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



Mayweather Beats Pacquiao





Floyd Mayweather Jr. definitively answered the question that has consumed boxing for more than five years.

Yes, Mayweather is indeed the greatest fighter of this generation, proving so Saturday night before 16,507 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by masterfully out-boxing Manny Pacquiao en route to a unanimous decision victory in the so-called “Fight of the Century.”
Judge Dave Moretti scored the welterweight unification matchup 118-110, while Burt Clements and Glenn Feldman each had it 116-112.
“Pacquiao is a great champion and a helluva fighter. Now I see why he’s been so successful in the sport,” said Mayweather, 38. “He had his moments in the fight, but as long as I moved on the outside he wasn’t going to be able to catch me. He’s a really smart fighter, though.


Pacquiao revealed at the post-fight press conference that he suffered a right shoulder injury in training approximately two-and-a-half weeks ago, one that hindered the ability to throw his patented hook. Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach says they considered pulling Pacquiao out of the bout, and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said surgery is a possibility.
Regardless of the injury, Pacquiao had his moments and the best one came in Round 4. The 36-year-old blasted Mayweather with a clean left hook, a blow that staggered the Las Vegas-resident to the ropes and forced him into a shell. Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) covered up and withstood a furious barrage from Pacquiao, catching most of the follow-up punches with his gloves. However, Pacquiao connected with several thudding body shots, sending the pro-Manny crowd into a boisterous roar.
“I caught him many times. I was never hurt,” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 28 KOs) said. “I was very surprised at the scores. I hit him many mores times than he hit me. I had no problem handling his power. I thought I won.”
According to CompuBox, it was Mayweather who landed more blows. In fact, he almost doubled Pacquiao, landing 148 to just 81.


The 147-pound champion was able to control the fight with his jab, a punch that frustrated Pacquiao and threw off his rhythm. Pacquiao was steadfast in his pursuit of Mayweather around the ring and was able to connect with shots here and there, but he usually absorbed two shots to land one.
“I thought we pressed the action,” said Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. “I asked Manny for more combinations in between rounds. He may have fought flat-footed a little too many times, but I thought we won the fight.”
Pacquiao was the aggressor for the majority of the bout, but Mayweather was able to navigate the Filipino’s hard-charging shots and deliver his own, more effective counter blows.

 Perhaps sensing he was down on the scorecards, Pacquiao went for broke during the final minute of Round 12, darting around the squared circle in an attempt to land that elusive home-run shot. It never materialized.
Mayweather said he didn’t believe this fight defined his career and that all his bouts played a key role in composing his legacy. That career, he says, will conclude with a September bout on Showtime, the last on his contract with the network.
“I have one more fight … and then it’s time for me to hang it up,” Mayweather stated. “I’m almost 40 years old now. I’ve been in the sport 19 years and have been a champion for 18 years. I’m truly blessed.”
With retirement in mind, Mayweather surprised the contingent at the news conference by saying he will relinquish his five championship belts (three welterweight and two junior middleweight straps) to free up the titles for young fighters. When asked whom he might consider for his swan song — perhaps Amir Khan? — Mayweather was evasive and said he just wanted to enjoy his victory right now.

 The event is expected to shatter every revenue and pay-per-view buy rate record, with upward of $300 million and 3 million buys in play. The event cost a record $99.99 in high definition and ringside tickets were sold for $10,000, although none of those seats were open to the public.

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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 10:09 am

Metro



Timbers, Whitecaps play to 0-0 draw in Valeri's return

PORTLAND, Ore. – As their offensive struggles continue, the Portland Timbers are hoping that the answer to their troubles made his return tonight. Diego Valeri played 38 minutes as a substitute in what was the highlight of Saturday’s 0-0 draw … Continue Reading

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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 6:38 am

Yahoo Sports Blog



Baseball's new up-tempo rules receive a standing ovation, so far

File photo of the detailed view of the pace of play digital pitch clock in the outfield between innings of the game during a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium in Surprise"People who watch the games on a regular basis say they just feel crisper."     The length of baseball games has creeped higher for years, worrying executives who hear the grumbling. Pitchers no longer take any warm-up pitches with 30 seconds left on the clock, and hitters are "encouraged" to get into the batter’s box with 20 seconds left on the timer, MLB said.



