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Thursday, November 12, 2015

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

ODDS 'N ENDS

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders President Craig Reynolds will hold a news conference Thursday morning at 11:00 at Mosaic Stadium to update the team's General Manager search.  It will be very interesting to hear what Reynolds has to say because not much is known at this point.  Will he give a date for when he'd like to make the official announcement?  Possibly, although I'm not sure the club wants to do that because a deadline may "paint them into a corner".

Will he tell us how many candidates have applied?  Has a shortlist been determined?  Will he provide any names besides current interim GM Jeremy O'Day, who reaffirmed this week his desire to land the position?  I'll be providing updates from the gathering on my Twitter account at @sportscage.  Reynolds will also join us live on the Cage Thursday afternoon.

2. Wednesday's Remembrance Day episode of the SportsCage on 620 CKRM was a special treat as we were joined in studio by Hall of Fame Roughrider broadcaster John Lynch.  Lynch reported that a "credible source" told him Argos GM Jim Barker has applied for the Roughriders' GM job.  I notified Lynch that Barker signed an extension with the Argos when the team's ownership changed hands last spring however John stood by his rumour.  Meanwhile a prominent Calgary reporter reportedly predicted on Calgary radio this week that John Hufnagel will be coaching elsewhere in 2016.

Things are getting very interesting and the rumours will only get wilder and wilder over the next month.  The Riders' GM search may upstage Grey Cup Week in Winnipeg.

3. Receiver Ryan Smith may be the most prized free agent on the Riders' list given the fact he led the club in receiving this year with 991 yards and finished with a bang, recording 144 yards and two touchdowns in the team's final game of the year Sunday at Montreal.  Ryan seems to have taken a page out of Weston Dressler's Handbook To Being A Free Agent, as he was very elusive regarding his future when meeting with the media at Monday's locker room clean out day.  The Wahpeton, ND product said he hasn't begun contract talks with the Riders because of the team's uncertain management future.  He was very uneasy when I asked him which CFL market is closer to Wahpeton: Winnipeg or Regina?  "Winnipeg," Smith said, as he looked at the floor.  I've gotten to know his parents, Randy and Trudy, this year because they made several road trips with the team and when I asked if they'll have any impact on where he signs, Ryan stammered "I don't know".  Then, he literally ran away.  With regards to talks with free agents, it's clear that a decision on a GM needs to be made ASAP.

4. One question that's come up a lot from CFL fans over the past few weeks is: "Where is Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge?"  He seems to have gone into hiding.  Is this by design?  Does he simply prefer to stay out of the spotlight?  The fans want to see their leader.

5. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was front-and-centre at Monday's Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Toronto.  The speeches from Sergei Fedorov, Niklas Lidstrom and Phil Housley were tremendous and it got me thinking about the best parts of the induction speeches of 2015 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees Dave Dickenson, Eddie Davis and Gene Makowsky.  Wait a minute -- we didn't see them!  It sure would've been nice if TSN had televised the proceedings from Saskatoon.  Or at the very least, canned a production for airing during Grey Cup Week.  Perhaps they did.

6. This blogger just learned on Wednesday that the NHL Network is no longer available in Canada.  Who else was aware of this?  Will it even be missed?  The prevailing notion is that due to Rogers' blanket coverage of the NHL, the NHL Network became obsolete.

7. Bloggers are having a field day with the fact CFL ratings are down 15% this season, because those writers unfortunately love a scandal.  However Yahoo.ca's Chris Zelkovich pointed out all the reasons for the decline in his weekly blog and the numbers aren't considered to be a trend.  CFL spokesman Paulo Senra said the League expects big ratings for Sunday's Division Semifinals with Toronto at Hamilton and B.C. at Calgary.  Incidentally the oddsmakers have the Ticats as 2-point favourites and the Stamps at 9-point faves.  Our prediction is the Argonauts and Stampeders will win.

8. Bob Dyce's three wins as head coach of the Roughriders are one behind Ron Lancaster's total with Saskatchewan and ties Dyce with Ken Preston, Glenn Dobbs and Cal Murphy.

