Access

Realty One

Fountain Tire

Sunday, September 25, 2016

STAMPEDERS PLAYER KILLED


The Calgary Stampeders are devastated by the news of the death of team member Mylan Hicks.

Mylan's life was taken in act of violence early on Sunday morning.

"Obviously this is an extremely difficult and upsetting time for the players and staff," said Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel. "It's a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mylan's family."

"The loss of this 23-year-old young man at this stage of his life and his career is an unfathomable tragedy," said Ken King, president and CEO of the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. "Our sympathies to Mylan's family and to the Stampeders family of players, coaches and staff."

FINAL: ROUGHRIDERS 20 TIGER-CATS 18

Photo credit: Arthur Ward
REGINA - Confident and exciting are two words not often used when describing a three-win team.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, now riding a two-game winning streak after a 20-18 victory on Saturday over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, are an upbeat bunch at 3-10 and feel their playoff chances are still very much alive.

Tyler Crapigna kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to life the Riders to their second consecutive walk-off win on home turf. The previous week they upset the Edmonton Eskimos in overtime thanks to Darian Durant's touchdown run.

"The excitement level is fantastic,'' receiver Rob Bagg told reporters after the game. "When you get that feeling, you're hungry to go out and get it again.''

But the Riders didn't have Durant down the stretch on Saturday. He left the game with an injury at the end of the third quarter when he was wrestled to the turf by defensive lineman and former teammate John Chick. Durant did not return to the field.

"I hit my head on the ground and felt a little woozy,'' Durant said. "I felt fine, I felt like I was ready to go back in but the doctors came up to me and wanted to go through the concussion protocol.''

Durant said he had a slight headache after the game and would use the upcoming bye week to rest.

Backup quarterback Mitchell Gale marched the Riders late on a 12-play drive, one that saw him complete five passes and rush for 12 yards to set up Crapigna with the game-winning kick.

The Riders now trail fourth-place Edmonton by six points in the West Division. The loss leaves Hamilton (6-7) in second place in the East Division, one point behind first-place Ottawa.

Jeremiah Masoli gave the Tiger-Cats a brief 18-17 advantage late in the fourth quarter when he rushed 21 yards for a touchdown. On second down and inches, Masoli took the snap around the right end of the line and found a clear path to the end zone for the score with a little more than three minutes remaining.

But the Tiger-Cats couldn't slow Gale and the Riders on the ensuing drive.

"They made more plays than we did,'' said Andy Fantuz, who led Hamilton with nine catches and 113 yards. "You have to give them credit. I don't think they're mathematically eliminated (from the playoffs) and they're playing like a team that's fighting for their life right now.''

Durant said his performance on Saturday prior to his injury may have been his best showing in a Riders uniform since he led the team to a Grey Cup title in 2013.

Durant was sharp from the game's opening drive on Saturday. He marched the Saskatchewan offence to scoring drives on two of its first three possessions, including a 46-yard touchdown catch by Armanti Edwards, who has two touchdowns in his first two games with the club. That score gave the Riders a 10-7 lead after the first quarter.

Durant connected on 19-of-25 pass attempts for 276 yards in the first half. He also had a one-yard plunge for a touchdown to push the Riders ahead 17-10 at the half. He finished 23 for 31 for 326 yards.

"It's something about these cool Saskatchewan nights and the ball was just spinning and I was seeing the field and was able to hit my receivers in stride. I felt good,'' Durant said.

Durant spread the ball around, with Caleb Holley his favourite target on the night with eight catches and 110 yards. Bagg had eight receptions and 96 yards and Edwards picked up 88 yards on seven catches.

"I honestly don't feel like we're a 3-10 football team,'' Bagg said. "It's a fun place to be right now, a fun place to come to work every day and we're just going to continue to work at it and keep this going.''

Hamilton's Zach Collaros threw for 310 yards and one touchdown, a 16-yard strike to Brandon Banks in the first quarter.

The game was missing plenty of offensive stars. Naaman Roosevelt, Saskatchewan's leading receiver, missed his second straight game with a leg injury. The Tiger-Cats were without receivers Chad Owens and Luke Tasker. All three pass catchers are on pace to surpass 1,000 yards.


The Riders have a bye week next week, while Hamilton returns home to take on the Calgary Stampeders.

(Canadian Press/Craig Slater)

THE KEG PATS RECAP: REGINA 4 P.A. 2

RaiderHockey.com
P.A. -- Jake Leschyshyn scored twice and added an assist to lead the Pats to their first win of the season, 4-2 Saturday night in Prince Albert.

