Saturday, December 31, 2011

Closing The Door on 2011

One last blog post to close the door on 2011--a year that didn't see the last six months go the way that I thought for  yours truly for a variety of reasons, but I'm thinkin 2012 will be a nice bounceback year. At least I'm hopin so. One last collection of thoughts before turning the page to a new year.

--Thumbs down to whoever suspended five members of the Danish junior hockey team for staging a "mock" press conference after their club got hammered by Canada this week. The Danes came to Alberta knowing they weren't going to have much of an impact and that they would likely get clubbed around. They tried to have some fun and they were punished for it. Lighten up!

--Thumbs up to the Regina Pats for staging a ceremony to remember the tragic events of December 30, 1986. Personally, I think the Western Hockey League should have had the Swift Current Broncos playing at home last night so they could stage a memorial of their own, but Brent Parker picked up the ball and did the right thing. Brent takes a lot of criticism for some of the things that he does and I understand that, but when he does something right (and he does a do a lot of things right when it comes to the community), he and the organization should be praised.

--I have no problem with the antics of Czech goalie Petr Mrazek at the World Juniors. He wears his emotion on his sleeve. I wish more professionals would do that to spice up the game.

--I don't care if the Americans are out of medal contention at the Juniors and that Friday's game between Canada and the U-S means nothing. A victory is called for and nothing less will suffice. I would say the same thing if the game was against Russia or whoever.

--What has happened to Regina product Ryan Getzlaf. He has only 6 points and 25 points in 36 games and is minus 17. Don't be surprised if the Ducks look to trade Getzlaf at the trade deadline. He would look good on a lot of teams. 

--Now that Brock Lesnar has retired from UFC following his one round defeat at the hands of Alastair Overeem Friday night, one has to wonder if he will go back to the world of the WWE. There are less than 90 days until Wrestlemania.

--Arianny Celeste or Brittney Palmer???? That's a tough decision, but you are a winner either way aren't you.

--One of my fellow neanderthals that I watch UFC with on a regular basis coined the term "fightboner" last night. Could I get that trending for UFC 142. He is also of the belief that all Armenians are insane. I don't personally know any Armenians so I can't comment any further on this.

--I think the Riders will trot out their assistant coaches this week. I think!

--If the Riders new offensive co-ordinator can place a call to the University of Washington or Baylor to take a page or two out of their playbook, that would be nice. I still can't believe the way those teams went up and down the field on one another at the Alamo Bowl last week.

--Is it just me or has New Year's Eve basically gotten too pricey when it comes to going out.

--I didn't realize the Oilers had slipped down in the standings to the point that they are once again flirting with the number one pick. It looks like the Stanley Cup playoffs will once again not be stopping in the Alberta capital.

--They love their hockey in Philadelphia don't they. If you saw the Winter Classic alumni game, you know what I mean.

--Ron Duguay is 54 and he still has what might be the best hair in hockey.

--You know there are one too many US College Football Bowl games when Illinois and UCLA play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

--The last Sunday of the NFL season may bring us several games that come right down to the end. I see that happening with the Chiefs-Broncos, the Raiders-Chargers and the Ravens-Bengals game. All three of those games have playoff implications.

Week 18 NFL Lock Of The Week ----Eagles over Redskins
Week 18 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Panthers over Saints (a Saints team that likely doesn't play its regulars in the 2nd half)

--Happy New Year to you all. If you are going out tonight, get home safely. Thanks for checking in and hey, if you know of someone who needs a communications person, shoot them my way.

Friday, December 30, 2011

25 Years Ago

25 years ago today marks what I think might have been the darkest day in the history of Canadian hockey and perhaps the darkest day in all of hockey until the tragic plane crash in Russia earlier this year. The Swift Current Broncos were en route to Regina to play the Pats when the team's bus left the road and rolled just outside of Swift Current.

Four players--Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Brent Ruff and Chris Mantyka--lost their lives that afternoon. The Broncos have retired the numbers of the four men and the WHL names its MVP trophy--the Four Broncos trophy in honor of these young men.

On the 25th anniversary of this tragic accident, the Broncos will be in Regina to play the Pats at the Brandt Centre tonight. Both teams will remember this tragic event in a pre-game ceremony. The puck drops at 7.

I know many of you that read this blog have hockey in your blood and I know you have likely a story or two to tell about getting to this rink or that one in terrible weather conditions. I don't have to tell you what its like.

Its Just Not Fair

(picture courtesy Edmonton Journal)

We knew it would be a dirty beating and it was. Warriors forward Quinton Howden (pictured above) scored the first of many for Canada on Thursday night against Denmark as they improved to 3-0 with a 10-2 win.
Truthfully, I could only take one period of this as I --and many others-- were expecting a one sided affair. You have to feel sorry for Denmark who just isn't in Canada's class, but they learn and perhaps someday can give hockey powers a game.

I don't know who will play goal for Canada in the New Year's Eve game against the U-S, but I would go with Scott Wedgewood. He just seems to be more poised than Mark Visentin. Perhaps I'm still a little bitter with Visentin for last  year's 3rd period collapse in the gold medal game, but he scares me and that pre-tourney effort against Sweden did nothing to instill confidence in me.
Did you see the Alamo Bowl? If not, you missed one helluva football game if you like offence. I kept waiting for ESPN to say this was two guys sitting in their Bristol studio playing NCAA Football 12 as the Baylor Bears and Washington Huskies kept scoring and scoring and scoring. When it was over, the Bears won 67-56. The reason I tuned into this one was I was given a tip from a very reliable source that Washington quarterback Keith Price is on the Riders neg list. I haven't watched Washington play this year, but I might start watching them next year. Price was unreal going 23 of 37 passing for 438 yards and four touchdowns while adding another 39 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The two teams combined for almost 14-hundred yards of total offence. Unreal!
I knew the snow would come eventually and I also knew that Regina drivers would show their ignorance to the road conditions. What is it about some people that just won't allow them to slow down when the roads are like a skating rink?
It was great talking to Garrett Mitchell in "The Sportscage" on Thursday. The former Pats captain and Regina boy now toils for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. I laughed when he said he had to phone up Mom to see how much laundry detergent he puts in a load and that he had to learn to cook for himself. We all have to do it sooner or later Mitchy. I'm glad he is getting his shot with the Capitals main farm team, but I can only wonder where the Pats would be if he were still in the lineup. Dare I say the surprising team would be challenging Moose Jaw for first in the division.
Muchmusic just isn't the same anymore.
Mrs. Scruffy watched a show the other night on TLC called "Extreme Cheapskates". The people profiled in this show make the crowd at High Impact Wrestling seem like aristocrats. I now truly have seen the bottom of the barrel. They profiled one family who is so cheap that they use cloth toilet paper and then wash it afterwards. ?????????  Is this the best that TV can give us these days. If it is, just keep rolling out sports thank you very much.
CKRM's Phil Andrews had never heard Rod Pedersen call a hockey game until the other night when he did the Canada/Finland game. Like many others, he wonders why Rod isn't still calling hockey and calling it in the bigs. Speaking of Rod, he said today that he is getting reports from many people that "The Sportscage" has been in good hands since he left. I knew Rod was many things, but I didn't think he was that gullible. Stop lying to the man people!!!!!!
I'm in dire need of a haircut. The place where I normally go was insanely busy when I went on Thursday as was a 2nd nearby option. I headed off to Vic Square to do some banking and as I trotted through the Zellers, I thought I would check out Magicuts or whatever its called and see if I could get it trimmed. I walked in to see no one in the shop but the two people "on the job". One told me I couldn't get in until at least 1 (it was 10:45). I finished my shopping at the mall and walked back past the Magicuts to see that the two people were still there drinking their coffee having a chit-chat. Seriously, if you don't want to work just close up the shop. Ridiculous! Why I have never put my money down there before, I certainly won't ever give them the opportunity to take it again.
Where will Henry Burris play next year and will he be booed as vociferously as he has been in the past when he comes to Mosaic Stadium? There's no way he comes back to the CFL wearing green is there? I can't see it, but this is the CFL.
With Sidney Crosby gone, who is the face of the NHL? I would go with Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane.
Just once I would like to see the morning news say "Today has been cancelled, go back to sleep."

Thursday, December 29, 2011


A US sports website called "Bleacher Report" is dipping its feet into the CFL waters and frankly, they have done a poor job. The website ranks the eight fanbases in the league. I don't think they got this one right, but I will let you decide. The story can be found right here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Madani Breaks CFL News Left, Right and Centre

The following two stories come from Sportsnet's Arash Madani. You can hear Arash on "The Sportscage" every Tuesday and Thursday.


