Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's just the tip of the iceberg!

I have to give credit where credit is due. The Saskatchewan Roughriders have done an outstanding job of developing and growing their brand in recent years.

The marketing efforts extend to products featuring star players, including last year's wildly popular Fantuz Flakes cereal. This week, a Darian Durant cereal was unveiled, along with Weston Dressler potato chips.

That's great, but I'm thinking many more players in the locker room would like to get in on the ($$) action! So, how about:

"Visit Capital GMC, and we'll get your Wheelright"
"SGI and the Riders team up to remind you to have Nunn for the road"
"Come see us at Dilawri Nissan, and we'll get you moving at a Goodspeed"
"What are you waiting for? Tamon in and see us at Colin O'Brian's!"

Man, this stuff pretty much writes itself!

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

We can't all be stars, but it's nice to acknowledge those who put in an honest effort. And, warn others about those who do not! So, without any further ado...


  • North Regina Little League. The weather consistently causes scheduling headaches, but once again organizers found a way to get all the games in by the end of the school year. Well done.
  • Eriksen Construction. Dave is a treat to deal with. He gets the job done well, and always looks after any issues that may crop up afterward. And he returns phone calls promptly. Imagine!
  • Dale Degenstein. If you're looking for an electrician, Dale's your guy!
  • Regina Minor Football. The league has appointed me the head coach of the pee wee Unicorns for this season. Let the games begin!
  • The "yeah, whatever" generation. When did so many kids stop having any enthusiasm for...well, anything? Actually, after meeting their parents, I can see where it comes from.
  • The controversy over the Craven country music festival getting indirect government funding. As long as no flooded homeowners and/or farmers are being left out as a result, I'm totally fine with it.
  • Graffiti. It's really becoming my least favourite thing about living in this city. The people who do it are complete wastes of skin.
That's my list for this week. Add your own, if you dare!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday musings

This is the way we start our week, start our week, start our week...

  • Congrats to all the players who survived cutdown day with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
  • No huge surprises among the cuts, although I'm sad to see long-time long snapper Jocelyn Frenette get sent packing.
  • Congrats to all around good guy Marc Parenteau on winning the competition for the starting centre position. Marc takes over from Jeremy O'Day, who retired in the off season to take a football operations position with the team.
  • Travis Lulay, you better stay healthy! The Pac's Rats selected the B.C. Lions pivot with the 6th overall pick of our CFL fantasy draft last night.
  • Our league looks to be very well run by commissioner Scott Clark, despite his annoying habit of stealing players who were on my draft list!
  • Despite that, my running backs are Fred Reid (Winnipeg) and Jon Cornish (Calgary), with Ken-Yon Rambo (Calgary), Fred Stamps (Edmonton) and Jermaine Copeland (Toronto) handling the pass-catching.
  • My reserve receiver is none other than Andy Fantuz - a brilliant selection if he doesn't make the NFL's Chicago Bears.
  • The North Regina Little League season came to a merciful end for the Major A Orioles on the weekend. This might have been the most frustrating team I've ever been involved with!
  • We (coaches) knew it was going to be a challenging task when about half of the parents dropped their kids off at the diamond and didn't even bother to stick around to watch the games!
  • It's really tough connecting with kids in the "yeah, whatever" era. I'm not a fan of it.
  • Let's hope the Regina Minor Football pee wee Unicorns are a more enthusiastic lot. It would be hard for them not to be!
  • On that note, the J-man and I ramp up our football training tonight. Wind sprints, how I've missed you!
  • Looking for a cool gift for the hard to shop for Rider fan in your life? Check this out. Scroll down for some interesting gift ideas from a very talented fan of the green and white.
  • The CFL season starts for real Sunday at Mosaic Stadium. See you there!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

Critiquing others while in a sleep deprived state probably isn't such a good idea. But, when has that ever stopped me?

