Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Riders Sign Simpson

Every Rider GM seems to have their own policy when it comes to signing free agents during the offseason. Eric Tillman subscribed to the “Buy Saskatchewan” policy, which was in stark contrast to Roy Shivers’ “Buy American” policy, which was in stark contrast to Al Ford’s “Buy Nothing” policy. Well as I discussed a week or so ago, our new GM has his own acquisition policy, “Buy Blue Bomber”, and his latest signing under this policy was made official last week.

The Riders signed Barrin Simpson and many are heralding this as a great move by the Riders. On some level it’s hard to argue with them… we lost our MLB to the NFL this offseason and Simpson is a multiple time all-star at the position and on 2 occasions was named the top defensive player in his division. Seems like a no brainer (or as it’s also known, “something so obvious even Brendan Taman could figure it out”). But I’m far more skeptical.

For one, I see a career on the decline. He used to be one of the best LBs in the league but his last 2 season have been cut short by injuries. If he were younger you wouldn’t put much stock in it (such as Fantuz or Chick) but he’s the wrong side of 30 so his durability and ability to keep playing at a high level are a concern for me. Also, I have concerns about his me-first attitude. Last year when it was suggested he rotate rather than be an every down player he was vocal about his unhappiness. I take the situation with a grain of salt due to Mike Kelly being involved but the fact remains Simpson doesn’t take kindly to sharing his playing time with anybody (even back in his BC days). I like competitive players but when that supersedes what the coaches deem to be best for the team it becomes a problem. The coaches didn’t immediately put Rey Williams back as a starter after he was injured last year so the situation could easily come up here in Riderville. Lastly, while he is a good run stopper he isn’t all that good in pass coverage, which represents a significant portion of the game.

I still maintain that Freeman and McCullough could have handled things just fine but evidently I am in the minority. Maybe Simpson will come in and prove me wrong. If he can play like he did in ’06 and ’07 then he would certainly be an impact player… but I just don’t think he has it in him anymore. Some see an elite LB with a few more good seasons left in him. I see a declining veteran who still believes he is the best LB in the league and doesn’t take kindly to being told or treated otherwise. I don’t think he’s a terrible signing but I do think he is an unnecessary one.

Another concern I have is that our roster seems to be getting very expensive. Durant and Fantuz were both given raises. Dorsey and Goodspeed are both more expensive than the guys there are presumably replacing. Kornegay, Parenteau, Patrick, Best and Alexander all got new deals for at least as much if not more than they made last season. I assume Simpson didn’t come cheap. Something’s gotta give at some point. There was savings with the departures of Davis, Chick, Baggs and Williams (though Baggs would be negligible since he was a nobody coming into the season and likely being paid as such) but it sure doesn’t seem to balance to me.

In other Rider news, season ticket sales have reached 23,000 which is phenomenal! The Riders are planning to cap season ticket sales at 25,000 if need be. The high demand also means that the Riders will be installing the temporary seats again to increase the capacity at the stadium. What this boils down to is that if you haven’t already done so, you better rush out and get your Rider tickets because before long those tickets will be harder to come by than a clean/attractive prostitute in Saskatchewan… and they will be equally as expensive (not that I would know anything about that).

In other CFL news, there are rumours that BC was trying to swing a deal with the Argos that would have seen Jarious Jackson traded for Rob Murphy. Seems like a fair trade to me… both teams get an overrated and grossly overpaid player that is unlikely to bring any tangible improvement to their team. While reports are that the trade is unlikely to happen, it certainly stirred up some lively debate around the issue of insider trading between the Lions and Argos. Personally I don’t think it’s a huge issue. Wally Buono places winning above all else so there’s no way he would swing a charity deal to the Argos that doesn’t help him somehow. David Braley is a business man not a charity case and his goal is to help build the Argos back to a profitable organization so he won’t further harm the already lowly club just to benefit the Lions. So if BC won’t swing a charity deal with the Argos and the Argos won’t swing a charity deal with Lions then the only trades they are likely to do would benefit both teams… which is no different that the other teams in the league. Besides, if BC really thinks that the key to climbing out of the west division basement is to stock up on Argonauts then I say let them continue in their misguided ways.

CFL Ins and Outs

…none of which I can think of anything insightful, funny or even coherent to comment on.


