Monday, June 30, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

What a day!!  I have been going to football games at Mosaic Stadium for years, but I don't think I have ever walked into the park on as bad a day as what Sunday was. Roads were flooded, it was pouring and it was just a day where you really wanted to just stay inside and do nothing. Unfortunately, some couldn't do that as they were bailing out basements while our friends in the southeast part of the province along with Yorkton and Melville could do nothing but look at the sky and ask why as they got it wayyyyyy worse than what it was in Regina.  There's going to be a lot of cleaning up to do and that made what happened at Mosaic far less important.

Here are my thoughts on what I saw though

 --I did see a football game. I have to admit I kept waiting for a call from Rod Pedersen or to hear from Michael Ball on the pre-game show that the game might be delayed or cancelled altogether. I know the CFL will play through wind, snow and rain, but when the stadium is flooding, I don't know. I do now.

 --With all apologies to the Ti-Cats and their fans, the Riders curbstomped them from the first whistle to the final gun. I compared Hamilton to Stampede Wrestling jobber Goldie Rogers at the half because while they had a couple of flurries in them , they were no match for the Riders on this day. It was embarrassing for the defending Eastern champs.

 --Corey Chamblin has a lot of swagger to him, but he isn't cocky. I asked him ( as you will hear on the tape below) if his team sent a message to the CFL and he says not really. With all apologies to the coach, I don't believe that for one second. Here is a team who lost many players and had many people around the country including here saying there is no way they can duplicate the success of last year. Comments like that likely tick off the guys who are still here and that showed as the defense was lights out with 10 sacks--3 from Ricky Foley, while the offence just moved the ball down the field thanks to an offensive line that made life easy for Anthony Allen. If that o-line stays healthy, look out!

--Were the Riders that good or was Hamilton that bad? Zach Collaros looked nothing like the QB he was in Toronto in his Hamilton debut. Craig Butler had a horrible game--especially in the first quarter when he took three penalties with two of those being 15 yarders and Hamilton in total just didn't look in sync. As for the Riders, they looked in mid-season form.

--Sam Hurl looked fine in the middle to me. He had a sack, should have had another one and seemed to be quite comfy serving as the middle linebacker. He was pretty happy at the end of the game as was the rest of the defence. Why wouldn't they be?

--Darian Durant seems to be a lot more confident under center. I guess having a championship pedigree will do that to a guy. He might not admit it, but he seems to have a different demeanour to him this season. That desire to win another championship is just as strong as it was last year, but having a championship under his belt seems to have given him a little added something. He has been great when in command of the offence so far.

Without further adieu, here are some sounds from the Riders dressing room starting with a very happy John Chick....

Back to the rain for one second, someone needs to explain to me the mentality of those who gets their car stuck at the Albert Street underpass. It happens every time there is a serious storm. What is going through the mind of the driver when he sees the water on the road. I think there is ample time to put on the brake or turn around or do something, but nope!  What makes these people do this? Its baffling if you ask me.

The Rider game was the only CFL game I saw this weekend. I saw the first half of the Edmonton-BC game but that was it. I maintain the Eskimos will surprise people this season. 

Goodbye Sam Gagner! I will always wonder if you would have been a bigger offensive threat had the Oilers kept you in junior for one more season.  I like that trade although I'm not crazy with Tampa sending him back to a Western Conference foe. I think Gagner can be a 60 point man if not more with the Coyotes especially after they bought out Mike Ribeiro.

The Netherlands-Mexico game was just pure theatre at its best. That soccer game had everything and is one of the reasons I love the World Cup. The drama that played itself out on the pitch was tremendous.

There is a picture I never thought would get taken. Its Sports Illustrated's Peter King. The author of the highly successful Monday Morning Quarterback that is read by over 8 million people and a member of the Sunday Night NFL package on NBC.  I knew he was going to be coming to the 620 CKRM booth and I had told Phil Andrews before the game he had to let me know when he arrived. At half time, I said to Phil that the only thing left was for a photo op.  In the 3rd quarter, I got a text that read "He's here" and I was off like a shot to the booth. You never ever know what you're going to encounter when you meet these people, but he was more than accommodating and very friendly. His bit with Michael Ball on the pre-game show and the Brett Favre-lucky coin story he told was just fabulous. Mr. King has a genuine fondness for the CFL and he likes the style of game. He finds the rouge to be bizarre and he is all for coaches challenging pass interference. He adds Americans should really give the CFL a chance because A) you find out where some players you watched in college ended up like Montreal quarterback Troy Smith and B) the game is a lot faster and better than you think it is. He also referred to Rider fans as "nutty", but in a very positive way. What a great endorsement! I told Mr. King that while I'm sure he found out what Rider Nation was all about (which he did), that he should come back when there are 30-thousand screaming fans and its plus 25. He said he'd love to and that had been the prevailing message. I somehow think he might take us up on that offer.

You can find King's offering on his weekend in Calgary and Regina and the trip between the two right here.....

To accommodate for a Pride Parade in Chicago that would go near Wrigley Field, the Cubs played a doubleheader against Washington on Saturday so that there would be no traffic problems. It was the first Sunday the Cubs have had off in the baseball season since 1932!!!

That's all I got. Wherever you are, may you stay dry! Thanks for checkin in!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yet Another Pro-Dressler Column From KC

Its starting to look like a foregone conclusion Rider fans. Number 7 in green will be turning into Number 13 in Red. Here's the latest from Kansas City...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

WHL Has Nine NHL First Rounders


Newark, NJ – Nine players from the Western Hockey League heard their named called in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, on June 27, including four players selected among the Top 10.

Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice was the first WHL player selected in the 2014 NHL Draft, chosen by the Buffalo Sabres with the second overall pick.  Reinhart, a product of Vancouver, BC, becomes the highest drafted player in Kootenay Ice franchise history, and just the third Ice player to be chosen in the first round of the NHL draft.

A 6’1”, 183-lb centre, Reinhart finished tied for fourth in the WHL in scoring with 105 points, including 36 goals, and was named the WHL Player of the Year and Sportsman of the Year.  Reinhart joins his two older brothers, Griffin of the Edmonton Oil Kings (4th overall, New York Islanders, 2012) and Max, a former member of the Kootenay Ice (64th overall, Calgary Flames, 2010) in being drafted by an NHL Club.
Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders became the highest drafted German-born player in the history of the NHL Draft when the Edmonton Oilers selected him with the third overall pick.  Draisaitl put up 105 points during the 2013-14 WHL regular season.

Jake Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, chosen by the Vancouver Canucks.  Virtanen, an Abbotsford, BC, product, led all NHL Draft-eligible players in the WHL with 45 goals during the 2013-14 season.

