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Monday, April 24, 2017

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


WEST PALM BEACH, FL: From a Holiday Inn near the I-95 along Florida's Atlantic coastline, we bring you this week's Monday Morning Goalie:

Terry Bulych
1 - SAD NEWS: The Roughrider family lost a key member over the weekend. Current Saskatchewan Roughriders Alumni President Terry Bulych passed away at the age of 66 after a bout with pneumonia, and a battle with cancer. The Regina product played at Weber State and was a fullback with the Roughriders from 1973-75, being named a Conference All-Star.

The news of Terry's passing spread quickly amongst the Rider family, with former Rider President Jim Hopson writing, "Damn good man. He did a lot for the alumni ... really brought it together. He had a vision."

Rider Radio analyst and proud alum Carm Carteri mentioned, "A Regina boy who was a good hockey, football and baseball player. He was one of the first guys back in the day who really pushed the weights thus earning the nickname 'Bull'. Terry was a major cog in helping brand the Rider Alumni over his five years as President. He was a northend star growing up who gave me hope of playing the CFL."

Our condolences go out to the Bulych family.

2 - ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?: Gridiron talk will dominate this blog over the next several days as the Roughriders stage their annual Spring Minicamp at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL. CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder and I are holed up down just down the road in West Palm Beach for a couple of days before making the hour's drive north on Tueday for what could be a carnival.

The Riders have been holding spring camps in Florida since 2013 but none have been as hotly anticipated as this one.

It's all because of the signing of veteran NFL quarterback Vince Young on March 9, and media outlets from across the USA quickly confirmed their attendance. When I left the Queen City on the weekend, all the football types had a smile and a twinkle in their eye as they advised, "Enjoy the circus!"

But Rider boss Chris Jones isn't interested in running a sideshow. In fact, once that first football flies in the air at Dodgertown on Tuesday morning, it'll be all business. And the second year Head Coach & GM isn't prepared to cut Young any slack despite his gaudy resume.

“He’s like everybody else: He’d better show good,” Jones told Riderville.com. “There’s no room for error.”

All eyes are on Vince.

3 - ABOUT THE CAMP: There's been all kinds of info out there about what this minicamp will entail. I've read that 40 players will be in attendance, then 100, and now the latest report says 80 players will be strutting their stuff here in the Florida sunshine. The latter number seems to make the most sense.

And while we'll be endlessly scrutinizing every pass - and dropped pass - bull rush and missed block on our daily SportsCage shows from Vero Beach, we have to remember not to put too much stock into what we see.

For instance, no one will make this year's club based on what happens over the three day camp. But make no mistake, dozens of players won't make the club based on their performance.

As the old scouting saying goes, "The decisions always make themselves."

Last year at Dodgertown, we mentioned that Justin Cox was the best defensive back but now they're looking for his replacement. Rookie Canadian linebacker Dillon Grondon showed enough in Florida to earn an invite to main camp in Saskatoon and wound up making the team.

But I earmarked Marquez Clark as one of the top receivers last year at this time, and he didn't even make it out of training camp.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (Chris Jones), and it's tremendously exciting to be here and follow the players' fortunes!

The SportsCage will be broadast daily from Dodgertown on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on 620 CKRM at 4:00 pm Sask Time.

4 - LUC'S LOCKER: As mentioned, former Roughrider defensive lineman and current CKRM analyst Luc Mullinder is back for another year and provided this minicamp primer for the MMG:

LM: You've gotta DREAM BIG, make sacrifices, and get a little lucky sometimes in order to make it to this stage.  People often ask me, "What was it like being a professional athlete?"

My response has become quick and easy these days. I'll look whoever is asking me in the eyes and say, "Imagine everything that you think it is, and multiply it by two.  It's that cool."

The problem is that the journey is one that not a lot of people understand, and it comes lined with so many disapointments.  The guys who do manage to make it to a professional roster are literally the one-percenters.

For some, this camp will be something that they can look back on as the start of something special in their lives.  However for most of the others, this camp will unfortunately become another setback in the journey.

All one has to do is look at the cross section of quarterbacks that will be working out here come Tuesday to see how different these individual paths can be.  The first three guys that will come to mind are KG, Brandon Bridge, and Vince Young.  It's crazy how different each of these three players are but yet here they at the same point, competing for the same position.