In: DB LaDarius Key, DB Brandon Foster, DB Brandon Register (free agent signing)


In: DB Dylan Barker (contract extension)


In: DB Reggie Sullivan, LB Stewart Franks, RB DeCori Birmingham (free agent signing)


In: RB Corey Council (free agent signing)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Roughrider Celebrity Look-alikes – Part 2

Since our first look at Rider Celebrity Look-alikes, I have come across more Riders that bear uncanny resemblances to celebrities… let’s take a look.

Joel Bell and The Big Show

Denatay Heard and Mos Def

Nelson Martin and Jackie Chiles

Leron Mitchell and David McKoy

** This resemblance goes way beyond all black guys looking alike.

Rob Bagg and George St. Pierre

Luc Mullinder and Shawn Merriman

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: March Sadness

I have never had that good of a track record when it comes to my annual March Madness picks. There is a reason I haven’t diversified into NCAA propheting. This may have something to do with not following college basketball at all and instead trying to determine which teams will win based on how much I like/dislike their school and team names… Wichita Shockers = good, each of the 1400 teams named the Wildcats = bad. While this system has yet to yield a successful bracket, I usually at least have a fairly successful first couple rounds before it all comes crashing down.

This year however has reached a new low for March Madness futility. Seems the Kansas-Villanova final I predicted won’t be coming to fruition. I'm used to having one of my Final Four teams drop off early but having the entire bracket ruined by day 3 is pretty bad even for me.

But you probably didn’t come here to listen to me complain about my NCAA bracket so let’s get to some CFL news.

- The Riders confirmed that training camp will be held in Regina. They would still like to hold camp in Saskatoon in the future but there were too many logistical problems to work through this year. Though I can see the PR value for the team in holding camp in Saskatoon, I still think it makes way more sense to keep it here in Regina. It just makes sense to practice on the field you will be playing on plus all the teams’ facilities (locker-room, training facilities etc…) are here. Also I was selfishly hoping for camp here so I can go down and watch. I mean slipping out at lunch to watch camp is one thing when it’s in Regina, but it might be a tougher sell to my boss if it involved 5 hours of driving.

- Last weeks signing of Danny Brannagan by the Argos was the first sign that a slight rule change regarding Canadian QBs is imminent. Word is the league is likely going to allow teams an exemption allowing them to bring a Canadian QB to training camp and not have him count towards the limit of 68 players. The Argos are just trying to get a jump on snatching up a decent Canadian prospect (which there aren’t that many of). The Ti-cats are also getting an early start by adding Erik Glavic to their neg list. Though we are a long time away from a Canadian QB cracking a CFL roster in any meaningful capacity, this is a small step in that direction.

- BC has hired Rich Stubler as their new DL coach. This is a great pick up for the Lions. Stubler is a defensive genius (terrible head coach… but defensive genius). I was always hoping that the Riders would hire Stubler. Not only would he be a phenomenal asset to our defense, it would also lead to the debut of the Rider sweater vest… which I have always coveted. But I guess at the age of 60, Stubler was just too young to qualify for our coaching staff

CFL Ins and Outs

In: RB Jamal Robertson (free agent signing)
This seems like an odd signing for the Lions. They rarely sign other teams free agents to begin with and have traditionally just found RBs internally via scouting (Joe Smith, Stephan Logan, Martell Mallett). Not to mention that Roy Shivers’ forte is supposed to be finding RBs. So why they are interested in a 33 year old from the Argos is beyond me. Robertson played pretty well the last couple seasons but to be fair, given that he played in Toronto anyone would have looked good compared to the rest of that putrid offense.

In: LB Markeith Knowlton (contract extension)
It used to be a given that any transaction the Ti-Cats were involved in could be easily mocked. The jokes pretty much wrote themselves. Now they have turned themselves into a fair legitimate contender and the jokes are getting harder to come up with. Never ever thought I’d see the day where I would struggle to insult a team run by Marcel Bellefeuille (2008’s Most Insulted Sports Figure).

In: DB Lenny Walls, DB Lawrence Gordon (free agent signing)
Well one of these DBs (Gordon) is a typical defensive signing (i.e. not very good). But the other is quite the opposite. Walls was 2nd in the league last year with 7 INTs. I have no idea what prompted the Bombers to release him a few weeks ago but their questionable decision making has led to a great opportunity for the Esks. Then again given the success that other elite DBs such as Omarr Morgan and Jordan Younger have had upon arriving in Edmonton, I think I’ll reserve my judgment on whether this will positively affect the Esks secondary.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Round-Up – Saskatchewan Blue Bombers

In case you are like me and currently watching the majority of your March Madness pool go down the toilet (damn Ohio and Murray St!!) you probably need some sort of diversion from your futility in college basketball. Besides it’s a forgone conclusion that the UC Santa Cruz Gauchos are going to go on an unprecedented miracle run and shock the nation by winning it all… at least that’s what my bracket predicts. Though that may be the kind of misguided betting that has led to the aforementioned “down the toilet" scenario.

