Thursday, January 31, 2019

CFL Forms Partnership With German Football League

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The Canadian Football League (CFL) and German Football League (GFL) have reached an agreement to form a long-term strategic partnership designed to grow the game of football in both countries, it was announced on Thursday.

“Our goal is to promote the sport and help players live their football dreams,” said Robert Huber, President of the American Football Verband Deutschland (AFVD).

The agreement follows two days of discussion and information-sharing here in Canada’s largest city, home of the headquarters of the CFL.

“We will share resources with the aim of helping each other on the football and business sides of our two leagues,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL.

A first step will be the addition of select GFL players to the CFL’s National Combine this March, an event which already showcases top Canadian prospects from U SPORTS, or Canadian university football, Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

“Work on this will begin immediately,” Ambrosie said.

The two leagues also discussed creating better pathways for more young Canadian players to continue playing in Germany once their university or junior football careers have ended  and for aspiring German football players to gain an education and  opportunities to play the game they love in the Canadian university system.

The Canadian Football League has nine teams playing in what is widely acknowledged as the top league in the world outside of the United States. Its championship game determines the winner of the Grey Cup, which has been awarded since 1909.

The German Football League features 32 teams playing in two separate divisions or tiers, with the top 16 competing for a berth in its championship, the German Bowl.

It sits atop a rapidly growing national system of gridiron football that boasts 450 club teams and 65,000 members, often described as the deepest and most advanced in Europe.

“We are confident this partnership will benefit both leagues and football in both countries,” said Carsten Dalkowski, Chairman of the American Football Verband Deutschland (AFVD).

The Canadian league has embarked on a mission — Ambrosie calls it CFL 2.0 —  to increase its international footprint, talent pool and business opportunities while growing the game in Canada and around the world.

It recently held a Combine and Draft in Mexico in partnership with that country’s pro league, the Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional (LFA). Ambrosie also has meetings scheduled next week with other leagues across Europe.

“Gridiron Football is played and thriving in more than 30 countries,” said Ambrosie.

“We all owe it to our great game, our talented athletes and our legions of fans to work together so gridiron football and those who play it can achieve their full potential.”

Mike Edem Staying In Riderville

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed national safety Mike Edem to a two-year contract extension, keeping him with the club through 2020.               

Edem (6’1 – 210) will remain with the Riders after spending the previous two seasons with the team. The 29-year-old was originally acquired by the Green and White in a May, 2017 trade.

Last season, Edem registered a career-high 61 defensive tackles while adding 10 special-teams tackles, two tackles for loss and two interceptions in starting all 18 regular-season games. He also started the Western Semi-Final, registering two defensive tackles and a quarterback sack. 

Edem was selected by the Montreal Alouettes in the 1st round (3rd overall) of the 2013 CFL Draft. After three seasons in Montreal, Edem was acquired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in October of 2015. He went on to spend 2016 with the B.C. Lions after joining the club as a free agent.

Through six CFL seasons, Edem has collected 172 defensive tackles, 50 special-teams tackles, eight interceptions, five quarterback sacks and four tackles for loss.

He was named an East Division All-Star in 2013.   

Edem was eligible to become a free agent on February 12.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Friday (all times CST)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Saskatchewan, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Hockey – vs. Calgary, 7:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Men’s Basketball – vs. Saskatchewan, 8:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Volleyball – at UBC Okanagan, 8:00 PM (Kelowna, B.C.)
Men’s Hockey – at Calgary, 8:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)
Track & Field – at Bison Classic, Day 1 (Winnipeg, Man.)

Saturday (all times CST)
Women’s Hockey – vs. Calgary, 3:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Men’s Hockey – at Calgary, 3:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Saskatchewan, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Volleyball – at UBC Okanagan, 7:00 PM (Kelowna, B.C.)
Men’s Basketball – vs. Saskatchewan, 8:00 PM (CKHS)
Track & Field – at Bison Classic, Day 2 (Winnipeg, Man.)

Women's Basketball (U SPORTS Ranking: No. 9) – The Cougars continued their winning ways last weekend in Winnipeg, defeating the Wesmen by scores of 89-43 and 79-66 to improve to 15-3 on the season. The Canada West schedule concludes this weekend at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport with a pair of showdowns against provincial rival Saskatchewan, which comes into the series ranked No. 2 in the country and sporting a 16-2 conference record. Game times are set for 6:00 on both Friday night and Saturday night.

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars (13-5) split with Winnipeg on the road last weekend, winning 96-87 on Friday but falling 91-89 on Saturday thanks to a tip-in at the end of regulation by the Wesmen. The team is readying for its final two Canada West games of the season this weekend, as the Cougars host Saskatchewan (10-8) at the CKHS on Friday and Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 both nights.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars lost twice to the No. 4-ranked Alberta Pandas in Edmonton last weekend, falling 5-0 on Friday and 4-1 on Saturday. Battling for one of the two final postseason berths, the Cougars (7-12-2-3) are four points up on seventh-place Lethbridge with four games to go. They’ll host their final conference games of the year this weekend at The Co-operators Centre with puck drop against Calgary (3-16-1-3) scheduled for Friday night at 7:00 and Saturday afternoon at 3:00.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars had the tough task of dealing with the No. 2-ranked team in the country over the weekend at The Co-operators Centre, and the Alberta Golden Bears lived up to their billing with 6-3 and 7-1 wins on Friday and Saturday. Regina (4-19-1) has two weekends of Canada West play remaining, starting next weekend at Calgary (15-6-2) before the Cougars close out the 2018-19 season with a pair of home games against UBC (11-11-2) on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.

Women’s Volleyball – The winning continued for the Cougars last weekend, as they took out MacEwan in straight sets on both Friday and Saturday to run their winning streak to six matches and improve to 12-8 on the season. Fifth-year libero Taylor Ungar became Canada West’s all-time digs leader in Saturday’s win, as she’s collected 1323 in her career with four conference matches still remaining. The Cougars will head to Kelowna this weekend to take on UBC Okanagan (2-16) twice before finishing off the conference slate with two games at Manitoba (9-9) on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.

Track & Field – After a weekend off, the Cougars return to competition this Friday and Saturday at the Bison Classic in Winnipeg. It will be the first of three major meets for the Cougars in February, as they’ll also take part in the Pandas Open in Edmonton next weekend before competing in the Canada West Championships – also in Edmonton – on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics) 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

WHL Officially Returns To Winnipeg

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The Western Hockey League announced today that the WHL Board of Governors have approved the relocation of the Kootenay ICE franchise to Winnipeg, effective for the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season.

