Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday musings

The things that are flitting in and out of my stream of consciousness on this Monday:

  • Football season is almost here, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders open rookie camp on Wednesday and main camp on the weekend.
  • For the first time in his CFL career, Rider quarterback Darian Durant won't be touching Jeremy O'Day's butt on every offensive play.
  • The competition for the starting centre position (pretty much the quarterback of the offensive line) will be one of several to watch during camp.
  • I'll be interested to see who lines up at defensive end opposite Brent Hawkins, at defensive tackle in place of Chunky Adams, and at the slotback spot vacated by Andy Fantuz.
  • JR Hildebrand - what the hell were you thinking? Has there ever been a bigger choke job in the history of the Indianapolis 500?
  • I had a nice chat with Josh Harding this morning. That young man has had a tough year. The Minnesota Wild netminder suffered a season-ending injury early in the NHL campaign, and the death of one of his best friends (New York Ranger Derek Boogaard) this month.
  • We'll talk to Josh on Locker Talk when he gets back from Minnesota in mid-June.
  • I can't decide who to cheer for in the Stanley Cup final. On the one hand, a Vancouver win would return the Cup to Canada for the first time since 1993.
  • On the other hand, I just don't like the Canucks!
  • Nothing to report from the world of little league baseball, as the NRLL Major A tournament was cancelled this weekend.
  • All in all, it was a pretty low-key birthday weekend. Which is to be expected at my advanced age, I suppose!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday thoughts

I'd better get these thoughts out while I can still remember them. You know, advancing age and all!

  • A week ago the Boston Bruins looked like a lock to advance to the Stanley Cup final. Now they'll have to hold off Tampa Bay in tonight's game seven to get there.
  • I'm learning to never, ever count the Lightning out this post season. Steve Yzerman's crew may very well be hoisting the Stanley Cup when it's all said and done.
  • Gary Etcheverry resigns his coaching position with the Saskatchewan Roughriders just days before training camp?
  • The decision isn't a surprise, but the timing is a bit curious. Oh well, now folks won't have to worry how Etch will co-exist with new/former defensive coordinator Richie Hall.
  • The forecast isn't looking promising for this weekend's NRLL Major A ball tournament. I can live without the baseball, but not seeing the J-man all weekend would suck.
  • It's LeBron James vs Mark Cuban in the NBA final. Gentlemen, start your egos!
  • I'm becoming a Dirk Nowitzki fan as the hoops playoffs progress. A 7-footer that shoots three-pointers? Crazy!
  • That Saint John team at the Memorial Cup is fun to watch. And most of those players will be back next year? Look out!
  • So this is what 46 feels like, huh? Just another day closer to 50.
  • Mind you, if I want to make it to 50, I'd better get back to working out semi-regularly! This lifestyle of sloth and gluttony isn't getting it done.
  • The only thing truly monumental about today is it marks my first birthday without a call from my mom. That's going to take some getting used to.
  • I think a change of scenery might be the best birthday present I can give myself. We'll see.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

What can I say, it's been a busy day! Here's this week's edition of Cheers and Jeers. As always, feel free to add your own entries to either list.

  • Eriksen Construction. I've been keeping Dave busy around Chez Paczko, and he's been doing some darn fine work. Everyone wins!
  • Thor. The J-man and I were well entertained by the latest superhero flick to hit the big screen. The ladies in the audience seemed to think the male lead was quite acceptable as well.
  • Graham Condo. Our Locker Talk producer at Access has been going above and beyond the call of duty lately. Now, if only he could come up with a golf shirt or two...
  • Not having any time to resume Krav Maga training. A little punching and kicking action would be just fine right about now!
  • The weather forecast for the next few days. Seriously, enough with the rain every weekend!
  • People who bought into the end of the world prediction for last weekend. Everyone knows the one undeniable sign of an impending apocalypse is a Stanley Cup parade down Yonge Street in Toronto. Until that happens, the world keeps on spinning!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for May 24

What better way to recover from a gruelling long weekend than with some fine local sports viewing? You're welcome.

This week's show airs tonight at 9 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7.

Locker Talk Guests for May 24/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. A preview of the 2011 Regina Red Sox baseball season, with the reigning league MVP. Guest: Mitch MacDonald (Red Sox slugger).

2. The University of Regina Rams’ quarterback gets a tryout with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. Guest: Marc Mueller (Eskimos quarterback prospect).

3. The Regina Thunder’s star quarterback is moving on to CIS football with Concordia University. Guest: Reid Quest (Concordia Stingers quarterback).

