Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What Did You Miss Monday?

Image result for jarome iginla retirement

--Jarome Iginla came home to say good-bye Monday. After a 20 year NHL career, the long-time Calgary Flame officially announced his retirement. Iginla entertained a packed news conference at the Saddledome with humorous stories about his career and teammates while getting "roasted" by former broadcaster Peter Maher and teammates Craig Conroy and Martin Gelinas.  While Conroy did take some shots, he added Iginla was the best player in the NHL over a 3-4 year period.

--The Blue Jays have traded closer Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros for pitchers Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez. Osuna has been serving a 75-game suspension for violating M-L-B's domestic violence policy after being arrested and charged with assault by Toronto police on May 8th.

--The Washington Nationals' biggest star is reportedly on the trading block. The Nationals have let other teams know that outfielder Bryce Harper is available before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline according to some reports.  Those reports suggest "feelers" are being sent out with one executive saying he would be shocked to see a Harper trade, but the Nationals want to see if someone wants to go crazy.  Cleveland had expressed some interest.

--Alouettes coach Mike Sherman would not confirm his starting quarterback when Montreal faces Hamilton this week, but going by practice it appears that Johnny Manziel will see his first real C-F-L action. Manziel took first-team reps along with Vernon Adams, but Manziel's turns came first.

--The Swift Current Broncos traded 20 year old defenceman Sahvan Khaira to Everett. In exchange, the Broncos get 1999-born forward Ethan O'Rourke and a 3rd round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.
The 19-year old product of Penticton, BC. who came to Everett in a trade with Prince George this past season,  registered 18 points (6g-12a) in 66 games while adding a goal in 18 playoff contests.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Collaros Taken Off Six Game Injured List

--Could Zach Collaros be back at quarterback for the Riders Thursday in Edmonton?  The team activated Collaros off the six-game injury list before heading out to practice Monday sparking speculation as to whether or not he will suit up.

Despite going 2-2 in the four games without Collaros, Brandon Bridge and the offence has struggled as was evident in Saturday's 12 point loss to Calgary.

The team also announced the signing of defensive back Marcell Young.  That is the same Marcell Young who levelled a fan who got onto the field at BC Place earlier this season. They also released former New York Giants defensive back Will Blackmon.

Riders Release Messam

The Saskatchewan Roughriders released running back Jerome Messam on Monday.

The Riders say Messam has been released following a charge of voyeurism issued against him for an incident in November of 2016 when he was a member of the Calgary Stampeders.

Details of that charge are not known at this time.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says any attempt by a team to sign Messam will be rejected.

Something To "Mitch" About

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--Before looking at what transpired Saturday night, I want to go back to the second half of last season.  Kevin Glenn was struggling and Rider fans wanted him to be removed as the starting quarterback.  Kevin Glenn can't win consistently, Kevin Glenn's time is up, it was one complaint after another about Glenn with fans doing what they have done here for oh so long which is call for the backup quarterback to come in.

While Glenn had a strong performance in the East semi-final win against Ottawa, he was yanked in the East final with Brandon Bridge coming in.  Get rid of Glenn, Bridge is the future is what was being said.   Ladies and gentlemen, you saw your future unfold in front of you on Saturday night.

While Bridge can be a quarterback in this league, there is still a lot of work that has to be done to see him perform at a consistent level.   One of my biggest complaints about him was shown time and time again on the Mosaic turf Saturday night and that is the touch with which he throws the football.  You can't fire a ball with tremendous velocity on every throw.  He is trying to zip the ball to his receiver whether it be a screen pass or a throw to the sidelines. He needs to learn some finesse and touch.

He  just doesn't seem confident back there.  The game doesn't seem to be slowing down for him.

Apparently 620 CKRM's Rider Radio analyst Luc Mullinder feels the same way as this is what he had to say when it was over.

They have to be conservative with him. You can’t call longer routes because he doesn’t stay long enough in the pocket to let them develop, he was leaving the pocket too early today. Bo stays in the pocket to let longer plays develop that’s something Brandon Bridge has to work on. Until Bridge is willing to go all through his progressions, let things develop he’s going to remain at the mercy of this restricted playbook. They have to be like this with him. You can’t miss the wide open plays, far too many opportunities left on the field for Bridge. The playbook will not expand if he can’t execute the plays he’s given now”.

This is 100 percent correct!

It brings us back to Glenn.  The same fans that wanted Glenn gone to give Bridge a chance to be the starter have seen that isn't going to work and now many on the Sportscage Radio Roundtable are questioning why the Riders got rid of Glenn..  You can't have it both ways!!!  That statement rings true in a salary cap era.   When you go back and put the pieces of the puzzle together, Chris Jones and the Riders did what everyone thought they would do and that is sign Zach Collaros which improved them at the game's most important position. 

Without Collaros, this team can't do what it wants to do offensively.  The coaching staff doesn't have the faith or trust in Bridge or David Watford at this time to do what they want to accomplish.  It is as simple as that.  Jones said after the game he expects Collaros to be ready to go when the team returns from its 2nd bye week meaning Bridge will get one more game.  Jones also said the game-plan won't change.  That's because the right guy isn't in there to pull the trigger.  It's as simple as that.

--While the defence continues to be lights out, everyone seems to be forgetting about Brett Lauther. Maybe that's a good thing.  A five-for-five night including a 56 yard bomb makes him 13 for 15 this year. Tyler who?

--If Marcus Thigpen doesn't fumble on a 3rd and 1 that he had converted, how does the complexion of the game change? The next play was a 41 yd TD pass and well you know how it went from there

---If the city of Regina tells us they are going to shut down Elphinstone Street at 4 o'clock for a 7 o'clock Rider game, why did they shut it down just before 3 on Saturday?   There are some things that I think are frivolous complaints when it comes to game-day, but when the city tells you one thing and does another, those who are angered have a right to be. What would the answer on this be?

--Jeremiah Masoli was given the keys to the car this week.  He then went out and crashed the car going down the driveway.  Yes, he threw for 350 but Hamilton didn't win and on the last play of the game, Masoli had to simply heave one downfield instead of taking a sack, but taking a sack is what he did.

--Rider fans wondered why Nic Demski couldn't do here what he is doing in Winnipeg and why he left.  Simple, Demski wanted to go home much like Brendon LaBatte did when the opportunity came and Demski is healthy which he wasn't during his tenure here.

--McLeod Bethel-Thompson is taking over for James Franklin in Toronto.  Franklin was supposed to tear it up when he got his chance to start wasn't he?

--Tom Wilson is going to get paid more than players like Nikita Kucherov and Jonathan Marchessault this season.  Let that sink in.

--For whatever reason, Oilers forward Milan Lucic had to weigh in on the Demar DeRozan trade saying the former Raptor needs to shut up and move on.  He isn't wrong!  DeRozan will make 30 million dollars this year and he doesn't have to pay any state tax. He is also playing for arguably the best coach in the NBA in Gregg Popovich.  He's not the first player to get traded unexpectedly.  Deal with it.

--It would seem many Expos fans are upset because Vladimir Guerrero didn't go into the Hall of Fame with the Expos hat on. This just in.  MLB doesn't make that call as to what team the player represents.  The player does.  If you want to be mad, be mad at Guerrero.  His rationale was that while playing longer in Montreal, he had playoff years with the Angels thus he chose them.  Let the campaign begin to get Larry Walker into the Hall now and hope he doesn't choose the Colorado Rockies.

--Dustin Johnson wins the Canadian Open.  Considering his wife is Paulina Gretzky, can we say a Canadian (adopted or not) won the event?

--Pizza Pizza says they are introducing cauliflower-based pizza crust to menu.  Why do we as a society keep screwing around with pizza?  No cauliflower crusts, no pineapple, no mushrooms!

--We're less than five months from Christmas.  Just sayin!!

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

What Did You Miss Sunday?

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--Former Montreal Expos star Vladimir Guerrero has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Guerrero was wearing an Anaheim Angels cap as he became the first position player from the Dominican Republic to be inducted, and only the third player from that country to make the exclusive club, behind pitchers Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez. In a Spanish-language speech that lasted less than four minutes, Guerrero took the time to thank Canada and Montreal for giving him the opportunity to play in the major leagues.  He also mentioned his two main managers, Felipe Alou of the Expos and Mike Scioscia of Angels, and said he was honoured to be among his fellow inductees including Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Jack Morris, Jim Thome and Alan Trammell.