On October 14, Drew Tate took over for Henry Burris mid-way through a Stampeders game in Toronto and became Calgary’s starting quarterback.

Now, he’ll be paid like one.

The 28-year-old Tate has signed a three-year contract extension with the Stampeders, has learned, a deal that all but extinguishes any hope of Burris returning to Calgary in 2012.

A spokesman with the Stampeders would not confirm the Sportsnet report.

Locking up Tate long-term comes as little surprise. John Hufnagel, Calgary’s head coach and GM, openly told the media two weeks ago that the franchise was negotiating with Tate’s representatives. The 28-year-old won each of his three regular season starts to end the year, but struggled in the playoffs.

Regardless, it became clear by early November that the organization had turned the page, ending the Burris era and going with Tate, who will go into his fourth season with Calgary next spring.

It is believed that Tate will be earning significantly less than the salary cap hit of approximately $400,000 Burris made last season. The timing of the extension is critical: Tate’s signing bonus money will count toward the remaining dollars Calgary has available on the books in 2011, not next year’s cap.

Meanwhile, Burris and his family are in Calgary, and, while at the moment uncertain about this future, fully aware he will have a job in 2012. Where that is, remains to be seen, although all signs point to Hamilton, despite the Tiger-Cats head coaching job still vacant.

On December 16, Hufnagel told Al Cameron of the Calgary Herald that “all signs indicate that it's likely” Burris would be moving on. Whether Burris is traded (likely) or released, it has to happen before Feb. 1 when he is due a considerable bonus.

“We’re just sitting and waiting to see (what team) it’s going to be,” Burris said in a phone interview with “We’ve talked to a couple of different teams, but more for me it’s about being patient… If something happens this week, great. We will be somewhere else next year and wherever it will be, I’ll be excited about it.”

Burris’s next stop will likely involve a contract extension, and re-structuring of its own. It is hard to believe his next team will absorb

“I’m just waiting for the trade to happen. When it happens, I’ll be ready to move on and be excited. The future will be bright,” said Burris.

After franchise quarterback Ricky Ray was traded earlier this month, Kavis Reed said the Eskimos starting pivot job would be open for competition.

And Edmonton's head coach made sure there would be a veteran presence at training camp battling for the No. 1 spot with Steven Jyles and a pair of 24-year-olds looking to cut their teeth in the Canadian Football League.

Kerry Joseph inked a contract extension with the Eskimos Wednesday, has learned. His contract is believed to be loaded with incentives on playing time and number of starts.

The 38-year-old from Louisiana was Ray's back-up last season, but his role could change dramatically with the departure of the long-time Edmonton starter. With Reed maintaining that Jyles will not be handed the keys to the offence, the most intriguing CFL training camp quarterback battle will undoubtedly be in Northern Alberta with Jyles, Joseph as well as prospects Matt Nichols and Eric Ward vying for the top job.

A fifth quarterback, off Edmonton's negotiation list, may find himself in training camp as well.

Joseph was the league's most outstanding player in 2007, the same season he led Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup championship. He broke into the league with Ottawa in 2003, where he played three years, most as starter. The McNeese State product, who was a defensive back in the NFL, also spent two seasons in Toronto in 2008 and 2009.

Down Go The Czechs

(photo courtesy Edmonton Sun)

Mark Stone's 4th goal of the tournament was the winner as Canada blanked the Czechs 5-0 Wednesday night at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton. Scott Wedgewood made 26 saves to record the shutout and perhaps earn another start in the tournament with his performance. The win puts Canada at 2-0 and leaves them in a great position to win their pool after Finland upset the Americans 4-1 earlier in the day. The Canadians will play Denmark Thursday night in a game that can be seen on TSN and heard on 620 CKRM with Rod Pedersen at 7 PM with the pre-game on both starting at 630.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011's Top Ten

As the calendar winds down to the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, it is time to start looking back at the year that was and the many great moments that were in it. From plays to games to moments to stories, it was a good year in many ways and a bad one in many others. Here, in alphabetical order are the top ten events from a local/national scale from me. Feel free to vote in the poll as to what you think was the event of the year was.


The BC Lions won the Grey Cup. At the start of the 2011 season, many thought the team that bowed out in double overtime to the eventual Western Conference champion Saskatchewan Roughriders would have a shot at winning the title in their own backyard, but they weren't thinking that a month into the season.

B.C got off to a horrible start going 0-5. Talk of Wally Buono needing to be relieved of his duties were underway. The promising Travis Lulay looked to have regressed and it was a mess. However, Buono got things turned around. The Lions won 12 of their last 13 and capped it off with a 34-23 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 99th Grey Cup. Lulay was named the league's MVP as he and his club took the torch from the Montreal Alouettes and Anthony Calvillo.


One of the lasting images of 2011 came as the year started. The annual NHL Winter Classic was supposed to be a showcase of the game's top two players--Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Instead, it became what might be the beginning of the end for Crosby. During the game, Crosby took a hit from Washington's David Steckel. He was slow in getting off the ice. A couple of nights later, he was slammed into the end boards by Tampa's Victor Hedman. As he skated off that night, no one thought that would be his last shift of the season, but it was. As you know, Crosby still isn't right and some are wondering if his career may perhaps be over or if it will ever get back to what it was. Crosby isn't the only player suffering from concussions. No matter the sport, concussions are becoming more and more revelant. Leagues are trying to stop them from occurring, but the problem isn't going away.


New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter went into the 2011 baseball season with some starting to wonder if the game was starting to pass him by and how much longer he had. The 37 year old was looking to reach the magical 3-thousand career hit mark and by early July he was on the verge of doing so. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the new Yankee Stadium, Jeter made history in the best way possible when he got hit number 3000.


Saskatchewan and the hockey world lost four of our own this year. It started in April when Wilcox's Mandi Schwartz lost a long, courageous battle with leukemia at the tender age of 23. Little did we know what the months ahead were to bring. Regina's Derek Boogaard known as "The Boogeyman" to many was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment on May 13. Just over two months later, former Regina Pats fan favourite and Winnipeg Jet Rick Rypien was found dead in his Crowsnest Pass, Alberta home and a couple of weeks later, former Saskatoon Blade and Saskatchewan native Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel room. In September, Brad McCrimmon was on the plane that killed the Lokomotiv hockey team in the KHL. He was getting ready to make his debut as a professional head coach.


The World Junior Hockey Championship has become a staple in the lives of Canadians during the holidays. The Canadians went into the 2011 event having lost the title of world's best in Saskatoon one year earlier. The tournament was in Buffalo, but you wouldn't think so because of all the red and white that could be seen. The final game had the Canadians against the Russians. It looked like the game and the gold would belong to Canada after 40 minutes as they led 3-0. WRONG!!! Russia scored 5 in the 3rd to rip the gold medals out of our hands and rip the hearts out of a hockey nation who felt the hangover and analyzed it for a long time.


The Western Major Baseball League is the best baseball you will find in Western Canada. A few years ago, the Regina Red Sox revived themselves and got back into the league. Men like Gary Brotzel and Bernie Eiswirth put in many hours to get this team back to a state of relevance. In 2011, they succeeded. The Red Sox had been showing signs of getting better and better and they got to the finals in 2010 before being beat by Swift Current. Manager Rob Cherepuschak knew the team could take that one last step and he went out to build a winner. He succeeded. The Red Sox ran roughshod through the WMBL capping it off with a 4 game win in the finals over Okotoks. While many of the Red Sox players are American and only make their home in Regina for a couple of months, there are many locals who play on the team and basked in the victory. Cherepuschak has decided to step down from his managerial role, but remains involved with the team. With guys like Cherepuschak, Brotzel and Eiswirth doing what they can, don't be surprised if Red Sox win in 2012 makes the top 10 list again.


Where do I start? What don't you know? After losing to the Alouettes in the 2009 and 2010 Grey Cups, the Riders were thought to be able to make a run at the title again and this time win it. Ken Miller had stepped down as Head Coach shortly after the 2010 season ended and was replaced by long time CFL assistant Greg Marshall. The move failed miserably as the team sputtered out of the gate. Marshall and offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry were relieved of their jobs at the midway point of the season with Miller returning. The team showed signs of life with a pair of victories over Winnipeg, but it was all downhill after that. The team finished a league worst 5-13. Miller stepped down as coach again and retired to Carolina. Hamilton defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin now has the task of making the team a playoff squad again.


Yeah, we would have loved nothing more in Saskatchewan than to see the Canadian mens rink at the World Championships in Regina be skipped by someone from this province, but it didn't happen. The men were about the only ones that didn't win a national championship.

