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Thursday, December 24, 2015

CHRISTMAS RODSERVATIONS

A RIDER DOZEN CHRISTMAS NOTES

1. They say the best never rest, and that appears to be the case with the new braintrust of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  On Wednesday the club posted dates to its website for a series of open tryouts in the New Year.  They are: West Palm Beach, FL (January 16), Montgomery, AL (January 23), Carollton, TX (January 31), and Henderson, NV (February 6).  Prospective players are asked to pay a $100 non-refundable fee and show up with workout clothes and cleats suitable for grass or field turf.  The workouts will run rain or shine.

The best of these players may be offered contracts or at the very least, be extended invitations to the Riders' spring minicamp at an as-yet-to-be-determined location.  It's up in the air whether or not the club returns to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL in April, or utilizes another facility.

2. Planning for these camps is being executed while another arm of the Rider Football Operations department is whittling down the salary cap.  The five player signings on Wednesday (in the post below) were a sign of this.  There are more national signings on the way including Melvin Abankwah, the receiver/returner who was drafted and then later cut by the Riders coming out of training camp last season.  I thought the St. Mary's product had a better-than-average training camp in Saskatoon but evidently was a victim of the numbers game.

The Roughriders are also dealing with the fact bonus money paid on expiring deals from the past regime will cost the club likely $35,000-$50,000 towards the 2016 salary cap.  Some of that was alleviated with the release of 19 players last week.  The talk in CFL circles is - money issues aside - that the Riders did those players a favour by allowing them to get a head start on signing elsewhere.  Kevin Glenn would have been due a January bonus had he remained a Roughrider but now Montreal's on the hook for that money.  That's a big reason why the Riders received so little in the deal for Glenn.

I'm told it'll take a year to get the roster straightened out to where the Riders want it to be so maybe it's premature to call the Riders 2016 Grey Cup favourites.  But at least they'll be in the hunt and there's no reason not to expect a home playoff game.

3. The Riders continue to revamp their scouting department and all aspects are being evaluated however the services of full-time U.S. scout Ron Selesky will not be retained.  Meanwhile long-time Maritime football coach Scott Annand will be joining the Riders as "executive assistant for football operations and have a coaching role to be determined", according to Monty Mosher of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.  Annand is a 54-year old teacher at Cobequid Education Centre and its head football coach.

*BREAKING:  The Ottawa RedBlacks have hired Jaime Elizondo as Offensive Ccordinator on Rick Campbell's staff.  The veteran of the CFL, NFL and NCAA most recently served as Receivers Coach with the Toronto Argonauts.

4. If there is a scheduling god, he will have Chris Jones' Saskatchewan Roughriders visiting the Edmonton Eskimos in Week 1 of the 2016 Canadian Football League schedule.  It could work out handy if the Eskimos schedule their Grey Cup ring ceremony on the same weekend!

5. My Google Alert for Saskatchewan Roughriders news turned up the following nuggets from Gregg Drinnan's recent blog post at NewsKamloops.com.  The former Regina Leader Post sports editor had these offerings on Canada's Team:

"Chris Jones takes over the Saskatchewan Roughriders and a couple of days later he sweeps 19 players out the door. Sheesh, were the Roughriders really that bad? . . . Perhaps the team should issue rebates to its season-ticket holders, like maybe refund one-third the cost of each ducat because about a third of the roster apparently was comprised of impostors. . . . Does the CFL really expect to be taken seriously when a head coach with a year left on his contract moves to another team within days of winning a championship and takes almost his entire staff with him, and there isn’t any compensation going the other way? Really?"

6. The Riders' snatching of nine Eskimos coaches - including Chris Jones - seems to be water under the bridge now but new Saskatchewan Defensive Line coach Ed Philion offered some insight into how quickly it all went down.  Philion told 620 CKRM's SportsCage that he and his fellow coaches had "about 14 hours" to celebrate their 2015 Grey Cup victory before realizing they were going to be coaching elsewhere in 2016.

7. Former Rider President Tom Shepherd is still shocked at how quickly the Jones deal came to pass with the Roughriders.  "These deals generally take far longer to do than just one day," Shepherd said recently over lunch at Regina's The Cottage, and he's negotiated more than a few.  It would seem Jones and the Saskatchewan Roughriders were eager dance partners and the details of the contract were only a formality.  Financial terms were never released but it's believed to be the richest deal in CFL history.  Given the fact the Roughriders President is an accountant by trade, Craig Reynolds knew exactly what the club could afford to spend.  Besides, what's the cost of winning?  It's priceless.

8. Why did Receivers Coach Kez McCorvey not migrate to Saskatchewan along with all the other Eskimo coaches from 2015?  A source in Edmonton tells me McCorey's been promised a more significant role on Jason Maas's staff.

