Monday, August 31, 2015

Chamblin and Taman have been let go

620 CKRM's Sportscage insider Arash Madani of Rogers Sportsnet was the first one to bring the news and it was confirmed in this release by the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Monday night,

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have relieved VP, football operations & general manager Brendan Taman, and head coach Corey Chamblin of their duties with the Football Club.

“We are not meeting our expectations or our standards on the field and these changes were necessary to move us forward,” stated Riders President & CEO Craig Reynolds.

“Brendan and Corey worked tirelessly for this organization and I thank them for all that they have done for our team,” continued Reynolds. “But we are in a results oriented business and the current position of our team is unacceptable and this decision was necessary for us to build this team towards sustained success.”   

Both vacated positions will be filled on an interim basis with a full search being conducted at seasons end. Jeremy O’Day has been named interim VP, football operations & general manager, while Bob Dyce has been named interim head coach.  

Reynolds, Dyce and O'Day will face the media Tuesday morning at 11 AM. 620 CKRM will bring that to you live from Mosaic Stadium. 

Something to "Mitch" About

Disgusting, embarrassing, revolting.  What other words can you use to describe the performance of the green and white in Ottawa?   I could sit here and talk about it, but my Twitter feed blew up as the afternoon went on so let's have some of the tweets and comments that came my way make its way to this blog, and I have to say I really can't disagree with any of this.

From 620 CKRM Rider analyst Mike McCullough:  I'm angry, The decision to change QB was ridiculous. Didn't we go through this last year? Tino wasn't the guy last year and he's not the guy this year. I don't get it? Guys didn't quit but its blow to their confidence

From 620 CKRM pre-game and call in show host Michael Ball:  I will be shocked if Corey Chamblin is on the sidelines for next week's game

From former Riders slotback Jeff Fairholm: Very embarrassing loss and someone needs to be accountable.

From Carolyn:  I feel in this one game that Chamblin has irreparably damaged the team and they weren't damaged before this.

From Darren: I know that CC has received the brunt of #RiderNation hatred tonight but what about the questionable play calling of Chapdelaine? #Brutal  AND 
In Italian "Tino Sunseri" means "To take a sack or loss of yardage".

From the anonymous tweeter known as Fake Gainer: Tino Sunseri. He's just not ready. #PaidforbytheSmithkatchewan party.

It was a game the Riders could have had won after a terrible start. The defense came out and had a horrible start, but the team was in control until Brett Smith threw the interception in the endzone. It is the growing pains you endure as a rookie quarterback cutting his teeth in the CFL. It is not a play where you pull him to put in a guy who has constantly failed when he has gone in, and a guy that for some reason was brought back after he was sent packing.  We will never know what would have happened if Smith stays in, but the fortunes of the team sagged as soon as that change was made. Did Chamblin lose the team when that call was made? You saw the second half!  The decision is inexplicable. You can't justify that decision especially when other players whether it be a veteran or rookie have made bad decisions this season.  You just can't.  There is word Smith and Chamblin may have had an exchange of words as Corey did admit after the game Smith did not handle the move well. I would think Smith should ask some questions after that. It shows that competitive fire.  Once again, I thought Smith showed a lot including a picture perfect pass to Naaman Roosevelt. I also thought he ran one in and was surprised to see no challenge come forth. The future is Brett Smith and not Tino Sunseri. I think that is crystal-clear!

The playcalling was also questionable when you don't give Jerome Messam the football---especially at the one instead of letting Tino dance around and get sacked. I have no clue why he doesn't get the ball more than he does.  He is a horse so use him like one. Former Riders running back Kory Sheets is adamant that is the problem with the offence and he is throwing his knife at Jacques Chapdelaine.

The sad thing is while the microscope falls on the play of the offence, it was the defence again in the first quarter that seemingly came out unprepared and left the team with a big hole to climb out of. Their performance on the first drive was less than inspiring and put Smith in catch-up mode right away.

Until "the decision" was made, the Riders were within one score of Ottawa featuring a roster that had 11 rookies or first year players on it and a team with 18 players out of the lineup because they are on the 6 game injury list. A team that is very inexperienced was right there, and has been right there all year only to kill themselves with stupidity. The building blocks are there and what is short term pain right now could very well end  up being long-term gain. The question now is who will be in charge of leading these youngsters as the team moves forward. It is safe to say after this one, there will be some meetings if they weren't already had Sunday night. I really feel sorry for new president and CEO Craig Reynolds because a dream job has turned into a nightmare and we are only at the halfway point of the season. His head must be spinning!

Other odds and ends:

If Corey Chamblin is the coach, talk has surfaced that fans boycott the start of next Sunday's game against Winnipeg. That isn't going to solve anything folks as much as you think it will or send some kind of message.  You can sit there and feel the team has embarrassed itself with what transpired Sunday and that's fine, but don't embarrass the most passionate fan base in the CFL by doing that and making this grease-fire even bigger.  Someone even threw in a tweet about fertilizing Chamblin's driveway much the way Paul McCallum's did many years ago. That tweet got some swift negative response as it should have. The Rider fanbase is a lot better than that. The frustration is obvious, but be realistic with what steps should be taken.

After what we saw from the Bombers and Riders this weekend, do we still call it a Labour Day Classic? The only difference between the two teams this weekend was Winnipeg did their thing at home.

I am looking forward to seeing the back-to-back battles between the Eskimos and Stampeders. Calgary might be in for a shock.

