Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The NHL's Sickening Summer Continues

Multiple reports say former NHL tough guy defenceman and former Saskatoon Blade Wade Belak has been found dead in his Toronto condo this afternoon. If so, this means Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and now Belak have left us wayyyyyyy too early. If this is related to the other two, the league can't shy away from an issue that could mushroom out of control.

A Rainy Day At Mosaic

I guess we shouldn't complain because the weather has been pretty good for Rider practices this year, but the last half of Rider practice was watched from the tunnel thanks to the early afternoon rain and the fact I don't know where my umbrella is. I can tell you a few things though..

--There's another receiver in town. Former U of S Husky Scott McHenry is with the team after being released by Winnipeg. He takes the spot that would normally be occupied by Jordan Sisco. If you didn't know, the former Ram broke his wrist.

--Wes Cates will be back in the lineup and Cates, Darian Durant and Ken Miller are all pleased about that. A Cates story for will be coming tomorrow sometime.

--Barrin Simpson won't play which hurts the Rider defence because of his rib injury. James Patrick is going to move from safety to linebacker for this one with Craig Butler taking Patrick's spot. Chris Graham is going to be the man in the middle.

--Head Coach Ken Miller thinks big things can be brought courtesy Dallas Baker. The receiver will take Terrence Nunn's spot in the lineup.

--I didn't see the comment, but apparently Winnipeg defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke has called Darian Durant 'The Michael Vick of the CFL".  The last I checked, Durant was not a criminal.

The CBC"s Glenn Reid also asked a good question today. Has Buck Pierce ever played a whole game at Mosaic Stadium? I recall him playing very well for BC one year and playing the whole game, but it was suggested he may have come in to replace a struggling Jarious Jackson. Not sure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pats Sign New Lease With Evraz Place

Regina Pats President, Brent Parker announced today that the Regina Pats and Evraz Place have come to terms on a new Lease Agreement that will keep the Pats as the main tenant and the sole hockey tenant in the Brandt Centre for at least the next five (5) years.

"We are pleased that we are able to announce a longer term lease agreement with Evraz Place. The process has been long and at times frustrating for both parties but with the help of our legal counsel Neil Tulloch and the cooperation of Neil Donnelly from Evraz we were able to find some common ground." Commented Pats President Brent Parker .

Negotiations had started over 14 months ago and The Pats and Evraz have been without a lease since May 31, 2011 when the past three year agreement had expired.

“We are extremely pleased to enter the season with a new long-term agreement in place” said Neil Donnelly, Vice President Events and Entertainment for Evraz Place. “Although the process took longer that both parties had hoped, some very good dialogue took place that we believe will be beneficial in our joint effort to provide a great fan experience”

Added Pats President Brent Parker “It is important to put the negotiations behind us and focus on working together to put people in the seats. We need to improve the fan experience at the Brandt Centre and make it an enjoyable place for our fans. The only way we achieve this is with a strong partnership between us and our building.”

SGI Family Fun Day

RIDERS “SGI Play It Safe” Day!

When: Saturday, September 3, 2011

Time: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Where: Mosaic Stadium

Who’s invited: All Saskatchewan Roughrider football fans

It’s an event not to be missed. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are proud to present their annual “SGI Play it Safe” Day this Saturday at Mosaic Stadium. Rider players and coaches, Gainer the Gopher and the 620 CKRM Rider Cheerleading Team will all be on hand for pictures, autographs, and games. The Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band will also be on-site.

Gates will open at 10:00 am while a barbeque will be taking place on the bricks on the west side of the stadium. Fans will then be invited to make their way into the stands to watch the Roughriders hit the field for walk-thru at 10:30 am. After the conclusion of the walk-thru, the team will be introduced to the crowd and the public autograph session will follow (approximately 11:30 am – 12:30 pm). The Roughriders are encouraging everyone to come early as a limited amount of posters and giveaways will be available.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Double Double Ice Cream??

OAKVILLE , ON, Aug. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - Double Double lovers rejoice - Canada's hottest coffee order can now be enjoyed as a frozen treat. The new Tim Hortons Double Double ice cream flavour is launching today at Cold Stone Creamery locations in Canada.

The Tim Hortons Double Double ice cream, inspired by Canada's most popular hot coffee order, was created by Cold Stone Creamery Canada's chefs and research and development experts, to mimic the exact combination of cream, sugar and Tim Hortons proprietary blend and roast of premium coffee. A unique relationship between Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery in Canada brings the fresh and premium ice cream brand, known around the world, to more than 100 co-branded restaurants across the country.

"There are many coffee-flavoured ice creams out there but no one else can offer a Tim Hortons coffee flavour except Cold Stone Creamery," said Andrea Hughes, Cold Stone Creamery Canada's resident ice cream expert. "Double Double fans will recognize it right away."

It took more than a year to perfect the unique flavour profile of the Double Double ice cream. Under the guidance of Kevin West, Tim Hortons' Senior Director of Coffee Operations, Cold Stone Creamery experts developed an extract of Tim Hortons' exclusive blend and roast of Arabica coffee beans and infused it in just the right proportions into Cold Stone Creamery's sweet cream ice cream variety.

"The result is not just a coffee flavour. You really do taste that creaminess and sweetness Canadians expect and love when they order a Double Double coffee," said Hughes. "It's really the perfect marriage of both brands."

Double Double is now the second Tim Hortons-inspired flavour at Cold Stone Creamery Canada. Earlier this year, the Apple Fritter ice cream was launched to celebrate the co-branded relationship.

Deferring To The L-P

I wasn't at practice today, but the Leader-Post's Ian Hamilton was. Here is what happened at Mosaic Stadium today through his eyes.

Fantuz Survives First Cut

The Chicago Bears aren't utilizing Andy Fantuz, but he is sticking around a while longer. The Bears released five players today to get down to the mandatory 80 and Fantuz was not one of the five. However, the Bears and all NFL teams must be down to a 53 man limit by Saturday meaning they have to chop 27 players and with the way Fantuz has been (or hasn't been) used in pre-season, I would have to think his chances of making the team remain slim.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Miller Effect Begins

Ken Miller is a quiet man, but he knows his stuff. He has a monumental task in front of him, but he is more than confident that he can get it done. He started that process Sunday when he got back onto Taylor Field to guide "the men" and start getting them ready for the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl. It was in Miller's first scrum of the year with the local media that you saw the man was more than ready to wield what he hopes is a magic wand---one that will erase the first half misery that everyone connected with the Riders has been feeling and replace it one with excitement and hope.

Do I think Miller can turn this season around? Yeah, I do! He is probably the only one who can. Do I think he can get this team to the Grey Cup and win it which is what he said when re-assuming the coaches role? I'm not sure. I'm not betting against Miller because I know he has what it takes, but the effort or lack of it by the players this year has been shocking. Can they pick it up and play to the championship level they are capable of. We will find out over the next couple of weeks, but Miller is going to try and motivate the guys in only the way he knows how. He gave us some insight during that first media scrum.

