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Thursday, December 17, 2015

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

NOTEBOOK

1.  It's being called the biggest coup in the history of the Canadian Football League.  For those uninitiated, the definition of a "coup" is: "a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government".  That's exactly what the Saskatchewan Roughriders did by stealing the coaching staff of the 2015 Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos and it has touched off a wild controversy across the CFL.  Except it's not "illegal".

At least, not yet but the CFL is figuring it out as they go.

As one CFL executive told TSN's Gary Lawless on Wednesday, "This whole thing is insanity".

2.  Obviously the coaching carousel in the CFL this off-season - or as I like to call it, "Musical Chairs" - has been ridiculous.  As I wrote about last week, it's almost too much to take or to believe.  And that led to CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge sending down an edict to all teams yesterday that no more coaching movement will be tolerated without his written consent.

The memo from Orridge drew plenty of snickers across the land, but he has the best of intentions.

3.  Why?  Well the Riders started this to be sure but things hit a crescendo Tuesday night when Montreal Alouettes defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe handed in his resignation (with two years left on his deal) and it was learned he's bound for Edmonton to fill the same role on Jason Maas' staff.  That drove the Alouettes wild and, apparently, led to Orridge putting his foot down.  As Lawless has reported, the whole Thorpe issue is now under investigation.

The inmates have begun running the asylum and that cannot be tolerated.

4.  The very latest on this is a statement from Noel Thorpe to TSN on Wednesday stating, as far as he's concerned, he tendered his resignation before Orridge's moratorium and he's going to be an Eskimo.  Plus, after discussions with Alouettes President Mark Weightman, Thorpe feels it's clear he can no longer work for Montreal.

5.  I think we foreshadowed this in the Monday Morning Goalie saying things were about to get crazy, and we were going to hear the "compensation" word a lot over the next little while.  However as of today, no team is worried about compensation.  They're just trying to hold onto their staff!  Well, Ottawa's still trying to get compensation from Edmonton for "stealing" Jason Maas and the situation is going to a mediator but it's not expected they'll get anything.

6.  And this whole incredible situation was triggered by Saskatchewan Roughriders President Craig Reynolds who turns the ripe age of 40 TODAY.  He's been ever-present at his team's news conferences this week but hasn't talked to the media since last week's hiring of Chris Jones.  Frankly, having known Craig for six years and studied him closely for the last year in particular, he seems very happy, calm and rested.  If he's not proud of himself, he should be!

He has launched a 3-2 fastball into the upper deck with two out in the bottom of the ninth.  Is it a walk-off homer?  It's too early to tell since the team has yet to take the field under Chris Jones but rest assured the rest of the teams in the CFL are nervous.

7.  And this just feels right.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders are back to being the most-hated franchise in the CFL and that feels much more normal to me.  What we experienced this 3-15 season of 2015 - being scoffed and laughed at - wasn't sitting too well with anyone.  The Green & White has decimated their top two rivals in Edmonton and Calgary by stealing one's coaching staff and the scouting department of the other (John Murphy).  What do they say?  If you want to kill a snake, cut off its head?

That's what Craig Reynolds has done and football fans in Alberta are livid.

8.  We won't say anything about Calgary but Edmonton's had it coming for a long, long time.  This is the way they used to do business.  Back in the Hugh Campbell era, many players told me the Eskimos GM would tell them during free agency, "Let me know what Saskatchewan's offer is and we'll beat it by $15,000".  They had the money and could do it.  And they did.  That's led to 14 Grey Cups.

However I'm betting the Saskatchewan Roughriders capture their next Grey Cup title before Edmonton does.

And Campbell's influence wasn't limited to just the football field.  I'll never forget being in the lobby of the Hotel Saskatchewan over a decade ago when Campbell raised his hands and said, "Rod, come to Edmonton and we'll double your salary!"   I said, "But Hugh, you don't know what my salary is."  His response was, "It doesn't matter."  I wasn't interested in leaving Regina at the time but I got a glimpse into how Edmonton did business.

9.  So here we sit.  Many feel the CFL should simply start engraving Saskatchewan Roughriders on the Grey Cup trophy for 2016 but we have miles and miles and miles to go before that.  As an update on where the Riders are, Head Coach & GM Chris Jones told reporters yesterday that now that his management and coaching staffs are in place, they're going to take a breather before tackling the roster.  The team will hold a series of free agent minicamps in January and then they'll start signing American rookies after "having seen them".  Free agency in the CFL begins in early February and that's when things are really going to get wild.

