Friday, September 30, 2016

Rams-Huskies Preview

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• Saturday’s game – the first to be played at the new Mosaic Stadium – will set a Canada West attendance record with 16,500 tickets sold.

• Now in first place in the Canada West standings after last week’s thrilling victory over Calgary, the Rams vaulted up five spots in this week’s CIS Top Ten to No. 4. It’s the highest they’ve been in the poll since being ranked No. 3 in the nation at one point during the 2010 season.

• Riding a three-game winning streak, the Rams are looking to avenge their only loss of the conference schedule. The teams met in Week 1, with Saskatchewan taking a 41-39 overtime win in Saskatoon.

RAMS JUMP UP TO NO. 4 IN CIS TOP TEN: The UBC win moved the Rams into the CIS Top Ten for the first time since 2012, and last week’s win over Calgary vaulted Regina way up to No. 4 in the country. It’s the highest the Rams have been ranked since the 2010 season, when a 5-1 start earned them the No. 3 spot in the poll. Other Canada West teams in the CIS Top Ten this week include Calgary (No. 5) and Manitoba (No. 9).

DWYER, PICTON EARN PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARDS: Both Joey Dwyer and Mitchell Picton were honoured following the U of R’s 32-27 win over Calgary. Dwyer was named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Week after collecting 9½ tackles and forcing a game-winning turnover in the final seconds of the game, while Picton caught 13 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns and was named both the CIS and the Canada West Offensive Player of the Week.

PICTON CONTINUES TORRID START: QB Noah Picton had another solid game for the Rams in the Calgary win, completing 23 of 35 passes for 452 yards and four touchdowns. He now leads the nation with 1714 passing yards and is tied for the CIS lead with 14 touchdown passes, and also leads Canada West in completions (117), attempts (170), and completion rate (68.8%). At the halfway mark of the season, Picton is on pace to break national records in both completions and passing yards, both of which were set last year – Ottawa’s Derek Wendel has the CIS single-season record with 216 completions, while Calgary’s Andrew Buckley had a record 3162 passing yards in 2015.

THE OTHER PICTON: SB Mitchell Picton had a monster game in Friday’s win, with his total of 13 catches tying him for second in school single-game history behind only Chad Goldie’s mark of 15. His 215 receiving yards stand as the fourth highest total by a Rams player in a CIS game, while his three touchdown catches are tied for the third most in school history. With 45 catches for 485 yards and seven touchdowns and four games still remaining on the conference schedule, Picton is on pace to threaten Canada West’s single-season receptions record that was set last year by Saskatchewan’s Mitch Hillis (66). At his current pace, Picton could also have a shot at the school record in receiving yards (923 by Chris Bauman in 2006) and touchdown catches (11 by Jason Clermont in 2001).

DHEILLY NEWS: Rookie DL Nicholas Dheilly got his first CIS start last game against Calgary, and did he ever make an impact. He finished with three sacks, one off the school record of four held by Stan Van Sichem. One of his three sacks came on Calgary’s final drive of the game, forcing the Dinos into a third-and-long situation with 30 seconds to play. Dheilly is now tied with Manitoba’s Evan Foster for the Canada West lead in sacks.

MORE DHEILLY NEWS: SB Noah Dheilly – the younger brother of the aforementioned Nicholas – became the ninth member of Coach Bryce’s 2017 recruiting class after signing a CIS Letter of Intent earlier this week. Dheilly, who plays for undefeated LeBoldus, leads the Schwann Conference with four touchdown catches and ranks second in the league with 249 receiving yards.

IN THE FAMILY: Three players on the offensive side of the ball for the Rams are first cousins – RB Blake Anaka, SB Mitchell Picton, and QB Noah Picton - while K/WR Daniel Scraper and WR Michael Scraper are brothers. LB Danny Nesbitt is the son of defensive line coach Greg Nesbitt.

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN:  620 CKRM will have the call with Michael Ball and Marco Ricci. Those in Saskatoon can listen in on 600 CJWW with Dave Thomas and Barclay Schlosser. The game will also be shown across Western Canada on SHAW/Access with Jim Mullin calling the play-by-play alongside Wray Morrison. Rod Pedersen will host the contest with Mitchell Blair and Darren Dupont on the sidelines. 

