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Monday, April 10, 2017

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

Keith Hershmiller Photography
11 LONG POINTS & SHORT POINTS

1 - Yeah, yeah I get it. All anyone wants to talk about about around here is the Saskatchewan Roughriders and that's awesome. We'll get to Canada's Team in a minute, but first let's discuss the next hottest topic: the Regina Pats and their second round WHL playoff series with the Swift Current Broncos which is currently tied 1-1.

Usurping Vince Young on the weekend as the #1 question I get asked about via text or social media is the status of Pats forward Adam Brooks (pictured). The Regina captain left Friday's Game 2 victory with an apparent lower body injury - so I'm told, because I wasn't there - and the Pats have been very tightlipped on the matter since.

Can you blame them? These are the playoffs! And it's 2017 which means all you have to do is check the Regina Pats Twitter account at @WHLPats for any sort of an update on Brooks but nothing's been posted.

CTV Regina's Bianca Millions Tweeted that Pats coach John Paddock wouldn't divulge Brooks' status after Game 2 but the good news is the 20-year old from Winnipeg was seen walking around after the game.

Have we already forgotten the gamesmanship that comes with this time of year? Why would Paddock tip his hand to the Broncos in advance of Monday evening's Game 3 (620 CKRM, Sportsnet)?

Frankly I don't expect any word until the roster for Game 3 is announced an hour or so before game time although the Pats could shock us all and provide an injury update on Monday.

2 - Friday evening I was in Kipling, SK speaking at the KW Oil Kings senior hockey team's first ever Celebrity Sports Banquet along with Scott Schultz and Mike Stackhouse. When I announced late in the evening that the Pats had won Game 2, the roof went off the Kipling Rec Centre.

You see, as it turns out, the people of Kipling and area have all been watching the Pats games on Access throughout the winter and are very in tune with what's going on. They've been listening to the games on 620 CKRM as well.

This record-breaking season has massively enhanced the Pats' brand across the province and the fact all their games have been on TV for the past month has grown the team's popularity EXPONENTIALLY!

That's exactly what QCSEG was hoping for.

3 - However the fact remains that I don't get invited to these sports dinners around the province to tell Pats stories. Rather, they want to hear about the Green & White.

On Friday in Kipling I gave my usual 30-minute presentation on my 18 years with the Riders and tell funny anecdotes from behind-the-scenes with the likes of Cal Murphy and Alan Ford, Roy Shivers and Danny Barrett, Eric Tillman and Kent Austin, Ken Miller and Jim Hopson, Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin, and now Chris Jones.

However on Friday I never spoke of my current thoughts on the club, waiting instead to field questions during a Q & A segment which never materialized. It was 10:30 by then, and the 200 patrons were more than ready to get the party started. They went well into the wee hours.

You can always get my thoughts on the Riders daily on the SportsCage on 620 CKRM. However to recap: 1) I think the Riders can achieve 10 wins this year and the team agrees, 2) Vince Young is a huge centrepiece for what they have planned this year however if he doesn't pan out, the roof won't cave in, 3) Kevin Glenn is a mostly proven quarterback who's capable of winning games and even though he's never won a Grey Cup doesn't mean he never will, and 4) Chris Jones is the real deal and he'll win a championship here before he leaves (whenever that may be). His coaching staff and several players followed him for that exact reason, and none of that has changed.

There ya go. And you didn't even have to go to a sports dinner to get it.

4 - But the fact remains that no matter where I go - whether it's Kipling, Assiniboia, Estevan, Meota, Chamberlain or anywhere in between - fans across the province tell me they'd be happy if we talk nothing else but the Riders on the SportsCage year-round.

On the other hand Tiger Williams told me last weekend that "It's too much Rider talk", and he listens daily from his home in Stewart Valley, SK.

So, we're left to try to strike a delicate balance in the winter months because the other sports are worthy of the coverage. Hey, the easiest thing for me to do would be to crack the mic and talk 100% Riders around the clock but I have to do what I think is right.

Regina Leader Post
5 - The alumni interviews are still my favourite, and my favourite all-time Rider Jeff Fairholm (slotback 1988-1993) appeared on the SportsCage on Friday to give his take on the current state of the Green & White.

"I follow the Riders more than I do anything else," Fairholm said from his home in Calgary. "And when I say I 'follow' them, I only know enough to be dangerous. I follow the CFL, I love the Riders and I'm a Rider fan so that's who I follow."

So clearly "Fairway" has been following the Vince Young saga very closely.

