Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hey 2006! Beat it...


I'm quite ready for this year to be over. On the sporting front, both the Riders and Pats underachieved. There's still hope for the Pats to salvage the season, but time is quickly running out. My Packers continue to redefine mediocrity, and the Leafs? I won't even go there.

Personally, I had to run back to Ontario three times this year to deal with a sick mom. Hopefully she's finally turned the corner and is really on the mend now. Then there was the whole Yoda thing. Yeesh.

Thankfully, young Jacob is healthy, happy and unquestionably the bright shining light in an otherwise mediocre 2006. Oh well, next year can only be an improvement. And next year starts in five hours. Time to hit the party circuit. Poor Rod Pedersen is alone with a gaggle of females tonight. Better lend the man a hand - that's what pals are for, after all!

Talk to you next year!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Season's Greetings!

(Still not back to full-time blogging, but I thought I'd pop in today (Dec 27th) to see what's what.)
Hey folks, hope your holidays are bursting with health, happiness and the warmth that comes from spending cherished time with loved ones. Towards that end, I'll be spending as much time as possible between now and January 3rd with young Jacob (Edit: and loving every second of it!), and slightly-less-young Yoda (edit: or not! Long story. Trust me, you don't want to know. Some very un-Jedi stuff). That's my idea of a good time, anyway.

And Santa, if you've got room for a couple of extra stocking stuffers:

1) One more year for Brett Favre
2) A supporting cast for Mats Sundin
3) A defenceman for the Regina Pats

And, of course, another gold medal for the Canadian junior national team. That'd cap things off nicely.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SportZone lineup for Dec 18

Here's the lineup for the big holiday special version of SportZone, airing on the following dates: December 20 (6pm), December 21 (3pm), December 27 (6pm), December 28 (3pm), January 3(6pm) and January 4(3pm). See you next year!

SportZone Guests for Dec 18/06
The Christmas Extravaganza
Community Co-Host – Tim “Frosty” Hubic

1. Looking back at the University of Regina Rams season, with the Canada West nominee for the Hec Crighton award. Guest: Teale Orban (Rams quarterback).

2. A look at Christmas options for the golf fanatic, including top golf getaway destinations. Guest: Brad Herridge (Proactive Golf & Rec Inc.).

3. A profile of the Regina Speedskating Club. Guests: Dave Beitel (Coach), Mark Beitel & Marsha Hudey (Speed Skaters).

4. The Regina Pats overhaul their roster, and promptly lose three in a row. Does hilarity ensue? Guest: Garrett Festerling (Pats Assistant Captain).

5. A review of the first-half performances of the University of Regina sports teams. Guest: Dick White (U of R Athletic Director).

6. Baseball Regina elects a new President, who has some pretty ambitious plans for the organization. Guest: Mark Dolan (Baseball Regina President).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Meet the new Pats. Same as the old Pats?

Hopefully not! Unfortunately, I won't get a chance to assess the new-look Pats in person this weekend. Instead, I'll be taking Yoda to my staff Christmas party on Saturday night. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. But I guess I'll have to wait until the matchup with the Blades on December 29th to check out the new players, and the (hopefully) revitalized Pats.

In the meantime, the boys are being put through their paces this week by interim Head Coach Terry Perkins. He's filling in for Curtis Hunt, who is working with our national junior team. A four-day break from game action may be just what the doctor ordered, giving all the players a chance to adjust to new teammates, line combinations, etc.

In the meantime, we await word of a trade bringing an experienced, physical defenceman to town. I wonder if Portland would part with 6'5" blueliner Scott Gabriel, or maybe somebody like Ryan Funk from Saskatoon, who is an impressive +6 on a struggling Blades team?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

SportZone lineup for Dec 11th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, to air Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7 in Regina:

SportZone Guests for Dec 11/06
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. A profile of the University of Regina men’s volleyball team. Guests: Noah Roellchen-Pfohl & Blake Wheler (Players).

2. A look at what’s happening in local racquetball circles, including a preview of the 2006 World Junior Championships. Guests: Ross Richardson (SRA Vice President) & Christine Richardson (2005 World Junior Champion).

3. A preview of the 2006 Regina Youth Curling Bonspiel. Guest: Jack Lax (Curl Regina).

4. A profile of a new personal training facility in Regina. Guests: Steve Halladay & Derek Becker (Co-owners, Adrenaline PTS).

5. An update on the Regina Rebels, our entry in the Saskatchewan girls midget AAA hockey league. Guests: Doug Folk (Head Coach) & Kelsey Tulloch (Player).

6. An update on the raft of changes that took place with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Regina Pats in the past week. Guest: Rod Pedersen (Harvard Broadcasting Sports Director).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pats limp home

The Regina Pats' losing skid is at four games, after an 0-3 tour through Alberta this weekend. The Pats have now lost 13 of their last 16 games away from the Brandt Centre, and were outscored 19-10 in the three weekend losses. Oh, and during this skid the Queen City Kids dropped to fourth place in the weak WHL East Division.

That's the bad news. On a more optimistic note, newly acquired forward Troy Ofukany scored three goals for his new team this weekend. The four players acquired last Thursday now have a few days to learn Regina's systems (don't snicker!), before taking on the division-leading Brandon Wheat Kings this weekend. If this thing is going to get turned around, it will start this weekend. If not, the Pats can probably kiss their chances of finishing first or second in the division bye-bye.

It'll be interesting to get Rod Pedersen's take on the Pats' skid (and the latest developments with the Riders) during tonight's SportZone taping. I'll post the complete lineup for this week's show tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

There's a reason they call it "Crappy" Tire

Canadian Tire sucks. I've known this for a long time but, being a glutton for punishment, I like to remind myself of that fact by stumbling into a Crappy Tire location for an occasional frustrating shopping experience. Here's what I've learned: Canadian Tire is useless unless you know exactly what you're looking for, and can find that item without any help from the "staff". Otherwise, you're screwed.

As an example, Jacob and I found ourselves in north Regina yesterday afternoon with a little time to kill before his soccer practise. So, we wandered into the north Albert Canadian Tire, looking for a programmable thermostat. Seems simple enough, no? NO!

After wandering around the store, I was able to locate Crappy Tire's selection of thermostats. I found one that would suit my purposes, for only $39.99. End of story, right? Uh, no. First, said thermostats were in a locked display case. Apparently there's a lot of thermostat thievery going on these days. No problem, I'll just ask one of CT's dynamic and enthusiastic staff members for a little help. Oh-oh, apparently said staff member can't help - he doesn't have a key for the display case. He did, however direct us to the hardware counter - only a short 300 metre jaunt across the store. Upon arrival, the young thing taking up space at the counter informed me that she too did not have a key. However, she advised me to retrace my steps, and press the service button located near the display case. She guaranteed that upon pressing that button, all my retail dreams would come true - and the mystical key would magically appear!

Oh, such excitement as Jacob and I trundled back to the thermostat shrine! Okay, now I'll just press...........uh, there doesn't appear to be a button anywhere near the display case. That's okay, little Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (LSD) assured me that if the button wasn't adjacent to the case, it could be located at the end of the aisle. Or.........not. At this point, our excellent Crappy Tire shopping adventure ended.

After practise, Jacob and I drove to Walmart and bought a thermostat for $29.99. Sucks to be you, Crappy Tire!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Parker pulls the trigger

The Regina Pats are poised to announce a big six player swap with the Kelowna Rockets this morning. Details will be posted here as soon as they're available. If I were a betting man, I'd expect the Rockets' Troy Ofukany to be in a Pats uniform this weekend. Other than that - we'll see shortly, I hope.

Update: The Pats have traded forward Ryan McDonald to his hometown team, the Prince Albert Raiders. In return, the Pats receive 6'5" forward Josh Elder from the Raiders.

Update #2: Here's the scoop on that 3 for 3 trade with the Kelowna Rockets. Heading west are Pats forwards Justin Bernhardt and Jason MacDonald, along with prospect Kyle St. Denis. Joining the Pats are forwards Troy Ofukany, Kaspers Saulietis, and Kirt Hill.

Overall, it looks as though Pats General Manager Brent Park improved his team significantly today. Elder, Saulietis and Ofukany add some much-needed size and grit up front. The Pats give up players who have accounted for 16 goals in the WHL this season. In return, they receive four players who have scored 33 times so far this year. All in all, not bad!

All the right moves

Is not just the title of Tom Cruise's first movie in which he played a starring role - it's also my impression of the news and comments coming out of Mosaic Stadium this week. I have gradually come on board, in respect to the hiring of Kent Austin as the Riders' new Head Coach. Initially, I was concerned about Austin's lack of coaching experience, and his gruff demeanor.

After listening to an interview done with the guys from the Prime Time Sports radio program out of Toronto last night, those concerns are fading away. Austin possesses a mind, and vocabulary, which sets him miles ahead of many of his coaching colleagues. Is "fancy talking" a guarantee of on-field success? No. But it is an indication of a keen mind, which hopefully allows the man to make smart, well thought-out and (as needed) quick decisions that benefit the football team in the long run. He's also not sold on Kerry Joseph as an elite CFL quarterback. I believe that's a fair assessment, based on last year's performance. Suddenly, I feel a lot better about the decision to renew our (Jacob and my) season tickets.

One other plus - he makes no bones about demanding accountability and results from his players, his assistant coaches, and himself. Perform well, and you have a job. Don't, and you won't. Rumour has it that's what the successful teams do too. Might be time we gave it a try around here. Oh, and any players who object are advised not to let the door hit them on the way out!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's Austin time!

Kent Austin arrived in Regina last night. This afternoon he'll be officially introduced as the new Head Coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This marks the 2nd time a former Roughrider quarterback has become the bench boss of the team. It wasn't a roaring success for Ron Lancaster. Hopefully things go much better for Austin.

Austin has never held a head coaching position, although he has been a position coach in Ottawa and an offensive coordinator with the Toronto Argos. Not unlike Danny Barrett's resume before Roy Shivers brought him to Saskatchewan. Barrett and Austin were both CFL quarterbacks before turning to coaching. That's pretty much where the similarities end.

And, just to liven things up a bit, Yoda decided yesterday was a good day for a bonfire. Inside her house! Fortunately no one was injured. And I end up with a house guest for a couple of days. Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

SportZone lineup for Dec 4th

Here's the roster for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7 in Regina:

SportZone Guests for Dec 4/06
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. The Regina Pats could soon feature a father-son combination on the roster. Guests: Todd Strueby (Pats Assistant Coach) & Matt Strueby (Pat Canadians forward).

