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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

JONES ADDRESSES HARDY STORY


Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones addressed a Sportsnet report on Tuesday that the CFL has blocked the Riders from adding NFL bad boy Greg Hardy.

The free agent defensive end spent the 2015 NFL season with the Dallas Cowboys however is currently out of football due to his history of domestic violence.  He worked out with the Jacksonville Jaguars last week but wasn't signed.  Jones said the timing of the story is suspicious and that talks between the two sides were only preliminary.

"First of all the timing of it seems a little 'interesting' to me," Jones stated.  "Again, Greg Hardy inquired to us back during camp and it was about a six hour discussion.  The league made their ruling on it and we moved on.

"You can ask the league.  I'll just comment on what I just said.  Again, it was a six hour discussion, he was interested in coming up.  I inquired with the league, the league made their ruling, and you can talk to Jeffrey Orridge and those guys if you need more info on it."

Jones was asked how seriously the club takes situations of domestic violence with players.

"Very seriously," Jones said.  "Very seriously."

Meanwhile Jones said he's still at least a day away from making a decision on a starting quarterback for this week's game at Montreal.  Darian Durant and Mitchell Gale both took turns with the first team offense on Tuesday.

The 1-3 Roughriders visit the 1-3 Montreal Alouettes Friday at 5:30 pm on TSN and the 620 CKRM Roughrider Radio Network.

RP
@rodpedersen

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

RED SOX 7 CARDINALS 3

A record crowd of 1,688 was on hand Tuesday night at Currie Field as the Red Sox defeated the Yorkton Cardinals 7-3.

The Red Sox cashed in three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to grab the lead on the way to their 25th win of the season.
 
Michael Garcia started for the Red Sox and provided the club with six solid innings. Garcia gave up three runs on nine hits while striking out four Yorkton batters.
 
Middle inning pitching specialist Skyler Henson followed Garicia and threw a scoreless seventh inning for the win.  Sam Brunner came on for the final six outs and earned his league record 14th save.
 
Korbin Polston contributed two hits and two RBI on the night. Gabriel Montero, Aden Campbell and Derek Slate also added a pair of hits each in the Red Sox victory.
 
The Red Sox win leaves them just one game behind the second place Yorkton Cardinals in the battle for second place in the Eastern Division.
 
Regina now hits the road for games in Melville on Wednesday and Yorkton on Thursday. They will end the regular season at home Friday night at Currie Field against Swift Current.  The season finale will begin at 8 pm to accommodate the Saskatchewan Roughrider game in Montreal.
 
As an added bonus, home plate umpire, Bob Sonder pulled Bill Betker’s winning ticket for the annual Big Apple Draw.

(Courtesy Tony Playter/Outlaw Communications)

RAY OUT 3-6 WEEKS

TORONTO -- Toronto Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray will miss the next three to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament.

Ray injured his left knee during the fourth quarter of Monday night's 30-17 win over the Montreal Alouettes at BMO Field.

Ray left at 10:16 of the fourth quarter and didn't return after Montreal defensive lineman Vaughn Martin rolled into his knee.

Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said Monday night that Logan Kilgore would start under centre if Ray had to miss time with the injury.

The Argos are 3-2, tied for second in the East Division with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They next play on Sunday against the Redblacks in Ottawa.

(The Canadian Press)

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RIDERS WON'T NAME STARTING QB VS MONTREAL


The Saskatchewan Roughriders held a walk-through on Day 1 of their practice week Monday at Mosaic Stadium.

Quarterbacks Darian Durant and Mitchell Gale each saw time with the first team offense, throwing lightly.

Durant missed last week's 30-29 win over Ottawa with a lower body injury and in his absence, back-up Mitchell Gale earned the win in his first pro start.

Durant spoke to reporters in the Rider locker room after Monday's workout.

"Feeling a lot better," Durant reported. "Still taking it day-by-day, making sure we're cautious with it and not trying to push it too much.  It's definitely getting better, that's for sure.  I haven't really tested it out that much yet."

Durant was asked if he'll be feeling well enough to start this Friday's game at Montreal.