“The WHL appreciates the support we have received from the City of Cranbrook, the corporate community, and, in particular, hockey fans in the East Kootenay region,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “However, after many years of monitoring the operations of the Kootenay ICE, it is evident this franchise is not viable in the market moving forward. It is a difficult decision, but given low attendance trends and the support required to operate a WHL Club, it is necessary to move the franchise to a market where it can be sustainable on a long-term basis.”

The Kootenay ICE franchise has operated in Cranbrook since 1998, when it was relocated from Edmonton under the ownership of the Chynoweth family. On April 27, 2017, the WHL Board of Governors approved the transfer of ownership of the ICE franchise from the Chynoweth family to Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell.

"We understand this will be disappointing news for Cranbrook,” said Matt Cockell, President and General Manager of the Kootenay ICE. “Unfortunately, our collective effort failed to achieve the results required to create confidence that the franchise could be viable in this market.”

"The process of relocation is not an easy one and was made with thorough analysis and consideration for all parties," said Greg Fettes, Majority Owner and Governor of the Kootenay ICE. "The decision to announce prior to the end of the season felt like the right thing to do in order to allow the City of Cranbrook and the ICE to prepare for the future and put an end to the speculation surrounding the franchise."

The Kootenay ICE will play the balance of the 2018-19 WHL season at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.

Monday, January 28, 2019

CFL News

The Calgary Stampeders announce the hiring of J.C. Sherritt as the club’s linebackers coach.

The 30-year-old Truckee, Calif., native joins the Red and White after a distinguished eight-year playing career in the CFL. He signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2011 and appeared in 109 regular-season games and seven post-season contests over eight seasons. He was a Grey Cup champion in 2015.

“J.C. was a player I always respected and I’m happy to welcome him to the Stampeders organization,” said head coach Dave Dickenson. “I’m confident he’ll be an excellent coach and I’m excited for the fresh perspective he will bring to the defence and the organization.”

Sherritt was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2012 as he established what was then a league single-season record with 130 defensive tackles. In 109 career games, he had 528 defensive tackles, 45 special-teams tackles, 15 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions.

Prior to his professional career, Sherritt played at Eastern Washington University and he was a member of the Eagles’ FCS national championship team in 2010, the same year he was the Big Sky Conference’s defensive player of the year and won the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS.

“I’m excited for the next part of my career,” said Sherritt. “An opportunity arose to coach in Calgary and it was a chance to be part of an organization that has enjoyed a lot of success. It seemed like a dream opportunity.”

The rest of the coaching returns with two members holding new titles – Brent Monson (10th season) is the club’s new defensive coordinator while special-teams coordinator Mark Kilam (15th season) adds the title of assistant head coach.

Receivers coach Pete Costanza (12th season), running backs coach Marc Mueller (sixth season), quarterbacks coach Ryan Dinwiddie (fourth season), offensive line coach Pat DelMonaco (sixth season), defensive line coach Corey Mace (fourth season) and defensive backs coach Joshua Bell (second season) all return in their same roles.

(Stampeders PR)

The Toronto Argonauts announced today that the team has signed International linebacker Bear Woods to a one-year contract through the 2019 season.

“Bear is a veteran leader on and off the field and a player that has been one of the best at his position,” said Argos GM Jim Popp. “He was integral in helping us win a Grey Cup championship in 2017, the ultimate player, and we couldn’t be happier to have him healthy and ready to go in 2019.”

Woods, 32, played in only 4 games for the Argos in 2018 due to injury tallying 29 tackles, including three straight games with nine tackles each. The 6-0, 245-pound native of Macclenny, Florida, was originally signed by Toronto on May 31, 2017. Woods’ first season with the Argos saw the Troy University product play in 17 games, recording 90 defensive tackles and two sacks during the regular-season and six tackles in the postseason to help bring the Grey Cup back to Toronto.

The veteran linebacker spent six seasons with Montreal before coming to Toronto and was twice selected as a CFL All-Star and was named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2014 and 2016. Woods’ 126 defensive tackles in 2016 is the sixth highest total all-time.

Prior to joining the Alouettes, Woods spent the 2010 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons practice squad. He joined Montreal as a free agent late in the 2011 season and made his CFL debut in the 2011 Eastern Final against the Tiger-Cats.

(Argos PR)


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Monday the football club has re-signed international wide receiver Brandon Banks to a two-year contract.

“Brandon has been one of the premier playmakers in the Canadian Football League throughout his career; initially on special teams as a returner and now on offence as an explosive every-down receiver,” said Orlondo Steinauer, Head Coach of the Tiger-Cats. “We’re extremely excited to have him under contract for the next two seasons.”

Banks, 31, finished the 2018 season tied for first in the CFL in receiving touchdowns (11), second in receiving yards (1,423) and receptions (94), and fifth in pass targets (129), despite playing in only 14 games with the Tiger-Cats. He set a new club record for the most 100-plus yard receiving games in a single season with 10, eclipsing Tony Champion’s eight, which held up as the franchise’s all-time high since 1989. The 5-7, 150-pound native of Garner, North Carolina was also named a CFL All-Star for the third time in his career (2014, 2015, 2018) – first as a wide receiver – and an East Division All-Star for the fifth consecutive season (2014-18).

In 85-career CFL games over six seasons (2013-18) with the Tiger-Cats, Banks has 44 career touchdowns scoring five different ways: 29 receiving, four rushing, seven punt returns, one kickoff return, and three missed field goal returns. He has accumulated 266 receptions for 3,654 receiving yards, 50 carries for 287 rushing yards, 270 punt returns for 2,814 yards, 179 kickoff returns for 3,689 yards, and 11 missed field goal returns for 486 yards.

The Kansas State product ranks at or near the top among all-time Ticats franchise leaders in numerous categories, including first in kickoff return yards (3,689), missed field goal return yards (486) and missed field goal return touchdowns (3), second in combined yards (10,930) and punt return touchdowns (7), and third in punt return yards (2,814).


NHL Three Stars Of Week

Stars of the Week, Crosby, Pavelski, Dubnyk

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski and Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 27.


