Thursday, April 26, 2007

What the?

I heard the most ridiculous thing on the radio driving to a doctor's appointment this morning. Some woman was ranting on the John Gormley show about the Saskatchewan Roughriders. She was upset that there was NO information flowing from Mosaic Stadium this offseason. None. An outrage I tell ya!

Okay, let's see. During this offseason, the Riders have announced:
  • The departure of Danny Barrett
  • The hiring of Kent Austin, and subsequent additions/deletions to the coaching staff
  • The release of veterans Nate Davis and Andrew Greene
  • The signings of several propects and free agents
  • A larcenous trade with Hamilton, resulting in the departure of back-up quarterback Rocky Butler
  • Details on the replacement of the turf at Mosiac Stadium
  • The signing of Hakim Hill, and subsequent release of Hakim Hill
  • The financial story, including a small profit posted in 2006

and that's just off the tip of my head! Good lord, woman - take a pill! And I know full well she speaks for plenty of other Rider fans as well.

Yes, I know it's a long offseason. Yes, I know you're anxious for the season to start. But seriously - would you like the coaches to share their strategies and playbooks with the unwashed masses? Are you disappointed that more players aren't making the news with their off-field exploits?

Training camp starts June 3rd. Until then - breathe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

SportZone lineup for Apr 23

Some very interesting comments/hints from Mayor Pat Fiacco on this week's show. As always, the show airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. Here's the lineup:

SportZone Guests for Apr 23/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. A preview of the University of Regina women’s basketball annual fundraising breakfast, and a general discussion about the team. Guest: Dave Taylor (Head Coach).

2. The 2007 registration deadline for Regina Minor Football is rapidly approaching. Guest: Kelly Hamilton (RMF President).

3. We’re on the eve of another season for Baseball Regina. Guest: Jean MacDonald (Baseball Regina VP).

4. A preview of the 2007 season for Regina Touch Football. Guests: Melissa Hayden & Murray Bennett (Board Members).

5. A preview of the 2007 Football Saskatchewan Senior Bowl, among other topics. Guest: Mike Thomas (Technical Director, Football Saskatchewan).

6. A preview of the 2007 CFL draft, through the eyes of a prospective draftee. Guest: Steve Ryan (U of R Rams defensive back).

7. A preview of the Ken Goff Boxing Classic, and a general discussion of civic sports and recreation issues. Guest: Pat Fiacco (Regina Mayor).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Checking in

Hey folks,

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a few days. I've been preoccupied with personal...stuff. Some people just aren't happy unless they're miserable - know what I mean?

Anyway, while I work through that it's time to rattle off some random thoughts:

  • The Press Box Sports Bar really is a fine establishment. If you haven't been - go.
  • Should I tell Rod Pedersen about my sore back before or after I help him move some furniture today?
  • We've got some dandy guests coming up on SportZone on Access 7, including Mayor Pat Fiacco this week and B.C. Lions slotback Jason Clermont next week.
  • The Medicine Hat Tigers are having little difficulty with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL Eastern Conference final. The Tigers haven't lost since game six of their opening round series.
  • Why can't the Calgary Flames win on the road?
  • Ever notice the people who slam Rob Vanstone's work read every column he writes?
  • Sometimes I miss working in the media full-time. But I will never, ever miss waking up at 4 a.m. five days a week.
  • Who is going to play center on the top two lines for the Regina Pats next year?
  • I assume Kerry Joseph will start the year as the Saskatchewan Roughriders' starting quarterback. Will he finish the year in the same position?
  • Who is more dominant in their sport - Roger Federer or Tiger Woods?
  • My eight year old son now realizes I was telling the truth when I told him the girls will starting chasing him at recess. He's not letting them catch him - yet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What a friggin' joke!

Have any of you ever gone through the process of a safety rating appeal with the Saskatchewan Highway Traffic Board? What a waste of time that is!

Here's the deal: I was in a minor fender-bender in February. The streets in downtown Regina were pure ice, and - thanks to the wind - the city hadn't put any sand down. To make matters worse, Grandma Moses in the mini-van ahead of me decides to stop IMMEDIATELY after turning the corner from 12th Avenue onto Cornwall. Did I mention you couldn't see around the corner, because the view was obstructed by a van that parked right up to the corner? I estimate I took that corner at a perilous 10 km/h, and hit the (anti-lock) brakes the instant I saw the mini-van ahead of me. So, I ended up sliding agonizingly s-l-o-w-l-y into the back of grandma's van. Cracked her rear bumper. No damage to my vehicle.

