Wednesday, February 29, 2012
CanWest MVP Goes To Cougars Guard
University of Regina fourth-year guard Joanna Zalesiak was named the Canada West Most Valuable Player on Wednesday afternoon as the conference announced its award winners and all-star teams for the 2011-12 season.
In addition, Cougar fourth-year forward Lindsay Ledingham was named a conference second-team all-star and Dave Taylor was named the Canada West Coach of the Year.
Zalesiak, who was also named a first-team all-star, ran the point for a Cougar offence that averaged 84.2 points per game during the conference schedule, a total which stands as the third highest in Canada West history.
She led the conference with 117 assists during the Canada West schedule, averaging just under six per game, and also led the Cougars in steals (57) and minutes played and finished second on the team with 137 rebounds. Though she has a year of CIS eligibility remaining, Zalesiak is expected to end her U of R career after this season as she has completed the academic requirements for her Bachelor of Sport & Recreation Studies degree. Zalesiak will end her time at the U of R ranked 10th in school history with 931 points in conference play despite playing just three seasons with the Cougars.
Zalesiak becomes the second University of Regina product to be named the Canada West Most Valuable Player, joining Cymone Bouchard (2004).
“Joanna's ability to push the ball in transition and attack the defence was instrumental in helping us go 20-0 during conference play,” Cougars head coach Dave Taylor said. “Her work ethic is second to none and she gladly decreased her scoring average this year to help make us better as a team. She makes everyone around her better – a fact which is reflected by her leading the conference in assists this year – and she's also an outstanding rebounder.
Ledingham earns Canada West second-team all-star honours for the second consecutive season. She finished third on the Cougars with an average of 12.5 points per game and pulled down a team-leading 153 rebounds during the 20-game conference schedule.
“Lindsay used her experienced gained while playing for Team Canada at the Universiade and the Pan Am Games to vault her into another all-star season for us,” Taylor said. “She contributes as a scorer, rebounder, defender, and most of all as a leader. In the past three offseasons, Lindsay has put in the work to improve and I am so proud of her for receiving back-to-back all-star selections.”
Taylor, in his sixth year as the head coach of the U of R's women's basketball team, led the Cougars to their first undefeated conference season this year as they went through the Canada West gauntlet with a perfect 20-0 record. The Cougars, who hold a 32-1 overall record this year including last weekend's two-game sweep over Winnipeg in the Canada West quarterfinals, have been ranked No. 1 in every CIS Top Ten poll this season.
Taylor, the 11th head coach in the history of women's basketball at the U of R, ranks second in the school's all-time record book in both conference coaching wins (99) and postseason victories (20). He becomes the first Cougar bench boss to be named the Canada West Women's Basketball Coach of the Year since the U of R joined the conference prior to the 2001-02 season.
“Dave's success is directly attributable to his exceptional work ethic and his commitment to excellence in every aspect of the Cougar women's basketball program,” University of Regina athletics director Dick White said.
The Cougars host the Canada West Final Four this weekend at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport. Friday's semifinal games feature UBC against Saskatchewan (5 p.m.) and Fraser Valley against host Regina (7 p.m.). The third-place game will go on Saturday night at 5 p.m. with the title game to follow at 7 p.m.
Canada West Award Winners
Most Valuable Player: Joanna Zalesiak (Regina)
Coach of the Year: Dave Taylor (Regina)
Defensive Player of the Year: Katie Miyazaki (Saskatchewan)
Rookie of the Year: Dalyce Emmerson (Saskatchewan)
Tracy MacLeod Award nominee: Nicole Wierks (Fraser Valley)
Sylvia Sweeney Award nominee: Lauren Taal (Lethbridge)
Canada West First-Team All-Stars
Zara Huntley (UBC)
Jenna Kaye (Calgary)
Katie Miyazaki (Saskatchewan)
Diane Schuetze (Thompson Rivers)
Joanna Zalesiak (Regina)
Canada West Second-Team All-Stars
Nicole Clarke (Alberta)
Dalyce Emmerson (Saskatchewan)
Tessa Klassen (Fraser Valley)
Lindsay Ledingham (Regina)
Kris Young (UBC)
Stamps Get New DC
The Calgary Stampeders are pleased to announce that Rick Campbell is the team’s new defensive coordinator. Campbell takes over the position vacated by Dave Walkosky, who resigned earlier this week to become the special teams coordinator at Georgia Tech.
“When we promoted Dave from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator in December, Rick Campbell was very high on my list of candidates for the coordinator position,” said John Hufnagel, Stampeders head coach and general manager. “It was a difficult decision at the time but Dave allowed us to have continuity and grow our staff from within.
“But Rick is just one year removed from our organization, having been our running backs coach in 2010, and also brings a good degree of continuity. I really appreciate the fact that Edmonton allowed us the opportunity to talk to Rick again.”
Campbell spent 1999-2008 with the Edmonton Eskimos in the roles of special teams andlinebackers coach (1999), defensive secondary and special teams coach (2000-04) and defensive coordinator (2005-08). In 2009, he became Winnipeg’s defensive backs and special teams coordinator. He joined the Stampeders for the 2010 season. Campbell spent the 2011 season with Edmonton as its assistant head coach and special teams coordinator.
Campbell started his coaching career at the University of Oregon, where he was defensive secondary coach from 1996-98.
“Rick is a well-respected coach,” said Hufnagel. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and has a great deal of experience in all three phases of the game.”
Meanwhile, Walkosky was named the Stamps’ defensive coordinator on Dec. 23, 2011 following his first season in the CFL as the Stamps’ linebackers coach. Prior to his time with the Stamps, Walkosky was head coach at Tiffin University in Ohio for three years.
Happy Leap Day!
There is tremendous excitement within the Rider Nation over the arrival of quarterbacks Colt Brennan and Drew Willy. Brennan certainly has an impressive resume behind him, but as some have said, a nice resume doesn't translate into success when it comes to the Canadian game. If Brennan and Willy can't adapt to the wide Canadian field, the 12th man and the other things about the Canadian game that make it different from the American game, he will be another in a long line of quarterbacks that have come to Canada after making a name for themselves in the NCAA and not being able to cut it. If he can adapt, Brendan Taman may have gotten a steal. I don't think Brennan will replace Darian Durant anytime soon, but if Brennan can learn the Canadian game and excel, he could very well be number 2 when the season opens.
Two facts on Brennan. He holds the NCAA record for most TD passes thrown in a season. The record touchdown was thrown to former Rider Ryan Grice-Mullen. The other one is that Brennan was a rebound for Jessica Simpson after her and Tony Romo split up. I wonder if he has any stories about that. I'll let Vanstone dig those up.
The Regina Pats are home to the Red Deer Rebels tonight. A win in this one could basically be the final nail in the coffin for the Rebels as they are the only team that can catch the Pats. I doubt as if Regina can play as well as they did against Moose Jaw on home ice Friday, but if they do, it will be lights out early for the Rebels. As I said on this blog and on the Sportscage Monday, I don't think I've seen a Pats team play as good a game in years as what I saw them play Friday. If I am the Oil Kings, Warriors or Tigers, I don't really want to have to go up against this team in the first round. The same can be said for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
We all know the CFL has a crossover, the WHL doesn't and if you look at the standings, you might think Eastern Conference teams will push for one. The 8th place team in the West is the Seattle Thunderbirds. They sit with 44 points. The last place team in the East is the Prince Albert Raiders at 45 points. The Broncos, Rebels, Raiders and Hurricanes are just victims of circumstance. There isn't any way the WHL will create a rule saying the 9th place team in a conference can go to the playoffs if better than the 8th place team in the other. Can you imagine the travel and the $$$ involved if Victoria were playing Brandon.
WWE fans, are you ready for the John Lauranaitis-Ted E. Long bout at Wrestlemania. I just hope they sandwich this one in between the main events so that people can take that last bathroom break or whatever before the main event begins.
Tiger Woods' former coach says Tiger wanted to quit golf to become a Navy Seal. Really? I think Elin must have connected with that 7 iron when she went after Tiger on that Thanksgiving night when his world started to come crumbling down.
How much longer can the Leafs go with Ron Wilson behind the bench? That move failed miserably for Brian Burke. Actually, many moves have failed miserably for Burke since his time in Toronto.