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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 12:22 pm

Canada.com



Floyd Mayweather decisions Manny Pacquiao in richest fight ever

LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. was money once again in the richest fight ever. Mayweather used his reach and his jab Saturday night to frustrate Manny Pacquiao, piling up enough points to win a unanimous decision in their welterweight […]

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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 5:17 am

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



G25: Yankees 8, Red Sox 5

Yankees - 203 003 000 - 8 14  1
Red Sox - 000 005 000 - 5 7 1
The Red Sox made some noise in the sixth inning, but for most of this game, their bats were once again quiet as they were swept by the Yankees. Boston loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on two walks and an infield error - and had David Ortiz at the plate as the potential winning run. Big Papi fell behind 0-2 against Andrew Miller, worked the count back to 2-2, and lined out to center.

Jacoby Ellsbury caught the game-ending fly ball. He also reached base six times - four singles, a walk, and a HBP - but the big hits came from three of his teammates. Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the first, Brian McCann doubled home two runs in the third, and Brett Gardner hit a three-run blast into the visitors bullpen. Joe Kelly (4.2-9-5-0-3, 97) did not get out of the fifth inning.

Yankees starter Adam Warren (5.2-4-4-2-2, 100) retired the first two batters in the Boston sixth, but Dustin Pedroia lined a single to left. Ortiz doubled off the Wall and Pedroia scored. Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch (and seemed to think it was intentional). Pablo Sandoval - who had ended a potential rally in the fourth by grounding out on an 3-0 pitch - singled home a run. Esmil Rogers took over pitching duties for New York - and Mike Napoli greeted him with a three-run dong to left. Gardner appeared to think he had a chance at catching it, but it fell into the first row of Monster seats. Rogers then walked Daniel Nava and couldn't handle Xander Bogaerts's dribbler down the third base line. It didn't seem possible, but the Red Sox were bringing the potential tying run to the plate. It was Blake Swihart who had begun the frame by lining to left. This time, he struck out. (Boston had five of its seven hits in this inning.)

In the ninth, facing the lefty Miller, pinch-hitter Allen Craig walked. Miller struck out Bogaerts and Swihart, but battled Mookie Betts for nine pitches, before Betts walked. Pedroia's grounder was bobbled by Chase Headley and his throw was wide of first. That loaded the bases for Ortiz, but the man who has been the hero so many times in the past could not come through as the clock struck midnight.
Example
Adam Warren / Joe Kelly
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Nava, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C

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Posted on 4 May 2015 | 5:51 am

The Blair Necessities



Mayweather Beats Pacquiao





Floyd Mayweather Jr. definitively answered the question that has consumed boxing for more than five years.

Yes, Mayweather is indeed the greatest fighter of this generation, proving so Saturday night before 16,507 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by masterfully out-boxing Manny Pacquiao en route to a unanimous decision victory in the so-called “Fight of the Century.”
Judge Dave Moretti scored the welterweight unification matchup 118-110, while Burt Clements and Glenn Feldman each had it 116-112.
“Pacquiao is a great champion and a helluva fighter. Now I see why he’s been so successful in the sport,” said Mayweather, 38. “He had his moments in the fight, but as long as I moved on the outside he wasn’t going to be able to catch me. He’s a really smart fighter, though.


Pacquiao revealed at the post-fight press conference that he suffered a right shoulder injury in training approximately two-and-a-half weeks ago, one that hindered the ability to throw his patented hook. Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach says they considered pulling Pacquiao out of the bout, and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said surgery is a possibility.
Regardless of the injury, Pacquiao had his moments and the best one came in Round 4. The 36-year-old blasted Mayweather with a clean left hook, a blow that staggered the Las Vegas-resident to the ropes and forced him into a shell. Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) covered up and withstood a furious barrage from Pacquiao, catching most of the follow-up punches with his gloves. However, Pacquiao connected with several thudding body shots, sending the pro-Manny crowd into a boisterous roar.
“I caught him many times. I was never hurt,” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 28 KOs) said. “I was very surprised at the scores. I hit him many mores times than he hit me. I had no problem handling his power. I thought I won.”
According to CompuBox, it was Mayweather who landed more blows. In fact, he almost doubled Pacquiao, landing 148 to just 81.


