Realty One

Monday, January 9, 2017


Keith Hershmiller Photography

1 - SCOUT'S HONOUR:  Something struck me when I walked into the Scouts/Media Room at the Brandt Centre prior to Friday night's Pats game against Calgary.  There was a larger-than-normal contingent of hockey men congregated in the bowels of the arena and many of them were wearing navy winter coats.

As it turns out, the Regina Pats were hosting all of their regional scouts for the weekend for mid-season meetings.  They were all smiling, but that wasn't astounded me.  No, what struck me was that these are all the same guys that they've had for years.  Head Scout Dale McMullin has been with the club since 2011.  Winnipeg's Russ Kutzak and Vancouver's Rob Gallamore have been bird-dogging for the Pats for several years as well, going back to the prior ownership.  The same goes for a whole host of these guys.

Doesn't this strike you as almost odd?  In less than three years of ownership by the Queen City Sports & Entertainment Group, the Pats are the #1 team in the nation for the first time since the inception of the rankings and have a consecutive sellout streak of six games.

What it should tell you is that the main ingredient for a winning program is culture, and that it starts at the top.  I was chatting about this with my brother on Sunday and he mentioned that fans would likely assume the entire scouting staff was purged with the sale of the team.

But it hasn't.  And there's a huge lesson to be learned there.

And kudos to the scouts, who knew what they were doing all along.

2 - WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY?;  I missed Saturday's game due to a family supper but it sounds like I didn't miss much. The arch-rival Moose Jaw Warriors jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the Brandt Centre and cruised to - I'm told - a relatively easy 4-1 victory.  In the process, they handed the Pats their first regulation time home loss of the season.

Pats analyst Jared Dumba will join us on Monday's SportsCage to break down the loss but the reports I've gotten from fans in attendance are alarming.  Perhaps the Pats - like me - thought the Warriors raised the white flag when they dealt sniper Nikita Popugaev to Prince George on Thursday.  Clearly Moose Jaw had other ideas.

It's going to be a very interesting 24 hours as the WHL's Trade Deadline is on Tuesday and the rumour is the Pats are still searching for a goaltender to compliment starter Tyler Brown.  Head Coach & GM John Paddock has certainly been busy as of late and I was dismayed to see gritty forwards Luc Smith and Rykr Cole shipped out of town a week ago.

When Regina hosted Brandon on December 27, the Pats' third line had as many goals as the Wheat Kings' top line.  Production certainly wasn't a problem.  Was chemistry?

Of course the naysayers pop out of the woodwork each time the Pats lose a game but folks, they're averaging one regulation time loss per month.  As this train picks up steam, they're going to gain their share of bandwagoners but also their share of skeptics.

But Paddock's earned the right not to be questioned, and I've never been in his dressing room.

3 - DURANT STUFF: The CFL rumour mill was set ablaze late last week when Sportsnet's Arash Madani reported the Roughriders have tabled a new offer to pending free agent Darian Durant.  Madani said the offer is for $300,000 base with incentives to get up to $400,000 in Year 1 with a second year added on.

However team officials tell me those numbers are nowhere near accurate.

And then Friday afternoon, TSN's Farhan Lalji - presumably after speaking with Durant's agent Dan Vertlieb - reported the new offer is actually $50,000 less in guaranteed money and $75,000 less of a signing bonus.

There was also a report by's Justin Dunk that the Riders and Montreal Alouettes had engaged in trade talks for Durant but the furor around that one died down almost as quickly as it arose.  The Riders told me that news is almost six weeks old and it came out of the Alouettes investigating Durant's health status and why he didn't play in Game 18 at BC.

Nothing to see there.

4 - THE RIDERS WANT DURANT:  That was underscored by Roughriders officials whom I spoke with throughout the weekend.  YES, they have offered Durant an incentive-laden deal based on starts and playing time but, as I was told, "We are more than happy to pay Darian really good money but he has to earn it by being on the field."

The club is steadfast in its refusal to guarantee Durant anywhere near the type of money he's earned the past few seasons.  "We can't tie that much money up in one position like what happened in 2014, 2015 and 2016," the source said.  "How did that work out?"

Not very well.

I was also told that last year when they re-structured Durant's contract face-to-face, they offered a multi-year deal but Darian preferred to keep it to just 2016.  The Riders feel they weren't the ones to turn this into an adversarial stand-off and I'm still not sure that it is.