If you took Erik Karlsson of the Senators in your hockey draft, you came up with a big-time steal. What round did you get him in? He went in the 7th round in a draft that I was in and yes I am proud to say he went one pick after I took Teddy Purcell of the Lightning. This is the last time I will speak about this pool. I'm not last, but I am in sight of it.
NHL trade deadline day was as expected a bust. TSN and Sportsnet want to make a big deal of this, but they just end up bringing us some bad television. To their credit though, both do a good job. I kept expecting to see some cooking segments come on. While I didn't mind seeing Alyonka Larionov wearing a short skirt telling us about what Tweets she thought was clever, I couldn't help but think didn't Sportsnet do this on a daily basis with Daru Dhillon and it failed miserably. When Larionov is asking people to tweet in asking who has the best tie, it makes me go ?????. TSN says it had huge ratings though and that's what matters. I haven't seen SNET's numbers yet, but in all honesty, I thought they did a better job in breaking trades. Hell, I had the Gilbert-Schultz trade on my twitter feed before those guys did but that's because I re-tweeted it mere seconds after it came from the Oilers. Where is Daru Dhillon these days anyhoo?
The NFL Network's Rich Eisen ran his annual 40 yard dash at the NFL combine yesterday and he clocked in at just over 6 seconds. Does the Regina sports media need to do this at this year's Rider training camp. If so, I volunteer to be a timer. I would take Jonesy to win that, I'd also take Vanstone to injure himself.
Have a great Leap Day!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Riders Sign Two QB's
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have signed import quarterbacks Colt Brennan and Drew Willy to contracts. Financial details of the signings were not released.
Brennan (6’3 – 207 lbs) was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2007 during his senior season at Hawaii. In his three years at the school, Brennan broke a number of records including the NCAA Division I record for most touchdowns in a single season with 58 and NCAA record for highest pass completion percentage (70.4%). He holds a total of 31 NCAA Division I records. His other honours included being named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year twice and was named to the First-team All-WAC in two consecutive seasons. After his time with Hawaii, the 28-year old was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft making him the tenth quarterback to be selected in the draft. Brennan went on to lead NFL rookies in touchdown passes in the 2008 pre-season where he completed 36 of 53 pass attempts for 411 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The following season he was placed on the injured reserve due to a season ending hamstring and hip injury. In 2010 he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens but was later released.
Willy (6’3 – 215 lbs) played at the University of Buffalo and went on to become the most prolific passer in Buffalo football history. As a four-year starter, he set school records for completions (849), attempts (1,322), passing yards (8,748), touchdowns (52), total offense (8,639), and completion percentage (64.2). During the final 20 games of his college career, Willy threw 36 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. After going as undrafted free agent in 2009, the 25-year-old initially signed with the Baltimore Ravens. After being released in August he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts and added to the active roster and then added to the team’s practice squad. After being released in 2010, Willy spent time with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives before being signed by the New York Jets in January, 2011. He was released in September but immediately signed to the San Diego Chargers practice roster the following day.
Bell Returns To Riderville
Bell came to the Riders last off-season in a trade with the Edmonton Eskimos. In 2011, he played in all 18 regular season games for the Green and White and added five special team tackles and one kick-off return for 12 yards.
Since joining the CFL in 2005 after signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a free agent where he spent three seasons before playing in Edmonton for two. over the course of his career the Saskatchewan product has played in 82 regular season games and tallied 59 special team tackles, 18 carries for 66 yards and one touchdown, six receptions for 27 yards and one touchdown. Bell has also played in three playoff games where he added two special team tackles and one reception for 13 yards.
Welcome to the LFL Saskatoon!
The controversial sport spectacle in which scantily-clad women play a seven-on-seven version of tackle football was in talks with Credit Union Centre (CUC) about hosting a franchise for the city. It was announced last week that the U.S.-based league awarded a franchise to Regina as part of its Canadian expansion, with the Brandt Centre serving as the team’s home. The Saskatoon team was officially announced in a news release Tuesday morning. Saskatoon will play a four game schedule and be in a Western Canadian division with Abbotsford, B.C., and Regina. The Eastern Division will include Toronto, which played in the league last year, and two yet-to-be-named franchises.
“The LFL has become a very successful sports franchise in the States, drawing sellout crowds,” said Will Lofdahl, CEO of Credit Union Centre, in a press release. “The current level of excitement, fan fare and media attention around LFL Football coming to Canada will certainly translate in our city and building. Especially considering the rivalry that will surely form between us and Regina. We are excited that the LFL has chosen the city of Saskatoon and Credit Union Centre as the official home of the Saskatoon franchise.”
Mitchell Mortaza, the league’s founder and chairman, said in a statement the league is growing in popularity and Saskatchewan’s strong football culture was the reason for two franchises in the province.
“While we have enjoyed unprecedented success in the U.S., we believe LFL Canada will actually draw far more success. The fanatical culture that exists around sports throughout the country and specifically within the Saskatchewan (province), was the primary catalyst behind the formation of LFL Canada and the naming of two Saskatchewan franchises.”
The league has sparked debate in Saskatoon since it was announced to be in discussions with CUC. The LFL has been criticized as a gimmick that demeans female athletes. A number of local female tackle football players have questioned safety because of the lack of equipment worn.
The league is seeking input on the Saskatoon team name via email at LFLinSaskatoon@LFLUS.com.
(From Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)
Monday, February 27, 2012
Bombers Release Stadium Update
“As we all know, construction of a major facility is dependent on many different factors,” said Jim Bell, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“We were given a comprehensive construction overview last week, and were advised that the construction team has lost over 60 days due to weather. While we are enjoying mild temperatures, high winds have hampered the very dangerous work associated with the erection of the partial roof canopy. Workplace safety is of foremost importance and we support our construction team’s decisions as to when it’s safe to operate the cranes and when it is not. In light of this information, we will play our preseason game on June 20 at Canad Inns Stadium, and plan to open the regular season at Investors Group Field on July 26.”
The July 26 date is dependent on a milestone being met in early May.
“I can assure people that our construction team is working around the clock to make this time up with whatever resources are necessary, and to meet the dates required,” said Ossama AbouZeid, Stadium Project Manager.
“We are asking our fans to bear with us as we work through this process. We are focused thoroughly on giving our fans the best and complete game day atmosphere and experience possible. With that in mind, we are hoping that with our preseason game being held at historic Canad Inns Stadium, and our first four games on the road to the start the regular season, we will be in a position to open Investors Group Field on July 26,” said Bell.
As the organization continues its season ticket allocation program, season ticket holders for 2012 will be credited the difference to equal the value of the 2011 preseason game ticket.
NHL Trade Deadline Update
--Detroit sends Mike Commodore to Tampa Bay for conditional 7th round pick in 2013
--Edmonton sends Tom Gilbert to Minnesota for Nick Schultz
--Toronto sends Keith Aulie to Tampa Bay for Carter Ashton
--Winnipeg sends Johnny Oduya to Chicago for a 2nd and 3rd round draft pick in 2013
--Columbus sends Sami Pahlsson to Vancouver for a 4th round draft pick in 2012
--San Jose sends Jamie McGinn, Mike Connolly and Mike Sgarbossa to Colorado for Daniel Winnik, TJ Galiardi and a 7th round pick in 2013
--Ottawa sends Brian Lee to Tampa for Matt Gilroy.
--Vancouver sends Cody Hodgson and Matt Sulzer to Buffalo for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani
--Buffalo sends Paul Gaustad to Nashville for a first round draft pick in 2012.
--Chicago sends John Scott to the Rangers for a 5th round draft pick in 2012
--Minnesota sends defenceman Greg Zanon to Boston for forward Steve Kampfer
The highlight of the day was Dan O'Toole eating a peanut butter sandwich by emptying an entire jar onto one piece of bread. I don't know if its on Youtube yet or not.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Am I the only one to find the voice of Kelly Scott to be particularly grating. I can't imagine being her husband and being nagged at with that voice. YEESH!
Now that Jennifer Jones did not win the Scotties, can the fine people at Kruger Paper give us a new ad next year. I will see it for a few weeks yet, but I am tired of the ad where Jones forgets to get a box of Scotties Tissue.
Its nice to see that when the snow falls in Regina that people ignore it and continue to drive like idiots. It was also nice to drive down a residential street on Sunday afternoon and see one gentlemen shoving his snow from his driveway onto the middle of his street while another at the end of the street using his snowblower to deposit the white stuff into the middle of the road. Is this legal? Do neighbours not say anything? One of my neighbours took his snowblower and cleared the street blowing the snow into the various yards. That's the way it should be done.
