Monday, September 29, 2014

Another Rider Is Done For The Season

The Saskatchewan Roughriders' offence has lost another starter.

The Riders have placed receiver Taj Smith on their six-game injured list with a broken clavicle. Smith will be out for at least the remainder of the regular season.

Smith was injured Friday in Saskatchewan's 24-0 road loss to Edmonton. He had a breakout season in 2013, amassing 1,007 yards and adding seven touchdowns during his team's run to the Grey Cup title.  Smith has 397 yards and three touchdowns on 29 catches this season.

Meanwhile Rider coach Corey Chamblin said they won't name a starting quarterback for Friday's home game against Calgary until Wednesday at the latest.

Oops!! Calgary Dinos Forced To Forfeit Football Game

The University of Calgary announced Monday that the Dinos football team will forfeit its Sept. 5 victory over the University of Alberta as a result of academic ineligibility of two student-athletes.

The infraction was the result of an administrative error within the athletic department. Upon the football program's discovery of the error, it was immediately reported to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and Canada West, where automatic sanctions include forfeiture of competitions in which ineligible student-athletes have played. Additional sanctions will be confirmed once CIS has concluded its discipline process; however, the University of Calgary elected to take this initial step.

The error stemmed from anomalies in the recognition of course credits from 2013-14 where the courses were passed but ultimately not able to contribute to the 18 credit hour requirement to maintain eligibility for the 2014-15 season under CIS regulations. This was not caught when the athletic department performed its eligibility checks for the football team.

"Our football program has a reputation for excellence, and in this situation we failed in our responsibility to our players, Coach Nill, the coaching staff, and everyone associated with the program," said Dinos Athletic Director Ron Wuotila. "We are profoundly disappointed by this regrettable mistake, and we will work diligently to re-evaluate our compliance systems to ensure a situation like this does not happen again."

The result of the game, originally a 71-3 victory by the Dinos, will now be officially recorded as a 1-0 win for the Alberta Golden Bears. All statistics for the game remain intact, with the exception of those recorded by the ineligible players.

The players in question did not participate in any of the Dinos' subsequent games.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

The word of the week in Rider Nation was horrible and yes, it was horrible on Friday night at Commonwealth. I didn't really have to tell you that did I? I didn't think the Riders would beat the Eskimos at Commonwealth, but I thought they would at least put up some kind of effort and not give us a repeat of the Hamilton game. Actually, making that statement is a little unfair to the defence because they did what they could to keep the team in the game. Down 14-0 at the half considering how one-sided it had been still gave the green and white a chance at victory. Sadly, Darian Durant was not coming out for the second half.

Tino Sunseri isn't ready yet and we don't really know what Seth Doege can or can't do. Is Henry Burris the answer? The thought is creeping in again after what was witnessed. Here is the question I ask you. What would you give up for Smilin Hank? Be the GM. What would you offer the REDBLACKS in a trade for Henry Burris. The REDBLACKS need guys who can catch the ball and they need Canadians. Thus, I will say Ryan Smith, Dan Clark and a 3rd. I would NOT give Ottawa anything higher than a 3rd round draft pick either. I am still of the belief the Riders should take Rams receiver Addison Richards with their first round pick, but that's just me. The kid has CFL written all over him. More on the Rams later.

While many are talking about Burris again, where did the Troy Smith talk start? Troy Smith? Really?! WOW!!!!!

Just some other thoughts about Friday's game

--I liked the 3rd down gamble early in the game by Coach Chamblin. The game was scoreless, there was a long ways to go and Chamblin wanted to send a message that they meant business. I have no problem with that decision and applaud it.

--I know you can't rest of all of your guys, but it was a little tough seeing Taj Smith get blown up on what was just about the final play of the game. Smith is likely out of the Calgary game now.

--John White was a little too cocky during this game. Remember John, you have two more games to go against this team both at Mosaic. Don't start being all Calgary-like now!

--Was I the only yelling "THROW IT" at my TV?

--Was I the only one loving it seeing Jordan Eberle representing the Riders wearing a hat and a Dressler autographed jersey?

--Its been 28 years since the Riders were shut out. 1986!! Do you know how many bad teams this organization has fielded between 1986 to today and this Rider team is not a bad football team! Guys like Kevin Mason, Jeff Bentrim, Heath Rylance, Jimmy Kemp, Michael Bishop and Warren Jones all managed to find a way to get at least one point on the board and those guys were playing with some putrid Saskatchewan teams.


From one level of frustration to another and that was the Rams game against the Huskies on Saturday. All credit to the Huskies for the victory, but the Rams can sit back and say they are a couple of plays from being a 1-3 football team to being a 3-1 football team. They were oh so close to taking Alberta to overtime and they should have beaten the U of S had it not been for a huge drop by Jared Janotta in the endzone that turned into an INT. I think Janotta would even say he should have had it. Canada West is so close this year, that you can't afford losses like what the Rams have had in Edmonton and against the Huskies. Only time will tell where this team ends up, but I'm guessing there won't be a home playoff game now.

The Blue Jays season is over. What do you do now? I am guessing Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus won't be back, but I think the team has a good shot at retaining the services of Melky Cabrera. This team needs pitching from top to bottom. I would wager to say right now Marcus Stroman would be your opening day starter right now with Dickey, Buehrle and Hutchison following. If they can land a solid free agent starter, that would be great and some relievers are needed as well. It didn't sound Sunday as if GM Alex Anthopoulos thinks Casey Janssen will be back meaning a closer will need to be found. Boston will rebound, the Orioles aren't going anywhere, Tampa is always tough and the Yankees are the Yankees. The AL East will once again be a battle next year. Anthopoulos needs to find some bodies that can get this team to the next level.

With the playoffs now here, I will have to go with a Detroit-Dodgers final simply because they have the best pitching. Yes, Verlander was not Verlander down the stretch, but he still can win the big game and with Price and Scherzer there, you will have to be on your "A" game to beat them. As for the Dodgers, they throw Kershaw, Greinke and Beckett at you with Haren as the number 4 guy. I don't think there is a more complete team in the majors than L-A. We'll find out soon.

Week 4 of the NFL season brought tremendous theatre once again.

---The Bucs over the Steelers??? Who saw that one coming and how many had Pittsburgh in their survivor pool? Yes, I'm raising my hand and glad you have four weeks in which you can buy back in.

---The Teddy Bridgewater era has arrived in Minneapolis. The kid looked great against the Falcons.

---The Falcons are a team I just don't understand

---How much did Steve Smith Senior enjoy the Ravens win over Carolina and when did he start calling himself Steve Smith Senior.

---When do we start talking about the San Diego Chargers or do they have to beat divisional rivals KC and Denver first.

---The Seahawks didn't play this weekend, but ESPN had a graphic saying Russell Wilson is 7-0 against Brees, Manning, Brady and Rodgers.

---Speaking of Aaron Rodgers, when he says RELAX, he means RELAX. There is nothing wrong with the Green Bay offence folks.

---The best QB in the league right now might be Phillip Rivers

---JJ Watt is the best defensive player in the NFL

As hockey season prepares to start, I heard a good question on NHL Radio Friday afternoon. The question being------"Is Tyler Bozak an 80 point man playing with Phil Kessel?". One wants to say yes, but is 80 points too high for the Regina native?

Former Pat Jordan Weal is making it hard for the L-A Kings to send him back to the American Hockey League. So much so, there is talk Weal could prompt a trade involving someone like a Mike Richards or a Tyler Toffoli. The Oilers could certainly use someone of Richards' ilk, but what would you give them back. I would think the Stanley Cup champs would like another defenceman who chew up some minutes and the Oilers definitely don't have that in their stable. If Weal doesn't make the Kings, would a team ask for him in a trade or is L-A ready to do that. Weal is that close to being an NHL'er I think....its just a matter of getting the opportunity.

I had literally no interest in the Ryder Cup. None whatsoever.

The Family Guy/Simpsons episode didn't live up to expectations, but there were some moments.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Baseball's Last Day Will Bring Drama

With just one day to go in the season, the possibility of a one-game playoff -- or perhaps even two or three of them -- on Monday to determine a division winner, and possibly the second AL Wild Card, remains very much alive.

Except for the Mariners, who were walk-off winners over the Angels in 11 innings, 2-1, to stay alive one game behind Oakland for the second Wild Card, Saturday was not kind to playoff hopefuls, as five of the six lost. The Tigers were routed by the Twins for the second night in a row, but the Royals could not capitalize, losing to the White Sox, 5-3, to remain one game back. The Pirates were dealt what could have been a crushing blow on Saturday afternoon, losing on a walk-off grand slam in Cincinnati, but the Cardinals -- with a chance to clinch the NL Central -- could not do so, losing to the D-backs in Arizona, 5-2. The A's could have clinched the second Wild Card, but lost, 5-4, in Texas, giving Seattle life.

So, with just one game separating two teams in both the AL and NL Central divisions and also for the final AL Wild Card spot, a loss by the hunted and a win by the hunter on Sunday will necessitate a one-game playoff on Monday to decide a division winner and/or the final Wild Card. Here are the probable starters for Sunday's all-important games (all times Eastern):
1:08 p.m.: Twins (Gibson, 13-11, 4.50) at Tigers (Price, 14-12, 3.36)
1:10 p.m.: Pirates (Cole -- subject to change -- 11-5, 3.78) at Reds (Cueto, 19-9, 2.29)
2:10 p.m.: Royals (Ventura, 14-10, 3.07) at White Sox (Bassitt, 1-1, 3.65)
3:05 p.m.: Athletics (Gray, 13-10, 3.21) at Rangers (Martinez, 5-11, 4.61)
4:10 p.m.: Angels (Rasmus, 3-1, 2.38) at Mariners (Hernandez, 14-6, 2.18)
4:10 p.m.: Cardinals (Wainwright, 20-9, 2.38) at D-backs (Collmenter, 11-8, 3.57)

There cannot be a three-way tie for the AL Wild Card, as only an Oakland loss and Seattle win on Sunday would keep the Mariners alive at 87 wins. The Royals already have 88 wins and thus the top Wild Card position, even if they lose on Sunday.

