Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Its Official!

The Western Hockey League announced today that the WHL Board of Governors have approved the application to transfer the ownership of the Prince George Cougars and the Regina Pats WHL franchises.
The WHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the transfer of the Prince George Cougars ownership from Rick Brodsky to EDGEPRO Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and the Regina Pats from Russ and Diane Parker to Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group Ltd.
The new Prince George ownership group is led by local businessman Greg Pocock along with partners Ernest Ouellet, Raymond Fortier, and John Pateman. Former Prince George Cougars and current NHL players Dan Hamhuis and Eric Brewer are also key members of the new ownership entity.
The Prince George Cougars franchise relocated from Victoria twenty years ago. Rick Brodsky has been the only owner of the Cougars WHL franchise since it began operations in Prince George in 1994.
The new ownership group in Regina is headed by local businessman Anthony Marquart, who takes over the franchise from Russ and Diane Parker who have owned and operated the Pats franchise for the past 19 seasons. The other members of the Queen City Sports and Entertainment group includes prominent Regina businessmen Todd Lumbard, Gavin Semple, Shaun Semple, and Jason Drummond.
“The WHL is fortunate to have attracted two very high calibre ownership groups who are fully committed to whatever is necessary to take the Prince George Cougars and the Regina Pats franchises to a new level,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “We are confident that fans will enthusiastically embrace the local ownership groups and bring long-term stability to these WHL markets.”
It’s anticipated that both sales will close prior to the end of May. Further details will be announced in the near future when the new ownership groups conduct media conferences in both Prince George and Regina.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Canada is Embracing The Raptors

The Toronto Raptors’ Northern Uprising continues to inspire fans across the country, as overnight data from BBM Canada confirms that Sunday night’s Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets attracted an average audience of 885,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched Raptors game ever, just behind the Raptors’ Game 7 loss to Philadelphia in 2001*.

Audience levels peaked at 1.46 million late in the fourth quarter as the Raptors secured the 87-79 victory. The game is the most-watched First Round game in the history of the NBA Playoffs on Canadian television.

Confirming the Raptors’ popularity in their hometown, Game 4 was the most-watched sports broadcast of the week in the Greater Toronto Area, delivering more viewers than any hockey game, and reached 20.5% of viewers.

Overall, the Raptors’ First Round NBA PLAYOFFS series against the Brooklyn Nets on TSN has attracted a total reach audience of 6 million unique viewers through the first four games.

The Raptors on TSN

Canadians can continue to follow the Raptors on Canada’s Sports Leader throughout the First Round of the NBA PLAYOFFS. Live coverage continues Wednesday (April 30) with Game 5: Brooklyn @ Toronto on TSN, TSN GO, and TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto.

The broadcast schedule for Games 5-7 is as follows**:
•Game 5: Brooklyn @ Toronto – Wednesday, April 30 at TBD
•Game 6: Toronto @ Brooklyn – Friday, May 2 at TBD
•Game 7: Brooklyn @ Toronto – Sunday, May 4 at TBD (if necessary)


Something To "Mitch" About

OK seriously, its time for some University student to do a term paper and maybe get some money in the process and tell us what it is about Weyburn that makes it the championship city it is. Who's kidding who, they should be phoning Edmonton and asking for the "City of Champions" sign. Add the Weyburn Gold Wings to what is a long list of athletes doing the city proud as they won the Esso Cup on the weekend. You can put them alongside Graham DeLaet, Derrick Pouliot, Brett Jones and of course Brendon Labatte. I think its safe to say the legendary Dwight McMillan has lost the podium when it comes to what the fine people of Weyburn could brag about sportswise as he must share it with many now.

Oh yeah, if you think I'm kidding about receiving money for doing something like this, I remind you of this story. I'll say again what I said back then. I think I speak for many male Rider fans when I say we've been "studying" female Rider fans for years---especially when its hot on gameday!


What a great Sunday in Moose Jaw! The final day of the Telus Cup national midget hockey championship was tremendous and once again I was reminded of what a fabulous building Mosaic Place is. The bronze medal game went to overtime as Okanagan beat Toronto and then the gold medal game went overtime and then about triple overtime and just 86 seconds from going to a 4th OT before the Prince Albert Mintos beat Chateauguay. Quebec 4-3 to take the title giving the Sask Hockey Association two national champions this weekend. When it was over, well over 100 shots on goal had been taken meaning the goalies were verrrrrrry tired.   While its been much too long since I've watched a hockey game at Mosaic Place for reasons I won't get into, I was quickly reminded what an outstanding facility it is and how lucky the people of Moose Jaw have it for not just hockey, but other things. It is something Moose Jaw should be very proud of.


Two thumbs up to TSN/ They got put in a very ugly spot Sunday night because of the overtime game. With the Raptors on TSN at 5 and the Ducks/Stars coming on at 6, what were they going to do with the Telus Cup game still going. They were in a no-win position and I don't think a lot of people would have blamed them had they gone to Dallas leaving the game in Moose Jaw. The ratings would suggest that would be the right move, but NOPE. TSN told viewers they could to go to to watch Dallas/Anaheim and I thought that was great. I know Prince Albert would have lost its mind had TSN said goodbye to Moose Jaw and I'm guessing those around Chateauguay would have too. It couldn't have been easy for TSN to turn its back on the NHL and maybe when the rights issue wasn't looking them square in the eye its something they wouldn't have done, but they let everything play out in Moose Jaw for all of Canada to see. Good job TSN!  You may have angered more than you pleased, but in the end, you did the right thing.

As I think you know, I help out the boys at High Impact Wrestling by doing TV work for them on Access with Pete Paczko. The HIW event Friday night was their biggest one of the year and it was sold out at the Hungarian Club for the "Spring Meltdown" event. Those in attendance saw what likely was the best ever match I've seen in all my years attending the monthly programs the guys put on as the dastardly "El Asesino" who claims he is from Mexico, but is more like Belle Plaine, took on the pretty boy Michael Allan Richard Clark in a last man standing event. I don't know how much these guys got paid at the end of the night for what they did to their bodies, but it wasn't enough. Fans of the old hardcore ECW will remember matches where barbwire bats and other foreign objects were used. Lets just say those who loved ECW may have shed a team while watching this match as cookie pans, a barbwire bat, tacks and even a basketball were used with numerous chairs and tables being destroyed. It was great!!! I'm guessing these two spent the weekend recovering from their battle as well they should. They should have asked the Riders if they could borrow their cold tub! The night was made even better when Bull Bodnar captured the heavyweight title from the wannabe cowboy and the Travis Tritt look-alike Rex Roberts.


There is no doubt Don Cherry is perhaps the most polarizing figure in hockey with many who love him and many who don't as he spouts off on this or that every Saturday night. I still like Cherry even though he is idiotic at times, but he hit the nail right on the head this week when talking about the Matt Cooke suspension. Cherry did not hold back when he called the NHL out for the seven game suspension issued for his knee-on-knee hit to Colorado's Tyson Barrie. Cherry reminded everyone if Minnesota should advance that Cooke will be back in the 2nd round, he reminded everyone Cooke does not get fined for his act because its the playoffs and he reminded everyone that Raffi Torres got a  much harsher sentence from the NHL for his hit on Marian Hossa last year which was far less severe and intentional than what Cooke did to Barrie. Cherry wants to know how Cooke, who destroyed the career of Marc Savard, can get what he did while Torres got what he got. He's 100 percent correct in my books.