What the Toronto Blue Jays did to the Detroit Tigers this weekend was highly impressive, but the New York Yankees did the same thing to the Atlanta Braves and the Braves have a much better pitching staff than what Detroit trotted out at Rogers Centre. Seeing a piece of Canadiana come forth when Edwin Encarnacion had the homer hat-trick by throwing hats on the field was a cool sight to see.  Make no doubt about it, Toronto is on the top of their game, but there is still a month and a couple of days to go. Anything can happen!

Kids go back to school on Tuesday so for the love of god, slow down!  The amount of speeders in this city is absolutely ridiculous and we don't need some little boy or girl getting smacked on the first day of school or any day of school because some idiot has somewhere to go and says damn the rules when it comes to putting the pedal down.

The US College Football season and the Canadian college football season started this weekend. but you wouldn't know it watching Canada's two sports networks. It is just a joke that TSN and Sportsnet would rather give us Premier League Soccer. Cabbie Presents, top 10's and wrestling re-runs instead of bringing Canadians football from both sides of the border. I am guessing that will change next weekend when the NCAA season really gets going, but we won't see diddly when it comes to Canadian college ball. CBC could even get involved with CIS football, but they don't.  The CIS deserves more exposure than both semi-finals and the Vanier Cup. It is ridiculous the networks don't promote Canadian college football because it is a product that should be showcased.

Speaking of Sportsnet, they had a discussion about who should be on Team Canada for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey  using analytics and then brought up numbers. I realize analytics is the new "it" thing in sports, but talent wins and not numbers.  I could care less about shots per shift. What I want is the best lineup possible. It won't be an easy decision deciding who plays and who doesn't, but don't make decisions on numbers and not talent.

Still with Sportsnet, the feature they had on Dave Stieb's no-hitter was fabulous. I don't know if Sportsnet has the ability to show great Jays games from the past and I know that game was a CTV telecast so perhaps they don't, but I would love to see Sportsnet show great games from the past to give today's generation a chance to see  how good the Alomars, the Fernandezs, the Bells and the Carters were amongst others.  While talking about no-hitters, thank you Jake Arrieta! The Cubs righty was absolutely dominant in beating the Dodgers. That was the perfect thing to watch after the Riders game!

Can we just have the Saskatoon Hilltops and Regina Thunder play a best of nine to determine the PFC champ?  Once again, these two teams are head and shoulders above everyone else and one sided scores this weekend proved that.

Brian Harman didn't get one hole in one Sunday at the Barclays. He got two!! Cmon Brian, share the wealth for god's sake. I guess he did because he sent 300 beers and a bottle of Crown Royal for everyone after. I wonder what the tab on that is?

Speaking of 300 beers and a bottle of Crown, that could take us right back to the Rider Nation and their state of mind couldn't it. SIGHHHHHH!!!!

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


Friday, August 28, 2015

This And That

The weekly set of thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they are in no particular order.

--The 103rd Grey Cup is quickly becoming a nightmare for both the CFL and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Fans are not buying tickets, the Bombers have reportedly lowered the attendance at Investors Group Field and at this point, there is no way the Bombers will get the reported 4-7 million dollar profit predicted. The game is usually sold out by this point and as of last count, around 26-thousand had been sold. An article from the Winnipeg Sun says the Riders record can be to partly blame for this (which I'm not buying) because Rider fans aren't buying up seats the way they normally would. It has seemed to me over the years as if win or lose, Rider fans always go to the Grey Cup! If that is what the Bombers are trying to make some believe, they are doing a poor job.

--With all apologies to Kevin Glenn, I hope the Saskatchewan Roughriders continue on with Brett Smith as their starting quarterback. He deserves it and in the long run, the franchise will be better. The chances of the Riders making the playoffs at 0-8 are minimal. Smith has shown improvement each week he has played and as the LP's Rob Vanstone correctly stated this week, the Wyoming product was the first Rider QB to throw 3 TD passes since Darian Durant in the 2013 Grey Cup. He needs to continue getting reps and getting experience. Sitting him on the bench will just hamper that development. A progression plan for Durant has to start and Smith is a pretty good start. This is not to suggest Durant won't be quarterbacking the club come game 1 of the 2016 season because he will be if that Achilles is fine, but a guy is needed to take over one day because Durant won't be around forever. Keith Price and Blake Sims can't be ignored either as both may or may not have a future. We need to find out and putting Kevin back in is not the answer. This isn't a condemnation of Glenn either so don't make it out to be. If this team was 3-5 or 2-6, I would be calling for Glenn to start immediately because the team would be in a playoff fight. One could say the team should put Glenn back in when he is ready until the team is mathematically eliminated which is something I can't argue, but this needs to be Smith's team the rest of  the way.

--Congratulations to Weston Dressler and his 500 career catches that he established against the Stampeders. For the sake of Rider fans, lets hope he has another 150-200 catches if not more in him.

--Peyton Manning has thrown for 131 touchdowns over the past two seasons and he says he has no feelings in his fingertips. Considering the position he plays, that is simply amazing.

--The talk of the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl this year took a huge hit with Jordy Nelson going down. Fantasy football players who have Nelson in keeper leagues can't be happy these days, especially if their team also had Kelvin Benjamin on it.

--Playboy is suggesting Saskatchewan's own Kaylyn Kyle might be the hottest athlete in the world. Who am I to argue with Playboy! Kaylyn plans on having some soccer camps in both Regina and Saskatoon this October. Just another example of a Saskatchewan athlete giving back.