The rest of the playoff field is set:
• The Angels, with the best record in the AL, hold home-field advantage through the World Series (by virtue of the AL's win in the All-Star Game) and will host the winner of the AL Wild Card Game, beginning Thursday in Anaheim.
• The Orioles are the AL's second seed and as such will play the winner of the AL Central division, whether that is decided on Sunday or Monday, beginning Thursday in Baltimore.
• The Nationals hold home-field advantage through the NLCS and will host the winner of the NL Wild Card Game, beginning Friday in Washington.
• The Dodgers are the NL's second seed and will host the winner of the NL Central division, which also could be decided on Sunday or Monday, beginning Friday in Los Angeles.
Should there be a one-game playoff for the second AL Wild Card or the AL or NL Central division races (or all three), here is what you need to know:
• A playoff for the second AL Wild Card between the Athletics and Mariners would take place in Seattle based on a head-to-head tie-breaker. The winner would advance to play the AL Wild Card Game in either Kansas City or Detroit on Wednesday. The loser goes home.
• A one-game playoff for the AL Central crown would be played in Detroit based on the Tigers edge in the head-to-head tiebreaker. The winner would win the division and advance to play the Orioles.
• The loser of the one-game playoff would then have yet another one-game test -- a Wild Card Game the next day vs. the Athletics or Mariners, whoever claims the second Wild Card, either on Sunday or Monday. Based on record or head-to-head tiebreaker, both hold the advantage on both Oakland and Seattle and will host the game. The winner then flies out West to face the AL-best Angels. The loser goes home.
• A one-game playoff for the NL Central title would be played in St. Louis, again based on the Cardinals edge in head-to-head games vs. the Pirates during the regular season. The winner heads to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in the NLDS.
• The loser would have one day of rest before playing the Giants in a Wild Card Game on Wednesday. Both teams, either by record or tie-breaker, hold the edge over San Francisco and would host the game. The winner of the NL Wild Card game advances to face the Nationals in the NLDS, also beginning Friday, in DC. The loser goes home.
As you can see, Sunday will be loaded aces pitching for both team and personal accomplishment. Felix Hernandez will hope to make an emphatic Cy Young statement while extending Seattle's season, while Adam Wainwright will be trying to clinch a division for the Cardinals while winning a career-high 21st game
David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner, is taking the hill for the Tigers with the AL Central on the line in a start that could go a long way toward justifying the July trade that brought him to Detroit. And then there is Johnny Cueto, who is gunning for his 20th win while aiming to crush Pittsburgh's NL Central dreams.

Tiebreaker possibilities
A one-game playoff will put any participating team in a precarious situation regarding starting pitching, as that club would have to burn a starting pitcher that otherwise might have been slated to start a Game 1 of a Division Series. But the stakes are very high, because winning the division is such a large advantage over just earning a Wild Card, will have to win yet another one-game playoff (and use another starting pitcher in the process) just to advance to a Division Series.
The Pirates will announce Sunday morning whether or not Gerrit Cole will go on Sunday afternoon. The question manager Clint Hurdle must answer is this: Does his team have a better chance of advancing further by using Cole Sunday and hoping to force a one-game playoff on Monday or by saving Cole and having him start the NL Wild Card game at home on Wednesday? If they use Cole Sunday and force a one-game playoff, they would have to use another starter - likely left-hander Jeff Locke or right-hander Edinson Volquez on short rest - on Monday. The upside is that Cole would line up for a potential NLDS Game 1 on Friday, but should they lose on Monday, they'd have to decide between Locke or Volquez, whoever didn't start the one-game playoff, or perhaps Vance Worley, in the do-or-die Wild Card game on Wednesday. In that scenario, left-hander Francisco Liriano would be set up for a potential NLDS Game 1, should they get that far. It's not an easy choice.
The Tigers would have Justin Verlander lined up to go in a one-game playoff, while the Royals would have right-hander James Shields, who would be on short rest. The Cardinals would have a choice between Shelby Miller or John Lackey, both of whom would be on normal rest or better.
Since the two-Wild Card format was introduced two years ago, none of the four Wild Cards has advanced beyond the Division Series, although last year the Rays beat the Rangers in a one-game playoff for the second Wild Card, then beat the Indians in the Wild Card game two days later, both on the road, before losing to Boston, 3-1, in the ALDS.

There has not been a divisional tie through the regular season since the Twins and Tigers tied for the AL Central in 2009. It was the third consecutive season in which it happened in the Majors and the Twins had a thrilling 12-inning victory at the Metrodome in one of the all-time great games in baseball history.
The year before it was the White Sox who beat the Twins on a Jim Thome homer, and Hurdle's Rockies downed the Padres the season before that on their stunning run to the NL pennant.

MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 27

The postseason is simple: Win enough games, you advance. Win enough series, and you're champs.
The final weekend of the regular season? Now that's where this beautiful sport truly gets wacky.

Sure, nine of the 10 playoff teams have already clinched -- with the Royals becoming the most recent to do so, snapping a 29-year postseason drought by virtue of their win over the White Sox on Friday night.

But the scenarios seem endless with two days remaining in a wild finish to this unpredictable season. Both Central divisions are separated by just one game and could be determined on the season's final day -- or later. And the Mariners are still very alive in their quest to catch Oakland for the last remaining playoff spot.


American League

Wild Card: A's at Royals

Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles

National League

Wild Card: Giants at Pirates

Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers

Pirates (Liriano 7-10, 3.32) at Reds (Simon 15-10, 3.34), 1:05 p.m. Preview

Pittsburgh clinched home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game by virtue of the Giants' loss to the Padres on Friday night. But the Bucs' focus is on the Central as a red-hot Francisco Liriano (one earned run in his last 28 innings) takes the hill.

Twins (Nolasco 5-12, 5.47) at Tigers (Lobstein 1-1, 3.38), 7:08 p.m. Preview

The Tigers' Central Division cushion is down to just one, but if they can beat Minnesota, they'll be scoreboard watching. A win and a Royals loss would wrap up a fourth straight division crown for Detroit.

Royals (Duffy 9-11, 2.32) at White Sox (Danks 10-11, 4.82), 7:10 p.m. Preview

Danny Duffy has quietly become one of the most reliable left-handers in the American League, and he gets the start on the South Side. Duffy threw six shutout frames in his return from a shoulder ailment on Monday.

A's (Samardzija 7-12, 2.88) at Rangers (Holland 2-0, 1.31), 8:05 p.m. Preview

The A's fate is in their hands with two games to play. Win one game, and they'll clinch a Wild Card berth. Lose both games, and they risk dropping into a one-game playoff with the Mariners.

Cardinals (Lynn 15-10, 2.73) at D-backs (Miley 8-12, 4.35), 8:10 p.m. Preview

By the time the Cardinals take the field in Arizona on Saturday night, they'll know the result of the Pirates' game in Cincinnati. Should Pittsburgh lose, the Cardinals would be a win away from clinching back-to-back Central crowns.

Angels (Wilson 13-10, 4.61) at Mariners (Paxton 6-4, 3.03), 9:10 p.m. Preview

The Mariners' only path to the postseason is to win and get help. But if they can survive Saturday, they'll head into the season's final day just one game back with King Felix set to take the hill.


To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

AL East: Orioles clinched

AL Central: Tigers 2 over Royals

AL West: Angels clinched

AL Wild Card 1: Royals 1 over A's

AL Wild Card 2: A's 1 over Mariners

NL East: Nationals clinched

NL Central: Cardinals 2 over Pirates

NL West: Dodgers clinched

NL Wild Card 1: Pirates clinched

NL Wild Card 2: Giants clinched

Friday, September 26, 2014

MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 26

On Derek Jeter's night of nights, the Pulse of the Postseason also didn't miss a beat on Thursday. The Giants, who have run the table in October two of the past four seasons, are an official National League Wild Card. The Pirates have the Cardinals' full attention in the NL Central, St. Louis' lead whittled to one game. The Tigers and Royals both won, Detroit keeping its two-game American League Central lead. The Royals are one game ahead of the A's in the Wild Card race after Oakland lost in Texas on Adrian Beltre's walk-off homer in the ninth inning.

The Brewers are out of the NL Wild Card picture after a matinee loss in Cincinnati that rewarded the Giants hours before they took a swing at home against the Padres. The Mariners, salvaging one in Toronto, are hanging by a thread in the AL Wild Card chase, needing more help from Texas. The Athletics are trying to protect a two-game advantage over their AL West rivals from Seattle in the Wild Card hunt.

American League
Wild Card: A's at Royals
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
National League
Wild Card: Giants at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers

The Angels, with the assistance of Jeter, own a three-game lead over the Orioles for the AL's best record and the prospect of home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Baltimore's 6-5 loss came courtesy of Jeter in his perfectly timed, perfectly fitting farewell to Yankee Stadium: a walk-off RBI single to the opposite field.

Splitting a doubleheader with the Mets, the Nationals are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers for best record in the NL and the potential reward of home-field advantage in the NL Championship Series. The Nats have another doubleheader set for Friday, against the Marlins, while the Dodgers finish at home against the Rockies.

Both Central division races are going down to the wire. The Tigers and Royals reach the season's final weekend in a duel to avoid the AL Wild Card, with the Motor City boppers perched in the driver's seat. The Cards have the one-game edge over the Pirates, who lead the Giants by one game in the NL Wild Card race for home-field advantage in the one-game playoff.

Lorenzo Cain's four hits and Eric Hosmer's homer and two singles drove the Royals in their 6-3 victory in Chicago. Max Scherzer claimed his 18th win in Detroit, with three innings of spotless relief anchored by closer Joe Nathan. Victor Martinez homered, doubled and singled, enhancing his candidacy for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. The favorite is Mike Trout, the heart and soul of the Angels.

The Pirates, thumping the Braves, 10-1, in Atlanta, move on to Cincinnati for a final series. Edinson Volquez worked seven scoreless innings, striking out 10, for his 13th win of a comeback campaign. Josh Harrison, with three hits, lifted his average to an NL-best .319. Andrew McCutchen, who had three RBIs, is third at .314. Sandwiched between the teammates is the Rockies' Justin Morneau at .317.

"We want to keep doing what we're doing, keep fighting," Volquez said. The soaring Bucs have won 17 of their past 21 games.
The Cards finish the regular season in Arizona against a D-backs outfit that has been out of contention for weeks. Pittsburgh would love to see Mark Trumbo and Co. inflict some damage on the St. Louis pitching staff in the desert.

Logan Morrison's two home runs powered the Mariners in a 7-5 victory at Toronto that kept alive their flickering hopes. They have three games left at home against the Angels, who are getting things in order for the AL Division Series.

"We're still in the ring, still fighting," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It's a good feeling. A lot of teams wish they were in our position. As dire as it may look, there are a lot of teams that wish they were in the Seattle Mariners' shoes right now. We're still in it and we're going to play hard and see what happens."

The Indians, three behind Oakland with three to go, need a Texas sweep and a sweep of their own at home against the Rays to stay alive.