Who said the Chicago Blackhawks were done when Brent Seabrook was suspended for three games? Oops for those who did.
If the San Jose Sharks should pull off a colossal gag job versus L-A, who will be the first to go? You would have to think good old Saskie boy Todd McLellan would be told his services would no longer be required and if that happened, I could see both the Canucks and the Leafs lining up at his door.
A friend of mine texted me saying Ryan Miller was the worst rental since Weekend at Bernies 2. That movie wasn't that bad was it! One thing is for sure, Miller won't be a member of the Blues next season. Injuries hurt them a lot down the stretch, but Miller didn't play well after putting a St. Louis jersey on.

The NBA doesn't need Donald Stirling, sports doesn't need Donald Stirling, the human race doesn't need Donald Stirling.  I heard a fascinating discussion about what the NBA should do in the wake of the comments allegedly made by the Clippers owner. One said he should be forced to sell the team only to have the rebuttal that he then makes millions of dollars. Another said the team should be punished by loss of draft picks. You can't do that to the team itself as they had nothing to do with it. Players from across the league--black and white--have condemned Stirling for his statements which they should. The repercussions of this and how it affects the on court performance of what's a pretty good basketball team will be interesting. By the way, I loved the silent protest the Clippers staged before Game 4 against Golden State. It said a lot!


Speaking of the NBA, there is no doubt the Raptors have caught the imagination of people across Canada with their play this year and the fact many are watching across the country on TSN. It just begs the question whether or not Canada is ready for another NBA team. It failed once in Vancouver, but could it work again. Would Montreal be interested? How about Calgary? I truly believe an NBA team would work in Calgary, but the conditions would have to be right.


How close has the first round of the NBA playoffs been, Consider these aggregate scores after four games...

Hawks 372, Pacers 370.
Raptors 372, Nets 370.
Thunder 392, Griz 384.
Blazers 473, Rockets 466


With Adam Oates and George McPhee gone in Washington, one wonders if the days of Alexandre Ovechkin in a Caps uniform are waning. No doubt Ovechkin's star is fading as people see he is just a one dimensional players. A friend joked to me Saturday night at UFC that the Oilers would give up their first round pick and other assets to land Ovechkin in a trade. With Kevin Lowe in charge, that scenario truthfully scares me because I could see them kicking tires.


When did Fine Frames close down in the Northgate Mall? They had some great sports paraphernalia in there and usually one or two Christmas presents are bought from that place. Are they out of business for good or have they re-surfaced somewhere? If they are done for good, that makes this blogger very unhappy!


The Blue Jays need a new pitching coach! The amount of walks they are giving up is very troublesome. They needed a solid effort from RA Dickey Sunday and they got one.

"Happy" may have replaced "Cotton Eye Joe" as worst song ever.


Have a good week!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weyburn Wins Esso Cup

The Weyburn Gold Wings are the 2014 Esso Cup champions.
Tessa Wilson (Mazenod, Sask.) and Bailee Bourassa (Weyburn, Sask.) scored and Jane Kish (Weyburn, Sask.) made 29 saves as their team defeated the Edmonton Thunder 2-1 Saturday afternoon and earned the right to be called the best female Midget team in the country.
Brett Campbell (Edmonton, Alta.) had the lone goal for the Thunder. Goalie Tracie Kikuchi (Edmonton, Alta.) made 23 saves.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed,” said Kish. “Words can’t express how I feel right now.”
In the early going it was Edmonton creating the most chances. After four minutes, the Thunder had registered five shots on net while the Gold Wings had barely seen the offensive zone.
It took until 14 minutes in for Weyburn to finds its rhythm. End-to-end action two minutes later led to the game’s first goal.
Caitlin Dempsey’s (Heward, Sask.) initial shot on the rush was blocked, but a streaking Wilson fired from between the top of the face-off circles. Her shot went off of Kikuchi’s glove and trickled in.
Weyburn doubled its lead less than two minutes into the second. Bourassa broke down the right wing on a three-on-one, held and went high.
Campbell finally got Edmonton on the board seven minutes in. A scramble in front of the net led to Weyburn’s net coming off its pegs, but not before the puck had crossed the goal line.
Seven minutes into the third Edmonton found itself on an extended five-on-three. You had a feeling this would be the turning point of the game.
Kish had been her team’s best player all week – and named Top Goaltender for the tournament – and she stood tall with several big saves on the penalty kill.
Unlike the other five teams here, the Gold Wings came to Stoney Creek as bit of an unknown entity. The Thunder was looking to win its first Esso Cup in six tries. The Sabres wanted to prove they belonged at nationals as competitors, not just hosts. Even the Moncton Rockets (chasing Atlantic’s first medal), Fraser Valley Phantom (last year’s host) and Sudbury Lady Wolves (shortest layoff; lots of momentum) had storylines to follow at the beginning of the week.
What we did know was the Gold Wings were coming in on a roll. With eight games left in its regular season, the team sat at 10-6-1-3. Since then they’d gone 24-4.
 It was the last team anyone should want to face.
“I think we realized what we needed to do to win,” said Wilson.
“We believed in each other,” said Kish. “We told ourselves we have an opportunity to be national champions.”

(Hockey Canada)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Riders Sign Quarterback

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that import quarterback Adam Weber has signed with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.


Weber (6’3 – 210) joins the Riders after spending the last three seasons in the National Football League. The Minnesota native spent the 2011 season on the Denver Broncos practice roster after originally signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. He spent parts of the next two seasons on Tampa Bay’s practice roster after signing with the Buccaneers in September of 2012.  


Before going pro, Weber spent four seasons at the University of Minnesota where he played 50 career collegiate games. The 26-year-old holds the Golden Gopher career record and ranks third all-time in Big Ten passing yards with 10,917 and touchdowns with 72. He was named to the 2007 Big Ten All-Freshmen team after throwing for 2,895 yards and 24 touchdowns; both single season school records.  




·         The Riders also announced they have released non-import fullback Daryl Stephenson and import defensive lineman Lindsey Witten.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

This And That

--The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain

  --The big story around these parts is the sale of the Regina Pats.  This doesn't come as a surprise, but the timing does surprise me as I thought the Parker family would wait out of respect for the Western Hockey League for the season to come to an end. I guess I was wrong to think that although I'm sure Russ would have waited had the news not leaked out because I have always found Russ to be a classy individual. It leaves the question about what type of legacy the Parker family leaves with this organization. There are two---there is the one off the ice in which their committment and their passion for Canada's oldest junior hockey franchise could not be questioned. They fostered their relationship with the Princess Patricias Light Infantry Unit and I think educated a younger generation about that relationship. They were good community partners as they were front and center at many things. However, on the ice, I think its safe to say it was disastrous. Wins are the benchmark and this team simply did not win---at least not consistently. When you get as far as the 2nd round of the playoffs only three times over 19 years and at no time reached the 3rd round, the tenureship can't be considered a success. Does that completely fall on Brent? While some will say yes and make a good argument for doing so, it wasn't Brent's fault that Garnet Jacobson ran Chad Mercier, it wasn't Brent's fault that Linden Rowat soiled the linen in a first round playoff series against Swift Current after winning the East. While Brent was not there this year, one wonders where the team would have finished had Daniel Wapple not been hurt. However, many (and for good reason) can question the non Jordan Eberle-Colten Teubert trade and many can also question what this team might have been able to accomplish had Russ not made his son the general manager. They are all valid questions. They are all ones that many Regina hockey fans have already answered.  As for Anthony Marquart and his group, I think these guys are all business and when they say they are committed to bringing winning hockey to Regina, I will believe them because that's what everyone wants. These guys are local and they know what the Pats mean to this community and what this community will do if success follows. I get the feeling these guys aren't in this to have fun. They mean business and we will see that very, very soon. I am excited at seeing what the future of this organization holds and I hope you do too. The Brandt Centre has been a ghost-town most nights and that was a definite message being sent to ownership both before and after Brent left the equation. I think the Regina hockey fan needed and wanted fresh blood calling the shots and now they have it. They will respond and in turn Queen City Entertainment will reward that response with a product Regina hockey fans will embrace. It may not come in year one, but the building blocks will be set.