--McLeod Bethel-Thompson is now the Toronto Argonauts starting quarterback. He replaces James Franklin, who was 1-and-3 in place of injured Ricky Ray.  The Argos also traded defensive back T.J. Heath and their third round pick in the 2020 CFL Draft in exchange for national offensive lineman Ryan Bomben as well as the Alouettes’ fifth round draft pick in 2020. It's the 2nd time in two years the Argos have traded Heath.

--World Number 1 Dustin Johnson has won the Canadian Open. He shot a 6-under 66 at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario to finish 23-under.

--Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb was within a strike of a no-hitter. L-A Dodger Chris Taylor broke it up with two strikes and two outs in the top of the 9th.  After the game, some offensive tweets from Newcomb when he was a teenager were revealed forcing him to apologize as he admitted to doing some "stupid stuff"

--Nikolai Volkoff, the burly wrestler whose brash Soviet persona and physical embodiment of Communism made him one of the most hated figures in professional wrestling, has died at the age of 70. As one of the greatest villains sports-entertainment had ever seen, Volkoff's infamous rendition of the Soviet National Anthem before his matches made him an instant icon in the eyes of the WWE Universe as a Superstar they truly loved to hate," WWE said.
Volkoff, often wearing the Russian ushanka hat, became a dastardly Soviet villain and faced off against heroic American wrestlers like Hulk Hogan.
He tag-teamed with the Iranian heel Iron Sheik, and together they won the first-ever Wrestlemania in 1985, waving Iranian and Soviet flags in the ring

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What Did You Miss Saturday?

Courtesy: CFL,ca

--The Calgary Stampeders jumped out to a 24-0 lead after one quarter and beat the Riders 34-22. Bo Levi Mitchell threw three TD passes for the winners who are now 6-0. The Riders are 3-3.

--Lewis Ward gave the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the boot. Ward kicked seven field goals to lead the visiting Ottawa Redblacks past Hamilton 21-15. The Kingston, Ontario native has been near perfect this season. He's made 19 of 20 field goals he has attempted. Ottawa sits alone atop the East at 4-and-2

--The Regina Thunder have started training camp. They begin play in the PFC on August 18 against Saskatoon.

--Dustin Poirier moved up in the queue to fight for the U-F-C's lightweight title after beating former champ Eddie Alvarez in Calgary. Poirier was ranked Number 4 in the world behind Alvarez at Number 3 heading into U-F-C Fight Night, but Poirier earned a technical knockout victory at 4:05 of the second round after bloodying Alvarez's face with a flurry of punches

-- Quinn Hughes won't play this season with the Vancouver Canucks.  Despite the Canucks openly courting Hughes and expressing desire to sign him, he has instead opted for the University of Michigan. His announcement comes just days after the Canucks spun into turmoil when former team president Trevor Linden split from the franchise. He was the 7th overall pick in this year's draft

--Dustin Johnson, Kevin Tway, Byeong Hun An and Whee Kim shared the lead at 17 under after the third round of the RBC Canadian Open on Saturday.
Johnson set the pace, firing a 7-under 65 on the strength of seven birdies and an eagle. Five of those birdies came in the opening six holes.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

What Did You Miss Friday?

--Matt Nichols threw two touchdown passes---one of them to Nic Demski as Winnipeg rolled over Toronto 40-14 in CFL play.  Demski also ran for a touchdown as Winnipeg improved to 4-3 on the season.

-- Kevin Tway has the lead through two rounds at the R-B-C Canadian Open. He fired a 7-under 65 to move to 13-under at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.

--Tom Wilson signed a six-year, $31 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Friday. The 24-year-old forward, who was a restricted free agent, had NHL career highs in goals (14), assists (21) and points (35) in 72 games last season. He had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help the Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the first time.

--The Arizona Diamondbacks announced on Friday that they have acquired Minnesota Twins switch-hitter Eduardo Escobar  in return for three minor league prospects. The 29-year-old Escobar, who smacked his 15th homer of the season against the Blue Jays in a 5-0 win in Toronto on Tuesday, is hitting .274 with 63 RBI and leads the majors with 37 doubles.

-Free-agent wide receiver Dez Bryant went off on several members of his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, during a series of tweets Friday night. The receiver called Cowboys owner Jerry Jones "clueless" and put blame for his release on Dallas center Travis Frederick and linebacker Sean Lee, whom he called a "snake."Bryant questioned the offense and his role late last season. His numbers slipped after signing a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015, in part because of injuries and a shift in offensive philosophy with Prescott at quarterback. The Cowboys opted to part ways with Bryant without even offering him a pay cut.

Friday, July 27, 2018

This And That

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

--Have you got your popcorn ready?  In the words of the immortal Ed Whalen,  Saturday night should be a "ring-a-ding-dong dandy".  The 5-0 Stamps bring their show into what will be a sold-out Mosaic to take on the 3-2 Riders on what should be a gorgeous night for football.  What more do you want? It should be a game where points come at a premium. Make no doubt about it, the Riders are in tough and they are the underdog for a reason.  They have shown that when they play smart football, they are a very good team and a tough one to beat.  The problem is they are playing a team that can make you make mistakes in a big hurry.  The /=S=/ can pull off the upset, but they will have to have a lot of things go right for them.  In a thanks Captain Obvious statement, they will have to play their best game of the year to get the "W"

--Duron Carter told reporters this week that it is getting somewhat annoying with everyone giving him their two cents on the team and his playing status when they see him in public. He said he can't even go out for a meal anymore.  If the truth be told, that story is somewhat over as we know Chris Jones isn't going to change his stance.  I still think the move is a wrong one and so do many others, but Jones is the one calling the shots like it or not.  The only question that has some validity is one Derek Meyers asked on the Sportscage this week and one he has asked before.  What does this do to any bonus money Carter had in his contract.  He isn't going to get 100 catches or 1000 yards or 10 touchdowns this season.  He won't be a Western Division all-star or a CFL all-star.  One has to think there is some extra $$$$ in his contract for getting to certain levels and having certain plaudits thrown your way.  I wonder if it will have any effect on what happens the next time Duron needs to sign a new deal here if Jones is still in charge.

--Is it fair to ask what the Riders record would be if Zach Collaros had been the quarterback of record for all 5 games?  At the end of the day, I think they are 4-1 and not 3-2.  Is there really that much of a difference at this time?

--Yes, he didn't have a lot of time to learn, but after hearing he would play and seeing the game was rather one-sided near the end, where was Johnny Manziel?  Is there a story here that we aren't being told? The reality is Johnny Football couldn't get on the field for a 2-3 football team and was traded. Yes, the quarterback of that 2-3 team had a nice start to the season, but still.  I'm starting to wonder here if Hamilton found out what Montreal has found out and that this guy doesn't live up to the expectation and that the progress report isn't as good as what Kavis Reed may have been told,  If he doesn't get the start next week and produce, start asking questions folks.  Then again, it is Montreal and there is no sign to make one think the tire fire that they are is going to be put out anytime soon.

--Damn the UFC for having an event in Calgary on the same weekend as a Riders home game!!!  A Rider game in Calgary would have had this blogger at both McMahon and the Saddledome this weekend.

--As the end of the season approaches, it would seem as if Reginans are starting to take in some Red Sox baseball at Currie Field.  It was nice to see 1000 people at the park for their game against Yorkton on Tuesday night. Playoffs are a comin and that should mean some nice gates as well.

--Speaking of gates, the league announced eight more games will be played in the regular season starting next year making it a 56 game season instead of 48. That translates to an extra four home games.  That should be good for league teams across the board when it comes to extra revenue, but I don't like the fact playoff series will now all be a best of 3.  If you have to have players back at their respective schools on time, it is something that has to be done.  For the betterment of the league, its OK, but put me down as not liking a best of 3 final.

