Monday, April 30, 2012

TSN Getting Ready For CFL Draft

Toronto, ON (April 30, 2012) – Home-grown talent takes centre stage next Thursday, as the country’s future generation of gridiron stars are introduced to football fans during the 2012 CFL CANADIAN DRAFT, live May 3 at 3 p.m. ET, exclusively on TSN.

The two-hour TSN original production, which is also available live on TSN Mobile TV and features the first two rounds of the draft with CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon in the CFL ON TSN studio to announce each selection.

Following the televised broadcast of the First and Second Rounds, has bonus live streaming coverage of the Third to Sixth Rounds of the 2012 CFL CANADIAN DRAFT.

TSN’s Rod Black hosts the 2012 CFL CANADIAN DRAFT and is joined by a panel featuring CFL ON TSN analyst and DRAFT guru Duane Forde, who has covered the draft on seven previous occasions. Along with Black and Forde, CFL ON TSN analyst Chris Schultz and TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor are on the panel to break down the DRAFT from the perspective of all eight CFL teams and analyze the players selected over the course of the first two rounds.

Also in studio is TSN’s Farhan Lalji, who is highly involved in high school football in his home province of BC and has seen more than 40 of his players go on to play at the collegiate level during his 23 years of coaching. Joining Lalji on an additional panel of experts are University of Calgary Dinos head coach Blake Nill, Acadia Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins, and McMaster Mauraders head coach Stefan Ptaszek, who led his team to victory at the 2011 Vanier Cup.

Fans watching the 2012 CFL CANADIAN DRAFT can join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags #CFLDraft and #TSN. Select fan tweets will be featured during the live broadcast along with reaction to the picks from CFL players and prospects on Twitter as the draft unfolds.

TSN’s coverage of the 2012 CFL CANADIAN DRAFT begins with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on the clock with the first overall pick. The six-round draft features eligible Canadian players from the CIS and NCAA. Top prospects include: Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford from Windsor, ON; University of Saskatchewan offensive lineman Ben Heenan from Regina; Wilfrid Laurier receiver Shamawd Chambers from Markham, ON; Virginia offensive lineman Austin Pasztor from Langton, ON; and Laval linebacker Frédéric Plesius from Laval, QC.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Thoughts

--Did you get up caught up in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans---this week's stop on the PGA Tour. I did. It was great to see Weyburn's Graham DeLaet get some TV time this weekend as he looked for his first victory battling the likes of Ernie Els, Bubba Watson and Luke Donald. He didn't wilt under the pressure, but he couldn't get the putting game going and as a result finished tied for 4th with a score of 16 under. More importantly, he got a cheque for over 280-thousand dollars. He needs to make another 170-thousand to keep his tour card and he has 14 more tournaments to do so. I like his chances. I also like the fact that the Canadian got some air time on American TV this weekend. He was front and center Sunday morning on "The Golf Network" with interviews and everything. The only down part was the starter on the first tee announced him as being from "Sashwan" or "Sasakwan" or something like that. Would it really have hurt the starter to pull Graham aside and ask him how to pronounce it?

--The Riders should send Graham some merchandise and have him wear a couple of golf shirts for future tournaments. What better partnership than having Saskatchewan's product on the PGA Tour representing the /=S=/. Someone can make that happen over at the Rider offices can't they? That would be cool.

--Speaking of the Riders, they are making last second plans for Thursday's CFL draft. I have no clue who they are taking with the number one pick. I know it won't be Tyrone Crawford after he went in the 3rd round of the NFL draft to the Cowboys. That means its between Ben Heenan and Shawmaud Chambers. The Riders have lots of Canadian o-lineman and they have lots of Canadian receiving talent as well. I'm sure Brendan Taman, Alex Smith and whoever will hum and haw about this one until the time comes to make the pick.

--Why is the CFL draft on a Thursday afternoon?

--Why is the WHL bantam draft happening Thursday? The league won't get much press because of the CFL draft.

--Luke Schenn spent virtually all season in the doghouse of the Toronto Maple Leafs, yet he is still considered good enough to play for Team Canada at the World Championships. Ron Wilson destroyed this kid and if he gets the right coach, I still think he can be one of the best young defencemen in the NHL. If the Leafs wanted to make a package for the first overall draft pick and Schenn was a part of it, I would listen if I were the Oilers.

--I don't have a problem with Sidney Crosby skipping out on the World Championships this year after the concussion problems he went through. Some people have ragged on Sid for not going, but they aren't ragging on Jonathan Toews for not going and he has the same excuse. I'm sure both will be ready to go in Sochi in 2014.

--The more these playoffs go on, the more I think I would like to see Mike Richards and Jeff Carter skating for the Stanley Cup against the team that traded them in the off-season.

--The Kings need to go back to their purple and gold unis.

--Nine picks after the Leafs took Jiri Tlusty in the 2006 entry draft, the Flyers took Claude Giroux. OOPS!!! Others that went between those two include Riku Helenius (Tampa Bay), Ty Wishart (San Jose), Mark Mitera (Anaheim). I repeat, OOPS!!! For what its worth, the Oilers didn't have a first round selection in that draft.

--Since Marty Brodeur came into the NHL, he has reportedly played Philly with 15 different goalies. A friend of mine and myself tried naming those goalies on Sunday. We didn't come close. We had Hextall, Bryzgalov, Bobrovsky, Biron, Boucher, Esche, Leighton and Hackett. On my way home from watching the game at his place, I remembered the ever famous Roman Cechmanek. Who are we missing?

--Can someone tell me exactly what David Legwand was thinking on that one Phoenix goal last night. Holy brain cramp!

--That massive investment by the L-A Angels of Anaheim on Albert Pujols isn't exactly paying any early dividends is it? The Angels start combined with Texas's start may make it too tough for the Angels to catch up and we are just wrapping up the first month of the season.

--I guess I'll watch the Jays game tonight to check out Texas Ranger pitching sensation Yu Darvish. Is he everything that he is made out to be? He has shown signs that he could be. Yu meet Bautista!

--When I get to be his age, I want to have Buck Martinez's hair. Who's kidding who, I'd take that now and I'm in my mid 40's.

----I can't help but wonder if Colin Thatcher sent any text messages to Mark Stobbe this weekend? Rumour has it Thatcher was at the Rider workout in Moose Jaw this week.

--The NFL Network's Mike Mayock had the greatest line this weekend when talking about a linebacker (can't remember the name) during the draft on Saturday. Mayock said when talking about the guy---there's only one weakness I could find on this kid, but it was a big one. He's allergic to contact!

--The NFL Network also started unveiling its top 100 players of 2012 this weekend and Regina's own Jon Ryan was not ranked 90-100. I'm sure the Seahawks punter has to be higher ranked don't you? Its either that or he was ranked at 101!

--How many Division 1 schools in the US were beaten by the U of R Rams when it came to players taken in the NFL draft? I know they had just as many as Tennessee. I don't know about you, but I really hope to see Akiem Hicks having a major role with the Saints defence this year and having the talking heads talk about Regina and Saskatchewan and the CIS as a whole.

--Point discussed on the weekend---How many U of S Huskies have made the CFL in recent years? How many U of R Rams have made it? The Huskies may be winning more games, but the Rams are putting more players in the pros it would seem. In fact, the only three Huskies that I know of who were on CFL rosters last year (and I know I'm probably missing a couple) were Dylan Barker (retired), Scott Flory, Grant Shaw and Jade Etienne. That just adds to the debate as to who has the better program?

