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Friday, September 22, 2017

SCRUFFY'S THIS N' THAT

Welcome to Friday!  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order:

- Can they do it? Could the Saskatchewan Roughriders take down the juggernaut known as the Calgary Stampeders Sunday afternoon at Mosaic?   Many will say no way, and they'd be justified seeing the Stamps have won eight in a row. If these two teams were playing in Calgary, EVERYTHING would have to go right if the /=S=/ were to be victorious.

It might be another story here though.  The Riders are a different team at home as they are energized by a raucous home crowd which makes life difficult for the opposition.  That crowd should be even more insane than usual when Bo Levi Mitchell and company take the field.  This should be the game where TSN has its decibel meter going!

If the 13th man can bring it and then some and make life miserable for Bo Levi and company right off the bat and keep that going throughout the game, the Riders have a chance. The medical report came back favourable so a lot of guys who were wounded in Hamilton should be back. The Stamps will have their fair share of injuries. They will be favoured, and they should be, but if home field advantage was ever needed by the guys in green, it will be Sunday. Are you up to the challenge? Somehow, I think you are.

- The news from 3 Down Nation's Drew Edwards on the Ottawa-Montreal game last week drawing only 190,000 fans as it went head to head against Sunday NFL wasn't a surprise. Why would anyone want to watch two Eastern teams sludge their way through 60 minutes when the NFL was on.  I certainly didn't watch and neither did many by the looks of it.  What did surprise me was more people watched an NHL pre-season, Formula 1 and NASCAR.  Edwards then goes on to report numbers are down 13 percent from last year.  Some advertisers did jump on board this year, but Wendy's and RONA decided to cut bait. This should be very worrisome for many.  The league has to seriously look at going head-to-head with the NFL especially when TSN is showing NFL games on a Sunday as well. They own the rights so they will do it. If Sportsnet had them, it would be the same thing with the same numbers.

 While the numbers are a bad for the CFL, the fact they have launched a game for your phone is a plus. Look for CFL Frenzy and have fun with it. The game will come out for Android in a couple of weeks so I'll have to wait.

- The Regina Pats team who takes the ice tonight in Brandon won’t be the same Regina Pats team that takes the ice against whoever in the opening game of the Memorial Cup in May.  The Pats begin the road to the Memorial Cup which will end at the Brandt Centre without the likes of Sam Steel, Nick Henry, Jake Leschyshyn and Josh Mahura as all are either hurt or at NHL camps.

As I have stated before, if you are thinking this Pats team will be as good as the one last year, you can think again because a 52 win season is improbable.  I can see this team trying to hold its head above water until the trade deadline when John Paddock will do what has to be done to make his team a viable contender for both the Ed Chynoweth Cup and Memorial Cup while attempting to keep the cupboard somewhat stocked so that playoff runs can be achieved and they are not a bottom-feeder as was the case after the last Memorial Cup here when it took forever for the team to be competitive on a night-after-night basis.

It is going to be a great ride this season watching Paddock’s proteges do their thing, and with this being the 100th season of Regina Pats hockey, it will be one to celebrate and one to remember.  Can’t wait for the puck to be dropped and see guys like Jeff DeWit, Bryan Lockner, Tyler Brown and Dawson Davidson amongst others do their thing.

- If you are going to the Pats game Saturday night, may I suggest checking out the Rams as well.  They will play Manitoba at 2 o’clock at Mosaic. As Rob Vanstone correctly stated in this week’s “Robservations”, “Why is it the Rams can’t draw more people in a supposedly “football-crazed” city? The same goes for the Thunder!  It’s not as if both teams are bad either because they are definitely not.

- The "Hockey News" is picking Pittsburgh to beat Edmonton in the Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers back in the Final? That would be somewhat delightful for this blogger.

- Whoever runs the Vegas Golden Knights Twitter account is wayyyyyy too smart for that job. It is the best sports Twitter account out there today and the gap between first and second is a wide one.

- The Blue Jays signed Marco Estrada to a one year, 13 million dollar deal. Yes, Estrada pitched much better in the 2nd half of the season, but is Marco Estrada the answer to getting back to the playoffs on a one year deal? I really don't understand what Mark Shapiro is doing, and I'm thinking the average Blue Jays fan is wondering that as well.  At least after next week, they shouldn't have to worry about Jose Bautista anymore.  What a grand decision it was to bring him back for a year when no one else wanted him.

- Week 3 NFL Lock Of The Week ---- Packers over Bengals
  Week 3 NFL Upset Of The Week --- Saints over Panthers

- I can't forget about offering a hearty congratulations to Wes Cates and Roger Brandvold. Both will go down in Riders folklore by being formally inducted to the Plaza of Honour. It's a great accomplishment for two who helped make the Riders "Canada's Team!" Have a great weekend gents and soak it all in.