4. An update on the zany folks who belong to the Regina Pile ‘O Bones Roller Derby Club. Guests: Lindsay (Shredder Two-Bits) Schroeder (Skater) & Dallas (Coach Fearsum) McPherson (Coach).

5. A Regina karate instructor will compete in the Traditional Karate World Cup in Poland in June. Guest: Todd Parker (Chief Instructor, MidWest Karate).

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

Yes, it is in fact time for another edition of Cheers and Jeers. I can feel your excitement. Try not to make a mess.

  • The fine men and women of the Nissan Motor Company. The 350z convertible is a delightful example of Japanese automotive engineering. Bravo!
  • Vancouver Canucks. These guys may just end Canada's Stanley Cup drought. Granted, their best forwards are a pair of Swedes and an American, but I'm okay with that.
  • Speaking of an impressive pair in Vancouver...I bet Sharks forward Ben Eager has never enjoyed a trip to the penalty box so much!
  • Scotiabank (Regina main branch in particular). This must be the place where customer service goes to die.
  • Mother Nature. First we get the winter from hell. Then spring flooding. Now it's the invasion of the body snatching mosquitoes. Take a Midol, you nasty b#*ch!
  • The self-professed experts who have been spouting theories in the wake of the sudden death of New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard. We'll know what happened soon enough. Until then, I'll offer my condolences to a grieving family and leave it at that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Locker talk lineup for May 17

Here's the lineup for this week's (busy) show. It airs tonight at 9 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. You should watch, it may just save your life one day!

Locker Talk Guests for May 17/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. A review of Excel Athletika’s annual Spring Classic meet, and a look ahead to the 2011 outdoor track and field season. Guest: Terry Mountjoy (Excel Athletika Head Coach).

2. Regina will host the North American Indigenous Games in 2014. Guest: Morley Watson (Vice-Chief, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations).

3. A preview of the 2011 season at King’s Park Speedway. Guest: Joe Shuba (Regina Auto Racing Club President).

4. A look ahead to the 2011 Senior Bowl high school football all-star game. Guest: Mike Thomas (Football Saskatchewan Technical Director).

5. A profile of the Regina Lawn Bowling Club. Guests: Keith and Jean Roney (Regina Lawn Bowling Club).

6. A preview of the 2011 Regina Highland Games. Guest: Leah Sutton-Knowles (Organizing Committee).

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

Is it something about soccer?

I was saddened to read this morning about fraud charges laid against the former Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Soccer Association. Boyd Clark is accused of defrauding the provincial non-profit governing body of about $80,000 over three years.

Here's what's weird - of the past three Executive Directors of the SSA, two were charged with defrauding the organization! Methinks they need to review their hiring policies! Or, stop leaving bags of money lying around the office.

For the record, the only heads of the SSA in recent history to not be charged with fraud are Bjorn Osieck, who is currently the Executive Director of the B.C. Soccer Association (and a former co-host of SportZone on Access 7), and the current Executive Director of the SSA, Mark Richardson.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday musings

A collection of thoughts from an otherwise idle mind:

  • Derek Boogaard. What the hell?
  • Sincere condolences to the family and friends (of whom there are lots in Regina) of the popular New York Rangers forward, found dead this weekend at the age of 28.
  • Do you think Gary Bettman's worst nightmare is a Vancouver/Tampa Bay Stanley Cup final?
  • I wonder what the tv ratings in the U.S. would be like for that series? I'm guessing re-runs of Charles in Charge would do better in some markets.
  • Still, I'd watch. A series featuring the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler, Vinny LeCavalier, Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos can't be all bad!
  • It would appear Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays was not a one-hit wonder.
  • If some other bats in the Jays' lineup heat up, and their pitching picks up, it could be an interesting summer by the shores of Lake Ontario.
  • The Major A Orioles have dropped two games in a row. Must be the players!
  • Did you know that doing standing bicep curls at the gym can be excruciatingly painful when you have sore ribs? Now you do. Ouch.
  • Thanks again to Roy, Ken and the crew at Regina Automotive Warehouse. The new summer toy was definitely enjoyed this weekend!
  • And of course my first stop Saturday was to see Calvin Rhead at Crazy Kileys. I'm predictable that way.
  • Did you know that getting in and out of a two-seater convertible can also be really painful with sore ribs? Not that I cared, mind you...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday thoughts

These are my thoughts. You can't have them. But if you ask nicely, we can share.

