Realty One

Friday, May 24, 2019

JEFFERSON HAPPY SWITCHING SIDES IN BOMBERS-RIDERS RIVALRY

WINNIPEG - Willie Jefferson thought there would be some backlash when he left the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Turns out he was right.

Some Saskatchewan fans had "outlandish'' reactions on social media for the all-star defensive end, but one creative insult left the prized free-agent acquisition laughing.

"The funniest thing that I remember was a picture of me, my wife and our daughter in our Saskatchewan jerseys,'' Jefferson said Friday after Day 6 of training camp.

"The guy reposted the picture but he put the poop emoji on our faces. Yeah, man, that was funny.''

All of Jefferson's green-and-white memorabilia from the past three seasons is now packed up in storage and he has quickly adapted to wearing Winnipeg's blue and gold.

Signing a one-year contract with the Bombers in February after being pursued by Montreal, Saskatchewan, Hamilton and B.C., was the right move, he said.

"Being here now and seeing how practice goes, seeing how the coaches are with the players and how interactive they are outside of the locker-room, it's nice here,'' said Jefferson, 28, a CFL all-star the past two seasons.

The six-foot-six, 245-pound Texas native played his first two seasons in the league with Edmonton. Last season, he had a career-high 10 quarterback sacks, 24 defensive tackles and took two interceptions back for touchdowns, including a 97-yarder off Bombers QB Matt Nichols.

Jefferson's skillset of speed and shifty moves is expected to give the club a dominant duo with Jackson Jeffcoat on the other end.

"He's just such a great player,'' Jeffcoat said of his new teammate. "He's very rangy so he can do a lot of things on the field. He's got a plethora of moves so tackles can't really get a bead on him.

"We want to be the best we can be, and being the best we can be, I think we can be the best in the league.''

Jefferson is a familiar name to Jeffcoat. His father, former NFL defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, had watched Jefferson excel in another sport.

"My dad actually got to watch him play basketball and said he was a really good high school basketball player as well,'' Jackson Jeffcoat said.

His father was glad to hear Jefferson had joined the Bombers.

"He said, 'It's going to be good. You guys will complement each other well,''' said the six-foot-three, 251-pound Jeffcoat.

That theme carried over to Winnipeg defensive line and linebackers coach Glen Young, who chuckled when he discussed the potential of his bookends.

"(Jefferson's) presence is going to make a difference for us,'' Young said. "To have him and Jackson coming off the edge is going to be such a tremendous asset for us.

"I can't even tell you how much fun it's been for me to watch it as it's been developing through training camp. They're so different, but they're so effective.''

He described Jefferson as long with finesse and Jeffcoat as powerful with great hands.

"They bring so many differences, but collectively together it's like everything you want as a D-line coach,'' Young said.

So could Jefferson and Jeffcoat be the league's premier pair of rush ends?

"I think the sky's the limit for them,'' Young said.

(Canadian Press/Judy Owen)

NFL HEADED TO WINNIPEG

Jeff Hamilton of the Winnipeg Free Press reports IG Field in Winnipeg is set to host an NFL preseason game this August.

The game will feature the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers in Week 3 of the NFL preseason, however the precise date hasn't been determined.

The preseason contest - which organizers had originally planned to stage in Regina - has been all but confirmed by Blue Bombers officials.

Representatives from the NFL, Packers and Raiders reportedly toured IG Field in April and were impressed with the facilities.

An official announcement from the event company On Ice Management is anticipated before long.

RP
@rodpedersen



DURON AIMS TO SHED BAD BOY IMAGE

Photo: Kamloops This Week
By: Christina Heydanus
CTV Vancouver

KAMLOOPS - He may have just arrived in B.C., but it didn’t take long for Duron Carter to face questions about his supposed bad boy reputation.

"Can you really be a bad boy with a smile like this?" Carter said with a big grin.

The wide receiver joins the BC Lions with a bit of spotty record, which includes two cannabis-related charges he faced while with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Duron Carter says he's looking to put his reputation behind him.

