Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday thoughts

An assortment of . . . stuff:

  • I'm hoping Pittsburgh knocks off Detroit in the Stanley Cup final, but I wouldn't bet money on it.
  • NHL hockey in June is wrong. Just wrong.
  • Lebron James is a unique mixture of exceptional talent and unstoppable brute force. I would love to see a James/Kobe Bryant matchup in the NBA final.
  • Unfortunately, it looks as though Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic have other plans, as they lead James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2 in the East final.
  • Howard is no slouch either.
  • A high of 28 tomorrow? Bring it on!
  • So I've taken the advice of the experts - started eating breakfast regularly, loading up on fruits and veggies, upped the fibre intake, I'm drinking lots of water and getting more cardio exercise. The end result? A GAIN of 10 pounds! WTF?
  • No, seriously - WTF?
  • Five weeks until the annual pilgrimage to Ontario with the J-man. Bring it on!
  • If I ask you to email me your comments on something I've written, don't call me and expect to dictate your changes to me. I'm not your freakin' secretary.
  • I think the Regina Pats could do a lot worse than a coaching combination of Curtis Hunt and Dean Brockman - with Jamie Heward as the 2nd assistant. That may not solve all the organization's problems, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
  • If my sources are right, and the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation comes on board as the main investor in a new multi-purpose stadium complex for Regina, I wonder if the facility will include a small casino?
  • I am hereby launching my campaign for the inclusion of a Saskatchewan Roughrider Hall of Fame in the new facility. Let's make it happen, folks!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SportZone lineup for May 27

Here's the lineup for the "big show", airing Wednesday at 6 p.m., Thursday at 3 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m. - this week and next - on Access channel 7. Oh, and special thanks to the L-P's Rob Vanstone for the SportZone plug here.

SportZone Guests for May 27/09
Community Co-Host: Corey Matthews

1. (Team profile) A preview of the 2009 WMBL season for the Regina Red Sox. Guests: Nolan Bracken (Outfielder) & Ryan Salt (Pitcher).

2. (Event profile) A preview of the 2009 Special Olympics Saskatchewan Summer Games. Guests: Howard Schweitzer (Special Olympics Sask CEO) & Michael Qing (Special Olympian).

3. (U of R segment) A discussion with the young man tasked with taking over from Teale Orban as quarterback of the U of R Rams. Guest: Marc Mueller (Rams quarterback).

4. (Sports literature segment ) Author Rob Vanstone visits to discuss his book, West Riders Best – profiling the 1966 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders. Guest: Rob Vanstone (Author/Leader-Post Sports Coordinator).

5. (Amateur sport spotlight) Hockey Regina avoids a coup d’etat at its AGM, and looks ahead to the 2009/10 season. Guests: Blair Watson (HRI Executive Director) & Franco Toniello (HRI President).

6. (CFL segment) A preview of the 2009 Saskatchewan Roughriders’ training camp, and a general CFL discussion. Guest: John Lynch (CFL broadcaster).

SportZone trivia: Which high school team did University of Regina Rams quarterback Marc Mueller lead to a provincial 4A football title in 2006?

Answer: Sheldon-Williams Collegiate

Congratulations to this week's winner, Carlo Palazzo of Regina. His sports trivia knowledge earned him a free medium pizza from Panago! You must not have won in the past 60 days to be eligible.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday musings

Time to dry out after a water-logged end to the long weekend:

  • Curtis Hunt will be officially announced as the next head coach of the Regina Pats at a news conference this afternoon. Welcome home, Curtis.
  • I'll leave it up to you to debate whether the hiring is a good move.
  • I wonder if Jamie Heward is in the running for one of the assistant coaches' positions?
  • Based strictly on performance, I think Humboldt Broncos coach Dean Brockman would have to be a strong candidate.
  • A move like that also incorporates some succession planning, in the event Huntsie takes another pro opportunity down the road.
  • I'm pleased to report that - seven games into the season - the Minor A Twins are still unbeaten.
  • The J-Man's crew tangles with the Rangers tonight. The Jakester will be looking to snap a mini slump at the plate.
  • I'm starting to wonder why I have a tennis club membership if I never actually make it there! Darn Little League baseball.
  • I probably shouldn't have written the Windsor Spitfires off so early at the Memorial Cup. The Ontario champs found a way to win, just like they have all year long.
  • You do have to feel bad for the Kelowna Rockets I suppose. A five day layoff between games certainly didn't do them any favours.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday thoughts

