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Monday, April 18, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

1 - Phew!  What a week.  BUT WHAT AN EXCITING TIME!  The Regina Pats and Red Deer Rebels are headed to Game 7 of their WHL second round playoff series following the Pats' 5-1 thumping of the Rebels Sunday in the Brandt Centre.  I've been fortunate to be in the broadcast booth for the television broadcasts of Games 5 and 6 and will be headed to Central Alberta for Game 7 on Access and throughout Alberta on Shaw.  It could not have worked better, timing-wise, with my schedule.

2 - For those keeping track, the Pats haven't been this far in the playoffs since 1996 when they lost Game 7 of an Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Prince Albert Raiders.  The Pats were an over-achieving bunch featuring Rhett Gordon, Chad Mercier, Russ Hewson, Joey Bouvier and a young Derek Morris under the guidance of coach Rich Preston.  The Raiders were a stacked crew which included Rod Branch in goal along with Shane Hnidy, Brad Church, Steve Kelly and Shane Willis.  So now, the Pats are on the verge of making history and they haven't been as far as the Eastern Conference Final since 1993 when Al Dumba was on the bench.

3 - To be frank, the City of Regina could be a LOT more excited than it is at a time like this.  Sunday's Game 6 sold out well before faceoff and the 6,484 fans who showed up were an enthusiast mob.  However outside of the Brandt Centre, you wouldn't know the Pats are still playing.  I was out and about all over Regina on Sunday and didn't see a jersey, a car flag, or any business adorned with Pats merchandise.  What gives?  A sign at the aiport reading, "WELCOME TO REGINA, HOME OF THE PATS" would be a nice touch.  After all, we are the oldest franchise in major junior hockey and a cornerstone of the WHL.  Former Pats coach Parry Shockey called Kamloops and Regina the "crown jewels of the WHL".

Let's get with it!  If your business has a Pats display, send me the photos and I'll post them here and maybe on social media as well.

4 - The WHL is ecstatic with the fact Access is showing these Pats playoff games across Saskatchewan.  What absolutely fantastic marketing.  It's no different than Jim Hopson lifting the Rider television blackouts a decade ago.  The Riders haven't blacked out a home game since 2006 and look what it's done for the Rider Nation.  Showing the Pats games in peoples' homes and in bars and restaurants will be a boon for the WHL around here.  Commissioner Ron Robison was over-the-moon about it when we had him on our intermission broadcast from Red Deer on Friday night.

Shockingly, we've received no complaints from Red Deer fans about our broadcasts.  WHL head office wanted to ensure I had an even call and didn't favour one team over the other, which I've tried really hard to do.

It also doesn't hurt the Pats' brand that we're broadcasting the SportsCage on 620 CKRM live from Red Deer before Game 7.  Wherever the action is, you'll find us.


Incidentally, the Pats' pregame tradition of having a Canadian military soldier walk onto the ice with a lit torch and set a virtual fire at centre ice with the Pats logo is as good as there is in sports ANYWHERE.  Put it up there with a Seminole Indian stabbing a spear into midfield in the NCAA or LSU bringing a tiger in a cage to the 50-yard line before kickoff.

It is simply fantastic.  And the idea of calling Pats fans the "Pat Regiment" as a tip of the cap to the club's military roots is just lump-in-the-throat stuff.  Well done Pats.  I'm told the idea is the brainchild of the Pats' Mark Rathwell

Groovy.

5 - The Pats simply have to win on Tuesday at the Enmax Centrium if my prediction is going to hold true.  I said the Rebels would win a short series or the Pats will win a long series.  So, here we are.  However one thing's for certain in this affair:  momentum means nothing.  It hasn't been carried over from game-to-game.

6 - Only two Regina Pats were rated in the final Central Scouting Bureau rankings last week: Sam Steel and Adam Brooks.  But don't buy it.  When teams make a run like this in the playoffs, NHL scouts and teams take notice and that's when you see a lot of your players taken in the later rounds.  In 1996 we saw Josh Holden and Derek Morris go in the first round followed by Curtis Tipler and Boyd Kane in subsequent rounds.  The Pats' playoff fortunes upped their stock and the same thing will happen here.

