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Monday, February 20, 2017

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

Something Special's Mixing
HOLIDAY ODDS N' ENDS

1 - It's the third Monday in February which means it's Family Day! Hopefully you're able to spend it with your family, and have the opportunity to count your blessings. Didn't Premier Brad Wall institute this shortly after he got into power in 2007?  He's a big-time family guy.

There will be no SportsCage today in order to observe the holiday.

2 - What an absolute BLUR last week was. I'm still reeling from the fact I spent last Saturday night with Larry Fitzgerald in Phoenix, and that Friday's SportsCage interview with Leigh Steinberg was featured in the USA Today on Saturday. Mind-blowing! Staggering! I've got enough blessings to count that it should take me all day.

3 - Two other noteworthy things happened last week that we barely touched on: 1) President Lee Genier parted ways with the NLL's Saskatchewan Rush on Tuesday and although it was painted as a mutual decision, Genier told me he was "disappointed" and there were "philosophical differences".  The only reason I was a Rush fan at all was because of Genier (our friendship extends back 20 years during his time with the Calgary Stampeders) so I'm wondering why I should remain a fan of the Rush?

4 - The other sports business tidbit of the week also came out of Saskatoon, where the Blades hired Cliff Mapes as their V.P. of Business Operations.  I had to check for a minute to see if it was the same Cliff Mapes who spent many years selling and marketing the Regina Pats.  I'll say this: hiring Cliffy was a good move by the Blades. If he could sell the weak product the Pats were peddling for much of the 2000's, then he can put butts in the seats in Saskatoon.  I look forward to crossing paths with him again soon.

5 - Here's another guy who's got a big job in front of him; John Paddock.  The Regina Pats suffered three regulation losses in the past week and it should be reason for alarm.  I asked the Pats Head Coach & GM on Saturday's TV broadcast from Moose Jaw what's wrong with his team and he simply shrugged, "Nothing. We just didn't play well."

That was the understatement of the year.  This isn't panic time yet - because Paddock's had his team playoff-ready each of the past two years - but this club only worked as hard as it had to all season and now they're failing to turn it up when it's required.

The blue line was vastly upgraded with its makeover during and around the WHL Trade Deadline but some of the new forwards have struggled to fit in.  Lane Zablocki and Rykr Cole were a huge identity for this team but now they're gone.  Swedish forward Filip Ahl was scratched Saturday in Moose Jaw - I don't know why - but he doesn't done sweet tweet since the World Juniors.

There's already a huge amount of talk about next year's team but try not to forget this year's team has been #1 in the country for 16 out of 17 weeks.  It'll be hard to sidestep the talk of next year, and manage the emotions of 20-year olds Adam Brooks, Dawson Leedahl and Chase Harrison who won't even be around by then.

Like I said, John Paddock has a ton of work ahead of him if this current team is going to play long into the spring.

6 - I'm sure the Saskatchewan Roughriders were over-the-moon-to see the Regina Pats get awarded the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament on Saturday.  It would appear their desire is to remain under-the-radar for the next while and hand over the spotlight to the Regina Pats.

The trouble is, they can't.

Hopefully they realize that.

7 - As the calendar ticks by alarmingly fast, be prepared for a Shotgun Marketing sort of approach from the CFL for next month's CFL Week. I gotta think that's the only way they can do it because it's becoming too late for fans from across the country to book flights and hotels.

I'm ready to hit the ground running whenever the CFL unveils all the details of What, When, Who, Where and How everything is happening.

Some of the details are at www.cflweek.ca.

8 - Thanks to Todd Taylor and Jeremy Lavalley for the invite to Famoso Pizzeria & Bar East's VIP Night on Sunday.  It was a pleasure to visit with some noteworthy Reginans there including Rider alum and football analyst Belton Johnson.  He sure is one of the good ones.  The photos are on my Facebook.  Give the place a try!  Pizza is a healthier option than you think.

9 - Lo and behold, Manitoba's Michelle Englot and Ontario's Rachel Homan are on top of the Scotties standings at 3-0 as we enter the week. I've caught more curling than I expected to, and still can't get used to Englot in Manitoba's brown and yellow.  But I'm pulling for her.  What's her story? Seven provincial titles but no national crown?  She's the Calgary Stampeders of the womens curling world!  Here's hoping she clinches that elusive Canadian championship this week.