"We'll see," Durant forecasted.  "I don't want to sit here and put an estimation on that right now.  We'll see as the week progresses."

Riders Head Coach and GM Chris Jones wasn't willing to tab Gale as the club's starter for this Friday's game at Montreal despite his solid showing against the RedBlacks.

"Darian Durant's our starter," Jones advised.  "Mitchell did a good job and when Darian's back healthy, he'll go back on.  It's that simple.  Mitchell Gale did exactly what we expected Mitchell Gale to do."

Gale was satisfied with his performance in the win over Ottawa, but feels there's plenty of work left in his game to improve.

"Definitely," Gale offered.  I'm definitely my own worst critic at times.  There's definitely things I need to improve on for sure from what I did, and as an offense.  There are things that tend to go unseen that we need to fix up."

Gale was asked how he'll approach this week of practice given the fact he doesn't know if he'll get the start against the Alouettes or not,

"Same as I have every other week," Gale shrugged.  "I've got to do my job to make sure if I'm called upon that I can go in there and run the offense efficiently.  My approach doesn't change based on external factors."

Meanwhile the Riders released defensive back Brandon McDonald on Monday, replacing him with rookie Major Culbert who was given McDonald's #22.

Centre Dan Clark was back with the first team offensive line after missing the past two games with injury.  Nicked receivers Shamawd Chambers and John Chiles were back on the field as well.  However star guard Brendon Labatte was absent as he continues to recover from a concussion.  Running back Curtis Steele was absent as well.

RP
@rodpedersen

ARGONAUTS 30 ALOUETTES 17, RICKY RAY INJURED

Canadian Press
TORONTO - The Toronto Argonauts' first regular-season win at BMO Field might've have come at a terrible price.

Quarterback Ricky Ray threw three TD passes to lead Toronto past the Montreal Alouettes 30-17 on Monday night. But dampening the Argos' enthusiasm about the historic win was Ray leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a suspected sprained left medial collateral ligament.

Toronto will know for sure Tuesday and if that's indeed the case, Logan Kilgore will start Sunday when the Argos visit the Ottawa Redblacks. Ray, 36, missed most of last season recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

Ray left at 10:16 of the fourth quarter after Montreal defensive lineman Vaughn Martin rolled into his left knee. He finished the game 29-of-34 passing for 235 yards and the three TD strikes gave him 80 over his Toronto tenure, leaving him alone in second all-time to Condredge Holloway (97).

Ray felt Martin's hit was a late one.

"It felt late,'' Ray said. "It felt like I was standing there for about two seconds watching the play and I got rolled into.

"Hopefully, it's not as bad as it felt out there.''

Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich is hoping for the best but said if Ray can't play then Kilgore will be the next man up.

"That's why Logan is here,'' Milanovich said. "It's time for him to stand up and shine.''

Kilgore was 1-of-3 passing for 15 yards with an interception versus Montreal. But after watching the likes of Zach Collaros (now in Hamilton), Trevor Harris (Ottawa) and Mitchell Gale (Saskatchewan) all patiently wait for their chance to play in Toronto, Kilgore is anxious for his opportunity.

"All of those guys continually prepared themselves and that's what I picked up from those guys,'' he said. "You never know when, or if, it's going to happen.

"That's what pro football players prepare for.''

Ray's 13-yard touchdown strike to Phil Bates and two-point conversion to Kenny Shaw put Toronto ahead 30-16 just 15 seconds into the fourth. That allowed the BMO Field gathering of 16,048 to exhale after Montreal's Kevin Glenn hit Duron Carter on a 61-yard touchdown pass at 3:33 of the third cut the Argos' lead to 21-16.

Then after Montreal recovered Anthony Coombs' fumble, Glenn drove the offence to the Toronto six-yard line before being intercepted by T.J. Heath, who returned it to the Alouettes' 54-yard line at 7:15. But Lirim Hajrullahu missed from 49 yards out for the single at 10:18, giving the Argos a precarious 22-16 advantage.

