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Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 GREY CUP PHOTOS


WELCOME TO VANCOUVER!

Here's the first batch of photos from the 102nd Grey Cup in Vancouver.  We're out here with 620 CKRM and the SportsCage getting ready for the CFL championship game between the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday...



Here are two of the 700 volunteers who've signed on for the week...





Everyone knows the Grey Cup is on in Vancouver.  It's not like Toronto.  Jiam Ghomeshi is front page news out here too...




These player murals were very impressive..



That's Taj Smith on that second banner.  You can tell by the way he runs...




The Rider Cheer Team is staying in our hotel and here they are congregating in the lobby..




The outdoor bandshell which anchors the Festival area...



One of the most beautiful areas in the country..




Rider Priders...



TSN's Kate Beirness chats with TSN 1050 Toronto's Steve Simmons and Dave Naylor...



Kate visits with TSN's Gary Lawless for appearing on CKRM's SportsCage...


CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder poses with the Grey Cup "Fun Police".  The guy in the Rider outfit is a former co-worker of mine from CFSL Weyburn -- Duncan Hanni...



Can't explain this.  A lobster following a bagpiper...



TSN's Paul Lapolice pops by the SportsCage...


A Grey Cup tradition -- the 620 CKRM Roughrider Pep Band pops by our broadcast location to perform alive..




CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon mockingly conducts the band on 620 CKRM.  What a picture!



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I'll be back Friday morning with some Grey Cup notes...

RP

STEINHAUER'S NAME CHURNING THE RUMOUR MILL

VANCOUVER - It hasn't taken Orlondo Steinauer long to get noticed in the CFL.

Despite being in just his second year as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' defensive co-ordinator, Steinauer is already regarded as one of the CFL's top head-coaching candidates. His name has been mentioned prominently here this week regarding the B.C. Lions' vacancy.

B.C. fired head coach Mike Benevides following its 50-17 East Division semifinal playoff loss to the Montreal Alouettes on Nov. 16. Steinauer, a 41-year-old Seattle native, reiterated Thursday he'd like to become a CFL head coach one day but said emphatically his focus is solely on facing the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup game Sunday at B.C. Place Stadium.

"I'm not even here to talk about that stuff,'' he said. "If you want to know if I've been approached by anybody or had contact? Zero.''

The Ticats, under head coach Kent Austin, finished atop the East Division with a 9-9 record and are making their second straight Grey Cup appearance. Hamilton lost last year's game 45-23 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.

This year's game is a neutral-site affair but Calgary was the class of the CFL, posting an 8-1 road record and 15-3 overall mark, both league bests.

Calgary's offence averaged a league-high 144 yards rushing per game while running back Jon Cornish ran for a CFL-high 1,082 yards despite playing in just nine contests.

But Calgary is hardly a one-dimensional offence. First-year starter Bo Levi Mitchell completed over 60 per cent of his passes for over 3,300 yards with 22 TDs and just eight interceptions.

Mitchell had four TD passes last weekend in Calgary's 41-18 win over Edmonton in the West Division final. Hamilton was the CFL's top defence against the run (76.8 yards per game) but a distant eighth versus the pass (260.4 yards per game).

"They're well prepared and have an identity,'' Steinauer said. "Everyone wants to label them as a team that runs the football, however they showed you the last game if you pack the box they will throw it deep.

"If you're going to play press man and bring pressure they're going to have an answer. That's makes them tough and is why they've won 29 games the last two years. But we're here for a reason too, we can play football a little bit also and I'm looking forward to seeing how we respond because you always want to play the best.''

The five-foot-11, 182-pound Steinauer played 12 seasons as a defensive back in the CFL with Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto. A five-time league all-star, Steinauer won two Grey Cups ('99 with the Ticats, '04 with the Argos).

Steinauer began his CFL coaching career as a defensive backs coach with Toronto in 2010 before being named the defensive co-ordinator the following year after Chip Garber was fired. In 2011, he returned as defensive backs coach under new head coach Scott Milanovich and helped the Argos win the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 before being named Hamilton's defensive co-ordinator.

It's easy to see why Steinauer is being mentioned so favourably as a future head coach. Not only is he regarded as a student of the game but Steinauer is always personable and pleasant to deal with and offers insightful, genuine answers to questions.

"First of all, Orlondo is an outstanding person and the reason I start there is typically outstanding people really care about their job and the opportunity they've been given,'' Ticats head coach/GM Kent Austin said. "They also understand the value of that opportunity and will take advantage of it in the proper way.

"Orlondo is very bright and organized and an extremely hard worker. He's endearing to his coaching staff and players yet he keeps them accountable. He has the right balance between grace and accountability all the way down to the individual player because it's different for each guy and you need to know that as a coach.''