2. A Regina-based CFL official looks back on working the 2006 Grey Cup game in Winnipeg. Guest: Brent Buchko (CFL Official).

3. A profile of the Johnson Wildcats senior boys basketball team, the top-ranked 4A team in the city. Guests: Chris Ashman (Head Coach) & Dallas Lenko (Player).

4. A new year-round hockey training facility opens in Regina. Guest: Trevor Lakness (Puckmasters General Manager).

5. Exercise tips to help avoid packing on the tonnage over the holidays. Guest: Tracy Hagan (Personal Trainer, Gold’s Gym Regina).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Will the real Regina Pats please stand up?

Seriously, this Jekyll and Hyde routine is getting on my nerves! The Pats picked up three of a possible six points this weekend, as all good .500 teams do. First, they blew a 4-2 lead to Prince Albert Friday night, and lost 5-4 in a shootout. They rebounded to blank Red Deer 3-0 Saturday night. Then they dropped a 3-2 decision (they trailed 3-0 with four minutes left in the game) in Swift Current last night. So, which is it? Are the Pats the hardworking, quick and aggressive team that outclassed Red Deer, or the sleepwalking crew that was almost blanked by Speedy Creek? Damned if I know!

On the bright side, Yoda seemed to enjoy the view from the press box Saturday night. I may even go so far as to say she brightened up the place. Not that Rodney P. isn't a vision of loveliness, mind you...

The Pats have the week to prepare for a three-games-in-three-nights tour of Alberta on the weekend. And the Saskatchewan Roughriders may announce their new Head Coach this week. It looks as though Kent Austin has slipped past Dave Ritchie as the odds-on favourite to get the gig. Is that a good thing? Frankly, I'm not sure. I'm quite happy to let Eric Tillman make the call on that one.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Are you kidding me?

Apparently this week marked the first-ever recorded snowfall in the Regina area. Either that, or it's official that the average driver in this city is a moron!

Case in point - The Levwan (a major arterial roadway) generally has a speed limit of 70 km/h. Roadways are a little slippery this week, so I understand the need to slow down a bit. But 30 km/h? 40 clicks below the speed limit!?!?! Are you such an incompetent driver that you need that 40 km/h cushion..........just because? If you or your vehicle can't handle the current road conditions, here's a thought - take the bus or stay the hell at home!

And you folks with the super sub-compacts and "smart" cars - how are you enjoying your excellent fuel economy in the snow? Although I applaud the attempt at fuel conservation and environmental stewardship, those little buggies aren't the most practical for a climate that features at least five months a year of snow and ice.

On a positive note, the Regina Pats return to action on home ice this evening. It looks as though General Manager Brent Parker has all but given up on adding a second European player to the roster this season. That's unfortunate. Hopefully Brent can address his team's obvious shortcomings (can't score, not even at JD's on single mom night) through a trade or two. Yoda's even coming to the game, and joining us in the pressbox for tomorrow night's tilt as well. I suppose she'll expect me to share my popcorn...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Make it stop!

This is all Yoda's fault. First, she sends me one of those email "get to know your friends" deals. You know, the ones with 57,000 questions that you answer and then send out to people - who in turn fill in their responses (ex. Have you ever seen Santa naked? Why, actually...), and so on, and so on, blah, blah, blah.

Well, I did the usual - filled in some responses that some folks might find a little "off centre" (ex. Do you hang mistletoe? Yes, on my belt buckle), hoping that would stop the madness. But, no! Now the return responses are flooding in, and I want it to stop. Seriously, I think it's lovely that you put up your Christmas tree on Hallowe'en. Really, that's special. In a "wear a hockey helmet and ride the short bus to school" kind of way. But enough!

Whoever came up with the idea of these email questionaires should be violated by angry prison inmates reeking of toilet bowl booze and looking to take out some frustrations. Enough I say!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ask and ye shall receive!

Darn work, getting in the way of blog updating!

Okay, so now it's official. Danny Barrett will not return for an eighth season as the Riders Head Coach. Call it a firing, or a mutual understanding, but it's done. The Head Coaching job at his alma mater (University of Cincinnati) has opened up. I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up there.

Meantime, Eric Tillman will start interviewing potential replacements tomorrow. Tillman expects to hire someone he's worked with previously, which bumps Dave Ritchie and Kent Austin (please God, not Joe Paopao!) to the top of the list.

Bring on the news!

It's the start of a new week, and sports fans are anxiously awaiting news from Regina's pre-eminent sports franchises.

1) The Saskatchewan Roughriders are launching their season ticket campaign. Now might be a good time to clear up the status of Head Coach Danny Barrett and his staff. If Barrett is moving on (and the smart money suggests he is), then let the fans know - and they can make their ticket purchasing decisions accordingly.

2) The Regina Pats limp home with a 2-4 record on their west coast road trip. Enigmatic (although lazy and/or uninspired might also be accurate) forward Justin Bernhardt was a healthy scratch the last two games. I suggest the time has come for the Pats to stop waiting for #41 to live up to his 40-goal potential, and make a change that benefits all parties. The Pats desperately need an infusion of offensive ability. Making a deal before the P.A. Raiders come to town Friday night is highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Zany times!

This is turning into quite the road trip for the Regina Pats. The Pats were blanked 3-0 in Prince George last night, their second straight shutout loss. Obviously the shortage of offensive talent is becoming more pronounced for Curtis Hunt's crew.

Former Pats goalie Dustin Slade - upset at not getting the start against his former team Saturday night - has walked away from the Vancouver Giants. The Giants are interested in reacquiring netminder Tommy Tartaglione from the Pats. Now, there's word that Pats blueliner Derek Reinhart has left the team. What the???

And, to make life even more interesting, apparently someone has started up an anti-Rod Pedersen website. Well, I suppose that was just a matter of time...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

SportZone lineup for Nov 20th

Here's the lineup for this week's program, airing Wednesday night at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for Nov 20/06
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. The Sheldon-Williams Spartans go into the season as the top-ranked boy’s high school basketball (5A) team in Regina. Guests: Kolton Solomon & Jason Price (Spartans Players).

2. A profile of the Skate Regina figure and synchro skating club. Guests: Garrett Gosselin, Mervin Tran & Justin Duong (Skaters).

3. The Sheldon-Williams Spartans celebrate the 2006 city and provincial high school football championships. Guests: Kyle McFetridge (Head Coach), Marc Mueller, Kolton Solomon & Jason Price (Players).

4. A profile of the University of Regina women’s volleyball team. Guests: Jenn Prokopetz & Anne Fleming (Captains).

5. The Campbell Tartans capture the city 5A high school boy’s volleyball championship. Guests: Calvin Toffan (Head Coach), J.P. Willner & Robbie Findlay (Players).

6. The Winston Knoll Wolverines capture the city large schools high school girl’s volleyball championship. Guests: Tom Foster (Head Coach), Katie Mario & Renita McWhirter (Players).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Oh, was there a game on?

I don't think "electrifying" will be used by many people to describe yesterday's Grey Cup game, in which the B.C. Lions downed the Montreal Alouettes 25-14. Former Rider Paul McCallum tied a Grey Cup record with six field goals, and earned top Canadian honours in the process.

Now, the fun starts around the CFL. Will Danny Barrett still be the Riders' head coach at this time next week? I suspect he won't. Will the Riders announce a host of player signings and/or contract extensions? Probably. Will the fans be thrilled to the point of delirium, and storm the box office to purchase/renew season tickets? Yeah, whatever...

The Regina Pats are 1-1 on their 6-game west coast road swing. They visit Prince George tomorrow night.

Jacob's soccer team was eviscerated Saturday afternoon. However, my offspring played his little heart out - so the outcome was pretty much irrelevant. Oh, and Yoda's birthday included the new Bond movie, Casino Royale. I didn't expect to like Daniel Craig in the title role, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Spare time - go figure!

Geez, what's a guy to do with all the spare time this weekend? It's Yoda's birthday tomorrow, so I'll be busy with that in the evening. Might even keep the little Jedi up past 11pm for that one!

But, with the Pats on the road - and the Riders out of the playoffs - things have definitely slowed down on a personal sports front. Young Jacob has a soccer game Saturday, and I suppose I'll watch the Lions and Als do battle Sunday. But really, that's it. Gee, I might even have time to drag my carcass down to Carm's gym this weekend. What a radical idea!

So, who else thinks:
1) The Lions are going to b-slap the Als Sunday; and,
2) The Pats will be lucky to win three of six on their road trip?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

SportZone lineup for Nov 13

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for Nov 13/06
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. The Lonsdale Boxing Club holds a grand opening of its (still fairly) new facility, and gets ready to host a competition in December. Guest: Frank Fiacco (Lonsdale Club President).

2. The Leboldus Golden Suns capture the city 3A high school girl’s soccer championship. Guests: Ben Leung (Head Coach), Kara Gartner & Sarah Novak (Players).

3. (7:50) A profile of the Regina Diving Club. Guests: Andrew Mitchell (Head Coach) & Tyson Hillman (Diver). (confirmed)

4. A preview of the 2006/07 city high school basketball season. Guests: Glen Fekula (Balfour Senior Boys Head Coach) & Lance Alcorn (Balfour player).

5. (8:10) The Campbell Tartans capture the city 3A high school boy’s soccer championship. Guests: Robbie Mintenko & Devin Sembaluk (Players). (confirmed)

6. A recap of the 2006 season for the University of Regina women’s soccer team. Guests: Leigh Fitzpatrick (Assistant Coach) & Janine Peckford (Player).

7. A preview of the 2005/06 season for the U of R men’s basketball team. Guests: Glen Fekula (Assistant Coach) & Brad Fekula (Point Guard).

Monday, November 13, 2006

The winds of change

It would appear the Danny Barrett era with the Saskatchewan Roughriders came to an abrupt end at B.C. Place stadium yesterday. If you missed it, or would prefer not to remember, the Riders were throttled 45-18 by the Lions in the CFL Western final. Yoda says she (no really, Yoda is a she. I was as surprised as anyone.) fell asleep during the 2nd quarter. Coincidentally, that's when the Riders dozed off too! Anyway, the Leos take on the Montreal Alouettes next Sunday in the Grey Cup, while the Green Gang begins what should be an eventful offseason.