Crosby, who tops the Penguins (26-16-6, 58 points) with 21‑36—57 in 45 outings this season, earned MVP honors at the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game to power the Metropolitan Division to its second championship in the 3-on-3 tournament format. The two-time Hart Memorial Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner missed Friday’s 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills due to illness, but returned Saturday to lift the Metropolitan Division to its tournament victory. Crosby registered 2-1—3, scoring 15 seconds after the opening face-off, in a 7-4 triumph over the Atlantic Division in the semifinals. He then compiled 2-3—5 in a 10-5 championship-clinching win against the Central Division, establishing a tournament record for points in one game (along with teammate Mathew Barzal). The 31-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., native became the sixth player in NHL history to capture All-Star Game MVP honors as well as the Hart Memorial Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy, joining Jean Beliveau, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr and Joe Sakic.


Pavelski, San Jose’s captain since 2015-16, notched 1-4—5 in two games during the week before representing the hometown Sharks (29-16-7, 65 points) at the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. He posted one assist for San Jose in a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers Jan. 21. Pavelski then matched a career high with 1-3—4, his 12th career four-point performance, in a 7-6 overtime win against the Washington Capitals Jan. 22. He wrapped up the week by participating in Friday’s Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting competition and collecting two assists for the Pacific Division in its 10-4 loss (vs. CEN) at Saturday’s 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game. The 34-year-old Plover, Wis., native shares ninth place in the NHL with 27 goals in 52 contests this season (27‑18—45), already five more than his 82-game output from 2017-18 (22-44—66).


Dubnyk – who represented the Central Division at the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend – earned two wins for the Wild (26-21-3, 55 points), compiling a 2.00 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in two starts. He made 30 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights Jan. 21, followed by 20 stops in a 5-2 triumph against the Colorado Avalanche Jan. 23. Dubnyk then turned aside 25 shots across a pair of contests at Saturday’s 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game, including 19 in the Central Division’s 10‑4 win over the Pacific Division in the semifinals. The 32-year-old Regina, Sask., native shares fifth place in the NHL with 20 victories in 2018-19 (2.57 GAA, .913 SV%, 1 SO), his fifth 20-win season in as many campaigns with Minnesota.

Something To "Mitch" About

--The Craig Dickenson era is upon us and if a Twitter poll I put up Friday is any indication, it is a hire that is being met with tremendous approval by Rider Nation.   Over 90 percent gave the move a thumbs up.  If I had voted, I would have done the same.

From the time Chris Jones packed up his motorcycle and headed for Cleveland, I was all-in on Team Dickenson.  Yes, I would have rather had him than Paul Lapolice in here and that is no slight on Lapo either.

Dickenson deserves this.  He has been an assistant for a long time and the opportunity has finally presented itself.  Yes, a valid argument can be made for whether or not he would have been hired had it not been for the CFL's coaches salary cap, but the bottom line he is getting that chance.  Some wonder if he is too nice a guy to have the job.  I guess the answer to that question will be determined over the next few months.

If you heard the press conference, there were several quotes from both O'Day and Dickenson that I found interesting.  It came referring to the "culture" of the organization.   Hey, I will be the first one to tell you that Chris Jones maybe didn't embrace the values of Saskatchewan football, but he came in to build a winning program which is what he did.   As is the case when someone new takes over at anything, there is going to be change.  I just hope the change isn't as dramatic inside the dressing room as to what I think it will be outside of it.   When it comes to being all business on the field, that is what a fan should expect.

--Duron Carter sent his endorsement to Craig Dickenson via Twitter on the weekend.  It had some saying he should come back.  Stop it!  Duron has worn out his welcome here and perhaps in the CFL altogether.   There is no doubt he can play, but there is also no doubt that his behaviour in and out of the room is a huge concern.  Coaches talk, players talk.  I would be stunned if Carter is at training camp with this team and stunned if he has a CFL job when training camp begins.  You can only give a guy so many chances before saying that's it.

--With Dickenson at the helm, the question now moves to who is defensive co-ordinator and yes, we can't forget about the quarterback.  When it comes to the DC, I would think you might want to take a good hard look at Jason Shivers. The current DB's coach is said to be one of those up and coming coaches and as long as he was here under Jones, he wasn't moving up the ladder.  His time may be now. It may also cure the coaches salary cap crunch the team is under.

--One word summed up Saturday's NHL all-star game for me.  That word be "YAWWWWNNNN". I couldn't even get through the first half of the first game before turning the channel.  The 3 on 3 was boring as the players were just out for a beer league skate having fun.  No thanks!  I don't know what you can do to fix things, and while I don't like it I do understand the want to have a mid-season celebration of the game.  However, the game isn't a game.  Some said they should incorporate women into the game after the performance of some at the skills competition.  Sorry, but that doesn't do it for me either.   All-star games are a joke and if we lost them altogether or played it at the end of the season, it wouldn't bother me one bit.

--I can't believe the amount of people offended by the decision by Roy Halladay's wife to say his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque will have him wearing a hat with no logo on it.  Blue Jays fans are irate! This isn't your decision! If this is what the family wants, so be it.  Who the hell are you to say otherwise?  At the end of the day, does it really matter?

--The Moose Jaw Warriors finished a seven-game road trip by getting 13 out of 14 points. In a year where a lot of people thought Moose Jaw would take a major step back after losing the likes of Clague, Halbegwachs, Jeannot, Burke and Howden, the Warriors are showing that maybe they have a playoff run in them they didn't have for the last two years.  I'll be interested to see how that story plays itself out.

--Congratulations to Robyn Silvernagle for winning her first provincial ladies curling championship.  She should be able to do herself quite well at the Scotties. In what will be another great field, I can see Silvernagle being a playoff team. 

--If you want a good read, go to and read their story about the in-fighting with the Cleveland Browns last year.  Its quite the story.

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

Friday, January 25, 2019

Craig Dickenson Named Riders HC

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Saskatchewan Roughriders vice president of football operations and general manager Jeremy O’Day announced today the Club has named Craig Dickenson head coach.

“I am excited and honoured to announce Craig Dickenson as the Riders head coach,” stated Jeremy O’Day. “Craig is extremely respected by our players and staff. His dedication, intelligence and leadership will be an integral part of our future success.”

Craig Dickenson officially becomes the 47th head coach in club history. He will also remain as the teams’ special-teams coordinator.

