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Thursday, May 7, 2015

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

10 FUN THURSDAY NOTES:

1 - STARTING WITH FOOTBALL:  We are 24 days away from the start of 2015 Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp in Saskatoon.  Thankfully May hasn't been as agonizingly long as I predicted, and that may be due in part to the fact the Roughriders have done a good job keeping themselves in the news.  The fact the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been so entertaining hasn't hurt either.

On the topic of How Will The Roughriders Be This Year?, I refuse to believe Saskatchewan will be anything short of a Grey Cup contender in 2015.  That's not news, but I'm old enough to remember when that wasn't the case.  There were years when we knew in June that the football club didn't have a chance but that hasn't been the case for at least a decade.

The naysayers will continue to pick apart the team but when you consider what ailed you as fans in 2014, the Riders have moved swiftly to make the necessary corrections.  1) The club didn't have a capable back-up behind Darian Durant.  That's been fixed.  2) Fans weren't happy with the offense or play selection.  The offensive coordinator was replaced.  3) The Riders had a hole in the middle of the defense.  That was quickly shored up with the addition of Shea Emry.

The Rider braintrust and coaching staff knew what the problems were likely long before anyone else noticed but clearly it was too difficult to change gears on the fly, mid-season.  I fully expect the Riders to be in the 2015 Grey Cup in Winnipeg.

2 - MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH:  Want to have Mother's Day Brunch with Roughrider players Macho Harris and Paul Woldu?  You can, but you'll have to go to Fort McMurray, AB.   In an effort to promote the preseason clash between the Roughriders and Eskimos in the Northern Kickoff in June, the Riders are sending two players to Fort Mac to mingle with fans this weekend.  If you're in the area and would like to attend, contact Shell Place in Fort McMurray.  Tickets are $35 for adults and $12 for kids.  The Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts have already held events for the public up there.

3 - RISE OF THE EVIL EMPIRE:  The Edmonton Eskimos announced a nearly $4-million profit in 2014  at this week's Annual General Meeting and their season ticket sales are 9% ahead of last year at this time.  As it was, the Eskimos led the CFL in attendance last season.  Don't look now, but the Green & Gold are back.

4 - CAPITAL PUNISHMENT:  Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz (a former captain of the Regina Pats) is clearly getting the last laugh.  Less than a year after being kicked to the curb by the Nashville Predators, Trotz has his team one win away from the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals.  The Caps beat the Rangers 2-1 on Wednesday to assume a 3-1 series lead in that second round affair.  Trotz wasn't even named as a finalist for NHL Coach of the Year on Wednesday (those honours went to the Rangers' Alain Vigneault, the Flames' Bob Hartley and the Predators' Peter Laviollette), but Trotzie may be the last one standing when all is said and done.

Former players of Trotz's in Nashville have told me they don't care much for his abilities on the bench, saying he's not much of a tactician or strategist.  Meh, you can't go by what the naysayers say.  GMs, coaches and players should be judged by their record and sports resumes.  That should be enough, and Trotz seems to be the missing tonic the Capitals lacked.

Interestingly enough, the Rangers have been in an NHL-record 11 consecutive one-goal games in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

5 - HAB-NOTS:  Where have all the Montreal Canadiens fans gone?  Likely in the tank, just like their team who fell down 3-0 in their second round series with Tampa Bay courtesy of Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Amalie Arena.  And what a cruel way for the knife to turn!  The Bolts scored with just one second left in regulation to smash the Habs' hearts.  Surely Montreal can't come back now.  And when will Tampa coach Jon Cooper's interesting story finally be told?  The former Notre Dame Hound and Wall Street investment banker has toiled with remarkable success amidst the relative hockey obscurity in Florida.

6 - THE HAB FACTOR:  Many, many hockey people - including the SportsCage's own Tiger Williams - feel the odds are always stacked in the Montreal Canadiens' favour when it comes to officiating and league decisions.  New York Islanders great Bryan Trottier feels the NHL sabotaged their quest for a fifth-straight Stanley Cup by introducing a 2-3-2 format for the 1984 Stanley Cup Final against Edmonton.  If you ask Trottier, the league didn't want the Canadiens' record of five straight Stanley Cups to be tied, or broken.  However in the case of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens can't even help themselves.