The NHL trade deadline is Monday. Is Rick Nash going somewhere? Is Steve Ott going somewhere? Is Luke Schenn going somewhere? How bad will the TV be on both Sportsnet and TSN be until some moves of quality are made. Like free agent day in the NHL, the panels on both networks have to do some fancy tap-dancing until something gets done. The battle to be the best is obviously there, but both shouldn't start up until at least noon when by then hopefully some activity is done. Speaking of activity, I don't know how active my Oilers will be on Monday, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings any if Nikolai Khabibulin, Ryan Jones, Shawn Horcoff, Cam Barker, Magnus Paajarvi or Linus Omark were dealt. I wouldn't like to see Sam Gagner get traded, but he might. I just want some solid defencemen or some draft picks in return. I don't think Nash gets dealt--especially if he played in Pittsburgh on Sunday thus risking his health. Would Buffalo pull the trigger on a Ryan Miller trade? Chicago could use a goalie and Miller might be a good option, but I'm guessing it would cost the Hawks a Patrick Sharp or Patrick Kane.
As bad as the NHL trade deadline is, at least it won't give me a reason to watch the Daytona 500. I have many friends who are huge NASCAR fans and that's fine, but I just can't get into it. Turn right once in a while. As some will say about the NBA, tell me when there's 5 minutes left and they will start to watch. I say tell me when there is 10 laps left and I will watch. I will see the big crash(es) on the highlights.
I couldn't have cared less about the Oscars either. Until the academy recognizes outstanding cinema classics like Dodgeball and Old School, why bother.
One of the best promotions the Regina Pats have been involved in since the Parker family took over the team goes Monday night. The Western Pizza "Have A Heart Night" is tonight. Members of the Pats will be dispatched to the various Western Pizzas through the city and will serve as delivery boys from 6-8. All delivery charges and tips received will go to the "Heart and Stroke Foundation". Over 40-grand has been raised through this promotion over the past number of years. Get yourself a Western Pizza tonight.
When I watch the Winnipeg Jets play on home ice, I do wonder if the rabid Winnipeg hockey fans outdoes the rabid Saskatchewan football fan when it comes to showing off the logo and wearing the colours. It seems like everyone in Winnipeg is wearing something with the Jets logo on it. I don't see that with every fan that walks into Mosaic. Yes, 30-grand go to Mosaic while only 16 or 17-thousand go to the MTS Centre, but they do rival if not surpass the loyalty shown here by the Rider Nation.
If you are still waiting for the right person in your life to come along, don't be afraid to have fun with the wrong one.
Have a good Monday!
Would You Put $20 Down On The Riders
Bet365 has updated its Grey Cup odds, and thanks to the high profile acquisitions of Henry Burris, Martell Mallett and Andy Fantuz, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are the odds-on favourites to win the 100th Grey Gup in Toronto at +350 -- followed by Calgary and BC.
If you're feeling lucky, Edmonton and Saskatchewan are paying 10-1.
UFC Coming To Calgary
As first reported by QMI Agency three months ago, the UFC is tentatively set to host an event at the Scotiabank Saddledome in July.
A senior UFC source confirmed the plan with QMI Agency, adding that while the fight club is looking for a July 21 event, the date has not been finalized.
“It’s safe to say that we are coming and we are looking around that date, but the final contract has not been signed yet,” said the source.
There have been no fights announced for the card.
Online reports said the UFC is also looking at two other Canadian dates for events this year in Toronto and Montreal.
The world-famous Calgary Stampede is celebrating its 100th anniversary and if the UFC event goes on the 21st, it will take place the first Saturday after the Stampede wraps up.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Lots of Cdn Flavour At Major League Camps
Canadians, 37 in all, head to big-league camp as Spring Training opens this week across Florida and Arizona in preparation for the 2012 baseball season.
A total of 26 Canadians saw action in the big-leagues during 2011, highlighted by John Axford who recorded 46 saves for the Central Division winning Milwaukee Brewers. Joey Votto won the National League MVP in 2010 and made a case to repeat by hitting .309 with 29 homeruns and 103 RBI in 2011. Votto played in the All-Star Game in Arizona and was joined by Russell Martin of the New York Yankees.
Brett Lawrie made an impression in his rookie debut with the Toronto Blue Jays when he was called-up to the big-leagues in early August.
Scott Diamond, Rene Tosoni, Taylor Green and Trystan Magnuson all made the major league debuts in 2011, while Adam Loewen reached the big-leagues as a position player with the Toronto Blue Jays after he was forced to end his pitching career in 2008 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Five players who helped Canada win gold last October at the Pan Am Games in Mexico: Scott Richmond,Kyle Lotzkar, Chris Robinson, Brock Kjeldgaard and Dustin Molleken, will be heading to big-league camp with their respective clubs.
Players in big-league camp (38):
C Russell Martin (Montréal, QC)
C Max St. Pierre (Québec City, QC)
3B Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC)
RHP Trystan Magnuson (Vancouver, BC)
RHP Scott Richmond (Vancouver, BC)White Sox
RHP Jesse Crain (Toronto, ON)
C Michael Blanke (Granby, QC)
OF Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON)
C Luke Carlin (Aylmer, QC)
1B Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC)
OF Rene Tosoni (Port Coquitlam, BC)
LHP Scott Diamond (Guelph, ON)
OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC)
LHP Philippe Valiquette (Montréal, QC)
LHP James Paxton (Delta, BC)
C Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON)
RHP Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK)
C Lars Davies (Grand Prairie, AB)
OF Jason Bay (Trail, BC)
OF Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC)
C Mike Nickeas (North Vancouver, BC)
INF Peter Orr (Newmarket, ON)
OF Tyson Gillies (Vancouver, BC)
RHP Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC)
INF Mark Teahen (Redlands, CA)
RHP Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC)
1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON)
LHP Jeff Francis (North Delta, BC)
RHP Kyle Lotzkar (Delta, BC)
RHP John Axford (Port Dover, ON)
3B Taylor Green (Comox, BC)
C George Kottaras (Toronto, ON)
OF Brock Kjeldgaard (London, ON)
RHP Chris Leroux (Mississauga, ON)
LHP Erik Bedard (Navan, ON)
LHP RJ Swindle (Vancouver, BC)
RHP Blake Hawksworth (North Vancouver, BC)
Friday, February 24, 2012
Regina was dominant in this game. The only time when Moose Jaw controlled the play or the game was when they scored their first goal of the game as they kept the puck in the Pats zone for a good minute if not more.
It is just one game, but if Regina plays the way they did on this night, I wouldn't want to be the team that draws them in the first round of the playoffs. If the weather co-operates, it should be a good game in Brandon tomorrow against a Wheat Kings team that is also on the top of their game. I say if the weather co-operates because we are expecting a great deal of snow and one has to wonder if the game will get played because it might be tough for the Pats just hitting the highway.
The way the Pats have played over the last week makes me wonder if the Pedersen curse has been replaced by the Andrews advantage. Perhaps Phil "The Thrill" was the tonic this team needed to get them through the end of the regular season. Who'd have thunk it?
Ales Hemsky gets a two year, 10 million dollar deal from the Oilers. Good on Hemsky for re-signing and not going to unrestricted free agency as it shows he wants to stay in Edmonton, but is he worth 5 million a year and if he is, what will Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hoplins command when their contracts are up. I guess we will never know if the Oilers could have gotten another first round pick from someone. Perhaps they can using someone like Shawn Horcoff as bait. We will find out Monday.
You can't say the Minnesota Wild didn't get enough from New Jersey for Marek Zidlicky. HOLY CRAP!! This is Marek Zidlicky we are talking about. If that's what the Devils get for Zidlicky, what do the Blue Jackets get for Rick Nash if they trade him.
Interesting comments from Amber Holland. When asked if her team would stay together, Holland said "I have no idea (with a laugh). If that opportunity arises, great and if not, it is what it is. We haven't even talked about what the future holds for Team Holland yet." I will read between the lines and think that rink will be broken up.
Congrats to the Lady Cougar basketball team. They decimated Winnipeg 93-52 in Game 1 of a Canada West quarterfinal. Game 2 is tomorrow at 7. Go check it out.
