Friday, January 18, 2013
* Don Narcisse was quite excited as well as he told us Anthony Calvillo will be the featured guest at his football camp and all-star gala in Saskatoon this spring. That's quite a coup for Narco. Details on the Saskatoon event, plus the one in Regina, will be coming in the weeks ahead.
* Have to say I was very impressed by the amount of /=S=/ I saw in Saskatoon during last weekend's visit to the Bridge City. There was evidence of the Rider Nation everywhere! Rider license plates, clothing, you name it. In the parking lot of Canadian Tire I even saw a 'Rider' truck which was a Toyota which some Rider fan had painted green and white. It's easy to see why the Riders want to enhance their visibility in Saskatchewan's largest city including holding 2013 training camp at the U of S.
* It was equally disappointing to feel a lack of buzz around the Saskatoon Blades and the 2013 Memorial Cup in that city. Granted, the Blades are in the bottom half of the WHL's East Conference standings but even that should be generating a ton of discussion. Blades play-by-play man Les Lazurak told us on the Sports Cage this week that the Blades have been given a 'free pass' by the local media unlike the 2001 Regina Pats who were getting scorched on a daily basis by reporters down here. Remember this: the Pats caught fire in the second half and ended up with 40 wins in the first round. Unfortunately they bowed out to Calgary in a six-game, first-round series and were faced with a 43-day layoff before hosting the Memorial Cup. The next few months will be very interesting for the Blades.
* Gotta say I love Saskatoon and am very much looking forward to spending a couple weeks up there in June for training camp. We needle them from time to time on the Sports Cage but that's in the spirit of the provincial rivalry. However there's nowhere near the hatred between the two cities as there is between Calgary and Edmonton.
* Former Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco was a guest on the Sports Cage this week. I asked him if he has designs on the Presidency of the Roughriders once Jim Hopson decides to pass the torch. Pat said that it's a "dream job" and "down the road you never know".
* God only knows if Tim Tebow is going to wind up in the CFL. Literally. Even Tebow himself said it's in the hands of the Man Upstairs however it's generated a lot of discussion this week. On Monday's Sports Cage Don Narcisse said he thinks Tebow would be a failure in the CFL and that he'd hate to be a receiver on Tebow's team because you'd never see the ball. Former Bomber coach Paul Lapolice was on that show as well and said Tebow's accuracy problems would be a hindrance in the CFL.
* How can anyone know for sure how Tebow would fare until he comes up here? Last I heard the Montreal Alouettes own his rights. Many, including me, thought Ricky Williams would tear up the CFL in 2004 to the tune of 300 yards per game but he was ineffective up until the point the Riders' Mike McCullough broke his arm in August of 2006 and ended his season.
* Speaking of Paul Lapolice, we asked him what 2013 will hold for him. He says he has the luxury of time on his side as he still has one more year to be paid out by the Blue Bombers. He said if TSN wants him back as a panelist he would gladly embrace the opportunity although he has a burning desire to coach again. He would have to be considered a front-runner for the Montreal job.
* In the final analysis, Marc Trestman's hiring in Chicago is universally seen as a good thing for the CFL. One CFL governor told me this week it's the best thing to happen to our league in years. Sportsnet's Arash Madani said on the Cage that it "legitmizes" the CFL. It appears Marc is only the fourth CFL head coach to take over the same role in the NFL. Bud Grant, Marv Levy and Hugh Campbell are the others. **UPDATE: He it appears mark is the SIXTH to do so. Add in there Mike Riley and Forrest Gregg.
* Back to Tebow for a second. It's hard to believe no one will take a chance on him for 2013. Even David Caldwell, GM of Tebow's hometown Jacksonville Jaguars, said last week he can't see any scenario whereby Tebow would be a Jaguar. Coming off a 2-14 season, you'd think they'd be willing to give him a shot.
* The rumour business in sports is an interesting one. ESPN's senior NFL insider Chris Mortenson said recently it was a foregone conclusion that Tebow would sign in Jacksonville which prompted the statement from Caldwell. Like I said a few weeks ago, 90% of the rumours you hear turn out to be false.
* Everybody in sports loves to hear the rumours and gossip but hate when they're a part of it.
* On ESPN Radio this week Mortenson discussed the business of reporting on the NFL coaching carousel. He said "generally when you hear of a 'mystery candidate', that guy ends up getting the job."
* There was a tremendous discussion this week on Fox Sports Radio's Dan Patrick Show about the factors which go into a coach's decision on taking a job. Patrick figured when it comes down to a what a city has to offer, the coaches likely think about what it offers their family. That's because the coaches "never see the light of day" during their work weeks and rarely get to experience the cities themselves. Their families do.
* On the topic of sports radio, Fox's new Jay Mohr Sports Show which airs over the midday is nothing short of phenomenal. As the host of the show, Mohr seems to have taken on the persona of sports agent Bob Sugar from the movie Jerry McGuire, who Mohr played in the film.
* However my two favourite shows are still ESPN's In The Herd with Colin Cowherd and Fox's The Loose Cannons with Pat O'Brien and Steve Hartman. Listening to those shows just makes you feel good inside.
* The Football Reporters of Canada were asked for the 2012 CFL Coach of the Year this week. One has to wonder how many votes the Riders' Corey Chamblin will garner and if he'll end up being a finalist. Ken Miller coached three years in Saskatchewan and was a finalist each season.
* Former Regina Pats captain Victor Bartley is in training camp with the NHL's Nashville Predators after being called up from the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals this week. He joins an illustrious group of former Pats in the NHL which includes, if memory serves, Jordan Eberle, Barret Jackman, Brad Stuart, Josh Harding, Colton Orr and Derek Morris. If you can think of any more, please add them in the comments section.
* Whatever happened to Nick Ross? He was a first round pick of Phoenix in 2007 but I've lost track of him. Obviously he's in the minors somewhere.
* Regina hockey insiders Al Dumba and Jared Dumba are working on a feature for the Monday Morning Goalie which we hope to have up and running soon. We're hoping to reprise the old "Minding The Minors" feature from the Leader Post sports section which was an incredibly popular weekly feature. If you can think of local guys, and former Pats, who you'd like us to keep tabs on please leave their names in the comments section. Players like Matt Hubbauer, Josh Holden and Brett Lysak come to mind.
* A local hockey note: Troy Murray, son of Tampa Bay Lightning scout Al Murray of Regina, is plying his trade as a WHL linesman. He worked last Friday's Pats-Hitmen game in the Brandt Centre and did a great job. He's also a member of the Notre Dame Hounds Junior A squad.
* Loved hearing a local radio news-reader refer to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco as "Joe Fiacco" on the radio this week. I can see how the mistake could be made.
* Plans are underway for the Sports Cage Marlin Travel Ultimate Sports Trip III and proposed destinations are Miami and New York. We've been bringing back momentos from our trips and the first year we brought back a foam Cardinals head while this year we brought back a pair of Hooters shorts from Dallas. Unfortunately those Hooters shorts were stolen off the wall at the Press Box Sports Bar recently! We're feverishly working to get another pair from the server "Nasty" who donated them to the cause last month.
* No wonder Kevin O'Leary, star of CBC's Dragon's Den, is so rich! He's charging $200 a ticket to see him speak in Regina later this month!
* Don't forget the Press Box Sports Bar's Friday lunch buffet. 11am-1pm at 909 Albert St. N.
* That's all! Be sure to get out and enjoy Friday's Regina Pats home game against Kootenay if you get the opportunity. 620 CKRM has the call at 7:00.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!