Without having spoken to Durant - but having been through this before with Henry Burris in 2005 - I can only imagine that Darian is hesitant to sign a deal based on starts because there's no guarantee he'll be under centre even if he's healthy coming out of training camp.  That's how Burris felt way back when, knowing Roy Shivers' and Danny Barrett's love for Nealon Greene at the time.

So Darian Durant will do what anybody would do if they were offered a substantial paycut: see what else is out there.

So again, it appears we'll have no resolution to this situation for at least a month.

5 - WORLD JUNIOR THOUGHTS:  It seems Canadians would have no problem with the shootout in international compeition if we'd actually beaten the USA in Thursday's gold medal final ... But but but It's Our Game! Isn't Canada guaranteed of winning these tournaments?  That was a silly, flimsy marketing slogan at the time and still is ...  Don Cherry blasted Hockey Canada during Coach's Corner Saturday night for cutting the Pats' Sam Steel and furthermore, holding it in Montreal where tickets were over-priced and fans stayed away.  No argument here, because they could've used Steel in the shootout and I still maintain Regina's Connor Hobbs would've been a difference-maker on the blueline.

6 - THEY'RE STILL SCREWING IT UP!:  NFL officials were red-faced Saturday night on Paul Richardson's touchdown reception in the second quarter which opened the scoring for Seattle in their home wildcard playoff game against Detroit.  Richardson clearly twisted the defender's head around by grabbing his facemask with his right hand while making a remarkable one-handed touchdown catch with the other.

"Unfortunately that's not reviewable," NBC's Chris Collinsworth said of the offensive facemask.

But, all scoring plays are reviewable so shouldn't replay officials have picked that up at second glance?  I've seen goals in hockey reversed because video review detected an infraction earlier in the shift.  The same concept should apply to football.

As it turns out, it does.

"I asked the officials at field level how that touchdown was allowed to stand," said sideline reporter Michele TaFoya Saturday night.  "Their response was 'We screwed up'."

Great.  Lions fans are howling that officiating cost them the game but in the end, they were no match for the Seahawks.

But the idea of "getting it right" by the addition of video review has now fallen victim to human error just like it was before video replay was even invented.

7 - COLD ENOUGH FOR YA?:  If it wasn't for my wife, I wouldn't even leave the house on these frigid winter weekends in Saskatchewan.  I don't know whether to thank her, or blame her.

8 - BLADES FOR SALE?:  Where there's smoke, there's fire and the rumour of the Saskatoon Blades being for sale just won't go away even though it was just 2013 when the Priestner family purchased the club from Jack Brodsky.

A month ago I floated the rumour on Twitter and was promptly scolded by Blades General Manager Colin Priestner.  I still have the Direct Message he sent where he hotly denied the story.

However the Saskatoon Star Phoenix ran a big feature on Saturday in which it was mentioned Saskatchewan Rush owner Bruce Urban might be in line to purchase the Blades and the Alberta millionaire - who was raised in Regina - did anything but throw water on the story.

If it's not true, then it's a shame that this is just a vicious rumour.  However if it turns out to be true, it'll be a huge, huge story.

Meanwhile there's trouble in P.A. where the Raiders are languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and drawing crowds of less than 2,000.  My friends in P.A. fear that the team is in serious trouble and could make a return to the SJHL.  At this rate, they could be the franchise which moves to Nanaimo, BC.  The City of Nanaimo is holding a referendum to see if citizens will support the construction of a WHL-calibre arena.

9 - NHL:  With so much going on around here, I've only watched the NHL with a casual glance but living in the 306, we're sandwiched with news about the Maple Leafs and the Oilers.  One has to wonder if the Toronto Maple Leafs are ahead of the Edmonton Oilers in their rebuild?  The Leafs are 9th in the Eastern Conference with 44 points while the Oilers are fifth in the Western Conference with 49.

However the Oilers' performance in last week's loss at Columbus had to set off quite a few alarm bells.  Coach Todd McLellan said some of his big names were invisible in the game and I asked SportsCage NHL insider Rich Sutter who Todd may have been referring to.  "Just about everybody," Sutter advised.

It's too early to tell who's-ahead-of-who, but the final standings will tell the tale.

10 - HUG A COP:  Monday, January 9, 2017 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day!  Get out today and hug a cop, and tell them you appreciate all they do!




Anonymous said...

Just don't lunge toward a cop for a hug, tell them first what you're doing

Anonymous said...

When the Hell will we ever hear the end of Sam Steel not making Team Canada on here . And now old man Cherry spoke up about it and started another spark Get over it Pedersen , Scruffy and whoever else writes on here . Enough is Enough .