9. Rider fans are always interested in which of the team's negotiation list players will be featured in U.S. College Football Bowl games over the holidays.  I'm told the most prominent is Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield who leads the Sooners into the Capital One Orange Bowl against Clemson on New Year's Eve at 3:00 pm at Miami's SunLife Stadium.

10. Officiating in pro and college football continues to draw unprecedented criticism and it has many thinking the level has declined mightily in recent years.  However can no one else see the correlation between the advances in television replay versus the quality of officiating?  To me it isn't any worse than it ever was.  We get 35 angles plus slow motion to judge a call while a referee gets ONE angle, in real time, and has to make a split second decision.  Sheesh.  Something needs to be done about video replay.  It's one thing for viewers at home to be able to dissect the plays but when it's dragged onto the field and causing six minute delays, the product is suffering.  However the answer to this will be decided by people at a far higher paygrade than this blogger.

11. HOCKEY NOTES:  A good reason to watch the Spengler Cup this holiday season -- defenceman Keith Aulie of Rouleau, SK, and good friend of this blog, will be suiting up for Team Canada.  Keith broke his wrist while in training camp with the Arizona Coyotes in September and was subsequently released.  This tournament in Switzerland is hopefully the first step in the road back to the NHL for the former Maple Leaf, Lightning and Oiler ... Meanwhile kudos to Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors who's been named captain of Canada's World Junior Team.

12. MORE HOCKEY:  As we near Christmas, how much of what we see in the NHL will hold true into the New Year?  The Flames and Oilers continue to show spurts, but are still out of the playoff picture along with the Winnipeg Jets.  The Arizona Coyotes are doing just enough to muddle up their own chances of drafting Auston Mathews with the #1 pick this June in Buffalo. ....  And just who will be the Canadian NHL teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year?  Right now it's Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver (a.k.a The Usual) ... You will be inundated over the holidays with the video of P.K. Subban surprising sick kids at the Montreal Children's Hospital with the support of Air Canada.  And for good reason -- it's absolutely fantastic.  You won't be disappointed if you take a minute or two and watch the video.  ... Bigger than the game?  Subban has 300,000 more Twitter followers than the Edmonton Oilers.

13. Overheard at a Christmas gathering this week: "It's going to be an exciting time in Regina the next few years with the Memorial Cup and Grey Cup to be played in 2019."  I had to stop and think for a minute but maybe it's true.  There are rumours of the Regina Pats putting a bid in to host the Memorial Cup while the New Mosaic Stadium will have all the kinks worked out by the time the Grey Cup has made its way through new stadiums in Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton and is ready to head back West.

All in all, it's clear Saskatchewan is the place to be!

------

THAT'S ALL! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
RP
@sportscage

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rod! Hope you enjoy some time off with your family.

--Cam

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Rod! Thanks for all your hard work in 2015! Some of us really do appreciate it!

Imagirl

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod don't kid yourself Kez McCorveydidnt follow trader Jones and the rest of the staff because he did not want to go from the penthouse to the outhouse ,like seriously who would wanna go to loserville home of CFL worst franchise

Larry said...

Rod - Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Thanks for all the hard work you put into the blog, it's a great read.

Rudyman said...

Merry Christmas Rod!
All the best in 2016!

Anonymous said...

I am a fringe NFL fan and big CFL fan. The more I get into the NFL the more I realize they are killing their own product. The biggest marketing thing the NFL has going is Sunday. By expanding to the traditional Monday, now into Thursday and most recently Saturday night it shows that there really are some bad teams and some equally bad games.

That is the unfortunate side for the CFL. Every sport has stinkers but when you only have 9 teams and every game is played singularly it gets focused on heavily.

On Sunday i can get five NFL games to choose from on regular cable. 2 of the five might be entertaining, plus there are numerous other games being played at the same time.

Its March Madness marketing.

Anonymous said...

Sign Abankwah? He wouldn't have stepped on a football field last years training camp because he was suspended from CIS play. How will he be any better? Training camp body.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family Rod.

Anonymous said...

Looks like RP and this new regime are going to get along just fine.

Happy Holidays everybody!

Tanner in Cgy

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rod and family.
Thanks for the info as always.

Anonymous said...

Traitor you worthless piece of human garbage.
When your mother exchanged you for magic beans, she was a trader.
Understand the difference now?

Anonymous said...

Reference to Greg Drinnan,

How can anyone take his "journalism" seriously when he was a classic enabler of Graham James?

Thanks
..............Mr. H.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rod!

I hope you and your entire family have a great Christmas.