 --The other big story this week was those (tongue firmly in cheek) dirty rotten cheating Saskatchewan Roughriders. How dare they go over the salary cap by 18-thousand dollars! Who the hell do they think they are? Yes, I'm being sarcastic. 18-thousand over the cap. So what, a couple of guys had an extra bonus or two for winning the Grey Cup and it put the team over the 4.4 million figure. Who really cares!~ If this team had been 50-100 thousand over the cap, I might have raised an eyebrow or two, but they were 18-thousand dollars over. WHO CARES? There are some out there who obviously do a little too much since they are saying this was a dastardly deed and changes are needed. I laugh at those people by the way. I can tell you the Riders aren't happy with the fact they were over---by even a dollar, but they weren't and because there were many salaries with a Grey Cup bonus on them, they went over. Would you rather the team had lost the Grey Cup and stayed 50-thousand under by not paying Durant, Dressler, Sheets, etc. etc. etc a Grey Cup bonus. If you are saying yes to that, absolutely no member of the Rider Nation believes you.  Jim Hopson should have no problem writing that cheque to the league and there should be no problem or no suggestions of the team winning by nefarious nature. If there are some, its just pure jealousy in my mind. I would think the Rider Nation would not complain if Calgary, BC or Edmonton won the GC and were 19 thousand over. That's pocket change. Lets move on!

  --Hey, this guy looks familiar albeit its strange to see him with that Chiefs logo.

As someone said on my Twitter account, better that be Chiefs red than Stampeders red. Amen brutha! Amen! I gotta be equal so here too is Kory Sheets with his new Oakland Raiders teammates...

 --I am fighting the urge to watch the new Avril Lavigne video. It can't be THAT bad can it? Don't answer that. By the way, I read a story today which said Avril is 29. She's been around for a decade? Really? 

 --If you aren't enjoying the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, you are not playing with a full deck. There hasn't been many bad games. 

  --Should I be surprised on a day where they celebrate the 100 year birthday of Wrigley Field that the Cubs would blow a three run 9th inning lead to the only team in the National League worse than them. Its soooooo Cubs! 

  --There are many better ways to spend a day than having to spend it with a pinched nerve in your lower back. That is NOT fun!

 --A story is circulating saying the Super Bowl champion Seahawks were only given one prime time home game because they destroy teams in night games at CLink and the networks want competitive games. BOO FRICKIN HOO!! Home games against Denver and San Francisco should be night-time affairs and one of those games should be the opener and not against Green Bay. Are you telling me a San Francisco at Seattle game on Thanksgiving night wouldn't be a ratings buster no matter the score. If the NFL truly withheld prime time games from the Seahawks because of this, that's just damn sad and inexcusable. I guess Seattle will just have to win the first prime time game of the year and the last one----that one being the Super Bowl. 

 --When is the WWE coming back to Regina? 

 --I don't think a tux and tails are needed, but its another High Impact Wrestling night in Regina. Its their version of "Wrestlemania" in an event called "Spring Meltdown". Chaos, carnage and entertainment are sure to follow. I think the event is sold out, so you will have to wait for it to come on with myself and Pete Paczko on Access 7. 

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


Pats New Ownership Group Announces Purchase Partners

Queen City Sports and Entertainment is revealing the list of people who are a part of the group that has purchased the Regina Pats.
Local businessman Anthony Marquart and former Pats goalie Todd Lumbard are being joined by Jason Drummond and Shaun and Gavin Semple of Brandt Entertainment
Speaking on behalf of Queen City Sports, Marquart in a release says "Our group is very excited and optimistic about the future of the Pats organization. New ownership certainly brings with it new investment, new energy and new ideas on how to build on past successes". The release goes on to say the group is committed to building a competitive, winning franchise that delivers a great experience for everyone involved, especially Pats fans.
Marquart goes on to say that after a conversation with current Pats employees they will be rolling out a business plan.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Regina Red Sox 2014 Sked

See ya at the ballpark!

05/30/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/01/14 2:05 PM Swift Current Indians
06/02/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
06/03/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
06/04/14 7:00 PM Moose Jaw Miller Express
06/06/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
06/07/14 7:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
06/08/14 2:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/10/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
06/12/14 7:00 PM Lethbridge Bulls
06/13/14 7:00 PM Lethbridge Bulls
06/14/14 7:00 PM @ Medicine Hat Mavericks
06/15/14 2:00 PM @ Medicine Hat Mavericks
06/16/14 7:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
06/17/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/18/14 7:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
06/19/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
06/20/14 7:00 PM @ Saskatoon YellowJackets
06/21/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
06/22/14 2:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
06/24/14 7:00 PM @ Swift Current Indians
06/25/14 7:00 PM Moose Jaw Miller Express
06/26/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
06/28/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
06/30/14 7:00 PM @ Edmonton Prospects
07/01/14 7:00 PM @ Edmonton Prospects
07/03/14 7:00 PM Swift Current Indians
07/04/14 7:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
07/05/14 7:00 PM Melville Millionaires
07/06/14 2:00 PM Yorkton Cardinals
07/07/14 7:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
07/08/14 7:00 PM Saskatoon YellowJackets
07/09/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
07/10/14 7:00 PM @ Swift Current Indians
07/12/14 7:00 PM @ Melville Millionaires
07/15/14 7:00 PM @ Moose Jaw Miller Express
07/16/14 7:00 PM Okotoks Dawgs
07/17/14 7:00 PM Okotoks Dawgs
07/20/14 6:00 PM @ Saskatoon YellowJackets
07/21/14 7:00 PM @ Yorkton Cardinals
07/24/14 7:00 PM @ Weyburn Beavers
07/25/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
07/26/14 7:00 PM Saskatoon YellowJackets
07/27/14 7:00 PM @ Moose Jaw Miller Express
07/28/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers
07/30/14 7:00 PM Weyburn Beavers

Pats Sold To Local Group

The Regina Pats are no longer owned by the Parker family. At a news conference in Regina today, Russ Parker announced he is selling the team to Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group. That group is led by businessman Anthony Marquardt.

It brings to an end what can be termed as a rather sad chapter in the history of the franchise. Despite efforts to make the team a success, the Pats struggled mightily having reached the 2nd round of the playoffs just three times during their tenure which started in 1995. That being said, the team did see many players come through who went on to have NHL success the most notable being Jordan Eberle and Josh Harding.

