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Monday, November 21, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


ODDS & ENDS

1 - It's Monday and you're looking for a "Durant Update".

Well as of Monday morning, there's not much.  A text message from the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday afternoon reported, "Quiet on all fronts".

Meanwhile in the Durant camp, they're still *digesting* Chris Jones' comments in last Saturday's Regina Leader Post.

Both Durant and Chris Jones will be in Toronto for Grey Cup, I'm told, and who knows if they'll bump into each other at Riderville.  Truly, there is no need for animosity if they do cross paths.

When this contract situation eventually wraps up (and it'll likely take at least until mid-February), my prediction remains that Darian Durant will be a Saskatchewan Roughrider in 2017.  I can't speak for what his mood will be after taking a gigantic paycut, but I expect him to be in Green & White nonetheless.

That's what I'm telling people when I get asked about it at least five times per day in this town.

2 - The MMG certainly doesn't have all the details of the discussions because I'm not sitting in the room but some of the issues on each side appear to be:

* The Riders would prefer to sign Durant to a contract for far lesser money a la Travis Lulay, Drew Willy, or what Henry Burris is scheduled to earn in 2017 which is far less than what he makes now,

* Durant can poke around in free agency and there are possible landing spots in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.  However those franchises all have quarterbacks in the picture named Vernon Adams, Drew Willy, Ricky Ray or Matt Nichols so it's unlikely they'd open their wallets to the tune of $350,000 or more for a stranger,

* Durant could sign here for less money and compete for the starting job in training camp, but there's a danger he could still be perceived to be behind guys like Mitchell Gale, Jake Waters and Brandon Bridge heading into Week 1.  I know that sounds preposterous but that's what happened to Henry Burris with Nealon Greene.

* It's likely however, that Chris Jones and offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo would put the best quarterback on the field at New Mosaic Stadium coming out of training camp and that will be Darian Durant if he earns it.

3 - The whole scenario remains quite a head-scratcher.  It appears the Riders are playing with fire with the possibility of Durant signing elsewhere and no capable replacement waiting in the wings but as many, many football people have told me over the past few weeks, "Jones has his way of doing things and it's different than what you've seen before".

So we'll wait and see how it turns out but it's my conclusion that the Roughriders are holding all the cards in this situation.

Therefore, I expect Darian to be back which would be a relief to just about everybody.

4 - Looking for a Christmas gift for a Durant supporter?  Darian has a limited edition autographed print featuring some of his best moments as a Rider (to date) available on his website.

http://www.dariandurant.com/store/autographed-prints-cards

You can purchase it now to have it in time for Christmas.

5 - The suits in the CFL office must be clicking their heels this morning at an Ottawa-Calgary Grey Cup this week in Toronto.  Not only does it represent an East-West scenario, but it also presents a match-up of the two best teams in the CFL judging by the results of Sunday's Division Finals.

In the East Final in Ottawa, the hometown RedBlacks football club seemed FAR more prepared to handle the snow, even if their stadium crew did not.  41-year old Henry Burris shrugged the blizard off and although it might not have been the game of his life, he got his team to the Grey Cup for a second straight year.  The Eskimos and quarterback Mike Reilly just seemed completely overwhelmed by the elements.

All signs pointed to an Eskimo victory leading into the game, but they really didn't show up which is disappointing.

Meanwhile out West, the Stampeders laid an absolute beating on the B.C. Lions in the West Final to punch their ticket to the Grey Cup and finish what they started.

Kudos to the football fans of Calgary by the way, for nearly selling out McMahon Stadium and making enough noise for it to be a factor.  I didn't think they were capable of it.  And who cares that tickets were sold at vastly discounted prices?  They sold a ton of them and it looked great on TV.  I've been after the WHL to do that for years but no, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Now with the Stampeders ready to oppose the RedBlacks this Sunday at BMO Field, we can all get excited about the 104th Grey Cup in Toronto rather than hold our nose at the prospect of a Battle of Alberta for the CFL championship!