It became painfully obvious yesterday that the Riders have gone as far as they're going to go under Coach Barrett. That's not a criticism of the coach, just an observation. And, let's face it, DB knows the Board of Directors was lobbying for his dismissal earlier this year. I would suggest a change might be in everyone's best interest.

Speaking of, I couldn't help but notice the Pats put forth their best 60-minute effort of the season Saturday night, in beating the Moose Jaw Warriors 5-2. Enigmatic forward Justin Bernhardt dressed for the Pats, but didn't take a single shift. Very interesting move by the coaching staff, and hopefully the obvious message was received by #41. Same deal with forward Levi Lind, who was a healthy scratch on Saturday night. The Pats host Portland tomorrow night, before launching a six-game west coast road swing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ultimate sports weekend!

This is gonna be fun! Here's what Jacob and I have going this weekend:

  1. Friday night - Regina Pats vs Medicine Hat Tigers. It's time for the Pats to start imposing their will on visitors to the Brandt Centre. Actually, it's overdue. Let's hope it starts with this game. It'll be nice to catch up with Rod Pedersen during breaks in the action. You may not have noticed, but he's a little busy these days :)
  2. Saturday - Jacob has an indoor soccer game, then we return to the Brandt Centre for the Pats vs. Moose Jaw. Drew Haubrich will be filling in for Rod, so I'll get a chance to catch up with the "Droopy One".
  3. Sunday - another scintillating 1st Communion class over the noon-hour, then the munchkin and I fire up the big screen for the Riders and B.C. Lions in the CFL West final. Geez, if the Riders win Jacob will think a trip to the Grey Cup is a regular occurence for the Green Machine. Ah, so much to learn...

Talk about a swinging bachelor's weekend! Hell, maybe we'll round up some hot chicks and really..................uh, never mind.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Karma's a bee-otch

I don't know why, but I've got this nagging feeling that Sunday's CFL Western final will be decided by a familiar foe. I can't shake the feeling that the game will come down to a field goal attempt by Lions (formerly Riders) placekicker Paul McCallum.

And we all know how it turned out the last time McCallum attemped a game-winning boot in a west final at B.C. Place. That would be the infamous 18-yard miss that helped propel the Lions past the Riders into the 2004 Grey Cup. More recently, McCallum's failed attempt at a punt single in overtime helped the Riders knock off the Leos 23-20 on September 24th at Mosaic Stadium.

Of course, in both cases, that was then and this is now. Just some food for thought, I suppose. But I certainly wouldn't be surprised if the outcome of the game comes down to the right foot of Mr. McCallum. Here's hoping karma prefers green.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Where'd that come from?

I have to admit, I thought the Saskatchewan Roughriders were going to be blown out of McMahon Stadium during yesterday's CFL Western semi-final. Let's face it, the Riders trailed 21-5 late in the first half, and their offense was..............offensive.

Cue the comeback, as Kerry Joseph hit Matt Dominguez with a touchdown strike with three seconds left on the clock. Then, Kenton Keith ripped off a 76-yard scoring scamper on the first offensive play of the second half, and the Green Gang was in business. Even Luca Congi picked up his punting, atoning for a dismal first half performance. And the defence was tremendous, harassing Henry Burris into serving up four interceptions and a fumble. The end result was a 30-21 victory for the Riders, and a sense of closure for any fans who were still lamenting the departure of Smilin' Hank to Calgary after the 2004 season.

So, now it's on the West final in Vancouver against the Lions. The Riders have already beaten the Leos three times this season. Is that a guarantee of success? Uh, no. But if I were a betting man, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Barrett's Boys advancing to the big show in Winnipeg in two weeks time. Should be a great week!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Show time!

Just a few hours to go until the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders lock up at McMahon Stadium. Sure hope the Riders don't repeat their recent post-season formula of falling behind early, and scrambling to catch up. That would..........what's the word I'm looking for? Oh, yeah - suck. Jacob's gonna miss some - or all - of the game because of a birthday party. What kind of parents schedule a kids' birthday party on the same afternoon as a Rider playoff game? I'm not from Saskatchewan, but even I know what a faux pas that is!

Last night, the Pats dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Everett Silvertips. The Pats' lack of a bonafide sniper was highlighted in the shootout, as they sent three competent - but not scary - shooters to the line. All three were denied by 'Tips netminder Leyland Irving. Oh well, at least Yoda figured out where the post-game show was. That was a plus.

Well, whattya say we hit the gym before the Rider game? See you there?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I feel as though I'm the only person in Saskatchewan not worked into a frenzy over the great Gainer debate. In case you've missed it, the Calgary Stampeders have forbidden the Riders' mascot from patrolling the sidelines during Sunday's CFL west semi-final at McMahon Stadium.

Rider fans are up in arms over the perceived slight. Stampeders officials are sticking to their guns (presumably 22 caliber). Rodents everywhere are painting signs and preparing to march en masse.

You just know the players and respective coaching staffs are loving this. The longer the spotlight shines on the giant rat, the longer they can prepare for Sunday's game in relative tranquility. It'd be a brilliant PR move, if it was intentional. Geez, even Yoda is threatening to watch the game, to see what all the excitement is about. Well played, Gainer. Well played indeed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

SportZone lineup for Oct 30th

Here's the lineup for the "big show" running this week and next on Access7:

SportZone Guests for Oct 30/06
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. The Regina Pats limp home from their first extended road swing of the WHL season. Guest: Garrett Festerling (Pats forward).

2. A profile of the U of R women’s basketball team. Guests: Gabby Gheyssen & Maja Kralovcova (Players).

3. The Miller Marauders capture the city 2A high school girls soccer championship. Guests: Barb Barnes-Wilcox & Sharon McKechnie (Coaches), Erin Payette & Alyssa Kress (Players).

4. The Luther Lions capture the city 2A high school boys soccer championship. Guests: Larry Fry (Head Coach), Andrew Strilchuk & Jiyu Iida (Players).

5. A preview of winter soccer leagues and clinics available in Regina. Guests: Dennis Morse (Regina Soccer Association Executive Director) & Lori Wiens (Women’s Morning Soccer League Coordinator).

6. The Regina Optimist Dolphins get set to host the 1st Annual Queen City Swim Challenge. Guest: Jasen Pratt (RODS Head Coach).

Monday, October 30, 2006

A little perspective

Do yourself a favour. Read this. Then ask yourself why we care so much about the outcome of games. The Ryan family has its priorities straight. We could all learn a lesson.

I have come to know Jon and Steve Ryan through the SportZone program I host on Access. Two finer young men you will not meet. And, after meeting their parents Bob and Barb I can safely surmise the apples don't fall far from the tree in that family.

I can relate to the unfortunate circumstances the Ryan family is dealing with. I only hope to deal with my situation with half as much class, faith and love as these folks.

A BIG thumbs up to Jim Hopson and Paul Hill for their efforts on behalf of the Ryans this past weekend. Nicely done, gentlemen. And, a tip of the hat to Rob Vanstone for reporting the story in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. I think I'll call my mom tonight...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Glad that's out of the way

I wouldn't get too worked up about Saskatchewan's 20-18 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos last night. Sure, it would have been nice if Luca Congi's 49-yard field goal had split the uprights on the last play of the game. But really, the Riders almost pulled out a win with a roster full of rookies and bench-warmers. In a nutshell - an insignificant outcome to an insignificant game. On the positive side, Barrett's Boys go into next weekend's West Semi-Final in Calgary healthy and rested. Now, that's worth getting worked up about!

There were a couple of noteworthy accomplishments last night, though. Rookie receiver Andy Fantuz cemented his status as Jacob's favourite Rider by posting the first 100-yard receiving game of his CFL career. Marcus Crandell did a very competent job at quarterback in his first extended action of the season. Marcus "Chunky" Adams played a strong game on the defensive line. And Jason French had a potential game-winning touchdown pass bounce off his helmet. Oh well, some things never change.

Time to get back to the offspring. We have an action-packed day ahead of us, before Yoda arrives later tonight. Hopefully the little Jedi leaves the big stick at home.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hardly an epic battle

Tomorrow night's regular season finale between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos is shaping up to be a yawner. Mind you, that's probably a better scenario for the Riders than needing a win to make the post-season. They've sewn up third place in the West, and will travel to Calgary next weekend for the West Semi-Final.

So, the Gang Green is taking no chances, and resting lots of regulars for this week. On offense we'll see the likes of Nathan Hoffart and Neil Hughes getting some work, while guys like Luc Mullinder and Dwan Epps will take a regular turn on defence. It'll be interesting to see if Rider sack-master Fred Perry gets much playing time. Perry is two back of BC's Brent Johnson for the league lead, with 14 quarterback sacks.

I'm thinking Jacob and I will be dabbling in Madden Football at halftime. If the game's a dog, we may just keep the game on.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

SportZone lineup for Oct 23rd

If you like hockey, you don't want to miss this week's show - airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access 7.

SportZone Guests for Oct 23/06
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. The Regina Pats get set for their first extended road swing of the WHL season. Guests: Linden Rowat (Pats goalie) & Craig Schira (Defenceman).

2. A book review of “Never Give Up – Ted Jaleta’s Inspiring Story”, the story of a Regina athlete’s harrowing escape from Ethiopia. Guest: Ted Jaleta (distance runner/coach) & Deanna Driver (Author).

3. A profile of the U of R men’s hockey team. Guests: Blaine Sautner (Head Coach) & Jordan McGillivray (Cougars forward).

4. An update on the Regina Pat Canadians 2006/05 Midget AAA hockey club. Guests: Landis Chaulk (Assistant Coach) & Jordan Heywood (Defenceman).

5. A preview of the winter frivolity planned at the Regina Ski Club . Guest: Hal Herbison (Regina Ski Club).

6. An update on the Regina Capitals 2006/05 Prairie Junior Hockey League (Junior B) club. Guests: Leo McDonald (Head Coach) & Byron Alexander (Forward).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Putting sports in perspective

By now you've likely heard about that horrific early-morning car crash in Moose Jaw Sunday morning. Three members of the Warriors hockey team were in a car that was hit by a pick-up truck around 7am. The Warriors had just returned from a road trip and were heading home for some sleep. Two of the players were treated and released from hospital. However, 18 year old forward Garret Robinson remains in critical condition in a Regina hospital with severe head injuries. Garret is the younger brother of Matt Robinson, who toiled brilliantly for the Regina Pats last season.