"I feel I'm a genuine good guy and most of the people I encounter feel that same way," Carter explained. "I can't change what you think and what you read, and that's not my prerogative at all. For me, my main goal is winning football games and it seems when you win, everyone looks at the bright side of things so that's going to be my goal."

Carter has made a career on both sides of the ball, and joins the B.C. franchise as a wide receiver.

He’s known for his highlight reel plays, and in 2017, had just over 1,000 receiving yards in the 18 games he played with the Riders.

"He makes catches that no one other than myself can make," said slot back Bryan Burnham. "He's a big time player and I think he's great for our locker room."

Carter is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, and says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of his dad.

"He's put me into a place where not many people can get at my age," Carter told CTV News. "Being able to be here and have the coaches know my football brand and be able to step up, it just puts me at a whole different level in my career."

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/duron-carter-shakes-off-bad-boy-reputation-for-fresh-start-in-b-c-1.4434645

SCRUFFY'S THIS N' THAT

Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order:

-- If you're not a Boston Bruins fan, how can we not cheer for St. Louis in the Stanley Cup final? This is a team that years ago just about ended up in Saskatoon. They had training camp in Regina for a few years.   They have had the likes of Bernie Federko, Doug Wickenheiser, Barrett Jackman, and Ed Staniowski play for them. They have Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Tyler Bozak now. The Blues are Team Saskatchewan! The Gloria thing still doesn't make sense to me, but whatever. By the way, why aren't we starting the Stanley Cup until Monday? A Saturday start would have been much better.

--It's tough to get a good gauge on what is happening at Riders camp in Saskatoon, but it would appear as if Jon Ryan can still kick the ball. Word has it he was booming punts on Wednesday with several of them being over 60 yards. Word also has it the 37-year-old is the first guy on the field each day. His leadership is going to be huge as the year goes along.

--If Zach Collaros remains healthy, are the Riders fighting with Edmonton and Winnipeg for 3rd or are they fighting for a home playoff game? I say it's the latter. Sadly though, I just don't see Collaros staying healthy for a whole season.  From the people I talk to, many feel the same way.

--I love what I'm been hearing from Craig Dickenson in post-practice scrums this week. He's what this football team needed after Chris Jones. Players will play for Dickie the way they did for Jones, but for different reasons.

--Shouldn't Solomon Elimimian be at Rider camp instead of going around to other camps talking to players about the CBA? Is there no one in the PA that can do Solomon's job for him? He needs to be on the field and not the boardroom right now.

--The new deal ends at the same time TSN's contract comes up. I don't see Sportsnet wanting to get involved with the CFL because of the Blue Jays and the NHL. Would CBC want back in?  If the answer is no, TSN basically controls the purse-strings and can give the league as thin an offer as possible if they desire.  I guess there is no use worrying about this for three years, but it is something to remember moving forward.

--I am guessing there are no Vegas Golden Knights fans that are disappointed to see St. Louis beat San Jose. Of course those fans still don't want to admit the team gave up four power play goals on a five minute major to get into the position they did.

--I'd rather have Patrick Marleau win a Stanley Cup than Joe Thornton and you know how I feel about the Leafs.

--The decision to give Vladimir Guerrero a day off on Monday was one of the dumbest things I have seen a pro sports team do. VGJ is the future. He is coming off a four homer week. It was a holiday Monday matinee game so I am guessing there were many kids at Rogers Centre. For some, it might have been their first and only game of the year. VGJ is who they came to see and someone in the Jays organization said nope, he sits. What a great way to appease a fan base that is already dwindling.

--The Golden State Warriors or the New England Patriots. Who has had the better decade?

--What would happen if a Rider fan came on the sidelines and gave Craig Dickenson a shoulder massage or yelled at an opposing player?  Security would haul his or her ass off the field immediately. Yet there is Drake looking like a complete ass-clown. He is worse than Spike Lee was in the Knicks heyday. It's embarrassing and it makes the Raptors look bad. Somebody in the organization needs to sit him down and tell him to continue sitting and not being a part of the game.