6 - Over a family breakfast on Sunday, my brother-in-law discussed a story on MSN.com by the legendary Terry Jones stating that the CFL needs to scrap the East-West divisional alignment and go with one big nine-team division.  Come playoff time in Round 1, teams #1 and #2 would get a bye while teams #3 and #6, and #4 and #5 would meet in the semifinals.

I haven't read the article yet to determine what Terry's points are, but I will.

However I feel this whole concept should take a backseat to the idea of moving the season up two more weeks to avoid weather conditions like we saw at TD Place Stadium on Sunday.

That, first and foremost, is what the CFL needs to be investigating far more than divisional realignment.

Furthermore on that topic, I maintain that Canada is split into an East and a West and therefore so should the Canadian Football League.

And what's wrong with what went down in the 2016 Playoffs and every year prior?

Stop fiddling with this stuff and enjoy the game as it is!

7 - Interesting that the RedBlacks wouldn't touch the CFL East Division championship trophy on Sunday when it was presented by Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge.  I find that notion silly, particularly after Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby got his fingerprints ALL OVER the Prince of Wales Trophy in last year's NHL Playoffs yet they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Jinx bedamned!  However apparently the RedBlacks touched the trophy last year and the Grey Cup didn't turn out to well for Ottawa?  That's the story I heard anyway.

However it's going to take a little more than karma for the RedBlacks to beat the Stampeders in the Grey Cup.  The odds haven't been set yet, but our football consultant Gary Etcheverry has installed Calgary anywhere between 10-14 point favourites.

8 - Love, love, love that we're heading to Grey Cup on Wednesday and diving headfirst into the CFL rumour pool!  Women call it gossip, men call it "rumours".  And in both cases, people love it until they're the focal point of it.

Either way, there's going to be some juicy stuff coming out of Hogtown and we'll be on the air from Toronto with the SportsCage on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

We've already got a headstart on some of the rumours, like the one that says Argos coach Scott Milanovich has been telling people he expects a complete house-cleaning of the Toronto football club.

With the Alouettes searching for a GM as well, the rumour mill is on "HIGH".  A text I received on Sunday said, "Do you think Tillman will go after the jobs in MTL and TOR?"

Meanwhile another CFL source said to me face-to-face on Sunday, "Don't be surprised if Burris ends up here in 2017".

THIS. IS. GREAT.

9 - Many are scoffing at the whole concept of CFL Week and how the only place it can be successful is Saskatchewan.  Of course Commissioner Orridge and Rider brass announced on Tuesday that the inaugural week-long party is coming to Regina March 20-26 and Rider fans are positively giddy about it.

The naysayers are saying it'll only work in Saskatchewan but I strongly oppose that thought.  Particularly since other CFL teams were miffed the first event was automatically awarded to the Riders rather than be opened up to a bid process.

I don't know who those other teams are, but there's no reason this CFL Week couldn't work anywhere on the prairies along with Hamilton and Montreal out East.  CKRM football analyst Mike Abou-Mechrek is suggesting taking it to non-CFL markets like Saskatoon, Thunder Bay or Halifax to grow the brand which is a remarkable idea.

Others really don't even know what CFL Week is all about and frankly, neither do I.  However I do know I'll be eyeballs deep in it come March.

10 - Go Pats Go.  No one seemed to bat an eye that the Regina Pats lost their first game in regulation all season long, on Saturday night in Victoria by a 5-3 score.  I listened to the game, and Pats voice Phil Andrews was not drowning in his own tears at the game's conclusion.  (I likely would've been).

Everyone knew that first loss was coming, and it equaled the franchise's best start since 1965.  It's funny how the sports gods have a way of humbling you.  Chris Milo's consecutive field goal streak tied Dave Ridgway at 28.  Kory Sheets' run of 10 games with 100-yards rushing tied a franchise mark set by George Reed.

It's like the gods are saying, "Whoa, whoa whoa.  You're good but you're not that good."

However former Pats goaltender and scout Pat Ansell was at Sunday's 8-3 Pats victory at Vancouver and reported, "It's not even close".

That's generally what people say when they see the 2016-17 Pats and I expect they'll only get stronger the rest of the way.

Upgrades?  They're needed on the blueline but not in goal.  Debbie Downers keep writing into this blog's comments section saying Tyler Brown isn't adequate but the comments do not get published.

