Realty One

Friday, February 15, 2019

FAMOSO PREVIEW: PATS HOST OIL KINGS FRIDAY


Overview
The Regina Pats (15-37-1-2) return home for the first time since February 1 on Friday when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings (31-17-4-4). Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. The Pats were last in action on Sunday to wrap up their four-game road trip with 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Oil Kings in Edmonton. The Oil Kings were in Moose Jaw on Thursday night and picked up a 3-2 victory. Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between Regina and Edmonton in 2018-19, the Pats are 0-3-0-0 in the season series. Tonight’s game can be heard with Bennett Dunlop Ford Pats Hockey starting at 6:35 p.m. on 620 CKRM.

20 Goal Mark
Pats forward Austin Pratt reached the 20-goal plateau on Sunday in Edmonton. The 19-year-old gave the Pats a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Pratt is enjoying a career season with 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 points in 55 games. His previous career high was 16 goals and 34 points in 70 games in 2016-17 with the Red Deer Rebels. He has seven goals and 12 points since the Christmas break. Pratt leads Regina with 199 shots on goal and six powerplay assists.

Penalty Kill Success
The Pats are coming off the best five game stretch on the penalty kill this season. The club has killed 17 of their last 18 shorthanded situations in that stretch for a 94.4 per cent success rate. In 21 games in the second half of the season, the Pats have gone 77 for 95 on the penalty kill, for 78.6 per cent to go along with three shorthanded goals. Since the Christmas Break, the Pats penalty kill percentage has jumped from 71.1 percent up to 74.5 percent. Half of the clubs six shorthanded goals this year have come in the second half.

Evans Strong Road Trip
Pats rookie defenceman Ryker Evans put up some good numbers in the team’s four game road trip through the Central Division. The 17-year-old picked up an assist in Lethbridge last Tuesday, scored the overtime winner in Red Deer last Friday and added an assist on Sunday in Edmonton for three points in his last four games. A product of Calgary, Evans has played in five games since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out of 23 games. He has a goal, two assists and is plus three in those five contests. For the season, he has put up a goal and six assists for seven points to go along with 24 penalty minutes and 23 shots on goal.

Upcoming Schedule
Pats @ Moose Jaw – Saturday February 16, 7 p.m. – Mosaic Place (CKRM)
Pats Vs Kootenay – Wednesday February 20, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Pats Vs Calgary – Friday February 22, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)

(Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

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

--Rider Nation isn't exactly the happiest fan-base right now after the early days of CFL free agency. The wishes they had weren't exactly answered. The news Zach Collaros was coming back was met with a hard resounding "thud" by many. I think we all knew Mike Reilly wasn't coming here and despite the fact the team did make a solid offer to Bo Levi Mitchell, there shouldn't be anyone surprised that he is back in Calgary.  He says he left more money on the table, but a part of me thinks he was  trolling the Riders and Toronto as there was no way he was leaving Calgary after failing to find work in the NFL.

Yes, I am surprised Collaros is back. Despite what he said on Wednesday, I don't think he liked his time very much in Riderville last year because of the way things went. I am also surprised that considering his health that the Riders reached out to him. No matter where Collaros would have played this year, there is a fear that we are going to see his brains get scrambled again and it won't be good. Collaros has become a modern-day Buck Pierce. Pierce was smart enough to get out as was Dave Dickenson back in the day. I am sure the team knows where he stands health-wise, but I am also guessing that health status takes a dramatic turn downwards once he takes that first big hit.

This may sound like I'm not a Collaros fan, but I am. I just want to see him play the game to his best abilities and not have another concussion derail his future. I'd be saying the same thing if he had employment with any other team. We didn't see the real Collaros last year because of the concussion he suffered in the pre-season when he was folded up in what I think was his second series of the pre-season. A healthy Zach Collaros can be a very good Zach Collaros. In fact, I am on record as saying a healthy Zach Collaros is better than Trevor Harris. The move doesn't excite me, but I'm not disappointed either. Keeping Zach healthy is priority #1.

--Collaros also talked about player safety and how the league isn't doing enough. Rider fans are still upset seeing their number one and two quarterbacks get clocked with vicious head shots. Collaros isn't the happiest of campers. I asked Zach if he thought the CFL should adopt a targetting rule like they have in the NCAA and he said he would be in favour of it. I think a lot of quarterbacks would be as well.

“I think it would be a good step moving forward, but again I don’t make the decisions,” Collaros said. “I don’t know if it’s helped the play down there but it’s helped player safety. It’s made defenders or even offensive guys more cautious about taking that cheap shot.” Odell Willis and Jackson Jeffcoat knew the most they would get if the penalty was called was 15 yards. An ejection and a fine with possibly a suspension for repeat violators would quiet this issue down.

--I am trying to figure out if BC or Edmonton won the day when it comes to free agency.  BC got the biggest player in Mike Reilly, but what a Plan B by Brock Sunderland. Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson and Sir Vincent Rogers should more than appease Eskimo supporters who weren't happy with the loss of Reilly. You know Sunderland's time in Ottawa played a big part in getting the three former REDBLACKS to reunite with him in Edmonton.  Meanwhile, Ed Hervey took some nice pieces from around the league to build around Reilly.  Do these guys know in advance what the salary cap is going to be this year?  They both seemed to spend as if money was no option.

At the end of the day, the teams in the West took a big step up while the Riders didn't. William Powell and Micah Johnson are solid additions, but when you look at what the other teams did, the green-and-white has some work to do if they don't want to be left behind. Some might think its too late as it is.  One also must remember as Jeremy O'Day said Wednesday, Grey Cups are not won in February.  Some might not have faith in J-O, but I don't think he is done tweaking this team as he tries to make it better. Training camp is a ways away yet and O'Day has time to continue working on things.

--I like the Naaman Roosevelt signing. He brings something to the field and to the room. He is a quiet leader. All rooms need guys like him. Like Collaros, he needs to stay healthy. When he is, he is a big weapon as Rider Nation knows.

--Would the Riders make an offer to Weston Dressler?  Should they make an offer to Weston Dressler? There is no doubt he is still beloved by Rider Nation and he was the one mistake player-wise Chris Jones made when he cleaned house.  I think a lot of people would like to see WD7 finish his career with the same team he started it with.

--Why is it when someone leaves a franchise in free agency, the hate starts?  It happened again on Tuesday with a lot of negative comments being thrown at Mike Reilly, Greg Ellingson and apparently Willie Jefferson. This just in: YOU DON'T MATTER!!  Guys are making decisions based on what is best for them. Are you going to tell me if you had an opportunity to make things better for yourself that you wouldn't take it?  It's not just Rider fans, its fans of all teams. It's a really bad look.

--It was reported the Denver Broncos were interested in signing Bo Levi Mitchell. That obviously didn't happen. BLM had stated he wanted an opportunity to compete for a job and be a backup. The Broncos didn't take a guy who has been the CFL MOP twice and still has a lot to give opting instead to make a trade for an aging Joe Flacco. I'd rather have BLM if I were the Broncos. This just shows you that it is very tough for CFL guys to make it south of the border especially at the marquee positions.  When a two time MOP can't make the NFL, it says something.  The same could be said for guys like Adam Bighill and Solomon Elimimian who have gone down and failed.  It just makes what guys like Brett Jones have done that much greater.

