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Regina Rams Football

Thursday, October 8, 2015

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE

1 - HAMILTON -- In sports circles in North America, this is where the action is this week.  Maple Leafs/Canadiens, Blue Jays/Rangers MLB playoffs, Roughriders/Ticats.  How fortunate we are to basically be right in the middle of it.  Hamilton is 32 miles from Toronto (however it's at least an hour's drive), but it's part of the fabled Golden Horseshoe and for this week anyways, being in this area is a sports fan's dream.  Again, how lucky we are.

2 - Honestly I expected more hype.  Walking through the Toronto airport upon our arrival on Wednesday, there was one store with wall-to-wall Blue Jays merchandise stamped with their playoff slogan "MISSION OCTOBER" and "TAKE OCTOBER".  However other than that, there hasn't been much craziness.  Anywhere.  I'm told once we get to downtown Toronto, the Jays Fever will be ramped up and off the charts.  We're going to Game 1 of the ALDS today between the Rangers and Blue Jays at Rogers Centre so we'll know soon.

3 - Quick: can you name the Roughriders' marketing slogan/campaign for 2015?

4 - The front cover of the Toronto Sun's sports section today blares "LEAFS WORK HARD, DROP HOME OPENER", following Toronto's 3-1 loss to Montreal last night.  More on the game further down in the column, but it shows you where the Blue Jays are in the pecking order.  They're in the playoffs for the first time in 22 years but they still get trumped by the perenially bad Maple Leafs.

5 - Let's not forget we're here for a football game!  The Riders visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night but it doesn't look like it'll be a great night for football.  The forecast calls for showers and 18 degrees.  The Ticats are favoured by 7.5-points.  They have far more to play for given the fact they're in a three-way tie for first-place in the East, while the Riders are one loss away from being mathematically eliminated.  This 2-12 Roughriders season is just now providing some challenges in our area of the game.  Local fans seem to have lost their zest whatwith the NHL season starting up, the Blue Jays in the playoffs and the NFL going into Week 5.

6 - The Ticats haven't won since Zach Collaros went out with the season-ending knee injury so Friday's game is huge for Hamilton to prove they can still contend for a Grey Cup with rookie Jeff Mathews at quarterback.  It'll be interesting to pick Ticats coach & GM Kent Austin's brain later today on how they plan to win without their top pivot.

7 - The Calgary Stampeders have already clinched a home playoff game and are headed to the playoffs for an 11th consecutive season.  The Montreal Alouettes currently have a 19-year playoff streak going while the B.C. Lions have achieved the postseason for 18 straight.  One of those will likely fall since Montreal's fourth in the East but, as of today, not in position for the crossover.  The Riders are looking at missing the playoffs for the second time in five seasons and any belief otherwise is Fantasy Football.  At least the Riders' braintrust noticed they were heading off path and made the necessary adjustment.  This off-season will be critical in Saskatchewan.

8 - The touchdown catch by B.C. quarterback Jon Jennings last week against Saskatchewan got the CFL statisticians scrambling.  That doesn't happen very often.  The last time a Roughrider quarterback caught a touchdown pass was Kerry Joseph in 2006.  Incidentally, Lions offensive coordinator George Cortez called this week to reiterate that he doesn't recall Jon Jennings from the Riders' 2014 Florida minicamp.  He wasn't fibbing when he told reporters that on Friday.  It's likely once Cortez and the Riders made their minds up which quarterbacks they were going to keep, they moved on and flushed everything else.

9 - Some in the media (Scruffy) thought the Austin Collie-to-Jon Jennings touchdown pass was a display of poor sportsmanship Saturday night.  They felt the Lions shouldn't have run a trick play while up 33-5.  I called the game and felt no such way.  It's part of the game.  B.C. put Jennings at considerable risk by running that Quarterback-Reverse-Throwback and a Rider defender could've (should've) taken his head off in the endzone.  We move on.

10 - The CFL vs NFL debate rages.  One area where the Canadian game lags is in credibility and lack of defense.  The NFL Monday Nighter saw Seattle beat Detroit 13-10 in a gem.  The next night Toronto beat Ottawa 38-35 in a track meet.  In that sense, (or in my view), the NFL game was more enjoyable to watch.  However the CFL game ended in a mind-boggling onehanded TD catch by Toronto's Chad Owens which was replayed endlessly on USA television networks.  Meanwhile the NFL game ended in a botched referee's call which had the NFL issuing an apology to the Detroit Lions later in the night.  Maybe the leagues aren't as dissimilar as we think!!!