The 147-pound champion was able to control the fight with his jab, a punch that frustrated Pacquiao and threw off his rhythm. Pacquiao was steadfast in his pursuit of Mayweather around the ring and was able to connect with shots here and there, but he usually absorbed two shots to land one.
“I thought we pressed the action,” said Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. “I asked Manny for more combinations in between rounds. He may have fought flat-footed a little too many times, but I thought we won the fight.”
Pacquiao was the aggressor for the majority of the bout, but Mayweather was able to navigate the Filipino’s hard-charging shots and deliver his own, more effective counter blows.

 Perhaps sensing he was down on the scorecards, Pacquiao went for broke during the final minute of Round 12, darting around the squared circle in an attempt to land that elusive home-run shot. It never materialized.
Mayweather said he didn’t believe this fight defined his career and that all his bouts played a key role in composing his legacy. That career, he says, will conclude with a September bout on Showtime, the last on his contract with the network.
“I have one more fight … and then it’s time for me to hang it up,” Mayweather stated. “I’m almost 40 years old now. I’ve been in the sport 19 years and have been a champion for 18 years. I’m truly blessed.”
With retirement in mind, Mayweather surprised the contingent at the news conference by saying he will relinquish his five championship belts (three welterweight and two junior middleweight straps) to free up the titles for young fighters. When asked whom he might consider for his swan song — perhaps Amir Khan? — Mayweather was evasive and said he just wanted to enjoy his victory right now.

 The event is expected to shatter every revenue and pay-per-view buy rate record, with upward of $300 million and 3 million buys in play. The event cost a record $99.99 in high definition and ringside tickets were sold for $10,000, although none of those seats were open to the public.

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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 10:09 am

Roto Rob



Podcast: Masahiro Tanaka Goes Down

RotoRob Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast -- heard every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on Blogtalkradio -- was back in action as RotoRob was joined by Peter Kruetzer (AKA, RotoMan) of the Fantasy Baseball and Football Guides.

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Posted on 2 May 2015 | 12:22 am

Rider Prophet



CFL Draft 2015 Team Preview: Saskatchewan Roughriders




The CFL Draft is just over a week away so let’s take a look at how the Riders stack up heading into the draft.  

Picks: 7 picks, first selection is 6th Overall

2014 Draft Assessment: They traded down out of the first round to get more picks which was needed at the time (quantity over quality). In the 2ndround they got a good special teamer with plenty of upside in Dylan Ainsworth and Alex Pierzchalski who gives needed depth at receiver. They also drafted WR Kris Bastien who was a more hyped WR prospect but spent the season on the practice roster and was traded to Winnipeg in the Cory Watson deal. The best value of the draft may have come in 5th round pick Matt Webster who has a shot at being back-up safety this year after playing on special teams in 2014. I also liked the other 5th rounder OL Kyle Patterson. He returned to the U of R after training camp… though I had assumed he’d be back this year but is currently not signed.

It wasn’t all positives as they used their top 3rdround pick on a kicker who we didn’t really need and who never actually will end up playing a down for us. In drafting him they passed on the likes of DB Adam Thibault, LB Casey Chin and OL Jaskaran Dhillon all of which would have been immensely better uses of that pick.

Potential Pipeline: OL Terry Hart (not sure if he’s even still playing football but we own his draft rights)

Current Strengths: Brendan Labatte is one of the best O-lineman in the game. Chris Best (when healthy) is rock solid at the other guard position. They have a solid group of Canadian receivers. Rob Bagg has erased the doubts about his health and proven he can be more than just a token Cdn wide-out. Chris Getzlaf had an off year but is still among the top Cdn WRs in the game (though we’d all be a bit happier if his production was more in line with his astronomical salary). Add Cory Watson to the mix now who is a talented and physical receiver (when healthy). Newly acquired Shea Emry fills a gapping need from last year and will really solidify the middle of the defense. Expectations are sky high for Keenan MacDougall who is a strong possibility for starting safety. They also have a good core of depth guys like Jerome Messam, Dylan Ainsworth, Levi Steinhauer, Paul Woldu, Dan Clark, Scott McHenry and Spencer Moore. I’m still saying Chris Milo has a bounce back year and we now have Hugh O’Neil as a back-up. Yes the town where Robokicker became famous now houses Hobokicker.

