There is stuff going on in and around the Saskatchewan Roughriders and it isn’t going to end well for someone. The Roughriders are 6-10 — 2-9 in their last 11 outings — as they come out of a bye week and prepare to meet the visiting Calgary Stampeders on Saturday. . . . The fun began on Tuesday when Cody Fajardo, the starting quarterback, didn’t take an active role in practice. Head coach Craig Dickenson, whose job would seem to be on the line, said that Fajardo was taking a “vet” day and that he would start on Saturday. Headline at leaderpost-com — Cody Fajardo given ‘vet day’; will start Saturday against Calgary. . . . On Wednesday, however, Dickenson said that backup Mason Fine will start. On top of which, Fajardo told the newshounds that he had been told five days previous that he wouldn’t be starting. . . . “Cody Fajardo has absorbed more than his fair share of hits during the 2022 CFL season,” writes Murray McCormick of The Leader-Post, “but even he was blindsided by his demotion from starting quarterback to second string with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.” . . . As for Fajardo, he told those same newshound: “I hope there’s somebody out there that might still want me. I don’t think this is the end of the Cody Fajardo book. But it might be the end of this chapter.” . . . With two games remaining — they finish up next weekend in Calgary — the Roughriders haven’t yet been eliminated from the playoff picture, but time is of the essence. . . . “We need a spark,” Dickenson said in giving his reason for the QB switch. . . . Well, take a trip around social media and check out the Saskatchewan fans. I think Dickenson’s spark has started a fire. Yes, they do take their football seriously on the flatlands.
G Talyn Boyko, 20, was back on the ice with the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t go particularly well as they were beaten, 3-0, by the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Rockets find themselves with three goaltenders on their roster after the NHL’s New York Rangers returned Boyko on Monday. Boyko, selected in the fourth round of the NHL draft, has signed with the Rangers, who had assigned him to the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . . The Rockets acquired the 6-foot-8 Boyko from the Tri-City Americans early last season. With Kelowna, he was 28-12-4, 2.79, .913 in 46 games. In 102 career WHL regular-season games, he is 43-43-8, 3.56, .899. . . . The other two goaltenders on the Rockets’ roster are both 18-year-old freshmen — Nicholas Cristiano of Langley, B.C., and Jari Kykkanen of Lloydminster, Alta. Kykkanen, a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft, is 3-3-1, 3.71, .883 in seven appearances; Cristiano, who has been in three games, is 0-1-0, 2.61, .879. . . . The Rockets now are carrying two 20-year-olds — Boyko and F Adam Kydd. . . .
The Rockets also announced that they have placed F Colton Dach, their captain, in concussion protocol, although I can’t find anything on the WHL website that indicates exactly what that means. Dach, who has experienced two concussions in about a month, is shown on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week. The first of those two concussions came while he was in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 8-0-0 on Wednesday night with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels set a franchise record with the victory. The 2000-01 team, which won the Memorial Cup in Regina, opened 7-0-0 before dropping a 9-2 decision to the Warriors in Moose Jaw. Red Deer will try to run its record to nine in a row when it meets the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . . F Ben King, 20, had two goals and an assist in last night’s victory; he’s got four goals and four assists in three games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. . . .
The WHL has two other unbeaten teams, with the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds both at 7-0-0. The Winterhawks are scheduled to visit the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. That same night, the Thunderbirds are to entertain the Spokane Chiefs. . . .
D Andrei Malyavin scored his first WHL goal for the Brandon Wheat Kings as they dumped the host Kelowna Rockets, 3-0, on Wednesday night. He also has five assists in 10 games. . . . Last season, Malyavin, an 18-year-old Russian, scored twice and added 11 assists in 44 games with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . The Wheat Kings got 29 saves from G Carson Bjarnason, who record his first WHL shutout. A 6-foot-4 sophomore who is eligible for the NHL’s 2023 draft, he is 5-2-1, 2.12, .942 this season. . . . Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun reports that the Wheat Kings last won a game in Kelowna on Oct. 26, 2010. He adds: “Brandon blanks the Rockets for the first time since the franchise moved from Tacoma in 1995.” . . .
F Kyle Bochek of the Vancouver Giants ended up with a four-game suspension for the hit that resulted in F Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings ending up in Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Friday night. Thornton, who suffered a concussion and a hip injury, is listed on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week. He was released from hospital on Monday and is at home with family in Chilliwack. . . . F Brett Hyland of the Wheat Kings was given a three-game suspension for a high hit on Vancouver D Mazden Leslie in that same game. Leslie wasn’t injured on the play and, in fact, scored once and added an assist as the Giants dropped a 4-3 decision to the Winnipeg Ice in Langley, B.C., on Wednesday night. . . .
The Medicine Hat Tigers released F Alex Drover, 20, on Wednesday after acquiring D Kurtis Smythe, 20, from the Portland Winterhawks for an eight-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Drover had two goals and two assists in six games with the Tigers after being released by the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. . . . Smythe played 121 games over four seasons with the Winterhawks, putting up two goals and 29 assists. . . . Smythe joins F Dallon Melin and F Brendan Lee as the Tigers’ 20-year-olds. . . . The Winterhawks have only two 20-year-olds on their roster — G Dante Giannuzzi and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme — so it could be that another move is imminent. . . . FYI: These aren’t overage players — if they were overage, they wouldn’t be eligible; they are 20-year-old players and each team is allowed to have a maximum of three on its roster.
Headline at fark.com — “What are you in for? Bank robbery. You? Murder. You? Cheating at fishing.”
Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Study Links Binge Eating to Stress, Contentment, Depression, Joy, Boredom, Anger, Relaxation.
YOU THOUGHT IT WAS OVER — From Reuters: China’s capital, Beijing, has dialled up measures to stop COVID, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks, just as a key Communist Party congress entered full swing. The city of 21 million people on Thursday reported 18 new locally transmitted cases for the previous day, bringing the tally for the past 10 days to 197. That is four times more than the 49 infections detected in the previous 10-day period.
THE COACHING GAME:
Rick Bowness, in his first season as the head coach of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, remains MIA after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. He wasn’t with the club on Wednesday for a 4-3 OT victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, and he’ll be missing again tonight when the Jets meet the host Vegas Golden Knights. The team is hopeful that Bowness will back on the bench for the home-opener on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. . . .
Former NHL D Ladislav Smid has been hired by the Edmonton Oil Kings as a development coach. Smid, 36, has retired after 17 seasons as a pro, the last five in his home country of Czechia. He also played 474 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, whose parent company owns the Oil Kings. . . . Smid was a guest coach during the Oil Kings’ training camp prior to the start of this season.
THINKING OUT LOUD — OK, Sportsnet, we get it . . . you’ve put together a new set for Sportsnet Central, featuring Evanka Osmak and Ken Reid. We’ve seen the spot a few times by now, and I have a question: Why does Reid refer to her by her last name, while she calls him by his first name? . . . Sorry, fans of the New York Yankees, but your guys are done. Seventeen strikeouts! Yikes!! And Josh Donaldson looks completely lost, like a thirsty man wandering in the Gobi Desert. . . . BTW, the Houston Astros struck out twice in that game. Yes, twice! . . . The Vancouver Canucks have lost their first four games. They are the first team in NHL history to hold a multi-goal lead in each of its first four games and lose them all. They will go against the host Minnesota Wild tonight, and here’s hoping Vancouver wins so that Canucks Nation finally can get some sleep. Hey, it’s been ugly. Four games in and the fans want everyone replaced, from the owner to the head coach to F J.T. Miller, who signed to a seven-year extension a couple of months ago.
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