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Monday, January 11, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


A BROADCASTER'S NOTEBOOK

PHOENIX -- The Off-Season Mystery Tour continues.  We're down here in the Valley of the Sun for Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship.  The truth is the game just fell in our lap because this excursion was planned around the Arizona Coyotes' current homestand but, what the heck?  What a great time to see your first college football game!  However between now and then, here are some Monday notes to keep you warm:

1. The #1 Clemson Tigers take on the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide in a 7:30 pm Sask Time kickoff Monday night on TSN/ESPN.  Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are favoured by 6.5-points and it'll be cool to be in the same stadium as the legendary coach.  It was also surprising to see how many Saskatchewan football fans were on the flight down here to catch Monday's game, and escape the cold.

2. Sunday's Arizona Republic featured seven full pages of CFP Championship coverage as football mania grips the Valley.  It's the Super Bowl of college football and executives from all pro leagues will be in attendance, not to mention 63,400 fans.  The organizers have an outdoor practice field full of tailgating festivities planned and ESPN will be broadcasting live all day.  It's a big deal!  The most-expensive ticket for Monday night's game is selling for $1300 US on Stubhub.

Regarding the NFL's Arizona Cardinals who earned a first-round bye with a 13-3 record and first-place in the NFC West, they were featured on Page 8 of Sunday's sports section, along with the Coyotes.  More on the hockey team later.

I'd hoped to get into an Arizona Cardinals practice this week but after chatting with a former NFL assistant coach about the idea, we agreed it's a longshot.  NFL practices are top secret, classified stuff at the best of times and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians likely has the area on lockdown since it's playoff week.  The Cards host the Green Bay Packers Saturday at 6:15 pm MT and the Coyotes have moved their game up to early afternoon to accomodate.  That's not easy to do, but likely a wise decision.

3. Rider News:  There's not much to report on the Green & White.  They'll stage their first off-season open tryout this Saturday in West Palm Beach, FL.  All the details on how to register are on the Riders' official website at Riderville.com.

Meanwhile three Rider alumni are celebrating birthdays today: DL Terrell Jurineack, LS Jocelyn Frenette and President Tom Shepherd.

4. At least five members of the Toronto Argonauts - including kicker Swayze Waters and defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo - have earned NFL tryouts this off-season.  Free agent quarterback Trevor Harris has drawn some NFL interest too.  However no Saskatchewan Roughriders free agents have been extended NFL tryouts, or at least not to anyone's knowledge with the football club.   Should diminutive slotback Ryan Smith (5'7", 175 lbs) have warranted a tryout down south after a 991-yard campaign in 2015?  I guess not.

5.  Former Calgary Stampeders Buddy Jackson (defensive back) and Joe Anderson (receiver) have signed futures/reserves contracts with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets respectively.  Meanwhile former Stamps centre Brett Jones of Weyburn, SK remains on the New York Giants Injured Reserve list, collecting $20,000 US cheques weekly.

6. Speaking of injuries, Roughriders safety Keenan MacDougall is scheduled to undergo surgery on an injury he sustained during the 2015 season.  There was a rumour floating on the internet that MacDougall had been released, but it turned out to be false.

7. Eskimos linebacker Dexter McCoil will workout for the Washington Redskins this week.  If McCoil doesn't sign in the NFL, he'll sign a new CFL deal with the Eskimos this spring.  Meanwhile CFL leading receiver Eric Rogers will work out for 16 NFL teams in all, and you have to think he'll land a deal with one of them.

8. Sportsnet/CKRM CFL insider Arash Madani reports Dan Dorazio is set to rejoin the B.C. Lions as offensive line coach.  Dorazio filled that role capably with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015, but his move to B.C. appears to be the ouster for Doug Malone with the Lions.

9. I was wearing a black Saskatchewan Roughriders warmup top while sipping coffee in a Dunkin Donuts Sunday morning in Glendale, AZ when a gentleman stopped by the table and said, "You from Canada?"  Turns out the guy used to watch all CFL games on CBC-TV in Tacoma, Washington but moved down here in 1984 and hasn't seen a Canadian game since.  However he rattled off just about all of the team's names and asked for an update from the past 30 years!  He thought Calgary's CFL team was called the "Calgary Stampede" which is a pretty cool nickname, albeit incorrect.  It was a nice chat.