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics) 

Draftkings CFL Week 15 Selections

If you're playing CFL Draft Kings and you need some advice for who to take this week, I offer these suggestions and rationale.


This might be one of the best deals all season long. Nichols has been the catalyst to Winnipeg's turnaround this year, and he is bargain basement cheap.  Going up against the Edmonton defence shouldn't be a problem for Nichols as other QB's haven't had a lot of problems putting up some points against that squad. To see Nichols at a lower price than backups like Masoli, Tate and Jensen is somewhat shocking. Take Matt and roll with some expensive receivers.


There are a lot of RB's with a "Q" beside their name this week. It is too risky to take one of those guys and then not have them play. The Alouettes give up on average over 5 yards on the run so let's go with the Toronto RB to have himself a day against Montreal as he should get about 15-20 touches of the football running and catching it.


The Edmonton receiver leads the league in passes caught, yards and is 2nd in TD's. In the words of th great Dan Patrick, "You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him". Expect Bowman to catch 7/100/1 if not more. There could be some points scored in that game so if you can get Derel Walker and a couple of Bomber receivers as well, go for it.


I just don't see Rakeem Cato having any success against Toronto. The Argos will give up the fewest points of any team in the CFL this weekend IMO. If they can get a return TD or a pick six as well, it will make for a great investment.


This and That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--Are you ready Regina? The time has come!!

It's time to open the new Mosaic Stadium. 10 years ago, I don't think anyone dreamed that section of land on the exhibition grounds would become the place to be for football in this city.  The 278 million dollar stadium will open its doors for the first event---a "test event" and while a few months ago, it looked like the stadium opening would be the attraction, I think one could say the event on the field has arguably  become the big attraction as the University of Regina Rams will take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in what is a huge Canada West battle. 

The 3-1 Rams sit in first place in the conference, but a win by the  2-2 Huskies would really tighten things up in the conference. This teams met in the opening week of the season, and it was a ring-a-ding-dong dandy that went to the Huskies in overtime. I don't know if we'll see overtime again, but I am expecting another close Canada West football game that will go right to the wire with 16 and a half thousand fans cheering.  16 and a half thousand fans who can say they were the first ones to be at a football game at the new Mosaic. I am honoured to be a part of it as I will be on the sidelines for the SHAW/Access game bringing it to Western Canada. It should be an afternoon to remember.

I am told there will be several buses coming down from Saskatoon for both the game at New Mosaic, and the Thunder-Hilltops game at old Mosaic meaning the football rivalry between the two cities should be at a fevered pitch for the first "Football Day in Saskatchewan". The weather looks like it will co-operate, as it should be a great day (night) for Regina vs Saskatoon football. You gotta love it! 

--How many people will take in the nightcap? The Rams-Huskies game will be played in front of 16 and a half thousand people. That will be one of the biggest crowds, if not the biggest crowd for a regular season CIS game. I think it is safe to assume that not everyone will wander over to old Mosaic for the Thunder-Hilltops game, but could we see 6-8 thousand?  The Saskatoon contingent will be there, and I am guessing many will want to take in the back half of the doubleheader. Having that many people in the stands for a junior football game in this town would be great. I hope it happens. 

--This is the first "Football Day in Saskatchewan". I hope its not the last.  There is no reason why one Saturday each year can't see the province's 4 teams playing in the same place on the same day. Can they do this in Saskatoon next year? Why not? I don't know if the Hilltops would want to leave Gordie Howe Bowl to play at the U of S, but a Hilltops-Thunder game in the afternoon followed by a Rams-Huskies game that night ( or vice-versa) would be tremendous. Flip-flop the venues between Regina and Saskatoon every year. When its in Regina, have the university and junior games on the Saturday and a CFL game on the Sunday.  Make the tickets affordable so you could go to all 3 games. It can happen! 