Oakland's offensive woes continued in a 2-1 loss to Texas on Beltre's blast. The A's got a solid start from Jason Hammel but were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Colby Lewis and the Texas bullpen. The A's are 14-29 since Aug. 10.

The end of the road for the Brewers came in Cincinnati, where the Reds tattooed Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo for 10 hits in five innings and subdued the Brew Crew, 5-3. The Brewers spent 150 days in first place in the NL Central, leading the pack from April 5 to Aug. 31, but they didn't hold up in the final month in the always tough division.

"These games are the killers," manager Ron Roenicke said, the Brewers having contributed to their own demise with a pair of errors making two Reds runs unearned. "They're just hard to watch when you know you can win a game and you give it away."

Rays (Archer, 10-8) at Indians (Kluber, 17-9), 7:05 p.m.

Two of the game's elite young right-handers face off with the Tribe trying to keep the beat going as long as possible.
Twins (Swarzak, 3-2) at Tigers (Porcello, 15-12), 7:08 p.m.

The Tigers are trying to get their potentially lethal offense clicking on all cylinders as they gear up for another shot at World Series jewelry.
Pirates (Worley, 8-4) at Reds (Leake, 11-13), 7:10 p.m.

The Bucs, the hottest outfit in the game, continue to press the Cardinals in the NL Central while building momentum for October.
Athletics (Kazmir, 14-9) at Rangers (Tepesch, 5-10), 8:05 p.m.

A Wild Card isn't what they had in mind when they were tearing up the league with the Majors' best record for much of the season, but the A's will take what they can get at this point.
Royals (Guthrie, 12-11) at White Sox (Noesi, 8-11), 8:10 p.m.

It has been so long since Kansas City tasted postseason play, thousands of college grads in town haven't experienced the feeling. The dynamic young Royals appear determined to write a memorable closing chapter or two.
Cardinals (Wacha, 5-6) at D-backs (Cahill, 3-12), 9:40 p.m.

The Redbirds have no shortage of incentive with so much on the line, while the D-backs don't want anybody jumping in their pool again the way the Dodgers did last year.
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers 2 over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: Royals 2 over A's
AL Wild Card 2: A's 2 over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals 3 over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers clinched
NL Wild Card 1: Pirates 2 over Giants
NL Wild Card 2: Giants clinched

Thursday, September 25, 2014

This And That

The weekly set of thoughts running through my muddled brain---in no particular order

--Are Saskatchewan Roughriders fans really "horrible human beings?  I'm guessing some of them are, but that's another story. For the Edmonton Eskimos to refer to one team's fanbase as "horrible human beings" is a little overboard for me. I understand the whole marketing thing, but I think they get a failing grade. The Eskimos say its working because there will be close to 40-thousand at Commonwealth tonight. This just in, a game between a 9-3 team and an 8-4 team will draw the peeps out. Like the "guarantee" in BC, I hope the horrible human beings in attendance at Commonwealth go home smiling.  Sadly, I'm of the belief the Eskimos win this one, but I've been wrong before. By the way, the Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones perfectly encapsulates the whole situation right here.

 --Jordan Eberle was spotted wearing a Riders hat on Friday after practice as was assistant coach Todd Nelson. Jordan Eberle---a horrible human being ladies and gentlemen.

--There's a story going around about rowdy Rider fans and their behavior at Mosaic Stadium. This falls in the category of scientists have determined water is wet and the sky is blue. Rowdy behavior at a football game or a sporting event of any kind???? SHOCKING!!!  It happens everywhere and not just in Regina. All that story is is an attack on the Riders if you ask me.

 --There is a god when it comes to baseball. When the Yankees went to the top of 9 last night with a 5-2 lead and Derek Jeter coming up to bat 3rd in the bottom of 9, many thought they had seen Jeter at the plate for the last time. Yankees closer David Robertson surrendered three in the top of 9 to tie it which led to this in the bottom of 9. Jeter's last at bat at home....

If you're a baseball fan, did this surprise you? Jeter coming through in the clutch. You can't script this stuff. Its why being a sports fan is so great.

 --The crying over the NFL's overtime rules after the Seahawks went 80 yards in eight and a half minutes to beat the Broncos on Sunday makes me laugh. Yes, I am pro-Seahawk, but if Denver's defence was good enough, they would A) have held Seattle to just a field goal thus enabling Peyton Manning to come on to attempt the tie or get the win or B) force a punt,  The NFL overtime may have its flaws, but until the CFL starts its overtime with teams scrimmaging around the 45 yard line or midfield, don't tell me how flawed the NFL system is.  Besides, the Denver fans who are all squawking about it certainly had no problem with the Broncos getting a touchdown on the first play against Pittsburgh in that playoff game a few years ago did they.

  --From the blog of one Mr. R. Pedersen who found the numbers that I could not find.
  The Seattle-Denver Super Bowl rematch on CTV drew just over a million people across Canada last Sunday while at the same time, the Riders-REDBLACKS game drew 917-thousand. Like it or not, more and more Canadians are watching the NFL. The CFL must learn not to go up against the NFL once their season starts. They won't win the battle and when a Rider game isn't beating the NFL, you can bet your bottom dollar its raising eyebrows in the league office.

 --Week 4 NFL Lock Of The Week ---Pittsburgh over Tampa
    Week 4 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Chiefs over Patriots

 --With Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger apparently now getting a divorce, does this mean Grey Cup 102 means a new musical act for halftime?

--Where would the Toronto Blue Jays season have been had Alex Anthopoulos made a move for Jeff Samardzija, David Price or another starting pitcher of note? We will never know, but one can certainly see the team's swan-dive started when Anthopoulos didn't do anything at the trade deadline. He sent the wrong message to the players. Can he make up for that in the off-season? We will see, but I think this Toronto team can contend again if the right moves are made. One of them is re-signing Melky Cabrera.

 --What Simpsons character dies in the season premiere on Sunday night? The rumour is its going to be Krusty, but I say no way. I'm putting my money down on Grampa Simpson. His time is up is it not?

 --Less than two weeks from the start of the NHL season. WOOHOO. Of course, this Oilers fan three weeks into the season will probably be waiting for the season to end.

 --What makes one feel better---comfort foods or Southern Comfort?

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

Eskimos Respond To "Horrible Human Beings" Ad

If you missed it yesterday, I spoke with the Eskimos vice president of marketing and communications Allan Watt about their radio ad calling the Rider Nation "horrible human beings". He defends the team's stance in what they have done. Take a listen....

Week 4 NFL Capsules


The New York Giants and Washington Redskins will kick off Week 4 of the NFL season tonight. For a complete look at who is playing who this weekend, click here

(NFL Media)

Riders Sign Another Local Product

The Saskatchewan Roughriders today announced national long snapper Chad Rempel has signed with the team. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not released.


Rempel (6’2 – 230) will enter his eleventh CFL season after originally being selected in the 3rd round (35th overall) by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 2004 CFL Draft. The University of Saskatchewan product also spent time with Montreal (2004), Winnipeg (2005), Hamilton (2008) and Toronto (2006-07, 2009-13) through his first ten seasons. He was a part of Toronto’s Grey Cup winning team in 2012.


The 32-year-old attended 2014 training camp with the Chicago Bears before joining the Riders as a free agent.


Rempel is expected to play Friday’s game in Edmonton versus the Eskimos.     


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 24

Led by main man Andrew McCutchen and their budding Mr. September, right-hander Gerrit Cole, the Pirates are back in the high life. Having made it to the postseason for the first time in 21 years in 2013, Pittsburgh clinched a return trip on Tuesday night, beating Atlanta as the Brewers were getting shut down in Cincinnati by Johnny Cueto. Subdued by the Cubs in Chicago, the Cardinals watched their National League Central lead shrink to 1 1/2 games over the surging Bucs, winners of 15 of their past 18 games.

The Brewers are on the brink of elimination, the Giants one win or Milwaukee loss from wrapping up an NL Wild Card spot after absorbing a loss in Los Angeles that reduced the Dodgers' magic number to one in the West. The historic rivalry added a new chapter when Yasiel Puig charged the mound, emptying the dugouts and bullpens, after getting hit by a Madison Bumgarner pitch. Justin Turner homered twice and Matt Kemp, on his 30th birthday, unloaded a two-run blast for the Dodgers, whose win was their 90th, two shy of NL East champion Washington.
The White Sox spoiled David Price's gem with three ninth-inning runs in Detroit, but the Tigers won it on Miguel Cabrera's walk-off RBI single to remain a game ahead of the Royals in the American League Central race. Price had a three-hit shutout entering the ninth when five hits and three runs tied it for Chicago. Kansas City put away the Indians, who fell 4 1/2 games behind the Royals in the Wild Card chase. Not even the great Felix Hernandez could halt the Mariners' slide in a 10-2 loss in Toronto. King Felix was charged with eight runs across 4 2/3 innings as Seattle fell three games behind the Royals and Athletics, beaten by the Angels, for the second Wild Card spot with only five games left.
American League
Wild Card: A's at Royals
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
National League
Wild Card: Giants at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers

White Sox (Sale, 12-4) at Tigers (Verlander, (14-12), 1:08 p.m.
A duel of this magnitude is enthralling at any point in the season but especially now with the Tigers trying to hold off the Royals in the AL Central race.

Angels (Santiago, 5-9) at Athletics (Lester, 16-10), 3:35 p.m.
The A's are sending out one of the game's best, Jon Lester, against a fellow lefty in Hector Santiago, who has been struggling to stay in the strike zone -- and the game (nine outs total past two starts).

Mariners (Walker, 2-2) at Blue Jays (Buehrle, 12-10), 7:07 p.m.
Taijuan Walker, the kid with the golden arm, is pitching for a postseason Wild Card berth. Mark Buehrle, the wily veteran, needs six innings to reach 200 for a 14th consecutive season.

Royals (Vargas, 11-10) at Indians (Bauer, 5-8), 7:10 p.m.
In another game with postseason implications, Jason Vargas is due to get back on track after a recent downturn (0-3, 9.00 ERA past three outings), while Trevor Bauer tries to put his high-octane stuff in the right spots.

Pirates (Locke, 7-5) at Braves (Teheran, 13-13), 7:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh wants to keep the pressure on the Cards in the NL Central, while Atlanta wonders what happened to a season of such promise.

Brewers (Lohse, 12-9) at Reds (Corcino, 0-1), 7:10 p.m.
The Brew Crew is one loss or one Giants win away from elimination. Lohse is back in a nice groove after recovering from ankle issues.