Both Braeden Moskowy and Trish Paulsen won the Canadian junior titles and then Amber Holland came through a very talented field to defeat Jennifer Jones and win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts before losing in the gold medal game at the Worlds.  The run continued when Jason Ackerman won the Canadian mixed title in December making it a pretty damn good year for Saskatchewan on the national curling scene. With the Brier in Saskatoon this year, here's hoping the mens drought can FINALLY come to an end.


The Vancouver Canucks were one step away from a Stanley Cup title. They had a chance to win it all on home ice in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. The city was on edge. Like the Olympics, thousands turned up to watch the game outside, but the end result was much different. Sidney Crosby's golden goal sent the city into a state of euphoria, Game 7 did not. As the Bruins skated around GM Place( or was it Rogers Arena at that time) with the Cup, people were turning over cars and breaking windowns downtown. It was an ugly sight that embarrassed the organization, the city, the province and the country. Many of us wondered how people could do what they were doing in Canada in a city we have all been to and on streets that many of us have walked. The live pictures brought into our livingrooms that night brought about a myriad of emotions. Would it have been different had Vanouver won...I doubt it.


The love affair between the city of Winnipeg and their NHL team is a special one. 15 years later, the people in the Manitoba capital pined for the return of their team that left for Phoenix. With the Coyotes in deep financial problems, it was thought the team that left would come home, but that didn't happen leaving many in the Manitoba capital to feel that they had some so close but would be left at the altar. Enter the Atlanta Thrashers. True North Sports and Entertainment president Mark Chipman worked with the NHL to bring that team to Canada and on May 31 when it was announced, Winnipeg threw a party like they never had before. Chipman knew the team had to be called the Jets and he officially announced that at the NHL draft. All that was left was for the team to drop the puck and on Sunday, October 9---Thanksgiving Sunday--those that had pined for the team's return were thankful for the fact the team was back. They lost that opening game to Montreal, but they didn't care because the NHL was back and hopefully back for a long, long time.

There were other stories and other moments as well in 2011 that just didn't get in for whatever reason. Whether it be the NBA lockout, the NFL lockout, the Packers winning the Super Bowl or the last night of baseball's regular season. Speaking of baseball, the game of the year in my mind had to be Game 6 of the World Series when the Cardinals came back from being within one strike of losing not once, but twice to Texas to take the game and the Series the next night while the play of the year is definitely this one.

Monday, December 26, 2011


(photo courtesy Edmonton Journal)

The 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships started with the Canadians laying an 8-1 thumping on Finland.

Mark Stone of the Brandon Wheat Kings led the Canadian attack with a three goal, one assist day while Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and four assists over the Finnish squad that I frankly thought would put up more of a battle.

The Canadians looked very good to start the tournament off, but the true tests await. They will have tomorrow off and play the Czechs on Wednesday.

Let The Tournament Begin

Are you ready Canada? Now that the presents have been opened and the turkey has been eaten, its time to get down to the annual holiday tradition in this country that is the World Junior Hockey Championships.

As always there are questions about Team Canada going into this tournament and while this team doesn't have the star power it could have, this is still a hockey team that can and should contend for gold, but everything will have to go right for them. Some solid goaltending wouldn't hurt either. Mark Visentin did not look spectacular against Sweden in a pre-tournament loss December 23rd, but he gets the start today and he has a cross to bear after being the guy who was in goal for "The Collapse" last year so we'll see. It all starts this afternoon at 3 on both TSN and the Sportsnet FAN Radio Network. GO CANADA!!
Was Santa good to you? The man cave at Casa De Blair has a few more items and I am now the proud owner of a Winnipeg Jets jersey. A Jets jersey???? Hey, I said I wanted something with the Jets logo when they came back into the NHL and now I have it. I'll wear it when I go see them play sometime this year---unless of course they are playing the Oilers. I also received a pretty nice piece of Oiler memorabilia as well. When its something that has been autographed by the opening night lineup, I would say its something that is pretty nice.
The story about the intoxicated mall Santa at the Cornwall Centre on Xmas eve is just so funny on so many levels. The devil in me just wishes Santa would have been speaking to the kids before being hauled away cuz I'd love to hear how those conversations would have went. C'mon admit do too. Because of this story, I now know what High Impact Wrestler Rex Roberts was doing to scrape up some cash in December.
Speaking of Santa, the LP's Rob Vanstone interviewed the Southland Mall Santa in what is a priceless read. You can read that article right here.
Unless its the New Orleans Saints, no one else will beat the Green Bay Packers this season unless Aaron Rodgers gets hurt.
This is the way it should be. I am in the finals of a fantasy football league that I am in with me going into tonight's Monday nighter down by 4. My opponent and I each have one player left---he has Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and I have Saints QB Drew Brees. I like my chances.
Viking fans must feel like they were given one gigantic lump of coal when seeing the Adrian Peterson injury. That was not for the squeamish. Peterson says he will back for opening day next year. If he is, its a medical miracle.
Did you watch the year in review shows? I disagree with some of the top 10's in both. I'll have my top 10 list which includes Saskatchewan stories and national stories later this week and I'll  let you decide what takes number one in Saskatchewan----although if the fortunes of the /=S=/ are involved, I may already know the answer.
The Ron Wilson contract extension is going over like a kick in the you know where to many in Toronto. The Leafs should have waited until they made the playoffs before doing that. A 2nd half collapse and it will get ugly in T-O.
The guy that owns the Ottawa franchise coming into the CFL doesn't like the fact they can't call the team Roughriders because the team that currently has that moniker vetoes that and would not have thrown their support behind the team if they were going to be called that. Memo to Jeff Hunt---the name has been taken, grab another, there are a lot out there. The Ottawa Sun story can be found here

Why do old people drive so freaking slow when they have such little time left?
GO CANADA!!!  By the way, whatever happened to that lame Pepsi/Team Canada chant. Was that the worst marketing gimmick we've seen in years. If not, what was worse?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Xmas

I hope Santa was good to all my blog readers! Merry Xmas everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Scruffy's Christmas Letter To Santa

As heard on Friday's Sportscage

Dear Santa:

How’s it goin big guy. I could have e-mailed you this list, but I know you listen to the Cage everyday. I just still don’t know why you post under the name “Obama” on Roddie’s blog, but I guess everyone has to have their secrets. I just want to remind you that you screwed up on my list last year……I asked for my chequing account to be fat and my waistline to be slim---not the other way around. Anyhoo, here’s my Christmas wish for certain people for 2012.

Lets start it off with that team that I know you are a fan of-----yes, despite the fact you wear Stampeder colours, I know you are a Rider fan. In fact, I think you might really be Jim Hopson in disguise---but I digress.

To Corey Chamblin and Brendan Taman ----that you get out of the gate with a 4-0 or 5-0 mark so that all the naysayers---and yes Santa you know there are many---can shut their yaps for a while

To Darian Durant ---a trip in the time machine to 2009

To Andy Fantuz ---well whatever you don’t get him, he will buy anyhoo, but get him some noise cancelling headphones that he can fit inside his helmet when he comes back here wearing another teams uniform if it should come to that.

To Luca Congi --- another kicking job in the CFL

To Ken Miller --- that he enjoys his retirement in style and that he has the NFL network so he can watch “the men” next year with a smile on his face.

To Jerrell Freeman --- that you join Brandon Browner in Seattle as ex-CFL’ers doing well in the NFL.

Speaking of the Seahawks, Santa….

Can you please bring Regina born Seahawks punter Jon Ryan a trip to the Pro Bowl so that the NFL community can see just how good of a punter he is. He has emerged to be top 3 in the league as far as I’m concerned.

I’m too realistic to ask for another playoff spot, but if they do, give us a wildcard victory like last year against New Orleans. There was no better play in 2011 than his touchdown in that game versus the Saints.

To fans of the Toronto Blue Jays---Santa, is it possible that you can bring another good starting pitcher into the rotation. I think this team could be a playoff squad this year. I really do.

To fans of the Cubs --- never mind, you won’t listen to that request. You must be a Cardinals fan.

To Regina Pats forward Jordan Weal---that you get a chance to experience playoff hockey this year whether that be in Regina or elsewhere. Selfishly, I would like it to be here.

To Pats GM Chad Lang ---a great big sleeping pill that can be dropped off at his house once the trade deadline has expired cuz I’m sure he’s not getting any sleep these days

To Pats p x p man Dan Plaster---a weekend trip to the Pussycat Ranch. Dan needs a break. If he wants to drag along Cliff Mapes too he can do so.