10 - NBA All Star Weekend in New Orleans?  I passed.

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THAT'S IT! ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY
RP
@rodpedersen
www.realtyoneregina.com

REGINA EXCITED FOR 2018 MEMORIAL CUP


(Clockwise from top left: Anthony Marquart, Sam Steel, Michael Fougere, John Paddock, Ed Staniowski)

Less than 24 hours after being named the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, Regina Pats staff and City of Regina officials spoke at the Brandt Centre on Sunday about hosting junior hockey's most prestigious tournament.

QCSEG President Anthony Marquart reiterated how pleased the organization is to have been awarded the event and promised significant renovations to the 40-year old Brandt Centre before May of 2018.  Marquart mentioned additional seating and the addition of more luxury suites, with the pricetag for the renovation to be announced at a later date.

Regina Mayor Michael Fougere gushed at the opportunity for his city to host the M.C. and praised the Pats' new ownership group as the biggest reason for Regina being tabbed as host.  He confirmed the plans for renovations to the arena.

The economic spin-off of the event is expected to approach or surpass $25-million.

Former star Pats goalie Ed Staniowski was a huge part of the bid, pausing his CAF duties in Germany to fly in for the team's January 25 bid in Toronto. He also was on hand this weekend, and mentioned it was important to the selection committee to establish strong ties between the Memorial Cup, the CHL and the Canadian Armed Forces in the 100th year of the trophy.

Current Pats Sam Steel and John Paddock - who figure to be key pieces of next year's team - spoke about the opportunity the 2018 Memorial Cup presents, and how honoured the club is to have been selected.

RP
@rodpedersen

Sunday, February 19, 2017

WARRIORS 4 PATS 0

MOOSE JAW - The Moose Jaw Warriors - and specifically 19-year old goaltender Zach Sawchenko - spoiled the party for the Regina Pats before 4715 fans in Mosaic Place Saturday evening.

On the same night Regina was named the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, Sawchenko made 37 saves in a 4-0 Warriors victory over their top rival.

In a predictably tight contest, the game's first goal didn't come until the 17:39 mark of the first period when Josh Brook scored on the powerplay for the locals.

The teams kept it clean through the second period, and although the Pats cranked it up in the third, the Warriors' Jayden Halbgewachs made it 2-0 on a disputed goal with 4:49 remaining. It was a crease crash, which went to video review.

Things got hairy from there as the Tribe's Brett Howden scored a 90-foot empty-netter - making it 3-0 - with 1:16 remaining. He was belted into the boards on the play by the Pats' Connor Hobbs which touched off a mild melee.  Hobbs was assessed a 5-minute checking-to-the-head major which led to Branden Klatt's powerplay goal with 8 seconds remaining to cap the scoring at 4-0.

The powerplays were somewhat lopsided, with Moose Jaw going 2/5 and Regina just 0/1.

The shots ended 37-28 Regina, and Pats goalie Tyler Brown took the loss in goal.

The Pats (41-9-6-1) return to action Monday at 4:00 pm on 620 CKRM. Their next home action is February 26 versus Swift Current.

RP
@rodpedersen

REGINA PATS TO HOST 2018 MEMORIAL CUP


Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced, on behalf of the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup Site Selection Committee, that the Regina Pats Hockey Club will host the historic 100th edition of the league’s prestigious national championship.

“The 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup and the celebrations around this centennial event will truly capture, preserve, and enhance the legacy of one of the most prestigious trophies in all of sport while honouring the brave men and women who served and continue to serve our country,” said CHL President David Branch. “I applaud our national Site Selection Committee who were challenged with the decision of choosing between three outstanding bids.  On behalf of the CHL we look forward to working with the City of Regina and the Regina Pats to engage the entire nation in what will truly be a historic event.”