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

MESSAM A GAME TIME DECISION

Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca
Calgary Stampeders running back Jerome Messam says he'll be a game-time decision Sunday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Canadian Football League's leading rusher took a hard hit to the back of his helmet in the third quarter of in Saturday's 27-13 win over the B.C. Lions. Messam left the game and did not return.

Lions linebacker Micah Awe, who registered the hit, received the league's maximum fine for leading with the crown of his helmet.

"I feel the league took a stance to try and protect players,'' Messam told reporters Thursday.

Messam, who tops the CFL with 770 rushing yards, says he doesn't have a concussion, but injured neck muscles in the collision.

"It's a little bit tight, but just working through it with treatment and just trying to see how it goes throughout the week to get up to game day,'' he said.

The Stampeders will play in Regina's new Mosaic Stadium for the first time Sunday.

Messam, a 32-year-old from Brampton, Ont., played for the Roughriders in 2014 and 2015 before he was traded to the Stampeders.

(Canadian Press)

WEEK 14 CFL PICKS 2017

Jason Halstead/CFL.ca
OTTAWA AT WINNIPEG, FRIDAY

Tate will dress but Lindey is expected to make his first CFL start for Ottawa. Lindley does have NFL experience with Arizona, San Diego, New England and Indianapolis and Greg Ellingson (72 catches, league-high 1,123 yards, seven TDs) and Brad Sinopoli (81 catches, 908 yards, three TDs) anchor the Redblacks' receiving corps. Winnipeg (8-3) comes off the bye having won seven-of-eight games but defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman (upper-body injury) is out for the rest of the year.

Prediction: Winnipeg
________________________________

HAMILTON AT B.C., FRIDAY

Defensive end Alex Bazzie returns for B.C. (6-6), which should boost its pass rush. But quarterback Jonathon Jennings threw three picks in last weekend's 27-13 loss to Calgary and has 12 on the season, tops among CFL starters. Jeremiah Masoli makes a fourth straight start for Hamilton (2-9), which is 13-30 all-time in Vancouver and 0-7 against West Division teams this year. Veteran receiver Andy Fantuz joined the Ticats' practice squad this week but won't play.

Prediction: B.C.
_________________________________

MONTREAL AT TORONTO, SATURDAY

The Toronto Argonauts couldn't pick a better time to break a season-long trend.

Toronto (5-7) hosts the Montreal Alouettes (3-9) at BMO Field on Saturday having not won consecutive games this year. The Argos are coming off a 34-26 home victory over the Edmonton Eskimos last weekend, their first over a West Division club this season.

A win over Montreal would help the Argos in two ways. First, they'd take the season series 2-1 and hold the tiebreaker against two conference rivals, having already secured it against Ottawa.

Secondly, the Argos would give themselves a six-point cushion on Montreal in the battle for second in the East Division. And that's crucial given it's clear only two Eastern clubs will qualify for the post-season.

Montreal's Darian Durant has played in both games this season against Toronto, completing 32-of-54 passes for 330 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. But the Alouettes have often been their own worst enemy this year as they're the league's most penalized team and are tied for second in most interceptions surrendered (11).

Prediction: Toronto
____________________________________

CALGARY AT SASKATCHEWAN, SUNDAY

Veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn (hand) returns for Saskatchewan (6-5) after missing last weekend's 27-19 road win in Hamilton. The Riders have won four-of-five games and are 4-1 at home but endured a rash of injuries versus the Ticats. Calgary (10-1-1) has won eight straight and is 15-0 versus West Division squads while boasting a CFL-best 4-1 road record. The Stamps' defence is allowing 17 points per game and has forced 30 turnovers, both league-best marks.

Prediction: Calgary.

Last week: 2-2.

Overall: 37-15-1.

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

WHL LAUNCHES 2017-18 SEASON IN REGINA

WHL Commissioner Ron Robison officially launched the 2017-18 WHL regular season during a media conference Thursday morning in Regina. Beginning this Friday, the WHL enters its 52nd season as all 22 WHL Member Clubs across Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest begin their quest to hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions.

“In this the 52nd season of the WHL, our Clubs remain truly committed to providing our players with the highest standard of development, both on and off the ice,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “We are proud to continue offering our players exactly that, from world-class coaching and management, to a comprehensive WHL Scholarship and education program to a series of Players First support services designed to ensure they develop in a highly positive environment.

“We are looking forward to a historic season, highlighted by the 100th anniversary of the Regina Pats, coupled fittingly with the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup, which will be hosted in Regina come May. Along the way, we will be privileged to watch the top young prospects in the world compete for the WHL Championship.”

