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.