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Thursday, May 25, 2017

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10 BURNING QUESTIONS

With the countdown on to the start of Saskatchewan Roughriders 2017 Training Camp presented by Coors Light which begins Sunday in Saskatoon, here are some questions going into camp:

1 - IS THIS CAMP ALL ABOUT VINCE YOUNG?: Absolutely not. However that question was posed on Global Regina's sports roundtable on Wednesday. For anyone outside of the 306 - particularly Young's vast amount of fans in America - the #1 focus is Young. However for the 70-some other players in camp, the attention on Young is a disservice.

Early on, everyone's eyes will be on #8 however just like the Florida minicamp, that interest will likely tail off and other names will emerge as camp wears on.

2 - WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CAMP BATTLE?: Chris Jones surmised last week that it's the receiver group, and he may be right, but my focus will be on the offensive line. Right now the 1's will likely be made up of DENNIS-LABATTE-CLARK-ST.JOHN-COLEMAN and that's unlikely to change right through the preseason. However the Riders drafted four linemen in this year's CFL Draft which tells you they'd like to beef up the competition. They added former Alouette Ryan White in free agency and have brought along Dillon Guy as he rehabbed from injury all of  last season.

Labatte's neck injury, which ended his season last year, has seemingly come around to the point that he's entrenched as a starter, and rightfully so. However there are several questions around this position and the team's fortunes continue to be tied to it.

If Labatte goes down and/or Josaih St. John isn't ready to take the next step, this could quickly become a problem area.

3 - WHO STARTS AT QB IN WEEK 1?: It's a great question and a reasonable one at that. However it's farrrrrrr too early to make any assumptions. Kevin Glenn's veteran status and efficient performance in the Florida minicamp proved that he's the #1 quarterback going into camp. But will he stay there? That will depend on the play of the pivots behind him in Saskatoon and in the preseason. The Riders will go to camp with Glenn, Young, Brandon Bridge, Bryan Bennett and Maty Mauk and it'll be a delicious battle.

A juicer question may be, "Can the Riders win a Grey Cup with Kevin Glenn at QB?" K.G. may be the oldest player in the league, but it's only by a few months over Toronto's Ricky Ray. However Ricky boasts two Grey Cup rings while Glenn is still searching for his first CFL title.

Will it come with the Green & White? There's no reason why not. Chris Jones knows defense wins championship and that will be the Riders' bread & butter this year. If Glenn successfully fills the role of "game manager", this team could achieve great things.

4 - IS ROB BAGG UNTOUCHABLE?: Probably, yeah. The 32-year old just continues to bring too much to the table. He's only missed two games the past four seasons which is a testament to his durability and, physically, he said he's never felt better than he did last year. He's got PLENTY left in the tank and he also provides off-the-charts leadership. If you're looking to buy a jersey, it's a good bet to go with #6 BAGG.

5 - WHO WILL BE THE RUNNING BACK?: With apologies to the quarterbacks, receivers and offensive line, this may actually be the most intriguing competition in Saskatoon. With the tragic loss of Joe McNight in December, the starting tailback job became a wide open race because it was going to be McKnight's job to lose. Canadians Kienan LaFrance and Greg Morris provide a tantalizing ratio-busting option however if they're out-performed by Americans Daniel Thomas and Cameron Marshall, the Riders may be forced to start a Canadian elsewhere.

We'll have to wait to see how they fare in the exhibition games before we rush to judgment.

6 - WHO WILL BE THE SEVEN STARTING CANADIANS?: Don't look now, but the Riders have built a quality stable of starting calibre non-imports. With three on the offensive line, potentially two receivers and Canadians starting at DT (Eddie Steele), MLB (Henoc Muamba) and S (Marc-Olivier Brouillette), they're at eight right there. There's talk of two starting Canadian linebackers as well, so Saskatchewan is in far better shape with "Nationals" than they were a year ago.

7 - WHO'S IN THE FRONT SEVEN?: The talk in the CFL is that not only may the Riders have the best group of receivers, but they may have the best front seven as well. DT Eddie Steele's resume is unquestioned and his interior partner Zach Minter may end up being the team's most-prized free agent signing. With the likes of Willie Jefferson, Jonathan Newsome and A.C. Leonard coming off the edge, the defensive line is stout. In the linebacking corps, the team needs to replace Jeff Knox Jr. and Otha Foster but Glenn Love and Sam Eguavoen are ready to step right in.