--Kent Austin gets fined and.....and,.....and.......I don't really know what word you use.  He can't be on the sidelines after his actions at Mosaic Stadium last week, but he can still do his thing from the spotters booth. HUH?? You either suspend him or you don't. Try and try as they might, the league just continues to botch things up.  Fine him and either suspend him or not. This you can't do this, but you can do that B-S makes the league look laughable again, They just don't understand. I'm not even sure anymore if they want to.  The league responded to Jason Gregor's accurate column on CFL marketing or lack of it in the Edmonton Journal this week by writing a letter to the editor saying ratings are up. That comes as the weekly ratings come out showing the most viewed CFL game this week was the Ti-Cats/Riders game at 513,000. You know with the 930 Eastern start, a lot of those people weren't Ontario or those east. The least-viewed game was the Argos-REDBLACKS matchup with 275,000 people tuning in. 275-thousand??!! That is beyond pathetic! I am guessing the suits at TSN are making some calls and letting the league know they had better fix their game. Yes, the World Cup of Hockey and the Jays run aren't helping, but if the Jays tank or when they are beaten, are Canadians going to flock back to a CFL game they know is broken. I don't think they will in this neck of the woods, but the win-loss record of the green-and-white plays a major factor into that as well. 

--Back to Austin for a second, what would the "punishment" had been if it were Chris Jones doing the deed? Hmmmmm!!!

--At what point do Blue Jays players look at John Gibbons when he picks up the phone to the bullpen and say "HANG UP". The Jays are going to get in the playoffs, but by the hair on their chinny chin chin. Two late inning failures by the pen this week could end up costing them home field advantage in a wild-card game. If Toronto plays Baltimore in that wild-card game, I think they're OK no matter where they play, If they are playing Detroit or Seattle, I don't like Toronto's chances. Then again, if the Jays don't win a couple in Boston this weekend, it won't really matter because they will be on the outside looking in.

--Week 4 NFL Lock of the Week --  Cowboys over Niners 
  Week 4 NFL Upset of the Week ---Saints over Chargers

--The Toronto hockey fan must be so confused. On Air Canada Centre ice, a group of men with Maple Leafs on their chest who were coached by Mike Babcock were skating around with a  trophy as they celebrated a championship. Many of them had to wonder just what exactly they were watching. 

--Brad Marchand 2016 WCOH winner will not go down with Eberle's 2009 WJ goal, Henderson's goal in 72, Mario's in 87 or Sid's in 2010. Sorry!  

--If you haven't seen it, check out the heckler at the Ryder Cup and what happened to him on the course Thursday.  Amazing!!  He couldn't do that again if he had 1000 opportunities. The clock has started ticking on this guy's 15 minutes of fame. 

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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

This Week in Cougar Athletics

Home Events – Saturday
Women’s Soccer – vs. Lethbridge, 11:00 a.m. (U of R Field)
Rams Football – vs. Saskatchewan, 2:00 p.m. (New Mosaic Stadium)

Home Events – Sunday
Women’s Soccer – vs. Calgary, 12:00 p.m. (U of R Field)

Away Events – Thursday
Women’s Basketball – at Brandon, 6:00 p.m. CDT (Brandon, Man.)
Men’s Basketball – at Victoria, 8:00 p.m. PDT (Victoria, B.C.)

Away Events – Friday
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Brandon, 10:00 a.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Winnipeg, 1:00 p.m. CDT (Brandon, Man.)
Men’s Volleyball – at Brandon, 6:00 p.m. CDT (Brandon, Man.)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Toronto, 6:00 p.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Basketball – vs. McMaster, 6:00 p.m. PDT (Victoria, B.C.)

Away Events – Saturday
Cross Country – at University of Saskatchewan Open, 12:00 p.m. (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Women’s Volleyball – at Winnipeg, 10:00 a.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. The King’s, 11:00 a.m. CDT (Brandon, Man.)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Sherbrooke, 3:30 p.m. CDT (Brandon, Man.)
Men’s Basketball – vs. McGill, 5:00 p.m. PDT (Victoria, B.C.)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Moncton, 6:00 p.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Hockey – at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m. CDT (Mankato, Minn.)