It should be noted too, that the Jones takeover in Saskatchewan hasn't come without some hard feelings.  Some in the office won't be part of the days ahead and that's a shame.  It's making the rounds on social media that long time travel assistant Cheryl McLean-Kiel and strength coach Dan Farthing won't be a part of this regime moving forward.  We wish them well.

10.  So many in the Rider Nation are worried about Chris Jones pulling a "Don Mathews" and splitting here after a couple of years.  Let me ask you this:  if he leaves after earning one or two Grey Cups for the Roughriders, won't you be happy?  Because if the vision this group has cast comes to fruition (and there's no reason to think it won't), we'll be celebrating a 5th and 6th Grey Cup while Jones heads to his next stop and either John Murphy or Jeremy O'Day will be ready to take over and keep the winning train rolling.

Sounds great to me!

11.  A note on Murphy:  The first time I've ever met the man was on Tuesday when he came to the Brandt Centre for our live remote broadcast of the SportsCage.  Although we'd never met, we were very familiar with each other's work and covered a lot of ground very quickly both on, and off, the air.  He's a guy I'm very interested to learn more about and as I told him, "I'm sure glad you're on our side".  The Long Island, NY product seems equally happy to be here, as do all of the new faces in Riderville.  It's going to take awhile for some of them to get used to, as new defensive line coach Ed Philion said on Wednesday, "Some of these fans look at me like a zoo animal?  I'm going to have to get a pair of eyeglasses with a fake nose and moustache".

Welcome to the fishbowl.

12.  And lastly, a note on the Regina Pats.  They weren't very good in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the visiting Kamloops Blazers but as we near the midway point of the 2015-16 WHL season, the Pats are in a playoff spot and that's a little more than coach John Paddock predicted this summer.  They're maddeningly inconsistent and were generally legarthic against the Blazers, failing to register a shot on goal until the 9:58 mark of the first period.  Regardless, it was a fun night to be at the rink and Sam Steel continues to dazzle, scoring his 10th of the season on a goalmouth feed in the dying seconds of the first period.

We have an NHL first round pick in our midst folks, but do you care?

There was plenty of talk amongst the NHL scouts before Tuesday's game about poor attendance across the WHL (Saskatoon and Moose Jaw were mentioned) but I'm not going to go down that road.  I've been harping on it for years and the league continues to survive.  Their revenues are high and their expenses are low.  If they're having problems managing their books, that's their problem but no team seems to be complaining.

It is what it is.  The product's great and if many people don't know about it, that's their problem.  You say the tickets are too expensive?  You can get them for $12 each at any Regina Safeway.

Buy them, or don't.  I'll be at all the games regardless.

------

THAT'S ALL! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
RP
@sportscage


62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your 2016 and 2017 Grey Cup champions....................the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Anonymous said...

sure i'd be at all the games as well if it cost me $0!

Anonymous said...

That's exactly how Edmonton did business ! And is the reason I will cheer for Satan before I'll ever cheer for the Eskimos

Anonymous said...

Great read this morning Rod! Thanks for the insight and let the good times roll with this new regime! I renewed my season tickets today and can hardly wait to see our new team on the field come spring. All the best to you good man! JP

Anonymous said...

Simply put, Reynolds is the man. He didn't bow to the pressure of the Regina media (don't need to mention names) and hire their candidate of choice. He instead chose the best man for the job and it's already proving to be the right one. That'll keep the old boys club at bay for awhile. They're probably quite bitter but Reynolds doesn't care. He's there to do a job not make friends. Plus you gotta love his humility as well. He doesn't need to be in every photo op and micromanage to let people know how good he is. Pencil pushing meek accountant? Riiiight.


Gundersons Yorkton

Anonymous said...

I was just waiting for the lame "tickets cost you $0" comment. Is that really the best you can do? I am guessing you must live a life where you don't get perks. Everyone gets them and it saves them some $$$$ somewhere. In Rod's case, he doesn't have to pay for tickets. Take your feeble minded excuses and shove them where the sun doesn't shine because it holds no water with me. If you want to sit on your a$$ and do nothing that is fine, but don't give me the tickets don't cost you anything excuse because it is soooooooooo old.


Al

Anonymous said...

Rod you sound like a whiny child, still complaining about the Eskimos and trying to justify the Riders actions by using past actions by the Eskimos that somehow hurt yours and the Riders fragile feelings. Time to grow up a little .... don't you think.

Anonymous said...

Rod did not got to Edmonton as he was scared of success.

Christopher Evans said...

Time for Rider fans (that complain Jones will be gone in a couple of years) to put on their big boy gotch.... yeah, he just might be! SO WHAT... pretty much every other coach and GM (in the last 10 years) has only lasted a couple of years around here too! That's like saying you wouldn't go date the hottest girl you know, cause she'll break up with you in a couple of months?!?!? LUDACRIS!!!

