Saturday, June 30, 2018

What Did You Miss Friday?

--Jeremiah Masoli threw for 369 yards as the Ti-Cats beat Winnipeg 31-17.  It is the 8th straight 300 yard game Masoli has had.  The record is nine. In the night's other game, Mike Reilly threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as the Eskimos knocked off BC 41-22

--Kyries Hebert has been suspended one game for an illegal hit on Calgary receiver Davaris Daniels Thursday. Hebert launched himself into the air and led with the crown of his helmet in the offending hit while Daniels was in a defenceless position.   The play caused former Stamps running back Jon Cornish, who suffered a concussion in 2014 after a hit from Hebert, to go onto Twitter calling for the REDBLACKS to release Hebert.

--Drew Doughty is staying in LA.  The defenceman will sign an eight-year contract extension on July 1 that will pay him around 11 million per season. The 28-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the Kings since being drafted second overall in 2008.

--Edmonton Prospects pitcher Rich Walker threw a perfect game in Fort MacMurray as the Prospects blanked the Giants 4-0.  The Mesa Community College product threw 95 pitches striking out nine.  The Regina Red Sox saw a nine-game win streak end as they were defeated 7-6 at home by Moose Jaw.

--The Blue Jays say when his 75 game suspension is over, Roberto Osuna will go back to his job as the team;s closer.  GM Ross Atkins said "“Roberto is our closer. We’re running a baseball team and our goal is to win championships. Roberto could potentially be very much a part of that. The word that comes to mind for me when you talk about that is empathy. That’s not just for Roberto, that’s for everyone involved, that’s where we’re going to spend our time and energy, on being empathetic and trying to understand. We don’t have a background in investigations.”

--LeBron James will headline the 2018 N-B-A free agent class. The star forward has told the Cleveland Cavaliers that he is not exercising his 35.6-million-dollar (US) contract option for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent. The three-time champion is now the most coveted prize in a market that includes all-stars Paul George and Chris Paul.


Friday, June 29, 2018

This And That


--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.

--The keys have been handed to Brandon Bridge.  What is he going to do?  Bridge has the opportunity this week and likely next to show the Riders and the CFL if he has what it takes to be a starting quarterback in this league.  I truthfully don't know if Bridge has what it takes.  I said going into the off-season that he needed to mature somewhat because while the talent is there, he had to mature a little bit.  I don't think Bridge and the Riders should have much of a problem beating Montreal on Saturday, but there will be a short turn-around before Hamilton comes to town on July 5. That will be a little tougher for Bridge.  He will go a long way over a short time to let us know if he has what it takes to be a starter in this league. Many are pulling for him.  If he does show he has what it takes, he puts Chris Jones into a difficult situation, but it is one I think he won't mind being in.

--When did Zach Collaros get hurt? At what point was it determined he had to go through the concussion protocol?  Isn't the CFL supposed to have someone watching for this? Someone on the Riders bench obviously made the right call to get him out of the game as they saw something wasn't right when he came off the field, but why or how didn't anyone notice he wasn't right and allowed him to play a few more plays is wrong in this day and age where we are supposed to be so careful about concussions.

--Rider Nation has been a little salty this week after the defeat in Ottawa.  While it is safe to say some might be ready to jump off the SGI building if the Alouettes should pull off what would be a major upset on Saturday night, there will be others who will say a 10 point or 14 point or 20 point win isn't enough.   Whether it be by one or 41, two points will go on the board which is what you want.

-Remember how Diontae Spencer beaked off after last week's win?  He said the Riders came to Ottawa and acted like tourists while visiting Parliament Hill along with other things.  Well, fast forward one week and Spencer had two drops including a bad one in the endzone in the 4th quarter and he also couldn't get into the endzone on what was a game-changing play as Ciante Evans stuffed him at the goal-line.  I guess Spencer went to Calgary to visit the Calgary Tower and get some Stampede souvenirs. Karma's a real bitch Diontae!

--The announcement that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be going to the Hockey Hall of Fame has some hockey fans very upset.  I'm not Bettman's biggest fan, but there is no denying that he has done what the owners wanted him to do. He has grown the game and he has made them money.  He has also done his best to keep franchises right where they are.  You don't know how close the Edmonton Oilers were to moving lock, stock and barrel to Houston.  I don't even know if the fine people of Edmonton know how close it was to the team leaving.  Bettman got what needed to be done in Edmonton done and now there is no worry of them leaving.  Calgary fans should remember this. So should Winnipeg fans. The question I have is couldn't they have waited until his time as commish was up.  Does this mean we can put Sidney Crosby and Ovie in right away while they are still playing?

I think it would be great though if he was booed as he walked on stage for his induction speech. It would make him feel at home.

--If you could watch one NHL game over and over and over again, what one would it be?  Put me down for the 1984 cup-clinching win by the Oilers. That was their first!  What a night it was! 

--Congratulations to Dave Struch!  I don't think there are many who follow the Pats or the WHL that knew Thursday was coming sooner or later.  It takes nothing away from the announcement that Struch will take over from John Paddock as head coach of the Regina Pats.  There is absolutely no reason to think Struch won't succeed.  He has seen what's been going on for the last four years and he is more than ready to build on that.   In a way, Dave starts where John starts four years ago.  I don't think he has a marquee player on his hands like Sam Steel was, but there is no reason to think this team will be in a downward spiral under Dave.  I like the move and so should Pats fans.

-- I just want to make sure I have this straight.  Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended one game by the NFL for terrorizing his wife.  Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is handed a three game for sexually assaulting an Uber driver and Tom Brady is given four games for deflating footballs which really technically was never proven. Ohhhhhhhh K!

--It's getting down to the real stuff at the World Cup.  Lose and you are out now.  With England, France, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and the mighty Swiss still involved, it gets fun now.  There won't be any dog games like we saw to end the group stages.  It is games like that which give those who hate the game all the ammunition they need.   Much like hockey games that end up 1-0 or 2-1 because both teams are employing the trap with the shots on goal being 25-22.

--The CFL is bringing back live mic games.  Microphones will be on the head coach and the quarterback so we can hear what they are saying.  I know what the league is trying to do, but does the average fan understand coachspeak?  They certainly aren't going to dumb it down for you and Jason Maas will make sure the person with his finger on the swear button has a busy night.  CFL Wired brings you the sights and sounds of the game.  That's all you need isn't it?  It's a sharply edited piece that brings you on the sidelines.  That's good enough for me.

--Are you going to sit in front of your TV and watch Free Agent frenzy on either TSN or Sportsnet July 1.  Yeah, me neither.  Then again, if the mosquitoes are bad who knows!

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

What Did You Miss Thursday?

--The Calgary Stampeders got some momentum from a big goal-line stand as they beat Ottawa 24-14 in Thursday night CFL play.  The Stamps are now 3-0 on the season. 

--Regina Pats goalie Max Paddock is heading to San Jose. The Sharks have invited Paddock to their development camp which starts Tuesday. 

--Canada's Brooke Henderson is a stroke back of the lead at the K-P-M-G Women's P-G-A Championship. The Smiths Falls, Ontario, native shot a 5-under 67 in the first round to sit tied for second with Jessica Korda, Jaye Marie Green and Brittany Altomore, just behind South Korea's Sung Hyun Park, who was bogey-free. Henderson was the 2016 KPMG winner and the runner-up last year. She will be in Regina in August for the CP Canadian Women's Open at the Wascana. 

--Colombia is moving on in the World Cup and Senegal is out, the first team to get eliminated on a new tiebreaker that punishes squads each time their players pick up yellow or red cards. Yerry Mina scored on a header in the 74th minute to give Colombia a 1-0 win over the Senegalese. Japan beat out Senegal for the second spot and Belgium reached the last 16 as group winners with a 1-0 victory over England. The Three Lions also move on.

--The Boston Red Sox have acquired utility player Steve Pearce and cash considerations from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league infielder Santiago Espinal. Pearce, 35, completes the AL East cycle after joining the Red Sox. He previously played for the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays.  The veteran slugger owns a .291/.349/.519 slash line in 26 games this season and has a knack for hitting left-handed pitching

Thursday, June 28, 2018

John Paddock Moves Upstairs; Dave Struch Becomes New Pats Head Coach

The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce changes to their hockey operations staff for the 2018-19 season.

