Thursday, December 5, 2013
Commented Scott Milanovich, "Tim Burke is an experienced defensive coordinator who has coached in four of the past six Grey Cup games. I couldn't be more thrilled that he has joined our staff and will lead our defence in 2014."
Tim Burke comes to the Double Blue with 36 years of coaching experience. His career on the sidelines began as an NCAA assistant coach in 1977 before he spent nearly 30-years in the collegiate ranks. Burke first joined the CFL in 2005 and has been the defensive coordinator in four of the past six Grey Cup championships, earning wins in 2009 and 2010. He most recently served as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from August 2012 through the 2013 season.
Commented new Toronto Argonauts Defensive Coordinator Tim Burke, "I'm excited to join the Toronto Argonauts and to once again work with Scott Milanovich and Jim Barker. I'm confident this team has the foundation to be competitive and successful for years to come and I'm anxious to be a part of it."
Since joining the CFL, Burke has been a well respected and highly regarded coach for both his defensive expertise and leadership. His units have consistently ranked among the best in the league statistically and he has helped lead two teams to the Grey Cup championship game in four consecutive seasons: Montreal Alouettes (2008-2010) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2011).
Burke began his coaching career in 1977 and spent parts of the next three decades coaching defences at major U.S. colleges including Purdue, Kansas and Indiana State.
Wednesday was a big day for Weston Dressler. The star slotback was one of five Roughriders named to the CFL's first All-Star team, but he also revealed he has a series of NFL tryouts lined up in the coming weeks.
"We started with those talks and hopefully by the end of the week I'm planning on having some workouts lined up," Dressler reported. "Really at that point it's just waiting on the workouts and taking it from there after that point."
Dressler was asked with which NFL teams his agent his speaking.
"Ummm, I don't know if I'm supposed to say so I won't say anything."
The Bismarck, ND product was further pressed on how many teams have made their interest known.
"There's a few right now," Dressler continued. "There's a few that just seem like talks and there are a few that seem very interested. It's hard to put a number on which ones I'll look at seriously and which ones are just talk right now."
Dressler's contract with the Roughriders expires February 15 but he said he'll exhaust all NFL opportunities before re-signing in the CFL. He declined to confirm that he'll re-sign with Saskatchewan, but said team management knows where his heart is.
Jesse Gabrielle, Peter Quenneville and Richard Nejezchleb each scored for Brandon (15-13-2), which won after blowing a 4-2 lead.
Chandler Stephenson had two goals for Regina (15-13-1), with singles from Braden Christoffer and Griffin Mumby. The shots were tied 34-34 while Regina went 1/4 on the powerplay and 2/5 killing penalties.
Brandon's Jordan Papirny won the goalie duel, making 30 saves to the 29 shots stopped by Regina's Dawson MacAuley.
The Pats slipped to 8th in the Eastern Conference with the loss while Brandon is 6th. Friday the Pats visit Moose Jaw at 7 pm on 620 CKRM.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
O’Shea takes the reins of the Blue Bombers with 20 years of CFL experience and after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts. The four-time Grey Cup Champion won three as a player (1996,1997 and 2004) and his first title as a coach in 2012, leading a stalwart special teams unit for the Argos.
“Mike knows what it takes to win in this league, and he has done that as both a player and as a coach,” says General Manager Kyle Walters. “He is highly respected by his peers, and someone we feel is the right fit for what we are trying to build here. We’re thrilled to have Coach O’Shea on board.”
O’Shea remarked, “This is truly an honour to take over as Head Coach for such a historic franchise and one of the landmarks of Canadian football. The organization, our fans, the city and province deserve a winner, and I assure you we will do everything in our power to make all of those people proud.”
The North Bay, Ontario native played 16 seasons in the CFL for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts, from 1993 to 2008. He concluded his career finishing second all-time in career tackles with 1,151 and is one of only three players to record over 1000 tackles made. He won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian award in 1999 after recording 84 tackles, 13 special teams tackles and three interceptions that year.
Mike and his wife Richere have three children: Michael, Ailish and Aisling.
