Friday, December 7, 2012
* It'll be great to be back in studio for Four Seasons Football Friday in the Sports Cage with the Old 96'er Scott Schultz. If anyone has been keeping track, our radio show has been on the road for much of the past two weeks including the Delta Chelsea Hotel and CN Tower in Toronto, the Holiday Inn Market Centre in Dallas, the Brandt Centre in Regina and most recently Wilcox, SK Thursday night for the Mandi Schwartz Memorial Hockey Tournament. It's been great to be all over the place, but it'll also be nice to be home.
* It was tough sitting across the table in the lobby of the Duncan McNeil Arena at Notre Dame last night watching tears roll down the face of Mandi Schwartz's mother Carol while we interviewed her and husband Rick. It was far tougher on her of course, but she has to be proud of her daughter for all the people she touched in the hockey world during her time on earth. It's great to be able to take the Sports Cage out on the road and get the word out for these events.
* Of course Wednesday's Jordan Eberle Night was a treat as well, broadcasting the show from the Brandt Centre box office before going inside to a nearly-full arena. It's a topic of much debate; should Eberle's #7 have been retired at all, let-alone so soon after his junior career? However after seeing how much it means to Jordan and his family, and because of the quality of person Jordan is, this blogger gives the tribute two thumbs up.
* Even TSN's James Duthie alluded to Eberle during last year's World Juniors as a "Canadian hockey hero". I'm certain when TSN's Top 40 all-time Team Canada World Juniors are named on December 19, Eberle will be at least in the top three.
* There were some great quotes from Eberle during his Wednesday morning news conference. My favourite was, "I have a strong sense of pride being from this city. Obviously I'm a huge Rider fan but even though I moved to Calgary when I was 15, I came right back to play for the Pats."
* It was also amazing to learn that Eberle was a Canadian Tire Seventh Player at a Pats game in 1997 when he was seven years old. The player he selected to sit beside in the dressing room was #9 Derek Morris. The two would end up knocking heads in NHL corners many years later.
* The Pats couldn't be happy that the Riders announced their coaching moves on the same afternoon as the Eberle event, but it didn't steal any thunder. A photo of Eberle and his banner appeared on the front cover of the Leader Post and this blog the next day. I can assure you there was no malice intended by the Riders, and it's something that's gone on as long as I've been in this town. However if the Pats are upset, you can see why.
* It's hard to figure these Pats out and I don't follow the team closely enough to provide any analysis. They have a record of 11-16-2-2 and sit 10th in the Eastern Conference, however they're only two points out a playoff spot so it's FAR too early to write them off. Would you rather have 40 wins and miss the playoffs or 30 wins and make the playoffs? I know what I'd take.
* With football season over the Regina Pats are on centre stage in this town until spring which means they're in the firing line in the media if they can't snap out of their current funk (winless in five). Is it still true that bad publicity is better than none? I think it is.
* From all accounts, Pats coach Pat Conacher is turning in another Coach of the Year performance this season. He's a fine coach.
* For a fantastic preview of Team Canada's World Junior training camp which begins next week in Calgary, visit our friends at The Pipeline Show blog in Edmonton here:
* Still miffed at the US customs agent we dealth with in Denver one week ago. He was a George Cortez clone and was apparently unimpressed by my Roughrider windbreaker. "Coming down to watch some real football are ya?" he sneered. I wasn't in any position to lip him off so I simply replied with a "Pardon?" He snapped back, "Let's put it this way; let's put the Super Bowl champ up against the Grey Cup champ and see how that goes...."
Alrighty then. Welcome to America.
* Quote of the Week came from Regina's Jason White when told the coach would pick us up at 2:30 pm on Friday for our Cowboys Stadium tour. "The coach of the Cowboys is coming to pick us up?" Whiter questioned. "That's quite a tour!"
* Clearly Rider coach Corey Chamblin is fed up with calls for him to fire defensive coordinator Richie Hall. "I'm not going to get into defending coaches," Chamblin said during his media scrum Wednesday when asked about Hall's status. Chamblin said from here on in this off-season, if an assistant coach leaves this team it will be his own doing.
It seems like fans ALWAYS want someone to be fired around here but Chamblin is putting his foot down. And, truthfully, I'll trust the guy the opinion of the guy who watches 10 hours of film per day rather than Joe 6-Pack in Section 23.
* Chamblin also said he won't even look at the CFL free agent list until the New Year because he expects half the players on it will re-sign with their respective teams.
* Interesting to see Gene Makowsky's name on the list of Rider free agents. Makowsky must not have officially filed retirement papers last winter in case he needed to be brought back in an emergency.
* Makowsky's and Jason Clermont's names are coming up down at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton about induction in the next few years.
* RUMOUR: The PFC's Regina Thunder were high on former Rider assistant coach Alex Smith for their head coaching vacancy but needed an answer sooner-than-later. Alex still wants to explore CFL opportunities so on Thursday, the Thunder opted for Scott MacAuley who is an excellent choice.
* RUMOUR: Former Rider defensive lineman/assistant coach/broadcaster Ron Cherkas has a high degree of interest in the team's vacant defensive line coaching position.
* FACT: Former Rider offensive coordinator Doug Berry has a high degree of interest in the Alouettes' vacant OC position.
* FACT: Record-setting U of R Rams quarterback Marc Mueller is joining the Molson family as a merchandiser once he completes his degree this month.
* FACT: The 2013 Vanier Cup will NOT be played in Regina next November due to the outdoor stadium and the lack of hotel space.
* FACT: Experienced Pat Fiacco's restaurant Fortuna for the first time on Thursday thanks to a gift certificate from John Lynch and the meal was absolutely amazing. We'll be back. Thanks Pat and thank you Frenzy!
THAT'S GOT IT FOR TODAY. SEE YOU IN THE CAGE!