The harsh reality for head football coaches is the more successful they are, the higher the risk of losing their top assistants. But Austin said that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"It means we're doing something right and we hired the right guys,'' Austin said. "Our philosophy is to get the best coaches we can and then empower them to grow.

"I've let Orlondo go through mistakes and grow as a coach as I have all the coaches because they can't get better if you're micro-managing them. If you believe in your coaches and believe you have the right guys, then trust them.''

Steinauer said being a former player has helped him transition into being a coach.

"I've sat in their seat, I know when a coach is giving you the real talk and things that are cliche,'' he said. "I understand when they need breaks a little bit better . . . when it's time to give them time off.

"Like I tell the men, I don't have 30 years of coaching experience, I'm not (Calgary defensive co-ordinator Rich) Stubler, I'm not one of those guys who has coached forever. But they can't bring what I bring, they don't have 12 years of experience of understanding how things were managed the other way so that's why it was important to me to surround myself with great assistant coaches like Jeff Reinebold (linebackers coach/special-teams co-ordinator) and Dennis McPhee (defensive line coach) . . . you must have a good mix of experience and youth in the coaching staff.''

The Grey Cup game will pit master against pupil as Steinauer played for Stubler from 2003-08 in Toronto. Stubler, 65, is a 40-plus year coaching veteran who has worked at the high school, NCAA, Arena League and CFL levels over his illustrious career.

"He has withstood the test of time because he understands the game and has a philosophy he believes in,'' Steinauer said. "I got to play for Rich and watch how he pieced that together and be a part of it . . . but I'm a product of all the guys I've played under.''

(Canadian Press)

PATS 5 COUGARS 2, GIANTS FIRE COACH

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Morgan Klimchuk scored twice as Regina topped the Cougars 5-2 on Wednesday, upping the Pats' record to 2-1-0 on their west coast trip.

Connor Gay had a goal and an assist for the Pats (14-10-1) while Sergey Zborovsky and Adam Brooks also scored.  Daniel Wapple picked up the win in goal making 30 saves.

Jari Erricson and Jared Bethune replied for Prince George (13-14-0).

The shots were tied 32-32 while the Pats were 1/3 on the powerplay and 4/4 on the penalty kill.

The Pats continue the road trip Friday in Kamloops at 9 pm on 620 CKRM.


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VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Giants announced Wednesday that Troy Ward has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Western Hockey League team.

Assistant coach Matt Erhart has been named the club's interim head coach while strength and conditioning coach Ian Gallagher and skills coach Yogi Svejkovsky will serve as assistants.

"Obviously with where we are in the standings, it just wasn't working with Troy,'' said Giants general manager Scott Bonner. "This is the unfortunate part of sports, but we thought change was needed. We wish Troy all the best in the future.''

The Giants are last in the WHL's Western Conference with a 9-16-0 record. They've won just two of their past 10 games.

This season was Ward's first as head coach of the Giants. He previously served as head coach of the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat from 2010-2014.

Ward also served as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons, from 1997-2000.

(The Canadian Press)

GREY CUP WEEK UNDERWAY


VANCOUVER - They'll share the sidelines at B.C. Place as opponents Sunday, but Grey Cup head coaches Kent Austin and John Hufnagel have a CFL history together.

Austin began his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1987, when Hufnagel was a player-coach with the club. Austin went on to play 10 seasons with the Riders, B.C. Lions, Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, winning two Grey Cups ('89 with Riders, '94 with Lions) and passing for over 36,000 yards.

But on Wednesday, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach and general manager credited Hufnagel, the head coach/GM of the Calgary Stampeders, with helping him make a seamless transition to the three-down game following his collegiate career at Ole Miss.

"I've got a lot of respect for John,'' Austin said. "It (Canadian football) was a different game, a totally different game than what I was comfortable with and used to.

"Having somebody like John to kind of cut the corners, to give you the shortcuts that you needed to at least have a chance to be successful early on instead of going through huge growing pains with a guy that didn't have a lot of experience playing the position, was a huge benefit.''

And it was clear Wednesday that Austin still holds Hufnagel in high regard, allowing the Calgary coach to answer questions first and often agreeing with his counterpart.

Hufnagel, 63, remembers a young Austin taking advantage of his chance to play after injuries to other quarterbacks, including Hufnagel.

"My first year as a coach, I was a player-coach, and that player part of it only lasted three quarters then I tore my Achilles tendon,'' he said. "We had two young quarterbacks at the time, Jeff Bentrim and Tom Burgess, (but) they were injured.

