Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Canada Wins Its Pool At WJHC After Victory Over U-S

Canada has won its pool at the World Junior Hockey Championships, but the Americans didn't make it easy on them. 

    Max Domi scored twice, including one of two empty-net goals, as Canada hung on for a 5-3 victory over the United States on Wednesday.

The win put Canada (4-0-0) into what should be an easy quarter-final against Denmark in Toronto on Friday, while the Americans (2-1-1) will stay in Montreal for a tough quarter-final against Russia.

"They made it quite interesting." Canadian captain Curtis Lazar said. "I was freaking out a bit at the end, but we found a way to win."
Canada wore down the Americans with high-tempo hockey from its top three lines and a strong checking game from the fourth unit. They had a 43-28 shot advantage, including a long stretch of the second period when it was one-way hockey.

But the U.S. didn’t go down without a fight, as Dylan Larkin scored twice in the third frame to draw his team within a goal, only to see Canada put it away with empty-netters by Domi and Sam Reinhart.

(Canadian Press)

Richie To Winnipeg?

It’s Richie Hall’s job if he wants it.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hall are in contract negotiations and if things continue to positively move forward, Hall could be named defensive coordinator as early as next week.
Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea is taking the rest of this week off from daily office duties so no announcement is imminent but talks are expected to continue.
O’Shea has not ruled out Mike Benevides and that door remains slightly ajar.
Hall, however, is the leading candidate and if he and O’Shea can reach a deal and he agrees to come to Winnipeg the job is his.
Hall was recently stripped of his defensive co-ordinator title with the Saskatchewan Roughriders but hasn’t been removed from the Riders staff.
The Bombers asked and received permission to speak to Hall.
Riders coach Corey Chamblin has elected to bring in a new defensive co-ordinator or perhaps take over the duties himself.
Numerous reports say Chamblin and Benevides are close to reaching a deal although no official announcement has been made.
Hall won three Grey Cups with the Roughriders, one as a player and two as a defensive co-ordinator.
Benevides was fired this offseason from his post as head coach of the B.C. Lions after leading the team to the playoffs in three straight seasons, never enduring a losing campaign and compiling a 31-22 record.
Benevides has won three Grey Cups, one with Calgary as special teams co-ordinator and two with BC first as linebackers coach and then as defensive co-ordinator.
The Bombers fired Gary Etcheverry in mid-December and O’Shea has put most of his focus into discussions with the Hall and Benevides.

(Winnipeg Free Press)

Intvw with Mike Gibson

Mike Gibson, the new head coach of the Regina Rams, took time out of his busy schedule to talk about the challenge he is about to face and his thought process going in on Tuesday's Sportscage...

NFL WC Weekend Capsules

The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend. For a look at the two AFC matchups, click here

For a look at the two NFC matchups, click here

Monday, December 29, 2014

Madani: Benevides Offered Riders DC Job

Mike Benevides won two Grey Cup rings as the defensive coordinator of the BC Lions. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are hoping he can bring a third to Regina. 

Sportsnet has learned the Riders have offered Benevides their defensive coordinator post. Sources suggested Benevides is considering the position, and likely won't make a decision until the new year. With Benevides and his family living in suburban Vancouver, the Riders will likely remain patient for the next couple of weeks until Benevides decides his next step. 

Benevides was fired as the BC Lions head coach in November, following the team's playoff loss in Montreal. 

Richie Hall, who was Saskatchewan's defensive coordinator last season, remains on the Riders staff -- for now. Hall was demoted, but not fired, at the conclusion of the 2014 campaign in Regina. He is in the mix for the vacancy in Winnipeg for the coordinator job with the Blue Bombers. Benevides was in the conversation for the same position on Mike O'Shea's staff. 

As of Monday morning, sources told Sportsnet there had been no progress on the defensive coordinator search in Winnipe‎g.

Benevides may not be the only member of last season's Lions staff that may be headed to Saskatchewan. His offensive coordinator, Khari Jones, may return to the Riders as quarterbacks coach. Jones is unlikely to return to BC next season with the Lions hiring Jeff Tedford to replace Benevides as head coach. 

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson and Arizona Coyotes center Sam Gagner have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 28.
Gaudreau led the NHL with five goals (5-0—5) and shared the League lead with a +5 rating to power the Flames (19-15-3, 41 points) to a pair of wins. He opened the week by recording a natural hat trick, his first career three-goal game, in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Los Angeles Kings Dec. 22. At 21 years, 131 days, he became the youngest Flames player to post a hat trick since Dec. 28, 1987 (Joe Nieuwendyk). Gaudreau then added two goals, including the game-winning marker, in a 4-1 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers Dec. 27. The 21-year-old Salem, N.J., native and reigning Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner ranks second among rookies in goals (12), assists (17) and points (29) in 36 games this season. A fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, Gaudreau made his NHL debut on April 13 in Vancouver, scoring his first goal on his first career shot.
            Wilson tied for second in the NHL with 4-1—5, scoring in all three games to lead the Predators (23-9-2, 48 points) to four of a possible six standings points. He collected 1-1—2, his third multi-point performance of the season, in a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Dec. 22. Wilson then found the back of the net in a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins Dec. 23. He capped the week by recording 2-0—2, his seventh career multi-goal game and first since April 4, in a 4-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Dec. 27. The 25-year-old Greenwich, Conn., native is riding a three-game goal streak for the first time in his NHL career. The seventh overall selection by the Predators in the 2008 NHL Draft, Wilson has 10-8—18 in 32 contests this season.
            Gagner led the NHL with six points (2-4—6) in three games to help the Coyotes (13-18-4, 30 points) pick up a pair of victories. He assisted on the team’s lone goal in a 7-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Dec. 22. Gagner then registered 2-2—4, his best single-game output since Feb. 2, 2012 (4-4—8), in a 5-1 win over his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, Dec. 23. He closed the week by adding one assist in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks Dec. 27. The 25-year-old London, Ont., native shares fifth on the Coyotes with 5-12—17 in 34 games this season. He has posted one other point streak of at least three games in 2014-15, collecting 0?3—3 from Nov. 18-22 (3 GP).

(NHL Media)

Gibson Named Rams New Head Coach

The University of Regina announced Monday that Mike Gibson, a coach with extensive experience at both the professional and collegiate levels, has been named the head coach of the Rams football program.

Gibson has been an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League for the past 10 seasons, including last year as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the expansion Ottawa REDBLACKS. Prior to that, he was with the Calgary Stampeders for three seasons - as a running backs coach during the 2011 campaign and as an offensive line coach in both 2012 and 2013.

“Our entire club is extremely proud to have Mike Gibson as our head coach," Rams president Dean Picton said. "Mike is an impressive and energetic person who is passionate about coaching football and has great coaching experiences both in the NCAA and the CFL. We all feel very fortunate that Mike has come to the University of Regina Rams to lead our young men. His hiring shows that our entire program is committed to excellence in the classroom, on the football field, and in our community.”

