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Friday, October 24, 2014

ROCK CREEK ROUGHRIDERS AT STAMPEDERS PREVIEW


SASKATCHEWAN (9-7) at CALGARY (13-2)
7:30 pm, Friday, McMahon Stadium
TSN, 620 CKRM, ESPN3

RIDERS: Road 4-4, vs West 4-4
STAMPS: Home 6-1, vs West 6-1

RIDER OFFENSE: RUSH 3RD, PASS 9TH, OVERALL 6TH
Kerry Joseph makes his second straight start (213 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) ... RB Anthony Allen leads the team in rushing (849 yds, 5 TDs) but will sit this game and be replaced by Jerome Messam and Keith Toston ... WR Rob Bagg is the team's leading receiver (653 yds, 1 TD) ... The Riders are 5th in points scored and 6th in sacks allowed.

STAMPS OFFENSE: RUSH 1ST, PASS 7TH, OVERALL 1ST
Bo-Levi Mitchell makes his first career start against Saskatchewan (2812 yds, 19 TDs, 7 INTs) ... Leading rusher Jon Cornish (977 yds, 5 TDs) will sit this game ... SB Marquay McDaniel is their leading receiver (627 yds, 4 TDs) ... Calgary is #2 in points scored and #1 in fewest sacks allowed.

RIDER DEFENSE: RUSH 7TH, PASS 6TH, OVERALL 7TH
DE John Chick continues to lead the CFL in sacks (14) ... DBs Mark Legree and Tristan Jackson lead the club in INTs (4) ... LB Brian Peters leads the club in tackles (6) ... The Riders are 6th in points allowed and #1 in sacks

STAMPS DEFENSE: RUSH 2ND, PASS 7TH, OVERALL 4TH
DE Shawn Lemon leads the club in sacks (9) ... LB Keon Raymond and DB Jamar Wall lead the club in INTs (4) ... DB Brandon Smith leads the club in tackles (65) ... The Stamps are #2 in fewest points allowed and 4th in sacks.

RIDER SPEC TEAMS:  K Chris Milo is 73% on field goals while P Josh Bartel is 4th in the CFL with an average of 44.5 yards ... Tristan Jackson leads the club in KR yards while Weston Dressler leads in PR yards ... Brian Peters is their ST tackles leader (18).

STAMPS SPEC TEAMS:  K Rene Parades is 72.2% on field goals while P Rob Maver is 3rd in CFL punting with an average of 45.2 ... Sederrik Cunningham leads in KR yards and Jock Sanders leads in PR yards ... Their ST tackles leader is LB Karl McCartney (19).

INTANGIBLES:  Calgary is a CFL-best +14 in the turnover ratio while the Riders are 2nd at +7 ... The Stampeders are the CFL's least penalized team while the Roughriders are 4th ... Calgary is favoured by 10.5-points ... The forecast calls for sunshine, a high of 10 degrees Celsius (50 above Fahrenheit and a west wind at 30 km/h ... The referee is Andre Proulx.

RP

DAYTONA HOMES FRIDAY RODSERVATIONS


15 GAME NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS

1 - THE USUAL: The Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-7) visit the Calgary Stampeders (13-2) Friday evening at 7:30 pm on TSN and the 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network.  It's the second of a two-game season series between the CFL West Division rivals.  Calgary won 31-24 back on October 3 in Regina in Week 15 action.   The forecast for the game calls for sunshine and a high of 10 degrees Celsius (50 above Fahrenheit) with a west wind at 30 km/h.  The Stampeders are favoured by nine points in the showdown.

Brendon Labatte (pictured above) will miss his third straight game with an upper body injury that's becoming increasingly concerning.  With all the bad luck the Riders have experience in 2014, perhaps at some point we may have to face the reality that perhaps this just isn't our year.

2 - BO KNOWS?: Calgary quarterback Bo-Levi Mitchell has set a CFL record going 14-1 as a starter (6-1 at home) but will be making his first career start against the Roughriders.  Kerry Joseph gets the ball for Saskatchewan.  With last week's 24-19 loss to Edmonton, Joseph is now 18-14 as a starter for the Roughriders.  He's 7-6 versus Calgary.

3 - THE MATCH-UP:  The Stampeders have won ten of the last 12 meetings between the two clubs including the last six straight at McMahon Stadium.  Saskatchewan hasn't won in Calgary in the regular season since August of 2009.

4 - PLAYOFF STREAKS:  Calgary has already clinched first place in the CFL West for an 18th time.  Only Edmonton has won more West Division pennants (22).  This is the 10th consecutive season Calgary has qualified for the CFL playoffs.  The Riders have clinched as well, for a third straight season.  They've been in the playoffs 12 of the past 13 years.

5 - RECORD WATCH:  Rider kick returner Tristan Jackson needs 59 more return yards to surpass Rider Hall of Famer Corey Holmes for #9 all-time in CFL history.  T-Jack to the Plaza of Honor?  Why not.  He's won as many Grey Cups!

6 - DURANT UPDATE:  The Saskatchewan Roughriders are 54-42-1 with Darian Durant as their quarterback dating back to 2008.  They are 11-16 without him.  Durant was placed on the 6-game injured list on Thursday - to save salary cap room - but could be activated later in the regular season or in the playoffs.