Red Deer Rebels’ defenceman Haydn Fleury round out the four WHL players selected among the Top 10, being chosen seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes.  Fleury netted eight goals and 46 points this season for the Rebels, and was named the Top Defenceman at the 2014 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
Rounding out the first round of WHL selections, Swift Current Broncos’ defenceman Julius Honka was selected 14th overall by the Dallas Stars, Calgary Hitmen defenceman Travis Sanheim was selected 17th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, Red Deer Rebels’ Captain, Conner Bleakley was chosen 23rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche, Saskatoon Blades forward Nikita Scherbak was drafted 26th overall by the Montreal Canadiens, and Brandon Wheat Kings’ forward John Quennville was selected 30th overall by the New Jersey Devils.
2014 NHL Draft, WHL Players

1st Round
#2. Buffalo Sabres – Sam Reinhart; Vancouver, BC; Kootenay Ice
#3. Edmonton Oilers – Leon Draisaitl; Cologne, GER; Prince Albert Raiders
#6. Vancouver Canucks – Jake Virtanen; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary Hitmen
#7. Carolina Hurricanes – Haydn Fleury; Carlyle, SK; Red Deer Rebels
#14. Dallas Stars – Julius Honka; Jyvaskyla, FIN; Swift Current Broncos
#17. Philadelphia Flyers – Travis Sanheim; Elkhorn, MB; Calgary Hitmen
#23. Colorado Avalanche – Conner Bleakley; High River, AB; Red Deer Rebels
#26. Montreal Canadiens – Nikita Scherbak; Moscow, Russia ;Saskatoon Blades
#30. New Jersey Devils – John Quenneville; Edmonton, AB ; Brandon Wheat Kings

Past WHL – NHL Draft Results
A total of 33 WHL players were selected in the 2013 NHL Draft, including in the 1st round.

A total of 32 WHL players were selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, including six in the 1st round.
A total of 33 WHL players were selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, including five in the 1st round.
A total of 43 WHL players were selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, including seven in the 1st round.
A total of 31 WHL players were selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, including five in the 1st round.
A total of 37 WHL players were selected in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, including nine in the 1st round.
A total of 37 WHL players were selected in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, including nine in the 1st round.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Blades Hire Brockman

The Saskatoon Blades are extremely pleased to announce that they have hired Dean Brockman as their new assistant coach.
Brockman joins the Blades from the Humboldt Broncos, where he was a 4-time SJHL Coach Of The Year, most recently in 2013.
"Dean is a winner, plain and simple," said Saskatoon Blades general manager and head coach Bob Woods. "He brings experience, leadership and a winning mentality to this organization. He's proven himself at the SJHL level and with Hockey Canada and we're very excited to welcome him to the Saskatoon Blades."
Brockman has spent the last 10 seasons as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos. During those 10 seasons he was named SJHL Coach Of The Year in 2013, 2009, 2008 and 2007. Prior to that, Brockman was the assistant coach of the club from 1997 until 2003, while also serving as general manager.
"This is obviously a great opportunity for me and one that I have been seeking for a while," said Brockman. "The Saskatoon Blades are a team that I watched growing up, going way back to the days of Jackie McLeod. I'm certainly looking forward to doing everything that I can to help this team win games."
Team success has been a regular theme when looking at Brockman's history. The product of St. Benedict, Saskatchewan, guided the Broncos to four Anavet Cup Championship titles in five appearances at the event, which matches up the SJHL and MJHL Champions.
Brockman also has a history of success with Hockey Canada. He coached Canada West to a Silver medal at the World Jr. A Championship in 2012, taking home a Gold medal at that same event as an assistant coach one year earlier in 2011.
The Blades would like to welcome Dean and his family to the organization.

All CFL Games To Be Shown On ESPN Chain Of Networks

ESPN has acquired exclusive rights in the United States to Canadian Football League (CFL) games through a multi-year agreement, beginning with the 2014 season. ESPN will present at least 86 games in 2014 with 17 or more contests to be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, including the 102nd Grey Cup. An additional 69 games will be carried on ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3.

The TV schedule kicks off Saturday, June 28, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2 when the Calgary Stampeders host the Montreal Alouettes, whose star wide receiver is Duron Carter, son of ESPN NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Canada’s Sports Leader TSN will work with ESPN on game productions and their team of commentators will call the games.

ESPN’s relationship with the CFL spans more than three decades. In 1980, ESPN televised its first live football telecast ever – the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts vs. Montreal Alouettes – and continued televising CFL games from 1980-84, 1986-89, 1994-97 and in 2013. Additionally, ESPN3 has carried CFL games since 2008, including 54 games in 2013.

“Since the early days of ESPN, CFL games have been a valued part of our programming lineup,” said Burke Magnus, Senior Vice President, Programming Acquisitions. “I’m proud to see our relationship continue as we strive to serve football fans 365 days a year.”

“We are thrilled for our fans in the United States that the ESPN networks will be the exclusive home of our league there,” said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL. “This is a powerful showcase for our talented athletes, our exciting brand of football, and the CFL itself, a league with a proud history but, more importantly, a bright future.”

CFL games presented on ESPN networks will also be available to audiences in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim. Further, games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS will be available on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

This And That

I don't think there is any doubt I love this city when it comes to sports. We have so much to be proud of and one of things we can be very proud of is Jon Ryan. 
The Regina born Seahawks punter has been in town this week for events surrounding the Jon Ryan Charity Golf Classic and he has been letting everybody share in his success by showing off his Super Bowl ring to a community that he and his family have no problem giving back to. It would seem as if the community has no problems in letting Jon and his family know how proud they are of them. The 2nd ever JRCGC raised over 100-thousand dollars for the Bob Ryan Foundation. That is so spectacular on so many levels.  Congrats to all who put in hard work over a long time to see a week like this and see it end the way it did.
As you can see above, I, like many others in Regina, had a great chance to see the Super Bowl ring up close and personal. For me, this was a little special seeing I have been a fan of the Seahawks since Day 1 and I will admit when Jon took the ring off his finger and gave it to me I was afraid. I didn't want that thing to slip from my fingers or slip off of it and fall or anything. I took it, put it on, got a picture and gave it back to him a-s-a-p. It was rather surreal to slip that rock on though. Its something I guess you could say I was waiting 38 years to do and it may be the only chance I get.  You put that ring on one finger and a Grey Cup Riders ring on the other, and you feel a little fortunate to have the daily double occur the way it did for me this year.
I came home from the Wascana and turned on the TV to see the opening game of the CFL season. I had to do a doubletake when I saw the score. WTF??? Did anyone see that coming?  Drew Willy looked like the 2nd coming of Dieter Brock and the crazy defence led by Gary Etcheverry must have confused the h-e-double hockeysticks out of Scott Milanovich and Ricky Ray. Its just one game, but what a confidence builder for Mike O'Shea's group.
I don't mind rain and I would rather have it than snow, but ENOUGH!! As I write this, the Weather Network is saying 15-20 mm of rain will fall on Regina Sunday afternoon and evening as the Riders open up 2014 against Hamilton. This will mean three straight Rider home games on a rainy day.  ENOUGH!! I just hope it doesn't deter the Rider Nation from bringing their "A" game. I am very excited at reading what CNNSI and NBC Sports' Peter King will say about the Riders and the Mosaic Stadium experience in his Monday Morning Quarterback Column. A column read by over 8 million each people each week. King's Canada Week feature on the CFL is something that will be huge for the CFL when it comes to their American audience. I'm hoping to get the chance to shake hands with the sportswriting icon as he will exclusively appear on 620 CKRM's pre game show and again during the game.
It is predictions time in the CFL as a new season starts and I am no different. As I have said in a couple of different places over the past few days, I highly expect the Saskatchewan Roughriders to be in Grey Cup 102. They have the best quarterback in the league, they have the best offensive line and I think they have the best secondary. I also think they are getting Kory Sheets back as well. No team in the CFL was decimated as much as what the Riders were in the off-season, but Calgary, BC and Edmonton didn't really improve themselves dramatically either.  In the West, I think its the Riders, Calgary, BC, Edmonton and Winnipeg and I wouldn't be surprised to see Edmonton finish 3rd. In the East, despite the opening night loss, I see Toronto as the best team in the East with Hamilton, Montreal and Ottawa. The Ti-Cats will be right there with the Argos, the Alouettes will have to hold off the 4th team place in the West for the crossover with the expansion REDBLACKS winning just 5-6 in year one.
What did you think of the half hour feature on the Riders and the Grey Cup on TSN? I thought it was brilliant. We saw a lot of it on Grey Cup Sunday, but you add the Grey Cup footage to it and it was television gold. I loved Ricky Foley's line 31-6 at the half what can you say about that.  If I had any negative comment about the show, it would be I would have liked it to have been an hour.
Who or what is Bruno Capoclo? Wasn't he Dr. Tongue's sidekick on SCTV's 3D House of Pancakes? To say the Raptors first round draft pick did not thrill me would be accurate. I was hoping the team could trade up to get Nik Stauskas from Michigan or Syracuse's Tyler Ennis would fall to number 20, but I wasn't expecting a Brazilian to be taken. I would have rather had Neymar!!
Hats off to the NBA for this extremely first-class move!!! Its a night that young man won't ever forget
The World Cup continues and now we get into the nitty-gritty of the affair. I am still laughing over the Luis Suarez biting of an Italian. Again, WTF??? What the hell was Suarez thinking when he did that? Did he take the same pre-game medication Zinedine Zidane did against the Italians in the final a few years ago when he headbutted someone. What is it with the Italians provoking these acts?  At least FIFA is giving Suarez a harsh suspension for what he does compared to the NHL. As Adam Proteau of the Hockey News tweeted, if Suarez was in the NHL, he would have been fined 17 dollars and 25 cents and a stern letter would have been sent home to his mother.
I'm looking forward to the NHL draft. Will Florida keep their pick? What big names get traded if any? Will Edmonton take a defenceman or a forward and is there any truth to the rumour they wanted recently signed Marian Gaborik and that they want to trade down. Trading down a few picks wouldn't kill the Oilers as long as they got some talent back. I think they need the defenceman, but Aaron Ekblad won't be there. A trade with someone to get some talent and a pick in the top 10 would work for me as well. I also think the team if they take the pick should take Sam Reinhart at number 3 if Ekblad is gone, but some have told me Leon Draisatl will be a better selection.
I was surprised as anyone to hear what happened with the Pats this week. Malcolm Cameron took this team to an Eastern Division title, but its deemed a change is needed especially after his assistant coaches leave, It leaves a lot of questions to be asked, but in the end, the new ownership has made its first move. When does the second one happen and who does it involve? How long until a new head coach is chosen and who will it be? I hope former Pats coach Rich Preston is at least on the list as I think he can, as he was before, a tremendous junior coach when he has the talent around him.
Those starting to pile some dirt onto the Jays have had to pull back just a little as the team has gotten its act together after going through a rough stretch the past two weeks.
Summer Holidays has started for munchkins all over the land and parents across the nation are reaching for or buying Advil knowing they will need it soon.
That''s all I got. Have a great weekend everyone! Stay dry!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

