Friday, July 31, 2015

Depth Chart for Friday's Game in Edmonton

This and That

The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind and as always, they are in no particular order.

--It doesn't matter if Matt Nichols, James Franklin, Jordan Lynch or Tom Wilkinson is quarterbacking the Eskimos tonight. If the Riders defence doesn't start playing to their capabilities, Edmonton wins. They may have done so already with Brett Smith calling the signals as Chris Jones may be bringing blitzes from the seats. You may want to cover your eyes by half-time of this one, It may not be pretty. That being said, Smith has known he will be the starter since Kevin Glenn went down and he did make the Eskimos defence look silly as Chris Jones said in Fort McMurray. I think Jones is once again being melodramatic and is trying to sell some tickets, but who knows.  It is at times like this when the Riders pull together and pull one out. Get out there and play the game and let's see what happens.

--The Riders are what the record says they are and that is how they will be defined, but there is not one person out there who could have seen what has happened in the last five games coming. If you did, go buy a lottery ticket and find some warm weather place to retire in.

--Say what you will about Corey Chamblin, but this bad start is nothing compared to what the mood was like when Greg Marshall was calling the shots. There is still a positive vibe flowing through that dressing room. When Marshall was here, that vibe wasn't there and you could tell. These players want to play for Chamblin and they have a respect for their head coach. Injuries can't be used as an excuse, but once again you have to ask where this team would be if Darian Durant, Shea Emry, Weldon Brown, Tristan Jackson, Mark Legree and Keenan McDougall and others were all healthy. There is no way they would be 0-6.  Does that exonerate the squad from their performance and Coach C from what has happened. No it does not, but the Riders have not gotten any luck this year. NONE!

--Hall of Fame columnist Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun has a great column this week asking if the 0-5 performance of the Riders with 0-6 staring them right in the face will have a negative affect on the Eskimos when it comes to attendance. Will the Edmonton and Northern Alberta chapter of the Rider Nation decide to sit this one out because of the horrible start? Eskimos president Len Rhodes says the absence of Rider Nation may be offset by those in Edmonton who are jumping on the bandwagon, but Jones asks a great question. If Rider fans don't show up en masse in Edmonton the way they have in the past, will they head to Winnipeg for the Banjo Bowl and will they lessen the green tinge at MacMahon Stadium.  The Riders drive the CFL in many ways and attendance is one of those ways. The Riders have only played one road game this year and only 23-thousand showed up in BC.  Attendance is down in the CFL and if Rider fans start to stay away from road games, it may go down even more.

--I was asked if I had seen the movie "Trainwreck" the other night to which I responded, yes I have been to all four Rider home games this year. It hasn't been a PG13 effort either.

--Alouettes coach and GM Tom Higgins says Michael Sam will play in August. Good! Then we will see if this guy can play the game or if he can't and if it is the latter, the excuse of his sexuality won't be brought into question. I don't know how serious Sam is taking the Canadian style of game as he seems to be more concerned with other things in his life right now, but lets see him get on the field and do his thing.

--Deflategate won't end and listening to American sports talk radio is fascinating because each host has his own take to it. I have heard pro-Brady arguments, I have heard anti-Brady arguments, I have heard Goodell must go arguments. I've heard it all. In the end, I just think Tom should come clean and accept his punishment.  I think America would be more forgiving if that were to happen and his legacy wouldn't be tarnished at all.  Brady didn't help himself by not turning over his cellphone and then instructing his assistant to destroy it just hours before he was to meet with Ted Wells. He knew exactly what he was doing, but he also didn't think the "Golden Boy" of the NFL would be treated this way by Goodell.   If Goodell had reduced Brady's sentence, he would have, in essence, ruled against himself. He also would have undermined Ted Wells, the man he paid millions to investigate the controversy, which is exactly why he should not have been the arbiter in this appeal. The NFL Players Association has said Brady will go to court to amend this issue, so the madness continues.  As I said, accept your punishment, acknowledge your role, sit the four games and move on. Letting this drag out potentially hurts Brady and the Patriots more.

--Less than a month until UFC Fight Night in Saskatoon. Can't wait!

--I was told once many years ago that the weather cycle is 6 months and if you get rain in July or August, you will get snow in January and February. If that is true, we are in for a helluva snowstorm in late January after what we saw this week. I hope that's an Old Wives tale! By the way, I would much rather take what he had Monday and Tuesday then a winter storm like that.

--It is a year too late in my mind, but Alex Anthopoulos is rolling the dice. He finally realized this team had to trade some solid prospects to get an established player. Yes, David Price may be only be a Blue Jay for two months, but so was David Cone in 1993 and the Blue Jays won a World Series. No one will care if Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd are constant 16-17 game winners if Toronto doesn't win. I don't think they catch the Yankees, but the wild-card is there for the taking and if they get there, we know Price starts Game 1. I just hope for Toronto fans that whoever they play in that wildcard game doesn't get to the Toronto bullpen because they still scare the hell out of me. If you have confidence in Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, Liam Hendriks and Latroy Hawkins, you should be commended or committed.

--If you would have walked up to a sports fan in Toronto on Thursday and said "Congrats, you got Price", I wonder how many would have thought they had landed the Canadiens goalie. The number may be higher than you think.

 --Jose Bautista was not a happy Blue Jay last year when Anthopoulos did nothing to improve the team going into the stretch drive. This year after Tulowitzki was acquired and Bautista was asked for his thoughts, the quote was "I think there's upgrades in different areas, maybe not necessarily what we need, but it is an upgrade if you want to look at it that way. That really isn't an endorsement coming from a "team leader". Bautista is a piece the Blue Jays need as they move forward, but he is also a piece that can be expendable for the right price. Don't be surprised if he gets moved in the off-season.

--Would Toronto be a good host for a future Summer Olympics? I think it would be great, but the overexposure leading up to the games would be nauseating. At least Cathal Kelly would be happy after being upset that the FIFA Womens World Cup never called Toronto home.

--Congratulations to the Regina senior little league team that went to the Canadians and won for the 2nd straight year. The team is off to Bangor, Maine for the Little League Senior World Series. This squad did better than many other Canadian teams last year and a lot of the kids are back so lets see what they can do this year.

--That's all I got. GO RIDERS. Have a great weekend. Have a great long weekend that is!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

David Price is a member of the Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired ace left-hander David Price from the Detroit Tigers,

In exchange, the Tigers will receive left-handers Daniel Norris, Jairo Labourt, and Matt Boyd. The Blue Jays will take on the entirety of Price's remaining salary.
In 21 starts for Detroit this season, Price is 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 146 innings.
The 29-year-old Price, acquired by the Tigers from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to last year's deadline, will be a free agent after this season.

Price is the second major acquisition for the Blue Jays this week. In a stunning pickup early Tuesday, they acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies.
While another bat was nice, the Blue Jays certainly need the rotation help --€“ their starters rank 23rd in the majors with a 4.34 ERA. At 51-51, Toronto is seven games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East but just two games back in the AL wild-card race.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants reportedly were among the other serious suitors for Price.
Price is the third ace to be moved in recent days, joining Cole Hamels (from the Philadelphia Phillies to Texas Rangers) and Johnny Cueto (from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals).

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Riders QB Shuffle Continues

Riders head coach Corey Chamblin announced Wednesday afternoon Kevin Glenn has been put on the six game injured list. Glenn suffered a torn pectoral injury that Chamblin says will not require surgery.

