Friday, June 29, 2012

CFL Picks

Ever since I was about 10 years old I always make CFL predictions. I'm pretty sure I picked the Roughriders to win the Grey Cup. (Well maybe not 1999, even then Rider fans had to realize they weren't winning the Grey Cup that year)

But this year I do think the Riders have a shot. I will say BC is the favorite in the league, but in the CFL the only that matter is that you win three games in November.

I think the balance of power has shifted over to Eastern Division although I don't think there will be a crossover this year.

Here's my predictions on the 2012 season


Hamilton  12-6
Montreal  11-7
Toronto     9-9
Winnipeg   8-10

BC         13-5
Sask       10-8
Calgary    8-10
Edmonton 6-12

Montreal over Hamilton
Sask over BC

Grey Cup
Sask over Montreal

I can't bet against the Riders. GO Riders GO and let's enjoy the 2012 season

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Two Cent Tuesday

After a couple of months of damp weather it's finally heated up in the southeast area. With the humidity it felt like +40, we haven't gotten a thunderstorm yet but it looks the majority of the province had a tornado warning at some point today.

It's been a quiet week for the Bruins and the biggest news piece actually came from the baseball diamond as Calder Neufeld was one half of a no hitter last week. Neufeld is pitching for the Estevan Tower Wolves of the Saskota Baseball League and if the weather holds up tonight, I'll check out their game against the Carnduff Astros.

In terms of the SJHL schedule, I'm expected it out within the next couple of weeks. I'm sure the Bruins first game will be against Melville. I can't remember the last time these two teams didn't open the season against each other.

The Riders kick off the season on Friday and Rider fans I'm sure are optimistic heading into the new season. I think if the Riders can easily finish second in the west. One reason I think that is because the starting QB's for the Eskimos and Stampeders were at one time below Darian Durant on the Riders QB depth chart. I'll have more Rider thoughts on Friday.

I just finished reading Michael Oher's book I Beat the Odds. I highly recommended it to any football fan. This book talks more about Oher's childhood growing up in Memphis which didn't appear in the movie the Blind Side. He also says that he wasn't that dumb when he started playing high school football as compared to the movie.

For the amount of struggles the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff has endured this season, it's almost hard to believe they are only a few games out of the playoffs with the extra wild card. In order for the Jays to make the postseason, they need to go on a big winning streak very soon and it's kind of hard to see it happen with Jesse Chavez, Aaron Laffey in the rotation at this point.

This week on Locker Talk all of the coaches from Estevan Minor Football will be joining me on the panel. We'll take a look at the Bantam, Peewee and Atom football teams. I'll have more details on Thursday.

Not too much this week but hopefully everyone enjoys their Canada Weekend.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bruins Offseason Update with Keith Cassidy

I had a nice chat with Keith Cassidy earlier today. We talked about the Bruins signings this off season, the Bruins plans for the rest of the summer and a couple of the headlines from the recent SJHL meetings in Regina.

You can check out the interview below.

Two Cent Tuesday

As we head into the end of June, sports is slowing down a little bit in the area. I should add that mother nature has had a helping hand with rain wiping a lot of local baseball games.

I will have a Bruins update later tonight on the blog as I had a chance to talk with Keith Cassidy. We talk about the latest Bruins prospects who have signed to cards along with a couple items like the Showcase and possible expansion.

With the Stanley Cup playoffs in the books, the next two weeks are the most exciting weeks of the NHL offseason with the NHL draft and the July 1 free agency day. One prediction I will throw out there is that the Minnesota Wild will throw a lot of money at either Zach Parise or Ryan Suter.

Tomorrow is the NHL Awards Night, my pick for the Hart is Malkin while Stamkos will win the Ted Lindsay Award.

I'm not panicking about the Saskatchewan Roughriders after their loss to the BC Lions. I was happy with the play of former San Francisco 49er Kory Sheets and Louis Rankin at running back and I won't be surprised if one of them steal the starting job from Brandon West for Week 1.

I was surprised the Riders cut Chris Graham but Corey Chamblin has made it clear they will go with a Canadian at Middle Linebacker. Mike McCullough is one of the most underrated players on the Riders in my opinion and Shomari Williams is a player who needs to step up this season.