Marquardt was not at today's get-together. It is believed he will be joined by former Pats goalie Todd Lumbard, local businessman Shaun Semple and that former Pat Mike Sillinger may also have some involvement.

The WHL board of governors will vote on the deal April 30 with two thirds majority needing to see the sale go through. A price-tag for the team was not disclosed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Morris To Skip Team Canada

The reigning Canadian men's curling champions have a new skip for the next Tim Hortons Brier.
John Morris will join forces with third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen as Team Canada makes its debut at the 2015 Brier in Calgary.
He replaces Kevin Koe, who left the champions to form a new team with third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert.
"We're thrilled to be able to bring aboard a player of John's calibre," Simmons said in a statement. "Of course, we've always had a great deal of respect for John as a player and a rival, and we're excited about what we can do together on the ice next season."
At the 2014 Brier, Morris skipped the B.C. team (third Jim Cotter, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky) that lost to Koe's Alberta foursome in the final.
Morris said he will play a limited schedule during the 2014-15 season due to work commitments.
"My plan was to take the 2014-15 season off as I move ahead in my career as a firefighter," said Morris, who lives in Chestermere, Alta., just outside of Calgary. "But to be able to play for Team Canada, and considering the Alberta events are so close to home, it was hard to pass up on this offer. I talked it over with Jim, Tyrel and Rick and they were very understanding. I can't thank them enough for the season we had, and I wish them nothing but the very best going forward."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

Back to work! After a nice extended Easter long weekend its time to get back at it. Did the Easter Bunny bring you goodies?

It was great being able to sit down and watch playoff hockey and there have been some great games. How many people looked at the struggles of the St, Louis Blues when it came down to the end of the regular season and said they will have no shot against Chicago because of injuries and the fact the Hawks were getting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back. Oops!  Yes, St. Louis could easily be down 2-zip in the series having won both games in overtime, but they are in firm control going back to Chicago and look nothing like the team that limped to the finish line. I had the Blues winning the West before they started to slide---I should have stuck with that.

I'm starting to think the Colorado Avalanche could be the next great thing in the NHL with the team they have got. The play of their forwards has been magical in the first two rounds against Minnesota and this team is only going to get better as the years go by. I don't think they have what it takes to win it all this year, but they are going to make some noise for a long, long time. They have that Forsberg, Sakic, Roy look to them. Funny how this team has managed to rebuild in seemingly one season while another team in Northern Alberta that I root for has taken how long? Then again, the Avalanche have guys like Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic in the front office. Speaking of which, if he wanted a job in the NHL (and I wonder if he does anymore), would it not be right for the Oilers to hire Wayne Gretzky in some capacity?. He has to be better than Kevin Lowe doesn't he.

The NHL disciplinary committee is once again out of whack in these playoffs. Joel Quenneville grabs his crotch to protest a call and gets dinged 25-thousand dollars for it. Milan Lucic tries to castrate Danny DeKeyser with a gutless move from behind and gets 5-thousand. ??????  Shouldn't that maybe be the other way around?  By the way, I didn't see the Corey Perry spear so I can't comment on that.

How many different goalies have the Philadelphia Flyers used over the years when it comes to the playoffs? Here's what I can remember from the 2000's and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone.  Steve Mason, Ray Emery, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov, Brian Boucher, Roman Cechmanek, Michael Leighton. I know I'm missing a few.  Then you look at teams like the Rangers and its been Lundqvist or the Habs and its been Price. I often wonder how good Philly would be if they ever ever find an established goaltender.

The Lightning got jobbed in Game 2. There's no other way you can put it. Montreal may have come back and won the hockey game, but Tampa should have been credit for the goal that would have made it 1-1. The story is the right call was made, but really was it?  As CBC's Elliotte Friedman said on HNIC, some kind of mechanism must be established for that play to be reviewed. If it was, that game is 1-1.  Credit to Lightning coach John Cooper for not going completely bats##t after the game. He kept it quite composed while others wouldn't.

You can't say the Habs go half hearted when it comes to pre-game ceremonies. That one on Sunday was off the charts. It bordered on going over the top, but it was outstanding.

WTF has happened to the defensive-minded LA Kings? What blogger said they would beat Boston to win the Cup? YIKES!! They look horrible!!

Two thumbs up to Toronto Sun sportswriter Steve Simmons, He absolutely obliterated Jays pitcher RA Dickey on the Reporters Sunday morning. Simmons said and I quote....

My thumb is down to RA Dickey, the erstwhile Blue Jays ace, the former Cy Young award winner who seems to lead the Major Leagues in just one category - excuses. With RA, there's always something. Something wrong. It's either too cold or it's too hot. The roof at Rogers Centre is either open or closed. The wind is blowing in or it's blowing out. It's day or it's night. Everything, it seems, affects the knuckleball. He would be one of the three bears of pitching but with him, it's not often just right. Dickey has made four starts for the Jays in this young season, and he already owns a 6.26 earned run average. I'm sure he has a plausible explanation for that: I just don't want to hear one.

Bravo! I couldn't agree more. Quit with the excuses and throw the damn ball the way you're supposed to.

Congrats to Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play man Bob Ridley. He called game number 3542 in his storied career Sunday night in Edmonton. That is how many games Rod Phillips--the long time voice of the Oilers called. Ridley is a true icon. I had a chance to work with him during a playoff game in Moose Jaw many, many, many years ago. A member of the Tigers had a penalty shot and that player scored, I started to write it down when I looked up and saw that I was leaving him hanging as he was looking for a high five.  He's one of the greats without a doubt.

I saw the movie "Draft Day" on Friday night. Lets just say its not the best football related movie out there, but its not the worst either. What I will say though is the NFL (who helped out immensely on this movie) and the director might have wanted to look at the current NFL landscape before deciding what teams to use in the storyline. I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it, but as you're watching it, you will see what I mean. Jennifer Garner plays Kevin Costner's love interest in the movie. At one point in the movie, Garner utters out some lines that would make any football fan fall in love with her instantaneously. Mrs. Scruffy looked over at me just as I was about to say something and said "You love her don't you?" All I could do was nod my head in agreement. You will too when you see it.

I actually was anticipating sitting down and watching the Raptors playoff opener. I don't watch a lot of  NBA basketball, but I was excited to see the Raptors play their first post-season game in ages. They looked like a young inexperienced team against a Brooklyn team that has been through this before. I can't see it being like that the whole series. Paul Pierce was just lethal in Game 1 down the stretch. He's been down this road a few times before.

I love what Raptors GM Masal Ujiri said before Game 1. The correctness of today has taken so much away from people saying what they truly feel. There needs to be more of that. I and the rest of the Regina media would have loved it or would love it if someone from the Riders said F### Calgary! Vice-versa too. Its called a part of the game.

Gregg Popovich's interview with Craig Sager Junior Sunday was pure class. If you didn't see it.....

