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Friday, February 8, 2013

FRIDAY RODSERVATIONS

BREAKING NEWS: Kris Sweet wasn't out of work for long.  Two months after being let go by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their offensive line coach, Sweet will soon be announced as the line coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.
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Now onto this week's observations which include hockey, football and even curling:

*  Watched a lot of hockey this week and one thing popped out -- isn't Roberto Luongo supposed to be playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season?  He's living proof that you can't believe all of what you hear from the insiders.  For a collection of CFL rumours which didn't come to pass, keep reading.

* Regina's Tyler Bozak notched a goal and an assist for Toronto in the Leafs' 3-2 win at Winnipeg.  Wait a minute, wasn't Bozak supposed to be going to the Canucks in the Luongo deal?

It seems both teams are doing just fine without making the trade.  Both are in a playoff spot.

* Jaromir Jagr, who turns 41 one week from today, has turned out to be a magnificent pick-up by the Dallas Stars.  His overtime winner in Edmonton Wednesday night was "vintage".  After a shaky start, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk is proving his stripes.  Should Dallas make the playoffs this spring, perhaps we Stars fans can finally put the hard feelings surrounding Dave Tippett's firing behind us.

* And what about those Edmonton Oilers?  For the past number of years Oiler fans have crowed about how exciting their young team is to watch but they are currently winless in five games.  Mind you, they sit 7th in the NHL's Western Conference and if they continue to grind out points in overtime and shootout losses, they'll finally make the playoffs.

One of Regina's most diehard Oiler fans is a guy by the name of Jared, a firefighter originally from Saskatoon whom I see in Gold's Gym everyday.  He said this week "But we could be 10-3!"  Yes, but Edmonton is not.  That's like the Riders saying "We coulda been 11-7 last year!"  They were not.

* There was a hilarious interview in the intermission of Tuesday's Flames-Red Wings game on Sportsnet.  A young Calgary fan interviewed Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie and asked him who his favourite player was growing up.   "Steve Yzerman," Brodie answered, to which the kid replied, "Oh, mine is Jordan Eberle!"

* Very proud of former WHL officials Graham Skilliter and Kiel Murchison who made their NHL debuts recently in Edmonton and Vancouver respectively.

* Skilliter is a Saskatchewan product who gives hope to up-and-coming officials in our fine province.  One of which is WHL linesman Troy Murray, son of Tampa Bay Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray, who regularly works Regina Pats games.  At the same time, Troy is a 20-year old with the Notre Dame Junior A Hounds.  Very impressive.

* Was on the air on a Lethbridge radio station the other night and they asked when the struggles of the Regina Pats will end.  That's a tough one to answer.  After last night's 7-0 home loss to Edmonton, the team has lost 11 of its last 12 games and is pegged to miss the playoffs.  This is the third year of the Chad Lang regime as General Manager and he should be given a little more time to sort it out.  He spent his first season surveying the situation and then elected to clean house.  The finger was pointed at Curtis Hunt, Shaun Sutter, Ryan Cyr and Todd Ripplinger.  Will those moves pay off?   Only time will tell but the clock is ticking on fans' patience.

* Lang's decision not to sell off assets the past two seasons had some merit.  At least last year.  He felt it was imperative to make the playoffs in 2012 since the team had missed the post-season for the previous three years.  They lost a five-game first round series but filled the rink and the city was abuzz.  However now, it's come back to bite the team in the butt and there is no quick fix.

* One thing about sports marketing is certain; 75% of it is WINNING.  Fans will not buy tickets nor merchandise to support a perennial loser.  It was no different with the Roughriders in the 90s in this town.  The stadium was half-empty for Rider games and you got mocked in public if you were seen wearing a Rider hat, t-shirt or jersey.  Therefore you rarely saw it.  My how times have changed and what's the common denominator?  Winning.

* Former Regina Pats Jesse Deckert and Ian Duval are in town tonight with the University of Manitoba Bisons to take on the Regina Cougars at 7 pm at the Cooperators Centre.

* The community of Warman, Saskatchewan - just outside Saskatoon - has applied to the SJHL about an expansion franchise.  If their bid is successful, the franchise would begin play in the 2014-15 season.  This is great for the SJHL and the franchise fee would be eagerly devoured.


* Here's a photo which old school broadcasters will appreciate.  That's Kevin Harlan calling Super Bowl 47 on national radio across the USA during the 34-minute power outage.  If you look closely, he's calling the game on a telephone handset which he turned upside down to use as a microphone.

