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Collaros, Bombers furious over head butt and their own performance against Riders in Labour Day Classic loss



REGINA — Zach Collaros was absolutely livid after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers overtime loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the annual Labour Day Classic Sunday.

The Bombers’ quarterback was furious with himself for not playing well enough and not executing on the final play of the game, he was angry about his offence’s horrendous start, and he was steaming about a head butt delivered his way — after a play — by Roughriders’ defensive end Pete Robertson.

“Do you think the league will do anything about it?” Collaros said, visibly emotional after the 32-30 loss to the Roughriders before 33,350 fans at sold-out Mosaic Stadium.


“It happens all the time.”

The Bombers fell behind 10-0 early, fought their way back to take the lead late, allowed the Riders to score four points in the final few minutes to tie the game, and then lost in overtime.

The Riders got a touchdown plunge from backup quarterback Antonio Pipkin in overtime and a two-point convert from Shawn Bane to go up 32-24.

Labour Day Classic
Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Drew Wolitarsky (82) scores a touchdown during the Labour Day Classic CFL football game at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan on Sept. 3, 2021. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Bombers had a chance to match, but after Collaros hit Kenny Lawler with a 35-yard touchdown strike, the Bombers failed to get the two-point convert and lost in overtime for the second time this season.

“We have to execute on the goal-line,” said Collaros, who completed just 13 of 26 pass attempts, for 279 yards and two touchdowns, and threw a first-quarter interception.

“Turn the ball over early, give them three points, lose by (two).”

While the Robertson hit was clearly the thing that had Collaros closest to the boiling point, he also lamented going 4-for-9 for 102 yards in first half, with all but two yards coming on one drive.

“Not good enough,” he said. “We didn’t execute. What did we complete? Three passes in the first half? It was terrible.

“I don’t know. Are we a prolific offence? We need to do better.”

Labour Day Classic
Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira (20) during the Labour Day Classic CFL football game at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan on Sept. 3, 2021. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Collaros had to sit out three plays after taking the hit from Robertson earlier in the fourth quarter, but the Bombers scored a touchdown anyway, as running back Brady Oliveira crossed the goal-line for the second time in the game, giving Winnipeg its first lead, 24-20 with 4:05 left.

With his history of concussions, Collaros couldn’t believe the officials failed to even throw a flag, originally, at Robertson, instead needing the command centre to get the call right.

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea was equally incredulous.

“Ridiculous,” said O’Shea, whose team will host the Riders next Saturday in the Banjo Bowl at IG Field.

“I’m not sure why there’s not a flag on the field and it has to go to the command centre. I do not understand that. I hear it too many times that they didn’t see it. I’m not sure what the standard is any more and I’m on the rules committee. I have no clue.

“I could probably ask what kind of flavour of ice cream they like and they’d say they didn’t see it.”

Collaros lost for the first time in seven Labour Day appearances (with Hamilton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg) and the Bombers fell to 9-3 on the season, failing to clinch a playoff spot in the West Division. The Riders improved to 6-5 behind a strong performance from one-time third-string quarterback Jake Dolegala, and are starting to look very much like a playoff team.

The Riders, jubilant in their locker room after the game, didn’t exactly defend Robertson’s actions, but said they don’t expect him to be suspended.

Many people on the Winnipeg side of things would disagree.

“Suspended?” Robertson said. “Whatever, I ain’t thinking about that.”

“I doubt it,” Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson said. “I don’t think it was that bad, but we’ll have to see.

“I didn’t see it, so I can’t comment, but I’m disappointed that we got the penalty after we stopped them on second down. That was an emotional game, I thought we lost our composure a couple times, I lost mine a little bit as well. The one that Pete got, from what I was told upstairs, he earned that one.”

The Bombers very nearly pulled out the win despite playing from behind for most of the game.

Collaros managed to put together only one good drive in the first half, going 100 yards in three plays, hitting Dalton Schoen, Nic Demski and Drew Wolitarsky with long passes to get into the end zone.

It was 13-7 for the Riders at the half and they upped their lead to 16-7 before the Bombers started to come back.

They got the two Oliveira touchdowns, and a field goal from Sergio Castillo, in the second half to go out front, but couldn’t hold the lead.