"I brought Jeff Tedford up (but) he lasted four plays and broke his foot. And in that timeframe, Kent walks in, and prepares himself to play and his first start was against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Hamilton. He won his first start, had a terrific football game.''

Hufnagel and Austin followed similar paths to their current positions.

Both played at major U.S. colleges (Hufnagel starred at Penn State) and spent time in the NFL before coming to Canada. After winning Grey Cups as players, Hufnagel and Austin began their coaching careers in the CFL, then headed to the U.S. before returning north of the border to head up their respective franchises' football operations departments.

After serving as an assistant with Saskatchewan ('88) and Calgary ('90-'96), Hufnagel took over as head coach/GM of the Arena Football League's New Jersey Red Dogs. He had stints in the NFL as quarterbacks coach with Cleveland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and New England and offensive co-ordinator with the New York Giants before returning to the Stampeders.

During his time in the NFL, Hufnagel had the opportunity to coach big-name quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning as well as Tom Brady, earning a Super Bowl ring with New England in 2003.

Hufnagel said he didn't have a burning desire to leave the CFL when he left for New Jersey. But after being bypassed for three head-coaching positions while an assistant with Calgary, Hufnagel said he wasn't about to let the next opportunity pass him by.

"Once all the smoke cleared (in '95) I was still an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders, which was fine,'' Hufnagel said. "But I did say that - to myself - the next time the phone rings and a head coaching job is offered, I would accept it, no matter what the time of year.

"And happened to be the New Jersey Red Dogs . . . and that's why I left the CFL, to take advantage of a head coaching job.''

Austin finished his playing career after the '96 season with Winnipeg. He joined the Ottawa Renegades quarterbacks coach in '03 before becoming Toronto's offensive co-ordinator. He was hired as Saskatchewan's head coach in '07. After winning a Grey Cup he returned to Ole Miss as the offensive co-ordinator and then spent three seasons as Cornell's head coach before returning north with Hamilton in 2013.

Austin and Hufnagel are the only ones in the CFL with the dual coach/GM titles, with Austin also being Hamilton's director of football operations.

"I'm not sure it's an advantage, it's a little bit more single-minded as far as the direction you want to take,'' Hufnagel said. "And everybody that's working for you has that single direction.

"It's a lot easier to get things you want as far as the grocery list. And so I enjoy it. It's a unique position, and I relish the job that I have in Calgary.''

Austin agreed.

"I would just reiterate what John said,'' he said. "I mean, it gives you the ability to choose your team and to piece the puzzle together the way that you and your staff believe is the best.

"...At the end of the day, if you can make the decision to build your team, then the buck really falls with us to put together a team that has a chance.''

Hufnagel has certainly put Calgary in position to win since his return, amassing an impressive 89-36-1 regular-season record. But some football pundits point to Calgary's 6-5 playoff record and just one Grey Cup title over that span. Twenty-five players remain from the Stampeders squad that lost the 100th Grey Cup game to Toronto in 2012 and Hufnagel said those individuals have a chance Sunday to end the negative talk.

"There's been a lot of things said about this group of players over the years,'' he said. "Until they do something about it, it's going to keep on being said.

"I don't judge myself, that's what you guys (reporters) do. I just go to work every day and try to do the best job I can. We have a pretty good regular-season record and we're batting one game over 500 in the playoffs. I'm not so sure there's a whole lot of teams over the last seven years that can say that.''

Austin is appearing in a third straight Grey Cup as a head coach, winning in '07 with Saskatchewan before losing last year's finale to the Riders at Mosaic Stadium.

"The truth of the matter is you have to have many great people around you,'' Austin said. "I've been really fortunate to have the ability to have a great staff, first and foremost, have a great organization in both cases that produced an environment to allow us to be successful.''

Hufnagel said the first coaches to make a favourable impression upon him as a player were the late Joe Paterno at Penn State and Cal Murphy, the longtime Winnipeg head coach/GM who died in 2012. Once he became a coach, Hufnagel credits New England coach Bill Belichik and B.C. Lions GM Wally Buono, Hufnagel's head coach in Calgary, as the ones who've influenced him the most.

"Cal was a tremendous football coach,'' Hufnagel said. "I really respected how he handled the day-to-day functions of the team and how he handled the players.

"Having one year with (Belichik) was a bonus as far as me developing into a head coach because of the structure that he brings to a football team. Wally, well, I based most of my organization and how we do things from Wally's program. Those three have had a big impact on whatever I've accomplished in coaching.''

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today the officiating crew that will work the 102nd Grey Cup to be played in Vancouver on Sunday, November 30th at BC Place Stadium. This group of officials were the highest rated officials at their respective positions during the 2014 season.