By the way, Joe Flacco?  Like Chris Jones, it would seem as if John Elway can't find a young quarterback to develop.  Unlike Chris Jones, Elway should know what a young quarterback needs to have and he obviously doesn't by looking at the flotsam he has brought in over the years.  Tim Tebow, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum.  That's not exactly a murderers row is it!

--The Anaheim Ducks aren't making the playoffs.  Here's hoping once the trade deadline hits that Sam Steel is called up from San Diego. Steel is obviously a big part of Anaheim's future so you might as well get him some meaningful minutes now.

--Is Brayden Point the second best Moose Jaw Warrior behind Theoren Fleury. A solid argument could be made for Ryan Smyth, but one has to think if Point continues doing what he is and gets his name scrawled on the Stanley Cup that it will be him.  Feel free to weigh in Warriors fans!

--It wasn't surprising, but it is disappointing to see the Chicago Cubs are leaving WGN TV after more than 70 years.  People in Chicago and around North America won't be able to watch the team on free TV anymore as the Cubs get set to launch their own channel which is something other teams have done.  It sucks for the fans, but its the next wave when it comes to what teams are doing these days.   If it weren't for WGN in the early 80's and daytime baseball at Wrigley Field, I might never have fallen in love with that team the way I have.  WGN is the Cubs to me and vice-versa.  Before becoming a subscriber to MLBTV,  WGN was my outlet for Cubs baseball.  It won't be the same not watching them on Channel 9, but as mentioned, it is the way the business is going these days.

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

DUPONT'S AROUND THE DUB

I'm excited to start writing each week on the Western Hockey League and hope you'll enjoy the extra coverage!

1. This is my sixth full season covering the Western Hockey League after stepping into the radio booth for Saskatoon Blades broadcasts in the fall of 2013. The team had just finished hosting the 2013 Memorial Cup the season before and we were all starting fresh! It's been a long road, but it appears as though for the first time (in my time doing games) the team is ready to head back to the playoffs. Whew! I was starting to feel like it was my fault. 🙈

2. Speaking of the Blades, they are red hot having picked up points in 11-straight games (9-0-2) and sit eight points ahead of Edmonton for second in the conference and 10 points up on Moose Jaw for second in the division. The Warriors have three games in hand.

3. I still can't quite figure out the Regina Pats. This is a team that is supposed to roll over and die but they continue to be a very exciting team to watch night in and night out. They have just returned home from a Central Division road trip that saw them go 2-2 with wins over Lethbridge and Red Deer. Since Returning from illness, goaltender Max Paddock has been sensational making at least 31 saves in each of his six outings. He has a save percentage of .922 over that span!  5,000 a night and often pushing 6,000.

4. The Lethbridge Hurricanes will be bumped from their home for up to three playoff games and are making alternate arrangements. The team has announced plans to play games at the 1,176 seat Nicholas Sheran Arena while the 2019 Men's World Curling Championships take over the ENMAX Centre. The Hurricanes' temporary home is the home ice for University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men's and women's hockey teams.

Hurricanes' season ticket holders will be place in a draw for the opportunity to claim the limited seats. There are alternate arrangements being made for a viewing party to accommodate all of the team's fans.

5. Geoffrey Brandow is a freelance sports reporter from Guelph who covers the CHL and had tweeted this a couple of days ago from his account @geoffreybrandow:
#WHL Highest scoring trios:
1) @MJWARRIORS - 219 (Langan/Almeida/Tracey)
2) @PARaidersHockey - 211 (Leason/Gregor/Fonstad)
3) @pdxwinterhawks - 207 (Blichfeld/Glass/Newkirk)
4) @BladesHockey - 177 (Davidson/Gerlach/Dach)
5) @WHLHurricanes - 176 (Cozens, Bellerive, Ross)

A couple things to note here. First, what an amazing year it's been for 20-year old Tristin Langan of the Warriors. I often talk about the value of a summer for junior hockey players and this is a great example. Langan's 85 points put him 3rd in the WHL scoring race. He's more than doubled his point total from last season and has played 18 less games. Incredible stuff and a big reason the Warriors are challenging for second place in the conference.

6. The second thing to note is that, of the highest scoring trios in the league, three of them come from the East Division. Wasn't this supposed to be a down year for the division after Regina, Swift Current and Moose Jaw were the class of the league a year ago?

7. STREAKING: Saskatoon Blades' 20-year-old sniper Max Gerlach is riding a 12-game point streak. In that time he has 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points. His 35 goals on the year are 4th best in the Western Hockey League.

8. Jeff Hamilton (@jeffkhamilton) covers the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Winnipeg Jets for the Winnipeg Free Press and noted this week that the Winnipeg Ice will open the 2019-20 season with a home-and-home with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He also noted that the two teams will meet a whopping 10 times next year!

Put me on record as saying I believe this is a good thing for the league. I mean, Winnipeg will need to support the Ice if they are going to have success but, it's a great thing to create an instant rivalry inside the Manitoba boarders and should make things more interesting come playoff time.

9.The Everett Silvertips are once again at the top of the US Division and, once again, they are getting solid goaltending. Yes, Carter Hart is having a great season, but he's doing it with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers. The Silvertips crease is being manned by 17-year-old Dustin Wolf of Tustin, CA.

The young Wolf leads the WHL in ALL major statistical areas. He is first in Wins (34), GAA (1.75), Save % (0.934) & shutouts (6). His six shutouts are just one behind the 7 Carter Hart put up as a 19-year-old last season and three back of Hart's 18-year-old mark of 9. The WHL record for shutouts in a season is 13 set by three different goaltenders:

• Kelly Guard, Kelowna Rockets, 2003-04 (62 games)
• Bryan Bridges, Seattle Thunderbirds, 2004-05 (58 games).
• Darcy Kuemper, Red Deer Rebels, 2010-11 (62 games).

10. The Regina Pats will take their turn Friday night to wear special edition Don Cherry Jerseys for the WHL Suits up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation game. Each of the 17 WHL clubs in Canada host a game and get to wear the custom jerseys.

The jerseys will be auctioned in support of the Kidney Foundation at the game.

The Swift Current Broncos will host theirs on February 22nd while the Saskatoon Blades will do the same on March 9th.

(Follow Darren on Twitter at @darrendupont)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

RIDERS SIGN QB FAJARDO



The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed international quarterback Cody Fajardo to a one-year contract.

Fajardo (6’2 – 215) joins the Riders after spending last season with the B.C. Lions where he completed 14 of 20 pass attempts for 153 yards and one touchdown in 17 regular-season games. Used primarily in short yardage situations, Fajardo added 108 yards and five touchdowns on 42 carries.

The 26-year-old Nevada product originally entered the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts in 2016. He was a member of the Argos 2017 Grey Cup championship team.

