Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ti-Cats Fire Bellefeuille


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced today that Marcel Bellefeuille has been relieved of his duties as head coach.

“We would like to thank Coach Bellefeuille for his efforts during his time with our organization. He represented the Tiger-Cats with pride and passion, and has left the organization in a much better place than when he started with us. However, we feel this move is necessary in order to reach our ultimate goal of winning a Grey Cup,” said General Manager Bob O’Billovich.

Bellefeuille has served as head coach of the Ticats since September 8, 2008 after originally joining the team as offensive coordinator in December of 2007.


So now I have to ask the question. Is Marcel in the mix for the Riders head job?

Cougar Action This Weekend

Home Events

Women's Hockey – vs. Saskatchewan, Thursday (7:00 p.m.) at Brandt Centre

Track & Field – at Friendship Games, Saturday (2:00 to 7:00 p.m.) at Regina Fieldhouse

Away Events

Women's Volleyball – at Winnipeg, Friday (6:00 p.m.) in Winnipeg, Man.

Men's Hockey – at Saskatchewan, Friday (7:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.

Men's Volleyball – at Winnipeg, Friday (7:30 p.m.) in Winnipeg, Man.

Men's Wrestling – at Dragon Open, Saturday in Moorhead, Minn.

Women's Hockey – at Saskatchewan, Saturday (2:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.

Men's Volleyball – at Winnipeg, Saturday (6:00 p.m.) in Winnipeg, Man.

Men's Hockey – at Saskatchewan, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.

Women's Volleyball – at Winnipeg, Saturday (7:30 p.m.) in Winnipeg, Man.

GC 100 Tickets Getting Snapped Up

Canadian football fans have wasted little time getting their hands on tickets to the 100th Grey Cup championship, which will be held in Toronto next November.
Toronto's 100th Grey Cup Festival Committee offered an exclusive 100-hour nationwide general public access window to tickets, and more than 10,000 were locked up. Dedicated fans were able to place a $50 deposit per ticket, guaranteeing their place at this once-in-a-lifetime cultural and sporting event.

Toronto organizers said once the 100-hour window closes, no further tickets will be released until June of next year.

Fans can log onto and place a deposit on up to eight tickets during the 100 hour period, which takes place from Monday at 10am et/7am pt until Friday at 2pm et/11am pt.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rider Coach Search Update

Sportsnet's Arash Madani, who can also be heard on 620 CKRM's Sportscage twice a week, is all over the Riders coaching search. Madani is reporting this morning that Hamilton defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin, who is a favourite for the job, was interviewed on Monday and that the interview went well. Madani also reports Winnipeg defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke and BC defensive co-ordinator Mike Benavides are also scheduled to be interviewed in the next few days. It is not known exactly how many people have been interviewed by Riders GM Brendan Taman.

I'm sure Arash will have more info today when he sits in with Rod on the Cage from 5-7.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weal Gets Snubbed

Regina Pats forward Jordan Weal will not be going to the Canadian junior camp. The WHL released what players will be going to the camp next month in Calgary. Here is that list.

Score Made GC99 Closer Than It Was

I knew the BC Lions would win the 99th Grey Cup and I knew it would be a dominant victory. The final score only made it look better for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers because they were soundly beaten in every area of the game yesterday.

The Lions put the pressure on Winnipeg right from the opening kickoff when Tim Brown returned it out near the 50 giving BC good field possession to start off the game. With Winnipeg unable to move the ball, the field position just got better and better for the Lions and once they got that big lead, I knew they weren't giving it up.

Just some thoughts on the 99th GC...

--I don't know if Travis Lulay should have been the MVP. I might have gone with Harris or Arland Bruce.
--Why doesn't Wally Buono ever get a gatorade shower? Some people tweeted me after the game that its because of a medical condition. I have never heard about this. I guess it would explain it though.
--I laughed when Alex Suber mocked the Arland Bruce touchdown pose, but I knew Bruce would have the last laugh.
--I'm not the biggest Nickleback fan, but they aced the halftime show. That's the best halftime show I've seen at the Grey Cup in years. I know there are a lot of Nickleback haters out there and I understand that, but you would love to trade places with them yesterday or many other days I'm guessing.
--Chris Cuthbert, Glen Suitor, Sara Orlesky and Farhan Lalji along with everyone else at TSN should be commended for once again bringing Canadians a first rate broadcast. TSN just knows how to get it done. I know Sara recently got the gig to work with the Jets and be the Winnipeg reporter, but I have to wonder if those at ESPN have noticed her work. She has come a long ways since her days at the Score and I would have to think she will make the move south at some point if she wants to.
--Why isn't anyone criticizing Buck Pierce for his game yesterday. I thought he was horrible.
--Did anyone see Roy Shivers talking to Wally after the game. Shiv is still Shiv and yes, pimpin ain't easy!!! WOW!!!

Just some other thoughts on the weekend

--I'm glad the GC wasn't played in Calgary because of those high winds that ripped through the city. Who's kidding who, the game wouldn't have been played.
--I still laugh at the Angelo Mosca-Joe Kapp fight on Friday that I think was first brought to everyone's attention on "The Sportscage". If you haven't seen video of the fight, its right here. Who's kdding who, that might be the story of the 99th Grey Cup.
--Good for Global TV"s Derek Meyers to do a live hit from BC Place early Monday morning on the 1st ever Global Regina morning show. I knew Heather Anderson, Rustie Dean and Scott McLean (along with those behind the cameras) would knock one out of the park on day one and they did. That isn't a condemnation of the CTV Regina morning show which is also very good, but Heather is extremely talented if you ask me and can go as far as she wants to.
--I think its pretty low of the Argos to announce the Scott Milanovich hiring before the ink on the Grey Cup headlines are dry. I guess that team needs to do some marketing a-s-a-p to get people interested, but couldn't they have waited a couple of days. The question I have is how much longer until the Henry Burris to Toronto trade is announced.
--If you didn't see Friday's Vanier Cup, you missed a beauty. If MacMaster quarterback Kyle Quinlan doesn't get an invite to a CFL training camp, there is something wrong. That game was better than the Grey Cup and better than a lot of football games I have seen in a long time. It was a great showcase for Canadian University football and just how good it is. It even had Lee Jones on the sidelines so that just tells you right there how good it was.
--TEEEEEEE-BOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!! How does this guy keep doing it?
--The Seahawks just frustrate me to no end. You can have your Riders and I understand that, but the Seahawks are the team that I can sit and pick apart as a fan every week (albeit I don't post under some stupid name on the Rider fan boards. I'll leave that for intelligent roofers. Losing to Washington at home-----GRRRRRRRR!!!
--Stevie Johnson's mocking of Plaxico Burress should get him a suspension. That wasn't called for. Perhaps Johnson should concentrate more on catching the football than his TD celebrations as he dropped two big balls at the end of the Bills-Jets game.
---I was in Shaunavon on the weekend so I didn't get to watch the first half of NFL games. I listened to Paul Allen do the Vikings-Falcons game on 710 Bismarck. I have never heard PA do a whole game until yesterday. I liked him before, I love him now. His style is unique.
--I didn't take the satellite radio with me to Shaunavon, but I listened to the Eagle in Swift Current quite a bit. Lets just say I'm glad I didn't take the satellite radio. They were playing some great tunes---especially Sunday morning.
--Bruce Boudreau will find work with another NHL team before Paul Maurice does. I'm really surprised to see Boudreau get axed, but its obvious there was something wrong between him and Alex Ovechkin and in that battle, the player wins.
--Sidney Crosby should have been suspended one game for his elbow on Marcus Foligno. Others would get that. It would send a definite message if Brendan Shanahan suspended the game's best player.
--Speaking of Sid, a buddy of mine in Vegas says you can bet 100 dollars on Crosby winning the NHL scoring race and get 700 back if it happens. That's tempting.
--How many of you washed your car this weekend?
--How many of you are checking to see how much windshield wiper fluid you have left and if you have to buy more?
--How many of you are making sure you spread some salt or something out because of icy spots on the driveway or sidewalk?
--Maybe talk to you on the Cage today. It depends on Pedersen's flight plans and if everything is running on time. Yes, we will talk about the firings of Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice because that is what everyone's talking about, right? If you want to talk about that little ol game yesterday we can do that too. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