--Are the Raptors going to the NBA Final? I'll be the first to admit I didn't think the Kawhi Leonard trade would be that great for them, but he has taken that team on his back in the playoffs. If Toronto gets past Milwaukee, will it do for basketball what the Jays did for baseball in Canada when they reached the World Series. The Raptors have already made Canadian basketball better, but this could take it to a new level.

--Dave Tippett as the new coach of the Oilers? It's a move that doesn't excite or disappoint me. I just want results. Is it too late to call John Paddock?

--Why can't the WHL win a game at the Memorial Cup anymore? Add Prince Albert to the list as their 0-3 mark in Halifax means the WHL champ has lost 13 straight dating back to Kelowna's loss in the 2015 final.  There are many thoughts out there. A lot of them are valid. What's yours?

--The WCBL (formerly the WMBL)  season starts next week. It will be great spending some time at Currie Field watching baseball. It's too bad we couldn't have had games last week when the weather was perfect. If you have never been to a WCBL game, go and enjoy.

--Once again this year, some NHL teams are allowing fans to come and paint the ice with a message or something once the season is over before the ice is taken out. What a great idea! I'd love to see the Pats do something like this. It would be a blast for the family. By the way, I would take no responsibility if the phrase "Phil Andrews Sucks" was found in one of the corners, but some kid might find himself $20 richer!

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!

(Follow Mitchell Blair on Twitter at @scruffyregina)

MODANO RETURNS TO MINNY

ST. PAUL - Mike Modano has decided to return to his NHL roots in Minnesota.

The Hall of Fame centre was named Thursday as the executive adviser to Wild owner Craig Leipold and president Matt Majka, a newly created position that Modano will assume on Sept. 1. Leipold and Modano often communicated by text message during Wild games this past season, sowing seeds for his hire.

Modano, who played the first four of his 21 NHL seasons with the North Stars before the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993, will focus on sales, corporate partnerships and community relations. Modano held a similar role from 2013-15 with the Stars, for whom he played 16 years and won the Stanley Cup with in 1999.

"I'm excited about it. I've been looking forward to this opportunity for a while,'' Modano said. "I needed a little space to get away. But the time has come. I've been itching to get back into it.''

Modano, a seven-time All-Star, had 561 goals and 813 assists in 1,499 career NHL games. He's a native of Livonia, Michigan. He currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife and four children, but the family is planning to move to the Twin Cities area.

Though Modano's assignment with the Wild will be on the business side, Leipold said he'd be available to consult with general manager Paul Fenton as needed on hockey-related matters.

(Associated Press)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019 PRESEASON CFL POWER RANKINGS


Please discuss!

RP
@rodpedersen

CFL NOTEBOOK

TORONTO - The CFL and its players have ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement.

The league and the CFL Players' Association confirmed the deal with a joint press release on Wednesday. It carries the league through the 2021 season.

The two sides came to terms on a tentative agreement on May 15 and signed a memorandum of agreement on Saturday, one day before the start of training camps.

The memorandum of agreement was finalized after reports that a tentative deal between the two sides had fallen apart.

Statements by the CFLPA and the CFL issued late Saturday confirmed that there had been a discrepancy between the two sides, but that it had been worked out.

"Our new agreement speaks to positive growth for our League and a renewed investment in our players,'' CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement on Wednesday. "We have an exciting future ahead of us and people around the world will see us build it together. I want to thank our players, teams and fans for their patience and let them know that I share their enthusiasm for the start of football season.''

CFLPA president Jeff Keeping also released a statement.

"I would like to thank all CFL players for their commitment and diligence as we worked together toward a fair agreement. I would also like to thank the fans for their support and understanding throughout this process,'' said Keeping. "This new agreement moves us forward as partners in the future of the game.''
_______________________________________

ALS ADD FORMER STAMPS CB EVANS

The Montreal Alouettes have signed veteran defensive back Ciante Evans.