  • The Saskatchewan Roughrider prospects who had their final sniff of a CFL career in last night's exhibition game. Hell, you made it through a CFL training camp. That in itself puts you miles ahead of the mouth-breathers who slag you on the message boards.
  • Novia Cafe. A downtown Regina landmark is shutting its doors for good this week. You will be missed!
  • Josh Harding. He's a millionaire NHL goaltender. And yet he makes time to be interviewed for a cable tv show in his hometown. Some other local puckheads could take lessons.
  • Chuck Toth. The Commissioner of Regina high school athletics had a tough (lousy weather, teachers' job action, controversy over scrapping baseball and softball) first year on the job, but his commitment to amateur athletics in this town is incredible. We need more like him.

  • Access Communications. Normally, their customer service is excellent. However, the "technician" they sent over last Friday was a rude, incompetent douche bag. Seriously, that clown gives Access a bad name.
  • Representatives of formerly elite local sports franchises who can't even be bothered to return phone calls.
  • The slack-jawed yokels who dared to launch verbal insults at a lady who wore a #14 Edmonton Eskimos jersey to last Friday's CFL exhibition game at Mosaic Stadium. She's proud that a member of her family was about to play in a professional football game. How many CFL games have you suited up for?
  • The pending tragedy on 10th Avenue south of Mosaic Stadium. Exiting vehicles run smack-dab (literally, in one case last Friday) into pedestrians cruising down the middle of the street after every Rider game. You don't have to be a traffic specialist to know this ain't gonna end well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for June 21

Here's the lineup for this week's show. Unless you're a duck, chances are you'll be indoors. Might as well watch some enthralling television while you're at it! The show airs tonight at 9 p.m. and Thursday at 6 p.m.

Locker Talk Guests for June 21/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. A preview of the regular season finale for the Regina Riot women’s football team. Guests: Ciara Bray(Riot linebacker) & Teisha Bray (Riot fullback).

2. A preview of the 2011 Regina Minor Football season. Registrations are closed. What happens next? Guest: Len Antonini (RMF Vice President).

3. A Regina native looks back on an NHL season lost to injury, and ahead to pending free agency. Guest: Josh Harding (Minnesota Wild goaltender).

4. A look back at the 2010/11 season in Regina high school athletics. Guest: Chuck Toth (RHSAA Commissioner).

5. The Blair Necessities. Mitch’s weekly sports commentary.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday musings

Let's wring out the old noggin. It's water-logged, just like everything else around here!

  • It's a quick turnaround for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, as they get set to take on the B.C. Lions in their CFL exhibition finale Wednesday night.
  • It's kinda sad to think that this will be the final few days as a pro football player for a lot of guys.
  • U of Rams quarterback Marc Mueller was released by the Edmonton Eskimos yesterday. Young Marc has nothing to hang his head about, as he likely exceeded everyone's expectations in training camp.
  • Congrats in advance to Darren Szabo, who I expect to be named the Riders' new public address announcer. He'll do a fine job.
  • Good luck to all around good guy Marc Parenteau in his bid to succeed Jeremy O'Day as the starting center for the green and white.
  • All of this weekend's little league playoff action was rained out, so the Major A Orioles are still alive!
  • Seriously, we could be out in two games (double knockout format), or win the league. There's no way of knowing with this crew!
  • Hopefully Regina Minor Football will be in touch this week, so we can formally start preparations for the 2011 season. Can't wait!
  • I feel badly for Curtis Hunt and Todd Ripplinger, as they look for new employment in the hockey world.
  • Still, a fresh start may be exactly what the Regina Pats franchise needs right now.
  • Gotta wonder about the O'Neill Titans, who turned down some free airtime on Access this week to celebrate their high school softball championship.
  • Considering they'll likely be the last-ever city champs in that sport, you'd think they'd be up for a little exposure. Oh well, moving on...
  • More rain on the way today? Terrific! Can't wait!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Riders open pre-season with win

In the unlikely event that anyone is waiting with bated breath, here are my thoughts on last night's 23-22 win by Saskatchewan over Edmonton in CFL pre-season action.