Regina Pats Century Celebration & 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup
The 2017-18 season will be highlighted by ongoing celebratory events surrounding the Regina Pats 100th anniversary, paired fittingly alongside the Queen City hosting the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup from May 18-27, 2018.

Swift Current & Moose Jaw Host CIBC Canada-Russia Series
The Land of Living Skies will shine in 2017-18 as the cities of Moose Jaw and Swift Current welcome the CIBC Canada Russia Series on November 6 and 7, respectively. The best and brightest the WHL has to offer will take to the prairie ice surfaces of Mosaic Place and the Credit Union i-Plex to take on the Russian National Junior Team as part of a six-game series featuring all three Canadian Hockey Leagues.

What We Stand For: The WHL Player Experience
The WHL is fully committed to providing our players with a world-class hockey experience. We believe our WHL Member Clubs offer our players the highest quality of hockey experience available in the world today and this can be best described by our three key cornerstones: Development, Education and the Environment.

“The player experience is the number one priority for all WHL teams,” commented Commissioner Robison. “As one of the premier development leagues in the world, we pride ourselves in developing our players and remain committed to providing all the support they need to get to the next level in the game of hockey.”

Development:
We provide the highest level of competition for junior age players in North America. The quality of our coaching, facilities and professional support services offers the ideal setting for players to develop their skills.

Education:
The WHL offers the most comprehensive education program in North America. WHL Clubs are governed by League-wide education standards to ensure players not only achieve their high school academic goals, but also qualify for post-secondary studies. While playing in the WHL, players receive financial assistance for post-secondary course. The WHL also offers a full guaranteed scholarship to all our players, which can be applied to any post-secondary institution of choice.

Environment:
The WHL is committed to offering the best possible experience we can for our players, including a mandatory series of national health and wellness programs, such as the CHL Drug Education and Anti-Doping program, the Red Cross RespectEd program and our new Canadian Mental Health initiatives, among others. When combined with our WHL Seven Point Plan player safety initiative, these programs provide our players with a safe and healthy environment in which to develop.

WHL Scholarship Program Continues Breaking Records
After awarding a League-record of more than 350 WHL Scholarships during its 50th anniversary, the WHL exceed that benchmark in 2016-17 by awarding 375 WHL Scholarships as more WHL graduates continue to choose to access their fully-guaranteed WHL Scholarship package. Once again, the WHL is poised to challenge that record in 2017-18.

“The WHL and our member Clubs are very proud to continue offering our players the most comprehensive hockey scholarship program of its kind in North America today,” commented Commissioner Robison. “WHL Clubs are fully committed to providing a world class experience for our players, which includes the opportunity to pursue both their academic and hockey goals while playing at the top level of the Canadian amateur hockey system.”

Every player who plays in the WHL is eligible to receive the WHL Scholarship. For every season a player plays in the WHL, they receive a guaranteed, full-year WHL Scholarship, including tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees to a post-secondary institution of their choice. WHL players can also access financial assistance for post-secondary courses while playing in the League prior to accessing their WHL Scholarship. The WHL and Athabasca University have partnered to offer, through online and other distance education vehicles, fully-accredited university courses to any WHL player interested in further pursuing post-secondary studies while playing in the WHL.

The WHL continues to be the leading provider of Hockey Scholarships in Western Canada. Since 1993, the WHL has awarded more than 5,800 Scholarships to graduate players, representing an investment by WHL ownership of more than $21 million. With the Fall 2017 academic semester, the WHL projects exceeding 6,000 awarded WHL Scholarships to graduate players.

WHL Community Initiatives
The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2017-18 season, including the newly-minted WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation – Presented by RE/MAX. The WHL is also eagerly anticipating the second seasons of the Ashley HomeStore Hope to Dream initiative and Chatters A Beautiful Woman program in recognition of incredible billet mothers around the league, among others.

WHL Game Centre Scoring Enhancements
In addition to the standard scoring of games in WHL Game Centre, individual player shot tracking and location-based face-off tracking will be introduced for the 2017-18 WHL season. These statistics will be logged into the LeagueStat live scoring system and available within WHL Game Centre and individual player profiles at WHL.ca.

Further enhancements to the online scoring platform at WHL Game Centre are in development for future release in order to provide more hockey-based data and information for fans.

WHL Playoffs Format & Playing Rule Clarifications for 2017-18
The current WHL Playoffs format, which has proven both successful and exciting for fans, has been extended for three more seasons. The renewal of many classic, regional rivalries have provided unforgettable moments and the overall structure continues to pave a fair and competitive path to the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Additionally, the WHL has adopted the new NHL rule stating that a puck struck by a high-stick in the offensive zone on the power play will result in a face-off outside the blue line instead of in the defensive zone of the offending club.