I think this may be first year in a long time, (and I mean a long time) that the Eastern Division is stronger than the Western Division in the CFL, but hopefully that means a West team (obviously Saskatchewan) upsets someone in the East in the Grey Cup Final.

That's it for now, but check back later for that Bruins update.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Big Dogs in Yorkton Tonight

The Tarpon Energy Estevan Big Dogs will be looking into fourth place in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League tonight when they square off with the Yorkton Bulldogs. The Big Dogs will be looking to get back into the win column as the Big Dogs have gone 0-2-1 in their last three games.

The Big Dogs picked up their first victory of the season against Yorkton and the win also marked the first time the Big Dogs have ever beat the Bulldogs in regular season action. Big Dog's Dylan Smith says with the Big Dogs beating Yorkton in the postseason at the end of the 2011 that the confidence really carried over into 2012 when they beat them in the opening game. He added the opening game ignited a lot more confidence in the team and they felt since that first win they could play with the rest of the league.

After being very busy during the first part of the month, the Big Dogs have been off since last Friday when they tied the Regina Rifles. With the extra time for practice Smith says the team has been working on the defensive side of the game. He says they've given too many goals on the season and that's something the team plans on cracking down during the second half of the year.

The Big Dogs only have four games left in the season before the Prairie Gold Lacrosse playoffs take place in Saskatoon on July 14&15. Smith says the team has to continue improving defensively and reaching their peak since the season really comes down to that playoff weekend.

Smith was a honorable mention for player of the week in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League this week. He posted 4 goals and chipped in with 6 assists to help them receive a point in a tie against the Rifles.

The next home game for the Big Dogs is next Friday against the Rifles

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bruins Lock Up Morrison

The Estevan Bruins continue to lock up their young prospects to cards with the latest signing of Hudson Morrison. Here's the release from the Bruins.

The Estevan Bruins are pleased to announce the signing of Hudson Morrison.

Morrison was a standout at Bruins Spring Camp this past April, catching the attention of Bruins staff and fans alike. The 1994 Born Morrison split his time last season between the Waywayseecappo Wolverines of the MJHL, and the Southwest Cougars of the Manitoba Midget League, and was a key member of the Cougars run to the Telus Cup Regional Final.

The 6’1, 180lb Right Winger is expected to enhance a solid core of returning forwards for the Bruins this season.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bruins AGM Postponed

The Estevan Bruins were scheduled to hold their AGM tomorrow night, but it has now been postponed until September.

The Bruins executive now has three spots open, if anyone is interested in joining the Bruins, they are asked to contact the Bruins office.

The Bruins AGM last year was held in November.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two Cent Tuesday

It's been a quiet week in turn of sports coverage, this week it will be busier with the Estevan Bruins AGM on Thursday. If you're a Bruins fan, definitely come out and get a first hand look at the latest finances of the hockey team. There's a couple of open spots on the executive and there should be an election. The meeting begins at 7:00 at the Days Inn.

The SJHL will be cancelling the Showcase this year. I got mixed feelings on that. I do like a chance of watching all of the teams in one weekend. (Especially this year with Sherwood teams playing the Bauer teams only twice a year) But sometimes the scheduling really hurts a team, I remember when the Showcase was in Battlefords and the Bruins had a brutal schedule as they played 5:00 on Friday night and then again Saturday at 3:00 in the afternoon. The Showcase has been on hiatus before and it wouldn't surprise me if the weekend returns in the future. (Especially if Estevan volunteers to host it)

This is just a rumor right now but hopefully there will be confirmation soon, but the main event for the next Hard Knocks card in Estevan will be a rematch of the Hard Knocks 24 main event of Devon Smith and Derek Daku. I'll have more thoughts when this is confirmed.

The injury bug has bitten the UFC big time lately. The main event for Calgary's UFC 149 has been changed from a Featherweight Title Fight of Jose Aldo and Erik Koch to a Interim Bantamweight Title Fight of   Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. This is the one time where I'm excited about a fight change because I thought Koch had no chance against Aldo while there's a little bit of intrigue with the new main event since Barao is entering the UFC with a 28 fight undefeated streak. Plus I'm a fan of the "California Kid" Faber so it will be exciting to see him in person.

