The Hockey News



This Week in The Hockey News magazine: March 9, 2015

In the March 9 edition, it's our annual Trade Deadline Preview, looking at who goes where and which teams need what at the NHL's annual swap meet



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Posted on 10 February 2015 | 7:15 pm

The Blair Necessities



This and That


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


--The University of Regina Rams begin the Canada West season and I'm excited.  It will look different seeing Mike Gibson on the field calling the shots instead of Frank McCrystal and I think I'm safe in saying the Rams won't be considered Vanier Cup contenders in Gibson's first year, but he has a solid group to work with and I'm looking forward to their season opener at Mosaic against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. You can go to the game, you can listen to the game on 620 CKRM with Michael Ball or you can stay home and watch it on Access 7 as I will have the play-by-play. I highly advise Option 1 or 2 in this scenario.  The game will also be televised back in Edmonton for those who have SHAW.  Its part of an expanded Canada West football package that will see the Hardy Cup broadcast on Global television along with one of the two semi-final games. This is great for the conference and for CIS football as a whole. I hope its the start of bigger and better things.

--While the Rams do their thing Friday night, the Regina Thunder will go up to battle the Hilltops in an all-Saskatchewan PFC final and what really should be the first of 3 games between the two as they are head and shoulders the best in the league again this year and should meet in the final. I don't know about you, and maybe it is because one team has done better when it comes to wins and losses over the last couple of years, but for the first time, more people in this town it seems are talking Thunder than Rams. Yes, the Thunder gets a head-start on the Rams, but I am hearing more and more Thunder chatter this year and less and less Rams chatter. 

--Everyone else is doing it so I might as well too when it comes to the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they are taking a gamble and "rolling the Dyce" in the second half of the season which begins Sunday. I love what Dyce could bring to the table, but I hope a rabid fan-base isn't expecting any miracles out of the 48 year old. There is an excitement out there with the coaching change, but just because Bob is the head coach doesn't mean those guys on the injury list come back and it doesn't give the young players on the team more experience, but it may give them a different attitude and it may very well give them the chance Sunday night to talk about a win instead of a loss which I think all players want to do.

--I was asked if Tino Sunseri was the worst quarterback the Riders have had since the end of the Ron Lancaster era this week. I couldn't say yes, but I couldn't remember anyone who might have been worse. He was the most frustrating quarterback I've ever seen in the green and white. THROW THE DAMN BALL!!!! By the way, there are a lot of bad quarterbacks that have worn green and white in the post Lancaster era.  Let's not forget the likes of Marvin Graves, Bernard Quarles, Jonathan Beasley, Keith Smith, Floyd Patterson and Seth Doege---although Doege didn't give us much of a sample size, but remember his debut against Calgary last year.

--Has anyone checked on the fine people of Chamberlain to see how they are doing in the wake of this week's news from Riderville?

--The L-P's Rob Vanstone makes a very great (R)observation.  The Riders do not employ a quarterback coach, yet they have a running back coach and the running back hardly runs the ball. I don't see a QB's coach being added this year, but I do next. Khari Jones value in the 2013 season mentoring Darian Durant was huge. Can anyone say Kevin Glenn?

--We are now less than one week from the start of the NFL season. WOOHOO!!!

--Congrats to all members of the 2015 class going into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame next month. Once the class had been named, I immediately e-mailed Vanstone and asked "the rumpled scribe" when and what it will take to get Principal Richard Pound (John Cozman) in the hall. He would be a tremendous addition and those who follow the independent wrestling circuit would agree. His schtick was outstanding and is still missed today.

--The Regina Pats started the pre-season with a game against Calgary on Thursday night at the Co-Operators Centre. The start of the regular season is just a couple of weeks away and after a year last season where they re-captured the imagination of the hockey community, they have done absolutely nothing when it comes to an ad campaign for season tickets. Does anyone see a Pats logo anywhere around town outside Evraz Place? Fans aren't going to come into the building through word of mouth and while I don't know what the end results of this team is going to be, when you have the likes of Wapple, Zborovsky, Steel, Leschyshyn and Wagner doing their thing, it will be an entertaining product. You might want to promote it because the big flashy scoreboard is no longer a drawing card!

