* The buzz in pro football this morning is that Marc Trestman will be the new head coach of the NFL's Chicago Bears. Trestman's Miami Hurricanes buddy Jimmy Johnson even put it on Twitter. If true, congratulations Marc! However as of 8 am Friday, Trestman was downplaying the rumour. Jimmy Johnson MAY have gotten ahead of himself.
* As always where there's smoke, there's fire. That story this week about Saskatoon playing host to a Roughrider preseason game did not come out of nowhere. I'm told that game was offered to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as their home preseason game - and they seriously considered it - before declining. The Ticats will be playing their home games at the University of Guelph in 2013 while their own stadium is being built and U of S and Saskatoon officials thought this might be a viable option for a Ticats home game. However, I'm told, the Ticats felt a home preseason game at Guelph would be their last chance to work the bugs out before opening the season.
* We're still awaiting details on Touchdown Atlantic III which will likely be another home game for the Tiger-Cats. Word at Grey Cup was the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be Hamilton's opponents in Moncton in 2013. Fingers crossed.
* Sportsnet CFL Insider Arash Madani dropped a bomb on the Sports Cage this week, saying the Ottawa CFL team asked for permission to speak with Rider GM Brendan Taman. Permission was denied. The Ottawa Sun reports the four-man shortlist for the job now includes former Rider personnel director Joe Womack, Alouettes Ass't GM Marcel Desjardins, former Rider O.C. Marcel Bellefeuille and former CFLer and long-time NFL scout Lionel Vital.
* You'd have to think being bilingual would help out an applicant's chances in Ottawa.
* The case of Lionel Vital is a curious one. The former running back with the Redskins, Roughriders and Stampeders is a very strong candidate. As you can see in the photo above he's currently with the Falcons but he's also worked as a scout with the Patriots, Jets, Browns and Ravens. Those are some winning clubs.
* The last time I saw Lionel Vital was at Roughrider training camp in Saskatoon in about 2000 or 2001. We were broadcasting "Sportsline" from training camp and Lionel joined us on the air to tell some stories. He was scouting for the New York Jets at the time and was driving a forest green Cadillac with cream leather interior. Funny how I can remember that but can't remember to take out the garbage. Anyways, Lionel looked like a million bucks. His resume says he played for the Roughriders in '89 but I'm not sure whether he has a Grey Cup ring or not. Regardless, Lionel is first-class all the way.
* The CFL posed a question on Twitter this week asking respondents what their ideal match-up is for the Canada Day kickoff to the 2013 CFL season. For me it's Hamilton at Saskatchewan. The Mosaic Madhouse will be looney tunes for the return of Kent Austin, Henry Burris and Andy Fantuz.
* Plans are in the works for a Hard Knocks-style documentary on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
* It's no longer a slam-dunk that Bob Wylie will be the Riders' offensive line coach. Because of his desire to pursue NFL opportunities, the Riders have re-opened the file. Brendan Taman told us on the air this week there are about 10 candidates vying for that job now.
* It's utterly astounding that the departure of a Rider assistant coach spawned a 70-page thread on Riderfans.com. So many people are mounting conspiracy theories about Craig Dickenson's departure when in reality, there's nothing more here than meets the eye.
* It's sickening too, in this town, when some redneck fans bring up race when it comes to this current Roughrider coaching staff. Disgusting actually.
* Happy birthday to some real luminaries today! Former Rider President Tom Shepherd (70), Rider alum Terrell Jurineack (37) and Regina's tallest Armstead, Jeff Armstead (unknown age).
* Trouble in Winnipeg. According to Doug Brown's column in the Winnipeg Free Press this week, members of the Blue Bombers were denied entry into the training facility at the University of Manitoba (their new home). Apparently there's some friction there with U of M higher-ups. That didn't take long!