--True of false, there is someone connected to the Regina Pats on every one of the four remaining Western Conference teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The answer would be true---Derek Morris (Phoenix), Barry Trotz (Nashville), Barret Jackman (St. Louis) and Anze Kopitar (L-A), Yes, the Pats took Kopitar in the import draft, but he ended up going straight to L-A. If the Kings had sent him back to junior, he would have been on his way to Regina. I guess when push comes to shove, you could add Martin Hanzal's name on that list as well as the Pats took him as well, but his agent didn't want him coming to Regina for whatever reason so his rights went to Red Deer.

--So let me get this straight, Quebec students are paying the less of any student in Canada when it comes to tuition and yet they are protesting in the streets because of a tuition hike that will still leave them far behind other provinces. Does this make sense to you? Like I said when Vancouver was hit by the riots---I have just one word. Watercannons!

--John Cena beat Brock Lesnar??

--Thank you Kaley Cuoco for posting bikini pictures of yourself on vacation on Twitter. I don't think I am the only man to say that.

--I learned on the weekend that I apparently break the "bro" code when I send an emoticon to another guy in a text. Is that really against the code? If so, I'm sorry!

--Where can I find a "giggity band" in Regina. If you didn't watch Family Guy last night, you have no idea what I'm talking about.

--I wrap up this posting with this story. I have nothing to say on it except you poor bastard.

--Have a good Monday!

Big Sunday For DeLaet Coming Up

Weyburn's Graham DeLaet has a chance to win his first ever PGA tournament today. DeLaet goes into the last round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans trailing leader Jason Dufner by two shots. DeLaet shot a 66 yesterday to move up the leaderboard.

Dufner and DeLaet are the last pairing of the day and get their final round underway at 11:45 Saskatchewan time. The Golf Channel has coverage of the final round starting at 11:00 with CBS and Global taking over at 1.

A story on DeLaet and his battle to stay on the Tour after an injury can be found right here

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Riders-War Amps PSA Wins Award

A War Amps public service announcement featuring Rebecca Mideros, 7, of Barrie, and Saskatchewan Roughriders stars Darian Durant, Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf and Lance Frazier has won a Gold Award at this year’s WorldFest-Houston competition – one of the oldest and largest film and video competitions in the world, with more than 4,500 category entries received from 37 countries.

The PSA was also recently recognized with a Silver Plaque Award at the Chicago International Film Festival’s Hugo Television Awards, which celebrate the quality of and diversity in television programming and television commercials worldwide.

Shortly after losing part of her right leg in a boating accident, Rebecca enrolled in The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, and now uses her experience to pass on the PLAYSAFE message. After being named The War Amps National Safety Ambassador, Rebecca joined Saskatchewan Roughrider stars last summer to film this PSA at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium. It began airing nationally last fall.

For more than 30 years, The War Amps and the Canadian Football League have shared a special tradition – the annual CFL® PLAYSAFE PSA, saluting the League’s support of The War Amps safety program. Like all War Amps productions, the PSA is funded by corporate sponsors.

Rebecca and The Roughriders has been distributed to regular and community channels across Canada and can be viewed on The War Amps YouTube channel at:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hicks Makes History For Rams

University of Regina Rams defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is the first player in the program to be drafted by an NFL team. Hicks was taken in the 3rd round--89th overall---by the New Orleans Saints on Friday night.

If Hicks were to make the Saints roster, he would be the 2nd alumnus of the Rams to play in the NFL joining Seahawks punter Jon Ryan.

We Love Our Hockey

I don't have the CBC numbers for the first round of the playoffs, but here is what TSN is saying.

Last night’s New Jersey-Florida Game 7 double overtime thriller wrapped up a momentous opening round of the NHL playoffs on TSN. According to the latest data from BBM Canada, the average audiences for the opening round NHL playoffs on TSN (927,000 over 21 games) were 41% higher than last season.

Overall, more than 14 million Canadians – or approximately 42% of all Canadians – have tuned in to watch some or all of the 2012 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS on TSN.

TSN’s ongoing NHL playoff coverage continues with complete live coverage of both Western Conference Semifinal series – Phoenix-Nashville and St. Louis-Los Angeles.

TSN’s coverage of Game 1: Nashville @ Phoenix airs tonight (Friday, April 27) at 8:30 p.m. ET. Action in the Blues-Kings series kicks off tomorrow (Saturday, April 28) with Game 1: Los Angeles @ St. Louis at 7 p.m. ET.

Durant and Best Sign Contract Extensions

Saskatchewan Roughrider General Manager Brendan Taman announced today the team has agreed to terms with quarterback Darian Durant and offensive lineman Chris Best to contract extensions. The contracts will keep Durant and Best with the club through the 2014 season. Financial details were not released.

Durant (5’11 – 214) is entering his seventh season with the Green & White after joining the team in 2006. The 29-year-old South Carolina native earned the Riders starting quarterback job in the 2009 season and currently sits third on the club’s All-Time record list in passing attempts (1,824), completions (1,107) and passing yards (14,679). The University of North Carolina graduate also sits fourth on the All-Time record list with 74 career touchdown passes.

“We’re extremely happy to have come to an agreement on terms with Darian,” stated G.M Brendan Taman. “The CFL is a quarterback driven league, and Darian has proven he can lead this team. This extension allows us to move forward with Darian as our starting quarterback and achieve the ultimate goal of bringing another Grey Cup back to Saskatchewan.”

Best (6’4 – 315) originally joined the Riders after being selected by the club in the first round (4th overall) of the 2005 CFL Draft and is entering his sixth season with the Roughriders. The 29-year-old Calgary native has been the Riders starting right guard since the 2009 season, and was the Rider’s nominee for Most Outstanding offensive lineman during the 2011 season.

“Chris is one of the best up and coming offensive lineman in the league,” said Taman. “He had a great season last year and keeping him under contract for the future was big priority for us.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Don't Think So, But Nice Try

From Associated Press

Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs.

"Teams that wore black jerseys were penalized more, significantly more, than teams wearing other colored jerseys," said researcher Gregory Webster of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

The psychologist said that teams that wore darker colored jerseys were penalized about two minutes more per game. The finding is based on an analysis of more than 50,000 NHL games over a quarter century. Players spend nearly a million minutes in penalty boxes in those games.

While the link between jersey colors and penalties is correlational, Webster said it's likely to be more than mere coincidence: A 2003 rule-change by the NHL that affected whether teams wore white or colored jerseys for home and away games allowed researchers to conduct a quasi-experiment.

Before 2003, teams typically wore white jerseys at home and colored jerseys for away games. After 2003, teams wore colored jerseys at home and white jerseys for away games. There were some exceptions, but the change in uniforms meant that the researchers could disentangle the influence of the jersey-colors on penalties from the possibility that teams were being penalized more or less depending on whether they were playing in front of a home crowd.

It is not entirely clear what's driving the link between darker colored jerseys and increased penalties. But Webster said there could be a handful of different explanations.

One possibility is that players wearing darker colored jerseys are more visible on the ice than players wearing white, allowing referees to spot fouls more easily. The trouble with that theory is that players wearing black jerseys in particular got penalized more than players wearing other dark colors — it isn't clear why black would be so much more visible on the ice than other dark colors.

A second possibility is that wearing dark colors somehow makes players more aggressive, which lands them more often in the penalty box.

A third possibility, Webster said, is that players were not doing anything different, but that the referees had unconscious biases against black and other dark colors.

"There is this very strong cultural association that comes through in how we think about colors in terms of white being associated with good and black with bad," Webster said in an interview. "Many of us are raised from childhood with some of these associations. And over time, we develop a kind of cognitive bias. That's been shown time and time again in social psychology."

In an earlier study, researchers at Cornell University also found a similar pattern of increased fouls among NFL teams that wore darker colors. The researchers conducted an experiment where they had high school and college students run two versions of identical football plays, wearing white uniforms in one version and black uniforms in the second version. Referees who later watched the identical version of the plays called fouls more often when the players wore black.