--Sadly "Deflategate" is not over as the NFL was quick to appeal the lifting of Tom Brady's suspension. Will this stupid story ever end? Roger Goodell has embarrassed himself and the NFL with his witch-hunt in this case and it has to stop. I still think Brady knew exactly what was going on, but I also think he isn't the only guy to do this and it takes nothing away from what he has done in the past.

--Connor MacDavid spoke with NHL.com this week as teams start getting ready for training camp which will begin soon. McDavid was asked if he has spoken to head coach Todd McLellan about expectations and what role is expected of him. His answer "That is getting a little ahead of the game. I haven't even been to training camp yet. I'm kind of taking it one step at a time. I just want to have a good training camp and prove to the staff and my teammates that I am a player who competes, works hard and does all the right stuff.  Connor, I think you will be just fine.

--Finally, another tip of the hat to Rider Nation. Labour Day games are usually a big draw, but with the team at 0-9, it wouldn't have surprised me to hear there was no sellout this year and why would Winnipeggers want to travel to see that team. This team has been through a lot this year and the first half of the season certainly tore at the fabric that is Rider Nation, but once again they are coming through for what will be the 2nd last Labour Day game at the old Mosaic Stadium. With rain in the forecast, I hope everyone is in their seat at kickoff and it appears as if the Riders are going to have one of those card stunts to "BRING EM OUT".

--Have a great Labour Day weekend everyone! GO RIDERS!




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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 4:51 am

Yahoo Sports Blog



Golf-U.S. PGA Tour Deutsche Bank Championship scores

Sept 4 (Infostrada Sports) - Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour Deutsche Bank Championship at the par-71 course on Friday in Norton, Massachusetts -6 Brendon De Jonge (Zimbabwe) 65 -4 Matt Jones (Australia) 67 Harris English (U.S.) 67 Charley Hoffman (U.S.) 67 Luke Donald (Britain) 67 Colt Knost (U.S.) 67 Kevin Chappell (U.S.) 67 Ian Poulter (Britain) 67 Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 67 Rickie Fowler (U.S.) 67 -3 Sean O'Hair (U.S.) 68 Daniel Berger (U.S.) 68 Gary Woodland (U.S.) 68 Ryan Palmer (U.S.) 68 Jason Day (Australia) 68 -2 Matt Kuchar (U.S.) 69 Robert Streb (U.S.) 69 Morgan Hoffmann (U.S. ...

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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 11:41 pm

Canada.com



Toronto Blue Jays fever more intense than ever before

Blue Jays fever. It's hot!

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Posted on 3 September 2015 | 2:09 pm

T.S.N.



Titans sign former Bill, S Searcy

Go to TSN.ca for details. #TSN

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Posted on 11 March 2015 | 9:12 pm

The Joy of Sox



A History Of The "Yankees Suck" T-Shirt

Amos Barshad, at Grantland, offers the "twisted, true story of the drug-addled, beer-guzzling hardcore punks who made the most popular T-shirts in Boston history":
They started out as licensed Fenway Park vendors. LeMoine — a voluble guy who knew everyone in the hardcore scene — was the first to figure out you could make good money selling Cracker Jack and baseball-helmet-bowl ice cream inside the park.

"I'm selling ice cream," Wilson says of one fall day. "It's September, it's cold. No one's fuckin' buying ice cream. So I'm sitting there, eating my own ice cream. And it comes across the JumboTron: 'Yankees clinch the division.' And none of the fans were leaving. And they start chanting. 'Yankees suck! Yankees suck!' I remember thinking, 'Fuck this ice cream.'" ...

"Everyone said we were crazy," Manza recalls. "'You're gonna be eating those shirts!' We started with two grand and we must have made it back the first night. The next week we bought twice as many shirts. Then the next week, twice as many shirts. That was the curve. Exponential." ...

The most lucrative piece of territory was the bridge that goes over the Massachusetts Turnpike, perpendicular to Fenway and the main drag of bars and clubs on Lansdowne Street. When the Suckers suddenly appeared, the random patchwork of one-off bootleggers that had enjoyed free reign tried to hang tough. "They were saying, 'Get the fuck off the bridge, this is our bridge,'" Wilson recounts. "And I said, 'Fuck you. I got eight guys. You get the fuck off the bridge.'" ...

In 2004, when the Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years, the Suckers were there. They piled into a decrepit Mercedes-Benz Sprinter they'd purchased. For all of the nefarious activity it hosted, they called it the Sticky Van.

