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Friday, December 23, 2016

CHRISTMAS RODSERVATIONS


A HOLIDAY BLOG

1 - There the new place sits.  The lights are on, but nobody's home.

It's hard to drive by New Mosaic Stadium nightly and not think about what lies in store for Canada's Team in the finest football stadium in the land but that's very, verrrrrry far off.

The club won't even move into their new digs until February at the earliest.

For now, we can only get ready for Christmas 2016 and talk about what might happen for the Green & White in 2017.  The club has been in a month-long hibernation - presumably self-imposed - but I've been given the indication we'll start to see some action early in the New Year.

Until then, top up your eggnog and enjoy the Holiday Season.

2 - Will the impending Rider news include Darian Durant?  Honestly, it's doubtful.  The Riders have a bushel of other free agents to deal with and I expect a lot of the news will come from that.  Defensive tackle Jonathan Williams was one of those free agents, but he was released announced on Wednesday amid little fanfare.  Former Roughrider Marcus "Chunky" Adams Tweeted that it was Williams' intention to retire.

3 - And will 2017 be as zany and whacky as 2016 was in Riderville?  Here's hoping not.  From the rash of player retirements, to bizarre injuries, to the conspiracy theory, to prized free agent signing Shawn Lemon wanting out, it was a thrill-a-minute in the 306 and not a lot of it was good.

We'll find out whether the player retirements were a simply a fad, or a troubling trend.  My guess is the latter, and it extends beyond Saskatchewan to all of pro football.  Apparently the reward is no longer worth the risk for a lot of these guys.

4 - Of course as each day of the off-season goes by ever-so-slowly, we're at least one day closer to a decision being made on Darian Durant's future.  (Whenever that may be).  It struck me that at Chris Jones' year-end news conference on November 7, none of the reporters thought to ask "Do you actually want Darian Durant back in 2017?"  I'm as guilty as anyone for whiffing on that question, for I was in the room too.

But it's a question I'd love to ask now.  The Riders have been silent since that November day, other than Jones's one-on-one interview with the Leader Post's Rob Vanstone and the team's comments on the death of Joe McKnight.

Tick, tick, tick.

5 - The fact remains Darian Durant is the beating heart of this team.  He is the soul of the Saskatchewan Roughriders franchise and I shudder to think of a day when that's no longer the case.  But Chris Jones has been around here long enough to realize that.

- My mother-in-law has never been a Durant fan and on Tuesday evening at a family gathering, I asked her why.  "Because we rely too much on him," she said sternly.  For once, I had no snappy response or comeback.  I had to pause for a minute and admit she's right.

When Durant was hurt in 2014 and 2015, we all know the club didn't stand a chance at winning without him.  Even with him in 2016, the Riders' chances at winning didn't seem to be much better than 50/50.

Perhaps that's why we're in this current situation; Jones wants to allocate a good portion of Durant's salary to other positions in order to even out the talent level.

Who knows.

7 - It seems to me too that Chris Jones is doing exactly what he was hired to do -- straighten out the mess he inherited and build a solid foundation for sustained success for years to come.  A foundation that can withstand a loss at the quarterback position.  The trouble is a good portion of the Rider Nation doesn't like the way he's doing it.

However having said that, I'm starting to hear more and more from fans that, "The club will survive without Darian Durant".  It's like people are preparing for the inevitable.

8 - For those grumbling, are you putting your money where your mouth is?  The early bird season ticket renewal deadline was this week and it seems most everyone has paid for their 2017 tickets in full.  I know we did, and there wasn't even a second thought.  I'm told the ticket office was jammed with Rider fans Wednesday morning, who were eager to save a few bucks with the early bird discount.

Chris Jones said it best this season when he mentioned, "Win or lose, the stands are full".

But would you be renewing if it wasn't for the new stadium?

I think you would be.  Fans are still engaged and hits to this website have remained steady throughout the off-season.  People continue to clamour for any news regarding the club.

9 - However if you REALLY don't want to renew your season tickets, please email me at pedersenmedia@outlook.com and I'll take them off your hands.  Dead serious.

10 - At the end of the season I predicted a shake-up with Kent Austin's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.  It came last week with the departure of Defensive Coordinator Orlondo Steinauer to Fresno State.  It may not look too significant from the outside, but it's a major change internally.  I did not expect Steinauer to be back in 2017.