In 44 career regular-season games, Fajardo has registered 122 carries for 437 yards and 13 touchdowns while adding 414 passing yards and five passing touchdowns.

Before going pro, Fajardo spent four seasons at the University of Nevada where he threw for 9,659 yards and 44 touchdowns and rushed for 3,482 yards and 44 touchdowns in 45 career collegiate games.

(Roughriders PR)

A.C. LEONARD RETURNS TO RIDERS

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed international free-agent defensive lineman A.C. Leonard to a one-year contract.

Leonard (6’2 – 250) returns to the Riders for his second stint after spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons in Saskatchewan.

Last season, Leonard started 17 regular-season games for the Ottawa Redblacks after signing with the team as a free agent in February, 2018. The 27-year-old Tennessee State product collected career-highs with 50 defensive tackles and six quarterback sacks on his way to being named an East Division All-Star.

Leonard entered the CFL in 2016 with the B.C. Lions spending time at receiver.

(Roughriders PR)

CALEB HOLLEY BOLTS FOR REDBLACKS



OTTAWA-GATINEAU - The Ottawa REDBLACKS have signed international receiver Caleb Holley to a one-year deal, the club announced Thursday. 

The 28-year-old native of Anchorage, AK is will be entering his fourth CFL season in 2019 after playing three years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 33 games out west, Holley had 109 catches for 1,476 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 13.5 yards per reception. 

The Ottawa REDBLACKS will kick off their 2019 schedule with a rematch of the 106th Grey Cup game in Calgary before welcoming the Saskatchewan Roughriders in their home opener at TD Place. Fans can join Forever RNation today and experience every game at TD Place this season.

(RedBlacks PR)
 

REDBLACKS SIGN KEVIN FRANCIS

CFL.ca

OTTAWA-GATINEAU - The Ottawa REDBLACKS have signed national linebacker Kevin Francis to a one-year deal, the club announced Thursday.

The Toronto native out of North Carolina A&T has been with the Saskatchewan Roughriders the past three seasons, recording 29 special teams tackles, 15 defensive tackles and two forced fumbles in 45 games.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS will kick off their 2019 schedule with a rematch of the 106th Grey Cup game in Calgary before welcoming the Saskatchewan Roughriders in their home opener at TD Place. Fans can join Forever RNation today and experience every game at TD Place this season.

MORE DAY 3 TRANSACTIONS

TORONTO - The Toronto Argonauts have signed two-time CFL all-star receiver Derel Walker.

The 27-year-old receiver played in 11 games for Edmonton last season, posting 51 receptions for 875 yards and eight touchdowns.

The six-foot-two, 188-pound receiver was named CFL's most outstanding rookie and a CFL all-star in 2015 after putting up 1,110 receiving yards and six touchdowns while helping the Eskimos to a Grey Cup title.

He was named a league all-star for the second consecutive season in 2106 after posting 1,589 yards and 10 touchdowns on 109 catches (all second best in the league).

Over 49 career games with the Eskimos, Walker has 287 receptions, 4,208 yards, and 26 touchdowns.

The Argonauts re-signed offensive lineman Will Campbell and quarterback Dakota Prukop.

The 27-year-old Campbell is entering his third season with Toronto. The Detroit native started 15 games in 2018 after playing in 14 games during his rookie season.

The six-foot-five, 308-pound lineman started at left tackle in the Argos 105th Grey Cup win over Calgary two seasons ago.

Prukop, 25, signed with Toronto in May of 2017. The former Montana State pivot played in nine games as a rookie and 14 last season, recording a combined eight special teams tackles.

TIGER-CATS SIGN DB MURRAY

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed American defensive back Rico Murray.

The 31-year-old started 18 games with Ottawa last season, registering 55 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles, five interceptions and a forced fumble en route to being named an East Division all-star for the third time in his career.

Murray, a five-foot-11, 203-pound native of Cincinnati, also suited up in two playoff games for the Redblacks in 2018, including the Grey Cup in Edmonton.

Murray has appeared in 86 career CFL games (84 starts) over six seasons with the Tiger-Cats (2013-16), Toronto Argonauts (2017) and Redblacks (2018), accumulating 290 defensive tackles, 15 special teams tackles, four sacks, 15 interceptions, six forced fumbles and two touchdowns.

He has also made four Grey Cup appearances (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) _ winning one with the Argos in 2017.

Prior to joining the CFL, Murray played nine NFL games with the Cincinnati Bengals over three seasons (2009-11), posting 19 combined tackles and two passes defended.

LIONS SIGN HARRIS

The B.C. Lions have signed American linebacker Maleki Harris to a one-year deal.

Harris spent the past four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, collecting 35 defensive tackles and another 22 on special teams. He played under new Lions head coach DeVone Claybrooks, who took the job after serving as defensive co-ordinator for the Stamps.

"Maleki is a versatile player who can play both linebacker positions at a high level,'' Claybrooks said in a statement. "Having had him in the same defensive system for the past four years, I know he has great instincts and he brings a lot of passion to special teams as well. He knows what we're trying to build here and we're excited to land a player of his calibre.''

STEPHEN JOINS STAMPEDERS

The Calgary Stampeders have signed Canadian defensive back Courtney Stephen, who spent the first six seasons of his CFL career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In 96 career regular-season games for the Ticats, the 29-year-old Brampton, Ont., native amassed 221 defensive tackles, including nine tackles for loss, 39 special-teams tackles, 12 interceptions, two sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 16 knockdowns.

Stephen also played nine post-season contests for Hamilton including the 2014 Grey Cup.

"Courtney is an established CFL veteran who has experience as a starter at safety and has also excelled on special teams,'' Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel said in a release. "He provides depth for us in both of those areas and he'll certainly have an opportunity to earn a significant role on the team in training camp.''

ALOUETTES ADD VETERAN RB JOHNSON

The Montreal Alouettes have signed veteran international running back Jeremiah Johnson for the 2019 season.

The five-foot-nine, 209-pound rusher has played five seasons in the CFL, including the last three with the B.C. Lions.

In 13 games last season he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 633 yards and five touchdowns. The 31-year-old also added 308 yards on 40 receptions.

In 61 career CFL games Johnson has amassed 3,151 yards and 55 TDs on 572 carries. The Los Angeles native has also caught 162 passes for 1,415 yards and five touchdowns.

"The addition of Jeremiah gives us depth at the running back position, all while giving William Stanback another great veteran to look up to as he takes on more responsibilities in our offence,'' Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed said in a release. "On top of being a great versatile running back, Jeremiah brings precious experience to our locker room and we look forward to seeing him in action in 2019.''

Montreal also gave a one-year extension to Canadian receiver Stephen Adekolu, who has mostly played special teams, and signed American receiver Chris Brown.

ESKIMOS SIGN PARKER

The Edmonton Eskimos have signed Canadian wide receiver Anthony Parker for this coming season.

Parker spent last season with the B.C. Lions, where he appeared in nine games and caught seven passes for 99 yards as well as six punt returns for 119 yards. He also appeared in the East semifinal.

(Canadian Press)

O'DAY, COLLAROS MEET WITH THE MEDIA

Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Jeremy O'Day and QB Zach Collaros met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the club's activities in free agency.