Away Events – Sunday
Men’s Volleyball – vs. TBA, 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. CDT (Brandon, Man.)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. TBA, 11:00 a.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Hockey – at St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m. CDT (St. Cloud, Minn.)

Rams Football (CIS Ranking – No. 4)  – The Rams (3-1) earned a 32-27 win over the previously unbeaten Calgary Dinos last Friday, a victory that was sealed by Joey Dwyer’s forced fumble on the one-yard line with only seconds to go. Dwyer was named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Week, while Mitchell Picton caught 13 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns to earn CIS and Canada West Offensive Player of the Week honours. The Rams will now host Saskatchewan (2-2) on Saturday in the SaskTel Fall Classic, the first game at the new Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (Access/Shaw, 620 CKRM,

Women's Soccer - The Cougars (1-3-2) are back at home to play host to the Lethbridge Pronghorns and No. 3-ranked Calgary Dinos on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Match time is 11 a.m. on Saturday, but kickoff returns to its usual 12 p.m. time for Sunday’s game against the Dinos. The Cougars are coming off a pair of tight 1-0 losses to Mount Royal and MacEwan last weekend.

Women's Hockey - The Cougars finished 3-0 at the Mandi Schwartz Challenge on the weekend, defeating Team Saskatchewan 2-0, the University of Saskatchewan by a 4-3 score, and the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns by a 3-2 margin. Winners of all seven of their preseason games so far, the Cougars will skate against an alumni team this Friday night (7:00) at The Co-operators Centre.

Men's Hockey - The Cougars lost a pair of non-conference games to the hometown Manitoba Bisons on the weekend, falling by scores of 7-2 and 3-0. The team will travel south for two games against NCAA Div. I opposition to close out its non-conference schedule, as they’ll play Minnesota State on Saturday night and St. Cloud State on Sunday night ( Both games face off at 7:07 p.m. (CDT).

Men’s Basketball – The first action of the non-conference schedule for the Cougars is this weekend at the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament in Victoria, B.C. The team starts out the tournament on Thursday night (8:00 PDT) against host Victoria, then is scheduled to meet McMaster on Friday night (6:00 PDT) and McGill on Saturday night (5:00 PDT).

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars opened the season last Friday with a 97-47 exhibition win over the visiting Lakeland College Rustlers. Katie Polischuk led the Cougars with 22 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting, while Charlotte Kot (18), Michaela Kleisinger (11) and Kyanna Giles (10) also scored in double figures. The Cougars travel to face Brandon and Manitoba in non-conference games on Thursday and Friday.

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars opened non-conference play at home last weekend with the four-team Cougar Invitational, coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to defeat Manitoba in five sets in their first match. The team suffered a pair of three-set losses in their next matches against Alberta and Brandon, and now head to Winnipeg this weekend for the Unruh Realty Invitational.

Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars will hit the court for the first time in 2016-17 this weekend, heading to Brandon to take part in a five-team non-conference tournament. They’ll play Winnipeg and host Brandon on Friday, The King’s University and Sherbrooke on Saturday, and will rematch with one of those four teams in a Sunday playoff match.

Cross Country – The Cougars make the short trip north on Saturday for the University of Saskatchewan Open, their second event of the 2016 schedule. Races begin at 12 p.m. at Douglas Park near downtown Saskatoon. Following this weekend, the Cougars have the Western Washington Classic, the Saskatchewan Age Class Championships, and the Stewart Cup as tune-ups for the 2016 CIS Cross Country Championships in November in Quebec City.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics) 

Week 4 NFL Capsules

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Cam Wake and the Miami Dolphins are in Cincinnati for Thursday Night Football as Week 4 of the NFL season gets underway. For a preview of that game, and everything else this weekend, click here 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Austin Fined, But Not Suspended for Officials Abuse

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Canadian Football League Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge issued a statement on Wednesday regarding discipline against Kent Austin, who was involved in an incident with a game official during Week 14 action in Regina:

Respect for officials is a basic tenet of sport. Their impartial participation makes fair competition possible. And their security is paramount. That is why it is absolutely unacceptable for a coach to confront an official and make contact with him, even if that contact was inadvertent and accidental.