--Speaking of Saskatchewan athletes giving back, Jon Ryan and his foundation came through with a 75-thousand dollar donation to equip Regina Minor Football with what is needed for the brand new "Mighty Mites" Division. I don't have to tell anyone about how much Jon loves Regina and vice-versa. Perhaps another Jon Ryan or two are starting their quest thanks to this donation.

--Question asked in the wake of UFC Saskatoon that had an attendance of 72-hundred from a blog reader. The question was "Would the event had been better at the Brandt Centre". The answer I think is NO! When organizers decided they were coming to our province, they wanted to go to the best venue and the best venue is SaskTel Centre. Was there any guarantee that type of crowd would have showed up at the Brandt Centre? That is a question UFC officials will have to ask the next time they come into Saskatchewan whenever that is. If what I hear is any indication, the next time the UFC comes to Saskatchewan, the venue will be a Graham DeLaet three wood from the Brandt Centre. If that is the truth, I hope the UFC isn't expecting an attendance of 30-thousand plus because I don't think that will happen as much as I would love it too.

--Once again while on a trip to Saskatoon, a trip to Fuddruckers had to be had and once again, I saw several people from Regina. Does the Saskatoon Fuddruckers know how much business they will lose when the Regina one opens its doors in the future and where will Reginans go for their dining experience in Saskatoon if they don't go to Fudds because its in Regina.

--The Toronto Blue Jays are not the best team in baseball right now. That distinction goes to the New York Mets.

--The way the Blue Jays are playing, it will take a complete collapse for them not to make the playoffs and have Josh Donaldson named the American League MVP.  Donaldson's hustle on a routine grounder to 3rd that ended up being an error because of that hustle ended up turning a loss into a win in Texas Tuesday night.  The guy does it all.  Jose Bautista could certainly learn a lesson or two from this guy, but instead he decides he is going to boycott Sportsnet and not talk to them because they won't reimburse Devon Travis for a suit.  Cmon Jose! Your act is wearing thin amongst some. This isn't the time to act like this and why are you seemingly on a solo mission because no one else has squawked about this. It was interesting to note Bautista did talk to SNET's Barry Davis the day after this story came out. I have to wonder if he was made to do so by the Blue Jays brass. We will see how many more interviews he does this season.

--When you are winning a bad pitchers pool, you bemoan the fact the Blue Jays sent Aaron Loup (the worst of the worst this year) to Triple A and hope to god Toronto calls him back up in September.  He can turn a 12-3 game in the 8th to 12-6 just like that.

--The Regina Pats start training camp this weekend.  It means hockey is slowly coming back. Soon, fantasy football drafts will be replaced by hockey drafts as the NHL season is right around the corner.

--Why did it take the Ti-Cats so long to retire Angelo Mosca's jersey!

--Why did TSN take time out of their programming schedule to give us the Coors Light Games after the CFL game? That bubble soccer and volley pong games were beyond fierce! It was bad enough one of Canada's Sports Networks was showing a repeat of Amazing Race Canada on one of the channels the CFL game wasn't, but the three letter made a bad decision by giving this publicity stunt any air time.

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 9 CFL Stars of the Week

With the CFL abandoning its stars of the week, and going with performers of the week, I give you my Week 9 CFL stars of the week. 


There were many players who could have received the recognition this week and Riders QB Brett Smith was one of them for throwing 3 TD passes against Calgary. However, Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell gets it not just for the fact he also threw 3 TD's in the win over the Riders, but the hail mary  at the end of the first half was a thing of beauty as he fired that on a rope to Eric Rogers in the wind.

DEFENCE -- MIKE DALY-- Hamilton 

The Ti-Cats throttled the Eskimos at Commonwealth with Daly being one of many who had a great night. He intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and had a sack in the 49-20 win. The McMaster product should be named the Canadian of the week as well. 


Jon who? Matt Walter stepped in like he did last year and got the job done for the Stamps at Mosaic running for 110 yards. The University of Calgary product is showing he can be a dominant back in this league as well when given the chance. 


The Argos have their kicker back and he had a great debut. He kicked 3 FG's, converted 2 TD"s and averaged over 50 yards on 7 punts. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Something to "Mitch" About -- Part 2

Take a bow Saskatoon, and take a bow Saskatchewan. UFC Fight Night left a little to be desired on both ends, but what a spectacular night it was at Sasktel Centre as the UFC made it much-awaited first appearance on provincial soil. 

A crowd of 72-hundred was on hand to watch the event which was beamed across North America on TSN in Canada and Fox Sports 1 in the US. While 72-hundred in the 15-thousand seat Sasktel Centre is not great, you would not have known being in the building as the place was jammed with people who I think left having spent a solid night watching the many fights that were on the card despite the fact the main event hadn't even got going before it was called due to injury. It was a sour ending to the night when Charles Oliviera had to pull the pin early in the 1st round after suffering what was said to have originally been a shoulder injury, but was later confirmed to be an esophagus tear. While the ending was not great, it did not diminish the card at all.

The gate for the event was just under a million dollars Canadian which is what was expected and it had Tom Wright happy, but the UFC Canada boss couldn't have been happy at seeing an event which wasn't sold out in its first trip into Saskatchewan especially when Saskatchewan is one of the per-capita leaders in UFC PPV. It brought up a great discussion as to who is to blame for that.  Are Saskatchewan MMA champs content to plunk down 70 bucks to watch a pay-per-view, but not plunk down the money when the event is in their backyard or did the UFC do a poor job in giving Saskatchewan MMA fans who know the sport a card which was not filled with name performers.  I think considering there weren't a lot of names on this card, Saskatchewan showed organizers what they would do if some names were to come here. Don't expect Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey or Jon Jones to ever fight in Regina or Saskatoon, but organizers probably would have gotten more people with fighters that a lot have people have heard about. 