Lane Zablocki chipped in with a goal and a helper while Braydon Buziak scored his second goal in his second game of his WHL career.

The Pats led 1-0 but Prince Albert came back to lead 2-1 in the second.
But the Pats responded with 3 unanswered and improved to 1-0-1-0.

Jordan Hollett made 28 saves in the win. Ian Scott was busy for a second straight game making 41 saves.

Quick Hits
-Jake Leschyshyn recorded his first points of the season in the win. (2G 1A).
-Braydon Buziak has a goal in each of his first two WHL games. (2G).
-Lane Zablocki scored his first goal of the year and also had an assist.

What’s Next?
The Pats are off until Friday when they kick off a five game home stand at the Brandt Centre against the Edmonton Oil Kings. Puck drop is at 7 o’clock and tickets are available at ticketmaster.ca or at the Brandt Centre Box Office.

(Courtesy Phil Andrews)

WHL SUSPENDS WARRIORS-WHEAT KINGS GAME


Brandon, MB – The Western Hockey League has announced that the conclusion of Saturday night’s game between the Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors has been suspended in the interest of player safety.

Due to severe fog conditions, the game was halted with 5:37 remaining in the second period and Moose Jaw leading by a 2-1 score. The remainder of the game will be completed at a date and time to be determined in the days to follow.

(WHL.ca)

STAMPEDERS 36 BLUE BOMBERS 34

CALGARY - Rene Paredes didn't want to get too excited after the Calgary Stampeders extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games.

Paredes booted a 52-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to lead the Stampeders to a thrilling 36-34 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

"I didn't want to celebrate too much,'' said Paredes. "I didn't want to pull my groin. The team fought and I wanted to make sure they got the win.''

Although Paredes finished the game with five field goals, he decided to let punter Rob Maver handle the kick-off duties in the second half because of a slight injury to his right leg.

Jerome Messam also ran for a touchdown as the Stampeders (11-1-1) snapped Winnipeg's seven-game win streak.

Mitchell completed 29-of-43 passes for 361 yards and also ran his personal unbeaten streak to 12 games, which is one shy of the CFL record held by former Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Warren Moon. Moon went 12-0-1 over two seasons in 1981-82.

The Bombers (8-5) trailed 30-7 early in the third quarter before rallying to take a 34-33 lead. Julian Feoli-Gudino caught a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Nichols with 20 seconds left in the fourth to tie the game before Justin Medlock kicked the convert to give the Bombers their first lead.

Mitchell then proceeded to complete a 14-yard strike to Jorden and a 22-yard pass to Durant to get the Stamps into field-goal territory before the clutch kick by Paredes.

"I don't know what it says except that the guys believe,'' said Calgary coach Dave Dickenson. "I know I'm going to have to go home and take a long shower. To me, I was exhausted.''

Nichols and Timothy Flanders had rushing touchdowns for the Blue Bombers.

"It's a tough loss,'' said Winnipeg coach Mike O'Shea. "We obviously can't start that slow and spot a very good team that many points in the first half. They know I'm proud of them the way they played in the second half.''

(Canadian Press)

SUNDAY SPORTS

Sidney Crosby did a little bit of everything tonight at the World Cup of Hockey. He scored once and assisted on two others as Canada beat Russia 5-3 to advance to the tournament's best-of-three final. Brad Marchand scored twice for the Canadians with Corey Perry and John Tavares also chipping in. Carey Price made 31 saves for the win in net.

---

Jacob Trouba wants out of Winnipeg. The Jets defenceman has requested a trade from the team and doesn't plan to attend training camp. Trouba's agent cited Winnipeg's logjam of defenceman as one of the reasons for the request. The two sides have been working since May to facilitate a deal for Trouba's rights.

---

Jason Grilli got the Rogers Centre crowd fired up and Jose Bautista kept the party going Saturday afternoon. Bautista provided the offence with a three-run shot in the eighth inning as Toronto blanked the Yankees 3-0. Grilli snuffed out a threat in the top half of the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Billy Butler.

---

The Boston Red Sox are playoff bound. With the complicated math of baseball in the wild-card era, Boston clinched a post-season berth after beating the Rays 6-4. The Red Sox maintained a 5-and-a-half game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the A-L's second wild card. Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam in the win.

---

Bo Levi Mitchell continues to get it done for the Stampeders. Both his personal unbeaten streak and Calgary's were extended to 12-straight games after a 36-34 win over the Blue Bombers. Mitchell is one game shy of the C-F-L unbeaten record held by former Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Warren Moon. Moon went 12-0-and-1 over two seasons in 1981-82.