  • I'm not a fan of Friday the 13th, but I particularly dislike it (for personal reasons) when it falls in the month of May.
  • Moving on...and so are the San Jose Sharks! I honestly thought they would complete the choke job and lose to Detroit in game seven last night. Go figure.
  • I find the NHL conference final match-ups to be pretty intriguing. Out west, we have the Sedins vs Marleau and Heatley in the NHL's version of the (non-contact) Adult Safe Hockey League.
  • The eastern final isn't quite as captivating, although it should make for some good hockey.
  • If Boston wins it all, Toronto's Stanley Cup drought will be the longest by decades of the original six teams. Decades. Ouch.
  • Make it two straight years without a medal for Canada at the World Hockey Championships, after a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Russia.
  • No medal? That just doesn't feel right.
  • As a Leafs fan, the irony of seeing Dion Phaneuf on the ice for that devastating shorthanded goal wasn't lost on me. Although to be fair, it wasn't Phaneuf that turned the puck over.
  • Since the Riders are looking for a Canadian receiver or two to bring to camp, whatever happened to Andrew Busby?
  • The former Saskatoon Hilltops star (once billed as the best receiver in Canadian amateur football) seems to have fallen off the face of the (football) earth!
  • Busby was with the University of Regina Rams in 2009, but that's about the last anyone has heard of him. Word is he's living in Saskatoon.
  • If Rams slotback Jared Janotta continues his development and stays healthy, he'll be the next big thing among Canadian receiver prospects. Book it.
  • As of this week, my mom's house officially belongs to someone else. That's a very weird feeling.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

The weeks are flying by faster and faster. That can't be good! Anyway, here's another look at things/people that impressed me over the past week, and things/people that did not.

  • Regina Rams quarterback Marc Mueller. Congrats to a fine young man on his invitation to the Edmonton Eskimos' rookie camp. The Little General would be proud.
  • The Major A Orioles of North Regina Little League fame. Undefeated after four games, and the kids are working hard and having fun. What more could a coach want?
  • Don Narcisse and friends. The organizers of Narco's first annual football camp did a terrific job. Stamps quarterback Henry Burris was particularly great with the kids.
  • Graffiti "artists". Sorry, your handiwork isn't art, it's just an eyesore.
  • Regina drivers. I've lived in a few places, but I've never before seen so many people who think stopping at a stop sign or red light is optional. What the hell?
Granted, those complaints aren't necessarily specific to any particular week. Really, other than a couple of cracked ribs (don't ask), it was a pretty fine past seven days!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for May 10

If you don't have Access cable, you're missing a show for the ages this week! Exclamation marks mean it must be true, and exciting! Anyway, the show airs tonight at 9 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. Here's the lineup:

Locker Talk Guests for May 10/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. The president of the SJHL is moving on, after eight years on the hot seat. Guest: Laury Ryan (SJHL President).

2. A review of the Regina Thunder’s annual spring camp. Guests: Matt Kuhnke (Thunder OL) & Max Amyotte (Thunder DE).

3. Our Man Carlo. Locker Talk sports movie reviewer Carlo Palazzo offers his opinions on another cinematic classic. This time: Rookie of the Year.

4. A preview of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball camp coming to Regina in August. Guest: Mike Ramage (Saskatchewan Baseball Executive Director).

5. An update on the Regina Riot women’s football team. Guests: Rick Davis (Riot Offensive Coordinator) & Adrienne Zuck (Riot Safety).

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

Monday, May 09, 2011

Monday musings

It's the first day of what's shaping up to be a rainy and cool week. Blech.

  • Did you call your mom yesterday? A belated Happy Mother's Day to all!
  • After the first week of action, the NRLL Major A Orioles lead the standings with a record of 3-0-1. So far, so good. Must be the coaching.
  • A thumbs up to everyone associated with the Don Narcisse football camp on the weekend. The J-man was one of almost 300 happy campers in the morning session on Saturday.
  • You'll excuse me if I don't get too worked up about the outcome of the CFL draft until I see what the new recruits can do against legitimate CFL competition.
  • Although, you can never go wrong with picking (as the Riders did) a player from that football factory of London, Ontario!
  • Welcome to the prairies, Craig Butler of the UWO Mustangs. Pack warm clothes.
  • If this draft allows the Riders to successfully address their deficiencies on special teams, it will have to be considered a success.
  • The San Jose Sharks aren't really going to blow a 3-0 series lead against Detroit, are they?
  • If they do, it's time to blow up that roster.
  • That's a pretty darn good team representing Canada at the World Hockey Championships. I'd expect to see quite a few of those players wearing the maple leaf on their chests at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Do you think LeBron and Chris Bosh will cry like scolded schoolgirls if they lose their NBA playoff series to the Boston Celtics? That alone would be worth it!
  • So, what's sadder - that the Regina Pats are scrambling to sell season tickets, or that Elton John can't sell out the Brandt Centre?
  • Did anyone's house or garage blow up today? Seems to be a daily occurrence in these parts lately!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thursday Cheers and Jeers

It's the eve of a long weekend for me. How much can there possibly be to complain about? Suppose I'll find something!