This website will not be a vehicle for the Negative Nellies of this town as it relates to the Regina Pats goaltending situation.

------

THAT'S IT! THANKS FOR STOPPING BY ...
RP
@rodpedersen

43 comments:

willie said...

Wowee!! A no Brainer I picked it like it was. Burris to upset Edmonton and Calgary to Kill B.C.
Now I will go all out and pick Calgary by a 52- 19 score. I just cannot see Ottawa even getting a sniff against the Mighty Stamps who have shown all year that they are by far the best in all of the CFL.

Anonymous said...

So, it's the RedBlacks vs the BlackReds.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rod. If what you say is true. The lack of respect Jones is showing Durant is very concerning. Durant has done absolutely everything he can for this franchise. Show him the respect he deserves and has earned and get him signed. There isn't a quarterback on our team or available than can compete with Durant at this time. One other thought. How does this look to other quality free agents around the league? I would bet that some of them are watching closely at how Jones treats veterans

Anonymous said...

1. You want East vs West. Stop the crossover then and let Western teams bitch about how they should be in the playoffs because the East is so bad. Yes, let's put a 5 win team in the playoffs and show again how Mickey Mouse the CFL is.

2. Hockey boy can't get it through his head that starting the season two weeks earlier will do nothing to help the league in the CFL/NHL markets. There is nothing wrong with football in the snow and there is nothing wrong with the season starting and ending where it does. I believe you even say "stop fiddling with this stuff and enjoy the game as it is".

Anonymous said...

We'll see you at the Cup, Rod, you beautiful man!

Anonymous said...

Tired of the whole Durant soap opera. Wake me when there's a decision.

Anonymous said...

Rod wrote; " It's likely however, that Chris Jones and offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo would put the best quarterback on the field."

Rod, you finally got around to mentioning one of the Riders biggest problems and that's Stephen McAdoo. He'd come out with the same game plan whether he had Tom Brady or Tino Sunceri at the helm.

SWC

Anonymous said...

I just read Terry Jones' column on yesterday's Eskimo loss to Ottawa.

He's saying the same thing about Mike Benevides that I say about Stephen McAdoo and I quote. "defensive coordinator Mike Benevides stubbornly refused to fix the philosophy to fit the circumstances.

SWC

Chad Cronk said...

I went to the Calgary - BC game yesterday. While the game was a stinker it was fun being at a game where I didn't care about the outcome.
The crowd was great but the volume of people at the game highlighted how woefully inadequate McMahon stadium is; at half time I went to the washroom, got a hot dog then ended up missing the first 5 minutes of Q3. At least the beer guy came around once!

SIGN DURANT.

reginawing said...

Side question any move afoot to have a 3rd Rider game
of the Coyotes in Phoenix this year. First 2 were great love to see the Red Wings in March!

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am certain there is another team willing to pay him more. If the Riders do not budge, he will be gone.

Anonymous said...

If you don't want to post the true comments about the Pats goaltending why don't you quit posting about Durant...both r true...without Durant next year Riders are hooped...without an upgrade in Pats goaltending Pats are hooped

CM said...

disappointed in Jones comments about DD. Saying hes had an ok career. DD has gone to 3 cups and should have won 2! Burris has played far longer and hes won 1. Cavillo didn't win his 2nd until the end of his career. Jones probably angling for Ricky Ray or Burris this off season but DD is better than either at this stage. Plus hes the only 1 who could survive behind that league worst oline. Jake Waters took 1 hit and was done. Instead of nickel and diming DD, and bringing in WR's and DB's by the truck load sign DD and figure a way to improve the CDN content of your oline CJ! Ray would last only a few games behind these guys

Bill Salloum said...

I think CFL Week is a great idea, but the name is meh. For fans, every week from June to November is CFL Week, and non-fans won't care. If the hope is to attract marginal fans and non-fans, then the name needs to be broader-based to grab any attention.

Given that it includes the Combine and other University football activities, I wonder if it would be better branded as "Canadian Football Week" or something to that effect. In order to keep the CFL name in it, perhaps "CFL's Canadian Football Week" would work.