Shortly after it started, Miller informed us all about a bulletin board in the Riders dressing room that now has Grey Cup 2011 decals on it just to remind the team what the ultimate goal is. However, what really struck me was the quiet and subtle way that he let us know what the message is. He told the media there are 13 games left in the season. A mathematician will tell you that in an 18 game season when the team has played 8 games that there are just 10 games left. However, if you add the Western semi-final, the Western final and the Grey Cup, it adds to 13 and Miller is bound and determined that his second stint as Riders coach will last 13 games. It will be interesting to see if the players buy into that and say 10 games or 13 as the week wears on. Whether they do or not, it is clear that there is an excitement level again that wasn't seen under Greg Marshall's watch.
I'm finding the results of this week's poll question to be interesting. While a lot of you (including me see this team winning six of its final 10 (regular season games that is), a lot of you think the team's fortunes won't change and that wins will be few and far between. Have you become that disillusioned with this year's squad? I can understand that feeling, but I think its a little misguided.  What I do know is that Mosaic Stadium should be rather electric on Sunday afternoon when they kick the ball off in the LDC with nearly 30-thousand people hoping some of the swagger is taken out of Swaggerville.
With the NFL lockout, it was tough to find an NFL preview magazine this year. "Pro Football Weekly" usually has a great yearbook on store shelves along with a fantasy mag as well. I have not seen the yearbook in Regina at all this year and while I did see a fantasy mag in Lloydminster, I thought I could easily buy one in Regina. WRONG!!! I'm not going into fantasy drafts cold as I know who is who, but the book is a great addition. There has to be one somewhere in this city. If you have seen one, let me know where.
Shania Twain is 46???!!!
The Black Eyed Peas are holding a benefit concert in Minot next weekend to help victims of the flooding. The Black Eyed Peas??!! Fergie's husband is actor Josh Duhamel and he is from Minot. I didn't know that, did you?
Some Rider fans will tell you the team has won without Andy Fantuz before so why all the hubbub over what will be a failed NFL stint. They ask if Calgary is talking incessantly about Brandon Browner and if BC is talking about Emanuel Arceneaux. No they are not, but this is the Riders and we know here that we keep an eye on what those who have left are doing. Yes, we still talk about John Chick too, but he isn't coming back.
I don't know what is worse. Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson or the offensive line he plays behind. Both are putrid and that is being kind. I don't know if Peyton Manning or Tom Brady could make an impact behind this porous o-line. If the Seahawks win more than four, this fan will be pleasantly surprised.
I am convinced Regina native and Seahawks punter Jon Ryan wants to be the next NFL spokesperson for Head and Shoulders. Is he getting hair tips from Troy Polamulu?!
If you saw UFC 134 last nite, one of the last fights featured a guy by the name of Ian Loveland. Loveland had a mammoth tattoo of a fish on his back. A fish!!! Some get tiger tattoos or a lion, but this guy had a fish! I'm sorry, you bring absolutely no fear to me when you are marking your body with some type of fish. Please!!! Oh yeah, he lost!
A guy went speeding past me on the Ring Road today. A couple of KM's up the road, I laughed when I saw the guy pulled over by one of Regina's finest at a speed trap. Mwah ha ha ha!!!!
Tell the truth, would you rather deal with something like Hurricane Irene or a good old fashioned Saskatchewan winter blizzard? Believe it or not, I would take the blizzard as you can get rid of the snow, but the water is a different story and when it leaves, it leaves a big mess behind. I guess all I would have to do is ask the fine people in Estevan and Weyburn about that.
The fall TV sked needs to start soon. There is absolutely nothing on. The old PS3 has had a lot of work lately because of this.
If you are diagnosed as a kleptomaniac, what do you take to cure it?

Welcome Back Coach

Even after he stepped down as Head Coach of the Riders after last year's Grey Cup, I and many others have still referred to Ken Miller as 'Coach".  "Coach" was back today doing what he does best and you could tell there was a level of excitement there. Here are the comments of Miller, Lance Frazier and Darian Durant as the team got back on the practice field after their bye to start preparing for back to back games against the Bombers.

File0028 by mitchellblair

DurantAug28 by mitchellblair

FrazierAug28 by mitchellblair

A couple of other notes

-Terrence Nunn had to be helped off the field after suffering an injury of some kind. The severity is not known
-Wes Cates was on the field, but did not practice. Miller hopes that can happen as early as Wednesday
-Eddie Johnson is still bothered by what we are now told is a groin injury.
-Rob Vanstone is whining about his weight (he weighs less than me) and the fact he has to go to Seinfeld on September 9 with his wife instead of going to High Impact Wrestling. Speaking of Rob, he was in on the Lance Frazier scrum, but he got some great stuff after I left. Here is the complete interview Rob did with Lance transcribed on the Riders Rumbling Blog....

Gainer Wouldn't Do This

A Dallas mother is irate with the Six Flags Amusement Park in her city after her kids had their picture taken with Tweety Bird. Is it just me or has Tweety basically said he has had enough with people snapping pictures. Where's Sylvester when you need him the most.

As you would expect, officials at Six Flags are defending Tweety saying he (she, it) is pointing at the girls. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pats Add Size Up Front

Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang is proud to announce the acquisition of 19 year old forward Campbell Elynuik from the Everett Silvertips in exchange for a 6th round pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
A native of Calgary, Elynuik played 28 games in an injury shortened season with Everett in 2010-11, but was able to pick up 3 goals and 2 assists and 54 minutes in penalties. His play garnered him an invite to the Philadelphia Flyers prospect camp this past summer and will also attend Flyers training camp.

Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang, “Campbell will add size, experience and a physical presence to our group of forwards. He will be a solid addition and should provide a spark as we move forward towards the beginning of the regular season.”

Campbell will join his new Pats teammates immediately as they prepare for the beginning of the exhibition schedule next weekend with a home and home series against the Moose Jaw Warriors. It begins Friday night at the Co-operators Centre at 7pm with the return meeting 24 hours later at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.

Before the exhibition season can open, Training Camp 2011 will wind up on Sunday with the annual Prairie Mobile Blue and White game which is set for 2pm at the Co-Operators Centre. Cost for the game is just $2 at the door.

This And That

Is this the last official weekend of summer with the kids going back to school on Tuesday or does the Labour Day weekend signify the last official weekend of the summer. Does it really matter? Walk into a place like Walmart or Staples or Zellers and the money is flying out of there as parents buy their kids school supplies, clothes, etc. etc. One of the TV stations did a story on how much it costs for school supplies. I forget what station it was, but I thought the total was high compared to what Mrs. Scruffy and I paid for Rugrat A and Rugrat B. Rugrat A starts Grade 12 meaning next year its University time and then the cost factor will rise significantly.
Speaking of Rugrat A, she got her drivers licence this week. So far, so good! Lets hope it stays that way.
Did TSN's Sara Orlesky unintentionally issue a challenge via her Twitter feed on Friday night. The lovely and talented Orlesky (who by the way could make the flip to ESPN immediately) said she hasn't been in a stadium this year that was as loud as what Canad Inns Stadium was last night. I don't know about you, but I think its time for 30-thousand and some to change Sara's mind next Sunday when the LDC hits. Whaddaya think Rider fans, are you up to that challenge? Why not!!
Rob Vanstone's column in today's paper in which he "welcomes" back the players from bye week is one of the best pieces the rumpled scribe has ever written in my opinion. He's not wrong! You can read that piece right here
It will be an interesting afternoon at Mosaic Stadium tomorrow as the Saskatchewan Roughriders return after having the bye week to start getting ready for the Bombers. I am guessing many fans will show up to practice to see if there is a difference with Ken Miller once again calling the shots. I think Ken knows full well what the mission is and what happens if he doesn't meet that mission and turn things around. I also believe Ken is confident he can do it and that he will do it. He also seems to have a little excitement in his voice as he gets set to grab the clipboard again. We'll see.
I am not the Rod Black hater that many seem to be, but I would have no problem if TSN replaced one Rod with another on CFL telecasts as I thought Rod Smith did a helluva job last nite. Rod does CIS games so why not elevate him to another level. Perhaps its because of his daily Sportscenter gig, but I would approve that change if it were made. After all, is there any other Rod to listen to when it comes to play by play. Oh yeah, there's that guy in Regina.
Speaking of Rod Pedersen, I hope you had a chance to catch Thursday's "Sportscage" when the show was broadcast from Estevan where the TSN Kraft Celebration Tour was being held. It was an outstanding two hours of radio and dare I say it as someone who has been involved with that project since Day 1, it might have been the best show ever. You could just feel the energy and the pride coming through the radio. It was great stuff.
Madden 12 comes out this week. I played the demo earlier this week and all I can say is how much and when I can make the purchase. WOW!!!!
Why haven't I been to Target Field in Minneapolis?
I sincerely hope the Regina Red Sox can build off the momentum of their championship season when it comes to season ticket sales and sponsorship. A lot of Regina businesses have thrown some dough the Red Sox's way, but a lot of others haven't been exactly warm to the idea of it. I hope that have been lukewarm see what type of work Rob Cherepuschak, Bernie Eiswirth and Gary Brotzel are doing and get behind the team because they deserve it.
I am in 4 Fantasy Football Leagues this year. Why do I do this to myself?
US College Football starts Thursday night and the NFL season is now just a couple of heartbeats away. YESSSS!!!! Nothing against the CFL, but I love me my football and will watch it all if I get the chance.
How badly do you think the Yankees want to get rid of AJ Burnett?
How much of an impact has Brett Lawrie had on young Canadian baseball players. ESPN's introduction of the Canadian team (from Lawrie's home province of BC) at the Little League World Series asked each player for his favourite major leaguer and about half said Lawrie. Many others said Jose Bautista.
How much money does the Tim Hortons at Co-Operators Centre rake in once hockey season starts?
If you have read this blog, you know I've been in a CFL blogging contest. This is the last week and the more unique visits the better, here is a link to all four articles that I have posted. If you haven't already, take a look at them right here. Its gonna be close, but I may be able to win this thing and the first place $$$$ that goes with it, but some help would be appreciated.
The UFC is in Rio tonight. That should be wild!!
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rams-Bisons Preview

The University of Regina Rams open up the 2011 season on Saturday afternoon with a non-conference game against the Manitoba Bisons. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. MDT at Mosaic Stadium.