The decision was rendered following formal bid presentations made by the Pats, along with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Oshawa Generals, on January 25, 2017, to the national Site Selection Committee.  The committee is comprised of industry leaders from across Canada including Michael Akpata (Retired Canadian Armed Forces, 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup Host Organizing Committee), Paul Beeston (Former President & CEO, Toronto Blue Jays), Colin Campbell (Senior Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations, NHL), Al Coates (Interim Director, Hockey Canada Foundation), Serge Fortin (Vice-President, TVA Sports), Scott Moore (President, Sportsnet and NHL Properties), and Scott Smith (Chief Operating Officer, Hockey Canada).

The announcement was delivered before a national audience as part of Sportsnet’s Hockey Day in Canada coverage.

The 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup will take place May 17-27, 2018, at Regina’s Brandt Centre, featuring the host Pats along with the champions of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League competing in the traditional round-robin tournament format.

“Our local team worked hard to put together a great bid, and we are extremely excited, and honoured, to be able to host the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup,” says Shaun Semple, President and CEO of the Brandt Group of Companies and Chair of Regina’s Host Organizing Committee. “We’ve got some great ideas and plans, and we look forward to the opportunity to engage with junior hockey fans across the country, as we celebrate this historic centennial year.”   

The prestigious national championship returns to the city of Regina for the first time since 2001, an event that featured the host Pats, the Ottawa 67’s (OHL), and champion Red Deer Rebels (WHL) defeating the Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) 6-5 in overtime.  Regina also hosted the 1980 event with the Brandon Wheat Kings. 

Named for the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the WHL’s Pats are the CHL’s oldest franchise beginning operations in 1917, and celebrating their 100th anniversary next season.  The club has competed in a record 12 Memorial Cup Championship games including the inaugural final back in 1919 before winning major junior hockey’s prize three times in 1925, 1930, and 1974.

“On behalf of Mastercard Canada, title sponsor for the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup, I’d like to congratulate the City of Regina and the Regina Pats on a successful bid,” said Milos Vranesevic, Vice-President and Head of Marketing, Mastercard Canada. “We are proud of our longstanding partnership with the Canadian Hockey League and our association with this prestigious national championship since 1999 and look forward to the centennial celebration at the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup.”

The Memorial Cup has a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America. The trophy was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March, 1919, in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in the First World War.  In 2010 the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian Military Personnel killed in combat serving our country.

The 99th edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Windsor Spitfires May 18-28, 2017, with all nine games to be broadcast live across Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

RUSH 8 MAMMOTH 7

SASKATOON - Ben McIntosh had two goals and an assist as the Saskatchewan Rush held on to beat the Colorado Mammoth 8-7 on Saturday in National Lacrosse League action.

Curtis Knight and Mark Matthews each had a goal and two helpers for the Rush (5-2), who won their fifth game in a row. Jeff Cornwall, Chris Corbeil, Ryan Keenan and Adrian Sorichetti rounded out the offence.

Jacob Ruest and Brent Adams had a pair of goals apiece for the Mammoth (4-4), who also got singles from Callum Crawford, Stephen Keogh and Eli McLaughlin. Crawford tacked on four assists to lead all players with five points.

Aaron Bold made 27 saves for the win as Dillon Ward stopped 45 shots in a losing cause.

Saskatchewan went 1 for 4 on the power play while Colorado scored twice on four chances with the man advantage.

(CP)

SUNDAY SPORTS

Christopher Tanev scored his first goal of the season just 34 seconds into overtime to lift the Vancouver Canucks over the Calgary Flames 2-1 at Rogers Arena. Mark Giordano tied the game with just over five seconds left in the third period for Calgary. Alex Edler opened the scoring for the Canucks.

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The Senators continue to roll. Mark Stone had a goal and four assists to lead Ottawa past the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. The Sens have won four of five overall and three of four against the Leafs this season. Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots. Derick Brassard scored twice in the third period as Ottawa pulled out the two points.

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Connor McDavid continues to lead the NHL in scoring. He earned his 67th point of the season after scoring his 20th goal in Edmonton's 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the Oilers' third straight win. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews earned his 600th NHL point with an assist. Earlier, the Winnipeg Jets got past the Montreal Canadiens 3-1.

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Glenn Robinson the Third of the Indiana Pacers is the All-Star slam dunk champion. He beat Derrick Jones Junior of the Phoenix Suns in the final round. Robinson clinched the win with a perfect 50 on the final dunk of the night - going over three people for a reverse dunk and nearly touching his head on the rim in the process.