Gibson is already familiar with Regina, having been an offensive line coach with the Saskatchewan Roughriders for two seasons including their Grey Cup-winning 2007 campaign. He also had two-season stints with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2005-2006) and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2009-2010), serving as the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at both stops. His first coaching position in the CFL came during the 2001 season with the Blue Bombers.

He also has over two decades of NCAA experience at the Div. I level, most recently at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he was an offensive line coach for the Ragin' Cajuns during the 2002, 2003, and 2004 seasons. Gibson has also coached at Boston University, Rice, Temple, Colgate, and Rutgers.

Gibson earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Western Maryland College - now known as McDaniel College - where he was a three-year starter at centre for the Green Terror.

The search committee was chaired by Kinesiology & Health Studies dean Harold Riemer and also included Chris Briltz, Kim Dorsch, Brian Eltom, Aadon Fieger, and Sarah Hodges. The selection of Gibson as head coach was unanimously approved by the Regina Rams Board of Directors on Saturday.

Gibson officially assumes his duties as head coach on Jan. 1. He becomes just the second head coach of the Rams since the program made the jump to the CIS level prior to the 1999 season.

Something To "Mitch" About

Thanks for checking in, I am hoping it was a great Christmas for everyone and that everyonI thie had their fair share of turkey, visits and gifts galore that will go in the mancave or wherever.  There's a lot of things to get to so lets get started.


  --What is now TSN's marquee event is once again a must-see. This tournament is getting better and better because the hockey being played across the world is getting better and better. Canada is 2-0 in their pool, but many will tell you they played the creampuffs in their pool and the tourney gets started for real today against the defending champs from Finland----the defending champs who were beaten by Slovakia who were beaten 8-0 the day before by Canada.. I think its going to be a great tournament with some games that will be talked about for a long time in our future.  It is surprising to see the Bell Centre and Air Canada Centre are not sold out for Canadian games though. Perhaps considering where the event is being played, its not though.


 --There is no doubt the kid is special and is worthy of being talked about for the number one pick in this year's draft. Is it just me though or does he hold on to the puck too long.


  --There is no truth to the rumour that whatever teams finishes last at the World Juniors gets relegated with the Oilers taking their spot, but yeesh. It looked like the Xmas break did nothing for Edmonton who once again were down 3-0 early in a loss Saturday to Calgary. They look a little more interested under Todd Nelson than they did Dallas Eakins, but it is obvious that once the first little negative occurs that its game over for this team as they don't rebound or respond.  Lets just say this---it isn't getting any better and as long as Kevin Lowe is still a part of this team, it won't be. By the way, the Oilers had their skills competition Sunday afternoon. You can insert your own joke to that last sentence.

--Other NHL thoughts.  Was this the first time in recent memory that neither the Leafs, Canadiens or Canucks were on CBC Saturday night. I can't remember a time when we didn't see one of those three teams every Saturday night. I was OK with it.

--Without Toronto or Montreal playing, what will the numbers be especially with TSN showing the Canada-Germany game at the same time. The numbers will be interesting to digest when they come out.


 --Start watching these guys everyone. They are fun to watch. The team is on a West Coast swing right now and took out one of the Western heavyweights--the LA Clippers on Saturday afternoon. They have a game against the Western Conference leading Golden State Warriors in what should be a battle of conference leaders. Both teams play high tempo games so it should be entertaining.  By the way, is it just me or did they screw up their new logo announcement. First off, the logo looks very similar to the Brooklyn Nets---and for that matter reminds one of the U of R Cougars with the slashed ball. The announcement was made, but in days before Christmas when you would think a team would want to get its merchandise out there for sale, there was nary an item that could be bought. It makes me think someone botched this thing big-time.


 --The road to the Super Bowl will go through Foxboro and Seattle. Is a Patriots-Seahawks SB on the horizon? There is no reason to think Seattle won't use home-field advantage to get back to the big game but Green Bay and Dallas will be a challenge while in the AFC, one has to think another Brady-Manning battle is on tap but I get the feeling Pittsburgh is going to spoil the party.

--A gimpy Aaron Rodgers was still too much for Detroit. He is the MVP this season in my mind with all apologies to you Cowboys fans who think it should be Tony Romo.

--One has to wonder when exactly Jim Harbaugh's days with the 49ers officially ended. Teams usually wait until Monday to start firing coaches, but it seemed as if Harbaugh hadn't even showered yet before the team announced they were splitting ways with their head coach. I wonder if we will ever find out just what happened there because something did and it wasn't pretty. Harbaugh is now heading back to his almamater to coach the University of Michigan. As a guy who doesn't like Harbaugh and likes Michigan. I am not crazy with this. A Big Ten title or two may change my mind.

--Geno Smith had a perfect rating at QB for the Jets. He is the only QB in the NFL to have a 158.3 rating in a game this year. Manning didn't do it, Brady didn't do it, Rodgers didn't do it. and neither did Romo, Wilson or Roethlisberger-----it was the much maligned Geno Smith.

--Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is 36-12 to start off his NFL career. That's the best start of any quarterback over his first three years including Tom Brady. He just keeps getting it done and it seemingly keeps happening under the radar.


 --A great story by Saskatoon Star-Phoenix sports reporter Kevin Mitchell about a possible interlock coming to CIS football meaning Canada West teams would butt helmets with Eastern teams at times other than the national semi-finals and Vanier Cup. I would be all for this. I think it would be great to see some other schools come in to play the U of R and U of S and have them go other places as well.  Vancouver's Jim Mullin is extremely passionate about Canadian University Football and he is doing a lot of work behind the scenes to improve the product. Jim will be with me on the Sportscage Monday to discuss this.


 --I have heard the Rams coaching job has been offered to Mike Gibson and he is now deciding whether or not he wants the position. Whether its Gibson or not, I am expecting some kind of announcement early this week as the steering committee did indicate they wanted a new person in place by the end of the calendar year.


 --I didn't have a problem with Kaillie Humphries getting the Canadian athlete of the year award even though I thought Eugenie Bouchard would get it. However, Milos Raonic over Drew Doughty is just wrong. Doughty won Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup which is may more than what the tennis player did. There is no way Raonic should be Canada's male athlete of 2014---at least not in this bloggers mind.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Week 17 NFL Capsules

Its the last regular season weekend in the NFL with many big games to be played and many meaningless ones as well. For a look at all of them, click here

Week 17 NFL Lock of The Week --- Packers over Lions
Week 17 NFL Upset Of The Week --- Buccaneers over Saints

Canada Blasts Slovaks In Opening Game of WJHC

Team Canada earned the first shut out of the championship with an outstanding 8-0 win over Slovakia. The Canadians most certainly hit the ice running, but the Slovakians put out many strong cards.
The first period of this match up saw three Canadian goals, the first coming from Robby Fabbri 452 into the game. Fabbri was set up by assistant captain Sam Reinhart and Anthony Duclair. Team Canada saw their second goal at 8:17 when Duclair was able to score a goal of his own against Slovakia's goaltender Denis Godla

 Fabbri put the Canadians up by 3 when he lit the lamp at 9:09 with help from Nic Petan and Madison Bowley.

