Realty One

Monday, May 2, 2016



1 - Two of the Saskatchewan Roughriders' prized free agent signings - Justin Capicciotti and Shawn Lemon - have been on quite the tour over the past number of days.  The stud defensive ends have been making the rounds across Saskatchewan doing community appearances at Rider Store locations in Regina and Saskatoon as well as on 620 CKRM's SportsCage, private functions, and even our steak night fundraiser Sunday at the Press Box Sports Bar.  Here are some of their comments from Friday's SportsCage stop:


LEMON:  These fans never seem to surprise me.  They keep me on my toes.  I'll be out, getting some some gas or something, and they'll come up and say "Hey you're Shawn Lemon!  Let's get a picture!"  That's been very welcoming to me.  They treat you like you're an NFL player, but you're a CFL player.  Not every player is fortunate enough to have fans that support you completely and it's just a blessing.  It doesn't surprise me that they know who I am because they love the team here but it surprises you when you're going to the gas station and taking selfies.  That part surprises me.

CAPPICCIOTTI:  It's a fun fanbase.  We were out at an event Thursday night and another one a few nights before that.  I just remember thinking that sometimes these events can drag on or take a long time but I remember when it was over, thinking "Oh it's over?  I was having so much fun!"  It's a good group of people here.


Cappicciotti and Lemon in the Press Box Sports Bar Sunday night
LEMON:  I get that question a lot.  I'm going to come out and do everything in my power to be the best teammate that I can be, the best defensive end I can be, and all the things that will help us win.  If we take the approach to get a little bit better everyday, because it's a long season, and as long as you're peaking at the right time, you'll be okay.  That's a media training answer right there!

CAPPICCIOTTI:  I think with Ottawa getting to the Grey Cup last year, you can see just how fast things can change in this league.  Really you can go from being a lower-tier team to being in the championship game that quick.  I'm not here to rebuild.  I'm here to reload.

LEMON:  Man, that's a nice answer!

2 - Not all of the Rider Nation seems to be entirely on board with the makeover of the team and the quick turnaround it's supposed to generate.  One texter into the SportsCage on Friday scorned that Cappicciotti and Lemon don't qualify as "big name" free agents such as Weston Dressler, Andrew Harris or Keith Shologan in Winnipeg.  To that, CKRM co-host Luc Mullinder exclaimed, "They were the starting defensive ends in the Grey Cup!"

Perhaps some of these fans are onto something - or see something that we don't - and that's totally fine.  But just because players like Cappicciotti, Lemon, Shamawd Chambers, Greg Jones and Otha Foster aren't exactly household names in Canada doesn't mean they're not quality players.  They're still on the upward trajectory of their careers.

It says here that these guys will be household names by the time their tenure in Saskatchewan is done, and it will have yielded championships along the way.

However flying under-the-radar right now isn't necessarily a bad thing either.

An Edmonton fan asked me on TSN 1260 Edmonton radio how a 3-15 team could be expected to win the West Division and my answer is that this is not the same 3-15 team coming back.  Over half of the roster has been gutted.

3 -  Cappicciotti and Lemon are already in search of a catchy nickname for the tandem they make up as bookends on the Saskatchewan Roughriders' defensive line.  Between the two of them they've come up with "Salt N' Pepper", as an ode to their ethnicity.  Mullinder and I maintain that the term "Lemon Cappicciotti" sounds like something you'd order in a coffee shop.  Perhaps a local establishment will come up with something.  Does anybody have any suggestions for nicknames for the pair?

4 - Thursday's announcement from the Canadian Football League that they're making significant advancements in the area of Player Safety didn't garner the headlines it should have.  Perhaps the initiatives were a little too comprehensive for the average fan to grasp so we asked Kevin McDonald - the league's Vice President of Football Operations and Player Safety - to come on the SportsCage and break the announcement down a little further.
Kevin McDonald

"I think the biggest announcement which we led off with is the introduction of an injury spotter in the Command Centre which gives us an extra tool, an extra set of eyes, looking to assist the medical staff and the officials on the field," McDonald explained.  "I think that's probably the most-prominent.  I think the ongoing research initiative that we did in collaboration with the NFL, called the K-D Test, is going to continue to be rolled out with all teams.  And in addition, limiting contact on the first day of training camp and throughout the regular season is also important."

Some CFL medical staff informed me that these initiatives put the CFL ahead of the NFL with regards to Player Safety but McDonald wasn't willing to go that far.