Cardinals (Lackey, 14-9) at Cubs (Arrieta, 9-5), 8:05 p.m.
Arrieta is coming off his third no-hitter flirtation of the season, a one-hit shutout of the Reds. Lackey is trying to enhance his reputation as a big-game pitcher and keep the Cards at the top of the Central.

Giants (Hudson, 9-12) at Dodgers (Kershaw, 20-3), 10:10 p.m.
This is a rematch of the finale in San Francisco last Sunday taken by the Dodgers, who are 22-4 when Clayton Kershaw pitches. Tim Hudson is struggling to get the ball down in the zone.

To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers five over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: A's six over Royals, and Royals six over the A's
AL Wild Card 2: A's/Royals three over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals four over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers one over Giants
NL Wild Card 1: Pirates five over Giants
NL Wild Card 2: Giants one over Brewers

Riders and Ticats Make Trade

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired international defensive lineman Brandon Boudreaux, along with a fourth-round selection in the 2015 CFL Draft and a fourth-round selection in the 2016 CFL Draft from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
In 30 games over the last three seasons with the Tiger-Cats, Boudreaux recorded 62 defensive tackles and 12 quarterbacks. The 25-year-old led the Ti-Cats defence in quarterback sacks last season with seven on his way to being named an East Division All-Star.   
In exchange, the Riders have sent a third-round selection in the 2015 CFL Draft, a third-round selection in the 2016 CFL Draft and a negotiation list player to Hamilton.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Alouettes To Retire A-C's # Next Month

The Montreal Alouettes organization will honour Anthony Calvillo, the former star-quarterback who rewrote the CFL’s record books during his sixteen seasons with the Alouettes, as the team will retire his number 13 jersey on Monday, October 13 when the team faces the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.

The longtime face of the franchise and five-time CFL All-Star was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player on three separate occasions over the course of his career and holds league records of 79,816 passing yards, 455 touchdown passes, 5,892 completions and 9,437 pass attempts.
“Having my number 13 retired alongside the team’s greatest legends like Sam Etchevery, Peter Dalla Riva and my former teammate Mike Pringle at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium is an incredible privilege”, commented Anthony Calvillo. “I consider myself very fortunate to have been surrounded by so many talented individuals throughout my career. Without the contributions from Jim Popp, those exceptional coaches and my great teammates, none of this would have been possible”.
Calvillo broke into the CFL with the Las Vegas Posse in 1994 and spent the following three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before rising to stardom as a member of the Montreal Alouettes in 1998. Serving as quarterback Tracy Ham's understudy for two seasons, Calvillo took over as the starting pivot in 2000 on his way to winning three Grey Cups with Montreal in 2002, 2009, and in 2010. He was also named the 2002 Grey Cup Most Outstanding Player.
Calvillo, who was presented with the Key to the City at the end of the 2011 season, led the Alouettes to eight Grey Cup tilts and owns several championship records for most pass completions (179), passing yards (2,470) and touchdown passes thrown.
The veteran pivot became pro football’s all-time passing leader in spectacular fashion at Percival Molson Stadium against the Toronto Argonauts on October 10, 2011, following a 50-yard touchdown strike to Jamel Richardson.
“Anthony Calvillo has invested body and soul throughout his entire career for the Alouettes and the City of Montreal. We want to pay tribute to professional football’s greatest quarterback by awarding him the highest honour a player can have bestowed upon him”, declared Mark Weightman. "We invite all of our fans on October 13 to join us in celebrating an athlete that has marked our sport but also an exceptional man who has marked the lives many along the way".
In 2012, Calvillo became the first quarterback in league history to reach the 5,000-plus passing yards mark seven times over his brilliant career. He also threw for over 300 yards in eight straight games, breaking Doug Flutie's single-season CFL record of seven, set in 1991 with the B.C. Lions. That season, Calvillo deservingly earned his tenth nomination as the team's Most Outstanding Player.
Calvillo lives in Montreal with his wife Alexia and their daughters Olivia and Athena.
Calvillo’s number 13 is the tenth jersey that the Alouettes retire. His jersey will join those of Herb Trawick (56), Virgil Wagner (78), Sam Etchevery (72), Hal Patterson (75), George Dixon (28), Pierre Desjardins (63), Peter Dalla Riva (74), Junior Ah You (77) and Mike Pringle (27).

MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 23

The Pirates are closing in on a postseason berth while the October-bound Cardinals try to sew up the National League Central. The Royals are right there in a tough American League Central race, and the A's are still on target for an AL Wild Card berth. The Giants still have a chance in the National League West and look great for a Wild Card slot. And the Orioles have had such a good year that they can get things accomplished even when they lose.

That was the story Monday as the final week of the regular season began and the pennant races got 24 more hours of clarification, even if plenty remains up in the air. St. Louis' magic number to win the NL Central was reduced to four when Adam Wainwright won his 20th game of the year, and the Pirates eked out a 1-0 decision over the Braves to cut their magic number to clinch a Wild Card spot to two.
In the Central, the Royals lost the completion of a suspended game but bounced back to beat the Indians in the second game and now trail the Tigers by a game in the division standings. Out West, the Giants outlasted the Dodgers in 13 innings to cut Los Angeles' division lead to 3 1/2 games. And in the AL East, the Orioles, who'd already clinched the division, wrapped up home-field advantage in their AL Division Series even though they were blanked, 5-0, by the Yankees, simply because Detroit lost to the White Sox.
American League
Wild Card: Royals at A's
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
National League
Wild Card: Giants at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers
Royals (Ventura, 13-10) at Indians (Salazar, 6-7), 7:05 p.m.
The Indians aren't going down without a fight, so this game is huge for the Tribe to win at home. The Royals are right in the thick of the division race, making this one a can't-miss for baseball fans.
Mariners (Hernandez, 14-5) at Blue Jays (Dickey, 13-12), 7:07 p.m.
Seattle has lost three in a row at a time when it needs to win as much as possible. In other words, no better time to have King Felix on the mound.
White Sox (Carroll, 5-10) at Tigers (Price, 3-4), 7:08 p.m.
Starter David Price, the jewel of the Trade Deadline, would go a long way toward making the Tigers ecstatic about acquiring him by winning this key game as the AL Central gets tighter by the day.
Pirates (Cole, 10-5) at Braves (Wood, 11-10), 7:10 p.m.
As if Gerrit Cole needed more incentive to win, the Pirates can clinch a playoff spot by taking this one over the Braves if the Brewers fall to the Reds and their ace, Johnny Cueto.
Cardinals (Miller, 10-9) at Cubs (Hendricks, 7-2), 8:05 p.m.
St. Louis can get one or two games closer to a division title by taking care of business in Wrigley Field.
Giants (Bumgarner, 18-9) at Dodgers (Greinke, 15-8), 10:10 p.m.
San Francisco could cut the Dodgers' division lead to 2 1/2 games by winning this, and they have their best pitcher on the mound. They'll need a good game from Madison Bumgarner, too, because he's going up against 15-game winner Zack Greinke in the day's best pitching duel.
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers six over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: A's six over Royals
AL Wild Card 2: Royals five over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals four over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers three over Giants
NL Wild Card 1: Pirates six over Giants
NL Wild Card 2: Giants two over Brewers

Continuing To Impress

Before Sunday's Super Bowl rematch with the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks had their annual celebration for their Canadian fans.

The Seahawks call it their Canada Day, not to be confused with the actual Canada Day on July 1st each year.

Canadian punter Jon Ryan proudly stood on the sideline and listened to the singing of O'Canada with a huge Canadian flag and five Canadian Mounties on the field.

"As a Canadian, you always get a little fired up when the see the Mounties," Ryan said after the game. "I guess I had to do it for my country."

Whatever the motivation, it sure worked because Ryan had one of the best games of his career. If you pick three players who were the biggest factors in the 26-20 overtime victory against the Broncos, Ryan certainly would be one of them.

He had six punts for a 50.2-yard average, but that doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. Ryan also pinned the Broncos at their 7-yard-line on two other punts.

He also almost booted a ball all the way to Canada after Denver got a safety in the fourth quarter. On the free kick, Ryan boomed the ball 79 yards to the Denver 1 before it was returned to the 23.

Was it the longest he’s ever kicked a football?

"It’s probably pretty close," said Ryan, who is from Regina, Saskatchewan. "It was a decent hit and I had the wind a little bit."

His actual punts weren’t much shorter. His first two were 61 and 66 yards.

"I thought if anybody would be the MVP, it would be Jon," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He had a phenomenal game. You can’t expect a guy to do any better than that. The gorgeous kick after the safety, that changed that whole opportunity [for Denver] there. I was happy to see him do it on [the Seahawks'] Canada Day. Can we have another Canada Day next time we’re here?"

(Article courtesy Terry Blount--ESPN Seattle)

Monday, September 22, 2014

MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 22

Sunday's action in Major League Baseball made things a bit clearer with a week before the postseason officially arrives. Then again, there are still quite a few possibilities in play, not just for teams hoping to make the playoffs but for teams already in and now looking for home-field advantage in October. Those will all be worked out over the next seven days. On Sunday, we got a few answers as they played out in real time.

The first definitive conclusion we could come to after Sunday was that the St. Louis Cardinals have clinched a postseason berth. They didn't even have to win to do it, because they were in once the Pirates beat the Brewers. Also on Sunday, the Kansas City Royals made the American League Central more interesting by beating the Tigers and trimming Detroit's division lead to 1 1/2 games. The Royals remain in the second slot for the AL Wild Card race because the Oakland A's maintained the top slot by beating the Phillies on a walk-off homer by Josh Donaldson in the 10th inning.
Elsewhere, the Pirates won and the Giants lost, which had them deadlocked in the top two slots for the NL Wild Card. The Dodgers got closer to an NL West title and ensuring home-field in a Division Series by winning in Chicago on Sunday, but the AL East champion Orioles lost a day of momentum in that department by dropping a game to Boston and the AL West-winning Angels slipped up in their hunt for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a loss to Texas.
American League
Wild Card: Royals at A's
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
National League
Wild Card: Giants at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers
Royals (Duffy, 8-11) at Indians (Carrasco, 8-5), 7:05 p.m.
Before this game starts, the two clubs have to finish up their suspended game from Aug. 31, which Cleveland currently leads, 4-2, in the bottom of the 10th. The Royals will hand the ball to their hard-throwing left-hander, Danny Duffy, in hopes that he'll be able to contain the Indians' offense, but Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco has been brilliant of late and the Royals will be on the road, so it's a tall order.
Mariners (Paxton, 6-3) at Blue Jays (Happ, 9-11), 7:07 p.m.
The Mariners need as many wins as they can get right now, and their young left-hander, James Paxton, has been one of their best pitchers over the past few weeks.
White Sox (Bassitt, 0-1) at Tigers (Lobstein, 1-0), 7:08 p.m.
Detroit will be looking to take advantage of playing at Comerica Park and will rely on Kyle Lobstein to push it one game closer to winning the AL Central
Pirates (Liriano, 6-10) at Braves (Harang, 11-11), 7:10 p.m.
The Pirates are closing in on a Wild Card berth, but they won't play another regular-season game at home. In other words, it's crunch time, beginning tonight in Atlanta.
Cardinals (Wainwright, 19-9) at Cubs (Wood, 8-12), 8:05 p.m
Adam Wainwright can win his 20th game of the year and get his team closer to a division title.
Angels (Wilson, 13-9) at Athletics (Samardzija, 6-12), 10:05 p.m.
The A's might have recaptured some magic at home on Sunday with a walk-off win over Philadelphia. They'll be looking to tap into that mojo against the Angels.
Giants (Peavy, 7-13) at Dodgers (Haren, 13-11), 10:10 p.m.
The Dodgers' magic number to clinch the NL West is only at three, so the Giants need to win beginning tonight to have any shot at pulling out a division title.