The Rams lose just four starters from last year’s squad that finished in third place in Canada West with a 5-3 conference record. Headlining the returners are first-team All-Canadians Adrian Charles and Jamir Walker, second-team All-Canadian Brenden Owens, and conference all-stars Chris Bodnar and Akiem Hicks. Also back is fifth-year quarterback Marc Mueller, who has led the conference in passing yards in each of the past two seasons.

Manitoba, a team which finished in fifth place in the Canada West standings in 2010 with a 2-6 mark, will be led by fifth-year defensive halfback Pete Adams. Adams, a conference all-star in both 2009 and 2010, broke up eight passes last season and was third on the Bisons with 37½ tackles. Also back for Manitoba is fourth-year quarterback Khaleal Williams and his three leading receivers from last year, including Stu Schollaardt, Quincy Hurst, and former Ram Jared Ralko.

Regina and Manitoba met twice in 2010 with the Rams emerging victorious in both contests. Regina took a 45-11 win over the Bisons in Regina on Sept. 3 and also took a 41-19 road win on Oct. 16 in a game that saw Charles scamper for 222 rushing yards, the third highest single-game rushing total in University of Regina history. The teams will also play each other two times during this year’s conference schedule, meeting on Sept. 30 at Mosaic Stadium and again on Oct. 29 in Winnipeg.

The Rams kick off the Canada West schedule at home next Friday against UBC, while Manitoba opens up at home against Calgary on Sept. 3.
Live statistics for the game will be available at the brand-new

Saturday’s game will mark the first non-conference affair for the Rams since Aug. 23, 2008, when they squared off with the Calgary Dinos in Medicine Hat, Alta.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Direction Do The Riders Head In Now?

Greg Marshall is gone as Riders head coach and Ken Miller is back. It begs questions as to what the present day might hold for this football team and more importantly, what the future is. I have attempted to answer that with some thoughts right here .

By the way, this posting is part of a blogging contest that I have been involved in through and its the last of a month long series. The winner of the contest is the one who gets the most unique visits. The other three postings can be found right here

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

As it stands right now, a guy from Hamilton is winning. We can't let that happen can we????

Celebrating Regina This Weekend

The city is staging "I Love Regina" day on Saturday at the Rider practice field( which by the way shouldn't be called that anymore seeing the Riders practice inside Mosaic Stadium). As you will see, there are plans for a busy afternoon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sidney Crosby Update

The Pittsburgh Penguins are updating everyone on Sidney Crosby's status tonight. I think we can start asking serious questions about whether or not Sid will be back.

Stamps Say Burris Is Innocent

From Canadian Press

The Calgary Stampeders vow to get to the bottom of a tweet that landed quarterback Henry Burris in hot water.
A message re-tweeted on Burris' Twitter account Tuesday contained content about oral sex.
The tweet was deleted and Burris later posted: "I got word some weird tweet was on my page! If anyone saw that, I don't know where that came from and I'd never tweet that! Apologies!"
Stampeders president Lyle Bauer and head coach John Hufnagel met with Burris about the tweet on Wednesday morning. While Bauer says Burris didn't have an explanation for how the message appeared on his account, Bauer was satisfied the player named the Canadian Football League's most outstanding player last season was not responsible for the crude post.

Bauer says the club will try to find out if Burris's Twitter account was hacked and if so, how.

"Henry denies making that tweet and we believe Henry," Bauer said. "Henry is a great ambassador for the football team, the community, as well as the CFL and we certainly owe him that consideration.

"We will be doing our own review of what was posted, how it was done etcetera and find out if we can get to the bottom of what and how. One thing I want to say is we take this very seriously."

It's not the first time Burris has been embarrassed on-line. Photos of him shirtless and wearing a bra while standing next to a woman also in a bra circulated last September. Burris said then wearing the bra was a birthday prank.
The 36-year-old is in his seventh season as Calgary's starting quarterback and led the club to a Grey Cup in 2008. Burris has almost 4,000 followers on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Its All On The Players Now

The Ken Miller era part two is about to start, but the Rider Nation still wants to talk about the Greg Marshall era and whether it not it should have ended. The debate was fast and furious on "The Sportscage" Tuesday. I think many believe Marshall's time was up and if they didn't believe it, they turned on the former Head Coach rather quickly after his comments on Saturday.

Whatever you want to believe, the message is now clear. The players, who for whatever reason, did not accept Marshall now have the guy back that they wanted. Ken Miller is back on the sidelines calling the shots and its now up to the players to turn this season around. If they don't, I would suggest a number of them will not be wearing green next season. Thanks to the ineptitude in the first half by the BC Lions, this team can still make the playoffs in the West. Is it too hard to fathom that the Riders finish 3rd and beat Edmonton in the West semi before taking on Calgary in the West final? With Miller at the helm, it could happen. Of course, it is still a distinct possibility that the team does nothing upon Kenny's return and if that is the case, the 2012 Riders will look a LOT different than the team that trudges off the field for the last time in 2011.

What record would you be happy with. If the team went 6-12, would it appease you after this start. 11-7 is a little unrealistic as that would mean 10 straight wins and I don't even think John Lynch thinks that will happen. I think 6-12 or 7-11 would be OK.
What has happened to Jordan Sisco? He had this tweet Tuesday night  So this cast has caused me to break my iPhone, can't play video games, can't clean my right arm and I can't play football. Did this happen during the bye week or during the Argos game?
The Pats and other WHL teams are getting ready to start training camp. Say what you will about the Pats, but the future is coming. I don't know if the team is good enough to be a playoff team this year, but you never know. They have a lot of youth coming through the ranks though with guys lead by Morgan Klimchuk. As I've said in the past, I think Chad Lang has the right idea, but patience is the key and I think Regina hockey fans have either run out or are slowly running out of it. Time will tell.
What will the NHL brass say if Sidney Crosby isn't ready to go for the start of the season? Could this injury be the end of Crosby? Will he ever be the same?
I was an Aaron Hill fan. I thought his time might be running out in Toronto though.
Congrats to Mayor Fiacco and city council for approving the plan that will eventually get Mosaic Stadium replaced and a new entertainment facility built. This is just further proof that Regina is the place to be in future years and that that future is extremely bright. I only see bigger and better things happening to the downtown area once ground is broken and that will be good news for everyone in the YQR.
Where would Regina be if it wasn't for someone like Fiacco? I've often wondered that.
Is there anything better than Vic Rauter doing Sportscentre. MAKE THE FINAL!!!!! How can you not love Vic!!
Are you ready for your little munchkin to start school again?
If you're a frustrated Rider fan, try being a Cubs fan!!!! That team frustrates me to no end and winning a World Series isn't even close to being just over the horizon. Its only been 100 plus years since they did that. ARRRRRRGHHHHHHH!!!!!
Who on earth watches Billy the Exterminator and if you do, why????
Former Global Regina sportscaster Dean Millard is now in Edmonton and he has a very successful junior hockey blog and radio show. Millard asks whether or not you would like to see the RBC champs go up against the USHL champs and if you would like to see the NCAA champs play the CIS champs. My answer----definitely!!!!!
That is all!