GC99 Won't Be Close

At this time tomorrow, the B.C. Lions will be celebrating a Grey Cup triumph. I can't see the Lions losing to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in tomorrow's CFL championship game and I can't see this game being close.

The Lions are better just about everywhere. They have the better quarterback, they have the better receivers, they have the better defensive line, they have the better secondary and they have better special teams.

Take nothing away from Paul Lapolice's team and take nothing away from Lapolice himself for turning a 4 win season last year to a Grey Cup appearance this year, but I just don't think Winnipeg has the horses. If they are to win this game, Buck Pierce will not only have to stay healthy, but play the game of his life. He certainly has the ability to do it on the game's biggest stage, but I don't see it happening.

Final score BC 36 Winnipeg 16
I guess we can scratch Scott Milanovich's name off the list of who the new Riders head coach will be. Milanovich is joining the Argos where he will have the title of assistant head coach. Interesting!
Organizers of the Vanier Cup have to be smiling from ear-to-ear after Friday's overtime thriller. That game had everything and it was very enjoyable to watch. Chances are that will be the best football game played at BC Place this weekend.
Week 12 NFL Lock of the Week --_Seahawks over Redskins
Week 12 NFL Upset Of The Week -- Eagles over Patriots.
Enjoy the Grey Cup!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds

So there I am listening to Rod Pedersen doing the Sportscage on Friday and he says Carm Carteri can't join him for a very good reason. That reason being CFL hall of famers Angelo Mosca and Joe Kapp got into a fight during a legends luncheon and that Carm was part of the crew that broke everything up.

Moments later, we received a play-by-play of what went down from famous Vancouver radio personality "Brother Jake"

Kapp is still sour over an incident in the 1963 Grey Cup when the Hamilton defensive lineman took out BC running back Willie Fleming with a cheap shot. The Ti-Cats won the game, but the Lions felt they would have had Fleming been able to play. Kapp was also upset with what he felt was a cheap shot to him during that game as well.

Two 70-some hall of famers going at it. You gotta laugh and you gotta love the CFL.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This And That

--I love US Thanksgiving. How many of you took the day off to sit back and watch one NFL game after another?

--I'm starting to think the only thing that will beat the Green Bay Packers is the Green Bay Packers

--Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndomakang Suh is a good football player, but he is a terrible liar and he is an idiot. Perhaps the league needs to suspend Mr. Suh for a couple of games after he stomped on a Packers offensive lineman for no reason on Thursday. The guy just doesn't get it.

--I hate the Cowboys and Tony Romo. That team isn't as good as they think they are and neither is their quarterback. However, I will admit that if Romo was in a place like Jacksonville, Cincy, Tampa or wherever and not quarterbacking "America's Team" that he wouldn't get the publicity. The same can be said for Mark Sanchez. The two are just very ordinary quarterbacks who play in a place where the spotlight shines bright.

--Yes I am biased, but Jerrell Freeman was robbed. The Riders linebacker should have been named the CFL's top defensive player. I saw and noticed Freeman in every game this year. I didn't see and notice Johnson in every Bombers game. I guess the bottom line is you can't have a guy as the top defensive player on a team that won just five times.

--I wasn't surprised to see Travis Lulay win the MOP. The question I have now is when he wins his 2nd, will he do it before Drew Tate or Darian Durant. Yes, I still think DD has what it takes to be the league's best.

--I don't have the Nickleback hate that a lot of people do, but I would much rather see them at half-time than the combo in Dallas of Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull. Who the h-e double hockeysticks is Pitbull anyhoo? He looked more like a mutt.

--Dear weather gods, can I request weather like what we have had in Regina and what we will have over the next couple of days in two years time. It would be perfect to have weather like this for Grey Cup week.

--I was Robservated this week. Yes, a tear did run down my cheek.

--I hate to say it, but the Leafs have to be the biggest surprise of the first quarter of the NHL season. I would have to think Columbus is the biggest disappointment, but Calgary has to be right there too and Vancouver is in the mix too.

--The Conference Board of Canada suggested several cities could be home for a CFL expansion team, but Saskatoon wasn't on that list. I don't think Saskatchewan could support two CFL teams so I would have to be in the no camp as well, but that isn't a slam on Saskatoon. It would be hard to share the corporate dollar between two teams and attendance would be a question too. While Saskatchewan is growing, we have a long ways to go yet when it comes to population to support a pair of teams.

--The west coast trip isn't going the way the Pats wanted it to. It seems as if this trip has just killed the hockey team over the past few years. Hopefully, Pat Conacher can get it turned around. As the team starts to drop in the standings though, one wonders how hot the trade talk is surrounding Jordan Weal. I'm guessing he will be seen as a very valuable commodity if he gets an invite to the World Junior camp.

--Does anyone remember Captain Scott's Fish and Chips in Regina. You got your order take-out (and what an order it was) wrapped in brown paper. I don't know why, but I had a craving for that the other night. Is there any good place in Regina for fish and chips?

--The BCS bowl system is something that is highly flawed, so I would love nothing more than to see Arkansas beat LSU tomorrow to throw the system into a state of chaos.

--You're only young once. After that, you need some other excuse for acting like a complete jackass.

Freeman Loses

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson has been named the CFL's top defensive player in 2011. Johnson received 37 of a possible 62 votes to defeat Riders linebacker Jerrell Freeman in the final balloting for the award which was announced Thursday night in Vancouver.

CFLPA All Star Team

The CFL Players Association released its all-star team today. This is the team voted on by the players and not the media so you will notice a difference like at quarterback where Anthony Calvillo gets the nod instead of Travis Lulay. Here's the list

TSN And CFL To Create Some Documentaries

TSN, official broadcaster of the CFL, announced today the network has commissioned a series of original documentaries to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup. Approximately six to eight television documentaries of various lengths are being created for TSN in advance of the 100th edition of the CFL’s championship game. The 100th Grey Cup will be played next November in Toronto and broadcast on TSN.

Bell Media’s Independent Production team has already begun development with several producers and filmmakers to tell Grey Cup-themed stories that capture the cultural significance of the annual celebration to Canadians.