10 - The only thing worthwhile watching in the CFL this winter has been the turnover in the Montreal Alouettes organization.  It looks chaotic from the outside, so I can't imagine how it looks from the inside.  While many are snickering at the hire of Kavis Reed as General Manager, I'm happy to see some new blood in a managerial role in this league and interested to see how it turns out.

As long-time hockey man Carter Sears once advised, "What other teams do is their business".

However if it's true they're looking at bringing in former Blue Bombers GM Joe Mack for a significant role, the Alouettes deserve what they get.

11 - No Regina Pats on Canada's World Junior Team?  It has to be a conspiracy.

12 - You'll still be able to watch two members of the Regina Pats in the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto.  Defenseman Sergey Zborovskiy is playing with Russia while forward Filip Ahl is part of Team Sweden.

You can watch a Pats prospect in the World Juniors in the form of Tyson Jost, and I'll explain much more about him in the next point.

But still, not having an actual Regina Pat on Team Canada takes a bit of a shine off the tournament for this blogger.  Normally we'd be scanning each line change to see if our player is on the ice but that won't be the case again this year.  Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert were the last Pats to play for Canada (2010) and that's getting to be a long time.

I wonder if the Pats' record of placing the most players on Team Canada in the history of the tournament is starting to be in jeopardy.

13 - Still, Canada's loss is Regina's gain and the Pats certainly will benefit from the addition of Sam Steel and Austin Wagner in their lineup over the next couple of weeks.

The Pats have finally caught the attention of Regina sports fans and they're the buzz on everyone's lips around here.  For instance, I was asked on Wednesday if Sam Steel signing with the Anaheim Ducks means he'll be called up to the NHL in the near future.  The truth is it does not, and all it means is that Mr. Steel is now a wealthier young man than your average 18-year old.

The future of the Regina Pats Hockey Club is INCREDIBLY bright.  The franchise is after the same type of success that the OHL's London Knights currently enjoy and they're definitely on the right track.

The club's focus right now is having a successful bid to host the 2018 Memorial Cup and they'll make their pitch in late-January in Toronto.  They'll find out in early February if they're successful, and they're up against Hamilton and Oshawa who figure to present strong cases of their own.

However I can't imagine any scenario in which the Pats don't get it.

You're already hearing a lot about forward Tyson Jost, who's lighting up the World Juniors for Team Canada.  The Pats acquired the rights to the St. Albert, AB product from the Everett Silvertips this summer but he's currently toiling for U.N.D.  However I'm told there's an outside chance the Colorado Avalanche first-rounder may join the Pats but it's not until next year, and whether or not the Pats are hosting the Memorial Cup could make a big difference.

And the club is also happy with their new long-term lease with the Regina Exhibition Association Limited.  The Pats will play in the Brandt Centre for the next several seasons to come and while a new arena has been discussed and explored, there's nothing immiment on the horizon.

14 - The crap the Edmonton Oilers pulled last night in Arizona was bush league and shows they may not be going anywhere as an organization.  No class.

15 - Merry Christmas to all and a huge THANK YOU to the men and women of Law Enforcement who will keep us, and the roads, safe this holiday season.

------

THAT'S IT FOR TODAY! HAPPY HOLIDAYS ..
RP
@rodpedersen

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rod, I understand it's your job to pump the Roughriders tires but don't you think you're over doing it by claiming Jones will "build a solid foundation"?

If last year was the foundation, we're in real trouble.

There was no one wanted rid of Taman and Chamblin more than me, I was pleased and excited when Reynolds signed Jones and Murphy.

But since that day, I've seen very little positives and enough negatives to last a decade.

To top it off, we've got a coach that graded himself an F.

That 'F' sure doesn't stand for "foundation".

SWC

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, put you in your place. Damnnn... homie, I want a mother in-law like that. Stern and mean!

Go Cats Go! Go Cats Go! Go Cats Go!

Anonymous said...

How can you rely on a qb "too much" they touch the ball on each and every play and are the leader of every football team,there's a reason why they are called feild generals.

Anonymous said...

QB's don't touch the football on every play. Defense wins championships.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see playoff teams like the Stamps and Lions sign their defensive star players this week.

Anonymous said...

ZERO chance jost ever plays in Regina. he will play pro before he ever takes a step back and plays WHL. atta boy roddy, still trying to mislead your sheep.

Rod Pedersen said...

I'd love to bet you, but you forgot to leave your name.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Anonymous said...

