina, we will look after them at either the Press Box or the 4 Seasons. I know Kevin and/or George will take care of the crew.
The Oilers and the city of Edmonton have come to terms on a new arena. Here is the release.
If you are staying in Regina for the long weekend and you're looking for something to do Sunday night, the Regina Riot womens football team will play their first home game at Mosaic against a team from Saskatoon. The game starts at 630. Their coach Jon Baxter says his women like to hit and that its a pretty good product. I tried persuading CKRM news girl Kali Bourhis to join the Riot today. She's not the biggest girl, but she would make a good receiver or maybe a defensive back. She's from rural Saskatchewan too, so I'm sure she could lay someone out if she had to. I don't think though that the arguments that myself and her fellow newsie--Phil "The Thrill" Andrews gave were enough to make her give the Riot a call.
Looks like the May long weekend will be a nice one. Here's hopin'
The old 96'er --Scott Schultz--is putting on a football camp in Moose Jaw. If you want details, all you have to do is click right here
Have a good Thursday!

Boogaard's Book Of Condolences

In commemoration of the tragic passing of Derek Boogaard this past weekend, the Regina Pats have set up a memorial for Derek outside of their office for people who wish to sign a condolences book for the family. The Pats will present the book to the Boogaard family this weekend at his funeral.

Prior to playing in the National Hockey League, Derek began his Western Hockey League career with the Regina Pats in 1999 before stops with Prince George and Medicine Hat.

Regina Pats President, Brent Parker, “We are all deeply saddened by the passing of Derek; he was a soft spoken, generous person who touched everyone who knew him. Derek started his junior hockey career as a Regina Pat and while he was not with us a long time he left a lasting impression on all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Boogaard family during this difficult time.”

The condolences book will be open to the public to sign the rest of this week from 9:00am to 5:00pm in front of the Pats office located in the west entrance of the Brandt Centre.

Wednesday's Sportscage

I'm thinkin it will be a pretty good Wednesday in the Sportscage---although I might be doing the 2nd hour by myself. I think the highlight of the show will be an appearance from this man.

Yes, TSN's Jay Onrait will join me. I don't know if he will be sipping coffee out of his vintage Gino Reda mug or if he will dish some dirt on Sportscentre co-host Dan O'Toole, but we will have some fun with Jay at 505.

Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo will also join me as will Jeff Paterson from the Team 1040 in Vancouver as we set up Game 2 of the NHL West final tonight and Baseball Saskatchewan's Mike Ramage will talk about the Jays Honda Super Skills camp which is coming to Regina later this summer.

All of that at 4 on 620 CKRM. Hope you're listenin'

Going Out To Play 12??

Earlier this week, I had Ryan Ballengee who is NBC Sports' golf blogger on the Sportscage to talk about Tiger Woods. I was checking out his website this morning ( and he relays an interesting chat that was had with Jack Nicklaus. I see where Jack is coming from, but I can't buy this.

From Ryan Ballengee

Golf is hurting, says Jack Nicklaus. And he’s right. Course construction that boomed in the last decade has been replaced by constriction in the last-half decade. Players are walking away from the game and not being replaced by nearly enough new golfers. The sport’s aging demographic has not been sufficiently refreshed despite the best efforts of programs like The First Tee.

With all that in mind, Jack Nicklaus feels the sport needs to do something radical to encourage golfers to come back to the game or take it up in the first place. His suggestion? 12-hole golf rounds.

The Tennessean reports on Nicklaus’ comments at the charity event for country singer Vince Gill:

Nicklaus talked to PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem about the problem, telling Finchem that every sport you play can be played in two, maybe three hours. Except a round of golf.

“The kids are all playing soccer or lacrosse or basketball.’’

Looking forward, Nicklaus believes cutting a round of golf to 12 holes would be more palatable for golfers who don’t want to make it a day-long process.

While the suggestion is appreciated, golf already has a short form – the 9-hole round – and it has been the business of Jack Nicklaus (and others) to construct championship-style golf courses for developers who are dumb enough to believe that more than eight people in a year could play from the tips and have a good time on a 7100-yard course. In other words, Nicklaus has been part of the proliferation of courses which he says now intimidate golfers into not playing.

Nicklaus, then, should do something about it. Lopping off six holes of a golf course is not the solitary answer – not for amateurs and not by using the PGA Tour as an example.

As golf industry numbers suggest, participation in the sport continues to decline. The National Golf Federation reports the sport shed another 2.2% of its playing force in 2010, which further extends a trend of a decline in the golfing public since the height of participation around 2000.

