Sunday, November 28, 2010


Unlike following a handful of other losses this season, Saskatchewan Roughrider coaches, players, and fans have no reason to hang their heads tonight.

Saskatchewan was, simply, defeated by the Montreal Alouettes 21-18 in the Grey Cup.

Only the harshest of critics would point to Saskatchewan neglecting to kick two field goals from inside 50 yards due to the fact they had no confidence in their place kicking game.  Sure, the special teams was victimized by a trick play on 3rd and two.  They've been victimized all year, but full marks to the coaching staff for putting Weston Dressler back to receive punts for this game in an effort to minimize any damage that could be done.

Was the 3rd and two trick play the turning point?  I think so.  But, the Als also did a nice job of getting the ball to their play makers and not making any critical mistakes.

Darian Durant didn't have a great game, but you can't sit back and blame him.  He gave his all.  Montreal took his running lanes away and there were a couple of instances where the secondary made plays on the Saskatchewan receivers.  Wes Cates provided an excellent running attack today and the run-defense was solid against one of the better running backs in the CFL.

In short, if Ken Miller wants to come back then I think Rider fans should welcome him with open arms.  And, if Miller decides the entire staff should return then there is no point in questioning a man that has been a part of three Grey Cup games in the last four years.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Melfort has definitely gotten better in the last month and I expect them to continue to be a real force heading into the second half of the season.  Charles Corsi is the best goalie in the league, from what I've seen so far and the team has excellent speed.

Newcomer Sterling Bear looks like he's going to put up some numbers and I was really impressed with Brody Haygarth.  I'm always impressed with Haygarth, actually.  I'm surprised he doesn't have more than 24-points in 22-games; although that's certainly nothing to sneeze at. 

Lee Christensen had a good game last night too, flashing some of the skills that made him a World Junior 'A' Challenge selection last season.  Mitch Berg got a ton of ice time on the back end as well and looks to be developing nicely.

Darrell Mann builds his teams similar to what Brian Burke claims to do in Toronto.  Mann, clearly, establishes a top six with his forwards and a bottom six.  Last night, it appeared as though the top six were Mireau, Haygarth, Bear, Roschuk, Wihak, and Aschim.  They also got decent games from the likes of Threndayle, Bradshaw, and Lenard.  If that continues, their depth is going to wear other teams down.

I was anxious to see Humboldt because their recent struggles were puzzling to me.  They played a gusty game with a ton of emotion last night.  I wouldn't be surprised to see them go on another prolonged winning streak. 

To do that, though, they are going to need better goaltending.  There were two that Andrew Bodnarchuk stops on most nights.  Judging by the numbers, both Bodnarchuk and Matt Hrynkiw have seen their goals against averages rise in the last couple of weeks. 

The Bronco championship teams were deep on the back end and they have a lot to choose from again this year.  Josh Roach is a lot like Brady Wacker, only without the physical edge.  Young Logan Sproule got a ton of ice time last night too.  Chase Wharton, Gabe Minville, and steady veteran Kenton Valliant all bring something to the table and Nathan Hudema had a big goal.  That's all six that played last night right there.

With apologies to Robbie Ciolfi in Yorkton, Justin Buzzeo is the single best player in the SJHL that is a threat every single time he's on the ice.  Buzzeo also had a fight last night too, with Adam Wihak, and I felt that jump started the Broncos. 

Some of the other guys up front that I really liked last night included Matt Glowa, Steve Taylor, and Ward Szucki.  Glowa's the real deal and is only going to get better.  Taylor has improved a ton from last year and Szucki is going to be one of those players that you can forget about as an opposing team because you are always concerned with Buzzeo, Boyer, and Braaten; but Szucki can just as easily burn you. 

It should be pointed out Nick Keller didn't play last night and he's a top 15 scorer in the league.  Troy Gasper was ejected for checking from behind fairly early in the game, so that's two pretty important players out of the line-up for Humboldt last night.

Haygarth really hit a defenseman behind the net in the final seconds last night and it started a melee that, easily, could have ended up being a brawl.  The hit was, probably, clean; but I don't think the Broncos liked the fact it occured with just 2 seconds left in the game and the result wasn't in doubt.  The only thing that prevented the brawl, in my opinion, is the Junior 'A' Supplement, which would have called for serious penalties to anyone that participates in such extra curricular activity.

Dean Brockman, who's usually as calm and collected as anybody anywhere as far as a hockey coach is concerned, was pretty fired up and he had an animated exchange with Mann at the end of the game that also ended up seeing players from both teams go right to the edge of their benches.  It was great!  It's obvious these two teams do not like each other and it's also obvious they will push each other to be better every team they go head to head.