The research is to be published in the May issue of the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science. Webster's co- authors are Geoffrey R. Urland of Boulder-based Toravner Research and Design, and Joshua Correll at the University of Chicago.

This And That

No one thing in particular, just a bunch of things whirling through the old mind

--The defeat of the Red Wings was devastating for my hockey pool, but a win by the Devils tonight could revive things somewhat seeing I also have Phoenix and Washington players in my pool.

--The racist tweets sent out by Boston Bruins fans towards Joel Ward after his Game 7 overtime winner were simply sickening. You would think the battle against racism is being won until you see that. This comes from upper crust New England. I might understand it a little had it been fans of a team from the south, but Boston?

--Its great to get a little taste of Saskatchewan Roughrider football, but alas after today's practice in Moose Jaw, that's it until training camp.

--There have been many moments that I will always remember as a broadcaster--none bigger than a certain Sunday in November in 2007 at Skydome, but one of my favourite moments was without a doubt this one as I sat on the sidelines for CKRM....

As I said on this blog on the night of that 2010 Western Semi-Final win, I don't think I have ever heard the old girl as loud as it was when that happened. It was not surprising to hear of his retirement this week, but it was disappointing. It was great to have Clermont in the green that he should have been in for years, but he certainly didn't get the career he thought he would have here. He handled himself like a true professional and there is no doubt in my mind that he will get an invite to be a CFL Hall of Famer down the road. He is one of the best and the toughest Canadian receivers that this league has ever seen. Thanks for many great years of football Jason and for leading the way for Regina receivers to make it big in the CFL.

--Mrs. Scruffy is a huge Steve Yzerman fan. She has been since before I met her. She walks past the Hotel Saskatchewan each and every day on her way to work. Imagine her reaction when I told her that Yzerman was staying at the Hotel Sask as he went to Games 3 and 4 of the Edmonton-Moose Jaw series to get a good look at Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Rielly and whoever else. Thankfully, she did not stake out the hotel, but she was disappointed to see the text I received from "The Silver Fox" Kelly Remple saying he was sitting right beside him at last night's Game 4.

--I guess the Edmonton Oil Kings are beatable, but its seemingly far too late for the Warriors now. I just can't see Moose Jaw winning the next three games of the series but that's why you play the game. It took some stones for Warriors coach Mike Stothers to tell regular starter Luke Siemens he would not play in Game 4 with 16 year old Justin Paulic taking his spot for just his 2nd career WHL start. It worked though as the kid gave up just one goal on 29 shots. While looking at the present, Stothers had the sense to look at the future too.

--Word out of Boston this morning is the Bruins want to trade Tim Thomas and go with someone cheaper. No one was saying this---at least publicly--before the playoffs were they? Was Thomas that bad in the Washington series. Yes, he was outperformed by former Blades goalie Braden Holtby, but I don't think you can pin the Bruins loss on him. This means the two goalies that met in Game 7 of last year's Cup final--Luongo and Thomas--are now trade bait. How quick it turns.

--A lot of talk is on Detroit's Nick Lidstrom and if we've seen the last of him as he weighs retirement. That focus will shift to Marty Brodeur tonight if the Devils lose. This will certainly be his last game in a Devils uniform as he becomes a free agent and unless he is willing to sign something short term at a very reasonable price, I can't see him being in New Jersey. I still think though that Brodeur has something in the tank to at least be a backup. I don't think he will call it a career if New Jersey loses tonight.

--26 degrees one day and they are talking for rain/snow this weekend in Regina. Ah yes, that is spring in Saskatchewan. Wait a minute, its supposed to be cold this weekend as my youngest daughter starts playing softball. What a shock!!!

--For some reason, I don't see the Seahawks picking at 11 tonight when their turn comes up in the NFL draft. I see them trading down with a team that really wants someone. I could see Dallas or the Jets being a trade partner. As for what way they should go, it appears as if they are going to try and improve their front 7. I'm OK with that.

--I love the fact that EA Sports allows fans to now choose the cover boy for its Madden and NHL games. Its a connect that is really needed by both.

--Tonight is the last performance in Regina of "Rock of Ages", but it will be in Saskatoon over the weekend. For someone who loves 80's rock like me, this musical is unbelievable. I had heard many glowing reviews about it from people who had seen it before in other locales so I was excited to hear that it was coming here. It didn't disappoint. It was simply awesome and yes, if it ever came again, I would be there in a heartbeat. Go check it out if you can. This isn't from the Regina show, but its a snippet of what you'll see with one of the oh so great songs from the 80's..

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Year 1 Of Mosaic Place A Success

The results are in and Moose Jaw’s shiny, new entertainment & athletic facilities were a huge success in their inaugural year of operation. Downtown Facility and Soccer/Field-House Inc (DFFH), a Saskatchewan non-profit corporation responsible for the operation of Moose Jaw’s Mosaic Place & FieldHouse, announced the 2011 results at its 2012 Annual General Meeting held Tuesday evening at Mosaic Place.

Facilities General Manager Scott Clark presented audited year-end statements showing a year-end surplus of $837,300 including a cash position of $575,667. The statements showed the facilities to better revenue projections by $396,228 while completing the year $441,000 under projected expense.
“It’s certainly been a wonderful first year for Moose Jaw’s new facilities. Attendance, corporate sponsorship, catering, track revenues. You name it, expectations were exceeded. Moose Javians are certainly enjoying and are extremely proud of the new facilities and as a management team we’re honored to have the responsibility of successfully providing a range of programs and events that will keep these venues humming”, commented Clark.

Commenting on the success of the facilities, DFFH Chairman Kurt Saladana added, ”Mosaic Place and FieldHouse useage has exceeded the most optimistic of the Operating Board members’ predictions. They have redefined the concept of flexibility for Moose Jaw; their use will only continue to grow as demonstrated by the creativity already displayed by our citizens.”
In reviewing the 2011 surplus the operating Board approved a motion recommending to Moose Jaw city council that the 2011 surplus be allocated as follows;
· $275,000 to accumulated surplus fund
· $275,000 to capital reserve fund
· $287,300 to the city of Moose Jaw

2012 is already shaping up to be another banner year what with the Warriors post season success, big name concerts such as Paul Brandt and John Mellencamp, next fall’s Capital One Canada Cup and the Roughriders FieldHouse training camp sessions. The catering and convention also continue to grow with large scale events such as the SIAST Business & Industry gala, National Early Years Conference - Imagine Your Future and Chamber of Commerce Focus on Trade events inhabiting the curling surface’s off-season.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Riders Add Three, Drop One

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have agreed to terms with import receiver Sinorice Moss, import offensive lineman Johan Asiata and import linebacker Daniel Sheffield.

Moss (5’8 – 185) was a second round pick (44th overall) of the New York Giants in the 2006 NFL Draft. The 27-year-old Miami native played five seasons for the Giants and finished his career in New York with 39 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns. He also tallied 495 combined return yards during his tenure in New York. The speedy receiver was also a part of the 2007 Superbowl champion Giants team. While playing for the University of Miami, Moss finished his four-year career with the Hurricanes totaling 68 receptions for 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns.

Asiata (6’4 – 300) has spent time each of the past three seasons on the Chicago Bears practice squad following an outstanding career at UNLV. The 26-year-old New Zealand native transferred to the Running Rebels in 2006 after spending his first two collegiate seasons at Yuba Junior College in California. In 2008Asiataearned honourable mention All-Mountain West Conference after starting all 12 games for the second consecutive season.