7 - A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH:  Rider linebacker and special teams ace Diamond Ferri will play in his 100th career CFL game Friday night at Calgary.  The three-time Grey Cup champion was clearly signed recently because he exemplifies the fiery "win at all costs" attitude Corey Chamblin is looking for.

8 - RUN THE BALL AND DON'T TURN IT OVER:  The team which rushes the ball the most is 60-9 in the CFL this season while the team which wins the turnover battle is also 60-9.

9 - QUARTERBACK CONSISTENCY:  Only two CFL teams have had the same starting quarterback for each and every game as we enter Week 18.  They are Toronto (Ricky Ray) and Ottawa (Henry Burris).

10 - STILL WAITING:  RedBlacks quarterback Henry Burris has gone four straight games without throwing a touchdown pass.  That's a career long drought.  His next TD pass will move him past Ron Lancaster into #3 all-time in CFL history at 334.  He's been waiting awhile.

11 - THREE-IN-THREE:  See what all the fuss is about!  The Regina Pats play three games in three nights this weekend beginning this evening in Swift Current.  Saturday and Sunday the Pats host the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes respectively.  The Pats certainly are a fun team to watch!  The Pats are fourth in the East Division, behind Brandon, Swift Current and Moose Jaw.  They are ahead of P.A. and Saskatoon.  If you reside in Regina and area, do you care about the Regina Pats right now?  Or is it true no one cares until Roughrider season is over?

12 - ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE:  The Flames routed the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 here last night.  We didn't go.  You have to feel bad for rookie Carolina head coach Bill Peters.  His first head coaching job in the NHL is with the league's worst team (0-4-2).  Miraculously, GM Jim Rutherford left that team in squalor and wound up running the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I was also surprised to learn Thursday night was Jonas Hiller's 22nd career shutout.  That's a lot of shutouts.

13 - THE O'DOG:  Initially I wasn't a fan of TSN hockey analyst Jeff O'Neil but he's growing on me.  (I'm kind of leery of neck tattoos).  However O'Neil is knowledgeable and he keeps getting more and more entertaining each time he's on the air.  A laugh out loud moment this week was when TSN panelist Aaron Ward was kidding host James Duthie about his ever changing hair colour.  (He dyes it you know).  And how about analyst Mike Johnston?  TSN built him up like the next best thing and then he turned around and kicked them in the teeth by jumping to Sportsnet.  It's a dirty business!

14 - I DISAGREE:  New Sportsnet anchor Carly Agro said this week, "The playoffs are when you find out who the real fans are!"   I couldn't disagree more.  You find out who the real fans are in Week 1 of the regular season.  Those are the ones who show up all year long and don't jump on or off the bandwagon.   I'm not sure what she meant by that.

15 - SLOW DOWN FOR GOD'S SAKE!:  Each day I pick my kid up from school and while I'm waiting, it's astounding to see how many people RACE through school zones.  Typically it's teenaged boys.  Some of these idiots actually PICK UP speed as they're going through a 40 km/h zone.  Your perspective changes once you have school-aged kids and their life is on the line.  Please slow down in school zones.

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ENJOY TONIGHT'S GAME!
RP
@sportscage

MULLINDER'S WEEK 18 PRIMER

By: Luc Mullinder
Ladies and Gentlemen....Herm Edwards and the greatest summarization of sports EVER:

“This is what the greatest thing about sports is.  You play to win the game.  HEELLLLO???  YOU PLAY. TO WIN. THE GAME!  You don’t play to just play it…That’s the great thing about sports…you play to win.  And I don’t care if you don’t have any wins…you go play to WIN.  When you start telling me it doesn’t matter, then retire…get out…cause it matters.”

Go to YouTube and enter Herm Edwards into the search bar and this sound bite from that quote pops up.  It’s funny to watch the frustration in Herm's face as he attempts to set the record straight to a reporter he’s clearly agitated with.  There is no “this game doesn’t matter” in sports Ridernation, and please don’t be drawn into that notion over the next couple of weeks.  In Corey Chamblin's eyes, it doesn’t matter who gets sent out there prior to the first round of the playoffs; the expectation is to COMPETE and to WIN if you are putting on the green and white.

ON PAPER, it doesn’t look like the Roughriders have much to play for other than figuring out a 3rd place or crossover scenario.  Coach Chamblin is already giving other guys an opportunity to showcase their abilities, and is also sitting certain players down that have nagging bumps and bruises.  Even the Stamps have stated that Cornish is a no-go due to SORENESS.  All in all, the depth charts look alarmingly different than we would have expected in a week 18 vs. Calgary match months ago, and there’s obvious ramifications and reasons as to why things are the way they are.  That’s where we all need to remember that we are ‘outsiders’ and the way that Ridernation conceptualizes the organization at this point is not the outlook that is being shared by the coaches and players.

There is plenty to play for!  That’s why I lead with Herm Edwards.  Professional athletes work too hard in their short window of opportunity to have any of the pending games “not matter.”  Try telling Keith Toston that this game isn’t as important as any of the previous competitions.  Look Corey Watman in the eyes and say that “we’re only using you to rest Chris Best.” Coaches spend far too many hours breaking down film and preparing the things that hopefully give their players an edge come game time.  Try telling George Cortez that we’ll all just hold out and hope Darian can play in the playoffs.  Every game, every snap, every opportunity means something in a sport where you’re literally one play away from having everything taken away from you.  Sure coach Chamblin has to figure out who he goes into the playoffs with and where they fit.  Sure Chamblin also has to balance the line between health and standings when it comes to some of his vets.