“The Grey Cup is one of those rare events that transcends sports and has become an important part of our cultural fabric. Through political crises, national celebrations, world wars and a country’s coming of age, the Grey Cup has become an intrinsic part of our national identity,” said Shawn Redmond, Vice-President of Programming, TSN. “We are looking forward to bringing Canadians Grey Cup stories that showcase some of the memorable and historic moments that surround the game and make it such an important part of our national culture.”

“Nothing is more Canadian than the Grey Cup and Bell Media is thrilled to be working with Canadian producers in telling the fascinating stories that have surrounded the game over the past century,” said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. “Canadian football provides a wonderful backdrop for storytelling that is sure to resonate with all viewers.”

In advance of the 99th GREY CUP, TSN has also created the original 30-minute documentary JOHN CANDY: TRUE DOUBLE BLUE, about beloved Canadian movie star and former part-owner of the Toronto Argonauts, John Candy, and his life-long passion for the CFL and the Argos. The original TSN production premieres Friday, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on TSN (encores on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1:15 p.m. ET on TSN and on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 12:30 p.m. ET on CTV – visit to confirm local broadcast times).

Cougars Action This Weekend

Home Events

Women's Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Friday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS

Men's Hockey – vs. Alberta, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre

Men's Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Friday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS

Track & Field – Intrasquad Meet, Saturday (12:00 to 3:00 p.m.) at CKHS

Track & Field – Intrasquad Meet, Saturday (3:30 to 6:30 p.m.) at Regina Fieldhouse

Men's Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Saturday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS

Men's Hockey – vs. Alberta, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre

Women's Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Saturday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS

Away Events

Women's Basketball – at UBC Okanagan, Friday (6:00 p.m. PST) in Kelowna, B.C.

Women's Hockey – at Alberta, Friday (7:00 p.m. MST) in Edmonton, Alta.

Men's Basketball – at UBC Okanagan, Friday (8:00 p.m. PST) in Kelowna, B.C.

Swimming – at Canada Cup, Friday to Sunday in Toronto, Ont.

Men's and Women's Wrestling – at Huskie Open, Saturday in Saskatoon, Sask.

Women's Basketball – at Thompson Rivers, Saturday (5:00 p.m. PST) in Kamloops, B.C.

Women's Hockey – at Alberta, Saturday (7:00 p.m. MST) in Edmonton, Alta.

Men's Basketball – at Thompson Rivers, Saturday (5:00 p.m. PST) in Kamloops, B.C.

Men's Hockey – Russ Nielsen's double-overtime goal on Saturday gave the Cougars (4-7-1) a 3-2 win and a road split with Lethbridge, as the Pronghorns took Friday's contest by a 5-2 margin. The Cougars play their final two home games of the first half of the schedule this weekend, as they'll host No. 5-ranked Alberta (8-2-2) on Friday and Saturday night at The Co-operators Centre. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. on both nights.

Men's Volleyball – The Cougars (3-5) were defeated twice by the No. 1-ranked team in the CIS last weekend, losing in straight sets to Trinity Western on Friday and in four sets to the Spartans on Saturday. The team returns home this weekend to host No. 8-ranked Brandon (2-6) at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport with first serve scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday night and 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Women's Volleyball – Trinity Western took a pair of matches from the Cougars over the weekend, defeating the U of R in four sets on Friday night and in straight sets on Saturday. The Cougars are back in the friendly confines of the CKHS this weekend, as they'll host Brandon (2-6) in a pair of critical Canada West matches.

Men's and Women's Track & Field – The Cougars kick off the 2011-12 campaign this weekend with their annual Intrasquad Meet, which will go off in two locations on Saturday. The 60-metre dash, 300-metre dash, long jump, and triple jump will run from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the CKHS, with the shot put, weight throw, and high jump scheduled to go from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Regina Fieldhouse.

Women's Basketball (CIS Ranking: No. 1) – The Cougars (5-0) scored a pair of home wins over previously unbeaten Calgary over the weekend, winning 69-54 on Friday and 84-67 on Saturday. Lindsay Ledingham was named the Canada West Female Athlete of the Week after a big 22-point, 11-rebound double-double on Friday and a 15-point, eight-rebound performance on Saturday. The Cougars are on the road this weekend for games at UBC Okanagan (0-4) and Thompson Rivers (2-4).

Men's Basketball – The Cougars improved their Canada West record to 2-3 after a home sweep over Calgary despite facing significant deficits in both games. They erased a 14-point Dinos lead in an 83-74 win on Friday and came back from 13 points down in a 93-91 double-overtime win on Saturday. The Cougars are back in action this weekend with games at UBC Okanagan (0-4) and Thompson Rivers (2-4).

Women's Hockey – The Cougars (4-6-0) recorded a home split with Lethbridge at The Co-operators Centre over the weekend, winning 3-1 on Friday but being shut out 4-0 by the Pronghorns on Saturday. Brooklyn Moskowy, Paige Wheeler, and Rianne Wight all scored in Friday's win for the Cougars, who hit the road this Friday and Saturday for a pair of games at Alberta (4-1-5).

Men's and Women's Swimming – Hector Fukushi became the third U of R men's swimmer to hit a Canada West standard after recording a third-place finish in the 200-metre freestyle at the Meggitt Training Systems Invitational in Medicine Hat (2:01.07). On the women's side, Kimberly McWhirter's time of 9:52.50 in the 800-metre freestyle gave the rookie swimmer her fifth conference standard of the young 2011-12 season. Chris Myers and Jessica Winter will represent the U of R next weekend at the Canada Cup in Toronto, which runs Friday through Sunday.

Men's and Women's Wrestling – Both of the U of R's wrestling teams return to the mat this weekend at the Huskie Open in Saskatoon. This weekend marks the final event of the first half of the schedule for the women's team, while the men's team has a dual against Minot State and an open tournament in Moorhead, Minn. on the schedule for Dec. 1 and Dec. 3.

Your Refs For GC99 Are......

The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today the officiating crew that will work the 99th Grey Cup to be played in Vancouver on Sunday, November 27th at BC Place. This group of officials was the highest-rated crew in the CFL during the 2011 season.

2011 Grey Cup Officials:

Referee: #28 Andre Proulx
Umpire: #24 Bill Hagans
Head Linesman: #35 Don Cousens
Line Judge: #33 Michel Pinsonneault
Side Judge: #75 Dave Gatza
Back Judge: #21 Don Carmichael
Field Judge: #51 Bryan Taylor
Alternate: #27 Jeff Harbin
Alternate: #72 Al Bradbury

Replay Official: Jake Ireland
Replay Official: Alan McColman

The CFL will use the 'Command Centre' for replay review for the third time in a Grey Cup game. The 'Command Centre' was introduced at the start of the 2009 season.

The crew will be supported by an off-field officiating staff, including:

Director, Officiating: Tom Higgins
Senior Advisor, Football Operations: George Black
Supervisor, Officiating: Larry Rohan

The following is some background information on this year's Grey Cup officials:

Andre Proulx - Referee
Proulx will work his fourth Grey Cup game and second in the referee position. The 14-year veteran from Drummondville, Quebec has called 249 CFL games. His other Grey Cup appearances came in 2001 (side judge), 2004 (referee) and 2010 (alternate). Andre was born in 1964 in St. Charles, Quebec.