9. When asked on Monday how many more years he thinks he can still play pro football, Rider defensive end John Chick smiled and said, "10 or 20".  In the back of his mind, I'm sure he was thinking "God will decide."  And, John would be right.

10. There was a great debate on ESPN this week about the secret to building a successful pro football franchise.  The analysts, including Hall of Famer Cris Carter, said a close relationship between the scouts and coaches is paramount.  The coaches dictate the type of player they want, then scouts go out and find them.  The GM is responsible for building the blueprint for all of it.  The analysts went on to say "culture" within an organization is more important than scouting and that 90% of players are "systems players", meaning they'll excel in a successful system rather than on talent alone.

11. They say Cris Carter isn't the best guy but darn it is he outstanding as an analyst.  Perhaps the best on TV.

12. Because of their support of Greg Hardy, I'm considering switching allegiances from the Dallas Cowboys to the Arizona Cardinals.  Football maven John Lynch described Hardy as "an animal" on the air on Wednesday.  Don't know what Greg Hardy's all about?  Google him.

ESPN's Chris Berman said this week, "Dallas - you say you're American's Team.  Prove it".

13. Wednesday evening provided a wonderful testament to Hockey Regina.  Queen City minor hockey products Ryan Getzlaf and Jordan Eberle took the ceremonial opening faceoff in Anaheim for Military Appreciation Night between the Ducks and Edmonton Oilers.  They really do it right with honouring the military in the U.S.

Unfortunately, without Connor McDavid, the Oilers just aren't as entertaining to watch right now.  However they won 4-3 in overtime at Anaheim and for long-suffeirng Oilers fans, I'm sure they far rather prefer the wins than being entertaining.  New head coach Todd McLellan certainly does.

Incidentally I loathe the time change.  I can't stay up much past the middle of the second period for these west coast games.  This has significantly hindered watching my favourite team, the Arizona Coyotes.

And regarding last Saturday night's Boston-Montreal game at the Bell Centre, well it was just breathtaking.  We arrived two hours before the game to take an arena tour and were treated FIRST CLASS by the Canadiens staff.  My heart started racing when we got into the press box lounge where we were surrounded by portraits of Dick Irvin, Danny Gallivan, Bertrand Raymond and other Montreal media greats.  That may not be a big thing to most, but it was to someone like me.

Then, during the game, they flashed on the big screen that on November 7, 1959, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante wore a face mask for the first time in hockey history.  56 years ago Saturday night in the same place we were!  I got goosebumps, which generally happens in that arena.

Thank God they're preserving the history of hockey in Montreal because the geniuses in the NHL office in New York are considering changing the names of its trophies because the millenials don't know who Art Ross and Lester Patrick are.

How horrendous.

And THAT'S why I do so much so preserve Roughriders history on all my media forums.  The Leader Post's Rob Vanstone does the same.

14. Another Regina minor hockey success story, Josh Harding, will be honoured at Friday night's Pats game on Josh Harding Bobblehead Night.  He's the greatest goalie I ever saw in the WHL although my longtime radio partner Al Dumba still contends that honour should go to Steady Eddie Staniowski.  I'm ecstatic to be back in the broadcast booth Friday evening, calling the Pats game against Red Deer on Access 7.  The Rebels come in as a CHL Top 10 team, and hosts of the 2016 Memorial Cup.

15. We very much enjoyed the movie Burnt on Wednesday evening but didn't have the best overall experience at Southland Cinemas.  Jon Taffer would've had a field day!  The movie itself was an excellent story although star Bradley Cooper was better served shooting terrorists as Chris Kyle in American Sniper than as chef Adam Jones perfecting seasoning in a bowl of Risotto in this flick.  Still, the MMG gives it two thumbs up.

------

THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! SEE YOU IN THE CAGE
RP
@sportscage
IG: ridervoice

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do not miss the year's most outstanding movie called "Spotlight", coming very soon - set at the Boston Globe it is one of the best films ever made about journalists and their craft. Most likely to win the Oscar as best picture as well as a slew of other awards.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

Lions shock the stamps 32- 29.... find a bookie

Anonymous said...

I must be remembering this wrong Rod but I thought the Oilers, not the Coyotes, were your favourite NHL team. Not that I would blame you if you switched. How long can their fans support being in the basement.