Nick Paul, Moose Jaw Warrior Brayden Point and Max Domi scored second period goals with Jake Virtanen ending the scoring in the 3rd on a nifty play in the 3rd showing great hand-eye co-ordination to bank it home after the puck hit the end-boards.

Zach Fucale had the shutout making only a couple of difficult saves on what was a slow night for him.

The Canadians skate with Germany in Montreal on Saturday night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Scruffy's Christmas Letter

Hey Santa:

     What's goin on? Are you ready to get off the couch and do your thing again? I know this letter is a little late, but better late than never and I know you can't make some things happen, but you can come through in other ways so here goes

To outgoing Riders president and CEO Jim Hopson.  May retired life treat you well. Excellence starts at the top and Jim, you made the beloved /=S=/ what you wanted it to and that is the franchise that is envied by all in the CFL. You only have two Grey Cups to show for your time, but we all know there should be more.  May that rocking chair be comfy, may those Coronas be cold and may you enjoy whatever warm weather locale you will call home in the winter, Don't be a stranger. It won't be the same walking onto the field and not seeing you there.

To outgoing U of R Director of Athletics Dick White.  May you also enjoy retired life and may you sit back and know that you helped turn the Cougars from just a small little school on the prairies that not many paid attention to one of the best overall programs in Canada. It would seem as if the CKHS is not going to get a corporate name attached to it anytime soon so can I suggest to those at the University that the building be known as the Dick White center. I think that would be appropriate. I will also miss chatting with you at basketball games.

To U of R womens basketball coach Dave Taylor.  A national championship. If anyone deserves to have one after all the chances they've had its Dave and his squad that is the marquee group in Cougarland with all apologies to Leo McGee.

To the Edmonton Oilers-----never mind. Nothing can help them....unless you can get Kevin Lowe a new job and if that new job is with the Leafs that would be great.

To Seahawks punter Jon Ryan --- another Super Bowl ring.  Why not! PS: I like the chances

To Regina hockey fans ---that you find your way to the Brandt Centre for the 2nd half of the WHL season, You just might like what you see

To Rams receiver Addison Richards---that the helmet with horns you wear now is replaced by a helmet with an “S” on the side at the CFL draft.

To the citizens of Gronkville that makes High Impact Wrestling a great way to spend a Friday night---that you keep coming out and do what you do. The action in the ring is tremendous, but what you do outside the ring is even better.

To the Chicago Cubs --- a winning season. It doesn't have to be a division winning season, but just one that shows some promise with the young stars they have.

To my locker talk co-host Pete Paczko and to my good friend Rod Pedersen----well, lets just say I don;t think I can put some of those things down so I hope you got the text message I sent on those two, In fact, add that degenerate Josh Shaw to the list too.

Santa, I could keep going, but some of the things I want could get me in trouble so I think I had better stop.  Safe travels tonight.  To you and everyone else who reads this blog on a daily basis, I say Merry Christmas and a Happy 2015 to all.

PS: When you stop by, the rye is in its usual spot. Help yourself!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Riders Sign Jamel Richardson

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international free agent receiver Jamel Richardson has signed with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.

Richardson (6’3 – 215) returns to Saskatchewan for a second stint after originally entering the Canadian Football League with the Green and White in 2003. The Victor Valley College product spent four seasons with the Riders where he registered 113 receptions for 1,471 yards and four touchdowns in 30 regular season games. 

Richardson missed the 2007 CFL season as he attended training camp with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys before returning in 2008 with the Montreal Alouettes. He spent the next six seasons with the Al’s where he amassed 6,603 yards and 48 touchdowns on 473 receptions in 88 regular season games.  

For his career, the 32-year-old currently sits 39th in CFL history with 8,074 receiving yards. He has recorded 24 career 100-yard games on his way to being named a CFL All-Star twice (2008, 2011) and a four-time East Division All-Star (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).

He has won two Grey Cup championships (2009, 2010) and was named the game’s MVP in 2010 after leading the contest with 109 receiving yards on eight receptions. 

NHL 3 Stars Of Week

NEW YORK (Dec. 22, 2014) – Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek and Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 21.
Kopitar led the NHL with nine points and eight assists in three games, helping the Kings (17-11-6, 40 points) win two of three starts to maintain a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. He opened the week by collecting one assist in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues Dec. 16. Kopitar then set a career high with five points and matched a career high with four assists in a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the Blues in the second half of their home-and-home set Dec. 18. He capped the week by posting three helpers, his sixth multi-point performance of the season, in a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Dec. 20. The 27-year-old Jesenice, Slovenia, native has recorded consecutive three-point games for the first time since October 2009, when he had two such stretches. The 11th overall selection by the Kings in the 2005 NHL Draft, Kopitar ranks third on the club with 7-15—22 in 31 outings this season.
            Voracek tied for second among all players with seven points (3-4—7) in four games to power the Flyers (13-14-6, 32 points) to five out of a possible eight standings points and vault into the top spot in NHL scoring. After being held off the scoresheet in a 3-1 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 16, Voracek potted his 12th goal of the season – and also found the back of the net in the shootout – in a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers Dec. 18. He then led the Flyers to a pair of weekend wins, matching a career high with four assists/points in a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Dec. 20 and recording two goals, including the overtime winner, in a 4-3 triumph against the Winnipeg Jets Dec. 21. The 25-year-old Kladno, Czech Republic, native has found the scoresheet in 26 of 33 games this season, leading the NHL with 44 points and 30 assists (tied with teammate Claude Giroux).
            Fleury went 3-0-0 with a 0.99 goals-against average, .971 save percentage and one shutout to help the Penguins (22-6-4, 48 points) record a trio of victories and maintain the top spot in the Eastern Conference. He posted 28 saves in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 15. Fleury then denied all 29 shots he faced to earn his League-leading sixth shutout of the season in a 1-0 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche Dec. 18. With his performance, Fleury established a career high for shutouts in one campaign (in 24 GP), surpassing his previous mark of five set in 2006-07 (67 GP) and equaled in 2013-14 (64 GP). He closed the week with 45 saves, his highest single-game total since Dec. 23, 2009, in a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Dec. 20. The 30-year-old Sorel, Que., native ranks second in the NHL with 19 wins in 25 appearances this season and also places in the top five in save percentage (4th; .933) and goals-against average (5th; 1.97).


Something To "Mitch" About

Sorry, but the Xmas letter from Scruffy is getting worked on so there is no STMA today. I'll just leave you with this that you can watch over and over again.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

AJHL Player Gets One Year Suspension

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons will be without forward Danton Ayotte for the foreseeable future.

After being ejected from the first period of the team's Dec. 6 game against the Brooks Bandits for an incident with an official, Hockey Alberta came down on Ayotte Wednesday, levying a calendar-year suspension on the 1995-born forward from Wetaskawin as announced by the team's Twitter account.