Needless to say, the thoughts and prayers of anyone even remotely connected with junior hockey are with the Robinson family and the Warriors. Hockey rivalries are terribly insignificant at this point, as we all hope for a full and speedy recovery for Garret.

As for the driver of the pickup - I'm not interested in trying anyone in the court of public opinion, but Moose Jaw police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Off to a good start

The weekend is rolling along pretty nicely so far. The Riders turned in a tremendous defensive effort last night in knocking off the Toronto Argos 13-9. Rookie sensation Andy Fantuz scored the only touchdown of the game, but failed miserably in mugging for the TSN cameras afterwards. Seriously dude, stick with "Hi, Mom". Heck of a player, though.

The only drawback was the 2.5 hour (!) wait for sustenance from Houston Pizza. Two and a half hours for a pizza?!?!?! Fortunately, the folks at HP knocked 50% off the price, and threw in some free salad. And let's face it, the boys and I aren't in danger of fading away to nothing any time soon, so we managed to survive the wait.

Then, after the game Yoda and I took in a movie at the Rainbow Cinemas. All in all, time well spent.

Tonight, I'll try to do my best Harry Neale (or Cassie Campbell?) imitation as I join Rod Pedersen in the booth to provide colour commentary for the Pats and Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Brandt Centre. I'll try to keep the outrageous comments to a minimum.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Never a dull moment in Riderville

So, Rider running back Kenton Keith broke his personal three-month media blackout yesterday. And, Rider coach Danny Barrett started his own. What's up with that? Since when has Danny Barrett avoided media scrutiny? Speculation is DB's actions relate to a story Don Hewitt ran on CTV Regina, alleging the Rider bench boss is resigned to moving on at the end of this season. All this coming off a big win over Montreal. Man, this team really doesn't handle prosperity well, does it?

Well, we'll see how the latest machinations play out when the Green Gang takes to the turf in Toronto tomorrow night. Riders tomorrow night. Pats Saturday night. And at some point this weekend I've gotta find time to compose another critically-acclaimed paper for my university class. Good times, I tell ya. Good times.

Oh, and a big thumbs down for a few members of the Campbell Tartans football team. I was out with a friend at Boston Pizza south last night, when we noticed our server Adam was a little down in the dumps. It seems several members of the Tartan delegation decided to "dine and dash" last night, leaving poor Adam on the hook for their bill. Nice.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SportZone lineup for Oct 16th

Here's the lineup for the show, airing on Access 7 Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm:

SportZone Guests for Oct 16/06
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. A Regina athlete is off to compete at the World Bodybuilding Championships in the Czech Republic. Guest: Ron Gonzales (Bodybuilder).

2. An update from the Commissioner of Regina High School Athletics. Guest: Greg Johnson (RHSAA Commissioner).

3. An update on ringette action in the Regina area. Guest: Troy Herring (Ringette Regina Vice President).

4. A profile of the Regina Rebels, our entry in the new Saskatchewan Midget AAA girls hockey league. Guests: Doug Folk (Head Coach) & Kylie Rossler (Rebels Captain).

5. A profile of the U of R women’s hockey team. Guest: Sarah Howald (Head Coach).

6. A profile of the Miller Marauders high school football team. Guests: Dean Kuz (Head Coach), Chris Knoll & Matt Hall (Players).

7. An update on the Regina Thunder football team, including a recap of their semi-final matchup with the Edmonton Wildcats. Guest: Erwin Klempner (Head Coach).

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Congi comes through!

Thumbs up for Rider rookie kicker Luca Congi, who calmly stroked a 29-yard field goal on the last play of the game togive the Green Gang a 27-26 win over the Montreal Alouettes. The Riders overcame all sorts of miscues and misfires in this one, including a couple of Kerry Joseph interceptions, and one (almost two) fumbles by sure-handed Matt Dominguez. On the flip side, the pride of Moose Jaw - defensive tackle Scott Schultz - had a monster game, including two of the six sacks of Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo. On a side note, young Jacob shivered a bit as the mercury dropped, but enjoyed the evening immensely.

So, if the Edmonton Eskimos lose to Toronto this afternoon - the Riders officially clinch a playoff spot. And the Eskimos 34 year streak of postseason play comes to an end. Sweet.

As an aside, that 13th man song.........the one recorded by Jason Armstead and Shermar Bracey..........not bad! If anyone knows where to get an mp3 of that song, let me know.

Tonight, the progeny and I will be camped out in the Brandt Centre pressbox for the Pats and Swift Current Broncos. See ya on the radio!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rocky can't answer the bell

Riders quarterback Rocky Butler is officially out of commission for tomorrow night's rematch with the Montreal Alouettes. Kerry Joseph is listed as #1 on the depth chart this week, followed by Marcus Crandell and Darian Durant. Butler - a surprise starter against the Als Thanksgiving Day - is recovering from a mild concussion suffered in that game. Joseph is still dealing with a knee injury that may require offseason surgery.

With any luck, Joseph will make it out of Mosaic Stadium alive tomorrow. Healthy quarterbacks are becoming a rarity in Riderville. Plus, the Riders really need a win to restore young Jacob's faith in the Green Gang. Seven is far too young to be jaded.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pats Deal Puckstopper

The Regina Pats have dealt 19 year old goaltender David Reekie to the Everett Silvertips. Reekie won 31 games for the Pats last season, but lost the starting job to 17 year old Linden Rowat this year. Too bad, nice kid - and one of Jacob's favourite Pats. I wish him the best out west.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Can't always get what you want

I refuse to let the Saskatchewan Roughriders latest bed-soiling episode spoil an otherwise excellent weekend. In case you missed it, the Riders looked flatter than my grade six girlfriend in Montreal Monday, losing 35-8. A late touchdown flattered the visitors, who were outclassed in every aspect of the game. And for those of you hoping this latest implosion leads to a coaching change; sorry. No way Eric Tillman sends Danny Barrett packing with only four days between games.

Thankfully, the Regina Pats brought me out of my Rider-induced funk by blanking the P.A. Raiders 2-0 Monday afternoon. Jacob's favourite Pat Nick Ross scored the game-winner, and Linden Rowat staked another claim to the #1 goaltender's job by posting the shutout.

And then there was Sunday night. After a succulent Thanksgiving feast in Moose Jaw, I joined 45,000 of my closest friends for the Rolling Stones concert at Mosaic Stadium. Wow. Quite simply, wow. Yes, I know the Stones are ancient. Yes, I know they haven't released a great album in many, many years. But you know what? It was still a fantastic show. It's just too bad some people spent so much money on their tickets that they had to cut costs by passing their cigarettes around while at the show. Funny smelling cigarettes too. Must have been imported.:)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Regina Makes the Daily Show!

Anyone remember that zany Bill Whatcott? You know, the zealous anti-gay crusader? The folks at the Daily Show seemed to enjoy meeting him.

Gimme Shelter!

It's gonna be a wild and wacky weekend in the Queen City. The first of two massive Rolling Stones concerts is tonight at Mosaic Stadium. 45,000 people watching a gaggle of grandfathers strut their stuff. Imagine. I'll be at the Sunday night show. I always hoped I'd get the opportunity to see the Stones in concert. But in Regina? Didn't think it was possible. This is gonna be an experience. I'm prepping myself by listening to their 40 Licks greatest hits package from a few years back.

On Monday morning, I'll settle down in front of the big screen to watch the Riders and Alouettes from Montreal. Lord only knows which version of the Green Gang will suit up for this one, or how the Als will respond to the departure of Head Coach Don Matthews this week. At least we know Kerry Joseph will be taking snaps for the Riders. How effective he'll be with a (still) injured right knee remains to be seen.

Then, once the Rider game wraps up it's time to dash over to the Brandt Centre for the Pats and P.A. Raiders. I'm hosting the CKRM post-game show on my own for that one. Tune in if you dare! I'm a little nervous, truth be told. But, hopefully the Pats win big and I can lob lots of softball questions at the guests. They tend to like that.

So, buckle up your chinstraps and put on the foil - it's gonna a wild ride this weekend. And I'm liking it!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Expanding our reach

This blog is now listed on the SaskBlogs Aggregator site. I encourage you to visit, and check out what's happening with Saskatchewan's vibrant blogging community. After all, we're all in this together!

Now, about those Riders - I expect the Montreal Alouettes to come out firing Monday, now that Don Matthews has been deposed as the Als Head Coach. And make no mistake - despite assertions Matthews stepped down for health reasons - the Don was dumped. So now Jim Popp is pulling the chains, and I expect Anthony Calvillo to be putting the ball in the air early and often. This might not bode well for the Green Gang.

The Pats dropped another one last night, losing 5-2 to Medicine Hat. Too many Pats are playing "cutesy" hockey, unwilling to pay the price by doing some of the dirty work required to make a team successful. That will change. Bank on it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

SportZone lineup for Oct 2nd

Here's the lineup for the show, airing On Access 7 Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm this week and next week:

SportZone Guests for Oct 2/06
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. A profile of the new indoor baseball facility in Regina, offering year-round training for the boys of summer. Guest: Ken Geber (Owner, Triple Play Sports).

2. One of the Regina Red Sox import players liked the city so much, he decided to stay and get an education. Guest: Shane Lucci (Red Sox pitcher/U of R intern).

3. An update on the Regina Pats, in the early days of the 2006/07 WHL season. Guest: Kyle Deck (Pats captain).

4. A profile of the RMF Pee-Wee Blues, bringing youth football to North-Central Regina. Guests: Brandon Brooks (Head Coach) & (Players TBA).

5. A profile of the Usher Unicorns high school football team. Guests: Danny Paskiw (Head Coach) & Wyatt Catley (Quarterback).

6. A profile of the University of Regina cross-country team. Guests: Ted Jaleta (Coach) & Dale Wig (Runner).

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Are you kidding?

What gives with the Saskatchewan Roughriders? Once again, they had a struggling opponent on the ropes, but failed to deliver the knockout punch. The Edmonton Eskimos rallied Saturday night to beat the Riders 30-25, keeping the Evil Empire's hopes of a playoff berth alive. The Schmoes improved their record to 5-9, while the Green Gang slipped to 7-7 - also known as their customary .500 record. Yet again.