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Kerry Galusha is moving on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Her Northwest Territories rink downed New Brunswick's Melissa Adams 5-3 in the opening draw of the Canadian women's curling championship to secure the final berth in the 12-team field. Also, Ontario's Rachel Homan opened with a 7-5 extra-end win over defending champion Chelsea Carey.

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Ivan Koloff, the Canadian professional wrestler known as ``The Russian Bear'' in the ring, has died after fighting liver cancer. He was 74. Koloff was born in Montreal as Oreal Perras. He was one of wrestling's top villains in the 1970s and 80s. In 1971, he pinned Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden to take the WWF title.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

RODSERVATIONS

1 - I've been looking forward to tonight for a week!  The Regina Pats visit the Moose Jaw Warriors Saturday night in what I hope will be a sold out Mosaic Place, and we'll be broadcasting it live all across Western Canada on Shaw and Access with my partner Darren Dupont at 7:00 pm Sask Time.

The games between the Pats and Warriors this season have all been epic, and the last time they met - February 1 in a sold out Regina Brandt Centre - the game wasn't decided until the final 24 seconds when Connor Hobbs beat Zach Sawchenko for a 4-3 Pats win.

It seems these two teams will meet in the WHL Playoffs somewhere down the line and we're getting to the "message-sending" time of the season.  That includes tonight.

And the Queen City Kids will be in an owly mood after losing 5-3 in Brandon last night.

2 - It's been so long since the Queen City Sports & Entertainment Group made their bid to host the 2018 Memorial Cup that most people have forgotten about it.  The Pats, Oshawa Generals and Hamilton Bulldogs all made their bids on January 25 in Toronto and then we were supposed to find out who won on February 4.  Then ... February 11.  Now, it's Febuary 18 and we're still not entirely sure when the announcement will be made.

Frankly - as a Pats fan, supporter and their TV broadcaster - my knees are knocking. From all accounts, this was supposed to be an open-and-shut case because Regina's bid was head-and-shoulders above the others.

Now I'm told the selection committee has run into a few snags.

I don't like snags. Snags aren't good.

3 - I get why it's done but I loathe when fans and media bring up team records in a season like the Pats are currently enjoying.  "What's the club record for wins in a season?" is an oft-asked question around the Brandt Centre these days.  (It's 49, set in 1980-81).  The Pats have 41 wins with 16 games to go so they should be able to smash that record without breaking a sweat.  Buuuuut, you never know and that's why I wish nobody would've mentioned it!!

Don't forget I wrote in early October that this is a 50-win team.

However the only way this becomes the best Pats team ever is if they win the 2017 Memorial Cup in Windsor, ON.  That's it.  That's the only way.  Until then, the 1974 Memorial Cup champion Pats are still the best team of all-time and even then you'd get a debate from long time fans even if this Regina won it all.

So there's a helluva lot of work to do yet.  This team could still get upset in the first round! Some annoying habits are setting in.

4 - I'm a huge, huge fan of NFL super agent Leigh Steinberg.  He's the guy the movie Jerry Maguire was patterned after and I've followed his career for 25 years. Even read his book "Agent" from cover-to-cover, a couple of times.  So it was a huge pleasure and an honour to welcome him to the SportsCage on Friday on 620 CKRM to discuss his latest client, Vince Young.

The 33-year old Young is indeed attempting a comeback and his desire to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders is real. Although Steinberg Tweeted on Thursday that he and the Riders have entered contract negotiations, he backed off somewhat on Friday saying they're "still at the exploratory stage".

Speaking from his office in Newport Beach, CA, the agent pointed out his client is a college football champion, 2-time NFL Pro Bowl'er and NFL Rookie of the Year.

He also said he'd like Vince Young to come to Regina and check out the New Mosaic Stadium facilities and see what this franchise has to offer. As any agent would, Steinberg was painting the picture that the Riders would have to woo them into signing.

As for Young himself, the agent said he truly wants to resume his career even though he hasn't played since 2011. He's not doing it for the money ... Young has plenty of that. And he didn't get a fair shake with the Tennessee Titans so therefore he has some unfinished business.