Sheffield (6’4 – 210) played three seasons at Troy University. The 24-year-old played safety and linebacker during his time with the Trojans and finished his career with 147 defensive tackles, seven tackles for loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks and one interception. Prior to transferring to Troy, the Georgia native played one season at Garden City Community College in Kansas where he tallied 79 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble.

· The Saskatchewan Roughriders also announced they have released import receiver Ernie Wheelwright from the roster.

Bombers Get New "Old" Look

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are going to have a new look in 2012, but really its a familiar look. Take a read.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Heenan Falls to #2

With the CFL draft just over a week away, the league has released its final draft rankings. As you will see, U of S o-lineman Ben Heenan, expected to be the number one pick overall by the Riders, is no longer ranked #1.

Riders Trade For O-Lineman

Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager Brendan Taman announced today the team has acquired import offensive lineman Xavier Fulton from Edmonton in exchange for a conditional sixth round draft pick in the 2013 CFL Canadian Draft.

Fulton (6’4 – 300) was originally selected in the fifth round (155th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2009 NFL Draft. The 25-year-old Chicago native has also spent time in the NFL on the Colts, 49ers and Redskins practice rosters. He spent the 2011 season with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL.

As one of the top defensive line recruits in the country, Fulton spent his first two seasons at Illinois as a defensive end before switching to offensive tackle. Fulton was a two-time All-Big Ten performer on offense as a junior and senior. Immediately following his senior year, he was invited to the 2009 Under Amour Senior Bowl and played for the North team. In February of 2012 Fulton signed up for the Golden Gloves in Chicago and became a Golden Gloves Champion on April 13, 2012. In Fulton's boxing career he has stayed undefeated at 3-0.

Eberle Up For NHL Hardware

One of the oldest adages in hockey is you can't score from the penalty box.

During the 2011-12 season, three players took that mantra particularly to heart. Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell, Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle and New York Islanders left wing Matt Moulson had outstanding seasons offensively while managing to stay far away from the penalty box. For that reason, those players have been named the finalists for this year's Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

The award is given each year "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The winner is selected by a vote of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, and will be announced at the 2012 NHL Awards Show, June 20 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.

Campbell played all 82 games and finished second among defensemen with 49 assists and 53 points. And he did so while going to the penalty box just three times. He didn't go to the penalty box in the final 25 games of the regular season, and was whistled for one penalty after the All-Star break -- a slashing call Feb. 17 against Washington.

If Campbell were to win the Lady Byng, he would be just the third defenseman ever, and first since Red Kelly following the 1953-54 season.

Eberle, in his second NHL season, cut his penalty minutes from 22 to 10 this past season, and that extra time on the ice allowed him to post career highs in goals (34), assists (42), points (76) and power-play goals (10).

He went 31 games between trips to the penalty box to end the season, taking a slashing penalty Jan. 31, and then not going back to the box until the season finale, April 7, for interference.

Of the 30 players who scored at least 30 goals, Eberle was one of just two players to finish with 10 penalty minutes or fewer. The other was Moulson, who was whistled for just three minor penalties.

Moulson was whistled for a double-minor for roughing against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 29, and then went the final 47 games without a trip to the penalty box. All that time on the ice allowed him to post career-bests of 36 goals -- 10th in the League -- 33 assists and 69 points.

With six penalty minutes, he became the first player since Paul Kariya in 1996-97 to score at least 30 goals and have single-digit penalty minutes.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Saskie Sinks The Canucks

Sorry Vancouver fans, but I gotta show it. The pride of Yorkton, Melville, Neudorf and wherever else in that area wants to stake claim to him ends the season for the Vancouver Canucks as Jarrett Stoll starts what will be a very intriguing off-season for the team that just can't get it done no matter how hard they try. What happens now? It would seem as if Roberto Luongo's days on the West Coast have come to an end and that the team has passed the torch to Cory Schneider. The Sedins aren't going anywhere, but will Kesler be back next year, will Burrows, will Hamhuis after his season-ending gaffe? I would expect this team to look quite a lot different next year. This team that can do it in the regular season can't get it done in the playoffs and they need to figure out why. Will Alain Vigneault be back? If he's not, I'm guessing he re-surfaces in Montreal.

Another team that needs to blow it up are the San Jose Sharks. Once again, this team proves to be highly disappointing as they bow out to a St. Louis team that was much more talented. That being said, I thought San Jose would give the Blues more of a fight. Patrick Marleau was invisible and needs to go, Joe Pavelski was hanging out with Marleau and Joe Thornton just looks like he would rather be elsewhere. With guys like Logan Couture ready to take the mantle, its time to start pulling weeds there too.

Other thoughts from what was a busy weekend

--I don't care if the Devils don't like it, I like the fact the Florida Panthers are maintaining tradition and throwing plastic rats onto the ice at the end of each game. That's what they did when they lost the Cup final to Colorado years ago.

--Was it just me or was the game a little tamer this weekend after the Raffi Torres suspension was announced?

--Can Hockey Night in Canada please bring in Torres to deliver a headshot to Glenn Healy. He is arguably the worst hockey commentator out there right now. You would think that every shift he played during his career was perfect thus he can criticize everyone else for their mistakes.

--With cup favourites Pittsburgh and Vancouver both out, who are you takin now? I guess we've got to see how these other series pan out but we could be looking at the first seed in each conference being bounced if Ottawa knocks off the Rangers.

--Pittsburgh may have lost, but Jordan Staal could play on my team any day of the week. I love the way he plays the game.

--There are many businesses or places in Regina that could shell out a few dollars to have their parking lots repaved. There are some that are simply in hideous shape.

--Does Carrie Underwood ever sing the national anthem in Nashville?

--I still don't understand why CBC shows the national anthems before each hockey game, but NBC doesn't go for the slice of Americana instead opting for commercials instead of the anthem. That one doesn't make sense.

--I only find it ironic and somewhat laughable that the team I took for the Stanley Cup (Detroit) are the first ones out.

--I believe my prediction of the Western Hockey League final being played at Mosaic Place is also going to be incorrect. With the exception of the 2nd period of Game 2, the Oil Kings have been all over the Warriors. Moose Jaw needs to "bring the noise" Tuesday for Game 3 otherwise Edmonton might go into the final having won 22 in a row. They are at 20 now which is somewhat amazing.

--No slam on the Pats, but how the hell did that team beat Edmonton in all four games this year?

--I realize Morgan Rielly is just coming off injury and is still trying to get his game going, but Griffin Reinhart has outshone Rielly in the battle of the two highly touted draft eligible blueliners in this series.

--There's nothing like spending a good portion of your Saturday in the emergency room. That being said, I don't have really complaints about the service or the wait that was given. I do have one question though....are there any clinics open in Regina on a Saturday? It didn't seem like it when I was checking. If the answer is no, why is that?

--I could really care less about the NBA. All I know is that Oklahoma City and Chicago are the best teams in each conference.

--Am I the only one who just can't look at PJ Stock now after his "Depends" commercial and wonder if he is wearing those when doing his Hockey Night in Canada shtick?

--I love the fact Braden Holtby has a Saskatchewan flag on the back of his mask. He has an Alberta one too being from Lloydminster, but I still love the fact he has the provincial colours on. Speaking of Holtby, if he continues on his progression, can we include him as a possible candidate for Sochi in 2014.

--The US will have Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas, Cory Schneider and Jonathan Quick to choose from amongst others in 2014. I think they beat us in the goaltending area.

--Rider fans on Twitter should follow @bittergainer for some funny tweets from a rodent that seems to be somewhat ticked.