Russ from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

The ref has the responsibility to be in the correct position (angle) to make the call. The sad fact is the general lack of support and bullying refs receive that the very best move onto something else early in their career. Then there is the pay. Who would want the given work conditions only to have their efforts micromanaged by the league head office the following weak?
The reffing situation in the CFL is free enterprise at its best with the predictable results.

Anonymous said...

No question the biggest marketing dream will be the Eskies at home to the Riders in week 1. The national and even international media would be all over it and would be a HUGE opportunity to open the CFL season with a bang. Get people interested right away.

Hard to say what would have happened if JO would have been named GM but I think it's fair to say there would definitely not have been this much of a shakeup. Glad it's happening though and goes to show that the new boss isn't going to sit around and count his money. I doubt we'll contend for the Cup in 2016 but I do expect a team that is competitive and accountable. No more players jumping out of the way of tackles or two players trying to catch the same touchdown pass. Awful.

The Flames need to continue their solid play on D after that horrible start to the year. I'd still like for them to find a solid #1 goalie as Ramo is inconsistent despite his good results lately. What I don't want is for them to dump the great prospects for a guy like Stamkos or even Crosby (yes folks he's gonna be trade bait!). They've got a great young core that has a ton of potential. Just need some patience.

Merry Christmas Roddy to yourself and the whole fam. Your friendship is greatly appreciated.


Dubya

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rod Pedersen said...

Not sure. But I'm quite happy here.

Happy Holidays
RP

Anonymous said...

So what exactly has Jones done to convince anyone that the Riders will be a lot better in 2016. He released a ton of players that were never good enough to be in the CFL anyway. Then he signed 5 players that likely wouldn't make any other CFL roster. Almost forgot, he is holding open tryout camps that every other CFL team already does. Sorry don't see anything yet to convince me that this roster is any better.

Anonymous said...

What sportscaster would be happy being in Regina where there is nothing to report on but the Riders. Talk about the dead zone of sports.

Anonymous said...

Patience grasshopper. He's won a Grey Cup in four different cities.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rod. Thanks for keeping us in the loop in 2015.

I would also like to wish all the Eskimos fans that read your blog a merry Christmas.

Do I feel a little bad for them that we stole their thunder so quickly after the Grey Cup. Sure.

Will I feel bad when we annihilate them next year. Absolutely.

But they are good people and good fans. You just have to talk a little slower when your around them.

dave spad said...

Hey, anonymous number 3. Why don't you try moving out of your parent's basement? get a job, and a girlfriend, you might not be so bitter, you also would stop trolling on the comment section on this blog.


Thnx for all your great work Rod. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2016.

Go Riders!!

Anonymous said...

" There's a tear in my beer and I'm crying for you Chris, dear!" You are always on my lonely mind. Keep crying us a river Edmonton fans, it looks swell on ya

Anonymous said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS ROD AND YOUR FAMILY. FROM MY HOUSE TO YOURS ON THIS SOLEMN OCCASION. I STILL HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT HOW WE LIVED BEFORE YOUR MOST POPULAR BLOG. KEEP UP THE TREMENDOUS WORK,DEDICATION AND A HEARTFELT THANKS FOR KEEPING THE WHOLE CYBER WORLD AWARE OF ALL THE HAPPENINGS IN RIDERVILLE..POLKABILL FROM THE PEG!!!

Anonymous said...

Why would they hold a Memorial Cup in Regina's Old Barn when they have such a Beautiful Facility in a much More Beautiful City of Saskatoon ?

Anonymous said...

New coach does not equal 'winning' ask Mike Babcock how his turn over in Toronto is going...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't understand your point........... Mike Babcock and anyone in the Leafs brass never said they'd win this year! I believe the expectation was 3 years to see a real change.

Most would admit, they are doing better than expected. They are within 4 points (above or below) of 11 other teams in the NHL.

The Leafs best players are in the AHL and junior. These prospects are good. Real good. Just watch the WJHC's.

How has Chris Jones mad the Riders better? Addition by subtraction! He's got rid of some dead weight that only held us back. His coaching alone, should lead to 3-4 more wins. He'l have a healthy Durant (I have confirmation) which would lead to a few more wins as well. As the team sits today, I would expect a 9-9 season at worst.



Anonymous said...

After the debacle in Saskatoon and the province having to kick in funds to honour the financial guarantee the Blades ensured to win the bid, plus the record low turnouts we won't see another Memorial cup in SK for a good long while unfortunately. Many league governors were left with a bad taste in their mouth and want to see the tournament in Washington state, Kelowna (again) or Victoria before MJ or YQR get another crack at it.

Merry Christmas Rod, hope you and the family have a great holiday season. Safe travels to all of those travelling over the course of the next few days, and let's remember folks, be responsible behind the wheel, lets all look out for one another.