Call me a homer, but I still think Yorkton is a bit better than the Broncos (at this point and time) and I like their make-up.  When Humboldt won championships, a big reason was due to the fact they had very steady goaltending and a kingpin defense.  Well, Devin Peters is that steady guy between the pipes for the Terriers and their defense is that much better now with Davis Vandane in the mix.  If you can pencil in, nightly, a blueline of Vandane, Blaine Tendler, Devon McMullen, Kurtis Decker, and Kelly Leismeister (you need to really watch Decker and Leismeister to really appreciate how well they play and how much better they allow their more offensive partners to be) then you are in excellent shape.  I'm not convinced the Terriers have seen the last of Austin Bourhis either.

So, if I was to rank the top teams at the moment....


They are all so close though and I think you could make an argument that if you flipped this list upside down, it would also be correct!

.....but, don't look now.....the Flin Flon  Bombers have won 5 in a row......


The SJHL Hall of Fame banquet is tonight in Humboldt, and last night was the Hall of Fame Game featuring the hometown Broncos and visiting Melfort Mustangs.

The five individuals and one team all had representatives in attendance during a special ceremony that took place in the second intermission and also for a hot stove (informal group interview session) in the Bronco Lounge.

The best story of the day goes to Bill McDougall, who's plane got delayed in Sydney, Nova Scotia for over two hours due to the fact the load was too heavy.  Therefore, McDougall missed connecting flights in Halifax and Toronto and was late arriving in Humboldt.  He missed the second intermission by about ten minutes.  McDougall, by the way, had the single greatest season in SJHL history in 1986 when he racked up 180 points.  He also set an AHL playoff record in 1993 when he destroyed opposition teams with 26-goals and 26-assists in just 16-games.  One of hockey's greatest mysteries is figuring out why McDougall didn't get more than 28 games in the National Hockey League.

McDougall's SJHL and AHL records are never going to be beaten.  Never. Glenn Hall's string of 502 consecutive NHL games as a goalie is never going to be beaten either.  Never.  Hall played for the Humboldt Indians before filling out an application to try out for the Detroit Red Wings at a camp in Saskatoon.  The rest is history.

Mick McGeough still lives in Saskatchewan, but he has climbed the administrative ladder and is now second in command to Terry Gregson, the NHL Director of Officiating.  Mick is a real nice man and has story beyond story about the personalities he was involved with on the ice during his career as a referee.  During the hot stove, he was very frank about the Curtis Joseph incident when Joseph went a little nuts thinking he got tripped up.  He also told a tremendous one about Mario Lemieux the night he made his return from Hodgkins Disease.

Dr. Terry Henning and Dr. Gerry Rooney are the Humboldt equivalent of Dwight McMillan and Ron Rumball, only they don't have nearly as many long serving years.  I could listen to Rooney for days.  He is such an interesting man.  Henning was a practicing medical doctor while he coached junior hockey in Humboldt.  Henning tried to turn down coaching overtures, but finally gave in five games into a regular season in which the team got off to a 5-and-0 start, but still had to replace the current coach for off-ice reasons.  Henning says they proceed to lose the next eleven before regrouping and advancing to the league final.  Rooney was the manager and part-time coach, who was forced to go behind the bench on nights when Henning was 'on call'.  Rooney jokes, "Whenever we had serious issues, Terry always seemed to be on call."

Bob Beatty was the coach of the 2003 RBC Cup champion Broncos, and he made the trip in from La Ronge for the ceremony last night.  He will not be at the banquet tonight, but it's my understanding a number of players will be.  Russell Gehlen was on the ice with Bob last night.  Russell was a true team player.  He was BJ Sklapsky's understudy in goal and then relegated to number three when Sean Connors was added as a reinforcement for the national tournament.  A lot of guys, especially ones as good as Gehlen, would have their nose out of joint at having to be that extra insurance goalie, but not Russell.  He was good enough to be a number one on a lot of teams that year.

Best wishes to all of the inductees and I hope they have a great time tonight at the banquet in Humboldt.


Datsyuk, Brian, Luke, Zetterberg
Hello Friends and Family,
First, let me apologize for not updating you more regularly - I can't believe that it has been more than a month since I last sent one out.  We've been really busy not being busy - so there really is no excuse.  We think about all of you often and very much look forward to getting home and seeing everyone - hopefully (still) by Christmas.

Luke is doing well and his doctor is pleased with his progress - his levels continue to climb and his liver function has returned to normal levels.  A milestone of sorts was reached when Luke and I joined a fitness club last Friday.  He and I have been going every day since - needless to say its been good for both of us (Jeannine stays home and does her Pilates/Tae-Bo and enjoys some quiet time for herself).  She goes on some therapeutic shopping trips about every second day while "the boys" stay home - which is great with everyone.  We get along remarkably well considering how much we are together in our condo.  Luke is certainly getting stronger day-by-day and is eating much better, but the weight gain is very slow.  Strangely, his moustache is growing back, but eyelashes are just starting to fall out - the new ones coming in must be pushing the old ones out.  There's a little shadow on top now so hopefully he'll get some hair for a Christmas present.