Kerry Joseph was having (yet) another so-so night at quarterback for the Riders when he went down with an apparent knee injury in the second half. Enter Rocky Butler, much to the delight of the leather-lunged minority at Mosaic Stadium. Alas, this time the Butler didn't do it, and Saskatchewan dropped an opportunity to inch closer to Calgary in the race for second place (and a home playoff game) in the West. And the beat goes on...

Tonight, the Pats fell behind 4-0 to the Red Deer Rebels, before mounting a spirited comeback in the last ten minutes of the game. However, the comeback fell short, and the Pats dropped a 4-3 decision. All in all, not such a great sports weekend.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fasten your seatbelts!

Another action-packed weekend with the munchkin is on the horizon. Friday night will probably be devoted to watching the Bombers and Alouettes, followed by a little Madden on the playstation. Nice way to unwind from a stressful week.

On Saturday, the activity cranks up with (hopefully) tennis in the morning, followed by some cycling in the afternoon, and the Riders and Eskimos in the evening. It'll be interesting to see how fired-up the Eskimos are, now that they're closing in on official elimination from the playoff race. As for the Riders...........damned if I know! Hopefully Barrett's Boys are still riding the wave of momentum generated by last week's overtime win over B.C. That'd be nice.

On Sunday I'm taking Jacob to his first communion class. Granted it's been a while, but when did they stop teaching this stuff in school? Isn't that the whole point of sending our kids to catholic schools - immersion in the faith, introduction to the sacraments, etc...? Just wondering.

On Sunday night I hook up with Rod Pedersen for the broadcast of the Pats vs. Red Deer WHL tilt at the Brandt Centre. It'll be interesting to hear how the leather-lunged faithful treat Rebels forward Martin Hanzal, the Czech import who spurned the Pats - who in turn were unable to trade the enigmatic sniper to one of his "preferred" destinations. Let 'em have it, folks!

Monday, September 25, 2006

SportZone lineup for Sept 25

Here's the lineup for this week's epic. As usual, the show airs Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access Channel 7 in Regina.

SportZone Guests for September 25, 2006

Community Co-Host: Dale West

1. The water polo season gets underway in Regina, including the Regina Squids defense of their national senior men’s championship. Guest: Mike Mortin (Regina Squids Head Coach).

2. A profile of the Luther Lions high school football team. Guests: Troy Casper (Head Coach) & (Player tba). (confirmed)

3. Hockey Regina selects a new Executive Director. Guest: Blair Watson (HRI Executive Director).

4. An update on the Regina Minor Football season, including how officials are dealing with the record number of players this year. Guest: Kelly Hamilton (RMF President).

5. An update on the Regina Thunder junior football team. Guests: Bryce McCall & Travis Junior (Players).

6. An update on the University of Regina Rams football team. Guest: Steve Ryan (Rams Defensive Back).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fantastic Fantuz!

Let's hear it for Roughrider rookie Andy Fantuz! The former Western Mustang star - who played his college ball a two minute drive from my mom's house in London, Ontario - scored his first two CFL touchdowns this afternoon, leading the Riders to a 23-20 overtime win over the B.C. Lions.

Fantuz recovered a Kerry Joseph (who played another poor game) fumble in the end zone, and caught a Joseph warbler for the game-winning score in O-T. I'm thinking young Jacob may have a new favourite Rider. A lot of other people may be Fantuziacs now too, come to think of it. Cool.

On Saturday night, I watched the Regina Pats fall 2-1 to the Saskatoon Blades in the Pats WHL home opener. Better nights are definitely ahead for the young Pats, who seemed to grip their sticks a little too tightly - and spent too much time looking for the highlight reel pass - to overcome some stellar goaltending in the Blades net. And then the post-game show was a technological nightmare. And after that debacle, I temporarily lost my wallet. All in all, not a great night. But, hockey's back in the Brandt Centre. That's never a bad thing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Big sports weekend

It's shaping up to be a busy weekend for this "occasional" sports broadcaster. I'll swing by Rider practise Saturday morning to record an interview or two for the pre-game show on Sunday. Saturday night, it's the Pats home opener. I'll be helping Rod Pedersen out with the post-game show (and probably intermissions) on the home broadcasts again this year. Then Sunday it's the Riders and B.C. Lions at Mosaic Stadium with Jacob. Good times!

Oh, and there's talk of "changes" coming for my little SportZone show on Access. Changes. That's always a good sign, isn't it? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

SportZone lineup for Sept 18

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access Channel 7:

SportZone Guests for Sept 18, 2006
Community Co-Host: Tim Hubic

1. A look at youth curling programming/opportunities through Curl Regina. Guest: Jan Betker (Youth Curling Coordinator).

2. An introduction to the new Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Soccer Association, and a look at winter programming. Guests: Kelly Skotnitsky (SSA Executive Director) & Astrid Baecker (Director, Operations and Promotions).

3. A profile of the Sheldon-Williams high school football team. Guests: Kyle McFetridge (Head Coach) & Marc Mueller (Quarterback).

4. The annual “kick off” interview with the Director of Athletics at the University of Regina. Guest: Dick White (Athletics Director).

5. A preview of the season-ending Enduro at King’s Park Speedway. Guest: Jim “Sharky” Braden (Racer/Organizer).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Jake the Snake

It's official. My kid is crazy about football. Thanks to the splendid weather this weekend, we've spent an inordinate amount of time indoors. And given the choice, young Jacob wants to spend every waking moment watching football. NFL, CFL, CIS, it's all good. I caught him watching Windsor and Queen's locked in a (less than) epic collegiate battle - and I think he liked it! During commercial stoppages, he wants to play catch with me. And when there isn't a game on the tube, he beseeches me to play him in Madden football on the Playstation.

Yup, he's got "the fever" all right. Works for me!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

SportZone lineup for Sept 11

Here's this week's lineup, as we return to the weekly taping schedule:

SportZone Guests for Sept 11, 2006
Community Co-Host: Dale West

1. The Regina Red Sox are looking for volunteers to form the team’s Booster Club. Guests: Barb Dedi (Executive Member) & Kip Simon (Red Sox player).

2. A preview of the 2006 season for the U of R women’s soccer team. Guests: Jason Jones (Head Coach) & Kam Bahia (Player).

3. A review of the Regina Pats’ training camp, and look ahead to the regular season. Guest: Terry Perkins (Assistant Coach).

4. The Riffel Royals go for their third straight Regina High School (4A) football championship. Guests: Shawn McCall (Assistant Coach), Jay Smith & Tanner Schmidt (Players).

5. An update on goings-on at King’s Park Speedway. Guest: Stacy Getz (Board Member).

6. An update on the Regina Thunder junior football team. Guests: Jimi Cabylis & Scott Assie(Players).

Monday, September 11, 2006

KJ - Oy Vay!

The Riders evened their record at 6-6 with the 27-23 loss in Winnipeg Sunday in the Banjo Bowl. Not Kerry Joseph's finest work at quarterback, to be sure. Joseph looked tentative in the pocket and his passes were.........erratic (putting it kindly).

Fortunately, Jason Armstead and Kenton Keith made highlight-reel catches in the first half - giving the Riders offense (and quarterback) the appearance of competence. Now, the green guys enter a bye week before facing the B.C. Lions at home on the 24th. And the prospect of a home playoff game slips a little further away...

On the bright side - all-world good guy Jon Ryan made his NFL debut with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. It's great to see a genuinely nice young man realize his life's dream. Now if only the Packers would start winning the occasional game!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fancy book-learnin'

Well, I'm back in the world of academia. Tonight was my first class in PR-40 (Electronic Information Design). After this class, I will need only one more to complete my certificate in Public Relations from the U of R. It's only taken.......oh, forever! After getting my certificate, I may go crazy and start working on a BA. But first things first - ten weeks of instruction from Kim Herperger on using websites and the intranet to communicate effectively. Good times!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Who's up for a threesome?

Make it three wins in a row for the Roughriders, following a 39-12 dissection of Winnipeg in the Labour Day Classic. Suffice to say young Jacob thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of the Labour Day atmosphere at Mosaic Stadium. The rematch goes next weekend in the Manitoba capital.

It seemed fairly obvious that Kerry Joseph has not completely recovered from his knee injury. However, he was able to scamper downfield reasonably well, regardless. Where Joseph showed obvious rust was in his passing, completing only 12 of 27 attempts - and missing open receivers in favour of throwing into coverage (more often than not in the direction of Jason Armstead). I certainly hope Joseph rachets his game up a notch next week, or the newly-minted Rocky Butler fans will be howling for a change.

Oh, on a side note - Jacob has started beating me in Madden football. Stupid video games.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back from loopy-land

Well, I'm finally returning to some semblance of normal after yesterday's unpleasantness. Thanks again to Rod Pedersen for his chauffeur service to and from the Pasqua Hospital. Here's hoping that experience is safely "behind" us now!

On to other stuff: Jacob is settling in nicely at his new school. He scored a touchdown in school-yard football today. Attaboy!

Darrell Davis was contrite in today's L-P. Hmm, okay. Frankly, I didn't view DD's work earlier this week as particularly damaging to the Riders' new General Manager - but I was admittedly distracted. Today the L-P had Danny Barrett squarely in it's sights, speculating that Sunday's game against Winnipeg could be DB's last with the Riders. Have to admit the thought crossed my mind as well.

I look forward to popping by Rider practice Saturday morning, doing my interview with Scott Schultz (among others?), and helping Jacob get even more pumped for the Labour Day Classic. Should be a gong show, in the nicest possible way.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Armstrong Returning?

Hey, former Rider All-Star receiver Derick Armstrong has been released by the Houston Texans! That means he'll probably be coming back to the CFL, right? That means he could be returning to the Riders, don't ya think? Uh, no. The NFL is the same league where Jeff George can still find work. Armstrong won't be coming north again.

SportZone lineup for August 28

Here's the lineup for the show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access Channel 7:

SportZone Guests for August 28, 2006

Community Co-Host: Corey Matthews

1. A preview of the 2006 Regina Pat Canadians training camp. Guests: Mike Wirachowsky (Head Coach) & Darrel Baumgartner (Assistant Coach).

2. A preview of the 2006 Regina Pats training camp. Guests: Terry Perkins (Assistant Coach) & Nick Ross (Defenceman).

3. A look ahead to the 2006/07 season for the Regina Capitals. Guests: Leo McDonald (Head Coach) & Curtis Markwart (Defenceman).

