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Monday, June 12, 2017

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


UNBEATEN AT HOME

1 - GAME THOUGHTS: The Saskatchewan Roughriders opened the 2017 preseason with a 25-25 tie against the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday night. As preseason games go, it was a thriller as the Riders led for pretty much the entire game until Winnipeg grabbed a three-point lead with 1:44 to go. Many of the soldout crowd headed to the exits at that point but they missed a fun ending.

As we all know by now, sophomore kicker Quinn Van Gylkswyk stroked a 37-yard field goal in the dying seconds to preserve a 25-25 tie and the Roughriders emerged from the first-ever game in their new stadium with a sister-kisser.

No win, but no loss, so we'll take it.

2 - THE "FEELS": The entire evening was one I personally had been waiting for for a lifetime (like many of you), so I took the time to soak up every single second of it. Arriving several hours early was a good idea since the new security personnel took a good chunk of that time rifling through my briefcase. That was annoying but as we all know, they're "just doing their job".

Once the stadium filled up, the place was super loud but nothing like what it will be. And it's a different type of loud than Taylor Field. It's thunderous, enveloping, and intimidating. It'll take awhile to come up with the accurate words to describe how it's different than the old place, but it is. I love it.

However when the team plays for real in the regular season, or hosts playoff games and Grey Cups, it'll be as loud - or louder - than Taylor Field. And that place was legendary for its sound.




3 - BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER: It was an up-and-down game for many players, just like training camp itself. Most of the comments I've heard from the players was that they thought they played well - as a team and individually - and that includes quarterback Brandon Bridge. Frankly, Saturday night was the best I've ever seen him. He fearlessly stood in the pocket while it collapsed and still made throw after throw.  He had by far the highest efficiency rating of the three Rider quarterbacks (111.2 compared to Bryan Bennett's 63.9 and Marquise Williams' 97.9).

Meanwhile Rider Coach and GM Chris Jones labelled Bryan Bennett as "shaky", and his play didn't resemble much at all of what we'd seen in Saskatoon. It really doesn't matter which group of 11 was on the field with Bennett when he fumbled several times Saturday night, (twice the ball was lost to the other team). It appeared on one of those plays that he double-clutched when his receiver was in the wrong place, and wound up losing the ball's grip. That's unfortunate, but it's also too bad that Bennett couldn't do enough good things to counter the bad things. We'll see how it affects him on cutdown day next weekend.

Meanwhile rookie Marquise Williams was one of the pleasant surprises of the entire evening for the Green & White. He's been here the least amount of time of all pivots, but Chris Jones didn't hesitate at all to throw him out there with 0:51 remaining with the task of marching down the field and saving the game. Luc Mullinder and I were both surprised - but pleasantly surprised - that Williams was the one trotted out there by Jones with the game on the line.

And then when Marquise got the offense down to the Winnipeg 30-yard line with 0:08 remaining, he was mobbed by his teammates and other quarterbacks on the sidelines for getting the job done.

Siiiiiiigh. What a great feeling to know this team is clearly going in the right direction, and there are several options at the quarterback position for the future.

4 - EVERYWHERE ELSE: It's too bad that video of that game isn't available to dissect after the fact because it truly is a different game the second time around. But thumbs up to receiving leader Antwane Grant (3/63), rushing leader Cameron Marshall (4/31, 7.8 avg) and tackles leader Jonathon Newsome (4). The team also registered three sacks which is already a big leap ahead of last year at this time. By my records, the takedowns came from Newsome, A.C. Leonard and Davis Tull.

Who won the Line of Scrimmage battle? In this one, it was about even with each team recording three sacks and the Bombers counting 87 rushing yards to the Riders' 77.

The game was in no way relatable to the regular season because there were 141 players dressed and the teams used them all. But overall, I liked the way the Riders stacked up against the Blue Bombers man on man, and #1 Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols didn't look overly spectacular. (He had the third-highest efficiency rating of the four QBs they used).

5 - KEEP THE LIGHTS ON: It was another of those nights where we didn't want to leave the stadium once the game was over. I was thrilled to have the game end in a 25-25 draw at the conclusion of regulation time but in my excitement, I forgot there's no overtime in the preseason. Saturday night was only the second time in my 19 seasons that an exhibition game was tied after 60 minutes and I forgot the protocol.

Oh well, it wasn't a big gaffe and there were plenty of mistakes to go around on the evening. That's what the exhibition season is for. I'm thankful to colour commentator Luc Mullinder for clarifying!

That's what makes live broadcasts fun.