* The USA Today had a great feature on the history of the 'Gatorade Shower' this week. After Alabama coach Nick Saban got doused by his players for winning the NCAA championship football game Monday night, the newspaper suggested it's time to retire the tradition and find another. The USA Today says the tradition goes back to 1985 when members of the New York Giants showered coach Bill Parcells with the cooler after a playoff win over Washington. As the story goes, the players did it because they didn't even like Parcells!
* Speaking of the NFL, the Twitter feud this week between the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Stars was not only entertaining, it was gut-wrenching. As a fan of both teams, it was tough to take. My Dad (a Stars employee for over 20 years) has long told me those two teams don't get along in Dallas. So it didn't come as a surprise when the Cowboys took a shot at the Stars on Twitter saying no one cares that the NHL lockout is over. The Stars shot back saying "At least our #9 got it done!" with a photo of Mike Modano and the Stanley Cup. The Cowboys quickly apologized.
Gotta side with the hockey team on this one. I like the Cowboys but I love the Stars.
* When the NHL starts playing games, you'll likely need to be reminded that Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney are members of the Dallas Stars this year. You go guys! I'm all about guys born in 1972.
* The Pittsburgh Penguins are the oddsmakers' favourites to win the Stanley Cup at 8-1. The Jets and Flames are 50-1. Man are people down on the Flames! Are they going to be that bad?
* The biggest question for this blogger is: will Jordan Eberle lead the Edmonton Oilers in scoring for a third straight season?
* The #1 selling NHL jersey in Regina? Jordan Eberle's Edmonton #14 according to officials at Jersey City.
* Brian Burke must wish TSN could find better stock footage of him than the shot of him sitting in the Air Canada Centre press box spitting snuff into a Tim Hortons cup.
* The Regina Pats host the Calgary Hitmen tonight at 7:00 pm on 620 CKRM. I'll see you there.
* The WHL Trade Deadline came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. It seemed more anti-climactic than the NHL Trade Deadline for much of Thursday (and that's saying something) but around mid-afternoon - a couple hours before the 4:00 pm deadline - the deals came in fast and furious. The winners? There may not have been any but the Saskatoon Blades were certainly the most active making four deals. The biggest of which was acquiring 20-year old skilled forward Michael Ferland from Saskatoon. The Blades now have the team with which they'll compete in the Memorial Cup. It's all on Lorne Molleken now.
* The Red Deer Rebels visit the Saskatoon Blades tonight on Rogers Sportsnet. Check out the Blades and tell me what you think. The Memorial Cup hosts sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.
* The Regina Pats made a minor deal and now seem content to battle it out the rest of the year with what they have. They enter tonight's game one point out of a playoff spot but with any luck they'll be in the post-season for a second-straight year. That's a remarkable achievement coming from where they used to be. Even Brandon's going to miss the playoffs this year.
* They don't make 'em any better than Dale Derkatch.
* Same goes for Pat Conacher. And I learned this morning the Regina Pats coach once worked on Anaheim Ducks radio broadcasts. Nothing I hear about that guy surprises me. A jack of all trades. Sometimes I forget he took the Pats to 37 wins last year.
* Teammates of Kyle Deck (the former Regina Pats captain who's battling kidney disease) with the Odessa/Vibank Bruins are hosting a benefit night in Francis, SK on January 19. Tickets for the cabaret are only $20 each and there will be a silent and open auction. Donations will be gratefully accepted as well. For tickets call Scott Leier at 537-6241 or Orry Knoll at 891-8977 or Len Gaetz at 957-4323.
* For regular listeners of 620 CKRM's Sports Cage who are wondering what producer Sam Foster looks like, here's a photo from Sam's recent trip through the southern US. A handsome kid!
* It's Four Seasons Football Friday in the Sports Cage at 5:00 pm on 620 CKRM. Rider great Lance Frazier will join us live in studio.
* And don't forget today's Press Box Sports Bar Friday lunch buffet. 11am-2pm at 909 Albert St. N.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!