I can’t, for the life of me, figure out, how any of this points to the last two weeks of the season being meaningless.  “You play to win the game…you don’t just play to play it!”

Here’s some players and things to check out during the battle with the Stumps.

A Glimpse at the Future

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the deepest team in the CFL when it comes to Offensive Line depth. The future of the O-line in Saskatchewan will be on full display against Calgary on Friday and depending on the way the off-season shakes out, we may be seeing a couple of these guys a lot more and a lot sooner than expected.  The scouting department of the Riders has done an incredible job in finding these guys.   Levy Adcock, Dan Clark, Corey Watman, and Ben Heenan are an absolute testament to the quality of work that Craig Smith, Jeremy O’Day, Brendan Taman, and Coach Chamblin have put in.  Heenan and Adcock look like they’ll be starting tackles for the long haul, Dan Clark has made the most out of his opportunity, and Watman and Vonk have both shown signs of ability and aggressiveness that bode well for the future.

The fact that the Riders can go this deep into their bench when Labatte, Best, and Fulton are all ailing is made possible by the presence of the most underrated coach in the CFL, Doug Malone.  It cannot be stated how good a job Malone has done here since he jumped ship from Hamilton.  One of his (Malone’s) biggest accomplishments has been getting Chris Best to play with his hands “inside” consistently on run and passing downs.  That and a few footwork points have turned #66 into one of the CFL's best guards when he is healthy.

Expect to maybe see Vonk in some TE sets or, if the opportunity presents itself, playing some guard, but if that O-line doesn’t excite you a little bit Ridernation, take a gander at the rest of the CFL teams' second string O-line.  I’m guaranteeing you that you’d take these guys in a heartbeat.  The future will be on full display Friday night.

John Chick

It’s been tough lately for John Chick to make an impact in the CFL stat columns.  Even though he’s my boy, I’ve even put him down as being the 4th best D-lineman in the league right now behind Sewell, T. George and Odell Willis…wait…Willis?????  That ranking really has more to do with the momentum at which the guys are playing versus how they actually match up against one another.  But make no mistake about it Ridernation.  John is still one of the best pound for pound players in the league, just ask the opponent.

There is nobody in the CFL that commands more attention and additional blockers than #97.  Football purists will be in awe if they actually sat down and watched the scouting tapes whether it be run or pass.  There is a HUGE difference between making “the play” and making “the tackle.”  John’s teammates know how important he is when it comes to making “the play.”  There are examples of John’s work literally presenting tackles and sacks on a platter for his teammates, and that’s what the best players in the league do.  They provide opportunities for others.  They elevate other guys around them.  John’s performance may not be front and centre on the stat sheet folks, but if you were to be privileged enough to check out the coaches grading sheets, the marks from his peers and coaches would absolutely scream “MVP”.  #Grinder

Keith Toston

I’m not going to lie here … I thought Toston should have been in the rotation at the beginning of the 2014 campaign.  In camp and during his stints of play in the exhibition season he ran hard, and was the most physical of the RBs when it came to blocking for Darian Durant or whoever was slinging the rock at the time.  One has to admire his patience, probably due to lack of film, when it came to sitting and waiting for his opportunity, and now he’ll finally get some touches during a live bullets game.

It’s important for Toston to keep himself at a level of optimal playing ability.  That means if Toston plays his best football at a 7 out of 10 (for examples sake), he needs to do his best to maintain the 7 out of 10 feeling throughout the course of the process leading up to and through Friday's clash.  If he lets his emotions run too high, he’s going to tire easily and open himself up for mistakes made by ‘pressing the issue.’

If he’s too low, he’ll open himself up to mistakes made from not being focused on the rep at hand.  It’s a huge opportunity for Keith Toston.  And his presence does not equal the Riders going back to training camp mode for the last two games.  His presence represents the fact that he has worked hard on the things he can control as an individual athlete and that the coaches trust him to put the team in a winning position.

Stubler’s Scheme

Now that KJ has been at the helm for the Riders, and looked very good, Rich Stubler and the Stampeder defensive staff will clearly have a way that they want to play Joseph.  Stubler has a propensity for zone schemes, but they may be adjusted to combat the shorter routes that Joseph was successful with against Edmonton.  Calgary will probably be okay with Joseph using his legs here and there but their main aim may be to get Joseph to throw interceptions by throwing assorted zone looks at him

If you listen to Kerry address the media, you get the feeling of why his teammates love him and what gives them an actual chance going into the playoffs.  Everything Kerry talks about is based on the success of the TEAM.  If he’s dealing with a personal question, he reverts it a team issue.  It’s a far cry from the “I” and “Me” terminology that the young guys used in their interviews, but that’s okay!  Kerry should be providing that example to the younger guys.  It’s a team game, and when Kerry speaks, it’s from that standpoint.  I hope Doege and Sunseri are watching and learning, because there are valuable teaching points being thrown out there, and they need to be picking up on them for the future.

“YOU PLAY.  TO WIN.  THE GAME!”