Popovich then goes back to the huddle as you see and gets a handwritten note from the entire Spurs organization that he gives to Sager. If you don't know, the legendary broadcaster has started treatments after being diagnosed with leukemia. Once again, pure class from Popovich! There aren't a lot of coaches out there who would do that,

Dave Taylor and the University of Regina should be very proud of its womens basketball team both present and past for coming through this weekend. It was great seeing so many alumni come forth in a game to help raise money for Crystal McGregor (Heisler) as she continues her battle with cancer. Many of the past players took part in the game while others watched while some of the present team helped out with other duties. Christine Stapleton, Jeff Speedy and Dave deserve so much credit for leading what is a first class group of ladies. It sounds as if Crystal is struggling right now and it would have been great to have seen her Saturday, but that wasn't the case. I just pray she can be at a game next year and the year after that and so on and so on. Many people are praying for you every day Crystal and I am one of them, Beat this thing!

The Telus Cup starts today in Moose Jaw as the Canadian midget hockey champion will be decided. I may have to take a couple of trips to the Friendly City this week to check the action out. It will be great and I know the city and Mosaic Place will put on a first notch show.

Somebody told me a while back I should limit these to between 1000-1500 words. I am way over that total so its time to go. Have a great week!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Nets vs Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors are in the NBA playoffs. They had their best regular-season ever and now it is time to see if success in the regular season can be translated into playoff success as they begin a best of 7 at home against the Brooklyn Nets

The games were close in the regular season with not a lot separating the two teams.

November 26th: 102-100 Nets

January 11th: 96-80 Raptors

January 27th: 104-103 Raptors

March 10th: 101-97 Nets

In the playoffs, in order for the Raptors to claim dominance, they will have to use their young players to their advantage. All of the Raptors starters are below 30 years, while the Nets start 3-5 players above the age of 30. The Raptors are slightly inexperienced, and need to push that fact to the side. Game 1 will be huge for the Raptors, as they need to finish the series early. The Nets veterans know how to close out series, and they know how to win close and pressure games. The Raptors, on the other hand, have never been in close playoff games. If they can win game 1, and maintain the lead the entire series, the Raptors will have a great chance of advancing to the 2nd round.

PLAYER TO WATCH: For the Raptors, there are two. Forward Terrence Ross is explosive, but some nights he for whatever the reasoning of head coach Dwane Casey does not become an option for the offence. You can't go from scoring 51 one night to limited minutes and single digit scoring the next. Ross has the potential to score 20 a night if the game-plan is there and be becomes a great option if plays are designed for him, The other player is Grevis Vssquez. The bench player can heat it up at times and change a game, If he is on fire, Toronto gets a much-needed additional weapon. For the Nets, the player to watch is Paul Pierce, This guy can still get it done and with the playoff experience and championship experience he has had with Boston, he may be able to single-handedly turn close games into Brooklyn's favour.

PREDICTION: Raptors in seven hard-fought games where the margin of victory in each is less than 10.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kevin Martin Hangs Up His Slider

Forget about a victory lap for Kevin Martin next season. One of the greatest skips to ever slide out of a hack is ending his career.

After a legendary 27 year curling career, the future hall of famer has announced that this is, indeed his last season as a player. His immediate future is now crystal clear as he plays his last tournament at The Players' Championship, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

Speaking to Rob Faulds during Friday nights Sportsnet broadcast of Players' Championship action, the 47 year old announced that he will hang up his curling shoes and join Sportsnet as an analyst. As well, Martin will take on a role with that network's Grand Slam Of Curling, which will grow from four to five events next season.

Martin's future had been unclear over the last few weeks ever since the news was leaked that two of his current teammates, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert, were joining forces with Kevin Koe for the 2014-15 season. With team vice Dave Nedohin almost certain to be stepping back from the game after this season as well, it appeared Martin was a man without a team, even as star players all around were finalizing new rosters.

While it seemed that the decorated skip (Olympic gold, Olympic silver, one World Championship, four Brier championships as well as seventeen Grand Slam victories) was being marooned and forced into retirement earlier than he would like, Martin claims that is untrue and that he'd been planning to retire at the end of this season as far back as last year.

"Thought about shutting it down after Vancouver (the 2010 Olympics) to be honest," Martin told Faulds. "But, a little bit young at that point."

"We didn't really want this to get out but the guys... we talked almost a year ago, then Ben called me in December, called me in January (and asked) 'skipper are you still retiring this year?' 'Yes, I am' (Martin replied).

"So, it wasn't so much that Ben and Marc were leaving, it was more polite of them to make sure that I was shutting it down," said Martin, who added that he'd informed his sponsors of his impending retirement after last December's Olympic Trials.

Martin admitted that the announcement was coming a couple of weeks earlier than he would have liked. However, a tumultuous last few weeks in the men's game - a period that saw so many team changes prematurely announced - moved the timetable up.

Seems fitting that he would make the announcement during a Grand Slam event, however, as Martin was one of the key players in the development of the tour, spearheading a boycott of provincial play downs and The Brier, just after the turn of the century. Along with the likes of Wayne Middaugh and Jeff Stoughton, Martin and a group of curlers set out to play in events other than those sanctioned by the Canadian Curling Association. Their demands included a better piece of the financial pie from events like The Brier. Eventually, the renegade curlers and the CCA came to terms, but not before a couple of seasons of acrimony and squabbling ensued.

Now, the World Curling Tour - of which the Grand Slam events are a part - coexists with CCA events and has grown in status as the years have gone by.

With Sportsnet's announcement that the slams will go from four to five events next season, that growth continues. The announcement may come as a surprise to some, as there had been fear the the network's new blockbuster deal to carry a national NHL package might leave curling out in the cold.

The opposite is true, and total prize money in the new five-event slam series will rise to $700,000.00, with a million dollar bonus going to any team that can sweep all five events. The fifth event, called the Elite 10, will be held in Fort McMurray, Alberta, next March.

“When Sportsnet first acquired the Grand Slam of Curling, we made a commitment to curling fans that we would grow the sport in Canada,” said network president Scott Moore, in a Rogers media release. “I’m thrilled to be delivering on that promise to Canadians."

As well as the five slams, Sportsnet is likely to, once again, provide coverage of provincial championships as part of more than a promised 200 hours of curling coverage next season. Over the last two years, the network has aired men's and women's provincial championships in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

"It really is the future of our sport," said Martin, of the Grand Slam tour. "The best playing the best. That's the way it's supposed to be in all sport. That's what it's going to be here and it's going to be a whole lot of fun growing the brand."

Martin's past as a bit of a trailblazer for the sport and his outspoken nature make him a good fit for a role as analyst as well as tour organizer. His status as a curling legend gives the tour a famous face moving forward. He may have some bridges to mend, however, as that outspoken nature, over the years, has made him a few enemies in the game.

He takes a place in the booth that was opened up when current analyst Richard Hart decided to come out of retirement and rejoin Glenn Howard for the 2014-15 season.

Before Martin gets to work on his post-playing career, there is one more order of business as a player. This year's Player's Championship. Martin, Nedohin, Kennedy and Hebert are still in the hunt, having reached Saturday's quarter-finals at the event.

This And That

The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain----even on a holiday. 

--Tell the truth, how many of you got up this morning and thought it was Saturday?!! 

--If the first few games of the Stanley Cup playoffs are any indication, we should be in for some great hockey.  The Boston-Detroit series hasn't started yet and already we have seen some comebacks, a lot of overtime and generally some pretty good hockey. The first round usually is the best, but it would be nice to see this continue right through. 

--Ryan Getzlaf = TOUGH!! Would you expect anything different? 