CFL Top 50

If you missed it last night, here are the top 50 players in the CFL as compiled by a panel and shown on TSN.

1. Ricky Ray (QB) Tor
2. Jon Cornish (RB) Cal
3. Darian Durant (QB) Sask
4. Chip Cox (LB) Mtl
5. Fred Stamps (WR) Edmonton
6. SJ Green (WR) Montreal
7. Charleston Hughes (DL) Calgary
8. Brendan Labatte (OL) Sask
9. Chad Owens (WR) Toronto
10. Henry Burris (QB) Ottawa
11. Adam Bighill (LB) BC
12. Travis Lulay (QB) BC
13. Andrew Harris (RB) BC
14. Jovan Olafioye (OL) BC
15. Patrick Watkins (DB) Edmonton
16. Tyron Brackenridge (DB) Sask
17. Solomon Eliminian (LB) BC
18. Mike Reilly (QB) Edmonton
19. CJ Gable (RB) Hamilton
20. Stanley Bryant (OL) Calgary
21. Andre Durie (RB) Toronto
22. Chris Getzlaf (WR) Sask
23. Josh Bourke (OL) Montreal
24. Marquay McDaniel (WR) Calgary
25. Cord Parks (DB) BC
26. Kyries Hebert (LB) Montreal
27. JC Sherritt (LB) Edmonton
28. Dwight Anderson (DB) Sask
29. Kevin Glenn (QB) BC
30. Khalif Mitchell (DL) BC
31. Almondo Sewell (DL) Edmonton
32. Andy Fantuz (WR) Hamilton
33. Nick Moore (WR) Winnipeg
34. Xavier Fulton (OL) Saskatchewan
35. Duron Carter (WR) Montreal
36. Marcus Howard (DL) Edmonton
37. Jerald Brown (LB) Montreal
38. Bryant Turner (DL) Winnipeg
39. Geoff Tisdale (DB) Montreal
40. Rene Paredes (K) Calgary
41.Shea Emry (LB)Tor
42-Jeff Van Zeyl (OL) Tor
43-Dante Marsh (DB) BC
44-John Bowman (DL) Mtl
45-Juwan Simpson (LB) Calggary
46-Jeff Keeping (OL) Tor
47-Brett Jones (OL) Calgary
48-Stefan Logan (RB) BC
49-Rennie Curran (LB) Edmonton
50-John Chick (DL) Sask

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TSN Ready For 2014 CFL Season

As the home of football in Canada, TSN once again delivers every game from the CFL season with its comprehensive CFL ON TSN broadcast campaign. TSN's live coverage includes all 81 regular season games, all four divisional playoff matchups and the 102nd GREY CUP in Vancouver.
New this season, TSN subscribers can live stream all CFL games using TSN GO. Through TSN GO, TSN subscribers can also watch every CFL game on demand. To date, Rogers Cable and Bell TV have signed on to make TSN GO available to their customers and more TV service providers are expected to join. To learn more, please visit
TSN also complements its broadcast campaign with a slate of digital content surrounding the league, highlighted by TSN Fantasy Football: CFL Edition presented by Moores and the enhanced TSN Gametracker: CFL Edition presented by GMC.
TSN kicks off the 2014 CFL season this Thursday (June 26) at 8:30 p.m. ET with the opening game featuring the Toronto Argonauts visiting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Investors Group Field.
Highlights of the 2014 CFL ON TSN broadcast schedule include:
- The 102nd Grey Cup championship in Vancouver on Sunday, November 30
- The Saskatchewan Roughriders begin their defence of their 101st Grey Cup title in a championship game rematch against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, on Sunday, June 29
- The CFL's longstanding Labour Day Classic rivalry is renewed when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats host the Toronto Argonauts on Monday, September 1 from the brand new Tim Hortons Field
- The Montreal Alouettes host the Canadian Football Hall of Fame game on Sunday, September 21 against the Calgary Stampeders. Former Alouettes stars Ben Cahoon and Uzooma Okeke will be enshrined in the Hall alongside iconic CFL player and coach Wally Buono
RDS and RDS2 have French-language coverage of all 18 Montreal Alouettes games, 15 games featuring the expansion Ottawa Redblacks, an additional 20 CFL games from around the league, plus complete CFL playoffs including the 102nd GREY CUP.
Broadcast Team
TSN's CFL coverage is anchored by the network's Gemini Award-winning broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert and game analyst Glen Suitor. Also in the booth are veteran play-by-play announcers Rod Black and Gord Miller alongside game analysts Duane Forde and Matt Dunigan.
As announced, the popular CFL ON TSN panel is back with new host Rod Smith - one of the most-trusted voices in sports broadcasting - who joins fan-favourite analysts Matt Dunigan, Chris Schultz, Jock Climie, Milt Stegall, and Paul LaPolice.
Once again, Brian Williams brings fans in-depth features and interviews with key newsmakers during CFL ON TSN broadcasts, while TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor returns to break down the hot button issues impacting the league across TSN platforms.
Kate McKenna joins the team this season to contribute special reports and features on buzz-worthy items from around the league, as well as host CFL ON TSN Insider segments with Dave Naylor.
CFL Season Preview Specials
Leading up to the opening kickoff on Thursday, CFL ON TSN primes fans for the 2014 season with a series of special season preview broadcasts airing tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 25):
This 30-minute TSN Original feature looks back at the storybook season that saw the Roughriders capture the CFL title on their home turf.
- 8 p.m. ET - CFL TOP 50 PLAYERS
Milt Stegall and Matt Dunigan count down the CFL's most electrifying talents, identifying the players to watch during the 2014 season.
CFL ON TSN's hour-long season preview special breaks down the biggest storylines heading into the 2014 CFL season and to tee up the season opener the following evening, Thursday, June 26.