For his behaviour in a sideline incident with an on field official during his team’s game on Saturday, Sept. 24, Hamilton Tiger-Cats vice-president of football operations and head coach Kent Austin will be removed from the sidelines for the Tiger-Cats’ next game, this Saturday, Oct. 1. He will be allowed in the spotters’ booth but he will not have the privilege of joining his team on the field or interacting with officials on the field. Furthermore, Coach Austin is fined $10,000. A penalty of this magnitude levied against a coach for an interaction with an official is unprecedented in our league.

Our examination of this situation did not yield a comparable precedent on which to base a decision. That has highlighted for me the need to develop and announce a clear policy that makes crystal clear that there will be zero tolerance of physical contact with officials, whatever its nature, and immediate and serious penalties should such contact occur. That work is now underway.

(CFL Communications)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NHL Names Wayne Gretzky Centennial Ambassador

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The National Hockey League announced today that the incomparable Wayne Gretzky will serve as the official Centennial Ambassador in conjunction with its year-long celebration in 2017.

    Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leader in goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857) as well as numerous other records, will make appearances at various events throughout the calendar year celebration, which commences Jan. 1, 2017, with the NHL Centennial Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at BMO Field in Toronto.

    A four-time Stanley Cup winner as captain of the Edmonton Oilers (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87 and 1987-88), Gretzky dominated the NHL unlike any other player in history. He captured nine Hart Memorial Trophies as League MVP, including eight straight beginning with his first NHL season in 1979-80. He also won 10 Art Ross Trophies, five Ted Lindsay Awards, five Lady Byng Memorial Trophies and two Conn Smythe Trophies; was voted to 15 postseason All-Star teams (eight First Team, seven Second Team); and skated in 18 All-Star Games.

    Gretzky, who played for the Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, appeared in 20 NHL seasons from 1979-80 through 1998-99. Along the way he thrilled NHL fans with a succession of record-shattering performances, including single-season marks for goals (92), assists (163) and points (215); 50 goals in his team’s first 39 games in 1981-82; a point streak of 51 games to start the 1983-84 campaign; and an all-time playoff scoring record with 47 points in 1984-85.

    The Brantford, Ont., native skated in his last game on April 18, 1999, at Madison Square Garden (vs. PIT) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame that June, becoming the 10th and last player to bypass the three-year waiting period. The NHL also retired Gretzky’s No. 99 jersey, making him the first and only player in League history to earn that honor.

    Gretzky’s tireless support of the game has contributed significantly to the popularity it enjoys today. He received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1994 for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2009 “for his continued contributions to the world of hockey, notably, as one of the best players of all time, as well as for his social engagement as a philanthropist, volunteer and role model for countless young people.”

Among Gretzky’s NHL records:

Career Goals, Regular Season: 894
Career Assists, Regular Season; 1,963
Career Points, Regular Season: 2,857
Career Hat Tricks, Regular Season: 50

Career Goals, Playoffs: 122
Career Assists, Playoffs: 260
Career Points, Playoffs: 382
Career Hat Tricks, Playoffs: 10
Career Game-Winning Goals, Playoffs: 24*

Goals, Single Regular Season: 92 (1981-82)
Assists, Single Regular Season: 163 (1985-86)
Points, Single Regular Season: 215 (1985-86)
Hat Tricks, Single Regular Season: 10 (1981-82 and 1983-84)
Point Streak, Single Regular Season: 51 (1983-84)

Fewest Games to 50 Goals, From Start of Season: 39 (1981-82)
Most Goals in 50 Games, From Start of Season: 61 (1981-82 and 1983-84)

Career 40-Goal Seasons: 12
Career 50-Goal Seasons: 9*
Career 60-Goal Seasons: 5*
Career 100-Point Seasons: 15

Most Consecutive 40-Goal Seasons: 12
Most Consecutive 60-Goal Seasons: 4
Most Consecutive 100-Point Seasons: 13