The 26-year-old played for the Calgary Stampeders the past four seasons, helping the team win the Grey Cup last year.

Evans had 127 tackles and nine interceptions in 48 games with the Stampeders.

The native of Fort Worth, Texas was a CFL all-star in 2017 and a CFL West all-star in 2018. He signed with Salt Lake of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football over the winter, making four tackles in as many games this year.

ARGOS INK LINEBACKER

The Toronto Argonauts have signed American linebacker Freddie Bishop III.

Bishop, 29, played five games for the Memphis Express of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football in 2019, making four tackles and one tackle for loss.

Bishop has nine games of NFL experience with the New York Jets from 2016-17. Prior to that, he spent three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders after completing his college career at Western Michigan.

The Argos also announced the release of American defensive back Devin Butler.

TICATS ADD RECEIVER

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed American wide receiver Justin Sumpter.

The 22-year-old pro rookie was cut by the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month after signing with the NFL team in April.

The six-foot-four, 217-pound Sumpter led Kennesaw State University in receptions in all four years he played.

The Ticats also cut Canadian receiver Mitch O'Connor.

(Canadian Press)

WHL TITLE PUTS RAIDERS BACK ON THE MAP

PHOTO: Lucas Chudleigh/Apollo Multimedia
Not long ago, Prince Albert Raiders coach Marc Habscheid would lead his team out to a near empty building for a Western Hockey League game.

Sometimes his players were even ridiculed by the opposition simply for being part of the organization.

Marc Habscheid, Curtis Hunt. Apollo Multimedia
It can happen to a small-market franchise with a 34-year WHL championship drought.

"Maybe it was announced as 2,000 fans but some nights 1,200 people. Trainer and I would count and there'd be one or two people in a section,'' said Habscheid.

"But that's OK because we had to earn their respect back.''

The Raiders haven't won a Memorial Cup since 1985 and will have to try again after bowing out of the four-team tournament on Wednesday with a 5-2 loss to the Ontario Hockey League champion Guelph Storm.

But a 2019 WHL title and a season mostly spent as the No. 1-ranked club in the 60-team Canadian Hockey League certainly changed the culture in Prince Albert, Sask., - a city of 35,000 about 140 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

The Raiders' home arena, the Art Hauser Centre, has 2,591 seats, plus 708 standing-only spots. For a long time, only the most loyal fans would be in attendance.

Crowds grew this season, though, as the team kept winning.

By the time Prince Albert's Game 7 showdown against the Vancouver Giants for the WHL title had approached, fans were camping outside for tickets and running to get the best standing spots in the house. Attendance was announced at 3,289 for the Raiders' championship victory on home ice.

"You had to get milk crates and step ladders for people to see,'' said Habscheid.

Winning has been hard to come by since 1985 in Prince Albert, especially in the last 20 years. The Raiders' last division title was 1999. In the last 13 seasons, Prince Albert missed the playoffs seven times and was eliminated in the first round the other six times.

Habscheid is the 14th coach to be behind the bench since Terry Simpson led the Raiders to their only national championship.

"We're proud of what we accomplished back home, put a small-market team like Prince Albert back on the map again like they belong,'' said captain Brayden Pachal.

"We have banners in the rafters again.''

Forward Sean Montgomery played five full seasons with the Raiders and ends his junior career as their leader in games played with 345 - a number that will likely never be broken.

"Two years ago almost dead last in the league, now we're (WHL) champions,'' said Montgomery. "It'll be pretty weird not putting (my jersey) on anymore.''

Habscheid took over coaching duties in 2015-16 and grinded it out up to this point with a core six deep.

Goaltender Ian Scott, defenceman Zach Hayes and forwards Spencer Moe, Cole Fonstad, Parker Kelly and Montgomery were all there the first time the new coach came through the dressing room door.

"Just a bunch of guys that got laughed at three, four years ago, sand kicked in our face, our franchise was made fun (of), players were made fun (of) ... and our midget team was better than us,'' said Habscheid.