And how about those Riders!  Its been sad here in 
Calgary since the Riders ended the Stamps season this past week - oh, so sad!  Excuse me, I have to get a tissue.  As a Montreal Gazette reporter said - it was class over sass - couldn't agree more.  Now - one more game guys!  As many of you probably know, Luke (and dad) had a dream come true when Mike Babcock, coach of the Detroit Red Wings called and invited us to spend time with the Wings on both the Tuesday and Wednesday they were in Calgary and it was topped off by attending the game with my buddy Bill (who lives in Calgary) and a Wings win.   Unfortunately Jeannine wasn't allowed in the locker room, but enjoyed the time as well.  The Wings were pure class - we met every member of the team from the GM to the trainers and they were to a person so welcoming and personable - it was truly an experience we'll always treasure.  It was initiated by Pierre McGuire (TSN) who has taken a special interest in Luke since the very beginning - Pierre, we can't thank you enough.  The hockey network continues to work its magic as Brian Skrudland - former Cup winner with Habs/Dallas Stars and current scout with the Florida Panthers stopped by for a visit and presented Luke with a cool jersey signed by the team and a couple of days ago, the Calgary Flames called and invited us to come to practice next Tuesday - so we're certainly looking forward to that as well.  We've also been able to get to some Jr hockey games when some of Luke's former team mates are playing and that's been fun for him as well.

Luke bought himself a Mac laptop and lent his old one (starting to fall apart) to bro Paul (whose did fall apart).  That Mac is a pretty cool little machine.  He's gaming on-line with some of his buds now and that really passes the time for him.  So, all is quite well with Luke and family - if you had told us going into this that Luke would be where he is at now, 2 months after transplant, we would have taken it hands down.  That pretty much says it all.  As the doctor weans him off his immuno-suppressant, cyclosporine, there is a possibility of "Graft Versus Host Disease" (GVHD) expressing itself, so that is the next thing we'll have to watch.  We count our blessings each and every day and you can be sure each of you are a part of that.  Hopefully, the next update will be telling you that we are heading home to 
Yorkton.  Until then, thank you all for your warm wishes, thoughts and prayers.  Please take care and give your loved ones a hug for us.
All our best,
Brian, Jeannine, LUKE, Brittany and Paul.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE (Yorkton Event December 11th)

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is December 6th.
On December 11th Yorkton Partnership Against Violence will host a Candlelight Vigil at 2:00 pm at Sacred Heart High School in Yorkton.   This vigil will commemorate the death of the fourteen women who were senselessly murdered in the 1989 Montreal Massacre while remembering the violence that many women endure on a daily basis.  Our guest speakers for the day will be Cathy Kaip from Regina, Gail from Yorkton and Sgt. James Morton – Yorkton District GIS.
Our guest speaker, Cathy Kaip, a Regina woman has been a victim of stalking for 36 years (3 1/2 decades or 13,000 days).  It began in 1974 when she met Gerald Klein at a wedding. Their first and last date was a coffee date.  However Klein wasn’t ready to end the relationship.
Klein was convicted in 2003 of criminally harassing Kaip, based on a 30-year history of phone calls, letters, cards, gifts and legal action. He has tried to sue her four times -- for breach of promise for failing to marry him, slander and malicious prosecution. After a judge prohibited Klein from launching any more civil suits and placed him under a restraining order, he attempted to sue Kaip criminally.
When Klein completed his three-year prison sentence for criminal harassment, the Crown successfully applied for a peace bond order, upheld on appeal by Klein. That order expired in August 2008, and the Crown reapplied after a couple of incidents.
In August 2010, a provincial court judge granted a peace bond requiring Gerald Klein to leave the city of Regina for a year.
Kaip is upset it took two years for the Crown to get a one-year peace bond, saying Klein caused delays and essentially used the court system to harass her further.
Kaip would like the federal government to amend the law so peace bonds can be granted for a longer term.
Local resident Gail will also speak about her personal journey of how stalking has affected her life.
Stalking is a form of criminal harassment and has serious effects on individuals.  The fear of invasion of personal space can be as violent as a direct physical attack, leaving a victim with internal scars that may never heal. We all have the right to live free of violence and to feel safe and secure within our personal space.
The reality of violence affects everyone.  Violence knows no boundaries.  It affects all people.  Women of all ages, races and classes may be the victims.
If we wish to become a society with zero tolerance to violence; we must promote the fact that violence is never acceptable.

For more information see


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have so many thoughts when I see stuff like this, here they are in no particular order....

