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Monday, January 31, 2011

MONDAY'S SPORTS CAGE AUDIO

Monday's Sports Cage was a busy one as we got back to work after a great weekend.  In hour one we were joined in-studio by CTV Regina's Chris Hodges and we looked back at NHL and NFL All-Star weekend.  We were also joined for a Pats update by the voice of the Pats, Dan Plaster.  It was Rider Monday in hour two and our guests included John Lynch, former Rider Dan Rashovich and the newest Edmonton Eskimo, Joel Lipinski.  We also gave away the Sports Cage Ultimate NHL Experience trip with Dave Ash of DASH Tours (pictured). The winner was Regina's Kelly Ziegler.  Download the audio from the links below:

HOUR ONE:
http://www.mediafire.com/?f3gopoa1mwfdbkg

HOUR TWO:
http://www.mediafire.com/?ce18gwdrl57jlr4

RAIDERS HIRE WYLIE

The Oakland Raiders made it official today, announcing the hire of veteran offensive line coach Bob Wylie.

He's entering his fourth decade of coaching football that includes 18 years at the professional level.

“Bob is a spectacular teacher, motivator and drill sergeant,” Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. “His vast knowledge and experience, including last year with a team in our division will really help us as we move forward in assembling a really good offensive line.”

Wylie spent last season sharing offensive line coaching duties for the Denver Broncos. As an NFL assistant with the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears, he tutored seven offensive linemen who earned Pro Bowl berths. Wylie has also coached tight ends for Cincinnati and the New York Jets.

Before returning to the NFL with Denver, Wylie spent three seasons as offensive line coach in the Canadian Football League with Saskatchewan in 2009 and Winnipeg from 2007-08. During his three seasons as an offensive line coach in the CFL, Wylie was part of two teams that played in the Grey Cup with Saskatchewan (2009) and Winnipeg (2007). He coached players to All-Star appearances at every offensive line position (tackle, guard and center) in the CFL.

Wylie spent 13 seasons coaching at the collegiate level, with the latest stint as offensive line coach at Syracuse (2005-06). He served in the same capacity at the University of Cincinnati (1996), Colorado State (1988-89), Holy Cross (1983-84) and Brown (1980-82) and was offensive coordinator at Ohio University (1985-87).

The West Warwick, R.I. native played linebacker at the University of Colorado for three years before transferring to Roger Williams College.

The Raiders are also expected to hire Chuck Bresnehan as their linebackers coach.

(Courtesy http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/)

OUCH!!


Courtesy Chris Hodges at CTV Regina, here's the incident involving WHL linesman Derek Nernberg of Regina during Saturday night's Pats-Warriors game in the Brandt Centre.

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

I am astounded at how many people were clamouring for a report from High Impact Wrestling over the weekend.  A report, and pictures.

Well since things are a little slow around here this time of year, I decided to hold onto the pictures and recap until this morning's column so here goes....

Friday night's visit to High Impact Wrestling in Regina will go down, quite probably, as one of the top three or four nights of my life.  When you start to factor in children's births or the Riders winning the Grey Cup, you start to realize the elite company High Impact Wrestling is in.

I really didn't even know about HIW - except for the mentions in Rob Vanstone's columns or Mitchell Blair's blog - until last week.  It was my brother Reid who insisted that we take in the January card at the Victoria Club as he took in last month's event.

And let me begin by saying that although I've lived in this city for almost 20 years and grew up 30 miles away, I must have driven by the Victoria Club on Victoria Avenue at least 100,000 times without ever noticing it.  So our gang, which included Nathan "Machine Gun" Morrision, Jeff "Straight Cash" Armstead, "Molson" Mike Tate, Gary "The Steer" Uhren, Josh "Fake Kneel-Down" Shaw and a few others, made the four block trek from our meeting place of The Rooftop over to the Victoria Club.

And there it began.

People were lined up out the door and down into the street.  The Steer was able to get us past the line since he's a member at the club, and signed us all in.  As we sat down in the lounge awaiting the main event, I looked around and had to ask myself many times "Are we still in Regina?".  It was group of hardcore regulars in there doing some serious drinking.  There was one guy sitting at the bar and we were told if we go up and ask him who's the greatest hockey player ever, he'll yell "ROBERT GORDON ORR!", then turn away.

But I really had to do a double-take when they started taking bets for the "Rabbit Races".   What?  So we all laid down cash on the table where it was promptly collected.  We were then told to get ready for the races and before I knew it they were over.  Where were the rabbits?  I never saw any and all I know is we didn't win.  Somebody said they raced them out in the back alley.

Then it was almost time for the wrestling so we made our way upstairs at the Victoria Club and this is what we saw:
I took this photo off my BlackBerry Torch from Prairie Mobile for this little kid and Principal Pound.  I had Pound on my radio show Thursday and took quite a liking to him.  He became my favourite wrestler for the night.  I particularly liked when he had Robby Gamble on the mat by the hair, and shouted at Gamble's fans "How do you like your hero now, Toots?!"
This is legendary wrestling announcer Bob Leonard.  When he announced me as the special guest at ringside, I knew I was about to become part of the show.  As you can see, there were three rows around the ring making capacity about 300 people.  Each and every event is soldout and you have to get your tickets in advance.
This is our crew.  I have no idea where the masks came from.  All I know is I looked down and there was one in my lap and somebody yelled "Put it on!"
It's best that what happened that night stay in the Victoria Club, but it's also safe to say it was incredible.  I couldn't keep a straight face when I was trash-talking with the wrestlers Thursday on the radio but by Friday night I was able to give it to them in spades (and they back to me).  And what's remarkable is, at the end of the night, all of us who had been screaming at each other for three solid hours got up and gave each other a hug or a handshake.  In this picture, I'm hugging a Rob Gamble fan who told me "I love you Roddy!" about 10 minutes after giving me the "double finger".  In the foreground, Tony Playter wipes the tears out of his eyes.  This is all true.

It's amazing how these people realize it's all about the show and entertainment while WHL fans get carried away and send me threats and vandalize my car outside the arena.


But the night didn't end there.   Ooooooh no.

As I told you in Friday's column, my buddy Rich Dumais was sponsoring a night with Ron Jeremy at the Envy Nightclub and Rich left tickets at the door for Shaw and me as a thank you for promoting the appearance.  I swear I didn't know much about Jeremy other than that he was a Hall of Famer.  He didn't dress like much, wearing a golf shirt, sweats and crocs but men and women alike were lined up forever to meet the guy.  After doing a Google search yesterday, I'm not sure I'd do it again but what the hey?  It's not everyday you get a chance to meet a Hall of Famer, no matter what kind of Hall of Fame it is.

And THAT was our Friday night.  How was yours?

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Random Monday Thoughts:

- Get ready because WHL linesman Derek Nernberg of Regina is about to become a YouTube superstar.  I wasn't at Saturday night's Pats game (a 4-3 OT win over Moose Jaw) but I'm told Nernberg did some sort of kamikaze wipeout into the net.  WHL fans have been asking me to secure the video and get it on YouTube because people are going to go nuts over it.  The voice of the Pats Dan Plaster plans to post it to YouTube today.

- A lot of sports fans said this weekend was the calm before the storm of Super Bowl XLV but I disagree.  It was a great sports weekend beginning with the NHL All-Star draft Friday night, the Skills Competition Saturday and the All-Star Game Sunday.  Throw in a great NBA doubleheader and the Pro Bowl and you've got a fabulous weekend.

- Although the games themselves were a letdown.  The NHL All-Star Game was close but the players seemed to hardly be trying.  The Pro Bowl was just ridiculous.  Nobody wanted to tackle anybody.

- I scorned the CBC on Twitter for showing the BDO Classic extra end on Sunday rather than going directly to Raleigh for the NHL All-Star Game and faced a barrage of hate mail.  Some wrote "how you would you feel if the end of a hockey game was pre-empted for curling?"  I thought to myself "that would never happen".

- One American wrote "at least CBC carried it!  In the USA if you don't have cable, you don't get All-Star Game".  Again, I thought to myself "if you don't have cable, you don't count."

- Speaking of, Access Communications V.P. of Marketing Trevor Derksen gave me this statement for The Monday Morning Goalie regarding Sunday's Super Bowl XLV broadcast: "Last year our provider did not simulcast the Super Bowl meaning we were able to show American commercials.  This year we suspect the same will happen in HD on Fox West Channel 511 on Access."  So if you get this channel, you get the American feed.

- We'll be at the Four Seasons on Sunday for the first-ever Sports Cage Super Bowl Party.  We're giving away invites on the radio show all week.

- Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan of Regina is hosting a Super Bowl Party at the Pump on Sunday.  The cost to get in is $25.