“I want to thank Jeremy O’Day and the Saskatchewan Roughriders for giving me this great opportunity,” stated Dickenson. “It is a great honour to be the head coach of this storied franchise. I look forward to working with this talented group of players and coaches moving forward.”

Dickenson will enter his fourth season of his second go-round with the Roughriders, spending the last three seasons as the special-teams coordinator. He also previously worked with the Riders special teams during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

2019 will be Dickenson’s 17th season as a CFL coach and his 14th as a special-teams coordinator. Before returning to Saskatchewan in 2016, the product of Great Falls, Mont., spent two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos and one with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Dickenson also previously spent seven CFL seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, serving as their special-teams coordinator in five of those seasons, and one campaign with the Montreal Alouettes.

He is a two-time Grey Cup champion, having won CFL titles with the Eskimos in 2015 and the Stampeders in 2008.  

(Ryan Pollock-Riders PR)

This and That

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

--Peter Chiarelli is gone and Oilers fans like me rejoice.  However, the reality still is that Edmonton has the best player in the game, Leon Draisiatl  and very little else.  It's not going to get better overnight either.  Chiarelli has destroyed the Oilers to a point Connor McDavid can't even get them to a level of competitiveness that is needed.  McDavid stood up this week and said if players don't believe in what is going on, they should leave the room.  That was followed by another dud against Detroit which was the final straw for Chiarelli. Was that a message?

With the Oilers sitting three points out of a playoff spot, there is still time, but time is running out.  McDavid can't do it all, but he seemingly is.  Where is the help going to come from and what is it going to cost them?   Even if the Oilers do get their act together and they squeak into the playoffs, does anyone realistically think at this time they could beat the Flames or Jets in the first round. As much as I would love to see it, it won't be happening.   That takes us to next year and there is only so much you can do. This team needs to succeed and succeed now so that the NHL's top player is not on the outside looking in again.  Players need to come in and help not only the Oilers out, but McDavid out.  Good luck to whoever is next in cleaning up the mess Chiarelli has left.   Someone get a mop! Maybe two of them.

Someone asked me this week how I could be an Oilers fan.  I gave him a strange look and said why not? I've been a fan of the team since they came in the NHL and I've been there for the good years.  I'm not one of these guys who abandons a team because of performance.  I stick with them thick and thin which makes the good times great.  Calgary fans are enjoying the run they are on and they haven't had something like this since 04.  I don't like the Flames, but their fans should enjoy what is going on much like Jets fans who have enjoyed the last couple of years after a few years of futility when they came back to Winnipeg.  Hey, I understand when one has had enough, but I don't give up on my teams.  God knows I would have given up on the Cubs a long, long time ago.

--David Rittich has had a better year in Calgary than what Mikko Koskinen has had in Edmonton.  Both were relative unknowns at the start of the season and now both are the number one goalies for their respective teams.  Will Rittich get a Koskinen-like deal in Calgary?

--While people complained about the KC/NE overtime game in the AFC Championship, why didn't anyone complain about the LA/NO overtime?  Was it the fact the defence did what it was supposed to and got a stop leading to the offence getting the points needed or was it the Patriots hate that was out there. Would the complaining had been as loud if KC wins the toss and Patrick Mahomes takes it down the field? As stated earlier this week, there is nothing wrong with NFL overtime.

--While Saints fans are busy filing lawsuits demanding the NFL replay the final two minutes of the NFC Championship, one can only wonder what type of Pandora's Box would be opened if Roger Goodell said "What the hell---why not?" I thought Jays fans petitioning MLB saying everyone was biased against them because they were Canadian a couple of years ago was stupid.  We have a new clubhouse leader.

--As for Goodell, grow a sack and face the music.  The NFL admitted a mistake was made and a pass-interference call should have been made. There were reports a statement would be coming out on Monday acknowledging the mistake, but there has not been a peep from the league.  Its as if they are expecting this to just blow over.  Does Goodell really think he won't be put squarely on the hot-seat in Atlanta next week when he gives his "State of the League" address?  C'mon Rog. Quit being a coward.

--Has a trade ever been made in the CFL to get a head coach? Paul Lapolice wants to come here, but the Bombers won't grant permission for the Riders to talk to him. If they offered a first round pick and a Canadian starter, would the Bombers go for it? Would the league go for it? Could the league even step in if they didn't like it?

--The talk of Mike Benavides as Riders HC scares me.  Just sayin! At the end of the day, I still think Craig Dickenson is getting the job.  I would expect an official announcement by the end of January.

--If Mike Reilly goes to BC or stays in Edmonton, will the Riders, REDBLACKS and Calgary get into a bidding war for Trevor Harris?  Would Trevor Harris be the answer in Riderville? I would certainly take him over Jonathan Jennings and he is in my mind a more realistic option than Reilly. I guess as time goes on, we can't forget about Zach Collaros either.  While a good portion of Rider Nation doesn't want to see Collaros on the field again after a dismal 2018, they also know they aren't the ones making that choice.  Jeremy O'Day hasn't said the team is moving on from Collaros, but he hasn't said they aren't either.  There is no way Collaros can come back at the price he was making last year and I am guessing he doesn't really want his pricetag to go down.

--Word is the Everett Silvertips had a deal in place to get Stelio Mattheos from Brandon at the trade deadline, but it fell apart at the last second.  Mattheos would have made Everett a tough team to beat and I am guessing Brandon would have gotten a boat-load in return.  One has to wonder what held things up.

--For the most part, Regina is a very knowledgeable hockey community and they know what is what when it comes to junior hockey.  There are also some who have no clue.  Those are the ones calling for Dave Struch and Brad Herauf to be removed from behind the bench of the Pats with John Paddock returning.  WOW!!!  Did those calling for that think this team was going to be able to make another championship run at the start of the season?  Admittedly, I thought the Pats would have a few more wins that what they have, but I knew this was a team that wasn't going to be playoff bound unless every break went their way.

The trades that were made this year is to get this team back to a level where they can compete for a division title and more.  Next year will be better, but whether or not its a team that can battle for a playoff spot isn't known.  Have faith in what is happening.  Oh yeah, John Paddock has no problems with what is happening either.  If he doesn't, neither should you. Then again as we all know, someone has to be the whipping boy right?

