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Friday, December 14, 2012

FRIDAY RODSERVATIONS


CHRISTMAS CARDS FROM REGINA


A gingerbread Mosaic Stadium!  From the blog mailbag:

Hey Rod,
For some Christmas Rider spirit here was a submission to our annual gingerbread making event. This Mosaic inspired presentation was submitted by Curtis and Angie and showed the Riders coming through over the stamps on the scoreboard!
Merry Christmas
Shawn Machmer, B.Admin
SaskPower

* Here is the son of my friends Steve Linzmayer and Jill Wenzel getting an autograph from the Pats' Trent Ouellette.  On Monday I wrote about what a great Regina Pat Ouellette is.  Last night Trent went out and scored the winner in Regina's 3-0 victory over the P.A. Raiders!

• It appears things have come full circle. By the time you read this, Kent Austin might have already become the head coach and GM of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. At least that's what we've been told to expect by Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator and he didn't go into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing last month for nothing.

If this is true, I say good for Kent and good for the Ticats. They immediately become Grey Cup favourites. As for jealousy? There's none here. I'm happy with what we have in the combo of Taman and Chamblin.

• A Hamilton broadcaster emailed the Sports Cage on Thursday asking what we knew about the Austin situation.  Truthfully, I know nothing.  After the schmozzle which ensued a year ago (December 2, 2011) when we first reported in this space that the Ticats were talking to Austin, we won't go there again.   I was bullied, threatened and discredited.   I was also correct.

The Ticats would later admit they were "talking" to Austin but said they weren't "interviewing" him.   Whatever.

Anyways we'll leave the "insider" reporting to the insiders, and stick to play-by-play.  They seem very protective of their territory.

• Having said that, a teammate of Anthony Calvillo's told me this week that A.C. was just days away from announcing his retirement. On Thursday Calvillo announced he's coming back!  Thank God they sent out the news release yesterday because I planned to break the opposite news here this morning. You never know what to believe.

• You can believe this: The Roughriders will announce some player signings very soon. Perhaps as early as today.

• Didn't care much for Kavis Reed and Ed Hervey bashing Eric Tillman recently. It's hard not to set the record straight sometimes but it's often better to bite your lip. Here in Riderville, Brendan Taman could have spilled a boatload about what went on before 2012 but he has resisted the urge.

• Will Kent Austin hire Eric Tillman in some capacity in Hamilton? It's tough to say but it wouldn't surprise me. Tillman had Austin on his staff in Ottawa and Saskatchewan and a favour is due.

* I spoke with Tillman this week and he appears to be in good spirits.

• It appears Tillman's reasoning for trading Ricky Ray was he felt the quarterback's skills were eroding and he had one of the CFL's highest salaries. So he made the move.  But whiffed. If you're in this business long enough, that's going to happen. You can't hit a homerun at every plate appearance. As such, I believe he'll work in the league again.  Ed Hervey said on the Sports Cage this week that the Ricky Ray trade had very little to do with Tillman's firing but again, you never know what to believe.

• Fan 590 Toronto's Jim Lang was on our radio show this week to preview the Bills and Seahawks in the Rogers Centre on Sunday. Jim said Toronto's an NFL town but fan loyalties are split between the Bills, Patriots, Vikings, Cowboys, etc.

• That makes Toronto as much of an NFL town as Regina is an NHL town.

• Lang also said you can't win in pro football without a good coach and a good quarterback. If that's the case, the Riders are in good shape.

• 6,450 of the Buffalo Bills' 43,000 season ticket holders are Canadians.

• Some folks across the CFL continue to grumble about the 2013 Grey Cup slogan "Celebration In Rider Nation". They don't like the fact the Riders inserted their name into it. Guess what? Get over it.

• The Dallas Cowboys' slogan this year is: Let's Do This. I forgot to mention that in the Dallas recap.

• If your child's a football player, please register him/her in the 2013 Scott Schultz Football Camp. You can download the registration form at www.schultzfootballcamp.com.

• It was a rough week for officials. The QMJHL's Jonathan Huberdeau got a 4-game suspension for physical abuse of an official while the Raptors' Amir Johnson got one game for throwing his mouth-guard and hitting the ref in the back. One day these officials are going to stand up and say "It's not worth it".

* The attendance was listed as 3544 for Thursday night's Pats game where Regina blanked P.A. 3-0.  There seemed to be fewer than that in attendance but those who were witnessed a tremendous hockey game.  Regina looked real good.  Matt Hewitt barely broke a sweat in making 23 saves for the shutout.

* The highlight of the night was former Pats head scout Todd Ripplinger winning the 50/50.  Between that and the tens of thousands of dollars he won at the Shooting Stars golf tournament this year with a hole-in-one, 2012 has been pretty good to Ripper.  And thank God because 2011 sucked!