The storyline in the media and the storyline of the actual team is never the same.  Granted, teams may ask a few guys to stay at home during the course of the coming weeks, but that by no means signifies the coaches conceding a victory.  There are too many hours in the gym, in the office, in front of the film screen, and maybe more importantly, away from home, to consider any game, a rest day.  There are 44 men that will dress for the Riders each week, no matter what the scenario, and those guys need to get a W.  The Riders need to be playing their best football going into the playoffs…knowing that, try telling the guys in the green and white, that there’s nothing to play for.
You have to be CHAMPIONS…All Day, Everyday.

#Properspective

FRIDAY EYE-OPENER

Sean Monahan scored his first goal of the season, then added another as the Calgary Flames toppled the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 at the Saddledome. Jonas Hiller stopped all 16 shots he faced to earn his 22nd career shutout. A moment of silence was held prior to the game to commemorate Wednesday's shootings in Ottawa.

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The Boston Bruins also commemorated the shootings in Ottawa by singing "O Canada'' at TD Garden prior to their 3-2 loss to the Islanders. Famed anthem singer Rene Rancourt did the honours. The Canadian anthem was also sung in San Jose before the Sharks took on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Ryan Miller was triumphant in his return to St. Louis. The Canucks goaltender stopped 31 shots en route to a 4-1 Vancouver victory over the Blues. Miller was traded from Buffalo to St. Louis last season, and played 19 games for the Missouri team. Vancouver scored three times in the third period to help snap a two-game losing streak.

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Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders as Denver tightened its lead in the AFC West with a 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Rookie running back Juwan Thompson added two T-D runs as the Broncos improved to 6-1. The Chargers meanwhile, lost their second straight game to fall to 5-3.

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A freak back injury has put the career of 40-year-old Lakers guard Steve Nash in limbo. The two-time NBA MVP from Victoria has been ruled out for the season after suffering this latest injury a few days ago while carrying his bags. The 2014-15 campaign would have been Nash's 19th in the NBA.

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The PGA of America president referred to Ian Poulter as a "little girl'' for his criticism of the way Nick Faldo and Tom Watson captained their Ryder Cup teams. Poulter was critical of both captains in his book, "No Limits,'' which was released this week. PGA President Ted Bishop said on his Facebook page that the criticism made Poulter sound "like a little school girl squealing during recess.'' He also tweeted a similar message at Poulter.

(Canadian Press)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

DURANT BACK TO THE 6-GAME

The Roughriders announced on Thursday morning QB Darian Durant has gone back to the 6-game injured list.

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders today announced international kick returner/running back Steven Miller and international linebacker Alvin Bowen have been added to the team. 
 
Miller (5'7 – 172) signs with the Riders after attending training camp with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League where he appeared in three preseason games registering two receptions for 39 yards. The 23 year old Appalachian State product spent part of the 2013 season on the Lions practice roster after originally signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in April, 2013. 
 
Bowen (6'2 – 225) will join the Green and White's practice roster. The Iowa State product spent the 2013 season with the Calgary Stampeders where he appeared in 11 regular season games registering eight special teams tackles, three defensive tackles, and one interception. He also played two regular season games for the Stampeders in 2014 recording two special teams tackles. 
 
The 30 year old previously spent four seasons in the NFL after being drafted by Buffalo in the fifth round (147th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

FOLEY CLOSING IN ON CAREER MARK

REGINA (CP) - Ricky Foley is back among the CFL's elite pass rushers.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders' veteran defensive end is fifth overall in sacks with 11, just one off his career-best. Foley, 32, of Courtice, Ont., was named the league's top Canadian in 2009 when he recorded a CFL-high 12 sacks while with the B.C. Lions.

The six-foot-three, 258-pound Foley has also recorded 51 tackles this season, which is 18 behind his career-high of 69 recorded in '11 with the Toronto Argonauts. While that mark would appear safe considering Saskatchewan has just two regular-season games remaining, Foley needs just one more tackle to post the second-best total of his nine-year CFL career.

But after registering a combined 10 sacks over three campaigns with Toronto (2010-12), Foley is at double-digits in a season for the first time since '09 and has recorded 19 sacks (and counting) since joining the Riders as a free agent prior to the '13 campaign. However, that's of little solace to the former York Lions star, who figures he's left more on the field this year.

"I've had nagging issues, I wouldn't say injuries because I didn't miss time but I've been battling a lot of things this year,'' Foley said. "I pulled a glute muscle (in 26-13 loss to B.C. on July 12) that I played through and looking at the film I felt I missed a lot.

"I probably should be around 20 (sacks) right now but you know, double-digits is still really good. I think I've put together some good games.''

Saskatchewan's defence has made life miserable for quarterbacks this year. John Chick has led the way with a CFL-leading 14 sacks, two ahead of teammate Tearrius George and three in front of Foley. Having to face three top pass-rushing threats certainly presents a challenge for a rival offence.

"It's almost like pick your poison,'' Foley said. "But the best thing is we know if one of us gets it going, the others will be like, 'OK, go be that guy and I'll cover for you and let you go.'

"It's a pretty good deal like that.''

Foley has developed quickly into a top pass-rusher. He didn't start playing football until he got to York and estimates he played roughly 20 games with the Lions before being drafted fourth overall in the '06 CFL draft by B.C.