Future Stars On Display In Moose Jaw

I might have to check this out. Did I say might? I'm guessing this will be some outstanding hockey by players just looking to start their journey to what they hope will be greatness.

Top Canadian Honors For Getzlaf

Saskatchewan Roughrider receiver Chris Getzlaf has been named the CFL’s Gibson’s Finest Canadian Player of the Week.

Getzlaf had four catches for a season high 123 receiving yards and a touchdown in last Thursday’s game versus Toronto. The University of Regina product cut into the Argo’s lead early in the fourth quarter with a 70-yard touchdown reception.

So far this season, Getzlaf has recorded 22 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns.

Mullinder On The Move Again

Luc Mullinder is certainly getting around. After being traded to the Alouettes for receiver Dallas Baker, Mullinder has now signed a contract with the Ti-Cats after being released by Montreal. Sportsnet's Arash Madani says the deal is a two year one with an option. The Alouettes released Mullinder because his 90-thousand dollar salary would have been guaranteed after the ninth game of the year.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Doug Berry Speaks

Former Riders offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry has made his first public statements since being canned last week. He did not make the statements to a Regina reporter though. He made them to Winnipeg Sun reporter Paul Friesen. The story can be found right here

Fantuz Makes MNF

Andy Fantuz played for the Chicago Bears in their Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants. He saw very limited action, but he did make a catch just before the two minute warning in what was mop-up time for both teams.

When Fantuz doesn't get on the field until the final few moments of a one-sided game, it begs the question as to why are the Bears keeping him around. It seems as if they have no desire to keep him, so why not set him free where he can try his luck elsewhere. Andy's dreams of playing in the NFL have been nightmarish if you ask me. He can say he's made a catch in an NFL game, but its obvious the team has no plans for him and as the pre-season drags on, it means the regulars will see more and more time. I hope I'm wrong and that Andy does get a chance to showcase his talent in a game during a time when it means something, but I somehow think that the above pic is the only NFL catch Andy will make. 

Darian Speaks

Riders quarterback Darian Durant has made his first public statements since Friday's firing of Head Coach Greg Marshall and offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry. Thanks to Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post for providing this.

Your thoughts on what was said are more than welcome.

Swaggerville Isn't Happy With Riderville

It seems people in Winnipeg (at least this columnist) aren't happy with the fact Rider billboards are popping up around town and he wants to do something about it. I say bring it on!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Random Thoughts

A quiet Sunday morning with coffee in hand and thoughts to share. Here we go in no particular order.

--The early consensus is Greg Marshall did not come off well in his farewell address to the Rider Nation because he didn't take any responsibility for the team's start. Yes, that is true. Marshall is also upset because the team only gave him eight games. The question I have (and yes, its a question I should have asked and didn't) was how long did he think he should have. If this season had gone to 1-10, 2-12 would it have been OK then. I will admit I was surprised to see Marshall go, but I wasn't surprised to hear of Doug Berry's ouster. His fate was sealed as far as I'm concerned when the Riders went to the shotgun draw on 3rd and 1 in the Toronto game. They actually did it twice with the other one being successful if you remember.

--I will give Marshall credit for coming to Mosaic one last time to face the media. He certainly didn't have to. Yes, he did have a message to give, but he coukd have done that in a variety of ways. You don't hear from many coaches when they have been fired. They just wither away. Marshall didn't do that. Despite the swipes he took at the organization, it was a classy move in my mind. Hey Roy Shivers didn't do that. That reminds me...whoever posted the comment "Marshall is leaving bitter not better" almost made me spit out my Pepsi when I read that. That was hilarious. For those that don't remember, when Barrett left, he had a short statement and his final words were "I leave better, not bitter."

--Will we ever hear Doug Berry's thoughts? About the time that Marshall was probably heading over to Mosaic, I got a Tweet saying Berry had been seen at the North Regina Co-Op with the car packed ready to head home. I can not verify if this is true or not, but will we ever hear his thoughts on what happened and will he give us his true thoughts on his relationship with Darian Durant.

--Did anyone find it ironic that Jason Clermont tweeted "Happy Birthday" to Durant on Friday afternoon about a half hour after the word came down. I really do wonder what went through the Rider quarterbacks mind when he heard the news.

--Would all of this happened had it not been for the early season misery of the BC Lions. They are the only thing that have kept the Riders in the Western Division playoff race. If you get in, its a whole different story and I know those in Calgary are hoping they don't see the Riders come playoff time.

--For those wondering if Marshall might have stayed had Chris Getzlaf caught the ball in the endzone on the 2nd to last Rider offensive play Thursday night, the answer is NO. What happened would have happened.

--Cory Boyd and Mike O'Shea apparently got into a shoving match during the 4th quarter of the Rider-Argo game, but nothing has been heard of the incident since. Can you imagine that happening here if player and coach got into it with one another.

--What happened to "The Drink" nightclub? It looks like its closed its doors. Is it coming back as something else?

--I like Currie Field, but does Regina need a new baseball facility? There is nothing wrong with the field itself, but parking is an issue when a big crowd shows up and the dressing rooms aren't that great. Could Optimist Park be renovated somewhat to make it a two-thousand seat venue. Its just a question I have.

--The Canadian Midget Baseball Championships will wrap up in Regina today and there is a chance the Humboldt Dodgers--the Sask rep--could be playing in the final. That final goes at 5 at Optimist Park. I haven't been to as many games as I would have liked, but I have been to a couple and it has been some good ball. If you get a chance to check out the bronze or gold medal games today, do so. Chances are you won't be disappointed.

--I've never met Global's weekend anchor Rylee Carlson, but besides doing a fantastic job on the news Saturday and Sunday nights, I also found out she is an NFL fan--albeit a Vikings fan. How did I find this out? She trash-talked me on Twitter about the Seahawks new quarterback Tavaris Jackson. Alas, I really had no response after watching him perform against the Vikings in NFL exhibition play last night. If this is what the Seahawks offence is going to look like in 11, its going to be a long year. If it wasn't a running play, it was a screen pass or a rollout with a short toss to the tight end. SIGGHHHHHH!!!!

--The National Post's Mark Masters writes a great column today on depression in hockey. I strongly encourage you to read this if you have a moment.

--If you missed it, I am writing blog pieces for the sports betting site "Sports Interaction" in the month of August. The latest posting is about no yards. I want the rule to be abolished or changed. You can read that here.

--For those that don't like MMA, the fact that FOX has signed a seven year deal to show UFC fights in prime time on Saturday nights is another clear indicator that the sport has gone main-stream. Its very similar to NBC and the WWE coming to an agreement on "Saturday Night's Main Event". UFC isn't going away folks---not for a long time.

---Who is the first pick in an NFL Fantasy Football draft. Is it Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson or Arian Foster? The so-called "sexy" pick is usually ousted by another player who becomes the "sexy" pick next season. (ie: Foster ahead of Johnson last year).  This of course begs the question, who is the "sexy" pick in a Lingerie Football fantasy football draft and does the word "fantasy' have a different connotation for that draft.

--I would hope the WWE comes back to Saskatchewan in the next year, but I have my doubts.

--The NHL wants to change rules every summer, but they never ever want to address the equipment problem. If players don't skate out on the ice looking like football players, some of the problems in the game would be eradicated immediately.

--One last thing on Greg Marshall before leaving. Considering his first foray into the head coaching ranks and considering Richie Hall's failure in Edmonton, would you look at one of these two for an HC position when one opens up? And in the words of Stevie Baggs, please take emotion out of the equation because I know many are not Marshall and Hall fans. Both were good co-ordinators, but perhaps that step up to the top was too big of one for both men. Marshall and Hall would not be the only defensive minds in the offensive-oriented CFL to not succeed. Rich Stubler could be put in that category and so could Gary Etcheverry. With no disrespect to either man, I just think you have to have an offensive flair to be a CFL head coach these days.

Have a good day!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Marshall Says GoodBye and Lets Feelings Be Known

In what was a classy move, Greg Marshall faced the media to answer questions about what happened to him and what the future may hold. Marshall was thankful for the opportunity he was given, but as you will hear, he does not agree with what has happened.