Saskatchewan's two most famous Mitch's were in the house (OK, one for sure) as Saskatoon's Mitch Clarke was on hand to greet fans before the performancce and throughout the weekend. The place would gone off its hinges had he stepped into the octagon and the plan was for that to happen, but he was sidelined due to injury. It killed him knowing he couldn't do his thing in his hometown. 

While the UFC play-by-play tandem of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan were not behind the mike on this night calling the action to the world, Bruce Buffer was there. Watching this guy in person is amazing. He is extremely popular with the fans and is more than willing to take pictures and meet as many as possible as are fighters who are there to watch and his act which is sometimes not seen on TV is a treat. He is great to watch! 

As mentioned, those connected with the sport are very accomodating. Here's your truly with Tyron Woodley who is getting ready to face Jonny Hendricks in a welterweight bout in what is the co-main event of UFC 193 in Houston in October.  The guy below Woodley is no stranger to CFL fans as he is UFC Canada boss. I talked to Tom for a few minutes and he was so happy to be showcasing his product in the heartland of the CFL. By the way, he is just as shocked as anyone over what is happening in Riderville. 

The fans were into it for many of the fights and no doubt, it was the loudest when Canadian Patrick Cote took on Josh Burkman. 

Canadians on the card ( and there were many) were obviously the fan favourites, but none more than "The Predator" who took out Burkman. 

As I left SaskTel Centre, two thoughts went through 

1) How long will it take to get back into Saskatoon because of the traffic.  I don't think that situation will ever improve.

2) All that were there should have been happy with six hours of the UFC.  The crowd was kept alive right from before the opening bell went with loud music and great videos that kept you invested. There wasn't a lot of dead time. It is something some hockey teams should take note of including every Saskatchewan based team in the WHL.  Make it an event from the time you open the doors and don't give fans an excuse to be bored. Six hours is a long time to keep people interested in the product and by hook or by crook, the UFC does that.

As I was also leaving, I heard one guy ask his buddy when UFC might return. That is a very good question. Tom Wright has said UFC is interested in doing something in the new Mosaic Stadium, but the UFC also needs to go back to Winnipeg and Calgary as PPV's there did not go well thanks to cards being re-structured due to injury. UFC boss Dana White has promised a return to both cities and he will follow through on that promise. Once those events have been held, Saskatoon or Regina will be looked at again, but I don't see it happening until at least late 2017 or 2018. 

As mentioned though, it was well worth the drive and the night in Saskatoon because what was seen by myself and others was a great night of MMA. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's UFC Night in Saskatchewan

The day that many Saskatchewan mixed martial arts fans have waited for has arrived. 

The Ultimate Fighting Championhip holds its first ever card in Saskatchewan at Sask-Tel Centre in Saskatoon with a card highlighted by the main event featuring Max Holloway against Charles Oliviera.  A preview on the card can be found right here. 

If you are not going to Saskatoon, it will be on TSN 5 starting at 5. 

Something to "Mitch" About --- Part 1

I'm off to UFC Fight Night in Saskatoon, and I'll blog about it upon my return Monday, but here are thoughts on what transpired at Mosaic Saturday night.

--There were a lot of positives to take away from the 34-31 loss, but that doesn't mean all is good because there are still a lot of warts on this football team.  The squad will not win until the defence comes through and they are not.  I will give Bo Levi Mitchell all the credit in the world for his hail mary pass at the end of the first half. That was a perfect pass to Eric Rogers and it was into the wind. That was one helluva pass by the Stamps quarterback, but it doesn't take away from the fact that you gotta KNOCK IT DOWN!!!  That was simply unacceptable by a group of defensive backs who were A) behind Rogers and B) looking at him instead of the ball. I'm guessing that play doesn't happen if Barron Miles is still the DB's coach because that wasn't the type of play he would even want to be associated with. That was just embarassing. Everyone knew what was going to happen and Calgary still scored.  It was just one of many things that left a lot to be desired on the defensive side of the ball.

--Speaking of embarassing, the call on Randy Richards which saw the Riders offensive lineman ejected was embarassing----for Dave Foxcroft and crew. That's a 15 yard penalty, I will give you that, but that was not 25 yards and ejection-worthy.  This crew was not as bad as some of the other crews we have seen this year, but on the play where Richards was kicked out, he was blocked from behind moments before what was a lethal clothesline, Brett Smith got one roughing the passer call where he embellished it big time, and on another roughing the passer call, the Calgary defender was pushed from behind causing him to fall into Smith. The Riders were not the only team to get jobbed by the stripes on this night so no blame can fall on their shoulders.

--Brett Smith continues to grow as a quarterback and I'll be completely honest, I just love what I am seeing from this kid, and I think many in the Rider Nation feel the same way. He is still rough and needs a lot of experience yet, but he is getting some valuable reps and is getting better and better with every game. While head coach Corey Chamblin said after the game, he still intends to go with Kevin Glenn when he gets off the injured list, I would seriously consider riding this season out with Smith under center. What can it hurt?

--The Riders have lost six games by five points or less while Calgary is now 6-2 winning five of them by five or less points. What is the difference between the two teams because one is finding a way to get the job done and the other isn't. There isn't a lot separating the two teams not including the win-loss record is there? What would Calgary be like if Bryant Moniz was the quarterback?  The talent is there in that room, but it isn't getting done and that perhaps is the most frustrating thing.

