Thursday, October 30, 2014

This And That

--The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind

Its been quiet in Riderville over the last week as the team is on its second and final bye of the season, but make no doubt about it. I'm sure the coaching staff has been working hard all week getting this team ready for the final few games of the season.

I had this sent to me and I had to pass it along although many of you may have already seen it.  During the bye week, the team picture was taken. Here it is!

That's a little cold and to many of the players it may be a tad insulting to say the squad is a one man team, but one cannot argue this team's fortunes went south the moment Bryant Turner hit DD in the Banjo Bowl as what was a great season went down the toilet in rather quick fashion.  The injury to one player seemingly has sunk the season.  There is still a chance to revive that season, but I think its safe to say that will happen through the East again and while the East has not been strong this year, I don't like their chances, but they still have a chance and as long as they do, the Rider Nation will be behind them.

The two questions I have about the football team now as they limp to the finish line are this

1) Is Darian coming back and if so, what type of player will he be?

   --We were told Durant would dress for the regular season finale against Edmonton, but I'd be surprised if the Riders play him knowing where their fate lies. There is no reason to play number 4 unless its to shake some rust off and even if you do that, what happens if he should get hurt again. Is that a risk the team really wants to take?

    --When and if Darian comes back, it is unrealistic to start thinking he will be slinging the football around completing pass after pass, racking up yard after yard and leading the team down the field to touchdown after touchdown. The guy hasn't played in how long? He needs some time to get back into game shape!  While I and many others would love to see DD come back and throw for 350 and 3 TD's, I can't realistically see that happening. Many are putting the Saviour label on him if he returns and that may not be a fair position to put him in

2)  When do you head down East?

   --Considering the Riders got their doors blown off in visits to Montreal, Hamilton or Toronto. Would going out early change that? It was suggested on Thursday's Sportscage the team leave early and I agree with that, but would you leave 5 days early and do your entire practice routine in the city where you will play the Eastern semi-final. That would be a costly expenditure, but I think its one the Riders would take. Why not?

The first set of ballots have been sent out for CFL yearly awards. I used to hold a ballot, but I don't anymore so take these for what you will, but here are my Rider award winners.


  I found it interesting when doing a story for that there isn't much difference when it comes to grading out between TGeorge, John Chick and Ricky Foley. Chick had a monster first half and Foley has had a monster second half, but number 93 has just been consistent in getting the job done week after week registering a career high in sacks. That consistency and all-around good play gives him the nod to this blogger.


  How can you give George MOP and Chick top defensive player? It happens a lot of times in sports and that's how close it is between the two Americans.  Chick deserves some form of recognition for his play this year and I am certainly not going to snub him twice. I could put him in MOP and George here, but the consistency argument comes up again and while he has been effective, he hasn't been the sack happy John Chick that he was in the first half. That's not a shot its just reality.  I think big 97 is better now than what he was when he left for the NFL and I think he will continue doing what he did this year in 2015 and beyond.

TOP CANADIAN --- Ricky Foley

   Is there any doubt here? In fact, I think Foley could win the league award. He is having his best ever season and he is finishing strong. Someone asked me the other day if Chick and Foley were a better combination than Chick and Stevie Baggs. Absolutely!! He's having a career year with 12 sacks and if he wasn't one of the league's top homegrown players before, he is now.


   This one is tough as well. The unit has been fantastic, but Brendon Labatte has missed time, I Chris Best has missed time as have Xavier Fulton and Dan Clark. Heenan had a couple of rough games, but he is one of the big reasons the Rider running game has been as good as it has been. He has helped open up some massive holes. Could Big Ben win the West nominee and perhaps do what Labatte did last year and win it all. I doubt it, but I think he has the ability to win the top lineman award very soon.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ---  Derek Walker

  Its a toss-up between Walker and Trevor Guyton, but I will go with Walker and his 5 sacks and give all four members of that D-Line some love. Guyton has had a good year too, but I've noticed Walker a lot more. He's the guy for me.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER  --- Tristan Jackson

  This might be the easiest one. Jackson leads the league in combined return yards and he has more often than not given the team good field position. Weston Dressler may have taken a couple of kicks back, but Weston also showed up midway through the season while TJack just kept returning kick after kick after kick.

Agree or disagree?

Other thoughts

  --Madison Bumgarner's 2014 playoffs and the World Series in particular has to be considered as one of the greatest of all-time. I thought we would see Bumgarner in Game 7, but I didn't think we would see him for five innings. To come back and do that on two days rest was simply amazing.

  --If you are a baseball fan, tell me your heart didn't go into your throat when Gregor Blanco had Alex Gordon's hit get by him and go all the way to the fence. The Giants just about Bucknered themselves.

  --Can we get "Chevyguy" to do all championship or all-star game MVP presentations?. That poor bastard had to have soiled himself. The funny thing is he is getting his 15 minutes of fame today as Chevrolet is backing him 100 percent as really they should.

  --Evgeni Malkin beat up Justin Williams??!! I wonder if Don Cherry will mention that on Saturday!

--Week 9 NFL Lock Of The Week---Kansas City over Jets
  Week 9 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Miami over San Diego

--Saturday will be the last home game and perhaps the last game period that Frank McCrystal coaches for the University of Regina Rams. I am guessing Rams alumni that can make it to the game will be there and that a good crowd will be on hand. I am hoping Regina's football community as a whole comes to the game and salutes a guy that has helped make that program great.  There is a chance the Rams could play the Huskies in a semi-final game and I think I speak for people in both cities when I say the Frank farewell tour needs to go through Saskatoon. Win or lose for the Rams. the atmosphere and energy for that game would be something else and I am guessing McCrystal would come up with a quote or two to sell a couple of extra tickets. Can you imagine the scene at the end of the game if Regina won? That walk off the field would be epic!  I will have the play by play of the Alberta-Rams game with the big man Chop Bresch Saturday at 2 on Access, but do yourselves a favour and go to the game yourself. Its supposed to be sunny and 11 so don't blame the weather.

 --It hasn't been a good year for the Durant boys on the gridiron. We all know about Darian and his brother Justin tore his biceps Monday against Washington and is done for the season.

 --Get well Gordie, a country and a sport has you in their heart!

 --Is it just me or are the entertainment reporters on ETalk and ET Canada, the most vacuous ditzes on television? GAHHHHH!!!

  --If its called a drive thru, why do you stop??

  --Have a good weekend!!! GO SEAHAWKS!!

U of R Athletics This Weekend

This Week in University of Regina Athletics

Home Events (Canada West)
Men’s Hockey – vs. UBC, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Rams Football – vs. Alberta, Saturday (2:00 p.m.) at Mosaic Stadium
Men’s Hockey – vs. UBC, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre

Away Events (Canada West)
Women’s Volleyball – at Thompson Rivers, Friday (6:00 p.m. PDT) in Kamloops, B.C.
Women’s Basketball – at Victoria, Friday (6:00 p.m. PDT) in Victoria, B.C.
Men’s Volleyball – at Thompson Rivers, Friday (7:45 p.m. PDT) in Kamloops, B.C.
Men’s Basketball – at Victoria, Friday (8:00 p.m. PDT) in Victoria, B.C.
Women’s Volleyball – at Thompson Rivers, Saturday (5:00 p.m. PDT) in Kamloops, B.C.
Women’s Basketball – at Victoria, Saturday (5:00 p.m. PDT) in Victoria, B.C.
Men’s Volleyball – at Thompson Rivers, Saturday (6:45 p.m. PDT) in Kamloops, B.C.
Men’s Basketball – at Victoria, Saturday (7:00 p.m. PDT) in Victoria, B.C.

Away Events (non-conference)
Swimming – at Odlum Brown Colleges Cup, Saturday to Sunday in Vancouver, B.C.
Women’s Wrestling – at Clan International, Saturday in Burnaby, B.C.
Women’s Wrestling – at Can-Am Open, Saturday in Jamestown, N.D.