That battle is going to be talked about all the way through June until someone takes the reins.  But don't let the conviluted situation at the QB distract you from the many other intriguing things that mini-camp will have to offer.

People don't talk about it much but the Riders use mini-camp to take a hard look at the guys in the trenches.  Tom Brady could be at the helm of the Green and White and it wouldn't mean a darn thing if the O-line can't protect him.

To me, that's the real interesting watch: What is this offensive line going to look like?  There may be a couple of interesting finds down here in Florida and it would seem to behoove Saskatchewan to have the O-line group be the most competitive of them all headed into main camp in the summer.  The success of whichever QB wins the job depends on the hoggies ability to keep him upright.  I'm actually pretty excited to see how things play out.

In terms of sheer numbers, I've heard that there may be 30 guys at mini-camp, or 300.  It wouldn't surprise me if the group was as big as last year (a little over 100 showed up) because realistically, the recruiting and scouting process never stops for any professional organization.

For those who stop by the camp, things are going to be moving about 100 miles an hour.  It may be confusing at times, but for the guys on the field, it will feel just like home.

Hopefully the guys get some good rest over the next couple of days.  There's a lot of big dreams on the line in Dodgertown.

5 - ANSWERING QUESTIONS: If you've been following along on this blog over the past several months, you'll know I've been speaking to many crowds about the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders. Here are some of the questions - and answers - which were posed at Friday's Executive Club luncheon at the Conexus Art Centre:

Can Vince Young get it done? Of course he can. His physical tools have never been in question. The knock on him has always been his drive. Through his college and pro careers, everything came easily to him because of his natural gifts. But when the going got tough, he vamoosed. And as we've recounted many times over the past six weeks, he's got a "do-over" at the age of 33 and he doesn't want to live with any regrets. But whether the Riders like it or not, this minicamp is all about Vince Young. To the Riders it's not, but to everyone watching from the outside, it is.

What if Young can't get it done? The Riders aren't in as dire shape at the quarterback position as some would think if Young doesn't pan out. Kevin Glenn has shown an ability to win games and although he's never won the big one, that's not to say he never will. And veteran Brandon Bridge could be forgiven for coming into camp with a chip on his shoulder. He's been overlooked in this whole scenario but he's spent the winter training for this opportunity and plans to put his best foot forward starting Tuesday. Remember, Jim Popp thought Bridge could be "the next one" in Montreal and all he might need is the right opportunity.

How's the roster looking? It seems like a group of All Stars: At some positions, yes. Rider Hall of Famer Don Narcisse gave the receiver group a "10 out of 10" on the SportsCage on Friday and he'd know better than anyone. Unfortunately those vets won't be competing in Florida.

There are some big name players on the roster including Eddie Steele, Henoc Muamba, Willie Jefferson and Ed Gainey on defense. The offensive line will be sturdy if Brendon Labatte remains healthy and Josaih St. John takes the next step in his development.

But there have been holes created with the tragic loss of Joe McKnight and the NFL departures of Jeff Knox Jr. and Otha Foster.

There are plenty of jobs up for grabs and we'll start to get a look at the incumbents this week.

Are the Riders set up on the business side for this season? (This wasn't a surprising question to get from a group of Regina businessmen). I'd say that of course they are. The Riders know business. But it's tough to market a team with a losing record and that's been their task since the 2014 Banjo Bowl (10-35 since). If the Riders win and become a contender this year, all will be good. However if they're slow out of the gate and flounder, that will make everyone's jobs in the front office a lot tougher.

6 - THE BOYS WERE BACK IN TOWN: Our long-time close friend Jeff Armstead tied the knot with Karlee Goby at a beautiful wedding ceremony in tiny Claybank, SK on Saturday followed by the reception at the Goby farm north of Avonlea.

It was a joy to attend, and to speak at the supper about my relationship with Jeff.

And it was a Who's Who of the CFL in attendance with the likes of Darian Durant, Chris Getzlaf, Andy Fantuz, Scott Flory and Luc Mullinder. As many know, Jeff has been the proprietor of a variety of personal CFL websites over the years including Kerry Joseph, Geroy Simon and the guys listed previously.

It was fantastic to spend time with these guys, and not talk football.

Congrats to Jeff and Karlee Armstead!

7 - GO PATS GO: It was disappointing to leave the Regina Pats while they're on this remarkable playoff run but, obviously, I'm not complaining. This Florida trip is the highlight of my year.

