Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Henry Burris, J.C Sherritt, Daryl Townsend and Andrew Harris were named the Gibson’s Finest CFL Players of the Week for Week Five of the 2012 Canadian Football League season.

The four players were chosen by a panel of judges that includes former Canadian Football League players Matt Dunigan and Duane Forde, now of TSN, and Pierre Vercheval of RDS.

Following his near-perfect outing in Week 4, Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris was named the Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 5.

Burris completed 29 of his 40 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Tiger-Cats to a furious comeback win over the Roughriders. The 37-year-old became the first quarterback to throw four touchdowns in consecutive games since Casey Printers accomplished the feat in 2005. Burris has thrown for four touchdowns in three of his last four games.

The 13-year veteran currently leads all quarterbacks in touchdown passes with 15.

For the second time this season, Edmonton linebacker J.C. Sherritt has earned top defensive honours. Sherritt registered a game-high 10 tackles in the Esks' 23-22 loss to the Blue Bombers.

The 2011 Most Outstanding Rookie nominee currently leads the league in tackles with 41.

The Special Teams Player of the Week is Montreal safety Daryl Townsend. Townsend collected a game-high four special teams tackles in the Alouettes' 23-20 home loss to the Argonauts. He currently shares the league-lead in the category with 11 on the year.

Winnipeg native Andrew Harris is the Canadian Player of the Week, following his strong outing in BC's win over the Stampeders on Saturday night.

The running back registered 55 yards on nine carries, as well as 37 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions.

Harris sits in fourth in the league in rushing yards with 351.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jays Trade Bats For Arms

Its been a busy night for Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos as he swings a pair of trades.

The first trade sees outfielder Travis Snider go to Pittsburgh for pitcher Brad Lincoln. The 27 year old Lincoln is 4-2 this season with one save and a 2.73 ERA in 28 games with five starts for the Pirates. The 6-0, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher has allowed 51 hits in 59.1 innings with 14 walks and 60 strikeouts. In parts of three seasons with the Pirates, the Lake Jackson, Texas native has a career record of 7-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 51 games, 22 starts. Lincoln was the Pirates first round selection in the 2006 first year player draft, fourth overall.

Snider entered tonight’s game batting .235 in nine games with three home runs and eight RBI. The 6-0, 230 lb. left handed hitter spent most of the season with Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) where he hit .335 in 61 games with 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 57 RBI.

Moments after the Jays were beaten by Seattle, Anthopoulos then sent outfielder Eric Thames to the Mariners for pitcher Steve Delabar.

Delabar, 29, appeared in 34 games during four stints with the Mariners going 2-1, 4.17 ERA with 46 strikeouts and nine home runs allowed. He ranked 8th amongst AL rookie relievers in appearances. With AAA Tacoma this season was 0-1, 3.75 ERA with 12 strikeouts in nine appearances.

Thames was hitting .335 with 31 runs, 15 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs and 32 RBI in 53 games with AAA Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. Over parts of the last two seasons in AAA has combined to hit .344 with 69 runs, 40 doubles, 7 triples, 13 home runs and 77 RBI in 106 games.

He made his Major League debut with Toronto in 2011, hitting .262 with 24 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs and 37 RBI in 95 games. In parts of two seasons in the Majors has combined to hit .257 with 31 doubles, 6 triples, 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 141 games.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Something To Mitch About

There is a lot of unhappiness in Riderville after Saturday's 4th quarter meltdown. The events that transpired at Mosaic Stadium has left many with a bad taste in their mouth as they head back to the saltmines. They've got a long time to wait too as the team doesn't see action again until August 10 and will be away from the glare of the spotlight for a few days. I gave you my thoughts on what happened against Hamilton, but here are some other muddled opinions as we start another week.

--For the first time in a long time, the Alouettes may not host a playoff game this year.

--The CFL has to be happy with the on-field product through the first five weeks. How many games have come right down to the wire before being decided? That’s the way you want it to be isn’t it.

--Some will say that if the Riders had played two average fourth quarters against Calgary and Hamilton that they would be 5-0. I can’t argue that, but one could also argue the Eskimos would be 5-0 with a real quarterback under center.

--If you were at the Riders game yesterday, you may have noticed that the “Commissioner Hopson” ad did not play. I tweeted from the game asking where the ad was only to be told by a member of the Rider staff that SGI had pulled the ad because of the Colorado movie theatre shooting. If you remember, Gainer was arresting the Joker in that spot. That reason never ever dawned on me. Classy move by both SGI and the football team.

--Many world leaders were in London for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Where was Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He decided to check out a CFL game in Montreal. I don’t know what to think about that.

Queen Elizabeth gets escorted to the opening ceremonies by James Bond. That was cool and well thought out. I never ever thought the Queen would be a Bond girl.

Is anyone watching the Olympics at 2 AM when it comes on?

I have a hard time giving the Summer games credibility when baseball and softball aren’t a part of the event.

The Just for Men ad with the baby is just creepy. It is. There is no argument here is there?

Mrs. Scruffy has started reading “50 Shades of Grey”. Should I be concerned? Speaking of Mrs. Scruffy, we went to one of Regina’s “fashionable” dining establishments with some friends on Friday night. Lets just say we won’t be going back there anytime soon. Brutal! There are only so many times that you can screw up something at one table.

What has happened to Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton? Arguably the best player in baseball, Hamilton is hitting just .145 in July.

Remember when the Jays were said to be in the bidding for free agent Prince Fielder. With the way Edwin Encarnacion exploded onto the scene, where would the Jays be with Fielder in the lineup.

There’s going to be some good baseball happening in Regina later this week. The 2012 Senior Little League championships will be happening at Optimist Park from August 2-8. The winner represents Canada at the Senior Little League World Series in Bangor, Maine.

Good luck to the Regina Red Sox as they start WMBL playoffs Tuesday night with a first round matchup against Weyburn. The Red Sox have certainly shown they have what it takes to make it two straight league titles. Here’s hopin!!!

Matt Devlin is getting a lot of love for CFL fans for his work this weekend on TSN. As good as what the Raptors play-by-play man has been, I can’t see the network replacing Rod Black anytime soon. Sorry guys!

I can't help but think of a conversation I had with Rod on the Sportscage Tuesday about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. He signed a 5 year extension with the NFL team and I jokingly said to RP that I guess we can end the rumours of Tomlin coming to Regina to serve as Corey Chamblin's d co-ordinator. As you know, Chamblin considers Tomlin to be a huge mentor and Tomlin phoned GM Brendan Taman to give him his reference. After saying that, Rod said "Maybe Corey will go to Pittsburgh". I never thought of that. Could that happen? NAHHHHHH!!! Then again..................

Charlie Sheen vs Daniel Bryan at WWE Summerslam on August 19. Maybe!

Graham DeLaet was the top Canadian at the Canadian Open. That is great. What isn’t great is that DeLaet finished over 10 strokes behind the winner. It would be nice to see a Canadian win our Open one year.

The Queen City Ex is this week. Should I go to Dollarama and buy a stuffed animal and then take it home and tell my daughter that I won it for her at the Ex. I'll save myself some money. Who's kidding who, the Ex is always a good time.

That's all I got. Be good to yourself!

The Morning After

The natives are restless. They demand answers. I can't really blame them. The Riders laid their second consecutive 4th quarter egg as they lost to Hamilton in a game they could have won. This team could be 5-0. They're not. They are 3-2 and I think they are a football team that can contend for first in the West, but work needs to be done. Here are some thoughts at what transpired yesterday

--Richie Hall is taking a lot of the heat for what happened. I understand that. The inability of the defence to stop those crossing patterns with Chris Williams and the fact that Dave Stala and Onrea Jones were constantly open in goal-line situations is very frustrating. However, injuries are taking its toll on the secondary and its starting to show. Nick Graham struggled, Paul Woldu was in this bloggers opinion giving way too much of a cushion to Williams and it didn't seem as if he was meshing well with Terrell Maze. While this was happening, three defensive backs were sitting on the sidelines injured---Eddie Russ, Woodny Turenne and Tristan Jackson. The Riders are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the secondary and against a receiving core that Hamilton has perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Henry Burris had his way with them. That being said, the d-line didn't make life miserable for Hank.

--Say what you will about Henry Burris, but he is making the Stampeders look bad for making that trade as he is playing some of the best football of his CFL career. Four more TD passes yesterday gives him 15 on the year. Ever since he got yanked for throwing an INT late in the first half in Vancouver, Burris has turned it around. So have the Ti-Cats for that matter

--I'll give credit on this one to Matt Dominguez, but I agree with him totally. Dominguez (who is outstanding in his role on CKRM and CTV and would be better on the TSN panel than Milt Stegall) said after the game that he thinks Kory Sheets needs to touch the ball more. The guy has an explosive capability to his game and Dominguez thinks the Riders need to do what the Eskimos do with Hugh Charles and give Sheets at least 15 touches a game whether it be running or receiving. Dominguez feels Sheets could be that number 3 weapon behind Dressler and Getzlaf. I don't disagree.

