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Monday, March 14, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

12 QUICK HITS

1 - The 2016 CFL National Combine presented by Adidas is in the books.  What did we learn?  From what I can tell, not too much.  CFL.ca did a mind-blowing job of covering the week's events however the vast majority of the nation's football fans didn't seem to be paying attention.  In a Twitter poll conducted last week, only 37% of respondents said they were interested in the combine activities.  However if 1-in-3 fans are interested, it's worthwhile to give the combine adequate coverage.  Some fans I saw on social media were incredibly excited about watching the livestream from Toronto on CFL.ca, saying "the season is here!"  In a way, I suppose it is.

2 - Saturday morning I was a few minutes late for a coffee meeting with a CFL assistant coach and when I joined him, he too was watching the livestream of the Combine on his Iphone.  The first thing out of his mouth was, "Why isn't TSN televising this on one of its five channels?"  That's a question best posed to the CFL's television rightsholder.  They were airing soccer across those channels at the time.  Is the National Combine a ratings-grabber?  We'll never know until it's tried but, like the NLL, if it's on we'll likely watch it.  Some of it will stick in our minds.

This is like a "Made For TV" event that isn't on TV.

3 - And - as noted in the Thursday column - the CFL types attending the Combine are googoo-gaga over it and for good reason.  They need to be.  However in the MMG's opinion, the event is a tad overrated.  For instance, after week-long combine activities across the country we still don't have a consensus #1 pick.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned scouting?  The combine has whittled it down to scientifics and it's now easy for teams to say, "We picked this guy because he had the most bench-press reps and ran the fastest 40".

4 - I'll defer to Roughriders Hall of Famer Scott Schultz who once opined, "When's the last time you saw a guy bench press 500 lbs in the middle of a football game?"

Dividing the prospects into teams and scrimmaging might be more worthwhile but, oh ya, you can't hit anymore. The East-West game this spring will likely be the more fruitful evaluation tool.

5 - Regarding that #1 overall pick which Saskatchewan holds in the May 10 Draft, Riders GM & head coach Chris Jones says the club is open to trading it.  Methinks since the club is in a current youth movement - unlike Winnipeg who's in "Win Now" mode - the Riders might as well hold onto the pick and get the best player in the land with it.

6 - It's okay that hockey is eliminating fighting.  For those with bloodlust, they've turned their attention to MMA.  Saturday night's Queen City Coronation produced by Regina's Prestige Fight Club was held before a capacity crowd at the Orr Centre at Lewvan Drive & 4th Avenue (the old Canadian Bible College).  One fighter appeared to have his forearm snapped after receiving a leg kick.  He immediately surrendered and was whisked off by EMS staff for attention from physicians who were on-site.  I was standing only 15 feet away.  Another combatant was helped out of the ring with an apparent torn ACL after receiving a blow.

Hockey operators are desperately trying to attract the coveted male 18-35 crowd but I can tell you where they are.

At the fights.

7 - The Regina Pats opened some eyes over the weekend by sweeping the Moose Jaw Warriors in a critical home-and-home series.  The Pats won 5-4 in a shootout at home on Friday before drubbing the Warriors 5-1 in Moose Jaw on Saturday.  Both games were soldout.  It appears area hockey fans have grasped the notion that this is the most-exciting time of year and were quick to snap up tickets.  Both the Pats and Warriors have some weaknesses in their game and therefore aren't expected to go all the way however they're both dangerous in the first round.

There's one week to go in the regular season and it's pointless to look at the standings with the idea of "If the playoffs started today..."  Let's wait until next Monday to see where it all shakes down and go from there.


8 - Our telecast of Friday's Pats-Warriors game was a hit on Shaw/Access and was expertly produced by Shaw's Dave Roberts!  It's a new and rewarding experience for me to be calling the TV play-by-play and received messages from viewers from Victoria to Winnipeg.  Fans in Kelowna and Bonnyville, AB checked in as well.  It's commonplace to get messages like that during Roughriders games but this is an entirely new and exciting stage of my career.  So happy to be a part of The WHL on Shaw.

9 - Back to the CFL.  We were tremendously happy to learn on Friday that Eric Tillman has been promoted to General Manager of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.  However the first question which popped into my head was "Why?"  The Ticats seemed to be humming along like a well-oiled machine and were marching to a Grey Cup championship in 2015 before star quarterback Zach Collaros suffered a season-ending injury in early October.  It would've been their third straight appearance in the Grey Cup.  However if we've learned one thing over the years, it's to not question Kent Austin.  All we can say is "Congrats E.T.!" and hope that his family doesn't immediately move out of Regina.