Here are some quotes from the gathering:

JEREMY O'DAY

HOW DID THE DEAL WITH COLLAROS COME ABOUT?

JO: Just like we do with the entire roster, we evaluated the whole roster and looked at who our free agents are and made a list, and an apporach of how we'd attack free agency. We were clear with Zach on how we were going to do that. We had our QBs ranked, who we wanted to get, in order, and once the time was right we reached out to Zach and got a deal done.

HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN ARE HIS CONCUSSIONS?

JO: Anytime a player has concussions, it's a concern for you. It's not something we'd say isn't a concern but we feel good about his recovery and where he is right now. We feel some of those hits he took last year would've been concussions for whoever would've taken those shots.

ARE YOU TALKING WITH KEVIN GLENN?

JO: We're in discussions with a couple veteran QBs currently. It's somethng we understand. With any team, you want a back-up you can win with. Those discussions are ongoing. Zach is our #1 QB. He'll come to camp as our #1. We're not going to start throwing out names of who we're talking to.

WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED NOT TO GET BO LEVI, REILLY OR HARRIS?

JO: That's free agency. You create a wishlist and there are a lot of positions you look at. This one was heavily-publicized so everyone knew what was happening. You have a plan in place, but you'll never get 100% of the guys you want. There has to be a mutual agreement; you have to want the player, they have to want to be there, and it has to fit financially.

HAVE YOU TALKED WITH NAAMAN ROOSEVELT?

JO: Discussions with Naaman are ongoing.

WHY NAME COLLAROS #1 RIGHT NOW?

JO: For the team in general, it's important knowing who's going to be the guy going into camp. I won't speak for Zach but that would weigh on your mind; not knowing where you fit in or what your role will be. It's one of the questions he asked when we were negotiating. It was ultimately Craig Dickenson's decision and I agreed with him. We're excited to move forwrd.

WERE YOU IN ON BO LEVI MITCHELL?

JO: We made an offer. A significant offer, just like I mentioned earlier. It has to be a mutual thing. The offer has to fit if they're going to leave a team. I won't speak for anyone else but we made a significant offer and he decided to stay in Calgary.

When you’re trying to get a free agent of that magnitude you have to have different plans that you’re ready to execute. So, naturally, the concern there is the timing, if you’re holding on to a salary of that significance then the timing may cost you to lose players.

WHAT WAS TUESDAY LIKE FOR YOU?

JO: Pretty unique. I've been in the room before but when you're the one making the decisions, it's a different environment. This is a free agency we won't see again for quite some time. There were a whole bunch of differnt scenarios going on but it was exciting. There were ups and downs and it was an action-packed, long day.

WHAT ABOUT LOSING WILLIE JEFFERSON?

JO: We were talking with Willie the whole time. I won't speak to why he didn't come back but we made him a fair offer. He decided he was going to free agency and we asked him to keep us in the loop. He decided to go elsewhere. We didn't think 'We won't get Willie back so we'll get Micah'. Micah is a guy we targeted and had very high on our board. He's the type of player I want, a guy who plays physically.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR FREE AGENT ACTIVITY?

I think it's important, and you guys can watch free agency, people talk about who's winning or not winning. I can promise you the Grey Cup is not won in February. If you look at our whole roster, we didn't have a lot of holes we needed to fill. We don't have a ton of offers still out there, but there are some. The offers have been presented and the players have to see if it's the right fit for them. We'll keep working away on them and hopefully it'll work out.

DO YOU NEED TO DEFEND THE ZACH SIGNING?

JO: I don't know if I need to act like a salesman. His play will speak for itself. There's things offensively we can be better at but we've had great meetings wtih our staff. There's things we can do better with our practices, which Coach Dickie has spoken about, and I think we have a very capable QB.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RECEIVERS?

JO: We had a young receiving corps last year. When you lose Jordan Williams-Lambert, that's not going to help you out at all. We understand that's a young crew but this time last year no one knew who Jordan, Shaq Evans or those guys were. We have the ability to find good players. Free agency isn't 100% relied upon for success. We'd like to develop a system where we scout players, get them into our system, and develop them.

WAS YOUR FREE AGENCY PLAN SUCCESSFUL?

JO: I'd have to tell you everything that was in the plan! But we got together as a staff two weeks ago and we talked about every position, as we always do. We talked about positions with guys going to free agency and we talk about who may make it into free agency (from other teams). I would say that the plan that we put in place - knowing it won't always be 100% - we targeted guys that are now Roughriders. We feel good about it, we have a few pieces to add, but we feel good about it.

Our QB is back. We have to find a quality back-up, whether he's on our roster now or we add a guy. We added one of the most dynamic RBs in our league (William Powell), that's very successful. He does a lot of things very well. On the defensive line, those are two pretty good players. You guys can debate whether it's Micah or Willie. I won't get into that. I think that we're a better team than when we began free agency, and we'll continue to try to grow on that.

HOW HAS NEW ASS'T GM PAUL JONES HELPED?

JO: Paul is fantastic. We talk on the phone on a regular basis. He's been around for so long. He was dead-on. We talked at length about free agency, and how we should approach it. If you're trying to be too patient, you'll lose some good players. We wanted to be aggressive, let everyone know that we are serious, and I feel like we did that.

ZACH COLLAROS

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NEW DEAL?

ZC: I feel great. I'm excited to be back here today, back in this province and this facility. It's good to be back in town and excited to get back to work.

DID THE CONTRACT OFFER SURPRISE YOU?

ZC: I'm not surprised. I talked to coach Dickenson several times after he got the job and he mentioned how he felt about me. This is a place I really enjoyed playing in last year and regardless of the outcome of some things, I'm excited to be back.

ARE THERE THINGS YOU CAN DO BETTER?

ZC: Yeah of course. You want to improve every season. TD-to-INT ratio. I'm not going to stand up here and defend myself on things and I'll have to watch film and improve on things. But all that matters is wins.

WHAT'S YOUR CONCUSSION STATUS?

ZC: It's understandable that there'd be some worry about that. I took a bad hit in the preseason. A situation I shouldn't have been in in the first place. I took a bad hit in Week 20. There was a lot of time between those games. Retirement crossed my mind in the off-season, but not very much. I love this game and I'm a competitive person. I just want to get out there and play.

I love Coach Dickenson and have a great relationship with him. J.O. as well. The opportunity, when it presented itself, was just too good to pass up.

DID YOU HAVE OTHER OPPORTUNITIES?

ZC: There were a couple other teams calling after everyting sorted itself out yesterday. But the people here, the people here in the building, and the chance to build some continuity. Just the plan J.O. and Coach Dickenson laid out, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK ON OFFENSE LAST YEAR?

ZC: I don't want to really get into discussing all those things. Trying to keep that in-house. It would be a better question for Coach McAdoo. I just can control what I do and how I play. I just need to go out and manage and win games for this team.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT CRAIG DICKENSON?