Anonymous said...

Once again...a great column my friend! Thanks for taking the time for keeping us minions updated...very much appreciated. See ya Saturday Big Man!


Anonymous said...

The Pats got out-worked (re: out-skated and out-hustled) and out-played (re: 1 on 1 battles) for the first 40 minutes against Moose Jaw on Saturday. The speed and grit lost from Cole, Smith and Woods (more speed and heart than grit) has not been made up from Sloboshan and it was noticeable Saturday night. Those three brought a level of energy and toughness to the line up that appeared to be lost on Saturday.

The Pats turned it up in the third period, but they still had difficulties creating quality scoring chances. And when they did, Sawchenko shut the door. Tyler Brown played great and did the best he could under the circumstances.

While I agree that John Paddock, for the most part, deserves to not be questioned, the Regina Pats, under his tenor, have not won anything yet. Yes he took the second youngest team in the league last year and almost knocked off the Memorial Cup host Red Deer Rebels in the second round of the playoffs and yes the Pats have been the #1 ranked team in the CHL this year for most of the season, he still hasn't lead the Pats to any WHL Championships or Memorial Cups, so I don't think he's 100% earned the right to not be questioned yet. I believe greatly in John Paddock, but after watching the games on the weekend, I'm not sure if the team is quite where it needs to be yet. There's still more work to be done.

Agree with you about Hobbs and Steel, they definitely could have helped Team Canada. Also, I believe that Championship games should not be settled with a shoot out. Regular season is fine, but they should play 5 on 5 OT during Championship / Medal games until a winner is decided.

Anonymous said...

Speaking from firsthand experience, I can assure you, do not just randomly go up to a cop in uniform and give them a hug.

Say Thanks, and offer to shake hands but for the love of God, don't go in for the hug.

Anonymous said...

Durant stuff: Good on management to offer the deal with full payout IF Durant plays. It is true that Durant earned near a million dollars while injured for almost two entire seasons. What if that happened again? It leaves the team in a very difficult spot.
I am in managements corner on this one.

Bart in Regina.

Rod Pedersen said...

You get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that previous ownership was actually responsible for the futility of the Pats for the last decade? Wow, they had us all convinced how great they were.

Isn't one of them a hairdresser or something now?

Parkside said...

Although I haven't lived in PA for nearly 20 years, its still 'home' and the Raiders are still my team. It would be heartbreaking if the Raiders moved. Theres literally nothing going on there though. The pen and the Raiders. Thats about it. Heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Ya the previous owner is a hairdresser

Anonymous said...

That would be awesome if Bruce Urban were to purchase the Blades. Saskatoon is a hockey town and the Blades for years have been the victim of terrible marketing. With the job that he's done with the Rush, I'm sure he'd put the right people in place to put a winner on the ice and get 6000+ per night into Sask Place. You said it yourself Rod, culture starts at the top and the Blades could use some of that. Not that that's an indictment of Dean Brock or anything, it's just that the Blades should be a bigger deal than they are.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Jordan Eberle is one of the main underachievers for the Oilers. People around here will steadfastly deny that and call me a lunatic. Eberle is only an elite player in Edmonton and Regina, and the Oil city is starting to realise the truth.

J FRENCH said...

why does it hurt the Riders if DD gets paid a big dollar while injured? Not cap wise it doesnt. He hits the 6 game and it doesnt count against the cap. But if it is a question of incentive based to protect against injury and DD is worried about no guarantees with playing time, wouldnt an incentive based one games on active roster do the trick?

As for shootouts and not caring if we won, I disagree. Shootouts always suck. I just care a bit less when I don't care about the outcome as much. The US semi-final win for example. I didnt voice my displeasure because I didnt really care about the outcome, but I think it is a lousy way to end a hockey game.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with the Riders financial approach with Durant, if the numbers are true. Earn your money.

But if they want him back so bad why do the keep talking from behind the curtain and as a Rider source? Are your sources actually front office or some guy you had coffee with that was on the board 50 years ago?

Why doesn't Jones and Murphy actually come out and say it.

Anonymous said...

Why should Durant get paid a big buck if he's hurt? Don't we live in a world where people should earn their money?

The sticking point is, Durant wants a large chunk of the money as a signing bonus which means its paid! and if he gets hurt that money is gone and already counted against the cap.

Ryan said...

Incorrect. Bonuses are counted against the cap and the injured list does not grant relief for this. American players want a large bonus as it is not taxed the same as salary. DDs previous contract was almost entirely consisting of a bonus. That's why when he got hurt they got relief from putting him on the injury list

swift_fox said...