Call it the Tiger Effect if you’d like, but the proliferation of real estate developments anchored by these behemoth and unsustainable tracks, as well as paper wealth of Americans, likely precipitated the surge in population of the game. As the property bubble burst in this country, courses closed and golfers walked away to do other, cheaper, faster things with their negative equity holdings.

Since the decline in participation became evident, voices in the game have suggested a host of solutions. Allow players to have more clubs in the bag. Have two cups on each hole. Force players to tee it up closer to the hole. Conduct more clinics to welcome new players and create social connections to the sport.

Throw in 12-hole rounds. Why not? It can’t hurt. But there is no panacea for the problems the game faces. There are clear causes of the problem, though. For many people, golf takes too long and costs too much money. Those problems have to be addressed head-on if the game intends to recapture its fleeing patrons.

Baseball faces the same problem in urban areas against basketball. Baseball requires equipment – bat, ball, gloves, bases – and much more acreage than basketball. Give kids a ball and a half-court and they can work on the game.

Golf can address its similar problems by collectively providing the infrastructure to encourage kids and oft-neglected demographics of people to take up the game. Build 9-hole courses – hell, 12-hole courses like the one I grew up playing – and do so with the same vigor as was done for the litany of courses that didn’t need to be built in the first place. Make it cost-effective to play for kids and their accompanying parents. Parents will not fork over a $65 green fee to let their children play. They shouldn’t have to pay more than $20 to get in a round with them on a course designed for kids.

Encourage kids to take up the game with hyper-cheap equipment. Niche companies exist already to provide that, like US Kids Golf, but none have reached the scale of the major manufacturers. Making available cheap equipment kind of flies in the face of the $400 driver.

None of these suggestions to improve the game are particularly profitable. Shortening courses or building smaller ones limits rounds and, therefore, the profit margin. And, again, it was profit that motivated the evolution of golf to this point anyhow – profits Nicklaus enjoyed in, as well as a heap of others.

Now that the clamoring for Caterpillars has stopped around the country, the industry is trying to find a way to change course. While that’s commendable, the reversal requires a financial commitment – and it wouldn’t hurt to start by using some of the money that got us into this mess to start.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Red, Blue and Bling

Saskatchewan based Western Hockey League teams and WHL Alumni have teamed up to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan by participating in a unique five day celebrity bike relay – The WHL Ride for the Kids.

The WHL Ride for the Kids will take place June 5th-9th 2011 beginning in Prince Albert with stops in Saskatoon, Swift Current, Moose Jaw and finishing in Regina. The culmination of the event will be the Red Blue & Bling dinner and auction at the Ramada Ball Room on Thursday June 9th at 7pm.
This gala event will allow those to mingle with current and past hockey greats that so far include: Kelly Chase, Curtis Leschyshyn, Dave Chartier, Mike Keane, Colby Armstrong, Riley Armstrong, Luke Schenn, Jamie Heward, Barret Jackman, Mike Sillinger, Josh Harding and Jordan Eberle.
There will be live and silent auctions that will include unique sports memorabilia, NHL experience and golf travel packages and tons more. The highlight of the Red Blue & Bling dinner and auction will be a live celebrity Q & A

Regina Pats Governor/President, Brent Parker, “The Red, Blue & Bling dinner will be a tremendous way to wrap up the events of the week surrounding the WHL Celebrity Bike Relay. We have worked with Shooting Stars on many occasions and are confident that this unique event is going to be a great deal of fun and raise significant funds towards the building of a Children’s Hospital for our Province”

Tickets for Red Blue & Bling are $100 and are available at the Regina Pats office. All the proceeds from this event will be distributed to local children’s charities including; the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan, Regina Palliative Care and Breakfast for Learning.
For more information on Red Blue and Bling or the WHL Ride for the Kids go to
 and click on the “community” banner or head to

Tuesday's Sportscage

It was one year ago today that the Sportscage signed on, but there will be no special show today. It will be business as usual for the most part. Derek "Duke" Meyers of Global Regina is just returning from a vacation and won't be with me so his spot in the batting order will be taken by "The Silver Fox" Kelly Remple for the first hour with me running solo in hour number 2.

Guests today include

-- Jon Baxter. He is the coach of the Regina Riot womens football team who play their first home game this weekend. We will talk about the game and the team.

--Arash Madani of Rogers Sportsnet who will talk a little Jose Bautista and a little NHL in his bi-weekly installments of "The Madani Report".

--Kootenay Ice defenceman Brayden McNabb. The Davidson product is getting ready to compete at the Memorial Cup. We will get his thoughts.