---

Tyler Crapigna kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to give the Saskatchewan Roughriders a 20-18 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Mosaic Stadium. Mitchell Gale filled in for an injured Darian Durant at quarterback and marched the Roughriders into field goal position. The win is the second consecutive for the Riders.

(Canadian Press)

Friday, September 23, 2016

ESKIMOS 27 LIONS 23

EDMONTON - Sean Whyte kicked a pair of late field goals as the Edmonton Eskimos came from behind for a 27-23 victory over the B.C. Lions on Friday.

The Eskimos (6-7) snapped a three-game losing skid.

Meanwhile, the Lions (8-4) had a three-game winning streak come to an end.

After a fairly slow start to the game, the Lions broke the scoreless deadlock with three minutes remaining in the first quarter as quarterback Jonathon Jennings completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Arceneaux. The two-point convert attempt was stopped short.

The Lions started the second quarter in similar fashion as Jennings found Arceneaux wide open downfield and he scampered 68 yards for the TD and a 14-0 lead following a two-point convert run by Jeremiah Johnson.

The Eskimos finally got going on their next possession when quarterback Mike Reilly capped off a long drive with a one-yard TD plunge.

(The Canadian Press)

REDBLACKS 29 ARGONAUTS 12

OTTAWA - Chris Milo kicked five field goals and the Ottawa Redblacks took over first place in the East Division on Friday with a 29-12 win over the visiting Toronto Argonauts.

The Redblacks (6-5-1) won at home for just the second time in six attempts to move one point up on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who play in Saskatchewan Saturday.

The Argonauts (5-8-0) have lost two straight and sit third in the division.

Toronto scored the first offensive touchdown of the game when Drew Willy threw an 11-yard pass to Kevin Elliott at 7:08 of the fourth quarter, but that simply cut the Redblacks lead to 22-12 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.

A one-yard touchdown run from Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris with two minutes to play gave the Redblacks a 29-12 lead following the conversion.

Milo put the first points on the board with a 19-yard field goal at 7:09 of the first quarter to give the Redblacks a 3-0 lead.

(The Canadian Press)

RAMS 32 DINOS 27

REGINA - Joey Dwyer’s punishing hit on Calgary quarterback Jimmy Underdahl forced a turnover with only seconds remaining, sealing a 32-27 win for the University of Regina Rams over the No. 2-ranked and previously unbeaten Dinos on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.

Underdahl had hooked up with Kelton Bailey for a 36-yard touchdown just minutes earlier to get Calgary to within five, and the Dinos looked as if they were about to complete the comeback with a game-winning touchdown as Underdahl streaked towards the end zone from Regina’s 12. But Dwyer rocked the Calgary pivot with a crushing hit on the one-yard line, jarring the ball loose with safety Braedy Will right there to jump on it for the turnover.

The win puts the No. 9-ranked Rams (3-1) into first place in the Canada West standings. Calgary is also 3-1, but the Rams will hold the tiebreaker as Friday was the lone meeting of the Canada West schedule for these two teams.

“When these guys start to believe, they can accomplish just about anything and we saw that out there tonight,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. “We didn’t even play a full four quarters of football tonight, so I’m really excited to see what these guys can do when we finally put it together for all 60 minutes."

Down three starters on the offensive line, the Rams couldn’t get much going on the ground and almost completely relied on their vaunted aerial attack. And fourth-year slotback Mitchell Picton was the primary weapon, collecting 13 passes for 215 yards and catching three touchdowns in a span of under 14 minutes in the second half. Riley Wilson also had a big game, catching five passes for a total of 124 yards while Ryan Schienbein had three catches for 87 yards.

Noah Picton completed a season-low 23 passes, but had the deep ball working for a large majority of the game and finished with 452 yards and four touchdown passes.

Making his first start for the U of R, rookie defensive lineman Nicholas Dheilly joined Stan Van Sichem and teammate Michael Stefanovic as the only Rams ever to collect three sacks in one CIS game. Stefanovic also had a sack to give the Rams four for the game. Dwyer was also in on a team-leading 14 tackles to go along with his game-winning forced fumble.

The Rams (3-1) will now prepare to open up the new Mosaic Stadium next Saturday in the SaskTel Fall Classic against Saskatchewan, which is 2-1 this season and plays Manitoba on Saturday.

Calgary is back in action next Saturday at home against Alberta (0-3).

NOTES: Picton’s total of 215 receiving yards is the fourth most in a CIS game by a Rams player … he also joins Jason Clermont, Chris Getzlaf, Chad Goldie, and Michael Thomas as the only Rams ever to catch three touchdowns in a CIS game … his 13 receptions ties marks held by Davin Johnston and current offensive coordinator Mark McConkey for second on the school’s single-game list … Noah Picton surpassed Mark Anderson for third place on the U of R’s passing yards list … he also leapfrogged Marc Mueller for third in school history in career touchdown passes.