Sophie Trudeau

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rod to you and your family.
Merry Christmas to all that visit/comment on this site. This includes the fans of the Stamps/GreenGolds/RedBlacks/Ti-Cats that troll this site because they haven't a site of their own.
Happy Holidays one and all.
Dave

william weppler said...

Congrats to B Point, the Warriors and Warrior fans!...that is certainly a feather in the cap for the franchise...will be more fun to watch the World Juniors this year with Brayden leading Team Canada.

Have a great Holiday Season RP!

Anonymous said...

It's comments like this that make me wish here was a like button on his blog.
You forgot to mention that the poster should get an education as well.
Other than that, well done.
Merry Christmas and happy new year.

Anonymous said...

Oskee ... ????







Wee Wee!

Rally Driver said...

Most pro officials love their jobs. They know what they are signing up for and there is always someone that is more than happy to take their job. The video coverage with the quality and quantity of cameras guarantees that the refs are going to be proven wrong on occasion. Pro leagues evaluate their officials and when someone has slipped in their abilities, then just like the players, change is necessary. People who know an official or have been one are far more forgiving than those who don't. Have a Merry Christmas Rod and a healthy, Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Com'on now, ya all know the words ya country "bum"kins from the flatlands, here we go now ... all together ...

Oskee Wee Wee,
Oskee Waa Waa,
Holy MAKINAW!
Hear the Roarrrrr ... Hamilton Tiger Cats 2016 !

Merry Xmas Rod Pederrsen & Family.
Saskatchewan Roughriders Football & fans.

Oskee.

Anonymous said...

Challenges are ruining the game. So, do you cheer when a TD is scored or wait for head office and then cheer? Yes technology can correct SOME mistakes, but it removes some spontaneity, a huge part of sports fan fun.

Merry Christmas Rod. And keep up the good work in 2016. Lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

Two things

1) A Memorial Cup at a nice arena in Saskatoon you say. That was attempted and was one of the worst MC's going. In fact, it lost money because once again Saskatoon showed it isn't a sporting city and embarassed themselves

2) Scruffy mentioned a Sask at Edm game in Week 1 a while back and if I remember right was criticized for that.

Once again, the idiot factor shows up on a pre-Christmas posting.

It is interesting many media outlets are abandoning the comments section because of the extreme stupidity being shown by classless individuals. It is my hope RP will exercise this as well in 2016 so his blog can be enjoyed and not used as some form of soundboard for trolls who have shown they have no sack time and time again.

Merry Christmas to you Cindy and the rest of the Pedersen clan Rod.




Anonymous said...

Sack the above comment posted by "Two things" just because he had "five things" to say.

Anonymous said...

Add in a few big FA acquisitions and it could be a 10 or 11 win season.
Nothing but positive moves since the end of the season. Clear the dead wood to make way for new growth.
I do wonder though how long DD can hold on at QB. Acknowledged that he is the franchise QB right now, but how long can Smith and Price sit before they play?
We are going to lose one of those two, but can we afford lose both? I don't believe so.
However, this might all prove to be irrelevant if somehow DD turns out to be the next Damon Allen.

Anonymous said...

Seasons best to you and yours Rod!

Jones and crew are the best thing that has ever happened to the Riders. I'm glad you will be there to share the moments with the fans. And there is no mistaking that there will be many good ones this year. 99% of Rider Nation actually get it. The 1% of the trolls never will. "Delete"

The Memorial Debacle in Saskatoon is still fresh on the mind of all taxpayers in this province. Never again I say. I'm from Regina and I would much rather have given it to MJ, where it would have been supported and made money.

Anonymous said...

The Memomorial Cup in Saskatoon made a ton of cash you dolt.
Check your facts before posting your BS.

Anonymous said...

Why should what happened in Saskatoon affect the Mem Cup's chances in Regina? The last Mem Cup that was held here was very successful.

Anonymous said...

Yes facts are good, while the paid attendance was good the event lost money. The government of Saskatchewan had to cover the guarantee to get the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon. I knew businesses in Saskatoon that bought tournament packages and couldn't give tickets away. With the guarantee and hand outs to upgrade the arena almost 1 million loss.
http://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/host-saskatchewan-pays-canadian-hockey-league-for-memorial-cup-loss-1.1647939

Anonymous said...

Ryan MacMurchy also playing for the German entry, Adler Mannheim in the Spengler Cup.

A proud Regina native.

Anonymous said...

Riders 3-15 in 2015

Randolph said...

Merry Christmas Rod and family, also to Carm, the best colour man on radio. (I don't care that he's a homer)

With regard to the "fellow human being" (since it is the holiday season, I will not lower myself to follow an insult with another one) that calls us 'loserville', AKA anon #3...do they really get WiFi in the Sherwood Park penitentiary?