John Paddock, who has served as VP of Hockey Operations, General Manager and Head Coach for the last four seasons, is relinquishing his head coaching duties, allowing Dave Struch to take over behind the bench. Paddock will continue to serve as VP of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Previously, Struch served as Assistant Coach and Assistant GM.

“We are really excited about this transition in our organization,” said Pats President Todd Lumbard. “Dave is an excellent coach and will do a great job in continuing what we have built over the last four seasons.”

John led the Pats to a record of 165-89-21-13 over four seasons, including a franchise record 52 wins and 112 points in 2016-17. Regina won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as Regular Season Champions, won the East Division and appeared in the WHL Championship Series in 2017. In 2015 and 2017 Paddock was named WHL Coach of the Year, and was the 2017 WHL Executive of the Year.

“This transition is something we have talked about for some time,” said Paddock. “Dave and I think the game the same way and as we move into a different stage as a team, this move makes a lot of sense.”

Struch has been with the Pats through all of the success over the last four years. This will be his second head coaching job in the WHL.

“It is an honour to take on this new position,” said Struch. “We have a great program here in Regina and I look forward to continuing to build a winner on and off the ice.”

Struch has been coaching in the Western Hockey League since 2006, his first stint was with the Saskatoon Blades before moving to Regina in 2014. Struch played four years in the WHL with Saskatoon from 1988 to 1992, appearing in the 1992 Memorial Cup Championship with the Blades. Drafted in the ninth round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames, he played four games in the NHL and 110 in the AHL. Struch went on to play nine seasons in Europe, Italy and England.

(Pats PR)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What Did You Miss Wednesday?

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--Dean Brockman is back in the WHL. The former Saskatoon Blades coach was named Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Swift Current Broncos.  The job became open when Manny Vivieros left to become an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers.   Meanwhile, former Regina Pat Brad Lauer was announced as the head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

--The 2019 SaskTel Tankard is going to Whitewood. The event will be held February 6-10 with the winner representing Saskatchewan at the Tim Hortons Brier in Brandon.

--Ricky Ray's season is over.  Reports say the veteran quarterback isn't planning to return to the Toronto Argonauts this year after suffering a neck injury in their 41-7 home loss to the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night.

--With Zach Collaros on the shelf, the Riders have gone out and gotten a new quarterback.  Devin Gardner played his college ball at the University of Michigan.  In his senior season (20140, he threw for 1896 yards with 10 TD's and 15 INT's. He had been playing in Japan.

--A huge upset at the World Cup in Russia. Defending champion Germany failed to make it out of the group stage after a 2-nil loss to South Korea. Germany needed a win to have a shot at advancing but conceded two goals in stoppage time. The outcome propelled Mexico into the round of 16 behind Sweden, even after Sweden's 3-nil win over the Mexican team.

What Did You Miss Tuesday?

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--Pioneer Willie O'Ree, commissioner Gary Bettman and goaltending legend Martin Brodeur. Highlight the Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2018. O'Ree was the first black player in the N-H-L, Bettman has overseen the league's expansion into a multibillion-dollar industry and Brodeur piled up the most wins and shutouts of any goaltender in league history. Martin St. Louis, Jayna Hefford and Russian Alexander Yakushev are the other inductees.

--The WHL schedule is out. The 68-game regular season starts September 21 with the Pats in Prince Albert. The Raiders will be in Regina the next night. 

--The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Bryan Rust to a four-year deal that runs through the 2021-22 campaign. Rust set career highs in both assists and points while playing in 69 games for the Penguins this season and added three goals in 12 playoff games. Rust was a pivotal member of the Penguins as they won consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.

--The Tampa Bay Lightning has re-signed forward J-T Miller to a five-year contract worth 26.25 million dollars (US). The Lightning acquired Miller from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. He put up 18 points in 19 regular-season games with Tampa Bay and then another eight in 17 playoff games.

--The Montreal Alouettes signed quarterback Vernon Adams Junior.  The former Alouette was released by Hamilton earlier this month  Adams went to Hamilton after an off-season trade with the Riders. 

--Cobb County police announced Tuesday that a dead body was discovered inside a walk-in freezer at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. Officer Sarah O'Hara told Bob Brasch of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the deceased individual, whose identity is being withheld until the family is notified, was a third-party contractor who didn't work for the Braves or the park. The body was discovered by a co-worker. No other details were released, and police said the death is now part of an ongoing investigation.  Despite the gruesome discovery, the Braves' Tuesday home game against the Cincinnati Reds began at 7:30 p.m. ET as scheduled.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Collaros Goes To Six Game Injured List

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be without quarterback Zach Collaros for this week's game against Montreal and perhaps several others

The Riders placed Collaros on the six-game injured list Tuesday, five days after he left Saskatchewan's Week 2 game against the Ottawa Redblacks with a head injury.

Collaros was acquired from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this off-season. He was 18-of-25 passing for 203 yards and one touchdown in the Riders' season-opening 27-19 win over Toronto.

Collaros missed three games with a head injury in 2016 and was sidelined two years earlier due to a concussion.

It means Brandon Bridge is the starter for now.

Bridge completed 13-of-22 passes for 145 yards and an interception after Collaros left last week's game.

What Did You Miss Monday?

--Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray will miss ``significant time'' from the CFL season after being released from a Toronto hospital on Monday.The 38-year-old Ray spent two nights in hospital after suffering a neck injury in the third quarter of Saturday's 41-7 loss to the Calgary Stampeders. The Argonauts said in a statement late Monday that Ray was ``resting comfortably'' with family but will have to undergo more tests to further evaluate the injury and that there is no timetable for his return.

--The Riders return to practice Tuesday for the first time since their defeat in Ottawa.  It is expected we will hear whether or not Zach Collaros will be dressed for the game after suffering a concussion in the loss to the REDBLACKS

--There were nervy moments for Spain and Portugal, bout both Iberian powers are through to the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Spain scored a stoppage-time equalizer to tie Morocco 2-2 and Portugal drew Iran 1-1 today, leaving both teams with five points. Spain goes through as the top team in Group B on a tiebreaker. Iran missed a glorious opportunity for a goal in added time that would have given it top spot in the group. Uruguay beat host Russia 3-0 in Group A action earlier today at the World Cup. Both teams were already through to the knockout stages. In the other Group A match, Saudi Arabia ended its tournament on a high with a 2-1 win over Egypt.

--The Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms with right-hander Casey Mize, the top pick in this year's draft. The Tigers announced the agreement before their game against Oakland. The six-foot-three junior averaged 12.24 strikeouts per nine innings this season at Auburn.

--Dwane Casey won the NBA Coach of the Year award on Monday night despite getting fired by the Toronto Raptors earlier in the off-season. Casey beat out Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens for the honour. The 61-year-old Casey was the most successful coach in Raptors history, but was fired on May 11, five days after being nominated for the Coach of the Year award.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Something To "Mitch" About

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--The CFL community is tight and it is strong.  Evidence of that came Saturday night as soon as it became evident that Ricky Ray had been hurt---the extent of which we still don't know even though an update was given Sunday that sounds promising.  Immediately, words came across Twitter from CFL'ers past and present hoping for nothing but the best for the Toronto quarterback that is one of the best to strap on a CFL uniform over my time watching this league.

I had stopped watching the game intently because of the score at the time and missed the play in question as it happened.  As I looked at the TV and saw the concern for a player lying on the turf, I had no idea it was Ray they were talking about until I hit rewind on the PVR and saw what went down.  It seemed to be an innocent play and there was certainly no malice on the part of the Stampeder players involved.  Immediately, my mind raced back to the tackle that went wrong by Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.  It was seemingly a routine tackle, but it obviously wasn't.   I don't know how long Ricky is out for, but I hope it isn't a career-ender.  His career should not end with him being wheeled off the field on a stretcher.

--We are two weeks into the CFL season. What have we figured out? Not a lot.  I think we can all agree it is going to be another long season for the Alouettes and despite talk once again that Calgary is going to slip back to the rest of the pack, they may not be.  Edmonton, Hamilton, the Riders and Bombers are all 1-1.  The Bombers and BC had their way with the Alouettes so are they good or is Montreal just THAT bad.  Ottawa looked great in Week 1, but so did the Riders.   Edmonton struggled to beat Winnipeg and were not strong against Hamilton. You know about the  Riders first two games.  More of a sample size is needed.