When you throw in Canadians like Muamba, Dillon Grondin, Alexander Gagne, Cameron Judge and Kevin Francis, you start to see the options which are available.

8 - THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: The Riders have never stated that this is an area of concern, but it's one which bares close scrutiny. The loss of Justin Cox was a big one but if rookie Zavian Bingham picks up where he left off in Florida, the club may not miss a beat. Ed Gainey returns to halfback, Brouillette should have the safety spot locked down and Kacy Rodgers returns to patrol the corner. After that, there's a wealth of names to look at including Mike Edem, Tevaughn Campbell, Royce Adams, Mark Roberts, Eric Allen, Regis Ball, Eric Dargan, Alfonzo Dennard, Jeff Hecht and Tyler Hunter. None of these bodies are filler. They're on the roster because any one of them has the ability to start.

9 - HOW ARE WE ON SPECIAL TEAMS?: Special Teams Coordinator Craig Dickenson should be sleeping well. The kicking and punting game are handled by veterans Tyler Crapigna and Josh Bartel while Jorgen Hus returns to do the long-snapping. Chad Owens isn't mentioned with the receiver group because he was signed to be the primary returner however Nic Demski has shone in that role as well. There was also talk of Michigan Wolverines star Dennis Norfleet coming to Saskatchewan but that buzz seems to have fizzled. Perhaps his name will resurface at some point. However as far as overall talent goes, Dickenson should have his pick of more-than-capable athletes to fill out his Special Teams Units.

10 - WHAT'S THE OUTLOOK?: The Roughriders go into the 2017 season flying under the radar, which suits them just fine. While a blindman can see the Riders have vastly improved their talent level, the prognosticators figure it'll be tough for the Riders to fit into a playoff spot in the ultra-tough West Division. And with big improvements expected in the East Division, a crossover playoff berth seems unlikely.

I've gone on record as predicting a 10-win season and stand by that. CFL-types from across the league have scoffed, "Who are they going to beat?" but my reply is, "That's why they play the games". The Riders are going into the season with a quiet confidence about them and Jones' staff feels this will be a breakthrough year.

My expectation is a third-place finish which carries with it a playoff spot in the West.

After what this team's been through the past three seasons, I think we'd all be satisfied with that. Please vote in the Titan Auto Poll at the top left of the page regarding where you think the Riders will finish this year.

THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS. WHAT ARE YOURS?
RP
@rodpedersen
IG: rodpedersenofficial
SC: Pedersenmedia

RED SOX RETURN THREE VETERAN IMPORTS

The 2017 Regina Red Sox are pleased to have three import members of last year’s team return for the upcoming WMBL season.

Infielder Derek Slate, a senior at Point Loma Nazarene University, played 42 games in 2016 with the Red Sox.  Slate finished the year with 27 RBI and eight doubles while hitting.296.

Aden Campbell, the Red Sox 2016 hitting leader, returns to Regina for a second WMBL season. In 2016 the junior from Western Illinois saw action in 42 games while hitting .362 with 20 RBI, 32 runs scored and 59 hits including 12 doubles.

Pitcher Seth Sorensen pitched in 20 games for the Red Sox in 2016. The Taft Community College sophomore threw 32.1 innings with 18 strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA.

(Courtesy Tony Playter/Outlaw Communications)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NO ROOKIE CAMP FOR RIDERS, OTHER NOTES FROM MURPHY

Saskatchewan Roughriders Assistant VP of Player Personnel John Murphy appeared on 620 CKRM's SportsCage on Tuesday to provide an update on the club heading into training camp in Saskatoon beginning Sunday.

- There will be no rookie camp for the Saskatchewan Roughriders this week, unlike other CFL teams. Murphy said the QBs the club has under contract will take part in classroom sessions in the coming days. He said they made their decisions on rookie players at the Florida minicamp, and that's who will move on to main camp. He also said it's too much of a logistical problem to move all of their equipment to Saskatoon if it was still needed in Regina for a rookie camp.