7 - One week ago in the MMG we were writing about the Roughriders' Florida minicamp from Vero Beach.  A week later we've crisscrossed the prairies to broadcast the Pats-Rebels series and in between - Saturday night in Eatonia, SK - I hosted a sports dinner with Leafs great Wendel Clark which was absolutely fantastic.  It just so happens Eatonia is smackdab in between Red Deer and Regina and it worked out I could hit it on my way home over the weekend.  (What if the Pats were playing Brandon and the dinner was in Lloydminster??)

Anyway, although I've been around Wendel for 25 years (his brother Donn Clark coached the P.A. Raiders when I was there) this was the first time I've done a dinner with him.  He was sensational Saturday night.

Here are some notes from his address:

* Injuries in hockey are out of control and Wendel feels the NHL is taking "baby steps" in the direction of cleaning it up.  That includes restricting equipment (elbow pads and shoulder pads) so that there's a threat of getting hurt even if you deliver a hit.  That'll make guys think twice about running players.  He said it takes an eternity to get anything done in the NHL, but at least they're moving in the right direction.

* Clark says the game is moving so fast right now that you'll never see the same type of beautiful plays made by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux back in the day.  It's simply going too fast and there's no time to set things up.  Meanwhile Wendel feels the 1972 Summit Series was the best hockey that was ever played, and there was nary a hit thrown.

* Being traded to Quebec City from Toronto wasn't as devastating as you thought it was.  Wendel saw it coming.  He said the worst part was he got a speeding ticket just outside of Kingston, ON when he was driving to Quebec City.  "In nine years with the Leafs I never got a ticket," Wendel laughed.  "As soon as I'm a Nordique, they're giving me tickets".

* His stories of Harold Ballard were side-splitting.  Most of them were meant for a private audience such as the one in Eatonia but suffice it to say Wendel loved his boss.

* In the middle of his speech, a baby started crying in his mother's arms in the Eatonia Community Hall.  Wendel looked up and said, "Is Wayne Gretzky here?"

Hilarious to think that anyone would speak about the Great One that way, but Clark wasn't afraid.

* Clark currently works as an ambassador for the Maple Leafs along with Darryl Sittler.  "I don't know what they pay us to do," Clark snickered.  "But they pay us!"  He went on to say he prefers a community relations role over one in the hockey operations department.  "Those guys get fired every three years," Wendel said.  "They get the big bucks but at least I get some bucks."

 As far as the current Toronto Maple Leafs go, Wendel feels they're certainly on the right track with the management trio of Shanahan, Lamoriello and Babcock.  He'd like to see them draft some grit this year (no surprise there) because their young talent is unquestioned but they don't play a rugged enough game.  He said the only problem in Toronto is the pressure to "win now" and that sometimes muddles up the plan.

* I could go on all day with these Wendel stories but let me just say it was fantastic and if you're looking for an after-dinner speaker, I wouldn't hesitate to get ahold of Clark.  I was checking his bio and was shocked that he's not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Would you be surprised if he was?  Having that on your resume means your speaking fee starts at $10,000 but Wendel won't run you that much.

And, as a final aside, Wendel Clark is the only guy who ever made me want to cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He was one of the greatest Leafs ever (as we all know) and although he wasn't a point-a-game or goal-a-game guy, he's one of the best leaders the NHL has ever seen.


8 - What a thrill and an honour it is to represent the Saskatchewan Roughriders wherever I go.  Over the past week I've had the chance to visit with Rider fans from Florida to Central Alberta to small town Saskatchewan.

One thing I've noticed is that my prediction for the Roughriders to finish first in the West - ahead of Calgary and Edmonton - has earned me some major street cred amongst the Rider Nation.  Particularly with young men in their 20's and 30's.  I get "Thanks for sticking up for the Riders" a lot, or "F- Alberta!"  We certainly got sand kicked in our face for decades but now it's payback time.

I certainly didn't do it to get the backing of the Rider Nation, but it's been a nice offshoot bonus.

Do I care what the Eskimos and Stampeders think?  Not on your life.  The day I start appealing to other teams and their fans is the day I hang it up.