To Canucks forward Ryan Kesler----to be a man and quit whining over the fact you got laid out the other night on a clean check. And then we wonder why people hate the Canucks so much

To Sidney Crosby---that you get back and you get back to 100 percent. I’m not your biggest fan, but the NHL needs you.

To the manufacturers of hockey equipment---to stop being so greedy and cut back on some of this warrior like equipment that you produce because you are killing the game and the players that play it. Can we please go back to the thin shoulder pads of the 80’s…I would much rather have players out with separated shoulders than concussions.

To the makers of Cherry Dr. Pepper ---one litre and two litre bottles that can be bought at my favourite grocery store

To my good friend Rob Vanstone at the L-P, I ask for three things.

1)Can you somehow incorporate him into the script at “High Impact Wrestling”?

2) Can you give him a Stanley Cup win for the Winnipeg Jets

3) Can you find a way to extend the day to 27 hours so he can find more reasons to work.

To CTV Regina sports anchor Lee Jones---that the call comes for you to go to TSN. You’ve worked hard for the opportunity and that work is starting to pay off. I sincerely hope your mailing address is Toronto at this time next year.

To my good friend Peter Loubardias--that you are back behind the microphone of a hockey team real soon. You are too good to be sitting on the sidelines.

To High Impact Wrestler Rex Roberts---forget it Santa, he's beyond help. Just take pity on that cowboy.

To Principal Richard Pound -- a nomination to the Regina Sports Hall of Fame if not the Canadian one.

I guess I had better have some Christmas wishes for the people that make "The Sportscage"  a success each and every day.

To Global’s Derek “Duke” Meyers ---a full time cab driver or chaffeur. He's a beaut! If you can't love what this guy brings to the table, there's something wrong

To The Silver Fox Kelly Remple ---a chance to be a roadie at a Motley Crue concert or to live like Nikki Sixx for a weekend. Actually, a lot of people would take that. When you drop off that sleeping pill for Chad Lang, give Kelly an intensity pill because sometimes he just comes off as to lackadaisical.

To John Frenzy --- a clean Rider shirt and one that says Grey Cup champs 2012 on it.

Merry Christmas to you three and thanks for making my job easier when doing this show for one Mr. Pedersen…..jeez, I can’t forget about him either

Santa, there have been many great calls from guys at the World Juniors so give Roddie one of those on January 6 at the gold medal game-----I just don’t want that call to be “Go Crazy Canada, Go Crazy”. Please also make sure that he knows those gift cards that he has for Hooters at the West Edmonton Mall are from me. Thanks!

As for me, I think Mrs. Scruffy would frown on that weekend alone with Brooklyn Decker so I'll settle for a couple of big Pro-Line jackpots. Jackpots that were oh-so-close this year.

Have a good one big man. Safe travels.

Merry Christmas to all blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Thanks for checkin in every day. I'm thinkin 2012 will be a great year.

Who Needs Peyton???

Break up the Colts!!!Break up the Colts!!! So much for the Indianapolis Colts not winning a football game this year as they have won twice in five days. In doing so, have they screwed up their future. With Peyton Manning in the waning days of his career, it looked like the Colts would have the inside track to picking Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick in this year's draft. However, the Rams, Vikings and Colts are now tied for the worst record in the league as each team has won twice. Indy plays Jacksonville next week and the Jags aren't exactly the Packers. Have the Colts gotten hot at the wrong time? These could be wins that haunt you. I just think of what might have happened in 1993 and how the fortunes of my Seahawks would  have changed had it not been for a victory. In 1992, the Seahawks beat the Patriots. Had New England won that game, Seattle would have had the first overall pick and they would have taken Washington State grad Drew Bledsoe. Instead, they ended up taking the over-hyped and over-rated Rick Mirer. Mirer had one good year, Bledsoe had many. If you want to take that one step further, what happens to the Patriots and one Tom Brady. Brady came in for an injured Bledsoe and you know the rest of the story.
What if is a story that revolves around former Rider kicker Luca Congi and current Rider kicker Chris Milo as well. What would Milo be doing right now had it not been for the unfortunate play that ultimately ended Congi's career as a Rider. Would the Laval product had been drafted and if not, would he be playing football now. You know Congi would have been a Rider for a long time. I have to admit I was surprised to hear Luca get choked up when talking to him on "The Sportscage" Wednesday afternoon. I honestly didn't think he would, but that shows you what a deep affection he had to this organization and the community that embraced him with open arms. Like he said, you never want your last play to be one that sees you get helped off the field, but that's what happened. I don't argue with the move made by GM Brendan Taman in this salary-cap conscious world as Milo is cheaper than Congi, but if he doesn't get hurt, we are not discussing this.

A big thumbs up to 620 CKRM's Jamie Lewis and Gloria Evans. After hearing news that some piece of toilet film stole a Salvation Army kettle with 800 dollars in it from the Northgate Mall on Wednesday, the amicable morning hosts of Regina's #1 AM station got the ball rolling and before you knew it, people were phoning and dropping off donations. When all was said and done, over 4-grand had been raised. That's what makes Regina the great place it is. We always come through somehow when the chips are down.

I'm a little more pumped for the World Juniors this year, but I'm also going in with a very realistic approach to the tournament. There is no doubt the Canadian Hockey League is the best developmental league going and that many players in the World Jrs call the CHL home whether they be Russian, Finnish, Swiss or yes, American. That tells me that Canada is the king of junior hockey, but the record shows the Americans won the tournament two years ago and the Russians won it last year both at the expense of Team Canada. I am hoping Canada is in the gold medal game and I am hoping like many of you that they win that game, but when this team doesn't have the like of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Erik Gudbranson, Tyler Seguin, etc. etc. etc, it makes it tough. I have no doubt that we will be proud of this team when all is said and done, but if this team should stumble, I hope the critics don't bring out their sharp swords because in a way we are undermanned. Why are we undermanned? I said it....its because the CHL is the best developmental league in the world and unless a rule is made that says you can't play in the NHL until you are 20, it won't change.

Rod Pedersen's blog asks what are some of the great things about the 80's/90's in his Friday Rodservations entry. Oh, I could make such a long list of what made that era so great. Many of you could too and have by looking at his comments section.

The fact that the UBC Thunderbirds football program has to sacrifice all of its wins from this year because of an ineligible player is disgusting. Why wasn't this discovered a long time ago? What makes it worse is that this seems to be happening in Canada West football at a far too frequent pace. How embarrassing would it have been for the CIS if UBC had won Canada West or won a Vanier Cup. Some protocols obviously aren't being followed or are needed. Rams coach Frank McCrystal will talk about this with me on Thursday's Sportscage.
Speaking of the Rams, I love the Chris Bodnar signing this week by the Riders. This kid can kick the football. It wouldn't surprise me to see Chris Milo handling field goals with Bodnar punting in 2012. GM Brendan Taman should be applauded for getting him signed.
Week 17 NFL Lock Of The Week ---Patriots over Dolphins
Week 17 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Seahawks over Niners (yeah I might be a little biased on that)
Week 17 NFL Upset Of The Week(unbiased version) --Eagles over Cowboys
As I mentioned, Frank McCrystal will be in the Cage with me this afternoon at 5 on 620 CKRM. We will also be joined by new BC Lions coach Mike Benavides and we will hear from Rod as he prepares to start doing the radio p x p of the World Juniors for the Sportsnet FAN Radio Network. Its also Festivus so I may if time allows let you air your grievances. The one and only Mark Rathwell will sit in with me as well so tune in.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Congi Visits Sportscage

Former Rider kicker Luca Congi joined myself and Kelly Remple in the Sportscage Wednesday night. 620 CKRM's Phil 'The Thrill' Andrews listened to it all and transcribed it. Here is what was said,,,

As Phil mentioned, Luca was a little emotional and really couldn't answer the question about what great kicks he remembers as a Rider. I think that shows you that this guy was a Rider through and through and that what happened this week hurt him tremendously. In the world of pro sports today, that is going to happen, but you will rarely see the emotion Congi had.

Best of luck to Luca. I am sure we will see him kicking at Mosaic Stadium for some time in 2012.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Riders Add Kicker

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have signed non-import kicker/punter Chris Bodnar to the roster. Financial details of the signing were not released.

Bodnar (5’11 – 190 lbs) played for the University of Regina Rams the last two seasons. In January 2011, he signed with the Edmonton Eskimos but was released in June at which time he returned to the Rams for a stellar season. In seven games he had 66 punts for 2,944 yards and a CIS leading 44.6 yard average. He was also named a CIS first team All-Canadian.