Current Needs: While the Riders still have good stable of depth guys they are staring to run thin on the top end Canadian talent. The loss of Picard was planned and desired but to lose Ben Heenan in the same year really hurts the depth of that once vaunted unit.  Even with the move to 2 import tackles, the Riders will be starting a young unproven centre and have limited to no depth in terms of quality back-ups.

Currently the only depth being Emry is Joash Gesse (who has been a career special teamer) and Kevin Regimbald Gagne (who is not who I’d ever want to see in the middle). Have to build depth behind Emry… who knows he get ejected some game for punching a guy in the nuts. Also if the team is serious about starting MacDougall at safety they should build depth there too. As a 5th round pick who initially didn’t make the team and was only brought back when all our Canadian special teamers were hurt, I’m not willing to put all my eggs in the Matt Webster basket.

Really need to look at getting some young WR to groom to replace Getz and Bagg. We do have Pierzchalski and Alex Anthony but neither strike me as developing into an impact player likely just Cory Grant-type role players.  Three great Cdn WR prospects are available but we are too desperate at OL to take one in round 1 and the good WRs will be gone by our next pick in round 3.

Prediction: In past years where we didn’t have a need for interior O-linemen, Taman took them anyway. So in a year where we really do need them I can’t see our first round pick being used on anything but an O-lineman. I can bet Taman will also be fishing for trades to drop back and hopefully get an extra 2ndround pick. Either way whenever we do end up picking the first choice will be an O-lineman; likely whichever of Sukh Chung, Sean McEwen or Jacob Ruby is still available. After that I can see them turning their eyes to a LB or a DB like Chris Ackie or Byron Archambault. As much as it would make a great story I just don’t see Addsion Richards ending up as a Rider. Other teams will want him more than we need him. He’d have to fall pretty far to catch our attention.

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Posted on 4 May 2015 | 12:00 pm

Buzzing the Net Junior Hockey



NHL draft finally here: the coast-to-coast

WHL

Leon Draisaitl to the Edmonton Oilers at No. 3 overall seems a lock, eh? (Edmonton Journal)

You wanted a comprehensive draft preview that would help kill two hours at work today? You got one! Thank you. (The Pipeline Show)

Guy Flaming has a mock draft that will knock your socks off. (Coming Down The Pipe!)

Philadelphia Flyers beat writer Frank Seravilli also has an extremely cromulent mock that projects Sam Reinhart to join the Calgary Flames. (Philly.com)

Ken Warren has a rundown on the top 10 available prospects. (Postmedia)

Moose Jaw Warriors beat reporter Katie Brickman explains why teams will look past centre Brayden Point's lack of size. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

Edmonton Oil Kings defender Dysin Mayo figures the long playoff run goosed his draft stock. Did it do the same for his teammate, left wing Brett Pollock? (Victoria Times-Colonist)

Tim Hunter is interviewing again about the Vancouver Giants coaching job, writes Steve Ewen. (Vancouver Province)

Comeback story for this season ahead: Kootenay's Tanner Faith coming back from shoulder surgery. (Cranbrook Daily Townsman)

OHL

The Florida Panthers still have the No. 1 pick on the table, apparently. (USA Today)

Today's should-read: how Michael Dal Colle has come out stronger due to his family's challenges. (CBC Sports)

Josh Ho-Sang to the Habs? Why not? (A Winning Habit)

Bob Duff takes the long view, comparing Aaron Ekblad to another Windsor-area defenceman who went No. 1 overall 20 years ago, Ed Jovanoski. (Windsor Star)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a checkered draft history? That explains so, so much. (National Post)

Sam Bennett says people "don't know why" the draft class lacks a potential superstar. Far be it to suggest it has to do with who does the analysis. (Columbus Dispatch)

This is more like it: a mock draft with Peterborough's Nick Ritchie in the top five. (SBN College Hockey)

Sault Ste. Marie's intuitive defender, Kyle Jenkins, is an intriguing possibility as a Day 2 pick. (Sault Star)