Rams Football – The Rams (2-5) collected a huge 56-41 victory over No. 9 Manitoba on Saturday to stay alive in the Canada West postseason race. Rookie running back Atlee Simon earned CIS Offensive Player of the Week honours after tying U of R records with four touchdowns scored and three touchdown runs and finishing with 243 all-purpose yards (154 rushing, 89 receiving) in the victory. The Rams finish the conference schedule at home this weekend against Alberta (3-4), needing a win and a little help from the out-of-town scoreboard to qualify for the postseason.

Men’s Hockey – After a weekend off, the Cougars (0-8-0) return to action with a pair of home games this Friday and Saturday against UBC (4-2-2) at The Co-operators Centre. Both games will face off at 7 p.m. The two games against the Thunderbirds mark the first of a stretch of five consecutive two-game weekend sets for the Cougars, who will also face Lethbridge, Saskatchewan, Mount Royal, and Lethbridge again before taking a break from the Canada West schedule during the month of December.

Women’s Basketball (CIS Ranking: No. 8) – The Cougars were rewarded for posting an 8-3 record against CIS competition in non-conference play with the No. 8 slot in this week’s CIS Top Ten, the first poll of the season. They’ll lift the lid on the conference schedule this Friday and Saturday with a road trip to Vancouver Island to take on the Victoria Vikes in a two-game weekend set. Both games will be webcast live at

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars closed out their non-conference schedule at Brock last weekend, losing a pair of two-point heartbreakers to both York and host Brock along with a Saturday setback to No. 5-ranked Windsor. The Canada West schedule begins this weekend for the Cougars, who will travel to the West Coast for a pair of games against the No. 10-ranked Victoria Vikes.

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars (1-3) registered a weekend split with Winnipeg in their first home matches of the Canada West schedule, losing in five sets on Friday but recovering for a four-set victory on Saturday. Tori Glynn had a fine weekend for the U of R, leading the Cougars in both kills (32) and digs (33) while hitting a team-high .253 over the two matches. The team is back in action this weekend with two road matches against Thompson Rivers (2-4).

Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars (0-4) were defeated twice by Winnipeg last weekend in the U of R’s first conference matches of the season at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport. Fifth-year middle Steve Carston had team highs in both kills (13) and hitting percentage (.429) over the weekend for the Cougars, who will now prepare for a pair of matches at Thompson Rivers (0-6) in Kamloops, B.C.

Wrestling – Jacob Luczak highlighted the University of Regina’s first competition of the season, placing first at 100 kg in last Saturday’s Dinos Invitational in Calgary. Sean Belisle also medalled for the Cougars, finishing third at 90 kg. The women’s team will split the squad this weekend, sending Iyanu Adetogun, Emily Foerster, and Sydney McIntyre to the Can-Am Open in Jamestown, N.D. and entering Vicki Busch, Dalynn McKay, and Dakoda Sinclair in the Clan International hosted by Simon Fraser in Burnaby, B.C.

Swimming – The Cougars have their first road meet of the 2014-15 schedule this weekend, as they’ll travel with a full squad to compete in the Odlum Brown Colleges Cup hosted by the University of British Columbia on Saturday and Sunday. It’ll serve as a major tune-up for the Canada West Championships for the Cougars, which will be held Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 in Lethbridge, Alta.

Women’s Hockey – Another weekend, another split for the Cougars as they move to 1-3-3-1 on the season with a 3-2 overtime win over UBC on Friday and a 2-0 loss to the Thunderbirds on Saturday. Brooklyn Moskowy scored the game-winning goal on Friday for the Cougars, who now sit in sixth place in the Canada West standings with 10 points. The U of R will have this weekend off before returning to the conference schedule on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 at home against Lethbridge.

Cross Country – Matt Johnson again provided the highlight for the cross country teams at the Stewart Cup in Calgary on Saturday, finishing in first place to win his fourth race in as many starts this year for the Cougars. Both the men’s team and the women’s team finished in third place in the overall standings, and the Cougars will now prepare for the CIS Championships hosted by Memorial University on Nov. 8.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 9 NFL Capsules

The NFL week starts in New Orleans as the Saints take on the Panthers in an NFC South showdown. For other games in Week 9, click here 

Getting Ready For Game 7

This was the way it had to be. For the two Wild Card-winning clubs that could not be denied. For the World Series loaded with punches and counterpunches. For the legion of fans invested either in the Giants' drive for dynasty status or the Royals' scintillating storyline. These two teams have given us so much entertainment in this event, and now they've given us baseball's ultimate gift: Game 7.

It happens tonight at Kauffman Stadium. First pitch is at 8:07 p.m. ET, and the FOX broadcast begins at 7 p.m. Tuning in on the tube or turning out at what will be a packed and powerful park is not just recommended but required. Jeremy Guthrie and Tim Hudson will get the respective starts for the Royals and Giants, but it will be all hands on deck (including would-be Series MVP Madison Bumgarner) and all eyes affixed on the conclusion of a captivating Fall Classic.

"It's a cool opportunity for us, the Giants and the Royals," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Just for baseball fans, in general, Game 7 of the World Series? It doesn't get much better."

Or as Royals manager Ned Yost put it, every kid's baseball dream revolves around Game 7.

Said Yost: "Hitting rocks in the backyard, trying to hit it over the fence for a home run, I never once thought, 'OK, bases loaded, two out, bottom of the ninth, Game 5 of the World Series.' You know? Never. It was always two outs, bottom of the ninth, Game 7 of the World Series."

It was after Game 4, when the Series was knotted at 2-2, that Yost -- his team immersed in its first October opportunity in 29 years -- said he went into this experience secretly wishing for a Game 7 "for the excitement and the thrill of it." It was an unexpected admission from a manager whose team, at that moment, still had a chance to lock up the title in six, but that didn't make it any less true. And at the same time, Giants manager Bruce Bochy admitted a Game 7 wouldn't surprise him the slightest bit, knowing the way these two clubs play.

So now the hopes and hunches have come true, and Game 7 has no shortage of storylines itself.

It is appropriate, first of all, that the only other World Series to feature two Wild Card teams also went seven games. That would be the 2002 tilt featuring the Giants and Angels, when the Rally Monkey-led Halos won Games 6 and 7 at home.

And that brings us to the next point that must be emphasized here: Recent history resoundingly sides with the Royals in this one.
The home team, after all, has won each of the last nine World Series Game 7s, dating back to 1982 (and including the 1985 Royals' championship over the Cardinals). The last eight home teams who won a World Series Game 6 to force a Game 7 won the winner-take-all game, too. In the designated hitter era, the American League has won five out of seven World Series Game 7s played in AL ballparks, including each of the last four.

And for whatever it's worth, the Giants, as a franchise, have never won a sudden-death game in the World Series. They are 0-4. They did, however, play a Game 7 in the 2012 National League Championship Series against the Cards, and that worked out pretty well.
"You go back to '12 and look at this postseason, and I think a lot of people had us getting beat in the first and second round," Bochy said. "This club's so resilient. They're so tough."

If we look at the full scope of history, the home team is 18-17 in World Series Game 7s, which is the kind of a coin-flip outcome you'd expect in a game in which just about anything can happen.

For the Giants, the ace in the hole here is Bumgarner. Whether he can give the Giants one inning or multiple innings on two days' rest remains to be seen (this game falls within his normal between-starts throwing routine), but it would seem a reasonably safe bet that we'll see him in some capacity. The Giants will also again have Yusmeiro Petit available for long relief after he worked just two-thirds of an inning in relief of Jake Peavy in Game 6.

For the Royals, the benefit of blowing out the Giants in Game 6 (beyond the obvious) was the ability it gave Yost to rest his fearsome relief threesome of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Those guys will all be on multiple days' rest, and ergo, they could be ready to give multiple innings of work.

So Game 7, clearly, is not all about the starters. The 35-year-old Guthrie and 39-year-old Hudson both pitched effectively in Game 3, but they also both gave up an average of 9.5 hits per nine innings this season. Against two lineups prone to contact (and seeing them for the second time in less than a week), that could spell trouble and perhaps an early hook.

Offensively, the Royals, who were clearly bolstered by the return to AL rules and their regular lineup, might appear to have the momentum, but momentum has obviously been a fleeting thing in this Series so far.