Anywho, let’s turn our attention to the CFL where it seems the Riders are slowly and not so covertly morphing into the Blue Bombers. First they infiltrated our front office in the form of their old GM. Next they began infiltrating our coaching staff with the additions of Berry, Daley and Dyce. Then a little while later we started adding former Bombers to our offensive line. You see where this is going?

And this invasion is far from over. Word is we are in serious negotiations with Barrin Simpson (their former MLB). I personally am not sold on Simpson. 4 years ago he was arguably the best MLB in the league but to be fair 4 years ago the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers were the 2 best teams in the NHL so clearly a lot can change in 4 years. I suppose there’s no harm in bringing him into camp to see if he still has the talent that made him one of the best but you can list me among those who are extremely sceptical about him and not convinced that we need him.

If you think Simpson will be the end of our slow transformation into the western blue and gold you are likely mistaken. You can bet Taman is currently working the phones to see if Tom Canada can fill one of our DE vacancies. Or to see if Ryan Dinwiddie could be our 4th QB in camp. And if we run into some injuries at receiver don’t be at all surprised to see Milt Stegall answer the call. All we can really do to resist this metamorphosis is to ensure that we as fans don’t become bomber fans. Fortunately this is fairly preventable as long as you practice hygiene on a somewhat regular basis and continue dating outside your family tree.

In other non-Bomber related rider news… the team finalized their coaching staff with the additional of Tom Freeman as our O-line coach. Freeman brings a wealth of experience from the American college system. He is also a senior citizen so at least Ken Miller and Alex Smith will have someone new to join them on their morning mall walks and afternoon naps.

The team also hired Craig Smith as the Assistant GM. Smith has worked for both the Ti-Cats and Lions in the scouting and player personnel field previously and by all accounts has done real good work. I’m also encouraged that Taman (someone who is notoriously bad when it comes to scouting) hired an assistant with strengths that will complement his weaknesses. All we need now is a Director of Not Trading Away Draft Picks and we are set.

The Riders also announced the signings of Cole Bergquist, WR Cary Koch and Winnipeg’s cheaper American knockoff of Andy Fantuz…. WR Aaron Fairooz (you see know they have moved on to our receiving corps). It was a forgone conclusion that Bergquist would sign here but it still makes me happy. He is a QB that I really think will impress this season. He’s clearly an underdog compared to a QB of Harrell’s pedigree in the competition for #2 but I think Bergquist will surprise a lot of people.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: OL Kelly Butler, LB SaMario Houston, WR Will Franklin (free agent signing)
Out: DL Fred Perry (cut)
As if SaMario isn’t an awesome first name… It’s SaMario! It’s just fun to say. And the good news is that given that the Bombers sign him it won’t be long before he somehow ends up here.

In: DL Anthony Maddox (free agent signing)
Anthony is nowhere near as cool as SaMario. If you are trying to impress me Edmonton, you have failed.

In: LB Dennis Haley (trade with Hamilton)

In: DB Jerome Dennis (trade with BC)
This trade fills a need for both teams but it would be even better if SaMario was involved.

In: QB Cleo Lemon, QB Danny Brannagan (free agent signing)
The epic QB showdown in Toronto gets more epic by the day. Now not only will it feature the Riders 3rd stringer and the Bills 3rd stringer, you can add to that a guy who has bounced around 4 NFL teams over 8 years without any real success and a Canadian QB. Maybe we could trade Jason Armstead so they at least have one proven passer on the roster.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: E-Camp Thoughts

The CFL’s Evaluation Camp was held over the weekend. Some of the top prospects had the chance to impress the scouts in advance of the CFL Draft on May 2nd. Personally I was surprised that Rider coaches even attended the event. I mean when you add Taman’s habits of trading away any and all first round picks with the Riders’ habit of drafting only players that play their home games within walking distance of the coaches’ offices (presumably so Coach Miller can sneak in a nap in his office and still make it to the game with relative ease) you would conclude that our attendance isn’t really necessary.