"We stuck together. I told them at that time if we lose, we lose with class. This year we told them if we win, we're gonna win with class too.''

Prince Albert's best season in over three decades didn't come without adversity. Raiders director of player personnel Ron Gunville died in December and longtime executive Donn Clark succumbed to cancer in March, while Habscheid also dealt with the death of his own father.

The Raiders made it to the final four in the CHL despite having only four NHL drafted or signed players on their roster. In comparison, Guelph has 11.

Kelly (Ottawa), Fonstad (Montreal), Scott (Toronto) and Noah Gregor (San Jose) will spend the summer trying to reach their NHL ambitions, with pro just around the corner. Some players will return to the WHL or graduate to a Canadian university program, but some are done for good, with men's rec league potentially being their next destination.

"No one better look down on these guys because they're a hell of a group,'' said Habscheid.

"It's OK to be a Raider again and they did that for the organization.''

(Canadian Press/Kyle Cirella)

DUPONT'S AROUND THE DUB

The final copy for another hockey season in the dub. Let's go!:

1. GO RAIDERS! - We are starting this on a positive note. What an incredible season it was for the Prince Albert Raiders! You guys captured the spirit of junior hockey and a community exploded with passion.

Well done!

2. TOUGH LUCK - As you likely know by now, the Raiders were sent home from Halifax after going 0-3. It was the first time all season that the Raiders had lost three in-a-row. For whatever reason, it came at the worst possible time. No point in looking back at the what-ifs right now if you're part of the team. Enjoy the memories that will last a lifetime.

We will do the looking back. It's our job, not yours.

3. MEMORIES -  When you look back at last season and the heroics in SW Saskatchewan, people remember the great run to the WHL Championship… NOT the Memorial Cup. That's hard to imagine right now, but it will be the truth very soon.

As for the WHL champs, it's now 13 losses in-a-row for the league representative at the Memorial Cup. Is this a problem? Sure. However, I don't believe it's an issue of the other leagues being head and shoulders above the dub… at least not yet. But it's never a good idea to ignore a potential issue.

4. CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN - I've heard this before when looking at teams in the national event. The saying goes 'some teams climb their mountain in the league playoffs.'

Last year with the Broncos, I truly believe that winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup was their mountain. You could feel the weight lifted off their shoulders. They had gone through an emotional playoff and came out on top. I don't believe that was the case with the Raiders this time around.

5. LOOKING FOR ANSWERS - Then what was it? Some chalk up the lack of success in the tournament to the grueling travel schedule, and going across the country to a significant time change. Combine that with the fact that the team just came off a tough, seven-game series with Vancouver (that took overtime to decide a winner in game seven) and you have all the reason you need. I believe that plays a part.hadButt I have my thoughts on it.

6. TELEVISION HURT THE RAIDERS? - The Raiders were scary good. Top to bottom they could beat you with anyone they put on the ice. They have exceptional young talent too, and a back end that can compete with any in the country. They have one of the top goalies in Canada in Ian Scott and can match up four lines maybe better than anyone in the CHL.

So why did they lose?

If I have to find something, it was simply the team was overmatched when it came to their top end talent. At the Memorial Cup, the other team's better players were a little bit better. At this event, it makes a WORLD of difference.

When the games are on national television there are more TV timeouts. More timeouts means more rest for high-end players. That equals more minutes. In the Western Hockey League, teams don't have the luxury of extra TV timeouts and depth is much more of a factor. The Raiders were so far ahead in the depth department and it showed in the results. Unfortunately, they didn't really get the chance to flex that particular muscle in Halifax.

7. NEXT UP, KELOWNA - All eyes now point to the Okanagan Valley where Adam Foote and the Kelowna Rockets are preparing to host next year's Memorial Cup. Who will join them as the 2nd dub representative? I have some early ideas.

8. EARLY FAVOURITES - Around this time last year we were talking about the Lethbridge Hurricanes as the top team heading into a brand new season and there was some chatter that PA was going to be ok. This time around there isn't quite as much talk.