"We took seven of us and an 8-ball [of cocaine] and we drove straight through the night," LeMoine says.

They finagled their way into St. Louis's Busch Stadium for Game 4, and even made it onto the field. In the official Disney World commercial, as the camera pans to the Sox dogpile on the pitcher's mound, you can see LeMoine sprinting left to right across your screen. He's wearing a backward Sox hat and jacket open over a Johnny Damon shirt the Suckers were hawking that season. Right on cue, a pudgy security guard appears, busting his ass while chasing LeMoine down.

The spoils from the victory parade were preposterous. It took them hours to count the money.

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Posted on 3 September 2015 | 12:33 pm

The Blair Necessities



This and That


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


--The University of Regina Rams begin the Canada West season and I'm excited.  It will look different seeing Mike Gibson on the field calling the shots instead of Frank McCrystal and I think I'm safe in saying the Rams won't be considered Vanier Cup contenders in Gibson's first year, but he has a solid group to work with and I'm looking forward to their season opener at Mosaic against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. You can go to the game, you can listen to the game on 620 CKRM with Michael Ball or you can stay home and watch it on Access 7 as I will have the play-by-play. I highly advise Option 1 or 2 in this scenario.  The game will also be televised back in Edmonton for those who have SHAW.  Its part of an expanded Canada West football package that will see the Hardy Cup broadcast on Global television along with one of the two semi-final games. This is great for the conference and for CIS football as a whole. I hope its the start of bigger and better things.

--While the Rams do their thing Friday night, the Regina Thunder will go up to battle the Hilltops in an all-Saskatchewan PFC final and what really should be the first of 3 games between the two as they are head and shoulders the best in the league again this year and should meet in the final. I don't know about you, and maybe it is because one team has done better when it comes to wins and losses over the last couple of years, but for the first time, more people in this town it seems are talking Thunder than Rams. Yes, the Thunder gets a head-start on the Rams, but I am hearing more and more Thunder chatter this year and less and less Rams chatter. 

--Everyone else is doing it so I might as well too when it comes to the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they are taking a gamble and "rolling the Dyce" in the second half of the season which begins Sunday. I love what Dyce could bring to the table, but I hope a rabid fan-base isn't expecting any miracles out of the 48 year old. There is an excitement out there with the coaching change, but just because Bob is the head coach doesn't mean those guys on the injury list come back and it doesn't give the young players on the team more experience, but it may give them a different attitude and it may very well give them the chance Sunday night to talk about a win instead of a loss which I think all players want to do.

--I was asked if Tino Sunseri was the worst quarterback the Riders have had since the end of the Ron Lancaster era this week. I couldn't say yes, but I couldn't remember anyone who might have been worse. He was the most frustrating quarterback I've ever seen in the green and white. THROW THE DAMN BALL!!!! By the way, there are a lot of bad quarterbacks that have worn green and white in the post Lancaster era.  Let's not forget the likes of Marvin Graves, Bernard Quarles, Jonathan Beasley, Keith Smith, Floyd Patterson and Seth Doege---although Doege didn't give us much of a sample size, but remember his debut against Calgary last year.

--Has anyone checked on the fine people of Chamberlain to see how they are doing in the wake of this week's news from Riderville?

--The L-P's Rob Vanstone makes a very great (R)observation.  The Riders do not employ a quarterback coach, yet they have a running back coach and the running back hardly runs the ball. I don't see a QB's coach being added this year, but I do next. Khari Jones value in the 2013 season mentoring Darian Durant was huge. Can anyone say Kevin Glenn?

--We are now less than one week from the start of the NFL season. WOOHOO!!!

--Congrats to all members of the 2015 class going into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame next month. Once the class had been named, I immediately e-mailed Vanstone and asked "the rumpled scribe" when and what it will take to get Principal Richard Pound (John Cozman) in the hall. He would be a tremendous addition and those who follow the independent wrestling circuit would agree. His schtick was outstanding and is still missed today.

--The Regina Pats started the pre-season with a game against Calgary on Thursday night at the Co-Operators Centre. The start of the regular season is just a couple of weeks away and after a year last season where they re-captured the imagination of the hockey community, they have done absolutely nothing when it comes to an ad campaign for season tickets. Does anyone see a Pats logo anywhere around town outside Evraz Place? Fans aren't going to come into the building through word of mouth and while I don't know what the end results of this team is going to be, when you have the likes of Wapple, Zborovsky, Steel, Leschyshyn and Wagner doing their thing, it will be an entertaining product. You might want to promote it because the big flashy scoreboard is no longer a drawing card!