--If the Colorado Avalanche win their series against Minnesota, remember the play by Erik  Johnson with about a minute to go  in Game 1 where he slapped the puck away from the empty net milliseconds before it went over the line. 

--If you haven't noticed Nathan McKinnon before the playoffs (and you should seeing he will be the rookie of the year), you will now. I had him as a guy flying under the radar in two hockey drafts and got him in both. I am looking for big things from him, 

--Congrats to the Yorkton Terriers on another SJHL title. If the Terriers aren't the benchmark franchise in the SJ than who is (with all apologies to Humboldt Bronco supporters). Trent Cassan and Don Chesney just keep pumping out winners. I keep wondering how long Cassan will stay in the SJ as he has to be on the radar of WHL teams, but like Dean Brockman in Humboldt, he has a good gig going where he is so why leave unless the offer is absolutely perfect. 

--Darian Durant made it perfectly clear Wednesday afternoon. He wants to be a Rider and he wants to win more Grey Cups as quarterback of the Riders. He realizes if that is to happen, he needs the guys around him and in a salary cap world, that means guys who cost some dollars need to be around. Durant could have been greedy and said I got to the top of the mountain once now pay me, but he didn't. Brendan Taman admitted they could have made Darian the top paid player in the CFL, but Darian wants to spread the wealth around so scenes like last November at Mosaic can be repeated.  There's no guarantee that will happen, but you have to love his attitude. Every game won't be perfect and every pass won't be great, but Rider fans should back this guy because more good times are around the corner. 

--Why is everyone wondering who will replace Weston Dressler when the answer is perhaps right under their nose. Have we all forgotten about Geroy Simon? He showed he can still get it done at GC 101 and he is the CFL's all time leading pass-catcher.  That's not a bad option to have.

--There's some excitement around CFL circles about Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson signing with the Alouettes. I'll start getting excited when he makes the team. With Jamel Richardson, SJ Green, Duron Carter and Brandon London all there, I don't think I'll be ordering an "Huit-Cinq" jersey anytime soon. 

--What an absolute embarassment from the Blue Jays pitching staff especially the bullpen on Wednesday night in Minneapolis. Eight walks, three wildpitches and six runs resulted in what was a disastrous and somewhat comical 8th inning. Eight walks??!! That's inexcusable. What made it funnier was Buck Martinez trying to justify it saying "It must be the weather" at Target Field where the temperature was hovering around the freezing mark. I didn't see the Twins pitchers having any problems there Buckster! 

--14 games into the season and the Cubs are in last place--six place back of the division leaders. Another 148 to go! HUZZAHHHH!!!!

--I realize Tuesday night's incident at the Cornwall Centre was a random incident that could happen anywhere and at any time, but its still a little scary seeing it happen in my own backyard.  The incident here certainly wasn't as traumatic or as tragic as the story that came out of Calgary this week, but it could have been. If anything, what happened at the Cornwall is just a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings and what's going on around you. It may not have changed what happened to the four people who were in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but still. 

--Why do PETA people visit Saskatchewan? Guess what, your message isn't getting through and you're being mocked. Please leave and on the way out, feel free to stop at any of our fine restaurants and get yourself a good old burger or steak as many of us do. Thanks!

--If your Saturday night is free, can I suggest going to the CKHS for a charity womens basketball game featuring U of R alumni against alumni from the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba, All proceeds from the game, which starts at 6, goes to Crystal (Heisler) McGregor, She is the former Cougar basketball player who is in the fight of her life as she battles cancer. It is great to see the Cougar alumni out there supporting one of their own and it would be tremendous to see a nice crowd at the University for this event. 

--I am actually going to try and sit down and watch the NBA playoffs. I watched a few Toronto Raptors games this year and this certainly is the best team they have ever had. I don't think they should have a problem in beating the Brooklyn Nets, but I don't like their chances against Miami in the 2nd round. 

--There are as many Canadian teams in the NBA playoffs as there are in the NHL playoffs. OUCH!!

--Should be somewhat concerned that six of the seven Canadian teams are on the outside looking in come playoff time? Does it bother you that only one Canadian team is in the playoffs? It doesn't matter to me albeit I'd love the Oilers to get back in someday---hopefully next year. Yeah I know. 

--Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports may be the top Canadian sports journalist out there. His story last Saturday night on Dominic Moore and his late wife Katie may have been one of the best pieces he has ever delivered. If you haven't seen it, see if you can find it on the CBC Sports or Hockey Night in Canada webpage. 

--What is the mood amongst those at TSN as their days of the NHL start to wane? On the flip side, what is the mood over at Sportsnet as better days are right around the corner.

--11 weeks from tonight is the first Friday night football game of the 2014 season and we are 19 Sundays away from the first Sunday of the NFL season. ITS GETTING CLOSER!!!!

--This has to find its way to Regina Pats games for next year. What a great intermission feature this could be!!!!!

--Koala bears sleep for 22 hours a day and eat for 2 hours. God bless the Koala Bear!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Time Has Come

Enjoy the next two months!!!

Durant Signs Contract Extension

Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager Brendan Taman announced today that import quarterback Darian Durant has signed a multi-year extension with the team. As per team policy, financial details of the contract were not released.
Durant just completed his eighth CFL season with the Riders after originally signing with the team ahead of the 2006 season. In 16 regular season starts last year, the 31-year-old threw for 4,154 yards and a league leading 31 touchdowns – the third highest single season total in team history. He was named a West Division All-Star for the second time in his career.
The University of North Carolina product then started theWest Semi-Final and West Final totaling 550 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions, while adding 10 carries for 115 yards rushing. In the 101st Grey Cup game, Durant added another 245 passing yards and three touchdowns, helping lead the team to a 45-23 victory.
For his career, Durant currently ranks third all-time in franchise passing attempts with 2,842, completions with 1,745, passing yards with 22,711 and passing touchdowns with 125. He has played 131 career regular season games, starting 87,
He is a two-time Grey Cup champion having won with the Riders as the starting quarterback in 2013 and as a backup in 2007.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thoughts Before The Playoffs

With the puck about to drop on the Stanley Cup playoffs, here are some random thoughts in no particular order

--A couple of weeks ago I would have taken Boston to play St. Louis in the Cup final for the fact they were the best teams on the ice. Injuries have decimated St. Louis now to the point I don't think they can get past Chicago. I am now taking L-A to play Boston with the Kings winning because of their defensive play---especially if they go into the 3rd with the lead.

--If you are going to beat Boston, you will do it in the first round. They have gone to a Game 7 the last three years---of course they have won two of those series. Remember last year Leafs fans?

--Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are rested. That should spell good news for Chicago

--Anders Lindback won his last four games, games Tampa needed to clinch home ice against Montreal. If he goes in place of Ben Bishop, the Lightning are just fine.

--I could care less if there is one Canadian team in the playoffs.

--Patrick Roy is easily the coach of the year in my mind this season. How far can he take the Avalanche in the playoffs.

--Is this the year for the Sharks? A sentence uttered every year it would seem for the past seven or eight at this time of year

--Where is Maggie the Monkey?

--How long until Jeff Zatkoff replaces Marc-Andre Fleury in the Pittsburgh net

--How ugly will Sid's playoff beard this year be

--The Stars/Ducks series might be the best one of the first round. The Flyers/Rangers might be the most intense

--I can't decide if I like the new playoff format.