It means Brett Smith will become the 6th Rider quarterback to start a game since last year's Banjo Bowl as he joins Darian Durant, Glenn, Tino Sunseri, Kerry Joseph and Seth Doege.

Chamblin said another quarterback would be brought in and it appears that quarterback could be Blake Sims. Those who follow US College Football closely would know Sims was the quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide who were the number one ranked team in college football until getting knocked off by the eventual national champion Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl.

Sims spent one year as QB of the Tide and in that one year, he completed 64 and a half percent of his passes, threw 28 TD's, 10 INTS and had just under 3500 yards passing.

Willy to Start for Bombers Against Lions

Drew Willy's brief time on the sideline with a lower body injury is over, as the Blue Bombers announced Wednesday that their franchise quarterback will return to start in Thursday's game vs. BC. 
Willy was sidelined in the third quarter of last weekend's 32-3 loss in Edmonton to the Eskimos with what the team called a lower body injury. He didn't return to that game, however the team said Monday that Willy's injury was not considered serious, making him probably for Thursday's home game against the Lions.
The 28-year-old has played an integral role in the Bombers' resurgence starting last season, while currently he sits second among starting CFL quarterbacks with a passer rating of 109.2. Willy has not missed a start this season and will look to lead the Bombers to win number three of 2015 against a tough Lions club.
Willy has completed 71.2 per cent of his passes this season and thrown five touchdown passes to just two interceptions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Week 5 CFL Stars of the Week

With the CFL abandoning its stars of the week and going with performers of the week, I give you my stars of the week

OFFENCE-Henry Burris -OTTAWA  

The ageless Burris still has some game in him, A 389 yard, three touchdown performance against the defending Grey Cup champs was arguably the biggest moment in the history of the young REDBLACKS franchise,


The Eskimos made life miserable for Drew Willy, Brian Brohm and the Winnipeg offence on a rainy Saturday at Commonwealth. Howard may only have had one sack, but he was in the Bombers backfield all night,  It is the 2nd straight week he has been my top defensive player.

CANADIAN- Andrew Harris - BC 

The Lions blew a big lead to the Argos, but it wasn't Andrew Harris' fault. He had all three of the BC touchdowns--2 by run and one by pass. He is the early candidate for the league's top Canadian and yes. I realize we aren't even a third of the way through.


Shaw had only one field goal, but the former U of S Husky kept Winnipeg pinned inside their own zone all night with some tremendous coffin corner punts giving the Bombers long fields to work with.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blue Jays Swap Shortstops With Rockies

The Toronto Blue Jays have sent shortstop Jose Reyes and prospects to the Colorado Rockies for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitcher Latroy Hawkins. 

Tulowitzki is owed $113.7 million through 2020, according to, and would receive a $2 million bonus for being traded. 

His contract also converts to include a full no-trade clause from here on out, per Fox Sports. 

Tulowitzki has spent his entire nine-year career in Colorado after he was drafted seventh overall in 2005.

The Gold Glove-winning infielder is a five-time All-Star and was considered an early front-runner for the 2014 NL MVP award after a hot start that saw him post a slash line of 421/.522/.794 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in the first month of the season. 

He injured his left hip during a July 20 game, however, and underwent labral repair surgery in August that forced him to miss the rest of 2014 season. 

Tulowitzki is batting .300 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs over 87 games in 2015. He is a career .299 hitter.

The Rockies are currently in last place in the NL West at 42-55.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are hoping to make a late run at the New York Yankees in the AL East. Toronto currently trails New York by seven games. 

Something to "Mitch" About

These two have likely seen some lean years, but yes, Rider Nation it is now really looking ugly. It is at a point where many haven't seen it before and they don't like it. Can't say I blame them.   I have no idea if Kevin Glenn's injury is a serious one or not, but we know K-G was brought in as an insurance policy in case Darian Durant went down and we hoped what happened Sunday night would not happen once Durant did get hurt as we are now down to another set of inexperienced quarterbacks. Is this scenario any better than last year when Durant went down? If it is, please explain.

You can't pin this one on Brett Smith because 3rd string quarterbacks aren't supposed to come in and save the day, but once Glenn went down it seemed the hopes of seeing that first win vanished. 

At least last year, you would hope for the defence to come through, but this year that isn't happening. They give up too many yards on first down, when they do have 2nd and long teams are converting whether it by pass or by penalty and yes a turnover would be nice.  Did Hamilton even punt in this game?  How many broken tackles were there? This defence simply just doesn't have what it takes right now for whatever reason. The loss of Shea Emry in Week 1 was huge, John Chick is getting double-teamed, Tyron Brackenridge is not the Tyron Brackenridge of old. The Rider D just isn't up to snuff right now and until they get their act together, this will continue as far as I am concerned. Hamilton did nothing special against that unit Sunday night. Zach Collaros just did his thing and he did it well. How many times did the Riders keep drives alive because of penalty?  The frustration level is high and until that win comes, whenever it comes, it will stay that way. 

By the way, do we now see how important and how much Barron Miles meant to this football team. I didn't like it when his days with the football club came to an end and my thoughts on that have been proven by what we've seen.  

Corey Chamblin's comment after the game was the best one yet to describe this 0-5 team. The comment being "This game told us where we were as a team. We're not good enough to make mistakes.

I can't argue that or even debate it because he's right.  I have no idea where this team ends or how it ends, but as the one third point season of the hits, it may be close to start thinking about next year when Durant will be healthy, Emry will be healthy and the chalkboard can be wiped clean. With Glenn out, all bets are now off unless this team finds another experienced quarterback and if so, what does it cost them and who is out there. 

There were some positives believe it or not 

1. Weston Dressler--If you could clone him, you would win a lot more games than you would lose. Pound for pound, he is the best player in the CFL. His play on that lateral where he picked up the ball and threw it out of bounds is something not many players would do, 

2. Paul McCallum -- This guy could kick until he's 50. Don't be surprised if he is the kicker when the new stadium opens because he just keeps getting it done. At what point, do we start talking about this guy as one of the greatest kickers in the history of pro football. 

3. Nic Demski -- You can see glimpses of greatness here. This guy will be a player!

4. Special teams play. With the exception of one real bone-headed play where there was no attempt to get out of the way resulting in a 15 yard penalty, they held Brandon Banks in check. 

One last thing and that is the crowd. 5 home games in June and July isn't the easiest thing for the casual fan plunking down money for seats. There were over 30-thousand fans at the game yesterday and while they didn't like the end result. They were there. Good job Rider Nation!

--Elsewhere, it is starting to become a survival of the fittest around the league as you can add Jon Cornish and Drew Willy to the list of injured players joining Mike Reilly, Ricky Ray and Darian Durant. You can say what you want about the officiating spoiling the game, but not having the league's best players in uniform is not good as well.

--Are the Argos the best team in the CFL? It is sad that they are and no one in their home market cares.

--I hardly watched any of the Pan-Am Games, but with well over 100 medals it would seem as if we are ready for the Rio Olympics next year. I am really looking forward to seeing how our basketball teams will fare after each won medals in Toronto with the women winning gold with University of Saskatchewan coach Lisa Thomaidis guiding the team. With people like Thomaidis and Dave Taylor running the University programs in this province, I think its safe to say there are good times on the horizon for the sport in these neck of the woods.

--A belated congratulations to legendary CTV Saskatoon sportscaster Kevin Waugh for winning the Tory nomination in a Saskatoon riding for the upcoming federal election. Could Conservative caucus meetings include both Waugh and all around Regina good guy Trent Fraser. Imagine that for just one second! Hey if Waugh can do it, can we start a grassroots campaign for CTV Regina's Don Hewitt??