(Courtesy Braden Konschuh/ReginaRams.com)

THE KEG RECAP: RAIDERS 4 PATS 3 (OT)

REGINA – The Regina Pats outshot the Prince Albert Raiders 45-30 on Friday night but lost their home opener 4-3 in overtime.

Ian Scott made 43 saves in the win while Simon Stransky scored twice including the overtime winner. The Pats were led by Chase Harrison who had a goal and an assist. Braydon Buziak scored his first career WHL goal and Dawson Leedahl and Filip Ahl both recorded their first points in a Pats uniform.

Tyler Brown made 26 saves in the loss.

Quick Hits
-Braydon Buziak scored his first career WHL goal in the loss.
-Dawson Leedahl recorded his first point as a Pat (1A).
-Chase Harrison had a goal and an assist in the defeat.
-The attendance was 4,830

What’s Next?
The Regina Pats will head to Prince Albert for a rematch with the Raiders Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is at 7 o’clock with the pre-game at 6:35 on 620 CKRM 2, via www.620ckrm.com.

(Courtesy Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

DURANT ADDRESSES CONTRACT, TIGER-CATS

Durant at the podium on Friday
The Saskatchewan Roughriders skipped their day-before walk-through on Friday due to the heavy rain saturating Mosaic Stadium in advance of Saturday's home game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7:30 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Network).

The team opted instead for additional meeting sessions indoors at the stadium.

Quarterback Darian Durant addressed his pending contract situation, given Rider Head Coach and GM Chris Jones' comments on Thursday that talks have begun.  Durant's current deal expires after the 2016 season.

"I don't know," Durant shrugged.  "As far as that goes, that's between the front office and my agent.  I'm trying to focus on football right now and try to get some wins.  That's the most important thing.  We're still in the playoff equation so to me that's the most important thing right now."

Durant was asked if he thinks a new deal can be agreed to before this season's over, or if negotiations can wait until the off-season.

"Something's been sent over to my agent (Dan Vertlieb), but we'll see how it goes," Durant continued.  "My focus is Hamilton, and football right now, and if I get a second to think about it then so be it.  But I'm just focused on Hamilton right now."

I asked Durant if he's ever envisioned himself in another CFL team's uniform.

"No I haven't actually," Durant admitted.  "This is all I know.  I just haven't had a chance to wrap my brain around being somewhere else.  Of course that time is approaching and we'll see how it goes.  If I (play) well and do what I'm supposed to do, everything will work itself out."

Chris Jones was asked how this negotiation will go with regards to timing.

"We're just gonna progress as Darian wants to progress," Jones stated.  "If it gets done prior to the season ending, that'd be great.  If not, if he doesn't feel comfortable with it, then we won't.  That's kind of how we're approaching it.  Again, he knows that we want him here, he knows that he's a staple in this organization, and that's the direction we're heading."

It won't take many more losses for the Roughriders to be eliminated from playoff contention so Jones was asked if he'll audition other quarterbacks the rest of the way if the season is indeed lost.

"If we are (eliminated), we've already had these talks," Jones revealed.  "If we are unfortunately mathematically eliminated, then there will be a lot of guys that play."

On Friday morning the Roughriders announced their roster for Saturday's game and it features only two changes.  Defensive end Eric Norwood and linebacker Dillon Grondin come on while returner Kendial Lawrence and linebacker Marvin Golding come off.  For Norwood, it'll be the Rider debut for the former Ticats star rush end.

RP
@rodpedersen

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

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

-- The weekend is here, and what a weekend it will be for the Regina sports fan as the Pats, Rams and Riders are home -- albeit two are playing at the same time. Why is that anyhoo?

Can teams not converse with one another to see if there are going to be conflicts?  Never mind, I know the answer to that because it happens more than once.

-- Despite the forecast, I am hoping to see a solid turnout at Mosaic Stadium tonight for the 2-1 Rams vs the 3-0 Calgary Dinos in a battle of top 10 teams.

How is Steve Bryce doing in his first year as head coach of the Rams? Look at their record and you will see.  I think all of us knew this team would be a lot better than last year, but I think a lot of us also thought they would win 2 games and maybe get a break go their way to win a 3rd game. Let's throw that out hypothesis out the window.