6 - THE BROADCAST: Overall it was fine for the maiden voyage but it wasn't without its hiccups. Our broadcast feed dropped at least 20 times during our portion of the pregame show which is considerably unnerving when you're live on five radio stations across the province and there are literally hundreds of thousands of listeners either over-the-air or online. It does make it difficult to concentrate on what you're supposed to be talking about.

The First Broadcast: Hoffman, Pedersen & Mullinder
Thankfully once the game kicked off, those issues were alleviated after some furious scrambling by our engineering deparment. The fact is you can test this equipment (and internet lines) a million times leading up to a game but it's never truly accurate until the place is full and you're live on air.

As far as Luc and my broadcast went, I thought he was verrrrrry good. He's already developed a real nice style and it's going to be a pleasure to work with him.

And about New Mosaic Stadium, it's an honour to set foot in there each and every time we do and an even bigger thrill to call a game in that plush environment.

I left the facility Saturday night feeling very grateful and fortunate to have this role. I still "gulp" every time I think about it.

7 - MORE ON THE STADIUM: One Rider fan informed me that the "Paid Parking" lot at Evraz Place was empty during the game and featured acres and acres of vacant parking spots as Rider Priders declined to pay $300 for the season.

That fan took a city bus to the game, and then cabbed it home in the second half. But wouldn't that cab ride have cost far more than $30?

Call me crazy but I've paid $45US to park at Century Link Field in Seattle and $40US to park at Lakers and Cowboys games. To me, it's just part of the deal if you want the luxury of having your own car there.

So several of these parking spots are still available for purchase from the Riders? My guess is that after this weekend, they won't be around for long.



8 - STILL MORE ON THE STADIUM: You only open a stadium once so let's look back at Saturday night from all angles. It was entertaining to sift through my friends' Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds on Sunday and read their reviews of the game and New Mosaic Stadium.

Among the complaints were: 1) Not being able to leave the stadium to get their jacket from their car, 2) $9 beers and 3) other expensive concession items.

Fortunately, I didn't see many complaints about bathroom lineups so that seems to have alleviated itself. The concession lineups are no longer than any other stadium on the planet so if you want to eat at the game, you need to be prepared to wait in line.

And regarding the cost of everything, that's what it's going to take to enjoy this beautiful new stadium!

That's why over the past couple of years I begged fans to enjoy the low cost of everything at Taylor Field because you got what you paid for.

The same goes in the new place. You can't move into the most decadent facility in the Canadian Football League and expect to enjoy low rent prices.

For instance, I purchased two $30 tickets for Saturday's game but my Visa total was $97. "WHAT THE... ?"

That's the price of success but hopefully before long that sting will wear off and this team will be so good you won't mind paying for it.

9 - THE CUTDOWN: The Roughriders bussed back to Saskatoon immediately following the game and it gave the coaches an extra two hours to go over the video of the game on their Ipads. Again, that is video that would be real nice to watch again.

Normally by this date the Roughriders would've had to make their initial wave of cuts (likely 10-12 players) but the rules have been changed and now there's just one cutdown day: Saturday, June 17. Frankly, those first dozen cuts likely would be relatively easy for the coaches to have made but that's not the case anymore.

The final cuts, however, will be extremely difficult with this bunch. It's a very talented group and there's not a ton separating the top of the pack from the bottom. Saturday's game didn't provide any clearcut decisions. This isn't a surprise when you consider the training camp invite list was manicured for months ahead of time, and the coaches had a chance to see almost all of the rookies at the Florida minicamp in April.

But the good news is, just like the Green & White mock scrimmage on June 3, this team has a lot of talent and it's working together.

This looks like it's going to be a fun summer.

Darcy Oake
10 - ODDS N' ENDS: The 2017 Grey Cup odds from Bodog.ca: Calgary (350-1), BC (500-1), Edmonton (550-1), Hamilton/Ottawa (700-1), Montreal (750-1), Saskatchewan/Winnipeg (800-1), Toronto (1200-1) .... The Roughriders surprised dozens of young Saskatoon football players on Sunday as they walked onto the turf at SMF Field and interrupted their Flag Football games. It was an impromptu football clinic and the kids were beyond shocked. There's some great video and photos of it circulating online. Nice move by the Riders! ... It was awesome to be in Regina for my Dad's 80th birthday on Sunday and our family spent the entire day together. I was able to turn my Iphone off for most of it, so apologies to those who are still waiting for a reply to their message. It was a fantastic day, and it's always a pleasure to be with The Old Guy ... And on Sunday night we enjoyed the magic show of the soon-to-be-legendary Darcy Oake at the Conexus Art Centre. I'd heard less-than-favourable reviews of Oake's shows in the past but I was eager to see him for the first time myself.  And he was amazing! The Winnipegger (and son of CBC's Scott Oake) was at least as good as David Copperfield, whom I'd seen in that same threatre before.  TWO THUMBS UP from the MMG for Darcy Oake.