--The WWE's Royal Rumble is Sunday.  The Rumble is always great.  Try and try as you might, you can't take the wrestling fan, whether it be the local stuff like High Impact Wrestling or the big guys, out of me.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Friday (all times CST)
Women’s Basketball – at Winnipeg, 6:00 PM (Winnipeg, Man.)
Men’s Hockey – vs. Alberta, 7:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. MacEwan, 7:00 PM (CKHS)
Men’s Basketball – at Winnipeg, 8:00 PM (Winnipeg, Man.)
Women’s Hockey – at Alberta, 8:00 PM (Edmonton, Alta.)

Saturday (all times CST)
Men’s Hockey – vs. Alberta, 3:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Women’s Hockey – at Alberta, 3:00 PM (Edmonton, Alta.)
Men’s Basketball – at Winnipeg, 5:00 PM (Winnipeg, Man.)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. MacEwan, 7:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Basketball – at Winnipeg, 7:00 PM (Winnipeg, Man.)

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars (10-8) have now won four consecutive matches and sit all alone in fifth place in the Canada West standings after a home weekend sweep over Brandon last weekend. They beat the Bobcats in three sets on Friday, then followed that up with a four-set victory on Saturday. The homestand continues this weekend with a pair of critical late-season tilts against MacEwan (8-8), one of three teams currently sitting with a .500 conference record. The Cougars and the Griffins will play at 7:00 on both Friday night and Saturday night at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars came away with a weekend split against Manitoba last weekend at The Co-operators Centre, losing 5-2 on Friday but winning 6-3 on Saturday thanks to a pair of Zak Zborovsky goals and 24 saves by goaltender Brandon Holtby in two periods of work. The Cougars will be back at home this coming weekend against the No. 2-ranked Alberta Golden Bears. The teams will meet at The Co-operators Centre at 7:00 on Friday night and at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon.

Women’s Basketball (U SPORTS Ranking: No. 9) – The Cougars (13-3) took both ends of a weekend doubleheader over Thompson Rivers in Kamloops, winning 75-52 on Friday and by a 72-44 margin on Saturday. Battling for a top-four spot in the conference with just four games left in Canada West play, the Cougars play a pair of road games at Winnipeg this Friday (6:00 PM) and Saturday (7:00 PM).

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars (12-4) had a huge road sweep over Thompson Rivers last weekend, registering a wild come-from-behind 88-87 overtime win on Friday and following that up with an 84-77 win on Saturday. The team has two more road games this weekend, as they’ll make the trip east to square off with a quality Winnipeg team that enters Friday’s game with an 11-5 record. Tip-off is set for 8:00 on Friday night and 5:00 on Saturday night as the men’s contest leads off the doubleheader.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars suffered a pair of road losses to Canada West-leading Manitoba last weekend, dropping 3-1 and 7-3 decisions to the No. 2-ranked Bisons in Winnipeg. The team will face off against another ranked opponent on the road this weekend, as the Cougars will head up to Edmonton for games against the No. 4-ranked Alberta Pandas on Friday night (7:00 MST) and Saturday afternoon (2:00 MST).

Swimming (Men’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 9) – The Cougars competed in the Toronto Grand Prix and the Winter Invitational this past weekend at the University of Toronto. Kareem Tarek Mohammed became the ninth Cougar to qualify for the U SPORTS meet after winning the 1500-metre freestyle in a time of 15:43.81 on Sunday. Brian Palaschuk ended up with a total of five first-place finishes, winning three events at the long-course Grand Prix and two more at the short-course Winter Invitational. The Cougars’ final tune-up meet before nationals will be at the Goldfins Brainsport Winter Classic in Saskatoon in early February.

Track & Field – Joely Welburn added another U SPORTS standard over the weekend at the Golden Bear Open in Edmonton, automatically qualifying in the long jump with a leap of 5.91 metres which placed her second in the event. Welburn, who hit the national standard in the high jump earlier this season, also teamed up with Skylar Smith, Michaela Allen, and Laura Huck to take down the school’s 4x400-metre relay record on Saturday. Greg Hetterley also broke a U of R record on the men’s side after winning the 1500-metre run in a time of 3:53.48. The Cougars will have this weekend off before returning to competition at the Bison Classic on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 in Winnipeg.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Halladay To Go Into Baseball Hall of Fame with capless plaque

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The family of the late Roy Halladay has reportedly requested his future Baseball Hall of Fame plaque not sport a Toronto Blue Jays or Philadelphia Phillies logo.

Halladay will be inducted into Cooperstown in July alongside Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez, Harold Baines and Lee Smith. The irght-hander played 12 seasons for the Jays and finished his career with four years in Philadelphia.

Halladay, who died in a plane crash in November 2017 at the age of 40, received 85.4 per cent of the votes to gain entry to the hall on Tuesday in his first year of eligibility on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot.

But speaking to the press at the official unveiling of the 2019 class in New York on Wednesday afternoon, Halladay’s wife Brandy, flanked by sons Braden and Ryan, said the family has decided Halladay’s plaque would remain neutral.

“He was a major-league baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered,” Brandy told the media at the official unveiling of the 2019 class in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

The Baseball Hall of Fame is expected to make an official announcement regarding Halladay’s plaque later Wednesday.

Halladay was selected by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 1995 draft and played 12 seasons with the club. He finished out his playing days with four seasons as a member of the Phillies, leading the team to consecutive National League championship series. He pitched the second no-hitter in post-season history in 2010, the same year he pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history.

It was with the Jays that Halladay was most dominant, etching out a hall-of-fame-worthy career in more than a decade in Toronto, and it was widely expected he would become the second player to wear a Blue Jays cap on his Cooperstown plaque, joining Roberto Alomar Jr., who was part of the 2011 class.

Halladay told reporters in Toronto in 2016 that he would go into Cooperstown wearing a Jays cap, because it’s where he spent the bulk of his career. It was for that reason that Halladay chose to sign a ceremonial one-day contract with Toronto when he retired, to finish his career as a Jays player.

But after his death, it was ultimately up to the family to decide which team Halladay would represent in Cooperstown.

Oilers (Finally) Fire Chiarelli

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Peter Chiarelli has been fired as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, according to multiple media reports.

The Oilers lost their third in a row on Tuesday night, falling to the Detroit Red Wings at home.

The loss pushed Edmonton three points out of a playoff spot.

Chiarelli fired head coach Todd McLellan and brought in Ken Hitchcock earlier this season but after a quick surge under Hitchcock, the Oilers have faded in recent weeks.