With Winnipeg up by four and under four minutes to play, kick returner Jamal Parker let Adam Korsak’s 65-yard punt go into the end zone and gave up a single that proved important, given that the Riders then needed only a field goal to tie the game, and they got it.

“I would absolutely do that every time, get the field position,” O’Shea said. “You start on the 40. If you run that out, you’re putting your offence backed up, you punt and they’re in instant field position. I think I’d do that again and again.”

O’Shea also had Parker concede a single point earlier in the fourth quarter, even though the Riders were called for no yards. O’Shea declined the penalty in order to get the ball on the 40, but could have accepted the penalty and been on the 30.

“That’s one that you could probably flip,” O’Shea said. “You’re 25 yards away from field goal position instead of 35. I think defences would like you to go on the 30.”

Receiver Nic Demski had a big day for the Bombers, with five catches for 118 yards, but like the rest of his teammates, he was in no mood look at positives after such a heart-wrenching loss.

“They made more plays than us and that’s what it comes down to,” Demski said. “We made too many mistakes early on and it’s hard to play catch-up in a high-end environment like this, against a good team, good defence, good offence. They came to play in all three phases and we were playing catch-up all game. They were executing and I feel like we weren’t.

Oliveira, the CFL’s rushing leader, ran 17 times for 88 yards and had the two scores, continuing his outstanding season.

“It doesn’t come down to that two-point convert at the end,” Oliveira said. “There were lots of plays that we left on the field that we want back. I’m sure as lot of guys in this locker room, offence, defence, special teams, are thinking the same thing. We have a very high standard on this team and we’ve got to be better. We make more plays and we’re not even in that situation where it’s overtime.

“It’s frustrating man. I hate losing. I frickin hate losing.”

Dolegala was excellent, completing 22 passes for 326 yards and no touchdowns, nor interceptions. The Riders, who suffered injuries to starting quarterback Trevor Harris and backup Mason Fine this season, seem to have found a good one in Dolegala, who has led them to back-to-back wins over the 8-4 B.C. Lions and the 9-3 Bombers.

Saskatchewan got five field goals from Brett Lauther, two touchdowns from Pipkin, and the two big singles from Korsak.

“I think it was one hell of a game for the fans, not for the Blue Bombers,” O’Shea said. “We’re not happy with that and nobody will be. But the Riders played well and certainly they made one more play than we did.”

The two teams will meet again next Saturday and there could be plenty of bad blood. There were numerous misconduct penalties for unnecessary roughness on both sides and no one is going to forget the Robertson head butt any time soon.

It remains to be seen if he’ll even be allowed to play on Saturday, but the Bombers are already preaching to not lose focus in the rematch.

“We’re not going to put a frickin hit marker on him,” Oliveira said. “In that moment, the refs need to make a way better call. It was blatant, right in front of my face.

“You play clean between the whistles, we take pride in playing physical between the whistles for an entire 60 minutes. After the whistle, it’s dirty, head-butting our quarterback, blatantly, in the face.

“I’m frustrated right now but we can’t let that affect our focus and preparation.”



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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada



Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.

Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation

One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.

Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.

Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures

Security is paramount when it comes to online gambling. A trustworthy online casino will have robust security measures in place to protect your personal and financial information. Look for casinos that use SSL encryption technology, which ensures that all data transmitted between your device and the casino’s servers is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by hackers. Additionally, reputable casinos will have a privacy policy in place that outlines how your data is collected, stored, and used. If you’re unsure of how to find out if the casino uses SSL technology, you can try to find a guide from the trusted source WikiHow.


Examining the Casino’s Game Selection

Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.

Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.

Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support

Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.

Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms

Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.

In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.

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Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks



The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Tanner Pearson from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade seeing goaltender Casey DeSmith going the other way.

A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.

Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.

Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.


In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.

The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.

DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.

DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.

In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.

DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.

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Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags



The Mike Babcock hiring has been a disaster from the beginning. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.

“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.

“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.


“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”

Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.

But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.

Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.

“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.

To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.

Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.

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But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.

Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.

On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.

By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.

Babcock’s quick and swift dismissal comes as no surprise given his spotty reputation of being an emotionally abusive coach during his days with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.



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