Eskimos Release Fiacconi
A ten-year CFL veteran, Fiacconi has spent the past five seasons with the Green & Gold. His 2011 season was cut short by a rotator cuff injury. Fiacconi received the 2011 David Boone Memorial Award for his outstanding work in the community.
Tillman says, “On behalf on the club, Coach Reed and I would like to thank Aaron for his significant contributions to our team and the Edmonton community. In almost every player’s career there is an eventual passing of the torch to the young guys and we're fortunate to have two quality centers in Gord Hinse and Kyle Koch. That said, it's never easy to say goodbye to a class act like Aaron. Fortunately, he's recovered from his surgery and at age 32, we strongly believe Aaron can help a club in need of a seasoned vet, especially one who will bring strong leadership qualities to a locker room."
Argos Round Out Coaching Staff
He has hired Kez McCorvey as receivers coach and Cory Stone as defensive line coach.
Milanovich also moved Jason Maas from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach.
Maas, a former CFL quarterback and longtime backup to current Argo starter Ricky Ray, originally joined the Argos staff in December.
The newest additions join Chris Jones (defensive co-ordinator, assistant head coach, assistant GM), Mike O'Shea (special-teams co-ordinator), Steve McAddo (offensive line coach) and Orlondo Steinauer (defensive backs coach).
Milanovich says his coaches are "all excellent teachers and intense competitors."
(From Canadian Press)
Riders Announce Grey Cup Legacy Project
The Saskatchewan Roughriders unveiled plans today for the Grey Cup Legacy Project. The $14 million plan will enhance the game-day experience, add thousands of temporary seats, create new revenue opportunities, and leave a legacy for amateur sport programs across the province.
“This is a very ambitious and much needed plan for Mosaic Stadium over the next few years,” stated Riders Chairman Roger Brandvold. “Replacing Mosaic Stadium still remains our top priority, but certain upgrades needed to be made to get us through the next few years and especially the 2013 Grey Cup. I’d like to thank our partners at the Government of Saskatchewan and City of Regina for their support in this undertaking.”
Phase one will add approximately 7,000 temporary seats, as well as corporate boxes, to the north and south end zones; complete with their own concessions and washroom facilities – and creating a bowl-like atmosphere for fans.
The SaskTel Maxtron will be replaced by a new, 60-foot wide, fully digital LED screen and scoreboard in the Northeast endzone; accompanied by a vertical, digital billboard for use exclusively by our sponsors.
This state-of-the-art, new SaskTel Maxtron will be visible from most points in the stadium. But for those in the east stands and north endzone a 55 foot wide digital LED display and scoreboard attached to the West grandstand.
Additional LED ribbons will also be placed at field level on the East side and along the grandstand fascia of the west side, adding more areas to display statistics and player profiles.
Phase two of the Grey Cup Legacy Project will add another level of bleacher seats, and bring the stadium’s capacity to almost 50,000 in preparation for the Grey Cup game.
After Grey Cup, only the second tier of temporary seats will be removed, maintaining the bowl-like atmosphere for up to 33,000 Rider fans.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to provide a $6.2 million, low interest loan to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the legacy upgrades”, said Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Bill Hutchinson. “We want to make sure that every fan, every resident and every visitor has the best experience possible when they visit Regina. We are also pleased that communities from Saskatchewan will benefit from the program by receiving the seating afterwards to help grow local sport and recreation – this truly is part of the Saskatchewan advantage.”
“The City of Regina’s priority is the Regina Revitalization Initiative, which includes replacing Mosaic Stadium and redeveloping the current stadium site into a new neighbourhood with housing and commercial opportunities,” Regina City Manager Glen Davies said. “The City wholeheartedly supports this innovative project that will improve the fan experience during the final years of Mosaic Stadium, and in the long-term benefit the whole community at limited cost to Regina taxpayers.”
Mosaic stadium is owned and operated by the City of Regina. The Regina Revitalization Initiative includes plans to re-develop large areas of land in the heart of Regina with housing, commercial and retail opportunities and replace Mosaic Stadium with a state of the art facility. Construction of the new stadium is scheduled to begin in 2013, with completion in 2016.
“While each phase of this plan is a temporary solution, its legacy will make an impact throughout Saskatchewan for decades to come,” stated Riders President/CEO Jim Hopson. “When the new stadium is ready, and the stands are no longer needed, each section can be dismantled and donated to amateur sports programs across our province; allowing friends and family to watch their little, future all-star in comfort.”
So Much For That
It means that after a competitive week, the playoffs are now set and there are no tiebreakers. Manitoba's Jennifer Jones will take on BC's Kelly Scott in the 1-2 game while Heather Nedohin of Alberta meets Marie France Larouche's Quebec side in the 3-4 game. The winner of the Jones-Scott game goes through to Sunday's final. The loser plays the winner of the 3-4 game.
Heat in the Cage yesterday. Did you hear Kelly Remple and Lingerie Football League president Mitchell Mortaza going at one another? Mortaza didn't like Kelly's thought process about how the league markets itself and he let Kelly know that. Kelly didn't back down and went right back at him. If Mortaza had been in studio, the mitts may have been dropped. Talk of this team coming to Regina is generating a lot of debate. The bottom line is some people could care less about it and won't be interested. Others that are interested will go and if they like it, they will come back. If they don't, they won't. Its just like anything else. You decide how you are going to spend your dollars, however I will admit $50 a pop for this might be a little expensive. We'll see. By the way, you can hear the exchange between Mortaza and "The Silver Fox" on the CKRM website (620ckrm.com) and then click on the Cage logo.
The Brandt Centre should be jumpin tonight. The Pats and Warriors meet in what I think will be a ring a ding dong dandy. This should have a playoff feel to it. Can't wait.
The Cougar womens basketball team plays Winnipeg tonight in a Canada West quarter-final matchup. A win this weekend by the ladies and they will host the CanWest final four next weekend. That will be some good basketball. I can't see the Cougars losing this weekend after having a perfect regular season so mark your calendar down for next weekend and go out to the University to watch a team that I think really no one still knows about for some reason.
The guys at TSN and Sportsnet had to cringe just a little last nite when word of the Jeff Carter trade came down. I think both networks go a little overboard with trade coverage because they tap-dance for a while until something happens and then they over-analyze a trade that involves some 3rd liner. Once the ball gets rolling, they do an excellent job, its just when does the ball start rolling.
Its supposed to get cold this weekend and I snapped the zipper on my parka yesterday. Great!!!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Jeff Carter Is A King
Multiple media reports said the deal has been completed, contingent on both players passing physicals.
Despite all All-Star season from goaltender Jonathan Quick, the Kings are scrambling to hang on to the last playoff berth in the Western Conference because of continual goal-scoring woes. L.A. has just 125 non-shootout goals in 61 games, a League-low 2.05 per game. They are off until Chicago comes to the Staples Center on Saturday.
Carter has three NHL seasons with 30 or more goals and five with 20 or more during his six-plus season career. The 27-year-old is signed through the 2021-22 season after inking an 11-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in November 2010. Carter was traded by the Flyers to Columbus on June 23, 2011.
In 500 regular-season games with the Flyers and Blue Jackets, Carter has 368 points (196 goals, 172 assists), 302 penalty minutes and a plus-40 rating. During his six seasons with the Flyers Carter averaged 30 goals, 57 points and 77 games played. He has 15 goals and 10 assists with the Blue Jackets this season while being limited to 39 games played due to injuries. Carter is second on the Blue Jackets in goals and leads the club in power-play goals with eight. He is one of four players this season to score two hat tricks; his second came against San Jose on Tuesday.
Carter has also appeared in 47 Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 13 goals and recording 21 points, along with 34 penalty minutes. He, along with now-current Kings teammate Mike Richards, helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.
Carter began his NHL career in 2005-06 with the Flyers, who took him with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft. He reached the 30-goal mark in each of the previous three seasons, including a career-high 46 goals and 84 points in 2008-09. He led the Flyers in goals last season with 36 and was tied for third on the team with 66 points.
Johnson, 25, has 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) and 24 penalty minutes in 61 games for the Kings this season. In 343 regular-season games, all with the Kings, Johnson has 124 points (30 goals, 94 assists) and 256 penalty minutes. He is 1-11-12 with six penalty minutes in 12 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
The 6-foot-1, 231-pound native of Indianapolis began his NHL career late in the 2006-07 season after finishing his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. He was originally selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the third pick in the 2005 NHL Draft. The Kings acquired Johnson from Carolina on Sept. 29, 2006, for Oleg Tverdovsky and Eric Belanger.