--Speaking of CTV, the great Wayne Mantyka had a story last week about two teenagers who caused some vandalism in Harbour Landing by stealing a front-end loader and wrecking a playground by spraying graffiti. The developers want to know who is responsible, but they don't want to press charges. They would like an apology, some parental responsibility and perhaps have these kids do some work for them. HUH? Why have we become so lenient in today's society? An apology won't be meaningful, but pressing charges and having these jackwagons go to jail for 30 days might straighten them out and scare the hell out of them, An apology!!! What a ludicrous suggestion. Will they go for ice cream after?

--Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez, but he is having one helluva season for the New York Yankees and he will likely be in the playoffs again.

--Seeing someone twirl a no-hitter against the Cubs was not fun as Cole Hamels did that Saturday afternoon.  The Cubs had gone over 7000 games without being no-hit. That streak is over, but as one oh so nice Twitter follower reminded me shortly after the no-no had been completed, the lengthy no World Series victory streak remains alive. Thanks for that!!

--David Hearn gave it his best, but it wasn't enough to win the Canadian Open. I didn't see much of the final round, but what I did see was Jason Day on the top of his game. When he is at that level, he isn't going to get beat.

--That's all I got. Enjoy your Monday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

This and That

It's time for the usual thoughts that are running through my muddled mind and as always, they appear in no particular order.

--The Winnipeg Sun's Kirk Penton has tongues wagging in these parts after suggesting Paul Lapolice will be in here by Labour Day as the head coach of the Riders, The Winnipeg Free Press' Gary Lawless has also suggested change is imminent in Riderville with both Brendan Taman and Chamblin being gone with Jeremy O'Day becoming the new GM if things don't improve. Where are these guys getting their info? Penton is one of the best beat writers in the CFL if not the best (sorry Murray McCormick), but this would seem to be a little outlandish especially when Lapolice sends out a tweet saying Penton is on the wrong road. While it just gives the very loud "vocal minority" that wants change some more ammunition, it also gives the /=S=/ some more motivation to get out of this early season slide and beat the Ti-Cats Sunday night. Talk about winning one for the beleaguered coach

In the article where Penton suggests change could be coming in Riderville, he also has come up with some interesting tidbits and ones that can't be considered outlandish.
  •  Scoring is up by 5.1 points from last year, but if you only include points scored by the offence which is what the CFL wanted, the margin is 2.9 points. It has the pride of Moosomin asking if CFL fans are fired up for that extra field goal per game they are seeing. 
  • There are the same number of big plays (30 yard pass or 20 yard rush) as there were after four weeks last season.
  • Rider fans are bemoaning the loss of Richie Hall, but Hall's new defence in Winnipeg is giving up more yards than what the much-ridiculed Rider defence is giving up
  • The Rider offence has been successful on 52 percent of second and seven or above this year while the league average is 37 percent. 

This just in, while you don't play the game on paper, the Ti-Cats have in my mind the best team top to bottom in the CFL so it wouldn't surprise me if another down week is on the horizon. However, Kent Austin has not had much success from the visiting sidelines since returning to the CFL and judging by my picks this year picking Hamilton is a guaranteed win for the Riders.

Speaking of Austin, this is what he had to say to Drew Edwards of the Hamilton Spectator this week when asked what is happening in Riderville because if anyone knows it would be him. The answer  “The thing that’s great about it is that you’d rather your fans be invested. You have to take the good with the bad and believe in yourself and the staff, which I know Corey does. They’ll get things turned around — hopefully not against us.  Once again, Kent Austin has summed it up in a nutshell. Can you debate this?

Back to Penton. The pride of Moosomin has a question which many around the CFL and myself are asking as well and that is why does TSN keep defending the refs? It looks bad for them to keep doing so. The American consortium of networks have no problem in criticizing the refs if the need is there. Perhaps TSN needs to take a page from the NFL book and hire a former ref to sit in studio to discuss controversial calls and do it while the command center is doing its thing. There has to be someone out there who would do it.

--When did Chris Getzlaf become the Rider whipping boy for 2015?  Did I miss the memo?  Did Brian Peters give him that crown before heading to the NFL? Getzlaf has been the target of critics right from the start of training camp.  Chris Getzlaf is not the problem! 

--CTV Regina's Lee Jones did a tremendous story on Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith Thursday. Jones asked if the two have come up with a name for themselves like "The Dynamic Duo". They haven't although Dressler threw out the name "Bash Brothers". Cmon Rider Nation, you've been challenged!! Come up with a name. AlI I have is Dakota and Dakota Junior and that's weak!

--Speaking of Dressler, in announcing their Week 4 players of the week, the CFL has a line at the bottom saying Weston Dressler was named the Week 3 performer of the week and gets 10 bonus points. Bonus points? Can Weston take 5 dollars off a cable package from SHAW, does he get an appearance on the Global Regina morning show.  What exactly does this mean?

--Why was Matt Devlin doing Blue Jays games earlier this month and can he return to that position?

--Did anyone see the Brett Lawrie/Barry Davis interview Wednesday night? The Oakland 3rd baseman was emotionless as he "addressed" Blue Jays fans. Where was his cue card guy? Lawrie came off as the selfish, immature player he was in Toronto and it just makes the trade for Josh Donaldson look all that much better. 

--The Sporting News ranked NFL quarterbacks from 1-32 and surprisingly Houston's Brian Hoyer was number 32. How could anyone but Jay Cutler be at 32. Some NFL insiders will tell you there are backups in the NFL better than Cutler.  By the way, Cutler finished 20th ahead of others like 2nd year QB's Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles and rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. However, Matt Cassel, RG 3 and Josh McCown might be insulted while the Bills, Redskins and Browns fan base can be less than enthused about the upcoming season.

--Huey Lewis and the News played in Saskatoon Tuesday night while Journey played in Regina as Saskatchewan went back into an 80's timewarp. Did Duran Duran play in Prince Albert? Was Loverboy in Moose Jaw? Did Alabama play a set somewhere? Where was Debbie Gibson????

--There is nothing like seeing a good old fashioned thunderstorm roll through. 

--Former golfer Gary Player said Wednesday he is rooting for Tiger Woods to come back and be the player he used to be because golf needs a black champion and kids need to be inspired. Does it really matter what colour a golfer is to be inspired? Player isn't even being raked over the coals for this. If someone said a white golfer needs to be champion, he would be crucified. It has to go both ways doesn't it. Perhaps Player is being given a pass because he is in his late 70's, but I am surprised no one has called him on it.

--Will the Saskatchewan Rush try to work on their provincial name by doing something in Regina whether it be an exhibition game or a camp or something? It would benefit the team by having them do something here and connecting with an audience in the southern part of the province.

--With the Canadian dollar being at a level it hasn't been at since 2004 what does it mean for Canadian NHL teams who are on the upswing. I would think they can absorb the hit a little bit better than the last time, but who knows! Will it have an impact on whether or not the league returns to Quebec City?

--Colin Cowherd is leaving ESPN?  This is terrible news which is made more terrible by the fact Sirius/XM Sports Zone has moved the time of the "Dan Patrick" show.  Cowherd and Patrick are the gold standard in sports talk radio.

--Why does TSN continue to bring us "That's Hockey" especially in mid-July. LET IT GO!!! Are you going to beat your head against a wall and continue to do a show like this when you don't have the rights for another 14 years? It's over! Turn the page. Here's an idea, how about a show called "The CFL Tonight" that is a half hour long and dedicates some programming to what is happening around the league.  I would have greater interest than that than some of the sludge they are trotting out these days.

