Monday, March 2, 2015
REGINA -- Shomari Williams' second stint in Saskatchewan has come to an end. The former first overall draft pick in 2010 was released by the Riders today.
Williams joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a free agent in 2013 but was sent back to Saskatchewan in a trade for draft picks along with punter Josh Bartel.
In four CFL seasons, Williams has 90 defensive tackles, 50 special teams tackles, five quarterback sacks and an interception.
The Riders also announced that they have released linebacker Marvin Burdette.
GLENDALE, AZ -- Just a quick MMG today because it's been a long Sunday. We're in Arizona for Tuesday's Riderville Tour Party hosted by the Arizona Coyotes at their Tuesday home game against the Anaheim Ducks. Tons of Rider fans have already poured into the Phoenix area to get ready to celebrate the Rider Nation in the Valley of the Sun.
Tickets are still available at www.arizonacoyotes.com/riderville. Just enter the promo code RIDERS to get discounted seats and to sit with fellow Rider fans! Be sure to look us up if you're coming...
The Whiskey Rose restaurant & bar will host a special Roughrider tailgate party on Tuesday beginning at 4:00 pm. The honoured guest will be Riders' slotback Chris Getzlaf who's made the trek in from Anaheim for the festivities. There will be lots of giveaways from the Roughriders at Tuesday's party, and the Whiskey Rose will be decked out in Green & White.
My attorney William Howe of Regina and Phoenix We always travel together and Sunday we arrived early at the Westgate Plaza to check things out...
We're the Land of Living Skies but Phoenix isn't too shabby either! Here's a shot of the beautiful countryside before the sun went down...
1 - If you're dying for Roughrider talk, we've got you covered in the SportsCage this week. We'll be broadcasting live on 620 CKRM from the Whiskey Rose on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with several Rider guests. On Monday, our featured guest will be Roughriders President Craig Reynolds who will join us from Regina on his first official day on the job.
We also plan to be joined by Coyotes personalities such as head coach Dave Tippett, goalie coach Sean Burke and team President Anthony Leblanc. Sports personalities such as Darcy Hordichuk, Brad Elberg and Rob Pederson will be dropping by the show as well. Don't miss it!
2 - For those Rider Priders coming to the game, if you have already pre-determined you're cheering for the Ducks that's great. If you plan on cheering for the Coyotes, that's even better! And if you're on the fence, we urge you to root for the Coyotes and buy lots of merchandise as well. They've been nice enough to open their doors to us and couldn't be more accomodating.
We ran into several Rider fans on the flight on the way down, and they're stoked for the event. The plan wasn't for Rider fans to come down to Phoenix from Canada -- it was more for Roughrider fans in the Phoenix area to come out and celebrate the team but it's become a perfect storm. There will be plenty of photos published on the blog afterwards...
3 - From time-to-time it's nice to get out of the epicentre of Rider Nation - Regina - and visit with Rider fans across the continent. It seems the further out you go, the more optimistic fans are about the club. One elderly gentleman from Victoria, who was raised in Regina, has been gone from Saskatchewan for over 30 years but still follows the club closely. "I feel very positive about the season!" the guy said on the flight. "It seems like they've signed all the right guys!" We like the positivity, and concur.
4 - The question is already coming up daily: "How's Durant's elbow?" The last time I saw the Roughriders' quarterback - about a month ago - was in the Rider locker room and he smiled and said, "The arm feels great!" I can't imagine how tired he is of fielding that question but it's understandable. For now, I'm going with that and expect him to be 100% come training camp in June. I don't plan to get into a daily Durant Watch in March.
5 - There's another Regina flavour to this trip. Queen City product Dustin Molleken is the starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in their Cactus League game Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds here in Phoenix. Dustin's father Doug will be in attendance, as will we. Dusty's pumped to have some guys from his hometown in attendance to cheer him on and I hope it gives him a boost.
6 - A Roughrider coach is looking on Kijiji for accomodations for he and his fiance for the 2015 season. I just saw the ad, but don't know who the coach is. He's offering $750/month. Do you have a spare room to rent? Let us know in the comments section.
7 - Discouraging news coming out of Hamilton this week that CFL legend Angelo Mosca is battling Alzheimers. He was diagnosed with the horrible disease two weeks after this 78th birthday. There's extensive coverage of Angie's battle on the Drew Edwards' Scratching Post blog which you can find in the links on the left of this page.
The last time I talked to Angie was 2013 in Guelph, ON when the Riders took on his Ticats. He was swinging his cane playfully and grumbling about how little money he made on his autobiography. (We used the same publisher for our books). He seemed remarkably fine at the time but apparently he's taken a sharp downwards turn. What a shame.