"Vince Young," Fairholm paused. "I've thought a lot about it. I think it's a great media and marketing story. I'm on on the fence as to how he'll play. He's 33 and I was retired by then. I couldn't even imagine playing football at 33 but he's an amazing athlete and a great specimen. I think his talents are perfectly suited for the CFL. Will he be able to use those talents a la a 22-year old Vince Young? Who knows. I hope they give him a good shot but not so good of a shot that it takes away from an eventual starter.

"To be perfectly blunt I think Kevin Glenn is a great talent but he's long in the tooth as well. He's a great back-up and insurance policy but what worries me about the Riders is that there's no bonafide starter. That to me is the biggest thing. I see a lot of signings of very good receivers but who's going to get the ball to them?"

So Fairholm would prefer an effort be made to develop the young quarterbacks the Riders currently have on the roster (Brandon Bridge, G.J. Kinne and Bryan Bennett). How does he propose the team goes about doing that?

"I would've kept Darian Durant to help groom someone else!" Fairholm laughed. "That's how I would've done it. I think Kevin Glenn is a good way to groom some younger guys too, but how is Vince Young going to groom somebody else if he's never set foot on a CFL field? Kevin Glenn can groom to a point but Kevin Glenn is certainly not the accomplished quarterback that Darian Durant is."

And of course in just over a week the Rider quarterbacks and a hundred-or-so hopefuls will take to the field in Vero Beach, FL for the club's annual spring minicamp. Would Fairholm have liked to participate in such a camp in the Sunshine State back in his heyday?

"I would've hated to go to a minicamp in Florida because that means I would've had to start training earlier or stay in shape all winter!" Fairholm chucked. "Things have changed Rod. These guys are in great shape. Some of the things I see in the gyms from these guys, it's so exponentially different now from my time. These guys are in amazing shape and the concept of a minicamp is really good. I would've hated to do it, but I think now that I'm older I can see how they can put a better product on the field because of it and the fans are better for it."

Chats with Fairholm are always enlightening and refreshing.

6 - How come former Rider Mike Abou-Mechrek can predict Edmonton will finish last this year and  the Eskimos barely notice yet when I picked them for the basement, they screamed and cried for months? I don't get it.

7 - First Edmonton had a celebration for their Oilers making the NHL playoffs in 2017 and then this weekend they did the same in Toronto for the Maple Leafs. It look over-the-top, but it also looked very exciting in ACC. These Stanley Cup Playoffs are going to be FUN in Canada! But are the celebrations a little too much?

It would seem so, but that's the way sports are these days.

Remember the phrase, "Act like you've been there before"?

It made me wonder what the celebration will be like in Saskatchewan when the Riders get back to the CFL playoffs and I'm sure it'll be similar. And it's only been a two year drought.

8 - A huge CONGRATULATIONS to 30-year old Peter McDougall of Lumsden, SK who made his NHL debut as a referee on Thursday in Dallas. The former Weyburn Red Wing is the son of former Regina Pat Kim McDougall and his story has been big news around here.

You can read all about it here.

9 - It doesn't stop there. Former Regina Pats captain Garrett Mitchell - a Regina product - made his NHL debut Sunday night for the Washington Capitals in a 2-0 home loss to Florida. "Mitchy" saw 8:48 of action and registered two hits. Way to go Garrett!

Todd Holt Sunday in Estevan
10 - Alameda, Saskatchewan's Todd Holt is the Swift Current Broncos' career goals and points leader which is astonishing when you think of the calibre of players who've gone through there. At 5'7", he was also drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 1993 and had a pro career which took him through Kansas City, Birmingham, Roanoke and Germany.

"I had a secret I was going to take to the grave," Holt told the crowd. "But as it turns out, that secret almost put me in the grave."

Todd Holt was also one of the Broncos players sexually abused by coach Graham James and his life was nothing short of a living hell for many years, up until recently. In short, he walked through the fire but has come out on the other side.

And on Sunday morning, Holt found himself on a stage in Estevan speaking at a fundraising breakfast for the Broken Arrow Youth Ranch, a home for children who've been separated from their families as their parents battle addictions. It's a cause which struck a chord with me, and there was NO WAY I was going to miss that event and the chance to support Todd.

With his parents in attendance on Sunday, Todd broke down a few times on stage. "I've done this speech 500 times and I still cry," Holt whispered.

His story was one of triumph, tragedy, and recovery.

"So many people have asked me how I could perform so well at hockey given what was going on with me away from the rink," Holt recalled of his time in Swift Current. "I just remember thinking that when I was out on that ice, that was the only time he couldn't touch me. It was just me and the fans."