This year though, it appears as though Taman and the Riders will be trying something new… keeping our draft picks and drafting players from an area code that isn’t 306. Which is great news because there are some very talented prospects available in this draft.

Many of those prospects were put to the test over the weekend (though 5 of the projected top 15 prospects did not attend due to having a year of NCAA eligibility left) in front of coaches and scouts from across the league.

Here are a few players that had notable performances…

- RB Mike Montoya turned some heads when he broke an E-Camp record with 44 reps on the bench press (shattering the old record of 33). He then followed up by posting a 4.60 time in the 40 yards dash (which is impressive for 236 lbs guy). His combination of size, power and speed make him an ideal fullback prospect.

- WR Steve Turner also turned some heads by breaking the E-Camp record in the 40 yard dash with a time of 4.31 (old record was 4.39 set by Jamal Lee). He followed that up with the fastest shuttle time of the day at 4.03 and an impressive 43.5 inch vertical. At 5’09 he’s only an inch taller than Weston Dressler (making him one of the smallest WR prospects) but he’s shown he has the physical abilities to overcome his small stature. He’s not as polished a receiver as some of the others but his stock definitely rose over the weekend.

- Other WRs turn in good performances were Shawn Gore, who many are saying established himself as the top receiver available; Jordan Sisco who continues to shown that he has the talent to compete at the next level; and Cory Watson.

- A guy I was closely watching was LB Cory Greenwood (the top rated LB in the upcoming draft). He turned in performance indicative of his high raking with 24 reps in the bench press, a 4.50 40 yard dash and a 40 inch vertical. When you add his impressive physical abilities to his CIS Defensive Player of the Year status, it adds up to one heck of a defensive prospect.

- Another LB I was watching closely was Shomari Williams. He is just behind Greenwood as in the LB rankings (though most of his time has been spent at defensive end of late). He’s not quite at Greenwood’s level yet but he’s physically gifted and has been improving by leaps and bounds. He also had a good showing at E-Camp and solidified his spot among the top prospects.

- LB Joash Gesse raised his draft stock with a solid weekend highlighted by 33 reps in the bench press. Maybe his draft ranking would be higher if he knew how to spell Josh.

- Along the D-line, Eddie Steel had a strong showing including 33 reps in the bench press. He’s still the #2 ranked defensive tackle in the draft behind Brian Bulcke but while Bulcke will return to college next year Steele won’t, meaning he can have an immediate impact on a team that drafts him. At defensive end the most intriguing prospect is Chima Ihekwoaba (say that 3 times fast). He’s being called the Canadian version of Cam Wake (which is quite the endorsement). He has a 41 inch vertical, did the 40 in 4.78 and the shuttle in 4.24. He’s got the tools, the question is whether he can translate that in Wake-like production or whether he will struggle against the bigger stronger tackles at the pro-level.

- In the secondary, one guy stands ahead of all the others. Taurean Allen is by far the best DB available. He’s fast (4.44 in the 40 and 4.04 in the shuttle) and combines that with good coverage skills. He will go top 10.

- And of course the most highly watched position is O-line. With 4 of the top 5 OL prospects (John Bender, Danny Watkins, Nasser Jamal and J’Michael Deane) all having 1 year of college left, it was a chance for the OL that are available immediately to boost their stock. Joe Eppele was the consensus #1 pick coming into the weekend. He faired well in the physical tests but struggled in 1 on 1 drills meaning that his status as #1 is now in question. Kristian Matte, Joel Reinders and Bart Archdekin improved their stock among the OL that will be available immediately to play.

Overall this is a stronger draft class than last draft but it seems to be very top heavy. With that in mind, I fully expect the Riders to cut a deal in the near future to get a 2nd or 3rd round pick to add to their 2 firsts and 2 fifths. I can’t believe I’m actually expecting Taman to acquire draft picks.

I have been saying for months now that the Riders will use one of their first rounders on a linebacker… either Cory Greenwood or Shomari Williams and I am leaning towards Greenwood. They will use the other on a top rated player who won’t be available to play until next year… either Brian Bulcke the top DT available or Danny Watkins the top OT available. I would like to see them draft Bulcke as elite Canadian D-linemen are few and far between but Watkins would be an okay pick as well as non-import tackles are a precious commodity too. We have no immediate needs in terms of Canadians so now would be the perfect time to use a first round pick on a future prospect.