--Enjoy the run to the Cup!

NHL Draft Lottery Goes Tonite

The 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 13 picks of the 2014 NHL Draft, will take place Tuesday, April 15, at 8 p.m., ET.

The League, in cooperation with TSN, will announce the results of the Draft Lottery live during a 30-minute program produced and televised by TSN in Canada. The special presentation also will air in the U.S. on NBCSN and will re-air on NHL Network U.S. at 8:30 p.m., ET.

Thirteen of the 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs – or the Clubs that have acquired the First-Round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams – will have a chance at winning the right to the first overall selection. The New Jersey Devils will not be eligible to win the Draft Lottery and will select 30th overall in the First Round.

The odds of winning the Draft Lottery are determined by the teams’ regular-season point totals. The Lottery-winning team will draft first overall, with the remaining 12 teams that are eligible to win the Lottery slotted in reverse order of their regular-season point totals. The First-Round drafting positions of the 16 Playoff-Qualifying Clubs (picks 14-29) will be determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

To ensure that the odds of all 13 Clubs eligible to win the Draft Lottery are enhanced equally to reflect the Devils’ situation, the Draft Lottery this year is being modified as follows: the Devils will still be included in the Draft Lottery drawing on the same basis and with the same odds that would have normally been assigned to the Club based on and consistent with its regular-season finish. However, in the event the Devils win the Draft Lottery, an immediate re?draw will be conducted to select a different recipient of the first overall selection in the First Round. The same process will be conducted as many times as necessary to ensure that the first overall selection is awarded to a team other than New Jersey. The Devils will be entitled to the 30th selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft (the last pick in the First Round). The Devils are not permitted to trade or transfer their right to the 30th overall selection.

Based on team finish, the percentage chance of being selected in the Draft Lottery is:

Buffalo Sabres - 25.0%
Florida Panthers - 18.8%
Edmonton Oilers - 14.2%
Calgary Flames - 10.7%
New York Islanders - 8.1%
Vancouver Canucks - 6.2%
Carolina Hurricanes - 4.7%
Toronto Maple Leafs - 3.6%
Winnipeg Jets - 2.7%
Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa) - 2.1%
New Jersey Devils - 1.5%
Nashville Predators - 1.1%
Phoenix Coyotes - 0.8%
Washington Capitals - 0.5%
The 2014 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia from June 27-28. It will be the first time the city and facility host the NHL Draft.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson and Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending April 13.


Lindback posted a 3-0-0 record with a 0.67 goals-against average, .975 save percentage and one shutout to help the Lightning (46-27-9, 101 points) earn four consecutive victories and clinch home-ice advantage in their first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. He stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief of Ben Bishop in a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs April 8. Lindback then made 34 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers April 10. He capped the week by recording 18 saves, and denying all three attempts he faced in the shootout, to pick up his third career shutout and first since Dec. 13, 2010, in a 1-0 triumph over the Washington Capitals April 13. The 25-year-old native of Gävle, Sweden, appeared in 23 games this season, compiling an 8-12-2 record with a 2.90 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.


Gibson went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and one shutout to help the Ducks (54-20-8, 116 points) post four consecutive victories and clinch the top seed in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. He made 18 saves in a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks April 7, becoming the first goaltender to record a shutout in his NHL debut since April 1, 2009 (Al Montoya). Gibson then stopped 36 shots in a 5-2 triumph over the San Jose Sharks April 9, helping the Ducks clinch their second consecutive Pacific Division title and the third in franchise history. He closed the week with 29 saves, including 12 in the third period, in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Colorado Avalanche April 13. The 20-year-old native of Pittsburgh was selected by the Ducks in second round (39th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft and helped the team set franchise records for wins (54) and points (116) this season.


Johansen tied for third in the NHL with six points (2-4—6), finding the scoresheet in four consecutive games to help the Blue Jackets (43-32-7, 93 points) clinch their second playoff berth in franchise history (2008-09). He registered 1-1—2, including the winning goal at 3:33 of overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes April 8. Johansen then posted an assist in each of the next two games: a 3-1 triumph over the Dallas Stars April 9 and a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning April 11. He closed the season with 1-1—2, including his fifth game-winning goal and 16th multi-point performance, in a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers April 12. The 21-year-old native of Vancouver played in all 82 games this season, leading the Blue Jackets and posting career highs in goals (33), assists (30) and points (63).

Riders Sign Ryan Smith

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that import receiver Ryan Smith has signed with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.


Smith (5’7 – 175) joins the Riders after spending four seasons playing at North Dakota State University. In 54 career collegiate games the 22-year-old amassed 1,783 yards and eight touchdowns on 147 receptions, as well as 271 yards and three touchdowns on 32 rush attempts. The Wahpeton, ND native also added 945 yards and three touchdowns on 82 punt returns and 773 yards and one touchdown on 30 kickoff returns. He was named to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference second team in 2011, 2012 and 2013.   


The NDSU Bisons have won three consecutive NCAA Division I FCS National Championships.    


Recently, Smith was invited and participated in Riders mini-camp as a free agent after being scouted by Assistant General Manager Jeremy O’Day and Director of Player Personnel Craig Smith.     


First Round SC Playoff Matchups

Friday, April 187:30 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBCSN, TSN
Sunday, April 203 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 227:30 p.m.Boston at DetroitNBCSN, TSN
Thursday, April 248 p.m.Boston at DetroitNBCSN, TSN
*Saturday, April 263 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBC, TSN
*Monday, April 28TBDBoston at DetroitTSN
*Wednesday, April 30TBDDetroit at BostonTSN
Wednesday, April 167 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS, CNBC
Friday, April 187 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS, CNBC
Sunday, April 207 p.m.Tampa Bay at MontrealCBC, RDS, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 227 p.m.Tampa Bay at MontrealCBC, RDS, NHLN U.S.
*Thursday, April 247 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS, CNBC
*Sunday, April 27TBDTampa Bay at MontrealCBC, RDS, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 29TBDMontreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS
Wednesday, April 167:30 p.m.Columbus at PittsburghNBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 197 p.m.Columbus at PittsburghNBCSN, CBC
Monday, April 217 p.m.Pittsburgh at ColumbusNBCSN, CBC
Wednesday, April 237 p.m.Pittsburgh at ColumbusNBCSN, CBC
*Saturday, April 26TBDColumbus at PittsburghCBC
*Monday, April 28TBDPittsburgh at ColumbusCBC
*Wednesday, April 30TBDColumbus at PittsburghCBC
Thursday, April 177 p.m.Philadelphia at NY RangersCNBC, TSN
Sunday, April 20NoonPhiladelphia at NY RangersNBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 228 p.m.NY Rangers at PhiladelphiaCNBC, TSN
Friday, April 257 p.m.NY Rangers at PhiladelphiaCNBC, TSN
*Sunday, April 27NoonPhiladelphia at NY RangersNBC, TSN
*Tuesday, April 29TBDNY Rangers at PhiladelphiaTSN
*Wednesday, April 30TBDPhiladelphia at NY RangersTSN
Thursday, April 179:30 p.m.Minnesota at ColoradoCNBC, TSN
Saturday, April 199:30 p.m.Minnesota at ColoradoNBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 217 p.m.Colorado at MinnesotaNHLN U.S., TSN
Thursday, April 249:30 p.m.Colorado at MinnesotaCNBC, TSN2
*Saturday, April 26TBDMinnesota at ColoradoTSN
*Monday, April 28TBDColorado at MinnesotaTSN
*Wednesday, April 30TBDMinnesota at ColoradoTSN
Thursday, April 178 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 193 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBC, CBC
Monday, April 218:30 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoCNBC, CBC
Wednesday, April 239:30 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoNBCSN, CBC
*Friday, April 258 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBCSN, CBC
*Sunday, April 273 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoNBC, CBC
*Tuesday, April 29TBDChicago at St. LouisCBC
Wednesday, April 1610 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN, TSN
Friday, April 1810 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 219:30 p.m.Anaheim at DallasNBCSN, TSN
Wednesday, April 238 p.m.Anaheim at DallasCNBC, TSN
*Friday, April 25 10:30 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN, TSN
*Sunday, April 27TBDAnaheim at DallasTSN
*Tuesday, April 29TBDDallas at AnaheimTSN
Thursday, April 1710:30 p.m.Los Angeles at San JoseNBCSN, CBC
Sunday, April 2010 p.m.Los Angeles at San JoseNBCSN, CBC
Tuesday, April 2210 p.m.San Jose at Los AngelesNBCSN, CBC
Thursday, April 2410:30 p.m.San Jose at Los AngelesNBCSN, CBC
*Saturday, April 26TBDLos Angeles at San JoseNBCSN, CBC
*Monday, April 28TBDSan Jose at Los AngelesCBC
*Wednesday, April 30TBDLos Angeles at San JoseCBC