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THAT'S IT! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4!
RP
@rodpedersen

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Apparently the soccer lines in the endzone are very confusing for some people lol.

Rick L. said...

$9 beer = shorter bathroom line up.

Anonymous said...

There was a line up at one ladies washroom shortly before the game started. The washroom is located under the North end zone.

On another note, my husband and I were looking to buy burgers before the game. We had to visit 3 different stands before we found an old fashioned burger.

I walked around the stadium twice to "get the lay of the land". Some things I noted:

I found only one water fountain to fill up my water bottle on the South West side of the stadium.

Not all the concessions were open on the East side.

There appears to be some missing signs. When I look down the concourse, it would be nice to see some hanging signs above the crowd. You can't see at a glance where things are. I think it would be awesome to have stadium maps at each entrance. Also, when we were standing in line at Gate 2 to get into the stadium, there was no signage directing people to bag checking lines; express lines; etc.

Coney Island Poutine had long lines in front of it. Why are there not crowd control stanchions, posts and barriers to better control people waiting?

IMAGIRL

Anonymous said...


$9 beer. Still cheaper than a Blue Jays game!

Anonymous said...

Rod, you didn't address the #1 complaint you listed in point 8. What's the rationale from the team as to why you can't leave and return to the stadium?

Rod Pedersen said...

Safety, I'm guessing. This is the policy in at stadiums in most major cities. Go in prepared.

Anonymous said...

Few things I noted
1) $8.00 dollar drinks are just that, $8.00 drinks. If you don't like it, don't drink at the game
2) see above - goes the same for food, those guys at Coney were working their asses off to get food out asap, appreciate a little premium on such food items. don't people pay $10.00 for a bacon cheeseburger made at 5pm at the pats games?
3) A poster above stated it also, some signs hanging above to show what's what, etc...those could still be coming, in sightlines.
4) great atmosphere, even for a preseason game, it felt like a regular season game, just not as loud

Did they really search you?? you have to have a special pass, that shouldn't happen at all, security needs to know who is who.

Rudyman said...

5th level west side at half time the alcohol sales booths had very few people buying that I saw, the food lines were 12-15 people deep. Maybe 1 food both and 6 alcohol ones is not the right mix. Washrooms seem to be good, like the fact we don't have to stand shoulder to shoulder anymore :-)

Bus ride down was ok, Bus ride home was a long wait. If you can't stand for a min 20 minutes waiting each way, don't take the bus. The time in line to normanview for me leaving when the game ended was 40 minutes in line. Time to get home was 30 minutes longer then driving last year when parking in the old lancaster lot. Considering it was only 2/3 full we'll see what July 1st is like.

Why do people climb on the bus and then take 2 minutes to organize themselves getting into the front seat when they are first on the bus? Move to the back and fill there first.

Normanview lot was FULL! Not sure the mall tenants will be happy with football fans filling the lots saturday and friday nights.

Downtown buses seemed to not have many users, might be worthwhile to park downtown and catch a bus there.

Bus lines need some fencing or organizing. People waiting on southland and northgate waiting had blocked the paths going east west next to the building as they were backed up to the building waiting in line. A little Disney lineup experience might help there.

Seats in 517 were much higher and much further away than in 106 in the old stadium. I ended up keep the same approx yardage. Not sure how the people next to me got extra seats in the row (causing me to lose yardage), when I couldn't join my other two tickets in the same section. Climb was about the same in ramps. Signage on the doors indicating what floor your on would be helpful.

Sounds system sounds good, volume for voice was a little low. Music/other sounds at the same time as announcers usually drowned out the announcer.

Maxtron 3.0 is spectacular. Like looking at my 4K tv at home.

In 517 crowd noise was low. It never really sounded loud even at the loudest times during the game. Maybe that is by design. Would be curious to see the Db meter at field level at times.

Cable cam would be nice. Are they putting remote camera's on each side of the goal lines in the roof? I see the opportunity to put some in house cameras that work remotely for some better game views.

Soccer lines are an easy fix with a little green water soluble paint. Endzone ones made me pause twice on scoring plays.

Nice to see some football again. The teams see each other 4 times this year. Going to be nasty on the 1st and more so on labour day if both teams are competing.


Anonymous said...