"I played special-teams most of my first few years with B.C. so I don't really think I have much mileage on me,'' Foley said. "I've learned how to train now, how to take care of my body, how to eat properly.''

And that there's more than one way to win a Grey Cup. During his time in Toronto, Foley was required to do more in former defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones' scheme than just get to the quarterback. There were times he had to drop into coverage and allow a teammate to blitz from a different point on the field.

While Foley's sack total suffered, he did secure a championship ring, being named the top Canadian in Toronto's 35-22 victory over Calgary in the 100th Grey Cup game at Rogers Centre in November 2012.

"I've taken something from that to where it's easy for me to drop into coverage and I don't question it, I just do it,'' Foley said. "I understand it and my football knowledge is much more vast for playing in that system.

"And I think Chris Jones (now Edmonton's head coach) learned from it because you look at his line in Edmonton and he's rushing four guys the whole game. The game is always changing and whether you're a coach or player, you're always learning and expanding your knowledge regarding what works.''

Foley has been part of three Grey Cup-winning teams - '06 with B.C., '12 with Toronto and last year with Saskatchewan.

"It's weird because I used to have a career goal in mind to lead the league in sacks,'' Foley said. "I did that in '09, then I wanted to win championships every year so it's hard to say if this is going to be my best year.

"If I'm close to the (sack) total of '09, which I am, and we can get to the Cup, then yeah, I will consider it my best year for sure.''

SOME STARTERS TO SIT, TOSTON TO DEBUT

Keith Toston
The Roughriders held Day 1 of their practice week with a closed workout at Mosaic Stadium on Wednesday.

Afterwards head coach Corey Chamblin revealed they'll leave a handful of starters at home for Friday's game at Calgary.

The list includes SB/PR Weston Dressler, OG Chris Best, RB Anthony Allen and QB Darian Durant.

In the case of Durant, Chamblin said his top pivot practiced lightly on Wednesday and threw some short passes however the right elbow injured he suffered on September 7 hasn't come around to the point that he can be activated for Friday's game.

Chamblin also announced rookie RB Keith Toston will make his pro debut Friday night against the Stampeders.

Kickoff on Friday is 7:30 pm on TSN and the 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network.

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CALGARY - Calgary coach John Hufnagel says star running back Jon Cornish is unlikely to play when the Stampeders host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.

In a post on the Stampeders' official Twitter account, Hufnagel says Cornish will likely miss the game "due to general soreness.''

The Stampeders (13-2) have already clinched first place in the West Division and will want to have a healthy Cornish in the post-season.

Cornish, from New Westminster, B.C., leads the league in rushing with 977 yards despite missing seven games this season to injury.

Cornish missed six contests in July and August with concussion-like symptoms and didn't play against Montreal in September with what the tam called ``nagging injuries.''

(The Canadian Press)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CKRM'S WEEK 18 CFL PICKS 2014

SCHEDULE

Friday:
Montreal at Ottawa
Saskatchewan at Calgary

Saturday:
Hamilton at Toronto
BC at Winnipeg

ANNCR/RECORD/PICKS
LUC (51-19): MTL - CGY - HAM - BC
CARM (49-21) MTL - CGY - TOR - BC
REMPLE (49-21): MTL - CGY - TOR - BC
SHARKY (47-23): MTL - CGY - HAM - BC
BALLSY (47-23): MTL - CGY - HAM - BC
PHIL (47-23): MTL - CGY - HAM - BC
ABOU (46-24): MTL - SK - TOR - BC
SCHULTZ (46-24): MTL - SK - HAM - BC
SCRUFFY (45-25): MTL - CGY - TOR - WPG
R.P. (45-25): MTL - SK - HAM - BC
SAM (44-26): TBD
LYNCH (41-29): MTL - CGY - TOR - BC
COIN (41-29): TBD

* Winner gets a $100 gift card to the Press Box Sports Bar!

CFL THIS WEEK

MONTREAL AT OTTAWA - FRIDAY - 4:30 PM

Jonathan Crompton is 6-1 as the starter for Montreal (7-8) and looks to improve to 3-0 against expansion Ottawa (2-13). Crompton has won despite a 59.8 completion percentage and not having thrown for over 300 yards in any of his starts. The Alouettes' defence surrendered just four field goals in last weekend's 20-12 road win in Toronto. Veteran Henry Burris starts for Ottawa, which has dropped two straight and 11 of its last 12 games, but backup Danny O'Brien will see action.

Pick - Montreal
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SASKATCHEWAN AT CALGARY - FRIDAY - 7:30 PM

Having already clinched first in the West Division, Calgary (13-2) is unlikely to dress running back Jon Cornish due to general soreness. Cornish ran for 160 yards against Winnipeg and leads the CFL with 977 yards despite missing seven games due to injury. Kerry Joseph, 41, will make his second straight start for Saskatchewan (9-7) after completing 17-of-36 passes for 213 yards with two TDs and two interceptions in Sunday's 24-19 loss to Edmonton.

Pick - Calgary
_________________________________

HAMILTON AT TORONTO - SATURDAY - 2 PM

An important game for both as the winner clinches the season series but Toronto (6-9) needs the victory to remain within striking distance of first in the East Division. The Argos outscored Hamilton (7-8) 21-3 in the fourth quarter two weeks ago for a thrilling 34-33 win at Rogers Centre but managed just four field goals against Montreal last weekend. Newcomer Grigsby, who ran for 744 yards with Winnipeg, should boost Hamilton's ground game. Slotback Andy Fantuz (hamstring) isn't likely to play.

