Realty One

Thursday, October 20, 2016


1 - The historic Farewell Season at Taylor Field continues this Saturday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-10) host the Montreal Alouettes (4-11) at 2:00 pm (TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network).  It's the second-last ever Rider game at the Grand Ol' Lady and on Saturday the 2013 Grey Cup championship team will be honoured.

The photo above really says a thousand words doesn't it?  Darian Durant is one of the few holdovers still playing with the Green & White from that Grey Cup team and it's startling to realize that it's becoming a distant memory.

It's startling when you consider the list of alumni who will be honoured at the game, guys who aren't playing football anymore: Ben Heenan, Mike McCullough, Tyron Brackenridge, Dominic Picard, Neal Hughes, Scott McHenry, Jordan Sisco and Paul Woldu.

You can add to the list an impressive group of retired Riders who won't be here on Saturday, but played a huge part in that historic season: Geroy Simon, Rey Williams, Kory Sheets, Terrell Maze and Dwight Anderson.  I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.

Still playing in the CFL - but will be here in spirit on Saturday - are Chris Getzlaf, John Chick, Weston Dressler, Keith Shologan, Macho Harris and Tristan Jackson.

It's a safe bet Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin won't be on hand Saturday either which truly tells you that time marches on.

2 - Hopefully the forecast for Saturday is amended between now and Saturday.  Environment Canada predicts rain and 11 degrees Celsius for the day.  The Riders are favoured by a touchdown, and it's been a good, long while since the Riders were favoured in a game.

Incidentally there will be an autograph session with those Rider greats Friday evening from 6:00-8:00 pm at Northgate Mall and on the practice field prior to the game (weather permitting).

3 - And how about the current Saskatchewan Roughriders?  Their four game win streak is the club's longest since a seven game stretch of success in 2014 and their 4-2 record over the past seven weeks (including a bye) is the 3rd-best in the CFL behind Calgary (7-0) and Winnipeg (5-2).

Times are good in Riderville, even if the 2016 CFL Playoffs are out of reach.

"It feels really good to win, I can tell you that," smiled Rider lineman Matt Vonk this week.  "I was here briefly when they won the Grey Cup but then I went home.  There's been a little bit of a lull since so it's been hard.  We just keeping choppin' wood as they say and we kept coming into work everyday with an optimistic mindset.

"We have fun when it's time to have fun and do our work when it's time to work.  It's paying dividends.  The worst has to be behind us.  It took us a couple weeks too late to get going but now we're gelling.  Everyone's excited in the province.  I go to TD Bank and the tellers are excited about the games.  Everybody in the province is feeling positive about the Riders.  2017 should be a good year for us."

4 - "Choppin' Wood".  I still think that's a tremendous marketing slogan for the Roughriders for the years ahead and it stands the test of time, just like the Carolina Panthers' "Keep Pounding" theme which dates back over a decade.  When I think back on the 2016 season in the years ahead, that's the phrase that'll ring in my ears, complete with Chris Jones' southern slang saying it.

5 - Some other CFL Notes going into Week 18: Andy Fantuz is four catches shy of surpassing Jock Climie (627) for #17 all-time in CFL receiving ... Road teams are 36-32 this year and if they beat home teams over the rest of the regular season, that'll be the first time the road teams have dominated since 1983 ... The Riders have now used a record 91 players this season, plus a CFL record of 99 on their active roster with three games to go.  However I don't foresee any new faces suiting up this week.  They finally have the continuity they've longed for and you can see the results on the field.

6 - Oregon Ducks great Vernon Adams is expected to start at quarterback for the Alouettes on Saturday which will make him the 9th different starting quarterback for Montreal in the 64 games since the last start by Anthony Calvillo.  The Riders really don't know what to expect out of Adams but rest assured they'll be prepared for anything.

7 - No real comments here today about the latest happenings in CFL head office or the Grey Cup ticket debacle.  However Rider Hall of Famer Alan Ford told us on In The Huddle this week that he thought replay official Jeff Harbin got the call right on the incompleted pass to Ottawa's Greg Ellingson Friday night which drew the ire of the Tiger-Cats and an apology - if you will - by CFL V.P. of Football Glen Johnson.

And despite the fast-talking by the Argos, CFL fans are livid about the host committee slashing ticket prices for the 2016 Grey Cup after they'd already bought ducats at inflated prices.  As one of my analysts said on the radio this week, "If you buy a pair of jeans at full price and come back a week later to find them on sale, it's too bad, so sad."

That's true, but whomever set Grey Cup ticket prices at $800 should have their head examined.  This has only peeved off the league's most loyal fans who lined up to buy the tickets first.

**One Grey Cup ticket buyer told me this morning the Argos/Grey Cup committee are refunding the difference in the price drop.**

What an unfortunate scenario, and we'll always remember the 2016 Grey Cup as the one that had to have ticket prices go on a firesale to fill the stadium.

8 - Regarding my MMG column detailing the bleak outlook for the Argonauts in Toronto, it was one of the all-time most-read columns on this website with reactions ranging across the spectrum.  One CFL executive told me they've exhaustively examined the Argos' situation from all angles and determined the league can't survive without a team in Toronto.  In short, it is what it is, but he appreciated getting the discussion going.  The Argos are there to stay, and there's nowhere to go but up.