"I'm not the first and won't be the last to do something like that,'' said Glenn, who left the game briefly in the second half before returning. "You've just got to make sure you get it out of your system, get it out of your head.

"We can't carry any of this mentally over into the next game (Friday night hosting Saskatchewan). We've got to get rid of it.''

Toronto (3-2) earned the victory after dropping its first two games at its new stadium. The Argos became the first East Division team to win at home this season and moved into a second-place tie with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-2).

Monday's attendance was a dramatic improvement from the 12,373 fans who attended Toronto's 30-20 home loss to Ottawa on July 13. Over 24,000 spectators watched the Argos drop a season-opening 42-20 loss to Hamilton in the first regular-season game at BMO Field.

CFL road teams are still a dominant 14-5-1 this year.

Montreal (1-3) suffered its third straight loss and first in two road games. But head coach/GM Jim Popp said the Alouettes were their own worst enemy with 13 penalties for 130 yards, three turnovers and four sacks allowed.

Glenn finished 24-of-28 passing for 285 yards with a TD and interception. Carter had six catches for 124 yards.

"We shot ourselves in the foot,'' he said. "You can't squander opportunities when you have a chance, you can't do that.

"It was the missed opportunities tonight. We thought we should've won that football game ... but too many mistakes.''

Kicker Boris Bede didn't help Montreal's plight, missing all three field goals he tried (from 40, 36 and 43 yards out). Popp said the Als will have new kickers in camp this week.

"We're going to bring some other people in,'' Popp said. "Whether Boris continues kicking or not there'll be some competition.''

(The Canadian Press)

TICKETS FOR RAMS, NEW MOSAIC ON SALE TUESDAY

REGINA, Sask. – Single-game tickets go on sale Tuesday morning for the SaskTel Fall Classic, a Canada West clash between the University of Regina Rams and the Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 1 that will be the first football game played at the new Mosaic Stadium.

Tickets will be available beginning on Tuesday at 10 a.m. through www.reginarams.com, the Rams administration office (306-585-5480), www.riderville.com, www.ticketmaster.ca, and in person or via phone through the Saskatchewan Roughriders box office (1-888-4-RIDERS).

“There’s been a lot of interest in both flex packages and single-game tickets for this game,” said Chris Briltz, director for the Rams. “With attendance limited to 16,500 for this game, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to be a part of history at the first game in the new stadium.”

The Rams are extremely pleased to have SaskTel recently come aboard as the major sponsor for the game.

“SaskTel is a long-time supporter of both the University of Regina Rams and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, so we are especially pleased to be able to be the title sponsor for the SaskTel Fall Classic,” said Darcee MacFarlane, SaskTel’s vice president of corporate relations.

Flex packages remain on sale at $80 each and include five adult tickets (one exclusively for the SaskTel Fall Classic and four which can be used interchangeably for any of the other three home games), eight child tickets (can be used for any of the Sept. 8, Sept. 23, or Oct. 21 home games), entry into the Football Dream Trip draw, and the immediate ability to purchase up to three additional tickets for the SaskTel Fall Classic.

Single-game ticket prices for the SaskTel Fall Classic will be $22.50 for adults, $15 for students, and $10 for children aged three through 12. U of R students get in for free at the Sept. 8, Sept. 23, and Oct. 21 games.

The game is part of the overall Regina Revitalization Initiative Stadium Project, and is designed to test the construction of the building including washrooms, public address systems, and elevators. Operational plans that will support the stadium will also be tested, including access and egress, transportation, parking, and security.

NOTES: The anticipated sellout would set a new Canada West attendance record, breaking the previous mark of 10,199 set at a University of Manitoba game during the 2013 season ... the Rams’ other three home games – Sept. 8, Sept. 23, and Oct. 21 – will all be played at the old stadium.

BEAVERS 3 RED SOX 2

The Weyburn Beavers got an extra inning walk-off sacrifice fly from Jordan Anderson to defeat the Regina Red Sox 3-2 on Monday.

Close to 300 fans at Tom Laing Park watched the Beavers pick up their 22nd win of the season. With Monday night’s loss the Red Sox dropped to 24-18.