After months of waiting the Roughrider season will kick off tomorrow with the preseason game in BC. I'm looking forward to seeing who will shine in the first game action of the season. I'm looking forward to see who will emerge as the backup to Darian Durant, the running backs, and Shomari Williams playing Middle Linebacker.

Colt Brennan became the 2012 version of Todd Reissing with the Riders giving him his walking papers yesterday. Judging by the reports from camp over the last 10 days it doesn't seem like that it was a shocker with everybody saying Brennan just didn't have the arm strength for the CFL. It seems like the number one thing these days when scouts are looking at QB's is that they are looking at their arm strength.

Congratulations to Darryl Sutter and the LA Kings on winning the Stanley Cup last night. The win capped off a dominating playoff run for the Kings only losing four games in the entire run and only back to back once in the entire playoffs. (Game 4 & 5 in the Stanley Cup). I'm not sure if the Kings will win the Cup again next year but they have the makings of a solid team for years to come with a solid top 6, good young players and in the minors, one of the best defenceman in Drew Doughty and one of the best goalies in Jon Quick.

The Jays lost Brandon Morrow last night to an injury just as he was beginning to pitch some of his best baseball ever. It's going to be very tough for the Jays to make it to the postseason if he's out for an extended period of time.

That's it for today for me.

SJHL Cancels Showcase

The SJHL held their annual general meeting on the weekend and one big change was announced, the SJHL will no longer hold the Showcase.

The Showcase returned in 2009 and was held in Battlefords followed by Weyburn (2010) and Estevan (2011). The weekend saw all of the SJHL teams play two regular season games in attempt to draw scouts from across North America to see all of the SJHL players in one weekend.

The league wasn't happy with the turnout of scouts and decided to cancel the weekend, it was originally scheduled to be hosted in Melfort this year.

They will be now introduce an ID camp for 17 and 18 year old players, the camp is scheduled to be hosted in Humboldt.

The league also set out the guidelines for the schedule for the upcoming season. It hasn't officially been released yet but it's expected to be very soon.

The Estevan Bruins will be holding their AGM on Thursday at the Days Inn at 7:00, there's two open positions on the executive and there will be an election.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Cent Tuesday

It was another great MMA night in Estevan with Hard Knocks 24 at Spectra Place. There were a lot of great fights and most of the local fighters were successful on Friday. After reading Sportsnet's Showdown Joe's article about an amateur MMA card in Ontario, I have even more respect for Hard Knocks and the job they do.

The main event was a great bout between Devon Smith and Derek Daku. Daku was impressive in defeat as he dominated the majority of the fight. There were a couple of moments where I thought Daku was going to submit Smith, but it wasn’t meant to be. Both fighters put on a good show and were class acts. And I’ll even give the crowd credit, even though Smith won the fight I don’t think they gave him a harsh reception when he was crowned champion.

It was nice to see Felix Jiminez and Wade Baldwin to pick up convincing wins. With the wins, I think each fighter is not too far away of getting another crack at Smith. It should be interesting at the next Hard Knocks card in September.

I was really impressed with Estevan’s Roark Franke and Christian Crowthers junior fight. Franke did a great of positioning and forcing Crowthers up against the cage. Franke displayed some solid takedowns and applied a nice armbar, the kid definitely has a future in the sport.

I had a chance to watch a couple of lacrosse games on the weekend with the Tarpon Energy Estevan Big Dogs. This team has really developed into an entertaining bunch and are now on the verge of being a serious title contender. If you’re looking for some free entertaining sports to watch, I recommend you check out the Big Dogs. Their next home game is June 22. 

The Estevan Bruins will be holding their Annual General Meeting next Thursday. I’m looking to see how successful the first year for the Bruins was inside of Spectra Place. 

It’s hard to believe a few months ago everyone thought Dustin Brown was considered to be traded, Jeff Carter was labelled a bust, everybody was wondering what was wrong with Drew Doughty, Mike Richards was struggling and everyone was wondering what the heck Dean Lombardi was doing hiring Darryl Sutter. Everything has turned around for the LA Kings, and it’s been fun to watch during the playoffs. 

It’s really exciting now that it’s Rider season. I’m really looking forward to seeing who will be in the Riders starting lineup in Hamilton. I think Sinorice Moss is going to be one of those Americans who has a big impact in the lineup as a kick returner and receiver. I’m not saying he’s the next Weston Dressler but I think he can be that type of player.