In order to put a further emphasis on player safety, a 10-minute misconduct will be assessed without warning to a player not wearing a mouth guard or wearing a mouth guard improperly. Slew footing will be enforced more strictly, with offending players subject to either a double minor or a major penalty and game misconduct.

In order to maintain an acceptable pace of play, the pace of the game will be upheld by closely managing team line changes, face-offs and the situations in which a goaltender may freeze the puck.

WHL on Access
The WHL on Access returns to broadcast 20 games as Saskatchewan’s regional broadcaster. In addition to regular Pats coverage, Access will be producing WHL games throughout the entire province of Saskatchewan. The WHL on Access broadcast schedule will begin Friday, September 29 at 7 p.m. MT, when the Regina Pats visit the Moose Jaw Warriors for the renewal of a rivalry that expects to be fiercer than ever in 2017-18. The legendary Peter Loubardias will have the call to open the WHL on Access schedule.

10 THINGS I THINK I THINK FOR CAPITAL CADILLAC

1 - WELL, WELL, WELL: How the tide has turned in the second half of the CFL season. With seven games to go, the 6-5 Saskatchewan Roughriders are sitting in a playoff spot and the League released analytics this week saying the Riders have an 85% shot at making the post-season. The best is yet to come, and it's already been a fun ride.

2 - COMPLIMENTARY FOOTBALL: The Riders opened some eyes last week when back-up QB Brandon Bridge led the club to a 27-19 victory over the desperate Ticats in Hamilton. Sure, the Rider offense only managed one first down in the second half but the defense continued to force turnovers and the special teams were strong. At last, the Green are playing as a team and it's been that way for awhile seeing as the club has won four of its last five games.

3 - CAPITAL GAINS: Defensive MVP Ed Gainey recorded two more interceptions against the Ticats to add to his league-leading total of eight. Friday's performance had Ed's coaches scrambling to find out what the franchise record is, and the name James Patrick came up (he led the league with 9 in 2010). However the unforgettable Terry Irvin set the Rider record in 1984 with 11 interceptions. That's well within striking distance for Mr. Gainey this season.

4 - ABOUT THIS WEEK: The 10-1-1 Calgary Stampeders will make their first visit to New Mosaic Stadium on Sunday (2:00 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network) and the match-up is something of a head-scratcher. The Riders are rolling but so too are the Stamps, who are far and away the #1 team in the CFL. The odds for the contest still haven't been posted which tells me the oddsmakers are struggling mightily with setting the line. If league-leading rusher Jerome Messam isn't at Calgary's disposal, the smell of an upset could be in the air.

5 - LET 'EM PLAY: Kudos to the CFL's officiating department for NOT flagging touchdown celebrations, and assessing Taunting infractions. The Riders have brought the endzone cellies back, and their Conga line, swim meets and head bobs have been shown endlessly on Sportscentre the past number of weeks. This, after all, is the entertainment biz.

6 - IN A HUF: Had a long chat with Stampeders President John Hufnagel at last week's Hall of Fame festivities in Hamilton and I was richer for the experience. Huf figures if the CFL is looking for a new home for the CFHOF, they should look no further than Saskatoon. Please discuss. Meanwhile on the topic of a new football stadium in Calgary, John isn't getting his hopes up any time soon. These aren't great times on the Calgary sports facilities scene.

7 - SACRE BLEU: CFL Presidents, Governors and Chairmen held meetings in Southern Ontario last week to coincide with the Hall of Fame induction. The word coming out of the proceedings? The Toronto Argonauts are no longer the #1 trouble spot. The Boatmen have solid ownership and a strong Coach/GM combo. No, the weak sister right now is the Montreal Alouettes who are struggling on the field, at the gate and possibly in the boardroom. I would've suggested immediately selling the club to Molson and calling it a day but lately these huge sports comglomerates aren't proving to be the answer.

8 - WHAT'S WITH DOUBLES?: The struggles of Darian Durant and his Alouettes are a hot topic around here. The Rider franchise great was yanked in the first half on Sunday and everyone seems to have an opinion on the root of his frustration. "It's his mechanics" some pundits say, while others suggest, "It's all mental". Could it be he's just on a bad team? At least Darian's bank account is healthy but if money equaled happiness, Bill Gates would be the happiest man in the world. And he's not.

If Durant had accepted a massive paycut offer would he be quarterbacking Saskatchewan right now? Likely not, so the situation is what it is.

9 - GOOD MORNING RIDERS: Everyone was happy to see Ken Miller back in the CFL, hired by the Alouettes on the weekend to help out with their offense. At 75, Kenny still has a ton to offer and as his wife Maureen once said, "He'll die on the sidelines". Ironically just last week Miller was described by a CFL coordinator as a "Transformational Coach". I asked for a definition and he said, "A coach who transforms players into more than they ever thought they could be and in the end, thought they did it all on their own. Kenny never takes the credit".

