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...