--Darian Durant is taking some heat for his performance. Yes, he once again had a costly fourth quarter turnover when he fumbled which I thought was the key play of the game as the energy got sucked out of the stadium, but when you put up 34 points, you should win the football game. Durant did enough to get his team the win, but the defence let the team down. I didn't like the last series of the game when Durant threw all three times unsuccessfully to Chris Getzlaf, but you would have to look at the film to see who else was open. He might not have had any choice. I also thought Darian had some opportunities to run yesterday and he didn't.

--When Taj Smith gets the ball into the endzone, should we refer to it as a "Taj-down". Sorry, that was rather Vanstonish of me! Apparently, we both Tweeted that at almost the exact same time yesterday. He sits a few people away from me in the pressbox so I guess its a case of great minds thinking alike right Rob?

--It had to be a tough night for Chris Milo. He said after the game to pin this one on him seeing the guys put him in a position to win the game. What had to make it tougher for Milo is the guy whose job he took was sitting on the other sidelines. 47 yard field goals are tough no matter if you are in the CFL, NFL, CIS or NCAA, but missing the 38 yarder earlier in the game was one he should have had. Milo has been a little inconsistent this year. That needs to improve.

--Warren Woods of Global and I are thinking the same thing on this. When a team is called for no yards in the endzone as was the case in the game yesterday, they should not get a point if the other team declines the penalty. In what sport does a team get a point when they are penalized. The CFL should change that rule saying there is no point and simply giving the offence the ball at the 20 yard line. Of course, they could go one step better and just eliminate the "rouge" altogether.

--After a 3-0 start, this team is certainly in need of going into pit row to get the oil changed and the tires rotated, but there is no need for an overhaul. Despite the two game losing streak, the Riders are still first in the West at 3-2 and its a great improvement over what we saw last year. The CFL has had many close games this year and there is nothing to suggest that won't change. I'm guessing we will be in for a few more nail-biters this year with games coming down to the final seconds and that is great for the league, but emotionally nerve-wracking for the fans. Get ready, this ride is a long ways from being over. Buckle up!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sounds From The Rider Room

The Riders dropped a 35-34 decision to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday afternoon. For the 2nd straight week, the green and white let a big 4th quarter lead get away from them. Here is what was being said upon game's end starting with Weston Dressler who gets interrupted by Ti-Cats lineman Pete Dyakowski.....

Its A Sellout

The Riders have announced today's game against Hamilton is a sell-out. You can watch it on TSN starting at 4 with Chris Cuthbert and Duane Forde. You can listen on 620 CKRM starting with Ballsy and the Touchdown Club at 130 followed by Rod and Carm with the play-by-play.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let The Games Begin!

Simon Whitfield carries the Canadian flag into the opening ceremonies at London 2012 as the Summer Olympics get underway.

Ready To Get Back In The Win Column

The Riders will make five lineup changes for their game tomorrow against Hamilton. Of the five, the most notable is that Terrence Jeffers-Harris and Taj Smith join the receiving core. Here are some comments from the stadium the day before....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Random Thoughts

The eyes of the world are on London. The Summer Olympics will begin with pomp and circumstance on Friday. As always, security is tight and I hope it is throughout the course of the games. The world will be watching and something gnaws at me that these games might be known for something other than the athletic prowess we will see. I hope I'm wrong.
I'm hearing a lot of different medal targets for Canada at these Olympics. I have heard as many as 24 and as few as 10. As you can see, the poll question puts it in the middle somewhere.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in the win column thanks to a couple of bad, bad plays by the Edmonton Eskimos at the end of each half. How can defensive back Ronnie Prude give such poor coverage to Chris Matthews at the end of the first half allowing Matthews to score a touchdown on a hail mary to keep Winnipeg in the game. If you are going to interfere, interfere so that the receiver has no chance at catching the football. That was pathetic! If I were Kavis Reed, I'd be setting an example and telling that young man to pack his bags. To me, that's inexcusable!
Perhaps though it was the Bombers night as everything went their way---the hail mary touchdown, the blocked punt that ended up in a first down for them and the egregious Steven Jyles fumble at the end when it looked like Edmonton would have a chip shot field goal for the win. What it all means is if the Riders win on Saturday, they will have the best record in the league at 4-1 and no one in this province will complain about that.

I hate harping on the crowd thing, but how is it the 0-4 Bombers can sell out their first home game while the Riders can't sell out games and they are a MUCH better football team than the Bombers. Word is Saturday's game against Hamilton is close to being a sellout. Lets hope so! We're not going to let Winnipeg have something over us are we? Well, I guess in reality they already have because they have one sellout and we don't.
The Bombers have a Simpson (Chad) and a Doe (Dustin). If only they had a Smithers or a Flanders!

A couple of news stories have really bothered me this week. One is the story of the young man who has been charged with the hit and run of a teenage girl and was "released" this week on conditions. Why? This kid was too gutless in the first place as he ran after the accident and now he is being released on conditions. Oh boy!!!! He still gets to basically live 90 percent of his life, but the girl he killed doesn't and her family, friends and relatives grieve. WTF??? The other story is the pictures CTV Regina showed of the Craven campgrounds after the Jamboree. What a mess!! Obviously the campers have no respect for the land they set foot on by leaving it in such a state. Perhaps organizers of the event should start charging more for those camping on site or have them pay some kind of deposit that they get back when their site is given the OK. That is simply embarassing.

OK, the soapbox is put away. Other random thoughts

--Word that the Hudsons Bay company is going to close all the Zellers stores that aren't being converted into Targets can't be good news for the Victoria Square Mall. If the Zellers closes its doors and there is nothing to replace it immediately, the mall might as well shut its doors because the Safeway and the Shoppers and perhaps the Dollar Store will be the only businesses seeing steady activity. Walk through Vic Square now and its empty. Its worse than the Southland without the Walmart. That mall may get a recharge with Canadian Tire, Marks and Sportchek moving in and it needs one because it too has been dying a slow death. With the Walmart, Superstore, Sobeys, the Co-op and Old Navy within shouting distance, it can't be good news for the mall.

--Alex Semin is getting 7 million dollars? If Semin is getting 7 million, what will Jordan Eberle haul in when his next contract gets signed? Ebs will have enough pocket change that he could give the Riders a couple of million to get some naming rights on the new stadium. Speaking of Ebs, you have to wonder what Edmonton will do in a few years if a team goes and signs a Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz or Eberle to a Shea Weber like offer sheet. Could Daryl Katz match it and would he?

--I don't know how much longer the Blue Jays can keep being a contender for the 2nd wildcard spot in the American League when Ricky Romero keeps pitching like Cesar Romero and now J-P Arencibia is out of the lineup with a broken hand. The 16-0 defeat at the hands of Oakland on Wednesday should have been a sign to be a seller, but it doesn't appear as if the team will stop kicking tires on players to see what they can do.
--Having had a good chance to watch the Athletics over the last week, they have a very good ballclub and one that if they get some pitching could make some noise in the playoffs.

--That is Blue Jays p x p man Buck Martinez doing the CN Tower Edge Walk. NO THANK YOU!!!! One can be certain that if I were in Buck's position, that I would have double Depends on. Are you kidding me!! I can't even walk on the glass floor in the observation deck in the Tower!

---Have you followed the adventures of Angus the Rider gnome on Premier Brad Wall's twitter account? Its hilarious. Its good to see that the Premier can keep his sense of humour while dealing with much bigger things on his plate. I wonder why Angus didn't make an appearance in the pressbox with Phil Andrews when "Thrill" interviewed the Premier at halftime of the last home game when they talked about the new stadium. I'm guessing its because Angus had gone up in the 200 level to buy some beers. He needs a photo op with Rod and Carm.

--Are you ready for the Queen City Ex?

--Why is it NFL games have humourous ads throughout and CFL games give us that idiot from RONA and those Nissan ads ad nauseum? Is there no creativity amongst Canadian ad agencies that do national spots? Some of these businesses need to give the Phoenix Group a call!!

--Good to see Jason Matity back at CTV. Speaking of CTV, are they going away for the next couple of weeks while the Olympics are on. I see their morning show and their noon news will be gone because of coverage from London. I'm assuming there will be a 6 and a late-night cast.