But finally the City of Regina has gone googoo-gaga over the Pats. It seems one out of every three Facebook posts I read is all about the Queen City Kids.

They hardly panicked over Friday's 3-1 loss to Lethbridge in Game 1 of the WHL Eastern Conference Final on Friday, and everything stabilized after a 3-2 OT win in Game 2 on Saturday. Now the series heads to Lethbridge all tied up at 1-1.

Pats captain Adam Brooks proved his worth by scoring the winner Saturday night and has cemented his stature with some of the all-time Pats greats. He's become a household name in Southern Saskatchewan.

As former Rider Matt Dominguez is fond of saying, "The regular season makes All Stars but the playoffs make legends."

The better team should always win over the course of a seven game series and for that reason, I'm confident the Pats will move on to the WHL Final. But I'll be back for Game 7 and fully expect the series to go that far.

8 - STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: So now the Conference Semifinals are set. Nashville faces St. Louis and Edmonton takes on Anaheim in the West while in the East, it's the New York Rangers against Ottawa and Pittsburgh will face Washington.

For what it's worth, ESPN's Barry Melrose predicts the Rangers and Penguins to advance to the Eastern Final but I didn't catch his predictions for the West on the evening SportsCenter.

I'll take Nashville and Edmonton but even if the Oilers lose out to the Ducks, they're going to be back in the spring for many years to come.

------

THAT'S IT! TALK TO YOU TUESDAY FROM FLORIDA
RP
@rodpedersen
IG: rodpedersenofficial
SC: Pedersenmedia
www.realtyoneregina.com

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

CBC not showing Oilers Ducks games just shows what the Liberal CBC folk think of western Canada.

Anonymous said...

Nope not ready for football yet.....Go Pats Go!!!

Anonymous said...

*eye roll*

Yes, the CBC not broadcasting Oilers games is because the CBC hates Western Canada. Not because the rights holders (Rogers) would rather show the games (which will get massive ratings) on their own Sportsnet property. CBC controls nothing when it comes to the NHL.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are able to set your green glasses aside and give us an unbiased appraisal of what goes on down there.

Anonymous said...

I'm am not impressed that CBC chose not to show Game 6 of the Leafs vs Capitals. ARRRRGG

Rod Pedersen said...

^^^^^^ Highly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

He got married? He's a young guy he'll regret it.

Go Riders.

Anonymous said...

Ovie and the caps got it done, beat out the Canadian media and the leafs

Anonymous said...

Bang on...but we'll still hear about the Laffs every broadcast.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Enough hockey talk, bring on the football talk.

John Knight said...

This is a Rider blog and it is a Rider camp! What color glasses do you think Rod should be wearing? Are you related to Trump?

Anonymous said...

Man the broadcasters on Sportsnet and TSN might as well have been wearing black armbands this morning, to honour the passing of the Leafs playoff run....apparently there were other Canadian teams that either advanced, or got knocked out, but you'd never know it by watching these two "national" sports casts. Luckily though, with the Leafs out and the Blue Jays sucking, TSN & Sportsnet will try to get us all on the Raptors bandwagon

Anonymous said...

What, no pics of the beautiful Mrs Sportscage from the wedding? Or former RP.com cover girl Thies? Come on Rod, don't leave your loyal minions hanging like that!

Anonymous said...

To John Knight;

Just hoping for an objective appraisal rather than some cheerleading.
Are you related to Rachel Notley?

SWC

Anonymous said...

NHL Play-offs Round One was amazing to watch because of how close the games were and the record number of over-time games, but it is ironic that despite the close games there was not one game 7!

Anonymous said...

What's in the water Narcisse is drinking? We have a group of All-Stars???? Glenn was Nichols' backup who in turn was not good enough to be Reilly's backup when Jones was there. Steele started only 5 games he appeared in & Minter only 3. Our big RB signing wasn't Bell, as most expected, but Ottawa's # 4 on the depth chart. If Mr. Narcisse takes a good look @ the roster & the players signed off the free agent list he will see a lot of backups from other teams. All-Stars - how many have ever appeared on an All-Star list? Abou-Mechrek picked them for 4th as they stand today & he's a Rider guy. As for Glenn's winning ways, how many wins has he had the past 3 years - his record's awful & he's managed to be sub 500 for his lengthy career. If we are to return to our winning ways, Mr. Jones better find some talent in mini-camps & draft because our current All-Star team isn't going to cut it. Rose coloured glasses indeed. We were fed a lot of empty promises last year. Let's start by taking a realistic look at where we are at.