In 2010, he was named a Canada West all-star after leading Canada West with an average of 41.0 yards per punt. The 23 year old hit 12 of his 18 field goal attempts, was named the Canada West Special Teams Player of the Week twice.

Prior to joining the Rams Bodnar played for the Saskatoon Hilltops where he was named a CJFL All-Canadian in both 2009 and 2008. In the two years previous to that Bodnar played both football and basketball for the University of Saskatchewan.

*The Riders also announced they have released non-import offensive lineman George Hudson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

UBC Thunderbirds Football Loses Six Wins

– The Canada West Universities Athletic Association has ruled on a self-disclosed eligibility violation by the University of British Columbia during the 2011 football season.

A Thunderbird student-athlete participated in all eight regular season games as well as two playoff contests after having exhausted his CIS eligibility following the 2010-11 season, a breach of CIS Eligibility Regulation – Maximum Years.

CIS has confirmed the violation, UBC co-operated fully in the investigation and the violation was unintentional.

As per the Canada West bylaws, the following sanctions have been imposed:

• UBC forfeits all games in which the ineligible player participated during the regular season. The Thunderbirds’ record in the 2011 season shall be officially recorded as 0-8, and all games won by UBC shall be credited to the opposing team with an official score of 1-0. A note reading “UBC forfeits six wins due to use of an ineligible player” shall accompany the official 2011 Canada West football standings. All game statistics remain intact, except for the removal of those statistics credited to the ineligible player.

• UBC vacates its two playoff games in 2011, which shall be removed from their record. This action does not impact the records of the Universities of Saskatchewan and Calgary, their opponents in those games, and the final scores of those games shall remain official. All game statistics remain intact, except for the removal of those statistics credited to the ineligible player.

• UBC is fined $1,000, plus an additional $250 for costs associated with the investigation

• UBC is placed on probation through completion of the 2012-13 season, and any further eligibility violation could result in further sanctions.

The revised official Canada West standings for the 2011 football season are as follows:

1. Calgary (8-0)*
2. Saskatchewan (5-3)*
3. Regina (5-3)*
4. Manitoba (4-4)*
5. Alberta (2-6)*
6. UBC (0-8)*

*UBC forfeits six wins due to use of an ineligible player

Riders Release Two Vets

The Riders announced today that they have released non-import kicker/punter Luca Congi.

“We would like to thank Luca for his contributions and leadership both on and off the field,” stated General Manager Brendan Taman. “Unfortunately in this business sometimes tough decisions have to be made but we do wish Luca the best in his future career.”

The Riders have also released non-import defensive back Tamon George.

Maas Heads To T-O

MISSISSAUGA -- The month of December continues to infuse excitement into the Toronto Argonauts Football Club. Head Coach Scott Milanovich has added former CFL quarterback Jason Maas to the team’s coaching ranks as Receivers Coach. Maas played 11 CFL seasons and was a two-time Grey Cup champion as a member of the Edmonton Eskimos.

“On behalf on the Toronto Argonauts, I would like to welcome Jason Maas to our coaching staff. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to coach Jason in Montreal in 2007. It became immediately apparent to me that he had tremendous future as a coach," said head coach Scott Milanovich.

"His leadership qualities are off the charts. He understands football, is extremely competitive and has a love for the game that will be felt by everyone in our organization,” he added.

Jason Maas became a household name during parts of nine seasons in Edmonton. He was the team’s outstanding player in 2001 and 2004 and was named a West All-Star in 2001. He worked closely with new Argos quarterback Ricky Ray to bring two CFL titles (2003 & 2005) to the City of Champions.

2004 was considered to be Maas’ finest CFL season statistically. That year, he became just the second Eskimos quarterback to pass for 5,000+ yards in a season, threw 31 touchdowns and also ran for eight more. He still holds the league record for most consecutive pass completions in a game with 22, also set as a member of the Esks.

“I am truly excited to begin my coaching career with the Toronto Argonauts. It allows me to once again work with Scott Milanovich who is not only a great person but one of the best offensive coaches I have had a chance to work with," said Maas.

"I hope my experiences of playing and dealing with players will help enhance the overall production of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club. The move also brings me closer to Indiana where my family resides,” he added.

Maas joined the Eskimos in 2000 where he remained until 2005. Edmonton dealt him to Hamilton where he played just over one season (2006-07), was then traded to Montreal for part of one season (2007) and returned to Edmonton in 2008 until his retirement just before 2011 training camp.

(From Toronto Argonauts)

Andy Says....

Andy Fantuz went to his blog Monday afternoon to send a message to Rider fans wondering what is going on. Here is the two minute message.

Take from it what you will.

Monday, December 19, 2011

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Two players who piled up the points and another who excelled at keeping the puck out of his own net have been honored as the NHL's Three Stars for this past week.

Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza is the League's First Star, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is the Second Star and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is the Third Star.

Spezza extended his point-scoring streak to five games by contributing three multi-point efforts last week. It began when he set up a pair of goals, including the overtime winner by Jared Cowen, in Ottawa's 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday. One night later, Spezza factored in both of the Senators' goals, scoring one and assisting on the other, in a 5-2 loss to the Bruins.

He saved his best performance for a big 6-4 win over the Penguins on Friday, scoring once and picking up a pair of assists during a five-goal second period by the Senators and then adding an insurance goal in the third. Spezza ended the week with 3 goals and 8 points.

Rinne has won five consecutive starts after going 3-0-0 with a .957 save percentage last week for Nashville. A finalist last season for the Vezina Trophy, the fourth-year starter led the Predators to three one-goal victories: 2-1 over the Flames, stopping 35 of 36 shots; 4-3 over the Central Division-rival Red Wings, making 37 saves on 40 shots; and 2-1 over the surging Blues to cap off his week, facing 40 shots again and turning aside 39 of them.

Malkin also has a five-game points streak after exploding for 5 goals and 3 assists in three games last week. He had Pittsburgh's lone tally in a 4-1 loss to Detroit and struck for a goal and an assist in a 6-4 defeat against Ottawa. With the Penguins reeling and in need of a victory to turn the momentum back in their favor, Malkin stood front and center and responded with his first hat trick of the season and two assists in an 8-3 rout of the Sabres.

Has Tebow-Mania Been Slowed?

Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos took it on the chin from the New England Patriots yesterday. I don't think this should come as a surprise. Denver stayed with the Patriots for a while, but turnovers and Tom Brady's lethal precision eventually proved to be too much. Does this calm the Tebow talk for a while?  There were no comebacks, there was no dazzling 4th quarter display, there were no miracles on this day. Does this mean we can put Tebow in there with the likes of guys like Kevin Kolb, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Colt McCoy or is he still a guy that can become one of the NFL's best. I don't think Tebow will ever be considered in the same breath as the elite like Brees, Rodgers and Brady. I don't even think he belongs on that second tier with guys like Rivers, Roethlisberger, and Eli. I think Tebow is at the bottom of that 3rd tier of quarterbacks----guys like Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and Matthew Stafford. That being guys where the ceiling hasn't even been reached yet. If the Broncos stick with Tebow, and who knows if they will, perhaps John Elway can turn him into a quarterback. We'll see.
Thoughts from the NFL Sunday we just witnessed.

--I didn't see the Chiefs being the team that ended the Packers run. That loss may be good for Green Bay though as I now wonder if they will lose again this year.

--They would lose again this year if the NFC Championship game was being played in New Orleans. The only thing stopping Drew Brees and the Saints might be the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field.

--Two weeks to go and the Seahawks have a shot at the playoffs after dismantling the Bears in Chicago. A lot of pieces still have to fall in place, but they have a shot. They've won five of their last six meaning they are just as good as the Packers right now.

--Could Baltimore have crapped the bed any worse last night against San Diego? They weren't the worst team yesterday though---ladies and gentlemen, the New York Giants!!


--Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the NFL!

The Regina Pats go into the Christmas break feeling good about themselves after winning two of three on the weekend. That 2nd came in dramatic style as Jordan Weal scored with a second to play in regulation to give Regina a victory over Edmonton. They go into the Xmas break sitting 7th in the East--4 up on Calgary and just 4 back of 3rd place Kootenay. The wins on the break just may have kept Jordan Weal in Regina. We will see what Chad Lang thinks of the first half of the WHL season for the Pats. He will join me in the Sportscage this afternoon.

This time of  year makes it tough to find guests. I'm trying though. Calls are in to several people.

Will the Ti-Cats give us a coach before Christmas?
Will the Riders have any more announcements before Christmas ? I think the answer on that is no, but we'll see.