--Do the players want the NHL to do anything about hits to the head?  Forget whether or not this is legal.  The fact that Marc Staal took the time to line him up to the point of smoking him in the head the way he did tells me there is zero respect for your peer.  Maybe the players are okay with this.  If they are, then let them kill one another.

--Why is this an epidemic?  Everyone has a theory.  Mine is this:  More gear = less fear.  Less fear = faster players.  It has nothing to do with safety.  Take a look at an elbow pad today.  Does a player really need that much elbow protection?  Or does the elbow pad help soften the pain when you use your elbow as a weapon?

--Why are players so much bigger and faster than they were 25 years ago?  Sure, there are better training programs for athletes, but I believe the 'more gear = less fear' means guys are going to skate faster without worrying what's in the way.  There is this thought of 'I'm invincible', I believe, amongst a lot of the players.  After all, why does Stajan admire his pass?  Obviously, he's not worried about getting his clock cleaned.

--I'm not sure the NHL can ever go back.  How do you take the dangerous world of the National Hockey League and make it less dangerous by taking protective equipment off the players?  You can't.  I just think there has to be a direction relationship between the new technology for protection and these types of hits.  To me, a slower moving game does not necessarily mean a worse game.  I suppose I am in the minority on that, but speed isn't always better, in my opinion.

--Am I the only one getting tired of all this?  I think the NHL is becoming more of a 12-24 age bracket sports league for fans.  Sure, there are 'older' guys that follow it, but I am not nearly the fan I was ten years ago.  I have bumped into quite a few men that feel the same way.  I'm turned off by a number of things, and head hunting is definitely one of them.  It doesn't excite me.  I watched Nick Kypreos on television last night, basically say Staal didn't even hit Stajan in the head.  Either I'm not watching the video properly or he's blind!  The over-analysis, nightly, gets on my nerves too.  But, that's a whole other story.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I'm listening to the Calgary Stampeders' call-in show on the radio and it's pretty funny listening to some other team's clueless fans and homer announcers.

The announcers are saying Andre Proulx just called the worst game in CFL history and that's why they lost. 

Fans are throwing Henry Burris under the bus, and some are even calling for Drew Tate to take over next year with a new offensive play caller on the sidelines (Dave Dickenson is taking some heat tonight) and a new defensive coordinator.

My take on Proulx:  He's almost always bad, but today I thought he wasn't a factor in the win/loss.  The big complaint is with the taunting call in the second half on (I think) Nik Lewis or Romby Bryant.  I can't remember who was flagged, but the reality is that the Stamps are the worst team in the league when it comes to this nonsense.  Enough is enough and whether or not it was 'that bad' is irrelevant.

On Burris:  He doesn't play well against Saskatchewan.  He's 0-and-4 in the playoffs against them.  Maybe they should throw him under the bus.  I didn't think he lost them the game, but he didn't do anything to help win either; whereas Darian Durant did help his team.  I've said for two years that I'd rather have Durant than Burris anyway and I think Stamp fans are seeing and understanding why right about now.

On Dickenson:  I don't know the Stamps well enough to comment, but both he and Defensive Coordinator Chris Jones are on Eric Tillman's short list with Edmonton.


Do I ever feel dumb.

I've criticized this coaching staff, almost, on a weekly basis.  It stops now.  Even if they lose 50-0 next week.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders just pulled off a huge 20-16 win over the Calgary Stampeders to advance to the Grey Cup for the third time in four years.

Sign this coaching staff up for life and please do not let Ken Miller retire at season's end.  Let Ken Austin go to Edmonton.  He has nothing on Miller.

And, you can give Jim Daley a new contract too.  Sure, Ryan Grice-Mullen fumbled a key punt in the fourth quarter; but who cares?  The Riders won.  You could also choose to look at that fumble in a positive light:  Jerrell Freeman competed hard on that play and deserves full marks for recovering the football.  What's that?  You say the defense was actually on the field?  Oh.  Still.  Give Daley a contract too. 

Honestly, I think the Riders are bad on special teams on purpose just so they can keep games interesting.  Otherwise, they'd blow out the opposition weekly.  So, I can handle a few anxious moments with Daley's coaching and the players on special teams that one opposing player said, "don't even compete".

One really important thing that Ken Miller demands of his team that he doesn't get any credit for whatsoever is that he makes sure his athletes are gentlemen.  How many dumb penalties did Calgary take today with their hot headed group that consists of Dwight Anderson, Nik Lewis, Brandon Browner, etc.?  As time was winding down I thought to myself, that win or lose, the Riders (players, not fans!) are as classy a football team as you will find anywhere.  No stupid celebrations after touchdowns, taunting is pretty much non-existent, and I don't remember the last time I saw one of their players called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

For all of Anderson's talking, I really wish someone would interview him tonight.  I would love to hear his comments, especially after he was cursing and swearing at Rider fans who were leaving in the dying moments of a big regular season game, won by Calgary, a few weeks ago. 