2014 Grey Cup Officials:
Referee #28 Andre Proulx
Umpire #31 Ben Major
Head Linesman #67 Justin McInnes
Line Judge #74 Tim Kroeker
Side Judge #21 Don Carmichael
Back Judge #42 Carey Anderson
Field Judge #51 Bryan Taylor

Backup Referee #48 Kim Murphy
Backup Official #34 Ritchie Miller
Backup Official #57 Marty Carreau

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VANCOUVER - Grey Cup organizers say about 4,300 tickets remain unsold for Sunday's game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Jamie Pitblado, 102nd Grey Cup Festival general manager, said Wednesday there was a spike in sales after the two clubs advanced with playoff victories on Sunday, but added there are still plenty of seats available.

"We're definitely headed in the right direction,'' he said. "(We) will keep focused and keep working with the teams and their fans to make sure we can accommodate whatever requests and needs are coming in.''

The last three Grey Cup games have featured the host team, but the B.C. Lions were eliminated in the first round of the 2014 post-season, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their rabid fanbase were also knocked out at the same stage.

That has made the job of selling the game at the 54,500-seat B.C. Place Stadium more difficult, along with the fact that Vancouver also hosted the Grey Cup just three years ago.

"I think the excitement's building,'' said Pitblado. "I think it's building for more than just the game, but the festival as well - the whole experience.''

(The Canadian Press)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

102nd GREY CUP PRIMER

To capture their first Grey Cup title since 1999, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will have to corral Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish.

Calgary and Hamilton will square off in the CFL title game Sunday at B.C. Place. It will be the Ticats' second straight championship appearance after losing last year to Saskatchewan, while the Stampeders return for the first time since dropping the 100th Grey Cup game to Toronto at Rogers Centre in 2012.  Here are some notes:

1 - DIVISION LEADERS: The two teams finished atop their respective divisions. Calgary posted a league-best 15-3 record, while Hamilton had a 9-9 record to finish tied with Montreal but secured first based upon head-to-head point differential.

2 - CHILDREN OF THE CORN: Cornish was the CFL's top rusher this season with 1,082 yards despite playing just nine regular-season games. The 30-year-old native of New Westminster, B.C., won a third straight rushing title and anchored a Calgary ground game that was the league's best, averaging over 140 yards per contest.

3 - STEEL CURTAIN: Cornish and Co. will face a Hamilton defence that allowed a league-low 76.8 yards rushing during the regular season. Calgary won the season series 2-0 by a combined 13 points without Cornish, who missed both contests due to injury.

4 - SEASON SERIES SWEEP:  On Aug. 16, Hugh Charles ran for 102 yards on 14 carries in Calgary's 30-20 victory over Hamilton at McMaster University. A month earlier, the Stampeders edged the Ticats 10-7 as Justin Medlock had a chance to tie the game with a 29-yard field goal but Luke Tasker had trouble with the snap, preventing Medlock from getting the boot off.

5 - MORE ON CORNISH: The challenge facing Hamilton, though, is that Cornish is much more than just a premier running back. Edmonton held Cornish to 54 yards rushing on 14 carries Sunday in the West Division final but Cornish burned the Eskimos for 120 yards receiving and a TD on four catches in the Stampeders' convincing 43-18 win.

6 - OFFENSIVE JUGGERNAUT:  But the Stampeders do more than just run the ball well. They led the CFL in scoring (28.4 points per game) and were second in total offensive yards (363.2 per game).

7 - KEEPAWAY:  More importantly, the Stampeders rarely beat themselves. They committed a league-low 29 turnovers while forcing 43 for a CFL-leading plus-14 differential and were the league's least penalized squad.

8 - RED CURTAIN:  Calgary's defence is often overshadowed by its high-powered offence but this unit is very good. The Stampeders were second in fewest points allowed (19.3 per game) while Jamar Wall finished tied for the league lead in interceptions (six) and veteran Keon Raymond had five.

9 - SACK ATTACK:  Despite missing top pass rusher Charleston Hughes for much of the season, Calgary was tied for fourth with 50 sacks as Shawn Lemon had 13 to stand tied for second overall.

10 - BO KNOWS:  Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was solid in his first season as the starter, completing over 63 per cent of his passes for 3,389 yards with 22 TDs and just eight interceptions. And on Sunday, Mitchell threw four touchdown passes against Edmonton.  Mitchell started both Calgary wins over Hamilton, completing 39-of-62 passes for 472 yards with a TD and interception.

11 - BREAUX KNOWS:  But Hamilton's defence will offer matchup challenges as cornerback Delvin Breaux has the ability to play man-up on an offence's top receiver. That gives the secondary the ability to potentially double-up on the No. 2 receiving threat.