--The Carolina Hurricanes are going to do what the Sabres and Stars have done before them.  They are going to simulcast their TV broadcast on the radio.  That doesn't work all the time especially when it comes to showing a replay which as you know you can't see on radio.. Let it also be said that if the Oilers decide to scrap their radio guys for a simulcast involving their TV crew that I will just mute the sound when watching.   Thanks to the Google Mini, I quite often find myself listening to the call of Jack Michaels and Bob Stauffer as it is. 

--Jarome Iginla has called it a career. Being an Oilers fan, the sweater he wore for much of his NHL career nauseated me, but one can not deny what type of player he was and that he will be going into the Hockey Hall of Fame as soon as it is time.  Is he the best ever Flame? Sorry Theoren Fleury fans, but I think we know the answer to that.

What couldn't Iggy do? The former Kamloops Blazer could skate, he could score, he could fight. He was a leader on and off the ice.  The only flaw on his resume is he didn't get a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup. If the truth be told, I'd rather have him get a moment with the Cup than Ray Bourque.  The overall skill and toughness shown by Iginla over the years is something not many in the NHL have had. Mark Messier and Cam Neely are the only two that come to mind

--The Globe and Mail ran a story Wednesday suggesting a Calgary Olympic bid would call for events in Whistler and Edmonton.  Those events in the Alberta capital could include hockey at Rogers Place. ????? A marquee event at the Winter Games not being entirely played in Calgary, but shared between them and Edmonton instead. What happened to the narrative that another Winter Games would bring the city and the Flames the rink they desire oh so much.   One that would insure their future in Calgary for quite a while and perhaps do for the city what Rogers Place has done for Edmonton. If only some games are to be played there, they will go at the Saddledome as there is no need for a brand new facility.  Hmmmm!!!

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

What Did You Miss Thursday?

--Despite saying he would play, Johnny Manziel has still not taken a CFL snap in a regular-season game. Manziel watched from the sidelines as the Edmonton Eskimos throttled the Alouettes 44-23.  Mike Reilly threw four TD passes---two to Duke Williams as Edmonton improved to 4-2. 

--J.A Happ is no longer a Blue Jay.  Toronto traded the lefthander to the Yankees for outfielder Billy McKinney and 3rd baseman Brandon Drury.   Still with the Yankees, outfielder Aaron Judge suffered a fractured wrist when hit by a pitch in a 7-2 win versus Kansas City. 

--Auston Matthews and the Leafs have started to talk about a contract extension.  Matthews is going into the last season on his entry-level deal and will become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2018-19 season.  In his first two seasons, Matthews has registered 132 points. 

--The rains held off long enough for Robert Garrigus to take the early lead at the Canadian Open. The American shot a 9-under 63 at Oakville, Ontario's Glen Abbey Golf Club before play was suspended because of weather. He has a one shot lead on fellow American Adam Schenk. Over a dozen players were unable to finish their round because of rain.

--Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has lofty expectations for the Cleveland Browns' 2018 campaign. With the team's high-profile offseason additions - including Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde, and Landry himself - the pass-catcher believes that the Browns' offense will be difficult to slow down this upcoming season. "You'll be lucky if we don't score 40 on you," Landry told Sports Illustrated's Ben Baskin. "If we get everyone playing to their potential, we can win the Super Bowl this year."  In the last two years, Cleveland is 1-31. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What Did You Miss Wednesday?

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--The Vancouver Canucks and president of hockey operations Trevor Linden have “amicably” agreed to part ways. Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini said on Twitter that general manager Jim Benning is slated to take over hockey operations. The former Canuck is leaving the organization to “pursue different endeavours,” after serving four years in the role. He was hired in April 2014 to take over from Mike Gillis.

--Former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla will officially retire form the N-H-L on Monday. The two-time Olympic gold medallist will hold a news conference next week in Calgary, where the native of St. Albert, Alberta, played almost 16 seasons. A star power forward, Iginla played seasons in the N-H-L and registered 625 goals, 675 assists, 1,300 points and 1,040 penalty minutes in 1,554 games.

--Believe it or not, Riders head coach Chris Jones says Derrick Moncrief's replacement at SAM linebacker Saturday vs Calgary could be Duron Carter.  Jones made the statement following practice on Wednesday saying if you have watched closely, Carter has played some at the position already this year  The Riders and Stamps meet at a sold-out Mosaic Stadium Saturday at 7

--The CFL's #1 draft pick this year is going to try his luck in the NFL.  The Denver Broncos have signed receiver Mark Chapman to a contract.  Hamilton chose him with the first overall selection.

--Former Moose Jaw Warriors forward Noah Gregor could be headed back to the Eastern Division.  The Victoria Royals have traded the 20 year old to Prince Albert.  Gregor is eligible to play in the AHL with the San Jose Barracuda. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Riders Game Saturday Is A Sell-Out

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to announce that Saturday’s home game – July 28th – versus the Calgary Stampeders is a sellout, after sales reached the Mosaic Stadium capacity of 33,350.

“Rider Nation once again has shown its tremendous support for their football team,” stated Roughriders Chief Brand Officer Anthony Partipilo. “Mosaic Stadium is regarded as one of Canada’s most electrifying sports venues and our coaches and players feed off the atmosphere. Rider Nation can make a difference!” 

This is the Roughriders’ second sellout this season after the game on June 30th versus the Montreal Alouettes also reached Mosaic Stadium’s sales capacity. 

The Riders currently lead the CFL in sold and scanned attendance entering Week 7.

(Riders PR)

What Did You Miss Tuesday

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--Duron Carter says he is getting tired of everyone telling him where he should play.  Speaking to reporters after Riders practice, Carter says he can't even go out and have a decent meal without people coming up to him giving him his thoughts on the 3-2 football team and where he should be playing.  He says it's annoying.  The Riders meet the 5-0 Calgary Stampeders Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.

--The Montreal Alouettes say Johnny Manziel will not start Thursday night against Edmonton, but he will play.  It is believed former Rider Vernon Adams Junior will get the start.

--The Los Angeles Rams and Todd Gurley have agreed to a four-year contract extension. The extension keeps Gurley under contract through 2023 but did not disclose financial terms. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the deal is worth $60 million and includes $45 million guaranteed, the largest guarantee given to a running back.

--The Pittsburgh Pirates made it 11 straight wins with a 9-4 win over Cleveland.  The Pirates, who are starting to sneak into contention in both the NL Central and wild-card race, have not won 11 straight since 1996.

--Weyburn golfer Graham DeLaet is going to undergo back surgery.  It means he will be off the PGA Tour for six months to a year. The 36-year-old  underwent stem-cell treatment on his back in January.
He hasn’t played in a PGA Tour event since last October.  Though DeLaet has never won on the PGA Tour in 175 career starts, he has flirted with a trophy on numerous occasions, including twice late last year. He stormed up the leaderboard at the PGA Championship last year, finishing tied for 7th.

--A minor trade for the Pats. Forward Tanner Sidaway heads to the Victoria Royals for an 8th round pick in next year's bantam draft. Sidaway is a Victoria native.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What Did You Miss Monday?

--Alouettes GM Kavis Reed says Johnny Manziel wouldn’t be the saviour of the beleagueredfranchise. “We didn’t trade for Johnny to be the saviour,”  Reed stated. “We traded for him to be a part of this.”  The Alouettes go into Thursday's game at home against Edmonton having lost 15 of their last 16.

--Shawn Lemon is moving again.  The Argos, according to Justin Dunk at 3DownNation, have traded the defensive end to the BC Lions.  It is not known what Toronto is getting back.

--A historic first start for Daniel Poncedeleon. The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander went seven innings without giving up a hit against the Cincinnati Reds, becoming just the fifth pitcher to do so in his M-L-B debut in the Expansion Era. The 26-year-old was removed for a pinch hitter to start the 8th. The performance comes 14 months after he suffered a life-threatening head injury after being hit by a line drive while on the mound in Triple-A.

--The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with restricted free-agent forward Brock Nelson  on a one-year, $4.25 million contract. The deal allows the team and Nelson to avoid an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for Aug. 3. Nelson had 19 goals and 16 assists while playing all 82 games last season. Selected by New York with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft, the 26-year-old has totalled 99 goals and 89 assists in 398 games over five seasons.