"I think it will be a completely clean slate," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said
A clean slate upon which history will be written. There have been 2,461 games played in this Major League season.
We've got one left.

Royals: Guthrie expects gutsy effort
As if pitching a Game 7 weren't pressure enough, the Giants' ability to bring in Bumgarner midgame could, one supposes, put added pressure on Guthrie not to let San Francisco grab an early lead. But the value of posting zeros on the scoreboard is not exactly a novel idea, no matter the circumstance.

"My margin for error is going to be minimal either way," Guthrie said.

The Royals have won both of Guthrie's starts this postseason. After allowing just a run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts, he left the mound after the fifth inning against Baltimore in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series and announced, "I'm done." The bullpen took it from there. In Game 3 of this World Series, Guthrie went 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with no walks or strikeouts. In the process, he became the first pitcher since Bob Turley of the 1960 Yankees to win a World Series game without recording a strikeout.

"I feel like I'm in a good position to pitch well, as I've been all season long," Guthrie said. "And that's a good place to be, to not have to worry about being fatigued or not have to worry about any lingering soreness. I feel that whatever I bring to Game 7 will be my best."

Giants: The Bumgarner watch

Bumgarner, who has allowed just one run in 31 career World Series innings and has a 1.13 ERA and .156 average against in six starts this postseason, will not be surprising everybody and starting. Rid yourself of that thought right away.
"You know, this guy is human," Bochy said. "You can't push him that much. He'll be available if we need him, but to start him, I think that's asking a lot."
But Bochy could definitely ask Bumgarner to bail him out of a jam. Bumgarner pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the 2010 NLCS, and having Game 7 land on his throw day allows the Giants to play with the possibility. And once he's in there, Bochy will just have to monitor his workload and effort level to decide how long he can ride him.
Don't worry about Bumgarner needing a long time to warm up.
"Something tells me it won't take too long to get loose in Game 7 of the World Series," he quipped.

Worth noting
• The early Weather Channel forecast was calling for a first-pitch temperature around 55 degrees with zero chance of precipitation. Game on.
• At 39 years, 107 days, Hudson will be the oldest Game 7 starter ever. Roger Clemens was 39 years, 92 days old when he started Game 7 for the Yankees in 2001.
• The last road team to win a World Series Game 7 was the 1979 Pirates against the Orioles. The '75 Reds are the last road team to bounce back and win a Game 7 after coming up short on a chance to close out the Series in Game 6.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mr. Hockey Suffers Serious Stroke

Hockey great Gordie Howe suffered a serious stroke Sunday and has lost some function on the right side of his body and has difficulty speaking, according to his daughter, Cathy Purnell.

Howe, who suffered the stroke while in Texas, is recovering at his daughter's house in Lubbock, his son told The Detroit News. Dr. Murray Howe is the head of the department of radiology at Toledo Hospital in Ohio.

"Basically, sometime in the early morning on Sunday he suffered a pretty bad stroke," Dr. Howe told the News.

"The right side of his body is very, very weak. He's unable to stand without help. He's able to speak, but very, very difficult to speak.

"He knows who he is. He knows the people around him. But it is very difficult for him to get up and walk around. So he is pretty much confined to his bed right now. So we're just trying to keep him comfortable, and that's our goal."

Purnell told her father has been looking at family pictures and pictures from his playing days, and he's able to recognize and identify people he played with. She said his three sons were on the way there to see him.

"What he's most excited about is that his boys are coming in. He keeps pointing at the clock and looking at me," Purnell said.

Howe's son told the News that "Mr. Hockey" had returned to shape and was walking up to a mile a day after undergoing spinal surgery this summer. But while the surgery helped alleviate one problem, his recovery from the stroke will be "a little bit tougher to fight."

"For any fans who are concerned about him, they should know that he's very comfortable and he's surrounded by family," he told the News. "And that is our goal, to make sure he is as happy and comfortable as can be, until the end."

Purnell echoed her brother's sentiments.

"He had a few moments of clarity today and it was really good to see the resilience in him. He's a tough old bird. His spirits are high.

"I watched him play hockey a lot of years and this is the biggest fight he's ever had. He's working hard to get through of it and I'm proud of him."

The 86-year-old Howe was a six-time winner of the Hart Trophy as league most valuable player, winner of six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer and played on four Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Detroit Red Wings.

The National Hockey League released a statement via Twitter Tuesday night, saying, "The NHL family sends prayers for strength & healing to our revered Gordie Howe. We wish him a speedy & full recovery."

Jose Canseco Accidentally Shoots Himself In Hand

LAS VEGAS -- Former major league slugger Jose Canseco is recovering after shooting himself in the hand at his Las Vegas home.

Metro police Lt. Mark Reddon says officers responded to a call of an accidental shooting Tuesday afternoon.

Reddon says Canseco told police he was cleaning his gun in the kitchen when it fired, shooting a finger on his left hand. He was taken to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

Canseco played 17 years in the major leagues, starring for the Oakland Athletics as one of the "Bash Brothers" in the late 1980s. He was part of the A's 1989 World Series championship team and last played for the Chicago White Sox in 2001.

The right-handed outfielder and designated hitter had 462 career home runs and was a six-time All-Star. He also played for Texas, Boston, Toronto, Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees.

He later admitted to performance-enhancing drug use, with his 2005 book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big," amplifying MLB's doping issues.

Canseco was in Regina earlier this year as the guest speaker at the Regina Red Sox annual sportsman's dinner.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NHL Three Stars Of Week

NEW YORK (Oct. 27, 2014) – Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens and New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 26.


Carter tied for the League lead with six points (2-4—6) in two outings to help the Kings (6-1-1, 13 points) complete a perfect six-game homestand for the first time in franchise history. He opened the week with 1-1—2, including his 54th career game-winning goal, in a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Oct. 23. Carter then set a career high with three assists and matched a career high with four points in a 5-2 triumph over his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Oct. 26. The 29-year-old London, Ont., native has compiled 5-7—12 and a +12 rating in eight games this season, including an even or plus rating in each contest. Playing alongside Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, the trio known as “That ’70s Line” has combined for 16 of the Kings’ 21 goals (excluding shootout tallies) and a +32 rating in 2014-15.


Scrivens posted a 3-0-0 record with a 2.33 goals-against average and .920 save percentage to lead the Oilers (3-4-1, 7 points) to their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 26-29. He made 22 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Oct. 20, a season-high 32 saves in a 3-2 triumph over the Washington Capitals Oct. 22 and 27 saves in a 6-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Oct. 24. The 28-year-old Spruce Grove, Alta., native is 3-3-0 with a 3.31 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in seven appearances this season. This marks the second time in Scrivens’ 79-game NHL career that he has posted a personal winning streak of at least three games; he won a career-high four consecutive games from Nov. 14-19, 2013, while with the Los Angeles Kings.


Nielsen tied for the League lead with four goals in three games to power the Islanders (6-2-0, 12 points) to a pair of victories, helping the team match its best eight-game start in the last 31 years (2001-02: 6-0-1-1). He collected one assist in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 21 and then chipped in his first goal of the season in a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins Oct. 23. With the game tied 4-4 after 40 minutes, Nielsen scored three third-period goals – including the game-winner – to record his first career hat trick and lift the Islanders to a 7-5 triumph over the Dallas Stars Oct. 25. The 30-year-old Herning, Denmark, native has 4-4—8 in eight games this season; he posted a career-high 25 goals, 33 assists and 58 points in 2013-14.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

Losses are losses and at this time of year, I don't believe in moral victories. However, I do think the Saskatchewan Roughriders are a much more confident group offensively than what they were despite Friday's 4th quarter meltdown and that we will see some fight from this squad as they prepare to defend their Grey Cup title in earnest in a couple of weeks time

Through three quarters, Kerry Joseph showed us he can still throw the ball and while he had a terrible 4th quarter as did everyone, you could see a spark that hadn't been seen for a while. Remember, there was no Allen, no Dressler, no Smith, no Best and no Labatte.  I don't know if this team beats Edmonton in the final week of the season and I don't know if they win out East in the playoffs with or without Darian Durant, but Joseph has given you a sign this team isn't going to roll over like they had for most of the time Durant was out and the Sunseri/Doege experiment was taking place.