On Sunday, Breaux held Duron Carter, Montreal's top receiver this season, to just three catches for 25 yards. So the Ticats were able to secure a 40-24 victory in the East final despite S.J. Green registering six catches for a game-high 128 yards and three TDs for the Alouettes.

12 - ZACH ATTACK:  The Stampeders' defence will get its first live look at Hamilton starter Zach Collaros on Sunday. Collaros missed both regular-season meetings recovering from concussion-like symptoms.

Like Mitchell, Collaros is in his first season as a CFL starter and Hamilton is a different team with him. The Ticats were 8-5 with Collaros in the lineup, and just 1-4 without him.

Not only is Collaros an accurate passer (65.8 per cent completion average with 15 TDs and nine interceptions) but his mobility allows him to escape the rush or head upfield. There's no doubt who makes the Hamilton offence go.

13 - SLICK NIC:  Hamilton also sports a bona fide rushing threat in Nic Grigsby. The former Winnipeg Blue Bomber ran for 93 yards and two TDs on 18 carries Sunday and in the Ticats' two wins over Montreal (including 29-15 home victory Nov. 8) Grigsby had 186 yards rushing and three TDs on 37 carries.

14 - SPEEDY BANKS: Calgary must also be very weary of Hamilton kick-returner Brandon Banks. The five-foot-seven, 153-pound Banks was a one-man show Sunday, returning two punts for TDs and having a third called back due to a penalty.

Banks had five returns for playoff-record 226 yards and the two touchdowns tied a playoff mark. Against Calgary this year, Banks had 10 punt returns for 116 yards and no TDs.

15 - BROADCAST:  Kickoff in Sunday's 102nd Grey Cup is scheduled for 5:30 pm Sask time and will be carried on TSN and 620 CKRM Radio in Regina.

(Canadian Press)

THE WEDNESDAY THRILLER ... WITH PHIL ANDREWS

Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews
The Regina Pats continue their West Coast road trip Wednesday night in Prince George against the Cougars.

The Pats are 1-1 so far on the trip having won in Vancouver (6-2 Friday) and lost in Victoria (5-0 Saturday). Was pretty cool to see Jordan Hollett, the team's 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft, make his first WHL start. (picture below).

He might like to have one goal back but overall he battled hard and looked pretty darn good for a 15 year old. He is back with his midget club now at the OHA.


 Sam Steel taking a shot on Hollett in the pre-game in Victoria.



Here's a look from the broadcast booth at the Pacific Colleseum in Vancouver, the Pats won 6-2 that night.


And from the Save On Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, a 5-0 loss.

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SLAPSHOTS

- On Thursday in Vancouver, some of the staff took in the Canucks and Ducks at the Rogers arena. A good game to go to, the return of Ryan Kesler who got booed pretty bad by the Canucks fans and got to see Bo Horvat's first ever NHL goal. I came away thinking the Canucks are a pretty darn good team, better than the last two years no doubt. Radim Vrbata looks good playing with the Sedins.

- Now on the the Cougars tonight. Prince George leads the WHL in penalty minutes, while the Pats lead the Eastern Conference. Should be a tough, physical affair tonight. The Cougars are 13-13-0-0 on the year, the only team yet to go past regulation this season. They have some top end talent in Jensen Harkins who sits tied for 14th in league scoring and are a dangerous team.

- The Pats will be tested tonight and you have to think it's a must win game before closing out the trip against Kamloops and Kelowna. The team will play against their former teammate Logan McVeigh in Kamloops Friday, he has 3 goals and 6 assists in 15 games with the Blazers and in talking with him on Tuesday, he is enjoying playing for Don Hay in his final year in the WHL. The Blazers head to Everett today for a day trip against the Silvertips, a 7 hour drive. One thing is for sure, the travel in the East Division is a heck of a lot easier than here out West.

- The Prince Albert Raiders new mascot is no more. The team unveiled the mascot and immediately were met with criticism for resembling a Middle Eastern caricature. It was a throwback to on old Raiders logo. The team did not mean any offense by it and I totally believe that. But in todays day and age you just can't get away with anything like that.

- I know everyone says this but how bad are the Edmonton Oilers... They have lost 7 in a row and are losing in convincing fashion. We were on the air in Victoria Saturday and I glanced up at the TV to see the Blackhawks were up 6-0 late in the 2nd. I don't know what or how but something has to give. The organization needs to make some kind of major change.

- Rest in peace Pat Quinn, as a Leaf fan he is one of my all time favorites as coach and GM from when I was a younger man. He was one of the best. Thought's and prayers with his family and friends. The hockey world lost a good one.