-- The job Bryce and crew are doing is fantastic, and that was seen with the first top 10 ranking the team has had since 2012. It will be very, very tough for Regina to stop a very good Calgary team, but as the Rams showed in Vancouver against the defending Vanier Cup champs, it can be done.  Bryce and crew has re-generated some excitement and enthusiasm towards the Rams. It's great to see! If you can't get to Mosaic, it will be on Access/SHAW with yours truly doing sideline work. Lee Jones I am not.  With the forecast being the way it is, I may have to get some waterwings before heading to Mosaic.  SIGHHHHH!!!

-- Let's stay on the football front and talk about the Riders game Saturday night against Hamilton. The green-and-white are feeling good about themselves after last week's overtime win over Edmonton. They should be feeling good about themselves, but a loss to the Hamilton whether it be by 1 or 51 means they are spinning their wheels. A victory over the Tabbies will really send some shockwaves out across the CFL as we will see that Chris Jones has finally gotten this team's act together. On paper, Hamilton has the better team, but the Riders are somewhat choked after what happened in Hamilton and are coming out wanting to atone for that tilt. I'm thinking we will see a ring-a-ding-dong dandy.

-- As for the Pats, they are ready to take a run at the Ed Chynoweth Cup! How long has it been since the Regina hockey fan could say that! Too long! This might be the best team they have had since the mid 80's. Oh how that 84 final still burns a hole through me. The team you see on the ice tonight won't resemble the team you see in a month as 5 players (Brooks, Steel, Wagner, Zborovskiy and Hobbs) are still at NHL camps. Once these 5 return, this team should start making some noise that will hopefully last all winter and go into the spring. Regina hockey fans are long overdue!

-- The Blue Jays are coming off a series where they played two of three home games in Seattle against the Mariners. If you watched the game, you know half the fans at Safeco Field for the three game set were Canadians as many flocked from BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan to see Donaldson, Bautista, Edwin, Sanchez and company.  It had Jay and Dan wannabes (and never will be's) Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro salivating over the fact they had never seen that before. This just in boys, you might want to go to a Riders game in Calgary and see what that is like.

-- MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was on TSN Vancouver this week and suggested Vancouver could someday be a spot for expansion. I don't know if that will happen considering the proximity of the Mariners and if Canada is to be home to a 2nd MLB franchise, it must go back to Montreal before Vancouver, but I would be all for it. Would you play in BC Place? Would you build a new stadium and if so, would it be covered because of the rainy climate. I think baseball in Vancouver would be a hit. You see how fans flocked to Seattle for the Jays.

-- A great question from TSN's Dave Naylor. Why is it the Jays are referred to as "Canada's team", but the Raptors are Toronto's team. Is there a difference? Of course, all of us know Canada's team resides at Mosaic Stadium, but I digress.

-- Who would you rather have---Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott. I think the Eagles and Cowboys are in good hands for many years with these two guys calling the signals.

-- Week 3 NFL Lock Of The Week --- Tampa over L-A
    Week 3 NFL Upset of The Week ---Eagles over Steelers

-- The New England Patriots destroyed Houston with their 3rd string quarterback. I am positive Tino Sunseri could start a game for New England and win. That team could very well go 4-0 without Tom Brady. How do ya like that Commissioner Goodell?

-- Back to the CFL in a second, and yes, this NFL fan finds it hard to believe that for the first two weeks of the season, the NFL is beating the CFL in Canada when it comes to viewers.  Should we be surprised though? Monday night I was at the Great Canadian Brewhouse. As was the case last year, the Brewhouse is giving away a helmet every Monday night and a chance to go to the 2017 home opener of your choice. If you go on Thursday, you can win a jersey of one of the teams competing. Go to Boston Pizza, Brewsters, Birminghams, the Press Box, the Four Seasons and you will find Monday night giveaways.  What do you get at those locales when you go for a CFL game---cheap wings and beer and the wings may not be on special!

 --  Once again, the CFL doesn't get it and Commissioner Bozo -- I mean Orridge -- is apparently too dense to see it.  Get on board with some of these places---especially the national ones like a Boston Pizza and offer some schwag and a trip to two for the Grey Cup. Give that person 55 yard line seats, free tix to the events that make up Grey Cup week and ideal hotel accomodations. I am guessing you would have some fans coming in to watch games in venues across this great land of ours.

 Instead of thinking of ideas to grow this league, they would rather sanction writers like Rod Pedersen, Justin Dunk and Jason Gregor for writing articles critical to the league. Add the term "thin-skinned" to our friends at the CFL office who seemingly don't like the repeated reality slaps they are getting. Suck it up boys because it isn't even close to being over.