"I think both leagues are working equally hard on the issue of player safety to the point that we're collaborating behind the scenes on health and safety initiatives and both leagues are working hard to make sure they're doing their best every day," McDonald said.

All in all however, Thursday was a banner day for the Canadian Football League, even if a good sector of its fans didn't notice.

"I think any health and safety initiative is important," McDonald proclaimed.  "For the most part, that injury spotter will give us another tool.  Identifying injuries on the field is something our officials are doing and taking an active role in.  Our medical personnel across the league do a fantastic job.  But instituting an additional camera into the Command Centre that gives somebody the ability to see all 24 players on the field at all times makes perfect sense to put somebody in place with identifying any injury that occurs on the field of play and needs attention."

As it stands now, the CFL hasn't designated someone to fill the role of that extra spotter in the Command Centre in Toronto.

"What we're looking for, first and foremost, is somebody with a general understanding of the game but this is something that we're having ongoing discussions with the Players Association and we're looking at a variety of different options," McDonald explained.  "We just want to make sure that we have people in place to put the best system in place.  We're not ruling anybody out at this point.  Someone with a medical background could have some advantages but we want to make sure they have a general understanding of the game."

I joked with Kevin that perhaps that replay booth in the Command Centre will become a little too crowded whatwith the addition of a second replay official as it is.  He laughed and said they'll always have plenty of room and even extended an invitation for me to sit in for a game or two in Toronto some time.

I was excited to receive the invite, and plan to pop into the Command Centre as an apprentice when the Roughriders visit Toronto during the 2016 season!  Thank you CFL for the opportunity.

5 - Three-time Grey Cup champion and CFL 4th all-time leading passer Danny McManus has been selected for 2016 induction into Mike Ditka’s Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2016 includes Joe Namath, Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, former Ticat Don Maynard, Billy Kilmer, Daryle Lamonica and Dan Pastorini.  The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Friday, June 3, 2016 at the Silverton Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas.  The wife of former CFL’er O.J. Brigance – Chanda Brigance – will also receive the Sylvia Mackey Woman of the Year Award that evening.  A dinner and golf tournament will adjoin the event.

Born in Dania Beach, FL on June 17, 1965, Danny McManus starred at Florida State University where the Seminoles won the 1987 Fiesta Bowl in a game Danny was named MVP.  McManus was drafted in 1988 by the Kansas City Chiefs and found his way to the CFL in 1990 where he would spend the next 17 seasons until his retirement in 2006.  During his CFL career, McManus suited up for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, B.C. Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders.

His 53,255 passing yards rank 4th all-time in the Canadian Football League and he won Grey Cups in 1990, 1994 and 1999.  The 6’0” quarterback was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 1999 as well as MVP of that year’s Grey Cup.  In 2005 he won the Tom Pate Memorial Award and in 2011 McManus was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Since December of 2013, Danny has been the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Assistant General Manager and Director of U.S. Scouting.

Other CFL Alumni inducted into the Gridiron Greats include George Reed, Hugh Campbell, Angelo Mosca, Matt Dunigan, Ray Elgaard and Marv Levy.

The mission at Gridiron Greats is to assist retired NFL players and their families in dire need.  Gridiron Greats provides hands on assistance to help players and their families deal with hardships they face after football.  Our services include medical, housing and financial assistance. You can learn more at GridironGreats.Org.

6 - One has to wonder what everyone is doing with their time this spring if Stanley Cup Playoff ratings are down so substantially.  Unfortuntately for those who've tuned out, they're missing some great hockey.  My favourite series in Round 2 is St. Louis-Dallas, which could very well go the limit.  The next-best series is Washington-Pittsburgh in my humble opinion followed by New York-Tampa Bay and San Jose-Nashville.  With Chicago out of the way and a new Stanley Cup champion to be crowned, this is an incredibly exciting spring!

7 - Even though Bruce Boudreau was gassed in Anaheim, Regina's Rich Preston appears to be in good shape.  A source close to the former Regina Pats coach disclosed over the weekend that Preston signed a three-year deal when he joined the Ducks last fall.  He was also hired by General Manager Bob Murray, who goes way back with Preston to their time with the Chicago Blackhawks.