- On to the CFL playoffs, is it just me or has the post season just epitomized the entire year? Sat down and watched the West and East Finals on the weekend and while the Alouettes were in it for a while in Hamilton they got blown out and then Calgary absolutely dominated Edmonton in the West. Where has the exciting, down to the wire games gone? I thought the Eskimo defense was going to put up another great showing and book a ticket into the Grey Cup but they played the opposite of the West Semi-Final game against the Riders. Or maybe was the Rider offense just that bad? I don't know. Here's hoping the Grey Cup offers some type of entertaining football.

- In the NFL, Robert Griffin's comeback has been less than pleasurable for Washington Redskins fans. The skins are reportedly starting Colt McCoy at QB come Sunday. My how Griffin has fallen from his all-star rookie season.

- So I'm growing a mustache for Movember as a part of the Regina Pats Movember team. Have a look at our page! http://ca.movember.com/mospace/team/

- Be sure to check out tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7. We have a special feature done by Daniel Fink recapping the players who took part in the Project First Goal in East Hastings Vancouver. I also caught up with Austin Wagner and James Hilsendager. 6:30 it starts.

- That's it for me today, talk to you from the rink tonight with our pre-game at 8:35 from Prince George.

Phil 
@PhilTheThrill18 

WEDNESDAY EYE-OPENER

Corey Perry scored for the first time since being diagnosed with the mumps as the Anaheim edged Calgary 3-2. Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri helped the Ducks get a big lead and they held on for their 19th-straight home victory against the Flames. T-J Brodie and Jiri Hudler scored for Calgary.

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Cory Schneider is still winless against his former team. His goaltending counterpart Ryan Miller made 20 saves for his second shutout of the season as Vancouver beat New Jersey 2-0. Schneider made 34 saves in the loss. Alex Burrows and Shawn Matthias scored for the Canucks, who are now second in the Western Conference.

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Bobby Ryan scored the only goal in the shootout as Ottawa rallied to beat St. Louis 3-2. The Blues lost goalie Brian Elliott to a lower-body injury late in the second period. The win snapped the Sens two-game losing streak. Elsewhere in the NHL, Dallas beat Edmonton 3-2, Winnipeg doubled-up Columbus 4-2 and Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and Daniel Briere provided the game-winner in overtime as Colorado rallied to beat Arizona 4-3. Calvin Pickard stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief of Reto Berra, who allowed the Coyotes to take a 3-0 lead after just 11 minutes.

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Another death in the hockey community tonight. Five-time All-Star Murray Oliver has died from a heart attack at the age of 77. He began his NHL career in 1957 and played for Minnesota, Detroit, Boston and Toronto. The Hamilton native lived in a Minneapolis suburb and died on Sunday.

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In the N-B-A, Stephen Curry had 40 points and Klay Thompson added 24 in Golden State's 114-97 win over Miami. The Warriors are third-best in the league at 11-and-3. Golden State has won six in a row.

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A big effort from the Atlanta Hawks bench led them to a 106-102 win over Washington. Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack came off the bench to score the Hawks first 16 points of the fourth quarter. That sparked a 22-5 run that built a 14-point lead. Jeff Teague had a game-high 28 points for Atlanta, who host the Toronto Raptors tonight.

(Canadian Press)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

5 GREY CUP STORYLINES

The Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats meet in the Grey Cup Sunday at B.C. Place. Here are five storylines to watch heading into the big game:

Grey Cup Drought - Both teams will be looking to end Grey Cup dry spells. The Stampeders last won a championship in 2008, head coach/GM John Hufnagel's first with the club. The Ticats have to go all the way back to '99 for their last CFL title, which coincidentally came against Calgary at Vancouver. Both teams also lost in their last Grey Cup appearance, with Calgary falling to Toronto in the 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre in 2012 and Hamilton dropping last year's contest to Saskatchewan at Mosaic Stadium.

Swan Song? - A perennial all-star over his 11-year career in Calgary, Lewis had just 37 catches for 377 yards and no TDs this season. There were times the 32-year-old was a healthy scratch. After eight straight 1,000-yard seasons, Lewis has combined for 69 catches for 777 yards and three TDs the last two years, but to be fair his 2013 season was marred by fractured fibula that limited him to just seven games. There will be persistent talk this week about whether the Grey Cup game will be Lewis's final one in a Calgary uniform.

Grey Cup Rookies - Both Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell and Hamilton's Zach Collaros are in the Grey Cup as first-year starters. Mitchell led the Stampeders to a pair of regular-season wins over the Ticats but Collaros didn't play in either game due to concussion symptoms. Hamilton's offence is more potent with the versatile Collaros, who is an accurate passer but also mobile enough to escape pressure and buy himself time to pass or head upfield. Mitchell helped lead Calgary to a league-best 15-3 record and his eight interceptions were the fewest among CFL starters.

