Thursday, March 12, 2020

Taking a Break

Like basically everything else, this blog is cancelling all posts until further notice.

COVID 19 Continues To Impact Sports World


“This is a difficult time for so many people in so many countries around the world. And it is certainly a difficult time for the Canadian Football League. At our very core, we are about bringing people together: teammates, competitors, fans, sponsors, Canadians, and at this point in our history, football playing and football loving people from partner countries on four continents.

But the health and safety of the entire CFL family is paramount — and it is  increasingly clear that we owe it to each other to take some extraordinary and temporary measures. That is why, effective immediately, we are cancelling our plans for regional scouting combines (in Montreal March 13 and in Edmonton March 20) and the CFL Combine ( in Toronto March 26-28).

We want the young athletes involved to know that despite this delay their dream remains very much alive and we will use every other possible tool at our disposal to evaluate them fairly prior to our Global Draft (April 16) and National Draft (April 30).


(National Lacrosse League)

The Canadian Hockey League and its three regional leagues the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League, take the health and safety of our players, fans, volunteers, staff, and general public very seriously. CHL President Dan MacKenzie with Commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robison have been monitoring the situation in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) including what local, provincial, and federal health agencies have recommended. Following consultation with medical professionals and meetings today among the CHL Executive Council, and regional league Board of Governors, the CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey activity shall be paused immediately until further notice.

(Canadian Hockey League) 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Touchdown Atlantic Sold Out

Image result for touchdown atlantic

 The 2020 edition of Touchdown Atlantic has sold out in one day after opening to public sale. The Toronto Argonauts are set to play host to the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders in the east coast contest on July 25 at Huskies Stadium on the grounds of Saint Mary’s University.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the response to this year’s Touchdown Atlantic,” said Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “Our incredible fans from every corner of the country have come together to deliver the league a clear message: that Canadian football has a home in Atlantic Canada.

“We have fans of the Riders and the Argos who are excited to see their teams in action. We have individuals from BC who are eager to take in the stunning opposite coast. And of course, we have fans and families from across Halifax and throughout Atlantic Canada who are ready to welcome everyone to this beautiful part of the country.”

For the game, capacity at Huskies Stadium had been increased to approximately 10,000. Given the community’s quick response, the CFL has begun exploring options to welcome more fans to the annual event.

“We anticipated that a quick sellout might be possible and we have a number of plans to increase capacity for the big game," said Duane Vienneau, the CFL’s Chief Grey Cup and Events Officer. "We are actively exploring options with Saint Mary’s University to potentially expand fixed seating and to increase capacity in both the Family and Party Zones."

In addition to the Touchdown Atlantic matchup, the game will be preceded by a three-day ‘mini Grey Cup festival’, a series of media events and community visits by both teams. Further details will be announced in the months leading up to the game.

(CFL Communications)

Monday, March 9, 2020

NHL, MLB, NBA and MLS Release Statement on Coronavirus

Coronavirus, Locker Room, NBA, MLS, NFL, NHL

Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) today issued the following joint statement:

“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow’s games and practices.

“We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Stars of the Week, Zibanejad, Landeskog, Draisaitl

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog and Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 8.


Zibanejad topped the NHL with seven goals in three games to help the Rangers (36-28-4, 76 points) move within three points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He potted New York’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues March 3. Zibanejad then scored five times, including the overtime winner, in a 6-5 victory against the Washington Capitals March 5. He became the third player in Rangers history to record a five-goal game, joining Don Murdoch (Oct. 12, 1976 at MNS) and Mark Pavelich (Feb. 23, 1983 vs. HFD). Zibanejad also became the second player in League history to register a five-goal performance that included an overtime winner. The other: Detroit’s Sergei Fedorov (Dec. 26, 1996 vs. WSH). Zibanejad added one more goal in a 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils March 7. The 26-year-old Huddinge, Sweden, native ranks fifth in the NHL with a career-high 39 goals in 55 games this season (39-33—72). That includes a League-best 21 goals in his past 20 outings dating to Jan. 31 (21-12—33).