ZC: I really enjoyed the 3 or 4 minutes of meetings that I could sit in with him on special teams. The little tidbits and nuggets you learn go a long way in leading men. He always had command of the room. Guys love him, want to play for him, and thats the first thing you need as a head coach.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE TEAM DO IN FREE AGENCY?

ZC: I don't know what else is out there right now. Again, I sound like a broken record, but talking to Coach Dickenson and J.O., they have a great plan and that gives you confidence going into a season, to win games.

DID ANYONE SAY YOU SHOULD RETIRE?

ZC: Not really. Just moreso outside people that don't really know me very well. My friends and family know me and know I wouldn't put myself in harm's way. They know that if I felt it was time, I'd say it's time. But I feel I have a lot of good years left in me.

RP
@rodpedersen

CFL FREE AGENCY WINNERS AND LOSERS

There was plenty of player movement on the opening two days of CFL free agency. Here's a look at the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the nine league teams as they continue with their off-seasons:

WEST DIVISION

B.C. Lions

The addition of veteran quarterback Mike Reilly, the most coveted player in free agency, and Canadian offensive lineman Sukh Chungh provide immediate upgrades to a B.C. offence that struggled last season. Reilly's presence should bode well for returning receiver Bryan Burnham. The addition of WR Duron Carter will certainly make things interesting on the west coast. GM Ed Hervey bolstered his secondary by signing free agents Aaron Grymes, Chris Edwards and Josh Woodman but defensive lineman Shawn Lemon (11 sacks) and versatile running back/kick returner Chris Rainey have left. The return of kicker Ty Long (pursuing NFL opportunities) would also help immensely.

Calgary Stampeders

President/GM John Hufnagel kept a key piece of Calgary's success by re-signing starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (four years, reported $2.8 million). Veteran receiver Eric Rogers and defensive lineman Cordarro Law were also retained. But the club lost offensive lineman Spencer Wilson (Montreal), receivers Lemar Durant (B.C.) and DaVaris Daniels (Edmonton), defensive backs Patrick Levels (Montreal) and Tunde Adeleke (Hamilton) and defensive linemen Micah Johnson (Saskatchewan) and Ja'Gared Davis (Hamilton). Some big holes to fill.

Edmonton Eskimos

After losing Reilly, GM Brock Sunderland went to work remaking his roster. He re-signed offensive lineman Travis Bond while adding eight free agents, including quarterback Trevor Harris, tackle SirVincent Rogers and receiver Greg Ellingson (all from Ottawa). Defensively, linebackers Larry Dean (Hamilton) and Jovan Santos-Knox and defensive backs Don Unamba (Hamilton) and Anthony Orange (B.C.) were added. Questions of potential salary-cap ramifications do remain and the Eskimos now face the challenge of blending so many new faces into a team concept.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Quarterback was a priority in free agency and Saskatchewan was a key player in the Mitchell sweepstakes. But the Roughriders turned to starter Zach Collaros, who'd become a free agent, after missing out on Mitchell. The additions of running back William Powell (Ottawa) and all-star defensive lineman Johnson (Calgary) are both very solid but Canadian Cory Watson (B.C.) doesn't fully address the team's need at receiver. The Riders also have a major hole to fill on their defensive line with the departure of Willie Jefferson (10 sacks, two pick-six returns) to Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The arrival of Jefferson gives the club a proven pass rusher and could help minimize the loss of linebacker Santos-Knox to the front seven. A big move prior to free agency was extending stalwart linebacker Adam Bighill, the league's top defensive player last year, but the loss of safety Taylor Loffler (Montreal) will hurt. The same applies with Chungh heading to B.C., especially following centre Matthias Goossen's recent retirement. Winnipeg's offensive line was key for both quarterback Matt Nichols and CFL rushing leader Andrew Harris.

EAST DIVISION

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The departure of Dean (East Division's top defensive player last year) and defensive back Don Unamba (Edmonton) leaves two big holes to fill. Hamilton also doesn't have a kicker/punter with veteran Canadian Lirim Hajrullahu still on the open market. But quarterback Jeremiah Masoli remains under contract and slotback Brandon Banks was extended prior to the start of free agency. So too was running back Alex Green but there are depth questions now with Canadian Mercer Timmis (Toronto) and John White (B.C.) both having left.

Montreal Alouettes

So far so good with receiver B.J. Cunningham extended, defensive lineman John Bowman re-signed and the free-agent additions of Wilson, fullback Christophe Normand (Ottawa), receiver DeVier Posey (B.C.), defensive backs Loffler and Levels and linebacker Bo Lokombo (B.C.). Having five quarterbacks on the roster ensures much competition, but the big question at camp will be whether former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel can firmly establish himself as the Alouettes' starter.

Ottawa Redblacks

The start of free agency wasn't kind to GM Marcel Desjardins, who saw his starting quarterback (Harris), running back (Powell), a top offensive lineman (Rogers) and receiver (Ellingson) all depart. Desjardins did sign former B.C. quarterback Jonathon Jennings, who' ll compete with Dominique Davis for the No. 1 job. Jennings threw for 5,226 yards in 2016 but since then has registered more interceptions (26) than TDs (24) while Davis has appeared in just 12 CFL games over three seasons, having completed 57-of-93 passes for 750 yards with three TDs and a pick.

Toronto Argonauts

James Franklin remains Toronto's starter after GM Jim Popp came up short in the Mitchell sweepstakes. Popp remains on the lookout for a veteran quarterback - like, maybe Travis Lulay - to mentor Franklin, who's entering his second season with the Argos. Popp also continues to woo former Edmonton receiver Derel Walker, who'd complement veterans S.J. Green and Armanti Edwards. Defensive linemen Shawn Lemon (B.C.) and Tobi Antigha (Saskatchewan) are solid additions.

Overwhelming Question

How many games will East Division teams win against their West Division counterparts? Last season, Eastern teams were a dismal 12-28 versus their Western counterparts, with Ottawa (5-5) owning the best record. But that was before the departure of Harris, Powell, Rogers and Ellingson to the West in free agency.

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

DURON SIGNS WITH BC



(Vancouver) The BC Lions Football Club announced that free agent receiver Duron Carter has signed a contract with the team for the 2019 season.

Players of Durons remarkable ability are what make our league special and hes going to be a very big piece of our offence in 2019,” said GM Ed Hervey. “We had a lot of interest in him last year when he became available during the season and its great to finally get this deal done.”

Carter (6’5”, 205) was most recently a member of the Toronto Argonauts where he appeared in eight games in 2018 recording 10 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. He also spent seven games on the roster of the Saskatchewan Roughriders last season and 25 games overall dating back to 2017.

The athletic and gifted receiver is a two-time CFL All-Star (’14, ’17) and originally began his career with Montreal in 2013. Through five seasons and 73 career games, the Florida native has racked-up 4,150 yards on 276 receptions with 27 touchdowns.

"I am looking forward to making a fresh start on the West Coast," said Carter from his offseason home in Florida. "Ed and I had a number of conversations last year before I signed in Toronto which really helped me in my decision to ultimately join him in BC. The opportunity to play with Mike Reilly is obviously a big factor too. Players want to have fun playing this game and its going to be a lot of fun in BC this year."