Anonymous said...

If Lions won, it definitely would be a shocker but just because you may want it doesn't make it come true. Because the Riders are not in it, GO STAMPS. Oilers will become a dynasty starting this year

Anonymous said...

only in Saskatchewan do we "lose" an hour of daylight in the summer! I too roddy hate the late starts to games...only in Saskatchewan!!

Anonymous said...

Rogers with Blanket coverage???
Yea if you only want to watch the Oilers and Flames.
I miss seeing all the American games on Tues - Thurs nights.
Rogers has killed 80% of my NHL viewing.
Good deal Bettman, good deal
I will give kudos to Dave Randorf. The only play by play guy that describes the play so a blind man can watch the game. The rest might as well just shut their mouths.

Rod Pedersen said...

^^^^ Fair enough. But there must be some reason why the NHL Network went the way of the dodo.

I'm as guilty as anyone because I never watched it.

Rob Swallow said...

The NHL Network was shutdown once Bell Media lost the NHL rights. Wikipedia has a good explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_Network_%28Canada%29

The network's Canadian operations were managed by Bell-owned TSN, the now-former cable rightsholder of the NHL in Canada. Following Rogers Communications' acquisition of sole national media rights to the NHL in Canada, the Bell Media staff members who operated the network were laid off in July 2015, and NHL Network was shut down entirely on September 1, 2015. The network's U.S. operation will remain operational, with plans to migrate the network to the facilities of MLB Network as part of a wider partnership between the league and MLB Advanced Media.

Anonymous said...

Rod; free agency is the scourge of the CFL and for that matter all pro sports teams. It may hurt a 9 team league even more though. It's here to stay so teams will always need to adapt. Your depiction of Smith's body language doesn't sound encouraging as well as his failure to profess that this is where he wants to be. It would be a difficult loss but not insurmountable. Teams are finding good receivers all the time like Toronto finding three this year. DD can make a receiver into a star in a hurry. Should Smith decide to go elsewhere there is nothing that could be done other than wish him well. I think we need to put a much greater focus on the defensive side of the ball this off season. They can never again field a defence that bad and ill prepared. We need to be better and "bigger" this upcoming season. That is where money needs to be spent. There are a plethora of American receivers.

The pull of family or home is always a big factor for players however it doesn't always work out. Since Fantuz and Butler left, they have yet to win another Grey Cup and this season isn't looking very promising for them. They often say don't ask to hard for something; you just might get it. If the money isn't spent on Smith, it will be spent elsewhere like some of the many great Saskatchewan O-line guys. You can never have too many of those.

Anonymous said...

Roddy, I took your advice and bought Jim Hopson's book. As you said, it was great but I was surprised he didn't give you credit for coming up with the slogan Canada's Team. Do you know why?

mister winnipeg said...

"The Riders' GM search may upstage Grey Cup Week in Winnipeg."

Get real.

@mrt_man said...

Didn't some Toronto media mention it first?

Rod Pedersen said...

It doesn't matter who gets credit! Too much time gets wasted on silly stuff like that.

It was one of the greatest marketing eforts in Canadian sports history, and was a team effort.

Anonymous said...

this barely makes sense. think before you post!!!

Anonymous said...

orridge is probably saying oh my gosh what have i got myself into? and looking for a another job... jumping off a ship taking on water so to speak.

Anonymous said...

the original Mtl Forum was on Atwater. Bell Center doesn't really have the history. Forget Smith. Last thing needed is to sign a small import WR. Plus one to either Hufnagel or Barker. They both can build winning teams consistently that are sustainable.

Anonymous said...

Hate to burst your bubble Roddy. The forum was where Plante nearly had his face taken off. YOU were at the Bell Centre, opened in the late 1990s.

clay said...

Take it easy on Orridge, he's only been there for 4 months. He's gonna be fine they just need to keep concentrating on the Argos. The only reason CFL ratings were down was because the Jays got all the attention in Sep/Oct. The Jays aren't going to be in the playoff hunt every year. Rogers just got lucky

Rod Pedersen said...

I was referring to the same city. (Montreal).

Anonymous said...