-- There is so much this league could do yet doesn't for one reason for another. One of my pet peeves has always been why isn't there CFL players in advertising campaigns. Yes, perhaps that is the fault of the Players Association, but if Marks is a corporate sponsor of the CFL, shouldn't players like Bo Levi Mitchell, Weston Dressler and Naaman Roosevelt be involved in some kind of ad campaign---even if it is just modelling some apparel. It's not that hard, but the CFL wants to make it look as if doing something like this is like climbing Mount Everest.  As I have said before, I don't like bashing the CFL, but when the CFL keeps making idiotic moves like the ones they have been making week after week after week, you can't help but ask why as you point out their glaring mistakes.

-- Team Kid or Team North America as it was more formally known have been the story of the World Cup of Hockey. McDavid, Matthews, McKinnon, Gostibehere and others have dazzled. Sadly, they won't play Canada in a game that I think the entire country wanted to see. There were a lot of comparisons from long time NHL personnel about the kids reminding them of the 80's Oilers. I don't disagree. If these guys are the face of the NHL moving forward, the league is in great shape with some great young stars to lead the way. If the league can give us games like the North America-Sweden game on Tuesday on a consistent basis, the interest will sky-rocket on both sides of the border.

-- That's all I got.  Stay dry! GO RIDERS, GO SEAHAWKS

Thursday, September 22, 2016

GOOD NEWS FOR DURANT FANS

Roughriders Coach and GM Chris Jones told reporters on Thursday that talks on a new contract for quarterback Darian Durant have begun.

Jones wouldn't go into details but said they've spoken with Durant and that, "he knows we want him here".

Durant is in his 11th year in Saskatchewan but his contract is set to expire after this season. He's already gone on record as saying he wants to play 7-8 more seasons, but wants them to be with Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile Rider KR/RB Kendial Lawrence has been placed on the team's Suspended List due to a "family emergency" according to Jones.  However that had nothing to do with Lawrence being scratched from the lineup in last week's win over Edmonton.

RP
@rodpedersen

CKRM'S WEEK 14 CFL PICKS 2016

SCHEDULE
Friday: Toronto at Ottawa
  BC at Edmonton
Saturday: Winnipeg at Calgary
  Hamilton at Saskatchewan

ANNCR/RECORD/PICKS
ANDREWS (36-17): OTT - BC - CGY - SK
REMPLE (36-17): OTT - BC - CGY - HAM
CARTERI (35-18): OTT - BC - CGY - HAM
LUC (34-19): TOR - BC - CGY - SK
SHARKY (34-19): OTT - BC - CGY - SK
BALL (33-20): OTT - BC - CGY - HAM
ABOU (32-21): OTT - BC - CGY - HAM
SCHULTZ (31-22): OTT - BC - CGY - SK
LYNCH (31-22): OTT - EDM - CGY - SK
SCRUFFY (29-24): OTT - EDM - CGY - SK
R.P. (28-25): OTT - BC - CGY - SK

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

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS


15 HOME GAME WEEKEND NOTES

1 - Prepare yourself for a very fun weekend if you live in YQR or are coming down here for it.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-10) host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-6) Saturday night (7:30 kickoff, TSN, 620 CKRM Radio Network) in what's expected to be a doozy of a game.  There are several other sporting events going on in the area as well, which we'll chronicle later in the column.

More than anything else, it's the return of one John Chick.

2 - It sounds like a PERFECT night for football on Saturday at the Old Mosaic Stadium.  Rain, wind and a high of 13 degrees Celsius (!)  :(

We'll be checking that forecast closely for changes over the next 48 hours, but the Farewell Season wouldn't be complete without a rain game would it?

3 - The Tiger-Cats are favoured by 5-points by Bodog.

4 - GAME DETAILS: The decade of the 2000's will be honoured on Saturday (the franchise has conventiently skipped the woeful decade of the 90s), and there will be a commemorative highlight video of the 2007 Grey Cup shown at halftime.  The featured alumni include Mike Abou-Mechrek, Greg Fieger, Michael Palmer, Preston Young, Luc Mullinder, Wes Cates and Ken McEachern.

5 - Perhaps we, at some point, can have our own 90's celebration since that was the heyday for those of us born in the 70's.  Picture it: Reggie Slack, Warren Jones, K.D. Williams, Lamar McGriggs, Jim Daley, Mike Saunders, Ray Jauch, Paul McCallum, Steve Sarkisian and Ron Goetz are all brought back for celebrations each night at Lauderdales, Bart's on Broad and Checkers.  We all made those places what they are today!

Uh, never mind.  I'd have to add it up but the winning percentage of that decade was probably around .300.  However as Dan Rashovich said on the SportsCage last week, "We won every party!"

