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Thursday, March 17, 2016



1 - Welcome to St. Patrick's Day!  The only day of the year where the whole country dresses up as Rider fans and feels good about it!  Remember a few years ago when the B.C. Lions asked their fans to wear orange on St. Patrick's Day?  What a slap in the face to the Irish!  Who was behind that?  Skulsky?

Seriously, wear your green today, have fun and be safe.

FYI:  Eskimo green doesn't count.

2 - The Roughriders are holding a media event this morning at which time they'll outline details on 2017 season ticket pricing and the seat transition process into New Mosaic Stadium.  We'll be all over it, and will have Rider President Craig Reynolds on the SportsCage today on 620 CKRM.

3 - We've been inundated with news coverage over the past three days of the NHL's General Managers meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.  There's been a swarm of reporters from all over the continent surrounding Commissioner Gary Bettman and all the GMs during their media scrums.  They've discussed instituting replay cameras at the bluelines in time for the 2016 playoffs, changes to goaltenders' equipment and modifications to expansion draft rules.  THIS is the type of coverage that would've been nice for last week's CFL meetings in Toronto but as was noted in this space one week ago, the event was generally held in a cone of silence.  Here's hoping that when the league convenes for the annual CFL Congress in Toronto April 3-5, we're given some details by chairmen and governors about what's on the agenda.

Then we can dissect it endlessly on blogs like this or on our radio shows and the fans can truly feel a part of it.

I've generally been told "there's nothing too interesting being discussed" at these meetings but I'll beg again, please let us in the media be the judge of that.

CFL fans across the land are clamouring for any and all news about the three-down game right now.  For instance, you're here reading today.

4 - One very interesting item of CFL news has gone under-the-radar this week.  The Ottawa Citizen reports a mediator was unable to settle the dispute between the RedBlacks and Eskimos over compensation for Jason Maas fleeing Ottawa to become head coach in Edmonton.  The matter has been turned over to CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge and it's now up to him to decide if the RedBlacks are owed anything.  The Citizen reports Maas was furious over the RedBlacks not initially wanting to let him out of his deal and it's clear RedBlacks President Jeff Hunt is equally upset.  Hunt said it's a matter of "principle" and although it's business-as-usual in Ottawa, he's not prepared to let the matter go away.

5 - More proof that fans are desperate for anything Rider- or CFL-related:  the Facebook video of Darian Durant doing individual drills and drops at a gym in Atlanta has drawn over 35,000 views.  He looks fine people.  Hopefully the video puts everyone's fears to rest.

6 - It appears there are four really key things causing big problems in sports right now: 1) Video review and the accompanying replays which have gotten way out of control, 2) Concussions, particularly in football, 3) Compensation for coaching moves, especially in the CFL and 3) The spiraling lack respect for officials whether it be through these video reviews or through verbal and sometimes physical abuse (i.e. the Flames' Dennis Wideman).

It's clear the pundits, analysts and observers are excellent at pointing out all these problems but no one has bothered to step forward with any solutions.

A North America-wide summit attended by representatives from all pro leagues would be extremely beneficial right now but has a snowball's chance in hell at ever happening.

- On the topic of concussions in football, Regina Minor Football chief Len Antonini gave a revealing interview on the SportsCage on Wednesday on 620 CKRM.  Len reported that of the 1,400 kids they had playing minor football in Regina last year, there were 20 reported cases of concussions.  He felt that's a minuscule number and it doesn't seem alarming to parents.  Add to that the fact RMF had a record number of registrations in 2015 and it illustrates that no one seems to have been scared off by all the coverage of C-T-E and its relation to football.  More kids are playing football in Saskatchewan than ever before.  Add in the 3,000 kids who are registered for Regina's NFL Youth Flag Football League (non-contact) and it only strengthens our argument.

People know the risks, but play the sport anyway.  Is it any different than all the smokers who know they could develop lung cancer but keep on puffing away?

Food for thought.

- The Washington Capitals are charging towards the NHL's President's Trophy with their best regular season in franchise history.  However it should be noted that of the past 10 President's Trophy winners, only two have gone on to win the Stanley Cup (the 2008 Red Wings and 2013 Blackhawks).  Obviously the Caps aren't about to let their foot off the gas but this may be something for consideration when you're deliberating on your Stanley Cup Playoff pools.

- More from the NHL's GM meetings:  The league described the 2016 All Star festivities in Nashville as a "roaring success" and Devils GM Ray Shero says the 3-on-3 tournament format will be used again next year in Los Angeles.  Meanwhile teams are devising "more fair" rules for the expansion draft which is a sure sign the owners will be voting this spring on whether or not to grant franchises to Las Vegas and Quebec City.  Remember my assertion months ago that the NHL will vote in favour of Las Vegas, but not Quebec City in the next few months.  Somewhere in Las Vegas Bill Foley is rubbing his hands together and getting very excited.  His patience has been beyond admirable.

10 - My top four Pet Peeves today: 1) Passengers in my car who leave their garbage behind, 2) People who show up way too early for appointments (15 minutes or more), 3) People who keep walking around the concourse at Pats games during the Canadian national anthem and 4) Online services that are "currently unavailable", such as my bank.

11 - The Regina Pats recorded an unorthodox 5-3 home victory over the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday before a whopping crowd of 4,906.  The Pats outshot the Blades 21-1 after the first period but found themselves scoreless and even trailed 3-2 after two periods despite a 39-12 shot clock edge.  However they notched three goals in the third period for their fourth consecutive win, and their 35th victory of the year.

I was at the game and the shots seemed a little farfetched after one, however the Pats' off-ice crew knows what it's doing.  Unfortunately the hot dogs didn't have their best night.  Steamed rather than charbroiled on Weiner Wednesday.

And the crowd was huge.  Several Reginans told me they were going to their first game of the year and I can't imagine they left disappointed.

Captain Colby Williams made a triumphant return to the lineup, notching an assist, two penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating.  Colby's presence might've willed the club to victory, as he means that much.

The best win total the Pats can achieve is 37, with a home game Friday versus Swift Current and a road game Saturday at Brandon.  Then, it's playoff time.

12 - And finally, I'm going out on a limb with this one.  Join me on Saturday, May 14 at Pilsner Place at Mosaic Stadium for a one-day seminar on social media, branding, media relations and public speaking.  It's the first event I've put on like this but with several people asking for consultation in these areas, I thought it would be best to get everyone together in one place and cover it all.

Full details are available at but here's an ad for the event.  Click on the image to make it larger or visit the website:

We're going to give it a go and see how it works.  If you have any questions, email me at