Marshall Aug20 by mitchellblair

A Positive Andy Fantuz Report

Andy Fantuz hasn't been seeing many positives during his time at Chicago Bears camp, but he appears to be spending some time on the 2nd unit as evidenced by this report on

The Bears concluded their final full training camp practice Friday in Bourbonnais with a pair of successful two-minute drills that resulted in Robbie Gould field goals.
Operating the No. 1 offense, Jay Cutler completed two passes to Sam Hurd—the second of which required a leaping fourth-down catch—and one to Devin Hester to put the Bears in field goal range.
On the second-team’s first play, Caleb Hanie rainbowed a pass deep down the left sideline to a wide open Johnny Knox. But Knox dropped the ball—and then booted it in disgust. Hanie followed by connecting on two passes to Andy Fantuz and one to Dane Sanzenbacher to set up a field goal.

Hanie looked sharp again Friday, but he did throw his first interception in three practices when he was picked off by Corey Graham in a red-zone drill. Graham later broke up another Hanie pass.

Tight end Matt Spaeth, who’s known primarily for his blocking ability, provided another highlight by making a juggling catch over the middle for a touchdown.

The Bears play the Giants Monday Night on TSN. Will Andy see the field?

A Friday Night With The Stars Of The WWE

Being a long-time wrestling fan, I will not deny that I had August 19 circled on my calendar for quite a while. Since finding out the WWE was coming to town for the first time in a long time, there was no way I was going to miss this one and the fact that I had 4th row tickets made it even better.

Lets just say, I did not go  home disappointed.

Jack Swagger (do you think that guy would go over in Winnipeg) provided the laugh of the night. The heel approached a young fan that had a program saying he would gladly sign it for him. The  unsuspecting youngster excitedly handed Swagger the program. He thumbed through it looking for his picture and as he was about to sign threw the program away and continued on. LOVED IT!!!

Alberto Del Rio brought the WWE world championship belt to the Brandt Centre. I still can't believe the WWE has the strap around this guy, but whatever. Del Rio had his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez with him. I have often said I would love to have Rodriguez voice my own personal Sportscage Intro. Despite pleas from yours truly to get Brandt Centre officials to have him voice one for me, my wishes were denied. DAMN!!!!!!

Its not often that one of MAXIM Magazine's 100 hottest women in the world visits Regina, but it happened when WWE Divas champ Kelly Kelly hit town. Once again, pleas for a photo op with the blonde bombshell went unanswered, but as she made her way around the ring, there was a hand swipe with one another. Yes, I can say I have now touched the hands of two of MAXIM Magazine's 100 hottest women in the world as I managed that with Stacy Keibler a few years ago when the WWE pulled into town. Yeah. that's a career highlight. Because of that, this was the best pic I could get of her---it was a second too late.

For those in attendance, the highlight of the night was the arrival of the face of the WWE--the one and only John Cena. The guy does get a rise from the audience as he is loved by many and hated by many more. He didn't disappoint---either did CM Punk who may have gotten a bigger pop from the crowd in attendance.

All in all, good times. If you are in Saskatoon, enjoy them tonight and say hi to Kelly Kelly for me!!!

The Eskimos Bubble Has Burst

I knew it was going to happen and it has. The Edmonton Eskimos have hit the skids and we will now see just  how good of a coach Kavis Reed is as he tries to snap this team out of the rocky slide they are in. This team looks nothing like the team that started the season and all of a sudden Ricky Ray is finding out that he has the same problem Darian Durant has and that is his receiving talent has been watered down significantly.

BC is getting better, the Riders will be better and Calgary may have re-assumed itself as the best team in the West. The Riders have a lot of games left against Western Division opponents and the move to bring Ken Miller back as head coach will pay dividends.

Its going to be a wild 2nd half of the season folks. Sit back and enjoy!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

That Didn't Take Long- Marshall/Berry Out-Miller In

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have released head coach Greg Marshall and offensive coordinator Doug Berry from their contracts. Vice-President of Football Operations Ken Miller will take over the head coaching duties effective immediately.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make especially when dealing with such quality individuals like Greg and Doug,” stated Riders General Manager Brendan Taman. “As the season has progressed we have become increasingly concerned with the direction the club has been going. We are committed to winning this season and felt this was the best course of action to get the team back on track.”

Greg Marshall was hired as the Riders 28th head coach in modern history on January 5th, 2011. Doug Berry was hired as the team’s offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in February of 2008.

Ken Miller originally joined the Roughriders in 2007 as the team’s offensive coordinator. As head coach of the Riders from 2008-2010, Miller guided the team to three home playoff games and two consecutive Grey Cup appearances.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Does This Sum It Up?

In the wake of tonight's 24-18 loss by the Riders, I can only say we wait for this.

Get Rid of No-Yards

Its time for the CFL to get rid of the no-yards rule. An explanation as to why I feel that way can be found right here.

Changing The Nets

From the Canadian Press

NHL nets could look a little bit different this season.

After using a shallower model over two days at the research and development camp, league executive Brendan Shanahan indicated that the new nets will likely find their way into NHL arenas soon.

"I think that the shallow nets are something that I'd really like to try in at least an exhibition game and see how players react to it," Shanahan said Thursday.

The new design is 40 inches deep as opposed to the traditional 44 inches. It also features a clear plastic strip along the top and thinner mesh -- changes intended to make video review decisions easier.

Shanahan also liked a new "verification line" that runs three inches behind the goal-line and can be used in video review to help determine if a puck completely entered the net.

Since the changes being discussed won't impact the rulebook, the procedure for implementing them is still being ironed out. They'll likely be used during training camps and exhibition games before the hockey operations department makes a decision on whether they'll be used during the regular season.

"We're talking about the process and the steps that would go forward for that," said Shanahan.

The two coaches working the benches at the research and development camp are in favour of the new nets. Dave Tippett of the Phoenix Coyotes and Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins both liked the extra space the shallower frames created for defencemen behind the goal.

"It's a small variation," said Tippett. "What you're doing is giving players more space to play. I don't think it has a negative effect on the game whatsoever. It's only a positive."

Another change likely coming to NHL arenas is a piece of curved glass near the benches designed to protect players from the stanchion. Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty suffered a concussion last season after taking a hit from Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara and slamming in to one of those at the Bell Centre.

"The curved glass, I think there's a really good chance we're going to see that in NHL games this year," said Shanahan. "I think we all agree that the curved glass makes the playing environment safer for our players so we want to have it in the game."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rypien Condolence Book

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

Rick played three seasons with the Pats and was the Captain for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. His leadership and hard work both on and off the ice made him one of the most popular Pat players in recent history.

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

Rider Roster Changes

The team is making four roster changes from last week's game. The most notable is the fact Hugh Charles has been taken off meaning Brandon West will be the starting tailback with Stu Foord backing him up. Others off of the 46 man roster this week are Tamon George, Eddie Russ and the injured Remond Willis. Going on to the 46 are RJ Roberts, Elliott Richardson, Yvenson Bernard and Dallas Baker.

Fantuz Update---Not A Glowing One Either

Another less than stellar report on Andy Fantuz is coming out of Chicago. Here's the latest one from a guy who I don't think likes #83 or has much respect for the CFL.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Durant and Marshall Speak Before Heading To T-O

The Riders held an early practice this morning as they head out to Toronto this afternoon to make final preparations for Thursday's game at Rogers Centre against the Argos. Darian Durant and Greg Marshall were made available to media after practice and this is what they had to say...

DurantAug16 by mitchellblair

MarshallAug16 by mitchellblair

You will hear these on the Sportscage this afternoon as well as I will be sitting in seeing Rod is off to Toronto with the Riders. You will also hear from Regina Red Sox coach Rob Cherepuschak and GM Bernie Eiswirth as the team still celebrates its WMBL title. Reps from the Regina Mets baseball team will be in. The Mets are the host team for the Canadian Midget Baseball Championships that start in Regina later this week and Brent Parker will stop in as we remember the life of Rick Rypien. Talk to you then.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rick Rypien Is Dead

Details are still sketchy, but former Regina Pats captain and current Winnipeg Jet Rick Rypien has been found dead at his Alberta home. Here is the story from the Globe and Mail.  