Some say the pressure in Montreal is too much for the team to handle.  They say the same goes in Toronto.  I say that's hogwash.  In life there are optimists and there are pessimists.  In the end, both are proven right.

7 - SPORTS TEAM BRANDING:  Check out this photo from before Game 3 of the Flames-Ducks series in Calgary on Tuesday courtesy Getty Images:


There's a shot of Calgary Flames alum Joel Otto greeting fans and posing for photos at an autograph session out front of the Saddledome.  What a great idea!  I've implored several sports teams around the continent to have an alumni autograph station set up outside their venue.  One team did for awhile, but it fizzled out and the reason given was "it was too much work".  Other teams said, "it costs too much".  Newsflash: nothing worthwhile comes easily or is necessarily cheap.  And the alumni is the backbone of any sports franchise.  From now on I'm going to stash these ideas in a special file and stop giving them away for free.  One day they'll see the light.

8 - THE HOCKEY GODS ARE ALIVE AND WELL:  Had the Calgary Flames lost Game 3 against Anaheim on Tuesday, they would have been forgiven for smashing garbage cans and throwing water bottles.  The disallowed third period goal by Sam Bennett was clearly a crock.  Hey I'm pulling for the Ducks, but knew that goal was in.  Everybody did.  However NHL officials felt otherwise.  But the hockey universe corrected itself with Johnny Gaudreau's last-minute goal and Michael Backlund's eventual OT winner for Calgary.  The biggest question I had was: where were Getzlaf and Perry in the last half of the game and overtime??  Oh well, the series has been prolonged and if our prediction of Anaheim to win in six games is to come true, Calgary's got to win a pair anyway.

9 - GO PATS GO:  Kudos to John Paddock of the Regina Pats for being named WHL Coach of the Year on Wednesday.  There figures to be some shifting to take place in the Pats' front office this summer with the rumour that assistant coach Dave Struch is being courted by other WHL teams to be head coach.   How can the Pats retain the highly-coveted Struch?  Perhaps by throwing some more money at him and giving him a written guarantee that he'll eventually replace Paddock as coach.  Or, as a rumour going around on Wednesday evening suggested, they may make him Assistant GM.  Gotta love rumours.

Meanwhile the WHL Bantam Draft begins at 8:30 am Thursday in the Saddledome.  The event holds little interest for me however Wednesday marked the 10-year anniversary of the Pats taking Colten Teubert #1 overall.  Regina grabbed somebody named Jordan Eberle in the 7th round of that draft.  It's hard to get wound up about 15-year old hockey players and the list of players who never take a shift in the WHL seems to be as long as the ones that do.  However it'll be interesting to see who the Pats take in Round 1, and how many Regina kids get selected.

And lastly on the Dub, Vancouver Giants GM Craig Bonner said they'll get serious about hiring a head coach once the draft is complete.  The usually-solid Giants have had three coaches in the past year between Don Hay, Troy Ward and Claude Noel.  Bonner told a Vancouver newspaper he's received 50 resumes for the job but only 10 are "legitimate".  You get every Tom, Dick and Harry applying for these jobs.

