1 - If the popular saying this time of year is true that "You're never in trouble until you lose a home game", my question to you is: Are the Regina Pats in trouble yet? On Tuesday night the Pats lost a seven-game series to Red Deer, a series in which home teams went undefeated. Perhaps we can finally ashcan that ridiculous phrase.
2 - The hot news in the CFL today is that Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Maurice Price is filing his retirement papers with the CFL. Kudos to the Calgary Sun's Scott Mitchell for breaking the story. Saskatchewan acquired Price from Ottawa in a trade this winter which included a swap of draft picks. The Roughriders will be issuing a statement this afternoon regarding the situation but the early word I've received from the club is that the trade stands, and the Riders won't be getting their pick back from the RedBlacks.
3 - Bumped into a CFL assistant coach in an airport last week and he referred to the CFL's expanded coach's challenge policy and the addition of a second replay official as "absurd". I thought to myself, "Good. I'm not going nuts".
4 - It's something of a head-scratcher that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed journeyman quarterback Dan Lefevour on Tuesday. The former Ticat and Alouette participated in the Roughriders' Florida minicamp last week but of the ten quarterbacks who were present, I wouldn't put Lefevour in the top five. When I asked a Roughriders representative about the Bucs signing Lefevour, his response was "maybe they want a running quarterback". Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.
5 - Tuesday's 2-1 loss in Game 7 in Red Deer was a devastating way for the Regina Pats season to end, but they're quickly realizing what a remarkable campaign it was. In August, Pats Coach & GM John Paddock observed that his club would be taxed to make the playoffs but they wound up a win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final. Now, the QCSEG ownership group is trying to find a way to capitalize on that momentum and stay in the public eye throughout the off-season.
6 - Pats President Todd Lumbard didn't shy away from my on-camera question Tuesday night about whether or not the team is considering making a bid to host the Memorial Cup the next time it comes to the WHL. He said that it certainly is a goal for the franchise. Meanwhile WHL Commissioner Ron Robison was ecstatic to have the Pats on television in Saskatchewan markets and the Pats brand is growing by leaps and bounds. Exciting times are ahead for sure.
7 - Meanwhile we opined on Wednesday's SportsCage on 620 CKRM that the Moose Jaw Warriors might take a run at hosting the Memorial Cup as well. We're all for it, but not at the expense of the Pats! Which city should get it first? It's a fascinating topic.
8 - The University of Regina Rams announced their 2016 schedule on Wednesday however the club isn't in position yet to announce when they'll play their first game in New Mosaic Stadium. The Regina Thunder are poised to announce their 2016 PFC schedule as well and given that organization's forward-thinking, they might be the first to play a game in the new facility. Either way, it'll be the highest-attended PFC or CIS football game in Saskatchewan history.
9 - Media reports of Darian Durant's tenure with the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week referred to his "10th anniversary" with the team however in truth, 2016 is Darian's 11th campaign as he arrived in Saskatchewan in 2006. And make no mistake, this club's fortunes are entirely tied to his health. Regarding the Roughriders' chances this year, a CFL scout said to me this morning, "They just need to keep Darian healthy". That of course, will mostly depend on Darian.
10 - JUST NOTES: Las Vegas odds for this year's Stanley Cup champion: Washington 4-1, Anaheim/Dallas/Pittsburgh/LA/Chicago 8-1, St. Louis 10/1. This of course was prior to the start of the playoffs. ... Sportsnet continues to get slammed for its first round coverage and struggling ratings. They've elected to go with local, "regional" broadcast crews from the U.S. rather than the local telecasts with the likes of Doc Emrik, etc. Meanwhile, Sportsnet play-by-plan man Dave Randorf sits on his hands in Round 1. ... Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke told the USA Today the "newcomers" in the Stanley Cup Playoffs might cause the most problems this year. So far he's right, with the likes of St. Louis, Nashville and San Jose. ... The Ottawa Senators cleaned out their coaching staff last week but former Regina Pats captain Jason Smith - an assistant coach with the team - was offered another role with the organization. ... If you're worried about caffeine intake, try McDonald's coffee rather than Starbucks or Tim Hortons. It has a fraction of the caffeine, but still has great taste. ... Why do parents insist on flying with toddlers? I've been on flights all across the continent over the past few weeks and these little tykes seem to be tortured by the ear-popping pressure. Their agonizing cries don't really bother me since I meditate on these flights, but I definitely feel sorry for them. ... Remember: hurting people hurt people. Take comments from the haters for what they are, and consider the source. "Anonymous" commenters lose any credibility. ... Congratulations to the Ricky's restaurant in Harbour Landing for winning Ricky's "Francise of the Year". We've been extolling their virtues on this blog for some time now. I had breakfast there this morning with Winnipeg Jets broadcaster Brian Munz who's heading to Weyburn to call the Esso Cup on TSN. ... It's going to be an exciting night for me as I'll be giving a presentation at the Saskatchewan Angus Breeders Association convention at the Canada Centre building. Meanwhile across town, Dennis Hull will be the entertainer at the Regina Cougar Mens Hockey Alumni fundraising dinner at the Travelodge. If you're a fan of the speakers we have in the area this spring - like Dennis Hull, Roberto Alomar, Wendel Clark, etc. - be sure to buy a ticket and help out the local organization. You won't be disappointed! ... Having said that, if you're coming to the Turvey Centre Saturday night please be respectful during Alomar's address and cut out the chatter!! It was embarrassing last year when Devon White had to tell the crowd to be quiet. Twice.
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY ... THANKS FOR READING