--From NYC where he is vacationing, we will catch up with Rod Pedersen to see if he feels the same way today that he did one year ago as the Sportscage hit the Saskatchewan airwaves.

Talk to ya at 4.


This is Vin Mazzaro. You may have never heard of him before and you may never hear of him again, but he set a major league record last night pitching for the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals reliever gave up 14 runs and got just seven outs against the Cleveland Indians, who beat Kansas city 19-1 Monday night. He was sent down to the minors after the game.

No pitcher has allowed 14 runs in fewer innings than Mazzaro, according to STATS LLC, whose database goes back to 1919.

Immediately after the game, the Royals dispatched him to the minors.
I don't know about you, but its kind of refreshing to hear all this talk about Jose Bautista and none of the talk centers around whether he is juiced. Bautista was on pace to hit 81 homers this year after his three homer effort Sunday in Minneapolis. He has hit more homers than the Twins combined.
The Cleveland Indians have the best record in baseball? Will that be until Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner announces they are taking their talents to SOuth Beach?
If and when Winnipeg comes back to the NHL, call them the Roughriders. Why not?
I just downloaded Internet Explorer 9 to my laptop. I wish I hadn't.
NBC has renewed Chuck for what will be its last season. I'm OK with that.
Hard to believe that my unofficial return to radio started one year ago today with the birth of "The Sportscage". Yeah, I'm a little biased, but that daily two hours of sports radio talk has become more popular in just one year than I ever thought it would. A lot of credit has to be handed out to a lot of people for making that show the success its been. I still laugh when I think of Rod Pedersen telling me at the Press Box when he first hatched the idea to me that there was no way he could two hours of sports talk a day and now its just 2nd nature. I have had a lot of fun working with my good friend instead of working against him as I did at CJME. Its a lot easier and its a lot better as well. I don't know what year two of the program has in store, but I know that show will just keep getting better and better. Maybe we'll go 4-7 in the future. I'll give you the Tuesday lineup once it becomes official.
How many of you can't wait for the clock to read 430 on Friday so you can get out of here for the long weekend. I'm sure the plans of many of heading to the cabin are on hold because of the flooding or the plan is to go out and survey the damage. With all the floods and fires that we are seeing in Western Canada, one has to ask just what exactly is going on.
I'm giddy over the fact that the WWE is coming back to Regina. I love High Impact, but talking smack to those guys is nothing like talking smack to the big guys and I'm hoping to have seats that will allow myself and my good-natured bunch of neanderthals that will accompany me to verbally let whoever know how much their work is appreciated if you know what I mean.
Speaking of wrestling, I have just finished Bruce Hart's book on Stampede Wrestling. I'm guessing Bruce and brother Bret just don't get along. I have said it before and I'll say it again---there was nothing better than Tuesday nights at the Exhibition Auditorium watching Stampede Wrestling when they came to town. I only wish I knew some of the people now that were going when I went back then as I had no clue as to who they were then and vice-versa. Seeing the likes of Bret, Keith, Bruce Hart, the legendary Cuban Assassin, the Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Bad News Allen, Gama Singh, the list just goes on and on. It was great! Those days hooked me on wrestling forever.
Gotta run. Its one of those days.

Another Saskatchewan Boy Signs With Riders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced they have signed non-import linebacker Peter Thiel. The financial details of the signing were not released.

Thiel (6’1 – 220 lbs) has played at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2010, the 22-year-old was outstanding for the Huskies on defence as he tallied 20 solo tackles, 22 shared tackles and one quarterback sack in six games. Last season, Thiel also took part in the East West Bowl and was named a Canada West All-Star.

The Regina native has two seasons of CIS eligibility remaining. He will take part in Rider Rookie Camp which will begin on June 1st at Mosaic Stadium.

The Riders also announced that Saskatoon Hilltop safety Graig Newman (6’1 – 195 lbs) has been invited to take part in this year’s Rider Training Camp. The Saskatoon native is heading into his fourth season with the Hilltops.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Finally......RAW Comes Back To Regina

I don't know if they advertised it during the weekly show on "The Score", but I have it on good authority that the stars of Monday Night Raw are coming to the Brandt Centre. They will be here Friday, August 19th. Tickets go on sale June 3. This means to some that people like John Cena and "The Miz: will be here. For others, it means an appearance by

WWE Diva and one of MAXIM magazine's top 100 of 2011, Kelly Kelly. Whatever it is, its been a long time since the WWE has brought their marquee names to Regina so this should be a great show and one that WWE fans in Regina and southern Saskatchewan will likely flock to.

See ya there!!!