The Winnipeg Jets issued this statement upon learning of Rick's death while the Vancouver Canucks issued this statement.

 Regina Pats GM Brent Parker issued this statement....

The entire Regina Pats Organization is deeply saddened to hear of the tragic news of the passing of former Regina Pats Captain Rick Rypien. Rick was a tremendous friend, teammate and role model during his time in Regina and he epitomized everything we want our young men to be as people and as players. We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Rypien family and all of his friends and teammates during this difficult time.”

On a personal note, Rick might have been the best captain the Pats have had in my time watching them. His heart, soul and desire was something else and it was that heart, soul and desire that got him to the NHL. Like others though, he had his demons and those demons have apparently won. RIP Rick.

Monday Rider Report

The clouds were ominous and the wasps were annoying. The Riders were back on the practice field in what is a short week for them as they leave for Toronto tomorrow afternoon and Thursday's game against the Argos.  Here's a brief rundown

--Wes Cates looks as if he won't play again and it looks like Hugh Charles may miss this one as well meaning Brandon West would get the start at tailback. Is Yvenson Bernard ready to back him up? If not, is Stu Foord the backup tailback. All of a sudden, the situation at running back is becoming as murky as the one at wide receiver.

--The team held a very brief players only meeting about a half hour before practice ended. It only lasted a couple of minutes and it happened right along the Rider bench. It looked like Darian Durant was in the middle of it, but I could not tell if he was the one who orchestrated the get-together or spoke.

--For what Greg Marshall had to say after practice........

MarshallAug15 by mitchellblair

Pats Hire Goaltending Coach

Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang is proud to announce the hiring of Rob Muntain as goalie coach.

Rob brings an extensive resume working with young goaltenders across Saskatchewan. With the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA), Rob put together the goaltending curriculum while he was the head goaltending consultant. Rob has also had a role with Hockey Canada in the development of young goaltenders not just in Saskatchewan, but across the country. Highlights include: Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Under 22 Development Camp and the National Goaltender’s Coaches Workshop. Rob is currently an officer in the Regina Police Service.

Prior to coaching, Rob played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and in the SJHL with the Kindersley Klippers and Melville Millionaires where he was a three time league All-Star and the SJHL’s Top Goaltender in the 1999-00 season. Rob then went on to play for the University of Regina getting named a Can West and CIS All-Canadian in 2003-04 as well as helping Team Canada win Bronze at the World University Games in 2003.

Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang, “We are very pleased to have Rob join our coaching staff. He has played at all levels, Junior, Pro and CIS and we feel his hockey experience along with his professional experience of being a police officer will be a huge asset not only to our goaltenders but our entire team.”

Pats goaltending coach Rob Muntain, “I am very excited to have the opportunity to not only work with the goaltenders, but with the rest of the Pats organization.”

Rob will join the Pats immediately and prepare for next week’s training camp.

Will Sid Be Ready For Start Of NHL Season?


The Pittsburgh Penguins don't believe superstar center Sidney Crosby experienced a setback in his offseason training despite a reoccurrence of post-concussion symptoms.

While Crosby reported such symptoms following vigorous workouts in his native Nova Scotia, Penguins general manager Ray Shero said Monday, "I think he has progressed really well this summer. He is happy with his progress."

Shero added: "He's pushed himself pretty hard, which is the good news. I think that's to be expected. (With) this injury, he's never had to get to the point where he's had to shut himself down or anything."

Shero did not say what the symptoms were, but Crosby was bothered by headaches after he absorbed hard hits in successive games Jan. 1 and Jan. 5 and again after he resumed working out last spring. Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer at the time he was hurt, missed the second half of the season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pittsburgh was knocked out by Tampa Bay in the first round, when Crosby was forced to stop practicing because of the headaches. He resumed working out after returning to his summer home in Halifax.

With the Penguins still a month away from the start of training camp and seven-plus weeks away from their Oct. 6 opener at Vancouver, Shero would not speculate when Crosby might be cleared for contact. Crosby, who turned 24 on Aug. 7, must gain such clearance before he can take part in full practices or play in a game.

During the weekend, a Twitter report said Crosby might not be ready for the opener. But Shero doesn't seem to believe that the highly-talented and highly-motivated Crosby, who broke into the League at age 18 in 2005 with great expectations and has fulfilled nearly all of them, has had a major setback.

He's happy with his progress," Shero said. "Training camp is a month away, so there's no expectation for me that he won't be ready or will be ready. … All in all, it's been a good summer for him getting back home and really getting back into his workout routine on and off the ice, so we'll see what next month brings us for training camp and, of course, Oct. 6 for the regular season."

Because their Stanley Cup-winning captain's offseason has gone well otherwise, the Penguins have no plans to ask him to shift his offseason work to Pittsburgh so he can be more closely monitored. They also did not detail any plans to send one of their trainers to Nova Scotia to check him out.

"The good news is he continues to work out and has worked out hard," Shero said. "When he went back (to Nova Scotia) he has a progression plan with his trainer, Andy O'Brien, which he's gone through."

Crosby routinely returns to Pittsburgh a week ahead of camp to skate with teammates. Until then, he remains cleared to train -- except for contact -- on and off the ice.

"His spirits are good," said Shero, who said he texts or phones the former NHL MVP regularly.

Shero emphasized again that the club's priority is to make sure that Crosby's career is not jeopardized.

"The thing for me and for the organization is the bigger picture with Sidney Crosby, making sure that he is 100 percent cleared and ready to play when he does come back," Shero said. "He's not going to be pushed to come back to practice to play."
Given Crosby's competitiveness, the Penguins understand they must be careful to make sure he doesn't return prematurely.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said there are contingency plans for the upcoming season that don't include certain players, but that such schemes are routinely made because of the possibility of injuries. In past seasons the Penguins have lost players, such as defenseman Sergei Gonchar, to significant injuries even before a season began.

Crosby was shaken up when he absorbed a blindside hit by the Capitals' David Steckel late in the second period of the Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Heinz Field. Crosby stayed in the game and did not report any concussion-like symptoms afterward.

He played again in the Penguins' next game, Jan. 5 against Tampa Bay, but left the ice after his head struck the boards following a hit by the Lightning's Victor Hedman. Crosby, who had a League-high 32 goals and 66 points in 41 games when he was hurt, hasn't played since.

Crosby resumed skating March 31. But he stopped working out about a week into the Penguins' seven-game loss to Tampa Bay when the symptoms surfaced again.

Since making his debut in the 2005-06 season, Crosby has 215 goals and 357 assists for 572 points in 412 career regular season games, winning the 2006-07 scoring title with 120 points. He missed two months of the 2007-08 season with a high-ankle sprain, but returned later that season to lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final. They won the Stanley Cup a season later.

"I want to make sure that a year from now, three years from now, five years from now, that he's still the best player in the League," Shero said. "(We'll) take the appropriate steps and go from there."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back In The YQR

After a weekend jaunt to Vermillion, Alberta, its back to Casa de Blair and the start of what will hopefully be a good week.

Just a few thoughts and Mitchservations if you will (with apologies to Pedersen and Vanstone)

--Why is gas 1.09 cents a litre in Lloydminster, yet its over 1.20 in Regina. That's just not right

--While my golf game still sucks, I may have (I stress may have) found out what's wrong.

--When driving home and tuning in to a Saskatoon radio station, I laugh when that station tells me that Brett Cecil will face Dan Haren in the series finale when the Jays play the Angels today even though the game has been over for over an hour and that the leader after three rounds of the PGA is Jason Dufner even though the final round is just about over. CMON!!!! Why don't you just give me last Thursday's forecast while you're at it.

--The B.C Lions are still making it possible for the Riders to make the playoffs. Can you imagine the uproar if the Riders got their game going in the 2nd half and finished with 6 or 7 wins and they beat Calgary or Edmonton in the West semi. How about if they got to the Grey Cup with that 6 or 7 win total. We wouldn't cry about it out here, but the CFL would shudder because the Commish knows they could win.

--Would you rather have Hugh Charles or Wes Cates as the Rider running back? Even though he missed a block on the Darian Durant first half fumble and dogged it a little on the Keon Raymond INT return, I'm starting to lean towards the Colorado product because of his speed to the outside.