--Dirk Nowitzki officially re-signed with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The move was widely expected and multiple reports put the terms at one year and $5 million. If he plays out the contract, Nowitzki will pass Kobe Bryant for the longest unbroken tenure with one NBA franchise as this will be his 21st year with the team

Monday, July 23, 2018

Montreal Alouettes Acquire WR Adarius Bowman

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The Montreal Alouettes announced Monday that the club has acquired Slotback Adarius Bowman from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in exchange for a conditional 8th round pick in the 2019 CFL Draft.

Bowman, (6’3”, 215 lbs) has played in 130 career regular season games, tallying 622 receptions, 9,119 yards and 48 touchdowns. He has also recorded 40 receptions for 622 yards and six touchdowns in postseason play, while also registering four receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown in a 2015 Grey Cup victory with Edmonton. He is one of only 10 players to ever record at least three 200-plus yard receiving games.

Bowman is in his 11th season in the CFL. He previously played for the Roughriders, the Blue Bombers and the Eskimos. The 33-year-old Chattanooga, TN native played for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the NCAA.

The new Alouettes slotback is also a three-time CFL All-Star (2014-2015-2016) and three-time West Division All-Star (2014-2015-2016). In 2017, he was honoured with the 2017 Tom Pate Memorial Award, given to a player who has made a significant contribution to his team and his community.

(Montreal Alouettes)

Something To "Mitch" About

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--I have no idea what Johnny Football is in French, but we are about to get it.  He has never thrown a pass in a regular-season CFL game, but the Alouettes are investing a lot into him as they try to put some life into a team that is as bad as we thought they were going to be if not worse.  I'm just left wondering how long it will take Eric Tillman to stop laughing on this deal.   The Alouettes send arguably their biggest offensive weapon and two first round draft choices to get him.   Montreal doesn't have its 2019 pick after giving it up to get Tyler Johnstone in the supplemental draft and now they don't have picks in 20 or 21. Let's not forget Jamaal Westerman is very good as well.  I hope its worth it for Kavis.  Manziel is unproven having not taken a regular-season CFL snap.  Does he make Montreal better?  I guess we're going to find out.

--It's a move the Ti-Cats certainly didn't have to make, but good on them for doing so. Hours after announcing the trade, the Ti-Cats said anyone with a Manziel jersey can return it to get a complimentary 100 dollar gift card so fans could get a new jersey.  That's a solid move by the Ti-Cats, but one they certainly didn't need to do.  As it is with any player, it is buyer beware.

--Meanwhile, closer to home. the scenario is seemingly the same as it was for the Saskatchewan Roughriders going into Thursday's game against Hamilton.  Despite the fact they are 3-2, not many are giving them a chance against the Calgary Stampeders Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.  The Stampeders are once again the Stampeders----well actually they are not as they are 5-0 for the first time since 1995.  I digress.  On paper, the Stamps should have no problem in improving their record to 6-0. We all know though you don't play the game on paper.  With the two defences that will be on display at Mosaic Stadium., I get the feeling we are in for a 12-10 game (NOTE: That prediction should translate to a 48-43 contest).  Watching the Stamps play Montreal, it looks to me like Bo Levi Mitchell is far from 100 percent after that shot he took to his knee in Ottawa.  If he is pedestrian in the pocket, it may be bad news for Calgary and good news for Saskatchewan.  We've got all week to decipher that though.

--One can not deny Chris Jones is getting the job done in a very unorthodox and strange manner, but while people still don't want to admit it, Jones is getting everything he wants out of his football team.  That being said, the real test starts now with games against the top two teams staring the green-and-white in the face. A pair against the Stamps and one against the Eskimos will not be easy.   An 0-3 stretch will have those who have been under their rocks during the two game win streak poking their head above earth again.   It's what it is in Riderville right!

--I'm still in awe over the performance of Brendon LaBatte on Thursday in Hamilton. How can you not be? He really does re-define Saskatchewan tough!   He is right up there with some of the all-time greats in this league that have called Saskatchewan home.

--How much longer can the CFL stick its head in the sand and not be concerned about what is happening in Toronto? I am not there so I do not know how aggressive MLSE and the football team is when it comes to marketing themselves, but you can't tell me in a city the size of Toronto, you can only get 11 thousand fans to a game.

Yes, it doesn't help when establishments refuse to put on CFL games or acknowledge the league is a thing in Canada's biggest city, but despite the league's best efforts, fans aren't coming to BMO Field.  Some are saying just embrace what is given and quit focussing on the attendance.  Others say those in attendance are having a great time.  At the end of the day, the Argos are still the weak sister in the CFL and the Alouettes and Lions aren't far behind.  When Canada's biggest cities won't embrace the Canadian game it spells trouble.  I don't know how you fix it.  Someone at a higher pay grade than me can figure that out.

--Where would the Bombers be without Andrew Harris?   The season is just hitting the one-third pole and there is still a lot of games to play, but Harris has to be considered the MOP right now.

--Having been in the Golden Mile for the first time in a long time made me realize how much I miss Tim's Souvlaki.  That place was solid! It needs to come back somewhere.  If it is back, where is it?

--The final round of the Open Championship was must-watch TV if a golf fan.  If you're not a golf fan, you watched because of Tiger Woods and his run at the title.  Let's face the facts, Tiger Woods is not the Tiger Woods he once was nor will he be.  The old Tiger would have had the run he had Saturday to show the field he was back.  The threat of Tiger would be intimidating enough for many to wilt and fade away like his playing partner on Sunday.  That threat is over. The intimidation factor is gone.  Tiger is now no better than the young guns that are making the sport great.  Francisco Molinari was better than Tiger as he played alongside Tiger on Sunday to win it all.  Will Tiger win again? He has the tools to and I wouldn't bet against him, but his biggest strength has disappeared and with it some of his success.

As for what happened at Carnoustie, watching 10 or so guys and Tiger try to get their hands on the Claret Jug was magnificent theatre as Sundays at a major usually are.  If you are a golf fan, you appreciate that and you will be back.  As a Tiger fan, you will wait to see if he plays the weekend or not.

--I wonder how much the Toronto Blue Jays regret not trading Josh Donaldson last winter?

--Former Blue Jays pitcher Dave Stieb turned 61 on Sunday!  61?  Man, I feel old!  If Roy Halladay wasn't the best pitcher Toronto has ever had, it had to be Stieb.  His ball could dance when he wanted it to.

--There's a lot of talk in baseball these days about the designated hitter. Should it stay the way it is now? Should the National League adopt the DH and say goodbye to the pitcher or should the American League say goodbye to the DH and have the pitcher hit.  Why does the DH have to be the sub for the pitcher? If a pitcher can hit and the catcher is hitting .180, can you DH for the catcher?  At the end of the day, I think it should be universal with both leagues having the same rules.  The game to me has more strategy when the pitcher is hitting so I would like it to be like the National League.  FOX's Ken Rosenthal says it will likely depend on expansion and possible re-alignment so any decision is likely a few years away

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

What Did You Miss Sunday?

--Big day for Football Saskatchewan.  They won the Canada Cup of Football (18 and under) in Calgary beating Alberta 31-26 in the championship game. It is the first time Saskatchewan has won the event since 2010.  It was also a big day for three members of the Regina Rams as they were on the Canadian team that won the IFAF Junior World Championship in Mexico. The Canadians beat the host team 13-7 to win the title.  The three Rams are Jaxon Ford, Tanner Schmekel and Josh White.  The Rams had a 4th player--Arturo Galvan---that was on the Mexican team.

Courtesy Steve Bryce/Twitter

--Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died unexpectedly at his home Sunday at the age of 56. ESPN says Sparano, who had been released from hospital after complaining of chest pain Friday, was found by his wife unconscious in their kitchen as they got ready for church. Sparano was head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008 to ’11, winning an AFC East title in his first year. He also served as interim coach of the Oakland Raiders for the final 12 games of the 2014 season.

--Francesco Molinari came from behind to win the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland. He shot a 2-under 69 to finish 8-under. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner finished in a tie for second place, two shots behind Molinari.