- There will be five quarterbacks in training camp in Saskatoon: Kevin Glenn, Vince Young, Brandon Bridge, Bryan Bennett and Maty Mauk. Mauk, a Missouri alum, held a pro day this spring which Chris Jones attended.  Mok is expected to sign with the Riders within the next few days.

- Regarding their contract negotiations with their 2017 draft class, Murphy disputed an online report that said talks aren't going well. He said the Riders are on pace with other CFL teams regarding signing their draftees. Murphy said he's unsure how the report got out regarding the negotiations, since he's only spoken with the players' agents and no one else.

- Murphy said it's "a coincidence" that last year's #1 overall pick Josaih St. John held out of last year's training camp, and this year's top two picks still haven't signed. He said it's different players, different agents, and different figures being bantied about.

- The Riders will hit the field at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon daily at 9:00 am for 2017 Training Camp presented by Coors Light.

RP
@rodpedersen

DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR SUMMIT 2.0 IS TODAY!


Would you spend $75 to learn how to earn thousands of dollars? Of course you would.

Attend my Social Media/Media Relations/Branding conference in Moose Jaw on Saturday and learn the latest - and most successful - tricks and techniques of the publicity industry.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Chinese Proverb.

LEARN TO FISH in today's online world!

The Pedersen Media Summit 2.0 is scheduled for 1:00-5:00 pm this Saturday at Moose Jaw's Mosaic Place. Proceeds go to the Moose Jaw Warriors Education Fund.

Register at www.pedersenmedia.ca or email pedersenmedia@outlook.com.

Thanks, and see you Saturday!
RP
@rodpedersen
IG: rodpedersenofficial
SC: pedersenmedia

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PATS ACQUIRE BRADLEY FOR HOLLETT

The Regina Pats have acquired 20-year-old forward Matt Bradley from the Medicine Hat Tigers along with a second round pick in 2018 and a fifth round pick in 2019. In exchange the Pats send 18-year-old goaltender Jordan Hollett to the Tigers.

Bradley, had a career year in 2016/17 scoring 34 goals and adding 43 assists for 77 points in 70 games. The Surrey, B.C. product was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, 131st overall.

For his WHL career, Bradley has played in 209 games over three seasons, scoring 74 goals, 94 assists and 168 points. The 6’0, 195 lbs. forward has amassed 144 penalty minutes and 15 game winning goals with Medicine Hat.

“We are excited to add a player of Bradley’s caliber,” said Pats Head Coach and GM John Paddock. “He adds skill and hard work to our group and comes from a winning program in Medicine Hat.”

The Pats sent goaltender Jordan Hollett the other way in the trade. Hollett will enter his 18-year-old season next year with the Tigers. The Langley, B.C. native appeared in 43 games with the Pats, compiling a record of 25-9-3-0 with a 3.30 goals against average, an ,892 save percentage and one shutout.

Hollett is the 15th ranked goaltender in North America for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and in 2016/17 went 15-2-2-0 with a 2.83 G.A.A and a .901 SV%.

“We wish Jordan all the best in Medicine Hat,” said Paddock. “He has been a credit to our organization, on and off the ice.”

Season Tickets for the Regina Pats 100th Anniversary Season will go on sale June 1st at reginapats.com. Current season ticket holders will be receiving a renewal package prior to June 1.

(Courtesy Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

RIOT FALLS TO SASKATOON

Wanda Harron Photography
Despite losing 20-17 Sunday night to the Saskatoon Valkyries at Historic Mosaic Stadium, the Regina Riot currently hold on to 1st place in the WWCFL and if they beat Winnipeg this weekend they will secure a home playoff game Sunday, June 4.

The Regina Riot maintained the lead for 59 minutes and 53 seconds however the Valkyries’ Murphy scored the winning touchdown with seven seconds left remaining making the final score 20-17 for Saskatoon.

Carmen Agar was the game star for the Regina Riot rushing 16 times for 107 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns and Morgan Turner went 1/1 in field goals.

The Riot travel to Winnipeg Sunday, May 28 to face the Winnipeg Wolfpack.

The Regina Riot will be back on the practice starting Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. Luther High School.