--What has been disappointing has been the lack of riveting games.  None of the four this weekend were ones you wanted to watch from kickoff to final gun.  4 very one-sided matchups.  It wasn't as bad in Week 1, but at least two of the four games weren't ones that kept you on the edge of your seat.  Go back to last year when we had six of the first eight games decided by four points or less.  Let's hope that we start seeing some closer games to keep the interest piqued.

--Eskimos president Len Rhodes is the one who spear-headed the "move the CFL season" up.  We saw the season move up by a couple of weeks and what was an anticipated crowd of 40,000 with a guaranteed 50-50 of at least 70,000 for the home opener ended up being 31,000. Rhodes blamed the 8 o'clock Friday night saying 7 would have been much better.  He also said the NHL draft had a lot to do with it.  Could it just be people aren't ready to sit down on a Friday night and watch football when they could hit the road and get out of town or do whatever.  Is that one of the reasons why the Riders didn't have a sell-out crowd for the home opener.  The debate about the scheduling rages on. By the way, the 31,000 was the biggest crowd of the season through the first two weeks.

--As the NHL draft finished on Saturday, many were wondering what happened to the WHL and why more players didn't get selected.   After hearing scouts gush about Max Paddock at the Memorial Cup, I was just as surprised as anyone not to see the Pats goalie get taken.  Talk of him going somewhere between the mid 4th and the 6th round obviously didn't pan out.  Some started to wonder if the WHL is still "the league". 

It was just a down year for the WHL in my opinion.  No one was talking about this at the end of last year's draft when the league had 33 players taken with 18 of those going in the first three rounds.  Those looking to stir something up need to find a better argument. There is nothing wrong with player development in the WHL.  Oh yeah, there were 34 players taken in the 2016 draft including 16 in the first three rounds if you're wondering.

--As for the draft itself, what a letdown!  I kept waiting for trades to take place and it didn't happen with all the talking heads then making excuses as to why we weren't seeing what we were supposed to.  If it weren't for the Flames and Hurricanes we would have had nothing.  I'm not really sure what to think of that deal.   Yes, the Flames  had to shake things up after a season gone bad and it would appear as if there is more to the story when it comes to Hamilton who is now on his 3rd team at the age of 25.

--The question now is what team really helped itself at the draft. I say it has to be the Islanders.  For a team that didn't have a top-10 pick, they got two players ranked in the top 10 in Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson.  How Dobson fell that far is beyond me?  I had him going to Ottawa at 4 and I certainly didn't think he would get past Vancouver at 7.  The fact Edmonton had those two players and Evan Bouchard to choose from amazed me.  For what its worth, I had Bouchard going at 9 to the Rangers. With so many blueliners taken in the first round, we will look back in a few years to see where everyone is.  I would expect Dobson, Bouchard, Quinn Hughes, Ty Smithand Adam Boqvist to be solid NHL players moving forward, but who will stand out above the rest in the next 3-5 years.

--Ilya Kovalchuk at the age of 35 is going to get more than six million a year from the L-A Kings. Really? Maybe four to four-and-a-half, but six? You do want to keep Drew Doughty right?

--The great Dan Patrick on his radio show last week said more people watched England's first game at the World Cup in England than watched the royal wedding. More people were interested in Harry Kane than Prince Harry.  While that does surprise me in one way, it doesn't in another.  Say what you want about our fandom, those that support their country in soccer have us beat.  Of course, we don't resort to hooliganism if we lose.

--Congratulations to the Regina Riot on their 14-10 WWCFL title win over the Saskatoon Valkyries.  It's been a rough last couple of weeks for the women's football team as they had to get over the distraction of getting their uniforms stolen.  The Riot, under head coach Olivier Eddie, found a way to get it down winning it late.   CTV's Claire Hanna opined after the game that she wishes the stadium were full to see women's football played at a high quality.  Sadly, if we can't put 10,000 in the stands to watch the Thunder or the Rams, we aren't going to get a big crowd for the Riot.  All three deserve more support if you ask me, but that support isn't there.

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

What Did You Miss Sunday?

--The Regina Riot defeated the Saskatoon Valkyries 14-10 to win the WWCFL title for a second straight season. Mallory Starkey's short TD run in the 4th quarter with two minutes to play gave the Riot the victory. 

--The Saskatchewan Roughriders have added another big body to the middle of their defensive line, announcing Sunday the addition of veteran defensive tackle Mic’hael Brooks. The 26 year old spent three seasons with the Lions and was a Western Conference all-star in 2015 

--John Carlson is staying in Washington. The Stanley Cup champs signed the defenceman to an eight year deal worth 64 million. He made just under four million last year. 

--The Leafs have told Regina's Tyler Bozak that his time in Toronto is up.  Bozak will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He spent nine years in Toronto racking up 136 goals and 229 assists in 594 games.  Bozak turned 32 in March.

--Bubba Watson overcame a six-stroke deficit to win his third Travelers Championship title, shooting a 7-under 63 for a three-stroke victory at T-P-C River Highlands. Watson became the first three-time winner on the P-G-A Tour this season, and pulled within one of Billy Casper's tournament record of four victories.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ricky Ray Update

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Argonauts QB Ricky Ray, who suffered a neck injury during the third quarter of Saturday night’s contest vs. the Calgary Stampeders, was held in a Toronto hospital overnight and has feeling in all extremities.

Ray is resting comfortably and remains in the hospital for further evaluation. Ray did undergo concussion protocol testing and reported no current symptoms.

Further details regarding Ricky Ray’s health will be made available soon.

(Toronto Argonauts)

What Did You Miss Saturday?

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--The Grey Cup rematch took a completely different tone.  Argos QB Ricky Ray was stretchered off the field after suffering a neck injury when he was sacked in the 3rd quarter.  Play was stopped for 20 minutes as medical officials dealt with Ray.  The exact diagnosis of the injury is not known. Calgary won the game 41-7

--The Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes pulled off a deal that sends defenceman Dougie Hamilton to Raleigh for Noah Hanifin. The Flames also shipped out winger Michael Ferland and prospect Adam Fox to Carolina for centre Elias Lindholm as part of the deal.

--Chris Kunitz will be looking for a new team.  Tampa GM Steve Yzerman says he won't be offering the Regina native a contract meaning he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Kunitz has said he wants his NHL career to continue and he is not thinking about retiremetnt

--Toni Kroos scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time from outside the penalty area, and 10-man Germany rallied to beat Sweden 2-1 to stay alive at the World Cup. Also, Mexico moved closer to a spot in the round of 16 by beating South Korea 2-1. And Belgium defeated Tunisia 5-2 in the highest-scoring game so far in the World Cup.

--Calgary is a step closer to a potential bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. The Canadian Olympic Committee session voted to approve Calgary as a potential host for the the Games. International Olympic Committee members will vote on a 2026 host city in September 2019. Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Games.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

This And That

Welcome to Saturday. Here are the usual assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.

--The Rider Nation has done a complete 180. Shocking! After a dazzling performance against the Argos to open the season, there is no doubt the green-and-white laid a big-time egg at TD Place Thursday night.  It allowed those who hate Chris Jones to come out swinging.  At what point does this stop? Why the hate for Jones? Never mind, I know the answer.  He doesn't fit your mold of what a head coach should be.  I guess you don't want a proven winner.  This team has improved each year under Jones' tutelage, but because he isn't warm and fuzzy and hasn't kept your favourite player you want to see him hit the highway.  Would I be right with that? Again, never mind because I know the answer.  Hey, I don't agree with everything he does either (look down a couple of lines), but I have confidence in him and have since Day 1 because of his track record. Perhaps try supporting your team and have some confidence in what is happening.

As for what has happened for the first two games of the season and what we have seen, I would say this.  This team is not as good as the one that clubbed Toronto and they're not as bad as the team that got clubbed in Ottawa.  They are somewhere in the middle so in the words of Aaron Rodgers....R E L A X!!