When approached for comment by the Calgary Sun  regarding the decision Thursday night, MOB head coach and general manager Curtis Hunt repeated the team’s statement, released through the team’s Twitter account just moments earlier.

“Hockey Alberta has ruled on Danton Ayotte’s match penalty for Dec 6 in Brooks, giving him a calendar year suspension,” the MOB tweeted.
“The club is considering all options on this ruling, which may include an appeal, and has no other comment at this time.”

Ayotte was one of the MOB’s top rookies in the 2013-14 Alberta Junior Hockey League season, scoring 16 goals and 26 points in 51 games along with 78 penalty minutes. Ayotte had struggled to find that same offensive game this year though, recording just four goals and 10 points in 27 games with the club.

Ayotte also had 82 penalty minutes on the year, though this was just his second game misconduct since entering the league.

Brad Lyon, Hockey Alberta’s senior manager of communications, explained that match penalties on an official are considered “the most serious infraction in the rule book” and divided into three different levels: threaten or attempt to strike, intentionally touches, holds or pushes and intentionally strike, trip or body check. Lyon added that Ayotte’s penalty fell into the third category, though the incident in question itself isn’t clear on the game’s official broadcast.

“In this situation when there’s a match penalty on an official assessed, it’s reported by the referees and that comes directly to Hockey Alberta to be considered from the discipline perspective,” Lyon said.

Lyon talked about the process that went into the ruling, saying both Ayotte and the official in question would’ve been interviewed at a hearing by the committee and had their statements and available evidence used in determining the length of the suspension.

Adding to that, Lyon said that for the type of infraction that was committed, the year-long penalty was the “recommended minimum penalty” under Hockey Alberta’s rulebook.

The chair of Hockey Alberta’s disciplinary committee, Sherry Haarstad, did not return calls as of press time.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chapdelaine Is Cortez's Replacement

The Saskatchewan Roughriders today announced the hiring of Jacques Chapdelaine as offensive co-ordinator.

The veteran coach has spent 13 seasons coaching in the Canadian Football League after originally entering as special teams co-ordinator and receivers coach with the Calgary Stampeders in 2001. The next season Chapdelaine was named as the Stamps offensive co-ordinator.

The 53-year-old went on to spend ten of the next 11 seasons (2003-2006, 2008-2013) with the BC Lions including six years as offensive co-ordinator. He spent the 2007 season with the Edmonton Eskimos as assistant head coach and offensive co-ordinator.  

Through eight seasons as the head signal caller, Chapdelaine’s teams have compiled a 79-64-1 record, playing in four division finals, winning two grey Cups.   

Chapdelaine joins the Green and White after spending last year as head coach at his alma mater Simon Fraser University in the NCAA’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference. As a player, Chapdelaine starred with the SFU Clan in the 1980’s before moving on to a seven year career in the CFL making stops in BC, Montreal, Hamilton and Calgary.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

This And That

The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order

 --The Saskatchewan Roughriders definitely scored a touchdown with the hiring of Craig Reynolds as the team's new president and CEO. I love the hiring for the fact

        A) at 39, he represents the perfect demographic for the upcoming stadium and how to get bodies inside that stadium. He has been very instrumental on other campaigns including the Grey Cup legacy project and he has a keen mind as to what will be needed to get the fan engaged when it comes to the new facility.

      B) He's from Foam Lake, so he gets "it". Its hard to define what "it" is, but he knows what that unique relationship between the organization and fan base is like. He has to develop and maintain that relationship even more.

      C) He comes from inside the organization. He knows them and they know him. The team isn't parachuting someone else from outside the group who could alienate someone by not knowing exactly what this franchise is all about. He is well aware as to what the Riders brand means both on and off the field.

--Ricky Foley is back and is certainly saying the right things when it comes to the future of the football team. Foley talks about 2015 being unfinished business after the way 2014 ended and how the veteran players in the room were angered over the fact the season ended so quickly after being so promising. If that hunger is there and the injury bug stays away, the team is already serving notice they intend to be a contender for Lord Grey's fabled mug next season.

 --The CFL coach of the year ballot is out. Why do we wait so long for this award to be announced? It should come as the same time as the player awards. The COY is generally the guy who takes his team to the Grey Cup which should mean John Hufnagel gets the odd, but did he do a better job than Chris Jones?

 --'The Silver Fox" and I had a very entertaining debate on goaltending at the World Juniors and more to the point---Canadian goaltending. Kelly doesn't have a problem with the fact only Zach Fucale and Eric Comrie were invited to camp saying they will compete with another for number 1 and were seen as the only two goalies by Hockey Canada to come to camp. I say the fact those two were the only ones invited gives each player a sense of entitlement as it doesn't matter how well he plays, he's on the team. I think it would have been much better for Canada to invite three or four goalies to camp and if Fucale and Comrie were to win the jobs outright then fine, but would they? There was a 50-50 split on the old text line and with calls with one gentlemen suggesting why bother having a camp if its basically pre-determined as to who makes the team and who doesn't. I wonder if that sentiment would exist around here if Morgan Klimchuk was still vying for a spot and not been one of the first cuts.

--Week 16 NFL Lock of the Week  ---Seahawks over Cardinals
--Week 16 NFL Upset of the Week --- Colts over Cowboys

--Would one of the NFL teams in the running for a top 3 pick overall be dumb enough to trade that pick to get Jay Cutler. At this point, Cutler is as popular in Chicago as SONY is in South Korea. He's done---at least as a starting quarterback he is. I can only imagine what it would be like for him if he was wearing green and had an /=S=/ on his helmet. The poor bastard might jump off the SGI building. If Cutler is starting for someone next season, I'd be shocked and you have to think the Bears have had enough when they bench him for Jimmy Clausen. If it was some young and future QB the team was developing, I would say OK, but Clausen is a journeyman.

--The mumps outbreak in the NHL is getting to be concerning, Players have had it and now there is word refs have been tested as well. This has never been a problem before so why now?

--CKRM Rider analyst (and overall good schmuck) Luc Mullinder says the Raptors are the story of the year. Are you paying any extra attention to the Raptors? I'm least not yet. I probably will be as the season starts to wind down and playoffs though. It would be great to see the team have a long and extended playoff run.

--I just want to become 25 years younger for 3 months. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.

--Less than a week away from inlaws, turkey and unwrapping presents. Bring it on!!!

Have a great weekend and if you are shopping on the last Saturday before Xmas, good luck to you!

Foley Remains a Rider

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that national defensive end Ricky Foley has signed an extension to remain with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.

Foley (6’3 – 245) will enter his third season with the Green and White after originally signing with the team as a free agent in February, 2013. Last season, the 32-year-old matched a career high with 12 quarterback sacks while adding an impressive 54 defensive tackles. The three-time Grey Cup champion was named the Riders Most Outstanding Canadian at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Foley was eligible to enter CFL free agency on February 10th.

·         The Riders also announced they have released upcoming free agents Tim Cronk, Trevor Guyton, Hilee Taylor and Carlos Thomas.