Stamps Extend One Of Their Top Defenders
Smith is coming off the finest season of his four-year CFL career with the Stamps. In 2011, he led the team with 65 tackles and added six pass knockdowns, an interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Smith started all 18 regular-season games and the West Division semifinal against Edmonton. Smith was Calgary’s nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
“Brandon showed tremendous poise with our young defence in 2011 and has grown into one of the leaders of that unit,” said Hufnagel. “It was important to re-sign Brandon and we are looking for great things from him in 2012.”
In 2008, as a rookie with the Stamps, Smith started 17 games including the West final and Grey Cup. He had four tackles in the Stamps’ Grey Cup win over Montreal. Smith suffered a knee injury in 2009 and missed the entire regular season before returning in 2010 to start 17 regular-season games and the West final.
The Stamps originally signed Smith in May 2008. He attended a mini-camp with the NFL’s Detroit Lions before joining the Arena Football League’s San Jose SaberCats in 2007.
Smith played college football at Sacramento State and led the team with three interceptions in 2005.
Scotties Update/Thursday Cage
Busy Thursday on the Sportscage. Here's whats comin up
Warriors director of hockey operations Al Millar and Pats coach Pat Conacher will join us to set up tomorrow's big game at the Brandt Centre between the two
Lingerie Football League president Mitchell Mortaza will tell us why the league is coming to Regina and what we can expect
Dick White from the U of R will be in to talk Cougar athletics
Craig Slater from the LP will talk a little baseball as spring training is underway
Arash Madani has the Madani report. I think we might be talkin a little NHL.
Talk to you at 5.
Eskimos Snag Carter
The Kelowna native played his college football for the Acadia Axemen in the CIS and was drafted by the BC Lions in the first round of the 2009 CFL Draft. Matt spent a brief time on the BC practice roster before being released.
He then signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on their practice roster in 2009. Matt spent the past two seasons (2010, 2011) on the active roster and had 346 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Eskimo General Manager Eric Tillman says, “At age 25, we feel Matt's best football is still in front of him. He's a smart young man whose value is reflected in his speed, intelligence, versatility and, of course, via his tenacious attitude on special teams.”
Hank Speaks Out
Michelle Needs Help
There is 620 CKRM's afternoon news anchor Kali Bourhis with midget wrestler Shortsleeve Sampson. The midgets were as entertaining as I knew they would be last night as High Impact Wrestling held a rare Wednesday show. Once again, hilarity was had by all including the trifecta of Reid Pedersen, Todd Ripplinger and Jamie Heward. Some even brought their children with them who were wearing their jammies which begs the question "You can afford to go to wrestling, but not get a babysitter?". Then again as I tweeted, I was there with Rob Vanstone and Tony Playter so perhaps I'm just as guilty.
Talk of Regina getting a lingerie football league team is creating a lot of discussion. The president of the league Mitchell Mortaza will join me on "The Sportscage" today to tell us why Regina and give us some more info on the league.
The Pats needed a win last night and they got one beating Kootenay 2-1. From what I understand, it was another one of those stifling defensive efforts in which scoring chances were few, but the home team came through with a big two points. I'm thinking the first round of the playoffs in the East will be a ring a ding dong dandy. I have no idea what series SHAW will bring us in the first round, but I hope its an Eastern Conference matchup.
What has happened to the Washington Capitals?
Khloe and Lamar are now following me on Twitter. Why?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Regina Gets A Lingerie Football Team
Regina was awarded a Lingerie Football League Canada franchise on Wednesday.
While details, including the team name and schedule, are not confirmed, the Brandt Centre has been named the official home of the Regina franchise, which will take part in a 12-week regular season starting near the end of August.
It is the third Canadian franchise awarded by the LFL — joining the BC Angels and Toronto Triumph. The LFL is a seven-on-seven tackle women’s football league in the U.S. that featured 11 American teams in the 2011-12 season. Players wear shoulder pads, elbow pads, knee pads, garters, bras, panties, and ice hockey-style helmets with clear plastic visors instead of face masks.
“It’s something different; we’ve seen a lot of the video footage and some of the coverage from the league last year in the United States and thought it was something different — a little on the risky side — but why not give it a chance and see if the market will bear it?” said Neil Donnelly, Brandt Centre vice-president of events and entertainment.
As an Oilers fan, its about damn time they beat the Flames and beat them soundly. That was good to see.
Its good to see baseball news coming across more frequently as players are starting to show up at spring training. An item on my bucket list is to go to Florida or Arizona in mid-March and just watch a week of exhibition baseball going from park to park. It will happen one year.
I don't know if he meant it as a swipe towards the Riders or not, but I found it interesting that Andy Fantuz said one of the reasons he chose Hamilton over Saskatchewan was that he wanted to be on a team that was going to be competitive right away. I think this team looks alright and I think they look better than the Ti-Cats. Some of you have agreed by putting your vote in the poll question.
Its the anniversary of the biggest day in hockey for the United States. It was on February 22, 1980 that a group of no-ones who quickly became household names beat the high-powered Russians at the Lake Placid Olympics. Two days later, the U-S would grab an improbable gold medal. One has to wonder how the game would be accepted in the U-S today if not for the heroics of guys like Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Dave Christian and Mark Johnson on this day 32 years ago.
Big game for the Pats tonight. They are home to Kootenay. Regina is now tied for 7th with Brandon after the Wheat Kings lost to the Ice in a shootout last night. The Wheat Kings are coming up hard and its up to Regina to try and keep pace. Game time is 7 at the Brandt Centre.
Its Wednesday, but another High Impact Wrestling hits Regina tonight and there will be midget wrestling happening. One of the little guys will join me in the Cage today. It will be I'm sure another great night at the Victoria Club. No, I don't know what time the red carpet ceremony begins.
That is all.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Englot Moves To 4-2
The Leader-Post's Murray McCormick will join me on the Sportscage tonight to talk about the afternoon draw and how the two Saskatchewan rinks are faring.
The Tuesday show will also have Arash Madani who has some interesting news on Andy Fantuz's contract with the Ti-Cats and we will remember the life of Cal Murphy. Talk to ya then.
In The Mix
While Holland is tied for first, Michelle Englot's Saskatchewan rink is in a group right behind at 3-2. Englot rebounded from a tough loss to Prince Edward Island by throttling Ontario in the evening draw.
With Rod Pedersen in Mexico, I will be doing the Sportscage this week. We will remember the life of Cal Murphy on today's show and I hope to get the latest from Red Deer. With the draw starting at 230, it may be tough to get someone on as there is a quick turnaround time and the three Regina reporters that are there--Murray McCormick, Lee Jones and Derek Meyers are busy trying to get their stuff filed.
My condolences go out to the friends and family of Leader-Post columnist Ron Petrie. News of his death surprised me as I did not know he had been battling cancer for a year. As I have said many times before, I really hope that someday we find a cure for such a terrible disease that has taken away so many good people wayyyy too early. I was always amused by his columns.
Monday, February 20, 2012
NHL Three Stars Of Week
The Anaheim Ducks have turned their season around with a remarkable rally in 2012, and goaltender Jonas Hiller has been the catalyst.
Hiller continued his recent run of sublime form, and Monday was named the NHL's first star of the week, the League announced. The Swiss-born goaltender is 13-3-4 since the calendar turned to January, and the Ducks have come from 20 points back of eighth place in the Western Conference to within five after a 2-0 win Sunday against the Florida Panthers.
Anaheim went 3-0-1 this week, all on the road and all with Hiller in net. He stopped 98 of 102 shots he faced, and Hiller has allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of his past 20 appearances.
A team making a move upward in the standings in the Eastern Conference is the Winnipeg Jets, and forward Blake Wheeler was named the second star in the NHL this past week. Wheeler had a goal and seven assists in four games for the Jets.
Wheeler had four assists in a 5-1 win Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche that pushed the Jets into ninth place and level with eighth-place Toronto at 64 points. Winnipeg is also just one point shy of Florida for the top spot in the Southeast Division.
Ottawa played only two games this week, but Jason Spezza had three goals and four assists to earn third star of the week honors. Spezza had a hat trick and an assist Tuesday at Tampa Bay and added three more assists the next night against Florida.