 There are also some questions that deserve to be asked with the biggest being why are we continuing with the Duron Carter experiment.  He is a receiver.  He is not a defensive back.  He is a game-changer----when on offence!  His role is to catch passes and he does that quite well.  This playing defensive back has to stop unless they are in a 6 DB package.  You don't put Jerome Messam at linebacker and you don't have Zack Evans playing o-line so why have Carter playing defence.  He needs to be catching passes from Zach Collaros or Brandon Bridge and not defending them.  Defensive co-ordinators have to figure out how to stop Carter.  Chris Jones has found a way to stop Carter and that is not play him at his best position. Isn't that making the job easier for the opposition?

--The Edmonton Eskimos have reportedly added 44 year old Terrell Owens to their neg list.  Why?  Why are you wasting a spot on this guy? If it is because he ran a 4.4 40 on video, then perhaps you have some serious questions you should be asking your coaching staff.  Somewhat surprisingly, the Eskimos are not taking a lot of heat for this move. You know that wouldn't be the case if it were Chris Jones and the Riders doing this which tells you how both move the CFL needle.  If the Riders had done this, the CFL Twitterverse would have exploded. Let's face it win or lose, the Riders are to the CFL what the Yankees are to MLB, the Leafs are to the NHL and Duke is for college basketball.  They are the team that produces the most chatter love em or hate em.

--I had the Alouettes winning 3 games this season. I may have been kind. Is it safe to say they are on the clock for the first pick in the 2019 draft.  I am guessing no one took the team up on their 4th quarter cheap admission tickets.  YIKES!

--ESPN has hired former NFL ref Jeff Triplette to be in the booth for Monday Night Football.  If you thought Mike Carey was bad at CBS, wait for this.

--If you watched Christina Haugan accept the first ever Willie O'Ree award for her late husband Darcy at the NHL awards on Wednesday night with the surviving members of the Humboldt Broncos standing behind her and you didn't get a lump in your throat, you are better than me.  That was tough to watch. Not tough with what she said and the stage she said it on, but tough because what happened that Friday night in April still affects many of us in one manner or another.

--Let's move to the NHL Draft and to say it was an odd night would be an understatement.  Let's just say I wasn't the only one whose top 15 didn't match the top 15 selected.  The top 2 weren't surprising and I did have Jesperi Kotkaniemi going to Montreal, but after that, it was a dog's breakfast.  After watching Noah Dobson (who I had going at 5) at the Memorial Cup, I didn't think he would go 12th and some of the names taken were guys I had to look up.  Hello Ty Dellandrea!   The team that maybe did the best in the 1st round were the Islanders.  Getting Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom sets that team up nicely for the future.

--Where were the trades in the NHL? Are they coming today? One would hope so.  The expected fireworks fizzled.

--Let me get this straight. Rams linebacker Nick Cross is getting his USports and Canada West rookie of the year awards taken away because he tested positive for marijuana.  A drug that will be legal in a few short months and a drug that many are already consuming.  Cross obviously is guilty, but when the drug is becoming legal in a short time, the decision is a little short-sighted if you ask me.   You can take the awards away, but you can't take the talent away and Cross is a big-time talent.

--I'm laughing at all the people who are being so critical of soccer----the world's most viewed sport. These people would go batcrap crazy if someone from another country or this country said they could not stand Canadian football or hockey.  Yes, soccer has wayyyy too much acting, but when it is played at the level it is being played at now at the World Cup, it is fantastic theatre.  It's not NASCAR!!

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

What Did You Miss Friday?


--Two games in the CFL and both were one-sided affairs. Winnipeg throttled Montreal 56-10 for the Alouettes 13th straight loss.  Rookie Winnipeg quarterback Chris Streveler threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns while running for 98 and a touchdown.   In Edmonton,  the Eskimos were beaten 38-21 by the Ti-Cats

--As expected, the Buffalo Sabres took defenceman Rasmus Dahlin with the first pick in the NHL draft.  That was about the only thing that went as expected.  A complete look at the first round can be found here  Before the draft started, the Humboldt Broncos were named the winner of the EJ McGuire award of excellence. The award, presented by NHL Central Scouting in honor of the late McGuire, is given to the candidate who best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.

--Roberto Osuna will remain off the field until August 4th. M-L-B suspended the Blue Jays closer for 75 games for violating the league's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. M-L-B says the suspension is retroactive to May 8th. The league says Osuna has agreed not to appeal the suspension. 

--At the World Cup, Switzerland scored in the dying seconds to defeat Serbia 2-1,  Nigeria defeated Iceland 2-0 and Brazil scored two late goals to knock off Costa Rica 2-0.

--The Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, released a statement on Friday declaring an interest in purchasing a controlling stake in Italian soccer giant AC Milan.
The news comes the same day that multiple sources alleged that Milan's majority shareholder, Chinese businessman Li Yonghong, failed to meet Friday's deadline for a pre-approved €32-million payment to the club.
"The entire family and the family's financial resources are involved in this matter," the Rickettses' statement read, courtesy of Reuters. "The Ricketts family brought a championship to the Chicago Cubs through long-term investment and being great stewards of the team. ... They would bring this same approach to AC Milan."

Humboldt Broncos Home Opener To Be Shown On TSN

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TSN announced today that, in partnership with the Humboldt Broncos and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), the network will broadcast the Broncos’ season opener against the Nipawin Hawks, live from Humboldt, SK on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. CT / 8:30 p.m. ET on TSN and CTV Saskatchewan.

In advance of the game, an hour-long pre-game show will air on TSN to honour those lost and affected by the team’s April 6 tragedy, and look forward to the season to come. Additional details around the broadcast will be announced in the coming months.

“We are incredibly honoured to partner with the Broncos and SJHL to bring this game to Canadians, as we continue to support the team, the community, and everyone affected by this tragedy,” said Mark Milliere, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, TSN. “We have and will continue to tell these important stories with the upmost respect as the healing process continues.”

The Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey Club, including its families and its community, is humbled by the support received from TSN and its subsidiaries to broadcast the opening game of the 2018-19 season. President, Kevin Garinger made this statement:

“The Humboldt Broncos organization has been committed to ensuring that a competitive junior hockey team is on the ice, beginning the 2018-19 season. Since the unthinkable tragedy that struck our Broncos team, we have been strategic in trying to realize these efforts while maintaining a concentrated focus on meeting the needs of our families. We recognize that our Humboldt Broncos community extends far beyond the borders of Humboldt. In gaining the wonderful support to broadcast our opening game of the 2018-19 season, we will be able to ensure that the rest of Saskatchewan and Canada are also able to continue their healing journey with us. We thank TSN, and are humbled by their willingness to support our needs and the needs of our nation, as we know there is healing in sport.”

The TSN Original features group led by Senior Producer Josh Shiaman will spend time with the families and in the community of Humboldt for a documentary to air on CTV and TSN this fall. Focused on how the community of Humboldt and the team is healing and rebuilding throughout the summer, the documentary will honour those who lost their lives and the process of moving forward for those left behind. With exclusive access, TSN has already begun filming and joined the Humboldt Broncos for their first open tryouts in Saskatoon last month.

On Saturday, June 30, the Saskatchewan Roughriders gameday will be themed ‘Humboldt Strong’ in support of the Humboldt Broncos. The game will air live at 7 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET on TSN, and will include a video dedication to the team and community of Humboldt, as well as participation by Broncos representatives in the anthem and coin toss ceremonies.


Eric Striker Hoping To Make Most Of Opportunity


Once again, Oklahoma must find a way to replace the value Eric Striker added to it

Striker, who worked as an OU recruiting analyst for the past 18 months, is giving his professional football career another shot, this time in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are 1-1 after a loss Thursday.

“I always felt like the game was still in me,” Striker told The Athletic last week. “I missed being around it like this.”

Striker signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2016 but didn’t make the team and had decided to move on from playing. He returned to Norman, worked on his master’s degree and joined the Sooners’ football staff as a defensive recruiting analyst.

Striker was a fan and media favorite during his Oklahoma playing career between 2012 and 2015. The pass-rushing linebacker is perhaps most remembered for tormenting Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron in the Sooners’ 45-31 upset victory in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. The All-American started all 39 games of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, helped lead OU to the 2015 College Football Playoff and was one of the best defensive players of the Bob Stoops era.

He also made a big impact for the Sooners in recruiting, something that goes back to his playing days.