Bill Hagans - Umpire
Hagans will work his ninth Grey Cup game. The 23-year CFL veteran from Scarborough, Ontario has called 392 CFL games. Bill was born in 1956 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Don Cousens - Head Linesman
Cousens will work his sixth Grey Cup game. The 14-year CFL veteran from Georgetown, Ontario has called 242 CFL games. Don was born in 1957 in Kirkland, Lake Ontario.

Michel Pinsonneault - Line Judge
Pinsonneault will work his second Grey Cup game. The seven-year CFL veteran from Chateauguay, Quebec has called 102 CFL games. Michel was born in 1961 in Montreal, Quebec.

Dave Gatza - Side Judge
Gatza will be working his first Grey Cup game. The third-year official from Burlington, Ontario has called 45 CFL games. Dave was born in 1969 in Sarnia, Ontario.

Don Carmichael - Back Judge
Carmichael will be working his fourth Grey Cup game. The 17-year CFL veteran from Stouffville, Ontario has called 282 CFL games. Don was born in 1958 in Pembroke, Ontario.

Bryan Taylor - Field Judge
Taylor will work his third Grey Cup game. The 12-year CFL veteran from Welland, Ontario has called 214 CFL games. Bryan was born in 1969 in Brampton, Ontario.

John "Jake" Ireland - Replay Official
Ireland will work his 18th Grey Cup game, his third as a Replay Official. The 31-year CFL veteran from Townsend, Ontario has called 555 CFL games. John was born in 1946 in Hamilton, Ontario.

Alan McColman - Replay Official
McColman will work his 16th Grey Cup game and second as a Replay Official. McColman retired in 2010 after working as a field official for 33 seasons, including over 630 games. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Jeff Harbin - Alternate
Harbin will work his second Grey Cup game. The 11-year CFL veteran has called 166 CFL games. Jeff was born in 1959 in Sudbury, Ontario.

Al Bradbury - Alternate
Bradbury will work his third Grey Cup game. The 12-year CFL veteran has called 186 CFL games. Al was born in 1964 in Burlington, Ontario.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Survey Says....

The Winnipeg Free Press have asked media types throughout Canada a bunch of questions about the CFL. The answers have been given. To see who is the most quotable player in the league, who is the most over-rated, who the next coach in Saskatchewan will be and many others, all you have to do is click right here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A CFL With 12 Or More Teams??

The CFL currently has eight franchises with plans for a 9th in Ottawa. You have to think the league is seriously exploring the Maritimes to get a team in there some day. The Conference Board of Canada feels there are several cities that are ready for CFL football and they have issued a release on where they feel the league could go and prosper. Read that release right here and then tell me if you think these places could thrive or not.

He's Back!!

I'm not afraid to admit it, I'm not a huge Sidney Crosby fan. Yeah, he is uber-talented, but I'm a guy who would watch Jonathan Toews any day of the week, I'm a guy who will watch Jeff Skinner any day of the week and the same for Steve Stamkos. Take nothing away from Crosby though because he is the face of the NHL and when the NHL needed him the most, he came through.

Last night was one of the reasons why I say sports is the ultimate reality TV. You just don't know what you are going to see from minute to minute. When Sid skated back on the ice in Pittsburgh last night to take on the Islanders in his first game in almost a year, there were many questions. Would he be the same? Would he be able to take a hit? Would his game be any different? Those questions were answered about 5 and a half minutes in when he broke in and snapped a backhander past Islander goalie Anders Nilsson.

Like Crosby or not, you were intrigued by what was going to happen and at the end of the night, you had to salute him whether you are a fan of his or not.

If Sid had any questions himself about whether he could be the same player, he answered it and then some. He sent a message to the NHL. That message is he's back and the Penguins Stanley Cup chances are a lot better this morning---unless of course he is victim to another head shot which is something the NHL doesn't need----especially with the NBA on strike.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NHL Three Stars Of The Week

NEW YORK (Nov. 21, 2011) -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Matt Read have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Nov. 20.


Price captured NHL First Star honors for the second time this season, posting a 2-0-1 record with a 0.65 goals-against average, .973 save percentage and two shutouts. Price began the week by stopping 29 of 32 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 14. He stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and picked up an assist in a 4-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 16 and posted his second consecutive shutout with 17 saves in a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers Nov. 19. Price blanked a Rangers club that had won seven consecutive games and outscored the opposition 27-11 in that span. Playing in his fifth NHL season, the fifth overall selection in the 2005 NHL Draft improved his career record to 106-82-7, 12th on the Canadiens' all-time list for goaltender victories. He needs four wins to tie Rogie Vachon for 11th place all-time and 11 wins to tie Charlie Hodge for 10th place.


Vlasic tied for the League scoring lead last week with seven points (one goal, six assists) and posted a +7 rating as the Sharks (12-5-1) won three consecutive games and took the Pacific Division lead. Vlasic recorded the first four-point game in his six-year NHL career, tallying the game-winning goal, three assists and a career-high +5 rating in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Nov. 17. He closed the week with three assists and a +2 rating in a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Nov. 20. The 24-year-old Montreal native improved his team-leading plus-minus rating to +11 and increased his season points total to 11 (two goals, nine assists), on pace to easily surpass his career high of 36 points set in 2008-09.


Read shared the League goal-scoring lead last week, tallying four times as the Flyers (11-5-3) won two of three starts. Read scored in each game, beginning with a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 14. He notched the game-winning goal with 18.6 seconds remaining in regulation time in the Flyers' 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes Nov. 17 and closed the week by tallying two goals in a career-high 21:37 of ice time in a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Nov. 19. Signed as a free agent by Philadelphia on March 24, 2011 following four standout seasons at Bemidji State, Read tops all NHL rookies in goals (eight) and ranks fourth in points (13).

(Courtesy NHL)

Lions and Bombers For All The Marbles.

It will be the hometown Lions against the Bombers in the 99th Grey Cup. I really don't see Winnipeg coming within 14 points of Buono's boys, but in a one game situation, anything can happen. Buck Pierce will get the chance to come back and beat the team that some says gave up on him because of his injury history.

No team is playing better than the Lions and no team has played better than BC since mid-August. With the exception of a brain cramp in Hamilton, they ran roughshod over the opposition. Travis Lulay has never played in the big game, but I can't see nerves affecting this kid. He just keeps getting it done.


When the CFL season does end, is it safe to say that we are going to see another injection of youth at quarterback.