I will have more draft coverage and analysis in the weeks leading up to the big day on May 2nd. That includes my 3rd Annual Live Draft Day Blogging. If you haven’t yet experience my live blogging, you are really missing out. Few experiences can compare to the uncensored, unedited early morning commentary of the Prophet… who neither a morning person nor someone who types well without the assistance of spell checker.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Plenty of Quarterback News

Well this was certainly a busy week for QBs in the CFL.

We’ll start here in Saskatchewan where the Riders announced that Darian Durant has agreed to a contract extension. While details of the new contract were not released its safe to assume its at least a 2 year deal that gives a hefty raise to Double D (likely in the $250K to $300K range now). It’s a well deserved reward for Durant who grew by leaps and bounds last year and developed into one of the top QBs in the league. You have to go back a number of years to find the last time the Riders had continuity at QB… and even further back to find a time when we had talented continuity at QB. If Double D continues where he left off last year we have good reason to be very excited about our offense in 2010. It will be as unstoppable as a Toyota… too soon?

While we were locking up one QB we were sending another on his way. Dalton Bell was traded to the Argonauts for a 5th round pick in the 2010 draft. I’m not all that concerned about the loss of Bell. He was hyped as the next franchise QB upon his arrival here but after a little more than a season all he ended up being was the next franchise clipboard holder. My only concern here is the return we got for Bell. Basic supply and demand should dictate that when a team with absolutely no options at QB (i.e. high demand) comes knocking, the price should be relatively high. Cripes we had to give up Kitwana Jones to get Juan Woah-seph… and we already had other options at QB.

Unfortunately for Bell it took him only one day to lose the starter’s spot in Toronto. The next day the Argos signed former Buffalo Bills 3rd stringer Gibran Hamdan. Talk about an epic training camp showdown… Hamdan vs. Bell. One wasn’t good enough for the Bills (who have been reduced to starting the likes of Trent Edwards and JP Losman). The other wasn’t good enough to even take a 1 yard plunge for the Riders (when the guy who did earn that job repeatedly screwed up). Bell, by virtue of having appeared in a pre-season game, is the veteran of the pair. Somehow the Argos have managed to be worse off at QB now then they were last year.

But fear not Argo fans. Even though Bell and Hamdan may not instil a great deal of confidence in your team, the Argos are working on a 3rd option that is sure to put you at ease… Cleo Lemon! That’s right apparently Jim Barker is working on luring Lemon to the CFL. The Argos QB woes just get worse and worse. Their 2 primary options are QB aren’t all that good and their 3rd option is a Lemon.

In the least shocking move of the week the Lions released Buck Pierce. Maybe it was his upcoming salary bonus that led to the release. Maybe it was his ridiculous $300k price tag (I still don’t know what Wally was thinking when he inked that one). Maybe it was the fact that the only thing that outnumbered his concussions in 2009 were his interceptions. Likely it was all 3. Buono tried trading him but it turns out that the marker for an overpriced player who isn’t that good and is always hurt, isn’t what it used to be (damn recession affects everything). Pierce though is undeterred and is now putting his efforts towards upcoming NFL tryouts that he has (seriously). If he ends up attending the tryouts like he plans he may become the first QB to suffer a career ending concussion in an NFL tryout that consists entirely of non-contact drills.

Lastly, it seems as though the Eskimos will finally join the 21st century and replace their archaic natural grass with field turf for the upcoming season. My first reaction was to question how dumb the Esks’ management must be to take this long to make such an obvious and overdue decision… but then I remembered that this is the same management group that made Danny Maciocia their GM so that question pretty much answers itself.

CFL Ins and Outs


In: RB Wes Cates (re-signed)

I’m rather indifferent on this signing. Our run game was about as useful as the New Jersey Nets last year so it’s hard to get excited about his return. That said I was always in favour of bring Cates to training camp at a reduced price and giving him a chance to prove if he can regain his 2008 form. Besides it’s not like we have an abundance of other options at RB at this point.


In: OL Skip Seagreaves (re-signed), DB Steve Holness (free agent signing)

Seriously, who names their kid Skip?


In: RB Cory Boyd (free agent signing)

In college, Boyd played for the South Carolina Gamecocks so Toronto marks quite the career progression for him. He goes from playing with a bunch of cocks to playing with a bunch of useless boobs.