Bombshell At the Brandt---Pats Release Malcolm Cameron

The Regina Pats Hockey Club announced today that Head Coach Malcolm Cameron, Assistant Coaches Bill McGuigan and Josh Dixon will not be returning for the upcoming season. The search for a new coaching staff will begin immediately.

Malcolm Cameron has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. Cameron joined the Pats in 2011 as an assistant coach and spent last season as head coach. Prior to joining the Pats he spent the previous seven seasons in the ECHL coaching in, Long Beach, Texas, Florida and Elmira.
Josh Dixon informed the team of his resignation June 17th, 2014. Dixon joined the Pats in 2011 and has been an assistant coach with the hockey club for the past three seasons.  Prior to joining the Blue and White, Dixon was the Head Coach for the Okanagan Hockey Academy varsity team.  He also spent time as an assistant coach in the ACAC.

Bill McGuigan informed the team of his resignation June 5th, 2014. McGuigan joined the Pats last season as an assistant coach.  Prior to his time in Regina, McGuigan spent time as head coach of the Summerside Western Capitals, Miramichi Timberwolves and Charlottetown Abbies.

The organization would like to sincerely thank all three coaches, Malcolm, Bill and Josh for their service to the hockey club and wish them the very best as they move forward in their careers.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Klimchuk Gets Invite To National Junior Team Summer Camp

Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Monday a roster of 41 players that have been invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek summer development camp, set for August 3rd–8th in Brossard, Montreal and Sherbrooke, Que.

Among the 16 WHL players selected is Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk.  The Pats 5th Overall pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, Klimchuk has tallied 30 or more goals the past two seasons including a 36 goal campaign in
2012-13.  Following that season, the Calgary, AB product was selected in the first round (28th Overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames.

In the 2013-14 season, Klimchuk battled through injuries to register 74 points (30G, 44A) in just 57 games resulting in the highest points per game average on the Pats (1.30 points per game).  In 201 regular season games, Klimchuk holds 187 points (84G, 103A) for his WHL career.

The Pats sniper is no stranger to international play having participated in numerous tournaments including winning Gold with Canada at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2013 IIHF World U18 Championship.

Canada’s roster, comprised of four goaltenders, 12 defencemen and 25 forwards, was selected by Ryan Jankowski, head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence for Hockey Canada, along with Hockey Canada vice-president of hockey operations/national teams Scott Salmond and the Program of Excellence management group including Sean Burke and Bruce Hamilton.

Jankowski will continue to monitor these players and other potential candidates during the first few months of the 2014-15 season and at the CHL Subway Super Series to determine who will be invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp in December. In total, 22 players will be selected to represent Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2014 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Montreal, Que. and Toronto, Ont.

Rod Smith To Replace Dave Randorf As CFL on TSN Host

TSN announces that two-time Canadian Screen Award winner Rod Smith as the new host of the CFL ON TSN panel. Smith, one the country's most-trusted broadcasters, will be joined by fan-favourite analysts Matt Dunigan, Chris Schultz, Jock Climie, Milt Stegall, and Paul LaPolice.
"Rod is a football guy through-and-through. He brings both a wealth of CFL knowledge and a compelling new presence to the panel," said Mark Milliere, Senior Vice-President of Production, TSN. "Rod is the ideal host of this all-star CFL ON TSN cast."
"I've loved the CFL since I was a kid. Watching the CFL growing up is why I started playing football and got into this business," said Smith. "Back when I hosted the panel in '97, we had a blast on set. Jumping back in as host almost 20 years later, the production is at an entirely different level. The panel is so polished and professional, and I'm really humbled to be a part of what the guys have created."
"Rod is like a seasoned all-pro quarterback that stands in front of the huddle and commands respect," said Matt Dunigan. "He had instantaneous chemistry with the panel and will be an exceptional host. It's a great day for CFL fans."
A former offensive lineman for the Queen's University Golden Gaels, Smith anchored TSN's studio coverage of CFL in 1997 and has also served as a play-by-play commentator for CFL ON TSN.
Smith, who joined TSN in 1987, will resume hosting the 6pm et edition of SportsCentre after the CFL season wraps up.

Something To "Mitch" About

The cuts have been made and its time to get the season going. I still honestly believe this is a Riders team which can get back to the Grey Cup and win it. Yes, this team was rocked in the off-season with some huge losses, but they still have a solid core. Make no doubt about it, this team is not as stacked as last year, but they are still a very good football game.

Let me talk about the cuts first before I talk about Friday's game and some thoughts from it

--It couldn't have been easy deciding between Adam Weber and Seth Doege. I thought Weber might get the nod, but Doege did and I have to wonder if the reason why is mobility. That helicopter ride he took in the Ottawa game may have been the play that is keeping him around

--The biggest surprise out of the cuts to me was Mortty Ivy. With Chad Kilgore out for six weeks, I thought Ivy would be the man in the middle. NOPE! I will be surprised if Ivy isn't on the practice roster when it is announced on Tuesday.

--Others I think could be on the practice roster will be Kris Bastien, Alex Anthony, Devin Tyler, Matt Vonk and Richard Sumlin.

--There had to have been some agonizingly tough decisions. There were a lot of good players on that team and there were some good battles. When you have to juggle the ratio, I am sure some guys were released that the club didn't want to let go. There will be some guys cut who will end up playing for other teams. Hello Winnipeg!

Lets go back to the game and some thoughts...

--Keith Toston had the starting tailback job wrapped up before he had that fumble. The guy can rumble and when he picks his lane, he roars through it. With the o-line this team has, Toston could rip off some big runs. He won't be the slasher Kory Sheets was and I don't think he can be a guy who has the possibility of turning a 4 yard run into a touchdown run, but he will rip off some big ones and he will leave defenders in his wake. I don't think you can arm tackle that guy.

--The first half play by the number ones on defense was outstanding. This team will be tough to score points on. Is it safe to say if the Riders can get 21 that they will win most nights? Is that a fair statement to make to the defense.

--I'm not convinced that Mike Reilly should be the starting QB in Edmonton. Matt Nichols is a very good QB who has had his injury problems. The Eskimos can be secure in knowing they have a good 1-2 combo, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Nichols starting.

--Chaz Schilens made some nice catches inside including one tough one in the first quarter where Darian Durant threaded it in amongst three Edmonton defenders. The former Raider is not scared to veer inside.

--Am I the only one thinking Taj Smith could have a monster year? Darian and Taj are on the same page and I see him having a year that eclipses what he did last year.