--An arbitrator has awarded Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba a one-year, $5.5-million dollar U-S contract for next season. The 24-year-old is coming off a two-year, $6-million dollar contract that expired on July 1st.

--In the latest bizarre medical development for the baffling New York Mets, ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard is headed back to the disabled list after contracting hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
The team figures it’s likely Syndergaard caught the contagious virus when he made an appearance at a baseball camp for kids last Thursday during the All-Star break.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Johnny Manziel Is An Alouette

Image result for what is johnny football in french

Johnny Manziel is changing addresses.

TSN's Duane Forde was the first to confirm Manziel had been traded to the Alouettes.  Hamilton sends the quarterback along with OL Tony Washington and Landon Rice to Montreal for DL Jamaal Westerman, WR Chris Williams and Montreal's first round draft pick in 2020 and 21.

In Montreal, Manziel is reunited with Mike Sherman who coached him at Texas A&M.

What Did You Miss Saturday?

Bo Levi Mitchell

--The Bombers are 3-3 on the season after a 38-20 win over Toronto.  Andrew Harris ran for 156 yards and had two touchdowns--one through the air and one on the ground.  In Saturday's other CFL game, Calgary beat Montreal 25-8. The Stamps are 5-0 for the first time since 1995.

--The Open Championship is anyone's game after 54 holes.  Kevin Kisner, Jordan Speith and Xander Schauffele are all 9 under par.  9 golfers are within four shots including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood

--Regina-born defenceman Matt Dumba is going to get paid.  The Minnesota Wild avoided arbitration with Dumba by signing him to a five-year, $30-million-U-S contract. The 23 year old was the Wild's first round draft pick in 2012.

--The Anaheim Ducks uniforms just got a whole lot mightier. In honour of the franchise’s upcoming 25th anniversary season, the team unveiled a new third jersey Saturday afternoon that features the old “Mighty Ducks” logo.

--DeMar DeRozan has bid farewell to Toronto. The former Raptors star posted a thank-you note to Toronto and the team's fans on his Instagram, four days after he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs. DeRozan, a native of Compton, California, voiced his appreciation for the city embracing him as ``one of your own'' after he was drafted by the club in 2009.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Pats Season Tickets Now on Sale

Courtesy: Keith Hershmiller
The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce season tickets for the 2018-19 season are now on sale at
Secure your seat for the 2nd Century of Pats Hockey right here:
Season ticket holders are entitled to the following benefits:
– Three (3) vouchers to be redeemed for a Preseason Tournament or Preseason Game 
– Pats Store discount of 15%
– Payment Plan Option, runs until October 31, 2018* fees apply
– Right of first refusal on your seat(s) for the 2019 WHL Playoffs
– Pre-sale for special events
– Online Ticket Management through “My Pats Account”
– Print your tickets
– Online ticket exchange
– Online ticket resale
– View your seats and scan in from your mobile device
– Forward your seats to a friend
The Pats will kick off the regular season on September 21 in Prince Albert Raiders. Regina will host their home opener on September 22 against the Raiders at 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre.

The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce season tickets for the 2018-19 season are now on sale at
Secure your seat for the 2nd Century of Pats Hockey right here:
Season ticket holders are entitled to the following benefits:
– Three (3) vouchers to be redeemed for a Preseason Tournament or Preseason Game 
– Pats Store discount of 15%
– Payment Plan Option, runs until October 31, 2018* fees apply
– Right of first refusal on your seat(s) for the 2019 WHL Playoffs
– Pre-sale for special events
– Online Ticket Management through “My Pats Account”
– Print your tickets
– Online ticket exchange
– Online ticket resale
– View your seats and scan in from your mobile device
– Forward your seats to a friend
The Pats will kick off the regular season on September 21 in Prince Albert Raiders. Regina will host their home opener on September 22 against the Raiders at 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre.

This and That

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

--It doesn't matter how you do it and how unorthodox it may look.  It just matters that you win which is what the Saskatchewan Roughriders did Thursday night.  You can complain about Chris Jones all you want and criticize every move he makes, but at the end of the day his football team is 3-2. Yes, if it weren't for a brain-cramp against Montreal they would be 4-1. How are they at this point?  They are trudging along with the back-up quarterback who is showing signs of getting better, but still looks uncomfortable. They are doing it with their best player in the wrong position and they are doing it. They are finding a way.  The buttons being pushed by Jones are producing victories.  Its as unorthodox as you know what and you may not like it, but the bottom line is they are 3-2.

--The hue and cry of Rider Nation could be heard loudly as the Riders plodded their way through an uninspiring first half.  The offence couldn't do much and while the defence was doing its best to keep their team in the game, it looked like Hamilton would earn a split of the home-and-home as they went into the room at the half.  Then it was BOOM!!  The team that couldn't or didn't want to run the football started the 2nd half with an 80 yard Marcus Thigpen touchdown run, the dormant Jerome Messam got in the game and plowed his way to 70 yards on 12 carries.  Tre Mason busted one for 30 on a 3rd and 2.

Hitch screens and shovel passes which had some frantically cursing or typing away at their keyboards were silent when Jordan Williams-Lambert took a shovel pass for 17 yards with Bridge then sucking the defence in on a go pattern as he found a widdddddddde open Naaman Roosevelt for a 32 yard score.  As TSN's Glen Suitor so aptly put it,  the Riders baited Hamilton by continuing with the little hitch and dump passes knowing Hamilton would bite which they did.  When the green-and-white got their chance, they capitalized.

--As Chris Jones said a couple of weeks ago, I don't care what the fans think when it comes to his decisions.  He doesn't care what anyone thinks.  He just gets results. Results he has gotten at every CFL stop he has made.  The bottom line is Jones and crew are getting it done much to your enjoyment or your chagrin.  Is Jones above the criticism? No he's not as is any coach, but you are measured by wins and losses and at the end of the day this team is 3-2.  Not bad!

-Farewell Fantuz!  The announcement Thursday of Andy Fantuz's retirement didn't really shock anyone I think.  What a career he had!  There haven't been many better Canadian receivers in my time watching the CFL. His hands were special and his TD catch in the 2007 Grey Cup forever endeared him to Rider Nation.  Plaza?  Hall of Fame?  Absolutely!  How can you not have him in both!

--The Terrell Owens/Edmonton Eskimos story is bizarre and is now over.   Did the Eskimos think a 44 year old man who hasn't played football in years would help them? Did they think someone will give them something of substance to get T-O's rights? Will another team want to bring T-O in?  Please don't for the good of the league.

--The Kawhi Leonard-Demar DeRozan trade is still one that leaves me scratching my head. If Leonard can sign long-term with the Raptors, I think it is a win for them, but there is no indication at this time to think Leonard's time in "The Six" will be for more than one year when he bolts in free agency.   As PTI's Mike Wilbon said,  it comes down to the Raptors asking themselves can they get more in one year with Leonard than they could for three years with DeRozan.  Management thought yes so the deal was made.  We'll see.

--Speaking of DeRozan,  I guess Gatorade has to re-do its one commercial featuring him. It's been a pet peeve of mine for years, but why doesn't corporate Canada embrace CFL players,  Gatorade can't use Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell, Duron Carter or someone else? No company that advertises with the CFL can find a player for an ad campaign? It is somewhat astounding!

--Speaking on the Dan Patrick show this week, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was talking expansion.  Montreal's name came up which didn't surprise me, but Manfred then said "maybe someplace else in Canada".  ??????  Is he talking about Vancouver? The Seattle Mariners would love them as a close rival, but they would hate Blue Jays fans staying away from SAFECO Field,  Winnipeg has a great park where the Goldeyes play, but that park would have to have a lot done to it to make it major-league standards.  The only other place would be Calgary.  Calgary certainly has the corporate to make it work. Would this be what is needed to get the Stampeders a new stadium?  I've never heard Manfred say another Canadian centre besides Montreal.  At the end of the day, I have to think he is talking about Vancouver, but who knows.  Calgary for an MLB team?  Sign me up for yearly visits, especially if the team is a National League one that would see a visit each year from the Cubs.