The way Jones is setting things up, to me, it looks like he's planning on being here for the long haul. If not, he's setting things up for sustained success!! We have 3 of the 4 people short-listed for the last hire on staff currently... this looks like a model prepared to promote from within with sustained success!! Not just grabbing the low fruit on the tree!

Anonymous said...

Do people really think that the Pats are still on pace to win a championship next year? If Steel is so good he may only have one more season left in Junior - but I doubt that. You don't win by losing and going from a one round team to a championship team is a huge stretch.

Clay said...

Its funny that people like Rod are already assumung Jones will leave Regina after 2 years. Never assume anything. I can't wait to see what a REAL defence will look like here. We haven't had one since the days of Jerrell Freeman roaming the field

Anonymous said...

They will be in the hunt. That's all you can ask.

Anonymous said...

Yeah come on, cut Roddy some slack. All those beach vacations and that toupe get really expensive so when you get a break on hockey tickets take advantage of it. Who wouldn't?

Speaker Ryan

Anonymous said...

"Rod is scared of success"...WTF are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

many people believe the riders are winning the cup this year? because of a coach? you still have the worst rider team of players in the pitiful history of that team to work with. the dillusions of you and the masses of knobs that worship you are in full force now. rod you just made Edmonton look like assholes for doing what YOUR team is now doing. and you retards make no bones about it. yeah we will pay more, we have tons of money. hypocrisy thy name is rider nation. whether it is players leaving for more money or teams shelling out the cash, how dare they! but you do it now.....all is well. nothing changed here, Canada's team! 3-15 and 2 grey cups in 100 years. is this the leafs or the riders

Anonymous said...

The difference between Jones and Thorpe is that Reynolds asked and received permission to interview for a promotion. Edmonton just took Thorpe without asking for a lateral move. Big difference.

Ottawa is dreaming if they think compensation is owed when an OC moves up to HC

Anonymous said...

....Paddock said on his exit interview he wanted to improve on last year, and he needed to add some experience. Neither has been done…..Steel has 10 goals but should have near 20……lots of talent has be overrated and misjudged…..some questionable trades….feeling like the Parker era again….

Anonymous said...

Like what Jones is doing, never like to hear of people losing their jobs but in the case of the training/fitness staff I believe this was a very smart move. The Riders injuries and lack of modern day off season training plans have shown in the last couple years. Talk to any of the player and ask them how the Riders fitness regimes are so different than many professional teams today.

Anonymous said...

When Higgins was fired Popp stepped in and sucked up the head coach's job in Montreal. I'm sure Thorpe was less than impressed since he had been touted the next HC. Poop stabbed him in the back. All Hervey has to do is make him assistant HC and give hime a raise then it's a promotion.

The Edmonton coaches didn't want to be there, even with promotions offered. Does anyone think there may be a problem in Edmonton. After all most came from Toronto when Jones did. Free agents can't be forced to stay anywhere. The Riders have lost more than their share and the League didn't give a rats a__. Nor should they give one about the whiners and complainers.

Ottawa was given extra drafts, more Canadians etc and every advantage possible. Yet they're some of the biggest whiners. Didn't they step in a raid Edmonton and BC's teams for players. Luckily Jones was better at finding replacements than anyone else. Didn't heir HC have a year left on his contract in Calgary.

Anonymous said...

To me this mess is awesome for the league. I can't remember any time where there has been so many media stories in the month of December about so many teams. I can't remember any time were so much passion has been displayed by fans during December. There is going to be hate on the field. There is already pumped up hate in the comments sections on most of the articles I have seen.

Passion on the field will be red hot!

If the commissioner get's this right, what a way to get 2016 season started.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Hugh Campbell offering the boatload of cash to go to Edmonton was like Billy Beane's offer in Moneyball. Rod made the right call for his family and we're all better for it.


Dubya

Rod Pedersen said...

Thanks Dubya. Pat Conacher said I'll never regret choosing my kid. Hopefully those opportunities will still be there.

Anonymous said...

I think is is silly to say the Stampeders were decimated by the loss of an AGM when the GM and coaching staff are still there. I think Hufnagel had something to do with finding players as well.

Anonymous said...

Bang on. Orridge probably doesn't mind that people hate him. You think Bettman cares that he's hated? Nope, he love it cause it means people are interested. He even said the day that people don't boo is when he knows he is in trouble. Here Orridge has contributed to the hornet's nest and if people hate him more than whatever. It plays perfectly into the "what we're made of" branding, to whip up fan passion for their teams and their cities/provinces. Kind of like senior hockey, greasy and less skill but pride of community fills the rinks all winter.