In the aftermath of the March 2015 racist fraternity video that embarrassed OU and put it at the epicenter of a national conversation about race, Striker became the public face of the football program’s reaction to it. His leadership on campus helped calm what could have become a volatile situation. OU gave Striker its Otis Sullivant Award for “keen perceptivity” in the spring of 2016. Striker was the 15th overall recipient of the Sullivant award, but the first student recipient.

His actions and leadership in the spring of 2015 very well may have saved OU football recruiting from slipping. He said parents of recruits would bring that up to him sometimes over the past 18 months.

“A lot of people admired the stands we took off-the-field,” Striker said. “A lot of these athletes come from all kinds of different situations and backgrounds. A lot of them had questions about it. I ran across that sometimes from the recruits’ families.

“That whole thing was an opportunity for a lot of things. One of them was to show people that video was not what OU was about.”

The energetic personality that made Striker such a fun player and a team captain translated well into his role within the Sooners’  recruiting department. He appeared in several promotional social-media videos since last summer. Striker would narrate the videos, and OU student employee Zack Hefley shot and edited them.

“It was like recording a hit song,” Striker said. “It was like me and Zack knew we had a hit. We would work on the script. I always had the football player perspective, you know, the grind, the work. Zack knew how to put everything together and edit the videos. We knew it was magic.

“It was like, ‘Damn, we’ve got a hit,’ every time.”

Still, Striker couldn’t shake that lingering feeling that he had more to give on the field. That’s why he went through the Roughriders’ mini-camp and preseason, and he did well enough to make the team.

Striker said coach Lincoln Riley and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops were fully supportive of his desire to play in Canada, and that he hopes to return to the job at Oklahoma — at least part-time — in the offseason or maybe after his playing career ends.

“I always felt like the game was still in me,” Striker said. “But, man, I had a great job and had a lot of fun. There is a lot for me to feel good about from that job.”

(The Athletic)

What Did You Miss Thursday?

--Last week, the Riders defence was the story in a win over Toronto. This week, it was Ottawa's turn. Jonathan Rose took one of three Saskatchewan interceptions back for a touchdown while Trevor Harris threw for over 300 yards in a one-sided 40-17 thumping of the Riders.  Zach Collaros did not play after undergoing the concussion protocol midway through the second quarter.  Duron Carter had one of the Saskatchewan touchdowns when he intercepted Harris and returned it for a score. 

--The Buffalo Sabres are on the clock.  It is expected they will take Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick at the NHL draft in Dallas. Carolina and Montreal have the numbers 2 and 3 picks. 

--Barry Trotz is back in the NHL.  He is the new coach of the New York Islanders. The move comes less than a week after he resigned as coach of the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. 

--Deandre Ayton is the Number 1 pick in the N-B-A draft. The Phoenix Suns made the long-expected move official by taking the Arizona centre with the top overall pick. He's the first Arizona player to go Number 1 in the draft. The Raptors didn't own a first-round pick this year after trading it away in the Serge Ibaka deal.

--Croatia has advanced to the knockout round of the World Cup by beating Argentina, 3-nil. Lionel Messi failed to get even one shot off, five days after he missed a penalty in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Iceland. France has advanced to the round of 16 with a 1-nil victory over Peru. Australia stayed alive with a 1-1 draw against Denmark.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Depth Charts for Riders-REDBLACKS Game

620 CKRM's game-day coverage begins at 2:30 with Michael Ball,   Rod Pedersen and Luc Mullinder have the call at 5:30

What Did You Miss Thursday?

--An emotional night at the NHL awards in Vegas as the wife of the late Darcy Haugen accepted the first ever Willie O'Ree award. That award goes to an individual who - through the game of hockey - has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society.  In accepting with the surviving members of the April 6 bus crash behind her, Christina Haugen said and said her husband's legacy could not be found in the statistics, but in the many players he coached.

--New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall has been named the winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Outstanding Player. Hall got more votes than Anze Kopitar of L-A and Nathan McKinnon of Colorado to become the first New Jersey player to win MVP honours. Meanwhile,  P.K. Subban, no stranger to video game-like moves on the ice, is the cover athlete for EA Sports' ``NHL 19.''
The Nashville Predators defenceman was unveiled as the made-in-Canada video game's cover boy during the awards show.

--A report from a Miami Dolphins-related website is saying former Saskatchewan Roughrider and Dolphin Chuck Klingbeil has passed away at the age of 52. Klingbeil started his professional football career with the Riders and was part of the team that won the 1989 Grey Cup.  He joined the Dolphins in 1991 and played 65 games with them through five years.

--Diego Costa had his third goal of the World Cup tournament to lead Spain past Iran 1-nil. The 2018 tournament in Russia is the first World Cup since 1954 without a single nil-nil draw in the first 20 matches. Earlier today, Portugal beat Morocco 1-nil and Uruguay edged Saudi Arabia by the same score.

--Phil Mickelson has apologized four days after intentionally violating golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green at the U-S Open. Mickelson admitted in a statement released today that he should have apologized sooner. The star golfer hit a ball sliding past the 13th hole during the third round.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jon Ryan Not Conceding Job

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Seahawks punter Jon Ryan is 36 years old. He has two years left on the four-year, $10 million deal he signed in 2016, though there's the very real possibility that he's not with the team when the regular season begins. That's because Seattle moved up to take punter Michael Dickson in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

And since teams don't typically trade up in the draft for a specialist unless they plan to keep them on the roster, that means Ryan will need an impressive training camp to hold onto the job he's had in Seattle since 2008. And while Ryan may be 15 years older than Dickson, he has no plans of going down without a fight.

[General manager John Schneider] had that attitude almost like, 'Sorry, but I had to do it," Ryan said, according to Jayson Jenks of the Athletic. "And I was like, 'Don't apologize! Do not apologize.' This is the business. If all the players got to pick who was on the team every year, we'd still have the Super Bowl team from five years ago."

Ryan began his professional career in the CFL but after two seasons there he signed with the Packers in 2006. And two years later, he joined the Seahawks, where's he's been ever since.

"If you let me, I'm going to compete my ass off, harder than you've ever seen," Ryan told Schneider. "I love you. I have so much respect for you. But one way or the other, I'm going to make you look really dumb."

Put another way: We have another addition to the"Training camp battles to watch" list -- the 36-year-old Ryan, who ranked 13th among all punters last season, according to Pro Football Focus, vs. the 21-year-old Dickson, the most recent Ray Guy Award recipient.

(CBS Sports)

What Did You Miss Tuesday?

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--Terrell Owens in the CFL?  TSN is reporting the Eskimos have put Owens on their neg list.  It means the Eskimos can speak to the 44 year old to see if he interested in returning to the game.

--Duron Carter is going to play defensive back for the Riders Thursday in Ottawa.  Head coach Chris Jones says the plan is to have Carter play solely on the defensive side of the ball. Shaq Evans will likely draw onto the roster for Carter who is taking the spot of Nick Marshall.

--Halifax Regional Council received a private briefing Tuesday from the company hoping to bring a CFL team to the Maritimes. Mayor Mike Savage confirmed councillors met with representatives of Maritime Football Ltd., but would not discuss the nature of the talks.Savage told Global News Tuesday that Maritime Football Ltd., had ``advanced'' their case in such a way that had firmed up the business model.

--Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan says national sporting organizations will lose their federal funding if they don't immediately disclose to her office any allegations of abuse or harassment that occur within their ranks. Changes to funding agreements that are effective immediately also require sporting associations to establish an independent third party to investigate all allegations of abuse and have mandatory prevention training in place by April 2020. The changes come as the sporting world reels from numerous cases of sexual abuse and harassment of athletes, including more than a dozen members of Canada's national ski team who were abused by coach Bertrand Charest in the 1990s.
Charest was convicted a year ago of 37 offences of sexual assault and exploitation _ and athletes have since said Alpine Canada told them to keep quiet about the abuse for fear of losing corporate sponsorships.

--The Ottawa Senators have traded winger Mike Hoffman, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenceman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All told, the two transactions involved four players and six draft picks. Melinda Karlsson recently filed an order of protection against Hoffman's fiancee alleging harassment and cyberbullying.

--The Regina Red Sox moved to 7-6 on the season with an 8-4 win over Brooks.  The same two teams will meet tomorrow night at Currie Field in a 705 start.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NHL and NHLPA To Hold Event in Humboldt

Humboldt will get a chance to come together and cheer August 24.