10 - JUST NOTES:  At this point I'm only watching the NBA Playoffs to see analyst Charles Barkley on halftime of TNT broadcasts.  He's the best in all of sports TV right now.  Barkley does make public speaking appearances and I think he'd be a hot ticket in Regina.  Perhaps the Regina Kinsmen would consider bringing Barkley in for next winter's Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction ... The banquet circuit is petering out but TSN's Brian Williams will be in Regina on Saturday for the annual Ducks Unlimited fundraiser and on May 28, Islanders greats Clark Gillies and Bob Bourne will entertain the masses at the Cougar Mens Hockey Alumni dinner at the Travelodge.  I'll be the MC for both events ... The registration deadline for the 2015 Regina Minor Football season is Friday.  You can download a form at www.reginaminorfootball.ca.  RMF is introducing a new Mighty Mites tackle football division for kids aged 8 and 9 sponsored by Jon Ryan's new Gear Up Foundation.  Jon has vowed to make an impact on the Regina minor football community and he's put his money where his mouth is ... Regarding all the concussions in sports and subsequent lawuits these days, here's a tip:  if your kid seems to have a soft head and is injury prone, get him out of the sport sooner rather than later.  It'll save everybody a lot of time and headaches ... Shock of the Week: a Starbucks peanut butter cookie (my kryptonite) will cost you 480 calories.  You're better off to get a Tim Hortons muffin.  It's the same amount of calories but more filling ... The FitBit fitness wristband may be the single greatest invention since Cheez Whiz.  My goal each day is 10,000 steps however the best record I've heard so far belongs to Cameco P.R. man Jonathan Huntington who hit 55,000 steps in one day.  Riders Special Teams coach Bob Dyce hit 28,000 steps on Day 2 of Rider minicamp in Florida ... The new Ricky's All-Day Grill restaurant in Harbour Landing is making progress!  We only waited 30 minutes for our breakfast on Sunday versus the 50 minute wait on our first visit.  But man is it worth the wait.  I indulge on a giant breakfast only once a week, and try to make it on Sunday mornings.

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THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! SEE YOU IN THE CAGE AT 4 PM
RP
@sportscage

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if John is worried about his Canadiens yet lol

Anonymous said...

Hey Pedersen ! Your just like the rest of the Sports writers, you wait until the Habs are down by 3 games before you start yapping off about them. You sounded off on how good the Pats were at playoff time and who was it that kicked their ass ?

Anonymous said...

Rod,

That's too funny. As a fan of the Bruins I think the Habs WAY favoured by the nhl!

I still say if that was a bruin who slashed a hab like sunban did he would have gotten at least a game.

Russ from Saskatoon

@mrt_man said...

@Ricky's... Try the 7th Heaven Lasagna!

Anonymous said...

How does a landlocked city like Regina have a subdivision named Harbour Landing?

Rod Pedersen said...

To Anon #2 - did the Montreal Canadiens kick the Pats' butts?

RP

Anonymous said...

because its by the airport genius-LANDING. as far as i know boats dont land.

Anonymous said...

We had breakfast at Ricky's this past Sunday and service was fast, food was good. We were in and out in 30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod keep bringing idiots like Tiger Williams and the Dumba boys on the sportscage. They make you sound intelligent.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, keep getting smart people to post on this blog because they make the idiot above this post talking about Tiger and the Dumbas look dumber.

Then again, there are a lot of stupid people who post on this blog. And I mean stoooooooooooooo-pid!

Anonymous said...

Boats have been landing a lot longer than airplanes.

Anonymous said...

THE NUTBAGS ARE OUT!!!

Anonymous said...

Gonna be nice to see the Flames eliminate Getzlaf and Perry from the playoffs. Those two think their s#$t doesn't stink and it's getting really old. It's too bad their Oswalt Cobblepot lookalike coach had to run their only likeable player out of the league and into retirement. Flames in 6.

Anonymous said...

By the way, boats use harbours.

Anonymous said...

hey Rod, don't think your blog is suitable for "Phillipino Cupid" type advertising . . . seriously.

Anonymous said...

Your biases always show on here Roddy. Your anti-Hab comments should stop. Please tell your Friday contributor the same thing.

Rod Pedersen said...

Does somebody want to clue this guy in on how Google advertising works? It's a reflection on him, not me.

Danny said...

Ha. Anon was perhaps looking at some...ahem...adult oriented content featuring ladies of Asian descent.

Or, a mail-order bride perhaps?

Anon, save yourself future hassle (and awkwardness) by using the 'adblock' plugin for the firefox web browser. It will get rid of all the google targeted ads.

