Monthly Archives: March 2013
The Saskatoon Contacts are another step closer to a national championship after upsetting the Prince Albert Mintos 3-1 in the fifth and deciding game of the Saskatchewan Midget Triple-A League final, last night.
Less than 24 hours after the Saskatoon Blades ouster from the WHL play-offs. Saskatoon Blades President and Governor Jack Brodsky along with General Manager and Head Coach Lorne Molleken met with the media.
Mr. Brodsky was very passionate while addressing the media and gave his coach and GM a vote of confidence. You can hear his complete thoughts by clicking here.
Meanwhile Molleken acknowledged the disappointment that he feels in this series loss as well as the lack of success the franchise has had in the post season the last three seasons. Molleken went on to lay out his plans for the team to prepare for the Memorial Cup which opens in more than 50 days. Molleken says that it starts by giving the players some time away from the rink. So he has sent the team home for a minimum of week, that’s when the players still attending school will return. The older players will then return to practice on April 15th.
Saskatchewan Roughrider President/CEO Jim Hopson announced today the contract extension of General Manager Brendan Taman. The new two-year extension will see Taman continue in his role with the organization through the 2015 season.
“Brendan has proven himself to be a valuable member of our organization. By completing this extension we have created continuity within the Riders Football Operations,” stated Hopson. “We feel Brendan is continuously increasing the talent level of this team and we are excited to move forward under Brendan’s direction.”
Taman is entering his fourth year as General Manager of the Riders and fifth season since returning to the club in 2009. Taman took over complete control of the football operations department in November of 2011.
“I am once again grateful for the vote of confidence shown to me by Jim Hopson and the Riders Board of Directors,” stated Taman. “I understand and welcome the expectations and responsibilities that go along with having this position. My job is to keep moving this team forward and I am confident we have the people in place to do that.”
Taman had a busy winter heading into the 2012 season. He filled a vacancy by hiring current Head Coach Corey Chamblin and completed an overhaul of the previous year’s roster by adding CFL veterans like Dominic Picard, Brendon Labatte, and Jock Sanders while adding new talent like Kory Sheets, Xavier Fulton, Terrell Maze, and Drew Willy. The 2012 Canadian Draft saw the Riders select stalwarts Ben Heenan and Sam Hurl.
In January 2013, Taman orchestrated a trade acquiring Geroy Simon, the CFL’s All-Time Leading Receiver and then locked up free agents Tyron Brackenridge, Dwight Anderson, Weldon Brown, Ricky Foley and Renauld Williams.
Taman is entering his 26th season in the CFL and has appeared in three Grey Cup Championship games in the past six years.
Wow what a week! Here’s MY take on the week that was.
Firstly, the disappointment of the entire Saskatoon Blades organization can’t be measured. From top to bottom the organization will comb through absolutely everything in the wake of their sweep from the WHL play-offs by the Medicine Hat Tigers. The good news is they get a Mulligan on the season when they host the Memorial Cup, the bad news is that they’ll have a little better than 6 weeks to try and put things back in order. Where to start? We’ll I’ll let you begin that analysis. Throw a comment in the section below!
Next the remake of the Saskatchewan Roughrider defense continued with the signing of Rey Williams this week. The addition of the import middle linebacker earlier this week lead to the release of Joe Lobendahn. There is no doubting the popularity of Williams in his first go around with the Riders, I do though worry that a great deal of leadership was lost in the deletion of Lobendahn. In being on the sidelines last season I was afforded the opportunity to hear some of the defensive “calls” being made by Lobendahn prior to the snap. He was a very vocal player which I believe in addition to his physical play allowed the Riders to shore up an early-season porous run defence. All that being said I still have a great deal of trust and faith in Brendan Taman and his operations staff and am more than willing to give him more than the benefit of the doubt.
Back to hockey, and I feel for the frustration of the Swift Current Broncos and their fans. After an overtime goal by Calgary’s Victor Rask was allowed despite an obvious glove pass, the Broncos remained on the ice to protest the non-call while their fans littered the ice to show their displeasure. While, neither act should be applauded I do recognize the passion that both possessed in the situation. It was a missed call! Officials are human! Did they want to make a mistake? Of course not! However, you do have to give credit to the WHL head office for at least acknowledging that an error was made, in a release they sent out Wednesday. Obviously there is nothing that can be done to right the wrong. At least, the league which is renowned for developing world class players has taken another step to develop world class officials. The acknowledgement didn’t throw the officials under the bus, nor did it change the outcome of the play. What it did do was recognize the error and show the league and its fans that officials are held accountable albeit normally behind closed doors.
AND Jarome Iginla is off to Pittsburgh. It was an interesting cross-section of Flames fans I came across this week. Some felt he shouldn’t get to pick where he goes (thanks to his no move clause), others believed that he perhaps should have been moved sooner when the return for the captain could have been greater, still others believe the Flames still have a shot at making the play-offs this season. In the end an Iginla deal could/should spark an entire makeover of the Calgary Flames organization. From a floundering AHL affiliate in Abbotsford to some questionable free agent signings there is a lot of work to be done. Perhaps the biggest questions are will there makeover be quicker than that in Edmonton AND will Calgary fans have the patience to see through a rebuild…
Thanks for reading!
It wasn’t suppose to end this way! The Saskatoon Blades were eliminated from the Western Hockey League play-offs last night when they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Medicine Hat Tigers in game four of their opening round series.
Despite a furious finish a lack-luster start by the Memorial Cup Champs allowed the Tigers to build a 3-nothing lead before the second period was out. The Bridge City Bunch will now await the start of the Memorial Cup tournament which opens May 16th at Credit Union Centre.
To hear the post game reaction from Medicine Hat click here for the audio courtesy of CKBL-FM and Les Lazaruk.
Edmonton took a strangle hold on their affair with Kootenay thanks to a 4-nothing win in Cranbrook. The Oil Kings lead the series 3-games-to-1.
In Seattle, Kelowna rallied for a 4-nothing victory over the T-Birds to keep their season alive. The second seeded Rockets still trail their set 3-games-to-1.
Lastly, Portland dumped Everett 7-3 to take a 2-games-to-1 lead in their affair.
In the SJHL: Humboldt outlasted Flin Flon 2-1 in overtime and now lead the Northern Final 3-games-to-1. While, Melville evened their series with Yorkton at two wins a piece with a 3-nothing shutout win.
AND the Midget-Triple-A final is going the distance. The Prince Albert Mintos forced a fifth and deciding game in their series with the Saskatoon Contacts thanks to a 5-3 win last night.
The fifth and deciding game in the series goes tomorrow night at Art Hauser Centre.