Someone must have told the Stamps prior to the 4th quarter this wasn't the Western final. They were certainly playing as if it was.

If there was one thing I didn't like about Friday's game, it was the decision to abandon the run. When up by 12, I thought the Stampeders D would get a solid dose of Messam and Keith Toston, but it didn't happen. Why?  That one was a headscratcher as both Messam and Toston were providing some bull-like runs that had Calgary on their heels.  Speaking of Toston, he had a fumble and a dropped pass, but I liked what I saw from him. It was also good to see Chris Getzlaf get back on track.

I'd still rather be in the Riders situation than Winnipeg's. At least the Riders have an excuse for their poor second half that will see them miss the playoffs after such a great start.

Is Montreal the best team in the East? They seem to be.

Other thoughts and takeaways from the weekend.

 --The ceremony to honor Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was simply spectacular and was so well done. I'm guessing there were a lot of misty-eyes across the country after that. Say what you will about Don Cherry, but if you saw him Saturday night, he brought up a very great point when he says we can't forget about our soldiers which we likely will as this event starts to fade away and that donations should be made to the Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services ( so military families, department of national defence employees, RCMP personnel and others receive the morale and welfare programs, services and activities they deserve.

 --I don't know why Rays manager Joe Maddon has decided to step down, but if he isn't fielding calls from both the Cubs and Blue Jays. there is something wrong. Tell me Blue Jays fans that Maddon wouldn't be a huge improvement over John Gibbons.

--Still with the Rays, I was never an Expos fan, but I would love to see them return to Montreal and if they were to come back and stay in the American League East, it would mean 18 games a year against Toronto which would be so huge for baseball in this country. I don't know if this will happen, but if word comes out about a stadium being built if they do, it just might happen.

 --There's no doubt Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner will be the World Series MVP if San Fran hangs on to win it all, but teams going back home needing to win Games 6 and 7 to take it all have done so eight of the last ten times its happened. Win or lose, Bumgarner has given us one of the greatest playoff runs we have ever seen.

--I got word from a friend of mine in Edmonton who has some sources close to the Oilers who indicated the team passed up a chance to get Johnny Boychuk from the Bruins. They were OK in sending Nail Yakupov to the Bruins, but they balked at sending Boston a second round pick. What???? Why???? That doesn't make sense. Boychuk would have been a great addition in Edmonton.

--I will confess I had no idea who Jian Ghomeshi was until the story came out this weekend.

--It would appear as if Steve Nash's great basketball career is over. He's a Hall of Famer if you ask me. He didn't win a title and that is how greatness is measured these days, but in his prime, there was no better.

--The NHL suspended Slava Voynov after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. That's a good thing. Voynov hasn't been charged yet though. It has some asking if he should be playing. That's a tough question to answer. If he doesn't get charged, he has lost out on a lot of salary for basically nothing. Is that right?

--One has to wonder if Marc Trestman is on shaky ground in Chicago. A beatdown by New England won't help his case. Jay Cutler doesn't either, but that's just my opinion.

--Is it safe to say Tom Brady has silenced his critics?

--The Seahawks won an ugly one, but something isn't right with the defending champs.

--Speaking of the Seahawks, you can vote Regina's own Jon Ryan to the Pro Bowl. Go right here and do so...

 --How can anyone watch Two Broke Girls?

--The NBA season starts this week. Did the Raptors playoff run last year mean anything when it comes to interest. I may watch a few more games than usual this year, but I'll be sticking to hockey.

--Congrats to the Rams who got a big win over Manitoba. They also got some help so they are in a position to make the playoffs, but they need to knock off Alberta next Saturday at 2 and then get some more help to get in. One thing is for sure, that team has been very exciting to watch and if their first game against Alberta is any indication, it should be a knock em down, drag em out affair next Saturday.  Gary "Chop" Bresch and I will have the play by play for you on Access next Saturday with Ballsy and Marco Ricci giving you the radio call on 620 CKRM at 2.

--If you are in Hell and you're mad at someone, where do you tell them to go?

--That's all I got. Have a great week!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Could The Expos Be Revived?

Montreal has been without an MLB team since their beloved Expos relocated to Washington in 2005, but Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has reportedly broached the possibility of bringing his franchise to la belle province.

The Rays have consistently struggled to draw fans since their inception in 1998, and have managed the lowest attendance among American League clubs in two of the last three seasons. Beset with a disinterested fan base in a city with economic issues, Sternberg has discussed with his Wall Street associates the possibility of relocating to Montreal, according to the New York Daily News.

“Say what you will about Montreal, but the Expos drew well over two million fans four times there in their heyday, while the Rays did that only once, their first year," said one MLB official.

The Rays, incidentally, remain in disarray after losing both general manager Andrew Friedman and long-time skipper Joe Maddon within the span of two weeks. The former spurned the Rays to become president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers while the latter exercised the opt-out clause in his contract on Friday to pursue other opportunities.

Friday, October 24, 2014

U of R Action This Weekend

Home Events (Canada West)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Winnipeg, Friday (6:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Winnipeg, Friday (7:30 p.m.) at CKHS
Rams Football – vs. Manitoba, Saturday (2:00 p.m.) at Mosaic Stadium – Access7, 620 CKRM
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Winnipeg, Saturday (5:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Winnipeg, Saturday (6:30 p.m.) at CKHS

Away Events (Canada West)
Women’s Hockey – at UBC, Friday (7:00 p.m. PDT) in Vancouver, B.C.
Women’s Hockey – at UBC, Saturday (7:00 p.m. PDT) in Vancouver, B.C.

Away Events (non-conference)
Men’s Basketball – vs. York, Friday (2:00 p.m. EDT) in St. Catharines, Ont.
Wrestling – at Dinos Invitational, Saturday in Calgary, Alta.
Cross Country – at Stewart Cup, Saturday in Calgary, Alta.
Men’s Basketball – vs. Windsor, Saturday (2:00 p.m. EDT) in St. Catharines, Ont.
Men’s Basketball – at Brock, Sunday (2:30 p.m. EDT) in St. Catharines, Ont.

Rams Football – The Rams (1-5) suffered a heartbreaking loss at UBC on Saturday, taking a one-point lead on the first play of the fourth but surrendering a pair of rouges – including with two minutes remaining – in the final quarter to lose 33-32. The Rams now need to win both of their remaining games to make the postseason and will also require some help on the out-of-town scoreboard. Fortunately for the Rams, both of their final games are at home – beginning with Saturday’s Week 7 matchup against Manitoba at Mosaic Stadium (2 p.m.).

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars (0-2) started out their conference season on the road last weekend with a three-set loss to Manitoba on Friday and a four-set loss to the Bisons on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars will now prepare for their Canada West home openers this weekend at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport, as they’ll host Winnipeg (3-1) on Friday (6:00 p.m.) and Saturday (5:00 p.m.).

Men’s Volleyball – After opening up Canada West play with a pair of road losses to Manitoba, the Cougars (0-2) will play their first home conference matches of the season this Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (6:30 p.m.) against Winnipeg (3-1). The men’s matches will follow the conclusion of the women’s matches both nights.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-2-2-1) recorded their third consecutive weekend split on Friday and Saturday, losing 5-3 to No. 10 Calgary in the first game of the two-game set before Emma Waldenberger’s successful attempt in the first round of the shootout stood as the only goal of the game in a 1-0 U of R win on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars are back in action this weekend with a pair of road games at No. 5 UBC (3-1-1-1).

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars won two of their three games on their road swing against NAIA opposition last weekend, starting out with a 69-63 win over Dickinson State on Friday. They were then edged 79-71 by Mayville State before finishing the trip with a strong effort in an 82-63 victory over Jamestown on Sunday. The Cougars are back at it this weekend with a trip to Ontario for a non-conference tournament hosted by Brock that will see them play York, Windsor, and the host Badgers.