10 - THE FOOTBALL GODS: A first quarter ankle injury knocked Duron Carter out of Friday's game and denied him a chance to set a Rider record for consecutive games with a touchdown catch at seven. The football gods intervened and said, "No Duron, you will not surpass Hugh Campbell and Weston Dressler". Asked about it on Wednesday, Carter said "No big deal. I'll just start another streak." That's confidence, not arrogance.

You ask for proof that football gods exist? I ask you for proof that they don't.

Y'er welcome,
RP
@rodpedersen

THE SPORTS DOCTOR'S WEEK 3 NFL PICKS FOR FOUR SEASONS SPORTS PALACE

The Four Seasons Sports Palace presents the Week 3 NFL picks from our good friend The Sports Doctor Dave Petrishen! The Four Seasons Sports Palace is your home for the NFL in Regina.

Last week I went 11-5 (21-10) and 7-9 (17-14) against the spread.

Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (0-2)
Line: Rams by 2

An early season divisional rival game between two lackluster teams; the Rams defense was terrible last week, but they’re playing a team with a terrible offense. Rams get back on track. Take the Rams to win and cover.

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Line: Ravens by 3.5

London’s first game of the season features two teams with very good defenses, but Jacksonville’s offense isn’t anygood. Take the Ravens to win and cover.

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
Line: Browns by 1

Indianapolis played better last week than anyone expected, and with the Browns in town they’ll get their first win. Take the Colts in an upset.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (0-2)
Line: Steelers by 7

Pittsburgh had to work hard for their first two wins, but pretty much can take the day off in Chicago and leave with the win. Take the Steelers to win and cover.

Miami Dolphins (1-0) at New York Jets (0-2)
Line: Dolphins by 6

Usually two consecutive road games are tough, but the Dolphins will have little trouble against a Jets team that has issues on both sides of the ball. Take the Dolphins to win and cover.

The Sports Doctor
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Line: Broncos by 3

The Bills defense won’t be able to handle the surprising Denver offense, and Denver’s defense will not allow Buffalo even near the red zone. Take the Broncos to win and cover.

Houston Texans (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1)
Line: Patriots by 13

We saw the real Patriots last week against the Saints, and that’s not good for a struggling Houston team on the road. Take the Patriots to win and cover.

New Orleans Saints (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Line: Panthers by 6

The winless Saints won’t be able to regroup on the road despite having a better than average offense. Carolina’s defense will be the difference here. Take the Panthers to win and cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Line:

Hard to get a read on the Bucs after beating the lowly Bears, but their defense looked good. Minnesota is a tough place to play your first road game of the year though, but the Vikings depend on Sam Bradford being back to win. Take the Vikings.

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (2-0)
Line: Falcons by 3

The Lions fairytale start to the season ends on Sunday when Atlanta’s Matt Ryan shows up the overpaid Matt Stafford. Take the Falcons to win and cover.

New York Giants (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Line: Eagles by 6

The Giants are a terrible football team, the kind that Philadelphia fans love coming to town. Poor Eli will have a tough day against an excellent Eagles defense. Take the Eagles to win and cover.

Seattle Seahawks (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Line: Titans by 3

Seattle have struggled this season due to their poor O-Line, but always seem to make the necessary corrections even on the road. Take the Seahawks in an upset.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)
Line: Chiefs by 3

Kansas City gutted one out last week against the Eagles, and should have little trouble against a winless, homeless team. Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Line: Packers by 8.5

You don’t think a team that hasn’t scored a point this season will put up a fight at Lambeau Field do you? Take the Packers to win and cover.

Oakland Raiders (2-0) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
Line: Raiders by 3

Oakland has impressed the first two weeks, but they still allowed the Jets to score 20 points. That won’t cut it against Washington. Take the Redskins in an upset.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Line: Cowboys by 3

Arizona’s home opener is going to be tough on a team playing their second consecutive road game. However, I think Dallas, given all the Elliott turmoil will be fired up in a Monday nighter. Take the Cowboys to win and cover

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WEDNESDAY RIDER UPDATE

At long last the Saskatchewan Roughriders were back at practice on Wednesday for Day 1 of their work week. It was the first time we've seen the Green & White since Friday's 27-19 win at Hamilton.

The 6-5 Riders host the 10-1-1 Calgary Stampeders Sunday at 2:00.

First and foremost, Head Coach & GM Chris Jones announced Kevin Glenn will start Sunday's game after missing last week's win with a hand injury.

The Riders had nine players go down in the Hamilton game but Jones said the "biggest majority" of them will able to play against the Stamps.