Week 16 NFL Capsules

A couple of teams just waiting for the season to end meet in Thursday night Football as the Titans take on the Jaguars. Here's a look at that game and everything else in Week 16 of the NFL season which is championship weekend for most fantasy players. Click here

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hopson's Replacement Is.........

The Saskatchewan Roughriders Board of Directors announced today that Craig Reynolds will be the Club’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. 

Craig had been with the Riders for the previous six seasons after originally joining the Club as the Chief Financial Officer in June, 2009. After three years, Craig was promoted to Senior Vice-President & CFO where he has remained to date.

As an organizational leader Craig has been accountable for the Club’s strategic planning, budgeting, financial reporting, treasury, human resource and stadium operations functions. He has also worked closely with Football Operations providing forecasting, modeling and analytics assistance to the team in managing the league-wide salary cap and maximizing value for money. 

Recently, Craig was a member of the 2013 Grey Cup Executive Committee and chaired the Operations Committee. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of ticketing, sponsorship, marketing, retail, and stadium operations, delivering record revenue for the Club. Craig also played a lead role in the Grey Cup Legacy Project resulting in the expansion of the current Mosaic Stadium. Under Craig’s guidance the Club’s stabilization reserves have grown from $1 million to over $12 million in five years.  

Most notably, Craig has led all aspects of the Club’s involvement in the development of the new Mosaic Stadium, Saskatchewan’s iconic new sports and entertainment venue. It is his vision that the new Mosaic Stadium will create an opportunity to grow revenue, enhance the ability to recruit and retain players, coaches, and staff, and deliver a world class fan experience for the organization’s passionate fan base. Additionally, Craig, while working alongside the Club’s senior leadership team, has developed the Club’s capital campaign designed to acquire the organization’s financial commitment to the stadium build.

The 39-year-old grew up in Foam Lake, SK before attending the University of Saskatchewan where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce, with Distinction, and a Masters in Professional Accounting. He then obtained his Chartered Accountant Designation in 2001 from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. Craig began working with KPMG in 1998 in Saskatoon before transferring to the company’s Luxembourg location. From there he moved to London, England in 2003 to work for Thomson Scientific in a Financial Accounting role. Just prior to relocating back to Saskatchewan to join the Riders, Craig worked for Suncor Energy in Alberta for four years where he departed as Senior Manager of the Oil Sands Cost Management Program.        
Craig will become the franchises second President and CEO, with predecessor Jim Hopson set to retire in March after ten years at the helm. 

Craig and his wife, Lisa, have two children; 7-year-old daughter, Neeve and 5-year-old son, Noel.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Are Rams Close To Hiring McCrystal's Replacement

On Monday's Sportscage, U of R Dean of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Dr. Harold Riemer joined me to talk about the search for Frank McCrystal's replacement with the U of R Rams. This is what came out of the conversation.

--They are right in the middle of the interview stage with more coming this week.  The hiring committee will meet Friday morning to see if they are at a consensus as to who will lead the team forward.

--Asking candidates where they see program going in next five years and what they would bring to that. What are their plans short term and long term. What type of culture would they be bringing in which is tied to their coaching philosophies, how do they interact with other organizations inside the University and provincial community and what type of recruiting style do they have.

--A lot of resumes have crossed his desk which is no surprise because the Rams relationship with the University is a positive one and is considered one of the more attractive positions in Canadian University Football

--Those they have spoken to are interested about the relationship between the two sides and the unique partnership. You want to understand how the relationship works if you want to come.

--The University wants someone to wants to come to Regina and not using this as an Option B. He wants someone who can take advantage of the opportunities that exist in what is an unique environment and that he can make the Rams what the University of Calgary are now.

--The goal is to have a person in mind by the end of the week and that the potential head coach is spoken to over the weekend and early next week with the new person being announced before January 1.

Oilers Give The Pink Slip To Eakins

The Edmonton Oilers on Monday fired coach Dallas Eakins.

General manager Craig MacTavish will replace Eakins on an interim basis, according to a TSN report, and Todd Nelson, the coach of the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, will join the NHL staff as an assistant or associate coach.

The Oilers lost 2-0 to the New York Rangers on Sunday. They entered the week 30th in the League standings with 19 points; their seven wins are the fewest in the League. They're 29th in the League in scoring at 2.10 goals per game, and 29th in goals-against at 3.32 goals allowed per game.

Edmonton plays the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz.

Since winning back-to-back games in early November, the Oilers are 1-11-4, including an 11-game losing streak.

In his second season with the Oilers, Eakins is 36-63-14.

Eakins arrived in Edmonton after four seasons as coach of the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. In 2012 he guided the Marlies to the Calder Cup Final. He also coached in two AHL all-star games.

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis, Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 14.


Ennis shared second in the NHL with five points (1-4—5) in three outings, helping the Sabres (12-16-2, 26 points) post their third three-game winning streak of the season. He opened the week by recording the lone marker, his third career game-winning goal and first since Dec. 3, 2011, in a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Dec. 9. He then matched career highs for assists and points in one game with three helpers in a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames Dec. 11. Ennis capped the week with his 13th assist of the season in a 4-3 overtime triumph against the Florida Panthers Dec. 13. The 25-year-old Edmonton, Alta., native leads the Sabres with 21 points in 30 games this season. The 26th overall selection by Buffalo in the 2008 NHL Draft, Ennis has 77-110—187 in 297 career games, all with the Sabres.


Suter led all defensemen and tied for second in the League with five points (0-5—5) in three starts as the Wild (16-11-1, 33 points) gained four of a possible six standings points. He matched career highs for assists and points in one game with three helpers in a 5-4 comeback victory over the New York Islanders Dec. 9. After being held off the scoresheet in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks Dec. 11, Suter capped the week with two assists – his third multi-point performance of the season – in a 4-3 shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes Dec. 13. The 29-year-old Madison, Wis., native ranks third on the Wild with 1-17—18 in 26 games this season. The seventh overall selection by Nashville in the 2003 NHL Draft, Suter also leads the NHL in average time on ice per game (29:27).


Lundqvist went 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and one shutout to propel the Rangers (14-10-4, 32 points) into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He began the week with 32 saves in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins Dec. 8. Lundqvist then posted back-to-back wins over the weekend, making 29 saves in a 5-1 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks Dec. 13 and stopping all 16 shots he faced in a 2 0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Dec. 14. With his performance, the 32-year-old Are, Sweden, native tied Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fluery for the most shutouts in the NHL this season (5). He also recorded his 55th career shutout to move past Bernie Parent and Ed Giacomin for sole possession of 20th place in NHL history.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

The year is just about over! Where did 2014 go? Seriously!

The arduous task of Christmas shopping is basically done as the only thing left is a stocking stuffer or two for the kids and that can be purchased anywhere.  I am one of those that just hates shopping on the last couple of Saturdays before Christmas so I was glad to get everything accomplished.  Thank god for online shopping too. I still shop local, but if I can't find what I want at places where I normally go, I find it online.