9 - The best news I heard last week:  Chris Jones wants to be the Roughriders Head Coach and GM for a long, long time.  That's the indication I got anyway, which is a fantastic revelation.  And why wouldn't he?  He's the highest-paid executive in the CFL and is running his own show with absolutely no interference.  That has to be a welcome notion for Roughriders President Craig Reynolds.  Now, all they have to do is win.

10 - Can you believe we even found time to sneak in a movie over the past week?  We caught The Boss at Southland Cinemas on the only evening I had at home and have to give the new Melissa McCarthy motion picture two thumbs-up.  There's always something I'm trying to find to nitpick about McCarthy but in the end, she always wins you over (i.e. Bridesmaids, Identity Theft, Tammy, etc).  If you want some laughs and the ability to put your brain on the seat beside you for two hours (like I did), check it out this week.  There's nothing like going to the theatre for a popcorn, soda and the best hotdogs in town.

And since Access's On Demand was on the fritz last night - not allowing us to watch episode 9 of Billions - we started watching the hit show Ballers from the beginning.  Wow!  Wow wow wow.  All I can say is it's a pretty accurate portrayal of pro football from what I can see.  We may never go back to Billions.

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THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! THANKS FOR READING ...
RP
@sportscage

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't deny how cool the Pats new pre-game tradition is. It's borrowed from the Montreal Canadiens.



Anonymous said...

Street cred from the 20-30 year old Rider fan. Now there's something to shoot for...most of them can't spell.

Anonymous said...

Not many people can do what you do Mr. Pedersen.

Thank you for your efforts.

Al & Nancy

Anonymous said...

It's awesome that we have a president who allows the football ops to do their own thing and doesn't try to cock block them for their own benefit like the previous administration. Think that Jones would want to work for a guy like Hopson? Not a chance.

Rod your tireless work ethic is awesome to watch. #RodNation is proud of you!


Jeb

Anonymous said...

Hey dickwad...dissing the 20-30 year old rider fans... can you spell FUTURE??

Anonymous said...

Nice job on the Pats broadcast Rod. Who cares which way you lean and that the Pats are your team. It's an Access Regina initiative and whoever wants to pick it up the feed is up to them.

Folk head shot = 2 games, Wong head shot = 1 game, Bobyk spear to the head = 2 games

Hilsendager and Zabrovskiy interference = 3 games. those two extended suspensions killed the Pats last year. The WHL is no friend of the Pats.

The Pats are due for a road win

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Wendel about hockey equipment. I've been saying, "Equipment is the problem" for years but I don't see it changing because the manufacturing companies will simply buy off anyone in a position to force the league to go back to sheepskin and leather.

Tarcy said...

Ballers is one of my favourite shows. Dwayne Johnson is fantastic. Can't wait for season 2 this summer.

Anonymous said...

Come on Rod, you treat the Pats like the bastard step-children of Regina sports when they aren't winning and when you aren't involved. Now you do a few games on TV, they're having success and you're their chief spokes pimp? Have some principles.

Anonymous said...

Ballers is good for the group who can't comprehend Vinyl

Anonymous said...

Highly recommend season #2 of Fargo - hilarious dark comedy set in 1979.

Caught a brilliant new show on CBCTV last night called 'Hello Goodbye' whereby people are interviewed in Pearson Airport. Last night's interview with the father and his daughter who was leaving home in Toronto to go live in Edmonton for a new job had me in tears.

Anonymous said...

"Ballers is good for the group who can't comprehend Vinyl"

+1

Rod Pedersen said...

I've been supporting, covering and following the Pats all year. Nice try cupcake.

Anonymous said...

rider nation? a blatent rip-off reference of the National Football League LA/Oakland Raiders "RAIDER NATION"! Saskatchewan Roughriders and it's fanbase forever and a day "RIDERVILLE", no such thing as rider nation. Saskatchewan and it's fanbase may be so inclined to put their heads together and find a better suitable fanbase moniker if that's possible.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Pats game yesterday. The opening gave me chills and there was an electric atmosphere throughout. Go Pats Go in Game 7!!! I wonder if the Pats get into the third round, will Regina start paying attention??