--Am I the only one when Rob Bagg catches a pass thinks to myself "Get up, get up, get up". After everything he has gone through, I would hate to see his knees let him down again.

--Tino Sunseri struggled, but hopefully the only time Tino Sunseri is seeing the field this year is in mop-up time. I understand the frustration being felt, but I don't see Tino getting a lot of snaps with the first team. If he does, it means Darian is hurt and that spells bad news for the team.

--I still think Terrell Maze is one of the most undervalued guys on the football team. The guy can flat out play and teams don't throw the ball his way very much. There's a reason for that.


--If you are a Blue Jays fan and you aren't getting concerned yet about your team, you should be, The wheels have fallen off and GM Alex Anthopoulos seemingly thinks the problems that have developed over the past few weeks will right themselves. The St. Louis Cardinals showed teams how to deal with Toronto by throwing high fastball after high fastball that the Jays hitters can't lay off of. With the bats cooling off, it puts pressure on the pitching staff and they can't come up with a quality start night after night. Anthopoulous needs to go out and find himself another starting pitcher a-s-a-p and he needs to do it before the Orioles or Yankees or yes perhaps even the Red Sox do it. With Kansas City getting hot, you can throw James Shields' name out, but with Tampa wanting to move David Price and Jeff Samardzija seemingly available, you have to act now. There are other pitchers out there too, but those two seem to be the ones everyone is talking about.

--How is it the Texas Rangers can lead baseball in shutouts yet have the highest ERA in the majors?

--Who had the idea of suddenly putting the terms "national" and "international" to designate CFL players. Was Canadian or import suddenly politically incorrect or something. Does this mean the top home-grown player in the league will now be the CFL's top "National". Cmon!!!!

--The NHL schedule is out already???

--I get the feeling the first round of the NHL draft is going to see a lot of movement. I'm not convinced Florida holds on to their first round pick and I think a few teams in the top 6 or 7 including Edmonton look at making deals.

--This won't happen, but the Montreal Canadiens would be an ideal spot for Martin Brodeur to finish his NHL career seeing his fathers affiliation with the team.

--If you need a FA goalie, do you go after Jonas Hiller or Ryan Miller?

--Is it safe to say Luca Congi is waiting for his phone to ring with the REDBLACKS on the other end?

--If you don't know, Sports Illustrated and NBC football analyst Peter King (one of the best journalists in the game in my mind) will be at Mosaic Stadium Sunday for the Ti-Cats/Riders game. Hey Pete, you should have been here for the last game between those two. Anyhoo, he will be documenting the game for his highly successful Monday Morning Quarterback column.  In fact, leading up to the game and the contest in Calgary he will cover, he is calling this week's columns a part of "Canada Week" with former Als coach Marc Trestman writing the first bit for him. You can find it right here.  Lets show Mr. King how great Rider Nation is people!

--Have the New York Rangers asked GM Glen Sather how it is that he could have botched two contracts so badly in Wade Redden and Brad Richards? That does not look good on Slats.

--Two men have turned down an opportunity to coach Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Hmmmmmmm! Who's running the show in Pittsburgh these days. Its said those two were a big reason why Dan Bylsma was shown the door which just begs the question as to what is going on behind closed doors in the land of the Penguin.

--There is a Facebook page called "Regina Parking Shaming". I highly applaud the individual or individuals who thought this up and I would highly encourage you to help the maker(s) of this page by sending them pics. Hell, I could send them each day when I walk through the Impark lots to work.

--Pats owner Anthony Marquart was interviewed by Rod Pedersen on Monday's Sportscage at the Doug Wickenheiser tournament. What I got from the interview was this. "If you are a hockey fan in this town and you aren't excited at what Marquart and Queen City Sports and Entertainment are going to bring to the table, you had better start." Different times and better times are ahead my friend. These guys aren't screwing around and demand results. It might not come in year 1, but it will come. I'm ready for the puck to drop and we haven't even started the CFL season yet.

--One should have to sign a life insurance waiver before having the "Skirt Burger" at Birmingham's. My god, that is a delicious concoction. If you've had it, you know what I'm talking about. If not, I highly suggest it.

--The Edmonton media is upset with Eskimos coach Chris Jones and the season hasn't started yet. Jones has informed the Edmonton media they are no longer allowed inside the locker-room to interview players which has reporters there crying foul saying they won't be able to get their stories and give the fans the inside stuff they crave. What??? The Riders dressing room has been closed for years during practice yet I still see Murray McCormick, Rob Vanstone, Ian Hamilton, myself, Jamie Nye, Glenn Reid, Lee Jones and Derek Meyers getting daily stories from the team with the Leader-Post writing great articles giving you "inside info" on the team. Chris Jones will get skewered for this, but I ask why when I am in a market where this has been happening for years yet the story still gets out whether the Riders like it or not.

--Isn't having the good old US of A consider themselves as a soccer power lovely.  YEESH!

--I do ten sit ups every morning. It might not sound like much, but there are only so many times you can hit the snooze button.

--Have a great week!!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Taman Talks Cuts

Riders GM Brendan Taman spoke to the Regina media this morning about the cuts the team has made while looking ahead to the future as the green and white look to repeat as Grey Cup champs. Listen in!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Riders Announce Cuts


National receiver Alex Anthony
National receiver Kristopher Bastien
International defensive lineman Jeremy Beal
National linebacker Travis Bent
International receiver Dan DePalma
International defensive lineman Robert Eddins
National receiver Jade Etienne
International linebacker Brandon Isaac
International linebacker Mortty Ivy
National fullback Andre Lalonde
National kicker John Mark
International defensive back Greg McCoy
National offensive lineman Kyle Paterson
National linebacker Kevin Regimbald
International receiver DeMarco Sampson
National receiver Jordan Sisco
International defensive back Troy Stoudermire
International defensive lineman Richard Sumlin
International receiver Isaiah Sweeney
International running back Jermaine Thomas
International offensive lineman Devin Tyler
National offensive lineman Matt Vonk
International quarterback Adam Weber
National defensive back Matt Webster
National defensive lineman Ryan Wellman
International defensive lineman Markus White


National offensive lineman Corey Watman

International linebacker Chad Kilgore
International defensive back Carlos Thomas
The team will announce the practice roster prior to Tuesday’s practice.

Sounds From The Rider Room

Here are the thoughts of Riders head coach Corey Chamblin, quarterback Darian Durant and defensive back Tyron Brackenridge

Lions To Honor Geroy

The BC Lions Football Club is pleased to announce that former Lions great, Geroy Simon will be recognized by the club with an induction onto the organization’s prestigious Ring of Honour on Friday, July 25 versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers presented by Telus.

Simon,the long-serving BC Lions slotback and future Hall of Famer who is both the club’s and the CFL’s all-time leading receiver announced his retirement from football earlier this month.

“Geroy will forever be remembered as a BC Lion and his induction onto our Ring of Honour is the most prestigious recognition that our organization can bestow upon him,” said president and CEO Dennis Skulsky. “Geroy’s legendary accomplishments on the field were matched only by his contributions to our community away from the game and I know fans of the Lions and Geroy will want to be part of this very special event.”

The official Ring of Honour induction ceremony will take place during halftime of the team’s home game versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday, July 25

Thursday, June 19, 2014

This And That

--The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order

   --Riders receiver Ryan Smith not only looks like Weston Dressler, but he sounds like him too. Does anyone have tape of Weston when he came here as a wet behind the ears rookie because that's what Smith sounds like. Hopefully Smith has a Dressler-like career in Saskatchewan.