Holt's living in Cochrane, AB now, working for Hallmark Tubulars and out telling his story.

"The media that are here, and people like Mr. Rod Pedersen, are my voice," Holt declared. "They get my story out. And I need to be out speaking because it helps me."

He did an amazing, amazing job and I'm so proud to call him a friend.

11 - THAT'S IT! I've off to Las Vegas on Monday and will be back in time to call Game 5 of the Pats and Broncos on Access and Shaw on Good Friday. Until then, it's time to take the foot off the gas and relax a bit.

------

THANKS FOR READING,
RP
@rodpedersen
IG: rodpedersenofficial
SC: Pedersenmedia

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep the Saskatoon non-hockey city talk to a minimum please.

Anonymous said...

Fairholm is right when he says; "What worries me about the Riders is that there's no bonafide starter."
Good on him, everybody else tippy toes around the subject because they're scared they're going to upset someone in higher places.


SWC

Jeff Jones said...

Durant wasn't interested in helping 2nd and 3rd string QBs. very apparent on the sidelines when he was here. Tell me I'm wrong.

Blake R. said...

To Anon:: "Keep the Saskatoon non-hockey city talk to a minimum .
please". Give your head a shake . Pats get a great winning season and you talk like they have had a team like this for years. You better enjoy it because it won't last forever . Saskatoon has had many winning years but are doing now what Regina will be doing in a few years . Every team goes through it. At least Saskatoon has a building that attracts NHL teams to go to for pre season games and most of the times draw up to 15,000 fans for those games, and when the Junior team is rebuilding like they are now and have been for a long time they can still fill their building with 15,500 screaming Lacrosse fans . I don't see that taking place in Regina in the so called Brunt Center or whatever they call it. And the thousands of fans from Saskatoon and area that travel to Regina to see OUR Riders not Regina Roughriders. You fans are so thin skinned when we give it back to you that it is pitiful. Enjoy your Patsies because your time will come and you will be back to a mediocre hockey town just like you were before.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong. On the sidelines, at a game, there was a QB coach to help any player. Where Durant would have helped them is in the film room and at practices. And none of us are aware of what happened at either place. It seems that everyone is so ready to validate what Jones did and criticize everything that is Durant. It still remains that the Riders have no bona fide starter with two months before camp. And the O line is still suspect; having put all their eggs into one basket in Dennis. Who is playing right guard? And our depth is not much different than last year. Who will play left guard if Dennis goes down? I believe this will be the stupidest trade in history.

Larry said...

Former Pat, Chandler Stevenson also suited up for the Capitals last night.

Anonymous said...

Your Right! If Durant was here he would be playing not "grooming" another guy. We have developed nobody under Durant all his years here and never would have if he stayed.

Anonymous said...

Actually Rod loves Saskatoon, plus he's a fan of the Rush and the Riders training camp will be there shortly.

So suck it up.

Cloud Strife said...

Hey Rod, what's the name of the box you use for streaming live sports that you speak glowingly about on the Cage? My wife and I are talking about cutting the cord, and I'm looking for options. Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Blake R. you are a typical toontowner, when were these many winning years of the Blades that you speak of? No one has ever said the Pat's have been great for years! Maybe you just started reading this blog,the critics crucified the owners and team for years. Then there is the new kid on the block "Rush". Saskatoon has always had an inferiority complex about Regina and the Riders. Now that they have a "Pro" franchise, they are like the 17 year old kid who is promoted to Assistant Manager at the Fast Food Restaurant. Strutting around like he's "the man" telling everyone how great he is.

Anonymous said...

Look it up on the ole interweb, Apple TV, Roku, etc etc etc_ so many options.

Cloud Strife said...

I've been doing that this morning, and it's almost overwhelming how many options there are.

Rod always talks highly about what he has, and it sound like he can get obscure games like WHL, so I wanted to at least consider it.

This Guy said...

Congrats Petey.

Anonymous said...

..and howz about the performance of Jordan Eberle last night! It would sure be wonderful to see him perform at a high level and be effective in his first NHL play-off run.

..and about those Leafs! The young, fast Leafs are a joy to watch and it would be such a story to have them knock off Washington.

Having all these excellent young rookies on the Canadian teams gain play-off experience is going to be good for the NHL in the years ahead.

Oilers vs Habs in the Stanley Cup final? Now wouldn't that make Bettman's day!

Bradford Kruger said...

Cloud Strife: It's call an Android Box. Look on Amazon

Anonymous said...