Landeskog led the NHL with 3-6—9 in four contests to power the Avalanche (41-19-8, 90 points) to a 2-1-1 week and within two points of first place in the Central Division. The Colorado captain collected the primary assist on Logan O’Connor’s decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 2. Landeskog then posted multiple points in each of his next three games, registering 1-2—3 in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks March 4, 1-1—2 in a 6-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks March 6 and 1-2—3 in a 4-3 triumph over San Jose Sharks March 8. The 27-year-old Stockholm, Sweden, native ranks fourth on the Avalanche with 21-21—42 in 52 appearances this season, including 5-8—13 during an eight-game point streak dating to Feb. 22.


Draisaitl placed second in the NHL with 4-4—8 in four outings as the Oilers (37-24-8, 82 points) went 3-1-0 to move within two points of first place in the Pacific Division. Draisaitl posted 4-1—5, his first career four-goal game and second career five-point performance (also Nov. 14, 2019 vs. COL: 0-5—5), in an 8-3 win over the Nashville Predators March 2. He added one assist in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars March 3 and two helpers in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks March 5 before being held off the scoresheet in a 4-1 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets March 7. The 24-year-old Cologne, Germany, native tops the NHL with a career-high 67 assists and 110 points through 69 games this season (43-67—110).

(NHL Media)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

2020 IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship Cancelled

player on ice with logo

 The world women's  hockey championship has been wiped out by disease for a second time, with host Canada the loser of this year’s tournament.

The International ice Hockey Federation cancelled the tournament scheduled for March 31 to April 10 in Halifax and Truro, N.S., because of concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus.

“It is with great regret that we must take this action,” IIHF president Rene Fasel said Saturday in a statement.

“Nevertheless, the decision has been made due to safety concerns for the well-being of players, officials, and spectators.

“Ultimately the IIHF Council feels that there has not been enough of an improvement to the coronavirus situation to allow us to safely host a 10-team international tournament within this timeframe.”

The 2003 women’s championship in Beijing was called off because of the SARS outbreak in China.

Subject to approval by the IIHF Congress, the 2021 women’s world championship will be held in Nova Scotia.

“The International Ice Hockey Federation has diligently monitored the development and risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and under the recommendation of the chief medical officer of health of the Province of Nova Scotia and the IIHF, it was determined the best course of action was to cancel the even,” Hockey Canada president Tom Renney said in a statement.

“This decision was made in the best interest of the players, fans, staff, volunteers and the general public, and we fully support the IIHF’s decision.

“A tremendous amount of work has been put forth by our athletes, staff, the host organizing committee and our partners, and we look forward to continuing to prepare for this world-class event when it returns to Nova Scotia in 2021.”

Fasel told The Associated Press the difficulties some of the eight nations will encounter in simply making travel plans, such as Japan, where almost all sports events and large gatherings have been cancelled.

“It’s scary,” Fasel told The AP.

The cancellation of the year’s marquee event in international women’s hockey is yet another blow for the top female hockey players in the world.

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League collapsed last year. November’s Four Nations Cup in Sweden was called off due to a dispute between the Swedish federation and the national women’s team.

More than 200 of the top women players formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Association in the wake of the CWHL’s collapse.

They refused to compete in the five-team NWHL because they don’t feel its financially sustainable.

“This has been a very unique and difficult season, and while it has given us the opportunity to prepare for worlds with our mini-camps, this is tremendously disappointing for our athletes, coaches and staff who have been working tirelessly all season,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of female hockey teams.

The escalating virus outbreak has played havoc with numerous sporting events across Europe and Asia with games being cancelled or played without spectators.

The women’s world curling championship, slated to start next weekend in Prince George, B.C., and world figure skating championships, scheduled for March 16-22 in Montreal, still had the green light as of Saturday.

Halifax hosted the 2004 women’s world championship, which Canada won.

“This is tough for players, fans organizers and our local .Halifax community,” Halifax mayor Mike Savage said on Twitter. “But a sound decision based on public health recommendations. We look forward to hosting when the time is right.”

Fasel said the status of other upcoming international hockey tournaments will be determined in the coming month, starting with the under-18 men’s championships in Michigan from April 16-26.

Fasel said a decision regarding that tournament likely will be made within 10 days.