Cross Country (Men’s CIS Ranking: No. 9) – Now entering the stretch run of the 2014 schedule, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Calgary this Saturday to run in the Stewart Cup. It’ll be the final race for both Cougar teams before the 2014 CIS Championships, which will be hosted on Nov. 8 by Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L.

Wrestling – The Cougars have their first meet of the 2014-15 season this weekend, as the men’s and the women’s teams will make the trip west to participate in the Dinos Invitational at the University of Calgary. It’s the first of three consecutive weekends of competition for the women’s team, with the Cougars also to compete in the Clan International on Nov. 1 and the Wesmen Invitational on Nov. 8.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (0-8-0) lost twice at Calgary last weekend, falling 5-0 on Saturday before having their comeback fall just short in a 3-2 loss on Saturday that saw them come back from a three-goal deficit with third-period goals by Austin Bourhis and Cody Fowlie. The Cougars will have this weekend off to regroup before returning to action on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at home against UBC.

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars went 2-1 at a non-conference tournament hosted by McGill over the weekend, defeating both Toronto and Lakehead but losing to the host Martlets. Alyssia Kajati led the Cougars in scoring all three games, piling up 23 on Friday, 14 on Saturday, and 21 on Sunday. The Cougars finish non-conference play with an 8-3 record against CIS competition and will have a weekend off before travelling to Victoria to begin Canada West play on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Women’s Soccer – The Cougars (5-5-2) were eliminated from postseason contention after 3-0 and 3-1 road losses to Saskatchewan on Saturday and Sunday. The matches are the final of the 2014 season for the Cougars, who finish in fifth place in the Prairie Division with 17 points and will graduate fifth-year players Molly Glass, Melanie King, and Jayde McFee

This And That

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

  --So some yahoo thinks he is going to try and intimidate us as Canadians by needlessly killing an innocent Canadian soldier and then running through our main political buildings looking to inflict further damage. Sorry buddy, you can't, won't and never will intimidate Canada. Our patriotism is much too strong for one or two acts of terrorism to bring us down.

  --The events of Wednesday once again showcased how much sports can be a tremendous remedy for battling the evil that can envelop us. On a day where the events in Ottawa dominated our lives, it was great to go home and be able to watch the World Series and a hockey game, It allows us to escape for a while.

 --I don't know how the Riders win in Calgary tonight and I don't see them winning tonight, but this is one of those games where Saskatchewan can pull one out of their hat. Then again, I would rather win in Calgary in November than late October if you know what I mean.  I was surprised to hear Rod Pedersen talk about how much the Rider organization and its personnel are hated in Cowtown. AWWWWWW!!!! That's alright, there are many people who here who can't stand the Stampeders either.

 --Its hard to look at Kerry Joseph and go he's 41. He's 41 going on 31 if you know what I mean. There are many 41 year olds out there that wish they looked like Joseph.

 --Who will the Riders MOP candidate be this year?  John Chick had a lock on it, but his play has tailed off somewhat in the second half of the season. Ricky Foley's play has just gotten better while Tearrius George has been consistent from Game 1 on. It won't be an easy choice. We have learned though there is no doubt who the MIP---Most Important Player is and that is the guy who wears number 4,  Barring a Grey Cup victory, I and many other Rider fans will wonder how 2014 would have finished had it not been for Bryant Turner smacking Darian Durant in Winnipeg causing the torn elbow tendon.

 --I am hoping to see a good performance out of Keith Toston tonight. I don't know why this kid hasn't been given a chance after looking great in the pre-season, but the truth is he wasn't until tonight and I wonder if it hadn't of been for back spasms from Anthony Allen and what seemed to be the attitude of Will Ford leading to his release if he would have. I credit Toston for staying here all season long when he could have walked away. I hope he shows this team what he has and that he shows that he should be in the plans for 2015.

--After an outstanding run to get there, the first two games of the World Series were disappointing and not very riveting. I am hoping that changes as the series moves to San Francisco tonight,

--Could we actually go into November this year before seeing snow? I'd be OK with that and I think a lot of you would be too.

--Have the Oilers put that bad start behind them or have they just showed us they are better than teams in the Southeast Division. If its the latter, who do I speak to to get the Oilers moved to the Southeast?

 --Sportsnet's hockey panel proclaimed Rick Nash as the MVP of the first two weeks of the season the other night. Really? We are talking MVP after two weeks? SIGHHHHH!!!

 --Am I the only one frustrated over not knowing what channel the various hockey games are on. Sportsnet does a nice job in promoting Hockey Night in Canada and what games will be on what channel Saturday, but they are doing a poor job on the other 6 nights as far as I'm concerned.

 --Dick White's days as Director of Athletics at the University of Regina is coming to an end. I have no idea who will replace Dick, but the shoes he will have to fill will be immense. The job Dick has done not only locally, but nationally has been tremendous. He must be so happy knowing he has watched the Cougar program go from one of that tiny little school on the Prairies to one that is the envy of many others across Canada because of the athletes, coaches and facilities we have.

--I've had a lot of people tell me through one means or another that Saturday's Rams game at UBC that I had to call by cellphone because of phone line problems wasn't as bad as I think it was and that they were quite impressed with the way everything was handled. I do appreciate the comments, but it doesn't change my feelings on the matter any. Part of me wants to go back and listen to a part of it just to see how bad it sounded and another part of me is just saying walk as far away as that disaster as I can. U of S play-by-play guy Brendan Crowe e-mailed me to ask what happened as the Huskies have to play in Vancouver. I let him know and said my fingers would be crossed. He says they have had problems there before. Oyyyyyy!!!

--As much as I love the NFL, they do some dumb things. Why are the Lions and Falcons playing a game at 730 Sunday morning from London, England. Will there be a huge audience for that tilt? I think CTV will have the game on as part of its Sunday package. Unless you're a Lions or Falcons fan, would you get up to watch this. Then again, I know a Lions fan in this town and I know a Falcons fan in this town too. Seeing the way their teams have played, I might just wanna sleep in on Sunday.

--It sucks when your fantasy football team gets 36 points in a week, but its great when you find out you didn't have the lowest score of the week!!!

--Week 8 NFL Lock Of The Week ----Patriots over Bears
   Week 8 NFL Upset Of The Week---Jags over Dolphins and yes I considered Panthers over Seahawks

--What would it take for Regina to get an NBA Exhibition game here? I think there would be a great appetite for a Raptors game at the Brandt Centre. If tickets weren't excessively expensive (50 to 75), I think it would sell out---especially now that there is a scoreboard above center ice.

--I'll be very interested to see how far this lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League goes. If it succeeds, I think you will see a very different way junior hockey operates and it won't be good.

That's all I got. Have a good weekend! GO RIDERS!!!!  GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 8 NFL Capsules

The first game of Week 8 of the NFL season should be a good one as the Chargers and Broncos meet in Denver.  For a look at the complete week, click here

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Riders Release Three

The Riders have released the following three players

  • RB Will Ford 
  • WR Eron Riley
  • QB Denarius McGhee 

Game 1 World Series Preview

Kansas City, with its couple hundred fountains and seemingly equal number of BBQ joints, is about to take its place as the epicenter of the baseball world tonight when -- after a wait of 28 years, 11 months and 25 days -- the World Series returns to Kauffman Stadium.

Six days after celebrating an American League pennant in front of their own fans by dispatching the Orioles, the Royals will host the Giants in the first World Series matchup between the clubs. First pitch in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET. Pregame coverage on FOX begins at 7:30 p.m.

It is a Fall Classic matchup bubbling with intrigue, one that will feature newbies to this postseason stage against the every-other-year World Series regulars of late. The Giants, who defeated the Cardinals in a five-game National League Championship Series, returned to Missouri having won each of their last eight postseason series. In between, they've raised two World Series banners (2010, '12).

The Royals are riding their own streak, undefeated in their first eight postseason games, something never before accomplished. Their 11-game postseason winning streak (dating back to 1985) ranks as the second longest in Major League history.

"I think this city has been waiting for this for a long time, and the fact that we're doing it in the fashion that we are is tremendous," said James Shields, Kansas City's Game 1 starter. "This is our goal in Spring Training, and we had one mindset, and that was to go to the World Series and win it. And to be able to be here on this big stage is exactly what we've been working really hard for all season long."