Chiarelli, a native of Nepean, Ont., was hired by the Oilers in August 2015 after he was fired by the Boston Bruins, who he guided to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The Oilers reached the playoffs once in Chiarelli’s tenure, making the second round in 2017.

Monday, January 21, 2019

McDavid Blows Off Some Steam

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After about half a dozen doom-and-gloom questions about the dire state of the Edmonton Oilers union, Connor McDavid rolled his eyes at the vultures picking away at the fresh carcasses of 5-2 and 7-4 losses to Calgary and Carolina.

“You guys are acting like the sky is falling,” the Oilers captain told reporters after a team meeting Monday morning at Rogers Place. “Guys aren’t happy with how they’ve been playing, obviously. It wasn’t a good weekend, but you keep moving forward.”

That brief exchange sums up the two very different perspectives on the Oilers’ situation, which is either a minor hiccup or a death sentence depending on what side of the dressing room door you happen to be standing.

The way the Oilers see it, there are areas that need to be addressed, yes, but they are 5-5 in their last 10 and three points out of a playoff spot, so there is no need to be answering questions about how desperately bad it is.

To almost everyone else, the Oilers have looked lifeless and disinterested too many times in too many games, like being outshot 15-3 early in the first period against Carolina, for instance.

They’ve seen enough to know that it’s only a matter of time until their inconsistency and lack of depth bury them for good. Otherwise, everyone is pretty much on the same page.

“We can hear it,” McDavid said of the disgruntled market. “We hear the boos and the stuff that’s going on. We understand the fans are frustrated, we expect better out of ourselves and they obviously expect better out of us. We need to be better.

“But the only people who seem to believe in us are the guys in the locker-room and we need to rally behind that.”

They have to, because there is no help coming. Other than their core players, who would leave behind even bigger holes in their absence, there are no pieces to trade that would bring back anything substantial. And all of their top young prospects are already here, struggling under the weight of responsibility and defeat.

Firing the general manager? Canning Peter Chiarelli two months after firing Todd McLellan as coach will accomplish nothing in the short-term, other than giving fans another taste of blood. Anyone who thinks a new guy can come in and deliver a quick fix should re-read the previous paragraph. When you’re painted into a corner, changing brushes doesn’t help.

This is it. This is the team that’s either going to fix its issues and make a charge, or crash and burn.

Asked if the roster simply isn’t good enough and can’t succeed without some kind of help, McDavid bristled again.

“If there are guys who believe that, they should get out of the room,” he said. “If you don’t believe in this group, and you’re in the locker-room, you need to leave. But I don’t get that sense. I think everyone in here believes in each other.”

That’s what teams do. Stick together and believe. Meanwhile, people in Edmonton are doing what they do: Freak out and assume the worst. And, to be fair, a certain amount of pessimism is understandable when you’ve missed the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years.

“They deserve to be angry,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock (Edmonton’s seventh in the last 10 years, if you’re scoring at home). “Other than about seven minutes, we played a heck of a hockey game against Calgary and lost to a good team. But last game was not acceptable, and that’s on us.”

Yes it is. So, as the dark cloud begins to form over the city, all the Oilers can do is try their best to shut it out long enough to put a win together and calm things down.

They have one game left before a much-needed bye week relieves the pressure.

“We have to find a way as a group to get out of this,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who’s played here long enough to understand the mood better than anyone. “There is going to be outside pressure and negativity, expectations. There is always stuff coming from the outside, but as a group we need to find a way to block that stuff and play as a team, stay positive.

“We have to stay positive We can’t get down on ourselves or each other or on us as a team.”

Ultimately, no matter what lens they are viewing this from, Lucic says the fans and players are all in this together.

“You can’t lose hope, you can’t lose faith,” he said. “We need them (the fans) at a time like this to rally around us. We need their good energy and their positive energy. We feel that. We hear it. We feel it when they have our back and we also feel when they’re frustrated. We need them more than ever to give us a positive push.”

(Edmonton Journal)

Many WHL'ers In Latest List of NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term Draft Rankings

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The Western Hockey League announced today 48 WHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in its midterm rankings in advance of the 2019 NHL Draft, scheduled for June 21-22 in Vancouver, B.C.

Headlining the list are three WHL players among the top four skaters in North America, led by forward Kirby Dach (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. / Saskatoon Blades) who is ranked second. Joining Dach in the top four are forward Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Yukon / Lethbridge Hurricanes), and defenceman Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C. / Vancouver Giants). Joining the trio in the top 10 list of North American skaters is Kootenay ICE captain Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta. / Kootenay ICE), who is ranked eighth. Mads Sogaard (Aalborg, Denmark / Medicine Hat Tigers) is the highest-ranked WHL net minder, ranked third among North American goaltenders.

Including, Dach, Cozens, Byram, and Krebs, nine WHL players are ranked inside the Top 31, including defenceman Lassi Thomson (14th – Tempere, Finland / Kelowna Rockets), forward Brett Leason (17th – Calgary, Alta. / Prince Albert Raiders), defenceman Matthew Robertson (18th – Sherwood Park, Alta. / Edmonton Oil Kings), forward Nolan Foote (26th– Engelwood, Colo. / Kelowna Rockets), and defenceman Kaedan Korczak (31st – Yorkton, Sask. / Kelowna Rockets).

The Kelowna Rockets lead all WHL clubs with six players ranked. In addition to Thomson, Foote, and Korczak, forwards Kyle Topping (195th – Salt Spring Island, B.C.), Alex Swetlikoff (217th – Kelowna, B.C.), and goaltender Roman Basran (11th – Vancouver, B.C.) find a place on the NHL radar. The Edmonton Oil Kings sit just behind the Rockets with five players named in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. Four teams have a trio of players on the rankings while 10 more have a pair of players featured in the rankings.

Overall the list includes 27 forwards, 14 defencemen, and seven goaltenders from the WHL, representing 20 of the 22 WHL member Clubs. The Central Division leads all divisions with 17 players appearing on the list, while the 48 prospects are split evenly between the conferences, each claiming 24 as their own.

