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.