10. We've been able to mix in some meetings regarding the Roughriders' 2nd Annual Riderville Arizona Tour which will take place on Thursday, March 3.  The Coyotes will once again be home to Ryan Getzlaf's Anaheim Ducks that night and the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be recognized at the game.  Details are forthcoming.

11. There's always a Regina or Regina Pats conjunction in just about every NHL game and that was on display during Saturday's 4-0 Coyotes' win over the Nashville Predators.  Former Pats captain Barret Jackman is now toiling with the Predators while former Pats tough guy Stu Grimson provides the colour commentary on the Preds television broadcasts.  Meanwhile Regina product Boyd Gordon centres the Coyotes fourth line and habitually wins over 50% of his faceoffs.

12. There will be another Regina connection Tuesday evening at Gila River Arena when Arizona welcomes Jordan Eberle and the Edmonton Oilers.  The Coyotes own a 20-point streak against the Oilers, and are playing their best hockey of the year.  Head coach Dave Tippett generally gets consideration for the NHL's Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year and this season should be no different with the 'Yotes on an 8-3-2 run and the owners of a playoff position.  They're one of the funnest teams to watch in the NHL which is a big change from last year at this time.

13. The unfortunate farce continues.  2016 NHL All-Star John Scott was once again a healthy scratch for the Coyotes on Saturday night and as evidenced by their 4-0 victory, Tippett appeared to have made the correct roster call.  The 6'8" enforcer was voted in as a goof by the fans, and has been one of the NHL's hottest topics over the past week.  As SportsCage NHL analyst Rich Sutter said on Wednesday, "That's what happens when you let the fans vote.  No one should be surprised".  Perhaps the NHL will look at this policy next year.

14. The attendance at Saturday night's Coyotes-Predators game was 12,345, or as the public address announcer enunciated, "1-2-3-4-5".   Arizona is no longer talked-about with regards to poor attendance (that honour goes to the Islanders, Hurricanes and Panthers).  This new ownership group, anchored by Regina's Gary Drummond, appears to have turned the corner in all areas.  Their game night presentation is second-to-none in the NHL and a large crowd is expected for the Edmonton game on Tuesday.

15. It really isn't that expensive to plan a winter getaway to this area.  In fact, Scruffy's on a similar venture to Edmonton for a pair of Oilers games and I bet my trip was far cheaper that his.  You can even get to Phoenix from Regina by 8:08 am on the Saturday direct WestJet flights.  Although I was a little miffed on Sunday morning -- I could see my breath!  ;)

16. What about those wild card NFL playoff games on the weekend?  In Thursday's column I correctly predicted all four road teams to win but wouldn't you know it -- it was the one weekend where I suspended myself from sports betting.

17. NFL fans were scrambling to hear the last-second play-by-play call of Minnesota Vikings voice Paul Allen when his team muffed a 27-yard field goal to cost them a playoff win over Green Bay on Sunday.  "P.A.'s" playoff calls are legendary and we even play some of them on the SportsCage but he was far less dramatic this time around then I figured he would.  There was much more anger in his voice when he grumbled, "Are you kidding me?  The season can't end like that!"  The clip has already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

18. Seahawks punter Jon Ryan of Regina displayed that he's indeed Saskatchewan Tough by doing a faceplant on the frozen Minnesota tundra in the first half on Sunday, however he recoved enough to finish the game with a punting average in the mid-30's.  The radio announcers on the national broadcast said Ryan's bloody nose was "an improvement".  Seahawks coach Pete Carroll updated the media after the game saying Jon's schnozz "might be broken".  Carroll pointed to his own beak and quipped, "It looks like this!"

The NFL Network's Rich Eisen said on his national radio show on Monday that Ryan "tried to be a hero".

19. The Regina Pats indeed made a splash on Sunday's WHL trade deadline by acquiring 20-year old sniper Cole Sanford from Medicine Hat.  When we called a Pats-Tigers game on Access in the first half of the seaosn, Sanford was the WHL's leading goal scorer.  Sunday's trade was a conviluted deal involving an injured player, a prospect and draft picks.  When it was all said and done, the team moved forward Colton Kroeker and released European defenceman Nikolia Knyzhov.  To me, the move gets the thumbs-up because the club got immediate help and Pats Coach & GM John Paddock admitted Sanford gives Sam Steel someone to play with on the right side.  That void was something we'd all noticed, but hadn't mentioned.  Did Regina mortgage too much of its future?  It's obviously too early to tell but right now it looks great and Regina could do something in the playoffs.