That being said, in the East, you'd have to think Saskatoon is an early favourite with their core becoming a year older. That has to get people in the bridge city excited. I also like what Calgary is building with the addition of Jett Woo at the WHL Bantam Draft.

9. MORE PREDICTIONS - I believe the Pats take a big step forward and challenge for a playoff spot… Winnipeg will be competitive but still a couple years away from taking their run… Prince Albert will be a solid team again and won't take the step back that others in the past have…

10. FINAL THOUGHTS - It's officially the offseason and we can all take a breath. Congratulations to all around the league for another tremendous year. My offseason beard is in full swing (though very unimpressive!) and the tropical resorts, dead of all mainstream travellers, become filled with those of us who can't get away in the fall and winter.

I get asked on a regular basis if I know anything of  the future of WHL television broadcasts and if fans can hope to watch games in their living rooms across Western Canada anytime soon. Sadly I have nothing to report on that front, but I will continue to be a strong supporter of whatever the league does and I'll continue to be a proponent of getting the games back on air!

For now, enjoy the summer! I'll talk to you soon.

(Follow Darren Dupont on Twitter at @darrendupont)

CHAMBLIN PRIMED FOR ARGO BOUNCE BACK

Photo: Argonauts.ca
TORONTO - Shawn Lemon remembers the lecture well. And the one after that. And after that.

Then the Toronto Argonauts defensive co-ordinator, Corey Chamblin made it clear on the first day of training camp in 2017 he wanted his players to scoop up any loose ball - incomplete pass, fumble or otherwise - that hit the turf in practice.

The idea was for it to become second nature when the games mattered most.

"He understands the importance of the small details,'' Lemon said. "They go a long way.''

It would pay massive dividends six months later in the Grey Cup when Cassius Vaughn was in the right place at the right time to return a fumble a CFL-record 109 yards for a touchdown in the team's stunning 27-24 victory over the heavily-favoured Calgary Stampeders.

In fact, Lemon was part of the entourage of teammates that escorted Vaughn into the snow-covered end zone at Ottawa's TD Place that frigid late-November night.

"Just the little things we put in from Day 1,'' Lemon, a veteran Toronto defensive lineman, said this week after a long practice session at York University. "Who would have known that would be the play that helped win us the Grey Cup?''

Two years later, Chamblin is hammering home similar points at his first camp as head coach of the Argonauts.

Defenders still pick up every loose ball during team drills, flying towards their offensive counterparts with a familiar pack mentality.

"Aggressive,'' Chamblin, a native of Birmingham, Ala., said of the identity he wants to see from his team. "They have to have an aggressive mindset and make sure we attack any obstacle that's in front of us. We want to attack our goals and meet our goals.

"The biggest thing is every day they have to be better than the day before.''

Since that Grey Cup victory, the exact opposite has been true of the Argonauts, who fired head coach Marc Trestman after a disastrous 4-14 campaign in 2018. Toronto lost nine of its last 10 games and finished 0-9 on the road.

Chamblin had moved on to become an assistant at the University of Arkansas after the Grey Cup win, and had no idea he'd be back in double blue so soon - or at all.

"Football is something else. It's a crazy game,'' he said. "When I left I didn't have eyes to return ... I didn't think it would turn the way it did, but it turned.

"Professionally it turned in my favour to be a head coach again.''

Chamblin was Saskatchewan's head coach for 3 1/2 seasons, leading the Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory in 2013.

But he was handed his walking papers after an 0-9 start to the 2015 campaign, finishing with an combined regular-season and playoff record of 34-34.

The soon-to-be-42-year-old will also reassume his defensive co-ordinator role with the Argonauts, a unit that allowed a league-worst 560 points in 2018. The previous season under his guidance, Toronto had six East Division all-stars and tied for the CFL lead with 50 sacks.

"We've watched film to see some of the things that may have went wrong,'' said Chamblin, the league's coach of the year in 2013 with Saskatchewan. "You have to move forward and create anew.''