6 - Something special IS going on with this football club right now, in case you hadn't noticed or heard.  The intensity at Wednesday's practice was Grey Cup-worthy as the Offense-vs-Defense period came down to a 31-31 tie.  The concept is, the competition stands no matter if it's the 1st string, 2nd string or 3rd stringers going "12-on-12".  If the offense gets 4 yards or more, they get a point.  If the defense holds them to under 4 yards, they get a point.

So again, the session came down to a 31-31 draw and the score is tallied on the SaskTel Maxtron for the world to see.  (Offense is always 'Visitors' and Defense is always 'Home').  From what I could see, the players were all over Head Coach Chris Jones, begging him to run one more play to decide the winner.  The winners, or course, are bought chicken dinner by the losers.

And the winners on Wednesday were the Defense.  They went bananas.  Offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo was running around screaming that they'd been robbed!  It was hilarious.

"It was just like the feeling we had coming out of training camp," smiled Jones afterwards, recalling a time when the dreams of a season had yet spilled down on the floor (to quote Ian Tyson).

7 - The part of all this that got me excited is that this team clearly isn't going to wilt and die down the stretch.  They're not even talking about the playoffs, but rather simply coming together and getting better.

The prospect of shivering on the sidelines or freezing our butts in the aluminum bleachers this fall while watching meaningless practices wasn't something I was excited about.

However it appears we don't need to worry about that.

"We don't need to come up with things to motivate them right now," observed Rider receivers coach Markus Howell on CKRM's Coaches Show on Wednesday.

So as I've said over the past few weeks, if you turn your back on this club or 'check out' on the rest of the season, you're going to miss something very special.

8 - Is this mental turnaround too late?  Probably, as far as the playoffs are concerned.  But that's not a focus for Jones right now.

"I told our group that all we can control is what we do," Jones said on Wednesday.  "Just show up and win and see where the ball bounces.  We can't control anything anybody else does and we can't be consumed by anything other than just week by week."

9 - This is sometimes where general managers and coaches fall out of favour.  GM's generally have a "long-view" of what's best for the franchise (planning ahead, etc.) while coaches are known to have a "short-view" (a Win Now mentality).

So does Chris Jones get into a mental fight with himself when he goes home at night over what's best for his Saskatchewan Roughriders?

"Well again, the ultimate goal is to win the football game," Jones smiled.  "And then certainly we've got to look long range and see who's going to be around long-term to help us play football games, and win football games."

It would appear to me that Jones' primary focus is on the current version of the Roughriders, and he relies heavily on Jeremy O'Day and John Murphy for a lot of the information that pertains to the future of the club.  And then, he'll make the final call on where the franchise goes once he assesses all the information he's given.

10 - Just one victory - last Sunday in overtime over Edmonton - has snapped people back into a positive mood around here.  They're even taking a shining to Jones, or at least the ones I've talked to have.  Former Rider Mike Abou-Mechrek laughed on the SportsCage, "They're saying 'I believed in Jones all along!'", even if they wanted to show him the door in August.

You do need to be patient and resilient if you're a Rider fan.

11 - A tip I got on Wednesday morning is that two other teams are preparing contract offers for Darian Durant for this off-season.  The Riders are expected to offer Durant a contract with a lower base salary, and laden with incentives (primarily based on starts) while at least one other team will try to entice Durant with a much higher base salary.  Then it's going to be up to him to decide.

These are going to be very interesting times in the months ahead.

12 - I hear the term "Durant Haters" a lot around here, but don't actually run into any of them.  Do they exist anymore?

13 - The University of Regina Rams broke into the CIS Top 10 for the first time since 2012 this week, entering the poll at #9.  They'll host the #2-ranked University of Calgary Dinos Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.  The game will be broadcast live on Access and CKRM2.

I've gotta get down there and chat with Dinos Defensive Coordinator Tom Higgins.  It seems like he's got A WEALTH of information about the goings-on in the CFL office and the Montreal Alouettes (his last two employers).

14 - Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal and TSN 1260 Radio lambasted CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge in his Wednesday column.  It was, in my opinion, far worse than anything I've written.  Gregor called the CFL office "amateurish" and said Orridge has done "nothing" since he took up the job in April of 2015.

To me, that conversation is so August.  I've said my piece and moved on to other things.

15 - The Regina Pats, apparently, are in the nation's Top 10 as well.  I heard that talk on Wednesday but haven't seen it written anywhere.  If so, that's pretty exciting but we knew they were going to be an excellent this team no matter how the national rankings went.