- Congratulations to Amber Holland for back-to-back Provincial Womens Curling championships.  She won Sunday's final in Outlook and is off to the national championships.  Meanwhile Saskatchewan's Trish Paulsen and Braeden Moskowy are 5-0 at the Canadian juniors in Calgary.

- Speaking of curling, I counted 12 seconds after Team McEwen beat Team Howard in the extra end that CBC cut away to hockey on Sunday.

- By the way the All-Star draft was a fabulous idea and when the concept was unveiled I immediately thought "I wonder who will go last?".  I also thought here's NO way whomever it is should be embarrassed because he's one of the top 36 players in the NHL.  Well of course it turned out to be Toronto's Phil Kessel and while he didn't seem bothered by it, his G.M. Brian Burke freaked out about it afterwards.  C'mon Burkie quite crying!  It's the All-Star Game, plus Kessel got a free car and $20,000 to go to the charity of his choice.

- Congrats to Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston for being one of the finalists for the Slats Gill Award for Sportsperson of the Year at the Oregon Sports Awards.

The award goes to the outstanding coach, administrator or organization from an Oregon-based team at any level of competition in the calendar year 2010.

The other nominees for the Slats Gill Award were Linfield College baseball coach Scott Brosius, Aloha High School football coach Chris Casey, University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly and University of Oregon cross country/track and field coach Vin Lananna.

- Also congrats to hockey fans in Kent, WA who set a record for attendance at the ShoWare Centre as 6,157 fans showed up to watch Seattle trounce Portland 5-2. 5,031 stuffed animals were collected for the Thunderbirds' Teddy Bear Toss promotion. Well done Kent..

- Football news? Long-time CFL lineman Dave Mudge is to be inducted into the Whitby (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame.

- After a messy split with the Alouettes, lineman Paul Lambert is staying in Montreal as the offensive line coach for the McGill Redmen.

- The Edmonton Eskimos have signed DB Joel Lipinski of Regina. The former Ram played nine games with the Roughriders in 2009 recording one defensive tackle and five special teams tackles.

- I would bet money that Gary Etcheverry will be the defensive line coach for the Riders in 2011.

- I can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to me to have one Rider employee say to me last week "We really appreciate how well you represent the football club at things like that Weyburn fundraising dinner."

Stuff like that makes all the mud-slinging you get on message boards go away. If the team is happy and proud, that's all that matters. I appreciated the guy's comment so much that I thanked him again a day later and vowed to take him for lunch this week.

- How exciting is it that we're on the verge of acquiring the funding for the new Saskatchewan entertainment facility??? And a hearty congrats to the Ontario government for kicking in an additional $22.5-million for the Hamilton stadium construction. The McGuinty government will make this one-time payment to the City of Hamilton for the project. In the release the government said:

"This investment will help Hamilton gain a facility that will provide youth and adults further opportunities to engage in sports and recreation activities. The renovation of the stadium will benefit the community for generations to come and boost the local econonmy."

We're next.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!!
RP

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SUNDAY SPORTS

Pats fans went home happy Saturday night.  Jordan Weal's even strength goal at 1:20 of overtime completed a remarkable comeback as the Pats knocked off rival Moose Jaw 4-3 in the Brandt Centre.  The Warriors held period leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but couldn't put the Pats away, which was the exact opposite of what occurred in the Crushed Can Friday night (a 4-3 Warriors' win).  Weal scored a pair on the night giving him 25 goals on the season while Lynden Martell and Brandon Davidson also found the net.  Defenseman Myles Bell chipped in with three assists.  The attendance was 5,014.  Matt Hewitt made 32 saves in the Regina goal to record the win.  The Pats were 1/3 on the powerplay and 5/5 killing penalties.  The Pats' next game is Wednesday at Saskatoon on 620 CKRM.

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Zdeno Chara still has the hardest shot in the NHL. The Bruins captain set a new record at the NHL Skills Competition in Raleigh, NC with a 105.9 mile per hour blast. It's Chara's fourth win in a row. Islanders forward Michael Grabner is the fastest skater. He completed a lap of the ice in just over 14 seconds.

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Accidental concussions are on the rise while blindside hits are down according to the NHL's commissioner. Gary Bettman wouldn't cite any numbers but says the league is ``spending a lot of effort'' on concussions. Bettman also says time is running short on the Phoenix Coyotes sale.

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FBI agents have offered to help search for the Stanley Cup winning puck. The puck has been missing ever since Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored the winner last year. A Chicago businessman has offered a reward of $50,000 dollars for the puck. The FBI says it is conducting the search during off hours.

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In Page Playoff action at the 2011 SaskPower Scotties Provincial Tournament of Hearts in Outlook on Saturday, Amber Holland downed Mandy Selzer 10-6 while Stefanie Lawton defeated Cindy Ricci 9-5.

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The Toronto Blue Jays locked up newly-acquired reliever Frank Francisco. Both sides avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $4-million. Toronto traded for the 31-year-old righty after sending Mike Napoli to Texas earlier this week. Francisco is expected to compete for the closer's job.

(With files from The Canadian Press)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

WARRIORS 4 PATS 3

The Regina Pats held leads of 2-1 and 3-2 by periods but a two-goal third period by the hometown Warrirors earned Moose Jaw a 4-3 victory Friday night.   It was the opener to a weekend home-and-home series.

GOAL SCORERS: Jordan Weal and Andrew Rieder scored first period goals for Regina while Shane Neigum lit the lamp in the second.  The Warriors' goal scorers were Dylan Hood (2), Antonin Honejsek and Sam Fioretti.  Fioretti scored the game-winner at 12:31 of the third.

THE STATS: The Warriors outshot the Pats 33-24 ... Damien Ketlo took the loss in the Pats' net making 29 saves ... Regina was 1/3 on the powerplay and 5/7 killing penalties ... The attendance was 2883 ... The Warriors have won every game against the Pats this year.

UP NEXT: The Warriors visit the Pats Saturday night (tonight) at 7:00 pm on 620 CKRM.  The Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show is on the air at 6:35 pm.

Friday, January 28, 2011

HIGH IMPACT WRESTLING

At the Victoria Club. Lord help us..

RIVALRY HEATS UP

The Regina Pats will take on their Highway One rivals, the Warriors this weekend:
Friday, January 28th Pats @ Warriors Moose Jaw Civic Centre 7pm
Saturday, January 29th Warriors @ Pats Brandt Centre 7pm
*Both games can be heard on 620 CKRM..

THE LOWDOWN:
This will be the fourth and fifth time this season that the Pats and Warriors will heat up the Trans-Canada Highway. The Warriors have had their way for the most part over the past season and a half with the Pats winning just a single game, back on January 29th, 2010. The Warriors are currently in a fight with Medicine Hat and Kootenay for home ice in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The faces of the Moose Jaw Warriors:
LW – Quinton Howden
The leading goal scorer for the Moose Jaw Warriors was a standout with Canada’s Junior Team at the recent World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo. Howden is a 1st round pick, 25th overall of the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

LW – Antonin Honejsek
The 19 year old forward played for the Czech Republic at the recent World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo. He scored a goal against Canada in the Czech’s 7-2 loss. He is tied for second on the Warriors in goals with 21.

RW – Dylan Hood
The 20 year old forward is in his 5th WHL season and is tops on the club in scoring and assists. He was acquired at the 2009 WHL trade deadline from the Kelowna Rockets in exchange for Ryley Grantham and a 5th round 2011 WHL Bantam draft pick

Quick Hits:
- Warriors have four players with 20 or more goals (Howden, Hood, Honejsek, Edwards) and another on the cusp of 20 in Sebastian Svendson.
- Thomas Heemskerk is in the top ten in GAA, SV% and wins
- The Warriors are 10-4 since the Christmas break.

The Pats Story:
The Blue & White have climbed to within 2 points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are also just 6 points out of 6th in the very tight conference race for the final three playoff spots. They are currently 6-3-1-0 over their past 10 games with points in three of the Pats last 4 games. Only 9 of the final 24 games of the season will be played at home.

C – Jordan Weal
Is on a 4 game point streak (3g, 5a) and is now back in the top 10 in the WHL scoring race. Is also on pace to break 90 points for the second straight year. He is only 18 points away from cracking the Pats top-20 all-time point leaders. Tied for 15th on the all-time Pats assist list with Darren Veitch (76-80)

RW – Garrett Mitchell
The Pats captain is on a 3 game goal scoring streak and has tied his career high for goals assists and points. Is five games away from tying Josh Holden and Gerad Adams for 19th on the Pats all-time games played list.

C – Colin Reddin
The 20 year old veteran is currently with Garrett Mitchell for 4th in team scoring and will surpass career highs in all offensive categories.