--With Rod Black in London at the Olympics, TSN will use Matt Devlin as its 2nd voice in the booth behind Chris Cuthbert. If you don't know who Devlin is, he does the Raptors games for the network and has called basketball for TNT and the Big Ten Network. I believe he has also done some Big Ten Football so he's not a novice to the game.

--I am not complaining one bit about the cool weather we have had this week. I'm not one for 30 degree heat and 40 degree humidity.

--Penn State deserves the penalties it receives, but taking away wins seems so hollow. You can't ever take away a win. Joe Paterno was celebrated when he became Division 1's all time winning football coach and you can't take that away from him even though history will show what type of a man or lack of one he really was. If the CFL took away the Alouettes 2009 Grey Cup win or the 2010 one for that matter years down the road for whatever reason, would it really matter? Nothing will erase the pain of those two days---especially the 09 one.

--While booing Andy Fantuz on the east side Saturday, make sure you send some praise Luca Congi's way while you're at it. Luca is one of the good guys in this game and while Chris Milo has been a good replacement, it was tough to see Congi's last appearance in Rider green end with him being helped off the field after that horrific knee injury.

--I have over 1500 followers on Twitter and I still don't really understand why? Then again, I have over 700 hits to this blog on a daily basis and I'm not sure I understand that either, but thanks for following and reading.

--You've noticed the blog has had a different look to it. That's thanks to Tim Purvis and his sidekick Chris Peters at Omni Studios. If you need to build a website or get a better looking one, give them a call or visit their website at Just don't ask Tim about APBA football or you may never get off the phone or get out of his establishment.

--Have a good Friday and a great weekend!

Teletoon To Show Cartoon Series Based in Regina

If this story is old, I apologize, but its the first I've heard of it. Teletoon is debuting a cartoon this fall called "Fugget About It". The cartoon series is about a New York mob family "The Falcones" (pictured above) who are moved in the witness protection program to Regina. The show apparently is in the same vein as Family Guy and American Dad so it can't be all bad. I'll be watching this. Will there be any Rider references?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting To Know Graham DeLaet

The Canadian Open starts tomorrow in Hamilton. Many Canadians will be in the field, but the Canadian with the best shot in the field at taking home the trophy has to be Weyburn's Graham DeLaet. He has had a great year on the Tour and it looks like he could squeeze into the start of the FedEx Cup championship tournaments at the end of the season. has done a great story with DeLaet and his wife on the eve of the Canadian Open. You can read it right here.

Jamie Boreham Joins The Coaching Ranks

Now that his playing career is over, aches and pains are aspects of football Jamie Boreham surely won't miss.

Instead of hitting and being hit, the 34-year-old Vancouver native plans to satiate his passion for the game through coaching.

Boreham, a veteran of eight Canadian Football League seasons, was appointed this week as special teams coach for the Okanagan Sun.

"Waking up sore every morning for four months every season, I'd had about enough of that," Boreham said with a laugh. "I've always loved football and knew I wanted stay involved after I quit playing. Coaching is the best way for me to do that."

Before and during his professional career as a kicker with Hamilton, Saskatchewan, Toronto and Winnipeg, Boreham developed his coaching chops for 18 years at the high school and elementary levels in Vancouver.

Combined with his experience as a player at the highest level, and his passion for the game, head coach Gavin Lake said Boreham's addition will be invaluable to the Sun.

"Jamie really brings a multitude of things to our team," said Lake. "How many coaches have played at every level and have that kind of credibility with 17- and 18-year-old players ? He has the technical expertise, the personality that lends itself well to coaching, and just a lot of experience within the game. He has all that, not to mention the ability to recruit for us in Vancouver. He has the complete package and our football team can't help but be better for having him here."

Lake and Boreham have crossed paths several times over the years, including in 2000 at UBC spring camp, and again in 2007 in the CFL when Boreham played with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Lake was an assistant with the B.C. Lions.

The two began corresponding this spring, and the more Boreham talked to Lake about the Sun, the more intrigued he became with the idea of joining the Okanagan staff.

Boreham looks forward to working with the Sun head coach to achieve a common goal.

"It just seemed like the right fit. Coach Lake has vast experience in the game and hopefully I can learn a lot from him, some of the inside stuff and how coaching works," said Boreham, who won the Grey Cup with Saskatchewan in 2007. "I'm here to win, to help the team win, and try and help the guys that I'm coaching be as good as they can be."

The coaching job isn't Boreham's first exposure to the Sun, as he played against the Kelowna-based junior club several times as a member of the Abbotsford Air Force in the late 1990s.

"I remember coming up here in junior, seeing all the fans and how loud they were," said Boreham, a CIS all-Canadian as a safety and punter with the Manitoba Bisons in 2001.

"It was always exciting and a fun place to play. It's nice to be back and coaching here."

Boreham has teaching experience and has done substitute work at Notre Dame Secondary in Vancouver.

While coaching for the Sun, he hopes to pursue teaching opportunities this fall in Kelowna.

(Courtesy Kelowna Capital News)

Riders Add Receiver

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have added import receiver Brooks Foster to the team’s practice roster.

Foster (6’1 – 201) was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 5th round (160th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He was placed on the Rams injured reserve list after sustaining an injury during the Rams pre-season. The University of North Carolina product split the next two seasons on the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins practice rosters.

Prior to going pro, Foster amassed 1,237 yards on 97 catches and scored 6 touchdowns over four seasons with the Tar Heels. The 26-year old also set an NFL Combine record for receivers with 27 reps on the bench press prior to the 2009 NFL Draft. While redshirting on the Tar Heels football team during his freshman year in 2004-05, Foster walked on to the men's basketball team at North Carolina and was a member of the 2005 national championship team.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Predators Keeping Shea Weber

In the most important hockey transaction in franchise history, Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and CEO Jeff Cogen announced today that the team has matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet between the Philadelphia Flyers and defenseman Shea Weber, insuring that the Predators' captain will remain with the franchise for the next 14 years.

The decision to enter into the largest contract in franchise history was made by all parts of the organization, including ownership, hockey operations and business operations.

As the organization analyzed the overall situation and worked toward a conclusion, the decision boiled down to three questions:

- Was Shea Weber the individual that this franchise wanted to lead our team, a team that would compete for the Stanley Cup every year, for the next 14 years?

- Would matching the offer sheet be in the best long-term interest of the team and organization?

- Would a decision not to match the offer sheet send a negative message to current Predators players and other NHL organizations, a message that the Predators would only go so far to protect its best players and be pushed around by teams with "deep pockets?"

The answer to each of the above questions is clearly "yes." The organization spent the last several days analyzing all aspects of the offer sheet, from economic implications to the impact on the team hockey operations puts on the ice.

Most importantly was the reaction to whatever decision the organization reached and the impact it would have on our fans, sponsors and marketing partners. We wanted to insure that our decision reflected not just the feelings of these groups but also conveys a strong message to them that our actions would speak for us and demonstrate our commitment to them. It was absolutely essential that they understand and believe that we are doing everything possible to ice a Stanley Cup competing team each and every season.

With this decision behind us, we continue to focus on our mission: Develop Bridgestone Arena into the number one sports and entertainment facility in North America with a Stanley Cup-winning Nashville Predators team as the centerpiece. With Shea Weber in the fold for the next 14 years, we are closer to this mission, and will continue to contend for the Stanley Cup on an annual basis.

(From Nashville Predators Hockey Club)

No Surprise Here

BC Lions defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell will appeal his two-game suspension for hyperextending the arm of Eskimos offensive lineman Simeon Rottier last Friday.

The league announced the appeal won't take place until the week of August 6, and that they've agreed to stay the suspension until the conclusion of the appeal, meaning Mitchell is eligible to play until the appeal decision is announced.

Mitchell will be able to suit up for the Lions' next two games - July 28 at Calgary and August 6 in Toronto.

The league originally announced the disciplinary action Monday evening after CFL commissioner Mark Cohon held a hearing via telephone with Mitchell and a representative of the CFL Players' Association.

In a team release, the Lions said they would respect the appeal process with the league.

"The BC Lions Football Club will respect the suspension appeal process between the CFL Players Association (CFLPA), Khalif Mitchell and the Canadian Football League and there will be no further comment from players, coaches or club personnel until the prescribed process described by the CFL has been carried out."

Ryan Murray Signs Deal With Columbus

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a standard three-year entry level contract, club Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Howson announced today. Murray was the Blue Jackets’ first pick, second overall, in this past June’s NHL Draft.

Murray, 18, scored nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points and had 31 penalty minutes in 46 games with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League during the 2011-12 season. He led club defensemen in goals, assists and points despite an injury shortened season. He represented Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships (bronze medal) and 2012 World Championships.