That doesn't include safety Mike Edem who's out long-term with an upper body injury.

Receiver Duron Carter says it's 50/50 if he'll play on Sunday. He went out in the first quarter last week with an ankle injury. Returner Marcus Thigpen practiced on Wednesday but a decision hasn't been made on him for the Calgary game.

Linebacker Otha Foster was injured on the first play of the Hamilton game but is expected to be on the roster this week.

Chris Jones also said newcomers Marc Olivier Brouillette and Elie Bouka will play this week after being signed Wednesday morning.

The Riders also announced the following roster moves:

SIGNED TO ROSTER:

ADDED TO PRACTICE ROSTER: 

REPORTED TO TEAM:
  • National defensive back Marc-Olivier Brouillette

MOVED TO SUSPENDED LIST:
  • International defensive lineman T.J. Barnes

RIDERS ADD TWO STAR CANADIAN DB'S, PLUS JACOBY FORD

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have agreed to terms with Canadian defensive back Marc-Olivier Brouillette, 3DownNation confirms and CKRM’s Rod Pedersen reported first.

Brouillette retired on the eve of training camp – he has a law degree and was pursuing a legal career. When Mike Edem got injured against Hamilton last week, the Riders called and brought the 31-year-old out of retirement.

The Roughriders originally signed Brouillette as a free agent in February, hoping he could serve as a starter at safety.

Drafted 23rd overall by Montreal in the 2010 CFL Draft, the 31-year-old Brouillette has played in 102 games and made 64 starts in his seven seasons with the Alouettes. He started all 18 games last season making 33 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles and registering one interception while being named an East all-star.

Meanwhile Canadian defensive back Elie Bouka has also agreed to terms with the Roughriders, per sources.

Saskatchewan drafted the 25-year-old in the third-round, 24th overall in the 2016 CFL draft.

Bouka was initially signed by Arizona as an undrafted NFL free agent in 2016, even though he was on the mend from a torn Achilles which kept him from playing in his final year at the University of Calgary. That’s the only reason why he slid down the CFL draft board.

A hamstring setback landed the cover man on injured reserve for the entire NFL season last year with the Cardinals, he made a full salary. Arizona released Bouka with an injury settlement early in 2017 training camp after he suffered an ankle setback.

The ultra-athletic defender is fully healthy now. He worked out for three NFL teams, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants recently.

Bouka possesses special traits and should be able to start soon for the Riders at defensive back.

www.3DownNation.com
____________________________________________

Meanwhile the website TigerNet.com reports former Clemson standout Jacoby Ford has signed with the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders according to multiple reports.

For his NFL career, Ford has 57 receptions for 848 yards and three receiving touchdowns and also has four kickoff return touchdowns.

At Clemson, Ford and C.J. Spiller became the greatest all-purpose duo in NCAA history. Ford had 49 punt returns for 479 yards and two touchdowns and 47 kickoff returns for 1,124 yards and a score. Ford also had 143 catches for 1,986 yards with 16 touchdowns in 48 games at Clemson.

The 30-year old was also the 60 meters indoor NCAA Championship in track during his college days.

Ford was drafted by the Raiders in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL draft (108th overall) after showcasing his insane 4.28-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

Former Clemson defensive back Crezdon Butler is also a member of the Roughriders squad.

http://www.tigernet.com/update/Former-Clemson-WR-signs-with-Roughriders-27890

CFL NOTEBOOK

Hamilton wide receiver Mike Jones says he doesn't know how a banned substance showed up in a doping test, costing him two games with the Tiger-Cats.

The CFL announced Tuesday that Jones has been suspended for two games after testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing anabolic steroid outlawed by the joint drug policy of the league and the Canadian Football League Players' Association.

``I had never heard of this substance, and I have never intentionally consumed it,'' Jones said in a statement. ``In fact, I had each of my supplements checked on two occasions, and each time they were deemed safe. I cannot say exactly how dehydrochlormethyltestosterone was found in my urine, but I am both responsible and accountable for what's found in my body.''

Jones, a first-time offender, said he was informed of the positive test by the CFL Players' Association following the Ticats' game versus Saskatchewan on Sept. 15. He'll be suspended for game action effective immediately, but it's up to the Ticats to determine whether he can participate in other team activities, such as practices and meetings.

---

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end Jamaal Westerman has been sidelined for the remainder of the 2017 CFL season with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

The Blue Bombers confirmed the injury Tuesday on their Twitter feed. Westerman was hurt in Winnipeg's 48-28 Week 12 win over rival Saskatchewan.

Westerman is second in the CFL with seven sacks through 11 games. He has 32 sacks in 47 games since joining Winnipeg for the 2015 CFL campaign following six seasons in the NFL.