Washington Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson will bring the Stanley Cup. St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn will bring fellow NHL players. The NHL and the NHL Players' Association are working out details, but the plan is to have a skills competition at Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos.

Ten survivors reunited for the first time in Las Vegas on Monday and will be recognized at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Wednesday. Coach Darcy Haugan, who died in the accident, is up for the inaugural Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award, which recognizes someone who has improved his or her community through hockey.

"You looked at what happened right after," said Andrew Ference, NHL director of social impact, growth and fan development, at NHL Awards media day Tuesday. "There was obviously an immediate outpouring of financial support, which is important. They're going to need that support. The way we kind of looked at it was, 'What else can we do?' … We said, 'Let's just go in there and have a really fun day of hockey for everybody to enjoy.'"

Broncos forward Kaleb Dahlgren, 21, is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, like Stephenson and Schenn. He trains with Stephenson in the offseason.

"I think it's going to be really crazy," Dahlgren said. "I think the community of Humboldt needs that, honestly. They need that to come to them. It's really nice of Chandler Stephenson. I know him personally, and he's a character guy. He's a really, really great guy. Kudos to him and Brayden Schenn as well. They're both great dudes, and I'm really thankful that they're supporting Humboldt."

The survivors are spread out across North America, some at home, some in hospitals. Air Canada flew them to Las Vegas. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino put them up. When the 10 were in the same room for the first time for dinner Monday, it was emotional.

"You give them all hugs," Dahlgren said. "You need that hug with the guys. It's just really nice to see them, and everybody's recovering so well. Even the guys in the hospital that aren't here right now are recovering very well, and that's nice to see, because I want the best for everybody. I want them to have a positive and happy life."

Nine of the survivors were at media day wearing yellow Broncos jerseys. They got to meet Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid.

"You just see it on their faces that they've been through a lot and they've seen a lot," Luongo said. "You just try to make them at ease as much as you can."

McDavid said, "It was special for us to meet them, honestly. To know what they've gone through and to see them here in Vegas and to be taking in the event, I think it just speaks to how strong they all are, to how amazing it is that they're able to be here. I think for us players, it's special to be able to talk to them and definitely just a symbol of strength and bravery."


What Did You Miss Monday?

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--The Stanley Cup champions are in need of a head coach.  Barry Trotz walked away from the job Monday as he resigned 11 days after leading the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup. It is said Trotz wanted to be paid in the upper echelon of NHL head coaches and the Capitals said no. Winning the Cup triggered a two year contract extension and a bump in salary to two million dollars.  Assistant coach Todd Reirden is said to be the favourite to take over.

--The surviving members of the Humboldt Broncos are going to Vegas.  The NHL announced that the 10 players who survived the crash will be honoured later this week at the league's awards ceremony.  Also being recognized will be first responders who were on duty when many were shot in Vegas just before the season started and members of the Marjory Douglas Stoneman high school hockey team.  You may remember many were killed at that school in a shooting rampage.

--Brooke Henderson likes the look of the Wascana golf course and says it will be a real challenge if the prairie winds pick up. The 20 year old from Ottawa will be one of many testing out the Wascana in August at the LPGA CP Canadian women's open  92 of the top 100 on the LPGA money list are scheduled to be here. 

--Matt Bradley has an American Hockey League contract.  The Pats forward, who played out his 20 year old season this past year, has inked a one year deal with the Toronto Marlies.  He will join former Pat Adam Brooks in the Toronto lineup.

--A player from the Lethbridge Hurricanes hockey team is in a medically induced coma after he and two others were injured at a campfire on the weekend. In a statement, the Western Hockey League says 20-year-old centre Ryan Vandervlis suffered severe burns. Two others -- Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Jordy Bellerive and alumnus Matt Alfaro -- were also injured.

--The Riders have put defensive back Nick Marshall on the six-game injury list.  Marshall had a game-sealing pick six in the win over Toronto Friday.

--At the World Cup, England beat Tunisia 2-1, Belgium downed Panama 3-0 and Sweden beat South Korea 1-0

Monday, June 18, 2018

Something To "Mitch" About

Courtesy Saskatchewan Roughriders

The new guys got it done for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. For the first time since 2014, the Riders are going into Week 2 of the season with a 1-0 record.  I had taken the Argos to win this game. I thought the Riders needed at least another week to get their feet underneath them   While it might have been that way to start for the offence, it certainly wasn't for the defence.  What a dominating effort!

At one point late in the first half, the Argos had 89 yards in net offence.  40 of that had come on one play and 16 on another. They couldn't do anything.  Thanks to a monster-like effort from Charleston Hughes, the usually unflappable Ricky Ray was rushed.  He couldn't do anything as the defence kept giving Zach Collaros and the offence one opportunity after another.   I believe at one point in the first half, Toronto had six possessions and had six two-and-outs.  That's what you want to see from your "D". 

That being said, there wasn't one person at Mosaic Stadium or watching on TV who saw what was happening in the last five minutes of the 4th quarter going to themselves "UH-OH".  Despite the fact they didn't deserve to have it that close, Ricky Ray was putting his team in a position to win. It's not like we haven't seen that before.  Unlike the Eastern final, they weren't going to comeback this time. Willie Jefferson told me after the game they simply weren't going to let Ray repeat what he did last November.  They didn't!   If you're big number 7, how can you not love seeing Hughes on the other side of the field.  Those two, if we didn't know it before, are going to be an o-line's nightmare.  Add those two to the likes of Eguavoen, Moncrief, Gainey and Butler and it is going to be tough to move the football on this Rider defence when they are on their game.

Like many of you I am surprised Marc Trestman didn't throw his challenge flag on the Nick Marshall pick-six. He had to throw that, but he didn't.  Many think he would have won the challenge as well.  That's very un-Trestman like.

Two thumbs up for Zach Collaros for partnering up with Mosaic for the mâmawêyatitân centre. Collaros is personally donating one dollar for each passing yard and 100 dollars for each TD pass with Mosaic matching the donation. The money will go to keeping programs going for inner-city youth.  Gotta like that!  Night 1 resulted in 606 dollars (303 from each side) which is a nice start.

By the way, enjoy Derrick "The Chief of Grief" Moncrief now because he has NFL written all over him.

--There is no doubt the most impressive performance of Week 1 was that of Hughes.  That being said, can we give the play of the week to BC's Marcell Young? What he did Saturday night was outstanding! We don't like it when Wally goes on the field, but we really don't like it when a fan goes on the field.

--The West has taken an early 3-0 lead on games against the East. Is this another sign of here we go again?

--I don't understand the latest promotion by the Alouettes.  They are offering you tickets for eight dollars or ten dollars, but its only for the 4th quarter.  ????   Can you still get a beverage? Are the concessions still open? I'm not sure I understand the concept.  Do hockey teams offer you tickets for just the 3rd period? There has to be a reason for this, but I'm not sure what it is.  With the Als this year, there likely won't be many games where you want to see the 4th quarter.

--Why is it golfers complain when the course is too hard as it was during Saturday's 3rd round of the US Open, but you never hear them say the course is too easy when guys are running shooting 65's and 66's at will as is the case at some tournaments.  The third round was a little tough for many, but there were some who didn't have problems in getting around.  Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.

A lot is being made of Phil Mickleson and his stunt at 13 on Saturday when he hit the ball before it stopped moving on the green to take a two-shot penalty.  Some felt "Lefty" should have DQ'ed himself.  Ease up!  Mickleson was well out of contention and he was having fun. To my knowledge, not one golfer criticized Mickleson for his move as they saved that for the course itself.  When the PGA pros do what we do at our local course from time to time, it shows the human element.  Relax!

--Would the Ottawa Senators be better off as the Quebec Nordiques 2.0?

--Does anyone think John Tavares won't be signing a deal with the Islanders before July 1?  I just can't see the Islanders letting their franchise player go.  It would be nice though if Tavares knew who his head coach was going to be before it comes time to make a decision.

--Jays manager John Gibbons appears to be resigned to the fact he is going to be fired at some point.  I'm not the biggest Gibby fan, but is he to blame for Roberto Osuna's personal problems, Russell Martin's batting average and the health of Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki.  Nope!