- Roddy, it would be interesting to put a poll up asking if readers to your blog are watching more or less hockey since the Roger's deal was struck? I for one along with many of my buddies have found with the rule changes over the last 5-7 yrs, the brutal coverage/talking heads of Rogers and the game being pretty lack luster these days to watching more football than ever before. I watch more college, CFL and NFL football and would rather watch it than hockey.

- Not only is hockey viewership down in Canada the enrollment rates of minor hockey are plummeting. Hockey falls to third place behind Soccer, dance/school sports. Hockey as a whole in this country is on the decline cost is a big factor along with concussion fear by today's bubble parents but also the political crap and massive time commitments have ruined it for many parents who played the game now pray their kids don't want to play the game and take up much more family orientated sports/activities.

-Great point on Orridge and him being non-existant. Cohan was everywhere and really helped increase the brand of the CFL and its recognition. Let's not forget Orridge was the guy that killed CBC sports and has one of the worst executive track records in sports marketing. Do we know what the Commish's plans are to improve the CFL?

- Time change! Thank you Roddy and to the one poster, why is it that only in SK do we not want an extra hour of daylight? Follow AB's time zone and enjoy the extra hours of sun.....only in SK do we stick to our guns on stupid issues like time change, crown corps, public liquor sales and tokens to purchase beer at a major sporting event.

- Lastly, this is a big day for Reynolds to showcase he does have a plan in place and wants to turn this organization into a professional sports franchise and not a glorified alumni run community team that's okay with 9-9 seasons and just squeaking into the playoffs. His comments today will prove what he's made of and whether or not he was the right guy for the job and not just someone who (typically of this club) put in his time and was given the reigns because he's the nice guy.

Stew

Anonymous said...

The fact that it will be warm this weekend, plus 10 in Regina, only emphasizes how sad it is that the Riders did not have a good season and that there will not be a home play-of game at Mosaic on Sunday.
It is especially bad for us in the aging fan base who are only too well aware that the number of football seasons we will see going forward are likely few. I hope to live to see games at the new stadium, (keep exercising, eat well, avoid alcohol) but one can never know what is in store health wise for us aging boomers.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

Didn't Rod just steal the line Canada's team from a sports reporter in Vancouver and told it to someone? Not exactly rocket science considering the Cowboys used "America's team" since the late 70's when it was used in a film.

I don't think Rod or the Rider's brass can exactly expect to receive a Content Marketing award for pretty much regurgitating a statement. But hey, this is SK where only the Riders matter and Roddy is the greatest thing since the invention of the snowblower....we're lucky to have him, just ask him or one of his buddies!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous ...
I believe the marketing slogan "Canada's Team" originated from Trent Fraser (Riders Marketing manager at the time) and Graham Barker's group at Phoenix advertising around 2003 ish.

Rod Pedersen said...

Ask Trent.

Anonymous said...

To Stew's point, I just recently read that minor hockey is down 10% year to date over the 2014 numbers in Ontario alone. You think of that on scaled percentage to the largest populated province in Canada having that big of a declining amount of registrants to the game that is quite alarming.

Hockey Canada, organizations and mainly today's parents ruined the sport for many when they had their eyes focused on the pro's and thought it would be a good idea for little Johnny to play hockey 11 months out of the year. Instead, little Johnny could have been a well rounded athlete, played lots of sports and tried different activities rather than becoming a 1 dimensional hockey player over an athlete!

Anonymous said...

Guys, just let Roddy have this one he needs it.

"Canada's Team" - Created by Rodney Pedersen

Groot said...

Gosh, I sure miss having "Obama" on this site. He was fun to read and kick-around. He knew how to be outrageous and his satire is dearly missed. I suspect he is hard at work with the Sask Party. Now, there seems to be too many posters like Stew, with their pointless banalities about hockey and daylight saving time (yawn) - heaven help us!!

Anonymous said...

Ah Rod just goes with the pretty girl at the dance regarding NHL teams. He used to love the Oilers cause of Eberle but now that they're back to their losing ways he's gotta go with the new young guns Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. And he's buddies with the owner. Should get that owner to move the team somewhere besides Phoenix. It's still a gongshow.