The Pats will head on the road for 4 of their next five games beginning with Wednesday date with Brayden Schenn and the Saskatoon Blades and Friday with Scott Glennie and the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The next home game after this weekend, will be next Saturday with a crucial game against the Prince Albert Raiders. It’s a 7pm puck drop at the Brandt Centre. For ticket information, head to http://www.reginapats.com/.
(Courtesy voice of the Pats Dan Plaster)

RIDER COACHING NEWS

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today Bill MacDermott (pictured) has been named the team’s new running backs coach. He will join Doug Berry, Bob Dyce and Alex Smith who have agreed to return as part of the 2011 Rider coaching staff.

MacDermott has compiled over five decades of coaching experience at a variety of levels including high school, junior, university and professional. Last season the highly regarded teacher and motivator served as head coach of the PFC’s Edmonton Huskies.

In his time in the CFL MacDermott spent nine seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos and was most recently with the Toronto Argonauts in 2008 as an offensive line coach. He also spent time in Winnipeg and Montreal.

The veteran coach spent two seasons as the tight ends coach with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers in 1997-98 and two seasons with the Orlando Thunder of the World League.

A native of Providence, Rhode Island MacDermott began his coaching degree in 1961 at Hopkins High School in New Haven, Connecticut. Five years later he moved to Wesleyan University and later assumed the role as head coach– a position he would retain for 16 years.

MacDermott has a degree in physical education and history from Trinity College. Bill and his wife Kathleen have one daughter – Stephanie.

The Riders also confirmed that Jim Daley, Nelson Martin and Tom Freeman will not be returning to the team’s coaching staff for 2011.

FRIDAY RODSERVATIONS

- You might like the wide-ranging interview from Thursday's Sports Cage with Riders V.P. of Football Operations Ken Miller. Want to know why the Riders replaced PR Ryan Grice-Mullen with Weston Dressler in the Grey Cup? Want to know Miller's coaching secret and philosophy? It's all included in the post below this one.

- Miller will be remembered for many things as coach of the Riders, but one of them is his ability to give funny quotes. Shortly after being named coach of the Riders early in 2008 I asked him how his life has changed since being named head coach. "I have a lot more friends!" Miller laughed.

- Miller told the Leader Post this week that this year's 2011 training camp will be held in Regina beginning June 1.  The club is looking into holding camp in Saskatoon in 2012.

- When the Edmonton Eskimos announced a contract extension for QB Ricky Ray on Monday, it wasn't mentioned how much of a paycut he swallowed to come back in 2011. Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal reported this week Ray dropped from $500,000 to $400,000 per season.

- The Riders are getting a bargain with Darian Durant at $250,000 per season. However I'm told Durant knows he stands to make considerable money if he quarterbacks the Riders for 10 seasons rather than end up like Kerry Joseph who got the big ticket salary, but was then ushered out of the league shortly thereafter.

- Andy Fantuz is back in Canada after his sun vacation. Regarding the story of him signing with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, he's telling people "it's only rumours".

- It was one week ago today that Rider GM Brendan Taman came on the radio with us and after speaking with the Steelers, he said Fantuz has not signed anything with Pittsburgh however the team has interest in negotiating with him.

- The Regina Pats open a weekend home-and-home series with the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight in the Crushed Can at 7:00. Saturday night the Pats host the Tribe at 7:00 in the Brandt Centre. Both games can be heard on 620 CKRM with the Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show at 6:35 pm each night.

- Listen to Four Seasons Football Friday on the Sports Cage today on 620 CKRM from 4 - 6 pm. Scott Schultz and I will be joined by Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, and we'll unveil plans for the Four Seasons Super Bowl XLV Party next Sunday. We'll be giving away invitations on the show over the next week.

- At the request of my friend Rich Dumais, here's a plug for tonight's "Party With A Porn Star .. Ron Jeremy" event tonight at Envy (the old Manhattans). The party begins at 9 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the door.

- We'll be at High Impact Wrestling at the Victoria Club tonight.  The event is already soldout.  Check out what they're all about at http://www.hiwcanada.com/.

- Fun with photoshop. John Lynch sent in this photo of the Chicago Bears' new quarterback:
Bears QB Jay Cutler is certainly under a lot of fire for coming out of Sunday's loss in the NFC Championship game to Green Bay. An online report stated Cutler went to a Chicago steakhouse with dozen friends and requested a private room so he wouldn't be bothered by angry Bears fans.
- As you can see, he's still a winner.

- Much has been made this week of the car salesman in Chicago who was fired for refusing to take off his Green Bay Packers tie despite repeated requests from his boss. Although he was honouring his grandmother who passed a few days before, I still feel he deserved to be fired. The owner said it could deflect business. My philosophy is when the boss says JUMP, you should ask "how high?"

- Thanks to Mark Habicht of the Riders for replacing the Roughrider tie I donated for auction at the Weyburn Red Wings fundraising dinner. It's not the exact same style, but Mark's vowed to order in the exact same tie. What a guy...

- After 13 stellar seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, slotback Ben Cahoon announced his retirement this week. When asked which of his record 1,017 career catches was his best, Cahoon replied "My best catch is my wife!".

- The coverage of Wayne Gretzky's 50th birthday this week was staggering. Dave Naylor's 1-on-1 with Gretzky on TSN was typically top-notch. When asked what his greatest accomplishment is, Gretzky replied "That I'm a nice person".

- How classy is that? I've heard many stories about Gretzky over the years but none of them included a hint of bad news. Many years ago at the NHL Draft in Raleigh, NC I found myself six feet away from The Great One on the arena floor near the coffee and donuts. Alas, I was too shy to introduce myself.

- Same goes for Tiger Williams, who shared a flight with the Riders to Toronto this past September. However my colour commentator Carm Carteri went up for a visit. There was some confusion yesterday about a story that Tiger Williams was coming out of retirement to play with the Noteku Hockey League's Herbert Hawks at age 58.  However the coach of the Hawks called our show yesterday to inform us Tiger hadn't played in the minimum amount of games for playoffs and thus, is inelligible.  However they hope to have Tiger play next season.

- A lot of Regina drivers were lighter in the wallet over the past 12 months. Regina City Police say they pinched 488 drivers for driving while on their cell phone since the ban went into effect a year ago. The fine is $280 and comes with four demerit points. My question is; what percentage of drivers to you think got caught?

- Use turn signals.

- Know That Showing Up Is Half The Battle - Gold's Gym

- Need a job? Google has announced it's hiring for 6000 positions in the next year.

- The looming NFL work stoppage could be a boon for the CFL. If there is a strike or lockout, insiders say the NFL Network and NFL rightsholders will be looking to carry CFL games to fill the airtime. One CFL blogger named Daved Benefield has been having some fun with this on Twitter:

"From @davedbenefield
Rich Eisen (NFL Network host) will struggle to keep a straight face saying Regina, and Warren Sapp will go WHAT! at least once after hearing the word Regina"

- Last week I mentioned you may want to delete some apps on your smartphone in order to save battery life. Darian Durant informed me Saturday in Weyburn that he only has one application on his BlackBerry Torch from Prairie Mobile. It's the Score Mobile app. I couldn't live without it either.

- Can't watch the new season of The Bachelor. The premise - as always - is horrible and I just can't take it anymore.

- Having said that, this is the time of year to watch American Idol. The crazy contestants make for must-see TV. Once they whittle it down to the good ones, it gets boring.

- Today's Press Box Sports Bar Friday Lunch Buffet from Chef Sid:
"Hey you guys!  On this week's buffet we will have pizzas, breaded chicken, ribs, rice, scalloped potatoes, cream corn, caesar salad and dessert.  Have a good week.  Go Redskins!"

SEE YOU TODAY IN THE CAGE AT 4:00
RP

Thursday, January 27, 2011

MILLER ON SPORTS CAGE

Roughriders V.P. of Football Operations Ken Miller was named a finalist for 2010 CFL Coach of the Year on Thursday.  This is a transcript of our chat from Thursday's Sports Cage on 620 CKRM:

MILLER:  I'll tell ya it's a tremendous honour to be nominated for that award.  It's a reflection on our entire organization, particularly our assistant coaches and the men in the locker room.  It's a tremendous honour for us all.

RP:  Yes but it's the third straight year for Ken Miller so the common theme in there is YOU.  That must feel good..

MILLER:  It does feel good.  We aspire to perform at a consistent high level and hopefully we've been able to do that in some measure.

RP:  What are your reflections on the 2010 Rider season?

MILLER:  It's a situation where we played hard and with great purpose.  We got into a position of advantage and then we hit a tough spot in the road.  Then when we pulled ourselves out of that and we played at a very high level.  We got into the playoffs and got a victory in the western final and played an excellent Grey Cup game.  With a break or two, we would have had an opportunity to win it.

RP:  Have you watched the Grey Cup game over again?

MILLER:  I have watched bits and pieces of it from the coach's video but not the TSN version.  I watched bits and pieces of all three phases but I'm not able to handle it emotionally yet to watch it straight through.