With that in mind, quarterback James Franklin will be given every opportunity to grab hold of the starting job after letting it slip through his fingers last season when veteran pivot Rick Ray went down with what would turn into a career-ending neck injury.

Franklin was eventually benched in favour of McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who remains No. 2 on the depth chart, but is looking for a fresh start under a new coach, a new offensive co-ordinator in Jacques Chapdelaine, and another weapon in free-agent wide receiver Derel Walker.

Chamblin and Franklin spoke on the phone four times during the off-season and are on the same page with camp now in full swing.

"His personality's aggressive ... mine's smiling,'' Franklin said. "That's been helping me because he's building my confidence and also challenging me to be stronger mentally.''

Chamblin, who has also held assistant coaching roles with Winnipeg, Calgary and Hamilton, said he's grown since his time in Saskatchewan. He emphasized that although he maintains his core values, it's always important to move forward.

"You see things in a different light,'' Chamblin said. "You see where you can get better. We did a good job in the past.

"But like anything else, you've got to look at it, review it and grow from it.''

Lemon can't wait to see where that path leads with his old/new boss back patrolling the sidelines.

"The energy he brings to the team, the mindset he instills is great,'' Lemon said. "I'm excited for where we're going to go.''

(Canadian Press/Joshua Clipperton)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

10 MIDWEEK THINGS

Photo: Lisa Lukye
1 - KILLER B'S: It'll be the Blues against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, a rematch of the 1970 NHL championship series. This is an iconic match-up for the National Hockey League. Everyone remembers the infamous "Orr goal" from that series, but how many know it ended in a Boston sweep? This one should go longer than 4.

2 - HOCKEY GODS: San Jose was getting every break from officiating through these Stanley Cup Playoffs but the injuries finally caught up with them. The hockey gods always find a way to straighten things out and the loss of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski proved too much to bear. Who knows if St. Louis will go on to win the Stanley Cup, but it would be a shame if coach Craig Berube didn't go on to win Coach of the Year. And Erik Karlsson is now once again the biggest domino in the NHL off-season.

3 - OIL COUNTRY: New Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland has been busy pruning his hockey operations department since taking the job a few weeks ago. Now it sounds like we're just days away from the next head coach being announced. From what I’ve heard on Thursday, it will be Dave Tippett. Either way, we’ll know soon.

4 - LITTLE MONTREAL: The P.A. Raiders may have been 0-3 at the Memorial Cup and are now coming home, but they have nothing to hang their heads about. The Raiders rekindled a fire in a crazed hockey market that used to be known as "Little Montreal" due to their love for the team. And the Raiders should be decent in 2019-20. As yet, I've seen no prognostications that say the Raiders are going into the tank like Swift Current and Regina did right after their M.C. appearances. Hats off to PA.

5 - THE DROUGHT: All the hockey people and fans are talking about the 13-game losing streak by the WHL champions at the Memorial Cup. It dates back to the 2015 semifinal when Kelowna beat the Quebec Remparts. To me, this is a fad rather than a trend and there's no need to be alarmed. Reasons? Who knows but don't say the "style of play". The host Regina Pats made it to the MC final last year playing firewagon hockey. It has to be something but again, to me, it seems to be more of a fluke.


6 - RIDER CAMP: Looking at this Roughriders training camp roster, there seems to be a lot of talent at almost all positions. It says here that the 2019 Riders are a good team that could be a great team if Zach Collaros stays healthy. That's probably the same story for every team in the CFL West, but there's reason for growing optimism in the 306.

7 - HONEST ED: BC Lions GM Ed Hervey is being roasted for saying he didn't re-sign LB Solomon Elimimian because he believes Sol's "time is up".  Why is Ed being so heavily criticized? It's too early to say if Hervey's wrong or right. Elimimian hasn't even been on the field yet in Saskatoon.