I suspect most of Rod's ad revenue on this blog comes from his banner ads, so you won't be doing him much of a disservice. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Anonymous said...

Why can't a hockey fan be "anti-Hab"?? This isn't new. I know a lot of people who are fans of the Oilers/Leafs/Bruins and ..... whoever is playing the Habs. LOL

I'll say one thing about the Habs and i'm not a hater, just tell the truth, the Habs were carried by their goaltender for most of the season. They can't score goals or generate offense at all. They were lucky to beat an average Sens team.

Some people are so f'n sensitive. If you don't like what Rod puts on his own PERSONAL blog, then don't come on here. This is not a CKRM blog or Riders blog etc. It's Rod's blog. Pound sand d-bag.

Anonymous said...

Stop surfing the porn dude...lmao

Anonymous said...

Ummm, I listen to most every podcast and Rods been pulling for the Habs all along. It's not his fault they pooped the bed. Take a chill pill bud, your seasons over.

Anonymous said...

CALGARY'S CHANCE OF BEATING ANAHEIM OUT WOULD BE ABOUT AS GOOD AS REGINA BEATING OUT BRANDON.

Anonymous said...

I heard Struch is getting head coaches pay

Anonymous said...

yeah they dock in them not land

Anonymous said...

Habs get favoured by the refs, yeah right. Gallagher gets crosschecked across the nose and cut by Coburn last night and no call by either ref. Nice try!

REP said...

Airports used to be called "Air Harbours" hence "Harbour Landing"... It's a nod to the area's aviation heritage.

Anonymous said...

It's been almost 10 years since the Ducks have won a cup... after this series I'll be able to safely estimate that it'll be another 10 before they even qualify to play for a cup. Flames in 6!

Anonymous said...

Struch has a great gig in Regina, if I recall his wife and kids still live in Saskatoon. It has been reported that he is getting Head Coaching money here in Regina and Paddock lets him run the practices just like Head Coach would.

Its been reported as well that Regina has the 2nd highest paid coaching staff in the entire league, and keep in mind that there are 2 part time coaches on that list so Paddock and Struch are getting big money

Anonymous said...

On a related topic, really liked the new CFL commish' comments about marketing their athletes. He said that CFL players are underrated for their abilities because of their accessibility and involvement in the community. That's what they are trying to do now with that deal with Whistle Sports and that Fantuz clip: show the world that these guys are great players. If people are convinced, ratings and attendance goes up. More sponsors come on board. League revenue grows. Then finally these guys get paid what they're worth cause right now CFL players are grossly underpaid for the talent they have.

Mr. Orridge has a priority on marketing and it's awesome. You have to sell the brand to get people hooked and the NFL has done this very well. Prime example is even with all these controversies like deflate gate and domestic abuse the league's popularity is higher than ever. The CFL needs to brand itself as high quality, exciting football to get over this perception that the quality is nothing compared to NFL. Peter King, Doug Flutie and Warren Moon have all talked about how underrated the CFL is. The CFL needs to tell this story and if they do it well the league will prosper.

Dubya

Anonymous said...

This Hab fan is still loud and proud!! GO HABS GO! Tiger is a Leaf and always will be a Leaf he can't say anything good about the HABS!!

Anonymous said...

I am not a crook.

Sincerely,
Senator Dueffy

Anonymous said...

3-0 Habs in 2nd !!!!

Anonymous said...

Good chance my Oilers will be the team to bring the cup back to Canada. My guess is 2017. You heard it hear first folks!

Anonymous said...

Places where boats dock are also often called landings. Read a book. Maybe start with colouring one and work your way up.

Anonymous said...

I've got 10000 hrs sitting in a airplane seat, and I can honestly say I've never landed in a harbour. But that's just me.

WestJet 737 driver

Anonymous said...

Places where boats/ships moor are called "dock"ing piers. Read a book.
Maybe start with colouring one and work your way up a**clown.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, it does feel sooo good to be a Habs fan once again. Go Habs! Onward to the Stanley Cup!

Anonymous said...

PS,
docking piers usually located around a water harbour.