Anonymous said...

Too bad the Pats couldn't put the game on the big screen in the Brandt Centre for us that don't have Access.

Anonymous said...

Don't get too excited about the Pats. Whoever wins this series is going to get spanked by the Wheat Kings anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yeah your right annonomous.

I prefer Canada's Team over Rider Nation

Anonymous said...

Every team has a "nation" but, just like in the real world, some nations (like the Esk and Stampeder nations) are smaller than other nations(like Rider Nation and Raider Nation).

Anonymous said...

Jim Hopson didn't up and decide to lift blackouts. Previously the club was contractually obligated as part of the TV deal to life 2 or 3 and then they had to lift the blackout if a certain number of tickets were sold a certain amount of time in advance. The blackouts were being automatically lifted due to sold out stadiums. He "lifted the blackouts" every bit as much as he "turned the franchise around."

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about your Raider butthurt, we'll call ourselves whatever we please.

Rider Nation, out...

Rod Pedersen said...

He did both and your comments show how little you know about history.

Anonymous said...

There are no guarantees in sport. The Pats have no solid reason to believe they will automatically be better next year or have a magical run.

If anything, I'm not sure they will even be as good after losing Sanford and likely Brooks.

They have to win tomorrow or it was just a two week euphoria that in the end didn't mean anything beyond lining the Semples pockets.

Anonymous said...

How does a sold out arena equate to no one paying atention! Just because no is buying the merchandise some people feel we should does mean they don't have support. You can site the fact the airport doesn't have a sign all you want but I still can't buy the merchandise you want me too.

Anonymous said...

People who don't take time to understand or research history on a topic they want to pontificate on are lazy and prone to just making things up. A species often known to spend time commenting on various blog sites rather than reading or trying to get succeed at the task of making themselves better people.

Anonymous said...

Riderville=Saskatchewan Roughriders fanbase.

Anonymous said...

Rod Pedersen talking about history omg. History started in 2007 some of us not all of us were paying a little closer attention prior to that.

Anonymous said...

know your history maybe learn about the original history called First Nation history

Anonymous said...

Side note, take note,
Raider Nation world wide trademarked. Any simularities of reference construed as copyright infingement. Saskatchewan Roughriders and it's fanbase forever and a day "Riderville".

Anonymous said...

How many losers wore Rider jerseys to the Pats game last night.

Anonymous said...

Rider Nation is unique in the CFL not because of the strong fan base within the province, but because it has a strong fan presence in the stands of the opposing teams. That's why, in part, it is Canada's team.

Anonymous said...

This is RIDERNATION. Don't like it ? kick rocks. A lot of writing in from mom and dad's basement and the retirement home today Roddy!! Keep up the great work.

-Let's clear up a few things:
Hopson did both of those things
-This is Rider Nation
-Brooks is 19 and any team interested in him will suggest he come back and have a shot at winning a mem cup if he doesn't crack the big squad
-Rod has supported the Pats FOREVER except maybe when he was a Raider payrollee
-Pats win 4-3 in game 7 with a Cole Sanford goal scored with 2:32 left in the third FYI

Dick from where I'm at

Anonymous said...

I miss Obama on here . Yes he was crass but at least his bully like ways would keep you dimwits in check. Just enjoy the ride guys and enjoy your life. Regarding the pats I kinda think the year brooks has had hell probably turn pro. Hats off to the man . Jake L is waiting for a bigger role and if he bulks up just a bit hell fill it nicely.. he's often overwhelmed now . He's just a 16 year old kid . But I can ecall many nights he's been one of our best players .. hell be fine. Our core looks good. Health will be key. I'm not a big fan of what we gave up for Sanford. It's pretty much all in next 2 years cuz were bare for a bit. Zablocki . Kids only 17 man. Hobbs is a stud. Just gotta trust paddock he's going toe to toe with Sutter and hopefully sooner than later mccrimmon. Now there's a team I'm Jelous of. I'd like to see the look on Kelly's face if we took them out. Go pats go !!

Anonymous said...