Thing I hate....getting all comfy on the couch and then realizing the remote is not within arms reach. GRRRR!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Teemu Needs To Be A Jet

When the Winnipeg Jets returned to the NHL, Teemu Selanne admitted he looked at the schedule to see if his Anaheim Ducks would be playing in Winnipeg. Winnipeg is where Selanne broke into the NHL and the love affair he had with hockey fans in the city was second to none. That love affair remains strong. After playing in Chicago Friday, the Ducks got into Winnipeg early Saturday morning. Many were at the hotel to greet Teemu and get an autograph or a picture. As he did when he was with the Jets, he obliged everyone. It was the same all day for him as he was the center of attention. As expected, many Winnipeg hockey fans came to the MTS Centre wearing Selanne jerseys from his time in Winnipeg and they saluted him and thanked him for the many great years he spent in the Manitoba capital.

When Winnipeg received entry back into the NHL, I always felt it would be great of the organization to sign Selanne. The Jets wouldn't need him as a drawing card to home games, but it would be a nice tie from the old Jets to the new one. I still think the Jets should see what they could do to try and pry Selanne away from the Ducks and have him finish his career in Manitoba whether it be at the end of this year or next. The guy can still play at the age of 41. Hopefully, it will happen. It would make a magical year in the Manitoba capital even moreso.
I make it a rule that I never, ever want to go out on the last Saturday before Christmas. Yes, technically that is next weekend, but the stores won't be open late so this was really the last real Saturday you could shop before Xmas Day. Mrs. Scruffy and I still had some things to get so we had to venture out. The gameplan was to get out there as the stores opened and it worked pretty well. The stores weren't too crowded, the lineups weren't too long, it wasn't too stupid finding a parking spot and the nerves of shoppers were relatively calm. Then again, we didn't go to Costco and we were thinking about it.
The US College Football Bowl games have started. I'm sure all of you gathered round the TV for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Potato Bowl???  The game is played on the blue turf at Boise State. I think this used to be called the Humanitarian Bowl, but then corporate America had to get in there.
HBO followed Derek Jeter around in the days before he got his 3000th hit. I have the program on the PVR. If its like "24/7" and "The Franchise", it will be good viewing. By the way, thumbs up to Access Communications for having all of "The Franchise" on demand.
The Winnipeg Sun is reporting Khari Jones could be the offensive co-ordinator here. I'm lukewarm on that.
There are many people that are growing sick and tired of Andy Fantuz and are saying they could now care less if he stays or goes. The love affair is over until he signs a new contract-----if he signs a new contract. I don't think he does as it sounds like he is asking for too much $$$.
Tebow vs Brady. Are you ready?
Week 15 NFL Lock Of The Week----Texans over Panthers
Week 15 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Eagles over Jets
The biggest decision I will make today is can or bottle. Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Thoughts

Here we go in no particular order

--I laugh at those who automatically without seeing what he can do or what kind of coaching style the guy has that say Brendan Taman picked the wrong man in Corey Chamblin. Do you people just specialize in being negative? Is it part of your DNA? Can we give Chamblin a chance to show us what he can do? He was very engaging and witty during his introductory newser tomorrow, but that doesn't translate into wins and losses. Lets just step back a little and see how things unfold.

--To those that wanted Dave Dickenson here. It seems to me as if Dave didn't think he was ready and that perhaps the future for him wasn't in Regina. If that is the case, I would like the Taman haters to stop the "He should have brought Dickenson in" comments. Doing that might have been a disaster.

--Who ends up as coach of the Ti-Cats? I don't think it will be Dickenson.

--Honest to god, I just about missed the Corey Chamblin announcement yesterday. I was catching up on some TV programs that I have not watched. I heard my cellphone going off, but I ignored it. I saw the release from Sheri Trapp about an hour and 20 minutes before the newser was called. Imagine the surprise I might have had if I had just kept watching the old tube.

--Mike Milbury has apparently been charged with assaulting a 12 year old hockey player in Massachusetts. NICE!!! The kid is apparently a player that Milbury's team had just played against. The story can be found right here. I would be shocked if he appeared on HNIC tomorrow night.

--The Pats/Calgary Hitmen game is on Sportsnet tonight.

--Is Chad Lang losing sleep over whether or not to trade forward Jordan Weal. Could the Pats GM swing a trade with Portland that sees highly touted defenceman Derrick Pouliot come to Regina. I doubt it, but I throw it out there.

--Is there any truth to the rumour that the Warriors are interested in acquiring defenceman Martin Marincin and/or goalie Drew Owsley from Prince George.

--I have to get to the Saskatchewan Science Centre to see the Titanic exhibit. I know its around for a while yet, but I wanna go.

--The great Dan Patrick was getting tweets from porn star Bibi Jones today. Jones is the young woman who was wearing Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's jersey a few weeks ago causing a big hullabaloo. Upon hearing Patrick tell this tale, I texted Rod Pedersen to say the difference between his show and Dan's is that Dan is getting tweets from porn stars. I can't speak for Meyers, but I don't think Rod or I have been getting tweets or texts from porn stars.

--Speaking of the "Cage", I will be back in there today. More reaction from the Corey Chamblin hiring with John Lynch who sits in for Scott Schultz on Four Seasons "Football Friday". Schultz seemingly always bail when I host on Fridays. I'm starting to think he has an issue. Brendan Taman will be on with us as will Jim Hopson and Rob Vanstone. Talk to ya then!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WHL Players Staying Busy Over Xmas Break

The Western Hockey League is proud to announce that 57 WHL players will suit up in international competition in December and January.

A total of 47 WHL players have already been named to national teams that will compete in Under-20 and Under-17 tournaments, while another nine players have been invited to the selection camps for their respective countries. One other player, Brett Connolly, was loaned to Canada’s national junior team from the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, but is still eligible to play in the WHL for the Cougars this season.

Six WHL players, including Connolly, will play for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship tournament, while another eight players have been named to their respective national Under-20 teams for the World Junior Championships in Alberta or the Division 1 Under-20 championship in Germany.

34 of the WHL’s top 16-year-old players will suit up for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Ontario, with 22 players set to represent Team Pacific (Alberta and B.C.) and another 12 to represent Team West (Manitoba and Saskatchewan).

The Edmonton Oil Kings and the Prince George Cougars lead the way with six players each heading off to international tournaments. The Vancouver Giants will see five players head off for international competition.

Here’s a look at who will be playing internationally over the next few weeks:

Brandon Wheat Kings
*Alessio Bertaggia – Switzerland (WJ)
Ayrton Nikkel – Team Pacific (U-17)
Mark Stone – Canada (WJ)

Calgary Hitmen
Greg Chase – Team Pacific (U-17)
Victor Rask – Sweden (WJ)

Edmonton Oil Kings
Mason Geertsen – Team Pacific (U-17)
*Martin Gernat – Slovakia (WJ)
Tristan Jarry – Team Pacific (U-17)
Curtis Lazar – Team Pacific (U-17)
Kristians Pelss – Latvia (WJ)
Mark Pysyk – Canada (WJ)

Everett Silvertips
*Vladimir Dolnik – Slovakia (WJ)
Austin Lotz – Team West (U-17)
Ryan Murray – Canada (WJ)

Kamloops Blazers
Marek Hrbas – Czech Republic (WJ)
Matt Needham – Team Pacific (U-17)

Kelowna Rockets
Tyson Baillie – Team Pacific (U-17)
Madison Bowey – Team West (U-17)
Jesse Lees – Team Pacific (U-17)
*Filip Vasko – Slovakia (WJ)

Kootenay Ice
Jaedon Descheneau – Team Pacific (U-17)
Jonathan Martin – Team West (U-17)
Sam Reinhart – Team Pacific (U-17)
Spencer Wand – Team West (U-17)

Lethbridge Hurricanes
Macoy Erkamps – Team Pacific (U-17)
Craig Leverton – Team West (U-17)
Jay Merkley – Team Pacific (U-17)

Medicine Hat Tigers
*Emerson Etem – United States (WJ)

Moose Jaw Warriors
Carter Hansen – Team West (U-17)
Quinton Howden – Canada (WJ)
Torrin White – Team Pacific (U-17)

Portland Winterhawks
*Sven Bartschi – Switzerland (WJ)
Nicolas Petan – Team Pacific (U-17)

Prince Albert Raiders
Jonas Knutsen – Norway (WJ Div-1)
Josh Morrissey – Team Pacific (U-17)

Prince George Cougars
**Brett Connolly – Canada (WJ)