Assists, Single Playoff Year: 31 (1987-88)
Points, Single Playoff Year: 47 (1984-85)
* Shared record

    Other Gretzky notes:

First NHL Goal: Oct. 14, 1979 vs. VAN (Glen Hanlon)
500th NHL Goal: Nov. 22, 1986 vs. VAN (EN)
802nd NHL Goal: March 23, 1994 vs. VAN (Kirk McLean)
Last NHL Goal: March 29, 1999 vs. NYI (Wade Flaherty)

First NHL Assist: Oct. 10, 1979 at CHI
1,050th NHL Assist: March 1, 1988 vs. LAK
Last NHL Assist: April 18, 1999 vs. PIT

First NHL Point: Oct. 10, 1979 at CHI (Assist)
1,851st NHL Point: Oct. 15, 1989 at EDM (Goal)
Last NHL Point: April 18, 1999 vs. PIT (Assist)

Regina Rams Move to #4 In CIS Rankings

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On the strength of a 32-27 win over a Calgary team that had been ranked No. 2 in the nation, the University of Regina Rams have vaulted up to No. 4 in this week’s CIS Top Ten released Tuesday by Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

It’s the highest the Rams (3-1) have been ranked since the 2010 season, when they were No. 3 in the country after winning five of their first six games of the Canada West schedule.

“We’ve had three nice wins in a row now and it’s nice to be recognized for that,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. “But we’re only halfway through the Canada West schedule and our upcoming game against Saskatchewan has our full attention.”

The only three teams now ranked ahead of the Rams are undefeated Montreal (4-0 RSEQ) at No. 1, Laval (3-1 RSEQ) at No. 2, and Western (4-1 OUA) at No. 3. Calgary dropped three spots to No. 5 in this week’s poll, while Manitoba snuck back into the rankings at No. 9 following a decisive 38-17 win over Saskatchewan on Saturday. This week’s poll is rounded out by No. 6 Wilfrid Laurier (4-0 OUA), No. 7 Ottawa (4-0 OUA), No. 8 McMaster (3-1 OUA), and No. 10 Carleton (3-2 OUA).

The Rams will now prepare to host Saskatchewan (2-2) in the SaskTel Fall Classic on Saturday at the new Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R) 

More CanWest Awards For Rams

The University of Regina Rams took two of three Canada West Player of the Week awards on Monday as Joey Dwyer and Mitchell Picton were both honoured by the conference for their performances in the team's 32-27 win over No. 2-ranked Calgary.

Dwyer, the team's starting strong-side linebacker, was named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Week. He was in on 14 tackles to lead all players for the game, but it was his game-saving play in the closing seconds that sealed the win for the Rams. With Calgary trailing by only five and Dinos quarterback Jimmy Underdahl scrambling towards the end zone, Dwyer met him at the one-yard line with a crushing hit that jarred the ball loose. Safety Braedy Will jumped on the ball in the end zone, putting an end to what could have been a game-winning drive for Calgary.

"You almost forget about Joey out there because he so consistently just goes about his business and gets the job done," Rams head coach Steve Bryce  said. "But everyone noticed him on Friday, and it wasn't just that last hit – he made another fine play late when he took down their running back for no gain on a pass to the flats."

Picton had his best game as a Ram on Friday, finishing with career highs in receptions (13) and receiving yards (215) and adding a career-high three touchdown catches, all three of which came during a 14-minute span in the second half of play. Picton, who's eligible to be selected in the 2017 CFL Draft, has at least one touchdown catch in each of the team's first four Canada West games and leads the entire CIS in both receiving yards per game (121.3) and touchdown receptions (7).

"Mitch is arguably our top receiver and I think you're watching a future professional out there, a guy who could have a long career in the CFL," Bryce said. "He wasn't playing at 100% after being banged up in practice this week, but was still able to elevate his game and excel against one of the top teams in the conference."

Dwyer and Picton will move forward as Canada West's nominees for the CIS Player of the Week awards, which are announced each Wednesday.