--While I don't agree with those who want Corey Chamblin fired, I do understand it. However, someone needs to explain to me why there is a desire to bring in Mike Benavides as the new HC, What did Benavides do in BC to make those who want him here think he would get this team to where you want it? Sorry, I'd rather have Chamblin with a healthy roster. You can disagree with that all you want, but that's the way I feel, To those who say Benavides should come on board as the defensive co-ordinator, I am cool with that.

That's all for now. It's UFC time!  Part 2 will be up sometime upon my return Monday after I get back.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Higgins Out, Popp In as Alouettes Make A Change

Image result for montreal alouettes           

Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall announced on Friday that he has relieved Tom Higgins of his Head Coaching responsibilities.

"General Manager Jim Popp will take over the duties of Head Coach at this time. Our management and I have full confidence in Jim, as do our players," said Wetenhall.

"We have made this change as we believe it is in the best interest of our team, and especially our fans. We all wish to express to Tom our affection and respect, as well as our appreciation for the contributions he has made to the franchise."

(Alouettes Football Club)

Grey Cup 103 Is A Tough Sell

The 103rd Grey Cup game will be the poorest attended CFL championship in at least 17 years.

And if ticket sales, currently at a snail’s pace, don’t pick up significantly over the next 12 weeks, the crowd could be the smallest for a Grey Cup in four decades.

The Winnipeg Sun on Friday learned the host Blue Bombers have quietly reduced capacity for the Nov. 29 classic to just 36,634, down some 3,400 from the original plan to expand Investors Group Field to 40,000 seats.

It’s the smallest Grey Cup capacity since the 1970s.

The temporary seating planned for the north-end concourse has been scrapped, leaving a temporary grandstand only on the south concourse. Construction on the seating began this week.

The reason for the reduced capacity is unclear.

The Bombers say president Wade Miller is out of town this week and not available for comment.

But a team spokesman told the Sun on Friday the pre-game and half-time entertainment will set up on the north-end concourse instead of the usual location at mid-field.

That decision appears to have been a hasty one: Ticketmaster on Friday continued to sell seats that don’t exist in temporary seats in that north end.

The Bombers eventually issued a Friday afternoon press release saying the decision was made after a recent tour of the stadium by CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge.

The release says the relocated stage will ensure fans have “the very best experience,” but did not explain how the switch is an improvement.

The team spokesman says fans who’ve bought or continue to buy tickets in the north end will be relocated to the south end.

With ticket sales at 25,576, Friday, or around 70% of capacity, some 11,000 unsold seats remained.

Even a sellout of 36,634 would be the smallest crowd to attend a Grey Cup since 1998, when Winnipeg, wallowing in the Jeff Reinebold years, hosted the game and drew just 34,157.

The reasons for this year’s slow ticket sales once again revolve around the performance of the home team.

The Bombers have a losing record (3-5) after dropping four of their last five games, and have missed the playoffs the last three years.

In addition, Saskatchewan is so far out of the playoff picture fans there, usually a rabid bunch, aren’t buying up seats like they otherwise would.

If Winnipeg doesn’t reach capacity this year, the crowd count could sink to mid-1970s levels. Calgary attracted 32,454 in 1975.

“We are encouraged by the ticket count to date and look forward to selling out the rest to our great Blue Bomber and CFL fans in the months to come,” Miller said in the press release.

(Winnipeg Sun) 

This and That

The weekly set of thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they are in no particular order.

(Photo Courtesy Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)

--Congratulations to two all-time great Riders and now two CFL hall of famers.  Gene Makowsky is Roger Aldag 2.0. He simply is Saskatchewan. They are both the same type of individual with one coming from the city and one coming from the country. They both symbolize what Saskatchewan is and it is great to see Geno immortalized in the CFL Hall of Fame as it is Eddie Davis. Without a doubt, he is one of the best defensive backs to have ever played in the CFL and the stories he must have from his days with the Birmingham Barracudas would be legendary.

--The new Mosaic continues to grow and from this shot by RRI staff, it looks great at night. By this time next year, the doors will be ready to open. There are still some who are highly against this being built.  Too bad!  Enjoy the events and other benefits that will come out of the facility and yes, there will be many besides football.

--The Riders are 0-7 and Saturday's game is sold out. Well done Rider Nation, well done indeed. Hopefully the team sees the fan-base has not given up on this season and they can come out and pull off a major upset. If they did, it would have people talking around the league. No one is picking the Riders to win and for good reason, but if they do, it will give the team a great deal of confidence heading into Ottawa. Brett Smith gets the start again and he showed drastic improvement from his first start to his second one, but it doesn't help him that Chris Getzlaf and Levy Adcock won't play.

--What the hell was going on in Calgary with Jasper Simmons and why was this battle through Twitter involving guys like Bo Levi Mitchell.  The agent for Simmons was upset his client hasn't played this year and went to Twitter to voice his anger. This got a war of words going between Marquay McDaniel and former Stamp Maurice Price and now the Calgary quarterback has gotten involved.  I would think John Hufnagel is smart enough to see whether a player deserves playing time and obviously Simmons doesn't in the opinion of Hufnagel. Getting criticized through his agent is not going to help Simmons or any other player in the CFL represented by his agent. It wasn't a surprise to see Simmons get released by Calgary, but it was a surprise to see the guy get picked up by another team. I don't think he is worth the headache or at least the agent providing the headache. Simmons would be wise to tell this guy to get lost.