--What are the odds on Don Cherry and Lou Lamoriello getting into fisticuffs this year? This could be Kapp-Mosca 2 with two old men flailing about.  Lou Lamoriello?? Really?? Saying this is a shocker is an understatement. How the h-e- double hockeysticks did the Leafs manage to keep this quiet is the question many are asking and I will say the same thing.  What a covert operation! In this day and age of social media, it caught everyone off guard. I will say "Bravo to MLSE" on that one!

--No truth to the rumour one of the fights on the undercard at UFC Fight Night Saskatoon will be Pedersen-Penton. That would be a good scrap with two rural Saskatchewan kids going at it. Who ya got? Put Lapolice at ringside and see if he turns on anyone!!!

Have a good weekend. GO RIDERS!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

DeLaet Hopes to End the Drought

It’s easy to make Graham DeLaet’s piercing blue eyes light up.
You just talk about something other than golf.
DeLaet is a professional golfer, and a good one at that. As Canada’s highest-ranked professional, the weight of a nation is on his broad shoulders each week -- especially this week at the RBC Canadian Open, the most important tournament in his home country. He’s constantly asked about when he thinks he will break through and win.

But, DeLaet is also an avid fisherman, a lover of hockey (obviously), and known to occasionally enjoy a Canadian-brewed Kokanee lager.
There’s more to DeLaet than being Canadian golf’s top dog. And that makes him smile.
DeLaet usually goes on an annual fishing trip with a handful of buddies – “We’ve done Northern Saskatchewan, Alaska a couple of times. We were talking about doing deep-sea fishing in Cabo in the fall,” he says - but this year, he won’t be.

His wife Ruby – who he met at Boise State University -- is expecting twins later this fall. It will be the couples’ first children.
DeLaet laughed when asked about a particular tweet he sent out before The Honda Classic, regarding a new family vehicle.
“She (Ruby) doesn’t want a mini-van,” DeLaet said. “I want one. That was an awesome courtesy car. There was so much room in there. Not much of a head-turner, though.”
While DeLaet is proudly Canadian, he now calls Arizona home and bleeds Boise State orange-and-blue.
That said: “It’s going to be important for me to keep that ‘Canadian’ in them somehow,” he happily states.
The now 33-year-old started playing golf while a youngster in Weyburn, Saskatchewan – a small town about 40 miles north of the U.S. border – with his parents.
“We’d go and play five or six holes after work, and I started to really love it,” DeLaet said. “I loved competing and playing tournaments back home. I never thought it would be my life, though.”

For all the support DeLaet gets from across Canada, his biggest fan may be one of the most important people in his home province. Brad Wall, the premier (akin to the governor of a state in the U.S.) usually will send a tweet when DeLaet is in contention, and follows his every move on the course.
Even though we love golf in Saskatchewan, this is not the most auspicious place to become a pro let alone a world-class player,” Wall said. “But, this is where Graham got his start.
“In many ways, Graham embodies Saskatchewan,” Wall said. “Graham has never forgotten where he comes from. He is still a Saskatchewan boy through and through.”
Like any Canadian from a little town, DeLaet grew up playing hockey. He is a die-hard Calgary Flames fan and isn’t afraid to mix it up with fans (and haters) alike on Twitter.

His passion for team sports showed at The Presidents Cup in 2013 where he went 3-1-1 and Adam Scott called him the “MVP” of the International Team.
He was paired with Jason Day for many of those matches, and although DeLaet is 17th in the standings, Day thinks he isn’t too far from making the team.
“We played so good together. The synergy between us at Muirfield was huge. We kind of fed off each other,” Day said. “Before then we never really met each other, we kind of got thrown in there together. It was great we played so well.”
Day, who will be paired with DeLaet and Luke Donald for the first two rounds, continued to say DeLaet is good enough to get himself on the team, and admits he’s probably only a few good tournaments away from earning enough points.
“I love being a part of a team,” DeLaet said.
But golf is an individual game, and DeLaet, of course, makes a hockey reference when it comes time to self-criticize.
“It’s always on you,” he said. “You can’t fake it or get away with a poor game because your line-mates are helping you out.”
DeLaet does have someone inside the ropes with him at all times. His caddie, Julien Trudeau (an alumni of Golf Channel’s Big Break and married to his fellow Big Break competitor Mal Blackwelder) has been with him for just over three years.
It’s a business relationship, sure. But its not always business.
“There’s no shortage of fun out there. We have a good time,” Trudeau says with a smile. “Even if he’s struggling – or playing well – we try to have fun. That helps both of us, trying to stay loose. But, when it comes down to putting the tee in the ground, there’s no messing around.”
DeLaet’s megawatt smile has attracted a legion of Canadian fans, young and old. It’s impossible to walk the grounds of Glen Abbey Golf Club without seeing a number of fans wearing DeLaet’s red Puma gear.
“It’s kind of like Mike Weir has passed on the torch to the next group of guys coming up. Graham, David Hearn, (Adam) Hadwin, (Nick) Taylor… all the boys,” Trudeau said. “It’s pretty cool.”
And DeLaet, who has not missed a cut since THE PLAYERS Championship, realizes this is a big week as the new King of Canadian golf.
“This is a major for us (Canadians),” he said. “But I don’t really feel extra pressure from the fans in here, it’s more support. It’s just such an awesome week.
“There’s something different about teeing it up on home soil. There’s so much pride,” he said. “You just want to play your guts out for everyone that’s cheering you on.”
DeLaet speaks aggressively as he admits that last point. Not because he is angry at the question, but because he is passionate.
It was fellow countryman Taylor who captured the Sanderson Farms Championship in November, breaking a five-year drought for Canadian winners on TOUR. Many thought that person would have been DeLaet.
So what would it mean if he won this week and made it two Canadian winners in one season?
“It would mean the world to me,” he said.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Rush Make the Move Official

Bruce Urban, Owner/Governor of the Edmonton Rush Lacrosse Club, announced today that the franchise will relocate from Edmonton to Saskatoon and be known as the Saskatchewan Rush.
The Rush applied to the National Lacrosse League to relocate and received approval from the NLL Board of Governors.
This move takes effect immediately and the Saskatchewan Rush will be part of the 2016 National Lacrosse League season.
“This is a day of mixed emotions as we are very excited about what is to come in Saskatchewan, but at the same time, we are saddened to leave our outstanding Edmonton fans,” said Urban.
“However, I sincerely hope the great fans of Rush Nation will continue to follow the team into Saskatchewan for 2016 and help join in the celebration of the Champion’s Cup season.”
Through 10 years in Edmonton, Urban was committed to building professional lacrosse, but without the ability to secure a long-term arena option, the only choice remaining was to relocate.
“I would like to thank our fans, friends, and corporate partners. Without them, the Rush would not have survived long enough to celebrate our 10th anniversary,” added Urban.
“We had an incredible end to the 2015 season, and our loyal and passionate fans were a big reason for that. But this is a business decision and it is in our best interest for the continuing future of the franchise to move to Saskatchewan.”
The Saskatchewan Rush will play out of the SaskTel Centre, home to the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades, and seating 15,100 for hockey and lacrosse.