In: OL John Hashem, WR Scott McHenry, DB LaVar Glover, DB Clint Kent (free agent signing)

Hashem and McHenry are both Saskatchewan products so I guess that means LaPolice must still be pushing the “Buy Saskatchewan” agenda that he learned here.


Out: LB Tim Johnson (released)

Johnson asked for his release. Many Stamp fans are saddened by this loss… though I have no idea why. Johnson was best described as a “run stopper”… which is a polite way of saying that he is embarrassingly bad at pass coverage which tends to be important in the CFL. Personally I think this will improve the Stamps rather than hurt them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Abbreviated Sentimonies

It’s a busy few days for your friendly neighbourhood Prophet so you’ll have to settle for abbreviated sentimonies (though abbreviated and sentimonies both seem like really long words given the message I’m trying to convey).

- Gotta love those Seminoles. Thursday it’s reported that they are partners in a $1.2 billion stadium proposal. Friday they issue a press release stating that they are not involved in anything in Saskatchewan. Saturday they decided that they did have a memorandum of agreement. Maybe it’s just me, but agreeing to be part of $1.2 billion project is something you probably shouldn’t forget about. Not exactly a great first impression regarding their management style.

- Along those lines. The Alouettes just signed Gavin Walls. This after trading for him and promptly cutting him a couple days later. I assume they are currently working on trading him to another team only to subsequently re-acquire him prior to the trade deadline and possibly cut him again for good measure.

- As sad as it is, Casey Printers provides our lone dose of sanity (this is indeed a disturbing universe). He signed an extension with the BC Lions with a hefty pay increase and amazingly they only needed one try to get the deal done. Though to be fair BC did offer him a similar contract a few years ago and he turned it down a couple times so I guess this isn’t a real good example either.

Maybe some sanity will return to the CFL later in week when I will return with a more complete post... though I won’t count on it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

$1.2 Billion Stadium Proposal… Say What?!?

Well that certainly came out of nowhere! Just days after the province released a feasibility study into a new stadium in Regina, thingst got a whole lot more interesting when a new proposal was unveiled.

A group of independent First Nation bands have come forward with a jaw dropping proposal for a 55,000 person stadium and a Vegas-style Hard Rock hotel/casino with a $1.2 billion price tag. Yeah that’s right BILLION! The group is partnered with the Seminole tribe of the US who are huge players down south. They own the Hard Rock chain and have ties with the Vegas entertainment scene. They also are willing to invest $600 million into the project and provide credit for the remaining costs. The catch is that this is all contingent upon the government selling Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw to the First Nations group for $350 million and then turning around and investing $200 million of that right back into the new stadium.

At first glance, this plan is just way too ambitious for a province of a million people but when a people come to the table with $600 million you damn well listen to what they have to say!

While I love the idea of deep pocketed private investors being interested in the project and thinking big, I do have some concerns about the plan. First off, there is just no way that and 55K capacity stadium is sustainable in a city and province this small. We may be growing but not fast enough to consistently fill a stadium that big. Second, while the vision of Regina being turned into a Canadian sin city is intriguing, in reality it’s not going to happen. Sure the Hard Rock may be a glamourous trendy place but let’s not forget that it would be placed in between train tracks on one side and Gabbos and Fabricland on the other… which would pretty much ruin any illusions of Vegas. Also, until the province allows us the drink while women dance around a pole while taking their clothes off, the “Vegas” mystique is further ruined. Not that I would ever frequent such an establishment. I mean sure I admit I was in one once but I maintain that I thought it was a soup kitchen and I was looking to volunteer my time and I only threw money on stage because I thought they were collecting donations for said soup kitchen. Lastly, I don’t like the idea of the province selling the casinos, which generate a profit of $40 million a year, for a net gain of $150 million. The casinos would generate more than that in 4 years if we just kept them.

So as you can see there are some concerns with the proposal, but as I said when someone comes forward with this kind of cash, you don’t just brush them off… you see of you can work something out. Personally, I think it would be awesome if we could build a stadium that is 5% more extravagant that the new Dallas stadium just to piss off Jerry Jones.

Apparently this proposal is only 1 of 7 that have been submitted. That goes to show you the level of interest that the private sector has in this project.

In player news, the Riders signed OL Dan Goodspeed. Given that Taman brought him into the league this signing was pretty much a given from the moment Goodspeed was released by Hamilton. He is one of the better tackles in the league so he’s a good pick-up. But it appears that with Geno, O’Day, Bates and now Goodsppeed in the fold we are aiming for the oldest OL in the league by far. I propose we start referring to our line as the Great Wall of China. Because it will be a significant obstacle, and it is of approximately the same age.