Anonymous said...

No prob. If the people doing the hiring know that your hearts in the right place it makes their decision that much easier. Chris Schultz said that you've got a solid rep among CFL media. Maybe they could switch out Rod Black and put you in??


Dubya

Anonymous said...

Bull pucky - custody arrangements are fluid - you can get the exact same amount of time negotiated if you live in different location. I live in Saskatoon the ex is in Calgary. The kid spends the summer in Calgary, and the week long school breaks it comes out 50-50 so this choosing kid stuff is crap.

Anonymous said...

You can bet your sweet bippy that the Old Huff Dog can find talent. He is a guy with contacts .....

Anonymous said...

The next big date marked on my calendar is Feb. 9 - the Riders should be real players when free agency hits!

By the way Rod, any plan to have Tiger Williams back on the Sports Cage this winter at his regular Wednesday time?

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

That show yesterday was one of the best Cages I've ever heard and I've heard a few.


Anonymous said...

Billy Beane stayed in Oakland because nobody watches, he still gets paid and there are no expectations. Elvis only played the big rooms, and that's why guys like Bill Parcells take the risks.

Anonymous said...

Dead beat dad! Good for you Rod, right choice made

sam said...

Thats exactly what the whiners are worth zero

dave said...

Whats old is the riders always did suck and will continue to be the bottom feeders of the cfl

dave said...

I agree 100 percent all riders and their drunk fans are the same

Anonymous said...

Lawless let it slip in his Radio interview on TSN Montreal this morning. Commisioner's Mother passed away this week, he is home dealing with that and this mess. Tough week for the guy.

Anonymous said...

Very very true he is so used to being a bottom feeder with the sliders

Anonymous said...

On the coaching moves, the only one which should be looked at is THORPE. The man was under contract. He is sulking cause he is not a head coach, so he "Resigns/quits" and takes the same job with Edmonton. Yes that is when it should be stopped... Or He sits out of the CFL for the length of his contract. Maas/Jones, are both taking jobs that are growth positions.. Thorpe on the other hand, well can you say lack of morals.

Cory

Anonymous said...

Riders guilty of tampering!!!!!!

Eskimos GM Ed Hervey was recently fined by Orridge for "comments that bring the league into disrepute."

Hervey lost his head coach Chris Jones, lured to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for more title, responsibility and money, and then watched as Jones took his entire coaching staff with him to Regina.

When asked if he thought Saskatchewan had tampered with his former head coach, Hervey was blunt.

“As far as this league, we know that tampering does happen. It does. We do it. Everyone does it. It’s just a part of the CFL,” he said.

Anonymous said...

Yeah you're a knob.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the commish's mom. Remember the guy that posted here about one of the reason's for the CFL's struggles this year has been the media bashing? Well I'd say that applies to the commish too. Rod said yesterday that he's not likely to get skidded. So instead of harping on the disaster of a Grey Cup address, why doesn't the media get together and offer to help the commish on his weak points? There's a reason they hired him, he can't be that stupid. If the media helps him where he needs it and he does better and the league grows in popularity, everyone wins. What's so bad about that?


Old Tank

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all the Eskimo and Stamp fans and all other teams that come to OUR number one blog in Canada because nobody gives a s#@t about your team or would ever go to your awful blogs if you even have one.

Keep whining all you losers and keep wishing you were Rider fans. The cup is coming home to Saskatchewan where it belongs not just because you coaching you complete idiots, but because we will sign all of the best free agents because they wanna come to the best place to play in the CFL. Keep wishing that you were a part of the best fans in all of sports and keep coming back to OUR home blog so that we know that you are like our retarded lil' brother who keeps whining and wanting the attention we get because we are the best.

Keep writing in to OUR blog please, it lets us know for sure that we are at the forefront of everything that is football. WE WIN

MR. SASKATCHEWAN

Perry Pachkowski said...

Another great read Roddy!
Here in Riderville its Merry Christmas!!!
Go Riders Go!!!

Anonymous said...

rider nation? No such thing as rider nation. Forever and a day Roughriders fanbase hicks known as "Riderville". Saskatchewan Roughriders hick fanbase is "Riderville!

Anonymous said...

It is nice to see Rod kind of admit the fact O'Day would of been in over his heas being a GM right now.. I could not see him being able to draw the quality of people Jones has already in such a short time!

O'Day will gain a lot of knowledge working under these two men. In a couple years who knows he maybe ready to assume the role

There are no guarentees in sports as to how long a coach or gm may last. Look at how fast Austin left us after one season. Then end result was the fans were still happy we won a Grey Cup!!