Week 4 CFL Stars of The Week

With the CFL abandoning its stars of the week and going with performers of the week (or offensive players of the week it would seem since defensive and Canadian players haven't been nominated yet), I give you my stars of the week


The rookie running back had a nice CFL debut running for 144 yards on 18 carries in the Eskimos win in Ottawa. Who's John White?  It may be a little early to make that comparison, but Edmonton may have found a guy to carry the mail this year which is good news for them as Mike Reilly recuperates from his knee injury. 

DEFENCE: Marcus Howard --EDMONTON 

Howard had two sacks in the win against Ottawa and in a year where sacks are at an all time low across the CFL, that's an impressive enough feat. 


Cornish basically owned this award when they handed out and like him or not, he is the best Canadian----I mean national--- player there is in the CFL.  With the Stampeders having problems on the o-line, Cornish took it upon himself in the 2nd half to get rolling and he did picking up over 100 yards and maybe getting his game back on track after a slow start. 


5 field goals on 5 tries in the 23-12 win over the REDBLACKS. This one is a no-brainer.

Something To "Mitch" About

Is this going to be given away at the next Riders home game or do enough members of the Rider Nation already have one and are pushing it frantically!!!


Ask anyone in the CFL if they thought the Saskatchewan Roughriders would start the season at 0-4 and they would say no.  Yes, the football team has now lost four games by a combined total of 12 points, and yes, you could say this team should have a better record than what they do, but the fact is they are 0-4 and you don't get anything for moral victories.  It is made worse by the fact all other teams in the West have two wins and the Riders don't have any with a game against the team that I think is the best on paper coming up Sunday. Needless to say, it is not a good situation around Riderville.  New president and CEO Craig Reynolds must be wondering if he has gone back to his days as the starting quarterback with his high school in Foam Lake when they went 0-6. (With tongue firmly in cheek), IT MUST BE HIS FAULT!!!!!  Craig has a good sense of humour, but you know he and the rest of the organization don't find any humour in what is happening at all.

Go back to last year and this team is now 2-13 counting playoff and exhibition games since last year's Banjo Bowl when Darian Durant went down. Some are very quick to point that stat out when they sharpen their knives on Corey Chamblin, but do you really think this team would have only won twice in the second half of the season with Durant at the helm? That stat is so skewed it is ridiculous, but admittedly it does not reflect well on the guy who took this team to the 2013 championship. He is a better coach than the record indicates. You might not like that statement, but unlike others in this town I am not calling for him to be on the first train out of town.  Injuries can't be and won't be used as an excuse by the football team, but they have certainly taken their toll on the green-and-white. To win a championship, you have to avoid major injuries to key players. You can get by with one or two, but the amount the Riders have had is unreal.

At the end of the day, it comes down to defence and the Rider "D" isn't getting the job done. This is a Rider defence that gave up 100 yards rushing to Travis Lulay for gods sake. Travis Lulay??? Not to pick at a sore from Week 1, but this is not the defence Chamblin envisioned. Injuries have had a part to play in that with Shea Emry, Weldon Brown and now Tristan Jackson out of the lineup, but they just haven't done what has been done in Chamblin's tenure here and that is play good sound football. Lulay got the Lions started on the right foot when he drove the team for a touchdown on the first series and it seemed whenever Lulay wanted to engineer a scoring drive he did so.

The offence sputtered as well and by the time they got things going, they couldn't play catch-up. One Rider told me after the game when the mike was off, that if they get all three phases of the game going they will be dangerous and I couldn't disagree with that, but I asked him when that will happen and he shrugged his shoulders. Another Rider also told me he didn't think the refereeing was as atrocious as we all thought it was and has been. I fear this player is hiding a concussion, but I digress.

The bottom line is you can sit there and say what you want about the football team, but the bottom line is they are 0-4 and that is the biggest surprise out of the first four weeks of the season. 


Other odds and ends:

 --A gentleman stopped me while I was out and about Saturday afternoon and proceeded to rail on the football club with his target being Chris Getzlaf.  He then went on to say how much better this football team would be if Eric Tillman was still the GM. ??????? Nothing against Tillman who has maintained shop in Regina since being jettisoned by the organization, but have we forgotten that the team has gone to three Grey Cups and won one with another one that we should have had (sorry). I think this team has done just fine in the post-Tillman era. That isn't to say this team would have and could have won Grey Cups had E-T been allowed to continue after the much-publicized incident with his baby-sitter, but I think this organization has done quite well in the post-Tillman era. Change continues to be difficult in Saskatchewan for some I guess. 

  --Take this for what you will. The defending Grey Cup champs have won three games---two of them by one point and one by 5. The Riders have lost all 4 by 12 points combined. One play and one play there and the Stampeders could be in the same boat as the Riders and one play here and one play there and the Riders could be in a lot better position. You make your breaks and you seize your opportunities. One team is doing that right now and the other isn't.

 --The hue and cry over the "new" CFL continues not just here, but across the league as fans are starting to say they are losing interest in what is going on. Is that what the league wants? As I said to someone on the weekend, the league panicked after a season where defences ruled the roost and points were down. The league did not consider they had a new franchise with many new players to this league and they had a league where the experience at the game's major position was fresh. Zach Collaros and Drew Willy were in their first years, add that to the likes of Troy Smith, Alex Brink, Tino Sunseri, Jeremiah Masoli, Seth Doege and a receiving group in Ottawa which was terrible.  What did you expect?  There was a reason why scoring was down. That fact was staring the CFL right in the face and they ignored it and now give us this product in an attempt to "improve" the game.  By the way, we are now 7 1/2 weeks from the NFL season starting and I am hearing more and more people say they can't wait. Yes, the 0-4 record has something to do with that, but so does what we are seeing on the field. One fan said to me Friday night he did not watch the Hamilton-Montreal game and he did not watch any of the Edmonton-Ottawa before going to Mosaic. I am guessing this person didn't watch the Calgary-Winnipeg game either.

-- I will give the league credit though and that is they did do something about the automatic convert. I am surprised to see so many guys missing from 32 yards as I thought the percentage would still be very high, but the PAT is no longer a reason to get up and go to the bathroom or go to the beer stand. I wonder what the percentage will be in the NFL seeing their PAT's will be longer as well.

--The British Open has been fantastic and I expect it will be a fantastic finish with many of golf's top names at or near the top of the leaderboard. It is too bad golf fans who have to work tomorrow won't be able to put their full attention to the final round seeing weather delayed things.  One player you won't watch is Tiger Woods. It is the second straight major in which he has failed to make the cut. Is this what will prompt the networks to start focussing on the stars of today who are getting it done and keeping the PGA relevant or will they continue to show Tiger hack and whack his away around courses showing every shot he takes. It is time for the Tiger lovefest to end and the concentration to start showing us the likes of Spieth, the Johnsons, Dustin and Zach, the McIlroy's and those who will be the stars of this game for the next 5-10 years and beyond. For what its worth, I don't think Jordan Spieth wins this one, but he is right there. My money is on either Louis Oosthuizen or Padraig Harrington. The Europeans know what that course is like and they have an advantage.

--The first list of NHL fantasy rankings for the upcoming season have come out. At least, its the first ones I have seen.  Connor MacDavid is ranked at 62 which is well behind his Edmonton teammate Taylor Hall (32) and just ahead of Jordan Eberle (66). The top 3 are Ovechkin, Sid and Stamkos which should come as no surprise. Where do you take McDavid in your hockey pools this year? Is he considered a Tier 2 player or is he going to be one of those guys at the bottom end of the Tier 1 players.