The first-place Rams (3-1) will be in action next at the SaskTel Fall Classic against Saskatchewan (2-2) on Saturday in a clash that will go down as the first football game to be played at the new Mosaic Stadium.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Something To "Mitch" About

Well, well, well, maybe Chris Jones can build a football team from scratch. I haven't heard a lot of Jones hate the last few weeks with the exception of that  Could that be because people are starting to see the potential of this football team??

The green-and-white gave their head coach an early 50th birthday Saturday night by gutting out a 20-18 win over Hamilton.on what was a soggy Saturday night in one of the final football games of meaning at Mosaic. It was one where the football team showed a lot of moxie, and it was one where they showed that despite being 3-10, they can't be considered a pushover any more.  Here are my thoughts on what happened:

  •  I didn't think I would be able to ask Darian Durant the question seeing he got knocked out of the game with a concussion, but Durant was well enough to speak to reporters after the game, I asked him if that was the best performance he had had in a Riders uniform since that magical Sunday night in November of 2013 against those same Ti-Cats, and he admitted it was. He says there is something about those cool, fall nights in Saskatchewan that suits him well.  Darian was well on his way to a 400 yard game, and was looking like the Durant of old on Saturday night. As was uttered in the pressbox, he looked like a quarterback who was showing to his organization that he wants to get paid when it comes time to having some serious discussions about a new contract. 
  • The defense is just getting better and better, Since that meltdown in Hamilton, the "D" has gotten better and better. They didn't get wins against Winnipeg, but they were right there. They have given up 86 points in their last 4 games which is just a shade over 21 a game. In the CFL, if you are giving up on average 20-25 points a game, that's not bad. 
  • How would that game had changed had Adrian Tracy's 100 plus yard fumble return counted. Yes, Mitchell Gale was down, but that play was a huge turning point. It was a 14 point swing. The Ti-Cats should have been up 17-10, but instead they were down 17-10 after Durant ran it in on the next play, It's breaks like that that good teams start to get.
  • How about Tyler Crapigna! The kicker has won two of the three Rider games this year with some last second heroics. A lot of people needlessly got on his case after the Labour Day loss. The kid can kick. As I said after the Winnipeg game, everyone has a bad day at the office.
  • When Naaman Roosevelt comes back, the Riders will have a triple threat at receiver. Roosevelt, Caleb Holley and Armanti Edwards are a nice trio, and let's not forget about Rob Bagg either, 
Bottom line is this team is starting to show you what you can expect in 17 and beyond. The building blocks are in place. There are still things which have to be done (getting rid of backup QB plays running short yardage), but this team is showing signs they are a team to be wary of both down the stretch this year and next. 


Standing on the sidelines Friday night at Mosaic working the Access/SHAW broadcast of the Rams/Calgary game, I was furiously trying to call an audible,  Rams receiver Mitch Picton was going to be the star of the game, but the Calgary Dinos were driving in the game's final moments. I was trying to find out stats of the Calgary players as I stood at the Rams 2. Calgary QB Jimmy Underdahl took off for the endzone, and it looked like he might score until linebacker Joey Dwyer literally destroyed him in a picture above captured by PSP photography. 

It sounded like someone had fired a shot right beside me, and you could hear Underdahl give a pained yell as he fumbled the football giving Regina a 32-27 win and first place in Canada West.  In a game that the Dinos looked to own in the first 28 minutes, Noah Picton finally found a way late in the 2nd quarter and when he did, there was no stopping the Horns. The job Steve Bryce is doing with this football club that lost its identity in a horrid 2015 campaign is simply amazing. Picton continues to put up Madden-like numbers to receivers who CFL scouts must be drooling over, Sheldon Gray has the defence playing well and confidence is at a place I haven't seen it at in a long time, Did anyone think midway through the Canada West season the Rams would be in first place? That's where they are setting up what will be a fantastic tilt at new Mosaic on Saturday. 16-thousand fans watching the first place Rams and the Huskies. LOVE IT!! Can they sell another 5 grand this week? OK, I know that isn't going to happen, but the atmosphere inside the new stadium for the debut event should be off the charts. If Regina could win that game and then go into Alberta and beat the winless Bears, I think they would host a playoff game. It would mean one more game at Mosaic as the Canada West semis would go one week after theMylan  Riders last home game of the year,  

As great as it is to see this turnaround, I feel great for guys that were on that team which went 0-8 last  year, You could see the anger and the frustration mounting with that team last year, and they let some wins get away from them for whatever reason. To go from that spot to this is a feeling they should cherish. They deserve to be feeling that way after last year. Yes they do!!