Kammerer was the Pats’ second round selection (76th Overall) in the 2013 CHL Import Draft. The Dusseldorf native has a goal and two assists in 21 games with the Blue and White this season.
Last spring, Kammerer was a member of Germany’s World U-18 Championship Team where he registered one assist in five games for his country.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for (Maximilian),” said Chad Lang. “He’s worked exceptionally hard and deserves and earned that opportunity to go and compete for his home country and we think he’ll do exceptionally well.”
Kammerer will depart from the Pats December 12th to join Team Germany.
The Pats will also be represented on the international stage by rookie defenceman Brady Reagan (Team Pacific) and Assistant Coach Josh Dixon (Team West) who will travel to Cape Breton for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge which runs December 28th to January 4th.
The Pats are back at the Brandt Centre Wednesday night when they face off with the Kamloops Blazers on Global Regina Teddy Bear Toss Night.
2 Blainville-Boisbriand (21-3-4-1)
3 Kelowna Rockets (20-3-0-2)
4 Guelph Storm (20-5-2-1)
5 Portland Winterhawks (21-5-2-1)
6 Everett Silvertips (20-5-4-0)
7 Halifax Mooseheads (21-10-0-0)
8 Baie-Comeau (19-7-1-3)
9 Sault Ste. Marie (19-5-0-3)
10 Oshawa Generals (21-7-0-1)
Gatineau Olympiques (21-10-0-0)
London Knights (19-6-1-1)
Calgary Hitmen (16-7-1-3)
KORY SHEETS (RB): Sheets opened the 2013 season in record fashion rushing for over 100 yards in six straight games and finishing tied for a franchise best nine overall. In 15 games, the second year Rider had 287 carries for 1,598 yards and tied for the league lead with 12 rushing touchdowns. It was his second consecutive 1,000 yard season. He also added 37 receptions for 264 yards. Sheets was a unanimous choice as a West Division All-Star. This is his first CFL All-Star selection.
WESTON DRESSLER (WR): Dressler just completed his sixth season with the Riders and it marked the fifth time he accumulated over 1,000 yards receiving since joining the team. He finished the regular season with 70 catches for 1,011 yards and a team leading nine touchdown receptions. He also added 5 carries for 26 yards, nine punt returns for 100 yards, and three missed field goal returns for 74 yards. Dressler has been named a West Division All-Star in three consecutive seasons and four overall. This is his second CFL All-Star recognition after also being named last season.
BRENDON LABATTE (OL): LaBatte just completed his sixth CFL season and second with the Riders. The University of Regina product played all 18 regular season games at left guard, paving the way for the team's ground attack. 2013 marked LaBatte's fifth consecutive Division All-Star nomination and was named the league's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. This is his second CFL All-Star recognition after also being named in 2011.
ALEX HALL (DE): Hall was acquired via trade from Winnipeg on October 6th, after appearing in 13 games with the Blue Bombers. The second year CFL'er joined the Green and White as the league's leader in quarterback sacks, finishing the season second with 16 after appearing in four games with the Riders. He also added 40 defensive tackles and one fumble recovery on the season. This is Hall's first selection as a CFL All-Star.
TYRON BRACKENRIDGE (S): Brackenridge just completed his third season with the Riders after joining the team late in the 2011 season. The 29-year-old transitioned to safety after spending his first two seasons at linebacker. In 2013 the Washington State product recorded 48 defensive tackles, six pass knockdowns, three interceptions and two tackles for loss. He also added a league leading five forced fumbles. This is Brackenridge's first CFL All-Star selection.
Below lists the complete 2013 CFL All-Stars.