There's a local guy in the city who sells Android boxes. Look up his page on facebook. It's called "Super Box". They are legit. I watch all the Pat's games on there and any tv show or movie you want.

polkabill504 said...

Thanks Rod for an excellent MMG.Thanks ever so much for sharing the story on Holt.. It makes all the sports we have in our lives, the WHL, CFL, NHL take a back seat to a sad reality. Wish I could have heard him speak as well. Keep up the great work. Polkabill from the Peg

Bob said...

Rod...No one gets mad at Abou because NO ONE LISTENS to what Abou says ...he's a loud mouth who is irrelevant.

Cory Mark said...

Lets get off the Rough Rider talk Lets talk about the Pats a winning team

Dennis said...

I agree when he is on,radio gets turned off!

Anonymous said...

Oh and that matters because there have been how many young QBs here that looked promising, that seemed to have that "it" factor? Zero, absolutely none. Dam straight he would be playing because no one, not Jones or Tamin or anyone else has brought a young guy in that looked promising. Getting rid of your starting QB because you think it is time to start a young guy without having a young guy that looks like he can do the job is like getting rid of your herd sire because you have a good looking yearling steer in the pen. It doesn't work.

Cloud Strife said...

Thanks Bradford

Russell Cone said...

Blake. When we're those "winning years in Saskatoon"? I've been a blades fan all my life (47) and I'm not sure they've had what I would classify as "Winning years".

Successful seasons that ended short, sure. 1983, 1992, 1994 of course.

But they haven't won a playoff game since 2011 (memorial cup doesn't count) and haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2013.

The blades had 6,500 people for Gordie Howe Tribute night. 6,500!! In a 15,000 seat building. That's an absolute shame. I am not sure the attendance ever got as bad in Regina as what the Blades are facing.

They also had less than 1,000 people for a friday night game in late november.

It's really bad in Saskatoon, I must admit. It's going to be a LONG time crawling out of this hole for that team.

Enjoy the ride Regina. Success doesn't always happen.



Russ from Saskatoon

Cloud Strife said...

Thanks bud, I will check them out.

Anonymous said...

When do the riders come out of hibernation? All I see is Eskimo news around these parts.

Anonymous said...

Love this quote, "getting rid of your herd sire because you have a good looking yearling steer in the pen." and that's exactly what Jones has done.

Rod, you call Jones the 'real deal' well he may have a winning record as a coach but his profile as a GM is as bad as they get. Remember, after winning Corey Chamblin changed. What's Jones accomplished since he won the Grey Cup as a head coach?

Anonymous said...

Good comments by Fairholm. You have to be concerned about the QB situation & the OL. I'll go a step further & say the RB situation isn't great either. We paid a big bonus & 6 figures for someone who was 4th on the Ottawa depth chart. One big game on a snowy field doesn't a great RB make. As for Mike's predicting the Esks last, more telling is him picking the Riders 2nd last. You're the play by play man, Rod. Why would it be surprising for you to pick the Riders so high? But now another Rider guy can only pick them for 4th? Maybe last year's worst offence finishes higher than last year's best offence with LaFrance, rather than White & Van, Glenn rather than Reilly & an OL with the 2nd most sacks allowed vs one with the 2nd least. I don't know that I share the optimism.

Anonymous said...

Blades Versus Pats Stats.
2008-09 Blades W 49 L 18...Out in Rd 1
2008-09 Pats W 27 L 39...Did Not Make Playoffs
2009-10 Blades W 46 L 19...Out in Rd 2
2009-10 Pats W 30 L 35...Did Not Make Playoffs
2010-11 Blades W 56 L 13...Out In Rd 2
2010-11 Pats W 23 L 39...Did Not Make Playoffs
2011-12 Blades W 40 L 29...Out In RD 1
2011-12 Pats W 37 L 27...Out in Rd 1
2012-13 Blades W 44 L 22...Out In Rd 1
2012-13 Pats W 25 L 38...Did Not Make Playoffs.

Russ from Saskatoon.. You must be afraid of these Thin Skinned Patsy Fans and there stupid comments of how great they are.
They get a couple of good seasons and they can't get their hockey hats on their Big Heads.
Couple more years and it will turn around just like it did to Brandon this year and when that happens lets see what your comments are.

Anonymous said...

Hey grumpy Anon,

Derrick Dennis plays LT, not Guard. Brendon Labatte is the LG. Perhaps you've heard of him. Dennis was signed in free agency, not acquired via trade. The other OL positions will be determined via this little exercise called training camp.