(Courtesy Roshelle Montgomery)

FROM 3DOWNNATION.COM: MULLINDER NAMED RIDER COLOUR MAN


By: Drew Edwards

Carm Carteri is out after 28 years as the colour commentator on Saskatchewan Roughrider radio broadcasts, per multiple sources.
Carteri was informed by CKRM station management a couple of weeks ago that he would be replaced by former Roughrider defensive lineman Luc Mullinder who will partner with play-by-play man Rod Pedersen. Carteri, who had hoped to broadcast at least two more seasons, was offered another, lesser role on the broadcast but declined.
Born and raised in Regina, Carteri played in six CFL season from 1979 to 1985, including three with the Roughriders. Mullinder, 36, is originally from New Zealand and played eight season with the Riders from 2004 to 2011. He currently works as an analyst for CKRM and Riderville.com.

CFL WEEK IN REVIEW

By: Geoff Harvey
GetMoreSports.com

The CFL season is right around the corner now. With the season less than two months away, there is certainly plenty to talk about around the league. We narrowed down the list to the most notable stories around the league, including the Hamilton Tiger-Cats locking up their veteran defensive end long-term and the optimism in the Toronto Argonauts locker room following the addition of Marc Trestman as head coach.

Here is a look at the top CFL news and notes for this week.

Ticats Extend Veteran DE Chick

The Tiger-Cats extended veteran defensive end John Chick with a contract that will last through the 2018 season. Hamilton signed Chick before last season after he was cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The 34-year-old registered 14 sacks, which was tied for the second-most in the CFL last season, along with 40 tackles. Chick earned CFL All-Star honors and was named the team’s nominee for the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2016.

Argos Ray Optimistic Under Trestman

The Argonauts are coming off an awful season in which injuries and inconsistency really hurt the team. However, there is definitely reason for optimism in Toronto this year based in large part on their new head coach. Marc Trestman has wasted little time changing the overall attitude in Toronto after he was hired by the franchise just a couple of months ago. Quarterback Ricky Ray has been particularly vocal about the direction of the franchise. Ray told reporters this week that, “I’ve seen a lot of things happen in the CFL throughout my career. I’ve seen teams turn it around very quickly year to year, so everything’s possible.” It will certainly be very interesting to see what Trestman has in store, and how quickly the Argonauts are able to turn things around.

Argonauts Sign Former Ticats DB Vaughn

Argonauts GM Jim Popp continued his busy offseason with the addition of former Ticats DB Cassius Vaughan. Vaughan, who has several years of NFL experience, played nine games for Hamilton in 2016 after he was signed at midseason. The 29-year-old had 26 tackles. The Argonauts also signed defensive back Davonte Neal and Canadian receiver Jimmy Ralph as they continued their offseason rebuild.

Riders Sign Safety Edem To Extension

The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed Canadian safety Mike Edem to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2018 season. The Riders recently acquired Edem and a conditional selection in the 2018 CFL Draft from the BC Lions for a conditional 2018 pick. The 27-year-old Edem has started 33 regular season games in his career. Edem has registered 91 tackles, 29 special-teams tackles, six interceptions and five sacks in his career. The veteran safety was a 2013 East Division All-Star and Montreal’s nominee as outstanding rookie that year. Saskatchewan will hope that Edem can help their secondary perform at a higher level than they did last season as they look to become a contender in the West Division in 2017.

Stampeders Add Stanzi To Roster

The Calgary Stampeders have added another quarterback to the roster. Former Iowa Hawkeyes signal caller Ricky Stanzi will get a shot with the team during the rookie camp to see whether he sticks or not. Stanzi had played for Iowa and led them to a couple of good seasons from 2007-2010. He had led them to an undefeated start to their 2009 campaign before the team faded. They were 9-0 heading into a game against Northwestern but was injured. After that, the Hawkeyes season went astray. He had opportunities with six different NFL teams but he never lasted. Overall, he was 26-9 as a starter for Iowa, throwing for 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Stamps released Nick Arbuckle in a coinciding move. They also signed running backs Jacobi Green and Terry Williams. Green had tried out with the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers last season, but couldn’t make the final cuts. He had a fairly productive college career, piling up 28 touchdowns and 2,969 rushing yards in his time at the University of Richmond.

CFL rookie camps will begin on May 24th with regular training camps starting just four days later.

Click here to bet on the CFL football futures for the 2017 season right now. DSI will have futures as well as all of the weekly lines, totals and props once the season gets underway!