To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers seven over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: A's eight over Royals
AL Wild Card 2: Royals seven over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals five over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers three over Giants
NL Wild Card 1: Pirates eight over Giants
NL Wild Card 2: Giants three over Brewers

(MLB Media)

Something To "Mitch" About

They were jumping for joy at Mosaic on Sunday afternoon and why not!

The Riders somehow found a way to beat the Ottawa REDBLACKS 35-32 in an overtime thriller in front of a sold out crowd in what was one of two very good football games I witnessed this weekend and a third that I watched when I got  home from Mosaic.

Just some thoughts from what I witnessed Sunday

--Thank you very much to the Kansas City Chiefs. Your inability to see how good of a football player Weston Dressler is and how much more he brings to a room was tremendous news to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Dressler's return to Regina has seen this team, with the exception of the Hamilton game, go to another level. His performance Sunday was out of this world and his 60 yard catch for a touchdown is in my mind, the CFL play of the year and one of the best plays of 2014.

--No fan can complain about the officiating yesterday. The Dressler TD should not have counted because of contacting the kicker. How do the zebras miss that? I swear to god refs at High Impact Wrestling and the WWE would have a better handle on things at times.

--That being said, how could other teams who could use the services of Dressler down south not take a chance on him after he was released by the Chiefs.

--Whatever Corey Chamblin said at the half, it worked. Even Coach C was a little embarrassed at game's end when asked what he said. He really wouldn't go into a lot of details, but a couple of players said in a nutshell it was get your s##t together or else. Tearrius George said the words used were ones you can't put over the air. No kidding!

--Henry Burris was the best player on the field yesterday. There is no debate on this question. He looked like the Burris that gave the Riders headaches when he played for Calgary. If his receivers had helped him, he would have been much better

--Tino Sunseri's 2nd half should erase the doubts of many. It seems as if took him a little while to get going, but once he understands the complexities of the game, he looked alright. He is no Darian Durant, but he may be able to get us through these final 6 games with a home playoff game at the end of the rainbow.

--There is a lot of negativity about the team after a six game stretch that saw them go 5-1 heading into the last third of the season.  Why is that?

Other odds and ends:

This is Foote Field on the campus of the University of Alberta. The Rams and Golden Bears hooked up in a thriller Saturday night with a Rams comeback coming one play short as Regina was unsuccessful on what would have been a game tying two point convert as they lost 44-42 to the Bears.

This place is what (and I think what some in the Rams organization and perhaps University) always envisioned the area around the Rams practice field to look like, Its a great little facility that is intimate enough to create a solid game day atmosphere. I am guessing the berm on the far side of the field would even be used to maybe attract a crowd of 5-thousand for a game.  Underneath the stands are weight rooms, meeting rooms, etc. etc and behind me is a track and soccer field where the Bears were also  playing at the same time as the Rams.

To the game itself, Rams starting QB Cayman Shutter suffered what looked to be a rib injury meaning backup Noah Picton had to come in. There was no drop off. Noah, son of former Rams QB Dean Picton, can play the game as he threw for over 430 yards and just over a half of football. The kid doesn't look like a 5th year at all and fans of the Rams can be rest assured the quarterbacking position is in good hands for years to come.  Addison Richards was Addison Richards like catching 9 passes for 225 yards including a TD in the final minute where he was so far open that I could have caught it and ran it into the endzone.  If this team can stop taking bad penalties and improve just a little on the defensive side, they could make some noise. Calgary is still the class of the conference and should win the Hardy Cup, but the battle for 2nd is anyone's guess.  The Huskies are at Mosaic Saturday in what barring a playoff game will be the last time Frank McCrystal coaches against a Saskatoon team. Should be fun!

--Our hotel in Edmonton was close to where Rogers Arena, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers is being built. I asked our cab driver Sunday morning how close we were because I wanted to get a couple of pics for the blog. He had no idea what I was talking about. How can you live in Edmonton and not know a huge new arena is being built? SIGHHHHHHH

--When arriving at the airport, I couldn't believe the amount of people in Rider uniform that were there and on our flight. Were these people Edmontonians who are Rider fans? Were they Reginans who had been in Edmonton and were just getting ready for the proceedings? Whatever it is, they just reinforced the notion that the Riders are "Canada's Team".

--Its the last week of the baseball season meaning its the last week of play for Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Jeter showed how classy of a player he is Friday night when Dalton Pompey of the Blue Jays got his first major league hit. Jeter knew the moment was a special one and retrieved the ball before throwing it to the Jays dugout and congratulating Pompey on the moment. How cool would that be! Baseball and sports need more Jeters in them.

--I was hoping John Cena would not beat Brock Lesnar at WWE Night of Champions and when I read that he had on Twitter, I was shocked. Then I learned, he won because of DQ. OK. Vince and company need to establish some fast-rising stars and give them their chance because Cena's days are done. Its either that or turn him heel and they just won't do that. There is a wrestling show on satellite radio that I hear when off to Mosaic for Rider practices and they get some good info and have some good ideas. I wonder if the WWE brass are listening.

--They let a good sized lead slip away, but the Seahawks knocked off Denver in a game I PVR"ed and one I was glad I did. I wish that would have been the Super Bowl. Well, no maybe that's not the case as I would have been an emotional pile of jello watching that play out. In the end, the Seahawks win another one. I would gladly take another game against Peyton and company at the end of the season. If you watched the game, you couldn't help but be impressed at the play of Jon Ryan. He is just getting better and better. Seven punts for an average of over 50 and he boomed one on a free kick from the Seattle 25 to I believe the Denver 3 yard line. That's a 72 yard kick in the air! It was Canada Day at Century Link Field so I'm guessing Regina's export to the NFL was a little pumped up.

--This is the play of the day in the NFL as far as I'm concerned. Nice job Stephen Tulloch...nice indeed. Welcome to the blooper reels forever!!! This play by Johnny Manziel could also be considered. Too bad it was called back. What was it with quarterbacks catching passes yesterday? Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton and Manziel for sure caught balls. Were there more??

That's all I least that's all I can remember right now.  Later!

Friday, September 19, 2014

WHL Announces Rule Changes For Upcoming Season

The Western Hockey League today announced a series of rule changes for the upcoming 2014-15 WHL Season, which opens Friday evening.

Rule changes for the 2014-15 WHL Season were tested during pre-season and most of the changes adopted by the National Hockey League (NHL):

*Indicates rule adopted by the NHL

1) Overtime

· During the regular season, at the end of the third period of a tied game, there will be a two minute break prior to the start of a five (5) minute sudden-death overtime period (same as in previous seasons).

· *The Clubs must change ends for the overtime period.

2) Shootout

· Should a regular season game be tied after the five (5) minute sudden-death overtime period, the Zamboni(s) will do a dry scrape of the middle of the ice (same as in previous seasons).

· *The Clubs must change ends again for the shootout.

· *The home team shall have the choice of shooting first or second, and the Clubs shall alternate shots.

· *The spin-o-rama type move where the player completes a 360 degree turn as he approaches the goal shall not be permitted. Should a player perform such a move during the penalty shot, the shot shall be stopped immediately by the referee, and no goal shall be permitted. (This also applies on regular penalty shot situations during a game)

3) Tripping

· *A two minute minor penalty will be assessed when a defending player “dives” and trips an attacking player with his stick, body, arm or shoulder, regardless of whether the defending player is able to make initial contact with the puck.

· *In situations where a penalty shot might otherwise be appropriate, if the defending player “dives” and touches the puck first (before the trip), no penalty shot will be awarded. (In such cases, the resulting penalty will be limited to a two minute minor for tripping).

4) No Change Icing

· *When a Club commits a no change icing infraction, a face-off violation by that team will not result in the center being removed.

· *Instead, the center will be warned by the linesman that his Club has committed their first face-off violation. The linesman will then conduct the face-off as quickly as possible.

· *Any second violation by that same Club, on the same stoppage, will result in a bench minor penalty for delay of game (face-off violation) being assessed.

· *If the center attempts to arrive at the face-off spot just as the five seconds elapse to gain an advantage to win the face-off, he shall not be removed from the face-off. The center will be warned by the linesman that his Club has committed a face-off violation. In the event the center then commits a second face-off violation, or the action is actually the second face-off violation, a bench minor penalty for delay of game will be assessed.

5) Puck Out of Bounds

With respect to the attacking Club being responsible for the puck going out of play in the attacking zone, the following exceptions apply, and as a result, the face-off shall be conducted at one of the face-off spots in the attacking zone:

· *Shot at the net that deflects off the goal post or crossbar and out of play

· *Shot at the net that breaks the glass

· *Shot at the net that goes off the side of the net and out of play

· *Shot at the net that goes off the dasher boards or glass and out of play

· *Shot at the net that is tipped or deflected by a teammate out of play

· *Shot at the net that becomes wedged in or on the exterior of the goal net

6) Video Goal Judge Reviewable Situation

· When a goal has been scored and the Video Goal Judge has conclusive video evidence that the puck hit the netting (therefore out of play) and went back onto the ice surface which was undetected by the on-ice officials, this goal shall not be allowed. If the puck subsequently leaves the attacking zone after hitting the net, this play is no longer reviewable by the Video Goal Judge.