Technically, it's still Friday:

  • My adopted playoff team is still in the hunt, after Chicago knocked off Detroit 4-3 in overtime tonight.
  • Is is just me, or do the Penguins seem to be getting better as the playoffs go on?
  • A Pittsburgh/Chicago final would be a treat to watch.
  • Is it a good thing when a cabinet minister pays you a personal visit at work?
  • It sure got the tongues wagging around the office, no doubt about that!
  • Suds Car Wash isn't cheap, but they sure get the old Escape looking shiny!
  • Keep your chin up Balgonie buddy, everything will work out just fine.
  • Jacob took me out for an early birthday supper tonight. I'm happy to report West Side Pizza still makes a darn tasty pie!
  • So it's down to Curtis Hunt and Michael Dyck for the Pats' head coaching job? Quelle surprise.
  • I still think Huntsie and Hewie has a nice ring to it. If for no other reason than to make the L-P look foolish.
  • I'd love to meet the people who compose the headlines for Regina's daily paper. Wanna bet they rode the short bus to school as kids?
  • My enthusiasm for the Special Olympics will drop dramatically if I end up catching whatever bug their folks were coughing up at lunch yesterday. I do not have any time for getting sick!
  • 2,000 people paid $250 a head to listen to Brad Wall speak? Imagine what that boy could do with a good speechwriter! Actually, I may know a guy...
  • Don't look now, but the Toronto Blue Jays may be falling back down to earth. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SportZone lineup for May 20

(Updated with trivia question)

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday night at 6 p.m and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. I'll post the trivia question tonight, to give the viewers the first crack at answering - and scoring some tasty Panago pie!

SportZone Guests for May 20/09
Community Co-Host: Corey Matthews

1. (Regina sport spotlight) Regina gymnasts brought home a medal haul from the recent Western Canadian championships. Guests: Wesley Chirima (Coach), Trevor McArthur, Tanner Samwald & Joel Gagnon (Gymnasts).

2. (Team profile) Regina’s Prairie Fire rugby squad opens the 2009 season with a weekend loss in Calgary. Guests: Emil Christianson & Chris Young (Players).

3. (Sport/Leisure segment) A profile of the Regina Lawn Bowling Club. Guests: Keith Roney & Harriet Pituley (Competitive bowlers).

4. (Regina sport spotlight ) Regina paddlers fared extremely well at the recent national canoe/kayak team trials in Ontario. Guests: Stephanie Robertson & Tiera McLeod (Paddlers).

SportZone trivia: With which team did Regina's Josh Harding end his WHL career in the 2003/04 season?

Answer: Brandon Wheat Kings

Congratulations to this week's winner, Devin Malakoff of Regina, who picks himself up a free medium pizza from Panago!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday musings

The view from the cheap seats:

  • A high of 11 today. Be still my heart!
  • I guess bundling up will be required as I take in the J-man's baseball game at noon. Can the Minor A Twins continue their season-opening unbeaten streak?
  • Did I mention young Jacob notched four strikeouts in only two innings of work in the Twins last victory? I may have to change his nickname to the K-man!
  • If you were alive in the early 70's, rent the movie Nixon Frost. It was excellent.
  • I also saw the movie Taken this weekend. It was not so excellent, but certainly not terrible.
  • So much for the Windsor Spitfires cruising through the Memorial Cup tournament. The OHL champs are on the verge of going winless in the round robin.
  • Kelowna looks good, and both Quebec teams can play. I'm now thinking it'll be Kelowna and Drummondville in the final.
  • Back to work tomorrow for the start of a three day work week. A fellow could get used to that kind of schedule!
  • Anyone want to come help put up a basketball backboard and net in my back alley? There's a cool, refreshing root beer in it for you!
  • Now back to your regularly scheduled holiday programming.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday thoughts

Nobody asked, but I'm going to tell you anyway:

  • It snowed again this morning. What kind of cruel joke is Mother Nature playing on us this year? Rotten skank.
  • And so it begins. Three weeks before training camp starts, the Riders have lost veteran offensive lineman Wayne Smith to a torn achilles tendon. It's the latest in a series of injuries for Smith, and for the Riders.
  • The Riders have dealt veteran linebacker/defensive end Kitwana Jones to the Edmonton Eskimos. In return, the Riders get quarterback Juan Joseph, who played his college football for the NCAA powerhouse Milsaps Majors.
  • Milsaps College is a Division III school, located in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Joseph had quite a college career, including leading the Majors to an 11-1 record last season, while passing for almost 3,500 yards, 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
  • As a result, he was named the recipient of the 2008 Cellular South Conerly Trophy as the best college football player in the state of Mississippi.
  • Up against incredible odds, Joseph won the prestigious award over a pair of projected NFL first-round draft choices from Ole Miss, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and offensive tackle Michael Oher.
  • That's great, but with guys like Chase Daniels (and others) on the negotiation list, do the Riders really need another quarterback prospect?
  • Jones' non-stop motor will be missed on defence and special teams, no question. Yet, you have to wonder if an undersized defensive end really fit with the new defensive scheme being implemented by the Riders this year.
  • The Memorial Cup opens tonight in Rimouski. I'm picking Windsor over Kelowna in the final.
  • It's May 15th. Enough with the damn snow!
  • I can't imagine me being less inspired to write the speech that I need to submit by the end of the day. Ugh.
  • I wonder when the Curtis Hunt news conference will be held by the Pats. Is next week too soon?
  • This is the first long weekend in a long time that I won't be spending with my young associate, the J-man. Hopefully he remembers to call the old man!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SportZone lineup for May 13

(Updated with trivia prize winner)

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

SportZone Guests for May 13/09
Community Co-Host: Corey Matthews

1. (Athlete profile) A graduating Regina high school athlete plans to do double duty at the University of Regina next year. Guest: Jared Janotta (CIS football/basketball prospect).

2. (Athlete profile) A review of the 2008/09 NHL season from the perspective of a Regina-based player. Guest: Jamie Heward (NHL defenceman).

3. (Event profile) A preview of the annual Cal Murphy charity golf tournament, with some football discussion thrown in. Guest: Cal Murphy (Indianapolis Colts scout).

4. (Team profile) A review of the just-completed national championships for the Regina wheelchair rugby club. Guests: Jason Hubbs (Head Coach) & Chris Pearson (Wheelchair athlete).

5. (Event profile) Hockey legend Darryl Sittler is coming to town later this month to support a fundraising golf tournament for cancer research. Guest: Kelly Gatzke (Event organizer).

6. (Team profile) A profile of the Cattown Wrestling Club, and a general discussion about amateur wrestling in Regina. Guest: Leo McGee (Head Coach, Cattown and U of R).

SportZone trivia: Which NHL team drafted Regina's Jamie Heward in the first round (16th overall) of the 1989 NHL entry draft?

Answer: Pittsburgh Penguins

Congratulations to this week's winner, Kelly Markwart of Regina, who scores a free medium pizza from Panago!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Huntsie and Hewie show?

Regina-based NHL defenceman Jamie Heward is contemplating ending his playing career, and launching a coaching career. Heward, who is coming off an injury-shortened 18th season in professional hockey, was candid about his career plans on tonight's taping of the SportZone program on Access 7. The program will air Wednesday night at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m.

In the interview, Heward revealed he plans to meet with Regina Pats G.M. Brent Parker to talk about the team's vacant coaching positions. If those talks prove fruitful, the most likely scenario would have Heward taking on the role of assistant coach under Curtis Hunt, who would return to the Pats after a one-year term with the Ottawa Senators organization. Hunt is seen as the front-runner to replace Dale Derkatch, who was fired after one season at the helm. Assistant Coach Terry Perkins was also let go, in the wake of a disappointing season for the Pats.

Heward hasn't completely resigned himself to ending his playing career, but admits any discussions about the coaching opportunity with the Pats will factor into his decision-making process. The 38-year old Regina native started the 2008/09 NHL season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was sidelined with a severe concussion on January 1st, after an on-ice collision with Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin. While recovering from the concussion, his rights were dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the NHL trade deadline in March.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why little Johnny is an idiot

Is it any wonder the workforce is full of young people - and not so young people - who can't read or write or perform simple math calculations when policies like this are in place? Is there something wrong with expecting students to achieve the minimum standard of 50% in order to pass? And yes, it is too damn bad if a 46% in grade 12 chemistry prevents little Johnny from graduating. Suck it up and take the damn class in summer school, instead of blaming the teacher, society, television and the internet for Johnny's lazy-ass academic performance!

You know what? I got a 48 in grade 12 math the first time around. At first, I was seriously pissed at my teacher for not bumping me up to a 50. And I figured I had a pretty good reason to be cut some slack, as my dad had died a couple months earlier.