10 - The biggest news to come out of the CFL over the past week was the half dozen or so rule changes and tweeks which were approved by the Rules Committee Thursday evening in Toronto.  CFL Senior V.P. of Officiating Glen Johnson gave us an overview on the SportsCage on Friday on 620 CKRM.

"The one thing that's getting lost in this - which I think is kind of unfortunate - is we're working hard to reduce the number of penalties," Johnson said.  "There's too many penalties.  We all know there's too many penalties.  The refs don't like it, the fans don't like it, no one likes it.  We're working really hard to modify the Illegal Procedure standard and now we're gonna allow the offensive linemen to move much more prior to the snap much like the NFL.

"As long as you stay in your three-point stance, you can wiggle, and point, and call your assignments.  As long as they come back set for a second, I think we're going to take 100 to 125 penalties out of the game just by making that change.  That's one that's just a silly penalty that we've had to call for years.

"We're trying to take two-to-three penalties out of the game that we're calling now."

Thumbs-up from the MMG.  However the idea of adding a second replay official seems like a very tricky, intricate detail.  Johnson noted that this second official will have communication via wireless headset with all seven on-field officials and if all goes well, we won't even know they've been in contact.  The game will flow like nothing happened.  There will be a lot of kinks to be ironed out but if it works, it'll be a ground-breaking innovation.

11 - The Regina Red Sox annual fundraising dinner on April 23 is officially sold out.  This year's event features Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and I'll get to interview him live during the Q&A session.  Hopefully people are respectful and pay attention this year unlike what happened to Devon White last year!!

12 - Are you being cocky if you can back it up?  Alberta lead Ben Hebert told us on the SportsCage his Kevin Koe rink would win the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa.  On Sunday, they did.  At 12:05 AM a text message came into my phone from Hebert which read, "Told ya".

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THAT'S IT FOR TODAY! HAVE A GREAT WEEK ...
RP
@sportscage

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I also drive home to Swift Current most every other night, there hasn't been any snow between Regina and SW for a few years now. Huh?

Bad Kall

Anonymous said...

Stay classy Benny, stay classy.

Dwain Lickandfelther

The Woz said...

So Austin is the Vp football ops and head coach. Tillman is the gm and reports to Austin. Isn't that the same org structure that the Riders were crucified for in 2011 with Miller and Taman?? The reality is that both structures were fine. Tillman is basically the director of player personnel - GM is a misnomer cause Austin has all the power. Exactly the same as Taman and Miller.

Anonymous said...

A lead in curling is akin to a water boy in football

Anonymous said...

I think Riders are in combo mode. Youth movement + win today. If they can get a Canadian starter I see them trading number one pick.

Anonymous said...

Was it a 'combine' or 'old fashioned scouting' that made Shomari Williams a clear cut #1 pick?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Mr. The Woz !

Anonymous said...

To the post comparing leads in curling to water boys in football. Clearly you have no concept of the sport of curling. The lead can make or break any end with their first two stones. In addition, this isn't always the case but in the case of Ben Hebert you will NOT find a better sweeper in the game. Thus your argument has absolutely no validity and I'd suggest you return to playing online video games alone in your basement. Happy Monday!

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, do you happen to know what TSN's rating were for the Brier final?
It would be interesting to find out how this year compares to say the last 5 years.
Watercooler talk this morning at work today and nobody watched any of the Brier, is curling a dying sport in this country?

Rod Pedersen said...

Combines don't measure heart.

J FRENCH said...

CFL needs to implement a rule change year. Stop making changes every year, it drastically effects the product on the field. Teams are still adjusting to the rule changes and they go ahead and make more. Do rule changes on a 3-4 year cycle and then you'll see teams figure them out and get very efficient working within them. The more changes you make the more penalties will be called until teams get comfortable in the changes.

And want to bring CFL scoring up? Protect the QBs. Scoring is down the last two seasons? Look at all the starting QBs that went down for significant time.

Alex said...

"The game will flow like nothing happened. There will be a lot of kinks to be ironed out but if it works, it'll be a ground-breaking innovation."

I absolutely love the CFL, but I cannot confidently say that I have much faith in their ability to iron out the kinks. Not exactly a strong trait that they possess.

But hey, new logo right?

Anonymous said...

Former Regina Ram D-line beast Akiem Hicks has joined Jerrell Freeman as a Chicago Bear. Hicks signed a 2 year deal for 10 million clams.

william weppler said...

Congrats to Team Koe on the Brier win and good curling at the Worlds. Well deserved!

...and Rod I doubt if you'd have heard from Ben if they had lost....he would not have said "Newfoundland was the better Team tonight" :))

I watched a few of the Brier games and the skill was better than ever this year....whether that is the athletes, the new sweeping technique, or the ice. It's amazing how they can place a rock within a brushhead width (or less) after 114 feet; or are successful on 15 foot runbacks and stick the rock directly behind the thrown rock. It has gone to another level for sure. Good on the curlers for keeping it at that high level.