* It was great to visit with Raiders President Dale "Mucker" McFee before last night's game.  He was a member of the 1985 Memorial Cup champion P.A. Raiders and an assistant coach when I was with the Raiders between '93-'95.  I congratulated him on the Raiders' turnaround and his decision to retain the team's braintrust in the off-season.  He said the franchise came up with a 10-point checklist of what it takes to succeed in the WHL and the club seemed to be on the right track.  He was correct.  I'd love to see that list.

• How gratifying it must be for Regina's Rich Preston to have turned around the Lethbridge Hurricanes in his fourth season on the job. Once the conference's doormats, they're in a playoff spot with a seven-point cushion and looking strong. He's an excellent hockey man.

• Having said that, the empty seats in Lethbridge's Enmax Centre for Wednesday's nationally-televised game against Kelowna were unsightful. Tsk, tsk, tsk. FILL THE BARN!

• A standing ovation for Sportsnet's Marty McSorley when discussing the NHL lockout this week. "This game is much bigger than the NHL," McSorley said.

• Marty currently lives in L.A. and comes to Canada for 10 Sportsnet spots a year. What a Grrrrrrrrrreat guy! It was a treat to get to know him at the Estevan Bruins Sportsmans Dinner last spring.  His stories abotu the 1980's Edmonton Oilers are jaw-dropping.

• Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos scorned Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman this week saying he is "nowhere to be found" during these labour negotiations. Well he was in Milestone, Saskatchewan last weekend watching his daughter play in the Mandi Schwartz Memorial Hockey Tournament! Sheesh, Nick should have asked me.

• One of the NHL broadcasters who told me this lockout will go two years did an about-face this week and said they've been told they'll be back in a month.

• Who knows?

• It's absolutely fantastic that Regina's J.C. Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers cracked Canada's World Junior roster.  Tremendous.  His father "Razor" must be real proud.  It certainly gives Queen City hockey fans more incentive to watch the games.

• TSN's Bob McKenzie has been chastised by his Twitter followers for too much World Junior coverage in his Twitter feed. Excuse me, but if you don't like the World J's or junior hockey, then you're just not a hockey fan. Period.

• C'mon Hockey Canada! Wear your game red and whites for these scrimmages and exhibition games! Its about the show! The practice uni's are unsightly.

• Have you ever bought a Tissot watch just because they sponsor the World Juniors? Maybe we should but I'm more of a Nixon guy.

* Friday's Press Box Sports Bar lunch buffet lineup:

Southwestern Ribs
Sweet Thai Chili Boneless Chicken
Hamburger Steak with Fried Onions
Potatoe Casserole
Mixed Vegetables
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Pizza
Caesar Salad
Desserts

• And that's all I've got. Have a great weekend!
RP

Kevin "Skinny" Korchinski 1973-2012

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roddy - what happened to Kevin?? We were just on the Dallas trip with him. Very sad.

Rod Pedersen said...

I'll let Kevin's friend Jason answer that. Yes, very sad and shocking.

Anonymous said...

Boy that really hurts for you guys, losing a friend so soon after going on a great vacation and having fun together. Very sorry to hear about your guys' loss. Especially so close to Christmas. It's times like these where the pettiness over the lockout and Bob McKenzie's twitter feed really don't matter at all. My condolences to his friends and family.



Rex

Anonymous said...

Not to be insensitive to your loss but I want to comment on Toronto and their love of the NFL.
Firstly, Toronto is not a sports town. Population 5.5 million. Air Canada Center seats 18,800 and surprisingly sells out for Maple Leaf Hockey games.
The Toronto media loves the lovable losers but ignores the Argos who usually draw 30,000 fans.
With a population that big the Argos should draw 70,000. They don't because the Leafs and Raptors play in the USA (read Big League)The Argos play only in Canada.(Read Bush League).
Toronto will never embrace the Argos and will never be a sports town.
Yer Welcome

Kevin K said...

Hey Rod,
I had no idea that I shared a name with Kevin. I have been getting messages for a couple days seeing if I was OK and now I understand why. My condolences to Kevin's family.

Kevin (who was with Warner Music)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jarrett said...

At Grey Cup, I saw a sign in the Rogers Centre elevator advertising Bills' tickets for this Sunday's game at $48. That's cheaper than Argos' tickets – and the Bills still hadn't sold out!

I like Rod's analogy. Toronto is no more an NFL city than Regina is an NHL city. NFL fans in TO are passionate about their teams, but everyone cheers for a different team. Also, most of those fans never attend NFL games, so it begs the question – who's a bigger fan? The 25,000 who pay to see the Argos live, or the few hundred thousand who watch NFL from their couches for free?