  • Advance Glass and Mirror. They fixed a broken window and a torn screen for me quickly and reasonably inexpensively. That's about all I can ask.
  • North Regina Little League. They, along with Baseball Regina, have done a great job dealing with weather challenges the past two baseball seasons. It's not always easy or convenient, but they get it done!
  • The U.S. Navy Seals who risked life and limb to take out the world's most notorious terrorist.
  • Michael Ignatieff. It takes a lot of doing to render Canada's "natural governing party" irrelevant, but Iggy did it! Mind you, he had lots of help from Jean Chretien and Stephane Dion.
  • Whatever it was that was growing out of the side of UFC combatant Mark Hominick's head during his bout Saturday night. That was just nasty!
Got any entries to add under Cheers or Jeers? Fire away!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Locker Talk lineup for May 3

Here's the lineup for this week's show, featuring the return to the co-host's chair of Mitchell Blair. Hmm...
  • Mitch goes away

  • bin Laden bites the dust

  • Mitch comes back.

Coincidence? Find out on this week's show! It airs tonight at 9 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m., only on Access 7.

Locker Talk Guests for May 3/11
Co-host: Mitchell Blair

1. A preview of the Regina Thunder junior football club’s annual spring camp. Guest: Erwin Klempner (Head Coach).

2. A preview of the 2011 Ken Goff Memorial Boxing Classic. Guests: Daniel Trépanier (Team Canada Head Coach) & Patrick Thibeault (Regina Boxing Club).

3. A preview of a fundraising event being held in support of the Saskatchewan team heading to the World rhythmic gymnastics Gymnaestrada in Switzerland. Guests: Victoria Flores & Julie Levasseur (Team Saskatchewan).

4. Looking for the perfect gift for a die-hard sports fan? Give Regina’s Legends Sports Memorabilia a try! Guest: Trent Herda (Owner).

5. Regina runners posted some impressive results at the recent Boston Marathon. Guests: Milos Kostic & Conor Renouf (Regina marathon runners).

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

Monday, May 02, 2011

Monday musings

Lots going on these days! Here's a sampling:

  • One to the head seems like a good way for Osama bin Laden to exit this world.
  • I see one of his "homies" used a woman as a human shield during the firefight with the Navy Seals. al-Qaeda = gutless to the end, apparently.
  • While Americans and people around the world celebrate the death of the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, let's not kid ourselves into believing terrorism died with bin Laden.
  • You know what's going to happen don't you? Because the body was buried at sea, the conspiracy theorists are going to claim bin Laden isn't really dead. Guaranteed.
  • Regina Pats defenceman Myles Bell made a really, really stupid decision this weekend. Sincerest condolences to the family of the young lady from Regina killed in the single vehicle accident.
  • I only hope that this tragedy convinces other elite-level athletes, or teenagers in general, that they are not invincible. Sadly, I doubt it will.
  • Is this the year the San Jose Sharks finally shed the label of post-season choke artists? I wouldn't bet against them, quite frankly.
  • 55,000 people took in the UFC event in Toronto on Saturday, to watch Canada's Georges St-Pierre hold off Jake Shields in the main event.
  • Can you imagine professional boxing drawing that many people to the Rogers Centre? No, me neither.
  • After being delayed by the weather Saturday, the Major A Orioles launch their 2011 North Regina Little League season tonight. Good seats are still available!
  • You have until Saturday to take advantage of early bird pricing on a 2011 membership at the Lakeshore Tennis Club, if you are so inclined.
  • What if we held a federal election and nobody cared? Having said that, yes I'll be casting my ballot after work.
  • Will Stephen Harper get his majority? Will Jack Layton be the Leader of the Official Opposition? Will the Greens elect somebody?
  • You'll excuse me if I'm not really looking forward to Mother's Day this Sunday. That's gonna be a tough day.