--Why is it kickers in the CFL are having such a problem kicking a 32 yard convert?  Going into last night's game, 20 had been missed and there was at least one missed in the 1st quarter by Montreal's kicker. That was the only rule change I liked, but I still find it odd that there have been so many missed especially when the percentage of kicks from that spot are back are way better.

--University of Saskatchewan head coach Lisa Thomaidis is certainly getting a lot of positive press these days for leading the Canadian women to gold at the Pan-Am Games and then the FIBA Americas title. There is no doubt Thomaidis is a great coach, but there is another great coach doing his thing with a University program in this province who seemingly always falls under the radar and that is the U of R's Dave Taylor. It's no secret Taylor knows his stuff and he is one of the main reasons why the U of R has one of the best womens basketball programs in the CIS.  Between these two, basketball in this province and this country is in very good shape on the womens side.  Speaking of Taylor, if you have a daughter who is playing basketball or any sport the U of R offers, the various Cougar teams hold great summer camps with the womens basketball one wrapping up this week. I would highly encourage you to put your kid in one of these camps because they are worthwhile.

--Moose Jaw Times Herald editor and 620 CKRM's Sportscage baseball analyst Craig Slater wrote a very good letter to the Leader-Post this week asking about the lack of baseball facilities Regina has especially with Pacer Park about to go under the bulldozer with the Regina bypass project.  Slater makes some very good points in his letter saying Leibel Field and the Co-Operators Centre helped ease the minor football and hockey crunch. What happened with the Baseball Canada Under 21 Championships and the Regina Red Sox was very unfortunate and wouldn't have happened had Regina lost Game 5 of the Saskatchewan Division final to Weyburn. The sport of baseball is growing in this city and this province and while Regina has two great facilities in Currie Field and Optimist Park along with the Baseball Regina diamonds across from the Orr Centre, it is obvious something more is needed. It won't happen overnight (unless you want to turn Kaplan Field into a baseball diamond like you did when the Little League National Championships was here), but it would be nice if another baseball facility was available for the many who are playing the sport.  One can only wonder if the city will pay attention to not only Slater's call, but the call of the baseball community in this city.

--That being said, the timing is not there for a new facility when you look at the current state of the economy. It is why I think Ken King's press conference in Calgary this week to talk about a new home for his teams is nothing but a giant pipe-dream. If he thinks he will get what he wants from others to have that built, he is out of his mind.  I would think the Oilers are carefully watching this as well as they don't have any or very little money coming from the provincial government for Rogers Place which will be ready to go for the start of the 2016-17 season. If the Rachel Notley government is going to give money to King and the Flames, they are obligated to give money to Daryl Katz and the Oilers and yes Calgary fans, I would be saying the same thing if the roles were reversed.  As I said, I will be shocked if ground breaks on this initiative. Time will tell.

--There are stores starting to stock Christmas items already. This is wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Can we get the kids back to school and get through Hallowe'en before we start thinking about Christmas?

--Did the University of Regina Rams really erect a sign called "Compete Street" on their practice field? Whether they did or they didn't, I love the slogan. Head coach Mike Gibson was on the "Sportscage" this week and he did the interview just moments after seeing his squad go through a yoga session. Gibson admitted the young lady teaching the class had the approval of the players----there is no other way some of those guys would get caught in LuluLemon attire is there?

--The UFC makes its first foray into Saskatchewan this weekend as "Fight Night" goes Sunday at Sasktel Centre. Its a packed card headlined by a featherweight bout pitting Max Holloway against Charles Oliveira. Holloway has been tearing through the competition lately, winning six fights in a row, including a submission victory over Cub Swanson in his last fight. The Hawaii-born fighter is looking to jump into title contention with a win, but he's got a tough test to prove he belongs in that conversation. Oliveira has been just as impressive lately, winning four fights in a row, with three of them finished by submission. The Brazilian has long been considered one of the best prospects in the UFC, but now he's starting to finally realize that potential, and a win over Holloway would certainly propel him into the top five of the division. It is going to be a great night and I can't wait to sit with fellow UFC fans watching this historic event in our province. It should be a great night!

--One last thing and that is there is a very proud pappy wandering around the halls of 620 CKRM and for good reason. The legendary Perry Nyhus who went from on-air to a position in sales is beaming over the fact his son Mason has been named the quarterback for Team Canada in some games against the U-S which will be played in Texas. I've never seen the kid play, but Dad says a lot of schools are interested in him, Let's hope the CFL has smartened up somewhat when it comes to Canadian quarterbacks and by the time this kid is finished University, he can step onto a CFL roster in some fashion,

That's all I got. Have a great weekend everyone. If you're going to the Riders game, stay dry and GO RIDERS!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Calgary Unveils Plan for Downtown Arena and Football Stadium

The Calgary Flames organization wants to build an ambitious $890-million hockey arena and events centre, as well as a football stadium with a roof on property west of downtown, the club officially announced on Tuesday.

Ending years of speculation, Flames CEO Ken King introduced his plans for a new mega-sports complex, which he hopes will one day replace both the 32-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome and 55-year-old McMahon Stadium.

The $890-million budget would be paid from four sources — a $240-million community revitalization levy, a $250-million ticket tax, $200 million from the city to fund the field house, and a $200-million contribution from the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, the Flames’ ownership group.

“I’m so happy to share this vision. It’s going to be a little different than people think,” said King on his way into a Tuesday morning event introducing the plans to season ticket holders.

The development, dubbed ‘CalgaryNEXT,’ is proposed for land west of downtown, in the community of Sunalta, near an existing Greyhound bus station, auto dealership and a recently built LRT station.