Defying the assertion that the Wild Card Game, added in 2012, would prove to be an unclearable hurdle for a Wild Card team to advance to the World Series, both the Giants and Royals emerged from the winner-take-all Wild Card Games and then twice overcame the home-field advantage of their opponents. This World Series gets it start in Kansas City thanks to the AL's victory in the All-Star Game.

Since MLB started using the All-Star Game outcome to determine home-field advantage, the team that has held it has been crowned World Series champions eight times out of 11. That included the Giants in both 2010 and '12. With a series win over the Royals, the Giants would join the Yankees as the only clubs over the last 40 years to boast three championships during a five-year span.

"I was amazed at the Yankees on what they accomplished. It's not that easy," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will send Madison Bumgarner to the mound in Game 1. "I mean, first of all, you've got to get there. Then the road to get there now is a lot more difficult than it used to be. It used to be two pennant winners going at it, and now you have to go through some playoffs, and this year we had the extra one with the [Wild Card] playoff game."

While the two clubs have no October history, they aren't entirely unfamiliar with one another. In August, Interleague Play sent the Giants to Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals completed a sweep during a stretch in which they won 14 of 16 games. San Francisco was outscored, 16-6, with Bumgarner taking one of those losses in a complete-game effort.

Now, the Giants are back, with the lights brighter, the stakes higher and just the second World Series Wild Card matchup on tap. The first all-Wild Card World Series also involved the Giants, who lost a thrilling seven-game series to the Angels in 2002. An unexpected October clash, for sure. But one certain to add to the drama of a postseason in which there have already been 14 games determined by one run.

"This is final, you know?" Royals manager Ned Yost said. "This is the last big series, and there are two teams left standing, which is special. I think it's a great matchup between both clubs. I think that both teams are ready for this."

Giants: Morse set as designated hitter

Content to leave Travis Ishikawa in left field, Bochy intends to make room for Michael Morse in his Game 1 lineup by using him as the Giants' designated hitter. Morse came off the bench to hit a game-tying home run off Pat Neshek in the eighth inning to set up the Giants' walk-off win over the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS. That was just the sixth at-bat Morse had taken since the end of August, as he spent six weeks recovering from a strained oblique muscle before being added to the NLCS roster.

Morse went 2-for-4 pinch-hitting against the Cardinals and has 33 career starts as a DH, including four earlier this season. This will be his first time filling the spot in the postseason.

Royals: A layoff letdown?

Kansas City knocked Baltimore out of the postseason last Wednesday, leaving the Royals with a five-day layoff before they pick up World Series play against the Giants. So will that downtime hurt? History suggests probably not.

Of the 13 teams with five or more days off between the LCS and World Series, seven have gone on to win a championship. Those clubs went 6-7 in Game 1. Short-sightedness may be contributing to the assumption that the Royals will be affected by the layoff, as only one of five teams since 2006 with at five or more days off between the two rounds has gone on to win it all.

Worth noting

• MLB announced that it will dedicate Game 1 to honoring veterans and military families as part of its Welcome Back Veterans program. There will be an on-field, pregame ceremony to highlight this initiative.

• With a Game 1 win, the Royals would tie the Yankees (1927-32, 1998-99) for the most consecutive postseason victories with 12.

• In winning 15 of their last 17 postseason games, the Giants have outscored their opponents, 77-32, while posting a staff ERA of 1.71.

Monday, October 20, 2014

NHL Three Stars Of Week

NEW YORK (Oct. 20, 2014) – Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 19.


Seguin led the NHL with eight points (4-4—8) in three games to help the Stars earn five out of a possible six standings points. He opened the week by recording his fifth career hat trick, including the game-winning goal, in a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Oct. 14. Seguin again tallied the decisive goal, this time with 2.9 seconds left in regulation, in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Oct. 16. He then capped by the week by posting a career-high four assists in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 18. Since joining the Stars for the 2013-14 season, the 22-year-old Brampton, Ont., native leads the League with four hat tricks. The second overall selection by the Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL Draft, Seguin has 97-116—213 in 288 career regular-season games.


Andersen went 4-0-0 with a 1.22 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and one shutout to help the Ducks extend their winning streak to five games. He made 11 saves in a 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Oct. 13, 39 saves – plus another three in the shootout – in a 4-3 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 14 and 27 saves in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild Oct. 17. Andersen then closed the week by recording his first NHL shutout, making 28 saves in a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues Oct. 19. With the win, Andersen improved to 25-5-0 in his NHL career (33 GP), joining Boston’s Ross Brooks (25-2-3; Oct. 25, 1972 – Feb. 28, 1974) as the only goaltenders in League history to win 25 (or more) of their first 30 decisions. The 25-year-old Herning, Denmark, native also maintained his perfect record in 2014-15, improving to 5-0-0 with a 1.38 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in five appearances.


Stamkos led the NHL with five goals and tied for second in the League with six points to power the Lightning to two victories in three starts. He began the week by scoring his eighth career hat trick (including the game-winning goal) and firing a career-high 12 shots on goal in a 7-1 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens Oct. 13. After being held off the scoresheet in a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils Oct. 14, Stamkos posted 2-1—3, including the primary assist on Ryan Callahan’s tiebreaking marker, in a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Oct. 18. The 24-year-old Markham, Ont., native is tied for second in the League with five goals this season. Since the beginning of the 2009-10 campaign, his second in the NHL, no one has scored more goals than Stamkos’ 215.

Something To "Mitch" About

SIGHHHH!!!  That's what the Rider Nation is saying after yet another loss as the green and white saw hopes of a home playoff game this year go "poof" as they were beaten 24-19 by the Edmonton Eskimos Sunday afternoon.

At the half, it looked good. Kerry Joseph was playing well and the defence was playing well, but it came to an end on the first play of the second half as Kendial Lawrence took the kickoff back 96 yards and while the Riders still had a two point lead at the time, it was basically game over. 

For whatever reason, the team acted emotionally as if it was game over after that as the Eskimos controlled the second half to win the game. 

Some thoughts

 --Kerry Joseph can still play the game. His timing wasn't there, but he made some plays and gave the offence some life it hadn't had over this losing skid. Believe it or not, there still is reason to be optimistic. However, Joseph will have to pick up his game as the Stamps and Eskimos now have film on him....fresh film at least.

--Dropped passes did not help Joseph.

--Levy Adcock had one of his better games, Ben Heenan did not

--Covering a kick and punt return has definitely been the Achilles Heel of this football team this year. They've been atrocious as was the attempted short kick at game's end. You have to be better in those areas. Much better

--The Kisscam was uh----um.....uh......interesting and downright funny this week. I'm wondering if a certain fan got slapped after that escapade had come to an end.

--I really wonder what the Durant haters are saying these days

--Don't pin any blame for this loss on Ricky Foley. He was all over the field and maybe took the hardest hit of the day from teammate Tyron Brackenridge at the Riders sideline in the first half.

--I still believe the Eskimos are the best team in the West at this time.

While it was a frustrating afternoon for the Riders on Sunday, it was yet another frustrating afternoon for the University of Regina Rams at Thunderbird Stadium (pictured)  as they were beaten 33-32.  They are now 1-5 on the season, but three of those losses have come by 1,2 and 5 points. The one point that decided this game was a rouge as UBC punter Quinn Van Gylswyk launched his best punt of the afternoon late in the 4th quarter that the Rams could not get out of the endzone. They couldn't muster any offence after that single either as their playoff chances took a serious hit and one that likely prevents Frank McCrystal from going to the playoffs in his final year.

 I've seen Frank walk off the field after a loss many times before, but there was something different about the walk this time and the look. I think the realization its over has hit him. There's a lot of talk about what will happen to the Rams and who will take over. That person has big shoes to fill as Frank was more than a football coach and there are many around this city that will tell you that. Many!