  • Cole Berquist impresses me. However, at the end of training camp I believe he'll still be below Ryan Dinwiddie on the Riders' quarterback depth chart, unfortunately.
  • A big thumbs-up for Marc Mueller, who took CFL snaps for the Eskies on the same field his grandfather (Ron Lancaster) owned.
  • The kid acquitted himself well, completing all three passes he threw for 45 yards, and making a tackle. Attaboy Marc!
  • Marc's mother Lana sat near us last night, looking resplendent in her #14 Eskimos jersey, and some mouth-breather actually had the audacity to yell out "He's gonna get cut!" when she took her seat. What a moronic comment, which I'm assuming suits the person who made it.
  • If Larry (Marc's dad and Lana's husband) wasn't in the spotter's booth, do you think there would have been some pre-game fireworks in the stands?
  • Darren Szabo was the best of the two finalists who auditioned for the public address gig. The other guy rarely told us the down and distance - kinda important little tidbits of information, actually.
  • The situation south of the stadium (where drivers leaving the parking lots along the train tracks collide - not literally, usually - with pedestrians walking and/or stumbling all over the road after every game) is a tragedy waiting to happen. Something seriously needs to be done before someone gets killed.
  • Thumbs-up to the folks who passed along the information that helped the police nab the bozo driver who knocked down a pedestrian following last night's game. Again, something needs to be done.
  • As for the action on the field: Hugh Charles scored a punt return touchdown. For the Riders. Yes, apparently such things are possible.
  • Saskatchewan's pass rush was non-existent. That worries me.
  • Mind you, we'll get a better idea of who's who and what's what in the second pre-season game, after a few prospects have been sent home.
  • I'd probably holding off on ordering a replica Chris Leak jersey if I were you. Just a thought.
  • Alert me when the games start counting in the standings. Until then, it's just a glorified scrimmage.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Axe falls in Pats-land

The Regina Pats have turfed head coach Curtis Hunt and Director of Scouting Todd Ripplinger. Basically, General Manager Chad Lang has cleaned house in the hockey operations department, after earlier deciding not to bring back assistant coaches Shaun Sutter and Ryan Cyr.

The move comes just hours after the conclusion of the NHL season, which is definitely not a coincidence. Let the speculation begin!

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

The good, the bad, and the downright fugly from the past week:

  • The Boston Bruins. The B's sent their long-suffering fans into delirium by winning their first Stanley Cup since 1972 last night.
  • Tyler Seguin. The second overall pick in last year's draft (thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs) wins the Cup in his first NHL season. Not bad!
  • Only one more sleep until CFL football returns to Mosaic Stadium. There's nothing wrong with that!
  • The exceptional individual who came up with the idea for jalapeno-flavoured mustard and bagels. Arriba!
  • The lower life forms (I won't call them hockey fans) who trashed downtown Vancouver after the Canucks' loss last night. Stay classy, Van City!
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs. The buds are the only original six NHL franchise to not win the Stanley Cup in the last 18 years. It's 44 years and counting for them!
  • Mother Nature (again). I see that rain is forecast right through the weekend. This is getting really, really old.
  • The complete douche bags who think it's okay to berate some 13 year old kid who is trying to make a couple extra bucks by umpiring a little league baseball game. Get a life, or get back to the trailer park!
Got anything or anyone to add to either category? Let us know!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for June 14

It's time for another fantastic edition of Locker Talk, the pre-eminent (ie: only) television talk show devoted entirely to Regina sports. It airs tonight at 9 p.m. and Thursday at 6 p.m.

Locker Talk Guests for June 14/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. (Eng segment) Various and sundry Regina Pats alumni and other NHL players were in town this week for the Red, Blue and Bling charity fundraiser. This week’s guest: Brooks Laich (Washington Capitals).