Scott Beever started for Weyburn and earned a no decision. In six inning of work he fanned seven Red Sox batters while allowing one earned run on five hits. Eric Evans came on in relief and picked up his second win of the season for the Beavers.

Red Sox catcher Will Frei went two for four at the dish with a home run. His two RBIs raised his season total to 24.

Andrew Mirasty made his six start going seven innings before turning the ball over to the Red Sox bullpen.

Reliver Skyler Henson was tagged with the Red Sox loss.  Henson walked two, struck out one and allowed the game winning run.

Next action for the Red Sox is Tuesday, July 26 when the Yorkton Cardinals visit Currie Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Just a Reminder: The Toronto Blue Jays travelling community tour will be at Currie Field on Tuesday at 6 pm.   This unforgettable free experience showcases the Toronto Blue Jays and innovative technology from Samsung and Rogers.  It is a must see for baseball fans of all ages.

(Courtesy Tony Playter/Outlaw Communications)

Monday, July 25, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


FROM THE HOME OFFICE

REGINA -- Happy Days Are Here Again.

And all it took was a simple 30-29 Saskatchewan home victory over the Ottawa RedBlacks!

I'm joking of course, because Friday's long-awaited victory by the Saskatchewan Roughriders was anything but simple.  But it has completely turned this province's frown upside-down and today, as we begin a brand new week, you'd have to look long and hard to find someone who isn't smiling ear-to-ear after the Roughriders' last-minute victory the other night.

That simple little triumph has lifted Saskatchewan out of the West Division basement at 1-3 and now your friendly neighbourhood Roughriders head to Montreal this Friday with the prospect of, with a win, potentially coming home tied for third in the West.

What a difference a win makes.

People are giddy and once again the Roughriders were the number-one topic across the Wheat Province over the weekend only this time, it was for all the right reasons.  "We played better in other games and still lost," one Rider fan said to me on Sunday.

Funny how it's "we" when the Riders win and "they" when they lose.

But no matter.  The Rider bandwagon is filling up and team President Craig Reynolds is at the front of the bus taking tickets.  There are plenty of seats still available.

To be honest, it's not like anyone was tearing down the walls around here over the past few weeks anyway.  In fact, on last Friday's home game day, I was floored to see all of the people adorned in green and white on the streets of downtown Regina.  At least 2-in-3 were wearing a Rider jersey, golf shirt or some sort of Rider garb even though their club hasn't won once in the calendar year.

I bumped into Ottawa RedBlacks Defensive Coordinator Mark Nelson on Regina's downtown Scarth Street - he was out to grab a morning coffee - and he was equally impressed by the show of support from the Rider Nation.

"You'd never know we're 0-3!" I mused to the Nick Nolte-lookalike.

"That's the beautiful thing about Regina," Nelson smiled back.  He'd know, since he spent one season as a linebacker with the Green Riders back in 1986.

Frankly Friday's victory over the previously-unbeaten RedBlacks was just a bonus as far as I was concerned.  Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones had already demonstrated to me at Thursday's pregame news conference that this football club was indeed on the right track.  I asked the motorcycle-riding coach if the players on this football club still believe they are a good team because, after all, they hadn't won yet and talk is cheap.

"“I think they believe they are internally,” Jones said.  “But again, it’s 12 new guys on defense and there are a lot of rookies in the room so until you win a football game ... you’re judged off whether you win or lose.”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I couldn't have been more comfortable with Jones' response.  You could tell in his eyes that he was tired of losing, even if it's only been a handful of games to start the year.  He even admitted to reporters that he was getting frustrated and that his coaching staff wasn't used to losing.

Jones knew full well that it was time to put up or shut-up but even I knew that once those 44 players took to the field, their performance was generally beyond their coach's control.  Were they ready to take that next step and actually win a game?  They'd been so close to winning the past few weeks but had come up empty.

I was simply satisfied with the fact that Jones wasn't content to blow sunshine up the Rider Nation's skirt any longer.  He saw what we all saw: a blossoming young football team that's on the rise but if they didn't win soon, would start questioning their own abilities and maybe even the direction they were given.