MLB Postseason Picture For September 19

Behind Gerrit Cole's strong right arm, the torrid hitting of Starling Marte and a high-wire act by closer Mark Melancon, the Pirates kept the heat on the Cardinals in the National League Central race on Thursday night, holding off the Red Sox. St. Louis, at home, needed 13 innings to subdue the Brewers and retain a 2 ½-game lead over the Bucs while the Brewers fell six off the pace. In Chicago, the Dodgers beat the Cubs to push their NL West lead to 2 ½ games over the idle Giants.

The Pulse of the Postseason remained alive in the Bronx, where Derek Jeter homered and the Yankees took a 3-2 decision from the Blue Jays in the bottom of the ninth on an error. The Yanks advanced within five games of the second AL Wild Card held by the Athletics, who fell a half-game behind the idle Royals after the Rangers completed a three-game sweep in Oakland. The Indians outlasted the Astros in 13 innings to move within four games of the second Wild Card.


American League

Wild Card: A's at Royals

Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles

National League

Wild Card: Pirates at Giants

Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers



Dodgers (Kershaw, 19-3) at Cubs (Jackson, 6-14), 2:20 p.m.

Once again, the Dodgers look to Clayton Kershaw to show his dominance in pursuit of his 20th win -- remarkable in view of the fact he missed five or six starts early in the season with an upper back muscle strain. The Dodgers can clinch a postseason berth with a victory and a Brewers loss.

Brewers (Gallardo, 8-10) at Pirates (Locke, 7-5), 7:05 p.m.

Yovani Gallardo (7.36 ERA past three starts) needs to get back in his ace form as the Brew Crew tries to remain relevant in two races (Central, Wild Card) in this huge series.

Jays (Buehrle, 12-9) at Yankees (Kuroda, 10-9), 7:05 p.m.

The Yankees will try to build on the momentum of Thursday night's walk-off win behind Hiroki Kuroda as they try to make a big move in the Wild Card chase.

Tigers (Verlander, 13-12) at Royals (Vargas, 11-9), 8:10 p.m.

In this showdown series for AL Central supremacy, a pair of veterans lock up in an effort to give their clubs momentum and an early edge. Justin Verlander and Jason Vargas both have struggled lately.

Mariners (Walker, 1-2) at Astros (Peacock, 4-8), 8:10 p.m.

Taijuan Walker is a big part of the Mariners' impressive youth brigade, but it's the Seattle offense that needs to show it can deliver as the Mariners try to make a late move in the Wild Card race.

Reds (Holmberg, 1-1) at Cardinals (Lackey, 13-9), 8:15 p.m.

The Pirates are keeping the heat on the NL Central-leading Redbirds, who are looking to John Lackey to give them the pressure performance they anticipated when they dealt for him.

Phillies (Buchanan, 6-7) at Athletics (Lester, 15-10), 9:35 p.m

The A's have to regroup to regain a hold on a Wild Card berth, and it's up to Jon Lester to contain the Phillies as the offense looks to get the offense rolling.

Giants (Hudson, 9-11) at Padres (Despaigne, 3-7), 10:10 p.m. Preview

Tim Hudson's recent struggles with command are a concern, but he's in the right park to find his groove with the Giants breathing down the Dodgers' necks in the NL West race.

• Watch the races on MLB.TV


To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

AL East: Orioles clinched

AL Central: Tigers 11 over Royals

AL West: Angels clinched

AL Wild Card 1: Royals 10 over A's

AL Wild Card 2: A's 10 over Mariners

NL East: Nationals clinched

NL Central: Cardinals 8 over Pirates

NL West: Dodgers 8 over Giants

NL Wild Card 1: Giants 9 over Pirates

NL Wild Card 2: Pirates 7 over Brewers

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"This and That"

Just the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order

  • Two of my favourite all-time Riders are getting recognized this weekend at the Plaza of Honor. I couldn't be happier for Chris Szarka and Reggie Hunt to get their moment in the sun. While you can talk to Zark anytime since he's still in Regina and a part of CKRM's Rider team, it was great to chat with Reggie in the Sportscage on Thursday. The guy looks like he still could get out there and play.

  •  The NFL is taking one hit after another over the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations as the debate continues, especially the AP situation.  The question I have is while people heap abuse and criticism on the NFL, why do they never issue praise to a guy like Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson who spends a lot of time at hospitals visiting children. Check out his instagram account. Someone perhaps needs to remind America about the Jon Ryan story and how he fought his emotions while his dad was back home dying of cancer and the moment the two of them shared in Green Bay which was a complete surprise to Jon. Why isn't there more stories like Devon Still publicized every week. Yes, the NFL has gotten a black eye (no pun intended) this week, but there is still a lot of good out there amongst the football brethren

  • I will just say it right now and start the campaign. The Saskatchewan Roughriders need to add to their talented receiving corps and draft Regina Rams passgrabber Addison Richards.  The kid is a player and would be a great addition to an already talented group of receivers.

  • I surely can't be the only one who really couldn't really care about the visit to Saskatchewan by Prince Edward. Its not like he is a high profile member of the royal family. Its not the Queen, its not Prince Charles, its not William and Kate. I am just disappointed Edward was not photographed wearing some kind of Rider gear or a watermelon on his head. That would have made a great photo opportunity.

  • Good luck to the Regina Pats this year. My boy Phil Andrews is pretty excited these days and well he should be as its his time to shine again now by doing p x p. The first game comes from Brandon tonight at 630. The home opener is Saturday against the Wheat Kings at 7 with both games on CKRM.  The Saturday game means the U of R Rams at Alberta game will be online on CKRM2. Is that the reason why I have the p x p assignment of the contest?? Whether it is or not, Marco Ricci and I will bring it to you starting at 5 from Foote Field in Edmonton. It will be good to spend some time in the Alberta capital as its been a while since I've been there. It would be nice if I could take in an Oilers game, but perhaps that will happen later this winter.

  • I'm guessing Montreal Expos fans will NOT be cheering for the Washington Nationals in the playoffs. 

  • I'll just come right out and say sucks that the Riders-Ottawa game is on as the same time as the Super Bowl rematch between the Broncos and Seahawks. Yes, the NFL game will be PVR'ed, but yes, sadly I will know the score before I start watching it. Of course, the fact I will be sitting with uberBroncos fan Rob Vanstone in the pressbox may make it somewhat amusing as I keep informing him of the score---one that I hope resembles last year's Super Bowl. I think the bigger question is how is a Super Bowl rematch not a Thursday, Sunday or Monday night game?

  • This is the new mascot of the Dallas Stars.  

          What exactly is this? Is this what happens when Oscar the Grouch and Youppi have intimate relations?  Why? 

  • Week 3 NFL Lock Of The Week --- Patriots over Raiders (DUHH)
           Week 3 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Chargers over Bills

  • As we debate the positives and negatives of a new stadium in Regina, I can't help but see what is happening in Atlanta. At one point, both the Falcons and Braves played at Fulton County Stadium. The Braves then moved into Turner Field in 1997 and are getting ready to move into another brand new facility while the Falcons moved into the Georgia Dome in 1992 and are getting ready to move into a brand new facility. There is talk both Turner Field and the Georgia Dome may both end up being torn apart. ????????  That's really inexcusable and somewhat laughable. 

  • I don't know what was uglier----the Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniforms or the guys in them last night. That was embarrassing!!!

  • That's all I got. Have a great weekend. GO RIDERS, GO SEAHAWKS!!

WHL Eastern Conference Preview

East Division

Brandon Wheat Kings
General Manager/Head Coach: Kelly McCrimmon
2014 pre-season: 4gp, 3-1-0-0
2013-14 Record: 34-29-6-3, 77pts (3rd in East Div., 7th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 271 GA: 269
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 25.9% (2nd); PK: 75.2% (18th)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in five games to Edmonton in second round
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Jayce Hawryluk 59gp-24g-40a-64pts

Ryan Pulock 66gp-23g-40a-63pts

Tim McGauley 68gp-21g-39a-60pts

The Brandon Wheat Kings took a big step forward last season, making it back to the playoffs after missing out the year before. With a collection of young, high-end talent, the Wheat Kings will be gunning for East Division supremacy. Up front, the Wheat Kings return several key forwards from what was the third-highest scoring offense in the WHL Eastern Conference last season. Jayce Hawryluk, John Quenneville, Peter Quenneville, Rihards Bukarts and Tim McGauley lead what should be a dangerous attack while sophomores Jesse Gabrielle and Braylon Shmyr will look to take on a bigger role. Highly-touted rookie Nolan Patrick could also be a difference-maker as a 16-year-old. The Wheat Kings will miss the presence of former captain Ryan Pulock on the back end. However, 18-year-old Ryan Pilon should be able step up and help fill the void both offensively and defensively. Look for rookies Ivan Provorov and Kale Clague to step in on the back end as well. Goaltender Jordan Papirny takes on the starting job in goal after posting 22 wins in 46 games last year and further impressing in the post-season.

Player to Watch: John Quenneville
An 18-year-old from Edmonton, AB, Quenneville enjoyed a breakout campaign last year, scoring 25 goals and 58 points in 61 games to help the Wheat Kings make the post-season. He also turned the eyes of NHL scouts with his blend of offensive skill and physical ability, hearing his name called in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft when the New Jersey Devils selected him 30th overall. A big-bodies forward who can skate, play physical and generate offense, expect Quenneville to build on his strong campaign last year and become a go-to guy in the Wheat Kings’ attack.


Moose Jaw Warriors
General Manager: Alan Millar
Head Coach: Tim Hunter

2014 pre-season: 6gp, 1-3-2-0
2013-14 Record: 21-42-3-6, 51pts (5th in East Div., 10th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 202 GA: 283
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 19.7% (16th); PK: 77.6% (15th)
2014 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Brayden Point 72gp-36g-55a-91pts

Jack Rodewald 58gp-28g-27a-55pts

Sam Fioretti 65gp-20g-35a-55pts

The Warriors come into the 2014-15 season looking to end a two-year playoff absence. Up front, expect Brayden Point to carry much of the offensive load. The 18-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick put up an impressive 91 points last year, and should again be among the top scorers in the WHL this season. Veterans Jack Rodewald and Tanner Eberle, along with off-season acquisition Jaimen Yakubowski, will also need to factor into the offense. Defensively, the Warriors aim to improve on what was the 18th ranked defence last season. Russian sophomore Alexei Sleptsov is coming off a 25-point season last year, and will need to be a big contributor on the power play. Veterans Austin Adam, Spenser Jensen and Dallas Valentine bring plenty of size to the Warriors’ back end. Veteran goaltender Justin Paulic has 114 games of WHL experience, including appearing in 56 games last year for the Warriors. He will be pushed for the starting role by promising 17-year-old Zach Sawchenko.