Come on Rod we all know the turnaround started when the old boys club got the boot and Roy was hired. Maybe you guys didn't get along but you can't deny that he took a complete gongshow and turned it into a contender. Just couldn't finish the job.

Hopson almost pissed it all away with hiring BT and the complete incompetence that followed. Sure we won the Cup in '13 but other than that our record wasn't spectacular. John Murphy has said as much in interviews. Now he and Jones are tasked to fix this mess. Reynolds knows that winning is everything and if the losing continued it wouldn't take long for all these riches to be pissed right down the toilet.

Hopson is no saviour. After how he's thrown you under the bus Rod I don't know why you still stick up for him.


Jeb

Anonymous said...

PATS NATION!!

GO PATS GO PATS GO PATS

Anonymous said...

I saw a few buffoons wearing Rider jerseys at the Rush game Saturday night.
FFS!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bubba, it's "Riderville".

Anonymous said...

I am starting to have real concerns over the amount of money the Riders are spending right now. We are still paying Taman and Chamblin big bucks. We have a new stadium that the Riders are sinking a ton of money into for all the bells and whistles that you can imagine. They hired Jones and Murphy at huge salaries. They are holding free agent camps everywhere (flights, facilities, hotels, meeting rooms). The coaches appear to be working out of a ton of different locations in the states (flights, hotels, meeting rooms). They are hiring more administration staff. I know that we have (had) some money in the bank but that is going to disappear fast at the rate they are going. Last year was not the best year for making money considering the lousy season we had and I know that we had to spend some money to get better but are we going overboard? And if we have another bad season, then what? I am sure they are hoping that the "farewell season" and the promises of a better team will bring in a lot of big merchandise sales and ticket sales but what if it doesn't. Also, a lot of season ticket holders are facing huge increases in their ticket costs for next season so that could impact what they are spending this season. Maybe I am just worrying about nothing but I am worried.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya man above. I've often wondered why we need 3 times the administration budget of calgary .. like we need trainers for the trainers or water boys for the water boys .. always seemed like allot of made up positions but why not your trying to attract whoever you can to our little fishbowl. Chaimblin went nuts . Had to be fired . Same as Taman. Hopson extended them . Who knew. I didn't . But I trust Jones will turn us around. And we'll keep paying. Take cold comfort that the league is better off when the riders are healthy. Last year was pretty brutal all around. Sorry but I have to say shove it esks. Worst fans I've ever experienced. Ever. Forget this . Go pats go!!

Anonymous said...

Don't even try the First Nation card bubs. Always the victim, how about join this modern day world and prosper with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

You're worrying about nothing.

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous debate but...doesn't anyone remember Grey Cup 2013?

"Numerous festivities within Regina and throughout Saskatchewan were held as part of the Grey Cup celebrations. The festivities were officially named the "Celebration in Rider Nation" by the host Roughriders."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101st_Grey_Cup

I'll take the stupidity of this debate over the usual political bs.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Mr.Roy Shivers the Saskatchewan Roughriders franchise savior.

Doovy 49 said...

3 months ago Rod you were whining about Regina hockey fans not supporting the Pats. 3k fans was the norm, now they are selling out and you're upset because fans aren't wearing Pat's parephenalia around the city!! Can you say "hard to please?"

Rod Pedersen said...

What's wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Doovy 49 ��
Mr. Pedersen ✅

Anonymous said...

The rebels are not playing well. This series should have been over in Red Deer.
Wendel Clark, the best Pat of all time.
Try not suggesting leaving ones brain on the next movie seat. The readers on here tend to forget what they leave behind. But then again they can walk around brainless and no one notices.

Anonymous said...

Got tickets for the Pats tonight. Better get to the Rider store to buy something to wear to the game.

Tim from Kansas said...

The picture of the soldier with the torch is righteous.

If you have a video or a link to a video, please post.

Rod Pedersen said...

Righteous! YESSS! I haven't heard that term in 20 years. I have a video Tim. But it's not great. Will find a way to post it.

Rod Pedersen said...

It's posted to my Facebook Tim.

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard the term "grovey" until it was posted on this site.