--I wonder if High Impact Wrestler Rex Roberts is fielding phone calls from Cosmo, Chatelaine and other womens mags to be their cover girl after he was wearing a dress following his latest loss in Friday's highly entertaining card at the Victoria Club. The cowboy was finally in an element that he enjoyed. I even offered my hand in good luck to him before the match only to be repelled by his rudeness towards me. Oh well, you get what you deserve!

--Speaking of High Impact, manager "Crazy Horse" would have been a natural in the old Stampede Wrestling days. Guys like J.R Foley (one of the best ever) and Wakamatsu were legends, but Crazy Horse would have fit right in.

--At the start of the season, would you have said the Ottawa Senators would be the last Canadian based team standing. Give a lot of credit to Paul McLean for what this team has done. I think Ken Hitchcock gets the coach of the year honours for what he did in St. Louis after taking over, but McLean's job has been outstanding as well.

--Who was the coach of the Blues at the start of the season? Does anyone remember---even a Blues fan?

--I was over by Mosaic Stadium late last week. I miss football!

--Why is it KFC tastes so much better the next morning?

--My Cubs are going to lose a lot of games this year, but they may not lose as many as the Boston Red Sox. What a greasefire they have been to start the year.

--Mrs. Scruffy complained over the weekend that I never ever take her anyplace expensive. We got into the car and went to the gas station. (Mrs. Scruffy does not approve of the joke or the fact that she was mentioned)

--Another week is underway so strap your helmet on, put two hands on your stick and get out there! Later! Oh yeah, one other thing----thank you Jarrett Stoll. I know you don't go out with Rachel Hunter anymore, but lets pay tribute to you by showing this video of what could have been your wife. I don't think the fellas will mind!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Hammer Falls On Raffi ALERT: Coyotes' Raffi Torres suspended 25 games for his hit on Blackhawks' Marian Hossa in Game 3 of their playoff series
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rider Moves and Mini-Camp News

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have signed import defensive backs Macho Harris, Talmadge Jackson and T.J. Rushing. The Roughriders also announced they have signed import quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan to a contract. Financial details were not released.

Harris (6’0 – 200) was a fifth round pick (157th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2009 NFL Draft. The 26-year-old Virginia native opened the 2009 regular season as the Eagles starting free safety appearing in 15 regular season games with one playoff appearance. The former Virginia Tech Hokie finished his rookie season with 43 combined tackles and two passes defended. A standout corner during his four years at Virginia Tech, Harris was twice named First-Team All-ACC (2007 & 2008) and finished his career with 128 combined tackles and 15 interceptions, four which he returned for touchdowns. Harris joins former collegiate teammates Justin Harper and Chris Ellis as new members of the Green & White heading into the 2012 season.

Jackson (5’10 – 188) played four years at Oregon. In his senior season Jackson tallied 70 tackles, six knockdowns, two interceptions and one forced fumble on his way to appearing in the Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State. The 23-year-old San Diego native finished his career at Oregon with an impressive 159 tackles, 15 pass knockdowns and 8 interceptions, one which he returned for a touchdown. Jackson spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and most recently on the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.

Rushing (5’9 – 186) was a seventh round pick (238th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 NFL Draft. The 28-year-old return specialist made his NFL debut for the Colts in week 1 of the 2006 season and would wind up totaling 1,300 combined return yards during his career, including a 90 yard punt return for a touchdown vs. Oakland in 2007. The Oklahoma native was part of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts as they claimed victory over the Chicago Bears in Superbowl 41. The former Stanford Cardinal finished his career as one of the top three return men in school history, totaling 1,409 yards.

O’Sullivan (6’2 – 232) was a sixth round pick (186th overall) by the New Orleans Saints in the 2002 NFL Draft. The 32-year-old NFL veteran saw his most game action in 2008 when he was named the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers heading into the regular season. The California native finished the 2008 season with nine game appearances, including eight starts on his way to tallying 128 completions on 220 attempts to go along with eight touchdowns. During his nine year NFL career, O’Sullivan has thrown for 1,866 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with 39 rushing attempts for 145 yards.
The former University of California-Davis quarterback was twice named a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy (awarded to the top player in Division 2) and finished his collegiate career with 10,745 yards passing and 94 touchdowns.

· The Saskatchewan Roughriders also announced they have released the following import players from their roster.
QB Matt Johnson, OL Clint Oldenburg, LB Alvin Bowen, DB Jamaal Fudge, DB Justin Wilson and DL Dario Romero.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced that they will be holding a two-day mini-camp which will be held at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, as well as the Fieldhouse facility in Moose Jaw.

Approximately 50 Roughriders will be taking part in the practice sessions, focusing on preparing for rookie camp as well as training camp which will begin May 30th at the University of Regina.

The first two on-field practices will be held at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Wednesday, April 25th. Players will take to the field at 11:00 am until 12:30 pm, and following a short break, return to the turf at 1:00 pm with the day wrapping up at 2:30 pm.

The mini-camp continues with a Thursday morning session, hosted at the Fieldhouse facilities in Moose Jaw. Players will hit the turf at the indoor facility beginning at 9:30 am and wrap up at 11:30 am.

For fans looking to catch an early glimpse at this year’s Roughriders, all on-field sessions will be open to the public.

· Please note, due to ongoing construction, fans attending the April 25th workouts at Mosaic Stadium will be asked to enter the facility through the East Side Grandstands.

This And That

Before I get started today, a picture. A picture that just isn't right. Can you tell me what's wrong with it? You may have to look at it for a few minutes though before you figure it out,

Speaking of pictures that aren't right. Vancouver and Pittsburgh fans are feeling a little better this morning knowing their teams did not get swept out of the first round of the Stanley Cup finals. What the heck was that in Philadelphia? The Flyers had the chance to complete what would have been a major four game upset, but all they did was hand the momentum right back to the Penguins. I don't think its surprising that Pittsburgh won when you consider the talent on that team that likely regrouped a little after Sunday's embarassment, but winning 10-3 sent a definite message. I think this series might be headed back to Philadelphia. 

How would you feel if the Penguins scored 10 goals and the only Penguin you had in your playoff pool was James Neal. DOHHHHHHH!!! Sadly, I don't have any Penguins or Flyers in my pool. For the time being that is the last we will speak of that.

Is it true that Peter Laviolette is approaching Philly's team in the National Lacrosse League to see if the Flyers can borrow their goalie for Game 5 and beyond?

The Vancouver Canucks are still alive, but I can't see them coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings. The Canucks were bolstered by the fact Daniel Sedin was back as they beat the Kings 3-1. The story in this one was that in a must-win game. Vancouver opted to go with Cory Schneider and not Roberto Luongo. I have to think barring injury Luongo has stopped his last shot in "The Coov". There is no way Alain Vigneault can go back to Luongo for Game 5 after Schneider kept the season alive. If he does go back to Luongo and he fails, it all but assures that the next time he steps onto Rogers Arena ice it will be as a member of whoever. I can't help but wonder if Brian Burke spent the night working on a trade offer and had it on Mike Gillis' desk before Game 4 was over. In all seriousness, I don't know who could take on Luongo's mammoth contract in this salary cap world. I thought I heard the two Florida teams could be in play, but how can Tampa when they have Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos and Hedman tied up with deals. 

If the Penguins and Canucks do go out, what one is the bigger surprise to you?

I tried the Coors Light Iced Tea the other night. All I have to say is that when I am on the golf course and some young lass brings the beer cart my way, I can only hope that there is some ice cold product of this because it will go down extremely well. Two thumbs up from this blogger. 

NBA player Delonte West was fined 25-thousand dollars this week for this....

Shea Weber was fined 2500 for this....