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Something To "Mitch"About

--The Edmonton Oilers didn't do a lot right this season, but they sure ended the season with a bang and I'm not talking about the on-ice victory. The ceremony surrounding the retirement of Ryan Smyth was simply spectacular. The Oilers never had the chance to say goodbye personally to the greats that have worn the uniform because they ended their career elsewhere, but they had a chance to say goodbye to Smytty Saturday night in a night that left many Oiler fans (like me) a little misty-eyed. I still believe his legacy in Edmonton was tarnished a little bit because of his last second trade to the Islanders a few years ago, but there was no doubting the love affair number 94 had with Edmonton and vice-versa.  It was very classy of Andrew Ference to give up the "C" for just one night to Smytty, it was bizarre, yet good to see the Oilers try to get him a record setting power play goal and it was extremely classy of the Vancouver Canucks to come back on the ice after it was over to shake his hand. Word is he didn't get out of his jersey until well after midnight as teammates and members of the organization wanted to get their picture taken with him.  It only makes me wonder what might have been planned by the organization had Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Weight, Fuhr etc. etc played their last NHL game in an Edmonton uniform. Thank you Smytty!! I'm guessing a job in the organization awaits.

--From Ron McLean Saturday night---206 of the 320 players on NHL playoff team rosters going into play Saturday are Canadian born. There will be a solid Canadian contingent in the NHL playoffs so lets stop this stupid talk of having to root for Montreal because they are the lone Canadian team.  That really gets under my skin and it did when Edmonton was in the Cup final way back when.

--The season is over and its time for the playoffs to start. Have you had your hockey draft  yet? We had a Sportscage draft Friday night and lets just say if I can have a Tampa-LA or a Detroit-LA final, I should be getting some money. I'm in another one tonight so we will see what happens.

 --Sidney Crosby was the first pick in our playoff draft. In a regular season draft, its a no-brainer, but would you take Sid number one in a playoff draft unless you know the Penguins are going far and there is no indication of that. I ended up with the number 7 pick and took Anze Kopitar with my first selection.

--Did you catch REDBLACKS quarterback Henry Burris on Sportscage Friday. Public enemy #1, (he still has that honor doesn't he ) was firing on all cylinders to get the hype machine going for the pre-season game between the two-----one that will see Ottawa serving as the home team.  Some of his comments....

         ----Henry reminded everyone he has worn #1 in the CFL thanks to Rider fans when he approached the Leader-Post asking for a story in which he asked them to decide what number he should wear. He's worn #1 ever since he's been a Rider thanks to you Rider Nation

          ----The team may be an expansion team, but he was real impressed with what he saw in his team's two day mini-camp.

       ----He has found out very quickly what type of football town Ottawa is
       ----He's looking forward to being at Mosaic for the pre-game contest in which his team will be the home team meaning they get the home sidelines. He jokes fans should be chanting "Darrrrrrrr-iiiiii-annnnnnn" and that he will have a map letting the Riders know where their bench is. He thinks it will be a great experience and that he looks forward to once again doing his thing in front of Rider fans.

--Bubba Watson was as cool as the other side of the pillow in winning the Masters. He just went out and got the job done Sunday to take his second green jacket. Did anyone miss a guy wearing a red shirt walking around Augusta National this weekend. I didn't. It was refreshing to watch other golfers play their rounds instead of having to see CBS give us Tiger overkill as they and the networks usually do. Yes, I realize Tiger is golf, but we are starting to see a changing of the guard and I'm all for it.
--I'm not big on baseball replay so far. There's too much delay as a manager decides whether or not to challenge and I really don't understand the blocking home plate rule. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was dead to rights in a game against Pittsburgh this week yet was called safe because the umpire ruled the catcher was blocking the plate. I don't know how that can be the case when the catcher was standing at the far edge of the plate waiting for Castro to slide into the tag but whatever.  This will be like pass interference in football----smost calls will be highly debatable.

--What type of circus will the Montreal Alouettes be if Chad Johnson plays for them this year. It can't be any worse than when Ricky Williams played for the Argos can it? Can it?

--I'm guessing John Tortorella and Bob Hartley won't be drinking beers together anytime soon. The hate these two have for one another is genuine methinks.

--If the Winnipeg Jets don't re-hire Paul Maurice they're crazy.

--Congratulations to Chris Cuthbert. Perhaps the best hockey/football combo p x p announcer on this planet has been locked up for 6 years by TSN.  Part of me was wondering if the CFL was going to need a new voice, but we need not worry anymore.

--Take note....Every day this week days is gonna be the same backwards:


--Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oilers Fans Speak Out

The Edmonton Journal asked Oilers fans what they would do about their team and what the future holds for a team who seemingly is just spinning its wheels despite having the talent.  The answers aren't that much surprising. Click here for story

OchoCinco To Work Out With Alouettes

Former NFL star Chad Johnson will work out this week with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
Alouettes general manager Jim Popp released a statement Saturday confirming that contract talks "have escalated" recently between the team and Johnson, who has not played in the NFL since the 2011 season.
"We do expect to meet with Chad Johnson and work him out in Vero Beach, Fla. this week," Popp said in the statement. "Talks did take place and have escalated over the last week."
Johnson, 36, was released by theMiami Dolphins in August 2012 after the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was arrested for allegedly head-butting his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada.
In June, Johnson was released from jail after serving a week of a 30-day term for a probation violation.
The flamboyant player formerly known as Chad Ochocinco has not landed with another team since being cut by Miami, despite his continued attempt to resurrect his NFL career. He had seven 1,000-yard seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and also was a member of the New England Patriotsteam that reached Super Bowl XLVI following the 2011 season.
The Alouettes went 8-10 last season and are seeking their first Grey Cup since 2010, when they won their second consecutive championship.