A native of White City, Saskatchewan, Murray recorded 6-40-46, 45 penalty minutes and was +18 in 70 games with Everett in 2010-11. He led the team in assists and plus/minus rating and was third in points, while leading club defensemen in goals (tied) and points. He notched 5-22-27 with 31 penalty minutes and was +33 in 52 games in 2009-10 for Everett and was named the team’s Rookie of the Year.

CFL POTW For Week 4

Henry Burris, Joe Burnett, Justin Palardy and Andy Fantuz were named the Gibson’s Finest CFL Players of the Week for Week 4 of the 2012 Canadian Football League Season.

The four players were chosen by a panel of judges that includes former Canadian Football League players Matt Dunigan and Duane Forde, now of TSN, and Pierre Vercheval of RDS.

Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris was named the Offensive Player of the Week following his stellar outing against the visiting Montreal Alouettes.

Burris threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns in Hamilton's 39-24 win over the Als on Saturday, but most impressively, completed 27 of his 30 passes, tying Jason Maas for the fifth best single-game completion percentage in CFL history. It was also the highest percentage in history with at least 30 attempts.

Through four games this season, Burris leads the league in passing touchdowns with 11, and also has a QB rating of 113.9, the top rating among all starting pivots.

The Defensive Player of the Week is Edmonton's first-year cornerback Joe Burnett.
In addition to registering three tackles in the Esks' 27-14 win over BC, Burnett intercepted Lions quarterback Travis Lulay twice, including a 108-yard return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Burnett currently leads the CFL in interceptions with three.

Week 4's top Special Teams player is Winnipeg's Justin Palardy.

Palardy turned in an impressive performance on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre in Toronto, connecting on all five of his field goal attempts, as well as one extra point. Palardy accounted for 16 of Winnipeg's 22 points.

The Truro, NS native leads all kickers with a 90.9 field goal percentage, missing just one of his 11 attempts so far this season.

Tiger-Cats receiver Andy Fantuz is the Canadian Player of the Week, following his big outing against the Alouettes. The Chatham, Ont. native registered a season-best 135 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions in Hamilton's second consecutive win.

The seven-year veteran leads all Ticat receivers with 298 yards.

Monday, July 23, 2012

CFL Suspends Mitchell

The Canadian Football League announced today that BC Lions defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell has been suspended for two games.

The discipline is in response to a play in which Mitchell performed an unnecessary, reckless act on Edmonton Eskimo offensive lineman Simeon Rottier during the second quarter of Friday night’s game in Vancouver.

CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon held a hearing late today with Mitchell and a representative of the Canadian Football League Players’ Association via telephone.

“This type of behaviour has no place in our game and will not be tolerated,” Cohon said. “Any play that unnecessarily puts one of our players at risk of serious injury will be met with discipline.”

Mitchell has recorded 4 defensive tackles in as many game so far this season and is coming off a career year in 2011 where he recorded 33 tackles and 6 quarterback sacks.


Memorial Cup In Bad Shape

A summer of celebrations by the Shawinigan Cataractes has left the Memorial Cup looking like a train wreck.

Pictures published Monday by l'Echo de Shawinigan show the top of the 93-year-old Cup bashed in and the two hockey player figurines on either side of the bowl missing. The newspaper said the wooden base was also cracked.

How the damage occurred was unclear. Each player on the championship team was allowed to have the Cup for 24 hours to celebrate in his home town.

The Cataractes won the Cup on home ice by defeating the London Knights in the junior hockey final in May.

The League commissioner Gilles Courteau issued a statement on Monday, condemning the Cup's apparent condition.

"The Memorial Cup was donated in 1919 to honour Canada's war fallen," said Courteau. "It is unfortunate and deplorable to see it in such a state. The damages that were caused will be billed to the team."

League spokesman Photi Sotiropoulos said the Cup will be returned to the Canadian Hockey League, which will have it repaired.

There was no estimate on the cost of repairs. Winning teams that want to have the trophy over the off-season must take out $50,000 in insurance against damages.

It is not the first time the Memorial Cup has been damaged. During the on-ice Cup presentation after the 2008 tournament, the top of the trophy broke off in the hands of Spokane Chiefs captain Chris Burton as he was passing it to a teammate.

There were dents and nicks when other clubs had the Cup as well.

"It concerns us, but it is not something that is unheard of," said Sotiropoulos.

The Cup is not due for another public appearance until the Cataractes regular-season home opener on Sept. 21 against Drummondville.

There is a long history of championship trophies being damaged. In 1962, the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped the Stanley Cup into a bonfire. One of the worst was in 2011, when Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid dropped Spain's Copa del Rey off the top of a team bus, which ran over the trophy.

(story courtesy

Back To Work

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were back on the practice field today. Its a long week of preparation for them as they don't play until Saturday until Henry Burris, Andy Fantuz AND Luca Congi return to Mosaic Stadium wearing another team's jersey. As you will hear, the team has seemingly put the Calgary game to bed and are moving ahead....

Practice ended with most of the players taking part in a 15 minute yoga session. Those viewing the practice were not invited to participate. That's likely a good thing.

Nash To Rangers/Yakupov Signs With Oilers

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Columbus Blue Jackets are working on a trade of Rick Nash to the New York Rangers.

Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch also reported the trade is happening.

Multiple players are involved in the trade, according to Dreger, and contracts are being reviewed before the trade call is made.

According to Dreger, the Rangers have traded Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon, Artem Anisimov and a first-round pick for Nash.

Nash, who has been on the trading block since February, has been rumored to be going to the Rangers for several months. The Rangers are one of the six teams that Nash reportedly told Columbus GM Scott Howson that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade.

Nash, 28, has 547 points in 674 NHL regular-season games. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 Draft and became the Columbus captain in 2008.

He holds the franchise records for goals, assists and games played.

One of the League's top power forwards, Nash has competed in two Olympic games, winning a gold medal in 2010. He has also competed in four World Championships, winning three medals, including a gold in 2007.

Nash has six years remaining on a contract he signed with the Jackets in 2010 worth an average annual value of $7.8 million.
Nail Yakupov, the first player chosen in last month's NHL Draft, has signed a three-year, entry level contract. No financial terms were disclosed.

"We're very happy to sign Nail to a three-year contract," Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini told the team's website Monday. "He's an extremely talented and passionate young man who we feel will be an integral part of our team for many years to come."

Yakupov became the first Russian-born player selected No. 1 at the NHL Draft since Alex Ovechkin went to the Washington Capitals in 2004 when Tambellini announced him as the team's top choice at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on June 22.

"Edmonton is a great city and crazy town for hockey … it's a hockey town and I play hockey and I just want to play my best hockey," Yakupov said after being selected.

The 2012 Draft marked the third straight year that the Oilers owned the No. 1 selection -- Tambellini chose left wing Taylor Hall in 2010 and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011. Yakupov, who played for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, entered the 2012 Draft as NHL Central Scouting's No. 1 overall North American skater.

Does Yakupov feel he's ready for the NHL as an 18-year-old?

"Why not?" Yakupov asked his questioner. "I think I'm ready for NHL. I want to try. I have whole summer to train and work with Edmonton. This is a great team, a young team, and they play good hockey. It'll be good playing with those players."

Yakupov played in 42 games for the Sting last year, producing 31 goals and 69 points He also had a plus-15 rating and 12 power-play goals. Despite being sidelined on four occasions due to a back injury, knee injury, suspension and upper body ailment, he proved capable of handling any adversity.

"I just want to just work and show how I can play hockey and help my team to win every game … that's what I want," Yakupov said.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Something To Mitch About

The first four weeks of the CFL season are done and the only thing we really know is that Winnipeg is a bad football team----at least on the road seeing they haven’t played at home yet.

Did anyone see the Eskimos going into B.C and beating the Lions? Did anyone see the Tiger-Cats spanking the Alouettes at Ivor Wynne? As we go into Week 5 of the season, parity is alive and well in the CFL as two teams are 3-1, five are 2-2 and then comes a Winnipeg team that say what you will has not had the opportunity to play on home turf yet where you would think they would be better. I don’t know about you, but if this continues any team can win any game and there is no clear-cut favourite. That should be good news for all concerned.

Just some thoughts on CFL play from the weekend

--Do a certain faction of B.C. Lions fans want Travis Lulay removed as starting quarterback after his performance against the Eskimos on Friday night? If Darian Durant had done that, there are some in this town that would have bought him a free ticket on the railcars that roll past Mosaic Stadium. The Durant hate really makes me laugh. Would anyone be saying anything if Weston Dressler hangs on to that pass late in the 4th or if Chris Getzlaf catches that pass in the endzone in overtime. I doubt it. Just like Lulay isn’t going anywhere in B.C. after a less than stellar outing, Durant isn’t going anywhere here. If you don’t like it, too bad.