Calgary, truely, picked their poison today.  They decided Fantuz or Dressler weren't going to beat them.  By now, you'd think they'd understand just how good Chris Getzlaf can be too.  Listening to John Hufnagel at halftime, I think he's fully aware of how good Getzlaf is.  Their defense just wasn't good enough to shut down everyone.

The other coach that deserves full praise is Gary Etchevarry.  How impressive were the Riders, even with a hurt Barrin Simpson, against the run today against Jon Cornish and Joffrey Reynolds?  Cornish had one really big run; and I don't remember a significant gain by Reynolds at all today. 

Wes Cates was awesome again today too.  His detractors are awfully quiet these days.  I don't know what he had for yards, but his touchdown was key and a third quarter block that allowed Durant to gain yardage with his legs was also very important.

The big test next week will be stopping Avon Cobourne, who racked up 170 yards on the ground against a, usually, stout Toronto defense today.  I think Durant is going to find his receivers without any problem in the Grey Cup as Montreal's pass defense is their weak spot.  If Etchevarry's group has one more run-stopping game left in them, then Saskatchewan can win this game.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Cast of 'American Idiot' - Holiday (Live on Letterman 04-29-2010) [H...


The Melville Millionaires won the first of the home and home set with Yorkton on Friday night.  I'm not sure if I'll make Saturday's game or not; but here are a few things I noticed from last night on both sides.

-Dane Bonish may be their most improved player from a year ago; although Zach Rakochy deserves mention too judging from the way he's played at home the last two games I've seen in Melville.

-Brayden Metz was ill and should not have played last night; but he still scored an impressive goal after coming out of the penalty box in the second period.

-Fans waiting for a big splash from Jamie Fiesel as far as a new goalie in town to partner with Rakochy will be disappointed.  Rakochy is the clear cut number one and any move (expected to be announced Monday) will be done keeping that fact in mind.

-Roger Tagoona is developing into a nice player while filling in for Mark Owen on the Metz-Lucas Froese line.

-Taylor Metz is a capable Junior 'A' player judging from what I saw last night.

-Clarke Breitkreuz is not even close to being a certified hockey tough guy, but he gets full marks from me for standing up to the much bigger and certainly more experienced Craig Karius after his linemate, Robbie Ciolfi, was hit hard along the boards.  My dealings with Breitkreuz have been infrequent, but from what I have seen, I would take him on my team any day.

-Davis Vandane is going to help this team in a big way as far as offense goes from the point.  He's got a cannon of a shot and he sees the ice really well.  To me, I think he could add an element of mean to his game (think Chris Pronger) and he'd be a real tough player to face.  You never like to see a player take penalties; but I wouldn't mind if Vandane went a little heavy with the lumber every now and again to keep others honest.

-Devon McMullen impresses me every time I see him.  He threw a nice hip check on Michael Desjarlais and also had a key blocked shot last night.  Oh yeah, for those that haven't seen him:  he's 5'8" 155 lbs.

-Another former Yorkton Harvest player, Brenden Poncelet, is going to be a better junior player than he was a midget. He's got future captain written all over him.

-I wonder if Warren Shymko will start tonight?  His numbers are excellent, but the Terriers have also picked their spots well with him as far as when to use him.  Still, he's earned an opportunity to play in a game that is of importance.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown  Savannah night before last.
Date: 2009-05-27, 1 :43 a.m.  E.S.T.
I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message..
 First, I'd like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn't expect you to actually crap in your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket... The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason... My girlfriend had just bought me that Kimber Model 1911 ....45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening. Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head ... isn't it?!
 I know it probably wasn't fun walking back to wherever you'd come from with that brown sludge in your pants. I'm sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again].
 After I called your mother or "Momma" as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you'd done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station, -- on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 150 gallons and was extremely grateful!
 I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go's, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!]
 I then threw your wallet into the big pink "pimp mobile" that was parked at the curb .... after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver's side of the car.
 Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Ma Bell just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what 's going on with that? Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA's office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target..
 The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc...).
  ;In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you ... but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you've chosen to pursue in life. Remember, next time you might not be so lucky.Have a good day!
Thoughtfully yours,

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The Saskatchewan Roughriders didn't sell out their home playoff date this year; which should come as a really big surprise.

The Riders, in recent years, have treated their fans to home playoff games, but this is hardly a franchise rich in tradition when it comes to hosting postseason contests.

A closer look, however, reveals maybe more at play.

Here is a look at some of the plus's and minus's when it comes to watching live as opposed to watching on tv.