King said it was “dumb luck” that Sunalta LRT was built near the proposed West Village site but “it works perfectly.”

At the session for ticket holders on Tuesday morning, King described the project as a “live, work, play project” that is on par with something you would see in New York.

The football stadium would be housed inside a sports field house, and the project would include a regulation sized FIFA soccer pitch, and a track. In total, the facility will be almost 1.4 million square feet.
King said the multi-sport field house stadium will be designed for everyone — by day a child could play soccer in the facility or use the 400-m track, and at night, the structure will be transformed into a football stadium.

“It’s for all of the citizens in our city,” he said.

The field house stadium will have a covered roof and retractable seats that will move on and off the track to convert to a stadium, with a seating capacity of 30,000 people.

The arena portion of the project is being billed as an “arena event centre” that will contain 19,000 to 20,000 seats and host sporting events, concerts and conferences.

The proposal also includes hotels, condominiums, commercial office towers and bars.

King has been working on plans for a new arena concept since at least 2007. In mid-March, the concept was relayed to city council in a closed-door session.

The entire development is proposed for several blocks in the West Village that has long presented an environmental headache to the city and developers.

Much of the area is contaminated from a former creosote plant. The project’s price-tag does not include the costs of remediating environmental contamination on the site.

Previous estimates have put the cleanup costs at between $50 million and $300 million, and a city-owned agency is in the process of hiring a consultant to review previous reports and study the scope of environmental contamination in the area.

Nenshi and council unanimously oppose direct taxpayer subsidies for professional sports buildings, and King tried to head off talk of a massive funding request in a radio station interview earlier this year.

Premier Rachel Notley said publicly this week she would keep an “open mind” about funding for the professional sports facilities.

Edmonton’s $480-million Rogers Place, the new home for the Oilers, is being constructed without direct provincial investment.

(Calgary Herald)

Week 8 CFL Stars of the Week

With the CFL abandoning its stars of the week and going with performers of the week, I give you my stars of the week



This is really a no-doubter. Collaros and the Ti-Cats absolutely clobbered the Lions Saturday night with the Hamilton QB going 19 of 23 for 290 yards and 4 TD's in the 52-22 rout. 


The Stampeders had perhaps the most dominant defensive effort of the season in their one-sided victory over Ottawa. Several players could get this award, but Mayo was all over the field in the 52-3 win registering one sack and five tackles.


 The Eskimos held Rakeem Cato and the Alouettes in check in their win over Montreal. The New Hampshire product had four tackles and was one of many Eskimos who had a great night on the defensive side of the ball.


 Another game, another special teams TD for the explosive Ti-Cats returner. The comparisons to Gizmo Williams have already started and for good reason. Banks proved again Saturday he can change a game with just one play.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Baseball's Post-Season Schedule Released

Major League Baseball on Monday announced a 2015 postseason schedule that begins on Oct. 6, with the 111th Fall Classic to open on Oct. 27 in an American League ballpark, thanks to the AL's 6-3 victory in last month's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile. The full postseason schedule can be found at

Following the scheduled regular-season finales on Sunday, Oct. 4, potentially necessary regular-season tiebreaker games would be telecast exclusively by ESPN the next day. Then the postseason will begin that Tuesday, with the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on ESPN. The National League equivalent is scheduled for Oct. 7, televised exclusively by TBS.
Both AL Division Series will begin on Oct. 8. The first full slate of Division Series games, featuring two NL Division Series openers and a pair of ALDS Game 2s, will be held on Oct. 9. Overall, the Division Series are scheduled from Oct. 8-15, with a pair of potential Game 5s possible on Oct. 14 (ALDS) and Oct. 15 (NLDS). FOX, FS1 or MLB Network will air the first three ALDS games, and then FOX or FS1 the remaining two, if necessary. TBS will cover all NLDS games.

The AL Championship Series, beginning on Oct. 16, will be telecast by FOX or FS1. The NL Championship Series, set to start on Oct. 17, will be telecast by TBS. A potential Game 7 of the ALCS is scheduled for Oct. 24, while a Game 7 of the NLCS is scheduled for Oct. 25.

Last year marked the first time since 1990 that the World Series opened on a Tuesday, and that pattern will continue this fall. After Games 1-2 in the AL park, the World Series will shift to the ballpark of the NL champions on Oct. 30. A Game 7, if necessary, would be scheduled in the AL city for Nov. 4. The scheduled off-days during the World Series are Oct. 29 and Nov. 2 (if necessary).
The only World Series to reach November were played in 2001, '09 and '10. The '01 and '09 Fall Classics each ended on Nov. 4, and the Giants clinched on Nov. 1, 2010.

All games telecast on MLB Network, TBS and FOX will be available to MLBTV  subscribers who are authenticated subscribers to the applicable network through a participating pay TV provider.
ESPN Radio will provide live national coverage of all 2015 MLB postseason games, including the Wild Card Games.



Something To "Mitch" About

Holy cooldown!! From the oppressive heat of Thursday and Friday where it hit almost 40 degrees in some parts of the province to having to almost put an extra blanket on the bed Saturday night to lows of 5 degrees in some areas on Sunday.  For someone who doesn't like mid-30's heat, that was absolutely refreshing--especially when you don't have air conditioning!.  I can only imagine what it was like for campers who left wherever on Thursday and perhaps didn't bring that extra blanket with them thinking they wouldn't need it.  It must have also been a little cool for those sitting in the Mosaic Stadium stands Saturday night as the Regina Thunder opened up the PFC season with a 48-32 win over the Winnipeg Rifles.  It is the first win of the season by a Regina football team and yes, somehow you knew it would be against a Winnipeg team didn't you!  Congrats to Scott MacAulay and crew as they start the road to what they hope is their 2nd national title.