Jarrett Fontaine – Team West (U-17)
Alex Forsberg – Team West (U-17)
*Martin Marincin – Slovakia (WJ)
Jordan Tkatch – Team West (U-17)
Chase Witala – Team Pacific (U-17)

Red Deer Rebels
Kayle Doetzel – Team West (U-17)
Cory Millette – Team West (U-17)

Regina Pats
Kyle Burroughs – Team Pacific (U-17)
Morgan Klimchuk – Team Pacific (U-17)

Saskatoon Blades
Andrey Makarov – Russia (WJ)
Nick Zajac – Team West (U-17)

Seattle Thunderbirds
Marcel Noebels – Germany (WJ Div-1)
*Dave Sutter – Switzerland (WJ)

Spokane Chiefs
Dominik Uher – Czech Republic (WJ)

Tri-City Americans
Eric Comrie – Team Pacific (U-17)

Vancouver Giants
Anthony Ast – Team Pacific (U-17)
Brendan Gallagher – Canada (WJ)
Jackson Houck – Team Pacific (U-17)
David Musil – Czech Republic (WJ)
*Marek Tvrdon – Slovakia (WJ)

Victoria Royals
Keegan Kanzig – Team Pacific (U-17)

In addition to this news, the league also announced what players will take part in the Home Hardware Prospects game today. The Pats will be represented by Chandler Stephenson and Dominik Volek. White City's Ryan Murray will also play in the game as will Weyburn's Derrick Pouliot who plays for the Portland Winter Hawks.

Welcome To Riderville Corey Chamblin

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that Corey Chamblin has been named their new head coach.

“We are very excited about hiring Corey to be our head coach,” stated General Manager Brendan Taman. “He brings a vision with him that will lead to a team the fans will be proud of. Being a head coach is about managing men and relating to the players which I feel is Corey’s strong point.”

Chamblin comes to the Green and White from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he most recently served as the Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach. Chamblin spent three seasons working with the defensive backs in Calgary where the Stamps secondary had great success and were looked upon as some of the toughest defensive backs in the CFL. In 2008 the Stamps claimed the Grey Cup after holding the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Anthony Calvillo without a touchdown pass in the championship game. Over the course of his time in Calgary, Chamblin led a number of players to great achievements including Brandon Browner who is a current starting cornerback for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

“To be named the head coach is a great opportunity and I am genuinely excited to be a part of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, “stated Chamblin. “I have always looked at the Riders knowing it is a team I could be a part of. It’s so similar to where I’m from and what I’m used to – the work ethic of the players, the professionalism of the organization and the excitement of the fans – this is how football is supposed to be.”

When he first arrived in the CFL in 2007, Chamblin served as the Defensive Backs Coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who had the second best pass defence in the CFL. They also held the MOP of that season - Kerry Joseph to a mere 181 passing yards in the Grey Cup game.

Since entering the CFL all teams Chamblin has been a part of have always made it to division finals or the Grey Cup each and every year. That winning mentality was evident among his players as he molded and guided Browner, Dwight Anderson and Justin Hickman to being named CFL All-Stars during his time with their respective teams.

Before coming to the CFL, the Birmingham, Alabama native spent time coaching in NFL Europe in 2006 where he worked as a defensive assistant and secondary coach for the Frankfurt Galaxy who went on to claim the World Bowl Championship. During that season he helped develop a young Joselio Hanson who went on the following season to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles where he remains a key component of the teams secondary. In addition during the 2006 season, Chamblin completed a coaching internship with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

Chamblin began his coaching career in 2005 when he became an assistant coach at Cumberland University in Tennessee.

In high school Chamblin played a variety of positions for the football team including defensive back, linebacker and running back. His versatility as a player led to a full scholarship at Tennessee Tech where he played free safety.

Despite going undrafted, Chamblin went on to sign as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 1999. That season he played with Jacksonville Jaguars where he was a member of the team’s first defensive squad and blocked a punt in the AFC Divisional victory over the Miami Dolphins. He remained in the NFL until 2004 spending time with the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. He rounded out his playing career with the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe.

During his time in the NFL Chamblin had the opportunity to play for Mike Tomlin – Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the time Tomlin was the Defensive Backs Coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the young age of 29. It was then that Chamblin made the realization that his future would be in coaching. Since that time the two have stayed in touch and Tomlin remains to be a great mentor to Chamblin who feels the young coach blazed a path for others to follow after being named a Head Coach in the NFL at the age of 34.

Corey, his wife Samantha, son Karter and their two dogs India and Maggie are excited to make the move to Riderville.

Chamblin becomes the 29th head coach in Riders modern history.

Here is what sounded like as Chamblin was introduced....

TamanChamblinDec15 by mblairregina

The Speculation Ends

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have called a 3 pm news conference to announce what is believed to be a new head coach. Sportsnet's Arash Madani says the team will announce Hamilton defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin is the man. He was supposedly the man last year, but Ken Miller over-ruled Brendan Taman and went with Greg Marshall. We will see what transpires. Later!

Patrick Kane--You Are Ridiculous!!

Check out this shootout goal against Minnesota last night. Poor Nick Backstrom...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Canadian World Junior Team Announced

The 22 men that will try and put Canada back on top of the junior hockey ladder were named today by Hockey Canada. The team will play three tune-up games next week before starting everything off Boxing Day. You can watch the event on TSN and hear all of Canada's games on 620 CKRM with Rod Pedersen calling the action. To get a look at the roster, just click here

Rams D Lineman To Play In Shrine Game

Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Wednesday that University of Regina Rams fourth-year defensive tackle Akiem Hicks will be one of three CIS players that will participate in the 87th Annual East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, Jan. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Hicks becomes the fourth University of Regina player to take part in the East-West Shrine Game in the 12-year history of the Rams at the CIS level, joining Jordan Sisco (2010), Brendon LaBatte (2008), and Jason Clermont (2002).

Hicks recently wrapped up a brilliant second season for the Rams, being named Canada West's top lineman in addition to garnering first-team All-Canadian and Canada West all-star honours.

The 6'5”, 300 lb. product of Elk Grove, Calif., had a team-high 35½ total tackles, set a University of Regina single-season record with 6½ sacks, broke up three passes, and forced two fumbles during the conference schedule. He led all players with 10½ tackles in the team's Canada West semifinal game at Calgary.

Hicks will be joined by Saskatchewan offensive lineman Ben Heenan on the West roster. Laval defensive lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon was named to the East roster.

The East-West Shrine Game is an annual postseason college football all-star event and a benefit for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. It will be shown live on the NFL Network, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. CST on Jan. 21.

This And That

Its December 14 and it really hasn't felt like winter yet. I'm down with that. I'm guessing you are too. I could take weather right this right through until spring.

Its December 14 and I have a whack of Xmas shopping to do yet. That's not good.

The World Junior team was announced today. Saskatchewan will be represented by White City's Ryan Murray and Wilcox's Jaden Schwartz. I guess you can add Warriors forward Quinton Howden to that list seeing he does play for a Saskatchewan based team. I'm guessing Murray can do a lot for his future by having a good tournament seeing he is an undrafted player. A strong showing in Alberta and he could be the number one guy when it comes to central scouting.

Thumbs up to Brendan Taman for getting Hilltop safety Graig Newman and Thunder receiver Kolten Solomon under contract. Newman looked great when he was here last year and if he can make this team, it really gives the Riders some options in the secondary as you know Craig Butler isn't going anywhere. Some have told me they think Solomon is a better project than Jordan Sisco. I haven't seen enough of Solomon to agree or disagree with that statement.

Speaking of the Rider secondary, Nick Graham is tweeting that he has signed a contract with the team. Nothing official from the organization though.

Am I the only one that was surprised when reminded that Ricky Ray is just 32 years old. He seems like he has been in the CFL forever.

Was Eric Tillman on his back medication when he said he felt Steven Jyles was a top three quarterback in this league? The Eskimos GM is being roasted for getting rid of Ray, but he has a master plan and most times that plan comes to fruition. I would be surprised if Jyles is the number one guy going into camp.

Is Sidney Crosby done? Will we ever see the Crosby of old on a consistent basis again? We know he still has it, but we also know that he can't really take a hit as the one he received from David Krejci wasn't that bad.

There is word this morning that the Blue Jays might be interested in free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. If they get him, what do they do with him?

If Pro-Line's "POOLS" game gave out secondary prizes for players that have just one game wrong on their ticket, I would have a lot of spare cash at my disposal. For the 2nd time this year, I had a ticket where there was just one game wrong. Damn you San Francisco!!!!!