And then, VOILA!

Before a crowd of 31,071, Canada's Team went out and dumped the RedBlacks on a last-minute 53-yard field goal by Tyler Crapigna (Crah-PEEN-Yah), on another glorious Saskatchewan summer night.

Oh and by the way, has anyone else noticed we've had perfect weather for each of the four home games so far this season in the last one on Piffles Taylor Way?  I've heard God's a Rider fan and he's certainly set the table nicely for the Farewell Season at the old Mosaic Stadium.

And it really struck me in Friday's game that when Taylor Field/Mosaic Stadium is truly rocking, it's going to be impossible to replace.  You know the kind of atmosphere where it's so loud that the west side grandstand is shaking?  (You can tell on television because the TSN cameras are shaking).  It's bedlam.

That's what we had the other night and with this win, the Saskatchewan Roughriders - I believe - are over the hump.  Look out, rest of the CFL.  We told you it's building and it's coming under Chris Jones.

Only six games are left at Mosaic Stadium and the Roughriders are coming off the mat.

Are you going to be here?

------

MONDAY QUICK HITS


1 - THANK YOU CFL!:  Post cereals and the Canadian Football League have teamed up to offer Canadians an Ultimate Experience at the 2016 Grey Cup in Toronto!  The CFL shipped me a box full of this cereal last week with the note, "Hope you have lots of milk".  The guys and gals in the league office asked me to spread the word amongst you blog readers and Rider fans about this great summer and fall promotion by the CFL and Post.  Pick up a box today at your local grocery store and fill out your entry!  Meanwhile, I've got some cereal to eat.

2 - UH OH IN WINNIPEG:  Is it too late to replace that photo of Drew Willy on the Honeycomb box with a pic of Matt Nichols?  Willy's been benched after a sub-par outing last week against Calgary and Matt Nichols will start this week when the Bombers visit Edmonton on Thursday.

As if the Blue Bombers didn't have enough problems, now they have the Roughriders to contend with.  At least with their own struggles over the past year and a bit, the Bombers could point to Saskatchewan and say "Well, we're better off than them".

However now the Riders have leap-frogged the Bombers in the West Division (by virture of their game in hand) and it's clear Saskatchewan is only getting better.  Unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, it would seem they're only getting worse.

As one CFL personnel-type said to me last week, "Why would they go with Matt Nichols?  He's just another version of Drew Willy, only worse".

Who knows.  What other teams do is their business.

3 - THE CUP RETURNS TO REGINA:  Regina's Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins is bringing the Stanley Cup to Regina for a third time.  Kunitz's day with the Stanley Cup is Tuesday, July 26 and there will be a celebration from 3:30-5:30 pm at City Square Plaza across from Victoria Park.  Fans will be able to meet Kunitz and get their pictures taken with the Cup for a donation to charity.  Of course organizers came to 620 CKRM to help promote it and our own Phil Andrews will be the MC for the event!

Come on down

4 - OKAY BLUE JAYS:  Meanwhile on Tuesday the Toronto Blue Jays caravan is rolling through Regina and will be present at the Regina Red Sox game that night at Currie Field.  It's an interactive exhibit where fans can get their photos taken with Marcus Stroman, Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Aaron Sanchez.  They can also get virtual autographs from those four players!  You can also be on the cover of magazines like Sportsnet, People, Hello Canada, McLean's and Today's Parent.  There will also be free popcorn!

5 - DON'T FEAR SOCIAL MEDIA:  If you're a small business owner who knows you need a social media strategy but the whole idea is just too overwhelming or intimidating, then stop fretting!  The first edition of the PedersenMedia Social Media Handbook if just for you and I've added a special "Introduction to Social Media" for the business owners who are starting from scratch.  Are your numbers down in 2016?  Well social media commerce was up 300% in Q1 and Q2.  Start taking advantage of it!  Email me for more details at pedersenmedia@outlook.com.

THAT'S IT FOR NOW!  SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4:00 PM
RP
@rodpedersen