This Friday will be the last day for Craig Stein on the airwaves. I must really like the guy, because I went to his wedding instead of going to the Riders vs Eskimos game with the 1989 Grey Cup Champion team reunion. I missed a chance to get a picture with Bobby Jurasin and my autographed Jurasin jersey. But I’m going to miss you Steiner, all the best.

Hopefully everyone has a great week

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hard Knocks 24 Recap with Audio From Smith, Daku and Baldwin

Devon Smith becomes the Heavyweight Champion

Hard Knocks Fighting delivered another solid night of MMA action at Spectra Place with Hard Knocks 24. The crowd went home a little bit disappointed with Devon Smith submitting Derek Daku in the second round to become the first Hard Knocks Heavyweight Champion.

The crowd at Spectra Place was buzzing moments before the main event. When Daku stepped inside of the cage he received a standing ovation. Daku had the advantage early in the fight as he managed to pin Smith against the cage and forced a take down. After Smith countered with a reversal the two fighters stood when Daku attacked and applied a guillotine choke. Daku wasn't able to fully apply the choke and Smith was able to survive the first round.

Daku applying the guillotine in the first round

The second round saw Daku once again start off with a takedown to the ground and worked with the ground and pound. Smith was able to catch him with a submission 1:44 in the second round to force Daku to tap.

Wade Baldwin picked up his first victory in the cage as he knocked out Damon Steadman in the first round. Baldwin went to work early in the bout and forced a takedown on Steadman and proceeded to work with the ground and pound. It looked like Baldwin was close to the knockout early in the first round but had deducted a point for an illegal punch. But once the fighters stood up, Baldwin forced another takedown and then forced a knockout.

Wade Baldwin landing some punches

Mike Geib and Craig Gaudry faced off in all Estevan battle in the light heavyweight division. Gaudry started off the fight being aggressive with some kicks but Geib would turn the tables on Gaudry would go to work on the ground and pound.

In the second round, both fighters burned off a lot of energy as Gaudry caught Geib with some hard punches and Geib was reeling. Gaudry was unable to finish Geib in the second round which forced a third round.

Mike Geib and Craig Gaudry

Both fighters were extremely tired in the final round as Geib and Gaudry didn't land many punches and kicks in the round which forced a decision from the judges. The judges ruled the fight a unanimous decision to Gaudry who apologized to the fans after the fight for the stalling tactics.

Felix Jiminez earned his first win as he forced Stephen Arens to tap out in the second round. Jiminez dominated the first round as he went started off with a quick takedown and had Arens pinned on the ground for a long time in the round. Jiminez connected with some hard punches in the final 90 seconds, but it wasn't enough as the fight was extended into the second round.

Felix Jiminez dominating Steven Arens

Jiminez was able to catch Arens in a guillotine choke and forced him to tap out 29 seconds in the second round for the win.

The first fight of the night saw the first ever junior fight for Hard Knocks with Christian Crowthers and Roark Franke. The fighters competed in three 2 minute rounds. Franke gained the early advantage with a pair of takedowns in the round. Crowthers was able to respond with a solid kicks to the body.

In the second round Franke started off with a quick takedown. Crowthers was able to reverse and was on top of Franke. But Franke turned the table and reversed the position and applied an armbar to Crowthers forcing him to tap. Because of the junior rules, the fight continued until the completion of all three rounds.

Christian Crowthers (left) and Roark Franke in the junior fight

Both fighters were able to trade some blows in the final round. Franke was able to force Crowthers against the cage in the final round as Franke took him down and did some more ground and pound. At the end of the fight both Franke and Crowthers were declared winners and each received four foot trophies.

Other Fights not involving local fighters

Ron Gonzales and Chris Wilson

Ron Gonzales was dominant in his catchweight bout with Chris Wilson. Gonzales attempted a head kick early in the bout. While he didn't land it, he did force a take down and after some ground and pound he was able to submit Wilson with an armbar shortly into the first round.

Ryan Starkell and Travis Triskle

Ryan Starkell was able to force Travis Triskle to submit to a rear naked choke hold late in the third round. The first round was fairly even between the two fighters although the round will probably be remembered for Triskle accidentally kicking Starkell in the family jewels. After taking a 5 minute break, Starkell resumed action.