--Canada won gold in mens baseball at the Pan-Am games with the winning run coming from Pete Orr who wears number 4. There's something ironic and oh so Canadian there. It really is sad the game was not shown on television and instead had to be seen online. Who makes these programming decisions?

--The video of the surfer getting attacked by the shark that made its way around this weekend is incredible. The guy doing the p x p really had no clue what was going on? Look at the monitor and go HOLY F**** like we all did buddy!

--WWE fans, the Undertaker?? I didn't see that happening at the Lesnar-Rollins match last night. I'm OK with it though!!

--Let there be happiness and let there be joy. Fuddruckers is returning to Regina. The only loser here is the Saskatoon establishment because now Reginans going to Saskatoon will go somewhere else before they go home knowing they have a Fudds at home. I think most of us do make sure a Fudds stop is on the agenda when going to Saskatoon don't we?

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bernie Nicholls Talks About What Hockey Did To His Brain

17 year NHL vet Bernie Nicholls is suing the league because of damage suffered to his brain. Nicholls explains his rationale and tells his story in a fascinating article for the New York Daily News. You can check it out right here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

This and That

Welcome everyone to the weekly Friday offering and this week it is a game day Friday offering as the Riders will once again look for that elusive first "W"of the season, and they will try and do it as the Rider Nation starts to tear apart at the seams after an 0-3 start.

The tension is high in Saskatchewan after just three games, higher than it has been in a long time and it is the first time Corey Chamblin has felt the heat this early. Chamblin had a message for the haters on Tuesday and I loved it because he basically told those haters to grease up their thoughts and shove it you know where.  In fact, Chamblin took a page out of Darian Durant's book when the hate was on full time for him by saying the only people he answers to are the people inside the organization and if they want to make a change, they will.  This just in....they didn't with Durant and they aren't going to be with Chamblin and if you don't like that, turn in your Rider pledge pin and go somewhere else or sit down, shut up and be a part of the ride through the good and the bad.

As I said in the Monday column, I don't agree with what Chamblin did Friday night in BC and his rationalization of what happened didn't change my mind, but coaches make mistakes a la Pete Carroll in last year's Super Bowl and many other head coaches who have stayed with their team.  Chamblin didn't forget how to coach overnight. He led this team to one Grey Cup and we will never know how far the team would have gotten with a healthy Darian Durant in 2014.

Bottom line, if you don't like Corey Chamblin as Riders head coach, get ready to be grumpy for a while because he isn't going anywhere!


The Riders can appease some of the grumpiness with a win over the Lions at home tonight. They showed they can beat B.C, but they also showed again they need to play 60 minutes. I wasn't overly impressed with the Lions through 3 1/2 quarters last week so I think the Riders can win this one. Lets hope!!


There has been some consternation about the fact there has been no pressure on the quarterback in these parts. There has been no pressure on the QB period around the CFL as the league continues to neuter defences. There has been an average of four sacks per game which is the lowest we have seen it since 2002. Teams are dropping back and allowing QB's to set up and throw. It makes his job a lot easier.


I heard a great golf question on Thursday. If you could only golf one course in the world, would it be St. Andrews--the birthplace of the game and the site of this year's British Open or Augusta National which is arguably the most famous golf course in the world?  I would have to choose Augusta, but if the truth be known, I would love to play TPC Sawgrass more than any other just to have a shot at the 17th green.


It would seem after the first round of the Open that Tiger Woods has shown again he will never ever be the same and that his best is over.  This game is now in the hands of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and others.


OK Saskatoon, you've wanted a pro team and now you've got it as the Edmonton Rush will make it official on Tuesday and say they are moving the franchise to the Bridge City. If you don't support this venture, don't talk about the NHL anymore. Here is a chance to show people if you have what it takes. Are you going to seize the opportunity or let it crash and burn----Saskatoon sports fans, the decision is up to you.


The ESPY's went on Wednesday night and while Caitlyn Jenner got the courage award, this night was all about Leah Still as far as this blogger is concerned. Leah is the five year old daughter of Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Devon Still. If you don't know the story, just do a Google search on it and you'll get brought up to speed very quickly.  You can admire Jenner all you want for doing what he/she did and all the power to him/her, but this night should have been Leah Still's for her courageous battle against a disease that she knows nothing about. She didn't get to choose whether or not she was going to have the fight that so many others young and old have had.  To hear her dad say what her battle has done for him was absolutely incredible and will be the memory I take away from this year's event.

Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt presented an award at the ESPY's with Britney Spears and had his picture taken earlier in the week with Jennifer Aniston. Its good to be JJ Watt!


The girl who became infamous at this year's Calgary Stampede for umm----ummm-----getting busy with some friends and having the act go viral is going to try and capitalize on her newfound celebrity status. The lady who has been named "Trampede' is going to go around Alberta and do her thing at some strip clubs.  620 CKRM mid-day personality Brandon Basler is already reportedly trying to meet up with this woman and make wedding plans. You go Boz!!


Baseball may have caught a break at Monday's homerun derby. The original plan was for players to go for five minutes, but with the threat of rain, they decided to change things and cut the time for batters to four minutes. It worked like a charm as everyone talked about how much better it was with players being timed instead of taking pitch after pitch after pitch. There is no need for baseball to screw around with this formula for future derbys.

Congrats to former Pat Jordan Weal for signing a new one year contract with the L-A Kings organization. I am guessing the AHL playoff MVP won't be starting the year in the NHL unless the Kings trade him elsewhere, but if you've followed Weal's career, should we expect anything different?

I just started reading Al Michaels' book called "You Can't Make This Stuff Up". The first two chapters have been outstanding as he has reeled off some great stories.  The book is less than 300 pages though....that will pale in comparison to the Pedersen Chronicles if that book ever comes out some day and if it does, some might have to go into the Witness Protection program.


Is anyone around here talking about the Pan-Am Games? It is the lead-up to the Olympics, but no one seemingly cares. Are we to blame for that or are organizers?

That's all I got.  Have a great weekend, stay safe and GO RIDERS!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

MLB at the Break

The 2015 MLB season hit the unofficial halfway point Tuesday night with the all-star game. As the 2nd half gets ready to start Friday night, here is a look at the best and the worst in the first half


 Did anyone outside fans of the Yankees think this team would be in first in the American League East without Derek Jeter? Alex Rodriguez has bounced back and a bullpen that has been lights out and a solid first half from Brett Gardner have the Bronx Bombers thinking playoffs-----again!


With a lineup consisting of Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, the experts felt the Mariners were ready to give Seattle sports fans another team to cheer for that could like the Seahawks bring the Emerald City a championship. Somewhere along the road, this team forgot to hit and as a result, they begin the 2nd half seven back of the AL West division leading Angels.


Did Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos think he was getting this so soon from Donaldson when he picked up the 3rd baseman from Oakland for Brett Lawrie. With a less than adequate pitching staff, Donaldson has carried the Blue Jays by being their best player from Game 1.  He has 21 homers and 60 RBI's at the break and the scary thing is he is only going to get better with time.


Instagram feed photo
Bryce Harper has finally avoided injury for the most part this year, and he has already had the best season of his young career. The 22-year-old phenom isn’t far behind in all three triple crown categories, as he currently holds a .339 batting average, 24 homers and 58 RBI. Not to mention, he leads the MLB with a whopping 1.180 OPS.
Some of his stats jump off the page, such as the AL-leading 0.95 WHIP. Mostly, though, it's the strikeouts. Sale leads the AL with 157 strikeouts and the majors with 11.8 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings). He joined Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson as the only men to record at least 12 strikeouts in five consecutive games. He also tied Pedro's record with eight straight 10-strikeout games before "only" getting six strikeouts on July 6 -- in a complete-game victory, by the way.