Most importantly, Steinberg said the idea isn't to use the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a springboard back to the NFL. Vince badly wants to play pro football, and wants to win a Grey Cup, or Grey Cups in Saskatchewan. They're not thinking about the NFL.

Lastly, Steinberg has represented a host of former CFL'ers - headlined by Warren Moon - so he has a very good handle on what this league is all about. It's not like he thinks Young will come up here, dominate, and then look for his first NFL opportunity. They're very respectful of the talent level of this league.

5 - Why would the Riders be going after Vince Young if they plan on aquiring James Franklin from Edmonton?

It's because I still don't think it'll happen.

6 - Steinberg inspired me so much back in the day that I actually seriously considered being an agent. I actually got an offer from a Canadian agency, but I had to start at the bottom which meant poaching other agents' clients and waiting outside bantam hockey dressing rooms to wine-and-dine 14-year old hockey players.

Nooooooo thanks. On second thought, I liked what I was doing just fine.

7 - I was a little disappointed at the comments of the "Flyin' Hawaiian" Chad Owens on the SportsCage on Friday.  After the rush of signing with the Riders on Wednesday wore off, the reality set in that Owens would be leaving his wife and kids in Toronto this season, and that he'll be filling a "diminished role" with the Roughriders (his words).

I encouraged him to focus on the positives and it seemed to cheer him up, but I was surprised at the tone of the interview early on.

Once he straps on the /=S=/ and hears the roar of the Rider Nation, he won't be able to think of anything else, I'm sure.

8 - You're hearing it a lot across the CFL: "Who's winning free agency?"  The fact is I don't know and really don't care.  Maybe it's because I'm getting on in years but it doesn't matter anymore to me who's winning in February.  Or for that matter, July or August.  All that matters is who's playing in November.

Now, what happens now affects that, certainly. Last year the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won free agency (although we might've said otherwise here) and that translated to four wins and a road date in Round 1 of the CFL Playoffs.

But it didn't translate into a playoff win.  Who's going to be winning in November?

Are the moves they made this week turning you onto the Green & White?

I'll admit that the signings by Jones and Co. look good right now.

9 - Stayed home Friday night and binge-watched Narcos on Netflix.  We'll probably wrap up the entire series on Sunday.  Then what do you suggest we watch? I'm a TV neophyte and could use some recommendations.  All I prefer to watch are live games, Sportscentre and Sportsnet Connected, and Law & Order SVU.

10 - Interesting move by B.C.'s Wally Buono to snatch up Chris Williams in free agency on Friday. The one-time CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player comes with the reputation of being a soft player, and one who isn't fond of working too hard. One of his former coaches told me he only plays "one game out of four".  That's why Hamilton and Ottawa deemed him expendable, but Wally's willing to take a chance on him.  Interestingly, former Rider scout Joe Womack pleaded with the Saskatchewan brass to add Williams back in the day but never got his wish.

You can get by with players like that, but they're tough to rely on.

11 - It's that time of year again; I'll be watching curling since they're down to the national championships including the Scotties Tournament of Hearts which is ongoing right now. I don't dislike the sport, but can't pay attention until these championship tournaments/bonspiels come around.

Bring it on.

12 - BIRTHDAYS: Happy birthday on Friday to Rider alum Kye Stewart, and Pats alum Victor Bartley and Darren Wilcox!

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THAT'S ALL! TALK TO YOU TONIGHT FROM MOOSE JAW
RP
@rodpedersen

TSN: RIDERS SIGN BAKARI GRANT AND GLENN LOVE

Love (left) and Grant
The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed a pair of former Calgary Stampeders Friday.

First reported by TSN Senior Correspondent Gary Lawless, the Roughriders made official the signings of receiver Bakari Grant and linebacker Glenn Love Friday.

Grant finished with 44 receptions for 625 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games for the Stampeders last season. For his career, the 29-year-old Grant has 286 receptions for 3,652 yards and 21 scores in 80 games split between the Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Love finished with 11 defensive tackles and 21 special teams tackles in 10 games for the Stamps last year. The 27-year-old has 53 career defensive tackles and 56 special teams tackles, to go along with two sacks in 44 games over five seasons.

(TSN.ca)