QMJHL

Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell predicts speedy striker Nikolaj Ehlers will go "very high" on Friday. Like No. 6 overall to Vancouver high? Who knows? How about No. 7 overall to Carolina? (Metro Halifax)

Damn right Charlottetown goalie Mason McDonald is stoked for the draft. (Charlottetown Guardian)

Cape Breton's Julien Pelletier should become the first player from Thurso, Que., to be drafted in 21 years. (Le Droit)

Quebec Remparts overage goalie François Brassard is working toward getting a free-agent shot after being put back in the draft pool by his hometown Ottawa Senators. (Le Soleil)

Feel-good story: Rimouski grad Jimmy Oligny, a rugged rearguard, has signed an AHL deal with the Milwaukee Admirals. (hockeyfights.com)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.


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Posted on 27 June 2014 | 3:06 pm

Sports on the Web



Eight teams advance in the Stanley Cup Playoff

  The Stanley Cup Playoffs have moved on to the second round in the sports news and sports on the web. Allsports had mediocre prediction results for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs but as stated in the last post where the predictions were made. There could really be no upsets due to […]

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Posted on 30 April 2015 | 11:58 pm

Vancouver Sun



Floyd Mayweather decisions Manny Pacquiao in richest fight ever

LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. was money once again in the richest fight ever. Mayweather used his reach and his jab Saturday night to frustrate Manny Pacquiao, piling up enough points to win a unanimous decision in their welterweight […]

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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 9:52 am

Rod Pederson



MOSAIC PLACE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

Follow New Mosaic Stadium news on Twitter @NewMosaic2017

WHAT WAS YOUR MOMENT?

Ronnie Lott:  Look in those eyes
It will be a very long time before I stop thinking about the time I was lucky enough to spend with Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott last week in Saskatoon.

For those uninitiated, Lott is a four-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers and is considered by football types to be the greatest defensive back to ever play the game.  Known as the most-feared hitter among DB's in NFL history, the Albuquerque, NM product is simply an icon of the game.  He played at a top level for 15 seasons.  Mention his name to anybody in football, and their face lights up.  Instant, and infinite, respect.

Interestingly enough, Ronnie is also credited as being a former pro football player who most-successfully made the transition into business as he currently owns Mercedes and Toyota car dealerships in California along with a number of other businesses and charitable works.  Simply put, he's an all-star human being.

Lott was the keynote speaker at the annual Dog's Breakfast fundraiser for the U of S Huskies football program at Saskatoon's Prairieland Park on Thursday.  When I walked into the facility that morning, I immediately asked where I was to sit and was told, "You're right beside Ronnie Lott".

Incredible!  So I made my way over and before I even set my briefcase down, he stuck his hand out and introduced himself.  "Hi, I'm Ronnie Lott!" he beamed.  "Who are you and what do you do?"

I was a little caught off guard, but stammered that I'm voice of the Roughriders and headed into my 17th season with the club.  Here's how the conversation went:

LOTT:  "Can I ask you another question?"

ME:  "Shoot..."

LOTT:  "What was your moment?"

ME:  "Excuse me?"

LOTT:  "What was your moment with the Roughriders -- the moment that you waited so long for, thought would never come, then saw it coming, and then it finally happened?"

This was a lot to absorb within 20 seconds of meeting the man who was voted the 11th best player in NFL history!

But I collected myself, and told Ronnie that no one had ever asked me that before.  However in about 1.5-seconds my mind scanned to the 2007 Grey Cup.  It was my ninth season calling games for Saskatchewan and had pretty well given up on ever being in the Grey Cup let-alone winning it.  Back then I had resigned to the fact that I was like the voice of the Cleveland Browns; it's a really cool, fun job, but we'll probably never win it all.

And then, with a minute to go in the 2007 Grey Cup and the Riders up by four points, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were marching.  I thought to myself, "Oh no, we're gonna blow it AGAIN!" but then James Johnson stepped in front of a Ryan Dinwiddie pass intended for Milt Stegall - for the third time that day - and with about 30 seconds remaining all our quarterback Kerry Joseph had to do was kneel down a couple of times.