8 - There will not be much Brier coverage down here in Phoenix but there were EIGHT pages of coverage in Sunday's Calgary Sun. Frankly since Saskatchewan's Brier drought is at 34 years, I've lost faith in our province's ability to bring it home and am following the bonspiel only casually. However if anyone can win it, it's Steven Laycock's Saskatoon rink. Interestingly the oldest skip at the Brier is Alberta's Kevin Koe at age 40. The average age of the skips in Calgary is 32.5.
9 - Has Toronto's Tyler Bozak been traded yet? Aside from its curling coverage, the Calgary Sun was packed full of NHL trade speculation on Sunday and they surmise Bozak - a Regina product - will be on the move. Columnist Mike Zeisberger writes that the Leafs aren't pleased with Bozak's "regression" nor his "attitude off the ice". When did this become a problem with Tyler?
Sadly the Arizona Coyotes dealt off some of their stars this weekend with Antoine Vermette going to Chicago and Keith Yandle going to the New York Rangers. Skilled forwards Hanzel and Boedker are done for the season so you'll have to punch me in the nose to see some stars at Tuesday's game. However the Coyotes' lone NHL All-Star, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, will suit up.
Interesting factoid with the Flames: they have three defencemen with 10 or more goals (T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Mark Giordano) for the first time since 1985-86 (Suter, MacInnis and Macoun).
10 - Congratulations to the Regina Pats for clinching a playoff berth with Sunday's 6-2 rout of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Brandt Centre! It's too bad we had to miss it. The Pats now head out for five straight on the road beginning Friday at Edmonton. But it's a tremendous feeling to know there will be playoff hockey in the Brandt Centre for a second straight year. Our SportsCage shows will be electric from the rink on those nights.
Meanwhile I see elsewhere in the Regina media that there's a movement afoot to retire more numbers by the club. The names of Jock Callander and Rick Rypien have been mentioned. Perhaps they're worthy, but I hope the Pats cool it with retiring jerseys for the next several years. Honouring players would be one thing but when you have to use numbers like 63 (Jesse Gabrielle) and 68 (Pavel Padakin), you start to realize they're running out of numbers.
THAT'S IT! TALK TO YOU MONDAY IN THE CAGE
Sunday, March 1, 2015
The Regina Pats clinched a playoff berth for a second straight season in fine style, routing the rival Moose Jaw Warriors 6-2 Sunday evening in the Brandt Centre.
Both clubs completed a busy weekend of three games in three nights and the evening started off with a bang as Regina's Pavel Padakin opened the scoring at 16:29 of the first period on a penalty shot.
After a scoreless second period, the Pats erupted for five goals in the final frame to put it away convincingly. Scoring for Regina were Rykr Cole, Braden Christoffer, Padakin with his second, Jesse Gabrielle and Adam Brooks.
Daniel Wapple made 27 saves to collect the win in Regina's goal. The Pats outshot the Warriors 39-29 while going 1/6 on the powerplay and 5/5 killing penalties.
The attendance was 4239.
Regina (34-20-5-4) has nine games remaining and now heads out for five straight on the road beginning Friday in Edmonton in an 8:00 faceoff on 620 CKRM (Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show at 7:35 pm).
Saskatchewan is idle until tonight when they face NWT in Draw 5 at 9:30 pm on TSN.
NHL: Tomas Tatar broke a tie with a power play goal midway through the third period to give Detroit a victory over the Nashville Predators. Tatar carried the puck toward the Nashville net and fired a backhander that deflected off Predators defenceman Roman Josi's stick and past goalie Pekka Rinne. Tatar leads the Red Wings with 25 goals.
In other NHL finals;
- Carey Price made 30 saves for his sixth shutout of the season as Montreal topped Toronto 4-0. David Desharnais had two goals for Montreal, which has won four in a row and 14 of 19.
- Mike Hoffman scored a power-play goal to break a tie midway through in Ottawa's 4-2 win over slumping San Jose. Hoffman also scored an empty net goal to help the Senators to their fifth straight win. San Jose has lost eight straight home games.
- Michael Del Zotto's short-handed goal early in the third period lifted Philadelphia to a 4-2 victory over the Rangers. J.T. Miller and John Moore tallied for New York, which lost in regulation for the first time in 11 games.
- Cory Schneider made 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season in New Jersey's 2-0 win over Columbus. The Blue Jackets have lost five in a row.
- Paul Stasny's goal with under six minutes to go lifted St. Louis to a 2-1 win over Edmonton. Stasny also had an assists.
- Justin Fontaine's second period goal broke a tie and Minnesota went on to beat Colorado 3-1. The Wild are making a playoff push with points in 15 of their last 20 games.