--Sadly "Deflategate" is not over as the NFL was quick to appeal the lifting of Tom Brady's suspension. Will this stupid story ever end? Roger Goodell has embarrassed himself and the NFL with his witch-hunt in this case and it has to stop. I still think Brady knew exactly what was going on, but I also think he isn't the only guy to do this and it takes nothing away from what he has done in the past.

--Connor MacDavid spoke with NHL.com this week as teams start getting ready for training camp which will begin soon. McDavid was asked if he has spoken to head coach Todd McLellan about expectations and what role is expected of him. His answer "That is getting a little ahead of the game. I haven't even been to training camp yet. I'm kind of taking it one step at a time. I just want to have a good training camp and prove to the staff and my teammates that I am a player who competes, works hard and does all the right stuff.  Connor, I think you will be just fine.

--Finally, another tip of the hat to Rider Nation. Labour Day games are usually a big draw, but with the team at 0-9, it wouldn't have surprised me to hear there was no sellout this year and why would Winnipeggers want to travel to see that team. This team has been through a lot this year and the first half of the season certainly tore at the fabric that is Rider Nation, but once again they are coming through for what will be the 2nd last Labour Day game at the old Mosaic Stadium. With rain in the forecast, I hope everyone is in their seat at kickoff and it appears as if the Riders are going to have one of those card stunts to "BRING EM OUT".

--Have a great Labour Day weekend everyone! GO RIDERS!




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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 4:51 am

Roto Rob



Blu-ray Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

In an era when so much is left to computer graphics, Fury Road is a throwback with tons of amazing stunts. Almost as jaw dropping as the quality of stunts is the quantity, as the film starts with Max's car doing a spectacular rollover crash and rarely takes its foot of the pedal. It's intense, innovative and surprisingly diverse given what percentage of the action is vehicle based. There are too many to single out, but suffice to say it's truly a spectacle.

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 7:51 pm

Rider Prophet



Labour Day Classic 2015: Riders vs. Bombers


In a normal year I would be relishing the chance to pen my annual Labour Day post (half of which is generally dedicated to insulting the Bombers and the inbred halfwits that populate their home province). The Bombers even took the courtesy of serving themselves up on a platter this year. They are a terrible team. Just 3 wins. No offense to speak of. A QB situation so desperate that they had to bring in Matt Nichols just to improve at the position and will likely be reduced to starting Brian Brohm. I mean this is a dream situation for a purveyor of irreverent commentary such as myself.

There’s just one problem… As bad as the Bombers are, the Riders are much worse. I mean pretty much anything I say can be countered with “0 and 9” or “have you seen your defense?… because we sure haven’t” and so forth. The Riders’ propensity for craptasticness (now there’s a combination of words I bet you won’t see anywhere else) is really putting a damper on my ability to insult the Bombers and their fans who are plagued by terrible hygiene and a 1st grade reading level.

But what would Labour Day be without trash talk? (even if both teams are so terrible that it essentially becomes an argument over which STD is the least bad) So let’s get to it!
Sunday we get the highly anticipated Brohm v Smith match-up that is sure to take the “Classic” to new heights. We also get to see what happens when an offense that couldn’t score even with assistance of Bill Cosby takes on a defense that couldn’t stop a team made up of amputees, the elderly and mannequins. I’m jacked up for this game as usual but if we are being honest with ourselves, there will likely be highly quality football being played in neighbourhood parks over the weekend.  The Bob Dyce era begins Sunday… though it would be more appropriate to call it the Bob Dyce period or occurrence as it will only last for the next 9 games. 

Offensively, Brett Smith has been given a vote of confidence by Dyce and O’day… and the entire province for that matter. I haven’t seen an issue unite a province quite like the benching of Smith did in a while. As much as I like Smith, he needs to play better for us to win. If we look at it objectively he is completing just over 60% of his passes, averaging under 175 passing yards throwing at least a pick a game. Now Smith is not in this alone. A competent OC would use his big RB who is averaging 7 yards per carry to take the pressure off the young QB. I have my doubts if that will ever happen under Chapdelaine but one can always hope (Allen is sneaking back on the roster so that’s a positive sign we might actually run more). Winnipeg has allowed the second most points and have the 2ndworst run defense. That said I have noticed a marked improvement in their play over the past few weeks, particularly in the front 4. After 6 games they had just 7 sacks but over the past 3 games they have added 11 more. Keeping that pass rush at bay will be key. If we let them run wild I expect they will force Smith into making mistakes. Run the ball (please, please, please) and use quick passes to get the ball out and slow down the pass rush.