QUARTERBACK – RICKY RAY
RUNNING BACK – JON CORNISH*, KORY SHEETS
RECEIVER – S.J. GREEN*, WESTON DRESSLER, MARQUAY McDANIEL, FRED STAMPS
CENTRE – JEFF KEEPING
GUARD – BRENDON LABATTE, CHRIS VAN ZEYL
TACKLE – STANLEY BRYANT, JOVAN OLAFIOYE
DEFENSIVE END – CHARLESTON HUGHES*, ALEX HALL
DEFENSIVE TACKLE – KHALIF MITCHELL, ALMONDO SEWELL
LINEBACKER – ADAM BIGHILL, CHIP COX, HENOC MUAMBA
CORNERBACK – GEOFF TISDALE, PATRICK WATKINS
HALFBACK – JERALD BROWN, RYAN PHILLIPS
SAFETY – TYRON BRACKENRIDGE
PUNTER – ROB MAVER
KICKER – RENE PAREDES
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER – LARRY TAYLOR
Thorpe, who spent six seasons with the Alouettes between 2002 and 2007 before returning as the team's defensive coordinator last season, has also been appointed the team's assistant head coach.
Dinwiddie, who broke into the CFL as a quarterback with the Alouettes in 2005, began his coaching career in 2013 with the Alouettes.
All other coaches remain under contract and are expected to return for the 2014 season.
Saskatoon Blades winger Collin Valcourt returns to Spokane tonight, eager to see his friends and treat them like enemies for a few hours.
The 20-year-old forward played 183 Western Hockey League games for the Spokane Chiefs before being traded to the Blades last January for their Memorial Cup run. He had 13 goals and 35 points this season heading into Tuesday’s game at Tri-City. The Blades' west coast road trip continues tonight at Spokane Arena.
“I had great experiences (in Spokane),” Valcourt told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Valcourt said Chiefs scoring leaders Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani are two of his best friends.
“You just can’t really think about it,” Valcourt said. “You just go out there and treat every guy like he’s your enemy. At the end of the game you can laugh about it.”
The Blades were 0-3 on their swing through the U.S. Division before Tuesday’s game. Saskatoon and other East Division teams have a combined record of 4-14 in U.S. arenas.
The Chiefs announced that center Liam Stewart, 18, accepted an invitation to play for Great Britain at the U20 World Champion- ships in Scotland. Stewart, son of rock legend Rod Stewart was born in London and raised in the United States. Stewart, tied for sixth on the club with 13 points, is expected to play Friday and return to the Chiefs in three weeks.
Everett forward Josh Winquist was named WHL Player of the Month after totaling 12 goals and 16 assists while leading the Silvertips to a record of 10-2-2-0.
Also honored: Tristan Jarry, Edmonton, goaltender of the month, 7-1-0-0 record with two shutouts; and Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert, player of the week, four goals and three assists in two wins.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Everett’s five-game winning streak ended Tuesday against visiting Portland. The Silvertips’ last five-game streak was during January 2010. … Henrik Nyberg, a 19-year-old left wing from Sweden, resigned last week from the Kelowna Rockets. … The Kootenay Ice traded 19-year-old defenseman Jeff Hubic to Tri-City last week for a seventh-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. … Regina Pats rookie goaltender Nick Schneider picked up his first WHL victory last Saturday by stopping 13 shots during a 6-1 decision over Moose Jaw. … Kennewick native Taylor Vickerman had an assist last Friday as he returned to Tri-City’s lineup after missing 25 games. Vickerman was hurt Sept. 24 at Portland on a hit by Brendan Leipsic, who was given a three-game suspension. … The Victoria Royals are 15-0 when they score first in a game. … Prince Albert defeated Brandon 5-4 last Saturday by scoring the tying goal with 12 seconds left in regulation and the winner 18 seconds into overtime. … Vancouver forward Dalton Sward doubled his scoring total for the season with a hat trick last Friday against Prince George.
The Canadian Football League club announced Tuesday that Mark Weightman, the former Chief Operating Officer, will be the new president and CEO.
Weightman, 41, had been filling the president's duties anyway since Ray Lalonde stepped down in May 2012 after only 14 months on the job.
"We asked Mark to lead our franchise,'' said Andrew Wetenhall, the son of owner Bob Wetenhall who was unable to attend the announcement due to a flu. "He's proven himself time and again.''
Weightman has been with the franchise since 1995 when he worked for the defunct Baltimore Stallions. The native of St. Andre d'Argenteuil, Que., moved with them to Montreal the following year and stayed on when Wetenhall bought the team from Jim Spiros in 1997.