--I don’t know what Lions defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell will get for his little arm-yanking stunt with Edmonton’s Simeon Rottier, but Mitchell should get the book thrown at him. That was completely disrespectful and completely classless. That was cheap and unacceptable and Mitchell should pay for it.

--How could that Edmonton team that looked SOOOOOOO bad here be 3-1?

--Could Eric Tillman be owed an apology by some Edmonton media members who wanted him to be removed from his position after that outing at Mosaic?

--Why isn’t Joe Mack facing any heat in Winnipeg? If Paul Lapolice takes the fall for this season in Bomberland, it will be a huge mistake.

--Chris Williams embarrassed himself Saturday night with his little showboating stunt. I’m guessing he will never, ever do that again.

--Henry Burris and Andy Fantuz seem to be on the same page after three weeks of Fantuz looking slightly less than ordinary. I have to wonder who will get the louder jeers next weekend when the Ti-Cats come to Mosaic. On the same vein, how much of a cheer will Luca Congi get? He should get a good one from the Rider faithful who know what type of player and what type of individual Luca is.

--Chris Cuthbert did three of the four games this weekend. Give that man some throat lozenges and a lot of Aeroplan miles! Give Jock Climie some kudos for a good job replacing Dave Randorf as studio host. For those wondering, Randorf is in London prepping for the Olympics.

The movie theatre shooting just outside of Denver is dominating the headlines and for good reason. I can’t imagine the horror those people inside that theatre must have felt as that maniac shot the place up. The only question I have is what people are doing taking small children to a movie that starts after midnight. I realize that sounds trivial, and what happened could have happened at anytime, but the loss of life before it began when the kids really had no reason to be there bothers me. What makes someone do what this guy did? What thoughts are going through his mind? He obviously knew what he was doing and he obviously had no regard for human life. While many died in that theatre, the lives of many others will never ever be the same and just like it was at Columbine or Virginia Tech or places where other mass shootings have occurred, we will really never ever know why.

Dana White wasn’t happy with UFC 149 and no, it wasn’t the best show the UFC has put on, but the main event wasn’t as bad as some thought. If you watched the show Saturday night, was it just me or was no one in the crowd wearing the /=S=/. I thought for sure the Rider Nation would be represented, but I saw nothing in the crowd shots. If you were there, was there some green in there? If you were there, was it as bad in person as it appeared to be on TV. The highlight of the card was the extremely quick knockout by Edmonton’s Ryan Jimmo, but his stupid little dance after wrecked it all. What was that?

Speaking of what was that, what the hell happened to Adam Scott? I don’t know why but as Ernie Els birdied 14, I tweeted asking the question if I was the only one thinking Els was going to win. It just seemed that Adam Scott was hanging on while Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker had already succumbed to the winds at Royal Lytham. Els was just very calm as he rattled off par after par until 18 when he grabbed birdie. When Scott lipped out his par putt on 16, it just seemed to be a fait accompli. That will go down as one of sports’ epic collapses, but it can’t be compared to Jean VandeVeldes meltdown in 1999.

I don’t know how the hell he did it, but congratulations to wannabe cowboy Rex Roberts for winning the Pile O Bones 20 man rumble at High Impact Wrestling on Tuesday. I certainly hope he showered after winning although that remains up for debate. If I can ask one thing of promoters: If Thrillin Dylan is going to re-enter the ring, please give us a ring announcer who has a more palatable voice than the screechfest we were “treated” to. The guy sounded like Eric Cartman on helium. He apparently went by the name of “Handsome Cliff”. The only “Handsome Cliff” I know is Pats vice president of operations Cliff Mapes and really, he isn’t that handsome but he beats this other guy.

The Jays get swept by the Yankees and then they turn around and sweep the Red Sox. Oakland and Detroit are at Rogers Centre this week and those are two teams in front of Toronto in the wildcard standings. They need to string together some W’s. They just seem to be too up and down to make a run, but the way this team has played this year just when you think they are done, they rise up again.

As a Cubs fan, I’m disappointed that there was no coverage of the late Ron Santo being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ronnie deserved to be there when he was still breathing, but for some reason it didn’t happen. Speaking of the Cubs, they were the hottest team in baseball since June 25 until Friday. They were then promptly hammered three straight times by the Cardinals.

What’s the over/under for Canadian medals at the Olympics? As I’ve said before, is it just me or is there no buzz for these games?

For a good piece as to what NHL players are thinking as impending labour doom comes closer, check out this great article from an anonymous player. Its a great read!

That is all. Have a good Monday!

UFC Boss Says UFC 149 Was A Disaster

From the beginning, this card was cursed. UFC 149 was supposed to have Jose Aldo and Mauricio Rua, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but they and many others never made it to showtime. The hex, it seems, carried right into the Scotiabank Saddledome, and sat right in the middle of the octagon for most of the event.

There were good things that came out of UFC 149. Surely, there were, but it was difficult to separate any positives from the mostly lackluster main card that will create the impressions on most.

How bad was it? Well, you can accuse UFC president Dana White of being a one-man promotional machine, but when something is bad, he doesn't bite his tongue, even if it's at the expense of his own company. It was no different on Saturday night in the hours after the show, when White acknowledged his own disappointment at what had transpired.

"I said this the other day and it's true: We make money," he said. "This company makes money, and I like breaking records. We broke the gate record tonight and I'm embarrassed by it. I was excited when I heard and now I’m embarrassed. The undercard delivered -- they were awesome -- and the main card did not."

UFC 149 drew an arena record $4.1 million in ticket purchases from 16,089, and most fans probably left with mixed feelings. The event had some early impressive performances including a stunning seven-second knockout by the debuting Ryan Jimmo and a spirited back-and-forth battle between Bryan Caraway and Mitch Gagnon. The main card started off well with Matt Riddle and Chris Clements engaging in a fairly entertaining bout that ended in the third round with a Riddle arm-triangle choke submission win.

But that was the end of the UFC's good fortune as the curse returned with a vengeance. Brian Ebersole seemed flat against James Head, then Cheick Kongo and Shawn Jordan spent most of their 15 minutes locked in a clinch against the fence.

Hector Lombard figured to liven up the proceedings in his UFC debut, but instead, he shelved his aggressive approach and fought a reserved style against Tim Boetsch, leading to an upset split-decision win for Boetsch. Urijah Faber and Renan Barao then went five rounds, but the bout was long on technical fighting and short on fireworks, and given what had come before it, it was booed often.

For his part, White seemed most angered by the Kongo-Jordan fight, calling its execution as well as the officiating of the match "disgusting."

"This isn’t the ultimate clinching championship," he said. "It’s the 'Fighting Championship.' And when you see two guys just clinching for three rounds, and then in the third round, they clinch for the entire five minutes, and this idiot [referee] is standing around looking at them. As a referee, your job is to enforce the rules and make sure that these guys fight. And if they're not fighting, you break them up and you make them fight. And we're talking about guys that are experienced. Experienced guys who have done enough fights by now. Yves Lavigne was horrendous tonight. If the officiating in this sport doesn't change, and I'm not just talking about this sport, I'm talking about combat sports in general, they're going to kill it."

White also expressed disappointment in Lombard saying, "I thought it was going to be a real war."

White said before the fight began, he was thankful Lombard and Boetsch were about to fight, thinking there was no chance the fight would be unentertaining. Instead, he got a Lombard the MMA fight world hadn't really seen before: cautious and conservative.

While he did say that any negativity around the Faber-Barao main event was misplaced or redirected from the rest of the card, he certainly wasn't leaving Calgary with good feelings about the show he had just produced. Even if they left with millions in revenue and a new arena record, it wasn't enough to put a smile on his face.

"I’m bummed out about it, I don't know what else to say," he said. "I'm pretty honest about it. I'm not out here saying that's the greatest show you've ever seen. It wasn't. When you buy tickets, we come into a market like this, we break the record and do the kind of gate we did because people believe in us. People believe in the UFC, and that when we come to town, we're going to bring you the best fights possible. And then our guys go out and they deliver. Like I said, this is a partnership between us and the fighters. We do our part and they always do theirs. Unfortunately, I was so excited to stick this one up everybody's a-- that said this card sucked, and we didn't."

(From MMAWeekly)

Friday, July 20, 2012


he 100th Grey Cup Game will air live in the U.S. this November on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), the Canadian Football League announced today.

“We’re proud to share one of the biggest events in the long and storied history of our league with our fans south of the border,” said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL.

“A U.S. telecast agreement with NBC Sports Network, will help us market our game in the U.S., recruit import players, and spread our game.”