Pick - Toronto
_________________________________

BC AT WINNIPEG - SATURDAY - 5 PM

B.C. Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian could have two big reasons to smile Saturday night.

First, B.C. (8-7) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the struggling Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-10). Elimimian also needs 10 tackles to break the CFL single-season mark of 130 held by J.C. Sherritt of the Edmonton Eskimos.

Fortunately for Winnipeg, starter Drew Willy (hand) returns after missing last weekend's 33-23 loss to the Calgary Stampeders. Backup Brian Brohm was 14-of-23 passing for 194 yards before suffering a broken thumb.

No. 3 Robert Marve will serve as Willy's backup after completing 5-of-10 passes for 64 yards against Calgary. Running back Paris Cotton, who replaced the departed Nic Grigsby as the starter, had 108 yards and two TDs on 14 carries.

Winnipeg remains in playoff contention, but just barely. The Bombers would not only have to win their final two regular-season games - the other is a rematch with Calgary - but also get plenty of help to reach the post-season.

B.C. not only comes off a bye week but a pretty dominant 41-3 home win over Ottawa on Oct. 11. The Lions' defence hasn't allowed a touchdown its last three games, which isn't exactly good news for the struggling Bombers.

The Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-7) both face two potential playoff scenarios.

Currently, B.C. is fourth in the West Division, two points behind Saskatchewan, which has lost four straight. Either the Lions or Riders will secure the third Western playoff seed but the fourth-place squad would become the East Division's third playoff seed if it ended the regular season with a better record than the Eastern third-place finisher.

A more pressing concern for B.C. is Winnipeg, but the Bombers are just 1-7 against West Division competition this year.

Pick - B.C.

Last week - 3-1

Overall - 46-23

(Canadian Press)

THIS WEEK IN COUGAR ATHLETICS

Rams Football – The Rams (1-5) suffered a heartbreaking loss at UBC on Saturday, taking a one-point lead on the first play of the fourth but surrendering a pair of rouges – including with two minutes remaining – in the final quarter to lose 33-32. The Rams now need to win both of their remaining games to make the postseason and will also require some help on the out-of-town scoreboard. Fortunately for the Rams, both of their final games are at home – beginning with Saturday’s Week 7 matchup against Manitoba at Mosaic Stadium (2 p.m.).

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars (0-2) started out their conference season on the road last weekend with a three-set loss to Manitoba on Friday and a four-set loss to the Bisons on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars will now prepare for their Canada West home openers this weekend at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport, as they’ll host Winnipeg (3-1) on Friday (6:00 p.m.) and Saturday (5:00 p.m.).

Men’s Volleyball – After opening up Canada West play with a pair of road losses to Manitoba, the Cougars (0-2) will play their first home conference matches of the season this Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (6:30 p.m.) against Winnipeg (3-1). The men’s matches will follow the conclusion of the women’s matches both nights.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-2-2-1) recorded their third consecutive weekend split on Friday and Saturday, losing 5-3 to No. 10 Calgary in the first game of the two-game set before Emma Waldenberger’s successful attempt in the first round of the shootout stood as the only goal of the game in a 1-0 U of R win on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars are back in action this weekend with a pair of road games at No. 5 UBC (3-1-1-1).

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars won two of their three games on their road swing against NAIA opposition last weekend, starting out with a 69-63 win over Dickinson State on Friday. They were then edged 79-71 by Mayville State before finishing the trip with a strong effort in an 82-63 victory over Jamestown on Sunday. The Cougars are back at it this weekend with a trip to Ontario for a non-conference tournament hosted by Brock that will see them play York, Windsor, and the host Badgers.

Cross Country (Men’s CIS Ranking: No. 9) – Now entering the stretch run of the 2014 schedule, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Calgary this Saturday to run in the Stewart Cup. It’ll be the final race for both Cougar teams before the 2014 CIS Championships, which will be hosted on Nov. 8 by Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L.

Wrestling – The Cougars have their first meet of the 2014-15 season this weekend, as the men’s and the women’s teams will make the trip west to participate in the Dinos Invitational at the University of Calgary. It’s the first of three consecutive weekends of competition for the women’s team, with the Cougars also to compete in the Clan International on Nov. 1 and the Wesmen Invitational on Nov. 8.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (0-8-0) lost twice at Calgary last weekend, falling 5-0 on Saturday before having their comeback fall just short in a 3-2 loss on Saturday that saw them come back from a three-goal deficit with third-period goals by Austin Bourhis and Cody Fowlie. The Cougars will have this weekend off to regroup before returning to action on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at home against UBC.

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars went 2-1 at a non-conference tournament hosted by McGill over the weekend, defeating both Toronto and Lakehead but losing to the host Martlets. Alyssia Kajati led the Cougars in scoring all three games, piling up 23 on Friday, 14 on Saturday, and 21 on Sunday. The Cougars finish non-conference play with an 8-3 record against CIS competition and will have a weekend off before travelling to Victoria to begin Canada West play on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Women’s Soccer – The Cougars (5-5-2) were eliminated from postseason contention after 3-0 and 3-1 road losses to Saskatchewan on Saturday and Sunday. The matches are the final of the 2014 season for the Cougars, who finish in fifth place in the Prairie Division with 17 points and will graduate fifth-year players Molly Glass, Melanie King, and Jayde McFee.