One person who was out and about if my Facebook feed means anything on Saturday was Weston Dressler. He had his picture taken with many Rider fans while doing his thing at Costco. The question I have is why is Weston Dressler shopping at Costco when he knows his trip out to buy presents for friends and families will be interrupted by fans wanting to interact with him. It says a lot about number 7 and it shows why he's the most popular player around here. I would think Rider fans might get an early Christmas present or a late one as I think he will be signing a new deal here very soon. He loves it here and there is no doubt the football team wants him back. Perhaps part of his new deal can be to find someone to go to Costco for him. I think I'd rather run some crossing patterns over the middle than have to deal with Costco at Christmas! Is it  just me or does Regina really need a 2nd Costco in Harbour Landing or the northwest to clear the continuous clog in the east end one right now.

While I think Dressler will be re-signing, we know Tearrius George has re-signed and that's outstanding. There is no doubt that with Ricky Foley and John Chick, George helped make up the best defensive line in the game and all three will be back along with a more experienced Derek Walker and Trevor Guyton which should mean more nightmarish days and nights for CFL quarterbacks.

Dressler's departure for KC and his return was certainly one of the CFL stories of the year, but what was THE story of the year for the league. Was it Ottawa's return? Was it bad on-field product? That might be something I may have to ask you on Monday's Cage. Yes, I will be hosting all week seeing Rod is starting holidays. The shows during the holiday season can be a little tough, but hey its not the first time. Of course its not as tough as trying to do a two hour show by yourself at the same time the Stanley Cup finals are on.

What the heck is with the mumps outbreak in the NHL? I couldn't believe the Pittsburgh Penguins tried to shuffle off whether or not Sidney Crosby had the mumps and then allowed reporters into the dressing room to speak to him and possibly get infected. At what point do doctors step in and say Sid is unavailable today.

Is there any truth to the rumour the Harlem Globetrotters have approached the NHL asking if they can trade the Washington Generals for the Edmonton Oilers?

Has the cartoon version of "The Grinch that Stole Christmas" been on yet? If it was on, I missed it. I love that show!

Wait a minute, John Cena is going to get another shot at Brock Lesnar and the WWE championship after their latest PPV last night? Shocking!

The Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier fight UFC bout scheduled for January 3 can't possibly live up to the expectations can it?

I wonder what lessons Johnny Manziel learned Sunday?

Aaron Rodgers picked a bad time to have one of his worst ever games. That loss in Buffalo likely cost the Packers the number 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Is Mark Giordano the best defenceman in the NHL today? He has to be considered top 5.

Tough break for Morgan Klimchuk as he did not survive the first wave of cuts for the national junior team. Its been a while since a member of the Pats was on that team---I'm guessing Jordan Eberle in 2010 was the last. I can't think of anyone else although Jordan Weal probably deserved a spot.

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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tearrius George Staying In Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international defensive tackle Tearrius George has signed an extension to remain with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.

George (6’4 – 277) will enter his fifth season with the Riders after originally signing with the team as a free agent in February, 2011. The 32-year-old was named a West Division All-Star for the second consecutive season after recording career highs with 37 defensive tackles and 12 quarterback sacks while starting all 18 games during the 2014 regular season. Through four seasons, George sits 11th on the Riders All-Time quarterback sacks list with 31.

George would have been eligible to enter CFL free agency on February 10th.

This And That

The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order

--Its the story that made national headlines and I'm guessing some places in the U-S picked up on it too. Two women get into a fight at an elementary school Christmas concert. Oy vay!! Its just terrible this happened, but I gotta feel for the kid who for ever will be scarred with the fact his mom got into a fight at the Christmas concert. It couldn't have been easy for that little guy or gal to go back to school the next day. That's the person I feel sorry for the most in this whole episode. That one will leave a mark.

--Like it or not, Corey Chamblin is leaving his mark and firmly stamping it on the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Chamblin put it the best when talking to reporters this week when he said I'm not in this game to go 10-8 and not win a championship. I am here to win championship after championship after championship and I will make the changes necessary so we are in position to win year after year after year. That is going to mean some unpopular moves, but Chamblin cares about one thing and one thing only and that is winning. Is he to be faulted for that?  Corey isn't going to make all the right moves and I'm sure he would be the first to admit that, but he is going to do what he thinks is the right move and so far, I have seen more good ones than bad ones.

--Sportscage insider Arash Madani is reporting former Riders quarterback Jeff Tedford is ready to return to Canada after a solid NCAA and NFL career and become the coach of the BC Lions. If that is the case, could Rider fans get Paul Lapolice as the new offensive co-ordinator under their Christmas tree? If it doesn't happen before Christmas, I don't expect it to be long into 2015 until the announcement is made.

--Kaillie Humphries is more than deserving of winning the Lou Marsh award as Canada's athlete of the year and its refreshing to see the honor go to an amateur athlete instead of a professional one, but I thought Eugenie Bouchard would win that in a slam dunk.

--Week 15 NFL Lock Of The Week  --- Lions over Vikings
   Week 15 NFL Upset Of The Week  ---Chargers over Broncos

--Kelly Remple and I debated the situation regarding the Pats and whether or not Morgan Klimchuk should be traded with the team playing so well on Thursday's Sportscage. I say you have to do it, but it would be tough to do considering it would hurt the team in the short run,  I'm guessing there is a lot of debate as to whether or not a deal will come. As for the fan, it would suck because it could mean no home ice advantage in the first round and perhaps a first round defeat, but as good as the team is playng right now, they should be better next year.

--A question for fans of the Green Bay Packers....longtime fans. Who would you rather have for one game. Favre or Rodgers? I think I would lean to Rodgers. His resume isn't as padded as Favre's whose ink is dry, but Rodgers has many more good years in him and he is simply smarter with the football.

--I don't know how much longer we're going to see weather like this and we know we will see -40 at some point, but to have it be like this and we're in mid-December is good news,

--Belated congrats to Wavell Starr for capturing the belt at HIW last Friday night in the Kings Challenge, Wavell's part of the corporation, he has the belt and he has Lady Luck on his arm, It must be good to be Wavell these days. Can't wait for the Access tapings to start in January. It should be a lot of fun again.

--Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Week 15 NFL Capsules

The NFL season is starting to wind down. Week 15 begins with an NFC West contest between Arizona and St. Louis. For a look at the game and the rest of the ones this weekend, click here

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CFL Releases Latest Rankings for 2015 Draft

CFL Scouting Bureau – Winter Rankings
1st – OL Brett Boyko (UNLV)
2nd – OL Alex Mateas (Connecticut)
3rd – DL Daryl Waud (Western)
4th – RB Tyler Varga (Yale)
5th – REC Nic Demski (Manitoba)
6th – OL Sean McEwen (Calgary)
7th – OL Sukh Chungh (Calgary)
8th – OL Danny Groulx (Laval)
9th – REC Addison Richards (Regina)
10th – OL Jacob Ruby (Richmond)
11th – LB Nick Shortill (McMaster)
12th – DB Chris Ackie (Wilfrid Laurier)
13th – OL Dillon Guy (Buffalo)
14th – OL Karl Lavoie (Laval)
15th – DL Brendon Tennant (Laval)
16th – LB Adam Konar (Calgary)
17th – LB Byron Archambault (Montreal)
18th – DL Ese Mrabure-Ajufo (Wilfrid Laurier)
19th – REC Jake Harty (Calgary)
20th – DL Ettore Lattanzio (Ottawa)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Richie Hall No Longer Riders DC

Its not often you get a yak session of over 20 minutes with Riders coach Corey Chamblin, but we got one today.