DD has earned the right to have some guaranteed money. He was our best player behind an awful offensive line. Murphy or whoever should talk about the negotiations openly and not hide behind closed doors. They as a mgmt team performed miserabley this year and yet they want to let our best option at QB walk. Does that make any sense

Anonymous said...

Did anyone read Priestner's quotes in that article. "It's the fakest biggest rumour ever!" Can you believe a WHL General Manager talks like this? Honestly, the WHL needs to step in here and lead the sale to new owners. The Priestner plan hasn't worked, in fact it's failed miserably with no end in sight. I think fans in Stoon deserve better.

Anonymous said...

Durant likely wants to go somewhere where he can leave his personal belongings in his locker without them growing legs

Anonymous said...

Darian was awful behind a bad offensive line. So hes going to go to Montreal. A team that gave up a league high in sacks last season.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatley I think it is just wishful thinking on behalf of many Blades season ticket holder that the team would be for sale. Absentee owners and having the owners son as GM does not work as Regina hockey fans know too well. I know there has been talk of groups wanting to buy it, but if the owner doesn't want to sell then it doesn't matter who wants it. Not sure who your source was when you tweeted it but would guess it would be from someone who wants to buy.

We have been season ticket holders for over 15 years and many in our section who have been there longer than us, will not renew if they miss the playoffs again. We have not decided yet, but it kills me that we are even thinking of not renewing. WHL hockey is still great but you need to give fans some value for their money and at the moment we are not getting it.

Growing up I always cheered for the Pats so guess I will have to do that for a couple years :)

Mur in Saskatoon

The Professor said...

The CFL should sort out a cba with their player's union whereby all signing bonus's are illegal. To be fair for all players in a salary cap system, the cap on money should be such that the only thing involved is the actual salary. Injury would not matter that much as those on the 6 day or more have their salary excluded from the cap.

By the way, rather than hug a cop today just buy them a donut and hot coffee.

Anonymous said...

Would Hobbs /Steel be difference makers if they played for some other team? Or is it Pats bias?

Anonymous said...

I have said it before and I will say it again. Saskatoon Blades have got to go . They have not improved for over 15 years and people are completely fed up with it. I was a season ticket holder for 12 years after they opened the new arena and then I could see things going downhill with no chance of any major changes other than new ownership which I think is even worse than the previous. I still say an AHL Franchise is the answer and many people that I know strongly agree with me. The Rush have proven that a Professional team was needed in Saskatoon and another one being Hockey would probably work wonders.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this was a Struch deal, Paddock didn't want to move Cole or Woods.

Anonymous said...

Saskatoo doesn't care about the Blades, besides they will be getting an NHL team within 5 years.

Anonymous said...

How about them Warriors they have kind of come up from nowhere and surprised the hell out of Regina Media. I don't think Paddock has been fooled but the media certainly has. Let's hope the Pats get the Memorial Cup next year and the Warriors win the WHL. That would be lots of fun....a Pats vs Warriors Memorial Cup final OMG...start writing about that.

Anonymous said...

Hobbs was invited by Hockey Canada because he gets flustered easily.

Chilliwack is being discussed as a potential landing spot for a WHL team again.

Anonymous said...

Saskatoon will not be getting an NHL team in 5 , 10 or 15 years as along as Gary Bettman is at the reigns .Don't you get it , no longer is it the NHL it is now the United States Hockey League according to Bettman and besides Saskatoon is not big enough in Canada for a franchise. Like the Anon above said Saskatoon deserves an AHL Franchise and I agree .

Anonymous said...

The AHL in Saskatoon! What a joke!

Anonymous said...

City of Saskatoon needs a CFL team pronto! Wake up commissioner Orridge. They would be a great addition, build your stadium asap. Private ownership with big pockets ready willing and able to succeed. Possiblity of reconfiguring their current hockey stadium to a CFL venue, engineering the blue print not impossible by gutting the lower bowl to regulation CFL field. New hockey stadium down town the way to go for that city. Get it done.

Anonymous said...

Those former Pats owners deserve the hairdressing gig after all the crap they pulled with good people around here. You all know what I'm referring to.

On a side note, happy birthday to Kevin Dureau! Boy I miss those days when Kevin had the Press Box as the hottest sports bar in Regina. T-Sack managing the place, former cover girl Thies serving the beers, huge Friday lunch buffet, George Strait by popular demand on the stereo, etc etc. Man those were the glory days.