--You have the benefit of being able to say 'I was there' when people talk about the Clermont reception in double overtime.  (Plus for watching live)

--My recliner in the basement is far more comfortable than the wooden bench that we are all squeezed into at the game (Plus for watching on tv)

--I get to see coach's challenge replays on the big screen 0 times, while at home on tv I get to see from every angle imaginable that TSN will show me, and if I am PVRing the game, I can rewind at my leisure too.  (Plus for watching on tv)

--The temperature in my basement for a Rider playoff game is about 20-degrees.  The temperature at the game, itself, was about 0.  (Plus for watching on tv)

--A small popcorn and a bottle of water costs $8 at a Rider game.  A beer will get me an additional $6.  The ticket, itself (I think) was $67.  At home, I have water in my tap, my wife (God bless her) will probably make something tasty in the oven (won't cost me anything as far as cash is concerned), and if I decide to have a beer, it's probably from a trip to the liquor store months ago and so it feels like free.  (Plus for watching on tv, although the popcorn at the game is high end)

--Game atmosphere as far as energy and excitement is concerned (Plus for watching the game live).

The way the game is televised now, it's pretty difficult to make a case for going and watching 'live', especially in cases where the weather is a little chilly.  The big challenge for all sports teams is to make the fan experience something over and above what you are used to getting at a live event.  One real easy change is to start showing the coach challenge replays on the big screen.  What are we hiding?  Referees are going to get booed regardless of the decision they make, so I don't see fan influence being a reason as to why you wouldn't show something under review.  Besides, the actual decision isn't made at the stadium anyway, it comes from the so-called War Room.  Apparently, the NHL also does this and so does the NFL.  Can anyone tell me 'why'?

Feel free to share your own plus and minus points for watching games live or on television.


The Saskatchewan Roughriders may have saved their best for...almost...last.

The Riders had, perhaps, their most complete effort of the season tonight as they defeated the BC Lions 41-38 in double overtime, earning the right to play in Calgary against the Stampeders next Sunday in the CFL West Division Final.  It's the sixth time in eight years the Riders have been to the West Final.

First of all, if Ken Miller coaches this team to a second Grey Cup appearance in as many years, I will eat crow on the coaching staff.  If these guys go to the Grey Cup, I say give Miller a lifetime contract.  Who cares if Kent Austin coaches Edmonton.  He can't hold a candle to Miller if the old guy can squeeze another victory out of his troops.

While I have always lobbied for more of Hugh Charles in the Saskatchewan offense, I was never one to say Wes Cates should call it a career.  Cates is a tremendous blocker and that can't be underscored with an offensive line that has failed, at times, to protect Darian Durant.  Cates is also a safety valve for Durant when his primary option isn't there in the passing game.  Today, Cates really came through with a big time effort and I hope his detractors took notice.

Weston Dressler is a heckuva  guy and he personifies character. Football players that stand 5'7" should not be able to lower a shoulder and knock over defenders the way he does.  Kids:  when you grow up, you should want to be like Weston Dressler.

There are some that will say Darian Durant had a bad game.  I'm not one of them.   Look at the final numbers:  310 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.  I think if the game had ended at halftime, you could accurately make that assessment.  However, Durant was a house on fire for most of the second half and without his huge 75 yard touchdown pass to Dressler in the second half or the laser he chucked to Jason Clermont at the end of the game, the Riders don't win.  You can't grade a quarterback on one bad half, especially when he's been as good as he's been over the last two years.

The defense played better than any other time in the last two and a half months.

The special teams did nothing well, but they didn't do anything really bad either.

Full marks to Travis Lulay, the BC quarterback, who looks like he has a real bright future in this league.


Friday, November 12, 2010


Submitted by Leone Ottenbreit...
Doug Hudema, born and raised in Yorkton, recently won a Gemini Award for Best Writing in an Information Program or Series for his work on HELL ON HOOVES which follows the original extreme sport "Bull Riding." Getting on a 1500 lb bull whose only goal is to throw you off and trample you takes a specific kind of person. They followed the cowboys who ride bulls for a living and asked why they would want to participate in a sport with the reality of hoping when you get hurt (not if) it won't keep you out of action too long. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The SJHL season is about 1/3 complete and here is how I see each of the twelve teams to this point, with my own Power Rankings.

The Broncos got off to a blistering start, have cooled considerably since, but they are loaded with talent and look like the clear team to beat.

I don't think we've seen their best yet, and still they have the best winning percentage in the Sherwood and are on a 5-0-and-1 run in their last six.

Terriers went 6-and-3 on a tough nine game road trip.  Davis Vandane has been added from the WHL and I suspect this team will continue to improve.

4-MELFORT MUSTANGSFull marks to Darrell Mann as he may be one coach who has his team playing above expectations and possibly over its head.

A dangerous looking team.  They may be a defenseman away from being a solid number one or number two on this list.

I get the feeling the Bombers are pacing themselves after having a couple of really strong regular seasons go by the wayside with substandard playoff performances.

Consistent goaltending was the only thing missing from this team early on.  They are getting it now and are riding a four game win streak.