--Who had the Seattle Mariners as one of the top teams in baseball especially with Robinson Cano suspended for PED's, pitcher Felix Hernandez having an off-year and injuries galore. They are finding a way though with Canadian James Paxton and little-known outfielder Mitch Haniger leading the way.  They are a fun team to watch right now, but is their success sustainable?

--For those who watch wrestling, the NXT Takeover Chicago main event between Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa on Saturday was downright crazy.  You aren't supposed to do what those two did to their bodies.  The main event of the Money In the Bank PPV Sunday was just as wild.

--Watching the World Cup of Soccer I am reminded of two things 1) I would love to see hockey announcers use the colourful language that their soccer counterparts do in describing what is going on and 2) I am guessing there is no concussion protocol.

That's all I got.  Have a great week!

What Did You Miss Sunday?

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--Brooks Koepka  is the first player to win back-to-back U-S Opens since Curtis Strange in 1989. He was in a four-way tie for the lead after three rounds at Shinnecock Hills and shot 68 on Sunday for a 1-over 281 total as no player could match par to complete the feat. Koepka shot 16 under par last year at Erin Hills for his first major victory, winning by four shots.

--The Bombers need a quarterback.  Backup Alex Ross suffered an injury during Thursday's season-opener against Edmonton.  Rookie Chris Streveler is the starter due to the Matt Nichols injury with former Rider Bryan Bennett now the backup.

--Tom Brady is thinking retirement. Speaking with Oprah Winfrey in an interview that aired on Winfrey's OWN Network Sunday,  the five-time Super Bowl champion and reigning NFL MVP said he now thinks about retirement more than he ever has. “I think about it more now than I used to,” Brady said. “I think I’m seeing that there’s definitely an end coming sooner rather than later.”  The reason appears to be family. The future Hall of Famer has two children with supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen and another with actress Bridget Moynahan, and he said his desire to be there for them has become a priority.

--Thousands of exuberant Mexican soccer fans took to the streets Sunday to cheer their national team’s long-shot win against Germany in Mexico’s first match of the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament.  Hirving Lozano's first half goal set off such a commotion that seismic detectors in Mexico City registered a false earthquake, which the geological institute said may have been generated by "massive jumps" across the city.  Other scores had Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0, and Switzerland tied Brazil at 1

-- Adrian Houser -- who left Colorado Springs at 5 a.m. on Sunday, flew to Chicago, drove up to Milwaukee and made it to Miller Park about 30 minutes before first pitch -- vomited on the infield behind the mound on two occasions while pitching in the eighth inning of the Brewers' 10-9 loss to the Phillies. Houser allowed one run on two hits, but got through it with help from members of the Miller Park grounds crew, who cleaned up so play could continue.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

What Did You Miss Saturday

--Details are being withheld at this time, but  the Lethbridge Hurricanes issued a statement Saturday regarding an incident involving players, Jordy Bellerive and Ryan Vandervlis; along with alumnus, Matt Alfaro that has put all three in hospital,  While it is not exactly known what happened, Global Lethbridge is reporting the three were hurt at a stag party when "a fire incident" occurred.  One of the three is said to be in serious condition.

--The BC Lions clawed their way to a 22-10 home victory over the Montreal Alouettes in the Week 1 finale on Saturday night. Jonathan Jennings  got his 2018 season off to a hot start, completing 20 of 24 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns while also adding a career-high 57 yards on the ground.  In the other game to close out Week 1 of the season, Calgary outscored Hamilton 19-3 in the 4th quarter for a 28-14 win.

--Dustin Johnson at least gets one more round to try to redeem himself in the U-S Open. Johnson, who started with a four-shot lead, finished with a 77 to fall into a four-way tie for the lead as he and the rest of the field struggled with fast greens and gusty winds. The World Number One sits atop the leader alongside Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and defending champion Brooks Koepka.

--The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame has welcomed its Class of 2018. Former Major League Baseball stars Pedro Martinez and Lloyd Moseby were inducted along with baseball historian and author William Humber. Martinez, who spent four seasons with the Expos, earned three Cy Young Awards over his career. Moseby played 10 seasons with the Blue Jays over his 12-year M-L-B career, hitting 169 career home runs.

--The WMBL is excited to announce the rebranding of the League. Starting at the beginning of the 2019 season the new name will be: Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL). In a second major announcement, the WCBL will be reintroducing their League-wide All-Star Game, to be held in Edmonton, Alberta in 2019, then again in 2020. The 2019 All-Star Game will be held on the evening of Monday, July 8 - the day prior to the 2019 MLB All Star Game.

--Saturday scores from the World Cup:

France 2 Australia 1
Argentina 1 Iceland 1
Denmark 1 Peru 0
Croatia 2 Nigeria 0

Saturday, June 16, 2018

What Did You Miss Friday?

Courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders 

--Charleston Hughes' first game as a Rider was one to remember.  He had three sacks as the Riders beat Toronto 27-19 in the season-opener for both.  It's the first Riders win to start a season since 2014

--The Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes have swung a one-for-one deal.  Alex Galchenyuk heads to the desert while Max Domi is going to the Habs.

--The Humboldt Broncos hockey club says it has received so many applications to become the team’s new head coach and general manager that it needs more time to review them all. The new hire will replace Darcy Haugan, who was one of the 16 people who died as a result of the April 6 crash involving the team bus and a truck just outside of Tisdale. Team president Kevin Garinger says the club is humbled and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applicants for the head coach and general manager position. He says there are so many good people they need more time.

--Cristiano Ronaldo's 3rd goal of the game was a highlight-reel goal as Portugal rallied to tie Spain 3-3 at the World Cup.  At 33, Ronaldo became the oldest player to score a hat trick in tournament history.

--Dustin Johnson is holding on to a one-shot lead at the U-S Open after a day of terrible weather at Shinnecock Hills. Johnson shot a 3 under 67 and is 4-under after the second round. Charley Hoffman and Scott Piercy are at 3 under.  Tiger Woods did not make the cut

Friday, June 15, 2018

This and That

Welcome to Friday. Here are the usual assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.

--The CFL season is here....or is has it been delayed again?  Did those who moaned and whined and complained about the weather on Grey Cup Sunday get to see a football game played in three and a half hours. I believe they did!  Did those wanting to watch the Bombers-Eskimos game Thursday night get to see the first half in three hours.  No they didn't.  I don't know what time the game ended because I didn't get to the second half.  I didn't even get to the end of the first half.  Like the league couldn't control the weather in Ottawa on Grey Cup Sunday, they couldn't control it in Winnipeg on the second Thursday of June either.  Players can play when it is snowing lightly.  They can't play when there is thunder and lightning nearby. In the end, it is a disastrous opening act for the CFL. Some people loved playing the Grey Cup in a snow-globe, but I am guessing no one loved what they saw Thursday in what looked to be an entertaining 1 and 3/4 quarters   I am guessing no one east of Winnipeg gave a rat's you know what when they called it for the second time.  As Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press said on Twitter, the way that game went, Matt Nichols will be back for the 4th quarter.

--Does anyone wish they had a mic on Jason Maas through all of this?  I bet he was Mr. Happy all the way through.

--In 2013, the Riders treated their fans to a Grey Cup on home soil.  My prediction for this year (and yes I do feel somewhat dirty for saying it) is that the Eskimos will do the same thing as they beat Toronto at Commonwealth Stadium to win it all. When it comes to the /=S=/, I will admit it I am torn. 

Going into training camp, I thought this team would be there with the Eskimos and Stampeders and I am still there.  I don't think they are good enough to finish first, but I do think they are good enough to finish second and welcome Calgary for the Western semi.  While I don't know if the Riders have made exponential improvement, I do think this is the year Calgary comes back to the rest of the pack.  My spidey senses tell me Bo Levi Mitchell is not 100 percent despite the claims that he is.

My spidey senses also tell me this Rider team shuffled the deck somewhat in the off-season, but they aren't marginally better.  The team played last season with no established quarterback and while it would seem as if this team is Zach Collaros', Chris Jones has not publicly handed him the keys.  The offensive line was a question mark last year and it remains so today.  What also concerns me is the amount of "new" on this team.  They have the second-least amount of returnees at 31.  Experienced teams ready to take a run at the Grey Cup shouldn't have the second-least amount of returnees.  I understand why veteran players were cut, but there is a lot of youth in that lineup---youth that will make mistakes which is something this football team can't afford as they look for a home playoff game.