Personally, I'd like to see the CFL get into fantasy football in a big time way – on the scale of the NFL. Nothing makes a guy watch a sport more than putting money down in a some kind of pool. Suddenly every story line, every team profile, every nuance of the game becomes interesting. Cash and bragging rights over your buddies are on the line.

Anonymous said...

If Kent Austin goes to Hamilton it "...makes them Grey Cup favorites..." ???
My how the Kent Austin legend has grown since he left the CFL
Have you watched the Ti-Cat Defence lately?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations out to J.C. Lipon, Good Luck on the journey representing Canada at World Junior Championships, ElA

Anonymous said...

Great Skinny story. SAHA Provincials against a rival. Skinny, not much of a hockey player, but tried his damdest. The coach decides that in PW Provincials a "shadow" should be put on a future SJHL and NCAA all-star, who now is a HRI coach. Skinny follows him around so much that he actually went into the other teams players bench! Just doing his Job!
Great Guy! Will be missed around Invermay and Rama area!

Pat Belitski

Anonymous said...

Here is why Kent Austin is going to make Hamilton a bonafide contender on the first day of hire, and have that team in a Grey Cup within 3 seasons of being hired:

Starts CFL with Saskatchewan - Wins a Grey Cup

Goes to B.C - Wins a Grey Cup

Gets into CFL Coaching

- Makes Kerry Joseph a QB and makes Damon Allen an MVP. Along the way as a Coordinator with Toronto - Wins a Grey Cup

Goes to the Division 1 NCAA with perenial doormat Ole Miss - Wins the Cotton Bowl

If Kent Austin comes back to the CFL, and gets total control he will win a Grey Cup in Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

Now you're backtracking. The statement you're defending is that Hamilton will immediately become the Grey Cup favorite.

Anonymous said...

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestarphoenix/obituary.aspx?n=kevin-korchinski&pid=161702706&fhid=6624

Anonymous said...

Mr. Austin a no nonsense, take charge person. If given the opportunity and full control of Hamilton he will build a championship football club guaranteed. He doesn't owe Tillman anything, the man Is a proven winner with a self made resume.Remains to be seen If he comes back to the CFLeague. Any team that hires this man should be so lucky as to aquire his knowledgeable football service.

Anonymous said...

I never made the initial comment, and I didn't sign my handle to the long list of Kent Austin accomplishments.

To clarify - immediately Hamilton becomes a favourite in the East. Winnipeg is hopeless, and there are some question marks with Montreal.

I will not get into your game of wordsmithing. When I read comments to the tune of, "Now you're backtracking. The statement you're defending is that Hamilton will immediately become the Grey Cup favorite." I dismiss it and equate it to Clark Grisold responding to his Father in Law's comment, "....the little lights are not twinkling." and Clark telling him, "...I know Art and thank you for noticing."

It's moot. Kent Austin will be the guy to bring a Grey Cup to Hamilton, and it'll get there a lot faster than it'll get to Saskatchewan believe me.

Obama

Anonymous said...

Well said, Obama. Kent Austin If hired by Hamilton will fast track their football program and on to a Grey Cup Championship, the man knows football.

Anonymous said...

They all know football, but Kent Austin has the combination/make up of intangibles, work ethic, communication skills, leadership ability, and above all intellect to make things happen.

Here's a story if you want one. In the event Kent Austin goes to Hamilton I put that right on level with another Rider legend who spurned the franchise. Ron Lancaster could have come back to Saskatchewan, but jumped to go to Hamilton. That is very telling, and it's telling if/when Kent Austin goes to Hamilton when he had the option to come back here.

Obama

Anonymous said...

Don't think Austin would have come back to Sk. with It's current structure and under a Gm who doesn't have the full football acumen and connections needed to build a football championship caliber club long term.

Anonymous said...

To the above I put forward Kent Austin wouldn't come back just strictly of having to not want to deal with the environment the fanbase creates. He came here as a Player, and as a Coach due solely to the fact he needed a job at the time. He clearly stated when Tillman hired him if he couldn't win the Grey Cup in 3 years to let him go. It was all purpose driven, and he couldn't get out of here fast enough.

When the appeal of "home" is 4 hours away from where you take a lesser job, and then the next job 2 years later is 15 hours away in upstate New York that should tell you something about a guy's emotional pull to an organization.

Obama

Anonymous said...

Concurred opinion Obama.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Obama is gusting up to 200 words per post today. Just to be clear, if/when Kent Austin walks into the Ti-Cat organization they will NOT immediately be the Grey Cup favorite.

Anonymous said...

will the ol 96er offer refunds to those who quit his camp @ halfway mark!! only fair!!

Anonymous said...

Don't wear Nixon watches Roddy. They're for teenagers and university kids. Go with the Tissot or another kind of grownup watch.