The IIHF will await until mid-April to determine whether to proceed with May’s men’s world championships in Switzerland.

The virus has led to the NHL and NBA considering taking precautionary measures.

On Friday, the NHL issued a memo to its teams urging players to limit contact with fans.

The move followed a similar directive this month by the NBA, which has told its players to stop high-fiving fans and strangers, and avoid taking items for autographs.

(Canadian Press)

Friday, March 6, 2020

This And That

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

--The argument over "the rouge" has started again.  The CFL doesn't need the single point.  Just abolish it.  You shouldn't be rewarded for failure.. If a kicker misses a field goal whether it be from 25 or 55 yards, you shouldn't have the chance at adding to your score.  I've always thought it was a dumb rule from the time I started watching the CFL and that was a long time ago.   Imagine Grey Cup 2020 in a tie game when the team with the ball at the opposition's 20 with 10 seconds left decides to just punt the ball through the endzone or have his kicker just drill it with no desire of it going through the goalposts.  What a momentous victory it would be!  It would be a huge black eye on the league..  Remove the Rouge I say!

--The UFC is coming back to Saskatchewan much to the delight of many.  I was at SaskTel Centre five years ago when it came here for the first time.  That was a great night and I am guessing it will be this time around as well.

I completely understand there are some who wouldn't walk across the street to watch.  I am the same way with reality television, but there are many who are excited to see the UFC return and the UFC obviously sees a market in Saskatchewan.  They could go to bigger venues like Winnipeg, Calgary or Edmonton, but they are coming to Saskatoon,  That should tell you something

--The WWE is returning to Saskatchewan as well with some April dates. Chances are you will see me at the Brandt Centre that night.  I've been hooked on wrestling from the days of Stampede Wrestling (RIP Exhibition Auditorium).  Its my Grey's Anatomy! Its a "rope opera" for this blogger.

--Waking up to a fresh covering of snow wasn't a surprise as we can expect that in March and April.  It just makes things so much better though when you can turn on the TV and see baseball highlights knowing opening day is one day closer.

--Is it just me or has the Vladimir Guerrero Jr hype been replaced by Bo Bichette hype?  I am not hearing a lot about VGJ so far, but I'm hearing a lot about Bichette.

--The Twitter account @asterisktour that just trashes the Houston Astros is gold!

--The Warriors-Pats rivalry will never be what it used to, but every now and then you get glimmers of the past.  There were post-game fights after Regina's win at the Brandt Centre Tuesday night that resulted in suspensions.  It all started when one of the Warriors decided to flip the puck into the stands instead if allowing Regina to have it to give to 17-year-old goalie Spencer Welke who had just gotten his first WHL win.   Yes. it was a d-bag move on behalf of the Warriors player who did it, but it shows you that even though the rivalry isn't close to the good old days, there is still a hate on when it comes to the two teams.

   If the situation had been reversed, would a Pats player do the same thing?  Yeah, I'm guessing they would!

--If there has been a Brier with more big highlight reel shots from the skips than this year, I don't remember it.  The curling we have seen in Kingston this week has been spectacular.  The Matt Dunstone rink had a tough Thursday losing both of his games in championship pool play and is now 6-3.  A playoff spot is still there for him though and  many in the  province are cheering for him.

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Riders Have New DL Coach

Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson has announced Ben Olson as the Club’s defensive line coach.

Olson is entering his first season with the Roughriders after spending the 2019 season as the defensive line coach at McNeese State University. Olson has seven years of coaching under his belt, first as an undergraduate assistant at his alma matter, Eastern Illinois, before moving to Rose-Hulman as the linebackers’ coach. From there, Olson coached at Bowling Green, Syracuse, Colgate and Yale from 2013-2018.

(Riders PR)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Jovon Johnson Retires As A Bomber

Image result for jovon johnson winnipeg

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have announced that defensive back Jovon Johnson has signed a one-day contract with the club to officially retire as a member of the Blue and Gold.

Johnson, 36, spent 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League, including six in Blue and Gold from 2008-13.