--We go into the weekend at the Open Championship and while some big names like Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are out, many are right there.  Rory McIlroy is two back, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are three back and Jason Day, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickleson are six back. It is going to be a great weekend of early-morning golf.  Sign me up!

--I never ever thought I would say this, but perhaps it is time we just scrapped the national anthem before sporting events.  Sadly, it has become too big of a hassle.  Just remove it from the equation and let's move on for the betterment of all.  When it comes to international play, play it at the end for the winning nation as done at the Olympics.

--That's all I got  Enjoy the weekend!

What Did You Miss Friday?

--William Powell's 2 yard touchdown run with 49 seconds to play gave Ottawa a 29-25 win over BC in CFL action Friday night  Trevor Harris moved the REDBLACKS down the field 80 yards for the winning score after BC had gone ahead 25-22 on a chip shot field goal with 2 minutes to play. Ottawa is 3-2 while BC is 2-3

--Nik Lewis is retiring as a member of the Calgary Stampeders. The C-F-L's career leader in receptions signed a one-day contract with Calgary before announcing his retirement. Lewis holds the Stampeders record with 165 consecutive games played, was a three-time CFL all-star and won two Grey Cups.

--Terrell Owens was released from the Edmonton Eskimos' negotiation list, leaving the 44-year-old former N-F-L-er free to sign with any other Canadian Football League team. The Edmonton-based agent handling Owens' C-F-L negotiations said the Eskimos' decision won't dampen the receiver's enthusiasm about resuming his football career in Canada.

--The number 1 and 2 golfer in the world are getting the weekend off.  Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas failed to make the cut at the Open Championship.  Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner are tied for the lead after 36 holes as each are 6 under. 

--Troy Stecher signed a two-year, $4.65 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. It has average annual value of $2.325 million. The 24-year-old defenseman, who had 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 68 games with the Canucks last season, avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 29.

Friday, July 20, 2018

What Did You Miss Thursday?

Image result for hamilton tiger cats vs saskatchewan roughriders

--Three big plays in the third quarter sent the Riders on their way to a 31-20 win over Hamilton.  On the first play of the third, Marcus Thigpen took a handoff from Brandon Bridge and ran 80 yards for a touchdown. That was followed by a 32 yard Bridge to Naaman Roosevelt TD and a 61 yard punt return TD by Christion Jones.  Saskatchewan is now 3-2 on the season and face Calgary on July 28 at Mosaic. 

--19 year old Kade Johnson shot a 6 under 66 on the last day of the Saskatchewan Mens Amateur Golf Championship at Dakota Dunes.  The Yorkton product had a  three-round total of 207 -- two shots better than Humboldt’s Michael Herperger who also fired 66 in the final round to take second place. 

--Kevin Kisner had a 5-under 66 to take the first round lead at the Open Championship.  Three others are one shot back.  Rory McIlroy is three back and Tiger Woods is five off the pace after shooting a 71. Dustin Johnson had a five over 76

--The NFL and National Football League Players Association have agreed to halt enforcement of rules regarding the new national anthem policy while the two sides work on a resolution.

The league and its players union issued a joint statement late Thursday, hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week.

-- The Winnipeg Jets have avoided salary arbitration with forward Adam Lowry signing him to a three-year, US$8.75 million contract. The 25-year-old played in 45 games for the Jets last season, recording 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and eight penalty minutes. He has been with the Jets since they took him in the 2011 draft. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What Did You Miss Wednesday?

--The DeMar DeRozan era in Toronto is over. The Raptors have traded their longtime fan favourite to the San Antonio Spurs for 2014 N-B-A Finals M-V-P Kawhi Leonard in a blockbuster deal. The Spurs are also sending Danny Green to the Raptors while Toronto sends Jakob Poeltl  and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick to San Antonio.

--Larry Robinson, considered one of the most decorated and versatile players in Calgary Stampeders history, has died. He was 76. The Calgary native played for the Stampeders from 1961-74, never missing a game in 14 seasons. Robinson served as a kicker, receiver and defensive back for the Stamps, and helped the team end a 22-year championship drought with a Grey Cup victory in 1971.

--Forbes released its annual ranking of the 50 most valuable sports teams Wednesday, but not a single NHL franchise managed to crack the list. NFL teams dominated with the Dallas Cowboys sitting at No. 1 with a valuation of $4.8 billion, a 14 per cent increase from their value one year prior. In fact, 29 of the NFL’s 32 teams made the list with the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions being the only omissions. Behind the Cowboys were soccer clubs Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, while the New York Yankees rounded out the top five. Those five teams were in a class by themselves as the only teams with a price tag of $4 billion or greater.

-- Arizona Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway is looking to sell a 49 per cent stake of the team at a valuation of $500 million. Barroway is looking to sell part of the team despite becoming the majority owner of the club in Dec. 2014 and the sole owner in June 2017 after he reportedly bought out the rest of his ownership partners’ 49 per cent share of the team.

--Manny Machado is heading to L-A. The Dodgers acquired the star third baseman in a trade with the Orioles today. Canadian pitcher Zach Pop is among five prospects going to Baltimore.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Did You Miss Tuesday?

--Riders head coach Chris Jones blew off some steam before his team left for Hamilton and Thursday's game against the Ti-Cats.  After practice, one he had to stop at one point due to a lack of focus, Jones said the team can't put two solid days of practice together. which is a big reason why they are 2-2. Offensive lineman Brendon Labatte agreed saying there are guys in the room who should know what they're doing, but they're not for whatever reason.   Labatte says some of the guys maybe don't realize what pro football is and that every time you step between the lines you are being evaluated whether they be veterans or rookies.

--The B-C Lions will be without linebacker Solomon Elimimian. Elimimian was placed on the six-game injured list after having surgery on his hand or wrist today. Coach Wally Buono said he wasn't exactly sure what the injury was, or whether it happened on a specific play during the Lions' 20-17 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

--Back-tp-back homeruns by Houston's Alex Bregman and George Springer in the top of the 10th helped the American League to an 8-6 win over the National League at the all-star game. In all, there were 10 home runs, 5 for each side.

--Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred outlined concerns in the way the sport has changed ahead of tonight's all-star Game in Washington. Manfred says issues include the increased number of strikeouts, an increase in home runs, the far greater use of infield shifts, the lessened length of starting pitcher outings and the increase in the use of relief pitchers. He says owners want a broad conversation with players about rules changes.

--Former Edmonton Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton is moving down the highway.  Hamilton, who was the head coach for four years in Edmonton, became the new coach of the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday.  He is the 10th coach in Hitmen history.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What Did You Miss Monday?

--On the eve of baseball's all-star game in Washington, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper gave the hometown fans a treat. He won the homerun derby beating Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber in the final.  On Tuesday night, the best of the American League will play the best of the National League. Washington's Max Scherzer starts for the Nationals with Chris Sale of Boston starting for the American League. 

--Former Edmonton Oiler Kelly Buchberger is the new head coach of the Tri-City Americans. Buchberger begins his coaching career in the WHL after serving as a Head Coach in the AHL and an Assistant Coach for various NHL teams.

--Calgary Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson says quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is questionable for this week's game against Montreal. While doctors say an injury suffered by Mitchell in last week's win over Ottawa was not serious,  Dickenson says he is day-to-day and maybe week-to-week. 

--The Calgary Flames have signed Elias Lindholm to a six-year contract worth about $29 million U-S. The 23-year-old Swede was acquired by Calgary along with defenceman Noah Hanifin in a June 23 trade that sent defencemen Dougie Hamilton and Adam Fox and forward Michaek Ferland to Carolina. The Anaheim Ducks also signed forward Adam Henrique to a five-year contract extension worth just over 29 million. 

--The members of France’s victorious World Cup team returned home from Russia to triumphant arcs of water heralding their airplane’s arrival and a red carpet welcome Monday, and that was before the formal homage that awaited them in Paris.  Goalie Hugo Lloris, brandishing the golden trophy from soccer’s eminent tournament, and coach Didier Deschamps led the team from the Air France plane to the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle Airport.  France beat Croatia 4-2 on Sunday to win soccer's biggest prize. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

DUNK: Owens May Be Interested In CFL

Image result for terrell owens

Receiver Terrell Owens activated the 10-day window that will force the Edmonton Eskimos to offer him a contract or release his rights on July 14, per sources.