But, I eventually realized I failed because I didn't do enough to pass. Simple as that. I took the class in summer school - got a B - and moved on with life. How are kids supposed to learn from their failures if we don't let the little dears have any? Failures, that is. God forbid we should have a little accountability in this world.

I'll step down from my soapbox now.

Monday musings

Reflections on a weekend that literally flew by:

  • Would a Detroit/Chicago NHL Western Conference final symbolize a passing of the torch between the league's current big cats and the team that's poised to take over?
  • Let's face it, the Eastern Conference teams are playing for the right to lose in the Cup final.
  • I'd respect Sidney Crosby a lot more if he wasn't shown chirping to the referees during every stoppage in play.
  • Between the whistles, he's money.
  • It's a battle of the unbeaten teams in Minor A baseball tonight, as young Jacob's Twins go up against the high-flying Rockies.
  • Darryl Sittler is my all-time favourite Toronto Maple Leaf. Darryl Sittler will be in Regina May 27th. May 27th is my birthday. Now you know what to get me this year!
  • I wonder if being dismissed by the Pats will turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Dale Derkatch and Terry Perkins.
  • The choice between Curtis Hunt and Michael Dyck as the next Pats coach is a choice between two seemingly divergent coaching philosophies. Dyck's teams have employed a more wide-open approach, while defence is job #1 (and #2, and #3) with Hunt's teams.
  • Can you imagine the mayhem that would result, if stupid people ever realized - even if just for one day - their own obvious intellectual shortcomings? (ie: "Holy crap Lurch, I'm actually an idiot! I never knew!") I'm just saying.
  • I honestly doubt there's anything cooler than playing catch, or shinny, or shooting hoops etc. with your own child. I'm fully aware of how lucky I am to be able to do that.
  • Two months from today the Jakester and I will be watching the Riders and Argos do battle in Toronto. Good times.
  • Suffice to say I'm really looking forward to this year's southern Ontario pilgrimage.
  • Whenever I feel hard done by lately I think of my friend Dave, who is in the final stages of his battle with stomach cancer. Dave is only 36, and has a wife and two young sons. My heart goes out to them.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday thoughts

Some good, some bad, but all 100% original thoughts:

  • I'd like to thank the folks at Capital Ford for charging me ONLY $325 to replace a heater hose on my vehicle! Yes, I literally got hosed.
  • Now that my warranty is up, can anyone recommend a good mechanic? Ideally one that will shuttle me back and forth from work, please.
  • Oh, did I mention I had to go back twice afterwards to get them to fix little problems with their own repair job? Yeah, it's been a fine week.
  • However, that's nothing compared to the news I got today. It's with a heavy heart that I think of Dave Lymburner, an old radio pal from my time in Saskatoon.
  • Dave has a wife and two boys, and is into the final hours of his 5-month battle with cancer.
  • Yes folks, it can always be worse. I'll miss ya Dave - keep the change, kid!
  • Suffice to say Jacob gets extra hugs at bedtime tonight.
  • I'm looking forward to a return to Krav Maga training tomorrow. Hitting something might be just what my frame of mind needs right now.
  • Snow flurries on May 8th. You have got to be kidding me!
  • Did you get your mom something for Mother's Day yet? I almost forgot, and had to place a frantic call to my "go-to" florist in London this afternoon.
  • It's true what they say, the mind is the first thing to go.
  • I've also heard that the mind is the first thing to go.
  • Riders vs Argos July 11 at Rogers Centre. See you there?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

SportZone lineup for May 6

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing tonight at 6 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for May 6/09
Community Co-Host: Corey Matthews

1. (Team profile) A preview of the 2009 season for Regina’s Prairie Fire rugby squad. Guest: Jered Kirkland (Captain/Head Coach).

2. (Athlete profile) An update on the exploits of Regina-based heavy events (Highland Games) competitor Jason Johnston. Guest: Jason Johnston (Heavy Events athlete).

3. (Team profile) A preview of the 2009 season for the Regina Red Sox baseball squad. Guest: Bernie Eiswirth (General Manager).

4. (Event profile) A preview of the 2009 Pro Players Football Factory, a new minor football camp in Regina. Guest: Ventson Donelson (Camp Director).

5. (Team profile) A review of the 2009 Regina Thunder junior football club’s spring camp. Guests: Erwin Klempner (Head Coach) & Jay Smith (Receiver).