RP:  Will you ever be able to?

MILLER:  Oh yah.  Oh yah.  It's just a matter of time.  The one last year (2009) I'm not sure if I'll ever watch that one but this one was a different situation.  It was a different game.

RP:  Why did you replace Grice-Mullen with Weston Dressler on punt returns in the Grey Cup game?

MILLER:  Weston really is a premiere punt returner for us and the thing is we hadn't used him on a regular basis that way because the number of hits he takes affects how he plays as a receiver.  But in a one game tournament, I thought he gave us the best opportunity to secure and return punts.  That's why we went that way.

RP:  Was the weather a factor for Grice-Mullen near the end?

MILLER:  It was in the west final.  When you handle punts, particularly punts, you need your most sure-handed person in the games.

RP:  Looking back at your three seasons as coach - nominated for coach of the year each year - what was your best coaching season?  If I may, I'd say 2008 was with all the broken legs.

MILLER:  Looking back, 08 was really a season that was fraught with a lot of injuries and we battled through.  We didn't play well in the western semifinal at home so maybe that was a mark on that season.  In 2009 we had a really good season.  Winning the west for the first time in a long time and, except for a weird ending in the Grey Cup, we had an opportunity to be champions.  This year, on defense, we replaced a third of our defensive starters so there was a lot of good coaching that went on there.  For me to select one year ahead of the others, they all have a special place in my mind.

RP:  Kent Austin, Danny Barrett, Jim Daley, John Gregory and a long list of others couldn't coach this team to first place in the west but you did.  That must feel good..

MILLER:  When you do something that hasn't been done in 33 years, it's special.  The men in the locker room deserve special recognition for that and so do the coaches.  It was season where we should have, and needed to be, champions.

RP:  What's your coaching secret, or philosophy?

MILLER:  Really I think that if there's a secret, I tried to create an opportunity for players to do what they do best as opposed to driving them into situations where they may not be able to do what they do best.  I tried to get them to work together cohesively to have success.

RP:  Did you learn anything over those three years as Rider coach?

MILLER:  I've learned a lot about how to go about being a head coach and working with pro level players in a leadership position.  In retrospect it would have been great to have that opportunity 10 or 12 years ago.

RP:  Good luck at the CFL Congress!

MILLER:  Thanks so much Rod.  Thanks for the call.

PRO WRESTLERS IN THE SPORTS CAGE

King Kash and Principal Pound from High Impact Wrestling were with me in hour two along with Ken Miller.   In hour one my guests included Cas Pielak, chairman of the Canadian National Midget Baseball Championships which are coming to Regina and U of R Athletics Director Dick White.  Today's show was brought to you by Access Communications.  Download it here:

HOUR ONE:
http://www.mediafire.com/?hks7g17z4dtdx00

HOUR TWO:
http://www.mediafire.com/?isok96e34di85cy

PAT HONOURS BET

This morning at the National Infrastructure Summit at Regina's Evraz Place, Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco honoured his bet with Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay (pictured left) regarding the 2010 Grey Cup.  Montreal beat Saskatchewan 21-18 in the CFL championship game and as a result, Fiacco has to don an Alouettes jersey for the day, fly the City of Montreal flag at Regina City Hall for two days and purchase two pairs of Alouettes season tickets to be given to charity (shouldn't be hard).  rodpedersen.com was there to take these photos..
 The toughest Mayor in Canada, Pat Fiacco, a former Canadian national boxing champion.
 He looks a little humble there doesn't he...
 Mr. Tremblay proved to be quite the trash-talker and said if the Riders ever win a Grey Cup, perhaps Fiacco can get the Riders to sign his jersey like the Alouettes did for him.
 I don't know what we're supposed to do with this...
 A touching embrace.  As it turns out, Tremblay's a pretty good guy.
 Plenty of media showed up for the event..
 The City of Montreal flag..
 Councillor Szarka.  I asked him about Tremblay's trash talk and he said "He was worse yesterday!".
Delegates at the Summit.  I'll try to roll the audio of the festivities today on the Sports Cage at 4:00 pm on 620 CKRM.  Joining us today at 5:00 are pro wrestlers Big Daddy Kash and Principal Pound of High Impact Wrestling.  They've got a show in town tomorrow night at the Victoria Club.

MILLER NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR FINALIST

Toronto, ON - (January 27, 2011) - Jim Barker, Ken Miller and Marc Trestman are the nominees for the 2010 Canadian Football League Coach of the Year Award, the league announced today.

"All three of these gentlemen are tremendous leaders in our league and are well deserving of this nomination," said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

"On behalf of the Board of Governors, I would like to thank them for their continued professionalism, dedication and passion for our great league."

The winner will be presented the Annis Stukus Trophy on Friday, February 25 at the 50th Coach of the Year celebration held at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.

The 2010 Coach of the Year nominees were selected by 53 voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada.

JIM BARKER

In his first season as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts, Barker led his team to a 9-9 record, third place in the East Division and just one win away from a berth in the 98th Grey Cup. Barker turned a team around that had a combined record of 7-29 in the previous two seasons.

This is Barker's second stint in Toronto. In 1997, Barker was the mastermind behind the team's offence, which is regarded as one of the most successful in CFL history. Two years later Barker was named head coach of the Argos, making him the youngest head coach in the CFL at that time. Following a successful five years as a player personnel executive with the Calgary Stampeders, Barker was hired as head coach of the Argonauts during the 2010 off-season. Recently, Barker was also promoted to General Manager.

KEN MILLER

In 2010, Miller led the Saskatchewan Roughriders 10-8 record and second place in the West Division. Miller also coached his team to two playoff victories, returning the Roughriders to the Grey Cup for the second straight year. The veteran CFL coach recently retired from the sidelines and is now serving as Vice President of Football Operations for the Roughriders.

Miller first joined the Saskatchewan coaching staff in 2007 as offensive co-ordinator, playing a key role in a 'Rider offence that led the CFL in touchdowns that year and helped win the Grey Cup.

Prior to joining the CFL as an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts in 2002, Miller spent nearly four decades coaching at the university and high school level in southern California.

MARC TRESTMAN

Trestman led the Montreal Alouettes in 2010 to a 12-6 record, first place in the East Division and a second straight Grey Cup championship.

In his three seasons with the Alouettes, Trestman has coached them to an overall record of 38-16, three East Division Championships, three Grey Cup appearances and two championships.

His impressive NCAA and NFL coaching resume includes successful stints tutoring some of the greatest quarterbacks in U.S. history, including Bernie Kosar, Steve Young and Rich Gannon. He has been credited with helping the Alouettes' superb quarterback Anthony Calvillo, the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL in 2009 and the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 Grey Cup, reach new heights.

THIS WEEK IN COUGAR ATHLETICS

Home Events
Men’s Wrestling – vs. Minot State, Wednesday (7:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Friday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS
Men’s Hockey – vs. Manitoba, Friday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-Operators Centre
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Friday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Saturday (8:00 p.m.) at CKHS
Men’s Hockey – vs. Manitoba, Saturday (7:00 p.m.) at The Co-Operators Centre
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Brandon, Saturday (6:15 p.m.) at CKHS

Away Events
Swimming – at Canada West Championships, Friday to Sunday in Vancouver, B.C.
Women’s Basketball – at Fraser Valley, Friday (6:00 p.m. PST) in Abbotsford, B.C.
Men’s Basketball – at Fraser Valley, Friday (8:00 p.m. PST) in Abbotsford, B.C.
Track & Field – at Sled Dog Meet, Friday and Saturday in Saskatoon, Sask.
Women’s Wrestling – at WCWA Championships, Saturday in Atherton, Calif.
Women’s Hockey – at Manitoba, Saturday (2:00 p.m. CST) in Winnipeg, Man.
Women’s Basketball – at Fraser Valley, Saturday (5:00 p.m. PST) in Abbotsford, B.C.
Men’s Basketball – at Fraser Valley, Saturday (7:00 p.m. PST) in Abbotsford, B.C.
Women’s Hockey – at Manitoba, Sunday (2:00 p.m. CST) in Winnipeg, Man.

Swimming – Five members of the University of Regina’s swimming teams will represent the Cougars this weekend at the Canada West Swimming Championships in Vancouver. Erika Brown, Maggi Pettit, and Jessica Winter will represent the women’s team, while Hector Fukushi and Craig Soutar will compete for the men. In her first season of eligibility, Winter has hit CIS standards this season in the 200-, 400-, and 800-metre freestyle.

Women’s Volleyball (CIS Ranking: No. 10) – The Cougars (5-7) vaulted back into the CIS Top Ten after a big home sweep over Winnipeg last weekend, taking a 3-0 win over the Wesmen on Friday and a 3-1 victory on Saturday. The Cougars are back at home again this weekend, as they’ll host Brandon (7-5) on Friday and Saturday night at the CKHS.

Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars (2-10) lost in three sets on Friday to Winnipeg, but recovered for a big three-set win over the Wesmen on Saturday night. Second-year setter Caleb Eschbach was brilliant, dishing out 42 assists in the victory while making just his second start of the season. The U of R is back at home this weekend with a pair of matches against Brandon (5-7) at the CKHS.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (6-13-1) were defeated 5-3 in regulation on Friday and 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday by the UBC Thunderbirds during a two-game weekend series in Vancouver. The team returns to The Co-Operators Centre for its second last home weekend of the Canada West schedule, as they’ll play host to the Manitoba Bisons on Friday and Saturday night.

Men’s Wrestling – The Cougars competed in the Jamestown Open in Jamestown, N.D. on Saturday. Kirk Ackerman (141 lbs.) and John Lendvoy (184 lbs.) both had sixth-place finishes to pace the Cougars, who will be in action at home this Wednesday with a dual against Minot State. The dual is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the CKHS.

Women’s Basketball (CIS Ranking: No. 5) – The Cougars came through in a low-scoring affair on the road against Winnipeg on Friday, winning 54-49. On Saturday, Joanna Zalesiak’s long three-pointer pushed the game into overtime, but the Wesmen took a 65-63 victory after outscoring the U of R 6-4 in the extra session. The Cougars, now tied with Winnipeg for second place in the conference standings with a 13-3 record, will square off with Fraser Valley (8-8) in Abbotsford, B.C. on Friday and Saturday.

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars (10-6) secured a weekend road sweep over the Winnipeg Wesmen, winning 83-80 on Friday night and 90-75 on Saturday. Winners of three consecutive away games, the U of R will hit the road again this weekend for a pair of games against the Fraser Valley Cascades, who come into the weekend with a 6-10 Canada West record.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (6-10-2) split with the UBC Thunderbirds last weekend at The Co-Operators Centre, getting goals from Hillary Lerat and Paige Wheeler in a 2-1 win on Friday and losing 3-1 on Saturday night. The Cougars will hit the road this weekend for a rare Saturday/Sunday series against the No. 5-ranked Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg.

Track & Field (Men’s CIS Ranking: No. 5 / Women’s CIS Ranking: No. 8) – The Cougars travelled to Edmonton to compete in the Golden Bear Open over the weekend. The meet was highlighted by the women’s 4x2 relay team – consisting of Amanda Ruller, Merissa Margetts, Kelsey Bohachewski, and Chelsea Valois – which set a U of R record and hit the CIS standard with a time of 1:42.13. Both teams will be back in action this weekend at the Sled Dog Meet in Saskatoon.

Women’s Wrestling – Jasmine Slinn represented the Cougars at the Guelph Open in Guelph, Ont. on Saturday, finishing in fifth place at 48 kilograms. The Cougars will return to the mats this weekend at the Women’s College Wrestling Association Championship, which will be held on Saturday in Atherton, Calif. on the campus of Menlo College.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SISCO'S READY

University of Regina Rams football coach Frank McCrystal was on 620 CKRM's Sports Cage on Wednesday. He said if the Riders should lose leading receiver Andy Fantuz to the NFL, then the team has an adequate replacement in Jordan Sisco. The former Rams star had a tryout with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts before signing with the Riders midway through the 2010 CFL season.

"I think he's just so very natural," McCrystal explained. "It kinda sounds weird when you talk about this, you'd have to be involved in the football thing, but for example when you run him on a 40 time, he'll go by you and you won't even hear him. He's that smooth when he runs. Certainly he's physically very capable and relative to his strength, he's tough enough to deliver the blow as well as take them.

"He also has very, very soft hands. He's a guy who can get seperation from a defensive back and he has the speed to run away from defensive backs. He's also the guy that can get the tough yards and catch the ball inside."

WEDNESDAY SPORTS CAGE AUDIO

Wednesday's Sports Cage on 620 CKRM was a presentation of Belmont Tire. SJHL Communications Manager Mitchell Blair co-hosted with me for the whole show. In hour one we discussed Wayne Gretzky's 50th birthday and asked our listeners for their greatest Great One memories. We were also joined by reigning provincial womens curling champ Amber Holland. In hour two our guests were Rams coach Frank McCrystal and Mike Wickett of Sports Radio 1250 in Milwaukee, talking about the Packers. Download the shows here:

HOUR ONE:
http://www.mediafire.com/?wrpnr13frjhagcc

HOUR TWO:
http://www.mediafire.com/?qz3d2qp6bqts0a2

BLACKHAWKS TO SASKATOON

The Credit Union Centre and Saskatoon Blades in association with The Chicago Blackhawks are pleased to announce that Chicago will host one of their pre-season home games in Saskatoon on September 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm. The exhibition game will be against the Edmonton Oilers

This year’s game will feature the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks, against the young, exciting Edmonton Oilers. Chicago’s visit will mark the first appearance of a regular six team to Saskatoon.

“The Edmonton Oilers look forward to returning to Saskatoon for a match-up against Chicago,” said Steve Tambellini, the General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers. “ We know we have a lot of Oiler fans in Saskatchewan and are excited to play Chicago in Saskatoon.” Both teams expressed how excited they are to bring the game to Saskatoon, a city so passionate about hockey.

Hockey operations staff from both teams spoke at the press conference this afternoon via conference call. Including, Steve Tambellini, Edmonton Oilers General Manager, and Kevin Cheveldayoff, Assistant General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. Cheveldayoff explained that he has already been approached by players with roots in the Western Hockey League that stated they are definitely playing in this exhibition game.

Tickets will go on sale this week, with the first pre-sale going to Saskatoon Blades season ticket holders tomorrow, January 27th. After which, tickets will be opened up to all other pre-sale outlets, including the Blades E-blast. To sign up and get your pre-sale information go to www.saskatoonblades.com/page/enews. Pre-sale tickets include a ticket to the Blades home-opener in September.

The general public can purchase tickets on February 4, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. Ticket prices are $37.50 to $97.50 (plus service charges) and are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.ca and by calling (306) 938-7800 or 1-800-970-7328.

WEST HEADED TO RIDERS?

Brandon West apparently can't wait for the Roughriders to issue a news release.  A product of the Western Michigan Broncos, the RB/KOR wrote the following on Twitter on Wednesday:

"@theBWESTreal: Rider fans I'm in the weight room as I speak.  I can rest when I'm dead.  As of right now I'm set out to accomplish"

West's Twitter bio says "Born and raised in Georgia.  Went to college in Michigan.  Now I'm a pro football player.  The man upstairs get all the glory."

But no so fast.  I spoke with Rider GM Brendan Taman about West today and he said the Riders are considering signing West, but as of now he's simply on the team's negotiation list.

While at Western Michigan, West set NCAA records for career all-purpose yards and career kick return yards.  There's a story on West here:
http://www.mlive.com/broncos/index.ssf/2010/03/western_michigan_football_pro.html

MIDGET BASEBALL NATIONALS COMING TO REGINA

One of Baseball Canada’s most prestigious events is coming to Regina.

The Baseball Canada National Midget Championship will be staged in the Queen City from August 17-23, 2011.

The tournament for 16 to 18 year olds will feature teams from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland. Two teams will also represent Saskatchewan. The Baseball Regina Midget AAA Champion (determined by a Zone Playoff) as well as the Sask Baseball Midget AAA Provincial Champion.

The National Midget Championship brings together Canada’s best young baseball players and draws scouts from numerous Major League teams as well as college and university scouts from throughout Canada and the United States.

Games will be played at both Optimist Park and Currie Field. The teams will be housed at the University of Regina.

FOOTBALL TOPS AMERICANS' LIST

Nearly three in 10 Americans who follow at least one sport said that pro football is their favorite sport, according to data from a new Harris Poll.  Seventeen percent chose baseball as their favorite sport, narrowing the gap slightly from last year when more than 35% of sports fans said pro football was their favorite sport, compared to 16% who said it was baseball:

* Pro football - 31%
* Baseball - 17%
* College football - 12%
* Auto racing - 7%
* Men's pro basketball - 6%
* Hockey - 5%
* Men's soccer - 4%
* Men's college basketball - 4%
* Men's golf - 2%
* Track & field - 2%
* Bowling - 2%
* Men's tennis - 2%
* Boxing - 1%
* Horse racing - 1%
* Women's tennis - 1%
* Swimming - 1%
* Women's pro basketball - 0%
* Women's soccer - 0%
* Women's college basketball - 0%
* Women's golf - 0%
* Not sure - 3%

TIGERS 4 PATS 3

REGINA -- Kale Kessy's powerplay goal at 8:52 of the third period was the game-winner as the Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Regina Pats 4-3 in the Brandt Centre Tuesday night in a game shown across western Canada on Shaw TV. The loss left the Pats two points out of a playoff spot with 24 games left to play.