Anonymous said...

Andre, Andre, Andre Proulx, yeah Andre!
Andre the best ref in the CFL bar none!

Anonymous said...

Where is Thies? I heard somebody finally latched on her. She is/was a little smokeshow!

Anonymous said...

Listening to the post game show Friday night and Paddock wasn't happy with the win over the Hitmen and stated if played like that against Moose Jaw they would have been down 5-0. He may have had the score wrong but they did, and they were... Paddock knows his stuff and he knows they need to be better. The big question this time of year is what moves need to be made to get there and then it becomes a matter of if the moves they make actually did help or hurt the team.

Anonymous said...

Paddock most certainly can be questioned and should be. Although the hype is he is responsible for the turnaround, it actually happened before he came here i.e. Steel, Wagner, Brooks, Smith, Harrison, Schoiler, Hunt, Burroughs, Gay and many more. Malcolm Cameron won the last Division Pennant for the club. Paddock was given the assets to trade so as to get where they are today. Sorry but those are facts.

Last season we gave up a kings ransom for Sanford who did little in the playoffs, especially in a non contender year. Those assets should have been held on to and do it now, and now he probably can't. You're nothing until you win a championship.

I hope Paddock is not being unduly influenced by his assistant on trades. The Sloboshan deal sort of smells funny. Losing a Cole and Woods for Sloboshan is iffy. Losing Smith for anything is poor judgement. We lost all our grit. A reported possible trade between Regina/Tri-Cities seems to have died and I wonder how much Struch had to do with that and one of the players named. If the Pats aren't in the WHL final at least but more properly win it all, this will have been a monumental waste of a season.

Do what has to be done Paddock. You won't be judged favourably on what you didn't win!

Anonymous said...

Riley Woods was a >% points per game player, he's not good enough to be on the best team in the Country.

Greg Adleman

Anonymous said...

Well then, if that's the case Pats need to get rid of Struch asap if he's implying these trades! Can't have two different directions colliding. Paddock in charge! Struch a underling! This late season bullsh*t trade deadline only does damage to the overall team season cohesion.

Anonymous said...

The Pats have yet to prove they're the best team in the country. It's not the first time a highly rated (CHL top 10) didn't win two rounds and were out early. Saskatoon in their Memorial Cup year is a prime example. This CHL top 10 ratings means nothing whatsoever. It takes a lot of heart grit and soul to win something. The Pats didn't show any on Saturday night. Maybe they don't have any?

gary f said...

now that the riders have resigned tyler crapigna as their kicker, what do you think they will do with van glyswick, possibly a trade to bc who now needs a placekicker unless they plan to go with paul mccallum again.

Anonymous said...

Only a team that wins 100% of their games can claim to be #1.

John Knight said...

CFL team in Saskatoon. LOL
Blades mgt LOL
Pats best team in WHL LOL
Van Glyswick to BC for an impact player LOL
Priestner good GM for Blades LOL

Anonymous said...

Keep Van Glyswick, package deal Crapigna and assortment of others with the Roughriders ending up with Franklin. A multiple team block buster trade for the CFL. Everyone comes out smelling roses.

Anonymous said...

Durant got hurt because of poor offensive line, he has to hurry his throws, and was hit early and often, why should Durant not get guaranteed money. Riders coaching staff wants to play tryouts for 18 games, gambling with Durants health and future earnings.
If i was Durant i would not budge from the guarantee money, maybe riders will actually go out and sign decent
Offensive lineman to protect him.

Anonymous said...

Van glyswick can punt. Bartel is expendable

The less money Durant gets means jones being able to put better talent around him.

Anonymous said...

Bartel was the best punter last year in the whole CFL. So he is a keeper.

Anonymous said...

I heard rod that for world Junior it's a lot of politics. They are allowed 9 players OHL, 7 players WHL, 7 players QHL, 2 colleges.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Thies got married this past summer. Rod has been heartbroken ever since.

Bill Salloum said...

After years of playoff ineptitude I have lost interest in the Blades. It would not sadden me one bit to see the Blades fold or move and have an AHL team takes its place. Even if an AHL team isn't winning, it still offers the perpetual fascination of its connection with its NHL parent, player movements, prospects, etc.

Anonymous said...

CFL team in Regina. LOL

John Knight said...

The Blades have sucked since Molikin was coach and GM and Priestner has managed to keep the team at the bottom with poor drafts and trades. If they want to get better, get rid of family mgt team