SportZone trivia: Who led the Regina Red Sox with a .352 batting average in 2008? Send your answer, with your contact information, to

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Parker swings the axe

The Regina Pats issued the following news release this morning:

Pats Dismiss Coaching Staff

Regina, Saskatchewan –Regina Pats General Manager Brent Parker announced today that Head Coach Dale Derkatch has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. The move was made after the Pats finished the regular season with a record of 27-39-1-5 and failed to qualify for the post season.

The Pats also announced that they will not be renewing the contract of assistant coach Terry Perkins.

The announcement was made by Pats General Manager Brent Parker. “This was not an easy decision and a great deal of thought has gone into arriving at this point. We are all disappointed in the performance of our team this past year, especially considering we feel we had above average talent on our roster. It is a tough league for an inexperienced coach and there is no question that played into our lack of success.”

The search for a new Head Coach will begin immediately. “I have some people in mind that I wish to speak with, and I will begin the process of talking with candidates immediately,” added Parker.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Monday musings

The usual assortment of goodies and not-so-goodies:

  • Cam Ward might just be playing himself onto the radar screen of the 2010 Canadian Olympic hockey team braintrust.
  • Jonathan Toews is becoming the player everyone hoped Joe Thornton would be.
  • When the Blackhawks kick it into overdrive, not even Robbie Luongo can stem the tide.
  • If the NHL is still involved, Toews will captain Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics.
  • Don't be surprised if Cam Ward and Josh Harding make that squad as well.
  • The Boston Celtics were lucky to get past a mediocre Chicago team in round one of the playoffs. They need a healthy Kevin Garnett to go any further.
  • Young Jacob's baseball team opened the Little League season in style, romping to an easy win in the season opener. The Jakester was solid behind the plate, and at the plate.
  • Some of my greatest accomplishments also involve a plate. A buffet plate.
  • And the beat goes on for the Toronto Blue Jays. This team might just get Canadians excited about baseball again.
  • I spent Saturday night in the company of most of Regina's leading electronic sports media members. Lesson learned: Don't sit downwind of Rod Pedersen when he's quaffed a few Rickard's Whites! I'm just saying...
  • A little shoutout to Brent Kaminski and his crew at the Southland Mall Safeway. Great job with today's media event Brent. And darn fine donuts and coffee too!
  • I wonder how Brent's bakery does with birthday cakes? If only I knew someone celebrating a birthday on the. . . oh, I don't know. . . 27th of this month!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday thoughts

So many thoughts, so little lucidity...

  • I'd like the Stanley Cup to come back to Canada, but I'm sticking with my adopted BlackHawks over Vancouver.
  • Malkin, Crosby and Gonchar vs Ovechkin, Semin and Green. This Pittsburgh/Washington series should be a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy!
  • Crosby is not the best player in the NHL. In fact, he's the second best player on his own team.
  • I'm not even sure Sid the Kid is the best Canadian player in the league. A strong case is building for Regina's Ryan Getzlaf on that one.
  • If Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are on Canada's 2010 Olympic hockey team, we won't win the gold medal.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and interviewing Rider legend George Reed this week. He absolutely lived up to the advance billing.
  • Speaking of brushes with greatness, tell me about your most memorable moments. Who did you meet that was everything you hoped for and more? Did anyone disappoint you?
  • I have to say Bobby Hull was a bit of a disappointment - not the friendliest guy ever. I've interviewed a few NBA guys, and they had a pretty high opinion of themselves. Generally, NHL and CFL players are great to talk to. Coaches are kind of hit and miss. It depends on their personality, and the situation.
  • Let's hope the weather cooperates with the start of young Jacob's baseball season this weekend. I wouldn't mind getting some tennis in before June either.
  • To the young lady who almost t-boned me while she blew through an intersection - while driving the wrong way on a one-way street - yesterday: WAKE THE HELL UP!
  • Regina might have the most lousy drivers per capita of any Canadian city.
  • Hey Mayor Pat/Premier Brad: You may want to use Wascana Racing Canoe Club Head Coach Dave Richardson as an example of ex-pats who were lured back home to Saskatchewan in your next marketing campaign. Dave, the 2008 U.S. Coach of the Year. was living and working just outside of Atlanta (where it doesn't snow at the end of April!) for the past two years, and returned home to Regina this winter. Welcome home, Dave!
  • I like Regina too, but I'm quite looking forward to the annual pilgrimage to southern Ontario with Jacob in July. Home is where you live, but it's also where you're from.