This one is a no-brainer. Max Scherzer has proven his seven-year, $210 million deal to be worth every penny. He’s currently 9-5 with a 1.79 ERA and a video game-like .79 WHIP. Oh, and he already has a no-hitter (which should’ve been a perfect game. 
If Devon Travis had stayed healthy in the first half, this award might have gone to him, but the Houston shortstop has been everything as advertised.  He is hitting .276 with five homers and he has been flashy with the glove. The Astros are contending in the American League to the surprise of many who thought this team would be in this place in a couple of years with Correa being one of the reasons why.
Yes, I should take Cubs 3rd baseman Kris Bryant here and he could very well win the award with a big second half---especially if that second half results in the Cubs getting to the playoffs, but Pederson has been the man in a talented Dodgers clubhouse. As of today, Pederson edges Bryant out slightly due to his 20 homers, .913 OPS, and stellar glove out in center field.
The former Twin, Brewer and Blue Jay has been as good guiding the Twins as he was when he was doing his thing on the field. The Twins are once again a contender in the American League thanks to Molitor and they likely won't be going away anytime soon,
The Cardinals don't have Adam Wainwright, they have had some injury problems with position players and yet they still have the best record in the majors. Matheny is pushing the right buttons.
At the break, American League playoff teams are the Yankees, Royals, Angels, Twins and Astros with the National League playoff teams being the Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates and Cubs.  Until the trade deadline has come and gone, it is hard to say what teams will end up making it, but if the adage is pitching wins in the playoffs, then look for the Cardinals to play the Royals in the World Series. Is it 1985 again?



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Chamblin Responds To His Critics

Corey Chamblin is very good when dealing with the day-to-day question period he has with reporters. He keeps it loose, but when he has to, he lets go.  He let go on Tuesday when asked about the criticism he is receiving for some late-game calls in BC and the fact the team is 0-3. 

“There are two podiums waiting at the end of the year – a championship podium or a cross and I’m prepared for either one,’’ Chamblin said.

“If the fans want a new coach, they can get that. I do my best and if they are short-tempered and they want to move on that’s up to management and them. At the end of the day, I’ll still work and I’ll still be a great coach whether it’s here in Saskatchewan this year or somewhere else next year or the next couple of years.

“To be honest, I don’t give a damn about that. When they want to come and put the work in, they can get the results. Right now we’re doing some good things.

"At the end of the day just stay patient. When we get that championship, just make sure the guys who weren’t on our team don’t get on that boat with us. They can come in here and boo me every day, but at the end of the day I still get my paycheque and I'm doing my job. If Brendan and the board feel its best to move on. that's fine, but my body of work has been commendable since I have been here. When my time is up here, it will be.  When I go to bed at night, the last worry I have is getting fired.

It capped off a day in Riderville where the team officially signed DB Geoff Tisdale, welcomed back DB Paul Woldu and announced long snapper Levi Steinhauer was done for the season with a knee injury. 

Week 3 CFL Stars of the Week

So the CFL did away with its "stars" of the week and are going with performers of the week.  With that being the case, I will normally in the Monday column put up my "Stars of the Week" as I did after Week 2,  but with the Argos-Stamps playing Monday, it gets its own separate post.

OFFENSIVE STAR-- Travis Lulay - BC Lions 

Lulay didn't do much for three quarters against the Riders, but sadly for Rider Nation he lit it up in the 4th quarter and overtime throwing for over 400 yards and three TD's in BC's overtime win last Friday

DEFENSIVE STAR -- Kyler Elsworth- Montreal Alouettes

Luc Mullinder will love me for this one because Elsworth is a Michigan State Spartan. The Alouettes defence wasn't the reason Montreal lost in Winnipeg. In this new CFL, if you can keep a team out of the endzone you are doing something and Elsworth had 11 tackles in his first ever CFL game. Jim Popp may have found a real good one in Elsworth.

CANADIAN STAR -- Zack Evans -- Ottawa REDBLACKS 

OK, I may be a little biased on this one because of his local connections, but how can you deny BIG MAN WITH BALL. He even had a sack in the game and with sacks being few and far between it would seem in the new wide open game, he gets my vote.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER---Lirim Hajrullahu--Winnipeg Blue Bombers 

The guy whose name is arguably the toughest to pronounce and spell in the CFL did miss a point after try, but he did nail four field goals in the Bomber win over Montreal.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Michael Copeland To Run Good Ship Argo

The Toronto Argonauts incoming ownership group today announced that Michael Copeland will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club after Bell Canada and Kilmer Group assume control of the team at the end of this year.
"Michael Copeland is a standout senior executive with a clear passion for Canadian football, and we’re delighted that he will lead the new Toronto Argonauts organization forward in 2016. Michael’s impressive range of cross-functional business skills and experience, proven by his strong track record of success at the Canadian Football League, are exactly what we wanted in the Argos’ new front office leader,” said Dale Lastman, representative for the new ownership group and an Alternate Governor of the CFL.
Chris Rudge, currently Executive Chairman and CEO of the Argos, will depart the organization as planned when his contract concludes at the end of 2015. "We’re grateful that such a renowned sports leader will continue to guide the Argos organization through the 2015 season. We thank Chris for his dedication to Toronto’s team and to the Canadian game,” said Mr. Lastman.
“Michael Copeland is an excellent choice to continue moving the Argos forward,” said Chris Rudge. “Following contract extensions for Jim Barker and Scott Milanovich, the move to BMO Field, a new practice facility and a new ownership group, this storied franchise is now in a position to resume its historic role amongst the most respected and successful brands in the Canadian sport pantheon.“
"Michael Copeland has provided positive leadership to our league. Working alongside three Commissioners, he has played an instrumental role in advances ranging from the salary cap to broadcast agreements to player relations and, most recently, a new direction for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame," said Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. "Although we will miss him in our office, we are absolutely thrilled he is taking on a new role with the Argonauts. Our league is only as strong as our teams. And with the Argos embracing a new home and new owners, combined with new leadership in the person of Mike Copeland, their future, and the future of the CFL, is that much brighter."
Said Michael Copeland: “It’s a great honour to be named as the next chief executive of the legendary Toronto Argonauts, a name that resounds across the Canadian sports landscape. There’s strong leadership and talent on the field and across the organization, and I’m eager to join with everyone in taking the Argos forward. We’re fully dedicated to delivering fans the greatest football experience at every level, supporting their passion for the iconic Argos brand every day as we focus on winning the Grey Cup every year.”
A seasoned Canadian business executive with an extensive business development, marketing and legal background, Mr. Copeland currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Football League responsible for all of the CFL’s business operations. Hired in January 2006 as Chief Operating Officer and promoted to President and COO in February 2013, Mr. Copeland led several key CFL initiatives including a comprehensive new broadcast and digital rights agreement, the establishment of a new salary cap system, a new collective bargaining agreement with CFL players, including the introduction of the CFL's first drug testing policy, and the return of CFL football to Ottawa.
Previously, Mr. Copeland served in senior marketing and strategic business development roles with Molson Coors Brewing Company and in senior consultant roles with Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte Consulting. He earlier practiced corporate and commercial law with Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto and with Harrison, Elwood in London, Ontario.
Mr. Copeland has a law degree from Western University and an MBA from Western University's Ivey School of Business. He is a recipient of the prestigious Canada's Top 40 Under 40 award, and serves on the board of WATERFRONToronto.