Spezza now has 12 points in the past four games, and the Senators are 3-0-1 in those contests.
BC Takes Battle Of Unbeatens
For more info on the Scotties, go to www.curling.ca
Read On Packers Fans
PACKERS STOCK NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA
Offering Will Close Feb. 29; Approximately 17,000 Shares Remain Available
Green Bay Packers fans in Canada now have the opportunity to purchase shares in the iconic franchise, the organization announced Monday. Approximately 17,000 shares remained available for purchase as of Feb. 14.
The team has clarified Canadian regulatory requirements and is now able to proceed with sales in Canada. The offering will continue until Feb. 29, 2012, unless prior to that date the Packers sell the maximum number of shares that they are offering.
“Since launching our sale in the United States, we’ve received a lot of interest from our fans in Canada,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “After receiving approval from the NFL, we have now clarified the regulatory requirements in Canada and are excited to offer ownership to our fans there.”
The cost of a share in Canada is US$250, with a US$35 handling charge per transaction.
The remaining shares also continue to be available for purchases by U.S. residents with no change in terms applicable to those purchasers.
All proceeds from the offering will go toward the expansion of Lambeau Field, a $143 million project that includes approximately 6,700 seats, new video boards and two new gates, and will be complete for the 2013 season. A traditional loan also will finance the project, and the team may also obtain funding from the NFL and the stadium district’s user fee program.
The Canadian offering document and purchasing information are available online at www.packersowner.com. Fans interested in purchasing shares are required to go online to view the document and make a purchase. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) can be used online. Due to the limited timeframe, purchases will only be allowed online.
Following is a list of offering details:
· The price per share is US$250. In Canada, the handling charge is US$35 (no matter how many shares are purchased).
· The offering is limited to persons in the United States, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
· Shares can be purchased online with credit cards.
· Only individuals (including spouses as joint tenants) are able to purchase shares; individuals can purchase shares as a gift for other individuals (including minors).
· No one may buy more than 200 shares.
· The offering will continue until Feb. 29, 2012, unless prior to that date the Packers sell the maximum number of shares that they are offering.
Interested fans should note:
· Stock in the Packers does not constitute an investment in “stock” in the common sense of the term.
· The Packers have no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase Packers stock.
· Anyone considering the purchase of Packers stock should not purchase the stock to make a profit or to receive a dividend or tax deduction or any other economic benefits.
· The offering of Packers stock in Canada is made only through the Canadian offering document.
· Purchasers of Packers stock will not receive the protection of Canadian or other securities laws with respect to any offering or sale of Packers stock.
· The Packers bylaws and NFL rules severely restrict transfers of Packers stock.
Looking Good In Red Deer
Englot had the evening draw off Sunday night, but Team Canada's Amber Holland did not. Holland came up with the shot of the tournament so far as she beat Alberta's Heather Nedohin in the evening draw. Amber executed an in-off double to score two with her last rock in a 6-5 win.
Scott and Holland are tied for first at 3-0 going into Monday's play with the two rinks battling one another in the morning draw. Englot's 2-1mark puts her in a three way tie for 2nd with Manitoba's Jennifer Jones and Ontario's Tracy Horgan at 2-1. Holland will get the afternoon off and take on Jones tonight while Englot gets the morning off before playing PEI this afternoon and Ontario tonight.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Cal Murphy Passes Away
“Cal Murphy is a legend in CFL coaching, but more importantly he was a wonderful person,” stated Riders President/CEO Jim Hopson. “Since his retirement from coaching, Cal was a fixture in our offices watching film and talking football. He will be missed by our entire organization.”
After coaching in high school and U.S. college ranks, Murphy joined the CFL coaching fraternity in 1974 as the B.C. Lions defensive line coach. He was named head coach in B.C. in 1975. In 1977, Murphy moved to Montreal to join Marv Levy’s staff. In 1978, Murphy moved to Edmonton and was part of five Grey Cup championships teams.
In 1983, Murphy’s CFL odyssey took him to Winnipeg where he spent the next 14 years as head coach and later General Manager. During his stay in Winnipeg, Murphy took the Bombers to the Grey Cup five times, winning three championships.
Murhpy joined the Roughriders coaching staff in 1997 and was named the team’s head coach and Director of Football Operations for the 1999 season. Following his retirement from coaching, Murphy spent the past number of years scouting for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
In 1993, the Governor General of Canada conferred upon Cal the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The honour was bestowed upon Cal in recognition of significant contributions to compatriots, to community and to Canada.
Cal was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 2004.
The following is a statement from CFL Commissioner Marc Cohon on the passing of Cal...
"Cal Murphy lived and breathed and loved football -- and our league was so much better for it. He was a fierce competitor, with a keen eye for talent, and an ability to mold great teams. He first coached the BC Lions, was with the Edmonton Eskimo dynasty of 1978 through 1982, and coached in Montreal and Saskatchewan, but we will always remember him as one of the great Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was their Head Coach and General Manager, and was central to five Bomber Grey Cup appearances, and three victories. His teams could amass points, but they were often defined by their toughness -- reflective of a man who refused to let a severe heart condition stop him. Overall, in his 30 years in the CFL, he was part of nine Grey Cup champions. Along the way, he earned a place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame -- and in the hearts and minds of many he led and mentored and befriended. Their thoughts and prayers, and those of all of us in the CFL, are with his family today."
Saturday, February 18, 2012
And They're Off
The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is underway in Red Deer and the first day was a good one for the two Saskatchewan rinks. Amber Holland won her first game over Newfoundland while Michelle Englot was victorious over Nova Scotia in the evening draw. It didn't come easy for either rink, but both rinks came through with the big shot when it counted--especially Michelle who stole in 8, 9 and 10 to get the win.
You know its April when you see the Augusta National Golf Course on TV and you know its February when you hear the smooth tones of Vic Rauter on a daily basis. How can you not love Vic? I still want to see him and Jay Onrait do some Sportscentres together or at least have Onrait rinkside at the Scotties and Brier.
What did the Territories/Yukon rink do to piss off the Canadian Curling Association? I find it a little unfair that the rink has to play in the first three draws before getting a bye. I'm sure if you look hard enough you see that rinks play in three straight draws, but that isn't an easy way to get things going.
Why is Jennifer Jones still doing ads for Scott Paper? Amber Holland is the champ and therefore should be getting commercials, not Jenny J. Disrespect I say. It sounds as if everyone in Red Deer believes the Manitoba skip is the overwhelming favourite to win and that she should be Team Canada again this year. Well, maybe if she had made her last shot in the final last year she would have been, but Amber made it a little too tough for her so she's not.
Thank you to M and M Meats for no longer inundating us with the "Happy Together" ads that they did last year. If you are a curling fan, you know how annoying those ads became.
I may be biased in making this statement, but I think the Saskatchewan Roughriders, even though they didn't sign Andy Fantuz, have been the early winners in free agency. Hamilton would be a close 2nd. The losers have to be the Edmonton Eskimos. Eric Tillman let some big money go away when he traded Ricky Ray, but he has to this point added nothing and lost a lot including his top running back to the NFL.
I heard Rider GM Brendan Taman pumping the tires of DE Kenny Veikune on Friday's Sportscage. Could he be the answer to the Riders woeful pass rush? The Youtube videos on Veikune are impressive. If he has a good year though, how do you prevent the former 2nd round pick of the Browns from wanting to try the NFL again.
Will the Philadelphia Flyers ever find a goalie? Ilya Bryzgalov is the latest failure and people in Winnipeg couldn't be happier.
The Oilers aren't making the playoffs so I'm hoping the Winnipeg Jets do. I would still love to see the Jets try to get Teemu Selanne from the Ducks at the trade deadline, but I can't see that happening. The already hockey-mad fan in the Manitoba capital would go bonkers if Selanne returned to wear Jets colours.
The Toronto Raptors lost at home to the worse than woeful Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. This franchise should just be revoked. What a disaster!
Sarah Michelle Gellar was hot when she was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and she remains hot in "Ringer". I loved her in "Cruel Intentions". I'm guessing many a man would say the same thing.
Can Jordan Eberle be a 50 goal scorer in the NHL? I think he can and he could do it as early as 2013-14.
The L-A Kings brought back their purple and yellow jerseys for Saturday's game against the Flames. I loved that uni! Bring it back!
