2 - THE D.C.: Dickenson's first big decision will be to name his defensive coordinator and that shouldn't take long. The coaching staff is congregating this weekend, and I'd be shocked if we didn't hear an announcement within a week's time. My pick? Jason Shivers. He's been the secondary coach with this staff for quite some time, is an excellent coach, and it's a logical progression. However Mike Benevides and Gary Etcheverry are available as well. I just don't know how much room Dickenson has with the current staff limitation imposed by the CFL.
3 - NOW FOR A QB: In conversation with a CFL-type over the past few days, he noted that Dickenson isn't walking into a good situation given the fact Saskatchewan doesn't have a top-flight QB on its roster. I shot back that this would be the case for whomever took the job, and now that position becomes the most-important signing for Canada's Team. If they get their guy, Dickenson's job becomes that much easier. If they don't, Dickie has plenty of more work to do. But there's no reason not to be optimistic about the Riders heading into 2019.
4 - JONES'ING: Like many, I have a tough time believing Chris Jones was looking for any road out of Saskatchewan but 3DownNation's Justin Dunk has an impeccable track record with his insider reporting. Through all of this madness - and Jones' departure to Cleveland - one notion keeps rattling around in my head: "You've gotta do what's best for you". The mantra "All For One, One For All" is a nice rallying cry and makes for cute locker room posters, but that's just not the way it is in pro sports anymore. Or society.
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6 - SUPER BOWL BROADCAST TEAM: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will broadcast Sunday's NFL championship game on CBS. Nantz is the gold standard but it took me awhile to come around on Romo's commentary. I didn't know what to think initially because he's smashed the mold set by hundreds of colour commentators who've come before him. But, as a Cowboys fan, I wish he was as good at predicting defensive coverages when he actually played for Dallas, rather than now that he's in the booth.
7 - GO PATS GO: The Regina Pats have found their goaltender. His name is Dean McNabb. ... Prior to Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Calgary, Pats fans were buzzing on the Brandt Centre concourse that they're excited about the future of this team. Friday's 4-0 home win over Brandon was tabbed, "The best game of the year". The Queen City Kids are taking their lumps right now, but I suspect their playoff hiatus will only last for one year. .... As one WHL scout said to me this week in Safeway, "The Pats are still packing the barn". Good on ya Regina. ... Whose decision was it to do away with nachos at the concession? I can't go along with this. ... I've got nowhere else to put this so I'll put it here: The Hockey Canada and Hockey Regina initiative to go with half-ice for novice hockey is quite simply the stupidest idea since Fox TV's glowing puck in the 90's. How are kids supposed to learn how to skate??????
8 - RON MACLEAN: Got a nice note from Hockey Night In Canada icon Ron MacLean this week saying he's enjoying our book Heart & Soul of the SJHL. Swift Current will host Scotiabank Hockey Day In Canada on Saturday, February 9 and Ron plans to feature the book as part of the festivities. I can't thank him enough!
9 - BELL LET'S TALK: Wednesday, January 30 is Bell Let's Talk Day across Canada in which the telecommunications giant will pour millions into the Mental Health effort. Some in the Addictions field are scoffing at the gesture, saying Bell doesn't spend a nickel on Addiction (which is a mental illness), but I applaud Bell for its initiative. Let's just remember that this is a 365-day problem, not just a one-day celebration. But it's better than nothing.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: Moose Jaw, SK has rebranded itself as "Canada's Most Notorious City". Sure, why not. ... The Kootenay Ice moving to Winnipeg is a tragedy only for the 1,500 people who went to the games in Cranbrook. It's heartbreaking when a city loses its team, but see Point #4. ... Saw TSN 1260 Edmonton's Dustin Nielsen asking his Twitter followers why the love-in with Kelly McCrimmon as the next GM of the Oilers? The reason is simple: 2 WHL titles on McCrimmon's watch with the Brandon Wheat Kings (1996, 2016) and a perennial contender. As Kelly noted, business in the NHL is pretty much the same as business in the WHL (x 1,000,000). ... One-and-a-half thumbs up from the MMG for the Mathew McConnaughey flick Serenity, now playing in theatres. I was impressed, but my family wasn't. The plot line is a little thin but I enjoyed being able to mentally spend 90 minutes on a boat in Florida with big Matt. Who's kidding who? I just enjoy the popcorn and the best hotdogs in town, at Southland Cineplex.