Jeff Orridge didn't kill CBC sports, Nancy Lee did. She wanted to focus more on gumnastics and show jumping at spruce meadows rather than the NHL and CFL. What happened then? Ron Maclean almost leaves, Chris Cuthbert leaves, Brian Williams leaves, CFL broadcast rights leave and they lose the rights to the 2010 games in Vamcouver. So Orridge was already behind the 8-ball when the NHL thing happened. He knows his stuff but he needs to get on it and soon. Cohon is the one that left the big mess. He may have been visible but all he did was spew out hot air. Kind of like Hopson.


Gundersons Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Why don't you guys pay the $150 for Centre Ice?? Most of the cable/satellite companies spread the cost over the 6 months season. That's the equivalent of one Pats game a month.

$25 for over 200 games a month.

Groot said...

So "Gundersons Yorkton" thinks that all Jim Hopson did was "spew out hot air". From that comment we can safely conclude that between the two ears on Gunderson's head exists nothing but cool air.

Anonymous said...

Jim Barker? Jim Barker is one of the biggest clowns out there today! If he becomes the new GM, I will be transferring my support elsewhere. I'm sure there are those out there who would rather have Barker than O'day. I'm not sold on O'Day, but I would take 10 O'Days before one Jim Barker. PUHHHHHLEEZE!!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't need centre ice to see every team in the league during the season. So now I need to pay more for the NHL?
Oh yea their online version thinks we are in the Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton area's and regionally blocks their games.
Screw the NHL and their money grab. They can die slow death as the 5th most popular sport in North America. If thing were so rosy for Sportsnet/Rogers and the NHL, why are they not showing the numbers? That in it's self is a sign that there are big issues. Now add Bettman's insistence that they don't move crappy attended teams to regions that actually like hockey. If it wasn't for Hockey Night in Canada and their national programs promoting hockey and such with Hockey Day in Canada, they would be a much worse shape then they are now. But the slide is getting steeper and faster and I am not sure they are even aware or even care what the home fan thinks anymore.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree with you more on the hours.

My day goes 9-5 so by the time I get home, the game is already basically through the first period or the first few innings if watching a Jays game. Having the hour difference is great. NFL starts at noon, hockey starts at 6, etc. etc. etc.

Besides, you have bankers hours and can do what you want. What does it matter to you what time you go to bed?

Anonymous said...

I'll always go back to the one thing that Rogers said in their press conference following being awarded the Canadian rights for NHL coverage;

"No more regional or blacked-out games"!

This clearly hasn't happened. Very disappointing.

Paco

Anonymous said...

You're right, beg your pardon. He left the football ops of this team in shambles and drove away good people that worked for the organization because they were getting more publicity and credit for the success than he was.

I sure hope he's not part of that search firm for a new GM. He'll probably recommend Jim Daley.


Gundersons Yorkton

Fake Frenzy said...

The old Huff Dog to the Riders and Mr. Barker to the Stumps and O'Day to the Argos. You read it here first my friends.

joe bunyawk said...

I am going to agree with Paco. I'm a Habs fan living in Alberta. Games are blacked out save for the (blechhh) Oilers and Flames. There are plenty of channels now. Surely one could show the Habs out west without harming viewership of the others. And I don't really care about the other teams so it's not worth it to pay for a league-wide package. Whine over.

Anonymous said...

Can't discount he finds talent and fields good teams and good qbs on a shoestring budget. . I wouldn't mind a barker hire

Anonymous said...

Rod,

As a HUGE Bruins fan I absolutely loathe the Hockey team from Montreal. But one thing I would say about that franchise is they are indeed first class all the way. From the Beliveau tribute to their in house openings, to the kids holding the torches as the team comes out.

I think other teams can learn MANY lessons from them in that regard.

Glad you had a good trip. I'll ask you about it next time I see you.

Hope you enjoy your season off and get some well deserved R&R.


Russ from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

I would hate to see Jim Barker come here, but would and could Scott Milanovich be pried out of Toronto. Didn't he intvw here before Chamblin? Reynolds did say he would take a HC/GM combo.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bruins fan. You loathe that team in Montreal because they kick your sorry teams butt all the time. Coming from a Leafs fan that knows what it feels like.