--Speaking of Charles, it bothered me somewhat Friday that he did his backflip routine not once, not twice. but three times when the Riders were down. Just do what Weston Dressler did later in the game when he scored a TD with the final decision known...he just handed the ball to the referee and continued playing the game. I don't mind the backflip, I actually like it, but not when the team is getting it handed to them.

--After his play Friday night, Efrem Hill may have surpassed Efrem Zimbalist Junior as the most famous Efrem that I'm aware of. They may also be the only people in the world named Efrem.

--Congrats to Saskatchewan athletes coming home with medals from the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops. In all, Saskatchewan brought home 43 gold, 32 silver and 32 bronze from the two week event.

--Congrats to Team Saskatchewan for finishing 2nd at the Canada Cup of baseball. The Saskatchewan team beat the two time defending champs from BC in the semi-final before losing 3-2 to Ontario in the final.

--The 2011 Canadian Midget Baseball Championship will be played in Regina starting Thursday with the Regina Mets and Humboldt Dodgers representing Saskatchewan. Go check it out if you can. It should be some great baseball.

--The WWE will be here Friday night and barring a belt switch on RAW, it means Alberto Del Rio will walk into the Brandt Centre as the champ. Alberto Del Rio? Really!!! It will be Del Rio vs John Cena vs CM Punk in a Triple Threat match, but you know Del Rio will walk out of Regina with the strap.

--Did TSN's Jay Onrait actually win the 50/50 at the Jays game Saturday. He tweeted this, but with Onrait you just never know.

--It is great to turn on the NFL Network and see exhibition games.

--Is Sidney Crosby's head any better. If it was, would he be doing those stupid Sportchek commercials?

--I really wish I had seen the final two hours of the PGA on Sunday. It sounds like I missed a classic.

--The voice of the Regina Red Sox Adam Geiger put up a great video of the on-field celebration after the Red Sox beat Okotoks to win the WMBL Championship on Saturday night. He has put it on his Facebook page if you can find it.

--Speaking of videos, the video of the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last night is chilling. Why is it all these stage collapses happen when the act that is supposed to be playing isn't on stage. Someday it tragically will. I just hope that day isn't ever in Craven.

--I haven't seen a new Winnipeg Jets jersey at Jersey City or River City Sports. Do they have them or are they flying off the shelves? I have to wonder if they have them because I haven't seen many people in the #YQR wearing Jets stuff.

--If a genie granted me three wishes, my first wish would be that I had ten additional wishes if not more.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

WMBL Champions!!

The Regina Red Sox have won the Western Major Baseball Championship. The Red Sox beat the Okotoks Dawgs 7-4 in Game 4 of the best of 5 final to take the title. Congratulations to Gary Brotzel, Bernie Eiswirth, Rob Cherepuschak and those involved with the organization who have worked tireless hours over the years to make this team a success.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I'm at a loss for words. In my wildest dreams, I didn't think the Riders would be 1-6 this season. While the offence has had its problems, they put up 35 points on this night, but the defence allowed 45 and they looked bad in doing so.

So much I could say, but you can go right ahead. Let er rip!!!

Random Thoughts

Greetings from Vermillion, Alberta---the home of Olympic medallist Beckie Scott. I am here because of a family reunion on the wife's side. While that is fine, what a terrible weekend to do this when the Riders and the Red Sox are doing their thing at home. Oh well.

Here are some random thoughts

--Phil "The Thrill" Andrews will take my spot on the visiting sidelines tonight for reports during the CKRM broadcast. I can only wish that someone at CKRM has found Phil a gaudy yellow shirt for tonite's assignment.

--This is only the 2nd Riders regular season game I have missed in the last 10 years. The reason both times is family matters on the wife's side. Who ever organizes these events on the wife's side needs to start looking at the Rider schedule and home games.

--I just can't see this Riders football team losing four in a row at home. I just can't. That being said, Calgary seems to be on the top of their game. It will be an interesting nite at Mosaic.

--Why isn't this game being played in Calgary? The Stampeders were just in Regina and now the Riders will have to play twice in Calgary. The CFL's schedule-maker goofed on this one.

--The Eskimos bubble has burst

--Classy, classy move by Marc Trestman to send Rod Pedersen an autographed copy of his book. Trestman is as classy as they come, but the Alouettes still seem to have lost some of their class.

--My golf game sucks in Alberta too.

--Vermillion has a Boston Pizza, but it doesn't have a Walmart or Tim Hortons. Isn't it said that you're not really on the map if you don't have a Walmart or Timmies in your town. It also begs the question as to how the people of Vermillion can function on a daily basis if they don't have their daily diet of Tims. Do they go to Lloydminster?

--I hope I have seen my last Regina Red Sox game of the year. It killed me not to be at the ballpark the last two nights to watch the WMBL final and thanks to many good people and Twitter, I was able to keep up with what was happening. The 5th and deciding game is slated to go Sunday night at Currie Field at 705. If it goes 5, I will be there if all goes well. I hope it doesn't go 5. Gary Brotzel, Bernie Eiswirth and Rob Cherepuschak along with the players deserve every compliment thrown their way for what they have done with this team over the past few years.

--Congrats to Global's Heather Anderson and to the entire Global Regina news crew. Heather was named as the host of what will be Saskatchewan's first morning news show later this year. I couldn't think of a better choice. There's a lot of talent at Global right now and it shows. Global Regina also announced its signal is now in HD. I have been away so I don't know, but when I go home and turn it onto Channel 5 (Access) will it be in HD or is it in the 500's like all the other HD's. I guess I'll find out when I get back to the YQR.

-- I think we have seen the last of the great Tiger Woods. I just don't think he will ever be the dominant player that he used to be. There's no sign that he can do what he did on a week-to-week basis anymore--at least not right now.

--Break up the Seahawks. They won their exhibition opener against San Diego. I sadly believe Seahawks wins will be few and far between this year.

--I think Rider fans should move on when it comes to Henry Burris, but many of you seemingly feel otherwise. Hey, I understand that, but if you going to throw your wrath at Burris on game-day, then its only right that you throw it at Ricky Ray, Travis Lulay, Kevin Glenn, Anthony Calvillo, Buck Pierce and Cleo Lemon with the same ferocity.

--This whole Blue Jays-stealing signs story is simply ridiculous. How does one explain the fact that Toronto has one of the worst home records in the majors. The man in the white shirt is becoming like the shooter on the grassy knoll. I love the comment from JP Arencibia when asked about this controversy and  he said the guy is now one of those doing the walk from the CN Tower. The Blue Jays marketing group should really get on this.

--Mosaic has jumped on and given a corporate name to the MJ Multiplex. I guess the "Temple of Remple" will have to wait for something else. The new home of the Warriors will be called "Mosaic Place". Does this mean the Multiplex can be referred to as "The Mine"?

--That's all I got. GO RIDERS!!!  Hey Phil, I'll be looking for you on the sidelines tonight. I would suggest sending other CKRM newsie Kali Bourhis over to do your work and then have a chat with the Calgary quarterback after. It would be Bourhis with Burris. Yeah, that was weak---so its time to go. Have a good Friday and hopefully the Riders send you into having a good weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One Win Away

The Regina Red Sox are one game away from being WMBL champs. Tony Crudo's three run homer in the first inning was the big play of the game as Regina beat Okotoks 3-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the best of 5. Game 3 is Friday in Okotoks with Game 4 going Saturday if needed. If a 5th game is needed, it goes back in Regina on Sunday night.

Lets Move On!

I've said it once and I'll say it again. I think its time for the Henry Burris hate in Riderville to end. Why do I feel this way. This will tell you! Agree or disagree?

Another Sellout

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to announce their home game on Friday August 12th versus Calgary has reached its capacity of 30,048.

This announcement marks the 15th straight regular season sell-out at Mosaic Stadium dating back to 2009.

Rider Roster Changes

Just two changes for the Riders on the 46 man roster for tomorrow's home encounter against Calgary. One caused by injury, one caused by trade. Luc Mullinder and Wes Cates are off with the replacements being defensive backs John Eubanks and Eddie Russ.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Red Sox Take Game 1

A record crowd of over 1200 people packed Currie Field Wednesday night to watch the Regina Red Sox stage a late rally and beat Okotoks 8-5 in Game 1 of the best of 5 WMBL final. Game 2 will go Thursday night at Currie Field.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Former Jays On Their Way To Regina

I believe this basically says it all.