Anonymous said...

Color wearing - Blue/Gold with a W.
Trumps my uncle by marriage.

Anonymous said...

Go Ducks, not a fan but oiler fans are annoying already after winning 1 round .

Anonymous said...

Anyone thinking that they will ever get a fair, honest and objective opinion on any think to do with the riders or jones and murphy from this blog and comment section is day dreaming big time.

It never happens.

Perry Pachkowski said...

PATS should open up the Brandt center for games 3 and 4 on the big screen!Not all Pat fans have access!
GO PATS GO!

Anonymous said...

Narcisse said the receivers were a 10 out of 10. You didn't mention receivers once in your post. What kind of water are you drinking?

Anonymous said...

Narco gave the recieving corps a 10/10 rating, not the entire roster. He likely knows a bit about that, ya think?

Anonymous said...

#5 - doesnt matter whether its Young, Glenn, Bridge or someone else - they should be expected to put up numbers and wins that rival or exceed what would have been expected from Durant in Year two of the Jones regime.

That is in effect what Chris Jones stated to the rider organization, by releasing Durant when he did.

Jones position is that Durant was not worth even close to his salary expectations and that someone who costs less than Durant will be able to step in and produce the same or better outcome.

Its on Jones and his recruits to prove it now. Anything less is a Failure.

Anonymous said...


A Holiday Inn? Was the Motel 8 booked?

Anonymous said...

Yeah how in the world will the team ever live up to the outcomes we got with Durant lately? Average of 4 wins the last two seasons with him on the roster.

No question another 4 win year is a failure but 2013 playoffs DD was not walking out to open New Mosaic if we kept him around. Also I don't think it really matter who's at QB, the expectations are Grey Cup or bust for most rider fans most years.

Anonymous said...

In Rachel we trust.

Anonymous said...

Agreed

Anonymous said...

So, don't log on. See, it's just that easy.

Anonymous said...

I was responding to the "big names" like Steele on the roster which were mentioned. At 2nd look that came from elsewhere. Yes, we have good receivers but I would hardly call them a 10. They have potential but if you want to compare them to, say BC, with a top 3 of Arcenaux, Burnham & Williams they don't compare. For those who have said Carter is the best receiver in the CFL they should look at facts. In his 3 years in the league, his stats are almost identical to 6'5", 203 lb Tolliver, a virtual clone - nobody is calling him the best. Last year Carter signed for a reported $250K & this year he signs for 1/2 the money? That's a clear indication of the kind of interest he got from the NFL or the CFL. Of the others like Holley, Edwards & Collins they were good but hardly a Rogers, Walker or Daniels in their 1st year. Roosevelt is the 1 guy I see as having nothing to prove. Another Rider receiver was on the SportsCage with Rod recently & Fairholm's comment was this - good receivers but who's going to get them the ball. Precisely - doesn't matter much if the ball doesn't get there.

Anonymous said...

Never stay anywhere when the door opens up out to the parking lot

Anonymous said...

Four wins the past 2 seasons? Uhhh..nope. 2012 - 8 wins, 2013 -11 wins, 2014 - 8 wins before he gets hurt. 2015 - DD did not play after game 1.

2016 - ok, a 5 win season. That has as much, if not more to do with the mishmashed team that Jones fielded each week, than with DDs play.

Anything less than what DD could have done with some continuity built around him this year is a failure. Jones has to produce a viable option at QB - This Year.

Anonymous said...

The Oilers are moving on from fishing to hunting...Oil in 6

Anonymous said...

Yeah... sure you were, nice try cupcake!

Anonymous said...

Just turn on any electronic device AL u hear about is 50 mill babcock Babcock bacock.. sorry pal I'm more excited about my oilers . Those upstart kids will tune him out just like the wings did .. he's worse than torterlla and they'll just spend more money on someone else . Just ask zttwrburg how much they loved him I believe his exact words were "we needed a new voice it was time fur Mike to move on from thus room " . He had tell best nhlr for what 20 years and won 1 cup. Or 2. Lidsstrom.. McDavid is the man now so get used to it don't matter who coaches him and I'll never respect a team that tries to buy everything they can .. let's go oilers!!!

Byob