The move by Owens is a sign he’s interested in coming to play in the CFL.

The Eskimos added Owens to their negotiation list on June 19.

Under CFL rules, any player on a team’s exclusive 45-man negotiation list can demand to be offered a contract within 10 days.  If a contract offer is not received within that period, the player is removed from the neg list. If a contract offer is received but rejected, the player is removed from the list one year from the offer date.

Something To "Mitch" About

--Where has all the offence gone?  The CFL is known for its fast-paced, high-scoring games.  Where have they gone?  While two of the three games had fans watching for the entire 60 minutes this week, the offensive flare that we are used to has disappeared.

--Is this a sign that defensive football has taken over or is it a sign that perhaps the league is in need of a talent infusion on the offensive side of the ball.  I would say its a combination of both.  We know the quarterback play is not what it has been even with injuries to some starters and we know defences are a lot better than what they used to be.  Is it safe to say we are going to see a lot of low-scoring games this year? You can usually tell a month into the season what you have and we have seen a lot of low-scoring games.  I can't see that changing anytime soon.

--The low-scoring games have been what sticks out over the first month of the season.  Perhaps moreso because it was July 14,1994 that Matt Dunigan threw for 714 yards in a Winnipeg win over Edmonton. Is 714 yards passing in a pro football game (the NFL record is 554 BTW) one of those records that will never be broken?  I would have to say it is.  To put it into perspective, the Rider QB's have thrown for 821 yards as a group and Dunigan threw for 714 in four quarters.

--Rider fans were bemoaning the fact that while winning their last game against the Ti-Cats, they didn't deserve to win.   Do you think anyone in BC is apologizing for beating the Bombers? They didn't deserve to win that game on Saturday, but it was handed to them thanks to some brain-cramps from the Bombers coaching staff.   You have the best running back in the league, but you run two third and less than a yard plays with one of them being stretched outside.  You have the best field goal kicker in the league, but you twice decide not to take what would have been a guaranteed three.  Even if you do that once, you likely still win the game.  While Rider fans wonder about the personnel moves Chris Jones is making, Bomber fans are just left wondering what the h-e-double hockeysticks Mike O'Shea is thinking.  Whatever it is, it didn't work on Saturday as they gave the Lions some life.  It just begs the question "Does Winnipeg have their own Sheldon?"

--CFL commish Randy Ambrosie celebrated his first year on the job last week.  I think it is safe to say Ambrosie has been a real positive for the league with the moves he has made and the initiatives he has started.  There are still issues, but for the most part I think the league is in a lot better shape.  That being said, year 2 might be a little more rocky than year 1 as he works to get a new CBA done---one that has to be much better for the players in a variety of areas.

One of those areas is pay.  On Friday's Sportscage, Luc Mullinder said the CFL has seen rival leagues sprout up before and then go away before ever starting or go away soon after starting like the XFL. He is absolutely correct on that.   I have no doubt the XFL 2.0 won't last long, but in doing some homework on the American Alliance of Football, they may have a chance at being a competitor to the NFL and taking a lot of talent away from the CFL.  It might be wise for the CFL to work together with this group----a group that has some names attached to it upstairs.  Perhaps they already are since each team has been partnered with a CFL squad.

I knew Bill Polian was involved, but I wasn't aware former NFL'ers like Troy Polamulu, Hines Ward and Jared Allen were involved at an executive level.  This league may have more of an impact on players than what we want to believe.  If players don't get a lot more money in the next deal, we could see a talent drain.  You have to be competitive and if American players can stay home and make the same money they could north of the border, you know what is going to happen.

--France are the kings of the soccer world.  The final of the World Cup was a thrilling affair and one that might have been different had it not been for a controversial penalty kick. One that I think should have been called as there was no doubt the Croatian player was guilty of a handball in the box.   This year's World Cup was one of the best and one of the most unpredictable I have seen, and I have been watching the event since 1982.   The constant flopping is annoying and is something that needs to be rectified.  As CTV's Lee Jones said on Twitter Sunday, it is no different than receivers getting up and demanding a flag be thrown because they've been interfered with when they haven't.

--The Blue Jays have to make some moves.  One of them is to get rid of Marcus Stroman.  Stroman, who is no favourite of this blogger, said his team is "f###ing terrible" after yesterday's loss in Boston.  Stroman is no stranger to whining and complaining and while he went to Twitter about four  hours after the rant to try and explain himself, it is clear he has had enough of Toronto and the current state they are in. If you believe what he's throwing down, you should wait eagerly for that e-mail from the Nigerian prince saying he needs your help  His statement is just like those caught with a positive drug test saying they don't know where it came from.  It's time for him to go. He can say what he wants well after the fact, but what remains is he told his teammates exactly what he thinks of them. A new start is needed.

--At the break, the best teams in each league are the Red Sox and Cubs.  Does that translate to a Boston-Chicago World Series.  While that would be awesome, I think many other teams will have a say in the matter. It's going to be a fun couple of months as several teams can be put in the equation of being baseball's best in November.

--Is it true former Leafs owner Harold Ballard told the team to take Luke Richardson with the number 6 pick in the NHL draft allowing Joe Sakic to go next to Quebec at number 7.  Oops!  That didn't work out very well did it now.  That tidbit of information comes courtesy Steve Simmons by the way.

--Good on the Pro Football Hall of Fame telling Terrell Owens that he may have been elected to the Canton, Ohio shrine, but he will not be included in ceremonies if he fails to show as he says he will.  Those who know football know Owens is a guy who is not a team player and is concerned only about himself.  He wanted to be in the Hall, and now that he is finally there with football's greats, he doesn't want to show up and have the stage all to himself.  Pound sand T-O. If you want to slap those who are going in and those already in with this stance, you go for it, but don't complain about what happens after.  I can only wonder if those who voted for him would do so today if they knew what was up his sleeve.

--If you are a football fan and you want to feel old.  Barry Sanders turned 50 yesterday.  If you have to ask yourself who Barry Sanders is, then go get a history lesson.

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

What Did You Miss Sunday?

--Former NHL goalie Ray Emery is dead at the age of 35.  Emery jumped off a boat in Hamilton to go swimming and did not surface.  His body was found about 20 metres from where he had went in the water.  Emery played for several teams including the Hawks where he won the Stanley Cup in 2013. He was also instrumental in getting Ottawa to the 07 Final. 

--France is celebrating its second World Cup title after beating Croatia 4-2 in the highest-scoring World Cup final since 1966. Dramatic moments in the match included the first own-goal and the first video-reviewed penalty in a World Cup final, along with a brief pitch invasion orchestrated by Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

---The final game of the first half of the season for the Blue Jays was an explosive one.  The team lost 5-2 to Boston putting them at 43-52 for the season. After the game, pitcher Marcus Stroman got angry with a post-game interview and said his team was "f****ing terrible". Stroman later took to Twitter to try and clarify things saying he and the team are terrible.   The team also placed Kevin Pillar on the 10 day DL after he suffered a collarbone injury following a highlight reel catch on Saturday. The injury is one that will keep him out for at least a month if not more. 

--Canada's Brooke Henderson was unable to hold onto her 54-hole lead at the Marathon Classic. The 20-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario had a one-shot advantage heading into the final round and cruised through the first 14 holes before running into trouble with bogeyes on 15 and 16 to finish third. Thidapa Suwannapura beat American Brittany Lincicome in a playoff to win the tournament.  Henderson and Lincicome will both be in Regina next month at the CP Canadian Womens Open. 

--The family of Lethbridge Hurricane Ryan Vandervlis issued a statement today as their son continues to recover after a campfire explosion June 15.  Vandervlis, who had been in a medically induced coma, was transferred from the ICU at a Calgary hospital to a burn unit.   He faces a prolonged stay in the burn unit as he recovers after having 50 percent of his body suffering burns ranging from supeficial to third degree.  Doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What Did You Miss Saturday?

--The BC Lions got a last play chip-shot field goal by Ty Long as they beat Winnipeg 20-17.  The Bombers led the game 17-0 at the half. The Lions are now 2-2 while the Bombers are 2-3.