Player to Watch: Zach Sawchenko
The netminder from Calgary, AB, who doesn’t turn 17 until December, enters his second season in the WHL playing the back-up role to veteran Justin Paulic after getting into 26 games as a rookie. Yet Sawchenko, who was the Warriors’ first pick, 33rd overall, in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, is the goaltender of the future for Moose Jaw. The Warriors’ Rookie of the Year last year, Sawchenko backstopped Canada’s Under-18 team to a Gold medal at the Memorial for Ivan Hlinka tournament in August, and also starred for Team Pacific in the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Expect Sawchenko to be a difference-maker for the Warriors when called upon this season.


Prince Albert Raiders

General Manager: Bruno Campese
Head Coach: Cory Clouston

2014 pre-season: 6gp, 3-2-0-1
2013-14 Record: 35-32-3-2, 75pts (4th in East Div., 8th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 243 GA: 258
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 24.9% (3rd); PK: 76.0% (16th)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in four games to Edmonton in first round
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Leon Draisaitl 64gp-38g-67a-105pts
Josh Morrissey 59gp-28g-45a-73pts
Collin Valcourt 71gp-28g-44a-72pts

The Raiders lose several key veterans from last year’s team that finished eighth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. However, the team boasts a few players who are ready to step up and fill the void. Up front, the Raiders don’t expect leading scorer Leon Draisaitl back. It will be up to veterans Jayden Hart, Dakota Conroy and Reid Gardiner to take on key offensive roles in Draisaitl’s absence. Look for 19-year-olds Jordan Tkatch and Gage Quinney, and 17-year-old Matteo Gennaro to provide offensive punch as well. 19-year-old captain Josh Morrissey expects to have another dominant season on the Raiders’ blue line if he doesn’t stick in the NHL, while 20-year-old Sawyer Lange and 18-year-old MacKenze Stewart will also be key cogs on the Raiders’ back end. 17-year-old Nick McBride got into 27 games as a rookie last season, posting 12 wins and a 2.95 GAA. The 23rd overall pick from the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft looks poised to take on the starting role this season, with 18-year-old Rylan Parenteau pushing for starts.

Player to Watch: Reid Gardiner
Gardiner, an 18-year-old from Humboldt, SK, enters his third season in the WHL looking to be an impact player for the Raiders. The 5’11”, 185-lb pivot put up 22 goals and 44 points in 70 games last season, helping the Raiders make the post-season. A strong two-way forward with excellent hockey sense and vision, Gardiner will be expected to take on much more responsibility this season after the graduation of several of the Club’s top players from last year. Having gone undrafted in the 2014 NHL Draft, Gardiner would like nothing more than to use the upcoming campaign to prove NHL scouts wrong in passing him by.


Regina Pats

General Manager/Head Coach: John Paddock
2014 pre-season: 7gp, 4-2-1-0
2013-14 Record: 39-26-4-3, 85pts (1st in East Div.,2nd in Eastern Conf.) GF: 257 GA: 247
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 20.9% (T-11th or 12th); PK: 73.6% (20th)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in four games to Brandon in first round
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Chandler Stephenson 69gp-30g-59a-89pts
Dyson Stevenson 66gp-38g-38a-76pts

Morgan Klimchuk 57gp-30g-44a-74pts

Under the guidance of new head coach John Paddock, the Pats will look to some younger players as they set out to defend their 2013-14 East Division crown. Gone are top-scoring veterans Chandler Stephenson, Boston Leier and Dyson Stevenson, leaving the heavy offensive lifting to 19-year-old Calgary Flames first-rounder Morgan Klimchuk. 16-year-old Sam Steel comes in with plenty of fanfare, and certainly has the talent to make an immediate impact up front. Look for the likes of Connor Gay, Braden Christoffer and Dryden Hunt to step up. Veterans Colby Williams and Kyle Burroughs will anchor the back end for the Pats. Both are strong two-way defenders who can put up points and keep things organized in the defensive zone. Veteran Daniel Wapple is back to take over the starting job for the Pats. The 19-year-old missed time due to injury last year, but managed 12 wins, including two shutouts, in 19 games with the Pats. Fellow 19-year-old Tyler Fuhr will take on the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Sam Steel
The No. 2 overall pick from the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Sam Steel comes into his first season in the WHL with high expectations. The 16-year-old from Sherwood Park, AB, put up seven goals and 23 points in 14 games in an injury-shortened season for Sherwood Park of the Alberta Midget AAA League, and even got into five regular-season and two post-season games for the Pats. A great skater with elite-level offensive skill and instincts, Steel has the talent and ability to make an immediate impact in the Pats’ lineup, even as a rookie.


Saskatoon Blades
General Manager/Head Coach: Bob Woods
2014 pre-season: 6gp, 3-2-1-0
2013-14 Record: 16-51-2-3, 37pts (6th in East Div., 11th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 207 GA: 317
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 20.9% (11th); PK: 74.2% (19th)
2014 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2013-14 Top Scorers:
Nikita Scherbak 65gp-28g-50a-78pts
Connor Sanvido 68gp-16g-24a-40pts
Cory Millette 63gp-17g-17a-34pts

The Saskatoon Blades endured a difficult season last year as they entered a rebuilding phase. This year, the Blades return several of their young, promising talents who will look to improve the team’s standing in the East Division. 18-year-old Nikita Scherbak led the team in scoring last season as a rookie, and is eligible to come back this season. However, the first-round NHL Draft pick’s status is unclear with the Blades having picked up two more Import players during the off-season. If Scherbak remains with the Blades, he will undoubtedly be a top point-producer. 17-year-old Cameron Hebig, 19-year-olds Cory Millette and Alex Forsberg, and 20-year-old Brett Stovin will also be tasked with providing offense. On the blue line, Nelson Nogier has put last year’s injury woes behind him, and should be ready to log heavy minutes. Veterans Ayrton Nikkel and Jordan Thomson will be key cogs in the Blades’ defensive plans as well. 20-year-old goaltender Troy Trombley returns to hold down the starting job in the Blades’ cage. Trombley got into 49 games for the Blades last season.

Player to Watch: Nelson Nogier
An 18-year-old from Saskatoon, SK, Nogier enters his third season in the WHL with his hometown team looking to contribute much more after an injury-shortened season last year. The 6’3”, 202-lb rearguard only appeared in 37 games, scoring once and picking up six points, but still garnered plenty of interest from NHL scouts and wound up getting drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft by Winnipeg. A strong skating, defensive-minded blue-liner, Nogier prides himself on being hard to play against, being defensively sound, and providing strong leadership. Now healthy, expect Nogier to be a lynchpin in the Blades’ defensive scheme this season.


Swift Current Broncos
General Manager / Head Coach: Mark Lamb
2014 pre-season: 7gp, 4-2-0-1
2013-14 Record: 38-25-3-6, 85pts (2nd in East Div., 5th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 248 GA: 229
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 23.4% (6th); PK: 79.5% (10th)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in six games to Medicine Hat in first round
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Graham Black 69gp-34g-63a-97pts
Nathan Burns 68gp-27g-50a-77pts
Coda Gordon 59gp-26g-45a-71pts

The Broncos bring back many of the key players who helped the Club to a second-place finish in the East Division last season. 20-year-old veterans Colby Cave and Coda Gordon return to head up what should be a productive offense. Both put up 70 or more points last season. Also back are talented sophomores Jake DeBrusk and Glenn Gawdin, who should be ready to take on bigger roles in the attack. Veteran Jay Merkley will look to improve on his 34-goal campaign as well. The Broncos also return a strong defence corps, led by veterans Dillon Heatherington, Brett Lernout and Brycen Martin, who are all NHL prospects. The Broncos will benefit greatly if offensive standout Julius Honka returns. The graduation of Finnish standout Eetu Laurikainen leaves a hole in the Broncos’ net. 19-year-old Landon Bow, who backed up Laurikainen in each of the last two seasons, looks to take over the starting job. Bow has 41 games of WHL experience under his belt. 17-year-old Travis Child will get his first WHL experience, slotting into the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Jake DeBrusk
An Edmonton, AB, product, DeBrusk enjoyed a solid campaign as a rookie last season, netting 15 goals and 39 points in 72 games. The 6’0”, 177-lb left wing, who was a seventh-round pick of the Broncos in 2011, boasts strong offensive skill, and isn’t afraid to engage in physical battles. DeBrusk has already drawn the attention of NHL scouts, finding himself listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Watch List for players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. The son of former NHLer Louie DeBrusk, Jake will be expected to step into a much larger role in the offense for Swift Current this season.

Central Division

Calgary Hitmen
General Manager: Mike Moore
Head Coach: Mark French
2014 pre-season: 6gp, 4-2-0-0
2013-14 Record: 48-17-3-4, 103pts (2nd in Central Div., 3rd in Eastern Conf.) GF: 287 GA: 207
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 22.8% (7th); PK: 83.0% (3rd)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in six games to Kootenay in first round
2013-14 Top Scorers:
Brady Brassart 70gp-35g-50a-85pts
Greg Chase 70gp-35g-50a-85pts
Jake Virtanen 71gp-45g-26a-71pts

The Calgary Hitmen enjoyed a terrific 2013-14 regular season, but were disappointed when they were eliminated in the first round of the 2014 WHL Playoffs. With new head coach Mark French at the helm and with many of their top players returning, the Hitmen will look to remain among the Eastern Conference’s elite. Veteran Greg Chase, 20-year-old Adam Tambellini and 18-year-old Jake Virtanen head up a strong offense that also includes Chase Lang, Connor Rankin and Radel Fazleev. With talents like Mike Winther, Pavel Padakin, Elliott Peterson and Pavel Karnaukhov in the mix, the Hitmen have plenty of offensive options. NHL prospects Travis Sanheim and Ben Thomas return to lead a Hitmen defence corps that finished third among all Eastern Conference Clubs in goals-against last year. Both Sanheim and Thomas are capable of contributing at both ends of the ice. Veterans Colby Harmsworth and Micheal Zipp add defensive depth. With Chris Driedger graduating, the Hitmen hand the No. 1 goaltending job to Mack Shields. The 19-year-old has posted 30 wins over 49 career appearances for the Hitmen over the last two seasons.

Player to Watch: Travis Sanheim
An 18-year-old product of Elkhorn, MB, Sanheim came into his rookie season last year as a relative unknown. However, the 6’3”, 184-lb two-way defender established himself as an impact player as the season went on, and also rocketed up the NHL scouting rankings to end up being selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. A mobile, intelligent defender with plenty of offensive upside, Sanheim has the tools to be a dominating presence in the WHL. Having consistently improved throughout last season, expect Sanheim to continue that trend with a bigger role in 2014-15.