The clock hit 0:00 and I let out with, "Go crazy Saskatchewan!  Go Crazy!" to all the listeners back home on the 620 CKRM Roughriders Radio Network.
The Huskies caught the moment

Ronnie Lott then started jumping up and down yelling, "I knew it!  I knew you had one!"

We continued our discussion more deeply but I stopped and reached into my briefcase and pulled out my tape recorder.  I asked Ronnie if he would mind putting his comments on tape, therefore he wouldn't have to repeat them twice.  He obliged, and I asked him if he could repeat that first question to me again.

"The question I gave you was what was your greatest moment and what was your greatest moment being in the booth?" Lott said.  "I knew that you had one and the reason I knew you had one was because there is always a calling in us where we find ourselves going, 'Wow!'.  That moment defines what we want to be.  I wanted to have that moment in my life.  I wanted to be able to share that with people and for you, as you pointed out, what's magical about those moments is there were a lot of people listening to you knowing the same thing that you knew and that is, 'It's happening!', 'It's done. We are winning!'  The voice of teams always makes a difference because you get to tell the story."

That was a tremendous thing for me to hear at this point of my life and career.  And it was coming from Ronnie Lott!

Someone - or some thing - is putting me in the path of all these incredibly successful and accomplished super human beings lately.

And I'm absorbing each and every incredible second of it.

---

INSPIRING OTHERS

Of course the interview wasn't done there.  I flipped the table on the former first round NFL pick out of USC and asked what his moment was.

"For me, I look back at my early years," Lott recalled.  "When you think about playing the game of football and being in a Super Bowl, and competing, you think about the guys you played with.  One of the great moments, and I'll never forget it, I told our team the night before the 1982 Super Bowl 'Man we're gonna win this game'.  I told them that the night before we played the Bengals.  It's a great feeling.  We'll always be able to go back and say these are the greatest moments in our life.  And it's all because you come together and believe in one another.  Those feelings are always, always ... I don't care how old Joe Montana or Jerry Rice gets, we'll always have those moments."

---

SACRIFICE

Another story about Lott which is recounted on his Wikipedia page is about how he chose to have a large portion of his left pinky finger cut off rather than miss games due to complicated surgery.

In 1985 in a game against Dallas, Lott had the finger crushed on the helmet of Cowboys running back Timmy Newsome.  He finished the season with a splint, but facing an eight month rehab period following extensive surgeries, he told doctors to just cut it off if he meant he'd have to miss the start of the 1986 season.

"Ya I did," Lott said matter-of-factly.  "And the thing that's interesting to me is that as much as I know it was an incredible commitment, I'm always humbled by the fact that there are so many people in this world that have given up more.  I've been fortunate to know that when you meet a guy like Pat Tillman (the former Arizona Cardinal who retired to join the U.S. Armed Forces and was killed overseas in friendly-fire) and you realize that he could've easily stayed and played.  And knowing his Mom, Dad and his wife, we make sacrifices but sometimes we make them for nothing.  We make them because we know it's the right thing to do."

Incredible.

---

THE SOUL OF FOOTBALL

One more powerful thing from Lott.

Saskatchewan's love affair with football - and committment to the game at the grassroots level - has been compared to other football-mad areas like Texas, Alabama and Florida.  We don't laud this enough and maybe it's taken for granted because we live it everyday.
www.mosaicplace.ca

But it's true.  And Ronnie Lott noticed.

"The trip has been great.  It's been phenomenal," Lott smiled.  "The one thing that I'll leave here knowing is that the soul of football is here.  The thing I love about being in a community like this is that everybody has been able to talk about the soul of the game.  To me, that's an incredible attribute for a community to have, that they understand the soul of the game.  Most places don't.  Most places don't understand what it's like to enjoy the passion of the game.  So it's been great just to be around it.

"I had not been here, didn't know what to expect, and didn't understand this is kind of like the Green Bay of Canada and it has the soul of the game.  What makes you realize it is when you meet a Mom of a player and she says, 'Oh no, I'm a part of it'.  Usually what you have in sports is it's the guys that always talk about it.  But when you have a Mom say, 'Hey I did this', 'I played my role', it tells you that you have more people committed to the cause.  It's more than just the people that are around the team.  It shows you they realize what it takes to be a part of the great game of football.  There are a lot of magical things I've seen in this community."