11 - You'll be reading a lot about what I'm seeing on American television networks after I got ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, ESPN3, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and every other channel hardwired into my house this week.  I'll NEVER give up my Access subscription and digital boxes, but this is a nice little supplement and contrary viewpoint.  I may never watch Canadian Sportscentre again.

12 - If the CFL's going to take a major step forward with sports fans, they need to make a foray into sports betting.  Once they do that, they need to get more more serious about being transparent with injuries.  We knew on Saturday of last weekend Colts quarterback Andrew Luck wasn't going to play due to a shoulder injury.  Meanwhile in the CFL, coaches have historically kept their starters a secret until kickoff.  That needs to change, and pronto.

13 - One word came to mind while watching Glenn Healy provide between-the-benches commentary of the Leafs-Habs game Wednesday night: awkward.  Why is he there?  It seemed quite often like throwing to Healy was an annoyance for colour commentator Craig Simpson, and rightfully so.  At one point they showed all the NHL awards Montreal goalie Carey Price won last season and Healy followed that up by bringing some of childhood awards to the booth.  So weird.

14 - And whatever happened to showing highlights of other games during your telecast?  The Rangers and Blackhawks opened the new season last night but if they showed any of the goals on Sportsnet, I didn't see them.  I thought opening night of the NHL season, as far as television broadcasts go, was a fail.

15 - An NHL P.R. company sent out some interesting odds this week.  The odds-on favourite for the first coach to be fired is St. Louis's Ken Hitchcock at 5/2.  Next is Arizona's Dave Tippett at 4/1.  Calgary's Bob Hartley wasn't on the list but I'm told he could be out by Christmas.  Last night's 5-1 loss to Vancouver wasn't a good start.

16 - Connor McDavid's odds of being named Calder Trophy winner as NHL Rookie of the Year are 1/1.  Doesn't that make it a lock?  The top four favourites to win the Stanley Cup are Chicago (7/1), Tampa Bay (8/1), L.A. (10/1) and N.Y. Rangers (10/1).  Those are the exact Stanley Cup favourites chosen by ESPN's Barry Melrose this week on Sportscenter.  The top early favourite Canadian team is Montreal at 15/1.

17 - The Arizona Coyotes are the biggest longshot at 250/1 to win the Stanley Cup.  That blushingly suits them just fine since they'll then be in prime spot to take Auston Mathews, the #1 prospect who hails from Scottsdale, AZ.  He fell in love with hockey after attending a Coyotes game at the age of 3.  Mathews represents the best chance to save hockey in The Valley.

18 - And as far as team popularity goes, the Edmonton Oilers have seen a 131% increase in ticket sales (home and road) from this time last year and you can thank Todd McLellan and Connor McDavid for that.  Edmonton's gone from the 16th highest-selling ticket to 6th in the NHL.  The Oilers are the 7th-best road selling team in the NHL.  The top four are the N.Y. Rangers, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto.  The top Canadian home-selling teams are Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal.

19 - NFL owners wrapped up meetings in New York this week and ESPN had a reporter camped outside the boardroom.  Here are the conclusions from the meetings: 1) They will vote on franchise relocation (Rams, Chargers, Raiders) to Los Angeles in December, 2) Commissioner Roger Goodell still wants Tom Brady to serve his four game suspension for Deflate-gate and will vigorously pursue it, 3) Video Review will be revisited after the Monday Night Football debacle, 4) Sirius/XM renewed their satellite radio rights deal for six more years and 5) Rams owner Stan Kroenke shifted ownership of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche to his wife in order to comply with the NFL rule that an owner can't have ownership of a team or teams in another league.

20 - The CHL Top 10 rankings came out this week and the Calgary Hitmen are now the WHL's #1 team, and #3 in Canada.  The Wheat Kings slipped to #4 in the CHL.  Both teams shutout the Pats on the weekend, but now you know why.  The Red Deer Rebels are #9 while the Prince Albert Raiders earned an honourable mention.  The Regina Pats are home to the Vancouver Giants Friday night at 7:00 on 620 CKRM.

------

THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY!  ENJOY THE GAMES ..
RP
@sportscage
IG: ridervoice

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rod wrote;
"the NFL game ended in a botched referee's call which had the NFL issuing an apology to the Detroit Lions later in the night."

I just wanted to repeat that for all the CFL bashers out there.

Thanks Rod.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the NFL to the CFL is like comparing the NHL to the East Coast League.........there is no comparison. That might hurt the hardcore CFL fans but it's the truth. Glen Healy makes people turn away from hockey games and yet is still employed.....go figure.