(Lions PR)

REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS THURSDAY DAILY DISH

WEDNESDAY RESULTS

Basketball:

Jr. Boys – Tier 1
Miller 77 Sheldon 45
Campbell 85 Riffel 59
Knoll 62 Martin 54
LeBoldus 79 Luther 44

Jr. Boys – Tier 2
Regina Christian 68 Greenall 54

Jr. Girls – Tier 2
Thom 54 Lumsden 50

Sr. Boys – Tier 1
Miller 86 Sheldon 59
Campbell 75 Riffel 50
Knoll 70 Martin 60
LeBoldus 93 Luther 70

Sr. Boys – Tier 2
Lumsden 104 Scott 42
Regina Christian 94 Greenall 55

THURSDAY SCHEDULE

Basketball - all Jr. at 6:15 p.m. and Sr. at 8:00 p.m. unless noted

Jr. Girls – Tier 1
Luther at Miller
LeBoldus at Riffel
Knoll at O’Neill

Jr. Girls – Tier 2
Thom at Martin 5:45 p.m.
Greenall at Johnson

Sr. Girls – Tier 1
Luther at Miller
LeBoldus at Riffel
Knoll at O’Neill

Sr. Girls – Tier 2
Scott at Johnson 4:30 p.m.
Balfour at Regina Christian 7:00 p.m.
Martin at Harvest City

Sr. Boys – Tier 2
Regina Christian at Thom 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

FREE AGENCY DAY 2

REDBLACKS NAB JENNINGS

The Ottawa Redblacks have signed quarterback Jonathon Jennings to a one-year contract.

Jennings has 980 completions for 12,497 yards and 66 touchdowns in 51 career games over four seasons with the B.C. Lions.

He had his most successful season in 2016, when the Columbus, Ohio, native threw for 5,226 yards and 27 touchdowns.

The move comes after former Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris signed with Edmonton on Tuesday, the opening day of free agency.

``We are very excited to add a player of Jonathon's pedigree to our roster,'' Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins said in a statement. ``His experience and ability will add depth and competition to the Redblacks QB position.''

Jennings joins a group of quarterbacks in Ottawa that includes Dominique Davis, Danny Collins and Will Ardnt.

LEMON BACK IN DOUBLE-BLUE

Shawn Lemon is back with the Toronto Argonauts.

The veteran American defensive lineman signed with Toronto for reportedly one year Wednesday after becoming a CFL free agent Tuesday. Lemon had 11 sacks in 2018 after splitting the season between the Argos and B.C.

Lemon has also spent time in the CFL with Saskatchewan (2011, 2016), Edmonton (2012), Calgary (2013, 2014) and Ottawa (2015). He was an East Division all-star in 2016 after registering a career-high 14 sacks and is a two-time Grey Cup champion.

ARGOS ADD TOBI ANTIGHA

The Toronto Argonauts announced Wednesday the club has signed International DE Tobi Antigha.

Antigha, 25, is coming off his second CFL season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders after playing in 17 games in 2018 and racking up 21 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions, one of which was returned 52 yards for a touchdown. The Florida native played all 18 games in his 2017 rookie season and finished with 40 tackles and five sacks. The 6'2, 240-pounder played 39 games over four seasons at Presbyterian College in South Carolina as a receiver.

RIDERS SIGN VETERAN RECEIVER WATSON

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed Canadian free-agent Cory Watson to a one-year contract.

The six-foot-three, 211-pound Watson spent last season with B.C., registering 38 catches for 406 yards and three TDs. Watson, 34, is entering his ninth CFL campaign having also spent time with Winnipeg and Edmonton.

The native of Dollard des Ormeaux, Que., earned a Grey Cup ring with Edmonton in 2015. In 133 career CFL games, Watson has 328 receptions for 3,737 yards and 16 TDs.

LIONS ADD RUNNING BACK

The B.C. Lions have signed American running back John White to a one-year deal.

The five-foot-eight, 185-pound White had 400 yards on 78 carries for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year.

"John was another primary target of ours heading into this free agency period and we're ecstatic to bring him into the fold,'' Lions GM Ed Hervey said in a statement. "He runs with power, protects the passer when needed and can effectively catch the ball coming out of the backfield. Most importantly, John represents the kind of experience, depth and competition we want to have at every position on the field heading into training camp.''

Before joining Hamilton, White played four seasons for Edmonton.

STAMPS RE-SIGN LAW

The Calgary Stampeders have re-signed American defensive lineman Cordarro Law.

Law made nine starts for the Stamps at defensive end last season and recorded 16 tackles. He started both post-season games and recorded five tackles en route to the Grey Cup.

"When he's been on field during his time with the Stampeders, Cordarro has been a disruptive force,'' Stampeders president/GM John Hufnagel said in a statement. "He's an important part of our defence and I look forward to seeing him have a healthy and productive season in 2019.''

Over two stints in Calgary, Law has played 31 regular-season games and recorded 22 sacks.

(Canadian Press)

RIDERS BRING BACK COLLAROS


Quarterback Zach Collaros is staying with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Roughriders announced on Tuesday that they have re-signed Collaros to a one-year contract.

It was believed that the Riders were in on other big-name, big-money QBs like Bo Levi Mitchell (who eventually re-signed with Calgary), but ended up confirming the Collaros signing in the late-afternoon.

Collaros will return to the Riders for a second season after originally being acquired by the team in a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Jan. 2018. Last year, the 30-year-old threw for 2,999 yards and nine touchdowns. He had 10 wins in 14 starts.

Collaros is entering his eighth CFL season. He spent his first two years with the Toronto Argonauts, before signing with Hamilton in 2014 as a free agent. He won a Grey Cup in 2012 as a backup quarterback with Toronto.

However Collaros missed five games in 2018 with concussion issues - including the Western Semifinal - and his concussion history has to be a major concern for the Green & White.

Are the Riders done at that position in free agency?

It's highly unlikely. For starters, Brandon Bridge is still available and there hasn't been a whisper about which team he's leaning towards. On the other hand, 3DownNation's Justin Dunk reports Wednesday morning that FA QB Jonathan Jennings has chosen Ottawa over Toronto.

What happened to Saskatchewan for Jennings?

Perhaps GM Jeremy O'Day didn't want to overpay for such an unproven commodity.

Also still on the market are Kevin Glenn and Travis Lulay.

Meanwhile Rider franchise legend Rob Bagg took to Twitter Wednesday morning saying he's still waiting for an opportunity. Clearly he's not ready to hang it up, but it also doesn't appear like the Riders will be ringing Bagg's phone.

Wednesday is shaping up to be just as wild as Tuesday was!

RP
@rodpedersen
(With files from the Canadian Press)


DAY 1 OF CFL FREE AGENCY WAS A WILD ONE

Mike Reilly and Trevor Harris were both on the move, while Bo Levi Mitchell stayed put on a wild opening day of CFL free agency.