At the end of the day, Chris Jones knows a LOT more about football than I do and he will have these guys ready. Can he get them to second place? I think he can.  Can he get them to the Grey Cup? I do not.  At least not as we get set to start.   We all know that predictions can change in a heartbeat and that most everything has to go right in order to win. I have them going 11-7.

--If history is any indication, the Riders may be that team to win it all in Edmonton. As the rumpled scribe Rob Vanstone says,  the Riders have lost the divisional final in 1965, 1988, 2006, 2012 and 2017 and gone on to win the Grey Cup in 66, 89, 07 and 13. Can that trend continue?  Can the trend continue of me issuing kudos to Vanstone?

--Randy Ambrosie was speaking with Rod Black and Duane Forde in the first half of the Eskimos-Bombers game before the first delay hit.. Ambrosie said a lot of the reason why the illegal contact challenge rule was taken away was because the fans hated it. He says he listened to those fans in his cross-country tour by removing that from the coaches.  Did no fan mention Rod because he is still there?  Did Randy not talk to TSN? I keed, I keed!!

--Mike Reilly's hat collection is solid! He should have been given the #1 player in the CFL honour in the TSN Top 50 just for that!

--Is Mike Hoffman's girlfriend Bryan Colangelo's daughter?  My jaw literally dropped as I read the cyberbullying story involving her and the wife of Erik Karlsson.  How on earth did Karlsson not take Hoffman to the woodshed? Was this why the Senators were the biggest disappointment in the NHL this past season?  I can't imagine what that dressing room must have been like.  This has movie written all over it.  It really is one of the more unbelievable stories I have read in a long time.  It also asks just how big of a greasefire is it in Ottawa.  This is more than Eugene Melnyk.

--The World Cup of Soccer got underway on Thursday with the host Russians beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in a game that shows me Saudi Arabia won't be winning the world's biggest sporting event. The game after a lavish opening ceremonies that included a speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin.  I kept waiting for Alex Ovechkin to crash the party by walking into the stadium.

--Canada will be co-hosting the World Cup in 2026.  One would assume the Canadians will get a team in the 48 team field.  I don't care how many teams are in the 2022 event, Canada has to be there to show they belong.  John Herdman did great things with the women's program so here's hoping he can turn the men's program around.

--Congratulations to Adam Brooks.  The former Pats captain was on the Toronto Marlies team that won the Calder Cup as they took the AHL Championship with a seven-game win over the Texas Stars  It's a game where we see a professional hockey team from Toronto get awarded a championship trophy in colour.  It can happen----although I'd rather see it happen more for the Marlies than their other hockey team.

--Someone knows where the stolen Regina Riot jerseys are!  You can't really hide those and you can't really do anything with them.  If you know where they are, do the right thing and get them back to the team.  They can't afford to go out and get new ones and they shouldn't have to depend on "charity" and "goodwill" to get new ones.  Get the unis back to their rightful spot.  In the meantime, two thumbs up to the Regina Thunder for saying "use our jerseys and wear them with pride".  Nice work!

That's all I got.  Have a great week and enjoy the game.  I don't think we will be there until 2 AM.  Wouldn't that be delightful!  At least it would be a Friday night though. YEESH!

What Did You Miss Thursday?

--The CFL's season-opening game did not go exactly as planned.  The game between the Bombers and Eskimos was delayed twice before the first half was over because of lightning around Investors Group Field. Five hours and 42 minutes after the game started, it ended with Edmonton winning 33-30. Sean Whyte kicked a 44 yard field goal with eight seconds to play to give the Eskimos the win.

--The World Cup of Soccer started with a blowout.  The host Russians blanked Saudi Arabia 5-0.  Day 2 of the tournament features a highly anticipated matchup between Spain and Portugal.

--The Edmonton Oilers have signed forward Drake Caggiula to a two-year contract.  The 23 year old signed a two year deal that will pay him three million.  The University of North Dakota grad had 20 points in 67 games in what was a disappointing sophomore season.

--Strong winds and high scores dominated the day in Round 1 action at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills. Dustin Johnson was one of four players to shoot a one-under 69.  Many of the big name players had a disastrous open round.  Justin Thomas, who unleashed a 422 yard drive on the 18th hole, finished at +4,  Sergio Garcia was +5, Phil Mickleson was +7, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth were +8 and Rory McIlroy was +10.

--Four WHL Clubs will vie for the right to host the Memorial Cup national championship when it returns to Western Canada in May, 2020. Confirmation was received from the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Victoria Royals, that all four WHL franchises intend to bid for the right to host the 2020 Memorial Cup.  That announcement came at the league's annual meeting.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

CFL Fans To Get In-Game Questions Answered

 Canadian Football League (CFL) fans will be able to use some new sources this season to access information on video reviews in real time and learn more about the game they love anytime.

A new Twitter account, @CFLFootball Ops, will deliver explanations for in-game officiating decisions made by the Command Centre, outline what the rules say about unusual plays, provide interesting stats and keep fans abreast of the latest news involving league decisions.

A new website  will be a hub where fans can access instructional videos on what officials look for on various plays, information on player health and safety, updates on supplemental discipline and points of emphasis for this season. They will also be able to visit a storehouse of news releases and data on the three-down game.

“If you’ve ever wondered or debated, for example, whether the Command Centre ruled a pass incomplete because the receiver’s feet were out of bounds or because he was bobbling a pass, this will give you the answer,” said Darren Hackwood, the CFL’s Senior Director of Officiating. “As a league, we are in a constant conversation with our fans and the media and we’ve strived to share information. But this will allow us to streamline this aspect of our communications by giving fans and the media specific destinations for information on officiating and other football operations.”

Ryan Janzen, the CFL’s Senior Director of Football Operations, said this is an opportunity for fans to dive deep inside the decisions, rules and procedures that can affect the game they love.

“Our fans are very passionate and knowledgeable,” Janzen said. “Every time we feed that passion, and help them expand that knowledge, our league is that much stronger.”

The @CFLFootball Ops twitter account and the new football ops website will both be active tonight at 8:30 pm ET when the CFL regular season kicks off with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosting the Edmonton Eskimos


What Did You Miss Wednesday?

--The biggest sporting event in the world is coming to Canada. A united bid between Canada, US and Mexico has won the right to host the 2026 World Cup of Soccer.  It will be the first time the World Cup has ever been played in Canada.  Canadian national team men's coach John Herdman says “It’s officially football Christmas for Canada.  The announcement came just hours before the 2018 event begins in Russia with the host nation meeting Saudi Arabia in the first game.

--Chris Streveler is ready to make his first pro start.  The Bombers quarterback is saying the right thing as his team prepares to play Edmonton in the CFL's first game of the season. "It’s just a matter of staying within myself and knowing there are 11 other guys out there to rely on,” said Streveler. “Football is a team game. I know a lot of emphasis gets put on the quarterback position, but there are a lot of veteran guys on this team who have been helping me out throughout the week. They just relay, ‘Hey, make plays when they’re there and stay within yourself. You don’t have to do anything too crazy or try to be something that you’re not.’ That’s going to be the biggest thing for me.”

--Brooks Orpik has revealed a slash he took from Vegas' Erik Haula at the end of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final resulted in his part of his left pinky finger falling off. Orpik had the finger re-attached between Games 2 and 3 and did not miss a game.  He says it looked worse than it was and he never thought he would miss a game.  Teammate Nicklas Backstrom also revealed he played the Final with a broken finger.

--The Pats pre-season schedule is out. For a third straight year, Regina will be home to a pre-season tournament on August 31 and September 1 at the Brandt Centre with Moose Jaw, Swift Current and Saskatoon in attendance.  The regular season schedule is expected out before the end of the month,

--The New England Patriots called teams about a potential Rob Gronkowski trade three days before the 2018 NFL Draft, a league source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
It's unclear what the Patriots sought in return for the five-time All-Pro tight end, who publicly declared two days before the draft that he would return for the 2018 season. There were whispers leading up to the draft that Gronkowski was available for trade because of his reluctance to commit to his playing future, as well as his desire for a revised contract.