Highlights of the chat with the Head Coach included

--Richie Hall still has an undetermined role with the football team, but he is no longer the defensive co-ordinator

--Chamblin wants to hire a full time defensive co-ordinator and did not dismiss the fact about himself taking over that role. Chamblin also indicated it was him who called the defence in the Western semi-final loss to Edmonton

--Calgary assistant Devone Claybrooks and current Riders DB coach Barron Miles are not being considered for the defensive co-ordinator job, but former Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Sinclair who was in Riderville for a short time before leaving for a position in the NFL is

--George Cortez was not fired as offensive co-ordinator and that the two sides just felt it would be best to walk away from one another

--There are 29 free agents to deal with and while he realizes everyone won't be back, he has prioritized a list with GM Brendan Taman

--He has spoken to Paul Lapolice about the vacant offensive co-ordinators job and he has spoken to Jacques Chapdelaine as well, but at this time he has not spoken to Khari Jones.

--He would not be against Kerry Joseph being on his staff as a quarterbacks coach, but he believes Joseph has opportunities in the US he will pursue first

--Despite the season ending injury to Darian Durant. he was not happy with the 10-8 record the team had saying championship type football teams win championships and he is not satisfied with what happened on the field.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About

The first Sunday of the CFL off-season has come and passed and the realization there is a lot of them coming until training camps in June have many already miserable.  Here's something to think about that I brought up on the Sportscage Friday and something that while I don't think will ever happen, it does have some merit.

Would the CFL be better staging the Grey Cup on a Saturday afternoon. The parties are going full-bore Saturday night and they still would if you started the game at 4 o'clock as people would be out of the stadium by 730 giving them the chance to head to Riderville or somewhere to keep the party going.

While we all converged on the Green Mile in 2013, imagine what it could have been like partying all Saturday night and keeping that going into Sunday. As I said, I don't think the league is even considering that idea. but I think its something they should look at.


Former WWE wrestler CM Punk had social media buzzing when he came on during UFC181 and said he had signed a contract and would be fighting in UFC sometime in 2015. Many feel this is just a publicity stunt and Punk will get destroyed by whoever he steps into the octagon in. Those people obviously have some solid facts in their corner including the fact Punk has never had an MMA fight. However, I'm guessing Punk doesn't want to embarrass himself and has been and will be training hard to get ready for the fight against an unknown opponent. I don't think he will have a career like Brock Lesnar had, but I don't think he is going to get his lunch handed to him.


The Seattle Mariners are letting it known they want to be in the baseball playoffs again. I like the moves they are making and if they can add Melky Cabrera they will look very good.


Is it safe to say the guy with the most pressure on him in the Jays lineup is the player who will bat second. It will be his job to set the table for Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion while trying to be on base for those big three as well. Would the Jays put Russell Martin in that spot or do they put him 6th in the order


Its been said before, but defensive co-ordinators must go batty trying to contain Russell Wilson.


What has happened to the San Francisco 49ers?


I have no desire to get out there and do Christmas shopping,,,,none! That's not a good thing is it?


That's all I got. There's not a lot there today, but what can you do?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Kerry Joseph Officially Retires

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international quarterback Kerry Joseph has officially retired from the Canadian Football League.

A 12 year CFL veteran, Joseph played three seasons (2006-2007, 2014) with the Roughriders. He was originally acquired in April of 2006 in the CFL Dispersal Draft, and then re-joined the team as a free agent late in the 2014 season.

In his time with the Green and White, Joseph played 40 regular season games, starting 34, where he collected 8,097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns on 577 completions. He also added 1,365 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on 191 carries.

The 41 year old leaves ranked tenth in Riders all-time pass attempts and completions, eighth in passing yards, and seventh in touchdown passes.    

For his career, Joseph played 179 regular season games, starting 111, eight playoff games with six starts, and started his only Grey Cup appearance. He also spent time with the Ottawa Renegades (2003-05), Toronto (2008-09) and Edmonton Eskimos (2010-13).

He was named CFL Most Outstanding Player, CFL All-Star, and won the Grey Cup all in 2007. 

This And That

The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind in no particular order,....

  --The Rider Nation wanted George Cortez's head on a platter and they got it Thursday as the football club confirmed his contract would not be renewed. Its funny how no one had a problem with the offense and what it was doing until the 3rd quarter of the Banjo Bowl. Yes, I think Cortez had to be a little more flexible and create a different game plan under Tino Sunseri and Seth Doege, but he was stubborn, but to pin the blame on him or anyone for the second half collapse is a little extreme.  Like it or not, this season ended when Durant got hurt. In fact, the guy whom this will have the biggest effect on is Durant as he now has to learn another offence when the one he had was pretty damn effective. Many names will surface, but I am going to put my chips onto Khari Jones' square.  The only reason I don't put it on Paul Lapolice's square is I believe he will be a head coach next season or resuming his role on TSN.

 --Marc Cohon's end date is right around the corner. The league said Thursday Cohon will leave his post early and say goodbye to the CFL in early January.  He either has something or the chasm between himself and the league has grown tremendously.

  --The Edmonton Eskimos had seven all-stars to lead the CFL all-star parade while Calgary only had 5. This again makes me wonder if Calgary had gotten to the top playing both Durant and a healthy Mike Reilly. I don't think so.

  --I can't believe the amount of people who are saying lay off Brandon Banks for not returning to the field after having his punt return called back due to penalty. If a Rider had done that, you would want him crucified at the 55 yard line and run him out of town. After all, some fans did dump manure on a certain kicker's lawn for missing a chip shot field goal didn't they? There's a reason why the 13th man hasn't been made public---although really now it could be.

 --On the day one 41 year old retired from the NHL, another returned. Daniel Alfredsson said goodbye to the game after a great career mainly with the Senators while Martin Brodeur played his first game for a team other than the Devils when he started for St. Louis. Alfie still has goals in his stick and Brodeur still has saves in his glove, but Marty should have done the same thing Alfie did and hang them up.

  --Is it safe to say the Vancouver Canucks made the right move by hiring Willie Desjardins as head coach? The Canucks are near the top of the NHL standings and a lot of it has to do with Desjardins has brought to the table. He's a proven winner.