Rudyman, I had the same observations in the 500 level. Beer vendors not very busy at all. Only a few regulars from our old section, we'll see on July 1 how many regulars return. I spent 35 years improving my seats to 106 which were amazing. Now I have the equivalent to 206, not sure if I will consider seat improvement, I will give it some time to adjust. With the Riders counting on parking revenues likely to fail,price increases will be the norm to make up the shortfall.

Anonymous said...

it would have been nice to see if Bennett would have improved or got in a rhythm if he didn't' have 4 bad drops by receivers. in saying that, the fumbles can't happen. protect the ball.

Anonymous said...

On the main level, the only real line-ups or bottle-necks were down in the North end. Remember people, some of these concessions will be a novelty for the first few games. I've never seen do many people eating at a game before. Crazy. I even heard someone say it was their first poutine they've ever had.

You need to walk around and find which washrooms won't have line-ups and which concessions you'd prefer. If you just want a regular hot-dog or hamburger, you have to find the concession that sells that.

I saw a men's washroom lined up out the door until finally someone said something and the line moved inside ....... there were additional washrooms on the backside of the main wall. Good grief.

Anonymous said...

It might take a while for the "invisible hand" of economics to take effect. Prices will settle in on what works best in the long run. For now, they are looking for the "suckers" who will pay the high price and are testing demand.
LF

Anonymous said...

It may be time for the City of Regina to consider naming one of our new streets after Chris Kunitz. Not many people from Regina own 4 Stanley Cup Rings (the same number of Grey Cups the Riders have won). Regina needs to celebrate the accomplishments of Chris.

CB said...

Rod this is merely preseason football, don't proclaim to the fans that the Riders are "moving in the right direction" yet. We won't know that until Week 10 most likely.

Anonymous said...

Loved Bridge's comments after the game.. something to the affect of . They don't have to search the NCAA or scour the states for a QB..We got some good one's up here in Canada!.and he showed it.Good job kid I hope you make the team!

Anonymous said...

Nothing on the cup final?.Well here's my thoughts anyway..Very disappointing almost embarrassing for the NHL..From the dissallowed goal in game one on a hardly noticeable offside ( I mean i'm sure they had to enhance it 10 times to see if his skate was off the ice) to the early whistle on the goal in game 6( should the ref not be behind the net there?).It was a great game and it's sad it had to end that way.. Those guy's battle so hard for so long and the refs ruin it ..I really am starting to consider the conspiracy theory in sports now. Billions of dollars are wagered on these games and the refs really can control the outcomes. Anyway it was great to see the interviews with the players after the game..Hockey players truly are the humblest in sports..no ra ra were the best look how great we are..always thankful to their families and the people who helped them along the way..players in other sports can really learn from watching how these guys act when they win! Congrats to the Penguins

Anonymous said...

He played in the ncaa his entire college career... wow smh

LGF said...

Terrible lineup for buses after the game hard to get by the crowd if you were not taking the bus

Anonymous said...

It's really brainless to have stadiums downtown where there is no parking!. Why do all cities want them in areas that are so congested? Saskatoon wants a new rink downtown. WHY

Anonymous said...

Most major stadiums are located in downtown areas people learn how to use public transit, others are either just to dumb or lazy to do so.

Anonymous said...

yea it's not like we don't have fancy new overpasses, and 80 acres lots we can build 20,000 car parking lots around.

Anonymous said...

To draw people to where the bars and restaurants are. Pretty much every city wants that. Did the Oilers not just do that.

Nigel said...

Can anyone help me here. Is there a rule or something that says you can't release an injured player. I am specifically referring to the Vince Young injury. Could the Riders not just release him, why would they want to keep him around?

Anonymous said...

That's a joke, to draw ppl to bars and restaurants near new Mosaic. There is nothing but crime ridden danger around that beautiful new stadium.

Anonymous said...

Where would you have it?

Anonymous said...

Transit worked great for us but we left the game with a couple of minutes left. Sounds like those that stayed until the end really got caught up in the huge lineups and long waits for a bus. The city really needs to get that fixed before the next game or the fans will be finding other ways of getting to the games.

Not sure about the lack of food vendors on the 5th level. You would think they would have more than 1 place for all the fans in the upper levels.

Loved our seats. We moved further away from the field but the view we have now is great.

Not sure about the team yet but it does appear as they will be better than last year. As long as we are moving forward, that is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Winless at home as well

Anonymous said...

You could stand in line for the bus or the train ... running on those tracks that are only there so trains can drive through the city. Just be thankful they never stop in the city.

Things will improve folks. (Bus not trains)