(Courtesy Braden Konschuh)

THE WEDNESDAY THRILLER ... WITH PHIL ANDREWS

Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews
Some thoughts on the week that was...

1.) The Regina Pats took on the Portland Winterhawks Tuesday night at the Brandt Centre and fell 3-1 despite outshooting the visitors 35-30. Doing my game prep it was almost hard to believe the Hawks had just 2 wins on the season coming into the game. The Pats played a solid game and it was nothing short of excitement for 60 minutes. Brenden Burke and then Bolton Pouliot were fantastic in the Winterhawks goal. Tyler Brown was also impressive in just his second start in the league stopping 27 of 30 shots faced. Dryden Hunt scored the lone goal for the Pats and it was a beauty, a spinning back hand shot into the top corner. Yes it's a loss but this team is fun to watch.  I'll take it.

2.) As for the weekend for the Pats, Friday the team played really well but could not beat Wyatt Hoflin and fell 1-0 in Kootenay. It was as complete a game as the team had played all year but could not get the bounces. Pavel Padakin was the closest to scoring in the first period when he hit the post. Saturday Regina manhandled the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a 6-1 win. Tyler Brown was great in goal making 29 saves while Dryden Hunt and Connor Gay each had three point nights. Morgan Klimchuk made his season debut and scored his first goal of the year. Klimchuk was the lone goal scorer on Sunday in Calgary where the Pats lost 5-1 to the Hitmen. Regina could very well have been up 3 or 4 nothing in the game but missed some wide open nets and then the Hitmen found their game and took over in the second period. Overall it was a 1-2-0 weekend but very well could have gone the other way.

3.) I don't know what's more impressive, the fact that Sam Steel is a plus-8 or that he has 9 points on the season.

4.) Daniel Wapple's numbers don't tell the whole story in my opinion.  His goals against is over 3 and his save percentage under 900 but he has been good. With the chances teams have had against him, most goalies wouldn't have fared much better.

5.) Many of you have seen the story on the 180 million dollar lawsuit against the CHL for violating minimum wage laws. This really grinds my gears. Yes the players don't make minimum wage, no one disputes that, HOWEVER: Take into account housing, food, travel, equipment and education. What is the dollar value of all of that? If a judge rules the CHL needs to pay minimum wage, then teams would automatically fold. Yes there are clubs like the London Knights in the OHL that are making money but think of Swift Current, Prince Albert and Lethbridge... Throw any team that isn't in a major market on that list, they would be done. Maybe it could work if they make players pay to travel, eat and for their equipment and accommodations in terms of the teams bottom line but minimum wage wouldn't allow the players to afford it. This has the potential to kill junior hockey and frankly it's maddening. All this lawyer sees is dollar signs and the player he is using as the name behind the lawsuit is Sam Berg. The kid played 8 games in the OHL, yes 8 games. Absolute stupidity. Let's take it one step further, if the CHL is required to pay minimum wage, then shouldn't Junior A? the SJHL can BARELY stay afloat as it is. Again, if by some unbelievable sequence of events this goes through and teams are forced to pay, say good bye to junior hockey as we know it.

6.) Tough to see the Regina Thunder season come to an end on Saturday in a 20-17 loss to the Calgary Colts. I was unable to attend the game but from the sounds of things when running back Nick Brown went down, the offense struggled. The Colts are riding high and are in Saskatoon for the PFC final against the Hilltops on Sunday.

7.) Didn't see the Rider game on Sunday as we were on the air in Calgary with the Pats. Four straight losses is tough but not that surprising. Unless Darian Durant does come back I don't think the team will win against Calgary or Edmonton to finish the year. Fingers crossed he comes back.

8.) The Riders released Will Ford, Eron Riley and DeNarius McGhee on Tuesday. The moves don't make me scratch my head. Anthony Allen and Jerome Messam are more than capable of handling the running back duties.

9.) The World Series has started, two words: GO ROYALS. Yes the took one on the chin last night, 7-1 to San Francisco but I hope they bounce back. I also hope the time off after the ALCS didn't hurt them.

10.) Back to the Pats road trip, On Sunday in Calgary I got on the elevator to head down for breakfast. The elevator stopped and this guy who looked really familiar jumped on. A random girl who was riding with me immediately went crazy and got a picture with him. I stood there like an idiot trying to figure out where this guy was from. It bothered me all day. Then we get on the bus to leave for the rink in the afternoon and Pavel Padakin is showing off this picture he just got taken with Thoe Rossi (Juice Ortiz), who was in the elevator with me and Kim Coates (Tig Trager) from the show Sons of Anarchy. Just happens to be my favorite show... Can't believe I couldn't figure out who the guy was. Here is that picture, Rossi is on the left, the girl I don't know, Padakin is the third from the left followed by Kim Coates. Coates was born in Saskatoon. Pretty Cool!


Pats TV has been moved to Wednesdays at 7 o'clock on Access 7. Tonight my guests are Sam Steel, Jared McAmmond, Luc Smith, Colton Kroeker and Dave Struch.