Anonymous said...

Hey Roddy,

How did you get ESPN and Foxsports?

Anonymous said...

somebody should ask Tristan Jackson why he went out of his way to avoid hitting BC's Jennings just as the ball arrived!!!

Anonymous said...

Why would Hartley be gone by Christmas? He won the Jack Adams award last year for a reason as he took the Flames to the 2nd round of the playoffs. That has to be the dumbest rumour I have heard in a long time. I would not listen to that person in the future Rod.

-Barry from Stoon

Anonymous said...

Jays tickets sold out in an hour. They've dominated the headlines all summer. Leafs definitely taking a back seat. The only reason it was news was because it was the opener. Go Jays. I live in Toronto fyi

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the TD pass to Jennings was done on purpose to embarrass the riders. The ridesr have hotdogged and have talked trash for way too long and it's time for some payback. It wouldn't surprise me to see Hamilton, Calgary and Edmonton run up the score if they get the chance down the stretch.
Even during a 2-12 season you see rider receivers celebrate a first down catch, and defenders celebrate a tackle like it just clinched a Grey Cup victory.
Trust me, the rest of the league is laughing when they see antics like that from a 2-12 team.

Anonymous said...


In a one sided football game, the touchdown pass to Jennings was a little over the top in my mind. If it had been a 10-14 point lead, I'd be OK with it, but I thought BC rubbed it in a little with that play.

I completely agree with above poster though who says Jackson had chance to hammer Jennings and didn't. Take the 15 yards and send a message if you have to.

Have fun at the game today RP. Are you going to be phoning Scruffy with a report?


Kyle

Anonymous said...

No to O'Day being retained as GM.

Anonymous said...


I thought it was a slap in the face to the Riders to run that play in a one-sided game. The question I have though is when have the Riders ever done anything like that? It isn't a Chamblin thing either as there have never really been trick plays under Miller or Barrett. Why?

Anonymous said...

CFL vs NFL debate. In terms of popularity and pure business there's no comparison, the NFL dominates. That said there's a few things that absolutely drive me crazy: 1. The opening touchback. What??!! After 3 hours of pre-game hype, tailgating, and general build-up - the anthem has been sung, the crowd is on their feet cheering and yelling for opening kick-off, and then..... meh - let's go to commercial. A frustrating example of the NFL "not getting it - or maybe they are "getting it" as it means another commercial can be added to the line-up. I read an article recently in the Wall Street journal about the business of football - they outlined how much of actual game time in involved in a 3 hour telecast. It's a shocking 11 minutes of actual time when the ball is in play - the rest is commercials, replays, shots of players, coaches, cheerleaders (I'd love to see the figures for the CFL), which brings me back to the second point of frustration with the NFL. 2. The last 2 minutes of a game. How many games do we watch where the team on the winning side of the score has the ball and can kneel down, and leave the field before the score clock has even hit zero? What other entertainment venue can get away with that? When we go to a movie do they pan to a shot of the actors sitting around on coffee break for the last 2 minutes of the movie? People have paid a lot of money to be entertained at an NFL game - is the 11 minutes worth it?

Anonymous said...

The Jays HAVE NOT dominated the headlines all summer, they became relevant at the trade deadline when they went out and bought a team.

This is the the MLB is though. Think of the Marlins a few years back, the typical Yankees of recent past. You win for today then are irrelevant for the next 20 (except NYY)

Anonymous said...

Riders are about the only team that has any class in the league.

Chick. Dressler. Bagg. Getz.

These idiots on other teams that perform some dance they practised in the end zone look like, well, idiots.

And yes Jackson should have destroyed Jennings. Would of been a fair hit as his timing looked perfect. He just ran by him. Where's the fire.

Anonymous said...

I see Bagg,(with his Bieber haircut), celebrate every first down by pointing downfield like an official. It's extremely classy when it's his first catch of the game and the riders are down by 20.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between pointing down field on a first down and handing the ball back to the ref as you head to the huddle. Classy.

Performing some prearranged dance in the endzone. Not classy

Anonymous said...

Why should a coach have to disclose who his starting QB is? So the gamblers can benefit? The fantasy sports sites Draftkings and Fanduel are being investigated by the NY Attorney General. Getting the CFL involved in gambling is a stupid idea.

Anonymous said...

The Riders have been the biggest hot doggers in the CFL the last few seasons and now that other teams give it back to them some fans have their feelings hurt. Well boo hoo. If you don't want the other teams to run up the score then tell your defense to stop them.

Anonymous said...

Ryan Smith and Rob Bagg celebrate every catch like they won the Grey Cup.