A DARK SUNDAY -  Sunday was absolutely a terrible day in the world of sports. It all started when news filtered down early in the morning that Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had been killed in a boating accident. He was one of the game's marquee pitchers. He had Cy Young Award winner written all over him, and the best was yet to come. From all accounts, he was a better person than he was a pitcher. I watched Fernandez twirl a 3 hitter in what eventually was his last start. What a terrible loss!

Just hours after the Fernandez news, word started to trickle down from Calgary about a Stampeders player being killed. Was it a regular? Was it a star player? As it turned out, it was a guy I don't think anyone knew of as it was practice roster player Mylan Hicks. That doesn't take away from the senselessness of what occurred outside a nightclub in the city as he was shot to death. Was he targetted because he was a Stampeder? We know that has happened here in the past.  He was not the only Stampeder at that bar. One has to wonder. He was in the CFL doing what he loved and trying to make a name for himself so that maybe one day he could be an NFL'er. We don't know what went down, but I am guessing he just went to that place to be with his teammates celebrating a win, and wasn't looking for trouble, but sadly trouble found him,  Again, a terrible loss. 

It was all capped off with news just after the supper hour of the death of Arnold Palmer. He was a living legend. Those who know anything about golf know all about Arnie. He was an icon of the sport and he will be missed in not just golf circles, but sports circles. 


Image result for vin scully

The bright light on what was a dark Sunday was that of Vin Scully, Talk about living legends. The long-time Dodgers broadcaster called his final home game and the baseball gods made sure it was memorable. A 9th inning homer to tie it followed by a 10th inning homer to win it and clinch the division, The baseball gods would have it no other way. If you saw the beginning of the game, and the end of the game, it was moments that stand still as he thanked the fans for allowing him to be the man he is today. The relationships he forged with those fans whether it be through TV, a transistor radio or being at the ballpark was the reason he is adored as much as he is. Scully said without the fans, he is nothing and so are the Dodgers. You really can't argue that. 

When it was over, he had the mike one last time to say goodbye with his wife at his side while a tape of him singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" was played. It was a moment only Vin Scully could paint. Dodger baseball without him will never sound the same,  He truly is the greatest of all time.


  • The 2nd half performance of Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin last year was no fluke
  • With Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys are in good shape 
  • With Carson Wentz, the Eagles are in great shape 
  • I still don't know how the Rams picked Jared Goff ahead of Wentz. It is far too early to say we have another Leaf-Manning story on our hands, but Goff needs to start playing
  • I could see Miami struggling against Seattle and New England, but Cleveland?
  • No Bridgewater, no Peterson, no losses. The Vikings are sending a message
  • Let's stop with all this talk about Arizona being a Super Bowl contender. They got schooled by Buffalo for god's sake 
  • John Elway knew what he was doing when he let Brock Osweiler walk in free agency. Trevor Siemian is a keeper. 
THE UNDERRATED JOHN TAVARES -  As the World Cup of Hockey winds down, it would seem a given that Canada will win. While Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand and Jonathan Toews have been getting a lot of the ink, and deservedly so, it seems as if John Tavares has once again been reduced to an after-thought. I haven't seen all of Canada's games, but the games I have seen have once again seen the Islander forward playing at a very high level. I think he's one of the top 10 players in the game today, but he never gets the recognition. His play at this tournament has been unreal and the goal he got against Russia the other night was one of the best at the event. I don't know if its the team he plays on or if its something else, If he was on a Canadian team, that spotlight would start shining on him. That being said, I don't see him going anywhere anytime soon. 

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