It appears the CFL is considering a couple rule changes for the upcoming season. One would be to force teams to attempt 2 point converts if they score a TD in overtime to make things more exciting. The other would be to reinstate the option of fielding the ball at the 35 yd line following a FG. They are also looking at some minor changes to the no yards rules. As with past years my “ref should ride trained ostriches” suggestion does not appear to be getting much consideration. Same with my suggestion to mandate mascot soccer as the halftime show at every football game.

Elsewhere in the CFL the Als traded Stan Van Sichem (awesome name) to Winnipeg for Gavin Walls… only to release Walls a couple days later. Apparently, the Als were hoping to renegotiate Walls’ $120K/year contract and imminent $15K bonus but were unsuccessful and released him rather than pay the bonus. Van Sichem (a former Regina Ram) must feel pretty low given how this all played out. Players all like to think that they are valued by their team but how much could the Als have really valued Van Sichem when they were willing to trade for the right to have Gavin Walls on their roster for 48 hours?

CFL Ins and Outs


In: DB Jordan Younger (re-signed)

The Argos just can’t seem to make up their mind about Younger. They traded him to Edmonton in 2008 only to end up re-signing him in 2009. Then they cut him just 4 weeks ago only to end up re-signing him. I hope for Younger’s sake he has been negotiating signing bonuses each time Toronto has signed him because that alone would make him a very rich man.


In: QB Cody Pickett (free agent signing)

This move baffles me. The Als have Calvillo who is still the top QB in the league. McPhearson who is the chosen one to succeed AC (estimate succession date pegged at 2033 at the current pace). And Leak who looked promising in his limited appearances last season. I have no idea why they would want to add an embarrassing failure from Toronto when they appear to be pretty set at pivot. Maybe Jim Popp will try and claim Pickett’s contract as a charitable donation… since charity is about the only explanation I can come up with for this move.


Out: DB Lenny Walls (released)

Lenny Walls was 2nd in the league last season with 7 interceptions so I have no idea why Winnipeg suddenly decided he was no longer needed. He was probably making good money but when you consider that they are also still paying the likes of Brock Ralph, Fred Perry and Stephan LeFors… paying good money to Walls seems like a better use of your money since you are at least getting some tangible results out of the deal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Jerseys

For many years, jerseys for sports teams were pretty simple… they had a white one and a coloured one and was usually limited to the team name or a logo. Then somewhere along the hippie artsy-fartsy crowd decided that the existing jerseys were too plain or lacked feng shui or whatever it is those beatniks call it and began coming up with new designs. Then the marketing crowd came along and realized just how much potential money could be made off these hippies and ever since there has been a never ending stream of new jersey designs.

Now many of these new designs are successful but as you’ll see below, many of them end up being massive failures.

Top 10 Worst Jerseys

10 – Houston Astros

Although the rainbow-ish shirts leave a lot to be desired, my bigger concern is the questionable choice to place the numbers directly next to a player’s crotch. Generally speaking, that’s not the first place I look when I’m trying to identify someone. “Hey, you figured out my number 2 minutes ago, now you are just being creepy!”

**Anyone else think the white guy looks kinda like Ricky Ray?

9 – Boston Bruins

If you were going to prominently feature a timid, cute, non-threatening looking bear on your jerse

y you could have at least gone with a more publicly recognized bear such as Winnie the Pooh, Baloo or at the very least put a forest ranger’s hat on him to make it look more like Smokey.

8 – Vancouver Canucks

It honestly looks like they ran out of money for equipment and were forced to decorate a set of plain black jerseys in coordinating lines of duct tape.

7 – Seattle Seahawks

Apparently Seattle didn’t get the memo that the “Everything automatically becomes cooler with neon green” phase died back in the early 90s.

6 – Denver Nuggets

It’s fitting that Denver is know as the mile-high city since clearly whoever designed this jersey was also extremely high. I’m shocked that the “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” look never caught on.

5 – New York Islanders

The only explanation I can think for this jersey is that Captain Highliner secretly cut a sponsorship deal with the Islanders.

4 – Anaheim Mighty Ducks

A jersey such as this is what happens when you base a professional hockey franchise on an Emilio Estevez movie, create a spin-off cartoon series based on that hockey team and prominently feature a character from that cartoon series on the hockey team’s alternate jersey. It’s a wonder more teams haven’t followed suit.