The three quarterbacks were the top players available when the free-agent frenzy began Tuesday at noon ET. Reilly was the first of the big three to go, signing a huge four-year, $2.9-million deal (average annual value $725,000) with the B.C. Lions following six seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Reilly, 34, was the CFL's highest-paid player last season at over $500,000. The Kennewick, Wash., native is now closer to home and returns to the franchise he began his CFL career with in 2010.

As stunning as Reilly's contract was, more surprising was the inclusion of the deal's value on the press release. Traditionally, CFL contracts don't include monetary details. What's more, B.C. signed Reilly to the big deal unsure what this year's salary cap will be.

It was $5.2 million in 2018, but the league and its players must still negotiate this year's figure. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in May.

Shortly after Reilly's deal, Harris signed a two-year contract with Edmonton reportedly worth $1.1 million. The 32-year-old established career highs with Ottawa last year in pass attempts (615), completions (431) and yards (5,116), then had a playoff-record six TD strikes in the East Division final before the Redblacks lost 27-16 to the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup.

Mitchell was the last to decide his future, accepting a four-year deal to remain in Calgary after reportedly also weighing offers from Toronto and Saskatchewan. The 28-year-old native of Katy, Texas is a stellar 69-15-2 since becoming the Stampeders' full-time starter in 2014 and has led the franchise to four Grey Cup appearances (winning two) and captured the CFL's outstanding player award twice (2016, '18).

"Yeah, I think Mike, Trevor and I kind of knew it could be a whirlwind of teams and locations on where we landed,'' said Mitchell. "We'd all been talking, so it's kind of funny that way. We're looking forward to what can happen.''

Mitchell, who threw a CFL-high 35 TD passes last season, worked out for seven NFL teams this winter but never signed a contract.

When asked if his deal was worth just under $3 million (there were reports of $2.8 million) for four years, Mitchell said, "If math serves correctly, that's correct.

"It was a crazy morning. First time for myself ever being in free agency. Fielded offers from a lot of teams and had some very, very good offers out there. I told Calgary I'd give them last right of refusal and once I found the second offer that I liked the most, give them a chance to get close to it or beat it or whatnot, they did just that.

"I gave Calgary the last chance and they got very close to where I wanted to be and where I thought I was very well paid, but we can still put a team together.''

The defending Grey Cup champions took some hits, though, losing all-star defensive tackle Micah Johnson (Saskatchewan), defensive backs Patrick Levels (Montreal) and Tunde Adeleke (Hamilton), offensive lineman Spencer Wilson (Montreal) and receivers DaVaris Daniels (Edmonton) and Lemar Durant (B.C.). Wilson, Adeleke and Durant are Canadians.

Another huge deal was Winnipeg agreeing to terms with defensive end Willie Jefferson. The former Saskatchewan Roughrider had a career-high 10 sacks with two interception return TDs and joins a unit anchored by linebacker Adam Bighill, the CFL's top defensive player last season.

While he lost the most coveted player, Edmonton GM Brock Sunderland was a big winner Tuesday. Shortly after Reilly's official departure, Sunderland went on the offensive, adding Harris, receiver Greg Ellingson and offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers, all previously with the Redblacks, Daniels and fellow American receiver Ricky Collins Jr. (B.C.) while re-signing American offensive lineman Travis Bond.

But Sunderland wasn't finished. He also bolstered his defence by signing Hamilton linebackers Don Unamba and Larry Dean, the East Division's top defensive player last season, and Winnipeg's Jovan Santos-Knox along with B.C. defensive back Anthony Orange.

The Eskimos gave Reilly permission to speak to teams prior to Tuesday. Sunderland said he knew by last weekend Reilly was hitting the open market and that knowledge helped him.

"Once it hit noon eastern, we knew who to start calling and what we were swinging for,'' he said. "Had we not had an indication over the weekend, it would've been very challenging.''

Adding so many players who are familiar with each other should help. Sunderland has first-hand knowledge of the former Ottawa players, having served as the Redblacks' assistant GM before coming to Edmonton.

"Continuity is huge,'' he said. "Those guys know each other, obviously they have a good rapport ... I know what they're going to bring not only as football players but also character for the locker-room.

"But you never know what's going to happen in free agency, it's the most unpredictable thing in sports. I didn't sleep hardly 30 minutes last night. We were hoping for a lot, we're happy with what we have so far and we're still working.''

Lions GM Ed Hervey also was busy Tuesday, adding Canadian offensive lineman Sukh Chungh, who spent the previous four seasons with Winnipeg, Durant - the top Canadian in last year's Grey Cup - and former Edmonton defensive backs Aaron Grymes and Chris Edwards.

"Edmonton making moves oh my goodness!'' tweeted Riders free-agent defensive back Jovon Johnson. "Geez Trevor Harris to run that offense...The WEST is the BEST right now!

"East in trouble.''

If Sunderland and Hervey were the big winners Tuesday, Ottawa's Marcel Desjardins was the GM left with the most holes to fill. The Redblacks lost starters Harris, Rogers. Ellingson and running back William Powell, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher who signed with Saskatchewan.

Desjardins told reporters in Ottawa the club believes backup quarterback Dominique Davis can become the club's starter.

"At the end of the day with Trevor, it didn't work out,'' he said. "We're comfortable with Dominique Davis being our quarterback.

"I can understand the frustration because these are popular players at key positions. I think we proved in the past we can find players that are able to play for us. We'll have a competitive team and one that's exciting to watch and in many cases we'll be a younger team, which isn't always a bad thing.''

Rogers took to Twitter to explain why he left.

"I didn't like the structure of the 2nd year of Ottawa's last offer to me,'' he tweeted. "Respect is everything for me, and I felt that fading toward me in Ottawa.''

Other free-agent moves Tuesday included:

- The Montreal Alouettes signing American defensive end John Bowman, their 36-year-old career sack leader, to a two-year deal. They also added fullback Christophe Normand (last year with Edmonton) and former B.C. linebacker Bo Lokombo, both Canadians, and American receiver DeVier Posey.

- Hamilton signed Canadian receiver Brian Jones, who split last year between Saskatchewan and Toronto.

- The Roughriders signed former B.C. linebacker DyShawn Davis on a one-year deal and signed star defensive tackle Micah Johnson. They also re-signed quarterback Zach Collaros to a one-year contract.

- Winnipeg re-signed Canadian receiver Nic Demski to a two-year contract and also added star defensive end Willie Jefferson on a one-year deal.

- Toronto signed running backs Chris Rainey and Canadian Mercer Timmis as well as American defensive back Chris Fogg.

(Canadian Press)

NEUGSIE'S AROUND THE SJHL

By: Jamie Neugebauer
Voice of the N.D. Hounds

There are between seven and 10 games left in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League regular season, depending on the club, and incredibly, the playoff picture is still about as clear as mud! Here are my 10 things for this week!