Of the 48 players listed in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings, 15 will participate at the 2019 Top Prospects game in Red Deer on January 23  


Midterm RankPlayerHeightWeightPositionAmateur Club
2Kirby Dach5’10.25”199CentreSaskatoon
3Dylan Cozens6’3.0”181CentreLethbridge
4Bowen Byram6’0.5”194DefencemanVancouver
8Peyton Krebs5’11.25”180CentreKootenay
14Lassi Thomson6’0”188DefencemanKelowna
17Brett Leason6’3.75”200CentrePrince Albert
18Matthew Robertson6’3.0”201DefencemanEdmonton
26Nolan Foote6’3.5”190Left WingKelowna
31Kaedan Korczak6’2.75”192DefencemanKelowna
37Oleg Zaytsev6’0.75186CentreRed Deer
44Adam Beckman6’0.5”168Left WingSpokane
66Reece Newkirk5’10.75”172CentrePortland
67Josh Williams6’1.0”194Right WingEdmonton
71Quinn Schmiemann6’1.75”185DefencemanKamloops
73Brayden Tracey6’0”177Left WingMoose Jaw
77Aliaksei Protas6’4.75”205CentrePrince Albert
78Jake Lee6’1.75”216DefencemanSeattle
81Sasha Mutala6’0.5”195Right WingTri-City
82Luke Toporowski5’10.75”179CentreSpokane
85Gianni Fairbrother5’11.75”194DefencemanEverett
122Luka Burzan6’0”184Right WingBrandon
128Mitchell Brown6’3.0”205DefencemanTri-City
129Henrik Rybinski6’0.5”176Right WingSeattle
132Krystof Hrabik6’4.25”218CentreTri-City
144John Ludvig6’0.5”196DefencemanPortland
145Jackson Van De Leest6’6.25”222DefencemanCalgary
151Vladimir Alistrov6’1.75”175Left WingEdmonton
156Brett Kemp6’0.5”162CentreMedicine Hat
159David Kope6’3.75”170Right WingEdmonton
160Cole Muir6’2.5”205CentreKootenay
162Martin Lang5’10.75”163Right WingKamloops
172Connor Horning6’2.75”188DefencemanSwift Current
175Cole Moberg6’2.5”187DefencemanPrince George
182Alex Morozoff5’11.75”184CentreRed Deer
195Kyle Topping5’11.25”185CentreKelowna
196Mark Kastelic6’3.5”213CentreCalgary
209Emil Malysjev6’3.0”187DefencemanSaskatoon
211Logan Barlage6’3.75”202CentreLethbridge
217Alex Swetlikoff6’2.5”188CentreKelowna
LVJacson Alexander5’9.25”178DefencemanEdmonton
LVDillon Hamaliuk6’2.75”190Left WingSeattle

For the complete list, CLICK HERE.


Midterm RankPlayerHeightWeightPositionAmateur Club
3Mads Sogaard6’6.75”192GoaltenderMedicine Hat
5Taylor Gauthier6’1.0”193GoaltenderPrince George
6Trent Miner6’0.5”182GoaltenderVancouver
11Roman Basran6’1.5”195GoaltenderKelowna
13Ethan Anders6’0.75”172GoaltenderRed Deer
17Dustin Wolf5’11.5”156GoaltenderEverett
21Jesse Makaj6’2.75”209GoaltenderKootenay

NHL Three Stars Of Week

 New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 20.

Stars of the Week, Lehner, Zibanejad, Kane


Lehner stopped 65 of the 67 shots he faced, compiling a 3-0-0 record with a 0.67 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and one shutout to lift the Islanders (29-15-4, 62 points) to their fifth straight victory overall and into first place in the Metropolitan Division. He yielded one goal in each of his first two outings for the week, making 30 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues Jan. 15 and 16 stops in a 4-1 triumph over the New Jersey Devils Jan. 17. Lehner then helped the Islanders record their second consecutive shutout (following a 19-save performance by Thomas Greiss Jan. 18 at WSH), turning aside all 19 shots against in a 3-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks Jan. 20. The 27-year-old Gothenburg, Sweden, native has appeared in 26 total games this season, pacing the NHL with a 2.02 goals-against average and ranking second with a .930 save percentage to go along with a 15-7-3 record and three shutouts. Lehner also leads the League with 11 wins in his past 12 contests dating to Dec. 18 (1.30 GAA, .953 SV%, 2 SO).


Zibanejad scored the winning goal in all three of his appearances, topping the NHL with five total tallies (5-2—7) to propel the Rangers (21-20-7, 49 points) to a perfect week. Zibanejad posted 2-2—4, his fourth career four-point performance and third of the season (also Oct. 23 vs. FLA: 2-2—4 and Dec. 29 at NSH: 0-4—4), in a 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Jan. 15. He then scored once, the decisive marker, in a 4-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks Jan. 17. Zibanejad added two more goals in a 3-2 triumph over the Boston Bruins Jan. 19, making him the second player in the Rangers’ 93-year history to record the winning goal in three consecutive team games (also Rod Gilbert: Dec. 11-17, 1966). The 25-year-old Huddinge, Sweden, native leads New York with 27 assists and 44 points in 48 total contests this season (17-27—44) – three points shy of his 72-game output from 2017-18 (27-20—47).


Kane, the top scorer on the Blackhawks (17-24-9, 43 points), registered one four-point outing and one five-point performance to lead the NHL with 4-6—10 in three games. He opened the week with 2-2—4, his eighth multi-goal effort of the season, in an 8-5 loss to the New Jersey Devils Jan. 14. Kane collected one assist in a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers Jan. 17. He then posted 2-3—5, his second career five-point game and first since Jan. 9, 2018 (1-4—5 at OTT), in an 8-5 victory over the Washington Capitals Jan. 20. The 30-year-old Buffalo native sits fifth in the League with 29-41—70 through 49 total contests this season. That includes 7-13—20 during an active eight-game point streak, giving him the most points thus far in the 2019 calendar year.

(NHL Communications)

Bombers Re-Sign Jackson Jeffcoat

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers today announce the club has re-signed defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat on a two-year contract extension. Jeffcoat was to become a free agent next month.

Jeffcoat has spent the past two seasons in Winnipeg after signing as a free agent prior to the 2017 season. In 2018, the Texas product recorded five sacks, two forced fumbles and 21 defensive tackles in just 12 games, missing the other eight due to injury. Jeffcoat also recorded two sacks in each of the club’s postseason games in 2018.

“Jackson has continued to develop into a very strong pass rusher for us,” said General Manager, Kyle Walters. “He was able to come back strong after missing some time due to injury last season, and really played well in the postseason for us as well. He’s a big part of our defence up front and we are thrilled to have him back.”

