Monday, November 15, 2010

Bring On Smilin' Hank!

Photo from

- I had my chance to go to the Riders' home playoff game... but we had company, and I figured the $135 could be better-used elsewhere, especially this time of year. I missed a good one! Live, at least. I was on the edge of, or more often, OUT OF my seat for much of the afternoon/evening after that one. It was equally, if not more exciting than the previous double-OT games against Montreal/Calgary, and given what was at stake, it made my heart race a little more!

- Mike Stackhouse has an interesting debate over on his blog about going to games live vs watching from home. I think it's unbelieveable the Riders sold out all 9 regular season home games and then fell short of capacity for a home playoff game. BUT, even Michael Ball said on the Rider Roundtable... "I understand it, every sports channel's in high-definition, and it's mid-November, I understand it." I agree... TSN HD on my 42" Plasma looks pretty deadly, the four Pilsner I consumed during the game cost me roughly $5, compared to the $24 they would have been at the game... but I still get to my 2 or 3 games a year, and would have thought 30,000 die-hards would have made it to Mosaic.

- It was far from a complete effort. The Riders, and especially Darian Durant, were way off in the first half. Durant was 6/16 passing in the first two quarters, but something clicked in the second half. Still, they have to be A LOT better on Sunday to have a chance in Calgary.

- Warren Kean just LOOKS scared when he lines up for a FG. I'm really glad overtime didn't come down to a clutch kick.

- Special teams was the best it's been in a while, all in all. Yonus Davis didn't back up his smack talk about the Riders' kick/punt cover teams. The Lions' returner said the Rider cover teams don't even compete, and have nowhere near the speed of Hamilton (who shut him down the week before).

- Davis did return one punt for 30+ yards... and it's a play that's always bugged me. When the ball hits the turf, No Yards penalties are just 5 yards, as opposed to 15. So why not, take the penalty, get right in his face, and wrap him up as soon as he picks it up. Obviously you can't drill the guy because you'll likely pick up a 15-yard major foul... but just contain him and limit it to less than 5 yards, and take the penalty. Instead, they all back up beyond the 5 yard zone to avoid the penalty, the Lions set up their blocking, and he rips off a big one that was one missed tackle away from a TD.

- No more QB controversy in BC. Barring injury, Travis Lulay will start all 18 games next season.

- If Brandon Brouwner tries to put a blanket on Andy Fantuz again on Sunday... don't be shocked to see Jason Clermont become an even bigger part of the Rider offense. His first touchdown as a Rider won the game in double overtime.

- Weston Dressler is a miniature BEAST!

- If I'm a betting man, I'd say the Riders AREN'T Grey Cup bound this year. Luckily I'm not really a betting man. Sticking to our NFL Office Toonie pools, and after going 11/13 to win it last week, I went 4/12 this Sunday! Got the Bills correct, but was wrong on LOTS... Dallas, Jacksonville, Seattle, Denver, San Fran, New England, Chicago, Miami... all won when I said they wouldn't.

- Looking forward to Division Final Sunday anyway... Als/Argos at Noon, Riders/Stamps at 3:30. GX94's coverage will begin at 2:30 with the Pre Game Show.


Alright, now for some hockey.

- Some anonymous yahoo a few posts down tried arguing with me that Clarke Breitkreuz (or as he spelled it, Beikritz) should not have made Team Canada West. His ingenious reasons included: 1) He played on the team last year and they didn't get it done (got silver), 2) someone else should get a chance, 3) He's played in the WHL. Well, despite finishing 4th, it was no fault of Clarke's who captained the team and led them in scoring with 1g-4a-5p in 5 games. Swan Valley's Ryan Marshall got 2g-2a in the tournament, and scored both his goals in an 8-3 loss to Switzerland in the Bronze Medal game. Congrats to Clarke and Ryan on some impressive showings, and the first place Terriers and Stampeders will only get better upon their returns!

- The Terriers have won 4 straight, and host the league's worst team (record wise) tomorrow when Nipawin comes to town.

- Estevan's still knocking on the Terriers' door atop the Conference. They beat La Ronge 5-3 last night. On Facebook chat early yesterday afternoon, I said to Joel Danyluk, "Really, they're making you guys play on a Rider playoff gameday??" To which Joel replied, "Haha, it's LA tonight, I forgot the Riders were even playing!" He was obviously excited to play his old club, who he won an SJHL title with last season, and said he loved everything about the community, Bob Beatty, and playing for the Ice Wolves.

- Austin Bourhis hasn't played in each of the last 3 games for the Prince Albert Raiders. Time to speculate??? While it's only one player, the Terriers have been first place since day one, WITH a blueline decimated by injuries. The sky could be the limit if you can add him along with a healthy Kurtis Decker.

- Busy week ahead around here. Tuesday: Melville @ Weyburn... Wednesday: Ochapowace @ Pilot Butte (PJHL)... Thursday: Robin's Roundtable show in Melville... Friday: Yorkton @ Melville. Then, hopefully watch the return match in Yorkton on Saturday... and football ALL DAY Sunday!

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