His first priority will be to fill Percival Molson Stadium, which has had empty seats since it was expanded from 20,202 seats to 25,012 in 2010. The Alouettes used to sell out the smaller stadium every game, but have generally drawn about 23,000 since the expansion.
"It's a pretty high priority,'' said Wetenhall, a New York investment banker who is a CFL governor. "It's a marker of our commercial success and our on-field and community success to secure that support."
The Alouettes went 8-10 this season and lost the East Division semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They have not won a playoff game since winning back to back Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010.
The empty seats suggest the Alouettes' popularity is waning, but Weightman said the future looks bright. The season ticket base has remained at about 17,000, but they hope to increase sales through partial season tickets, family packs and other offers.
"We're still going through a transition where we have a bigger stadium and people think we're not doing as well because the stadium's not full,'' said Weightman. "We had 23,000 where we had 20,000 for 10 years.
"If you look at TV ratings and how much we're followed on social media, you'll see our fan base is as strong and healthy as ever. But we need to do a better job of reaching out to all our fans.''
A large media contingent turned out to the news conference expecting an announcement on whether general manager Jim Popp will remain as head coach after taking over from the fired Dan Hawkins five games into the season, or on whether 41-year-old quarterback Anthony Calvillo will retire.
Instead, it was a day for the men in suits.
Weightman said there is no timeline for a decision on the coach, although they would prefer to make one soon so that preparations can start for the 2014 season.
The future of veterans like Calvillo, who suffered a season-ending concussion in August, all-star guard Scott Flory or defensive end Anwar Stewart are not expected to be decided until after the CFL expansion draft on Dec. 16.
Andrew Wetenhall said his family's commitment to the Alouettes and the CFL is as strong as ever.
"I certainly am,'' he said. "We make decisions like this one in a family format. We're very committed to this league and it's success. We've invested 20 years almost in Montreal and we're hopeful there will be another 20 or 50 to come.''
© Canadian Press
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Roughriders Assistant GM Jeremy O'Day explained the process on Monday's SportsCage, including the situation with the team's 19 players facing free agency this February. The list includes Kory Sheets, Taj Smith, Weston Dressler, Craig Butler and Chris Milo.
"If you look across across the league I think we're right in the middle of the pack as far as the number of free agents," O'Day explained. "I think it's larger than most years but I think there are two teams that have more than us, another team has the same amount and most of the teams are going by that philosophy."
O'Day explained that this was by design, as it makes things very difficult for RedBlacks GM Marcel Desjardins in selecting players in two weeks' time.
"The reason for that is if you have free agents, and if Ottawa's not going to draft potential free agents for the fear of not being able to re-sign them, then you can end up protecting more guys than you would if you had them all under contract," O'Day continued. "That's that something that each team will have to assess and is it worth the risk of losing a guy and Ottawa has a couple months to negotiate with him? Those are things you have to consider when planning for this expansion draft."
This means it's a gamble for teams on both sides of the draft. The Riders could leave their potential free agents unprotected, but face the risk of losing them in the draft. Ottawa's in a bind because if they take one of them, say Weston Dressler, he could re-sign with Saskatchewan once free agency hits on February 15.
"I would say it's probably what you're willing to risk and if you don't protect a guy there's always a potential they can draft him and they could 'wow' him," O'Day said regarding a courtship by the RedBlacks. "They don't have anybody under contract so they can afford to pay guys more money than teams that are near the cap. That's a definite risk and something we'll consider. You don't want to lose marquee guys whether they're under contract or not but we'll be prepared when we send in our list."
That list will be provided to the CFL next Monday, and will not be made public. However coming up with the list could be quite a headache for the CFL and the other seven teams.
"It is," O'Day said. "We're coming off a year where we had nine all-stars and we had five or six more who we thought could have been all-stars. We're looking at having to lose a good couple of players regardless of their contractual status. We know that we'll lose some of our guys, but each team will have their strategy regarding age and salary."
For many the draft itself is somewhat confusing, and it's different from the 2003 expansion draft stage for the Ottawa Renegades.