4. A recap of the 2006 national sprint Canoe & Kayak championships. Guests: Dave Robertson (Head Coach, Wascana Racing Canoe Club).

5. A review of the Regina Red Sox season, and a call for booster club members. Guest: Bernie Eiswirth (General Manager).

6. A look back at the 2006 season for the Prairie Fire rugby club. Guest: Jered Kirkland (Fire Captain).

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Riders Run Roughshod

Saskatchewan embarrassed Hamilton for the second straight week, notching a 51-8 victory at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Granted, beating Hamilton is currently as satisfying (and challenging) as scoring at JD's on a Saturday night - but hey, a win is a win.

Actually, the Riders have now won two in a row for the first time this season. Already the debate has begun about which quarterback, Rocky Butler or Kerry Joseph, should get the start on Labour Day. For those requiring a reminder, one of those gentlemen is the highest paid player in Rider team history, and the other is Rocky Butler. Clearly, if Joseph is suitably recovered from his bruised knee, he starts. And Butler provides a competent alternative, if the need arises.

Geez, two straight blow-out wins. I wonder who is getting fired this week?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tillman's on board

Well, that didn't take long. Eric Tillman has been officially introduced as the new General Manager of the Riders. He's a two-time Grey Cup champ, and, unlike his predecessor, he's planning to move his family to Regina.

Here's hoping this is the move needed to get a talented team to that mythical "next level". And, as of this writing, Danny Barrett is still the Head Coach of the Riders.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Eric the Red


Eric Tillman is in town tonight. I imagine he'll be finalizing terms of his contract with the Riders tomorrow, and be introduced to the media Thursday. At that point, Danny Barrett's future becomes even more uncertain. I disagree with those who feel Danny will be free to coach "his" way with Shivers gone. He'll be under enormous pressure, wondering if Tillman's mandate involves bringing in a new head coach (Kent Austin?), and making it a complete housecleaning. Stay tuned, the fun is just starting!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shivers sacked!

I have to admit, I'm surprised. The Riders BOD have dumped General Manager Roy Shivers, effective immediately. Does this relate to the alleged demand the board made for Shivers to fire Head Coach Danny Barrett? One would have to think so, otherwise why fire the GM at the half-way point of the season? Interesting times, to be sure. I'll be tuning in to hear Rod's take on the news tonight on Sportsline on CKRM. Wow.

Update: Rod invited me to join the on-air crew for tonight's show, so of course I took him up on the offer. Surprisingly, most callers were supportive of the decision to punt Shivers. More than a few also called for Danny Barrett's head to roll. No huge surprise there.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

KK is okay

It was the Kenton Keith show at Mosaic Stadium Saturday night, as the petulant Riders running back notched over a hundred yards rushing and receiving, and two touchdowns, in a 46-15 dismantling of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Keith's performance was so impressive, #28 appears to have dashed back into the good books of young Jacob - along with the three members of the local constabulary KK shook hands with after his second touchdown of the game. Classic stuff, that!

Let's be honest, the visitors were a poor imitation of a professional football team. Hamilton is bad, and apparently getting worse. Having said that, the Riders took care of their business - and dealt with some adversity along the way. Marcus Crandell started at quarterback, but was knocked out of the game in the first quarter. So, on came rarely-used third-stringer Rocky Butler to the chagrin/dismay of the home crowd. To Rocky's credit, he performed remarkably well - running and throwing (let's be honest) beyond anyone's expectations.

So, now the Riders get a chance to even their record (and re-enter the race for a home playoff date) with a win in Hamilton Saturday. Can they? Sure. Should they? Absolutely. Will they? Stay tuned.

Friday, August 18, 2006

News and notes from Rider practise

Well, it's official - Marcus Crandell will start at quarterback for the Riders tomorrow night against Hamilton. Marcus was calm and relaxed while facing the media after practise, but you have to know he's excited to be given the reins again - even for only one game.

Scott Schultz was surprised to hear he and Nate Davis had been "called out" by Roy Shivers for the defense's inability to stop the run in the late stages of the loss in Edmonton. Schultzie promises a different result if the Ti-Cats try to exploit the middle of the Riders' defense this week.

Rod Pedersen plays internet checkers against Japanese kids. Who knew?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

SportZone lineup for August 14th

Here's the lineup for the latest edition of the show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for Aug 14, 2006

Community Co-Host: Carlo Palazzo

1. A preview of the 2006 University of Regina Rams training camp. Guest: Teale Orban (Rams quarterback).

2. A review of Team Saskatchewan’s performance at the recent Special Olympics national championships. Guest: Howard Schweitzer (Special Olympics Saskatchewan CEO).

3. A long-time Regina high school coach calls it a career. Now he runs cycling tours through Europe. Guest: Gerry Harris (Retired teacher/coach).

4. A look ahead to the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina men’s hockey team. Guest: Pat Baum (Assistant Captain).

5. A review of the newly-published 2006 Canadian Football Buzzbook. Guest: John Chaput (Author).

6. The Regina Lawn Bowling club gets set to host the national championships. Guests: Jean & Keith Roney (Bowlers).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Running in quicksand

Well, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have devolved from potential Grey Cup champs, to the cure for what ails other teams. For the second straight week, the Riders' opponents snapped a three-game losing skid by beating the hapless green gang.

This week, the Edmonton Eskimos were the recipients of some uninspired play from the Riders (and some questionable calls from the officials) on the way to a 24-18 victory.

Here's the poop:

1) Kerry Joseph threw the ball with all the accuracy of Nealon Greene. Is there some reason Marcus Crandell couldn't take over for a clearly injured (and clearly ineffective) starting quarterback?
2) The defense couldn't shut down the Eskimos when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter. Troy Davis rumbled for a series of key first downs en route to a game-clinching field goal.
3) Luca Congi's punting wouldn't be good enough for some high school teams. But apparently it's adequate for a CFL team. Go figure.
4) Dwan Epps. Make a play. Just one. Please.

So now the Riders and Schmoes are tied for third (or last) in the West with identical 3-5 records. Next up - the struggling Hamilton Tiger Cats invade Mosaic Stadium. Methinks the fans will have short fuses Saturday night. Don't be surprised to hear the home team booed enthusiastically if the green gang continues to stumble around like a wino on a three-day bender.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday night football!

After some fancy footwork, I've managed to secure a vantage point for tonight's tilt between the Riders and Schmoes. TSN isn't on basic cable out here in Southern Ontario, so that made it a little challenging. Especially since the average person here could really give a rat's ass about the CFL. Sad, really.

But, I've lined up the necessary tv coverage, thanks to the technical know-how of the legendary Muggs - a motly crew of degenerates if ever there was one. Unfortunately I won't be able to tune in to Rod and Carm (no high speed internet at Mama Paczko's), but I'll make do. Just waiting for the world-famous panzerotti (note to Regina pizza joints - get panzerotti on the menu!) from Tony's Pizza to arrive, and I'll be all set. Wish I was watching the game with Jacob - last week he was more entertaining than the game - but I did manage to snag him a limited edition Andy Fantuz Western Mustang bobblehead doll today. So that's a plus.

Enjoy the game!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pretty weak, boys!

Idle thoughts on the Saskatchewan Roughriders' 23-7 loss in Calgary tonight:

1) The offensive line isn't getting the job done. Granted, the Riders throw the ball further down the field this year, requiring longer blocking assignments, but Kerry Joseph is going to get killed!
2) Speaking of which - Joseph was clearly playing hurt, and was ineffective throwing the ball. Any reason Marcus Crandell didn't see the field?
3) The Riders defense recovered from a bad start to hold the team in the game, but the offense was......offensive.
4) Calgary's offensive line gave Henry Burris time to find his receivers tonight - what a novel concept!
5) Luca Congi's punting was putrid until the late stages of the game.
6) Joffrey Reynolds is a horse, but it appears Kenton Keith can still run the ball as well.
7) Dominique Dorsey makes me miss the kick-returning abilities of Corey Holmes - a lot.
8) Steve Armitage is a gawdawful play-by-play man. I gagged when he gave former Rider Scott Gordon credit for a Roughrider tackle in the first half.

So, the win one/lose one pattern continues for the Grim Green Machine. And the band played on...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Frequent flyer

I'm off to see my Mom in London again next week. She's pretty freaked out about starting chemo (response: who the hell wouldn't be?), so I'll do what I can to brighten her spirits. Much easier if Jacob was tagging along, but I'm flying solo on this trip.

In the meantime, the Riders will hopefully be revelling in their first two-game winning streak of the year, and gearing up for their first head-to-head battle with the defending Grey Cup champs in Edmonton. Hopefully I'll be able to watch that game somewhere (TSN isn't on my mom's cable package with Rogers. What the hell?).

And, with any luck the Regina Red Sox will have knocked off Swift Current on their way to the WMBL championship. I sure hope so, so I can actually get to a game this year! In the meantime, pack the park Sunday and Monday night people, and cheer on our Sox!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

I'm actually enjoying the war of words between the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders. As often happens in these home-and-home scenarios, lips start flapping and the media hungrily devours each juicy quote (where have you gone, Colin Scrivener?).

Henry Burris and Jermaine Copeland got the ball rolling in the aftermath of the Stamps 19-9 loss on the Taylor turf. Fred Perry jumped into the fray on behalf of the Riders. For his part, soft-spoken Davin Bush basically shrugged off Copeland's suggestion that Bush would become the football version of his prison b$&#@ in the rematch.

In this politically correct, sanitized world we live in a little trash-talk is a welcome change of pace. As long as those doing the talking have the stones to back it up on the field of course.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Big bang, indeed

Call it brilliant strategizing, or just blind luck, but I managed to score four tickets to the Regina Rolling Stones concert this morning! Sweet. I estimate the concert sold out (through TicketMaster) in about 7 minutes. So, to end up in row 4 (section 40) feels pretty darn good, actually.

Now, we just have to keep Keith out of coconut trees between now and October 8th.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Joy in Mudville

A good time was had by all in attendance at Mosaic Stadium last night, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders knocked off the Calgary Stampeders 19-9. It marked the first time the Riders had beaten Henry Burris since his departure following the 2004 season. Consider that jinx broken.