Anonymous said...

That does seem kind of weird that someone would say Hartley will be gone soon. Has he lost the dressing room already? I know it's one bad game but he shouldn't be judged based on that. Talk about dumb rumours.


Dubya

Anonymous said...

Commissioner Roger Goodell, in today's paper stated that Toronto would be a good location for an NFL franchise. Really? What planet is he on? Toronto, other than the Toronto Maple Leafs (losers),does not support their teams. Blue Jay's? You mean since they actually are in the hunt and its cool to talk to your buddies about the Jay's?
Rogers has tried for years to destroy the CFL so he can get an NFL franchise. His reward was pitiful attendance at every NFL game since the first one that was so boring the "fans" were cheering first downs. Yup Toronto is sure a big league town.
FYI I also hate practiced end zone and other forms of celebration like Calgary's D-line doing somersaults. Does anyone enjoy watching that?
It was once said when you score a TD act like you may have been there before.
Finally, the Riders should use all the next games to try rookies out giving them great game experience they can't get watching from the sidelines or holding a clip board.
Go Riders

Anonymous said...

The Roughriders only wish they had been there before (score touchdowns), hence their giddy no class celebrations of attaining a rare first down, huh?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rod,
Can you please advise how you hardwired ESPN into your home? I would be very interested in this if it is possible.

Anonymous said...

So we'll be giddily hearing a lot from "Regina's one and only playboy of the Western world" since he now has the overpaided extravagance of American television ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, ESPN 3, Fox Sports 1, Fox's Sports 2 and every other channel "hand wired" into his house, (thanks dad). How can that be? He's never home. No thanks, access 7 with Scruffy will suffice.

Anonymous said...

"Hartley gone by Christmas". Who cares, it's the flames. Nobody outside of Calgary cares about the flames.

Go Bruins!!!

Anonymous said...

I will say this!: I would rather see an entertaining 38-35 down to the last minute thriller in the CFL (WHICH YOU WOULD NEVER EVER GET IN THE BORING ASS NFL, BECAUSE THEIR RULES DON'T ALOW FOR IT!) Then a 13-10 defensive bore called the NFL! The NFL is slower and it makes it tough to watch 2 plays then 5 min of commercials in a 4 down, 45 second clock "crap of a league!" -lets go Texas! Sweep the Boo Jays in 3! -GO CFL! GO ARGOS! GO RIDERS! SCREW ROGERS! SCREW THE JAYS!

Anonymous said...

OK ...(OK)... Blue Jays... (Blue Jays)
Let's ... (Let's) ... Play... (Play)... Ball... (Ball).

Anonymous said...

1/1 odds is 50% chance of winning.

Anonymous said...

lol...ok....5 yards from the punt returner - joke, defense 1 yard off the line of scrimmage.. how can an offense not get short yardage? and yet still they don't. Massive end zone so lets put the posts up front, only a 30 second clock and the game still seems slow. Be honest....there isn't one guy playing cfl who wouldn't quit in a heartbeat to go nfl.....the reason their here is because their not good enough to make it there. Most throws are rainbows as the qbs don't have the arm strength to hit the whole field.....oh ya massive field and only need one foot in for a catch. 1st down run up the gut...short yardage...2nd down incomplete -punt....yawn! Yes the nfl makes money...because people want to watch it. That's sports, the comparison of the nhl to east coast league is perfect because that's what it is. The best athletes play nfl..those who can't play cfl.

Rick said...

CFL vs NFL Debate. The CFL is by far a better game. Does the NFL have better athletes, better officials, better coaches, absolutely no question. We get sucked into the hype and the monster marketing machine...they are brilliant when it comes to selling the 11 min. We have an inferiority complex and think it is from the USA so it must be better. If the games were reversed, we would be still be saying how much better their game is. We would be making fun of our rules (if we had the NFL rules)...i.e. saying things like CFL is worse because we need 4 downs when the good athletes only need 3, the field is to small, the kick-off touch back is a joke, the fair catch is an even bigger joke, watching them chase a bouncing ball...etc. I enjoy watching NFL but the CFL is a better game when comparing apples to apples or if equal caliber athletes were playing both. Be proud of what we have and quite coveting thy neighbour!!

Anonymous said...

How many catches and celebrations for 'Crybaby B' this Friday ?

Anonymous said...

Jays have failed

Anonymous said...

Well the riders can't celebrate because they have no reason to celebrate when your 2-12 and the worst and most pathetic team in all of football ,it is so nice to not hear riders fans running their mouths all season all because they are a joke of the CFL