THE STORY: The Tigers led 1-0 after the opening period and 2-1 after forty minutes. Jordan Weal scored for the Pats in the second frame. In the third, Garrett Mitchell and Art Bidlevksi scored for the hometowners but they could not complete the comeback against a Tiger team which holds down fourth-place in the WHL East Conference. Matt Hewitt took the loss in the Pats' goal, making 24 saves.

THE STATS: Regina outshot the Tigers 33-28 ... The Pats were 1/8 on the powerplay and 2/3 killing penalties ... The Tigers' Hunter Shinkaruk was named the #1 star ... The loss dropped the Pats' record to 17-24-6-1.

UP NEXT: The Pats visit the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday at 7:00 pm and host the Warriors Saturday night. Both games can be heard on 620 CKRM.
(Photo courtesy WHL.ca)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CHRIS SCHULTZ ON THE SPORTS CAGE

TSN's Chris Schultz stopped by CKRM's Sports Cage on Tuesday.  Schultzie's headed to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas and it will be a familiar trip for him, as he played on the offensive line for the Cowboys from 1983-85.  After Dallas, Schultz spent from 1986-1994 with the Toronto Argonauts.  Here's the transcript of our chat:

RP:  How pumped are you to head to Super Bowl XLV?

SCHULTZ:  I'll be interested to see how the city's changed because it's been a few years.  It's a fun place to live, it's a fun place to visit and it's a football mecca.  High school and college football are huge and the pro's rule.  The Super Bowl will be very comfortably displayed in Dallas, Texas.  The stadium is surreal.  The scoreboard, the amenities, it's the most impressive sports structure I've ever seen.

RP:  Will they remember you down there?

SCHULTZ:  Maybe the people who are similar in age to me will remember!  Haha.  But outside the generation that's with the team now, I kind of doubt it.  As time goes on people go their seperate ways.  If I do bump into people that were in my time, absolutely, positively we will know each other.

RP:  Did you predict the Packers and Steelers would meet in the Super Bowl?

SCHULTZ:  If memory serves correctly I nailed the Packers but not the Steelers.  I thought the Colts would be there, but am I surprised the Steelers are there?  No.  Not for one second.  The only thing that surprises me is they didn't have their starting offensive tackles and usually when you lose your two top linemen, your season is over.  But the similarities between these two teams, why they're there, is the depth of their teams.  They've been able to produce results based on replacing players who are there that didn't start the season.

RP:  What's Super Bowl week like?

SCHULTZ:  At the beginning of the week it's about football.  You get a chance to meet the players you've watched all season on TV.  You meet people you never dreamed you'd have the opportunity to meet.  The NFL elite is there.  As the week progresses it becomes a celebrity moment because it's THE place to be.  It's a real oddity because it starts about football and becomes about the party.  The discussion moves from the players to the entertainers.  I kind of seperate myself from that because I'm a purist but it transitions into a party.  Once you go to the stadium it's really something to watch because the shows take over from the game.  You may be sitting in a bad spot but you don't care because you're just glad to be there because so many people want to be.

RP:  What's your schedule like?

SCHULTZ:  It's pretty loaded.  We start at 6:00 am and we have to be at all the events because being with TSN, we have to have the information first.  So we're the first ones to arrive and you go to the hotels where the players and coaches are and then you go to the area outside the stadium where you tape your segments.  Then you meet afterwards and talk about the next day.  After 6:00 pm things get different and it can be a little dangerous.  I'd like to think I have the maturity that that danger is behind me.  Then it's the same routine the next day.  It only slows down on Saturday.  The best feeling is Sunday when you go to the stadium.  All the negative comments I get during the season when I'm wrong on Risky Business, this makes it all worth it.

RP:  What are your thoughts on the CFL off-season so far?

SCHULTZ:  Interesting as always.  Montreal has created the ultimate in stability.  They lost DC Tim Burke to Winnipeg and Hamilton lost DC Greg Marshall to Saskatchewan.  That was a wonderful hire by the Riders.  He's well-established and has earned this opportunity.  Toronto will be unique. If you get them some receivers and a quarterback or two, they'll be as good as anybody.  B.C. stabilized in the quarterback position.  Edmonton, with Eric Tillman, will make a difference and Kavis Reed is a bright young man.  Calgary is Calgary.  Each team has a scenario that's positive and my optimism is turning into that this will be a very entertaining year.

RP:  We've got a race for coach of the year...:

SCHULTZ:  All coaches did a great job in their own way.  Jim Barker brought respectability back to the Toronto Argonauts.  Did he make some bad decisions?  Yah.  I thought he stuck with Cleo Lemon too long.  But he put players in a spot to shine but some of them didn't get the job done and that was their responsibility.  Out west, Wally Buono, Coach Miller and Paul Lapolice did a great job.  If Paul Lapolice could've won the close games, who knows how far the Winnipeg Blue Bombers could have gone?  I like what Kenny Miller was able to do because they were competitive all season long.  But my vote went to Jim Barker for the job he did.

TUESDAY'S SPORTS CAGE AUDIO

Tuesday's Sports Cage on 620 CKRM was a presentation of Kal Tire.  Global TV Regina's Derek "Duke" Meyers rode shotgun with me for the whole two hours.  In hour one we talked stadium, and our hockey guests included Adam Proteau of The Hockey News and the Pats' Jordan Weal.  In hour two our headline guest was TSN's Chris Schultz.  Unfortunately a portion of the interview got cut off.  Download the shows here:

HOUR ONE:
http://www.mediafire.com/?4n8gq7jw0yeyps9

HOUR TWO:
http://www.mediafire.com/?poclzait9fupuee

GOOD NEWS

There is a positive step towards a brand new multi-purpose domed stadium in Regina.

The CEO of Crown Investments Corporation Ron Styles says a story in the Globe and Mail which states Federal Conservatives are eyeing an unspent pot of more than $1-billion from the 2008 budget as a way of funding pro-sports venues provides more optimism for this province.

"The Federal government has advised us that they're going to have a look at it under the P3 program and we've gained an extra measure of optimism that something is going to be there for us in the future," Styles told reporters Tuesday.

Styles says the target in the study that's been done has said that raising up to 70 million dollars is quite achievable within Saskatchewan.

"The target that we've talked about - at least the study we had done - said that raising up to $70-million (within the province) is achievable," Styles continued. "We've had some discussions with people in the business community who've said that's an achievable number. Which companies will be involved? It's all a matter of talking about a combination of sponsorships and corporate philanthropy."

Styles says there's always the issue of Saskatchewan taxpayers not interested in supporting such a project.

"This is like most other projects which are very large ... there will be a split within the community. Maybe it's 80/20, 90/10 or 70/30. There's always going to be people who would rather spend their money on something different or would rather not spend their money. But it's safe to say the vast majority of people in Saskatchewan are in favour of the project."
(620 CKRM News)

THELWELL ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT


Calgary Stampeders receiver Ryan Thelwell today announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League.

“It has been an honour to be a part of the Canadian Football League and to have had the opportunity to represent two great organizations,” said Thelwell. “I never would have dreamt that professional football would’ve had such an impact on my life, but it has allowed me to develop friendships that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I really want to say thank you to everyone who helped me along this journey.”

Thelwell, 37, spent the final four of his 10 CFL seasons with the Stampeders and retires with 159 regular-season games and 11 post-season contests to his credit. He won the Grey Cup in 2008 with Calgary and in 2006 with the BC Lions. He also played in the 2004 Grey Cup with the Lions. Thelwell was a West Division all-star in 2004 and 2005.

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and raised in London, Ont., Thelwell caught 106 passes for 1,735 yards and nine touchdowns with Calgary and totaled 441 grabs for 6,716 yards and 39 majors in his career. He also had two rushes for 62 yards, added one kickoff return for 11 yards and returned a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown during his career. Thelwell’s most productive campaign came with BC in 2005 when he made 74 catches for 1,035 yards and seven touchdowns.

“As an organization, we appreciate the contributions Ryan provided to the Stampeders over the past four years,” said Stamps head coach/general manager John Hufnagel. “He helped us win a Grey Cup in 2008 and was always a consummate professional.”

Thelwell was drafted by the BC Lions in 1998 but, because of a stint in the National Football League with San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers, did not suit up for the club until 2001. He joined the Stamps as a free agent prior to the start of the 2007 season.

Thelwell and his family — wife Elizabeth, daughters Amari and Riann and newborn-son Graysen — will remain in Calgary, with Thelwell pursuing a new career as an Account Manager at Devani Management Group.
(http://www.stampeders.com/)

TICATS EXTEND TOP DEFENDER

Hamilton, Ontario - The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced today that the team has signed linebacker Markeith Knowlton to a new contract that ensures the 2010 CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player will remain in Hamilton through the 2013 season.