Having the inaugural event in Regina makes perfect sense, but I like the idea of taking it to non-CFL sites, especially with strong junior and university football traditions such as in the Maritimes, Western Ontario, prairie cities such as Saskatoon, etc.

Bill Salloum said...

I prefer the East-West format for one simple reason: the CFL needs the attention of national sports media, which as we all know is centered in (and on) Toronto.

Having at least two teams from the East in the playoffs helps maintain national media interest. Too many years of East teams disappearing from the playoffs would turn the CFL into a western rump league which would eventually disappear from national media consciousness. Once that happens, the league itself would be unsustainable.

Sadly, it's not a football decision, it's a business decision.

Anonymous said...

See you at Grey Cup again this year on broadcasters row Cabana Boy !!!

Rod Pedersen said...

Hopefully not

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Benevides, why oh why did he turn "street" (wearing his cap backwards, etc.)???????????

John Knight said...

Change the Cfl playoff format to !st place in east and west get byes to semifinal and have 4 wild card teams and not 2 auto entries from east. This would force east teams to upgrade or miss playoffs. Nealon green couldn't hold Burris's jockstrap and should never have been a starting QB for the Riders

Anonymous said...

The lack of respect of Darian Durant's body of work being shown by Jones (as illustrated by his recent comments in the media) is alarming and disconcerting considering Durant has cemented his legacy as a Rider legend. Even IF the comments are part of the posturing negotiation process, they are alarming as it doesn't seem like Jones is negotiating in "good faith" although he is using tactics used my many or most GMs in all pro leagues. Another point - Murphy was on the pregame show a month ago crowing about how the Riders salary cap position was probably the best in the league so they've lost a lot of credibility using that tactic.

Lastly, I appreciate change, but I think a one division CFL would eliminate the excitement of the east/west rivalry and therefore I vote NO. every pro or semi-pro league is made up of divisions and the rivalries it creates within and between divisions makes all leagues more exciting and interesting. Think about it - how important would a regular season game between the Stamps and Esks where every team was in the same division. While every game is important, the hype and rivalry wouldn't mean quite as much. In regards to all stars and MOP etc, east vs west is still the best way to go even if the two best defensive players played for teams in the west. At the end of the day, the top defensive player will garner the most votes regardless of the the division. Keeping the rivalry will keep fans in the east engaged and I would argue also keep fans in the west engaged.

Heptiro said...

To Anonymous #4 Insulting a man calling him "Hockey boy" on his own blog does not make you superior.If you hate the CFL so much why don't you read the NFL blogs only? Stay off here. I promise you won't be missed.
The CFL only has 9 teams so there will be times when a representative from either east or west could get into the cup with only 5 wins,unlikely but possible. So what? I seem to recall that situation years ago when that same 5 win team almost won. In a one game winner takes all anything can happen.
I like the East/West format. If the Riders don't make it I cheer for the West team. Even if it is the dreaded Stamps. Wonder how many others do the same.
Final comment...start the season earlier. I have sat in many terrible weather playoff games like the Larry Robinson blizzard field goal game and the 1995 wind and extreme cold Grey Cup. It spoils the game for fans. We want to see a good hard fought event not pray for the game to be over so we can go defrost our feet.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to agree that other teams won't pay Durant what he wants, but there are some that will pay what the riders are offering and you can bet your butt if the money is the same he will be suiting up for someone else to shove it down the throats of riders. Durant is more valuable to the riders than any other team and he wants to be paid for that added value or he will go somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Can you shut up about the Pats now. They are a very good team but you were over the top on the streak.

Anonymous said...

For the prior 6 years Taman could not find players and had to over pay to keep good but not great players around. He had to pay the great players even more.There wasn't any depth if a starter went down.

Players and more appropriately agents knew this and held all the cards when it came to contract negotiations.

That no longer applies to the Riders under Jones. He cut Dressler and brought in Collins, Holley, Edwards. He let Chick go and found Newsome and eventually attracted Jefferson to the Riders.

Jones can find talent and when he tells players we will pay you about this much and if you can get more elsewhere - good for you, thank you for your time here, he means it and can back it up.