Defensively, I will really be watching see if there is a noticeable change with Chamblin gone. I’m not expecting any earth shattering changes but it will be interesting to see if Quick runs things a bit different now that he has full autonomy (well any autonomy really). Our defense is an embarrassment so it’s not like he can do worse.  Consider that the Riders have allowed 190 point after halftime this season (average of 21 per game)… there are teams that haven’t allowed that much in total.

Brian Brohm is likely to start the game (though I highly doubt he goes the distance. Expect Nichols or Davis to make an appearance). Brohm has a QB rating of 32… 32 (the only thing that exceeds that is the average IQ of a Manitoban). Pairing a terrible QB with the Bellefool offense (if you can even call it an offense) predictably leads to an anaemic offense. What does worry me about that offense is Cameron Marshall. He is a big, hard running RB who is hard to bring down even for good defenses. I realize Bellefeuille is far from good offensive mind but I expect even he is capable of determining that running Marshall at us until we prove we can stop it is the best plan. What’s his alternative? Let Brohm throw? Hahahaha. Priority #1 is stop the run. Regardless of who is throwing, I think even our sad sack D can win out if it comes down to a stable of not very good QBs executing the Bellefeuille offense having to win the game through the air. Along with stopping the run our D-line needs to dominate the line of scrimmage. Winnipeg has allowed 31 sacks this year (I’d hate to imagine how much worse it would be if the team didn’t beef up their OL in the offseason). This turnover binge we have been on (6 in the last 2 games after 2 through the first) would be nice to keep rolling. Though if Brohm has any redeeming quality it’s that his passes are so awful to even defenders have trouble tracking them down.

I really find it tough to be this confident about a winless team but I think we should beat the Bombers provided we don’t do stupid things to give them life. Stupid things like penalties, turnovers, big special teams return, failing to defend a hail mary. Avoid the stupid things and we win.

Riders by 10.

I suggest you soak in this game… its might be our only chance to witness a victory in person this year. 

I’ll end with a few Labour Day jokes that I’ve pulled out of the vault:

What do you get when you put all the Bomber Cheerleaders in the same room?
A full set of teeth

Why did OJ Simpson want to move to Manitoba?
Everyone has the same DNA

Why is it so difficult to order two coffees in Winnipeg?

It takes them over 15 years to find another cup

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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 12:00 pm

Buzzing the Net Junior Hockey



Hockey Mauricie forces players looking for non-contact into bodychecking league

Five university students who played university hockey want to play Junior A, but Hockey Mauricie says they have to play in a higher league, because they are too good. (Getty Images)
Most of the 16-20 year olds discussed in this space when we mention school boils down to the CHL vs. NCAA.

For five players in Quebec's Mauricie region, they have already made their choice: University.

The five are all cégep and university students who want to play hockey in a league that will accommodate a university student’s schedule, one that will prevent most major injuries, and one that will be close to home, in their case the team in Cap-de-la-Madeleine.

School is more important than hockey, but they still don’t want to quit playing the sport they love.

According to a story in La Presse, Hockey Mauricie, the local hockey association, has deemed them “too good” to play in the highest league without body checking, Junior A, and insist they play in a higher league, Junior AA, where they can better use their hockey skills.

However, Junior AA has body checking, and a more intense practice and game schedule. They are literally too good for their own good.

It’s a rule that’s unique to the region, though similar rules have been in place elsewhere. If a player has played D1 college hockey in Quebec, or Junior AAA or QMJHL, they are ineligible to play in a single letter league.

The association maintains that allowing players to drop that far down in their league placement will create an imbalance in the leagues and puts the other players at a disadvantage.

Hockey Quebec is fine with the rule, as their director Yvan Dallaire stated: “Every year, there’s a coach who tries to recruit players to a team.

“My son plays Junior B in another region,” Dallaire continued. “One year, there were three players from Junior AAA in the league. The first three games their teams won by a score differential of 10, 12 and 15 goals. In junior, what happens when there’s a 10-goal difference? Boys start [fighting].”