With the Thunder on the field, it is now time for the University of Regina Rams to show us what they will have as camp got underway on Sunday. As you know, this is the first time in a long time Frank McCrystal has not been in charge of the "horns" with Mike Gibson now holding the clipboard.  Gibson is saying the right things going into camp, but what is said and what is done are two different things.  The Rams have a lot of young talent with guys like Noah Picton, Atlee Simon, Riley Wilson, Joey Dwyer, Mike Stefanovic and Tyler Perkins. They also have a very experienced offensive line which should be a huge strength for the young quarterback who gets his first full year as the starter. I think it is safe to say the Rams won't be contending for a Vanier Cup this year because they are still young, but hopefully they start growing some seeds for what could be a Vanier run in a couple of years down the road. Can't wait for the season opener September 4th at Mosaic against Alberta.

To the CFL and it was not a good night to be the visiting teams on Saturday as the final score collectively in the two games was 100-25.  The Stampeders flexed their Grey Cup muscle on an Ottawa team that definitely took a step back while Hamilton just steamrolled another team walking into the "Coffee Cup" as it has been dubbed.  The games got so bad on Saturday night that the CFL on TSN panel started to dance and believe me folks, that was as ugly as ugly can get.  It was somewhat terrifying!!

The Michael Sam era in the CFL is apparently over and while Sam is using mental health issues as a reason for his time with the Alouettes to come to an end, I think the reality is the guy found he couldn't cut it and simply stopped playing to stop embarassing himself.  If there are actual mental health issues there then fine, but that line of reasoning seemed to catch many off guard.  The story is making headlines across North America because of Sam's sexual preference and that may have had something to do with the decision as well. The glare of the spotlight may have been too bright for him,  and when it was evident he was having a problem with the Canadian game he didn't want to continue. It is too bad he couldn't have been left alone, and just concentrated on being a football player. If there are others out there looking to come out like what Sam had the courage to, they may not do so anymore. There are many factors that come with this, but in the end, Sam's days of being a trailblazer are over, and so is his football career. It is because he wasn't good enough to take his game to the next level. End of story!

The Riders get back on the field this week after having the bye week. It is obvious the team will have a different look when they walk back in the room as some player personnel moves were made on the weekend.  The love for the team is still there if the scene outside the Northgate Mall Rider Store was any indication on Sunday. Brett Smith and Ryan Smith were signing autographs were fans and there were a lot of fans getting stuff signed.  Both are quickly becoming fan favourites around here. I'm looking forward to seeing how the young quarterback does against Calgary on Saturday.  One has to think the Stamps will be favoured and favoured heavily to win which they should, but it will be interesting to see what type of fire this team has after the break.

In reading a story on the Patrick Kane situation,  I was shocked to see the NHL does not have a policy on violence against women. The CFL has just instituted one. The CFL is ahead of the NHL on something?! It is hard to fathom the NHL has no such policy in place.

If there was any doubt that Tiger Woods is not the PGA Tour the way he used to be, there can be no doubt now after Jason Day won his first major by winning the PGA Championship Sunday at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.  Tiger didn't make the weekend and CBS had record numbers with Saturday's 3rd round coverage being a record and the highest they have had in 6 years. The torch has been passed to the likes of Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and others.  The game is just fine despite what some may think. 

Speaking of ratings, the Blue Jays continue to haul in amazing numbers on Sportsnet. What effect is it having on CFL numbers? We will find that out later this week when we see what the head to head was on Friday as the Jays lost a tough one to the Yankees while the Argos were beating the Bombers.  Numbers show Wednesday night's Jays game versus Oakland had 1.48 million Canadians watching and I'm guessing many were watching the Yankees-Cleveland game on Thursday or something else because only 574-thousand took in the Eskimos-Alouettes game. I am guessing that beats the Toronto-Winnipeg game. Fans across the country are tuning out the CFL this year and the Jays performance until the end of the season will not help that out one bit. The CFL should be happy that Toronto played in the afternoon on Saturday because had they played a night game against the Yankees on Sunday, it would have had a huge impact on the Hamilton-BC game and a slight one on the Ottawa-Calgary matchup. 

Congratulations to the Regina Red Sox! A few weeks ago it looked like the team wouldn't even make the playoffs, but manager Scott Douglas found a way to get his team back on track and make it to the league final. That final certainly didn't go the way the Sox wanted it to as Lethbridge won in 3 straight to take the title, but the Sox have shown again they might have the model franchise in the WMBL. One can not argue with their track record over the past 5 years as they have gotten to the final three times winning it twice. Gary Brotzel, Bernie Eiswirth and many others deserve a hearty pat on the back and some cold frosty ones for the tireless work they do to make this team what it is. 

James Harrison has been one of the NFL's best linebackers for a number of years and he apparently hasn't taken too many headshots. The Pittsburgh linebacker is being applauded by many, including this blogger, for taking away his kids participation trophies saying he wants them to earn a "REAL" trophy. Harrison's boys were given two trophies for just being involved in something. Harrison writes
" I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy." I would hope some parents and more importantly some school boards will take notice of this because in my opinion Harrison is 100 percent correct. If you want to disagree, that's fine and it is your right, but in my books Harrison is getting his kids ready for the world and isn't allowing them to take the easy way out which is what some educators feel is the right task to take right now.

That's all I got.  Have a great week!