Take a bow Saskatchewan.

---

HOW WILL THE RIDERS BE?

It's the question most-asked around here as we get ready for the start of Roughriders training camp on Sunday, May 31 and I'm posing the query to as many Roughrider personnel as I can find these days.

That includes veteran Rider cornerback Paul Woldu who popped by 620 CKRM's SportsCage studio on Friday.

"We're gonna be great.  We're locked up and ready to go!" Woldu said.  "That's the one thing when you don't win it all the year before -- obviously you restructure, rebuild and evaluate on all levels right?  I always say you win more from losing than you do from winning.  Once you lose you have to look at the big picture in a completely different way.  Brendan Taman, Jeremy O'Day and Corey Chamblin have done a pretty damn good job of looking at those things in fine detail and making the adjustments you have to make.

"You can look at last year - and as bad as it was - realistically with Darian we were 8-2 and without him we were 2-8.  We still had a chance, even with all the turnover that we had and players we lost.  That's a testament to the way this team is run.  We're always going to have a chance of winning and these guys have done the things they had to do.  Things are looking really good."

I also took the opportunity to ask Woldu about one of the Riders' prized additions this off-season, middle linebacker Shea Emry.  The two-time Grey Cup champion with Montreal comes to the Riders from Toronto with an incredible resume but an injury-past as well.  For some reason, not everyone in the Rider Nation is sold on Emry.  However Woldu - who played with Emry in Montreal - is.

"He's going to be pretty tenacious.  I think he's a guy you don't like playing against a whole lot.  You love to have a guy like that on your team.  He's a physical player and he's going to bring a presence we didn't really have last year.  Getting rid of Ricky Foley (in a trade for Emry) wasn't easy.  Those are arguably two of the top defensive players in the league.  It's a one-for-one but having Shea in that linebacking corps, he's going to be huge for us."

Paul Woldu's running his successful football camp for a second year later this month.  There are still spots available for just $100 per entry.  Paul's website www.paulwoldufootballcamp.com has all the details and registration forms.

---

MONDAY QUICK HITS

- More great news out of the Brandt Centre!  A WHL source has confirmed Regina Pats Head Coach and Sr. V.P. of Hockey Operations John Paddock will be named WHL Coach of the Year this week.

- The Brandon Wheat Kings will oppose the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL Championship Series, or the Ed Chynoweth Cup.  It's appropriate, as they were the best teams all year and WHL-types saw these two clubs on a collision course as far back as last summer.  It should be a whale of a series.

- The New Mosaic Stadium continues to grow rapidly before our eyes and the mere sight of it has Rider staff and fans salivating.  No matter what side of the fence people are on in regards to the stadium, they desire the same thing - information.  Best advice is to start by following the recently-activated Twitter account @NewMosaic2017.  The account is led by the Riders' Manager of Media Relations, Ryan Pollock, along with the rest of the Rider communications team.  It is the best way to see construction photos from inside the ropes, as well as stay up-to-date with news and information as it pertains to th future home of the 13th Man.

- The 2015 Canadian College Draft will be held Tuesday, May 15 and the Roughriders are busy making their final plans.  We'll be broadcasting the event live from the Rider locker room on the SportsCage next Tuesday.  Which way are the Riders leaning?  No one outside the War Room knows but since head coach Corey Chamblin favours starting 11 imports on defense, it's reasonable to assume the club will look to offensive players in the draft.  Somewhere down the line, five starting Canadians on the offensive line would be a big benefit as would three starting Canadian receivers.  There happens to be plenty of both in the draft.

- Safety Keenan MacDougall was signed away from the Calgary Stampeders in the off-season and the four-year veteran would certainly provide some roster flexibility if he were to start in the secondary.  He's certainly salivating at the opportunity.

- CFL.ca draft analyst Justin Dunk will be on the SportsCage on Monday to talk about CFL teams' wants and needs, plus he'll provide analysis on the prospects.  4:00 pm on 620 CKRM.