So the five players have been given an ultimatum. Play Junior AA, with checking, or not at all.

At least one player, Gabriel Perron, said that playing in a league with checking is a no-go for him, as he has suffered concussions in the past.

Dallaire has even admitted that having body checking in the Junior AA circuit, one that most players will not move on to pro hockey, is a head-scratcher. The league is not a feeder league to Junior AAA or the QMJHL, and acts independently from those leagues.

There are rules put in place this year in Junior AA leagues in Montreal, Richelieu and Laval that prohibit checking in certain zones of the ice: behind the net and in the center of the ice. It’s a pilot project that may see implementation elsewhere.

Too late for Perron though, who wants to continue to play, and he will, but he wants to be able to play in a convenient league for his university schedule. He will be forced to play, along with his four friends, in Junior AA at least for the time being.

Hockey Quebec is right when they say coaches try to craft teams out of these rules. Find or create a loophole and some coach or director will try and drive a truck right through it, all in the name of winning. It’s not hard to see how they could exploit this, either.

It happens several times a year, and I can bet that several coaches across Canada are trying to do that right now with provincial team and league tryouts just around the corner, but not every case is like that. If players can prove that their hockey schedule or university schedule overlaps too much, maybe a provision can be made.

These are five university students who want to continue to play the game they’ve loved since they were kids. It’s hard to look a player in the eye and tell him he can’t play where he wants.


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Posted on 3 September 2015 | 3:37 am

Sports on the Web



The Canadian Women are just hosts now as their World Cup is over.

The World Cup is over for the Canadian women in the sports news and sports on the web.  They made a valiant effort on a comeback at B.C. Place but came up just short of their goal on reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time.. Nerves were the main enemy of the Canadian […]

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Posted on 30 June 2015 | 4:46 pm

Vancouver Sun



CFL Week 11: Picks and power rankings

Which teams look to win this week’s matchups, and where do they rank in the league’s pecking order, in Week 11 of the Canadian Football League season.

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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 8:49 pm

Rod Pederson



SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

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

-- The University of Regina Rams begin the Canada West season and I'm excited.  It will look different seeing Mike Gibson on the field calling the shots instead of Frank McCrystal and I think I'm safe in saying the Rams won't be considered Vanier Cup contenders in Gibson's first year, but he has a solid group to work with and I'm looking forward to their season opener at Mosaic against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. You can go to the game, you can listen to the game on 620 CKRM with Michael Ball or you can stay home and watch it on Access 7 as I will have the play-by-play. I highly advise Option 1 or 2 in this scenario.  The game will also be televised back in Edmonton for those who have SHAW.  Its part of an expanded Canada West football package that will see the Hardy Cup broadcast on Global television along with one of the two semi-final games. This is great for the conference and for CIS football as a whole. I hope its the start of bigger and better things.

-- While the Rams do their thing Friday night, the Regina Thunder will go up to battle the Hilltops in an all-Saskatchewan PFC final and what really should be the first of 3 games between the two as they are head and shoulders the best in the league again this year and should meet in the final. I don't know about you, and maybe it is because one team has done better when it comes to wins and losses over the last couple of years, but for the first time, more people in this town it seems are talking Thunder than Rams. Yes, the Thunder gets a head-start on the Rams, but I am hearing more and more Thunder chatter this year and less and less Rams chatter.

-- Everyone else is doing it so I might as well too when it comes to the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they are taking a gamble and "rolling the Dyce" in the second half of the season which begins Sunday. I love what Dyce could bring to the table, but I hope a rabid fan-base isn't expecting any miracles out of the 48 year old. There is an excitement out there with the coaching change, but just because Bob is the head coach doesn't mean those guys on the injury list come back and it doesn't give the young players on the team more experience, but it may give them a different attitude and it may very well give them the chance Sunday night to talk about a win instead of a loss which I think all players want to do.

-- I was asked if Tino Sunseri was the worst quarterback the Riders have had since the end of the Ron Lancaster era this week. I couldn't say yes, but I couldn't remember anyone who might have been worse. He was the most frustrating quarterback I've ever seen in the green and white. THROW THE DAMN BALL!!!! By the way, there are a lot of bad quarterbacks that have worn green and white in the post Lancaster era.  Let's not forget the likes of Marvin Graves, Bernard Quarles, Jonathan Beasley, Keith Smith, Floyd Patterson and Seth Doege---although Doege didn't give us much of a sample size, but remember his debut against Calgary last year.