In the third round, both fighters were able to catch each other with punches before Starkell forced a takedown and then applied the submission.

The bout between Bob Macumber and Harold Brun was declared a no contest in the second round. Brun struck Macumber in the head with an illegal knee and since Macumber was unable to continue the fight was declared a no contest.

Rodney Dela Rosa earned a submission victory defeating Mike Papequash. Dela Rosa caught Papeqaush with a rear naked choke for the win 1:44 in the second round.

Derek Lapierre picked up a 2nd round submission victory over Adam Zarrillo. In the second round Lapierre did score a takedown before Zarrillo managed to pick up Lapierre and slam him. Lapierre would create a reversal and would set up a arm-triangle to pick up the win.

Madison Mejia scored a first round submission victory over Curtis Richard. After surviving some knee shots against the cage, Mejia was able to get Richard on the crowd and applied an armbar for the win.

Madison Mejia celebrates his win

Tyson Haines won a unanimous decision over Cody Puls. Puls almost had the fight won in the first round with a series of punches but Haines was saved by the bell and forced a second round. Both fighters scored a couple of take downs in the second round but neither fighter could put the other away so the fight ended up going to a third round. Both fighters were a little bit cautious to start the final round but Haines was a little bit more aggressive in the judges minds and scored the win. 

Tyson Haines and Cody Puls

Full Fight Recap

Devon Smith submits Derek Daku in 2nd round (Heavyweight Title Fight)

Ron Gonzales submits Chris Wilson in 1st round (Catchweight 162.8 lb)

Ryan Starkell submits Travis Triskle in 3rd round (Welterweight)

Bob Macumber  and Harold Brun ended in a no contest (Lightweight)

Craig Gaudry defeated Mike Geib by unanimous decision (Light Heavyweight)

Rodney Dela Rosa submits Mike Papequash in 2nd round  (Featherweight)

Derek Lapierre submits Adam Zarrillo in 2nd round (Featherweight)

Madison Mejia submits Curtis Richard in 1st round (Featherweight)

Felix Jiminez submits Steven Arens in 2nd round (Heavyweight)

Tyson Haines defeated Cody Puls by unanimous decision (Catchweight 175)

Roark Franke and Christian Crowthers were both declared winners in the fight (Junior)

After the fights Devon Smith commented on becoming the heavyweight champion.

Daku and Smith getting their final instructions

Daku reflects on his first defeat

Baldwin celebrates his win

Wade Baldwin talks about his first win inside of the cage.

Hard Knocks Fighting will be returning to Estevan on Friday, September 14.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hard Knocks 24 Is Set For Tonight

After weeks of waiting Hard Knocks 24 is tonight at Spectra Place in Estevan. There are about 13 fights scheduled for the card featuring the main event for the Heavyweight title with Estevan's Derek Daku against Devon Smith.

Daku has been ready for tonight's fight since the announcement was made in early April. He admits that he's visualized what it would be like if he would win the title but added right now his focus is taking care of business in the cage. He knows that Smith will be a tough challenge and is expecting a tough fight.

With both fighters coming off a pair of quick victories here in Estevan, tonight's main event may be very short. Smith says the turning point could be whoever lands the first punch. He says with heavyweights a lot of fights could go that way, you are packing a lot power and weight behind the punch so it could come down to the first punch.

UFC veteran Jesse Bongfeldt believes that Daku will have to take advantage of his size and take the fight to the ground. He thinks if the Daku and Smith remain standing up, then the advantage would go to Smith. He predicts that tonight's main event will be a very entertaining matchup.

While all of Estevan is talking about the Heavyweight title fight, the MMA world is talking about the junior fight between Christian Crowthers and Roark Franke. Both fighters said when they were asked to jump inside of the cage, they both said yes instantly.

There will be special rules for the junior fight, there will be no head shots and the fighters will be competing in three 2 minute rounds. Hard Knocks CEO Ari Taub says his goal when scheduling the junior fight was to make the fight was just as safe as 13 year old playing hockey or football.

Here's an interview with Hard Knocks CEO Ari Taub about the main event and the junior fight.