Something To "Mitch" About

Does this basically sum up the first three weeks of the Saskatchewan Roughriders season?

Yes, the Riders imploded again and let another victory slip through their fingers losing in B.C Friday night.

The drums are beating on the mighty Wascana louder than ever and the temper of the Rider Nation was as hot as the Saskatchewan prairie this weekend after a second straight loss in overtime in a game that should have never gone to overtime.

It is obvious the Toronto Blue Jays are not the only one who have a tough time closing out a game as the Riders have now botched it two weeks in a row and as a result, they are 0-3.

Head coach Corey Chamblin is getting a lions share of the blame, and on this one, I really can't argue what is being said.

Like many of you, I don't understand the rationale on not giving the ball to Jerome Messam on 3rd and short and I don't understand the rationale of gambling on 3rd and 1 in overtime and I certainly don't understand not trying to run some plays at the end of regulation.  Coach C tried to rationalize it when the team returned home, but even though I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chamblin, I can't buy what he is selling on this one. Mistakes were made by Chamblin in this game, but it happens to all coaches. Isn't that right Pete Carroll?

I still think this football team is much better than the record indicates and while some in the Rider Nation are puzzled and angry, there are many others in the CFL wondering and knowing this team will turn the corner and when it does, what will happen then as the offence is certainly not having any major problems in gaining yards.

Seasons don't end three games into a season and many have been able to right the ship. All you have to do is look at what Hamilton did last year. There is a sense Friday's return encounter at Mosaic is a must-win and I can't argue that philosophy.

Thoughts negative and positive on the game

 --Kevin Glenn was outstanding again in throwing for 271 yards.  Weston Dressler and Jamel Richardson were the beneficiaries on this night as both had big games with the North Dakota product being the main focus of the passing game catching 9 for 122 and a pair of TD's to go along with a two point convert.

--Credit the Riders o-line for keeping Glenn clean, but credit B-C's as well for keeping Travis Lulay untouched which brings me to this. Has the new rules also created a lack of pass rush. It seems to me QB's are just dropping back and easily throwing the football without anyone coming at them because teams are only rushing three.  YAWWWWNNNNNN!!! Many wondered where John Chick and Alex Hall were on Friday and where have they been all year. I think they like others are being affected negatively by the new rules and will continue to do so until someone decides to change their thought process and start throwing some heat at the opposition QB.

--While the o-line kept Glenn in good shape, they did take some bad penalties including one which erased Dressler's 3rd TD of the night. That has to be cleaned up, but I would think a group led by Brendon Labatte would know that and will.

--The Riders secondary were ferocious with hits on Lions receivers. Tyron Brackenridge and Tristan Jackson had a couple of monster hits.

--I love the 1-2 punch in the running game with Messam and Anthony Allen, That takes me back to why Messam or Allen wouldn't get the ball on 3rd and 1 in regulation or on 3rd and 1 in overtime.

--The game is still being ruined by the amount of flags being thrown. The stripes are not the stars of the show. It makes me wonder if this is the training video for the refs because they are having "Fun with Flags"

I think there was at one point 8 consecutive plays that didn't see a flag. 8!!! The league is losing viewers and most of the talk about the league is being centred on the amount of penalties we are seeing. This has to change and it has to change in a big hurry or else the CFL will have a major problem on its hands.  Glen Johnson needs to perhaps come out and make some kind of statement very soon on what is happening. It is unacceptable!  Then again, after what we have seen over the years, should we as CFL fans really be surprised at this. 

TSN's Glen Suitor let his counterparts back at the studio have it after Milt Stegall and Jock Climie both got on his case for applauding the objectionable conduct call given to BC's Austin Collie who wanted pass interference on an incomplete pass.  It is embarassing when a ball falls incomplete and a receiver jumps up and starts making a motion for interference to be called and to throw the flag.  Refs have to start penalizing these players for this act and they did in the Riders game and the Ottawa-Edmonton game. GOOD!!!  Climie and Stegall (both receivers) feel Suitor was way out of line and the former Rider safety came out and called the two onto the carpet while pulling out a tissue for them to cry on. I don't agree with everything Suits says, but I'm with him 100 percent on this one. Receivers need to go back to the huddle and keep it zipped.  The only thing I will say is if a receiver is flagged for a penalty for calling for a penalty and it gets reversed like what happened with Collie then the flag is picked up and there is no call.  That's my two cents on that.  Hold on, lets add another cent to this discussion. The pass in question appeared to be way over the head of the intended receiver. The pass was uncatchable. Is that not factored into the equation anymore? If it is, its not!

One other CFL thought and I put this up on Twitter on the weekend after debating the issue with the Leader-Post's Rob Vanstone. Taking the record of your favourite team in green and throwing it out the window, do you like the game the way it is played now or the way it was played last year when scoring was down which led to some of these inane changes. I am of the opinion the CFL is basically a bigger version of Arena Football right now as they have taken basically everything away from the defence while Rob loves it because the games he believes are better. What's your take? Several on Twitter agree on my stance and some agree with Rob. Where do you stand on the issue?


 Other odds and ends

--We are at the all-star break in baseball and the leaders of the American League East are the New York Yankees? Huh? I didn't think the Yankees were supposed to be anything close to their past glory years without guys like Jeter and Rivera.  They just keep getting it done. Don't be surprised if they buy themselves the arm they need to get back into the playoffs. After all, that is the Yankee way isn't it?

--The wildfires continue to burn in northern Saskatchewan with there being a thought process some of the blazes may keep burning until the first snowfall. The efforts being done to fight the fires and look after those who have been displaced is simply amazing as people and organizations from across the province are doing what they can. Has anyone noticed though that in an election year, Prime Minister Harper, Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair have not bothered to show up in Prince Albert to check things out or come to Regina or Saskatoon to visit evacuees. That does not reflect well on all three if you ask me.

--With Jordan Eberle being on the Oilers, there is that conception Regina is an Oilers town. I am starting to wonder if we should be a Capitals town though. You have Ross Mahoney in the front office, and you have Garrett Mitchell, Chandler Stephenson. Connor Hobbs and Colby Williams in the system. All four of those guys could one day be wearing Capitals uniforms and they could all be wearing the uniform of the Hershey Bears which is their AHL affiliate.

--I am guessing the Kelowna Rockets are having no shortage of applications crossing their desk for who will be their new head coach. Talk about walking into a great situation.

--UFC 189 was perhaps the best pay per view I have seen. It did not lack excitement or tremendous fights.

Conor McGregor, who rocked a purple suit, did what many thought he would do and beat Chad Mendes, but it was tougher for the cocky little Irishman than what he thought it would be.  That fight paled in comparison though to the Rory MacDonald-Robbie Lawler fight which left both men a mess when it was over with Lawler suffering a gruesome cut to his lip making him look like Ike from South Park. The Jeremy Stephens-Dennis Bermudez fight was a pure slugfest.  It will be hard for the UFC to top what they gave us in Vegas.  It just makes me more excited for the Saskatoon Fight Night in August.

If you've been watching TSN, you have seen the ads for the Coors Light games featuring Cabbie and a young lady named Beatrice Bouchard

I didn't know who this was when the commercials first came on, but I kept thinking she looks a lot like Canadian tennis star Genie Bouchard. Yeah, its her twin sister and it would seem as if she is a good old fashioned Canadian party girl.  I'm OK with that. 
That's all I got.  Have a great week!!!