How many of you play-by-play men out there have done that before?  My first experience was in 1993 at the Tri-Cities Coliseum calling the Americans and Prince Albert Raiders.  I had left an important piece of radio equipment in the broadcast booth in Spokane the night before and after an exhaustive search of stores in Kennewick, WA along with Raider trainer Dave 'Radar' Horning (which came up empty), we had to resort to the same method as Kevin Harlan.  It happened a half-a-dozen times or so during my 1300-plus game career in the Dub.  It's also happened on occasion for Roughrider broadcasts.

* CFL rumours which did not come to pass (but were reported on this blog): Duane Forde would be the GM of the Ottawa CFL team and Doug Brown would join the Blue Bomber front office.  Rumours are just that; rumours.
* Many are wondering what's up with the Roughrider coaching staff?  Well an announcement is forthcoming, perhaps as early as today, but it appears the Rider staff has been formalized.  They've been staying at a Regina hotel and are already feverishly preparing for 2013 in meetings at Mosaic Stadium.

* Ottawa CFL franchise part-owner Jeff Hunt was a great guest on the Sports Cage this week.  We asked him why he thinks the team will be a success this time around and his answer was five-fold: 1) local ownership, 2) a healthier CFL, 3) an expansion draft which is designed to be more fair, 4) the existence of a hardline salary cap and 5) a refurbished, pro-calibre stadium.

* Hunt will be in town at the end of the month for the annual CFL Winter Congress at the Delta Hotel.   That's going to be a spectacular week.

* The new Ottawa team will be announcing its name within the next couple of weeks and it would appear they'll also be in the market for a play-by-play man.  Long-time Rough Riders and Renegades voice Dave Schreiber retired from the business last summer.

* For the first time CFL football operations types will NOT be present at the Congress however.  I've been told they will congregate the day before the spring Evaluation Camp to discuss rule changes and the like.

* The 2013 CFL schedule should be released before the Congress meetings but it's not guaranteed.  I've been told the teams haven't even seen the first draft yet.  Over the past few years the schedule has been announced as early as late-January and as late as early-March.

* Former Roughrider Luc Mullinder announced his retirement on Twitter this week, the same day he was granted his release from the Montreal Alouettes.  Luc was the "unnamed player" I reported would announce his retirement prior to the Als' 2012 training camp however he had a last-minute change-of-heart.

* The acquisition of Geroy Simon by the Roughriders has been given the thumbs-up by just about everyone across the CFL as a good move however as one scout told me, "The only catch is if Geroy gets hurt.  You don't heal as quickly at his age."

* Happy birthday this week to Rider lineman Ben Heenan who turned 23.

* There are signed auction items from Chris Getzlaf and Darian Durant up for grabs in the latest auction at Rider linebacker Mike McCullough's website at: http://www.mcculloughfootball.com/wordpress/index.php/auctions/

All proceeds go to benefit the charity Jesse's Journey.

* Vancouver broadcaster Matt Baker was on our radio show this week discussing Super Bowl 47, which he attended for Team 1040 radio.  We asked him the differences between the Grey Cup and Super Bowl and he said the most notable was "accessibility".  Fans can get into all the best parties in the CFL but normal folks, like Matt, were left banging on the door of the club during Super Bowl week.

* Like it or not, in this blogger's opinion, the "Schille-gate" controversy in curling circles this week is good for the sport.  We had plenty of reaction to our discussion in the Sports Cage about the member of the Saskatchewan men's champion Brock Virtue rink being ejected from a game at the Tankard for swearing.  The SCA said the ejection had been building but it drew the ire of many in the curling community.

Because of it, I'll now be paying particular attention to the fortunes of the Virtue rink at the Brier in Edmonton next month.  Curling is a niche sport, a little like Nascar, which doesn't catch on in the public conscience until there's some type of scandal (in the case of Nascar it would be a fight or spectacular crash).  This should make the Brier fun!

* And lastly, if you're driving on the streets of Regina this winter, for heaven's sake watch both ways at green lights!  So many drivers are barreling through red lights to avoid the ice.  We've set a record for power consumption and SGI claims are probably at record-levels too.

* Today's Press Box Sports Bar lunch buffet lineup:
Glazed Ham
Scalloped Potatoes
Boneless Chicken Bites
Chicken Mushroom Alfredo
Long Grain Rice
Mixed Vegetables
Assorted Pizzas

* That's it for today.  See you in the Sports Cage at 5:00 pm on 620 CKRM.  Our featured guest is Roughriders' Assistant GM Jeremy O'Day.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
RP

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are the Pats in BETTER shape today then they were 3 years ago when Lang took over as GM? No. Same ole. His regime has been a huge disappointment. Period.

Anonymous said...