BC has Lulay and Jarious Jackson. They are fine.
Calgary has Drew Tate with Henry Burris set to go elsewhere--likely Toronto. The Stamps will need a backup QB
Saskatchewan has Darian Durant. He is entrenched as the starter. Will Ryan Dinwiddie be back and what is the plan for Cole Bergquist. Some new arms could be on the way to Riderville
Edmonton has Ricky Ray who is in the twilight of his career and Kerry Joseph is no youngster anymore. The Eskimos need a backup. What ever happened to Jared Zabransky?
Toronto definitely needs QB help and the arrival of Burris would do that. What then becomes of Steven Jyles and Dalton Bell
Montreal has AC, but if he decides to retire is Adrian McPherson their guy. The Alouettes could need new signal-callers
Winnipeg has Buck Pierce and Alex Brink with Joey Elliott rehabbing from a knee injury. I can't see Winnipeg making any QB moves.
Hamilton has Kevin Glenn and Quinton Porter. At some time, you have to give Porter the reigns. The time might be now. Do ya think Glenn would come back to Saskatchewan as a backup? Would that create some chaos if Darian struggles coming out of the gate.
With the US College Football season winding down, I would love to know what players are on CFL (more importantly the Riders neg list). It would give Rider fans and CFL fans something to talk about once the season is over. I don't know why that list is so secretive.
The Buffalo Bills have remembered that they are the Buffalo Bills.
I don't care what the rule is, the Cincinnati Bengals got screwed yesterday. Tight end Jermaine Gresham made a juggling catch for a TD, but he did have the ball in his possession and was in bounds when he broke the plane of the goal-line. The refs said that because when he fell in the endzone, the ball came loose that it was an incomplete pass. If that's a RB, the play stands because he broke the plane so why doesn't the rule apply to a receiver as well.
I've said it once and I'll say it again----I love the NFL Network pre and post game shows, but I just can't take Deion Sanders.
Sidney Crosby returns tonight. As you would expect, the game will be televised. (CBC) We will probably find out what he ate for a pre-game meal, whether or not he had an afternoon nap, what skate he put on first and everything else imaginable. As Crosby returns, the other face of the NHL is disappearing again. There is a lot of talk about Alex Ovechkin and whether or not his best days are done. Would a trade help Ovie or would the removal of Bruce Boudreau be the answer. With Sid on the shelf and Ovie struggling, who is the best player in the NHL right now.
Once the NBA season is officially cancelled, the NHL must take advantage with a huge ad-blitz of some kind inviting NBA fans to check hockey out. Use your American stars and do what you can.
Rider fans, ESPN Classic will have the 66 and 89 Grey Cups on this week. The 66 one is on Monday at 6 with the 89 game being shown Friday at 8. Caution though...the 2009 and 2010 games are on Saturday at 8 and 10 Saturday morning. Sleep in!!
I found it to be bitterly cold this weekend and minus 40 hasn't even hit yet. Great!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Harris Situation Makes CFL Look Bad

Will Terrence Jeffers-Harris play a role in the CFL East final? I guess we will find out when the Ti-Cats play the Bombers at a frigid Canad Inns Stadium tomorrow. The Bombers receiver was suddenly released this week and subsequently picked up by the Ti-Cats. Why he was let go was never really discussed, but its obvious he had become a distraction. Avon Cobourne told media on Saturday that Jeffers-Harris gave the Ti-Cats the Winnipeg playbook. That claim was later denied by Hamilton coach Marcel Bellefeuille. What is true though is that Jeffers-Harris has likely sung like a bird this week when asked about the Bomber tendencies.

Yes, Winnipeg could have chosen another manner to deal with TJH than just release him, but here is where the CFL should step in. The league needs to state that transactions of this kind can't be made when your team is in the playoffs. It should be the onus of the team, but as a safety measure the league should step in. I would hate for Hamilton to win on Sunday (which I think they do) and then have the Ti-Cats say they knew what Winnipeg was doing thanks to TJH. He will likely be rewarded for his snitching by being given a bus ticket with his CFL career likely done as no team will want someone of his ilk on the roster.

Commissioner Marc Cohon should have at the very least voided this transaction and really void any transaction that sees a player get signed once the playoffs arrive.
Looking at the weather outside, I think I am glad the Riders didn't finish first in the West this year. It would be very uncomfortable sitting in the stands or roaming on the sidelines tomorrow.
UFC fans will be talking about the main event for a long, long time. UFC announcer Mike Goldberg said the Dan Henderson-Shogun Rua fight might have been the best fight in the history of the UFC. Was it that good? It certainly was epic and put the capper on what might have been one of the most entertaining cards I have ever witnessed.
I received a tweet last night from someone asking for me not to give out UFC results via Twittter. I kindly told him hey, turn off the twitter feed. Many sports teams don't hide their scores on Twitter and many others are out there tweeting what has gone on. Hey, I don't like it either when I tape a sporting event only to hear or see the final score before I start watching. I just try to  invoke the cone of silence and try to choke off all info that might come my way in order to watch. Its not easy, but you gotta do it.
Oh, how I wish you could bottle what the Edmonton Oilers did on the ice last night as they demolished the Blackhawks. If the Oilers could play like that every night, they wouldn't be challenging for a playoff spot, they would be challenging for the Stanley Cup. It is a glimpse of the future though as RNH, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle all had huge nights.
If the LSU Tigers football team loses either their season finale to Arkansas or the SEC championship game, it will throw the BCS into a state of chaos never before seen. There is no doubt the Tigers are the number 1 team in the nation right now, but who is number 2 and who will face them in the national championship game after Oklahoma State, Oregon and Oklahoma all lost. To make matters worse, Penn State has moved up the ladder and I don't have to tell you about that situation. I can't see Penn State ever advancing to the national championship game, but if it did, it would get ugly and I'm not talking on the field either. Hopefully that won't happen.
Congrats to Jason Ackerman and his rink out of the Tartan for winning the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship. I am guessing Jason has just booked himself a spot for "Locker Talk".
Week 11 NFL Lock Of The Week---Dallas over Washington
Week 11 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Vikings over Raiders
The Pats started their West Coast trip by getting a point. They lost 6-5 in a shootout to Spokane.
When you've had too much, take your money out of an ATM but use another language other than English to challenge yourself. What have you got to lose?

Ackerman Wins Canadian Mixed Title

Saskatchewan, skipped by Jason Ackerman of Regina, stole its way to an 8-7 extra end victory over Alberta (Kurt Balderston of Grande Prairie) in the 49th edition of the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship, Saturday at the Sudbury Curling Club.

Saskatchewan managed to steal a total of four points during the game – singles in the fourth, seventh and 10th ends, then the winning point in the 11th.
It was the first extra end Mixed final since Nova Scotia’s Paul Flemming edged Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink, 12-11 in 2003 in Abbotsford, BC.
“You dream about it,” said the 32-year-old Ackerman, whose team appeared beaten after giving up three in the eighth to fall behind, 7-4. But a deuce in the ninth end, followed by dramatic steals in the 10th and 11th ends got the job done. It turned out to be the only time in the game they were actually in front, after falling behind in the first end, 3-0, then chasing throughout.
“You know, you just keep grinding. I threw two of the worst rocks I’ve thrown all week in the eighth end,” explained Ackerman. “They were bad enough to give them three, but you’ve just got to keep grinding, stay in the moment, keep enjoying it and hopefully things will work out.”
In the extra end, “They (Alberta) got a little bit of a bad break when they tried to peel a rock on the outside part of the rings, but wound up ticking the corner guard and moving it to the centre line, giving us a centre guard. We were in trouble the whole end. So then it was game on. Kurt had a three-quarter rock triple (with his last stone) but he hit it a little too thin.”
It is the first Mixed title for Ackerman, third Chantelle Eberle, second Dean Hicke and lead Colleen Ackerman, who represented the Tartan Curling Club.
It’s also a record-tying ninth Mixed crown for Saskatchewan since the championship began in 1964 in Toronto, but the first since 1996, when won by Regina’s Randy Bryden in Charlottetown. Alberta also has nine Mixed wins.
Ackerman, who earned all-star skip honours, and his wife Colleen played in the 2010 Canadian Mixed in Burlington, Ontario, finishing with a 5-6 mark. But he also won two provincial juniors (1996 and 1999) for Saskatchewan and subsequently played in the Canadian championships.
“All those little things add up,” continued Ackerman, about the experience gained at that level. “We’re students of the game. Every learning experience over time we kind of document. Try not to make the same mistakes twice.
“Our goal coming here was to win it. We work hard at our game and we have a good team. You have to come here with that mentality.”
Saskatchewan finished with an overall record of 11-4, after winding up second in the round robin with a 9-4 mark, before advancing to the final by winning the semi-final over New Brunswick. Meanwhile, Alberta had qualified for the final by finishing first with an 11-2 record.
Saskatchewan had clinched a playoff berth with a tight 5-3 win over Alberta in Draw 17 on Thursday, so today they removed all doubts as to which was the slightly better team. In today’s final, Ackerman outshot Balderston, 81%-61%, while his team held a slim 80%-77% edge as well.
Two players from Ackerman’s team will now represent Canada at the 2012 World Mixed Doubles Championship, April 23-29 in Erzurum, Turkey.