   --Has it really been 20 years since the OJ Simpson chase? The ESPN 30 for 30 on that night and how it intersected with the NBA finals and other sporting events might be the best one ever done.

   --The Kansas City Royals lead the American League Central and the Toronto Blue Jays lead the American League East. Its like I've entered a time warp. Are George Brett and George Bell playing for their respective teams.

   --A story in Edmonton suggests the Oilers and Jets are talking about an Evander Kane-Nail Yakupov trade. There is NO WAY the Jets front office is that dumb. Kane for Gagner maybe, but Kane for Yakupov. This Oilers fan would be dancing in the street if that happened.

  --What did Jonas Hiller do the Ducks? How did the goalie fall so far out of favour with the team.

  --Who is Fake Gainer? Who is Bitter Gainer?

  --Damn this is one shiny piece of bling

--There can't be many happy English soccer fans these days. Then again, I'm guessing a few sheepish Spaniards are out there too.

--On June 19, 2006, the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Stanley Cup having beat the Edmonton Oilers. 2920 days later, the Oilers have not had another playoff game. SIGHHHHH!!!

--Any WHL team wanting to bid for the Memorial Cup in 2016 must do so by July 15.  Who's throwing their hat into the ring? My guess is Vancouver or Victoria might be putting one together.

--The pic of Seth Doege going head over heels and the reaction of Darian Durant and Taj Smith on the sidelines that was in Monday's LP and has gone viral is one of the sports pics of the year if you ask me. Well done!

--Have a good weekend. Go Riders!


Riders Unveil Details For Home Opener

The Saskatchewan Roughriders today announced details of a tribute to the 101st Grey Cup Champions, and all three previous champions, at their home opener and Grey Cup rematch against the Hamilton Ti-Cats on June 29th. The game will kick off with former Rider and current Indianapolis Colt Jerrell Freeman leading fans with a live presentation of “Bring EM Out”, which will be followed up with a Fly-Past by Canadian Forces Base Moose Jaw.


At half time, Rider Nation will pay tribute to the 101st Grey Cup Championship team as well as the Rider Championship teams from 1966, 1989 and 2007. The Tribute will include video highlights from all four championships, a look at all four Championship Rings, followed by a flag raising for each of the four Championship Teams. Rider greats from each of these teams will be on hand for the half time festivities.


Other new additions to Rider Game day will be new video displays that will run the length of the field on the east side of the stadium, as well as video displays that will now be positioned on top of the suite levels on both the north and south end zones which will deliver an even more exciting visual experience for Rider fans at Mosaic Stadium.


Tickets for the home opener versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on June 29th are available at

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

(picture courtesy

There's no doubt what today's column will center on and that's the return of the Riders. The building is archaic and has many flaws and walking up those damn ramps are a pain in the ass, but the days of going to Mosaic Stadium for football are starting to wane and very shortly the Rider Nation will no longer have to deal with what Mosaic brings as Mosaic 2.0 will be ready for action.

Just some thoughts on the Riders victory over the REDBLACKS

--The crowd count was disappointing and there were a lot of factors that played into that which I understand. However, the Rider Nation should relish any home game and be there to show their support and pride. I think that will return Friday when Edmonton is in town

--I loved the interaction between REDBLACKS mascot "Big Joe" and Gainer at the start of the game, but I think it would have been great had Gainer pulled off a WWE or High Impact Wrestling move and took him out with a chair. The place would have gone nuts. Some suggested Gainer shouldn't be getting into someone's face when that someone is carrying an axe as we know what happens to gophers in this province courtesy of people with axes. Others (namely CKRM cohorts Matt Dominguez and Luc Mullinder) believe Gainer has to go on some big workout to look meaner and tougher. Need I remind these two highly respected individuals that there are not many 6 foot gophers roaming around the Prairies and that he must be doing something right. Speaking of which when I look at Big Joe, did he pass a CFL drug test??

--We all assumed Tino Sunseri would be the number two quarterback when Drew Willy was sent to Winnipeg. I am guessing he still will be when all is said and done, but he struggled and put Seth Doege and Adam Weber back into the mix. It will be interesting to see what kind of time Corey Chamblin gives that trio on Friday night

--Its just one game, but Keith Toston gets my vote for starting tailback. The guy looks to be a bruiser who doesn't have that Kory Sheets speed that can break a game open and change field position at the snap of a finger, but he knows what to do when he has the rock and he has a nice physical style to his game as well. It also looks like he is a good blocker which will be key for Darian as the season wears on.

--The Leader Post's Murray McCormick referred to Ryan Smith in the pressbox as "Baby Dressler". I like it!

--Its just one game, but my vote for middle linebacker goes to Chad Kilgore. He might be another one of those finds that Brendan Taman puts on the resume as CFL all-stars in future years. I really liked what I saw from him.

--Worksafe Bob was missing from the 4th quarter stretch. I applaud that! Perhaps Big Joe and Gainer combined to take him out before the start of the game. Sadly, "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate" remains the song of choice for the 4th quarter stretch. I hope that song stays in the old girl and doesn't make the move. That being said, at least the Mosaic music man did not play "Happy"

--Corey Chamblin's son Karter should get the game-ball. His performance in the post-game news conference was tremendous. Check the video out on


--The LA Kings are the Stanley Cup champs again. Yorkton can put the RBC Cup and the Stanley Cup together as Jarret Stoll will most certainly bring Hockey's Holy Grail back to the city for the second time in three years. I am guessing the Terriers organization would also like to thank Jarret for his hospitality during the RBC in which he bought the pre-game meals for the teams in what was an extremely classy move. Will Jarrett bring his girlfriend? If you don't know who that is, it would be FOX's Erin Andrews.

 --Has Alec Martinez's stick come down yet? I was expecting that stick to conk one of his celebrating teammates right between the eyes. What a moment! I love seeing the Cup get presented (unless of course its to Calgary or Toronto) just to see grown men acting like kids living out their childhood dream. Hockey Night does it right by getting everyone for a comment or two that can be highlighted forever. Its something I hope continues when the NHL gets under the Rogers umbrella.
--I had earlier mused about the thoughts of Vancouver Canucks fans seeing their team looking at the playoffs from outside this year while long-time coach Alain Vigneault was taking the Rangers to the final dance. It was brought up to me during the final that the Columbus Blue Jackets must be wondering what could have been considering Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter were all on that team at one point.

--Speaking of the Canucks, there is talk they could make Portland Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston their new head man. I would be OK with that, but I would be more OK if the Canucks or any team for that matter took Saskatchewan product Willie Desjardins. The former Medicine Hat Tigers bench boss is a proven winner and he has guided the Texas Stars of the AHL to a  possible Calder Cup title as they are in the final. Willie deserves an NHL call.

--Word is the NHL will announce the New Years Day winter classic will go at Nationals Park in Washington with the Capitals playing either Pittsburgh or Philly.

--It would appear as if Tyler Seguin's summer is going well.

Eat your heart out Patrick Kane!!!
--How can MuchMusic have a video awards ceremony when they no longer play videos. If they do play videos, when? Remember the "Power Hour" with JD Roberts, the spotlights and anything with Amanda Walsh?
--The first week of play from the World Cup has been surprising. Surprising for the fact we are seeing goals and a lot of them----at least a lot more than what we're used to. I have no problem with that.

--Did the Calgary Stampeders remember they were playing their opening pre-season game? They acted like they had won the Grey Cup after a last-play field goal to beat Winnipeg. Oh Calgary...celebrate while you can I guess.

