Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Should be a dandy!

I'm already looking forward to Saturday night's tilt between the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos. By beating Lethbridge 5-4 last night (almost blowing a 5-1 lead!), the Pats moved a point up on the Broncos for second spot in the WHL's East Division. However, the boys from Speedy Creek have a game in hand, and will actually play twice (including tonight) before they visit the Brandt Centre this weekend.

Despite a couple of close calls, the Pats have only lost twice in regulation time in their last ten starts. If they lose the inclination to let their collective feet off the gas pedal in the late-going, who knows what sort of results could follow? I'm looking forward to (hopefully) finding out. I'm also looking forward to sitting in the stands with the Jakester Saturday night. Usually his antics are just as entertaining as the action on the ice!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

SportZone lineup for Jan 29

Another great collection of guests this week, including Regina's very own NFLer. The show airs Wednesday night at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7.

SportZone Guests for January 29, 2007
Community Co-Host: Carlo Palazzo

1. Still can’t get started on those New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a little personal training “Boot Camp”. Guest: Ryan Lacey (Owner, Results Personal Training).

2. An update on the Regina Pats, and their second-half turnaround. Guest: Troy Ofukany (Pats forward).

3. An update on the Regina Pat Canadians midget triple-A club. Guests: Darryl Baumgartner (Assistant Coach) & Cody Hanson (Pat C’s forward).

4. An update on U of R women’s hockey team. Guests: Chelsa Heywood & Brooke Einarson (Players).

5. A profile of the Cochrane High School senior boys basketball team. Guests: Nathan Wieler (Head Coach), Prince Okeadu & Jon Tallowin (Players).

6. A Regina-born and raised NFL player returns home after his first season in “the show”. Guest: Jon Ryan (Green Bay Packers punter).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Building momentum

Don't look now, but the Regina Pats are starting to put together some impressive performances in the second half of the WHL season. After being the poster children for underachievement in the first half, the Pats have come alive in January. Last night the Queen City Kids jumped out to a 5-0 lead, then held off the Moose Jaw Warriors 6-4 for Regina's third straight win. Pats defenceman Logan Pyett led the way with his first career hat trick. The win vaults the Pats into third place in the East Division, only two points back of Swift Current for second spot.

The rematch goes tonight at the crushed can in Moose Jaw. Wish I could be there, but the ever-popular previous commitments are keeping me in Regina tonight.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Farewell, old friend

I was fortunate enough to know Randy Shaw, and to call him a friend. Randy was the head coach of the Regina (formerly Prairie) Thunder football club during the years I handled communications for the Thunder. As such, I was able to gain an appreciation for Randy's gifts - as a football coach and as a human being.

I was devastated this morning to learn Randy passed away in his sleep Sunday night at the age of 53. To say it's not fair almost seems trite in this case. However, I can honestly say the football community, and the community at large, has lost a terrific person. My deepest condolences go out to Randy's wife Jan, their children Amy, Becky, Jeremy and Zachary and the entire Shaw family.

I guarantee I'm not the only person who feels Randy's dedication to his family, and his football family, was an inspiration. I have no doubt many tears are being shed in and around Regina today. Personally, I feel cheated. We should have been able to enjoy Randy for many more years. Then again, this is the season of coaching changes in all football leagues, so I guess heaven's team needed a new tactician. Well, they hit the jackpot this time.

Farewell, Randy. You'll be missed.

SportZone lineup for Jan 22

Another terrific collection of guests this week, despite the Pats Troy Ofukany pulling the ever-popular no-show:

SportZone Guests for Jan 22/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. The Regina Speedskating Club hosts the Western Regional long track championships January 27/28. Guests: Bill Christ (Coach), Mallory Gellner & Sarah Wrubleski (Skaters).

2. A profile of the F.W. Johnson senior girls basketball team. Guests: Mandy Gullickson (Head Coach), Kailyn Tendler & Kayla Cassano (Players).

3. A preview of the Regina Soccer Association’s annual Adult Tournament, running January 26-28. Guest: Dennis Morse (RSA Executive Director).