1. First To Ninth Is Still Up For Grabs – So many playoff questions still up in the air! Here are the only four things we can say with any sort of solidity (though still no certainty!): 1) Nipawin is going to win the Sherwood Division, barring an epic collapse; 2) Notre Dame is going to be in the survivor series in either eighth or ninth; 3) Estevan and Yorkton will either win the Viterra and finish third, or not win the Viterra and face ND in that survivor series in eighth or ninth; and 4) Melville or Weyburn will either get the last survivor spot, or miss the playoffs entirely. Everything else is way up in the air! Talk about parity. Really only 10 points between first and seventh place. Don’t sleep on Kindersley taking the No. 1 overall seed…

2. Bruins Are Flying – Chris Lewgood has something going with his Bruins. Sure, they’ve beat up on some struggling competition lately, but they have nine wins out of 10, and they were dropping those games against teams with less talent than they earlier in the year. Here’s a stat for you: Estevan averages 37 shots-on-goal per game, and gives up 28 shots-on-goal per game; those are second and best in the SJHL, respectively. A little puck luck and who knows how far this veteran-and-talent-laden Estevan team can go? Has Kadin Kilpatrick, the reigning Manitoba midget goaltender of the year, stolen the starting job from Grant Boldt? Well, he’s started the last five in a row, four of them wins, though Boldt was hurt at the start of that streak. It’s still a very manageable schedule the rest of the way for Estevan, so they are big-time favourites in my mind to win the Viterra, and take that third spot in the final league standings.

3. Broncos On An Absolute Tear – Speaking of recent tears, I talked about the Broncos figuring it out last week, and after scoring 11 goals in their last two, both against the Weyburn Red Wings, that trend has not changed. They haven’t faced a team higher than the survivor series since mid-January, but they are looking as good as Scott Barney could hope, as they have a far-morebrutal end to the campaign. They have three dates with Kindersley, and end the year at home to Battlefords, so strap yourselves in fans of the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division! Should be a real battle to the end in the SJHL’s toughest division, with only two points separating first from third, at time of writing.

4. Kindersley-Yorkton Put on a Show on MaxTV – Was really excited to get a chance to do colour commentary with Mike Stackhouse, and in a game hosted by Darren Dupont, as Kindersley faced Yorkton in Kindersley last Saturday on MaxTV, brought to you by SaskTel. Four hours’ drive each way was pretty taxing, but the great news is that the Klips and Terriers put on a great show, and Clayton Jardine’s Kindersley mob simply found a way to overcome an early injury to Ty Enns, and hang on to a 4-2 win. Really appreciated the opportunity, and hope to get more in the future! What a performance in this one by ChantzPetruic of the Terriers on one hand, and Justen Close on the other!

5. Kudos to Klatt! – Speaking of the Terriers, got to give a shout out to Yorkton forward Branden Klatt, who committed to play for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Alberta College hockey this past weekend! An excellent league with a ton of Junior A, and a growing among of Major Junior talent, and Klatt has been excellent and consistent for Yorkton this campaign. The Moose Jaw native played 209 games in the Western Hockey League with the Edmonton Oil Kings and his hometown Warriors, before joining the Terriers this year as their top-line centreman. Well done Branden!

6. Rookie of the Year? Who Knows… – Anybody have a handle on rookie of the year at this point in the campaign? Call me biased if you want, but the most talented rookie in the SJHL is absolutely Nolan Renwick of the Notre Dame Hounds, but I’m not sure if he has been healthy enough this year to win the award (hope I’m wrong!). His ND teammates and fellow rookies in goaltender Riley Kohonick, and defender Kyle Robinson have both been spectacular, while Melville’s Luke Spadafora, Humboldt’s Chase Felgueiras, and Yorkton’s Aiden Bulych are all also good choices. So many possibilities! I still say the best player of that group is Renwick, for whatever that’s worth (not much!).

7. Secondary Scoring in Melfort – What a year of high ups, and low down for the Melfort Mustangs (I guess the downs haven’t been that low…they could easily finish fourth); but the performances have been gone from SJHL-best types, to lose-to-anyone types. What might have caused that effect is a perceived lack of secondary scoring behind Justin Ball and Carson Albrecht, but that fear might be completely finished. Twenty-year-old Colin Schmidt has been on an absolute roll since Jan. 11, scoring 13 goals and 20 points over those 11 games. Former Regina Pat George King has also more-than pulled his weight, with six goals and 13 points over that same span since his acquisition from Dauphin in the Manitoba league. Yep, ready to declare the Mustangs a deep scoring team now.

8. Let’s Crown The Scoring Champ Right Now… – That all being said, let’s just crown Melfort’s Ball the league regular-season scoring champ right now. The 20-year-old from Saskatoon has 47 goals, and 87 points in 49 games, he has been unstoppable all year, and plays the leading roll on the league’s best power play, that is almost a full two per-cent more efficient than the second-best man-advantage in Flin Flon. Another interesting Melfort stat is that the Mustangs have had the second-most power-play goals scored in the league so far, with the fewest power-play opportunities. Now that is efficiency!

9. SJHL All-Underrated Picks… – There are so many underappreciated guys around the league that I could easily pick a full squad of underrated types! Notre Dame’s Hardy Wagner tops my list as the league’s most underrated Dman, tied with Battlefords’ Matthew Fletcher. Up front, I’ll go with Owen Guenter of Humboldt, Austin Nault of Kindersley, and Owen Lamb of Battlefords. In net I’ll go with Weyburn’s Cody Levesque, who I think will be a star in this league next year. A lot of good options to go around though! Let me know in the comments who yours are!

10. Sask University teams in the playoffs! (bonus) – Have to send a shout out to the two Saskatchewan University women’s hockey teams starting the post-season next week! The University of Regina finished the year as Canada West’s sixth seed, and will head to Vancouver for a best-of-three set against the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday night.The No. 4 Huskies of the University of Saskatchewan will host the No. 5 Mount Royal Cougars at MerlisBelsher Arena in Saskatoon at the same time. Good luck to all! The Huskies men finished the season as the first seed in Canada West, and will take their bye on the weekend to await the lowest remaining seed after this weekend’s first round, likely to be UBC.

(Follow Jamie on Twitter at @neugsie)

REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS WEDNESDAY DAILY DISH

TUESDAY RESULTS

Basketball:

Jr. Girls – Tier 1
Riffel 56 Luther 16
LeBoldus 81 O’Neill 53

Jr. Girls – Tier 2
Martin 43 Balfour 27
Sheldon 68 Greenall 46
Lumsden 49 Johnson 40

Sr. Girls – Tier 1
Riffel 71 Luther 55
LeBoldus 88 O’Neill 48

Sr. Girls – Tier 2
Harvest City 74 Scott 18
Sheldon 59 Regina Christian 57
Balfour 67 Thom 39
Lumsden 55 Johnson 49

WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE

Basketball – all Jr. at 6:15 p.m. and Sr. at 8:00 p.m. unless noted

Jr. Boys – Tier 1
Sheldon at Miller
Campbell at Riffel
Knoll at Martin
LeBoldus at Luther

Jr. Boys – Tier 2
Greenall at Regina Christian

Sr. Boys – Tier 1
Sheldon at Miller
Campbell at Riffel
Knoll at Martin
LeBoldus at Luther

Sr. Boys – Tier 2
Lumsden at Scott 4:30 p.m.
Greenall at Regina Christian