2. A preview of the first annual Saskatchewan Lacrosse Festival, coming up in Regina later this month. Guest: Jocelyn Schindel (Sask Lacrosse Festival Chair).

3. Our Man Carlo. Locker Talk sports movie reviewer Carlo Palazzo shares his thoughts on another sports cinema classic. This time: The Rookie.

4. (ENG segment) A former Regina Pats star looks back on his first season in the NHL. Guest: Jordan Eberle (Edmonton Oilers forward).

5. (Eng segment). A preview of the upcoming Mini Indy race in support of Juvenile Diabetes research. Guest: Merv Armstrong (Race organizer).

6. The Blair Necessities. Mitch’s weekly sports commentary.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday musings

If it's Monday, this must be what I'm pondering:

  • Who knew there were so many Dallas Mavericks fans around here? The general basketball viewing populace is downright giddy over the Mavs' NBA championship.
  • Or, they're thrilled that the title did not go to the Miami Heat - Dallas just happens to be the team that beat the NBA's version of the evil empire.
  • Dallas owner Mark Cuban was uncharacteristically quiet during the final rounds of the playoffs. What's up with that?
  • In the end, Miami continues to struggle with uninvited Cubans landing on its shores.
  • Only four more sleeps until the Saskatchewan Roughriders butt heads with the Edmonton Eskimos in CFL exhibition action.
  • Let's see if some of the players that are impressing observers at training camp can get the job done when the bullets start flying for real in game action.
  • It sure sounds like the starters on the defensive line will be Luc Mullinder, Keith Shologan, Dario Romero and Brent Hawkins. We'll see if any of the other d-line prospects step up in the preseason.
  • It would appear that Rider slotback Weston Dressler is poised for a monster season. He's been virtually uncoverable in training camp thus far.
  • Oh my, the North Regina Little League Major A Orioles are riding a four game losing skid into the playoffs. At this rate, it'll be a darn short post-season!
  • Unless of course the brilliant and disarmingly handsome coaching staff can work some inspirational magic in practice this week.
  • The J-man and I will be on a plane headed for Ontario five weeks from today. Can't wait!
  • Our RMF season starts two weeks after that. That's also a good thing!
  • After three years of working with the 0-line, this head coach is moving over to the defensive side of the ball. Feel free to send your sympathy cards to Nathan Hofmeister, our defensive coordinator!
  • I'm fairly certain jalapeno-flavoured bagels are the work of the devil. And yet, I cannot resist.
  • Those new Magnum ice cream bars are also ridiculously tasty. I may need to invest in pants with elastic waistbands if this keeps up!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday thoughts

Here's what I'm thinking. There's probably no need to alert the Pulitzer Prize committee.

  • Only one more week until the CFL pre-season opens with the Riders home to Edmonton. Let the games begin!
  • I hope U of R Rams quarterback Marc Mueller is still in Edmonton's camp by then. What a thrill it would be for him to take a few snaps in a CFL game on his home turf.
  • I wonder what kind of response Kerry Joseph will get when he goes into the game for the Eskies. Hopefully a warm one. He's still one of only three guys to quarterback the Riders to a Grey Cup win.
  • It's not that I want the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA crown so much; it's that I don't want the Miami Heat to win. Go Mavs! Go Dirk Nowitzki!
  • Someone named Dirk hasn't captivated audiences to this extent since Mark Wahlberg's performance in Boogie Nights.
  • It'll be very interesting to see how the Vancouver Canucks respond to the drubbing they took from Boston in games three and four of the Stanley Cup final.
  • Have the Canucks hit the wall? Or was that just a speed bump on their path to a Cup title?
  • Based on the way our squad has been playing, I suspect it'll be a short playoff run for the NRLL Major A Orioles. Must be the coaching!
  • Baseball season will be over in a couple of weeks at the most, then it'll be time to focus on the big enchilada - another year of Regina Minor Football action! Can't you just feel the excitement?
  • Mind you, I haven't officially been told I'll be coaching yet, so perhaps I'll hold off on getting Unicorns Football embroidered on all my golf shirts for the time being.
  • Seriously, our team will be the Unicorns. Doesn't that just strike fear into the hearts one?
  • More rain this weekend? What a surprise! Mother Nature, you really are one nasty b#$^h.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

This may require more thinking than I'm capable of today, but we'll see how it goes!