- Veteran Rider offensive lineman Dan Clark spoke at the team's news conference for the "Pass It On" community initiative last week and thanked me for our Rider Mondays in the SportsCage.  He was driving across the province last week and couldn't believe the wealth of Rider information coming out his radio throughout the afternoon.  No thank you Dan!

- A couple of other things I learned in Saskatoon last week:  1)  Football people up there refer to Huskies coach Brian Towriss as "B.T. North" and Rider GM Brendan Taman as "B.T. South" and 2) I credited the Riders' fast starts the past two years to the Florida minicamps but Saskatonians credit training camp behind held at Griffith's Stadium in 2013 and 2014.  Good point.

- Former Saskatoon Hilltops wrecking ball running back Andre Lalonde of Zenon Park, SK turned down an opportunity with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to finish out his CIS elligibility with the U of S Huskies.  He's intent on winning a Vanier Cup with the Dogs in 2015.  Perhaps he'll still have an opportunity with the Riders once that's completed.

Calvillo at the Delta Regina on Saturday
- CFL legend Anthony Calvillo entertained a soldout crowd at the Delta Regina on Saturday night at the 2015 Don Narcisse All-Star Gala.  Calvillo told his personal success story and mentioned that he's spoken at 10 events in Saskatchewan over the past two years.  He informed us that he spent the 2014 CFL season working as an intern with the Alouettes and said, "Imagine going from having the highest amount of authority to the least amount!"

- A.C. really didn't seem to like my comment on stage that, "You might not be standing here if the Roughriders could have counted to 12 in the 2009 Grey Cup".  He snapped back with an answer but we smoothed it over afterwards.  He'll be the Receivers Coach with the Alouettes this year, and hasn't lost his fiery nature.

- Saskatchewan is known for football but thanks to Budweiser for pointing out the bevy of NHL stars this province has produced in its recent TV ads filmed in Regina.  We produced three members of the last Olympic gold medal team: Getzlaf, Kunitz and Marleau (four if you include coach Mike Babcock) while Alberta only produced ONE! (Jay Bouwmeister).  Add to that the Schenns, Jordan Eberle, Devan Dubnyk and company, and our province has even more to be proud of.

- Regina's Brent Raedeke is playing for Team Germany at the current World Hockey Championships.

- The field is set for the Royal Bank Cup in Portage, Manitoba and the host Fort MaMurray Oil Barons failed to advance out of last week's Western Canada Challenge Cup.  The Portage Terriers, Penticton Vees and Melfort Mustangs will represent the west while coming out of the east are the Soo Thunderbirds and the Carleton Place Canadians.  Melfort advanced with a semifinal win over the Oil Barons on Saturday and despite finishing third, they earned a berth in the nationals because second-place Portage will be the host squad.

- Gotta get a movie review in here.  We went to Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Thursday evening and LOVED it!  Two thumbs up from the MMG.  Paul Blart reminds me so much of a few of my friends.  "Security is a mission, not an intermission," was my favourite line in the flick.  Always bet on Blart!

- The Wedding Ringer with Kevin Hart (former Rider Tad Kornegay's doppleganger) was a great renter over the weekend as well.

- If Kate Upton actually APPEARED in the video game Game Of War, I might actually buy it.  Sort of like, a prize at the end.  Alas, the videogamers tell me she's not in the game.  Talk about false advertising!  But still, good advertising.

- Saw a car with Manitoba plates pulled over in a speed trap on Sunday on Highway #6 south, leaving the city across from Chapters.  The MMG submits that out-of-province drivers should be given at least one freeby.  I mean, talk about a rude welcome to our fair city.

- I'm glad the San Antonio Spurs are out of the NBA Playoffs, even if they got hosed with a second left in L.A. against the Clippers on Saturday night.  I can't take Gregg Popovich anymore.

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THAT'S ALL FOR ANOTHER WEEK!  THANKS FOR READING...
RP
@sportscage
Instagram: ridervoice

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Posted on 4 May 2015 | 5:51 am

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02:  Chris Paul #3 the Los Angeles Clippers and the Clippers bench react after Paul made a basket with one second remaining to give the Clippers the win against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Seven of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  The Clippers won 111-109 to win the series four games to three.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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Posted on 3 May 2015 | 6:58 am

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