I'm not sure what was more entertaining, the action on the field or the antics of young Jacob in the stands. He's quickly becoming a fan favourite in our little corner of section 26. Speaking of fan favourites, Andy Fantuz draws a huge response from the crowd every time he touches the ball. The kid is becoming wildly popular with the Rider faithful, as are Kerry Joseph and Jason Armstead - who hooked up an another electrifying touchdown reception. And Matt Dominguez's circus catch in the endzone was a thing of beauty as well.

It concerns me a bit that the Rider offense slowed down in the second half. But, since the defence shut down the Stamps (with a little help from the Calgary receiving corps), it all worked out in the end. Now, can the Green Gang repeat this performance in Calgary next Saturday? We can only hope.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pre-game update

Well, Rod Pedersen has enlisted my help with a couple of pre-game features for the Rider broadcast. Rod appreciates the help, and it gives me something to do during my work hiatus. This week I interviewed D-lineman Scott Schultz again, and did an injury update with Riders trainer Ivan Gutfriend.

Nothing particularly earth-shattering: both Jackie Mitchell and Neal Hughes are on the shelf for a while with hamstring injuries. Donnie Ruiz is almost back to full health - he'll be ready to go next week, if needed.

Schultzie was his typically blunt self. He doesn't believe his hit on Spergon Wynn warranted any sort of penalty. And if he gets a chance to level Henry Burris tomorrow night - darn right he'll do it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SportZone lineup for July 24

Here's the lineup for the show, airing Wednesday night at 6:00 and Thursday afternoon at 3:00 on Access channel 7 in Regina. The next taping is Monday, August 14th.

SportZone Guests for July 24, 2006

Community Co-Host: Tim Hubic

1. A preview of the 2006 Regina Thunder junior football training camp. Guest: Erwin Klempner (Thunder Head Coach).

2. A review of the 2006 season for the Regina Red Sox, and playoff preview. Guests: Pancho Beskowiney & Donald Cheney (Players).

3. A look ahead to the 2006/07 season for the Regina Pats. Guest: Kyle Ross (Pats forward).

4. A recap of the 2006 national U-19 football championship, at which Saskatchewan captured the silver medal. Guests: Mike Thomas (Football Saskatchewan) & Jordan Sisco (Team Sask receiver).

5. An update on the Prairie Fire rugby club, as it prepares for a second consecutive trip to the national final. Guests: Steve Fairbairn and Emil Christianson (Players).

6. A look at summer and fall programming at Regina’s top training facility for elite athletes. Guest: Dan Farthing (Co-Owner, Level 10 Fitness).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Not good enough

Frankly, the score flattered the Riders in last night's 26-23 loss to the Toronto Argos. They were beaten by the Hall of Fame quarterback combination of Spergon Wynn and Eric Crouch! Mind you, the green guys made it interesting with a couple of late scores, and were a blown two-point convert away from sending the game to overtime. But, the aforementioned Mr. Crouch was able to scamper for a key first down that effectively salted the game away - despite a long completion from Kerry Joseph to Matt Dominguez on the final play of the game.

Here's what went wrong: 1) Pass protection. Where was it? The so-called best offensive line in the CFL looked like anything but against the Argos pass rush. 2) Pass coverage. Where was it? The Riders secondary - the alleged strength of the defense - consistently let Toronto receivers get open in second and long situations.

Here's what went right: Andy Fantuz had his coming-out party at receiver. The rookie is making a strong case for increased playing time.

So, next week the Calgary Stampeders - stinging from a spanking by the B.C. Lions - come to town. Calgary's quarterback likes to throw the ball downfield a bit. Here's hoping the Riders db's put in a much better effort, or the Stamps could put up some huge numbers. Again.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wait one more week, Ricky

Sooner or later Ricky Williams is gonna have a huge game. The law of averages dictates it has to happen. I'm just kind of hoping it doesn't happen this week. Joffrey Reynolds tore up some big yardage on the Taylor turf a couple of weeks ago, so a person could rightfully be a little anxious about what the Argos ground game can achieve against the same Rider defence.

Regardless, I'm really looking forward to Jacob and I resuming our place in section 26, after a one-game absence. Hopefully Ronald and Lurch didn't alienate too many people while occupying our seats during the Calgary debacle. If so, sorry folks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Any requests?

Well, it looks as though I'm going to have a little extra time on my hands (long story, don't ask) in the next little while. So, I can devote a little more time and attention to the blogosphere.

Any thoughts on topics worth delving into? Any worthy candidates for the honour of "Pac's Rats"? I welcome your suggestions.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Good on 'em!

Well, the Saskatchewan Roughriders surprised many - including this skeptic - by rallying in the 2nd half to beat the slumping B.C. Lions 29-28. Jackie Mitchell was a force at his old position of linebacker. His sack (and forced fumble) in the second half was highlight reel material. Rookie safety Tristan Clovis made a key 4th quarter interception. Jason Armstead had a breakout game at receiver. The defensive line finally put some pressure on Dave Dickenson. Kerry Joseph overcame some key drops from his receivers to put together a strong outing. Those are the pluses.

On the flip side, Dominque Dorsey running back. Not bad, but not great. Kenton Keith basically took up space on the roster, except for a handful of plays during the course of the game. One wonders if that was a one-game message being sent to Mr. Keith, or a sign of things to come. Jamel Richardson went down with a broken foot in the 4th quarter. That should definitely test the Riders' depth at receiver.

The end result? The Riders improve to 2-2, tied with Edmonton for 2nd place in the west, and a half ahead of B.C. Things could certainly be worse.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Weighing in on KK

Ah hell, might as well - everybody else is doing it.

I'm convinced Kenton Keith is bad news. A wannabe gangster with a long, long way to go before he even remotely approaches adulthood. And he attracts trouble with seemingly minimal effort.

As for the incident in question: it's possible KK was provoked. It's also possible he's a hothead who instigated the conflict. I'm content to let the truth (hopefully) come out in the courts.

So, what do the Riders do? Well, there's not much they can do. Granted, any player can be cut at any time. But I'd only be inclined to do that if Keith's production continues to tail off. Or, if he's convicted on this assault charge. Until then, keep giving him the ball and hope - hope he breaks out of his early season slump, and hope he shows the requisite off-field maturity to justify his continued presence on the Roughrider roster.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

SportZone lineup for July 10

Here's the lineup for this week's (and next week's) show. As always, it airs Wednesdays at 6pm and Thursdays at 3pm on Access channel 7.

SportZone Guests for July 10, 2006

1. SportZone bids farewell to the retiring Executive Director of Hockey Regina. Guest: Jim Odling (Former Executive Director, Hockey Regina).

2. A preview of the 2006 Hoops Factory summer basketball camp, and an update on a Regina athlete heading to the U.S. to play college basketball. Guest: Drew Hunter (Luther Lions Head Coach).

3. An update on the Regina resident who won a roster spot with an indoor football team via EBay. Guest: Danny Massier (43 year old football rookie).

4. A preview of the 2006 Saskatchewan track and field championships, coming up in Regina. Guest: Terry Mountjoy (Head Coach, Excel Athletika Track and Field Club).

5. An update on the Prairie Fire rugby club, as it enters the home portion of the 2006 season. Guests: Karl Fix (Director of Rugby) & Kevin Tkachuk (National Team player).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back in the saddle

Well, Jacob and I have returned from our excellent Ontario adventure. I hope we managed to brighten his grandma's spirits. Let's face it, that kid could cheer up a .................a.............Rider fan?

Speaking of which, what the hell was that on Saturday night? I know they were honouring the fellows that won the Grey Cup for Saskatchewan 40 years ago, but did some of them suit up for this weekend's game as well? My gawd, the defense looked utterly inept! And the offense disappeared during the 3rd quarter, while Kerry Joseph did his best Nealon Greene imitation. Yikes! That's two embarassments out of three games this season. Not impressive.

Did anyone in Regina notice the World Cup was on? Granted, there are a "few" more Italian (and Portugese) folks in Ontario, but I couldn't get over the disparity. Soccer (while growing fairly quickly) is still in it's infancy on the Prairies; light years behind other parts of the country. Too bad, it really was fun watching the games with such rabid fans.

Now, it's back to prairie living. With a football team that is stumbling around like Uncle Albert on a three-day bender. Good times, good friggin' times...

Oh, and it was especially pleasing to find all the electronic clocks in the house blinking at me upon my return this evening. Gotta love that government-run power company. SaskPower: Offering you third world service at first world prices!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Toto, we're definitely not in Kansas anymore

After a couple days here, I can safely surmise that London, Ontario and Regina differ in a few areas, not unlike Cain and Abel. In between visits to my Mom in the Elmwood Nursing Home (our motto: Crazies Welcome!), Jacob and I have been checking out a few sites.

1) This daylight savings time thing seems to be functioning reasonably smoothly. People don't seem to mind a little extra daylight at the end of a summer day. Go figure.
2) World Cup fever - you can definitely tell (thanks to the large Italian and Portugese communities) that the World Cup is on when you travel around in this city. In Regina? Not so much. Soccer is a very, very big deal in this part of the country.
3) Canada Day - Jacob and I checked out the fireworks last night with my friend Mario, his wife Amy and their kids Ben and Ali. It was one of three big shows around town last night. Are people in this part of the country more patriotic than out West? I'm beginning to wonder.
4) Traffic, humidity and cost of living - gotta give Regina the edge on those scores.

More updates to follow this week.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On the road again

Jacob and I are out of here Friday morning, making our annual trek to London, Ontario. His grandma was moved out of the hospital into a nursing home this week. Hopefully that's not a long-term arrangement, but it will have to do for the time being. Knowing my mom, she's already trying to figure out a way to whip up some perogies while she's "interred". Not the ideal visiting conditions, but we'll make the best of it. And there are plenty of relatives and friends to visit as well.

Unfortunately, we'll miss the Riders next home game July 8th. Burris Bowl II. The reunion of the 1966 Grey Cup champs. I wish we could be there - watching it on CBC (Mark Lee and Chris Walby- ugh) just won't be the same. Not even comparable. Hopefully Mosaic Stadium will be full for that one - pack the park, people!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

SportZone lineup for June 26th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7. We are now into our summer slowdown schedule (nice alliteration), meaning we'll be taping one show every two weeks during July and August - so the next new episode will be taped July 10th.

SportZone Guests for June 26/06
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. SportZone bids farewell to the outgoing Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Soccer Association, who is leaving for B.C. Guest: Bjorn Osieck (Executive Director, BC Soccer Association).