Kent Austin Show - Not only does Austin have the Ticats in the Grey Cup for a second straight year, he's in the CFL title game for the third time as a head coach. Austin led Saskatchewan to the '07 championship in his first season as a CFL head coach before heading to the NCAA. He returned to the CFL last season with Hamilton but his '13 campaign ended with a 45-23 Grey Cup loss to the Riders at Mosaic Stadium.

Will They Come? - For the first time in four years, the Grey Cup host city won't have its team in the big game. It remains to be seen how excited Vancouver will be this week without the B.C. Lions to cheer for. Less than a week before the opening kickoff, the game still wasn't officially sold out.

(Canadian Press)

TRIBE TO RETIRE SMYTH'S NUMBER

The Moose Jaw Warriors are excited to announce that on Friday, February 6 they will retire Ryan Smyth's number 28, making his the fourth jersey retired in franchise history.
 
"On behalf of the Moose Jaw Warriors Board of Directors, Management, Coaches, Players, Staff, and our fans, we would like to congratulate Ryan Smyth on the retiring of his Warriors number," comments Moose Jaw Warriors Governor and President Chad Taylor.  "Ryan played the game with heart, determination, and character, all of which are what we feel best describes what it takes to be a Moose Jaw Warrior.  February 6th will be a memorable and special night Ryan Smyth and his family, the Moose Jaw Warriors, and the fans." 
 
"I'm extremely honoured and ecstatic about this, it's where my roots started," said Ryan Smyth.  "Junior hockey is a huge stepping stone to the pros and Moose Jaw was a huge part for me.  Thank you."

STAMPS OUT TO FINISH THE JOB


CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders have had one goal in mind since losing at home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 2013 West Division final.

From the outset of training camp, the Stamps set their sights on winning the Grey Cup. They'll now get that chance when they take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL title game Sunday at B.C. Place in Vancouver (5:30 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM).

"When that game ended, it was a very serious mindset with our guys,'' said Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell in regards to the 35-13 loss to the Riders on Nov. 17, 2013. "It's tough when you know you have the talent, you know you have the best team in the league and you don't finish it.''

Following that disappointing setback, the Stamps vowed to do everything they could to put themselves in a position to win their seventh CFL title and first since 2008.

"Honestly, we've had the recipe,'' said linebacker Keon Raymond. "It's just mixing the ingredients together to be able to get us to the point to where we want to be right now. Our goal from Day 1 in training camp was to make sure that we bring the Cup back to Calgary.''

The Stamps are now just one win away from accomplishing their mission thanks to a 43-18 win over the Edmonton Eskimos at McMahon Stadium on Sunday in the West Division final.

"Obviously we want to be happy about it, but it's hard to be that happy when you know you've got a lot of work ahead of you to win the big one,'' said Mitchell, who threw four touchdown passes and scored on a two-yard plunge across the goal-line in his first-ever playoff start against the Eskimos.

Veteran Calgary linebacker Juwan Simpson said the Stampeders are focused on finishing the job that they started.

"We just cleared another hurdle that we wanted to clear,'' Simpson said. "Ultimately all of this means nothing if we don't win the Cup.''

The Stamps finished the season with a league-best 15-3 record and earned a bye straight to the West final, while the Ticats finished atop the East Division with a 9-9 record before downing the Montreal Alouettes 40-24 at home on Sunday to earn a berth in their second straight Grey Cup game.

Despite playing in only half of Calgary's regular-season games, Jon Cornish ran for 1,082 yards to win his third straight rushing title. While the Eskimos held him to 54 yards rushing on 14 carries, Cornish had 120 receiving yards on four catches including a highlight-reel play where he caught a shovel pass from Mitchell and ran the rest of the way for a 78-yard score.

"Absolutely, if we lose this Grey Cup, that wouldn't be very fun,'' said Cornish, who didn't play in either of Calgary's two wins against Hamilton in the regular season. "I don't think that anybody has that ambition. Everybody that's going to be on this plane (on Tuesday) is going to be going there for one reason.''

(Canadian Press)

PATCHAT

The Week That Was
It was a transition week for the Pats that saw the team close out a stretch of home games and head out on the road to face western competition.

Tuesday night had the Pats up against the defending Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings.  Edmonton built up three one goal leads, but the Blue and White had an answer each time as they battled to a 5-4 overtime win.