 --Craig MacTavish will finally speak on Friday as to why the Oilers are so abysmal this season. I want to hear what Kevin Lowe thinks and I want to hear from owner Daryl Katz as well. I like MacT, but with the exception of Bob Nicholson, this team needs a complete overhaul starting with Lowe. Why he hasn't been gassed a long time ago remains a mystery. It is nauseating watching the Oilers play and even when they are winning as was the case in Winnipeg Wednesday night, you know its not going to last.......which it didn't.   SIGHHHHHH!!!!

--The stars of High Impact Wrestling turn the Hungarian Club in Regina to "Gronkville" Friday night as the "King's Challenge' is held. Its a unique 16 man tournament which will end with someone holding the belt. A great night is in store. Methinks the place will be packed as well. That's not a bad thing!

--Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has basically said goodbye to re-signing Melky Cabrera by trading for Seattle outfielder Michael Saunders. Is Anthopoulos looking for a closer? He should be and perhaps an 8th inning guy as well.

--The pictures coming out of Regina Beach this week are incredible after that house explosion. Thank god no one was inside that house when it went BOOM!!! Thank god it happened December 3 and not July 3 as well.

--The stories of one senior after another being improperly cared for and being brought out by the NDP is not great and it does leave one with questions to be asked, but here's one. How many families are satisfied with the care their mom and dad are getting in a seniors home? It would seem to me as if there are more who are satisfied than more who aren't.  The Saskparty won't get these people to come forth and why should they. In the end, when health minister Duncan and Premier Wall talk about the rural hospitals being closed by the NDP and what the opposition did to healthcare while Mr. Romanow and Calvert were in power they mean it because that set us back a long ways. Are you going to tell me the Plains Hospital wouldn't be better served for what it was supposed to be than a Saskatchewan Polytechnic Campus? I don't agree with everything the government does, but the healthcare issue goes right back onto the party that is complaining about it in my books.

--Off the political soapbox now and back to sports.  The Canadian Curling Association must be giddy with the fact ESPN3 will pick up TSN'S "Season of Champions" coverage thus giving Americans a great look at the game. Its tremendous news for the sport as it keeps growing.  One other curling note and that is with Linda Moore gone from TSN and her replacement coming from other curlers, will we be graced with an appearance by Dwayne Mihalicz this year? CMON!!!!

 --Get ready for a solid dose of yours truly on the Sportscage. Rod and a caravan of 57 are off on the annual Sportscage trip to Southern California and when he gets back, he gets his much deserved vacation so it will be me hosting the proceedings into early January. We'll have some fun!!!

  --I can't help but wonder where Marc Trestman's Bears would be if they had a real quarterback. I can't see Jay Cutler with that team next year and I can't see him being a starter anywhere either. OK, maybe the Jets. That defence is horrible as well.

 --Week 14 NFL Lock Of The Week--- Rams over Redskins
    Week 14 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Chiefs over Cardinals

--Gas at well below a dollar a litre in Regina? I didn't think I would ever see that again.

--Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rider News

--Three members of the team were named CFL all-stars today. The three are John Chick, Tyron Brackenridge and Brendon Labatte.

--GM Brendan Taman confirmed George Cortez would not be back for 2015 as offensive co-ordinator, but he would not say defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall is also leaving as has been reported, Taman says Hall is being evaluated.

--Taman blames himself for not having enough bullets in the gun saying the team went on a downward slide in 2013 when Kory Sheets went down with a knee injury and again this year when Darian Durant went down.

 --Durant continues to progress nicely from his torn elbow tendon and there are no anticipated problems about his return to the lineup at training camp.

 --The team may look to putting more money into scouting and adding a couple of more bodies to help himself, Craig Smith and Jeremy O'Day out.

Week 14 NFL Capsules

The final quarter of the NFL season starts tonight in Chicago with the Bears battling Dallas. For a look at that game and others in Week 14 of the season, click here

One More Year For Huff

The not-so-secret succession plan is now out in the open.

And it’s exactly what many expected it to be.

The 2015 CFL season will be John Hufnagel’s final campaign on the sideline and last in the dual role as GM and head coach, as the 63-year-old Pennsylvania native officially announced Wednesday that he’ll hand the Calgary Stampeders head coaching duties over to Dave Dickenson in 2016 and move upstairs to focus on the GM job.

Dickenson, who also has a dual role of offensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach, and Hufnagel both have contracts that run through the ’16 campaign.

The plan was set into motion last year as Dickenson, 41, was being eyed as a head coaching candidate in a couple of places across the CFL.

Hufnagel and Calgary Flames Limited Partnership president and CEO Ken King decided to put the succession plan in place.

“Ken and I came up with a nice plan that would, hopefully, give us a chance to compete for a Grey Cup but also solidify the organization, overall,” Hufnagel said.

It also puts to bed any talk of Dickenson being the next head coach of the B.C. Lions, even though he’s shot down those rumours a couple times over the past two weeks.

“I have one more year left on the field coaching, and then Dave, in Year 2, will become the head coach, and I’ll move up to just be the general manager,” Hufnagel said. “With that program in place, I don’t think that there’s a whole lot of talk necessary about (Dickenson going to) another team.”

Dickenson isn’t counting any chickens before they hatch.

Many a football plan has gone down the drain unexpectedly.

That’s the nature of the business.

“He told the guys (Tuesday),” Dickenson said of when he first found out. “I said, ‘Shoot, Huff, it would have been nice if you told me beforehand.’ I trusted him, and, I think, he’s done a great job. I’m not really going to get too far past next year. I know he says that stuff — and I believe him — and, I think, if the path remains consistent, that’ll happen. But in my opinion, there are no guarantees in life or in football.”

Dickenson and Hufnagel share many of the same philosophies when it comes to game-planning, as well as roster building, and the head-coach-in-waiting is excited to continue that next season.

“It’s Huff’s team, and Huff runs it,” Dickenson said. “I’ve already had some of the players jokingly have some questions that should be directed to Huff. It’s fun and games, but this is Huff’s squad, and he’s done such a great job. I’m glad he’s coming back. I told him after the game, ‘Don’t do anything crazy now.’ He’s a guy, to me, we can all lean on, and he showed what a great coach he is this year.”

While the GM/head coach, offensive co-ordinator and defensive co-ordinator, Rich Stubler, will all be status quo next season, there could still be movement when it comes to the position coaches.

Defensive line coach DeVone Claybrooks is a hot name in coaching circles right now, with opportunities both south and north of the boarder, according to multiple league sources.

Claybrooks is expected to be high on the Saskatchewan Roughriders list if they decide to officially move on from Richie Hall, which is likely to happen, and he has a strong relationship with Riders head coach Corey Chamblin.

Special-teams coach Mark Kilam and receivers coach Pete Costanza could also generate interest if an opportunity arises.

“I’m sure there may be some talk with my coaches,” Hufnagel said. “I’m optimistic that the staff won’t be affected, but you never know. There’s a lot more movement in the Canadian Football League, at this time, than I thought there would be. I’m sure some of my coaches will probably get some phone calls.”

The football season may be over, but the hot stove is just heating up.​

(Calgary Sun)