I think it is time all the Rider fans show a little more class and stop bashing one another and just become fans again we have a lot to be excited about with the new coaches and management plus as new stadium that will be soon ready!!

Merry Christmas,

Darcy

Anonymous said...

As usual, Riderville delusional. Getting high hopes for a 5th Grey Cup championship when the team doesn't even have a quarterback of any note. Riders current qb got old and brittle and suseptible to more continuous injury. Contract should be reworked based on the past two years of non productivity, or should be released outright if no takers on trade, high needless salary says so.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rod. I remember a Reader's Digest story on the Eskimos a few years back. As I recall, during their Grey Cup "dynasty" years, all their starters were averaging $55,000 to 60,000 a year. I did some number crunching with an online inflation calculator. That's about the same as making $200,000/yr today! So, 55k times 24 is $1.3 million . In today's dollars, about $4.5 million to $5 million. Sure, it bought them 5 Grey Cups, but it almost put the league out of business.

Anonymous said...

Lots of trolls from other teams as usual. It's either the same idiot posting over and over or we have some new trolls. With the increasing unemployment in Alberta we can expect more of these comments. Gives them something to do until EI runs out. Kinda sad.

Anonymous said...

The quality of this blog's comment section took a real hit for the worse with the death of Obama and his towering intellect. RIP

Midnight Rider fan club

Anonymous said...

Edmonton ass't coaches were all on expiring contracts... thus free to go where they pleased. We stole no one!

Curtis MacPheat said...

Didn't Alberta just vote into power a socialist government and increased the tax rates significantly. I wonder how that factors into an entire coaching staff departing Alberta for a slightly more rational Province?

Curtis MacPheat said...

Didn't Alberta just vote into power a socialist government and increased the tax rates significantly. I wonder how that factors into an entire coaching staff departing Alberta for a slightly more rational Province?

Curtis MacPheat said...

Didn't Alberta just vote into power a socialist government and increased the tax rates significantly. I wonder how that factors into an entire coaching staff departing Alberta for a slightly more rational Province?

Anonymous said...

Smarten up MR. SASKATCHEWAN!! You're NOT helping!

Anonymous said...

"no such thing as Rider Nation" LOL

Who is this Ottawa guy who cannot get over the fact that there is now only ONE Rider team in the CFL? Rider Nation is found in every city thanks to a time when out migration from Saskatchewan was the norm. The green and white flags of Rider Nation can be seen in all parts of the globe. Rider Nation is set to rise again in 2016. Look out you folks in Redblack city.

Anonymous said...

RE: Jones leaving after 2 years

Every time Jones has left a team it was for advancement. Given his most recent move, there’s nothing to say he won’t settle here like Buono, Huff, and Popp did with their respective clubs… I’m just saying.

T. Brown

mister winnipeg said...

All I can say is... God it's going to be sweet when you guys go 4-14 this season

Anonymous said...

Rod getting a shot with TSN would be awesome, that way he wouldn't have to move away from here and all his family/friends. It would certainly suck for radio broadcasts as Ballsy is no good. Phil is alright except for that Sportscage intro where he sounds like he's taking a shit as he announces that goal. No offense Phil.


Gundersons Yorkton

Anonymous said...

"We do it." He also admitted EEs guilt in it as well. Typical of an idiotic Alberta hypocrite to forget to mention that part, but include it as part of their post. Obviously one of the low skilled, but highly overpaid, uneducated mouth breathing losers who has plenty of time to post his stupidity online while he waits to collect his next EI cheque which was paid for by Saskatchewan taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

It's Riderville! Forever and a day... Riderville!
Sorry, no pretend wannabe's wanted, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... infinity. pathetic clown hicks from the flatlands trying way too hard to belong. They only have four Grey Cups in their 100plus history, that's funny. It's so easy to win a championship against eight other sometime seven teams in the league. huh? not Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

Grey Cup not so fast. You still have to play the game!! I like what Reynolds has done. the old Eskie coaches were on 1 year contracts so no biggie. Tells you something about Ed Hervey, which I understand did not have the greatest relationship with Jones. This will be an interesting season. And Yes, I remember when the Esks used to buy players pre salary cap, and almost put the less financially sound teams out of business as well as the whole league. Touche!!!!!

Anonymous said...

At least we can keep our team, and let's face it, prop up the whole league.

Good luck with your Ottawa Rough Riders/Renegades/Redblacks

Anonymous said...

Who talks about the CFL in December? Only those in Saskatchewan.

Even in Edmonton, Jason Maas as new coach for the Eskimos is low-profile. It's NHL most of the time.