As for our broadcast on 620 CKRM Saturday, all I can say is I'm sorry for the phone line problems. Yes, I heard how bad it was and as I called the game via my cellphone while my colour guy Marco Ricci could just sit there helplessly in a spotters role, I knew how bad it was sounding. The mandate is to get it out there and we did. Once again, I'm sorry you had to endure that for 3 hours, but we did the best we could. If you're wondering, the double ryes consumed after the game did not really make up for the frustration being felt.

Thanks to former U of R Hockey player Greg Hutchings. Hutch texted Marco Ricci on Saturday wanting to know if we wanted his tickets to Saturday's Lightning-Canucks game. We just couldn't find a spot for a ticket drop that was easy so we had to say no to the request.  Just to recap---a terrible football broadcast forced by having to say no to center ice tickets for free for an NHL game. How was your Saturday?

Congrats to Peyton Manning. He doesn't have the championships that the others have, but he has to be considered the greatest of all time after becoming pro football's leading touchdown pass leader on Sunday night. I don't know if you caught the piece ESPN on had on the nine players that have caught just one of Manning's passes for a touchdown, but it was a great feature.

Its tough to repeat in the NFL and the Seahawks are showing that. What the hell happened on that punt return? That was just bizarre. By the way, the officials screwed them at the end, but we'll never know if Seattle may have been able to get a game winning field goal and it shouldn't have come down to that so I'll just let it go---albeit reluctantly.

Looking forward to the World Series. If its like the rest of the baseball playoffs, strap yourself in.

The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons asks a great question about the Royals when it comes to the Blue Jays. Should the Jays be encouraged or discouraged that another team using their formula is in the World Series. The one big difference between the clubs---look at KC's bullpen and then look at Toronto's---end of story.

I read an article on the weekend suggesting Buster Posey is the new face of baseball now that Derek Jeter has retired. I can't argue with that. I'm a big Posey fan myself.

I'm hearing rumblings from TV people who aren't necessarily liking the new Hockey Night in Canada. What are your thoughts?

As a hockey fan, tell me you were upset to see the refs get in between Dion Phaneuf and Jarome Iginla who were going to square off the other night. That would have been a great fight!

Why doesn't Regina have a Papa John's Pizza? I have never had one and I want to.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This And That

The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order.

In February of 2009, I started this blog. This is the 5000th post. In that time, this blog has had 1.12 million hits and 1.5 million views. A sincere thank you to one and all who have checked it out over the last 4 1/2 years.

--As the Saskatchewan Roughriders get set to play the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday, I sense a large part of Rider Nation has given up on this season. They are angry over the quarterback situation and they have resigned themselves that this promising season will likely end on a very bitter note. C'mon Rider Nation!! When this team wasn't good, you always found a positive. You thought there was a way they could win. It seems like this isn't the case this year. People have been moping around for the last month taking every chance they can to take a potshot at the organization that brought you a Grey Cup last year.  We should well know around here you can't win every year even though you'd like to. Let's get some buzz going again this weekend. Kerry Joseph may succeed and he may fail, but in my mind, he is the best option and the last option this team has. Stand behind them as they roll the dice and don't get so negative over what has happened. No one wanted Darian Durant to go down, but it happened. Its the cruel reality of sports. We've been through worse haven't we? When it was worse, there was always a quiet confidence that the team could find a way. Can we have that attitude back for the remainder of the year?

--Another fanbase that is seemingly giving up is the one who cheers for the Edmonton Oilers, but realistically I can understand it. At what point is this team going to be competitive? In a tough Western Conference, you need close to 100 points to get in the playoffs and I didn't expect Edmonton to be at this level this year. I didn't expect them to give up 23 in their first 4 games while still searching for its first win. 23 goals in 4 games----I can understand if that's me playing NHL15, but I'm not! If this team doesn't play well in an upcoming 7 game homestand, it is going to get very ugly. I still think they screwed up last  year when they didn't trade their first round, first overall pick or at the least take Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart ahead of Nail Yakupov. He's been a disaster. Should I just resign myself to the fact Jordan Eberle will be traded. What can they get for him? I heard someone on NHL Radio Thursday morning suggest kicking Florida's tires to see if they could get Brian Campbell, whom the Panthers are trying to get rid of, a draft pick and a prospect or two. I don't think they could get that. Who knows? Would Buffalo trade Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford for Ebs and Jeff Petry? I will not be happy if Ebs gets traded and if he were to go to the Leafs, I might consider selling stock.

--Week 7 NFL Lock of The Week---Dallas over Giants
   Week 7 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Lions over Saints

--Milan Lucic = Class Act

-- I should have mentioned this Monday, but congratulations to Dave Taylor and the U of R womens basketball team. The team, with seven players thanks to injury and absence, managed to win three straight games against tough opponents last weekend on their home floor.  Dave has got himself a good team again this year and the mens team led by Steve Burrows looks to be a lot better meaning a lot of entertaining nights are ahead this winter at the CKHS. I hope to see a lot of basketball fans at the gym this winter.

--Congrats as well to the Cougars softball team (yes they have one)....they won bronze at the Canadian Championships. Good job to coach Mike Smith and his squad.

--Could be an interesting afternoon in Vancouver on Saturday. I'll be calling the Rams game on CKRM against UBC at one of the most picturesque stadiums in Canada---Thunderbird Stadium. Word is Marco Ricci and I will be calling the game in a beer garden in the crowd. Do I need a cooler? If the Rams get spanked the way they did in Calgary, can Marco and I crack some at halftime? For what its worth, I'm not expecting the Rams to get spanked. They beat UBC on opening night and if the defence can hold, they can do it again.

--These baseball playoffs might be the best collective one I've ever seen. Its been one dramatic game after another. I'm guessing it will be the same when the Royals and Giants go at it. Can't wait for Tuesday and Game 1.

--If you did not see the piece of Riders linebacker Brian Peters and a young fan that aired on TSN this past week, you might want to click here.

--Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game," when we are already there?

Have a great weekend!!