During his time in Winnipeg, Johnson was twice named a CFL All-Star (2009, 2011) and was a three-time East Division All-Star (2009, 2010, 2011). He was also an East All-Star in 2012 and 2015 as a member of the Ottawa REDBLACKS.

“Winnipeg will always be my second home,” said Johnson. “My professional career grew up there. I have so many memories to share, so many tears shed, so many friends who are now family, fans who are still actively a part of my life. As I close this chapter of my career I will always be forever grateful to the city of Winnipeg, the fans, my coaches that I had the pleasure to play for, management, support staff, everyone apart of the organization, thank you!”

Johnson’s 2011 campaign with the Bombers was sensational, as he was named a CFL All-Star and honoured as the CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player, becoming the first defensive back in league history to win the award. That year, he was named the Bombers’ Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.

In his six years with the Bombers, Johnson had 363 tackles, 23 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and seven defensive touchdowns. Johnson ranks second on the Bombers’ all-time interception return yardage list with 500 and his six interception return touchdowns are a club record.

A gifted kick returner, Johnson is the Bombers’ all-time leader in punt return yards with 2,933.

Johnson spent the 2014-15 season with Ottawa, the 2016-17 seasons in Montreal before finishing his playing days with Saskatchewan in 2018.

He’s now the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach with Defiance College in Ohio.

(Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Monday, March 2, 2020

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Three Stars of the Week, Fiala, Ellis and Francouz

NEW YORK (March 2, 2020) – Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 1.


Fiala had four multi-point games to lead the NHL in goals (4; tied) and points (4-5—9), pacing the Wild (32-26-7, 71 points) to a 3-1-0 record and within one point of a playoff spot. He had 1-1—2, including the winning goal, Feb. 25 in a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He then posted 1-2—3 in a 7-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 27 followed by another 1-1—2 outing versus Columbus, in a 5-0 triumph Feb. 28. He closed the week with 1-1—2 in a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on March 1 to become the third player in club history with multiple points in four straight games, joining Marian Gaborik (2006-07 & 2007-08) and Brian Rolston (2005-06) who had equal runs. Fiala is the 19th player to achieve that feat in 2019-20, with only Leon Draisaitl and Nikita Kucherov extending to five games. Fiala, 23, a native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, was selected 11th overall by Nashville in the 2014 NHL Draft. In his second season with the Wild, he leads the team with a career-high 49 points in 60 games (20-29—49).


Ellis had multiple points in all three contests to lead defensemen and tie for second in the entire NHL with seven points (1-6—7), factoring on seven of nine Nashville goals to guide the Predators (32-24-8, 72 points) to a 2-1-0 record and into a playoff spot for the first time since Nov. 13. Ellis began the week with one goal and two assists in a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators Feb. 25. Two days later he notched 0-3—3 in a 4-3 overtime win over the Calgary Flames, matching career highs for assists and points in a game. He closed the week with two assists in a 3-2 loss to the Avalanche on Feb. 29. This is the third time this season that Ellis has posted multiple points in at least three straight games, with the first such run matching a franchise record at four games (Oct. 12-19, 2019: 0-8—8 in 4 GP). Selected 11th overall by Nashville in the 2009 NHL Draft, the 29-year-old native of Hamilton, Ont., is in his ninth season with the Predators and sits six points shy of a new career high despite playing in only 44 games in 2019-20 (7-29—36).



Francouz went 3-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .946 save percentage as the Avalanche (39-18-7, 85 points) maintained their rank of second place in the Central Division. After leading the NHL’s “Three Stars” last week, Francouz posted a trio of 3-2 victories beginning Feb. 26 against the Buffalo Sabres (31 saves) followed by a career-high 45-save performance Feb. 28 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. He closed the week with a 30-save triumph Feb. 29 in Nashville, extending his overall win streak to six games and point streak to seven contests (6-0-1). Only eight different goaltenders in franchise history have posted a longer win streak, with Jonathan Bernier (9-0-0 in 2017-18) and Andrew Raycroft (7-0-0 in 2008-09) the only ones to do so since 2006-07. Francouz, 29, a native of Plzen, Czech Republic, owns a 19-5-3 record over 29 games in his first full NHL season (2.24 GAA, .929 SV%, 1 SO).