Riders Make Barnes/Bernard Signing Official

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced they have signed import receiver Freddie Barnes and import running back Yvenson Bernard to the practice roster. Financial details of the signings were not released.

Barnes (6’0 – 215 lbs) signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2010 where he spent a portion of the season on their practice roster. The Bowling Green product holds the NCAA single season reception record with 155 (1,770 yards) in 2009. He also broke Randy Moss’s single season Mid-American Conference yardage record.

Bernard (5’9 – 196 lbs) spent two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before signing this past off-season with the Montreal Alouettes. The 25-year-old spent the first portion of the season on the Als injured list before being just recently released. In his two seasons in Winnipeg, the Oregon State product played in 17 games and tallied 58 carries for 358 yards and one touchdown.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders also announced that non-import receiver Obed Cetoute has been released from the roster.

23 Years Ago.

August 9, 1988. The day that I realized sports was much more than a game. The day it hit me smack in the face. The day Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. It was also a day that made the NHL what it is today and what has made the US a hockey power.

I never, ever thought that someone of Wayne's talent and ilk would get traded. Who would trade the best hockey player ever? Peter Pocklington, that's who.

I remember where I was when I first heard the news, and I remember where I was when I saw that press conference in Edmonton. I imagine many of you do as well. Its one of those memories that are burned into your mind.

I often wonder where the NHL would be if hadn't been for this day 23 years ago. Would the NHL exist in places like San Jose, Anaheim, Nashville, Tampa, etc. etc. Would the NHL have left Winnipeg and Quebec City? I also look at how the game got a tremendous boost south of the 49th from Wayne's presence. It sparked many kids in a country where hockey wasn't thought of as a mainstream sport to start playing the game. Those kids that started the playing the game got pretty good when they were 18 or 19 and as a result, Canada has a new rival on the junior stage and on the pro stage.

I'm sure to this day there are things about what happened 23 years ago and the days leading up to it that we still don't know about. Books have been written, TV shows have been made, but I'm guessing there are still a lot of stories out there that haven't been told.

What are your thoughts on August 9, 1988?

Monday, August 8, 2011

WMBL Final Set

It will be the Okotoks Dawgs and the Regina Red Sox in the WMBL Championship series. The best of 5 will start Wednesday at Currie Field with Game 2 going Thursday night. The series will then switch to Okotoks for games Friday and Saturday with a 5th game if needed happening Sunday night at Currie Field. All games in Regina start at 7:05.

Darian Opens Up

The frustrations of this season are wearing on everyone in Riderville. After practice today, Riders quarterback Darian Durant admitted his frustrations with what is happening. It was an honest Durant and a rather candid Durant which I think says something about the individual himself. As you will hear, he said nothing inflammatory and that is was a good old-fashioned venting session.

DurantAug8 by mitchellblair

Greg Marshall also discussed the relationship between Berry and Durant today during his scrum along with addressing the Luc Mullinder trade and the arrival of a new receiver--Freddie Barnes from Bowling Green who has the NCAA record for most catches in a season.

MarshallAug8 by mitchellblair

Mullinder Goes To Montreal

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired import receiver Dallas Baker from the Montreal Alouettes. In exchange non-import defensive end Luc Mullinder has been sent to the Alouettes.
Baker (6’3” – 210 lbs) joined the CFL when he signed as a free agent with the Alouettes in April. So far this season the 28-year-old has three receptions for 29 yards.

The Florida product was originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was later released by the Steelers in 2009. After that, Baker went on to play the 2010 season with the AFL’s Jacksonville Sharks.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Minions Have Invaded

Those are the newest additions to Casa de Blair. If you have kids and you have watched the movie "Despicable Me", you would know that these are minions. If you have kids and you went to the Queen City Ex, you may have some at your house too. Minions were one of many "must have" stuffys (stufffed animals) at the QCE this year and my seven year old daughter Annika couldn't get her hands on just one of them----no she needed two. While the day at the fair cost Mommy, Daddy and Grandma a fair chunk of change, it surprisingly didn't cost a lot to win these two little suckers and three other things that you could likely get at Dollarama.

We hit the fairgrounds at 1130 this morning and it was well after 8 when it was time to come home, but Annika didn't really want to even though the feet of all three of her companions were barking loudly and likely will into tomorrow as well. However, as a parent, you realize that the Queen City Ex is one of those necessary sacrifices that have to be made and the joy on your childs face once the day is over makes it somewhat tolerable.

I'm not the fair lover that I used to be, but I do commend everyone at Evraz Place for putting on a great show. I love the fact that Kiddieland is over by the Co-Operators Centre and I love the fact that the Co-Operators Centre allows for some more things to take place. From what I understand, there have been record crowds this week and I can understand why as once again there was something for everyone to do.

While I'm not the fair lover I used to be, I will never stop being a people watcher. It truly does amaze me as to what does walk up and down the midway. I'll just leave it that because I think you know exactly where I am coming from.
As I looked at the drop of doom ride on the midway, I couldn't help but think of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. One minute they are sitting at the top of the CFL mountain and without warning, they plummet to the earth quite quickly. The Rider Nation is still seething over what happened Friday in B-C and they should be mad. The effort was one that just wasn't up to the standards that have been set by this organization. The offence is in a mess and defensively, guys like Freeman and Shologan are playing their tail off, but they can't stop everything as was evidenced on the Empire Field turf. Is this really the team that has been to the Grey Cup three of the last four years. I know the front office isn't enamoured with what is going on and Jim Hopson did speak on Saturday when the team came back from the airport. It sounds to me as if Friday's game against Calgary could be one that either sets this team up for what could be a good 2nd half of the season or it sets them up for that rebuilding phase with many, many individuals (players and coaches) in that could be looking for work stage. Alas, I won't be around this week due to the fact that I have to go to Alberta for a family reunion, but I will be watching Friday Night Football to see if the woes continue or not. I even wonder if a win will cure all. Right now, I don't think that's the case.
Some are wondering if Andy Fantuz is the cure-all for the Riders. Having number 83 back in town would not hurt the Rider cause, but he won't be around for a while yet. It does seem as if he is going to have a tough team cracking the Bears lineup and that is good. However, Andy can still market himself for 10 days after being released if it happens so we'll see. What's funny is that everyone has seemingly forgotten about John Chick. I don't expect Chick back in Saskatchewan and maybe everyone else doesn't either and that's why he isn't being talked about the way Fantuz is. I do ask this. If Chick comes back, it will be for good sized coin. Fantuz will return to good sized coin. Does that mean a veteran making some good sized coin is let go. If so, who is it?
The PGA championship goes next weekend in Atlanta. If the PGA has any marketing sense whatsoever, it needs to have Adam Scott and Tiger Woods paired together for the first 36 holes. Did anyone see Tiger's former caddie Steve Williams go off on Tiger after Scott had won this week's stop in Ohio. It was Williams who got more press than Scott as Stevie answered question after question after question and most of it wasn't too favourable when it came to his former employer. Can you imagine the tension that would be on the course if these two were paired together? It would make for great TV? How about if the two were paired on Sunday? That could be the highlight moment of the year if Scott and Woods were battling for the title with Stevie in the middle.
I've bought into the Brett Lawrie hype. I think the BC native is going to be a great major leaguer and that he could put up some huge numbers for the Blue Jays. He gave us a glimpse this weekend of what type of player he could be at the plate. There was talk this week that Toronto may have talked to Cincinnati about a trade involving Canadian Joey Votto (one that would have seen Jose Bautista go to the Reds), I don't know how serious those trade talks were, but if I were Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, I would kick the tires of Justin Morneau and see what it might cost to get him out of Minnesota. Morneau hasn't been the same since suffering a concussion over a year ago in Toronto. If there is still some game left, having two good BC boys at first and third would help the Jays in a variety of ways.
That's all I got. It was a long day and its time for some much needed sleep. Have a good one!