The great Dan Patrick and his gang were discussing Tim Tebow this morning and the Broncos rally to beat the Bears on Sunday. Patrick asked should Tebow get the credit for the comeback as to which one of his cohorts said "No, but Marian Barber should". No kidding!!

So word is Derek Jeter after a night of romancing a lady sends her home in a limousine and that when she opens up the door, there is a basket of Jeter memorabilia including a signed baseball. I guess that's better than cab fare on the kitchen table. I just can't believe Jeter is doing now what Vanstone and I used to do with our dates back in the 80's. Copycat!!

Good on Kent Austin for finally saying he wasn't interested in returning to the CFL, but he should have done that a while ago. He was holding the Riders and the Tiger-Cats hostage by remaining silent. Because of this development, I would expect an announcement coming out of Mosaic next week---like perhaps one week from today.

Sportsnet's and Sportscage's Arash Madani doesn't seem to think Dave Dickenson is the guy. He never has thought that way. Would you be OK with Craig Dickenson being the HC with Dave being the OC. Yeah, its a lateral move for Dave but he is working with his brother.

The NHL is going to follow certain players around for 36 hours in a series called "NHL 36". The first player to be followed is Blackhawks center Patrick Kane. I've seen 'Cops" before so I don't know if I will see anything new from this show. Lets just hope we don't see Patrick in a cab.

Patrick Chan was Canada's male athlete of the year? Really? I thought it would go to Milos Raonic.

From a friend of mine in his early 20's who got lucky over the weekend after being at the Whiskey Saloon and other places. "I should really train to be a garbage collector, because I am an expert at picking up trash". BA DOOM BAH!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Riders Dip Into Junior Pool

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have signed non-import defensive back Graig Newman and non-import receiver Kolten Solomon to the roster. Financial details of the signings were not released.

Newman (6’1 – 195 lbs) played the last four seasons with the Saskatoon Hilltops. In 2011, the defensive back registered 20 defensive tackles and one interception. He also tied the Canada Bowl record with three interceptions in the Hilltops’ championship win in November which earned him the title of Canadian Bowl Defensive Player of the Game. Newman attended training camp with the Riders last season and spent time on the team’s practice roster before returning to the Hilltops.

Solomon (5’11 – 190 lbs) played junior football with the Regina Thunder. In 2011, he tallied 35 receptions for 802 yards and five touchdowns, two carries for 17 yards, 12 punt returns for 118 yards, 17 kickoff returns for 446 yards and two touchdowns. Solomon was also named a CJFL All-Canadian for the second consecutive season. The receiver attended training camp with the Riders last season before returning to the Thunder.

The team also announced the release of three players.

K/P Eddie Johnson
DL RJ Roberts
LB Jeremiah Weatherspoon

Benavides Officially Takes Over As Lions HC

BC Lions Football Club vice president, football operations and GM, Wally Buono announced this morning that Mike Benevides has been named the team’s new head coach. Benevides, formerly the club’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, becomes the 24th head coach in team history and takes over for Buono who recently stepped aside from the helm of the current Grey Cup champions.

“Mike has taken every opportunity that has been presented to him and succeeded. He possesses a unique combination of experience, passion and people skills that make him a perfect fit to be the next coach of the BC Lions,” said Buono. “I look forward to working with Mike and bringing another championship home to BC in 2012.”

Coming off his fourth season as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Benevides has built a strong coaching background after originally coming to the Lions in 2003 as special teams coordinator following three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders under Buono.

“I am both humbled and thrilled to accept the position as head coach of the BC Lions,” said the newly appointed Benevides. “I can’t imagine a better situation than right here in BC to take on this new challenge and I am grateful for the support of Wally Buono, Dennis Skulsky and the entire organization.”

Since 2008 when Benevides was named defensive coordinator, no CFL team has recorded more quarterback sacks (211), or forced more turnovers (203) than the Lions. The 5,725 net yards allowed by Benevides’ squad in 2011 was second to only Winnipeg and was the club's best regular season defensive performance since 2006, as well as the second lowest total allowed by the Leos in the past 16 seasons.

Improving steadily from 2009 to the second overall defensive ranking in 2011, no team allowed fewer points than the Lions’ 362 this past season. Dominant and opportunistic over much of the year, the Lions enjoyed a stretch of 15 quarters and 61 possessions without allowing an opponent to score an offensive touchdown. Benevides also oversaw a defence that placed no fewer than six players on the 2011 West Division All-Star squad.

“It is my goal to build a team that is tough, physical and one that puts a premium on field position,” added Benevides. "Most importantly, we will continue to be a team that attacks opponents and is aggressive in all three phases of the game to manufacture explosive plays on both sides of the ball.”

Taking a lead role in the recruitment of new players, Benevides has been instrumental in the evaluation of Canadian talent for the club especially over the past six CFL Drafts where he identified several key players such as Shawn Gore, Akeem Foster, Jamall Lee, James Yurichuk, Dean Valli, Rolly Lumbala, Jon Hameister-Ries and Jason Arakgi. Other players who were selected by the Lions and have gone on to enjoy starting CFL roles include Toronto’s Ricky Foley and Jason Pottinger.

(from BC

Time To Move On ---Austin Says No

The talk of Kent Austin coming back to the Saskatchewan Roughriders is over and its over because the man himself has finally come out and made a statement. Murray McCormick of the Leader-Post has managed to get a comment out of Austin and that comment says what many people figured----that he is not coming back to the CFL.

Here's the story Murray has filed.

Now that this is over, I would expect the coaching search to be over within the next week to 10 days.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Noguiera's X-Ray

If you watched UFC 140 on the weekend, you know Frank Mir snapped Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera's arm in two at the end of the fight. What does the x-ray look like??? Go here to find out and see video if you haven't seen it yet. As I said earlier, the video is not for the squeamish and really either is this X-ray.

NHL News


Sidney Crosby never guessed he would be going through this again -- not this soon, not this season, and especially not the way he was playing.
The Pittsburgh Penguins' superstar is experiencing concussion-like symptoms again, only three weeks after returning from a 10-month layoff. For now, he's not practicing or playing, and he isn't certain when he will be back.
Crosby emphasized Monday that he is feeling much better than he did when he was diagnosed with a concussion nearly a year ago -- and better than he did a few weeks before training camp began. But after being out for so long, he's not about to risk returning too soon.

Crosby, who missed the Penguins' last two games, won't play again until he feels 100 percent and can engage in a full-contact practice without experiencing any symptoms.

"I'm not (feeling) bad," Crosby said Monday. "And I'm not happy about watching. But I've got to make sure with these sort of things that I'm careful and (I'm) aware of making sure I'm 100 percent before coming back."

Crosby passed the initial baseline concussion test last week, a day after he absorbed several hits during a 3-1 Penguins loss to Boston. While the test result was good news, and he has exercised moderately the last few days, he has been bothered by the concussion-related symptoms, including headaches.


NEW YORK (December 12, 2011) – Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla, Minnesota Wild goaltender Matt Hackett andWashington Capitals defenseman John Carlson have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Dec. 11.


With six points (4-2--6), Iginla tied for second among scorers for the week and tied for the lead in goals as the Flames recorded three victories. On Dec. 6, Iginla notched two goals, including the winner, and one assist in a 7-6 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. He recorded one assist in a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche Dec. 8 and finished the week by tallying two goals as the Flames defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 3-0, on Dec 10. Iginla leads Calgary with 11-10--21 in 29 games and he is five goals shy of becoming the 42nd player in NHL history to score 500 career goals.


Hackett had a 2-0-0 record, a 1.01 goals-against average and .974 save percentage to help the Wild improve to 20-7-3 on the season -- first in the overall NHL standings. Hackett made his NHL debut on Dec. 6 against San Jose, replacing the injured Josh Harding at 1:11 of the first period (with the Wild trailing, 1-0) and stopped all 34 shots he faced to backstop a 2-1 victory. In his second appearance and first start, Dec. 8, Hackett made 42 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Hackett set a record for the longest shutout streak by a goaltender to start an NHL career, shutting out the opposition for 102:48, before Los Angeles scored.


Carlson tied for the League lead in points for the week with seven (1-6--7), recording back-to-back three-point games as the Capitals (15-12-1) won two of three. Carlson began the week by notching three assists in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers, Dec. 5. On Dec. 7 he recorded 1-2--3 in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators and he finished the week with an assist in a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dec.9. The Natick, MA native was the Capitals' first choice in the 2008 Draft. In his third NHL season, Carlson is tied for sixth among NHL defensemen with 20 points (5-15--20) in 28 games.