3 – Philadelphia Eagles

Marketing lesson #1 – In a town notorious for the toughness and aggressiveness of its sports teams and its fans, a delicate blend of pastel colours is likely not going to be well received.

2 – Dallas Stars

Marketing lesson #2 - Logos that look suspiciously like a uterus will likely end up being huge failures.

1 – Montreal Canadiens

Look I’m a Habs fan and even I have to admit that these were the worst jerseys I have ever seen. They look more like audition for Where’s Waldo gone wrong or “Wear Your Pyjamas To Work Day” than the most storied franchise in hockey history.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: New Stadium

This past weekend marked a climatic finish to the Olympics for Canada… and by that I mean Kevin Martin and his rink defeated Norway and their fancy pants (seriously, curling has enough problems being recognized as a legitimate sport as it is, the last thing it needs is for the face of the sport to be wearing pants that appear to be stolen from a band of traveling clowns) and we exerted our dominance in the field of speed skating in groups of 3. Oh yeah and we won some hockey game of great national and international significance in dramatic fashion too.

Anywho, I assumed with the Olympics out of the way we would see more football news… evidently I was wrong as the CFL newsreel this morning was as non-existent as Azerbaijan’s medal count.

Fortunately late this morning some big news came out, saving me from trying to piece together a post using only obscure Olympic references and big words I randomly pulled from the dictionary (I was planning to open with “eviscerate the proletariat”).

The long awaited feasibility study looking into a potential new stadium in Regina was released today.

I have been excited about the prospect of a new stadium since discussions first began on the issue many months ago and skimming through the study only increased my excitement. All I can say is Wow!

What began as an idea for a new stadium has evolved into a total redevelopment of Dewdney Ave. complete with parks, walkways to downtown, new businesses and of course a new domed stadium at the centre of it all. The proposed stadium would have a capacity of 33,000 seats, could be expanded to 45,000 for things like the Grey Cup and would include a permanent Roughrider Hall of Fame. All for the low price of $386 million (and an extra $45 million if we want the roof to retract) and I bet if we haggled with the sales people enough we could get them to throw in all weather floor mats for free.

A decision on whether to go ahead with the project is expected in the spring.

Realistically, the decision has already been made… this project WILL go ahead (mark my words). The only thing the government needs to figure out at this point is how they are going to spin the announcement in a way that won’t cause public outrage.

A little over a year ago, there would have been no issue at all with this project. The economy was booming and the government had so much money that they could pretty much solve any problem they had with their chequebooks. But the recession and complete collapse of potash revenues have made things far more difficult. I mean they just delayed funding for the children’s hospital, are delaying funding increases to education and municipalities, and still have yet to settle a contract with a big chunk of provincial health care workers. To say they don’t have any money for these groups and then turn around and write a massive cheque for a football stadium would be political suicide (seriously you’d be better off to publicly denounce Tommy Douglas, Ron Lancaster, Gordie Howe and Sandra Schmirler simultaneously).

But as I said, this is a done deal so they have to get very creative with how they fund the project. A large chunk will have to come from the private sector and by all reports there are private investors who are ready to pony up. The feds, City and Riders will also kick in a chunk of the bill. As for the remaining chunk, that’s where the province comes in. One idea that I have heard includes funding the project through a crown corporation like Sask Gaming Corp and I imagine that it will end up being something of this nature.

However, given how much I want this to succeed, I’ve taken it upon myself to come up with ideas of how the province can fund the new stadium without public outrage. I don’t ask much in return, just the satisfaction of helping out… and of course a gold statue of myself on the steps of the new stadium (we’ll talk)

Top 5 Ideas for Funding the New Stadium

5 – Take $25 million to Vegas and play roulette

All on black, All on black, All on red, All on black… just like that you have $400 million.

4 – Hire a fleet of helicopters and steal someone else’s stadium

It’s cheaper, quicker and way cooler than building it ourselves.

3 – Cut Funding for Orphanages

Who are they going to tell? Their parents?

2 – Amass a bunch of smaller private investors.

I’ve been pushing for
Wisers Whiskey Milkyway Empire Hotel Hillbilly Vac Shack Rider Prophet Media Source Adult Video Stupid Michael Bishop Stadium for close to a year now and still think the idea has merit.

1 – Temporary Refund Adjustment

It sure beats a tax