"Lang's decision not to sell off assets the past two seasons had some merit"

Do people want so badly to not ackowledge what a mess this organization is they truly forget things like trading A FIRST ROUND PICK last year for a import D man no one even remembers...that is the epitome of selling off assets...you have no first round pick from last year in your system coming up...this is never getting better under the status quo...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Shillegate I don't know all the details Rod but if he was ejected for swearing or kicking a rock that is ridiculous and the curling association needs be taken to task for its action.

Unless of course the swearing was directed at an official, or swearing so loud people in the stands could hear him then that can not be tolerated. If an athlete was kicked out every time they swore in other sports there would be no one left to play the games.

Anonymous said...

The Pats need local ownership, that care abnout the team and city.

Get rid of the Parkers!!!

Anonymous said...

There is no way you should defending the Marincin deal, Rod. Dealt a 1st Rounder for a guy who played 30 games as a Pat.
Not trading Eberle or Teubert still remains one of the biggest gaffes in the Parker regime.
Here's the million dollar question...who is going to be the skapegoat this year? Lang or Conacher?

Anonymous said...

I would consider Brent Parker a local. He has lived in Regian for 17 years!

Anonymous said...

Anon # 4, Pats-Who Is goin to readily step In at ownership that has the monetary resources and are ready set go lets do this? The Parker family own the franchise and that's the way It Is. Get rid of the Parkers? for who? and don't be throwing around potential ownership names, because I don't see a for sale sign. The Parker family should be commended for the very existance of this club today.

Anonymous said...

You got that right about marketing and winning Rod. In the Riders 100th anniversary book they talked about how in the 80's when they were losing that, "If you don't have the steak, sell the sizzle". Well, once the sizzle ran out and they were still losing the fans gave up all hope. As a result, we almost lost this team. Twice. I'm glad that its different now but I hope the team leadership always keeps this in the back of their minds so that it never happens again.

I just hope that a certain NHL team figures that out sooner than later. They did win last night tho which was nice.


Rex

Anonymous said...

The Parker family did not 'save' the Pats...that is the most worn-out, recycled nonsense ever. This was their consolation prize for getting bumped out of Kelowna for the Hamilton Tacoma relocation.

A sale to local owners with resources ten fold of the Parker family could be done by close of business today if Russ was willing to sell.

Anonymous said...

Anon #9, reading these comments, who said anything about The Parker family did not 'save' the Pats... Close of business today you say, hmmm, nonsense !

Anonymous said...

Good on Kris Sweet. what happened to the Roughriders and their head coach wanting his staff here early to prepare for the upcoming 2013 CFLeague season? It's now February and still no addition coaching announcements, why? let's have some accountability here In the year of the Grey Cup being contested on Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium.

Anonymous said...

It's quite likely that with the final staff being announced in the next day or 2 that the last guys have already been doing some work. Have been involved in coaching things aren't always as they appear on the outside. Frankenstein

Anonymous said...

I got a name that has to be considered for the Ottawa CFL play by play job --- A.J. Jakubec, former play by play man for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He's a jack of all trades in radio and tv now in Ottawa. Would make a great choice. Maybe this can be the start of a "rumor", Rod.

Anonymous said...

Frankenstein, that's why there a lame half *ssed organization, say one thing, do another with no professional organizational accountability to the community/province who pay the bills. Name the coaching staff already ! The people want answers

Anonymous said...

Who cares what the people want!

Every decision made should be what's best for the team and a step towards a championship not what's best for this lame fan base.

The coaches are all signed up and already working and getting ready for the season. Contracts just need to be finalized with the league.

Anonymous said...

Micro managing is not the way to go. If they've had their coaches lined up for a while, so what. We don't need to know every little detail. Unless you think we have to know their bathroom schedule. Frankenstein

Anonymous said...

Comment #15 "Who cares what the people want ? "lame fanbase ? If It wasn't for this fanbase and It's financial support, the Roughriders Football Club would be nowhere. Management and team personnel better damn well care what the people want as they pay their FN salaries and will be paying for a 200+ million dollar new stadium. What a stupid asinine comment on your part.

Anonymous said...

Bring on the new hired Roughriders coaches and let the 2013 CFL football season commence.

Anonymous said...

When an idiot fan talks about paying the Rider bills and salaries I will applaud the Rider who turns around and says, "i want a raise."

Not giving away a secret but the Rider players do think fans are stupid.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19-Skull cave !

Anonymous said...

Rider fans are gullible. They're just like Maple Leaf fans. They just believe whatever the front office tells them. The fans are brainwashed and that's how you build a football franchise that wins three times in 100 years or a hockey team that hasn't won since expansion.

Anonymous said...

Anon 21, don't be hating on the Riders.

Anonymous said...

Anon 21 is likely a stumps fan just trying to stir things up. Ignore them. They don't know any better.