After the contest, the Pats jumped on the bus to roll west to British Columbia.  The road trip started in Vancouver where after falling behind 2-0, the Pats rolled back with six unanswered goals in a 6-2 win.  The following day, the Queen City Kids hopped on the ferry to take on another ‘royal’ franchise in Victoria.  15-year old goaltending prospect Jordan Hollett made his WHL debut, but the Pats couldn’t find the back of the net as they dropped a 5-0 decision.

The Week Ahead
Wednesday, November 26th – Pats at Prince George (9:00 p.m. CST)
It’s a meeting between the two teams featuring new ownership groups as the Blue and White head North to take on the Prince George Cougars.  Last time the two teams met, the Pats put together a dominating performance with an 8-0 win.  Tune in to this week’s games on 620 CKRM or WHL Live Web TV.

Friday, November 28th – Pats at Kamloops (9:00 p.m. CST)
After a day off, the Pats start the home stretch of their five game road trip.  First up, Regina heads to Kamloops to face former Pats forward Logan McVeigh and the Blazers.  In their lone meeting of the season last year, the Blazers took a 4-3 shootout victory at the Brandt Centre.

Saturday, November 29th – Pats at Kelowna (9:05 p.m. CST)
A long trip comes to a close as the Pats take on the top team in the nation in the Kelowna Rockets.  The Rockets start the week with a 22-2-3-0 record, tops in the WHL.  Last year, the Pats took Kelowna all the way to overtime before giving way to the eventual regular season champs, 5-4 in overtime.

First Game in the Books
The Pats’ 13th Overall pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, Jordan Hollett, made his WHL debut Saturday night between the pipes for Regina.  The 15 year old stopped the first nine shots he faced before allowing Travis Brown’s powerplay marker.  Hollett turned aside 21 shots in the 5-0 loss.

Project First Goal
While the Pats had a day off in Victoria, four players headed back to Vancouver to take part in Project First Goal.  The players spent time with RCMP and Vancouver Police Officers before heading to East Hastings to speak with residents and addicts who live there.  The players will bring the messages of the people they met back to Regina area schools to speak with students about drugs and addiction.

Teddy Bear Toss presented by Southland Mall
The Pats next home game is just over a week away as the Blue and White take on the Brandon Wheat Kings for the first time since opening weekend.  Fans are encouraged to bring new stuffed toys to the game to throw on the ice when the Pats score their first goal of the game.  Overage forward Pavel Padakin comes into the game having scored the “Teddy Bear Goal” the last two years for the Calgary Hitmen.

Black Friday Special
The Regina Pats are pleased to offer a 24-hour sale on Individual Tickets, this Friday (November 28) in celebration of Black Friday.  Stay tuned for more information later this week via Social Media.

Give the Gift of Hockey
The Pats are pleased to present a Voucher Pack Bonus Offer for all purchases now until December 31st.  When you purchase any 8-Ticket Voucher Pack (Adult, Senior or Youth/Special Needs apply), receive two (2) bonus vouchers to make it a TEN PACK!  To purchase, visit the Regina Pats Office in the West End of the Brandt Centre, or call the office at 306-522-PATS (7287).

Important Dates
Wednesday, December 3rd  – Next Home Game - Teddy Bear Toss vs. Brandon – 7 p.m.

(Courtesy Daniel Fink)

TUESDAY EYE-OPENER

The Toronto Raptors just keep rolling. Jonas Valanciunas scored a career-high 27 points and had 11 rebounds in Toronto's 104-100 victory over the Phoenix Suns. DeMar DeRozan added 23 points for the Raptors, who have won five straight. Toronto is tied with Memphis for the best record in the N-B-A at 12-2.

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The world of hockey is mourning the loss of Pat Quinn. The former NHL player, coach and executive died at the age of 71. Quinn played parts of nine seasons in the NHL and went on to enjoy a long coaching career. His greatest achievement may have been guiding Canada to gold at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

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Erik Karlsson and Chris Neil scored in the third period for Ottawa, but the Senators could not catch the Detroit Red Wings in a 4-3 loss. Stephen Weiss led the Red Wings with a pair of goals. Ottawa continues its road trip tomorrow in St. Louis.

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There were three other games around the NHL. Frans Nielsen and John Tavares finally solved Philadelphia's Steve Mason in a shootout, and the New York Islanders outlasted the Flyers 1-0. Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime. And the Minnesota Wild downed the Florida Panthers 4-1.

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There were a pair of blowouts in Monday Night Football. Justin Forsett rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns as the Baltimore Ravens routed the New Orleans Saints 34-27. Earlier, Kyle Orton threw two touchdown passes as the Buffalo Bills shook off a trying week and crushed the New York Jets 38-3. The Bills were the home team even though the game was held in Detroit. Buffalo's home stadium was inaccessible after a freak snowstorm rocked western New York.

(Canadian Press)