You would love to bet on Jost going to Regina next year? Well if he is old enough to play in the NHL next season then I bet that is where he ends up 100%...do you pay attention to the NHL Rod because he is drafted by the Avs as you can clearly see in the picture and you can clearly see that the Avs are absolutely horrible which means last in the league. I am an Avs fan and would say he has a very good shot of making the Avalanche as anyone could. I did watch the draft and when he was chosen they stated that he would finish off his junior career where he was before hitting the NHL...guess you can bet but I wish I would have taken a bet with you on where the riders placed prior to the start of the season.

Edward said...

I didn't watch the game, but I saw the highlights of the Oilers vs Coyotes. Are you talking about the 3rd period stuff as bush league? I saw a dirty hit and a legitimate retaliation by the Oilers.

Anonymous said...

Relying on a QB too much is ridiculous. We have had too many years with an unreliable QB; remember Nealon Green, Reggie Slack, Michael Bishop. etc. etc. The only way to not rely on a QB too much is to have a very good backup, not to get rid of the reliable one that you have. First you find a good backup; then you start planning the transition. And putting extra money into the O line to protect your QB is futile if you don't have a QB worth protecting. The best O line in the league won't win games without a good pivot behind them.
Everyone talks about how many Grey Cup wins Jones has as a coach. How many does he have as a GM? None. He should have been hired as a coach only. That is where his success is. He should be working with players that a good GM gives him to work with because as a GM he is a dismal failure. Every team that he has coached and won a Grey Cup ring with had a Franchise QB. What makes him think here that he can be a success with a bargain basement QB? Every CFL team that has been successful has had a QB that they rely on heavily. I am not a Kavis Reed fan by any means but even he recognizes that to win now, you have to have an experienced QB at the helm. Jones is a joke, except that it isn't very funny.

Anonymous said...

Sakic said Jost will come next year if the Pats get the bid. Deal with it. Although you probably have good insider info from your parents basement you "may" not have heard this.

Hey Roddy, remember that team that did a complete rebuild from top to bottom and won it all in one year? Me neither. Fools need to slow their roll. These same morons will be the first ones celebrating a GC win in 2-3 years saying "I knew it all along."

Pon Jaddock

mister winnipeg said...

Just because he looks like Don Matthews and acts like Don Matthews, doesn't mean he's Don Matthews, guys.

Unknown said...

Rod not sure what your talking about with the Oilers last night.

gswoodever said...

Thanks again Rod for another great read. Any contract with DD should include a position with the team once he has retired. But a younger capable backup has to be a priority for the team. There aren't many Reilly's and Harris's out there these days who were instant starters. Merry Christmmas to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Rod,
I would not have renewed my tickets if not for the new stadium and I know lots of guys my age who are in agreement.
I went 12 straight years and only missed two games because of weddings I attended. Then the last three years, it hasn't been entertaining, so I started choosing other activities instead of attending games or even just stayed home to watch on TV.
I like Jones and i'll give a pass for this past season but I pay money to watch good football with exciting players.
The clock is ticking ...
Paco

Anonymous said...

Previous anon is correct about Jones. There are two camps that I see regarding Jones first year performance. One camp is simply saying that so far Jones has not performed. For wise opinions seek Carm Carteri. He has said on the cage that the riders are no better off than they were at the start of last year and I agree. Very little has been proven. There simply is not continuity yet. Some good athletes to be sure but not a team. I did not have unrealistic expectations for the first year of the rebuild and I do not expect the team to perform better than 500 next year. One has to be diligent and look at how good Calgary, Edmonton, B.C. and even Winnipeg are right now. Anyone thinks the riders are near that performance level are crazy. Jones has two more years to bring the riders up to par and he will need at least that much time.

The second camp assumes Jones will suddenly bring championships to SK. You know the "In Jones we trust" folks. I appreciate optimists and I am in Jones corner at this time and will be after a second sub par year so long as progress is made with the team. But I daresay that blind trust is never a good thing. Fans have every right to lay fair criticism on Jones doorstep. His first year in the GM role proved to be substandard. It looks like a mess really.

Bart in Regina

Anonymous said...

Take away Bo Levi Mitchell or Mike Reilly from the Stamps and Eskimos then the Riders might have a chance for a play-off spot in 2017. But unless these guys get hurt badly and Wally's Lions get worse, the Riders will compete against the Bombers in the west for 4th place. Without Durant, 5th place is all but assured.

Anonymous said...