9 - Holy smokes is the NHL in good hands!  You won't get a more exciting showcase for the league than the Jets' 4-goal comeback Thursday night in Winnipeg in a 5-4 overtime triumph over Toronto.  Jets rookie Patrik Laine scored a hattrick - including the game-winner - to outshine Maple Leafs phenom Auston Mathews.  I thought Jets play-by-play man Dennis Beyak was going to have a coronary!  That was one of his better calls and he's been doing it for a day or two.

It was the biggest comeback in Winnipeg Jets history and Laine has tied Mathews for the NHL's goal-scoring lead with 4.

The only damper on that display in Winnipeg is the fact neither Mathews nor Laine is Canadian.

I loved how Mathews blamed bad ice at the MTS Centre for flubbing an overtime breakaway.  Very Winnipeg-ish.

And Canadian kids Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are dazzling up in Edmonton and the Oilers are finally getting some wins to go along with their firewagon play, so every country is in great shape and the NHL is fantastic right now.

10 - The Regina Pats were ranked #2 in the nation when the CHL's weekly Top 10 ratings were announced on Wednesday.  It's believed to be the highest ranking for the Regina Pats since the inception of the Top 10 feature.

The Pats barely broke a sweat in Wednesday's 6-1 romp over the Lethbridge Hurricanes and they have yet to lose in regulation through their opening 10 games.  Frankly, from what I've seen of the club so far, I'm amazed four teams have been even able to take the Pats to overtime.

With the club still meshing, they're going to be even more dominant in the months to come.

One fan cackled at Wednesday's game that, "The next complaint from the fans is that the games aren't competitive enough and the Pats are walking all over everybody!"

It's a dream scenario for the owners and the rink will be full soon enough.  Perhaps as early as Friday when the Spokane Chiefs come to town for a 7:00 faceoff in the Brandt Centre.




Anonymous said...

but will be here in spirit on Saturday - are Chris Getzlaf, John Chick, Weston Dressler, Keith Shologan, Macho Harris and Tristan Jackson.

Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin won't be on hand Saturday either

What makes anybody think that any of these people and many others really care or want to be back after how the riders have treated them - pure arrogance to think otherwise.
Oh yes, they will all say the politically correct word but they really do not mean them or care one tiny bit !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the play-by-play call on Winnipeg's over-time goal hey? Classic!

Anonymous said...

Chris Getzlaf, Weston Dressler and John Chick have other things to worry's called play-offs, you should try it sometime Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

Montreal Alouettes got it all wrong, Rekeem Kato should have been the player cut from their roster.

Anonymous said...

It's always good to remember the amazing moments like the 2013 Cup. That said, I'm glad the organization has moved past it and is looking forward in their approach. Living in the past never gets you anywhere. Just look at the 90's Riders, they didn't give two hoots about winning after the euphoria of the 89 Cup. Actually the Calgary Flames got caught up in the same mentality after 2004; bringing in old veterans to try and squeeze out a miracle run instead of building for the future. Jones and his crew have it right. No offense Rod cause they're your friends but I'm glad the old boys club isn't running the Riders anymore.

Hopefully Ottawa gets it right with 2017 ticket prices. Jeff Hunt seems like a smart guy and he won't make the same mistakes TO did. The only thing that will top the 2013 Cup win? The next Cup win.


Anonymous said...

COME the F on people !!!!!!!! get to these games!!!!! they are AMAZING!!!!!! Who knows when the team will be this good again!!!!

Anonymous said...

Riders are wining, Pats are winning, Rams are vastly improved - man, oh, man its not a very good time to be a hater or a troll. Remember the days here when ... Taman, Obama, Frank McCrystal, the Parker family ...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the 2013 team will surface in a few years when all the players are done with football. I hope so because that team made history for us. Time heals all wounds and there have been many players who have returned to Saskatchewan for special events because it is part of their life in football. One can only hope.

Anonymous said...

Seeing your picture of Grey Cup 2013 brought back tons of memories and when it was all said and done we all knew how special that team was. We also knew it was very likely going to take a few years to get the magic back.and it has. Now it feels like we are on the edge of something really good again and the impossible seems possible. Well done players, coaches, management, we've made it through the worst so "keep chopping wood" !

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

"Chris Getzlaf, Weston Dressler and John Chick have other things to worry's called play-offs, you should try it sometime Saskatchewan"

LOL. How many grey cups has your team been to and won in the last decade.

Bonehead statement

Anonymous said...

Go Pats Go!

How has the atmosphere been since the new ownership took over? New scoreboard...good team...has the music/presentation changed?

Haven't been to a game in years as I don't live anywhere near Regina.

Lewis Grant said...

Speaking of Ben Heenan:

Rod, do you have any more insight on his, uh, rather unusual decision to retire so early in his career? Nothing much seemed to come out when he made the decision. We sure could use him on our O-line right now.

Anonymous said...

Darian holding up the Grey Cup at home at Taylor Field just under 3 years ago is one of the best memories in Riderville ever.

Anonymous said...

Bonehead statement…in the 2000's the Eskies actually own 3 grey cups to your riders two so figure it out bud, but you don't want to go before 2000 because then you might actually cry. Let's only look at the last decade so I can make sure the riders have the edge…that is chicken #%$! crap, quit looking at a few pages of the CFL book and read the whole thing

Anonymous said...

Also from 2005 to 2015 the Esks and riders both have two grey cups.

Anonymous said...

Very Winnipeg-ish??? What in the world are you talking about Pederson?? If it's a shot at Winnipeg it makes no sense as Matthews plays for the Leafs, not the Jets. The ice sure seemed fine to me watching live as Laine took it the other way and roofed it on Andersen