When you have confidence in the depth of your system, you can make moves like this from time to time.

However the irritating thing about this year's Regina Pats is that they only "crank it up" when they need it, and seem to score easily when focused enough.  That habit always bites you in the butt come playoff time.

20. We'll be home just in time to catch the second episode of the brand new crime drama Shades of Blue starring Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta (who bares a striking resemblance to Regina Pats COO Marty Klyne) on Thursday evening.  It's the new "hot show to watch" for us, since we've exhausted all episodes of Law & Order SVU.

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THAT'S ALL FROM DOWN HERE! STAY WARM ...
RP
@rodpedersen

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

"However the irritating thing about this year's Regina Pats is that they only "crank it up" when they need it, and seem to score easily when focused enough. That habit always bites you in the butt come playoff time."

That's another one of the reasons Sanford was acquired. He's the kind of guy who will show you how you're supposed to play, much like Boston Leier did for the Pats two seasons ago.

High price, but pretty fair.

Thought I'd get a positive comment in before they to crap...

FG

Don Mitchell said...

Try to enjoy the weather down there Rod. From what I hear it hasn't been a stellar winter there (weather wise) at all this year.

Anonymous said...

Rider News - while other teams GMs and HCs work hard signing their free agents and other players (check the news postings) Jones and Murphy have been quietly holidaying in the States since before Christmas. Riders should do well next year with this kind of a GM/HC and Scout.

Anonymous said...

You dopes mortgaged your whole future on a guy who will play for half a year. Wow

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hopson for your biased opinion. Now get lost. You're not in charge anymore. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota's turf was not frozen. They had an underground heating system installed when the new turf was laid for the Vikings use while the new indoor stadium is being built.

Anonymous said...

Remember kids always aim to be a big fish in a little pond and shoot for the middle. If yo do this then you can go on winter trips and be a blogger.

Anonymous said...

Getting sick of these kids who quit on their teams and demand trades. Regina's got a couple of them now with Sanford and Hobbs, Saskatoon has one in Waltz and has has others over the last couple years. Many others around the league as well.

Wish teams would just let them quit and stay home...but obviously that will never happen. Just another sign of whats wrong in Junior Hockey.

Rod Pedersen said...

We had a good laugh over coffee about this 🔼 this morning!!! 😀

Kurt Weare said...

The Yotes always draw better on the weekends. You can pick up tickets to the oilers game down there for $12 on stubhub.

Anonymous said...

+6C degrees in Phoenix right now.

Rod Pedersen said...

Actually plus 8 at this very moment but it feels great.


Anonymous said...

Lol... marty klyne looks nothing like ray liotta.

Anonymous said...

Yes sir, J Lo certainly is HOT!! That gym scene in the pilot show surely catches your attention!
PBB

Rod Pedersen said...

Watch the show! He does now. #silverhair

Rod Pedersen said...

J-Lo/Mariska, Mariska/J-Lo ...

Anonymous said...

Yep

Anonymous said...

8. Sportsnet/CKRM CFL insider Arash Madani reports Dan Dorazio is set to rejoin the B.C. Lions as offensive line coach.

Arash Madani was in Washington D.C. covering Ovie's 500th goal. He heard about Dorazio's potential signing from someone else and then peddles it as news and if it doesn't happen, there's never an apology.

He should have been a used car salesman.

Rod Pedersen said...

Sorry - Arash was the first person I heard it from. I try to always credit the source who broke the story.

Rod Pedersen said...

+13 now.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Arizona weather report Rod. That's why I come to this blog

Anonymous said...

I noticed not all posts get put up on here if they are either true or hit a little to close to home. Interesting.

Rod Pedersen said...

Nope! Not pandering to your jealousy/pettiness. But thanks for coming back!!

RP

Anonymous said...

Well of course Arash heard from somewhere! Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Well of course Arash heard from somewhere! Think about it.

Right, but as of now it's still a rumour and Arash is peddling it as news.