Hope to see DD here for 2 more years and the Riders to sign Franklin in 2018 to take over for DD thereafter.

Anonymous said...

On the Pats- I'm enjoying watching these young guys have some success this year. Seems a shame they aren't recognized by more Regina people as an entertainment option.
On the Grey Cup- no surprise in the semis, I never saw Edmonton as Grey Cup bound. They had a good year but not great and Ottawa had something to prove. In Calgary, well, everybody saw what happened and next week will be more of the same I'm afraid. Too much talent for them not to win.
On Darian-Love the guy, love his dedication to this province and love the fact he is fighting for a contract that he believes he deserves. Not sure how this one ends but if the guy still has 3 or 4 more years in him I'd rather have him on our team than having to play against him. By all means find the next young quarterback and groom him for the future but don't throw away the guy that can still get it done in the process.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rod!

Anonymous said...

I think I see your problem Chad Cronk. Get your hotdog at the food concessions, not the washroomm. :-)

Christopher Evans said...

Re: the Durant contract, my understanding is that this is less about money and more about how the money is paid. Durant wants guaranteed money up front; the team has said the contract structures will change... after they got burnt on a number of contracts at the beginning of last season... Price, Lemon, et al. As a business decision, I agree that Durant needs an incentive based contract. A little bit of cash here & there should not be a big deal in the bigger picture of things for that salary overall. I would prefer Durant here and I don't want a GM that is going to waver to the fandom bitching and moaning. Hoping everything plays out for the best, but the fans need to prepare for Durant to leave one day, sooner than later, and that most players don't get to decide when their time is up.

Anonymous said...

Newsome ..... What a find LOL !!!

Anonymous said...

Sure hope Ottawa or Hamilton gets the 2018 Memorial Cup. Much better rinks in those towns.

Anonymous said...

REDBLACKS !!!! Get it right!

Anonymous said...

No and why? That was a hopson initiated free ride using the Riders name, he lives in the area. No more freebee rides on the club, thing of the past.

Rod Pedersen said...

^^^^^ You could not be any more wrong.

Anonymous said...

Why did construction stop on the the new Regina stadium build? They haven't put the retractable roof on yet, 3 1/4 built, why? Its a problem that has to be addressed asap! They sure could use a stadium roof in Ottawa and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone think when it comes to "A business decision" that we owe Durant anything? People are paid on performance or the lack of. They are basing what they want to pay based on what he has done. Frankly I think his best days are behind him. It's to bad the former regime over paid a lot of these guys to much and Jones etal now have to clean up the mess and deal with Durant types(chick & dressler) as to what there actual $$ value is to this team. These guys went to other teams and signed for about the same $$ the Riders where offering. Some don't like being told how it is but that's life deal with it.

Albert Patenaude said...

Maybe Chris Jones will bring 100 quarterbacks to camp in 2017. I see long term pain in Riderville if they let Durant get away.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this comment. You are absolutely correct, 100 % correct. People wanting to hold on to a past gone by not good for business, especially professional sports. Former regime set back the Roughriders franchise with players/agents dictating renumerated pay salary plus perks setting a bad business precedent to overall organizationAl management structure.

Anonymous said...

Its Oshawa, and you've likely never been to any. But heck of a try. Good nightq

Anonymous said...

How many crackerjack O-linemen did Jones/Murphy find?

Anonymous said...

To the anon that tells the guy 'it's Oshawa'. Have you never heard of the Ottawa 67's? You were wrong, he was right. Now apologize to him...

Anonymous said...

Jones Murphy found 0 good o-line men but traded away the only good one.

The other comment "deal with it" sure I get it I am I business. But if Jones gambles and loses instead of making good business decisions both you and he will be proven wrong and rider nation will be the losers. All business deconstruction are not good ones son.

Heather Dufault said...

If indeed there is another team willing to pay him more (and it may well depend on how MUCH more) I would expect that the Roughriders have left themselves some wiggle-room so that they can update their offer. And I would also expect that Darian is savvy enough to realize this...Patience required from all parties.

Heather Dufault said...

And it would now go over very well in Ottawa, too.