I'm not saying the Stanley Cup playoffs have been rough this year, but as I said on the Sportscage yesterday, I will know something is up if Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan are doing the play by play.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are holding a mini camp and word is one of the first things that Henry Burris said to Andy Fantuz was that he looked much better in black than he did in green. Yes, I know many of us are counting down the days until training camp, but I am guessing a lot of us are counting down the days until Hamilton comes to town. That might be the first time that sentence has ever been uttered.

My good buddy Tim Purvis at Omni Studios (link on the right) has a new Facebook page. If you need some website advice or some marketing or some social media, give Tim a call and check out his Facebook page right here

I don't have a real problem with Sean Payton getting suspended for a year for his role in the New Orleans Saints bountygate story, but I do have a problem with Roger Goodell basically telling him he can't have his life. Goodell has told Payton he is to have no contact with players, the organization itself or anyone connected to the NFL. Payton obviously has many friends that are in the NFL so to say he can't even talk to these people for a year is ludicrous. They might as well exile him to Alcatraz or Guantanamo Bay.

Note to Cliff Mapes---the congenial marketing man of the Regina Pats who is always smiling especially when his Flyers are winning. Make a call to the L-A Kings and see how much it cost them to get Eric Cartman of South Park fame yelling "GO KINGS GO" and then call whoever to get something produced in which Cartman yells "GO PATS GO". I love that!!!

There is always one series that I have little interest in. The Rangers-Senators series gets that honour this year. It would have been Florida and the Devils, but I have a lot of New Jersey guys in my pool. Oops, I said I wouldn't mention that again. Sorry! SIGHHHHHH!!!!

How should Dick Clark be remembered when it comes to the history of music? I never saw American Bandstand, but he brought the  legends of music into our living room at a time when it was tough to see them unless they were live in your town. I would think he should be characterized as an icon.

Former Pats coach Curtis Hunt was in the Sportscage Wednesday. I'm sure Huntsy would love to be behind someone's bench, but you can certainly tell that he isn't being bothered by the day-to-day stress that goes with the job. He looks great and he looks relaxed. I've always been a Curtis Hunt fan and I'd like to see him get another chance with someone whether it be in the WHL or with a pro team, but after seeing him yesterday, I may change my mind on that because he seems quite comfortable.

Congrats to Dianne Sletten for being named the first female assistant GM in WHL history. In speaking with Rob Vanstone of the Leader-Post, Sletten said "sports is a passion" to  her so why not take that passion to a position you know you will love, I wholeheartedly agree. Best of luck to her in a market where it is tough to keep the finances above water because of the population. Wins are needed, but people in Swift and Prince Albert need to realize that they need to stick with the team through the good times and the bad or else both centres will be back in the SJHL.

The Seahawks will provide the opposition for the Buffalo Bills in this year's game to be played in Toronto. Is it safe to assume that if I were to make a roadie for that game that I could probably get a pretty good ticket just before kickoff?

I have seen a lot of ugly uniforms, but this one that the Steelers are trotting out for their 80th anniversary may take the cake. Look at this!!!!

Alright that is enough. Did you figure out what is wrong with that picture at the top. If you didn't, take a look at how many arms Dad has.

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 U of R Rams Sked

Sat Sept 1   at Calgary   5 PM
Fri Sept 7   UBC (at Mosaic Stadium)  7 PM
Fri Sept 14 at Alberta  7 PM
Fri Sept 21  at Saskatchewan  7 PM
Fri Sept 28 Manitoba (at Mosaic Stadium)  7 PM
Sat Oct 13 at UBC  2 PM
Fri Oct 19  Calgary (at Mosaic Stadium)  7 PM
Fri Oct 26 Alberta (at Mosaic Stadium)  7 PM

Nov 3-Semifinals 
Nov 10-Hardy Cup
Nov 17-Mitchell Bowl (Canada West Champ at Ontario Champ)
Nov 24-Vanier Cup at Rogers Centre

And This Comes Out Of Vancouver!

The Canucks are on their last playoff life tonight. It has many people in Canada who don't like the Canucks, (me included) feeling quite giddy at the thought of the L-A Kings taking the broom to them. The Vancouver media is also harsh on this team though. Perhaps that is what makes this hilarious.

 Poor Ryan Kesler!

CFL Approves Rule Changes

The Canadian Football League Board of Governors has unanimously approved the rule changes as proposed by the Rules Committee, including that all scoring plays be subject to review by the replay official in the Command Centre. This would include all touchdowns, field goals, converts, singles and safety touches.

The Board of Governors also approved two rules that specifically address the safety concern of players helmets coming off during play:

• If a ball carrier’s helmet comes off, the play shall be blown dead immediately. The line of scrimmage for the next play will be where the player’s helmet came off.

• If a non ball carrier’s helmet comes off, that player can no longer participate in the play. If he does, the player will be penalized 10 yards for illegal participation. If a player hits an opposing player who isn’t participating because he lost his helmet, he will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

The Rules Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association.


How Do Philly Papers Treat Sid?

Apparently, they don't like him either. Crosby was asked about this today and responded by saying its actually one of the more flattering things that paper has done or written about him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Raffi Torres

Just when Brendan Shanahan thought he could put his feet up and watch the playoffs after a busy day of hearings.

 This night on the Stanley Cup trail won't be remembered for New Jersey choking a three goal lead or Phoenix winning in overtime or Nashville putting the Wings one game from extinction by taking a pair at Joe Louis Arena. It will be remembered for this...

I find it interesting that the Coyotes colour man (sorry don't know who he is) calls that a clean hit. It is debatable, but at the end of the day Torres does leave his feet. The question is why? The hit would have been a solid one and a clean one if he stays on his feet. Raffi Torres is a good two way hockey player who plays the game with intensity. However, Raffi Torres is also dumb. He just doesn't get it. Matt Cooke  learned (at least he has so far) that you can't play the game the way he wanted to anymore. You can't be a headhunter. Torres has yet to accept that. Because of that, he is going to get suspended and that suspension should be a long one. If Phoenix beats Chicago, I would not expect him to play in the 2nd round. That is the sentiment of many. How many games he will get depends on Shanahan and as Jonathan Toews said after the game that he doesn't know what to expect anymore and either does anyone else. That is the statement of these Stanley Cup playoffs.

For what its worth, and yeah I expect to get crucified for this. I don't find the hit that James Neal gave to Sean Couturier on Sunday or the Torres hit to be that bad. When I first saw the hit, I didn't think it was bad until I saw that he had to leave his feet and propel himself at Hossa. The Duncan Keith elbow on Daniel Sedin was worse and so was the Brent Burns elbow on Scott Nichol which surprisingly did not get the San Jose defenceman an appointment for a potential "Shanaban". Guys will get hit violently during a hockey game and sometime the player won't get up. Its the physical nature of the game. However, Torres showed a lack of respect by going one step--or perhaps a half step--over the line. If he doesn't leave his feet, we might just categorize that hit in the same manner that Dustin Brown wallpapered Henrik Sedin in Game 3 of that series or the Mike Richards  hit on Alex Burrows at the end of Game 1 of same series.

I will also ask this as I get back on my soapbox. Would Hossa have been taken out on a stretcher had Torres been wearing thin shoulder pads and not the armour that he and others wear. Would he even have hit Hossa with such force? I think we know the answer to that. Until equipment makers and the NHL realize it (which they do) and act on it, its not going to change and you know that. At least I hope you do.

SSHOF Class of 2012 Named

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has announced the ten (10) inductees who will become the newest members to be enshrined as part of the Class of 2012. The inductees, including six in the athlete category, three in the category of builder and one in the team category will be officially inducted at the 46th Annual Induction Ceremony to be held at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina on Saturday, June 16, 2012.