Armed with this information, along with supporting weather charts from Environment Canada and an accurate description of the accident scene, I naively thought I had a decent chance of winning my appeal. Now, let's be clear - all I was appealing was the six point impact on SGI's safety rating scale. At the very least, I expected a reduction - based on extenuating circumstances.

Long story short - the learned appeal panel (I think they may have been grandmothers also - conspiracy!) ruled against me. "Deficient attention" was their judgement. No, ladies - I believe YOU were the ones practising deficient attention. Can you tell me how - without x-ray vision - anyone could have prevented that mishap? I've got your "deficient attention" right here, you blue-haired hags!

Venting helps, but I'm dying to know: has anyone ever won one of these appeals? Is it even possible?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

SportZone lineup for April 16th

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

SportZone Guests for Apr 16/07
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. Several U of R Rams will head to Quebec City next month to take part in the annual East West Bowl game. Guest: Graham Mosiondz (Rams running back).

2. A profile of the Wascana Freewheelers Bicycle Touring Club. Guests: Velda Back (Club President) & Don Wilson (Tours Co-ordinator).

3. The Lakeshore Tennis Club prepares for another season of tennis in Wascana Park. Guest: Linda Sulz (Club President) & Gina Escanlar (Programs Committee).

4. The Regina Soccer Association gets set to host the 2nd annual Mini World Cup tournament. Guest: Gladwin Henry (Tournament Organizer).

5. Excel Athletika gets ready for the 2007 outdoor track and field season. Guest: Terry Mountjoy (EA Head Coach).

6. Egads! Shorts and t-shirt season is upon us! Might be time for a trip to the gym. Guest: Tracy Hagan (Golds Gym Regina).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pats swept aside

I wanted to give this a couple of days before posting - to avoid a "knee jerk" reaction. The Regina Pats will watch the remainder of the WHL playoffs, after being swept in four games by the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Tigers eliminated the Pats with a 6-3 victory at the Brandt Centre Friday night.

This was absolutely a disappointing result. The Pats (in general) played at nowhere near the level that was required to compete with the Tigers. Maybe they'll get to that level next year, when the core group of players (Logan Pyett, Linden Rowat, Jordan Eberle, Michael MacAngus, et al) are a year older and better equipped for the rigors of the WHL playoffs.

In the meantime, you have to feel badly for 20 year old stalwarts Kyle Deck, Kyle Ross and Garrett Festerling, who have played their last games of junior hockey. Festerling in particular played his heart out in game four, and deserved a better outcome. But, life - and junior hockey - isn't always fair. Pats fans should thank those three young gentleman for providing great leadership, and inspired play. Hopefully their efforts have laid the foundation for greater success next year, and beyond.

This just in (a flashback to my radio days): The Pats have announced that Garrett Festerling has signed a try-out contract with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League, and Kyle Ross is in Milwaukee, for a "look see" with the AHL's Admirals. Hopefully Kyle Deck will get a similar opportunity as well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The end of the line?

I seriously hope the Regina Pats have more than one game left in them this season. The Pats host Medicine Hat tonight, and trail the Tigers 3-0 in their WHL playoff series. The Pats are coming off a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss in game three. At the very least, that game proved that Regina can compete with M.H. Hopefully the home team comes out flying and hitting tonight. I wonder if Mike Reich will be in the lineup tonight? I have a feeling the coaching staff has grown tired of his tendancy to take ill-advised (ie: dumb) penalties in crucial situations. But, we'll see.

Oh, and it's Friday the 13th. I hate Friday the 13th.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hanging by a thread

The Regina Pats are on the brink of playoff elimination, following last night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Linden Rowat was heroic in goal for the Pats, who were undone by the Tigers' speed, and the referees' whistles. The Pats were forced to kill off two 5 on 3 situations, and the winning goal came on yet another Medicine Hat powerplay. Note to zebras: The Tigers are a terrific team. They probably don't need your help.

But enough about that. The simple fact is, the Pats haven't been good enough in this series - and are now on the verge of being swept. Here's hoping they have at least one terrific effort left in them this season. Game four goes tomorrow night at the Brandt Centre.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not good enough

That, quite simply, is the assessment of the Regina Pats performance after the first two games of their WHL Eastern Conference semi-final in Medicine Hat. The Tigers steamrolled the Pats 7-2 last night, after taking game one 4-1. I honestly thought the Pats would at least be competitive in this series. It sure hasn't worked out that way so far.

Now, the matchup shifts to Regina's Brandt Centre for game three tomorrow night, and game four Friday night. I'm really hoping Friday's game isn't the last of this series, but the way the Pats have played so far - it's entirely possible.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Screw you, New Jersey Lou!