Photo and story courtesy of Canadian Curling Association 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Patrick Stefan Revisited

Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith will see his name live in infamy for ever. Smith had the chance to score the easiest goal of his life, but he pulled a Patrick Stefan on Thursday against Toronto. Click here to see the OOPS that will haunt him for a long time.

If you forgot about Patrick Stefan or you are wondering what he did. Click here for that.

Comments From Shologan & Taman

The Riders annual locker room sale is on in where else but the locker room. (Did they publicize this??) Those that were shopping today also got a chance to see the media grill the newly signed Keith Shologan and GM Brendan Taman. Here is what both had to say....

ShologanNov18 by mitchellblair

TamanNov18 by mitchellblair

Tim Tebow

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow might be the most polarizing figure in all of sports right now. The guy is so bad, but he's good. He somehow finds a way to put a pathetic performance behind him at the end to act like Superman and pull out the victory. He did it again and this time I saw it. 

After being in Moose Jaw to watch the final game of the Subway Super Series, I got home to see the fourth quarter of the Broncos-Jets game. Listening on the way home, Westwood Radio One announcer Ian Eagle and his colour guy--former NFL quarterback Trent Green was making it sound like Tebow couldn't hit water if he was standing at the edge of the dock. At one point, a Denver offensive lineman apparently ripped the chinguard off his helmet and threw it at his bench as he walked off the field because he was frustrated that Tebow couldn't hit an open receiver. 

In seeing the 4th quarter, Tebow was terrible until the last drive. Denver got the ball at the 5 yard line with less than 6 minutes to go and the Broncos trailing by 3. Denver had punted on their 8 previous possessions, so even the most ardent Bronco fan couldn't have thought they were going to win (did you Rob Vanstone??).  However, something turned in Tebow's  mind and he went from all-garbage to all-star as he calmly ran and passed the offence down the field capping it off with a 20 yard touchdown run to give Denver a win. How? How is a guy who is setting the position back years and running a college style offence getting this done. He gets so much criticism, but he's 4-1 as Broncos starting quarterback. He could get them into the playoffs. Its inexplicable and its fascinating to watch. I can only wonder what John Elway thinks as he sees this guy do what he does. 
I wonder what the Brendan Taman haters will say about the Keith Shologan re-signing. It wasn't long enough? Sholo shouldn't have been the first guy, it should have been Fantuz. What will it be? How about lets give the guy some credit for getting one of the guys you had to re-sign back in Rider green before free agency hits. Some thought Shologan might be headed back to his hometown Eskimos, but Taman managed to convince him that the future is here. Thumbs up!!!
This is the new Blue Jays logo. What do you think. I like it as it goes back to the original logo. Are the powder blues coming back too. 
The Cubs have announced Milwaukee hitting coach Dale Sveum will be their new manager. I don't know. 
As mentioned, I was in Mosaic Place last night for Game 6 of the Subway Super Series. I overheard one scout say "I can't believe I'm in Moose Jaw" when I'm here. I couldn't agree more. I hope the people of that city understand what that rink is doing for their community and what it will do in the future. With Scott Clark leading the way, Moose Jaw is quickly going to make that spot on the map bigger than it already is as many more quality events like the one that went on last night will be held.  In talking with Scott yesterday, he said when the rink first opened, everyone ooooohed and awwwwwed over it, but now some people are saying well, you should have done this and you should have done that. We laughed about it and then about an hour later, both Rod Pedersen and I told Scott that the seats should have been black. Yes, we were one of those people. I said that to Scott and he just acknowledged it with a simple shake of the head. If you haven't been there yet, you have to go and with the Pats on their West Coast trip, the time might be now. 
I think we've all heard the Party Rock anthem. It starts with "Every day I'm shufflin". After the football game, I went out to clean off the driveway at "Casa Blair" and thought if this keeps up this winter, it will be "Every day I'm shovellin". CTV weather guy JC Garden put up the same thing on his Twitter feed this morning. Great minds think alike JC. Now if our NFL teams could only get quarterbacks.....he's a Colts fan and will get one and maybe two for next season while my team----who knows???
Mike O'Shea as Riders head coach. Can't see it. I'm thinking he is Jim Barker's replacement in Toronto. 
Dave Dickenson as Riders head coach. It can happen unless Wally Buono or John Hufnagel move  upstairs. I would think Dave would rather set up shop in Calgary or BC than Saskatchewan. 
What would Rider fans say if Tim Tebow was quarterbacking the /=S=/. I think that might send many Rider fans to the loony bin. 
Its High Impact Wrestling night at the Victoria Club with an 8 o'clock start. It sounds like it could be one of those nights. Could we see a return of the Principal?? Could a certain blogger get under the skin of a certain wannabe cowboy? Will a masked wrestler from "Mexico" admit that he's more likely from Pense? Will Jeff Tyler admit to being Lee Jones' twin brother? Will my ribs be sore at the end of the night. The answer to the last question is likely yes!
One last thing speaking of Lee. I couldn't be happier that the CTV Regina sports anchor is finally getting a chance to show his stuff for TSN. I thought Lee was getting the short end of the stick for a long time by not doing Rider sidelines having to give way for former co-worker Wray Morrison when Lee was here everyday and Wray wasn't. Lee has finally gotten his chance to do Rider sidelines and now he is doing sideline work for CIS games. He will even work for TSN's crew at the Vanier Cup in Vancouver. I don't know if this is the start of him heading to Toronto, but if it is good for him because he certainly deserves it. 
You will have comments from Keith Shologan and Brendan Taman on the blog this afternoon. 

Scratch Sholo's Name Off FA List

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have agreed to terms of a new contract with non-import defensive tackle Keith Shologan. Financial details of the contract were not released.

Shologan just completed his fourth season with the Green and White after originally being selected by the Riders in the first round (4th overall) in the 2008 CFL Canadian Draft. Since then, the 25-year-old has become a staple on the Riders’ defensive line.