4. The U of R wrestling team gets set to host the annual Cougar Open (Jan 27), a final tune-up for the conference championships. Guests: Alex McStay, Annie Quangtakoune & Rachel Holthaus (Wrestlers).

5. A discussion of recent developments with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the CFL/NFL in general. Guest: John Lynch (Football broadcaster/analyst).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Love that home cooking

Another strong home-ice performance from the Pats last night, knocking off Spokane 4-1. If the Pats were able to cash in a couple more scoring opportunities (an on-going problem), they would've run the Chiefs out of the rink.

And speaking of the facility, we were treated to a 46 minute delay between the second and third periods - thanks to a zamboni malfunction! To be specific, it was the inch deep groove the zamboni left all the way down the centre of the ice that was a problem - apparently that doesn't make for the safest skating conditions. And then there was the condition of the visitor's dressing room and media room. Ugh.

The Pats visit Swift Current on Wednesday, then take on Moose Jaw in a home-and-home set on the weekend.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

That's gotta sting

The Regina Pats muffed a great opportunity to move into third place in the WHL's East Division last night, dropping a 5-1 decision in Prince Albert. The Raiders move three points up on the Pats, who are only two ahead of Saskatoon in the race for the division's 4th and final playoff spot.

I'll be wandering down to the Brandt Centre tonight to watch the Pats take on Spokane. The Chiefs are coming off a 4-2 loss in Moose Jaw last night. And don't look now, but the Warriors have closed to three points back of Saskatoon, and five behind Regina. So, it's another "must-win" scenario for the home side tonight.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Holmes homecoming?

With Kenton Keith signing with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, I wonder if the Saskatchewan Roughriders will try to pry Corey Holmes loose from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats? I think it's safe to say the Tabbies want Jesse Lumsden to be their featured back next season, with Anthony Davis likely serving as the back-up. So, is it outside the realm of possibility that the Ti-Cats and Riders will swing a deal?

The only drawback is Holmes is not a great receiver out of the backfield, and the running back in Kent Austin's offense will be expected to play a big role in the passing game. Otherwise, it'd sure be great to have Holmes back in green and white in 2007. Dare to dream, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rider moves

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have gone with former Argo assistant Ken Miller as their new Offensive Co-ordinator. Miller will also coach the offensive line. He has 40 years of coaching experience, including the past five years in Toronto, where he worked with new Riders bench boss Kent Austin. So, the question is; is Miller going to have any real input into offensive play-calling and decision-making, or will Austin call the shots? Guess we'll see.

And, it's possible the green gang will be in the market for a new feature back this season. Kenton Keith - presumably on the recommendation of scout (and former Rider Head Coach) Cal Murphy - has signed with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. I don't expect KK to dislodge Joseph Addai as the Colts starting tailback, but the Riders need to make other plans in the event Keith lands a roster spot in Indy. Shermar Bracey showed last season that he might be a capable replacement, while Dominique to put this politely..........did not.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A sign of things to come?

Playoff hockey came to the Brandt Centre a little early last night, as the Regina Pats edged the Prince Albert Raiders 2-1 to move into a tie for third spot in the WHL's East division with the Raiders.

Newly-acquired tough guy Myles Stoesz fired up his teammates (and the crowd) by taking on PA's Mike Gauthier 38 seconds into the contest. While Stoesz didn't score a decisive victory, he did set the stage for the grittiest, most physical performance by a Pats team in quite some time. And we all know that style can take a team a long way in the playoffs. Ditto for a hot goalie - as Linden Rowat turned in another strong performance between the pipes for Regina.

I'm not suggesting one game suddenly vaults the Pats into contender status. But it was certainly an encouraging performance. Now, if only the boys can start cashing in on a few more of the scoring chances they're generating...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wheelin' and deadline dealin'

The Regina Pats made a couple of moves at the WHL trade deadline, in an effort to get a little older, and quite a bit tougher, for the remainder of the season and - presumably - a healthy playoff run.