---

SURREY, B.C. - Alex Bazzie wanted to make sure he had shaken his NFL hangover.

The defensive lineman signed a contract with the B.C. Lions through the rest of the season earlier this week, rejoining the CFL club where played from 2014 to 2016 before bouncing between three teams south of the border over a nine-month span.

Some players who leave Canada in hopes of catching on in the NFL have a tough time readjusting when they return - be it spite, disinterest, having a chip on their shoulder or something else - but Bazzie believes his mind is in the right place after getting cut by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this month.

"I'm most definitely past that point,'' the 27-year-old said following his first practice with the Lions in 2017. "That's what might have took so long as far as coming back.

"It was just making sure I got over that, leaving it back in the States and not coming over here holding onto grudges.''

Bazzie registered 29 sacks in 50 games for the Lions, including 11 last season, to earn a contract with the Indianapolis Colts in January.

After getting cut in May, he latched on with the Carolina Panthers and then the Cardinals, who released him at the end of training camp 2 1/2 weeks ago.

"(The) B.C. Lions organization had nothing to do with what went on with me down south,'' said Bazzie, a CFL West Division all-star last season. "I wanted to come over here with a clear mind and be ready work. That was the biggest thing.

"So yes, I'm completely over that.''

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Toronto running back James Wilder Jr., Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton and Ottawa receiver Diontae Spencer are the CFL's top performers for Week 13.

Wilder scored his first CFL touchdown and recorded new career bests with 190 yards rushing and 67 yards receiving in the Argonauts' 34-26 home win over Edmonton on Saturday.

His rushing yards were the fourth-highest single-game total in Argonauts franchise history.

Singleton recorded a game-high eleven tackles Saturday in the Stampeders' 16th consecutive victory at McMahon Stadium, a 27-13 win over the B.C. Lions.

Singleton has recorded 91 tackles in his sophomore season, which ties him for the season lead with B.C.'s Solomon Elimimian.

This is the second time Singleton has been named a Shaw CFL Top Performer with his first recognition coming in Week 11.

(The Canadian Press)

WHL 2017-18 EAST DIVISION PREVIEW

From WHL.ca:

REGINA PATS
General Manager: John Paddock
Head coach: John Paddock
Pre-season record: 3-2-0-1
2016-17 record: 52-12-7-1, First in East Division
2017 Playoffs: Lost in WHL Championship to Seattle (4-2)

Top scorers: Sam Steel (50-81-131), Adam Brooks (43-87-130), Dawson Leedahl (35-54-89)

20-year-olds: C Wyatt Sloboshan (11-20-31), C Matt Bradley (34-43-77), Tyler Brown (33-8-5-1, 2.64, 0.911, 5 SO)

Imports: LD Egor Zamula (Russia), RW Emil Oksanen (Finland)

Forwards: If you know a goaltender in the East Division not playing for the Regina Pats, now may be a good time to say a prayer for them. The forward core for the Pats is built to score and will be taking another run at being the top scoring team in the league as they were last year with 353 goals. The loss of Adam Brooks does subtract some of the team’s firepower, but the addition of Medicine Hat Tigers center Matt Bradley in an off-season trade could set the stage for the Surrey, B.C. native to have a career year.

Sam Steel remains a question mark for the Pats as he attends camp with the Anaheim Ducks. It would seem crazy for the CHL Player of the Year to miss out on such a huge season for the Pats franchise and an opportunity to play in the Mastercard Memorial Cup, but stranger things have happened. Nick Henry tallied 35 goals and 80 points last season and will likely be an offensive threat for the team again.  

Defence: In addition to scoring the most goals last season, the Pats also gave up the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. Josh Mahura was a mid-season acquisition who contributed his fair share offensively as well as defensively. Other important pieces like Connor Hobbs and import Sergei Zborovskiy are eligible to play and would certainly be welcomed back with open arms, but the logistics of where they fit in the depth chart of their respective NHL clubs has yet to take shape. Once it does, it may shed more light onto what this team will look like at the blue line.

Goal: There won’t be too much change between the pipes for the Pats. Tyler Brown is back and looking to build on a 33-win campaign. The price to acquire a forward piece like Bradley came at the cost of Jordan Hollett. His void will be filled by Max Paddock, who appeared in five games with the Pats last season, sporting a 4-1 record, 3.01 goals against average and .901 save percentage. He may find himself on the bench often with Brown in front of him, but he’ll gain a valuable year of development with the team in such an important year.

Player to watch: Of all the players whose statuses are unclear with their NHL clubs, one forward that will certainly be back with the Pats this year is Red Deer, Alta. native Jeff de Wit. With seven goals in four pre-season games, the team’s reliance on his offensive contributions could grow exponentially over the coming season. How he measures up to those expectations will play a key role in the team’s chances.