They are coming off a 2-0 loss to Melville, but Drew George, Brock Appleyard, and Ryan Whitell were all out of the line-up.  Mitch Kilgore has found a groove and the Wings are on the right path.

I've watched this team a few times and am convinced that at some point in the near future they are either going to take right off and be a major force or else go for a nose dive.

Everyone expected them to be better, myself included.  I'm not sure what's wrong.  The only time I saw them, they obliterated Yorkton 8-3.  Clearly, they give up too many goals.

They are coming up to a crucial part of their season, despite it still being relatively early.  The Hounds won't want to get left behind in the tight Sherwood Conference.

They've had spells where they've played very well and stretches where they look like they deserve the 12th place ranking.  If they could find some consistency, they'll move up.


CFL Insider Dave Naylor has dropped the names of Kavis Reed, Dave Dickenson, George Cortez, and Kent Austin as the leading candidates to assume the job vacated by tomorrow's firing of Richie Hall.

The Riders need to be on the phone to make sure Austin is staying put.  If he is remotely interested in the CFL, he belongs in Saskatchewan.  It would be disaster to have him in Edmonton.  The only thing Saskatchewan doesn't have that Edmonton does is Eric Tillman.  Tillman isn't in Cornell, so I assume that's not the be-all end-all with Austin.

As far as Hall goes, it would be great to have him back in Saskatchewan.  No question, he's an elite defensive co-ordinator in the CFL.  I don't think the door is closed on him as a head coach either.  I like the job he did in Edmonton with limited talent and a complete dumpster fire above him in the front office.


--Sidney Crosby came out publicly and lobbied for Marc-Andre Fleury to play more in order to break his slump.  Goaltending, more than any other position (maybe in all of sports) is a mental thing where you need confidence.  I can appreciate what Crosby is saying and he may be correct, but I think he also maybe sent the wrong message to Brent Johnson, who gave up seven last night to the Boston Bruins.

--There were numerous fights in that Boston-Pittsburgh games last night but none involved Matt Cooke.  Go figure.

--Rogers Sportsnet led off their Hockey Central broadcast last night by bringing us up to speed on the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I know Sportsnet headquarters is in Toronto, but can we please have one of our national sports networks approach things from a national perspective?

--I know Matt Stajan is not an elite player, but you have to wonder if Stajan, Niklas Hagman, and Ian White wouldn't be helping the Leafs right now?  The big, sexy Dion Phaneuf trade doesn't look like such a steal.  Phaneuf is injured and overpaid, and the forward ranks for the Leafs are very weak offensively.

--I could be wrong, but I'm 90% certain Brian Burke claimed at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft that he could have acquired the top pick to land John Tavares, but he didn't want to lose Luke Schenn and his own pick, which turned out to be Nazem Kadri.  Think the egotistical Burkie would like a do-over?

--Every team should play the way the Washington Capitals do.  If the Caps are on tv, I'm watching.

--There are changes to the NHL All-Star Game selection process.  Captains will be named and they'll pick their respective teams.  I'd rather see the NHL just take a three day break with no all-star game.


Stadium cost will top $160M: mayor - Winnipeg Free Press

Here's more:

I would love to some opinions of Winnipeg people and Bomber fans.  To me, when I first heard about this project, I was skeptical about Asper.  But, I haven't followed it close enough and would like to hear what others have to say.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The Saskatchewan Roughriders snapped a four game losing streak with a 31-23 win over the Edmonton Eskimos last night.

For a change, the opposition did not get a touchdown from its special teams and Darian Durant did not turn the ball over.  That, in essence, was the difference as the other glaring weakness (run defense) did not shore up anything as they allowed 199 rushing yards.

The other concern with the special teams is that in the wake of Luca Cogi's season ending injury a few weeks ago, the Riders are now in a position where you can not have any confidence in the ability of Warren Keen or Eddie Johnson to kick a field goal beyond 30 yards.

The playoff match up next week is favorable for Saskatchewan.  Jamal Robertson isn't likely to do a lot of damage on the ground, simply because he isn't given the ball enough.  Inexperienced QB Travis Lulay isn't likely to put up 400 yards passing either.  The Riders will have to guard against turnovers and junk play from their special teams.  Their talent is good enough that they can, probably, overcome one of those two issues; but not both.

Fans were again a disappointment for me as a drunken idiot had to be removed from the game by Regina City Police in Section 27 before the game was two minutes old.  Another dingbat ran onto the field six minutes later before getting an escort off.  Hopefully he spent the night in jail and gets some additional punishment, although he didn't look like the type of guy that will be able to pay off a hefty fine.  At half-time, there was a fight in the men's bathroom.  Before the game, Matt Dominguez talked about getting cat calls from frustrated fans who didn't like how frequently he was out of the line-up.  Earlier this year, Darian Durant got negative comments from 'friends' on his Facebook page.