"What's gonna happen is they'll have a draft where you can protect 10 import players and they get to draft one from each team in the first round," O'Day explained. "You can protect only one quarterback too. In the second round you can protect six non-imports and they can then select one from each team. The last round you can protect an additional six non-imports and they can protect one from each team. Ultimately you can protect a quarterback, 10 imports and 12 Canadians.
"They can take a quarterback and if they do that, you're able to protect two more Canadians so that's another rule people don't understand. Obviously the more you can protect is good. Again, they have to look at which QBs are under contract and which are free agents. If they take a potential free agent QB, they run the risk of not being able to sign him in February once his contract expires. They would basically lose a pick so there will be a lot of strategy involved with their side too."
Since 2011 the Roughriders have painstakingly built their Canadian depth but in the end will be stung by their success. Ottawa's going to get some great players.
"We'll definitely be confident once our list is done and we'll all sit down and determine the best-case going forward and who we're willing protect, and the potential of losing guys," O'Day admitted. "The sad part is you know you'll lose three guys who were just on your Grey Cup team. We felt like we had very good depth in imports and non-imports so we know we'll lose quality players and more than likely they are starters. It's not anything you're excited for. You don't want to lose guys who've been here and just came away with a Grey Cup ring. I know there will be some guys that will be disappointed."
He insisted he made the right move when he decided to go for a winning field goal on a second down in overtime at Minnesota on Sunday even if the decision did not pan out.
Trestman called on Robbie Gould for a 47-yarder that sailed wide right rather than run another play or two, and the Bears suffered a crushing 23-20 loss. Trestman acknowledged he second guesses himself "a lot afterward.''
"I want to be perfect for the guys,'' he said. "And when things don't work, I hold myself accountable for it because I'm making every decision in the best interest.''
He was adamant: Going for the field goal was the right call at that moment, that the decision did not fuel any second guessing in his mind.
"It does not. It really does not,'' he said.
The Bears are in a tough spot trailing Detroit by a game in the NFC North at 6-6, with the Lions holding a head-to-head sweep and their shot at a wild card looking about as long as the 66-yard attempt Gould missed at the end of regulation.
They've dropped six of nine, with a Monday night matchup against Dallas up next, and it's not clear if the injured Jay Cutler (high left ankle sprain) and Lance Briggs (shoulder) will return.
Trestman did not rule out either player but would not say if they will practice on Thursday. Cutler hopes to return against the Cowboys but was noncommittal during his weekly appearance on Chicago's WMVP-AM 1000.
On Monday, the big topic of discussion was the decision to turn to Gould rather than try to shorten the distance.
The Bears were moving the ball after Minnesota's Blair Walsh had a 39-yard field goal wiped out by a holding penalty and missed a 57-yarder.
Chicago took over at its 47. Matt Forte ran for 24 yards over the next five plays to put the ball on the 29, and that's where Trestman decided it was time to end this thing.
So he called on Gould, one of the most accurate kickers in league history, but the plan backfired.
Minnesota went the other way for a winning 34-yard field goal by Walsh that dealt a serious blow to Chicago's playoff hopes and sparked a discussion about Trestman's decision.
Why didn't he call at least another play to try to get closer, particularly given how the offence has moved this season and the defence has struggled?
Trestman said the ball was in the middle of the field, the kick was within Gould's range and he didn't want to risk a penalty or a fumble.
But is the angle of the kick that important in a dome, where there's no wind?
Something else to consider: Although Gould is 6 of 7 on attempts from the 40 to the 49 this season, he's just 72.2 per cent from that range in his career.
By comparison, he's converted 90.6 per cent on attempts from the 30 to 39.
"I didn't do it from an analytics standpoint,'' Trestman said. "I did it from having been around Robbie the entire year and knowing how he kicks the ball and watching him kick in practice. I had no doubt that he was going to make the kick. You could say that about any kick. But there wasn't analytics involved as much as there was, we're clearly in his range. We're in the middle of the field. We don't know what's going to happen on the next play, but it has a chance of not being in the middle of the field. I thought that was well worth the risk.'
"Every decision to do the things that we do, are based on this game,'' Trestman said. "So I didn't call on other experiences in other weeks, other than to make the decision that was best for our team yesterday.''