1) The Pats picked up 19 year old tough guy Myles Stoesz from Chilliwack in exchange for 16 year old prospect Brayden Metz from Regina.
2) Regina dealt 17 year old forward Derek Hulak to his hometown Saskatoon Blades in exchange for 18 year old forward Michael MacAngus and a couple of draft picks. Hulak was dealing with some tough family issues over the holidays, so this deal gives the young man a chance to be closer to his family while continuing his WHL career. Good luck to Derek.

So, are these deals enough to vault the Pats to contender status? Uh, no. But hopefully they add a couple of key pieces - the rest is up to the players and coaching staff.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

SportZone lineup for Jan 8

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

SportZone Guests for Jan 8/07
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. The Regina Sports Council is looking for teams for its 2nd annual Sno-Pitch tournament, part of the Kona Fest festivities. Guest: Darlene MacQuarrie (RSC Sport Coordinator).

2. An update on the Regina Joints in Motion program, raising funds for the Arthritis Society. Guest: Darryl Mailander (Joints in Motion team trainer).

3. A profile of the New Line Boxing Academy. Guest: Moses Alli (Head Coach).

4. An update on the high school wrestling season. Guests: Ron Gonzales (O’Neill Head Coach), Thomas Ostapowich & Michelle Anderson (Wrestlers).

5. An update on the Regina Capitals junior B hockey team. Guests: Mike Leier (Assistant Coach), Jordan Sanders & Cody Mapes (Players).

6. A profile of the University of Regina track and field team. Guests: Carla Nicholls (Head Coach) & Janine Polischuk (Track athlete). (confirmed)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One of life's great mysteries

I may never get a handle on what make's this year's edition of the Regina Pats tick. 24 hours after getting annihilated 9-0 in Swift Current, the Pats rebounded to hammer the same Broncos 6-2 at the Brandt Centre. A big night for the rookies, as Jordan Eberle notched the hat trick, Jared Jagow sniped twice, and Derek Hulak added the singleton.

So, how can a team be so putrid on the road, and look so good on home ice - all in the same weekend? I agree with Rod Pedersen's theory that goaltending has a lot to do with it. Linden Rowat was good between the pipes for the Pats last night, while Broncos starter Travis Yonkman was yanked after giving up three goals on nine shots. The previous night Rowat was pulled after surrendering Swift Current's 4th goal.

Go figure.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Could be a bumpy ride!

I'm providing (in between coughing fits) colour commentary for tonight's Pats game on 620 CKRM. The Patsies host Swift Current, the same team that humiliated Regina 9-0 last night. If the Pats don't give their fans a MUCH better performance tonight, I'm gonna have to call a spade a spade - and openly ponder whether players like Kyle Ross might be better off finishing their junior careers on contending teams. I mean, seriously - six games under .500, and losing 9-0?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Any requests?

A new year means changes for Regina's favourite one-hour cable tv sports talkshow, the critically acclaimed SportZone on Access 7. In the works are a new set, new intro and new music. These are all welcome changes. No, no plans for a new host - shaddup!

So, I put it to those of you in the Regina viewing area - any other changes you'd like to see? Are there any sports, teams and/or personalities you'd like to see profiled on the show? Are there any sports, teams and/or personalities you could do without? Would you like us to go "on location" more often (ie: ever)?

I know, giving the viewers what they want is a crazy concept. But maybe it's just crazy enough to work.

Monday, January 01, 2007

So far, so good

The early reviews are in, and 2007 is off to a fine start.

The good times started rolling on New Year's Eve, as the Green Bay Packers humbled the Chicago Bears 26-7. Hopefully that result encourages Brett Favre (aka God) to come back for one more season at pivot for the Pack. And congrats to Regina product Jon Ryan for a stellar rookie season as the Packers punter.

Today, the fun continued when Jacob and I sat in the stands to enjoy a 3-0 Pats victory over Brandon. Granted, the Pats were brutal for most of the first two periods - but the end result worked out just fine. Linden Rowat was outstanding between the pipes for the Pats. And tonight, "Knuckles" and I enjoyed a 5-1 Leafs victory over the Boston Bruins. Yep, no complaints about this year - at least not yet!