Another solid reason to hate the New Jersey Devils. Lou Lamoriello started the legendary Scott Clemmensen in goal Sunday - in place of Martin Brodeur - virtually handing the New York Islanders a 3-2 shootout victory in the regular season finale. The Islanders claimed the final playoff spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference with the win, knocking the Maple Leafs out of the postseason berth they claimed with a 6-5 win over Montreal the previous evening.

There's an unwritten rule in sports that you don't give your best players the night off when the game has serious implications for your opponents - or another team. Apparently goofball Lou doesn't put much stock in that rule. Then again, with all those Olympic gold medals he's won (sarcasm off), I guess his judgement can never be called into question. Mind you, a person probably should never put much faith in a team called Devils - especially on Easter.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Au revoir, Canadians!

The Toronto Maple Leafs eliminated the Montreal Canadians from playoff contention with a 6-5 win tonight. The Leafs stormed out to a 3-1 lead, then fell behind 5-3 before storming back. More ups and downs than the "Man Show" girls on the trampoline!

Now, the Leafs need New Jersey to beat the Islanders tomorrow to earn the final playoff berth in the East. Let's face it, the Leafs post-season will be brief (they would face Buffalo in the first round), but at least they'll be there! Hopefully. If the Devils do their part. I can't believe I'll be cheering for the New Jersey Devils. That's about as likely as Jacob's mother joining MENSA. But, I digress.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tiger by the tail?

Well, it's official. The Regina Pats will take on the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round of the WHL playoffs. The Tigers were the top team in the Eastern Conference this season, and are ranked #2 in the country. So, they should make short work of the Pats, right? Not necessarily.

The Tigers were taken to a seventh game in round one by a young but determined crew from Red Deer. That could bode well, if the Pats stick to the physical, tight-checking style which has taken them this far. And, with three road victories in round one, stealing a game or two in Medicine Hat shouldn't be too much to ask from the Pats.

It all starts Saturday night in Medicine Hat - should be an exciting ride!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

SportZone lineup for April 2nd

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. only on Access Channel 7 - sucks to be you, SaskTel Max people! And a special thanks to Tim Hubic for jumping into the co-host's chair on short notice last night.

SportZone Guests for Apr 2/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. A preview of the Regina Thunder’s annual Bill Cronin fundraising dinner, and a general discussion about the team. Guests: Erwin Klempner (Head Coach) & Jeff Stusek (Team President).

2. Cyclists in the Regina area “gear” up for the 2007 season. Guest: Kris Abrahamson (Offroad Syndicate Mountain Bike Club).

3. A preview of the Regina Red Sox annual fundraising dinner, and a general discussion about the team. Guest: Gary Brotzel (Red Sox President).

4. A preview of the 2007 outdoor lacrosse season, including the revival of a provincial senior men’s league. Guest: Curt Keil (Executive Director, Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association).

5. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 athletic season at the University of Regina. Guest: Dick White (U of R Director of Recreation & Athletics).

6. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the Regina Rebels female midget AAA hockey club. Guests: Doug Folk (Head Coach) & Bret Dundas (Player).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Devils prove Jersey is a hell of a place to coach

New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is either a bold genius, or a complete lunatic. Guess we'll know in a few weeks.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CP) - Lou Lamoriello is back behind the bench in New Jersey. The playoff-bound Devils have fired head coach Claude Julien with less than a week to go in the regular season with the veteran GM Lamoriello taking over for the second straight season. Lamoriello also stepped behind the bench last season after Larry Robinson stepped down as coach in December.

The surprising move Monday comes with the Devils second in the Eastern Conference with a 47-24-8 record and 102 points. The Devils have won four of their last five games, including Sunday's 3-1 win over Boston. They went 6-6-2 in March while battling key injuries to Brian Gionta, John Madden and Patrik Elias.

Julien, a former Montreal Canadiens coach, took over the Devils on June 13, 2006, after Lamoriello relinquished the coaching duties.

It's reminiscent of the 1999-2000 season when the Devils fired head coach Robbie Ftorek on March 23 and went on to win the Stanley Cup under Robinson that spring.

Pats move on

For the first time since the spring of 1998, the Regina Pats have advanced to the second round of the WHL playoffs. Brett Leffler scored the overtime winner to give Regina a 2-1 victory over Swift Current in game six of their opening-round series. Now, Curtis Hunt's crew has to wait for the outcome of the other first round tussles to determine their next opponent. It could be Medicine Hat. Might be Kootenay. Possibly Calgary. Maybe even Brandon. Makes it a little tough to prepare, I would imagine.

And, now that he's eight, I thought it was time last night to introduce Jacob to the cultural phenomenon known as Wrestlemania. He enjoyed it immensely. And the tasty 'za from Mama Palazzo didn't hurt, either!