In 55 regular season games, Shologan has tallied 84 defensive tackles, eight quarterback sacks, four tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles. He has also played in five playoff games and added 11 defensive tackles, two quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery. Shologan was named the Most Valuable Canadian in the 2010 Grey Cup.

In 2011, the Central Florida product tallied 26 defensive tackles, two quarterback sacks and two tackles for a loss in 18 regular season games played.

Shologan was set to become a free agent in February, 2012.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cougar Athletics This Weekend

Home Events
Women's Basketball – vs. Calgary, Friday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Hockey – vs. Lethbridge, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men's Basketball – vs. Calgary, Friday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Basketball – vs. Calgary, Saturday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS
Women's Hockey – vs. Lethbridge, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men's Basketball – vs. Calgary, Saturday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS

Away Events
Women's Volleyball – at Trinity Western, Friday (6:00 p.m. PST) in Langley, B.C.
Men's Hockey – at Lethbridge, Friday (7:00 p.m. MST) in Lethbridge, Alta.
Men's Volleyball – at Trinity Western, Friday (8:00 p.m. PST) in Langley, B.C.
Women's Volleyball – at Trinity Western, Saturday (5:00 p.m. PST) in Langley, B.C.
Men's Hockey – at Lethbridge, Saturday (7:00 p.m. MST) in Lethbridge, Alta.
Men's Volleyball – at Trinity Western, Saturday (7:00 p.m. PST) in Langley, B.C.
Swimming – at Meggitt Training Systems Invitational, Saturday and Sunday in Lethbridge, Alta.

Women's Basketball (CIS Ranking: No. 1) – The Cougars (3-0) are one of three remaining unbeaten Canada West teams after registering road victories over both Victoria and UBC over the weekend. Two of those three teams will clash at the CKHS this Friday and Saturday as the U of R hosts Calgary (4-0) with tip-off scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on both nights.

Men's Basketball – The Cougars fell to 0-3 on the season after suffering road losses to nationally ranked Victoria and UBC last weekend. The team returns to the friendly confines of the CKHS this weekend, as the Cougars will host Calgary (2-2) on Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Women's Hockey – The Cougars (3-5-0) were defeated twice on the road last week by Calgary, losing 8-1 to the Dinos on Friday and being edged 3-2 on Saturday night. The U of R returns home this weekend for a pair of home games against surprising Lethbridge, which was picked to finish sixth in the Canada West preseason poll but is currently tied with Calgary for the lead in the conference standings with 14 points. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday at The Co-operators Centre.

Men's Volleyball – The Cougars improved their Canada West record to 3-3 after registering a weekend sweep over Thompson Rivers, outlasting the No. 8-ranked WolfPack for a five-set victory on Friday night and winning in straight sets on Saturday. Up next for the U of R is the top team in the nation, as they'll travel to Langley, B.C. for two matches against No. 1-ranked Trinity Western (4-0).

Women's Volleyball – After suffering two tough five-set losses to Thompson Rivers last weekend, the Cougars' conference record fell to 2-4 on the season. Meagan Onstad – Canada West's leader in kills and kills per set – and the rest of the Cougars will travel to the West Coast this weekend for a pair of road matches against Trinity Western (2-2).

Men's Hockey – Matt Strueby's hat trick powered the Cougars (3-6-1) to a 4-1 victory on Friday night over Calgary, but the Dinos secured the weekend split with a 6-1 win over Regina. Strueby's three goals on Friday give him seven for the season, a total which ties the second-year forward for second on the Canada West leaderboard. The Cougars will hit the road this weekend for a pair of games against Lethbridge (2-8-1).

Swimming – The Cougars will bring a full squad to Lethbridge this weekend to compete in the Meggitt Training Systems Invitational hosted by the Alberta Marlins Aquatic Club. Jessica Winter and first-year swimmer Chris Myers will also travel to Toronto next weekend to represent the U of R at the 2011 Canada Cup.

Men's Wrestling – The Cougars had a busy road trip to the Dakotas over the weekend, going 1-2 in duals against NAIA teams and competing in the Dakota Wesleyan Open on Saturday. Steven Schneider was a perfect 2-0 in his dual matches, while Thomas Ostapowich won three matches at 133 lbs. in the open tournament and finished in sixth place in his weight class.

Cross Country – The U of R's men's and women's teams both competed at the 2011 CIS Championships in Quebec City last Saturday, with the men's team finishing in 10th place and the women's team – representing the school as a full squad for the first time in program history – finished in 16th place in the overall standings. Matt Johnson was a Canada West first-team all-star for the men's team, while Iain Fyfe and Karissa LePage were both named conference second-team all-stars.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weal Sends A Message

Jordan Weal is going to make it difficult on those choosing the invitees for Canada's World Junior team. Vancouver Giants coach Don Hay, who will serve as the bench boss for the Canadians in Alberta over Christmas, let it be known that Weal would have to make an impression in the Subway Super Series if he were to get an invite to the WJ camp in December.

With his home crowd watching, Weal was named the WHL player of the game as he had the game winning goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Russia giving the CHL a 3-2 lead in the SSS with everything wrapping up tomorrow with Game 6 in Moose Jaw. 

Weal wasn't the only WHL'er that was impressive on this night. Portland blueliner Joe Morrow and Blades forward Josh Nicholls also turned some heads with their play. One guy who didn't play was Medicine Hat's Tyler Bunz. He was supposed to play the final half of the game, but  he took a puck off the head while sitting on the bench and didn't return. If he can't go in Moose Jaw, I'm guessing Warriors netminder Luke Siemens will be getting a call. 

It was good seeing the team representing Canada not wearing green and white as was the case at the World Juniors a couple of years ago. I hated those uniforms. 

Was it just me or was that the longest version of the Russian national anthem that you have ever heard? Of course, the best version of the Russian national anthem is this....