Edmonton Oil Kings
General Manager: Randy Hansch
Head Coach: Steve Hamilton
2014 pre-season: 5gp, 2-3-0-0
2013-14 Record: 50-19-2-1, 103pts (1st in Central Div., 1st in Eastern Conf.) GF: 290 GA: 179
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 19.6% (17th); PK: 85.3% (2nd)
2014 Playoffs: WHL & MasterCard Memorial Cup Champions
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Henrik Samuelsson 65gp-35g-60a-95pts
Curtis Lazar 58gp-41g-35a-76pts
Mitchell Moroz 70gp-35g-28a-63pts

The Edmonton Oil Kings graduate several of their top stars that helped them win the 2014 WHL Championship and MasterCard Memorial Cup. However, they still return some talented younger players who will look to step up. Brett Pollock will lead the offense after breaking out for a 25-goal campaign last season while players like Lane Bauer and Tyler Robertson will need to take on more responsibility. 19-year-old Curtis Lazar will be relied upon heavily in all areas if he doesn’t end up playing in the NHL this season. 20-year-old Edgars Kulda, the MVP of the Memorial Cup, would also be a key cog up front if he doesn’t play in the professional ranks. The graduation of Griffin Reinhart and Cody Corbett leaves big shoes to fill on the back end. Dysin Mayo and Aaron Irving can expect to shoulder a bigger load while 20-year-old veterans Ashton Sautner and Blake Orban will also be counted on to log heavy minutes. 19-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Tristan Jarry gives the Oil Kings top-notch goaltending. A finalist for the 2013-14 WHL Goaltender of the Year award, Jarry put up 44 wins, including eight shutouts, last season.

Player to Watch: Brett Pollock

An 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, AB, Pollock took a huge step forward last year, his second season in the WHL, netting an impressive 25 goals and 55 points in 71 games after scoring just twice in 40 games as a rookie the previous season. His strong campaign with the Oil Kings made a strong impression on NHL scouts, and he was chosen by the Dallas Stars in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft. With the departures of key Oil Kings forwards like Henrik Samuelsson and Mitch Moroz, Pollock will be expected to shoulder an even bigger offensive workload this season up front in Edmonton.


Kootenay Ice
General Manager: Jeff Chynoweth
Head Coach: Ryan McGill
2014 pre-season: 5gp, 1-4-0-0
2013-14 Record: 39-28-2-3, 83pts (4th in Central Div., 6th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 235 GA: 209
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 24.3% (4th); PK: 79.4% (11th)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in seven games to Medicine Hat in second round
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Sam Reinhart 60gp-36g-69a-105pts
Jaedon Descheneau 70gp-44g-54a-98pts
Luke Philp 71gp-31g-46a-77pts

The Kootenay Ice are coming off a 2013-14 campaign that saw them finish above .500 for a WHL-record 15th consecutive year. Last year’s success was due, in large part, to the offensive dominance of Sam Reinhart and Jaedon Descheneau, who combined for 80 goals and 203 points. With Reinhart almost assuredly to play in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres this season, the Ice will need to fill a huge hole up front. Descheneau will be back to lead the attack, but will face an adjustment without his line mate. The Ice will lean heavily on veteran Luke Philp, who is coming off a 31-goal campaign, and 20-year-old Austin Vetterl to provide scoring. Defensively, veterans Tanner Faith, Tyler King and Rinat Valiev will be counted on to eat up minutes while sophomore Troy Murray will need to step into a bigger role on the back end. 19-year-old Spruce Grove, AB, product Wyatt Hoflin looks to take over the starting job in Kootenay’s net with the graduation of MacKenzie Skapski. Hoflin has posted 11 wins and a 3.24 GAA in 43 appearances over the last two seasons with the Ice.

Player to Watch: Jaedon Descheneau
A 19-year-old from Edmonton, AB, Descheneau has enjoyed a couple of highly productive seasons in Kootenay, playing alongside Sam Reinhart. The shifty, speedy and offensively talented winger netted 44 goals and 98 points last season, was selected to suit up for Team WHL in the SUBWAY Super Series, and heard his name called in the NHL Draft in June when the St. Louis Blues picked him in the fifth round. Now back for his fourth WHL campaign, Descheneau becomes the go-to guy for the Ice. The 5’9”, 192-lb sniper will need to show he can provide top-line offense without his All-Star line mate Reinhart.


Lethbridge Hurricanes
General Manager: Brad Robson
Head Coach: Drake Berehowsky
2014 pre-season: 6gp, 2-4-0-0
2013-14 Record: 12-55-2-3, 29pts (6th in Central Div.,12th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 171 GA: 358
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 18.4% (19th); PK: 69.8% (22th)
2014 Playoffs: Did not qualify
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Riley Sheen 61gp-19g-30a-49pts
Brady Ramsay 72gp-15g-27a-42pts
Reid Duke 62gp-15g-25a-40pts

The Lethbridge Hurricanes come into the 2014-15 season looking to erase the memories of what was a difficult campaign last year. Up front, the ‘Canes look to improve on their 22nd-ranked offense from last year. Veterans Riley Sheen, Reid Duke, Jamal Watson and Tyler Wong are all back, looking to pace the attack. Sophomore Giorgio Estephan hopes to take a step forward and contribute more while Russian rookie Nikita Milekhin should inject some scoring into the lineup. 20-year-old veterans Nick Walters and Tyler Bell will head up a Hurricanes’ defence corps that will hope to cut down on the 358 goals they allowed last season. 19-year-olds Lenny Hackman and Griffin Foulk both will look to bring more to the table while 17-year-old Thomas Lenchyshyn is one of a few rookies gunning for a spot on the blue line. 18-year-old Zac Robidoux and 16-year-old Stuart Skinner start the year as the Hurricane’s goaltending tandem. The pair have a combined seven games of WHL experience between them.

Player to Watch: Tyler Wong
An 18-year-old from Cochrane, AB, Wong comes into his third season with the Hurricanes looking to be a big part of their offense. The 5’9”, 165-lb centre enjoyed a breakout campaign last year, putting up 17 goals and 31 points in 52 games, and established himself as a scoring threat. An offensively skilled, competitive forward who boasts good skating ability and hockey sense, Wong is a player who the Hurricanes will count on to put the puck in the net. Look for Wong to see his goal and point totals increase as he helps the Canes on their quest to get themselves back into the playoff picture.


Medicine Hat Tigers
General Manager / Head Coach: Shaun Clouston
2014 pre-season: 5gp, 3-2-0-0
2013-14 Record: 44-24-3-1, 92pts (3rd in Central Div., 4th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 260 GA: 196
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 20.3% (15th); PK: 81.3% (6th)
2014 Playoffs: Lost in five games to Edmonton in Eastern Conference championship series
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Curtis Valk 72gp-47g-45a-92pts
Trevor Cox 70gp-25g-57a-82pts
Cole Sanford 72gp-33g-40a-73pts

The Tigers come into the new season returning many of the players who helped them reach the Eastern Conference championship series last year. Up front, veterans Cole Sanford and Trevor Cox are in line for top offensive roles after their outstanding performances during the 2014 WHL playoffs. Veterans Steve Owre, Miles Koules and Blake Penner are a few of those expected to contribute more to the attack to help offset the graduation of Curtis Valk. Tyler Lewington and Tommy Vannelli head up a defence corps that could return eight rearguards. Sophomore Connor Hobbs should be ready for a big workload in his first full season after enjoying success with Canada’s Under-18 team this summer. Rookie David Quenneville is the Tigers’ defensive lynchpin of the future. With veteran netminder Marek Langhamer likely bound for the AHL, the Tigers brought in 20-year-old Jared Rathjen to join Nick Schneider in the goaltending tandem. Rathjen has 74 games of WHL experience to draw upon while Schneider posted a 6-0 record with a .943 save percentage in eight games last season

Player to Watch: Cole Sanford
A 19-year-old product of Vernon, B.C., Sanford enters his third WHL season with high expectations for a productive offensive campaign. Sanford racked up 33 goals and 73 points in 72 games last season, marking a 31-goal and 62-point improvement from his rookie season in 2012-13, and became one of the Tigers’ biggest offensive threats. His performance in the 2014 post-season – 11 goals and 24 points in 18 games – was a key reason the team made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Championship. With last year’s success under his belt, expect Sanford to be a key cog in the Tigers’ attack.


Red Deer Rebels
General Manager / Head Coach: Brent Sutter
2014 pre-season: 6gp, 3-2-1-0
2013-14 Record: 35-32-1-4, 75pts (5th in Central Div., 9th in Eastern Conf.) GF: 214 GA: 224
2013-14 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 18.5% (18th); PK: 81.5% (5th)
2014 Playoffs: Did not qualify (lost in tie-break game to Prince Albert)
2013-14 Top Scorers:

Conner Bleackley 71gp-29g-39a-68pts
Rhyse Dieno 65gp-25g-41a-66pts
Aspen Sterzer 70gp-29g-24a-53pts

The Red Deer Rebels narrowly missed the playoffs last season, losing to the Prince Albert Raiders in a tiebreaker game for the eighth and final playoff berth. This year, the Rebels return many of their key players who will be looking to move the team up the standings. Conner Bleackley, the Rebels’ captain, is back to lead the offense. The 18-year-old from High River, AB, scored 29 goals and a team-leading 68 points last year, but is also a tremendous two-way player who is strong in his own end. Sophomores Adam Musil, Presten Kopeck and Grayson Pawlenchuk will be counted on to take big roles in the offense, while veterans Wyatt Johnson and Brooks Maxwell will also be key up front. 18-year-old Haydn Fleury heads up a strong Rebels’ defence corps that also features veteran standouts Nick Charif and Kayle Doetzel as well as off-season acquisition Brett Cote. In goal, the Rebels will miss the outstanding netminding of Patrik Bartosak. 17-year-old Taz Burman and 18-year-old Rylan Toth will form the goaltending tandem this year. Burman got into 17 games last year as Bartosak’s back-up.

Player to Watch: Adam Musil
17-year-old power forward Adam Musil comes into his second season in the WHL looking to fill a big role up front for the Rebels. A big-bodied, strong and skilled pivot, Musil impressed as a rookie last year, notching 11 goals and 29 points in 60 games. He also played for Team Pacific in the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and helped Canada’s Under-18 team win a Gold medal in the 2014 Memorial for Ivan Hlinka tournament in August. Listed by NHL Central Scouting in their ‘Ones to Watch’ list, expect plenty of eyes to be on Musil as the season goes on.