-- Has anyone checked on the fine people of Chamberlain to see how they are doing in the wake of this week's news from Riderville?

-- The L-P's Rob Vanstone makes a very great (R)observation.  The Riders do not employ a quarterback coach, yet they have a running back coach and the running back hardly runs the ball. I don't see a QB's coach being added this year, but I do next. Khari Jones value in the 2013 season mentoring Darian Durant was huge. Can anyone say Kevin Glenn?

-- We are now less than one week from the start of the NFL season. WOOHOO!!!

-- Congrats to all members of the 2015 class going into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame next month. Once the class had been named, I immediately e-mailed Vanstone and asked "the rumpled scribe" when and what it will take to get Principal Richard Pound (John Cozman) in the hall. He would be a tremendous addition and those who follow the independent wrestling circuit would agree. His schtick was outstanding and is still missed today.

-- The Regina Pats started the pre-season with a game against Calgary on Thursday night at the Co-Operators Centre. The start of the regular season is just a couple of weeks away and after a year last season where they re-captured the imagination of the hockey community, they have done absolutely nothing when it comes to an ad campaign for season tickets. Does anyone see a Pats logo anywhere around town outside Evraz Place? Fans aren't going to come into the building through word of mouth and while I don't know what the end results of this team is going to be, when you have the likes of Wapple, Zborovsky, Steel, Leschyshyn and Wagner doing their thing, it will be an entertaining product. You might want to promote it because the big flashy scoreboard is no longer a drawing card!

-- Sadly "Deflategate" is not over as the NFL was quick to appeal the lifting of Tom Brady's suspension. Will this stupid story ever end? Roger Goodell has embarrassed himself and the NFL with his witch-hunt in this case and it has to stop. I still think Brady knew exactly what was going on, but I also think he isn't the only guy to do this and it takes nothing away from what he has done in the past.

-- Connor MacDavid spoke with NHL.com this week as teams start getting ready for training camp which will begin soon. McDavid was asked if he has spoken to head coach Todd McLellan about expectations and what role is expected of him. His answer "That is getting a little ahead of the game. I haven't even been to training camp yet. I'm kind of taking it one step at a time. I just want to have a good training camp and prove to the staff and my teammates that I am a player who competes, works hard and does all the right stuff.  Connor, I think you will be just fine.

-- Finally, another tip of the hat to Rider Nation. Labour Day games are usually a big draw, but with the team at 0-9, it wouldn't have surprised me to hear there was no sellout this year and why would Winnipeggers want to travel to see that team. This team has been through a lot this year and the first half of the season certainly tore at the fabric that is Rider Nation, but once again they are coming through for what will be the 2nd last Labour Day game at the old Mosaic Stadium. With rain in the forecast, I hope everyone is in their seat at kickoff and it appears as if the Riders are going to have one of those card stunts to "BRING EM OUT".

-- Have a great Labour Day weekend everyone! GO RIDERS!

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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 12:09 pm

Yahoo Sports



Top 5 college football kickoff games of all time (Yahoo Sports)

LSU running back Kenny Hilliard (27) rushes for a touchdown as Wisconsin cornerback Peniel Jean (21) and cornerback Sojourn Shelton (8) pursue during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Houston. LSU won 28-24. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Each college football season starts off with less of a bang and more of a slow burn, with ranked teams rarely playing each other and few surprises. The only matchup between two ranked teams this weekend is when No. 3 Alabama faces No. 20 Wisconsin at Cowboys Stadium in the Advocare Classic (formerly the Cowboys Classic). This is just one of many efforts over the past four decades to bring a “bowl game” feel to the beginning of the college football season.



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Posted on 4 September 2015 | 11:32 pm

Toronto Sports Media



Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

  photo credit: the internet . by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail   Good morning sports media watchers. Things are still quiet in media land, but there are a few stories worth discussing. Some of these have been stuck in the queue […]

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Posted on 22 August 2015 | 2:51 pm

Ottawa Citizen Sports



Fury FC scores four in first away win in its history

Ottawa Fury FC collected the first away win in its history Saturday night

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Posted on 20 May 2014 | 6:10 am