The 2012 inductees are:
Darcey Busse (Outlook - deceased) - Volleyball
Orland Kurtenbach (Surrey, BC) - Hockey
Michael Mintenko (Colorado Springs, CO) - Aquatics
Vanessa Monar Enweani (Saskatoon) - Athletics
Fiona Smith-Bell (Stonewall, MB) - Hockey
Donna Veale (Saskatoon) - Softball
Don Clark (Regina) - Wrestling
Karin Lofstrom (Ottawa) - Multi Sport
Judy Peddle (Saskatoon) - Athletics
2007 Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Team – Grey Cup Champions

“2012 is an exciting year for the Saskatchewan Sport Hall of Fame,” said Linda Burnham, Co-Chair of the Induction Weekend. “We have a strong slate of new inductees who have achieved success and recognition in their chosen sports as either athletes or builders. We are pleased to honour them at our Induction ceremony and their accomplishments of excellence will be displayed at the Hall to ensure their place in Saskatchewan's sport history."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Regina Ball Player Off To U-S

(From Minot State University)

Minot State University baseball added three student-athletes to its 2012 recruiting class as Tyler Richter, Paul Vogelsang and Erik Phillips all signed Institutional Letters of Intent to attend MSU starting in the fall.

Richter, a 6-foot, 180-pound pitcher/third baseman from Bismarck, N.D., has been a multiple-sport standout for Bismarck High School. Richter earned All-State, All-WDA and All-WDA Tournament Team in baseball in 2011. He was also a member of the Demons basketball team.

“Tyler is a really good athlete and a great student,” said MSU head coach Brock Weppler. “He has a great build and is a big kid who we think will be a two-way player for us. We think he will have a good chance to help us out on the mound right away, but it's tough to say. We like the way he handles the bat.

“He comes from a quality system and we hope to be able to get some of the best players from Bismarck. Tyler is a good step for us in that city.”

Vogelsang is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound catcher from Regina, Sask., who helped Team Saskatchewan to a Silver Medal at the Canada Cup of Baseball. He batted .356 for his Midget AAA Club team, helping the Mets to a Canada Midget AAA Baseball championship in 2011.

“You always need quality catchers and Paul is excellent defensively,” Weppler said. “He has been coached by some very good coaches on through the ranks and really knows how to receive, block and has a good arm. We like his bat speed and he has a good idea at the plate. We will do some refining, but he will be a good addition to our team.”

Phillips a 6-foot-2, 195 pound right-handed pitcher, comes to Minot from Victoria, British Columbia, playing in the same system as current MSU standouts Connor Moughtin (So., C) and Mike Turcotte (Jr., OF). He was named Lambrick Park Secondary's team MVP in both baseball and basketball.

“We know he comes from a good system because of Moughtin and Turcotte,” said Weppler. “He will throw some innings for us right away and add some depth in our staff. We hope to have a good mix of high school guys and junior college kids so we can have some more options out of the pen and starting.”

The Beavers signed one player during the early signing period and will look to bring 10-15 total players for the 2012 class.


As you know, the NHL fined Nashville defenceman Shea Weber 2500 dollars last week after he grabbed the head of Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and slammed it into the plexiglass. It looked like Shawn Michaels officially ending his tag-team known as "The Rockers" by slamming Marty Jannetty's head through a window. The fine as you know was debated greatly with many wondering why the NHL even bothered.

That fine looks even more comedic now after hearing that the league has fined Ottawa's Zenon Konopka 2500 dollars for verbally abusing a member of the New York Rangers as he was doing a TV interview with NBC. This means that verbally abusing a player while doing a TV interview costs the same amount of money as slamming someone's head into the plexiglass.

I just don't understand what is going through the mind of Brendan Shanahan and others when it comes to discipline anymore. If I don't, what is going through the players minds.

Warriors-Oil Kings In Our Living Room

Ron Robison, Commissioner of the Western Hockey League, and SHAW Communications announced today that the entire 2012 Husky WHL Eastern Conference Championship series between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors will be televised LIVE on SHAW and SHAW Direct ‘Channel 299’ throughout Western Canada.

During the Conference Championship series the WHL on SHAW will feature the play-by-play of Dan Russell, analysis from Bill Wilms as well as Peter Loubardias serving as rink-side host and analyst. SHAW’s WHL Central and host Andy Neal will continue to provide exclusive features, news and highlights from around the WHL, including the Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Championship series.

The following is the schedule for the Edmonton Oil Kings – Moose Jaw Warriors best-of-seven Husky WHL Eastern Conference Championship Series:
Edmonton Oil Kings vs Moose Jaw Warriors

All Games LIVE on SHAW
#1 - Moose Jaw @ Edmonton; Friday, April 20 (7:00pm)
#2 - Moose Jaw @ Edmonton; Sunday, April 22 (5:00pm)
#3 - Edmonton @ Moose Jaw; Tuesday, April 24 (7:00pm)
#4 - Edmonton @ Moose Jaw; Wednesday, April 25 (7:00pm)
#5 - Moose Jaw @ Edmonton; Friday, April 27 (7:00pm)**
#6 - Edmonton @ Moose Jaw; Sunday, April 29 (6:00pm)**
#7 - Moose Jaw @ Edmonton; Tuesday, May 1 (7:00pm)**
** - if necessary

Apologizing In Advance To All Canucks-Penguins fans

However these two are just too good to pass up. One of them actually should have went in the long-winded post yesterday.

Q: What do the Pittsburgh Penguins and "Titanic" have in common
A: They both look great until they hit the ice.

Once again, my apologies to all Vancouver and Pittsburgh fans.

Edwards And Bombers Agree On Contract Extension

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are pleased to announce that import receiver Terrence Edwards (6-1, 179, DOB: April 20, 1979 in Tennille, Georgia) has signed a contract extension with the team. As per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Terrence has been one of our most consistent receivers since he came to Winnipeg and has great leadership qualities and work ethic that is looked up to by the rest of his teammates,” said Vice-President and General Manager, Joe Mack. “He will continue to be a key component of our offence and we look forward to having him continue to mentor our young group of receivers.”

Edwards, who turns 33 on Friday, led the Blue Bombers in receiving last season with 66 receptions for 1,124 yards and eight touchdowns. Since signing with Winnipeg in 2007, Edwards has recorded four 1,000 yard seasons and currently sits in sixth place on the Blue Bombers’ all-time receiving yardage list with 5,602 yards. His 41 receiving touchdowns also ranks him in seventh place on team’s all-time list.

“As a team, we came so close to achieving our goal last season of bringing the Grey Cup home to the great fans in Winnipeg and I’m looking forward to coming back to pick up where we left off,” said Edwards. “I’m very grateful to this organization and am proud to be a member of the Blue Bombers.”

The "Shanahan"igans Can Be Blamed On Brendan

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is bringing us tremendous hockey. It has been fast-paced, it has been two teams full of intensity and passion battling hard in each and every shift and we have seen some great games.Its like the Flames and Oilers in the 80's which was hockey the way it should be played. However, in a weekend where we were treated to hockey at its best, we were also treated to hockey at its worst. The debate on what happened this weekend---especially in Philadelphia--will dominate the headlines over the next couple of days. 

Before I weigh into everything, I have to first admit I was wrong. I said last week that Henrik Zetterberg made the mistake of not lying on the ice after being slammed head first into the glass by Shea Weber in Game 1 of the Nashville-Detroit series thus resulting in Weber getting a fine and a weak one at that. I was wrong because that incident has precipitated everything that you see happening. If Brendan Shanahan had acted properly and given the Predators captain a healthy suspension, the crap you are seeing would not be going on. He didn't, thus the players have determined that everyone is free game and its showing. 