While it was great to see the WHL all-stars take on Russia, it was disappointing to see a crowd of what I would estimate to be 42-47 hundred at the Brandt Centre. I thought the rink would be close to sold out if not sold out for an event of this magnitude, but for whatever reason they couldn't sell it out. It will be sold out in Moose Jaw tomorrow. 
I'm not sure, but I may be getting addicted to Tim Horton's chili. 
Some believe the Riders should have had more all-stars this year than just Jerrell Freeman. I think Freeman was the only guy deserving of all-star recognition this year. If there was to be a 2nd guy, I would have gone with Craig Butler at safety. I can't buy the Chris Getzlaf argument that some have made. 
Anthony Calvillo says he will talk to the Alouettes in a couple of weeks about his future and that he is concerned about some concussions he took this year. I would expect Calvillo to be back and be effective as ever. 
I'm taking the Ti-Cats and Lions on Sunday. 
The gruff, but oh so lovable Pete Paczko( yes, he is ladies)  had a great idea during this week's taping of Locker Talk on Access. We had both the 3A champs from O'Neill and the 4A champs from Riffel on the program. Pete asked the Royals if they would like to have a true city championship game by playing O'Neill while I asked the Titans the same question. Both teams said they would love to have one more game to determine a true Regina high school football champ. Is there a way to make this happen? I think it would be outstanding. 
In the category of "Things I Thought I Would Never Do", I attended the Globe Theatre's production of "Robin Hood" with the family on Tuesday night. It was one of the final dress rehearsals, but thanks to Mrs. Scruffy's work we got some free tickets. In the words of the immortal Gary "Chop" Bresch, "if its free, its me" so off I went. My 8 year old daughter was absolutely enthralled by the play and if the truth be known, I was impressed with the performance as well. It can't be easy for the actors--especially those that play more than one part--to memorize all those lines. I would definitely recommend that you take it in. 
I don't go downtown very often, but I got my first look at the new city square last night. It looks great. 
Did anyone catch UFC fighter Chael Sonnen walk out of an interview with TSN's Michael Landsberg on Wednesday. If you missed it, its right here. I somehow would imagine that the one time "Saskatchewan's sexiest blogger" Tyler McMurchy will love this as will people who can't stand Landsberg. 
Some in the Occupy Regina movement supposedly started fires in their tents. ???????????
The forecast is calling for snow and cold over the next few days and then plus 4 on Tuesday. Yes, this is November in Saskatchewan. 
The Craven Country Jamboree lineup for 2012 has me wanting more. Yes, Brad Paisley and "The Band Perry" will be here, but the country acts that I want to see won't be. I would have loved for the George Strait-Martina McBride concert to hit Craven. Maybe it can hit Taylor Field this summer. I'm a big Martina fan. 
The city apparently had the Union Jack waving upside down outside City Hall on Wednesday. Was it my favourite redhead Sarah Mills that noticed this. If it was, I can only imagine the wrath she unleashed on Mayor Fiacco and whoever. Speaking of Canada's coolest mayor, he was at the Brandt Centre for Wednesday's hockey game. He was about to come on "The Sportscage" with Rod and I when he went to shut the door to the main entrance of the Brandt Centre because of a cool wind. As he got to the door, about five-six people came through the door and it looked like Fiacco was holding the door open. Yes, your mayor is not above holding the door for citizens of our fine city when major events are on. I wonder if those who came in even realized who was holding the door. I doubt it. 
It wasn't right seeing a junior hockey game of international importance being played in Regina and televised on Sportsnet without Peter Loubardias there. Yes, Peter is a good friend of mine, but I thought the pairing of him and Sam Cosentino was one of the best out there in hockey as both are very solid at what they do. It was great to see Sam and the rest of the Sportsnet crew--Rob Faulds and RJ Broadhead, but I do admit it wasn't the same without Loubardias there. 
I thought watching Hoarders would encourage me to clean up. But all I could think was, "Hey, my place ain't that bad!"

Subway Super Series Hits Southern Saskatchewan

Courtesy Cory Flett (

The 2011 SUBWAY® Super Series is headed west as Team WHL gets set to host Russia for the final two games of the six-game series on Wednesday in Regina, SK, and on Thursday in Moose Jaw, SK.
The series, which is in its ninth year, sees a Russian select team travel across Canada while facing select teams from the three CHL member Leagues – the QMJHL, the OHL and the WHL.  The 2011 SUBWAY® Super Series is currently tied at 2-2 through the first four games, with the Russians opening with two wins over the QMJHL last week then dropping a pair of decisions to Team OHL.
Now, it’s up to Team WHL to propel the CHL to the series win for an eighth time in the nine-year history of the event.  Having lost both meetings to a strong Russian side last year, Team WHL needs no extra motivation to claim victories this year.
“You don’t like to lose, especially the way we lost last year,” said Regina Pats forward Jordan Weal, 19, who suited up for Team WHL in a gut-wrenching 7-6 shootout loss in game 5 of last year’s series in Kamloops, B.C. in which the WHL gassed a 6-3 lead in the third period en route to the defeat.
“It leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth, so hopefully this year we can turn it around and get two wins,” he said.
This year’s edition of the Russian squad has proven to be equally as talented and dangerous as last year’s edition of the team that won the Super Series for the first time in the event’s history.
With speedy and talented offensive players such as Nikita Gusev and Nikita Kucherov,to go with a mobile and big defense corps, the Russians boast tremendous puck-moving and passing skills and an explosive offense that can hit like a lightning strike.
“I saw a couple of the games,” said Moose Jaw Warriors forward Quinton Howden, who also suited up for Team WHL last year, leading to a spot in Canada’s national junior team for the 2011 World Junior Championship. 
“They sent over pretty much their main (national junior) team last year, and it looks like they’ve done the same this year,” said the Florida Panthers prospect.  “It’ll be good for us to face a talented team like this and hopefully get back at them for having beaten us last year.”
As veterans of Team WHL, both Howden and Weal know the SUBWAY® Super Series is a potential audition for Canada’s World Junior team.  Howden ended up making Team Canada, which went on to win Silver at last year’s World Junior tournament, while Weal will be looking to turn heads at Hockey Canada this year in hopes of making the 2012 edition of Team Canada.
“It’s in there, but I try not to focus on it too much because it just puts more pressure on you,” said Weal.  “If I go out there and worry about my own game, and prepare the way I do for every game, I’ll give myself the best chance for success.”
As someone who has played in the SUBWAY® Super Series and who knows what it takes to make Canada’s national junior team, Howden is quick to offer advice for guys who haven’t been through the Team WHL experience before.
“First off, you have to just enjoy it,” said Howden.  “It’s a real honor to be selected to play in these games and represent the WHL.
“We have to go in there and play the role we are given.  Some guys may have to adapt to a role they aren’t used to with their Club team, so it’s about taking the opportunity that’s given to you and making the best of it so you can potentially get noticed,” he said.
Though both Howden and Weal have been part of the SUBWAY® Super Series before, this year will be a little more special because both players get to suit up for Team WHL in front of their home crowds in Moose Jaw and Regina, respectively.
The chance to take part in such a prestigious event in front of their home fans is something both players are excited about.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” said Weal, who will join fellow Pats player Colton Jobke for Game 5 of the series in Regina on Wednesday. “Regina has great fans, and they are always loud, so hopefully we can fill the place up and get it rockin’.”
Howden joins defensemen Dylan McIlrath and Joel Edmunson, and forward Cody Beach among Warriors players who will skate for Team WHL in Moose Jaw on Thursday in the series finale.  He’s looking forward to helping the team to a win on the ice at the Warriors’ new facility, Mosaic Place.
“I’ve played in this before, but never in front of a hometown crowd, so it’s going to be something special for me,” said Howden.  “It’s a phenomenal facility we have here, so I think the players from both teams will be impressed.”
Each of the final two games of the 2011 SUBWAY® Super Series can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet.
2011 SUBWAY® Super Series Schedule
Game 1: RUSSIA 2, Team QMJHL 0; Victoriaville, QC
Game 2: RUSSIA 5, Team QMJHL 4  S/O; Quebec City, QC
Game 3: TEAM OHL 10, Russia 7; Ottawa, ON
Game 4: TEAM OHL 6, Russia 3; Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Game 5: Team WHL vs Russia; Wednesday, November 16; Regina, SK
Game 6: Team WHL vs Russia; Thursday, November 17; Moose Jaw, SK
I will sit alongside Rod Pedersen at the Brandt Centre this afternoon to help tee this one as we do the Sportscage on 620 CKRM from 5-7 live from the rink.