--The CFL is suspending Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Dylan Wynn for one game, effective immediately. The discipline is in response to a play in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game, when Wynn hit Edmonton Eskimos running back C.J. Gable. In making this hit, Wynn used his helmet to deliver a late and direct blow to Gable’s head in a reckless manner while the player was on the ground and in a vulnerable position.

--Belgium has achieved its best World Cup finish by beating England 2-nil in the 3rd place game Thomas Meunier  gave Belgium the lead in the fourth minute. Croatia plays France in the championship game Sunday.

--The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Matheny during his seventh season with the team hovering around .500. The Cardinals announced Matheny’s firing after an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, a defeat that dropped St. Louis to 47-46 and seven games back of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

--Ilya Kovalchuk says he has three to four good years left.  Kovalchuk made the statement to reporters in Los Angeles Saturday as he discussed his return to the NHL and the Kings after playing in the KHL for the last five years.  The 35 year old figures with players like Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, and Anze Kopitar around that he should be able to produce at a high level.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Alliance of American Football Unveils Pay Structure and Roster Allocation

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Less than eight months before the scheduled start of its new pro league, the Alliance of American Football has rolled out details about player allocation, a combine, a draft and salary expectations.

League co-founder Bill Polian, an ESPN NFL analyst, said the league will give players three-year, non-guaranteed contracts worth $250,000 each.

Players can leave the league, which is set to kick off Feb. 9, to go to the NFL. Polian said it's currently unclear whether a player's rights will revert back to the AAF after a three-year period expires or if the clock stops ticking on a team's three-year rights when a player gets "called up" to the big time.

Salaries will be in line with AAF competitor the XFL, which has said it will pay players an average of $75,000 per season. That league launches in 2020.

Polian said a contract will include state-of-the-industry health insurance and an education stipend to any player who completes a year in the league.

The AAF will scout players who don't make NFL and CFL teams. They will be allocated to rosters based primarily on where they played college, if there is an AAF team within a reasonable radius. When that isn't the case -- which will often be true for players from the Big Ten and the Big 12 -- players will be allocated based on their most recent NFL or CFL team.

Players whose college doesn't have an AAF affiliation and who haven't played in the NFL or CFL are eligible to be tendered a contract by any team.

"Each of our teams will have at least five colleges whose players become theirs, four designated NFL teams and a CFL team that is assigned," Polian said.

Polian said modeling suggested that this format would lead to a competitive league, taking into account that the Birmingham team, for example, wouldn't be loaded with Alabama players because many of those players actually make the NFL. The one exception the league has made is for quarterbacks: Teams can only take one former college quarterback in their region.

Polian said the college model will have immediate business implications for the teams.

"If the Birmingham teams has Trent Richardson, we think that will be something that would be a significant gate attraction," Polian said.

The league will hold three combines next month -- in Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta. Players who want to try out will be charged $175.

The AAF has teams in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego. Coaches include Steve Spurrier (Orlando), Brad Childress (Atlanta) and Mike Singletary (Memphis).

Each CFL team has been paired with one of the eight AAF teams: Edmonton Eskimos with Phoenix; Calgary Stampeders with Salt Lake; B.C. Lions with with San Diego; Saskatchewan Roughriders with San Antonio; Winnipeg Blue Bombers with Memphis; Hamilton Tiger-Cats with Orlando; Toronto Argonauts with Atlanta, and both the Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Redblacks with Birmingham.

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(Associated Press)

What Did You Miss Friday?

Courtesy: Edmonton Eskimos 

--Mike Reilly threw for 258 yards and two TD's as Edmonton beat Toronto 16-15 on a rainy night in Edmonton.  The Eskimos are now 3-2 on the season while Toronto is 1-3.

--Bo Levi Mitchell was a spectator at Stamps practice Friday.  Mitchell left Thursday's game versus Ottawa with a knee injury.  The Calgary quarterback told reporters he needs to undergo some tests on the knee, but he doesn't think it is anything serious. 

--Weyburn's Graham DeLaet doesn't know when he will swing a golf club on the PGA Tour again.  DeLaet is in Saskatoon for his Graham Slam charity event. He says a procedure to fix a back problem did not work and doctors still can't pinpoint exactly what is wrong. DeLaet has no idea when he may return. He says he will meet with doctors in the next few weeks to try and determine the next steps. with surgery being the last resort. 

--A setback for former N-H-L players suing the league over head injuries. The federal judge overseeing the case has denied class-action status for the players. The landmark lawsuit was filed over five years ago.

--Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has signed a three-year extension with the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury helped lead the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup final in their expansion campaign this past year. The contract has an average value of $7 million dollars.

Friday, July 13, 2018

This and That

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

--We have a nine team CFL and three have the weekend off. I don't understand and frankly, I've stopped trying to understand some of the decisions made.  I understand you gave every one an additional bye week this year, but giving three teams a bye is dumb when you only have nine teams. Am I right on that one?

--The Johnny Manziel hype is on hold for a week because the Ti-Cats are off.  The hype is seemingly still as strong as its ever been with hopes Johnny Football will get into a game.  Meanwhile, Jeremiah Masoli continues to turn heads as he is playing the best football of his career.  Are those tuning in to watch Manziel from south of the border intrigued by Masoli and what he can do in four-down football?  They should!

--What has happened to Jon Jennings? The Lions quarterback looks nothing like the QB that came out firing when he came into this league. Jennings has been a downward slide since injuring his shoulder early last year in Hamilton. He isn't even close to being the same QB. Is it a confidence issue? Is that shoulder still damaged? Is it something else?  Whatever it is, it would seem as if his days in BC are done. I am guessing he finds another CFL home, but will a change of scenery change anything?

--Are the Calgary Stampeders about to see what its like without Bo Levi Mitchell.  He left in the first half of Calgary's one-sided win over Ottawa and did not return.  On the surface, it would appear as if the knee injury he suffered is not serious in nature.  I think a lot of us didn't think Zach Collaros would be out for as long as he has been when he was hurt in Ottawa. We have seen how that turned out.  If its the Nick Arbuckle show, it is advantage Edmonton and perhaps Winnipeg.

--If Mitchell is out, it is bad for the CFL, He will be out, Ricky Ray is out, Zach Collaros is out, Drew Willy is out, Jennings is not playing well.  It means half of your league has a question mark at the game's most important position and that isn't good in my books.

--Speaking of Collaros, where is he at with his concussion? It's the question Rider Nation wants an answer to.  It has been deathly silent during the bye week at Mosaic and I expect that to continue until the team gets back on the field to get ready for Thursday's game in Hamilton.  There are other questions that need answering as well, but that is the big one.

--There is a thought process out there that the Rider offence would be better with Rob Bagg, Bakari Grant and Chad Owens.  Ummmmm, I know Bagg is hurt and likely wouldn't be on the roster right now if he were still here, but where are Grant and Owens these days? Oh yeah, they're not helping anyone. Never mind!

--The anti-Chris Jones faction is also starting to get worked up over the fact James Franklin is not here.  This just in.  He never was going to be.  The Eskimos knew they had to do something with their quarterback, and the last thing they wanted to do was give him to a Western Division rival that was on the rise.  Brock Sunderland is not that dumb, and Jones wasn't going to give Edmonton the rich offer they wanted.  Again, please put that conversation to bed and remember to renew your membership in the "I Hate Chris Jones" club when the notice hits your inbox.

--Why wasn't there a concert at half-time of the Calgary-Ottawa game? Wasn't that the plan on Thursday nights?

--The World Cup comes to an end this weekend. Croatia will meet France in the final.  All the games haven't been classics, but I've enjoyed the world's best going at it over the last month.  The game is not everyone's cup of tea though. I admit that.  There are a variety of reasons.  I asked on the Cage Thursday what would be on your TV when it came to sports in heaven or hell.  You can give me football, hockey and baseball, but don't give me tennis and NASCAR.

--Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts suggested this week baseball should scrap the home-run derby and have some kind of skills competition on the day before the all-star game.  Does Betts think people want to see an outfielder try and throw it through a hoop from 350 feet away or a drag bunt competition.  Cmon Mookie!

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