The status of players like Steel, Henry, Hobbs and Austin Wagner remain uncertain, but it seems inevitable that Vegas Golden Knights second round selection Jake Leschyshyn will come back to the Pats at some point soon. His 17 goals and 40 points in 47 games was a solid campaign for the then 17-year-old, but how he elevates his play and of those around him will be interesting and fun to watch at the same time.

Prognosis: Of all the years to win it all, the Regina Pats want it to be this year. In their 100th season, the Pats play host to the 100th edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup. The stage literally couldn’t be bigger for the club. That’s why every game, streak, slump and play will be under the microscope.

The Pats haven’t made it to the Mastercard Memorial Cup on their own merit since they won it all in 1974. Previous hosting opportunities in 1980 and 2001 have resulted in the Pats coming up just short of their championship.

Do the Pats have the right formula of players to go all the way? Time will tell. They seem to be set in net and could return strong defensive and forward cores if NHL camps and injury rehabs shape up in their favour.

The tough part of this process for John Paddock and his players is not knowing what the right formula is until it may be too late. Their tickets to the big dance are already punched, it’s just a matter of how they use them.  

MOOSE JAW WARRIORS
General Manager: Alan Millar
Head coach: Tim Hunter
Pre-season record: 3-2-1-0
2016-17 record: 42-21-8-1, Second in East Division
2017 Playoffs: Lost in Eastern Conference quarter-final to Swift Current (4-3)

Top scorers: Jayden Halbgewachs (50-51-101), Brayden Burke (19-63-82), Brett Howden (38-43-81)

20-year-olds: C Jayden Halbgewachs (50-51-101), LW Brayden Burke (19-63-82), LW Tanner Jeannot (19-33-52), RW Spencer Bast (9-8-17)

Imports: LD Oleg Sosunov (Russia), LD Dmitri Zaitsev (Russia)

SWIFT CURRENT BRONCOS
Director of Player Personnel: Manny Viveiros
Head coach: Manny Viveiros
Pre-season: 2-3-0-0
2016-17 record:  39-23-4-6, Third in East Division
2017 Playoffs: Lost in Eastern Conference semifinal to Regina (4-3)

Top scorers: Tyler Steenbergen (51-39-90), Aleksi Heponiemi (28-58-86), Ryley Lindgren (27-47-74)

20-year-olds: C Glenn Gawdin (26-33-59), Connor Chaulk (10-13-23), Arthur Miller (7-12-19), RW Brandan Arnold (3-4-7), Taz Burman (18-12-4-1, 2.96, .907)

Imports: RD Artyom Minulin (Russia), C Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland)

BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
General Manager: Grant Armstrong
Head Coach: David Anning
Pre-season record: 3-1-0-0
2016-17 record: 31-31-7-3, Fourth in East Division
2017 Playoffs: Lost to Medicine Hat in Eastern Conference quarter-finals (4-0)

Top scorers: Reid Duke (37-34-71), Ty Lewis (30-38-68), Tyler Coulter (30-33-63)

20-year-olds: LD Kade Jensen (4-10-14), LD James Shearer (8-23-31), G Logan Thompson (14-17-5-2, 3.24, .908, 1 SO)

Imports: RD Daniel Bukac (Czech Republic)

SASKATOON BLADES
General Manager: Colin Priestner
Head coach: Dean Brockman
Pre-season record: 4-2-0-0
2016-17 record: 28-35-7-2, Fifth in East Division
2017 Playoffs: Did not qualify

Top scorers: Braylon Shmyr (35-31-66), Jesse Shynkaruk (31-25-56), Mason McCarty (21-16-37), Josh Paterson (17-20-37)

20-year-olds: LW Braylon Shmyr (35-31-66), C Cameron Hebig (26-43-69 in 2015-16), RD Evan Fiala (4-15-19), G Logan Flodell (22-20-4-0, 2.81, 0.912, 3 SO)

Imports: LD Libor Hajek (Czech Republic), LD Mark Rubinchik (Russia)

PRINCE ALBERT RAIDERS
General Manager: Curtis Hunt
Head coach: Marc Habscheid
Pre-season record: 2-3-0-0
2016-17 record: 21-44-5-2, Sixth in East Division
2017 Playoffs: Did not qualify

Top scorers: Simon Stransky (22-26-48), Parker Kelly (21-22-43), Curtis Miske (20-23-43)

20-year-olds: C Curtis Miske (20-23-43), RW Devon Skoleski (14-20-34), C Jordy Stallard (14-23-37)

Imports: LD Vojtech Budik (Czech Republic), LW Simon Stransky (Czech Republic)