Congrats to Dave Taylor ( I mean Mr. Dave Taylor) and his Cougar womens basketball team for completing a perfect regular season. There is a lot of work to do yet though, but one has to think this team will be playing on championship Sunday in Calgary in a few weeks time.
A big win for the Pats as they beat Kootenay Saturday night. Brandon won't get off Regina's tail though as they are still one point back of the 7th place Pats who are now just 3 back of 5th place Saskatoon. 12 games are left and they will all be huge---especially those games against that hot Wheat Kings squad.
Mall parking lots in Regina can always be an adventure especially on Saturdays when you get people like this....
Yeah pal, no one wants to ding up a "beauty" like that.
I like the Riders schedule, but I do admit that not having a Friday night game at Mosaic does suck.
I really have to start watching "How I Met Your Mother" now that its in syndication on several channels.
The answer may not lie at the bottom of a beer bottle, but its never a bad idea to check.
Have a good Sunday!
Friday, February 17, 2012
TJack Is Back
Jackson came to the Riders last season in a trade with the Edmonton Eskimos in March, 2011 where he spent the previous three seasons. Originally thought to be a primary kick and punt returner Jackson went on to earn a spot as a starting cornerback for the Green and White. The soon to be 26-year-old started in all 18 games for the Riders and tallied 71 defensive tackles, five pass knockdowns, two forced fumbles, one interception and one tackle for a loss. He added 57 punt returns for 448 yards and 23 kick-off returns for 550 yards.
Since entering the CFL in 2008, the Central Arkansas product has played in 56 regular season games and added 82 defensive tackles, five pass knockdowns, five tackles for a loss, three special team tackles, three interceptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. In addition he had 235 punt returns for 2,148 yards and three touchdowns as well as 132 kick-off returns for 2,911 yards and one touchdown.
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Geno's Press Conference
Makowsky Calls It A Career
"It's never an easy decision to make and it was extremely difficult for me,"stated Makowsky. "However I felt that this is the best decision to make for my family, my career and my team."
Makowsky has had a monumental career with the Green and White and will go down in the history books as one of the best to play the game. The 38-year-old has played the last 17 seasons with the Riders after originally being drafted by the team in the second round (23
rd overall) in the 1995 CFL College Draft. He has played in 284 regular season games and in 2011 passed Rider legend Roger Aldag to become the All-Time leader in Rider history for most games played. Makowsky has played in 16 playoff games and four Grey Cups earning a championship ring in 2007.
The list of awards he has accumulated over his legendary career includes being named the CFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in both 2004 and 2005 while being named a finalist for the award again in 2008. In addition, Makowsky is a five time CFL All-Star and was named to the West Division All-Star team for seven consecutive years.
"Geno will go down as one of the greatest players in CFL history," stated Assistant General Manager Jeremy O'Day. "His toughness, work ethic, dedication and character were unmatched. It was an honour to have played with Geno and he made me a better player, a better person and I will be forever grateful for the time we spent as teammates."
Being born and raised in Saskatchewan, Makowsky decided to dedicate his passion for this great province by entering the political ring last year. In November he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a member of the Saskatchewan Party and has begun his term serving the people of Saskatchewan. Gene, his wife Tami and their three sons - Nicholas, Ryan and Blake will always continue to be a part of the Roughrider family.
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CFL Sked Released
This year's schedule has the Saskatchewan Roughriders opening their regular season on the road when they will travel to Hamilton to meet the Ti-Cats on Friday, June 29th. The teams' home opener will take place the following week when the Edmonton Eskimos will be in town on Sunday, July 8
th for a 5 pm kick-off.
The Roughriders' regular season schedule has them playing at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday (five games), and Sunday (five games).
Once again the Saskatchewan Roughriders will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the traditional Labour Day Classic on Sunday, September 2
nd for a 2 pm local kick-off time.
The Roughriders will showcase the 2012 hopefuls in their pre-season game on Wednesday, June 13
th when they will travel to B.C. to play the Lions. The following week will have the Riders playing their final pre-season match-up at home against the Calgary Stampeders on Friday, June 22
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Fantuz Is A Ti-Cat
Fantuz’s new deal keeps him in Hamilton through the 2015 season.
Fantuz, a 6-4, 220-pound native of Chatham, Ontario, established himself as one of the league’s top receivers during his six seasons (2006-11) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 77 regular season games, Fantuz has made 289 receptions for 4,311 yards and 23 touchdowns.
His best season came in 2010 when he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian after catching 87 passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns. He was named a CFL and West Division All-Star and earned recognition as the CFL Canadian Player of the Month three times. Last year, Fantuz played in four games with the Riders after attending training camp with the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
“I'm coming home. After a very difficult deliberation process, the opportunity to play for my local team, in front of family and friends, was impossible to refuse. While Rider Pride will always be a part of me, it’s time to head to Tigertown. Hamilton has a great tradition of football excellence and I am thrilled be a part of a team that will immediately challenge for a Grey Cup. I look forward to getting to know my new teammates and representing the Tiger-Cats in Southwestern Ontario. Oskee-wee-wee!” said Fantuz.
“I want to thank the Riders organization, my teammates and, especially, the people of Saskatchewan. My experience there was unforgettable and I am so proud to have been able to represent the Rider fans. I wish you nothing but the best and hope that you will do the same for me in return,” Fantuz continued.
Fantuz helped the Roughriders reach three Grey Cup finals in the first five years of his career and was named Most Valuable Canadian in Saskatchewan’s 2007 championship win over Winnipeg after registering four receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.
"The opportunity to acquire a talent like Andy Fantuz in the prime of his career doesn’t happen very often. It’s great news for our players and our fans in Tigertown and I know Coach Cortez is excited to get Andy on the field with our already talented group of players on offence," commented vice president of football operations Bob O’Billovich.
The 28-year-old was selected by the Riders with the third overall pick in the 2006 CFL Canadian Draft after a record-setting CIS career at Western.
During his four years with the Mustangs, Fantuz set new CIS and OUA marks for career receiving yards (4,123), single-season receiving yards (1300 in 2002), career receptions (189) and career touchdown receptions (41). He was the recipient of the Hec Crighton award as the top player in CIS football in 2005.
Rider Newser This Morning
1) The retirement of Gene Makowsky
2) The signing of Andy Fantuz.
I would lean towards #1 at this point. The money that will be saved could certainly go to number 2 happening.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
I knew the day would come when news would come that Carter was gone, but there was still a lump in my throat when that news became official Thursday afternoon. Carter is just another who has left us long before he should have because of a disease that I truly hope some day can be cured.
I leave this post with what was his last hit as a major leaguer and the obvious love that was shown to him by the Expos fan base.
Thanks for the memories Gary. You are an all-time great and there are still many out there who wish they could play the game the way you did.
Riders Sign Former Ravens Receiver
Here are the numbers he put up while at VT.
Wrestlemania 29 Goes To The Meadowlands
Governor Christie was joined by WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, New York Football Giants President and CEO John Mara, New York Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson, NYC & Company CEO, George Fertitta and WWE's Senior Vice President of Special Events John Saboor to make the announcement at a press conference held earlier today. WWE Superstars John Cena(R), Triple H(R), Sheamus(R), Mark Henry(R), Brie and Nikki Bella(TM) and special guest Dwayne "The Rock(R)" Johnson were also on hand at MetLife Stadium for the historic announcement.
"WWE would like to thank Governor Christie, the New York Jets, the New York Giants and NYC & Company for rolling out the red carpet to host WWE's biggest event of the year," said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. "We look forward to making history and adding MetLife Stadium to the list of iconic venues that have hosted WrestleMania."
WrestleMania Week activities will occur throughout the New York/New Jersey region including: the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony; WrestleMania Axxess, WWE's interactive fan festival; Make-A-Wish Pizza Party hosted by John Cena; Monday Night Raw; the finals of the WrestleMania Reading Challenge and other community-based events.
Carter Loses Cancer Battle
Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, whose single for the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series touched off one of the most improbable rallies in baseball, died Thursday. He was 57.
Carter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last May.
Carter was an 11-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. His bottom-of-the-10th single in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series helped the New York Mets mount a charge against the Boston Red Sox and eventually beat them.
Nicknamed ''Kid,'' Carter played nearly two decades with the Mets, Montreal, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was the first player to go into the Hall of Fame with an Expos cap on his plaque.