Yes your mother in law is correct, Durant should go because the Riders depend on him too much.
Also the Penguins should get rid of Crosby and the Oilers should get rid of McDavid for the same reason.
Not sure of your logic here Rod.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a coach who makes an honest assessment is not what we want in Sask.
We need a coach who will BS us and pump his own tires to make us feel good.
...Sarcasm off.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused by the Oilers comment. I don't think you actually watched the game going by what you wrote. What I saw was a horribly reffed game that got out of control because the refs were bad. Any game where tempers flare like this can always be partially attributed to the refs losing control.

I thought you were knowledgeable about hockey. If you actually watched that game and came away with what you wrote I basically question everything you've ever written on hockey.

Anonymous said...

Good win for the Oilers last night. It's good to see them finally standing up for themselves and not letting bottom of the barrel teams like Phoenix push them around. All those teams down south like Anaheim, LA, San Jose have been playing this style of hockey for years and nobody complains. So sorry Rod, I have disagree with you that Edmonton is playing crap hockey. Time to fight fire with fire. If somebody takes a run at one of your top players you have to fire back and stand up for yourself.

-Barry

Rod Pedersen said...

I saw enough.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you have to do to get into the owners box in Glendale, hey Rod?

There's a reason the Oilers are tied for first in the Pacific, right now. Like Barry said, they've finally got the combination of size and skill that LA, ANA & SJ have had for years. As far as the 3rd period last night, try to be somewhat objective. OEL hit Hendricks in the most vulnerable place on the ice, no call. Hanzal broke his stick on Letestu, no call. OEL dropped like he got shot (did a much better acting job than Smith did in the second period, he needs to work on that) after Kassian hit him, but never left the ice. They should also find a spine for Duclair, who wanted nothing to do with Kassian and had to let the oldest guy on the ice wrestle him. Goes back to that same thing where all the boys will go to the wall for each other. That doesn't appear to be the case in AZ.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget folks Pedersen media has lots of ties to the current Coyotes ownership group, and when a team like the Oilers comes in to their barn with all the Oiler fans and kicks the crap out of them, Roddy gets upset. It's his blog and he can write what he pleases.

Anonymous said...

Did an Oilers fan just compare themselves to Ana, SJ & LA???? Funniest thing i've read in a long time.

Could the Oilers beat those teams in a 7 game series? Everyone knows that answer.

Anonymous said...

Rod is right on the money about the cheap and dangerous cross-check in last nights game. The action by any one player will always reflect badly on the coach and a team's culture and the Oilers need to clean up their act or clean house!! For example, you would never see a player do what Kassian did last night on a John Paddock coached team. It would not be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Check the facts. Reilly and Harris were not instant starters. Not even close.
Getting rid of Durant because we rely on him to much is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Maybe we should get rid of Labatte and Best even if they are healthy; last season proved we had relied on them too much. Is that why Chick is gone, because we relied on him too much? Relying on one player too much does not speak badly about that player but rather speaks badly about the GM and coach who have been unable to find reliable backups. In this case, speaks badly about Jones. Every team wants a QB that they can rely on heavily. We have one in Durant. But he will be gone and our coach and GM will remain though he was anything but reliable in any position last season.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rod!

Anonymous said...

Yup, agree with above comments that your 'bush league' comment should be backed with some examples of what was actually bush league.

I am a Season tickets holder who did renew, but if new stadium wasn't here, or if there wasn't a wait list, I would have taken a break and only attend a game or two.

Anonymous said...


14 - The crap the Edmonton Oilers pulled last night in Arizona was bush league and shows they may not be going anywhere as an organization. No class.

You're letting your affiliations influence your opinions, just like you do with the Riders.

M. Christmas

Anonymous said...

Of course Rod has his biases. He was advocating for Jeremy O'Day's hiring as GM of the Riders because he's a member of the Old Boys Club and that was their preferred choice. Rod's been successful in this business because he knows where to brown nose and where to lay on the heat. You won't get anywhere making enemies in broadcasting. He acts like he's got a hate on for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Kelly McCrimmon but in reality there's a grudging respect (which Rod mentioned as much back on Monday).

Anonymous said...

I checked news sources including local Arizona ones and none mentioned any "bush league" things at all. They even had Ekman-Larson quotes and all he said was the Oilers did some good things and the Coyotes didn't. No mention whatsoever of any dirty play or anything. Did your buddy down in Arizona tell you to put that comment in your column today? Truly baffling.