U of R Athletics This Weekend

Home Events (Canada West)Women’s Hockey – vs. Calgary, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Women’s Hockey – vs. Calgary, Saturday (3:00 p.m.) at The Co-operators Centre
Away Events (Canada West)Women’s Volleyball – at Manitoba, Friday (6:00 p.m. CDT) in Winnipeg, Man.
Men’s Hockey – at Calgary, Friday (7:00 p.m.) in Calgary, Alta.
Men’s Volleyball – at Manitoba, Friday (8:00 p.m. CDT) in Winnipeg, Man.
Women’s Soccer – at Saskatchewan, Saturday (12:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.
Women’s Volleyball – at Manitoba, Saturday (1:00 p.m. CDT) in Winnipeg, Man.
Men’s Volleyball – at Manitoba, Saturday (3:00 p.m. CDT) in Winnipeg, Man.
Rams Football – at UBC, Saturday (2:00 p.m. PDT) in Vancouver, B.C. – Access7, 620 CKRM
Men’s Hockey – at Calgary, Saturday (6:00 p.m.) in Calgary, Alta.
Women’s Soccer – at Saskatchewan, Sunday (12:00 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Sask.
Away Events (non-conference)Women’s Basketball – vs. Toronto, Friday (2:00 p.m. EDT) in Montreal, Que.
Men’s Basketball – at Dickinson State, Friday (7:00 p.m.) in Dickinson, N.D.
Women’s Basketball – at McGill, Saturday (5:00 p.m. EDT) in Montreal, Que.
Men’s Basketball – at Mayville State, Saturday (6:00 p.m. CDT) in Mayville, N.D.
Women’s Basketball – vs. Lakehead, Sunday (10:00 a.m. EDT) in Montreal, Que.
Men’s Basketball – at Jamestown, Sunday (12:00 p.m. CDT) in Jamestown, N.D.
Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-1-1-1) split on the road with No. 4 Alberta last weekend, losing 7-1 to the Pandas on Friday but recovering for a 2-1 victory on Saturday for their first regulation victory of the Canada West schedule. Tied for fourth place in the early conference standings with six points, the Cougars are at home this weekend against No. 10-ranked Calgary (3-0-0-1). The teams will play on Friday night (7:00) and Saturday afternoon (3:00).
Rams Football – After the conference’s bye week, the Rams (1-4) are back in action this Saturday with a road game at UBC that will be Canada West Football on Shaw’s featured game. Though the Rams enter Week 6 one game behind Manitoba for the final postseason spot in the conference, they have the good fortune of having UBC (1-4), Manitoba (2-3), and Alberta (3-2) on the schedule for the final three weeks of the season – all teams they’re currently battling for the last two playoff berths. Saturday’s game kicks off at 3 p.m. Saskatchewan time, live on 620 CKRM and Access7.
Women’s Soccer – Playing in their final two home games of the season last weekend, the Cougars (5-3-2) were edged 2-0 by MacEwan on Saturday before coming back with a 2-1 victory over the Griffins on Sunday. The Cougars are in fifth place in Canada West’s Prairie Division and just one point back of Saskatchewan for the fourth and final playoff berth in the division – and the two teams meet this weekend in Saskatoon, with the Cougars needing at worst a win and a draw to advance to the postseason for the third consecutive year.
Men’s Volleyball – After sitting out the first week of the Canada West schedule with a bye, the Cougars finally kick off conference play this weekend with a pair of road matches. They’ll take on Manitoba, which enters the series at 1-1 after splitting with Calgary last weekend. The Cougars and the Bisons have first serve scheduled at 8 p.m. (CDT) on Friday and 3 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday following the conclusion of the women’s match both days.
Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars kept busy during their bye week with four matches against CCAA opposition at a tournament hosted by Briercrest College, winning all four to finish their non-conference schedule with a 7-5 record. Playing their first Canada West games of the season, the Cougars will face a Manitoba (0-2) team that lost in five sets to Calgary twice last weekend. Match time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CDT) on Friday and 1 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday.
Men’s Hockey – The Cougars played the top team in the CIS tough at home last weekend, but were defeated 2-1 by No. 1-ranked Alberta on Friday and surrendered a late pair of goals in a 5-2 loss to the Golden Bears on Saturday. The Cougars (0-6-0) will hit the road this weekend for a pair of games against No. 6-ranked Calgary (4-2-0), which moved up one spot in this week’s national poll after a home-and-home sweep over Lethbridge. Game times are 7:00 on Friday night and 6:00 on Saturday night.
Women’s Basketball – The Cougars put forth a gutsy effort to go 3-0 at their own non-conference tournament hosted at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport last weekend. They defeated Carleton 61-55 on Thursday, then followed that up with a 76-50 win over Fraser Valley and a convincing 95-69 victory over Saskatchewan – the latter two wins coming with just seven players available due to injuries. Riding a five-game winning streak, the Cougars are 6-2 against CIS competition and continue their non-conference schedule this weekend against Toronto, McGill, and Lakehead at a tournament hosted by McGill in Montreal.
Men’s Basketball – The Cougars started their non-conference schedule last weekend in Winnipeg, losing 71-59 to Winnipeg in a game played at St. Paul’s HS on Friday and falling 88-70 at Manitoba on Saturday night. The team will now prepare for their traditional three-game road swing against NAIA opposition this weekend, as the Cougars will take on Dickinson State on Friday, Mayville State on Saturday, and Jamestown on Sunday.

Week 7 NFL Capsules

Week 7 of the NFL season started Thursday night with the New York Jets tackling the Patriots. For a comolete look at the games this weekend, click here

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bombers Release Nic Grigsby

The CFL’s touchdown leader no longer has a job with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The club announced today, in a one-line statement, that running back Nic Grigsby has been released.

Grigsby leads the league with nine TDs, including eight on the ground. He is also fourth in league rushing with 744 yards on 162 carries.

But he was left off the Bombers’ roster Monday when the club played in Edmonton, replaced by Paris Cotton. Winnipeg was thumped 41-9, dropping the club to 6-9 on the season.

Grigsby had just 121 yards in his last three games and was averaging just 3.78 yards per carry over that span.

(Winnipeg Free Press)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

I would personally like to thank the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. No matter how bad things are in Saskatchewan, we can look at the Bombers and chuckle. As bad as the Riders were in Montreal on Monday, the Bombers did their best to out-do us and they did losing 41-9 and doing so with their number one quarterback. Thanks Winnipeg! Thanks a lot!

I'm just at a loss for words over what I saw in Montreal. When you think you have hit rockbottom, you find there's another level or two you can hit. Gawdawful doesn't even begin to describe that effort.

Tino Sunseri once again struggled, but it seems like the gameplan was run Anthony Allen all day or throw him a short pass. How many plays was Allen NOT involved in in the first half? I would have thought the deer in the headlights look would be gone from Tino by now, but its not. If you remember back in the pre-season, Sunseri seemed to have regressed somewhat from what he showed at the end of last season. It would seem as if it isn't getting any better. It also shows me the coaches have no confidence in him whatsoever and they might have less in Seth Doege. Where was Bagg, Getzlaf, Dressler when it mattered? Where were those three when it didn't matter. You need to throw some deep passes to stretch a defence out, but I'm not seeing that with this guy. Then again, he continues to hold onto the ball wayyyyyyy too long for my liking and I'm sure that is disrupting pattern after pattern as well.

If you are Corey Chamblin, do you have any other choice but to start Kerry Joseph next Sunday in what is a must win game if you want a home playoff game? I seriously believe he gives you your best option at winning. I don't know if the coaching staff has any confidence in the young quarterbacks because if they do, they aren't showing it.

Other thoughts from the long weekend

--I'll say it right here. The Eskimos are the best team in the West. If I had to put money down right now as to what team would be representing the West in Vancouver, I would go with the Eskimos.

--A three way tie for first in the East as Hamilton, Montreal and Toronto are all 6-8. What team are you taking there to finish first?

--It would have been nice for TSN to show us more of the Anthony Calvillo retirement ceremony. Do you think Brett Favre even knew who A-C was before he voiced that video tribute? You can't say enough about the class Calvillo brought on and off the field. He would be a tremendous ambassador for this league.

--Lemme get this straight, I can't win in the Safeway Touchdown to Win promotion, yet Mayor Michael Fougere can? Will he use that smoker before an upcoming meeting of city council.

--Former Riders linebacker Mike McCullough just about made me drive off the road Monday morning. McCullough was talking about Kerry Joseph's first stint in Riderville and how it came to an end because Eric Tillman had promised him more money at the end of the season and then reneged prompting his trade to Toronto. McCullough piped up "Yeah because Eric is a man of ethics and morals!" YIKES!!

--Claasy move by newly named Senators captain Erik Karlsson. He bought one thousand "C"s and gave them to the pro-shop. If you have a Karlsson jersey already, they will give you one and if you buy one, they will sew it on for you. That's a nice touch!

--The first Hockey Night in Canada is in the books. What did you think? The on-ice presentation stays the same, but some of the things done off the ice made me raise my eyebrows. What was with the magic pucks? I'm also not a fan of Paul Romanuk. Some agree with me and others don't which is fine. In my books, Romanuk isn't half the p x p announcer that people like WHL'ers Les Lazaruk, Jon Keen and Robin Bartel are and you can add Rod and Peter Loubardias to that mix as well. I would even throw current CHL p x p man RJ Broadhead into the mix. They are call a better game and are more entertaining than Romanuk.

--The baseball playoffs just continue to provide excitement. The final two innings of Sunday's game between the Giants and Cardinals was fantastic.

--What wasn't fantastic was the performance of the Seahawks. I didn't think any team could walk into Century Link Field and smack them around, but that's what happened and full credit to the Cowboys. That final score actually flattered Seattle as they were bad. Despite the win, I would not put Dallas into a Super Bowl contender category yet.

--The RCMP said they would be a presence on Saskatchewan highways this weekend and they were. I counted at least 5 people pulled over while heading up and down the road this weekend. Funny enough is that at least three of the vehicles were from Manitoba.

--The Todd Gurley/NCAA situation is a joke. The NC double A can capitalize on Gurley's name and image to make money as can the University of Georgia, but he can't. That ladies and gentlemen is hypocrisy. Gurley isn't the first, but hopefully he is the last.

--A new PGA season has already started. Didn't the last one end about two weeks ago. There is definitely no off-season there.

That's all I got. Have a good week!