Anonymous said...

Ben who??

Anonymous said...

Great job on Shaw on Friday Roddy! Pats were very impressive over the weekend. Don't think it much matters who Pats play in first round. Hurricanes, though good, can't meet the will of the Pats and the Raiders won't be able to keep up with the Pats speed and resiliency. Pats in 5 vs. Hurricanes and Pats in 6 vs. Raiders. Book it!

Anonymous said...

I love it when people come on here and defend curling. You could pick any 4 nhl players, give them Russ Howard to coach 'em up and they'd be competitive within a year.

Most guys got into curling because they were not very good at sports other than golf.

Frank Underwood said...

As an old prairie boy, there is no better thing that I like to do with my time before curling season begins than to sit back, relax, and watch a Combine, even one in Torona.

Go Riders!

Anonymous said...

Talk around town is that Jim Popp may take a run at bringing Johnny Manziel in for a go at QB.

Anonymous said...

What happens if Riders win 3 games again this year? It could happen. New players, new coaches, no cohesiveness, no chemistry, gonna be a long year, I'm sorry Rider Nation but all the moves taking place will take many years to bring a winner. I'm fine with everything however this will be a tough year for us all. Go Riders!

Anonymous said...

Athletes? Anyone who thinks curling is a sport should get their head examined asap, then donate it to the next event to be used as a rock. Curling - chess game, bar room shuffleboard, a game where a sheet of ice is manipulated to path so a stone can follow. Curling - a social gathering played by any assembled drunk potbellied foursome with a extra added for good measure.

Anonymous said...

Golf - a social gathering played by any assembled drunk potbellied foursome with an extra added for good measure.

Anonymous said...

Tennis - a social gathering played by any assembled drunk potbellied foursome with an extra added for good measure.

Anonymous said...

Hockey - a social gathering played by any assembled drunk potbellied foursome with an extra added for good measure.

Anonymous said...

A story today on the NFL site about Jerrell Freeman having harsh words for former teammate Coby Fleener. Worth a read.

Anonymous said...

To the anti-curling clowns. The Brier in past years has drawn well into the millions for the final as has the Scotties. That would mean curling is drawing better than CFL football. WHAAAAAAAATTTTT? That is fact!

These idiots who think curling isn't a sport have no idea. They think they get a workout from beer league softball or hockey which is a joke compared to the real thing as we all know.

That's OK Rod, there are just some in this province who remain unevolved. In fact, they probably just want to go back.


Anonymous said...

Dont you ever compare taman the goof with The Sk. Football God Mr. Kent Austin in your asinine opinion, ever!

Anonymous said...

Yawn... curling is somthing I do to exercise my arms with weights. Whats a Brier patch? Some who call curling a sport are par for the course with the unevolved rock they use to sweep with a broom while yelling at the tip of their lungs.

Frank Underwood said...

Mr. Brendan Taman and Kent Austin are two good football people and are both football gods in my book as they both have Rider Grey Cup rings. So take that you goofy boy!

Anonymous said...

Brenda Taman another old boys club cabana boy, he wouldnt know a football if someone handed him one.

Doovy 49 said...

Ben Figjam Hebert.

Anonymous said...

At least Rod has aligned himself with the new regime. The rest of the old boys club continues to post anonymously trashing the new regime nonstop.

J FRENCH said...

to the curling trolls.... maybe try it once before you speak. I've yet to see someone come out for a night of curling, throw a rock, and sweep one end to end and deny that you need to be athletic to compete. Are there some recreational, out for a drink curlers? Yeah, so? Such is baseball, hockey, and pretty much every other sport. To say any 4 curlers could pick up a Russ Howard coach and compete is laughable.

GWil26 said...

Curlers, and more specifically the front end of a team, are in better and better shape every year. Those guys actually workout now and I have a feeling you wouldn't last more than a couple ends sweeping at that level.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to it, take a everyday household broom, sweep the floor. Easy peasy.

Anonymous said...

I have found over the years that individuals that don't understand any sport, curling, cricket, football, etc., bad mouth the sport and then they don't have to show their ignorance if they get asked a questions about it, they can just say "I don't like it" and the conversation stops, any question asked the response continues "I just don't like it". Easy to see the ignorance in these people.

And saying that after a year of coaching by Russ Howard four NHL hockey player could be competitive actually demonstrated the previous commenters lack of intelligence about curling.

Anonymous said...

Cricket???? WTF !!!!!!! Cricket not a sport !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

curling diahrrea