8 - Watched the NHL Draft Lottery at my home Saturday evening with my Dad and football maven John Lynch.  We were all pleased to see the Toronto Maple Leafs rightfully win the #1 overall pick.  It's rightful because the Leafs were the NHL's worst time in 2015-16.  Now what will they do with it?  They'll very likely hang onto it however you can bet they'll hear from the Arizona Coyotes at some point with regards to landing the top selection.  The Coyotes are salivating over the prospect of drafting Scottsdale's Auston Mathews because they feel he could save hockey in the Valley of the Sun the fastest.  It should be an interesting time leading up to the Draft.

9 - Keep in the back of your mind that Toronto Raptors games were with 15th-most watched sport on Canadian television this winter, raking in an average of 200,000 viewers per game.  Why is that important to remember?  Because we're about to have a nation of basketball experts whatwith the Raptors' nail-biting Game 7 win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.  It's amazing how shameless hipsters are and Blue Jays fans could get off the hook somewhat since we've had a Major League Baseball team in Canada since 1977.  By contrast, the Raptors are somewhat new.  Either way, the slogan WE THE NORTH - which is a pretty good one - is going to be in our faces a lot over the next month.

THOUGHT:  Why was Pacers President Larry Bird sitting in the crowd surrounded by Raptors fans on Sunday?  He looked like he'd just bitten into a Lemon.

HILARIOUS:  CKRM co-host Mike Abou-Mechrek whined the Press Box Sports Bar had the sound up for Sharks-Predators rather than the Raptors-Pacers.  Said table mate Jared Dumba, "You're not in Toronto. You're in Canada". 

10 - Today's Rider Monday on 620 CKRM is going to be a great one.  We're expecting to hear from Manitoba Bisons head coach Brian Dobie about his star defensive lineman David Onyemata who was the only Canadian taken in the NFL Draft over the weekend.  Does Dobie think the Riders should take Onyemata with the #1 overall pick? ... We'll also be joined by the Canada West's SIO Evan Daum to discuss their 2016 CFL draft rankings and we plan to be joined by the newest member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, sportswriter Ed Tait.  Please tune in!




Anonymous said...

Love the Monday morning goalie with my coffee!!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if Budd Grant was ever inducted.

Anonymous said...

They're still on the upward trajectory of their careers.

BS - if by their age and time in the leaque they haven't made it and they have not - then its simple - their as good as their going to be !!!!!

Get real and face the facts like it or not.

The fact is Jones and Murphy have blown it !!!!

Anonymous said...

Huh!! Coffee? It's 1:00am. Guess you wanted the first post of the day. Get to bed!!

Anonymous said...

The fact is you're an old boys club idiot who still wishes Al Ford was running the team and "wants the old Riders back". We've got a new regime in place, deal with it.

Jesus said...

New Religion - Lemonotti

Anonymous said...

How can you not love Coach Dobie and the things he does for his players.

When Onyemata didn't get invited to the NFL combine he held a pro day in Winnipeg for him, along with his agent. 17 teams showed up including the team who drafted him.

Dobie is salt of the earth.

Rod, if you ever see Jim Mullin in fall at he Rams game, ask him about the time Brian let him use his car.

Russ from Saskatoon

mister winnipeg said...

I will answer for Dobie and I will say that the Riders should most definitely draft Onyemata with the first pick.

I'm sure he will send you a nice postcard from New Orleans :)

Anonymous said...

"You're not in Toronto. You're in Canada". Now that's funny. The Wannabes's pretending to be an American city,can't take any pride in being Canadian unless it's USA endorsed

Anonymous said...

larry bird always looks like that....

Nice night at the Press Box...thx again.


Anonymous said...

"Save hockey in the valley of the sun the fastest". Franchise having financial problems that we don't know about? Wouldn't surprise me with the place less than half empty even with a young and exciting team. Same thing over in Florida, there were lots of empty seats for their playoff games! Why the NHL continues to hammer on those markets and waste money is beyond me. And they think that Vegas will be a slam dunk just because lots of Canadians visit? That's ridiculous. Put hockey in places where it matters like Quebec, Seattle and Hamilton if you want long term sustainable profit. Not where hockey is a novelty.

Just another example of how dumb Bettman and his cronies are. They put in a monopoly on hockey broadcasting in Canada and now ratings are in the toilet. Don't want NHL players in the Olympics, the biggest stage in the world to promote the game. Sooner or later this rolling snowball is going to crash at the bottom of the mountain.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

90 men laid off at Evraz today don't look at me I didn't vote for Brad Wall.

Anonymous said...

...but you did vote for Justin. So yeah, we're looking at you sonny.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I like Lemonotti!!