The NBC Sports Network will also air the Eastern and Western semi-finals and finals as well as nine regular CFL games, starting with the Edmonton Eskimos-Toronto Argonauts game on Monday, August 27th.

NBC Sports Network, part of the NBC Sports Group, is dedicated to serving passionate sports fans across all platforms. Now in nearly 80 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the CFL in the United States.

CFL games are shown exclusively in Canada on TSN, The Sports Network. All CFL games are available in the subscribers to

Thursday, July 19, 2012


When the 2012 CFL season ends, the Saskatchewan Roughriders might look back at what happened on the MacMahon Stadium turf Thursday night as a very key moment. It was over! The Riders led the game 35-17 with nine and a half minutes to play and showed no signs of imploding. On Twitter and Facebook, people were saying it was over before it was and we all know in the CFL, that a game isn't over until its over. Calgary learned that lesson last week against Montreal in a negative fashion and they learned it in a positive fashion this week as they storm back to beat the Riders in overtime.

The blame can go around. The defence became non-existent, the play-calling was less than stellar, Weston Dressler inexplicably dropped a pass that likely would have resulted in the least a game winning field goal attempt by Chris Milo at the end of the game, Chris Getzlaf dropped a touchdown pass in overtime. Darian Durant threw a costly interception. Its a game that the Riders should have won and won going away, but they didn't and as a result, they now face questions about what happened for the first time.

Just some early thoughts

--I loved the way the Rider offence was playing for three and a half quarters. They looked crisp and they were moving the football. There was some originality on first down and Darian was getting everyone involved as Justin Harper and Efrem Hill were key targets and made big catches.

--Kory Sheets continues to show us what a great find he was. Brendan Taman should be saluted for recruiting Sheets here as he is perhaps better than what Kenton Keith was. Taman should also be saluted for trading for Chris Patrick. Early on, he has been their best lineman and he has made some huge blocks to open up holes for Sheets.

--Nick Graham had another tough night. I have to wonder what his future is.

--After going on Sportscage and saying I would rather have Jon Cornish than Andrew Harris because Cornish is a threat catching balls out of the backfield, he looked horrible by dropping at least three. Thanks Jon!

--Nik Lewis. I HATE THAT GUY!!! You gotta respect what he's done and what he's doing though. As Chris Cuthbert said, "He's seemingly getting better".

--I will always maintain that CFL overtimes start at midfield. Its too easy to score in OT.

--Is John Hufnagel losing control of his team. What an undisciplined bunch? Hufnagel should tell Dmitri Tsoumpas that he has a spot on the bench for the Stamps next game as he cost them not once, but twice with stupidity.

--If Eddie Russ suffered an injury that will keep him out long-term, do you place a call to Lance Frazier. Lance is still in Regina and says he has been working hard to stay in game shape in case the phone rings. It might be worth it.

--Richie Hall has taken many knives for letting teams off the hook in the past. I am guessing Richie will take a lot of the blame for this one getting away as well.

--After the B.C. game, Chamblin said he hates giving up gift points like singles off of missed field goals and conceeding safeties instead of punting from the endzone. The Riders gave Calgary a gift two points on the high snap over Chris Milo's head. While a lot happened between that play and the end, if Milo gets the kick away, the Riders might still win. I wholeheartedly agree with Chamblin's stance on giving away freebies.

--I don't mind Jock Climie as the host of the CFL on TSN as he takes over with Dave Randorf on his way to London for Olympic duty.

--The loss sucks, but for 52 and a half minutes, this football team continued to show us that 2011 was just an anomaly. Chamblin knows his team let one get away tonight and he told Carm Carteri after that he doesn't expect that to happen again this year. If it does, look out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weber Signs Offer Sheet From Flyers

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Nashville Predators have been investigating the possibility of trading Shea Weber. However, after they missed several deadlines, the Philadelphia Flyers got tired of waiting.

They want Weber, and apparently Weber wouldn’t mind wearing a Flyers uniform. Dreger is reporting that Philadelphia and the All-Star defenseman have agreed to a 14-year deal upwards of $100 million.

Before Flyers fans take to the streets in celebration, keep in mind that there’s one very big sticking point: the Nashville Predators will have a week to match this offer. If they choose to let him go, the Philadelphia Flyers will be forced to compensate Nashville with draft picks.

Wheat Kings Hire New Head Coach

The Brandon Wheat Kings will have a familiar face behind the bench when they take to the ice for the 2012-13 Western Hockey League season this September.

Wheat Kings' General Manager Kelly MCrimmon has announced that longtime assistant Dwayne Gylywoychuk has been promoted and will handle the head coaching duties this year.

"This is an opportunity that Dwayne has earned," says McCrimmon. "He has been an integral part of a successful program for many years. During that time he has gained a great deal of experience, and he now takes the next step to be a Head Coach."

A 39-year old Winnipeg native, Gylywoychuk takes over from Cory Clouston, who was relieved of his duties following the 2011-12 campaign.

"I'm very excited to start my head coaching career in Brandon, with an organization that is deep in tradition and rich in history."

Gylywoychuk, who joined the club's coaching staff in 2003 and has worked under Dean Clark, Mike Kelly, Kelly McCrimmon and Clouston during his tenure, signed a multi-year contract with the club.

"I would like to thank Kelly and the Wheat Kings' organization for this opportunity," he went on to say. "I look forward to working with Kelly and Darren."

Joining Gylywoychuk on the bench will be former teammate Darren Ritchie, who will be returning for his sixth season with the team.

A 5-year WHL player, Gylywoychuk is the proud owner of one of the hockey club's most respected records - Most Games Played in a Wheat Kings' career. Gylywoychuk suited up for a franchise record 323 games.

Before returning to Brandon in 2001, Gylywoychuk played eight seasons of professional hockey.

Bad News For Bagg

Rob Bagg just can't stay on the football field. After missing all of last year due to a knee injury, Bagg has been placed on the nine game injury list by the football club as they announced their roster for Thursday's game in Calgary today. Bagg suffered an injury in the win over B.C., but came back to play the rest of the game.While head coach Chamblin did not appear concerned about the injury when asked about it yesterday, it is believed Bagg has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee meaning his season is over.

Chris Best, Jock Sanders and Graeme Bell all come on to the 46 with Bagg, Johan Asiata and Louis Rankin coming off. Expect Best to be a game-time scratch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dressler Responds To Snoop Tribute

As you've likely seen by now, Snoop Dogg was photographed wearing a Weston Dressler jersey in Saskatoon last nite during his concert. Dressler was asked about the tribute today and Thursday's game in Calgary. Comments from Keith Shologan and Coach Chamblin can also be heard.


Anthony Calvillo, Jerald Brown, Chris Williams and Shea Emry were named the Gibson's Finest CFL Players of the Week for Week 3, the Canadian Football League announced today.

The four players were chosen by a panel of judges including: former Canadian Football League players Matt Dunigan and Duane Forde, now of TSN, and Pierre Vercheval of RDS.

Quarterback Anthony Calvillo was named the Offensive Player of the Week, following his standout performance in Montreal's second win of the season.

The 39-year-old completed 23 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns - two of which arrived with less than two minutes remaining in the game - to give the Alouettes a 33-32 come-from-behind victory over the visiting Calgary Stampeders.

His outing launched him to the top of the league passing yards list, as he leads all quarterbacks with 942 yards.

Calvillo's teammate, defensive back Jerald Brown, was named the Defensive Player of the Week, thanks in large part to his timely interception on Kevin Glenn on Thursday night.

With the Alouettes trailing by six with less than two minutes remaining, Brown picked off Glenn, returning it to Calgary's one-yard line. Three plays later, Calvillo found rookie Patrick Lavoie for the winning score.

Despite missing a fraction of the game due to an injury, Brown also managed to register a season-high five tackles.

The Special Teams Player of the Week is Tiger-Cats returner Chris Williams. Williams had a stellar night in the first installment of the Battle of Ontario, returning four punts for 113 yards, including an 89-yard return that he took back for a touchdown.

Williams capped off his big night with a 119-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown in the second quarter, leading the Ticats to a 36-27 win over the Toronto Argonauts.

Finally, the Canadian Player of the Week is Richmond, BC native Shea Emry.

The linebacker was a force in Week 3, registering a game-high six tackles, en-route to helping Alouettes secure top spot in the East Division.

Riders Sign Import Receiver

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have signed import receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris.Financial details of the agreement were not released.

Jeffers-Harris (6’2 – 216) is a CFL veteran who joins the green and white after spending time in Hamilton and Winnipeg. The 24-year old Georgia native was signed to the Tiger-Cats practice roster in November of 2011 after spending two seasons in Winnipeg with the Blue Bombers where he appeared in 19 games.