The post game show last night revealed some paranoia amongst fans and analysts that Eric Tillman may find a way to lure Kent Austin out of Cornell and back to the CFL to coach the Eskimos next year.  Frankly, I don't think this will happen.  Austin has full football control at Cornell and it looks like he's doing a good job there.  Returning to the CFL in Edmonton would be a step back.  Having said that, if there is any thought of Austin coming back to this league, then whoever is the boss in Saskatchewan (Ken Miller, Brendan Taman, Jim Hopson?) when it comes to hiring and firing coaches needs to be networking and making sure Austin knows that he's welcome to return to this team at any time.  The point should be clear to Austin that if he wants to come back, he can pretty much name his price and job description.  The days of Edmonton outbidding Saskatchewan are over.  The Riders have more money than any team in the league, so John Lynch's assertion that Tillman will make Austin an offer he can't refuse is one I have to disagree with.  Saskatchewan can offer Austin a position whereby he becomes the Tillman in Saskatchewan.  Tillman can't do that in Edmonton.  And, if it's money he wants then it's money he can have.  The only drawback I see for anyone coming to Saskatchewan would be dealing with the few loons who call themselves fans (see above paragraph) that ruin it for the wide majority.

What happens with the coaching staff if Saskatchewan if the Riders recover and advance to the Grey Cup?  I think you'll see very little change.  So, if you want a coaching turnover, you better hope for a BC win next week.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I haven't weighed in on this major issue because I really don't know that much about it.  I just don't have the knowledge to give a solid opinion, but having said that, a lack of knowledge hasn't ever stopped me from being critical on other subjects.

First of all, if the value is $146 a share and the offer is $130, then the answer is simple.

I am wondering why this decision is not solely Saskatchewan's.  Why is the federal government involved and Jay Boyd raising a very valid question as we were discussing this on the way to Nipawin last night:  what if the potash was located in Quebec?  How much would the federal government be involved?  You'll never get an honest answer, of course, but we all know that if Quebec said no, the issue would be put to bed and the province wouldn't go through the ringer for a week like Saskatchewan did.

To me, this is a valuable resource that generates revenue for Saskatchewan and it cannot be sold.  Sure, a one time payment would be tremendous, but that's all it is.  One payment.  If someone offered you a million dollars today, or a chance to make ten million dollars over five years, what would you take?  I am probably over-simplifying it; but this is how I see it.

Or, what if someone knocked on your door and offered you twice what your house is worth.  Would you sell?  Of course you would because you could then move into a nicer home based on the profit you'd make from the sale.  But, if potash is sold, it's gone.  What are you going to invest in if you sell it?

In short, potash should not be sold under any circumstance.  We've seen private businesses take over natural resources before and promises are almost always broken.  I'm in favor of selling a piece, but Saskatchewan has to maintain majority control.


--There was no hard wired internet feed from the arena, so there was no live streaming last night.  It's puzzling, because we did a couple of games from Nipawin last year and it worked like a charm.  So I am not sure if something has changed from last year or what the issue is.  I'm no techy.  Either way, we'll figure it out for the next time we have to do a game from there.

--Rockie Zinger is a nice guy.  Zinger and Kevin Edgerton are running the Klipper bench in the absence of Larry Wintoneak, who's at the World Junior "A" Challenge.  Zinger was our post game interview guest and he's very well spoken.  There is a future for him in coaching, I believe.

--Johnathan Sonntag is quickly moving up my list of favorite players.  I just like the way he plays the game.  He does everything quite well.  He isn't the best player at any one facet, but I would quickly add him to my team if I was putting one together.

--If Dustin Nickel's performance is any indication of how he's going to perform moving forward, the Klippers may finally have their answer between the pipes.

--Matthew Spafford set up Tanner Dusyk for the sixth Nipawin goal last night and it was a thing of beauty.  Off the top of my head, it was the prettiest goal I've seen this year.  Great hustle by Spafford.  Dusyk, by the way, showed a nice burst of speed when he opened the scoring in the first.

--I really enjoy talking to Doug Johnson and I hope he can get this turned around.  The Hawks were winless in eight prior to the win last night.  But, Johnson is doing everything he can to help right the ship.

--Nipawin's age demographic for attendance might be the oldest in the league.  However, I thought 591 was a good number last night considering the great weather and the fact the team is struggling.  The crowd, old as it may be, ranks as one of the loudest in the league.  It was a good atmosphere last night.

--Interesting promotion:  if the Hawks score seven goals, everyone in attendance gets a free round of golf at Candle Lake.  Jay Boyd could hardly contain himself after 2 periods when the Hawks had five goals.  At the end of the game last night, they held a shooting contest for $30 000.  The prize wasn't given away.