Shanny had a chance to make a statement when he gave three games to Ranger Carl Hagelin for his elbow to the mush of Daniel Alfredsson, but he then turned around and gave a meagre one game suspension to Matt Carkner for his assault on Brian Boyle. I don't understand, you don't understand. the teams don't understand and the players don't  understand. What constitutes what? Does anyone know anymore? 

Colin Campbell sent a message last year when he sent Aaron Rome home for the season after his late hit on Nathan Horton. Shanahan could have continued on, but he didn't. If Carkner is getting just one game, what is Arron Asham getting for his crosscheck on Brayden Schenn? Why isn't Brent Burns being suspended for throwing a Duncan Keith like elbow at a St. Louis player in Game 2? Why isn't T-J Galiardi getting a hearing for his elbow to the head of Andy McDonald? It really makes me wonder if Shanahan is using this tool when it comes to issuing discipline if issuing it at all.

There were great arguments made all over the place this weekend. One was out of all the fights that we saw no one got hurt, but people were getting hurt because of the elbows and shoulders being thrown. Why is that? Its simple. Like I have been saying for years, the equipment these guys use need to be reduced. We need to go back to the days of old when it comes to the elbow and shoulder pads these guys are wearing. They are not Iron Man, they are human beings and the equipment they are using is dangerous. However, the NHL doesn't care. Gary Bettman just wants fans in the seats cheering and cheering is what happens when a big hit or a big fight occurs. They can tell you they want the head shot eliminated, but they don't. The players can tell you they don't want head shots, but the players don't care because they don't have respect for one another anymore. 

Who knows what will happen tomorrow or later in the playoffs, but at some time Shanahan needs to say enough is enough and make someone pay the price otherwise the Rangers statement of being "thoroughly perplexed" will be echoed by many. 

From that, lets get to the act that is Sidney Crosby. I'm starting to think Mike Milbury and Don Cherry were right when talking about him. What Crosby was on Sunday was a punk---a spoiled punk who wasn't getting his way. His stunt with the glove of Jakub Voracek was highly immature and something that wasn't called for. I remember Alex Rodriguez getting roasted over the coals after he made a Blue Jays 3rd baseman let a pop-up fall to the ground when he yelled "mine". That was the same type of immature act that Crosby performed yesterday. The man who then says the cheap stuff needs to be taken out of the game is right in the middle of scrums, yapping at players, fighting with players and being a pain in the ass. Cherry said Crosby needs to act more like Steve Stamkos and just score goals while staying away from that other stuff. He's right! Sid lost a lot of respect in the eyes of many yesterday. Some even going as far as saying that if he suffers another head shot and loses his career because of it that he is deserving of it because of his antics. That is going a little too far, but anything he gets right now is deserved because of his play. 

Other weekend thoughts.....

--Why doesn't NBC show the US national anthems before games, but CBC does. I find that to be odd. 
--Karen Newman (Detroit)  and Wayne Messmer (Chicago) sing the anthem the way it should be sung. They get out there, they do their thing and they get off. Some have told me that Lauren Hart has to be included in that category. She does, but she teams up with the legendary Kate Smith on the scoreboard so I can't count her. Hart does a wonderful job too. I don't know who did the anthems in Los Angeles last night, but both get a thumbs up for an entirely different reason. 
--Is there any doubt that I will watch the NBC telecast of the NHL when Mike Emrick is calling the game. The only way I'm not is if Chris Cuthbert is doing the game on TSN. Those that read this blog know what I think of Cuthbert.
--Speaking of Emrick, he had the line of the weekend. When signing off from Philly, Emrick said "So the Flyers have beaten the Penguins to take a 3-0 lead in the series, for my colour man Pierre McGuire and the man who does PA for the Flyers who spoke more than I did today, I'm Mike Emrick. Classic!
--Karma is a bitch isn't it. The US womens team at the World Championship took great delight in pounding Canada to open up the Worlds. Great delight indeed. How satisfying was it to see Canada come back and win the gold medal with an overtime win over that same US team. How does that feel ladies? Next time, shut up and play the game!
--The favourites to get into the Cup final were Pittsburgh and Vancouver. Both may not win a playoff game this year. Who saw that coming?
--With Marc Andre Fleury playing the way he is, one has to think Carey Price has the lock right now on being the starting goalie at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Yes, I realize that's a long ways away, but right now who would you have in there? Like I said at the World Juniors, Canada needs to start developing goalies the way we develop forwards and defencemen. If we don't, its going to bite us again like it did at the WJ's.
--Its interesting to see that on Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball that the amount of black players in the majors is just over eight percent. Compare that to 1975 when over 27 percent of major leaguers were black. Foreign-born players are now making up 28 percent of major league rosters. Is that to say baseball is dying amongst the afro-American population in the U-S. Its no secret that more and more are taking up football and basketball and soccer because of the publicity and appeal that those sports have while baseball seems to be drying up. Former Blue Jays pitcher Dave Stewart says its a problem and it is. Baseball is not an expensive sport to play so American kids of all colours should be playing the game. 
--I love Brett Lawrie and the game he plays, but trying to steal home Saturday with the bases loaded and Jose Bautista at the plate was just stupid. 
--I thought maybe the Jays had fixed their bullpen problems in the off-season. Early on, the answer is no. 
--Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to have a TV commercial featuring Charles Barkley in a black dress. That's downright disturbing. Then again. its nothing to what the sight will likely be at the Victoria Club when the wannabe cowboy Rex Roberts is forced to wear a dress in public when he gets beat by Robbie Gamble this Friday night when High Impact Wrestling returns. Rex can just bring a couple of numbers from his closet I'm guessing. 
---Why does anyone want to watch the boredom that is the NBA when the Stanley Cup playoffs are on?
--Driving in east end Regina on a Saturday afternoon is definitely challenging. The things some people do when behind the wheel in and around Superstore, London Drugs, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart is astounding. I'm guessing it is that way in north, south and northwest Regina too. 
--If you had to have one of them, would you take Brad Marchand or Alex Burrows. I would take Marchand in a heartbeat. 
--The Mike Richards-Jeff Carter story would make for a great subplot if the Kings and Flyers were to make it to the finals. 
--I don't think my pick of Detroit beating the Rangers in the final will hold up past Round 1. 
--How many more days until Rider training camp starts?
--Who are the Seahawks going to take with their first pick in the draft? Mock drafts have them taking several different players. 
--Congrats to Graham DeLaet for pocketing a cheque for just over 16 and a half thousand dollars at the RBC Heritage Classic. He needs more cheques and bigger ones. Does he have a Saskatchewan sponsor and if not, why? 
--Congrats to the Humboldt Broncos for winning the SJHL championship. Dean Brockman is a class act and its nice to see his team go into the Royal Bank Cup on a high. Hey, the Broncos might be the last Saskatchewan team in the RBC for a while, so I hope he can take the Broncos all the way to the title. 
--Did Dwight McMillan really give SJ President Bill Chow the one fingered salute during the trophy ceremony Friday night? I know the Wings were mad over what was a controversial suspension to the league's top player and yes, it was a stupid call in this bloggers opinion but c'mon Dwight, if that's true you are better than that. He's old school though and so is Ron Rumball so you gotta love it and chuckle away. Besides, Humboldt was the better team and I don't think Weyburn would have won Game 6 and 7 back in Humboldt. They might have, but I think in the end the right team did win the final and the right player was named the finals MVP--that being Weyburn goalie Mitch Kilgore. 
--The Boston Pizza ad with Terry Peters is an epic fail. Love BP and love their wings, but this just in--boneless wings are the same as all meat wings. You're not the first! 
--Lets end this blog posting with a little Swedish Chef to start the week----why not!

--Back to the vodka and dipping the cheetos in mayonnaise now. Have a good Monday.