CHRISTMAS CARDS FROM REGINA
A gingerbread Mosaic Stadium! From the blog mailbag:
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!
Shawn Machmer, B.Admin
• 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:
Sweet Thai Chili Boneless Chicken
Hamburger Steak with Fried Onions
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
• And that's all I've got. Have a great weekend!
|Kevin "Skinny" Korchinski 1973-2012|