Solid post. Good job.

Russell Cone said...

Mr. Anon. I'm not afraid of any fans. I call it like I see it.

Pats had a rough patch, no question.

The point of my post was to say while the Blades have had some good years I wouldn't refer to them as "Winning years". and don't ever forget there's 3 memorial cup banners in this province and none are hanging in Saskatoon.


Russ from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

This guy^^^ Posting to the grumpy Anon. Love it!

Funniest thing I've read today, and very informative.

We have a few options at running back, we signed Daniel Thomas, 6'2" 225 lbs. He's going to be a freight train and he is looking to make a name for himself. He will give the LB's and secondary a run for there money with his size and strength. As for signing LaFrance, how do you know he signed for 6 figures and has a giant bonus?

I am looking forward to seeing Vince in action, someone with his size and mobility would wreak havoc on a larger field in the CFL. If not we have a proven backup in Kevin Glenn, and we have young guns that show promise that can begin their development. So many glass half full types out there, I like to look at it from the other perspective.

I'm looking forward to game one, see where the chips fall playing Montreal. This is where all the camps, the scouting, and the practices will show what kind of a team we have.

Anonymous said...

These Saskatoon vs Regina arguments are so old and tired already. Saskatoon and Regina are pretty much the exact same place except that Regina has a gorgeous brand new outdoor stadium that Saskatoon is exceedingly jealous over apparently. Get over it Stoon!! In reality, Saskatoon and Regina are both holes in the dirt when compared to large cities such as LA, Chicago, Toronto etc etc Go Jays!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the Laffs are gone in 4. Actually, the Flames and Oilers also.

Evan Wiome said...

And don't forget Cam Marshall either 😁

Anonymous said...

Okay. How much longer do you think Brady will play? Is Belichek gonna coach much longer?

Anonymous said...

The Hockey Hall of Fame should honour Todd Holt, Theo Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy for the courage they showed incoming forward to speak the truth about Graham James and also the ongoing work by all three men to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by sharing their stories. These three are tru "hockey heroes"

Anonymous said...

#NeverForget Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

No one developed under Durant partly because of the obvious lack of a good quarterbacks coach to help these guys.

Anonymous said...

Chandler.....lol

Anonymous said...

Oh well if we have Thomas @RB rather than LaFrance why worry? We can just field a National elsewhere. We have so much Natinal depth. While the other clubs have Johnson, Messam, Harris & White we'll scare them with our 225 lb freight train - it's not as if teams haven't faced bigger guys like, oh Messam. As for QB the 230 lb Lefevour has been wreaking havoc for years on CFL defences so the 232 lb Young, idle for 7 years, is guaranteed to be unstoppable. I wish I could share your optimism. Why did we sign Glenn &LaFrance anyway?

Anonymous said...

Yes. I made a mistake. I knew Dennis plays LT. I also know about Labatte. Do you know about Best, who recently retired? I also never said that Dennis came in a trade. I said that Jones said he needed money to improve the O line but put all that money into one player, Dennis. There is no obvious starter for the RG position and no improvement in depth, such as a backup for Dennis. Without a good O line, both the QB and running back are ineffective but on the other hand, without a good starting QB, a good O line doesn't look so good. Most teams find a way to balance that but Jones seems incapable of that. This year it appears we will have no good QB and the O line is still suspect.

Anonymous said...

Riders Never brought any young qbs in?
Durant, Tate, Glenn, ok maybe not Wiily but he can handle some snaps. That's yesterday however who brought Jennings in?

Anonymous said...

I love the Riders....I truly do, but I wish we could spend a little more time focusing on the Pats. So much airwave space is dedicated to the Riders. The Pats need a little more respect from this community. Its not the same team it was a few years ago. They are a winning team, making a run for the Memorial Cup (Ultimately hosting next year) and all we talk about is the Riders. Let's show our boys a little more love. Soon enough it will be Rider Season, then by all means. Just wanting the Blue and White to get the respect they so deserve

Anonymous said...

How many yards does Messam get after the first contact? You get a big body moving it doesn't matter if they have seen it before, they still gotta take him down. That's where my excitement comes from, a good, hard running player that won't go down so easily.

Lefevour was a bust, Young may prove to be the same. I'm excited/curious to see how he performs in our game. Like in my previous comment I like to look on the bright side, be the cup half full kind of guy. Glenn is a proven QB, that can run an offense, and we have young players such as Bennett and Bridge on the roster. Bridge showed promise last year, had poise in the pocket and made some excellent throws.

Is it June yet?