--UFC 174 might have been one of the worst PPV's I've seen. The only thing saving it were the yuks had by my fellow Neanderthals that gather monthly and Tyron Woodley's sponsor ---"Dude Wipes". WTF are Dude Wipes?? Its apparently one level above toilet paper ladies and gentlemen. Where is this ad campaign? Will I be seeing it during CFL telecasts? Who is their corporate sponsor? Yes, I am thinking Jon Cornish too. At least the fine people at "Dude Products" favourited my WTF are Dude Wipes tweet from Saturday night. Are these things even sold in Canada? Are they at Shoppers, London Drugs or Walmart? How about Target?

--Martin Kaymer made a mockery of the US Open. There was no drama in the last round and it meant very little viewing. A lot is being made about the look of the course. There is no doubt the layout was one of the tougher ones out there, but the amount of brown on the layout made it look very unappealing.

--The NBA Finals were embarrassing for the Miami Heat. They didn't even look to have the right to be on the same court as San Antonio in this matchup. With the Spurs winning another title, when do we put Gregg Popovich in that elite coach list in any sport because it doesn't seem like he is there yet.  Popovich is tremendous if you ask me and while he takes heat for the interviews or lack of them he gives, I have no problem with him. You can also put Tim Duncan up there alongside Michael Jordan when it comes to the greatest the NBA has ever seen. Here's a debate for you---who has had the better career---Duncan or Kobe Bryant?

--RIP Casey Kasem. Keep reaching for the sky!

First Set Of Rider Cuts

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have released the following players

FB   Matthew Burke**
P      Brett Cameron**
DB   Antonio Fenelus
DB   Donnie Fletcher
LB    Tyler Greenslade**
QB   Brandon Leyh**
RB    Curtis McNeal
LB   Adrian Moten
RB   Clifton Smith
OL  Ryan Tillman

DB Carlos Thomas has been moved to injury list.

**Designates Canadian

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Going Out In Style

The win by the L-A Kings last night ended an era as CBC is now out of the game. While hockey will still be shown on CBC and there still will be Hockey Night in Canada, it will have a different look to it under the Rogers banner. Hopefully, one thing that remains is the outstanding montages put together and as the cameras faded to black, we got one last montage to take us through the summer. Enjoy!!

All Hail The Kings

The Los Angeles Kings ended the longest postseason in franchise history with the longest game they had ever played.
Thanks to Alec Martinez and one beautiful rebound goal, they finished as champions again.
Martinez scored 14:43 into the second overtime, and the Kings won the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 on Friday night.
Marian Gaborik scored a tying power-play goal with 12:04 left in regulation for the resilient Kings, who rallied from yet another deficit before finishing off the Rangers in the longest game in franchise history and the third overtime game at Staples Center in this series.
After innumerable late chances for both teams in two nail-biting extra periods, Martinez popped home a rebound of Tyler Toffoli's shot for the Cup-clinching goal. Martinez is becoming a late-game playoff legend after also scoring in overtime in Game 7 against Chicago in the Western Conference finals.
"Fortunately, the rebound came to me and I was able to put it in," Martinez said. "The New York Rangers are a hell of a hockey team. We knew it was going to be a tough series."
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams scored an early goal as Los Angeles added a second title to its 2012 championship, the first in the franchise's 47-year history.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

This And That

--The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order

   --An interview with Brendan Labatte done by reporters in Saskatoon on Monday was very interesting. Labatte was talking about the CBA and the fact players don't like it. He said he would need help in convincing the players the deal was a good one and told reporters he would not tell them what way he would vote. If you read between the lines, you might suggest Labatte doesn't want to sell the players on a deal he doesn't believe in.

  --While I thought the players were asking for way too much in the salary cap, I think the CFL could have been a little bit more accommodating. An incremental raise of very little in the cap over the next few years is what has players mad.  I don't think it would have killed the league to raise the cap by 100-150 thousand each year.

  --Is it safe to say we have seen the last of the Regina Rage?

  --While interviewing Jon Ryan for the Sportscage on Tuesday, the Regina-born punter of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks says his ring will be with him when he is here for his 2nd annual golf tournament and first ever business luncheon. Besides getting a picture of myself with that what I know will be impressive rock, I don't know how I'll react when I see that baby. No offence to the Riders, but I'm guessing the Seattle bling will be a little more impressive than what the Riders have on their finger.  I need a pic with one ring on one hand and one on the other. I don't think I'll have a problem.

  --Oh Chad Johnson, you may regret what you wish for. Why would you want to poke a sharp stick at Tyron Brackenridge? Why?

  -- I love the way Henry Burris is promoting and approaching Saturday's game at Mosaic. Say what you will about Henry, but the league needs more guys like him when it comes to marketing.

   --The funeral for the three Mounties in Moncton was a very emotional affair for obvious reasons. It was heartbreaking for me to see the police dog of one of the officers crying at the foot of his masters casket.

   --Sorry Hockey Canada, you are coming off as a bully in your little spat with Mosaic Place. If the rink told you what the rent was going to be two years ago, don't come crying about it now. To "blacklist" the building and the city makes you come off as real petty as well. Real petty!

  --Someone please tell me its a joke when I hear there could be a "Mighty Ducks 4"

  --The Florida Panthers could decide between either Ron Wilson or Dan Bylsma. If Wilson gets this job, the entire Panthers front office should walk the plank.

  --A new phonebook was delivered the other day. How many people still use the phonebook on a day-to-day basis.

  --Despicable Me 2 is a movie that can be watched at any time.

  --WWE has released the likes of Brodus Clay (Funkasaurus), 3MB and Curt Hawkins. However will the WWE nation survive. There are guys in High Impact Wrestling that I'd rather watch than those schmos. Speaking of which, the stars of HIW are in action tonight at the Hungarian Club. If you don't count that football game, it is the social/sports event of the weekend.

  --If the L-A Kings let Mike Richards go, there are three teams in Western Canada that should be vying for his services. He could add a lot when it comes to leadership to the Oilers, Flames or Jets.

  --Yahoo's Andrew Bucholtz asks how it is that Canada can develop great hockey players, great baseball players, great football players, great golfers etc. etc, etc, why can't we develop great soccer players.

  --If you can, remember to do something with Dad this weekend. Taking him to the Riders game would be an excellent idea. I can't imagine where I'd be today or the things I wouldn't have seen if it wasn't for my dad. I think a lot of you can say the same thing.

--If I could get a firm grip on reality, I'd choke it.

Day 12 Camp Report

The following is the Day 12 report from the 2014 Roughrider Training Camp.
NImp FB Matthew Burke – groin (day to day)
Imp DL Robert Eddins – hamstring (day to day)
NImp WR Chris Getzlaf – ankle (day to day)
NImp FB Neal Hughes – foot (day to day)
NImp FB Scott McHenry – knee (day to day)
Imp DL Carlton Powell – hamstring (day to day) 
NImp WR Jordan Sisco – shoulder (day to day)
Imp DL Markus White – illness (day to day)
NImp LB Shomari Williams – knee (day to day)       
In an interesting play to end the teams session, veteran defensive back Paul Woldu connected on a 37-yard field goal attempt.  
Roughrider first year receiver, Brett Swain, "Yah, it's fun, it's fun out here, this is a fun game, it's a fun environment, I'm glad I'm on pretty much the best team in the CFL fan wise. We're out here just competing, having a good time and pretty happy that this is the last day of two-a-days as well."
Players and coaches will hit the Griffiths Stadium field for Day 12 of training camp with two practice sessions. The first practice will take place at 9:15AM followed by an afternoon hour long walk through that will start at approximately 2:30PM.