- Jay McClement scored two goals in Carolina's 5-3 win over the Islanders. John Tavares scored his 30th goal of the season for the Islanders. The Hurricanes have won three straight.
- Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist in Boston's 4-1 win over Arizona. The Coyotes have lost nine in a row.
- Scottie Upshall scored the go-ahead goal with 5:58 left in the Panthers' 5-3 victory over Buffalo. Jaromir Jagr had three shots on goal in his first game since being acquire in a trade from New Jersey earlier this week. The Panthers outshot the Sabres 47-14.
- Washington has acquired defenceman Tim Gleason from Carolina in exchange for defenceman Jack Hillen and a draft pick. The 32-year-old Gleason has 140 career points in 710 NHL games with Los Angeles, Carolina and Toronto. Both players are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer.
- Chicago has acquired centre Antoine Vermette from Arizona for a first-round pick this year and defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck. The 32-year-old Vermette has 13 goals and 22 assists in 62 games this season.
- Florida has acquired forward Dany Heatley and a third-round pick in this year's draft from Anaheim for forward Tomas Fleischmann. The deal comes two days after the Panthers got 43-year old Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey for a pair of draft picks. Fleischmann had 27 goals for Florida three seasons ago, and 27 goals in 180 games since. Heatley was scoreless in six games with Anaheim, and hasn't been in the NHL since December.
MLB TRAINING CAMPS: Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale has a fracture in his right foot and may miss opening day. The left-hander suffered the injury at his home Friday. He's expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks.
The 25-year-old Sale was 12-4 with 208 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA last season, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
In other training camp news;
- Tampa Bay reliever Ronald Belisario has fractured his non-throwing shoulder in a swimming pool accident and is not expected to be ready for the start of the season. The team says Belisario will be sidelined indefinitely. The Rays right-hander injured his left shoulder getting out of a pool in Venezuela last month.
NBA: The Toronto Raptors are on a season-high five-game losing skid. Tim Hardaway Junior had 22 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 103-98 win over the visiting Raptors. Former Toronto star Andrea Bargnani had 19 points and Alexey Shved added 15. Lou Williams led Toronto with 22 points.
In the span of four quick days, the Regina Pats find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Saturday night at a soldout Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Jesse Shynkaruk scored at 1:31 of overtime to give the hometown Warriors a 6-5 victory. The stretch of bad luck means the Pats' magic number to clinch a playoff berth for a second straight season remains at one.
The Pats had a 2-1 lead after the first period Saturday night but trailed 4-2 after 40 minutes. They then grabbed a 5-4 lead in the third period before the Warriors' Brett Howden tied it up with 3:04 left in regulation to sent it to overtime.
Shynkaruk scored on the only shot of overtime to send most of the 4485 fans home happy.
Regina's goals came from Adam Brooks (3), Jesse Gabrielle and Patrick D'Amico while rookie goaltender Tyler Brown took the loss making 28 saves. Moose Jaw's Zach Sawchenko got the win making 34 stops.
Regina outshot their opposition 39-34 while going 1/3 on the powerplay and 3/5 killing penalties. The Pats still need one win, or two points, or a Moose Jaw loss to clinch a playoff spot.
The Pats (33-20-5-4) complete a stretch of three games in three nights Sunday evening when they welcome the Warriors (26-31-4-1) at 6:00 pm in the Brandt Centre on 620 CKRM (Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show at 5:35 pm).
Saturday, February 28, 2015
REGINA -- The Regina Pats waited a little too long to get their motor running Friday night in the Brandt Centre and wound up suffering a 2-1 regulation loss to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.
After a scoreless first period in which the Pats outshot the visitors 13-11, Medicine Hat defenceman Ty Stanton peppered two point shots past Regina goalie Daniel Wapple in the second frame to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead going into the third.
The Pats continued to look sluggish well into the final period but when Wapple was pulled with just under three minutes remaining, they turned it on.
Regina's Taylor Cooper banged a rebound past Tiger goalkeeper Marek Langhammer to make it 2-1 Tigers with 1:29 remaining.
The Pats' Adam Brooks then wrung the iron behind Langhammer in the dying seconds and that's as close as they would get. Time ran out on a 2-1 defeat.
Regina was outshot 40-28 on the night while going 0/4 on the powerplay and 7/7 killing penalties. One of the highlights of the evening was a third period fight between Regina's Colby Williams and Medicine Hat's Kyle Burroughs. The pair were long-time teammates with the Pats, and the tilt ended in a draw.
The attendance was 4201 as the Pats completed their homestand at 0-1-0-1.
Regina (33-20-4-4) visits Moose Jaw Saturday at 7 pm on 620 CKRM (Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show at 6:35 pm) before returning home to host the Warriors Sunday at 6 pm.