  • CFL training camps are in full swing, and each passing day brings us another step closer to the regular season.
  • Boston Bruins. They've certainly made a series of the Stanley Cup final. Now let's see how the Canucks respond back on home ice.
  • Auto Lounge Customs. Nice job installing the stereo and alarm guys, thanks!
  • Regina drivers really are awful, you know? Between never signalling and not knowing what the hell to do at a four-way stop, it's a real treat driving in this town!
  • Road construction. How is it the Lewvan is seemingly under repair every year, yet most other city streets look like the surface of the moon? Just wondering.
  • Terrelle Pryor. From quarterback of one of the most prominent teams in NCAA football, to a CFL prospect that nobody wants to touch. I didn't know Ohio State offered a class called How to Screw Up Your Life 101. Must be the only class he went to.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for June 7

Here's the lineup for this week's show. It airs tonight at 9 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7 in Regina.

Locker Talk Guests for June 7/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. A preview of the 2011 Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. Guests: Sheila Kelly (SSHFM Executive Director) & Dunc Fisher (2011 Inductee).

2. A preview of the Battle for the Belt boxing card put on the Jaguar Boxing Club on June 11th. Guest: Fitzroy Solomon (JBC Head Coach).

3. An update on preparations for the Queen City Marathon. Guest: Doug Russell (Race Director).

4. A preview of the Regina Pats’ Red, Blue and Bling charity fundraiser on June 9th. Perhaps we’ll even talk a little hockey! Guest: Dan Plaster (Pats broadcaster).

5. A preview of the annual Hoop Factory summer basketball camps. Guests: Jamal & Kai Williams (Instructors/pro basketball players).

6. The Blair Necessities. Mitch’s weekly sports commentary.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

This week is absolutely flying by! Which runs contrary to the leisurely lifestyle of sloth and gluttony I enjoy, but whatever...

  • CFL training camps open this weekend. Football season is upon us. This is a good thing.
  • The days will continue getting longer for the next 19 days.
  • NHL hockey is back in Winnipeg. Now if only Toronto could get a team.
  • Me, for recycling the same tired Toronto Maple Leaf joke.
  • The days will start getting shorter in 20 days.
  • Matt O'Donnell. The Riders' offensive line draft pick honestly thinks he has a shot at making the Boston Celtics? After not playing basketball since high school? Okay, good luck with that.
  • "Super Rush" assignments, that are neither super, nor do they involve the band Rush.
That's my list. Who or what is on yours?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for May 31

Here's the lineup for this week's show. It aired last night at 9 p.m., and will hit the airwaves again Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.

Locker Talk Guests for May 31/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. A preview of the 2011 Saskatchewan Roughrider training camp and CFL season. Guest: Murray McCormick (Regina Leader-Post Rider reporter).

2. A preview of the 2011 Cal Murphy charity golf tournament, and plenty of football talk too. Guest: Cal Murphy (Indianapolis Colts scout).

3. Our Man Carlo. Locker Talk’s movie guru Carlo Palazzo reviews another sports cinematic classic. This week: A Knight’s Tale.

4. A preview of the 2011 Regina rugby season. Guests: Robin McDowell & Chantel Morrison (Regina Rogues).

5. Want to train like the MMA fighters train? Or, do you just want a killer workout? Give Regina’s Chi Ki Training a try! Guests: Ron & Kim Gonzales (Chi Ki Training).

6. The Blair Necessities. Mitch’s weekly sports commentary.