In 2017, Jeffcoat’s first season in the CFL, he finished tied for the team lead in sacks with seven, while also recording one interception, one forced fumble and 36 defensive tackles.

Something To "Mitch" About

--What a day of football.  NFL Championship Sunday was better than what we thought it could be with two overtime games in what was a drama-filled seven hours.  In the end, we saw Tom Brady do what he has done so many times before, we saw an absolutely egregious non-call and arguably a game-changing call and we get boneheaded plays (thanks Dee Ford) and a horrible example of time management (thanks Sean Payton) with the never-ending NFL overtime format debate to cap it off.

Let's start with overtime.  The NFL overtime format isn't perfect, but I would rather have it than the CFL one.  If you lose the coin toss, it is up to your defence to keep the other team out of the endzone. A field goal is OK, but a touchdown isn't/  KC had numerous chances on 3rd and long to either have New England punt or kick a field goal.  Yes, KC doesn't get a chance to touch the ball, but they would if the defence does its job which they didn't.

In the CFL, you start way too deep in the other team's end and can basically not move the ball and still line up for a 42 yard field goal.  Start at your own 35 and we would have a much better debate.

How much of the overtime hate comes from the fact New England won? Would we be feeling that way had Kansas City won?  Was the overtime hate there in the LA-Saints game?

--Sean Payton can moan and groan all he wants about a bad no pass interference call which it was, but in the end he has no one to blame but himself.  After getting the ball on the LA 13 following a long completion to Ted Ginn, the Saints had the game in the bag.   On first down, the Saints tried passing which was incomplete thus stopping the clock. Why? A run with Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara keeps the clock running.  The same on the controversial 3rd down incompletion to Tommy Lee Lewis.  Run the ball, make the Rams use their timeout and let the clock tick down.  They took a grand total of 11 seconds on their three plays after the two minute warning thus allowing the Rams to have lots of time and a timeout to go back down and tie it.  Moan and groan all you want about the NFL admitting to a mistake Sean, but you need to admit to your fan base that you made one too and it cost you the season.

--I wasn't surprised to see Jeremy O'Day get named as the new general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.  Craig Reynolds may have told him he wasn't the guy back in 2015 when he hired Chris Jones, but the Riders president/CEO couldn't say no this time around.  O'Day didn't pick up his laptop and go elsewhere.  He very well could have, but he wanted to stick around and learn from Jones. He had opportunities to go elsewhere, but he didn't.  He knew this day would come and it has.  I'm sure like every other GM in the history of this province, every move will be scrutinized, but he will do his best to keep the team on the plateau it is on and get it to the desired level.   That may be easier said than done, but I am excited to see what he does with the football club.

--Reynolds indicated Friday during the press conference when asked if the football team had gotten the wool pulled over its eyes by Jones when this "out" clause was established in his contract extension that he already had it in.  This doesn't surprise me.  I would think all teams would allow their head coaches an out clause to another league or the NCAA.  Why wouldn't they?  The truth of the matter is no one cared if Jones had an out clause until talk first surfaced of it.  Once that talk started, everyone had to know and when the extension was signed, that question was answered because everyone would want to know.   There are some out there that think Jones knew exactly what he was doing and what the future held, and that he protected his staff by giving them time, but we'll never know the answer.

--While Marc Trestman and Paul Lapolice are the 1-2 candidates amongst Rider Nation to succeed Jones as head coach, one can't ignore Craig Dickenson.   He is ready to become a CFL head coach.  Hiring him would not upset the apple cart tremendously as he brings some stability..  Add that to the fact that this inane CFL coaches salary cap hamstrings the team somewhat means he would be a nice fit.  It just asks the question as to who the defensive co-ordinator might be.  Would they promote Jason Shivers to the position?  I don't see why they wouldn't take a good thorough look to see if he is ready to take that responsibility. The Dickenson argument became stronger Sunday afternoon when we found out the Bombers aren't giving permission to the Riders to speak to Lapo in a decision that reportedly has him a little hot under the collar. 

Its interesting to note that when Lapolice left the Riders in 2010 to become Winnipeg's head coach that the hiring was made on February 4.  The Bombers can't say its too late, because it wasn't too late back in 2010   Verrrrrrry Winnipegish!  I get the feeling this decision may be one that will cause ripples in the Bombers room. How can it not?

--I laugh at those who are so happy Jones is no longer here.  I go back to day one when he said "I'm not here to win popularity contests, I am here to win championships.".  That is a mantra every coach should have.  Sorry, but this folksy mentality that we have here where we can walk up to the coach or the players in the Co-Op and have a conversation with them is over.  The want to "live in the past" is something that has to go.

Jones didn't win any popularity contests, he didn't win championships either, but in his time here the football team showed tremendous growth and is a far better one than the one he inherited.   That can't be argued!  At the end of the day, I want success and not whether or not the guy comes off as arrogant or not what you want him to be.  He was all business and didn't worry one bit about how he had to be perceived.  He put in the work and when he felt the time was right to make a move he did.  We will never know what the 2019 Riders would do under his watch, but one would have to believe it would have went well.

--I was asked Saturday if this team would have won the Grey Cup had Zach Collaros not been hurt.  I don't know the answer to that question, but its a great one. I do believe they would have beaten the Bombers in the West semi.  Could they have gone into Calgary and knocked off Bo Levi and the Stamps and followed that up with a win over Ottawa?  I think they could have beaten the Stamps, but Ottawa seemed to have their number this year.  I think the REDBLACKS might have won a close one.

--Who had the New York Islanders having as many points as the Maple Leafs at this point in the season.  John who?  Weren't the Islanders supposed to sink further into oblivion when John Tavares left for the Leafs.  Barry Trotz has done a magnificent job with that team.   You can talk Bill Peters in Calgary for the league's top coach right now, but my vote goes to Trotz.   Wouldn't you love to somehow see an Islanders-Leafs playoff series.

--Stick a fork in the Oilers.  They are done.  How bad did they look against the Flames and Hurricanes on home ice this weekend.  Fire Peter Chiarelli now and start looking for someone.  Why wait? The all-star break would be a perfect time to say see ya!

--A great weekend for Cougars basketball as they went out to Kamloops with each team getting sweeps over Thompson Rivers.  The men's team had a couple of huge performances including a huge comeback win Friday night.  The final regular season weekend is Feb 1 and 2 against the U of S and then playoffs start.  I'm excited to see how far this team can get in playoffs.

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