He's reportedly visiting teams to describe terms of the new CBA. There's no one else in the CFLPA to do that? Isn't it more important to be on the field with your new team? Strange. ... Meanwhile the Canadian Air Force has yet to take off. Canadian Rider receivers Mitch Picton, Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius-Dickey were all on the team's Tuesday injury report.

8 - VLADDY: The miscommunication between Blue Jays GM Ross Atkens and skipper Charlie Montoyo over sitting out Vladimir Guererro Jr. on Victoria Day is the best illustration of the difference between the business side of a sports franchise, and the operations side. Coaches don't give a rat's butt about marketing. All they care about is wins and losses, and job preservation. Which side's right? Both. And that’s where internal arguments start.

9 - FEAR THE DEER: Perhaps I was too early to dismiss the Toronto Raptors! Canada's NBA team is back on even terms with the Milwaukee Bucks after a 120-102 win in Game 4. I missed the game due to a book signing in Indian Head for Heart & Soul of the SJHL but it sounded amazing. If this turns out to be a homer series, the Bucks will move on to the final however if the Raptors can somehow overcome that and advance, it'll be fun to watch this country come off its hinges over hoops.

10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: I'm in love with the fact Don Hewitt is writing a blog on the Riders. ... Your favourite magazine show on the Saskatchewan Roughriders returns Tuesday, May 28 on Access/Shaw TV across Saskatchewan. Marshall Hamilton and I will have weekly analysis on Canada's Team and it's going to be great to return to the airwaves! Meanwhile follow my social media accounts for another exciting project we're launching soon. ... How is it that the NHL Network is available in the USA, but not in Canada? ... I would never throw a hat onto the ice. Those things are far too expensive. ... If you read 45 minutes per day, you should be able to finish one book per month. ... One phrase you don't hear anymore is "Save The Trees!" ... Millenials and the generation after them may be great at a lot of things, but one of them is not details. ... The CFL's winningest coach, Wally Buono, will be the guest speaker at Thursday's Dinner of Champions hosted by the PFC's Regina Thunder. For tickets, hit up the Thunder on Facebook. ... The carbon tax is costing me at lot more than $500 per year. ... Have a great week!

Y'er welcome,
RP
@rodpedersen


RAIDERS BOUNCED FROM MEMORIAL CUP

Photo: Rik Fedyck
HALIFAX - Nick Suzuki put an end to the season for the Prince Albert Raiders, while also giving his Guelph Storm a chance to go directly to the Memorial Cup final.

The Montreal Canadiens prospect had two goals and an assist as Guelph beat the WHL champion Raiders 5-2 on Tuesday, eliminating Prince Albert from the four-team tournament.

The OHL champion Storm (2-1) are now turning their attention to Wednesday's final round-robin game that will decide which one of the three remaining teams goes straight to the championship.

The host Halifax Mooseheads (2-0) play the Quebec league champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1-1) to wrap up the preliminary-round portion of the tournament. It's a rematch of the QMJHL final that the Huskies took in six games.

A Halifax win would send the Mooseheads directly to the final with a 3-0 record, while a Huskies victory would leave Halifax, Guelph and Rouyn-Noranda with 2-1 records and needing a tiebreaker to determine playoff seeding.

Sean Montgomery and Dante Hannoun scored for the Raiders (0-3). Brayden Pachal had two assists as Ian Scott stopped 20 shots.

"Not the way we wanted to finish for sure,'' said Raiders coach Marc Habscheid. "I'm disappointed for the guys right now.

"Tonight we were gassed. Just didn't have much of a tank, so that's the tournament.''

WHL champions have struggled in recent years at the Memorial Cup and this time around was no different.

The Raiders dropped three games in a row at the national major junior hockey championship to be sent home early.

Tuesday's loss was the 13th in a row for the WHL at the four-team competition, dating back five tournaments.

The last time the WHL champion won a contest was the 2015 semifinal, when the Kelowna Rockets beat the Quebec Remparts before falling to the Oshawa Generals in the final to start the streak of defeats.

``Long season, emotionally and physically. No excuse but we were drained,'' said Pachal.

(Canadian Press)