In a blog post, Carter's daughter Kimmy, wrote:
"I am deeply saddened to tell you all that my precious dad went to be with Jesus today at 4:10 pm. This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to write in my entire life but I wanted you all to know.
"He is in heaven and has reunited with his mom and dad. I believe with all my heart that dad had a STANDING OVATION as he walked through the gates of heaven to be with Jesus.
"Thank you all for loving my dad and my entire family. I will still share with you all the last four weeks with my dad because they were incredibly special.
"I am thankful that many years ago, my dad accepted Jesus Christ to be his personal Savior because I know He is now in NO pain and is the most beautiful angel.
"He is now in God's Hall of Fame.
"We praise you, Jesus and thank you for giving my dad to us for 57 years."
Foord To Lions?
No Touchdown Atlantic This Year
Because of the huge resources the CFL is putting into celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup this year, the league will be taking a year off from heading to Moncton for a third Touchdown Atlantic game.
However, the league is already eyeing a return for 2013 and looking at how Moncton could work into helping the Hamilton Tiger Cats host games while they rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Hamilton will need to find places to play its home games for the 2013 season.
The news is not entirely a surprise, as commissioner Mark Cohon said at the second straight sold out Scotiabank Touchdown Atlantic last September that the travel and festivities around the nationwide celebrations of the Grey Cup centennial would likely prevent the league from taking on the considerable logistic challenges of playing a game in Atlantic Canada.
(Courtesy New Brunswick Telegraph Journal)
The Newest Riders
Some Questions Answered, Others Pop Up
1. By signing LaBatte and Picard, does this mean the vault doesn't have enough money for Andy Fantuz?
2. Have we seen the end of Gene Makowsky's legendary career?
3. By adding depth and strength to the o-line, does this change the draft strategy any or is Ben Heenan still your guy? Boise State DE Tyrone Crawford is the number 2 ranked player and we know the Riders need help at the rush end spot.
We will get answers to the first two questions within the next few days or hours while the 3rd question likely won't get answered until draft day.
Cary Koch didn't pull any punches yesterday when chatting with Rod Pedersen and I on "Sportscage" yesterday. The former Rider receiver, who went to Edmonton in free agency. had this to say when asked about what was a tough season for him last year.
"It couldn't be more clear," Koch said. "They were giving me a lot of responsibility going into training camp but when I got hurt, and I understand they had to fill my role on the team, but when I returned it was like I was a rookie again. It was like I had done nothing to get the treatment I deserved. "It's just frustrating. Frustrating for me. I tried to keep positive but at the end of the day there was some frustration because I wasn't presented the opportunity I had at the start of the season. We went through some troubles at the end of the season too where it really wouldn't have mattered if they'd threw me out there at all. I wasn't given any type of freedom that I was given at the start of 2011."
As I said yesterday, I think Koch scratched the surface with what he could do in 2010 and we were all expecting him to take his game to another level in 2011. That didn't happen thanks to the broken thumb he suffered right before the opening game of the season.
The Oilers-Leafs game last night did not have the desired result for this Oilers fan, but if you watched the game, you had to be entertained. The two teams went up and down the ice with great scoring chances, good hits, everything the NHL needs to be successful. The league needs to bottle that and show it to teams as to how they should play the game instead of some of the boring dump and chase styles that some teams like to do. These two teams obviously have found the key and others have as well. That could bode well for the NHL in the future.
If the Flyers are interested in Nikolai Khabibulin, make a deal Steve Tambellini. Actually, if any team is interested in Khabibulin, make a deal!!!!
Good question on last nite's Oilers Sportsnet broadcast. In today's NHL, is it better to have free-wheeling forwards or puck moving defencemen? The last vote I saw was puck moving defencemen by about a 2 to 1 majority.
Why would the Pittsburgh Pirates want A-J Burnett?
Those who counted the Pats out are back-tracking just a little. The team made it three straight with a big 3-1 win in Medicine Hat on Tuesday night. This team will make the playoffs, but now its just a question as to where they finish. Brandon continues to be hot making the remaining games between the two huge.
I would not be surprised to see the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL final and I would not be surprised to see the end result be a little different from what it was a few years ago when they were bounced by Vancouver.
What will the NHL and other hockey leagues say about the movie "Goon".
I'm off to the grocery store so I can find some mom with screaming kids and throw some condoms into her cart. Oh, the fun and frivolity that I can have. Try it sometimes!!!!
Labatte and Picard Signed, Sealed and Delivered
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have agreed to terms with non-import offensive linemen Brendon Labatte and Dominic Picard. Financial details of the signings were not released.
Labatte (6’4 – 304lbs) has spent the last four seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after being drafted by the team in the first round (6th overall) in the 2008 CFL Canadian Draft. He immediately earned a starting spot on the Bomber offensive line and was named the team’s nominee for Rookie of the Year in 2008. In 2009 he earned his first all-star nod after being named to the East Division All-Star team and was the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman after starting every game at left guard. For the second consecutive year Labatte earned the team nomination for Most Outstanding Lineman and an East Division All-Star nod in 2010. Last season, the 25-year-old started in all 18 regular season games, the East Division Final and Grey Cup game. His dominating play earned him his third consecutive East Division All-Star nomination and his first CFL All-Star recognition. After growing up in Weyburn, Labatte went on to play for the University of Regina Rams.
Picard (6’2 – 301 lbs) spent the last three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts after signing with the team as a free agent in 2009. Previous to making the move to the Argos, Picard spent three seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after being drafted by the team in the third round (23rd overall) in the 2006 CFL Canadian Draft. Over his time in the CFL, the 29-year-old has played in 85 regular season games, five playoff games and one Grey Cup. Before entering the CFL, Picard spent four seasons at Laval where he served as team captain and the starting centre for two Vanier Cup championship teams.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Riders Make Woldu Signing Official
Woldu (6’0 – 165 lbs) comes home to Saskatchewan after spending the past four seasons with the Montreal Alouettes. In 66 regular season games played with the Als, the 27-year-old tallied 50 special teams tackles, 29 defensive tackles, and three interceptions for 72 yards and one touchdown. He was also a member of the 2009 and 2010 Grey Cup championship teams.
Prior to being drafted by the Alouettes in the 5th round (36th overall) in the 2008 CFL Canadian Draft, Woldu attended training camp with the Riders in 2006 as a junior before spending the next two seasons with the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Regina native played four seasons with the Regina Thunder before his time with the Huskies.
Has Woldu Come Home?
On another matter, there is a rumour out there suggesting the Riders are the front-runners to land free agent offensive lineman Brendan Labatte and that an offer of somewhere between 175-200 thousand dollars has been made.
Koch Heads To Edmonton
Koch (6’-0”, 198 lbs) spent the past two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 8 regular season games as a rookie in 2010, the Baton Rouge, Lousiana native had 21 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He also had four receptions for 57 yards in the 2010 Grey Cup game in Edmonton. Last season, Koch caught 15 passes for 133 yards in 9 regular season games.
In announcing the signing, Eskimo General Manager Eric Tillman says, "Cary missed much of 2011 with an injury, but within the football fraternity his talent is widely recognized. We really like is how Cary approaches the game when he isn't the primary receiver. He runs every route full speed and he blocks extremely well, too. Championship clubs do all the little things right and Cary certainly fits that mold."
Koch started his college career at Tulane, but in the aftermath of Hurricaine Katrina, transferred to the University of Virginia.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Flory Stays In Montreal
Flory will be back for his 14th season with the Alouettes in 2012. The 35-year-old CFL veteran was twice named the league's most outstanding lineman, in 2008 and 2009, while also helping the Alouettes win three Grey Cup championships, in 2002, 2009 and 2010. He played 221 games in the CFL, all with Montreal, and has been an East Division All-Star for ten years running.
Last season, Flory was an integral member of the offensive line which helped the Alouettes lead the league in total passing yards, total points scored, and points scored per game. The Alouettes offensive line conceded just 34 sacks in 2011, tied for second-lowest in the league. Running behind Flory and his teammates, Brandon Whitaker lead the CFL in rushing in just his first year as a starter.
The Alouettes also announced the signing of 28-year-old import defensive end Copeland Bryan to a two-year deal with the club. Copeland racked up 21 tackles and two sacks during three seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions.
The Alouettes also announced the release of import defensive tackle Eric Wilson who recorded 54 defensive tackles in his five seasons with Montreal.