"Markeith is simply the best strongside linebacker in the CFL and one of the league's elite players," said General Manager Bob O'Billovich. "He's an extremely productive player on the field, an exciting player for our fans to watch, and a respected member of our locker room. We're very happy that we'll have Markeith in the fold for the next few years."

Knowlton, a 6-0, 205-pound native of Elaine, Arkansas recorded 71 defensive tackles, three quarterback sacks, three interceptions, three tackles for a loss, two blocked kicks, four forced fumbles and tied a Ticats record with six fumble recoveries while earning recognition as the CFL's top defensive player last season.

In 86 career games with the Ticats (2008-10) and B.C. Lions (2006-07), Knowlton has registered 310 tackles, eight sacks and 12 interceptions. He's been named an East Division All-Star for three consecutive seasons and a CFL All-Star twice.

The Ticats acquired Knowlton from the Lions on April 30, 2008 along with the rights to non-import kicker Ara Tchobanian in exchange for the Ticats second round selection in the 2008 CFL Canadian Draft.

BOMBERS EXTEND TWO CANADIANS

WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced today that they have signed kicker Justin Palardy and offensive lineman Chris Greaves to contract extensions.

As per team policy, details of the agreements are not disclosed.

“One of our top priorities has been to ensure that we have a talented group of non-imports on our roster,” said Vice-President of Football Operations and General Manager Joe Mack. “Both Justin and Chris are talented Canadians who will be beneficial to our football team for many years.”

Palardy was originally drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last season and began the year as their punter. He was later released and subsequently signed with Winnipeg in August where he became the Blue Bombers’ field goal kicker. Palardy finished the year making ten straight field goals in his last two games which made him good on 26 of 30 for the year.

“I’m thankful to this organization for giving me the opportunity that they did,” said Palardy. “I’m confident I’ll be able to pick up where I left off last year so that I can be a kicker that this team can rely on for many years.”

Greaves was Winnipeg’s sixth round pick in last year’s CFL Canadian Draft. Originally a defensive lineman, he was converted to the offensive line in training camp and spent the entire year on the active roster. He played in five games and made one start at left guard on Labour Day.

“I’m very happy to be able to remain with the team that drafted me last year,” said Greaves. “It was a transition year going from defense to offense but I learned so much in the process and I’m hoping to take the next step and become a regular contributor on the offensive line.”

PATS GAME NIGHT: VS MEDICINE HAT

Tonight: Tigers @ Pats 7:00pm
Brandt Centre, 620 CKRM
Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show 6:35

The Tigers will visit the Brandt Centre for the first time this season. They are led by Anaheim Ducks 2010 1st rounder and U.S. World Junior Emerson Etem as well as the WHL’s leading scorer Linden Vey. Shaun Clouston’s team also has one of the leading candidates for WHL Eastern Conference Rookie of the year in Hunter Shinkaruk.

Friday, Jan 28 Pats @ Warriors 7:00pm
Moose Jaw Civic Centre
World Junior silver medalist, Quinton Howden and the Moose Jaw Warriors will renew the best rivalry in all of junior hockey this weekend beginning Friday night at the “Crushed Can”.

Howden, a 1st rounder of the Florida Panthers in 2010, currently leads the Tribe in goals and is 2nd in points.

Saturday, Jan 29 Warriors @ Pats 7:00pm
Brandt Centre
The Pats look to push towards the playoffs with the back half of the home and home series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Warriors bring the marquee names in Quinton Howden and Dylan McIlrath, while the Pats have had a great start to the second half of the season and are starting to make things very interesting in the race for the final playoff spots in the conference.

Goals for Kids:
Prairie Mobile Communications is proud to be back with “Goals for Kids”. For ever goals the Pats score, Prairie Mobile Communications will donate $15 to the Ranch Ehrlo Outdoor Hockey League. The Pats have scored 146 goals so far this season raising $2190.00.

Community Appearances:
Even with the busy week on the ice, the Pats will be spending time in the community. This week they will be at Wilfred Walker School on Thursday, January 27th at 9:30 for National Literacy Day. Members of the Pats will spend the morning reading to the school kids from Wilfred Walker.

In The Locker Room:
- Jordan Weal is 8/9 in shootouts this season and 1/1 on penalty shots.

- Colin Reddin is 8 points away from 100 in his WHL career

- Damien Ketlo stopped all 47 shots in Swift Current on Friday night for his second shutout of both the season and for his career

- Myles Bell took part in the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects game this past Wednesday. 24 hours prior to that, he won the hardest shot competition with a blast of 98.4mph.

- The Pats picked up 5 out of 6 points last week and are now 2 points back of Prince Albert for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with 2 games at hand.

Through the Looking Glass

Colby Williams:
- The 15 year old 4th round pick of the Pats in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft played in his 1st WHL game this past Tuesday night in Prince Albert. In his rookie season with the Regina Pat Canadians, the defenceman has 17 points in 33 games.

HUTCHINS ON SPORTS CAGE

Nick Hutchins photo courtesy CFL.ca
Third-year Rider offensive lineman Nick Hutchins was on 620 CKRM's Sports Cage on Monday.  Here's a transcript of our conversation:

Q.  How's your workout regime been in the off-season?

HUTCHINS:  Pretty busy.  I'm at Gold's pretty much every day but it differs between cardio and weights.  It gets more intense closer to the season but I've been going pretty hard since the end of the season because I didn't play so much near the end of the year.

Q.  What's keeping you busy in the winter?

HUTCHINS:  I'm in four classes at the U of R, trying to finish off my degree in Justice and hoping to be done it next year.

Q.  I'm sure you're ready for 2011 afte the way last season ended..

HUTCHINS:  Yah it was a tough way to go out, especially two years in a row.  I usually can't wait for training camp but this year even more...

Q.  How are you following all the coaching changes??

HUTCHINS:  Personally I just hear it whenever everybody else does.  I try not to think about it too much but a lot of people ask questions.  I just find out whenever everybody else does.

Q.  You've played for two o-line coaches in your career.  Compare them..

HUTCHINS:  With Bob Wylie you couldn't help but respect a guy like that.  He broke everything down so it was simple and then took us back to the basics and simplified the game.

Q.  Was it a big change to Tom Freeman?

HUTCHINS:  Coach Freeman did a lot of the same stuff as Wylie but it was his first year in the pro's.  But he did good things in his own way, but taught us a lot of good things.

Q.  It's your third year now, but you've never started.  That must be your goal this year..

HUTCHINS:  I definitely want to start, that's a no-brainer.  All I can do is work hard and leave it up to the coaches.  Hopefully they give me the opportunity.  All I can do is work my butt off.  At the end of last year they told me just to be ready for 2011.  I think I'm a lot more sound technique-wise than when I was a rookie and I can read defenses much better.  As a centre, I can make the calls.

Q.  Have you met coach Marshall yet?

HUTCHINS:  No not yet.  I'll probably have to go down to the stadium to meet him one of these days.  I've heard nothing but good things about him.

Q.  How's it been playing with the Rider hockey team this winter?

HUTCHINS:  I was in Nipawin with them on Saturday and I actually scored a goal!  It worked out pretty well.  It was a good time getting back on the skates.  Being Canadian I played hockey all my life and it was a great time up there.  It's crazy to see all the Rider Pride .. the rink was packed.  Shomari Williams was there, Chris Getzlaf, Tamon George, Clermont and about 12 of us I think.  I think we won ... it turned into a big joke at the end with everybody having fun.  The refs threw flags instead of blowing down penalties.  It was great for the fans to see us in a different atmosphere.

MONDAY'S SPORTS CAGE AUDIO

We got back to the grind Monday in the Sports Cage on 620 CKRM.  In hour one we were joined in studio by Andrew Walker of the Fan 960 where we talked hockey and a little baseball.  The voice of the Pats Dan Plaster also dropped by.  In hour two it was Rider Monday with John Lynch and me.  Our guests included Rider lineman Nick Hutchins and Edmonton Eskimos colour commentator Dave Campbell.  Download the shows here:

HOUR ONE:
http://www.mediafire.com/?d4zgh80fiwhr0h5

HOUR TWO:
http://www.mediafire.com/?xtztxp4e4lk0zby

Monday, January 24, 2011

RAY SIGNS EXTENSION

(Edmonton) The Edmonton Eskimos have signed quarterback Ricky Ray to a contract extension that will see him in Green and Gold until the end of the 2013 season, the club announced today.