That's it from me today, have a good week.

Phil 
@PhilTheThrill18

WINTERHAWKS 3 PATS 1

Photo courtesy Jared Dumba
REGINA -- The Portland Winterhawks earned a 3-1 win Tuesday in Regina despite being outshot 35-30. With the victory, the Hawks improved to 2-1 on the season-high six-game road trip through the East Division.

Portland got off to a flying start with a pair of special teams goals in the first period. Keegan Iverson opened the scoring with a power play goal 6:33 into the game for a 1-0 lead. They padded the lead at the 12:30 mark while shorthanded when Skyler McKenzie pounced on a long rebound and fired it past Regina netminder Tyler Brown for a 2-0 lead Portland took into the second. It was McKenzie's first career WHL goal.

Regina got one back 36 seconds into the second on a goal from Dryden Hunt as they got within one at 2-1, the lone goal of the period.

With under two minutes to play in the third and the game still 2-1, the Regina Pats took a pair of penalties to give Portland a 5-on-3 power play. While on the two-man advantage, Miles Koules found Chase De Leo on the doorstep, and he banged it home for a 3-1 lead which would stand as the final.

De Leo finished with two points with a goal and an assist, while Nic Petan also had two points on a pair of helpers.

Portland was outstanding on special teams Tuesday, going 2-4 on the power play and a perfect 7-7 on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal.

Regina's next game is Friday at Swift Current while their next home game is Saturday against the Broncos at 7 pm on 620 CKRM.

(Courtesy Graham Kendrick)

WILLY SET TO RETURN, FANTUZ TO MISS WEEK 18

WINNIPEG (CP) - With their season hanging by a thread, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers can at least look forward to the return of their regular starting quarterback on Saturday.

Drew Willy looked good in practice Tuesday after missing last week's game due to injuries.

"More than that, I liked what he said,'' coach Mike O'Shea said after practice. "He said he'll be fine.''

The Blue Bombers (6-10) will try to end a seven-game losing skid on Saturday against the B.C. Lions (8-7). Winnipeg will be eliminated from playoff contention with another defeat as the Lions are four points ahead in the race for the crossover spot in the CFL West.

Even if Winnipeg wins, the Blue Bombers would need a lot of help for a playoff spot to be possible. They would also need to beat the CFL-leading Calgary Stampeders and hope for a combination of B.C. and Toronto losses.

The Lions would need to lose their final two and the Argonauts (6-9) would have to lose two of their final three.

But first, the Bombers have to win, something they haven't managed to do since Aug. 22.

"We know we've got a good B.C. team coming in here,'' Willy said after practice Tuesday. "Their defence has been playing really well lately. They're not giving up touchdowns.''

And the Bombers haven't been scoring them.

"We've got to work extremely hard this week in the red zone to be efficient,'' he said. "We've been struggling in the red zone for sure at this part of the season so we've got to make sure we're executing at all phases.''

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HAMILTON, Ont. (CP) - The Hamilton Tiger-Cats won't have veteran slotback Andy Fantuz for their crucial road game Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Argonauts.

The six-foot-four 221-pound receiver suffered a hamstring injury in Hamilton's 16-6 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night.

Hamilton (7-8) is tied atop the East Division standings with Montreal (7-8). They're two points ahead of Toronto (6-9), which dropped a 20-12 home decision Saturday to the Alouettes.

The Ticats and Argos meet in an important match for both teams as the winner clinches the season series 2-1.

Fantuz has a team-high 62 catches for 639 yards and three TDs.

WEDNESDAY EYE-OPENER

James Shield's debut in this year's World Series didn't go as planned. Shield's only went three innings giving up five earned runs on seven hits as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in Game One. Hunter Pence hit a two-run home run in the first inning to lead the Giants offensively.

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The losing streak is over. The Winnipeg Jets snapped a four-game skid by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Adam Lowry scored his first goal of the season at 2:37 of the first period, which proved to be the winner. Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also chipped in.

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Ondrej Palat scored the winning goal three minutes into overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning staged a late rally to beat the Calgary Flames 2-1. The Lightning trailed 1-0 before finally solving Flames goaltender Karri Ramo with 2:16 left in the third period.

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Erik Cole scored two goals and Kari Lehtonen made 43 saves as Dallas held off Vancouver 6-3. Earlier, Phil Kessel scored twice to lead Toronto to a 5-2 rout over the New York Islanders. In Montreal, David Desharnais scored 56 seconds into O-T to lift the Canadiens over Detroit 2-1.  Finally in Nashville, Ryan Ellis provided a goal and two assists in regulation before scoring the deciding shootout goal in Nashville's 4-3 victory against Arizona. James Neal scored the tying goal in the third period for the 4-0-2 Predators.

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Anthony Bennett is finding his groove in Minnesota. The Brampton, Ontario native poured in 17 points to lead the Timberwolves in a 107-89 NBA pre-season win over the injury-riddled Indiana Pacers. Fellow Canadian Andrew Wiggins did not play.

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Isaiah Thomas was hot for the Suns. Thomas had a buzzer-beater at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game to O-T and added 26 more in Phoenix's 114-108 win over the L-A Lakers. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 23 points. Around the N-B-A, Miami edged Houston 90-85, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat Denver 93-75.

(Canadian Press)