2. An update on goings-on with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, including rule changes for the 2006/07 season. Guest: Laury Ryan (SJHL President).

3. A recap of the 2006 NHL draft, and look ahead to the 06/07 Regina Pats season. Guest: Logan Pyett (Pats defenceman).

4. A look ahead to the 2006 training camp for the Regina Thunder junior football club. Guest: Craig Zimmer (Assistant Coach).

5. A farewell to the outgoing Head Coach of the U of R women’s basketball team. Guest: Jeff Speedy (Head Coach, UNB Varsity Reds).

6. A recap of the Prairie Fire rugby team’s first contest of the Super League season this weekend. Guests: Jon Benson & Rob Wright (Players).

Monday, June 26, 2006

From worst to first

It may not have been a masterpiece, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders moved into a four-way tie for top spot in the CFL's Western Conference with a 32-24 victory over the B.C. Lions Sunday evening.

The Riders offense looked..........well, offensive for the better part of three quarters before rallying in the fourth. Jamel Richardson notched his second touchdown reception of the young season, on an impressive catch-and-run combination with Kerry Joseph. Joseph looked shaky in the first half, but seemed to find his "Rider legs" after the intermission. Let's hope that's a trend that continues. Thumbs-up to the defence for a much better effort this week against the Leos. Again, hopefully a trend that continues.

Now, what was with the lousy game-day presentation? Live microphones cutting in and out (although in one case, that may have been a blessing), and a one-year old video screen that had some serious pixel issues. And only 21,000 fans in attendance? That's pretty weak, for the home opener on a beautiful summer evening. Still, thanks to the late-game heroics of the home side, those fans who showed up left feeling thoroughly entertained. Including young Jacob, who swears he's the Riders good-luck charm. Who am I to argue?

Speaking of the progeny, the White Sox bowed out of the North Regina Little League playoffs Sunday afternoon, losing an extra-inning heartbreaker to the Stars. Congrats to Jacob and all the kids, who played their little hearts out in the postseason. It's enough to make a parent/coach pretty darn proud.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Home opener today

Rather than unbridled optimism, I'd say fans are treating today's home opener for the Saskatchewan Roughriders with a wait-and-see attitude. After getting taken apart by B.C. in the season-opener last week, the paying patrons are anxious to see if the green gang can bounce back on home turf. If so, all will be right with the world. But, if Dave Dickenson puts in another Player of the Week performance, some tough questions will be asked.

Should be a good crowd today. I believe the tv blackout won't be lifted, so Rod and Carm will have a big audience on CKRM as well. Here's hoping the Riders give us all something worth watching/listening to.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Where did that come from?

Just when you think you know a team. Jacob's team, The Senior Rookie White Sox lost their first game of the double knockout playoffs earlier this week. So, we assumed the post-season would be a short one, based on the team's inability to string any hits together since the first two games of the year.

So, sure enough, the kids cranked it up today - winning two games, including a 14-8 shocker in the nitecap. The Jakester turned in a 4 for 4 performance at the plate! It was awesome I tell ya!

So, now we're back at it at noon tomorrow. If we manage another win, we play again at 4:30. The Riders and BC Lions kick off at 5pm. This could get interesting. Anyone need tickets for the football game?

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's a sport?

You've got to check this out. Then let me know what the hell these people are thinking/smoking!

Here are some things that go together:
  • Nachos and cheese
  • Football and cheerleaders
  • The Leafs and Stanley Cup disappointment
But boxing................................and chess? Hmmm, might be time to start pitching my idea of full-contact curling again...

Good listening

I just about choked on my toothpaste this morning, when - listening to the local news/talk radio station - I heard a story (with audio!) about.................wait for's huge...........a cat stuck in a tree. Oh, the humanity! Or, I guess in this case - the beastiality!

A a tree. For less than a day. This is what passes for radio news these days. Gee, first time working in a market of more than 10,000 people? Yeah, it shows.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Not exactly a rough ride

I caught most of the first episode of the "Coaches Show" on CKRM last night. First, there were the ever-popular "technical difficulties". Nice to see Harvard's crack engineering staff hasn't lost it's touch! Next, Danny Barrett fielded a grand total of two calls during his segment. Not exactly raked over the coals, was he? In hindsight, a brilliant move by Coach Barrett to volunteer for last night's show. Nothing like a little non-abrasive media time to soothe the nerves.

So, to what do we attribute the lack of pointed questions and irate opinions? Well, either the message board haters lost their nerve - which wouldn't surprise me - or they didn't know about the show. I suppose CKRM could have done a little better job of promoting it externally. Not that I don't enjoy listening to Rod, Joe and John - but a little audience participation is always nice too. Well, hopefully they get the bugs ironed out for next week. The show is a nice addition to 'RM's lineup - keep that talk radio coming!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Circling the wagons


Is it just me, or does Danny Barrett sound like a coach on the precipice? Coach Barrett has never been particularly warm and cozy with the media, but his comments this week have been downright prickly. It seems a little early to be incorporating the "us against the world" mindset, doesn't it?

Granted, this is a make-or-break year for the Riders - but there's only one game in the books, with the home opener pending this weekend. Perhaps everyone - players, coaches, fans, media, message board zealots - needs to relax, loosen the respective nooses, and let the season develop as it will.

Remember, it's an 18-game season. So - to use a golf analogy - one bad hole isn't going to kill you. But letting the situation stress you out to the point of distraction? That can't be good for you. This public service health message brought to you by...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SportZone lineup for June 19th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access Channel 7:

SportZone Guests for June 19/06
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. Riffel captures the 2006 city high school boys’ baseball championship. Guests: Jason Edmands (Head Coach), Shawn Wilyman & Trevor DeWildt (Players).

2. Regina Minor Football gears up for the 2006 season, including processing a record number of registrations. Guest: Kelly Hamilton (RMF President).

3. A preview of the 2006 junior nationals track and field trials, hosted by the Excel Athletika track club. Guest: Terry Mountjoy (EA Head Coach).

4. A young Regina athlete looks back at his experience at the 2006 Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp. Guest: Paul Woldu (Defensive back).

5. The Prairie Fire rugby club warms up for the Rugby Canada Super League season with a training camp in Saskatoon. Guest: Caine Elisara (Import player).

6. An update on the goings-on at King’s Park Speedway, including a preview of the spring Enduro race. Guest: Stacey Getz (Race Director).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!!!

I got an early Father's Day present this morning, with the cancellation of all the North Regina Little League action today. Thanks to whoever arranged the rain, much appreciated.

So I get to spend the morning puttering around before picking up Jacob at noon for an afternoon/evening of fun and frivolity! Works for me.

Happy Dad's day to all the paternal-types out there. And heartfelt sympathies to those dads who won't get to see their kids today, for whatever reason.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What the hell was that?

I deliberately waited until this morning to post this - had to let the emotional reaction pass, in favour of a more objective view. But it's really hard to be entirely objective about the Riders' 45-28 evisceration at the hands of Dave Dickenson and the B.C. Lions.

The Rider offence (save for some meaningless scores in "garbage" time) was putrid. And the defense was even worse. I can see the offence needing some time to adjust to the injection of a new quarterback, offensive coordinator and.............playing indoors? But the defense is virtually unchanged from last year - so what excuse is there for that pedestrian effort? The defensive backs may as well paint their helmets orange if they insist on playing like pylons in the future!

And, quite frankly, the Green Machine was clearly outcoached on both sides of the ball. That's a trend that has to stop immediately. With the "win or else" nature of this season, G.M. Roy Shivers can't afford to stand idly by and watch a talented team underperform as it did last night. Not when jobs are clearly (and publicly) at stake.

Let's put it this way: a similar effort next Sunday at Taylor Field against the same Dickenson-led Lions will not be tolerated by the paying observers. Nor should it be. Let's hope this was an unfortunate aberration, rather than a sign of things to come. Yuck.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Let's do this thing!

This might be the most excited I've been about a Riders season opener since moving to Saskatchewan in the early 90's. Even more excited than the years I was part of the CKRM broadcast crew as host of the pre-game show. Why, you ask?

Several reasons:
1) This edition of the Riders has as much talent as any previous Saskatchewan team in at least the past 15 years.
2) It's absolutely essential for the Riders to blast out of the gate, especially with four of the first five games against division rivals from B.C. and Calgary.
3) This is the first year Jacob and I have purchased season tickets together (okay, so maybe the kid didn't chip in much $, but still).
4) The team has to do well, or Rod Pedersen's expensive new mane (that'd be hair) will fall out!

So, tonight it'll be TSN on the big screen - with the audio provided by Rod and Carm via CKRM - and an entire province awaits the outcome. Let's do this thing!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Big sports weekend looming

So the Oilers wandered into Raleigh last night and staved off elimination, thanks to the overtime heroics of Fernando Pisani. Good on them! I'm still not jumping on the bandwagon, but I am looking forward to game six Saturday night - Rexall Place should be a madhouse.

I don't know if BC Place will be a madhouse tomorrow night, but everyone around here is sure looking forward to the season-opening tilt between the Riders and Lions. Gotta remember to get my HDTV package from Access, so I can watch the festivities in high def.

And then there's Jacob's baseball - a game tomorrow night, another on Saturday morning, and a season wrap-up ceremony of some sort Sunday morning. I guess the folks at North Regina Little League assume families have nothing else to do. Oh well, doesn't matter - we'll be there with bells on!

So what's with the President of Hockey Regina not returning phone calls? Does Mr. Cairns not see any value in free airtime? Hmm - wonder if that stalwart leadership has any relation to declining registrations? Just wondering...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bye bye Oilers

I won't be shedding any tears if Carolina finishes off Edmonton in game five of the Stanley Cup final. I just can't throw my support behind the Oilers - not sure why. Maybe it's the sense of "divine entitlement" that Edmonton sports teams seem to present. Or, maybe I'm not big on looting and burning as a celebratory expression. For whatever reason, as much as I'd like to see the Cup return to Canada, I just can't get excited about the crew from Edmonton.

I wonder how the fans (both of them) in Raleigh will celebrate if their "beloved" Hurricanes win it all. And, as an aside, why the hell did they name their team after a devastating natural disaster? What was the thinking that went into that selection? Were the names Earthquakes, Famines and/or Plagues already taken?

Jacob's ball team returns to action tonight after an extended layoff. Time to get a winning streak going, as we head into playoff action next week!