Anonymous said...

Where do I sign up for the Young Boy's Club ??

Anonymous said...

Huge DD fan here. 100% feel he gets wayyy too much flak from the haters, who are piling on again during this contract situation. Mostly the same people who always crapped on him even though he proves them wrong time and again.

All that said, as I try to take emotion out of this, its getting pretty simple to see where things are at: Jones has a very rigid salary cap strategy, that he wont budge on and rightfully so. DD has pretty steep salary expectations, and rightfully so. Hes got the experience and ability to lead any team on this league. Hell, nobody seems to balk at MATT NICHOLS repotedely looking for 400k after having one decent year. If hes worth 400, DD is still worth twice that.

The problem is this - DD is still BY FAR the best known option for the Riders and DD knows it. Sure jones could have plenty of unknown prospects, but plugging a prospect in at qb to lead a young, rebuilding team is almost surely going to significantly lengthen the time the rebuild will take. Jones seems to be okay with that approach.

Anonymous said...

In that Regina is without any doubt an Oiler town, going back to the Gretzky days, it must be conceded that Rod's decision to make a criticism of the Oilers in his column took enormous courage. I bet there was more than a few Oiler caps flying in the air today as heads were exploding.

John Knight said...

It's obvious Rod that you didn't watch the Oiler/Coyotes game last night. The Oilers played a good clean hard hitting game and proved they belong in the division leaders. As far as bush league, maybe some good old hard hitting is required in some places when liberties are taken against some of the young stars like McDavid. Their are a lot of bully teams in the pacific division and you have to fight fire with fire. I believe you in most cases but in this one, you are 100% WRONG

Anonymous said...

Joe Sakic said Jost will be in Regina if they get the bid hey...was this before or after we were sitting last in the league, things change and as if he even knows...if Jost goes to camp and is awesome then of course he would send him to help Regina rather then the club he manages that needs any help possible...gawd your a fool. Also another point is that this is Sakic's fourth year and pretty much has made no progress at all so what if he is fired does that still land you Jost...duh. All you people that remark about being a gm from your parents basement make you sound as smart as that sounds...dumb comment for dumb people.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Pats, Jost is 19 next year and will easily make the line up if Rene Bourque can.

Anonymous said...

If the Pats do to the Warriors or Wheat Kings what Edmonton did to Arizona last night, you are pumping Regina's tires. FACT!

Anonymous said...

Roddy I love it. People read your column and some are haters but they comment. That's good. Pats win the Memorial Cup the next two years. Book it people. The Pats are champs!

Anonymous said...

"Canada's team"? Give your head a shake.

Anonymous said...

The Sound FX on the NFL website is excellent and this week's features on running backs Freeman in Atlanta and Elliot in Dallas are amazing. Can those two run!! The one on DE Clowney is wonderful too.

Anonymous said...

I have had season tickets for over 30 years and am seriously considering giving them up after next season if I don't see major improvement. It's just too much money to spend to be frustrated every game. And, without DD, it is highly unlikely we will even be close to competitive. Jones seems to think he is some kind of football genius but if last season is any indication, he is a very long way from a genius. If he really thinks that he can have a winning team with some other team's backup or a pure raw CFL rookie QB, he has a big problem.

Anonymous said...

I gave up my season tickets as soon as Jones started his negative comments about resigning Darian. I will not be a season ticket holder again, until Jones is gone.

Anonymous said...

Agreed...It's about time the Oil stepped up to protect their players...Grybas hit wasn't even close to a head shot!! You want to talk about class Rod...think of that nice cheating scandal that happened with the Riders this year... Just saying

Parkside said...

I was part of the silent protest I suppose. Waiting until the last minute to renew my seats. Was really hoping a DD signing before hand. But in the end I need to go with the early bird price. Don't count on the seats being full win or lose for too long. If the ugliness continues in 2017, the novelty of new digs will last for only so long.

Anonymous said...

over 1,000 person wait list for season tickets, so you not renewing is a blessing for a lucky person this season

Anonymous said...

Where is this magic waiting list? Please advise.

Anonymous said...

Great blog as always Rod! Still hoping the Riders somehow land James Franklin to be the future of the franchise!

Anonymous said...

The waiting list for Rider season tickets is 6100

John Knight said...

Go ahead and give up your season tickets. It may shorten the list a couple and you won't be missed but you will be on the waiting list looking in for a long time and will kick your ass for letting the tickets go. LOL