The Vanderbilt graduate played in 11 games during his 2010 rookie season for the Bombers and tallied 48 receptions for 547 yards and four touchdowns. Last year, Jeffers-Harris totaled 29 catches for 347 yards and two touchdowns after appearing in eight games.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Snoop Dog Is A Rider Fan

Taken before his concert in Saskatoon tonight.

Marc Trestman Staying In Montreal

Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall announced Monday during a press conference in Montreal that head coach Marc Trestman, has agreed to a four-year contract extension, which will be added to the current agreement.

"I am privileged to make this announcement that Marc will continue to lead our team on the field,” said Wetenhall. “Now in his fifth season with the team, he has delivered a league-best 50-25 regular season record along with three Grey Cup appearances and two Grey Cup championships during his tenure. As our head coach, he has brought a new threshold of excellence to the Alouettes and this announcement means a great deal to our players for whom he has been a mentor and a teacher.”

“I am pleased for the Alouettes family to be able to make this announcement for someone I respect so much as a coach and as a friend," added the Alouettes owner.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Something To Mitch About

Its the day after Craven. How's your noggin? Did you get her phone number? Did you have a good time? Did you get any visits from local law enforcement?

I didn't go out there this year, but if I did, it would just be a day-trip. My idea of camping is an air conditioned room with cable tv, a hot shower and a pool. I am not for one for living in the great outdoors.....never have been, never will be. That being said, I got away from the heat and uncomfortable conditions at Casa de Blair which someday I hope will be fitted with air conditioning. It was just one night, but it was highly relaxing.

Enough about that though. Three weeks into the CFL season and three CFL teams are having quarterback problems. Those three teams are the Stamps, Bombers and Alouettes. Calgary will be without Drew Tate for the season after he decides to undergo surgery to fix his shoulder meaning its Kevin Glenn's team the rest of the way. Is that good news or bad news? I think it all depends on who you talk to. The Bombers are without Buck Pierce again and will go with Alex Brink at quarterback this week even though I think their best guy might be Joe Elliott while in Montreal, the toughness of Anthony Calvillo was on display again this week, but how much more can he take at his age. He's already hurting and we know the Alouettes are a different team without A-C in the lineup.

If you want to go a little further into the equation, Edmonton isn't stable at QB thanks to the up and down play of Steven Jyles and Henry Burris is still making some bad decisions in Hamilton. Someone who isn't making bad decisions is Darian Durant. He is sacrificing the long ball for the short completion and its working. In the three games this year, how many passes over 20 yards has Durant thrown? I'm guessing its less than 10. I had a disagreement with a friend over Darian's effectiveness as he wants touchdowns. I want the Rider offence to move the ball and get points, but I don't want drives disrupted by interceptions. As I said earlier, Darian isn't throwing touchdowns right now, but he isn't throwing any picks either and the team is winning.

While having that conversation, it was also brought up whether or not the Riders should be considered a defence-first team or offence-first team. Make no doubt about it, this team has weapons like Dressler, Getzlaf and Sheets, but they are getting the job done on defence right now. That will likely change as the season goes along, but it does seem right now as if the defence is just a little more advanced.

Listening back to Corey Chamblin's post-game address Saturday night, one thing stood out and that was his hatred for giving away points. Chamblin said he does not want to give teams gift points because they could come back to bite the team in the end. I love that philosophy. He is giving his defence a challenge if they have to punt from deep in their own end and he is giving the offence a challenge by making them get a first down or two to improve field position, but I applaud that aggressive stance.

Other thoughts from the weekend....

--Will Jon Cornish have a belt that works for Thursday's game against the Riders or was he trying to audition for a Canadian version of "Magic Mike"?

--Do Winnipeggers have pools as to how long Buck Pierce will last in a game. It really is getting ridiculous.

--Wasn't Mike O'Shea at one time labelled a special teams guru. How special was O'Shea on Saturday? He got beat by Jim Daley!!!! That's how special he was.

--With the amount of missed field goals getting returned for touchdowns, will coaches start thinking about punting from the 45 instead of trying a field goal? Those 10 point swings have been huge.

--It is the first offer and you knew it would be heavily slanted towards the owners, but I have no optimism that there will be NHL hockey till December or January.

--What was that kid thinking when he picked up Troy Matteson's ball on the 18th hole of the John Deere Classic yesterday? Did he think no one would see him? Did he think he was getting a ball from Tiger Woods? Brain cramp city!

--Jose Bautista wants the Jays to pick up some pitching for the stretch run. Take a number Jose, there are many other teams that want pitching down the stretch too.

--I wonder what CFL quarterbacks think when they see Drew Brees sign a 5 year, 100 million dollar deal. Actually, I know the answer to that as Darian Durant just sighed and nodded his head while trying to grasp the reality of that situation.

--Its a good job Joe Paterno died recently because the man and his legendary status is being toppled and for good reason seeing he knew what was going on and sacrificed the innocence of young children for his reputation and football team. People now want to rip the Penn State football program to pieces because of the Jerry Sandusky story. Hockey didn't rip the Swift Current Broncos to pieces after Graham James. They just found ways to make sure that predators like James wouldn't have a chance to do what he did. That is what needs to be done south of the border. The football players at Penn State shouldn't have to suffer because of the sick actions of one man. How could Paterno or anyone for that matter condone what was being done. I guess that question could be asked to people in Moose Jaw and Swift Current too.

--Eight weeks until the NFL season starts. How many NFL fantasy leagues will I be involved with this year?

--Enjoy your Monday

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thoughts and Reflections

(picture courtesy JC Fotos)

At the start of the season, if you had said the Saskatchewan Roughriders would be the last team to have a "0" in their loss column, many would have said your watermelon was on too tight. Low and behold, the rest of the CFL is looking up at the Riders on what was a historic day for the city, the province, the CFL and the organization.

Full marks to the Riders for their 23-20 win over B.C. on Saturday afternoon. There is no doubt they deserved this and hey maybe Mike Benavides was right when he said this week that the Riders were the best team.

Here are just some thoughts and reflections from the afternoon at Mosaic

--I don't want to throw cold water on the game's biggest play, but the refs missed a blatant clip at the goal-line on the Tristan Jackson TD. That being said, Glen Johnson's crew did not have a good day at all.

--By the way, if you didn't see it or you haven't heard it, take it away Mr, Pedersen!!!

That just happened INDEED!!!

--Someone who did have a good day was Ben Heenan. The Rider rookie has been forced into a starting role because of the Chris Best injury and he has come through with flying colours. He might have had his best game today against a very good Lions d-line.

--Darian Durant continues to mature with each and every game. Is it just me or have you noticed that Durant is happier not going for the deep ball and satisfied with just throwing the passes that are needed to move the sticks. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in two games, but he hasn't thrown an interception either and that is fine with me.

--Line of the day comes courtesy CJME's Joel Gasson. When watching the Wisers ad on the Maxtron where they show a great number of Rider coaches, Joel says do you notice that ad doesn't show Greg Marshall. He's right! I think many Rider fans don't mind

--When you drive down Elphinstone past Evraz Place, do you look at that vacant lot and picture the stadium? I do and I'm guessing many of you will be as well.

--I'm tired of trying to find superlatives for Weston Dressler.

--Its not the same without looking at the Lions sideline and seeing Wally Buono halfway on the field.

--How far in the rear-view mirror is last year?

--Did Premier Wall just about mix up his two favourite football teams. It sounded like he almost said "Raider Nation" instead of "Rider Nation" when addressing the crowd. That's OK!

Sounds From the Rider Room

A New Stadium Is Coming

The Government of Saskatchewan, City of Regina and the Saskatchewan Roughriders today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a new stadium that will be constructed on Evraz Place lands in Regina, Saskatchewan. It is anticipated the new stadium will be ready for use in early 2017.
"The current stadium has served us well for the past 100 years," Premier Brad Wall said. "But it's time the best fans in Canada and the best team in Canada have the best, new stadium in Canada. The new stadium will not only provide a leading edge facility for the Riders, it will also support amateur sports in the province and attract the attention of major concert and event promoters."
The new stadium will be a state-of-the-art facility holding about 33,000 people with a spectator roof and open-air playing surface. The facility will be expandable so that it can host larger events such as a Grey Cup. It will be a significant upgrade from the current stadium and has potential to be one of the best facilities of its kind in Canada. The design will be roof ready to allow for the potential addition of a roof in the future.
The $278 million required for the stadium will be funded through an $80 million grant provided by the Government of Saskatchewan paid over four years, $73 million through City of Regina funding, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders leading a process to accumulate $25 million. In addition, the province will provide $100 million in financing to the City of Regina. The loan will be fully repayable over a 30 year term, with interest. The $100 million loan would be primarily repaid through a $12 facility fee on games and major events held in the new stadium, ensuring a significant portion of the stadium funding comes from users of the facility, primarily the amazing Rider Nation fans.
"Today's funding announcement means the vision to revitalize the heart of Regina is becoming a reality," Mayor Fiacco said. "The agreement between the province, the city and the Riders means this community, and the province, will have a 21st century multi-purpose facility that meets the needs of the community for generations to come."
According to the MOU, the city would support both the capital costs and ongoing maintenance costs of the stadium through a combination of debt, property taxes and allocation of other new or existing revenues as required. Maintenance costs on the facility are expected to be $230 million over 30 years. The MOU still requires council approval.

The Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club will lead a process to accumulate $25 million through naming rights, sponsorships, along with funding from the Club which will be contributed to the city prior to the completion of the stadium.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and it has been possible thanks to the tremendous support of Rider Nation," stated Riders Chair Roger Brandvold. "Thanks to our partners at the province and the city, Saskatchewan will soon have a world-class facility for the greatest fans in the country."
The City of Regina is in the process of planning and design concept work for the new stadium. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013, with completion in time for the 2017 Rider season. Council will consider approval of the MOU at a public Executive Committee meeting on July 18, and at the July 23 meeting of City Council.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stadium News Coming

Regardless of the final score tomorrow, Rider fans may leave Mosaic Stadium in a good mood.

Details are being kept very quiet, but Mayor Pat Fiacco, Premier Brad Wall and Riders president/CEO Jim Hopson will be making what is called a "major" announcement just prior to kickoff at 1 o'clock when the Riders take on the Lions.

Last Thoughts From Mosaic

Its a battle of 2-0 teams tomorrow at Mosaic Stadium as the Riders take on the Lions. Here are some comments from the home team going in.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

This And That

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will take on the BC Lions Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium in a 1 o'clock start. The winner of the game will be the lone unbeaten team in the CFL. It will be a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to watch a game. However, the game for some odd reason still isn't sold out. I know its bothering Rod Pedersen who asked listeners of the Sportscage why they aren't showing up to support the football team. The reason really isn't crystal clear, but what is becoming crystal clear is that the moniker of "Worlds Greatest Fans" may no longer apply. Don't get me wrong, there are many that bleed green that are there no matter what. However, its becoming more and more evident that some just no longer are supporting the football team for whatever reason. Perhaps the team has to implement blackouts again. This would not be fair for those who drive a long ways to Regina for the game, but it would seem as if the thrill of attending football games at Mosaic is wearing off for some. Are those people waiting for the new stadium? Are those people not convinced this team is better than many thought they were going to be? I don't know what it is, but the Rider Nation certainly isn't as strong this year as it has been in the past. The joint should be packed Saturday. I'm hoping it still will be.

It is said attendance is up slightly in the CFL from this time last year. That is all and good, but lets take BC out of the equation and then ask what the numbers look like. I'm guessing the crowds at BC Place were a little bigger than the ones at Empire Field. If you take BC out of the equation, what do the numbers look like?

Kansas City Royals fans embarassed themselves at the All-Star festivities this week. Royals fans let Yankees 2nd baseman Robinson Cano hear it for not selecting hometowner Billy Butler to compete in the Home Run Derby. They booed loudly when Cano was at the plate for the competition and that continued right through the game. The AL team was made up of Cano (captain), Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo who went 1-2-3 in the competition. Where exactly was Butler supposed to be? I'm surprised KC fans didn't boo the MVP selection even though Butler went 0-2 with a strikeout. The game and the festivities the day before the game are all meant to be fun and meant to be a celebration of the game. The fans of Kansas City didn't see it that way. Commissioner Bud Selig now says it may be mandatory for All-Star game hosts to have a player in the home run derby. Why? What if the team that hosts the game doesn't have a hitter but a pitcher as their representative? Is the ballpark of choice not sold out for the home run contest and the all-star game. You don't need to sell tickets, but you do want to see the best. If the best isn't one of your guys, too bad. Suck it up!

Congratulations to Jordan Eberle for getting his number retired by the Regina Pats. Its a great move for a great individual. The only question I have is why not hold the press conference to announce it before the dinner instead of at the gala so that it could have maximized the TV and radio sports as that certainly would have been the lead at 6 and whenever. It would have carried right through the day into the golf tournament. Needless to say, the Brandt Centre will be packed October 9 when Portland visits to see the number 7 join the likes of other great Pats like Staniowski, Wickenheiser and Hicke.

Chad Novak has decided to vacate his mayoral campaign saying politics are dirty. I think life will go on. Speaking of mayors, Glenn Hagel is stepping down in Moose Jaw. One can only assume that the job should go to Rob Carnie or Kelly Remple.

An interesting story in the paper about two gentlemen who tried to defraud SGI by running their cars into each other. The sad thing was the incident was witnessed by a smart SGI investigator and both basically abandoned their claims. The question I have is why weren't these idiots charged with fraud?

How busy will the St. Johns Ambulance people be at Craven? How bad will the sunburns be? What type of stench will there be in the campgrounds from those who haven't showered for a few days after whooping it up in the heat? How many will be taking Monday and Tuesday off to recover? How many will have the weekend of their lives!

You couldn't ask for a better night to be at Currie Field than what it was on Thursday as the Regina Red Sox were beaten by Okotoks. I think those two teams will play at Currie again in a few weeks, but the stakes will be a little bigger if you know what I mean. Still with the Red Sox, I think Adam Geiger (their play-by-play guy) needs to belt out the 7th inning stretch a la Harry Caray one night.

Corey Chamblin is a smart man. The Rider coach came out with cold water for the media who were waiting to interview players after practice on Tuesday. Chamblin is already trying to sway voters for coach of the year honors. Thanks Coach! Next week, can you put on an apron and barbecue some burgers up for us? If not you, communications assistant Reid Lambden or Ryan Pollock will do.

Is Edwin Encarnacion worth 27 million over the next three seasons? 21 OK, but 27?

Kobe Bryant says the 2012 US Olympic team could beat the Dream Team. Kobe, you are an idiot! Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley are laughing at you and for good reason.

I know many of you that read this on a day to day basis don't watch Monday Night RAW, but for those that do, Monday's show may have been one of the worst I have ever seen. It was god-awful.

Wrestling fans, do you know that WWE hall of famer Tito Santana will be in Regina next Tuesday night when High Impact Wrestling returns. That should be a good night. I am hearing rumours that Rod's favourite blog commenter Obama may be in attendance. Obama vs Santana---I like it!!!

Th-th-th-th-that's all Folks!!!

Ducks Get Creative

I wish more teams would do something like this. This is how the Anaheim Ducks let everyone know that Teemu Selanne was coming back for another season. LOVE IT!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Problems In Hamilton?

A prominent CFL agent says strife is brewing inside the Hamilton Ticats’ locker-room.

In an interview with the Team 990 radio station in Montreal on Wednesday morning, Darren Gill said the relationship between Ticats head coach George Cortez and defensive co-ordinator Casey Creehan is already strained and that veteran players are not enjoying life under Cortez.

“I’m not going to tell you that there’s major problems in that locker-room but they are certainly starting,” said Gill, who represents several Ticats. “George Cortez is not known as a players’ coach and that’s been known from day one. He’s not brought the veterans on his side and it’s made it very difficult for him to try to get that team on the right page.”

In addition to the discord among players, Gill says Cortez and Creehan have clashed. The Ticats are last in several defensive categories.

“There’s been some pretty well-known confrontations in that team’s locker-room between George Cortez and defensive co-ordinator Casey Creehan,” Gill said. “They’re not on the same page.”

Cortez, however, denies there’s an issue with his rookie defensive co-ordinator.

“I was pretty much flabbergasted when somebody told me that Casey and I supposedly had a rift. I said, ‘Really, about what?’ ” Cortez said. “That’s so far out in left field.”

Cortez also said his relationship with veteran players is fine.

“If players were feeling alienated, they would come to talk to me,” Cortez said. “From time to time, everybody is unhappy about something and it’s inevitable that they’ll come talk to me about it.”

Regardless of the reality of the situation, there is little question a win would help. With an 0-2 start and facing a suddenly dangerous Toronto Argonauts team this Saturday, the Ticats could be headed down a dangerous road, Gill says.

“I’m not telling you this team is in trouble, but there’s certainly some early signs that they are in trouble,” he said.

Cortez, however, said he wasn’t going to lose sleep over comments made from a player agent who has yet to attend a Ticats practice this season.

“I have no idea where it comes from,” Cortez said. “I am going to call Darren, though.”

(From Hamilton Spectator)