CFL Players Ratify New Contract

The CFL Players’ Association has voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.
The union said in a statement Thursday night that its players voted to accept the five-year contract reached Saturday with the CFL.
"It’s a YES!" offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski, a player rep with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, tweeted. "We’ve got a new CBA!
"It’s time to get back to football! #Everybodywins."
The CFL’s board of governors is scheduled to vote on the deal Friday and the expectation is they’ll accept it.
The CFLPA didn’t provide a breakdown of the votes but a majority of players — 50 per cent plus one — on six of the nine CFL teams was required for the deal to be accepted.
The players voted in favour despite many expressing their unhappiness publicly and on social media about the deal. It offers a $5-million salary cap in the first year of the agreement after the CFLPA had originally sought a $6.24-million cap.
Last year, the CFL’s salary cap was $4.4 million.
The CFL also got the players to agree to its gross revenue formula that would trigger the renegotiation of the cap or entire collective agreement.
The players, who initially wanted the CBA to include revenue sharing, wanted the cap or entire agreement renegotiated if league revenues increased by more than $18 million — excluding the Grey Cup — in the third year of the deal. But the union ultimately agreed to the CFL’s figure of $27 million.
The union did get the option year on CFL contracts eliminated, excluding rookies. Also, the players’ practice day, for the most part, remains at 4.5 hours but can be increased to a maximum of six hours while teams will hold just one padded practice a week during the season.

(Canadian Press)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WHL Changes Playoff Format

A new playoff format for the Western Hockey League topped the list of items at this year’s WHL Annual General Meeting, which concluded today in Vancouver. The new playoff format, which is identical to the new playoff format introduced by the NHL this past season,  was approved by the Board of Governors and will be in place for the next three seasons starting with the 2014-15 season.

“We believe the new format is a hybrid of the WHL’s previous Conference and Divisional formats,” said WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “This will allow us to feature our regional rivalries in the playoffs and offer the most fair and competitive path to the WHL Championship.”

The new format will see the top three teams in each Division make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed teams in each Conference, based on their regular-season record and regardless of Division.
It is possible for one Division in each Conference to send five teams to the postseason while the other Division sends just three.
In the First Round, the Division winner with the best record in each Conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the lesser record; the wild card team with the better record will play the other Division winner.
The teams finishing second and third in each Division will meet in the First Round within the bracket headed by their respective division winners. First-round winners within each bracket play one another in the Second Round to determine the four participants in the Conference Finals.
Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the team that placed higher in the regular-season standings. In the Conference Finals and WHL Championship Series, home-ice advantage goes to the team that had the better regular-season record - regardless of the teams' final standing in their respective Divisions.

In addition, any ties in the final regular season standings will be determined as per WHL Regulations, and if an East Division Club is involved in the WHL Championship Series, the Series will utilize a 2 - 3 - 2 format.

The WHL has also announced that the 2014-15 Pre-Season schedule will be released on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, with the 2014-15 Regular Season schedule to follow on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

Kory Sheets Update

Kory Sheets hasn't been getting the publicity in Oakland that Weston Dressler is getting in KC, but the Raiders apparently believe the Grey Cup MVP has a future with them. They had this write-up on Sheets on their website.

Day 11 Camp Report

The following is the Day 11 report from the 2014 Roughrider Training Camp.




NImp FB Matthew Burke – groin (day to day)

Imp DL Robert Eddins – hamstring (day to day)

NImp WR Chris Getzlaf – ankle (day to day)

NImp FB Neal Hughes – foot (day to day)

NImp FB Scott McHenry – knee (day to day)

Imp DL Carlton Powell – hamstring (day to day)

NImp WR Jordan Sisco – shoulder (day to day)

Imp DL Markus White – illness (day to day)

NImp LB Shomari Williams – knee (day to day)


In an interesting play to end the teams session, veteran defensive back Paul Woldu connected on a 37-yard field goal attempt.


Roughrider first year receiver, Brett Swain, “Yah, it’s fun, it’s fun out here, this is a fun game, it’s a fun environment, I’m glad I’m on pretty much the best team in the CFL fan wise. We’re out here just competing, having a good time and pretty happy that this is the last day of two-a-days as well.”


Players and coaches will hit the Griffiths Stadium field for Day 12 of training camp with two practice sessions. The first practice will take place at 9:15AM followed by an afternoon hour long walk through that will start at approximately 2:30PM.

Waiting For Their Rings

Zack Evans has waited 200 days for his Grey Cup ring.
Another couple of days won’t make any difference, but the 23-year-old defensive lineman is looking forward to returning to Regina this weekend and collecting his reward for being a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders squad that defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-23 in the Canadian Football League’s championship game last November.
Returning Roughriders players received their rings on May 30, but Evans has been a member of the Ottawa Redblacks since the CFL’s newest team selected him from Saskatchewan’s roster in the December expansion draft.
This Saturday’s preseason contest between the two teams is most significant because it will be the first for the Redblacks, but it will also allow the Roughriders to present rings to Evans, fellow defensive lineman Keith Shologan, offensive linemen James Lee and Brendan Dunn and receivers Aaron Hargreaves and Kierrie Johnson.
“But I probably won’t even bring it back here,” Evans, 23, said Tuesday following the Redblacks’ training-camp sessions at Carleton University. “I’ll just leave it with my wife in Regina. … I don’t want to lose it.”
Evans was a backup in his two seasons with the green Roughriders, meaning he did a lot of scout-team duty during practices.
“So I know their offensive linemen very, very well,” he said. “I know all their keys, I know all their calls, I know everything. It’s going to be awesome, it’s going to be fun. I talked to (Roughriders offensive tackle) Dan Clark, and he’s like, ‘We have to change all our calls because we know that you know exactly what we’re doing at any given moment.’”
Shologan, a starting D-lineman who played in three Grey Cup games in his six seasons with Saskatchewan, also is excited about the ring, but he’s also pumped up at the prospect of playing actual football after two weeks of training-camp.
“Pro football is pro football,” said Shologan, 28. “You get in there and you put your hand down in the dirt, and it’s just football.”
Another hopeful looking forward to Saturday’s contest is 23-year-old receiver Garrett Burgess. He was signed as a free agent in February after completing his five years of Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
“I think Saturday is going to be extremely exciting,” Burgess said. “I know the atmosphere at Mosaic (Stadium). I grew up there, I went to all the games as a kid. I grew up with the Riders, and to get a chance to go back there and possibly play in front of all those people is pretty wild.
“I’m sure they’ll be booing me, not cheering me, but it’s all right anyway.”
Burgess caught 48 passes for 596 yards and one touchdown for the Huskies in 2013, but he’s just one of 19 wide receivers and slotbacks in Redblacks camp, so, in the big picture, playing well on Saturday will be more important than playing in front of friends and family.
“I just have to do everything I can to give myself the best shot,” Burgess said. “Make the plays I’m supposed to make and just do everything in my power.”
The Redblacks are expected to take about 70 players to Regina for Saturday’s game, and there were 82 still on the roster as of Tuesday morning.
Head coach Rick Campbell said who will make the trip will be settled on Thursday and that it was doubly important for the first-year Redblacks to see as many players as possible in live action.
“We definitely have to get a good look because we have to cut down (the roster) after that game, the next day,” Campbell said. “We have to make sure we get a good evaluation and make good decisions.”
CFL rosters must be down to 65 players as of Sunday, but that doesn’t include recent draft picks, of which the Redblacks have 11, so their effective limit is 76.