The Pats open the 2016-17 season at home to the P.A. Raiders on Friday night and we'll be broadcasting the SportsCage live on 620 CKRM from the Brandt Centre beginning at 4:00 pm.

Raiders GM Curtis Hunt will also join us on today's show as we preview the WHL East.  Please tune in!

------

THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO
RP
@rodpedersen

NFL WEEK 3 PRO PICKS FOR THE FOUR SEASONS SPORTS PALACE

Pretty much across the board, NFL teams are feeling the pain from key players getting hurt. Pro Picks was damaged by some of those injuries in Week 2, as well.

On Thursday night, a team likely down to its third-string quarterback, a rookie no less, takes on a club that in the off-season signed its new QB to a sweet $72 million, four-year contract.

Yep, the Patriots figure to have third-round selection Jacoby Brissett behind centre with Jimmy Garoppolo mending his injured right shoulder and Tom Brady suspended for two more weeks. Houston counters with Brock Osweiler, who has looked pretty good in his first two outings as a Texan.

Yet New England (tied for first in AP Pro32 with Pittsburgh) is a mere 1-point underdog to Houston (No. 7, AP Pro32). That's a testament to how tough the Patriots are at Foxborough.

Maybe Texans coach Bill O'Brien's familiarity with the Patriots' system after having coached there for five seasons, two of which ended in Super Bowl defeats, will help. After all, this is a guy who slept at Gillette Stadium during his time working there.

The oddsmakers figure his team will get it done this week with no Tom Terrific, no Jimmy G and maybe no Gronk - All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to play this season because of a hamstring issue. Sure seems like a good spot to pick the visitors.

Nope.

PREDICTION: PATRIOTS 21 TEXANS 20

KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP

The Panthers kept us breathing, and now we look to the DOLPHINS to do the same.

No. 31 Chicago (plus 7 1-2) at No. 17 Dallas
Da Bears look like Da Worst in NFC.

BEST BET: COWBOYS, 24-10

No. 11 Baltimore (minus 1) at No. 29 Jacksonville
Just a feeling the Jaguars will bounce back from San Diego debacle.

UPSET SPECIAL: JAGUARS, 26-20

No. 3 Denver (plus 4) at No. 10 Cincinnati
Denver defence was dynamic at home. Why not on the road, too?

BRONCOS: 17-13

No. 19 Atlanta (plus 3) at No. 26 New Orleans, Monday
Ten years ago in Week 3 was the Saints' emotional return to Superdome. Falcons are better team, but the juice is with the ...

SAINTS, 28-27

No. 5 Minnesota (plus 7) at No. 4 Carolina
Even with Adrian Peterson, we'd like the Panthers. Without him ...

PANTHERS, 22-13

No. 1 (tie) Pittsburgh (minus 3 1-2) at No. 15 Philadelphia
After Browns and Bears, Eagles get a taste of a real opponent.

STEELERS, 26-20

No. 20 San Diego (plus 3) at No. 27 (tie) Indianapolis
Time for Colts to finish off a close game.

COLTS, 30-24

No. 32 Cleveland (plus 10) at No. 23 Miami
Who's next at QB for Browns, Bernie Kosar? Brian Sipe?

DOLPHINS, 20-3

No. 24 San Francisco (plus 9) at No. 12 Seattle
Something is very wrong with Seattle's offence. Seahawks will escape anyway.

SEAHAWKS, 13-10

No. 16 Oakland (plus 1 1-2) at No. 22 Tennessee
Something is very wrong with Oakland's defence. They won't escape.

TITANS, 29-23

No. 25 Los Angeles (plus 5 1-2) at No. 18 Tampa Bay
Which Rams team will show up? Which Bucs team?

BUCCANEERS, 23-13

No. 6 Arizona (minus 4) at No. 30 Buffalo
Wonder who Rex will fire if Bills lose this one.

CARDINALS, 27-16

No. 14 New York Jets (plus 3) at No. 13 Kansas City
Chiefs have been a huge disappointment so far.

JETS, 24-20

No. 27 (tie) Washington (plus 4 1-2) at No. 8 New York Giants
Redskins have been an even bigger disappointment.

GIANTS, 21-19

No. 21 Detroit (plus 7) at No. 9 Green Bay
Back at Lambeau, we'll see the real Packers. We think.

PACKERS, 30-20

___

This Week: Against spread (7-9). Straight up: (9-7)

Season Totals: Against spread (15-16-1). Straight up: (22-10)

Best Bet: 0-2 against spread, 1-1 straight up.

Upset special: 1-1 against spread, 1-1 straight up.

(Associated Press)