In signing the two time Grey Cup winnIng quarterback and career passing leader in club history, Eskimo General Manager Eric Tillman said, "We're very pleased to have reached this agreement with Ricky. We strongly believe he's a championship caliber player and person. As we go forward with this new deal it's our responsibility to surround him with a nucleus that will allow us to play at the highest level. Ricky has consistently talked about one objective - winning. Throughout the organization we share that collective desire to win and to restore the proud Eskimo tradition."

In 17 games (16 starts) in the 2010 season, the California native completed 288 of448 passes (64.3%) for 3565 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also ran for 302 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. Week #15 at BC, Ray established a career-high rushing record carrying the ball 12 times for 135 yards, including a career best 45 yard run and one touchdown.

Ray says, “I’m thrilled to continue my career with the Eskimos and will do whatever I can to help bring more Grey Cup championships to Edmonton. We showed improvement down the stretch in 2010 and with the off-season changes, I think the club is poised to win consistently again.”

Originally signing with the Eskimos in 2002, the Sacramento State product led the team to an appearance in the 2002 Grey Cup and to their 12th championship in 2003. Ray spent the 2004 season with the New York Jets. He returned to Edmonton in 2005 and again led the Eskimos to a grey Cup victory. He was named the 2005 Grey Cup MVP that year. In his eight years with the Green and Gold, Ray has climbed to the top of almost all passing records in team history including most career completions (2882), most career yards (35,935) and most career touchdowns (186).

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

Happy Monday!

Readers say they always like more pictures so today we have a load of them from Saturday's Weyburn Red Wings fundraising dinner featuring Yvan Cournoyer, Jennifer Botterill and Darian Durant.

After that there are some interesting quotes from Darian and some random thoughts. Great job Weyburn and thanks for having us this weekend!


The Roadrunner himself. He played with the Montreal Canadiens from 1963-1979 winning 10 Stanley Cups along with the Conn Smythe trophy in 1973. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982 and had his #12 retired by Les Habitents in 2005. A true living legend...

The Roughriders' MVP the past two seasons, Darian Durant. Born in Florence, South Carolina, he has spent the past five seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and led the CFL in passing in 2010. He spoke about the Riders and how new coach Greg Marshall will lead the team to The Promised Land.

Auctioning off a Durant jersey. It went for $2200.

Four time Olympian Jennifer Botterill spoke about her three gold medals and one silver. She discussed how she played in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano as a 19-year old.

She graduated from Harvard University with honours and holds two NCAA womens hockey records; longest point streak and career points. She's a great guest speaker and you can find out more about her at http://www.jenniferbotterill.com/.

Cindy and Jennifer with Jennifer's 2010 Olympic gold from Vancouver.


Yvan poses with members of the Weyburn Gold Wings female midget-AAA team..

Darian does too..

A local reporter interviews Durant...

Auctioneer Winston Bailey selling a 72 Summit Series Cournoyer jersey..


I must've been pouting here that I had to give up my Rider tie for auction...


An Eberle autographed World Junior picture from 2009 went for over $1000.

An impressive collection of signed jerseys..



After I opened up the dinner, organizers asked if I'd be willing to auction off this tie. Anything for the Red Wings!  Mark??


Members of the Gold Wings modeled the tie on stage. It went for $1100 to some 12-year old kid!


The prized item of the night; Don Cherry's jacket, tie and shirt. It went for over $11,000.



This collection of NHL pucks was a nice item..

A capacity crowd of 350-plus packed McKenna Hall..

Yvan signs for the chef...

---

RANDOM THOUGHTS
- After the dinner we had a Q & A session where patrons could ask questions of the guests. Several of the questions were directed at Darian who revealed, among other things; 1) he had an injured hamstring in the Grey Cup and if it was regular season he likely would not have played, 2) the Riders don't need to sign another running back because Hugh Charles gives the club all it needs and 3) he expects Andy Fantuz WILL be gone to the NFL and if it's not the Steelers, it will be someone else.

- I bet Andy's massage therapist that he won't sign in the NFL. If I'm right I get a free massage but if I'm wrong, I have to get her a Rider t-shirt. This is one bet I wouldn't mind losing, for Andy's sake.

- Rider GM Brendan Taman said on Friday's Sports Cage on CKRM that he spoke with the Steelers about Andy and nothing has been signed although they DO have interest in signing him.

- If they're waiting until after their season to sign him and announce it, we'll now be waiting until after February 6 as the Steelers have made it to the Super Bowl against Green Bay.

- Herb Gray, a defensive end who led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to four Grey Cup titles and is a Canadian Football Hall of Famer, passed away Friday in Texas at age 76.

- Can't say I disagree with columnist Jack Todd in today's edition of the Montreal Gazette.   Todd writes:

"One more reason to despise Toronto's newest idiot mayor, Rob Ford. Ford wants to bring an NFL team to Toronto. What a great Canadian this clown is. He wants to destroy the Canadian Football League so that folks in Hogtown can watch the over-hyped and overrated NFL."
- Three of the four teams playing on yesterday's NFL championship Sunday have no cheerleaders. The Packers, Bears and Steelers have all had cheerleaders over the course of history at one point or another but don't now.

- I don't like the two week break between the conference championship games and Super Bowl. However it's likely for marketing purposes so they can get the teams' logos on all party and promotional materials in time. Super Bowl XLV is in Dallas in two weeks.

- It's been a good 2011 for the Kevin Martin curling team which includes Regina's Ben Hebert. They took home $57,000 from Rama, Ontario Sunday beating David Murdoch in the final fo the TSN Curling Skins Game. It's Martins fifth victory there, giving him a total of $412,150.

- Saskatoon was Saturday night's WHL attendance winner as 7646 fans turned out to watch Brayden Schenn's debut as a Blade. He notched one assist as Saskatoon routed Calgary 5-1. Well done Saskatoon!

- Don't look now but the Regina Pats are two points out of a playoff spot with 25 games to play. Will they get in and snap a two year drought? The Pats are home to the Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday night at 7:00 pm on 620 CKRM.

- It's true crowds for Pats games have been pathetic but maybe that will change if the club's in the playoff hunt. Prince George Cougars President Rick Brodsky had an interesting quote on the blog of Regan Bartel, the voice of the Kelowna Rockets.

"I've heard things in Prince George like 'he's too cheap to do this' or 'he doesn't do that'. It's all hogwash," Brodsky told Bartel. "In all honesty, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. We win our share of games, we are out in the community and our players are going to hospitals and doing the same things other teams are doing in the league. So we are just holding our head up and are proud of what we do and the naysayers will either eventually come or they won't come.

"We are not threatening to leave or anything, but on some nights we are getting 16- or 17-hundred in Prince George. We cannot sustain that ... it's as simple as that. I have no plan to do anything rash except to have a better hockey team and make it succeed in Prince George."

- Pats forward Shane Neigum had his truck stolen outside a convenience store last week while he ran in to check a lotto ticket. That's too bad, but that's Regina. There are things that are great about it and there are things that are not-so-great. Those of us who have lived here for long enough know you DON'T leave your vehicle running unattended, and you don't leave anything IN your vehicle while parked. And we've all learned the hard way.

- How times have changed. There was a minor hockey team staying at our hotel in Weyburn (the Ramada) and a mother was carrying her kids pads in from the parking lot. That would be THE DAY my Mom would carry my gear anywhere for me.

- Thanks and congratulations to Orville Thiessen of Annaheim. He purchased the Tyler Bozak jersey.

- Would you listen to TSN Sports Radio? It's launching soon. In fact it might have even launched today in Toronto. Who knows, maybe one day we'll have a TSN Radio station in Regina? For a superb article written by my friend Chris Zelkovich on the current between TSN and Rogers Sportsnet and how it extends to sportradio, click here:
http://www.thestar.com/sports/article/926333--ground-shifting-as-broadcasters-brace-for-sports-war

- Lemme get this straight ... Vernon Wells is owed $86-million over the next four years ... for playing baseball? .... Stop the world ... I wanna get off.

- Shaquille O'Neal sure knows how to get into the highlight packages. It seems every other night he's leaping into the crowd at the baseline. Although Friday night he injured himself by doing that.

- I found Daru Dhillon, former Sportsnet anchor. She was doing on-camera stuff for Cineplex during the previews before the movie "The Dilemma" the other night at Galaxy Cinemas.

- "The Dilemma" gets two thumbs up from the Monday Morning Goalie.

- Speaking of movies, "Hangover II" hits theatres May 26.
- I'd also like to welcome our newest sponsor today, Scott Schultz of Schultz Gareau Insurance.  Click on his banner at the top of the page and register for your SGI account to renew your plates, among other things..

- Kiwanis Youth Baseball is bringing baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins to Regina on Tuesday February 11 at Evraz Place. For tickets, contact your local Kiwanis member.

THAT'S IT FOR TODAY! TALK TO YOU AT 4:00 IN THE CAGE
RP