Andrew Bucholtz

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Andrew Bucholtz is a Canadian football blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Jesse Lumsden (L) and Justin Kripps are two of the Canadian bobsi.ledders rocking beards in SochThe Canadian bobsleigh team's full of quirky characters who have everything from odd hair and beards to CFL ties. That league really does get everywhere these days, from shoutouts at Hollywood parties to appearances on Modern Family, and now, it's showing up in the Olympics, accompanied by a bunch of wildly-hairy bobsledders. Oddly enough, the one man who's discussing his CFL apparel is the clean-shaven member of the bunch, though. That would be Lyndon Rush, who drove the Canada-1 sled to bronze in the four-man bobsleigh in 2010. Rush was born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan (along with fellow Canadian Olympians William Dutton, who's competing in long-track speed-skating, and Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who competed in heptathlon in London in 2012) and grew up as a fan of the Roughriders. As he told The Canadian Press, his CFL allegiances are reflected in, of all things, the footwear he brought to Sochi:

    The 33-year-old from Humboldt, Sask., confessed Wednesday that he brought three pairs of Saskatchewan Roughrider socks with him to the Games

    "They're just sort of in the rotation so I don't really wear them any time specific. But when they come up, I always smile putting on the Rider socks," he told a news conference prior to a training session.

    Rush said with pride that he "really did grow up where everybody knew everybody."

    "Now that I'm doing bobsleigh for Canada, the town is really excited about it," he said....

    "Humboldt's really excited about it ... It makes us feel really special to be from there," Rush said. "It's a lot of fun whenever we do get to go home because they treat us like rock stars. It's pretty neat."

    Funnily enough, though, some Roughrider rivals are also represented on the Canadian team, as Jesse Lumsden will be competing for Canada in both the two-man (with driver Christopher Spring) and four-man (with Spring, Ben Coakwell and Cody Sorensen). Lumsden shone in both the CIS and CFL ranks, starring at the university level with McMaster before playing in the CFL with Hamilton, Edmonton and Calgary (plus having brief NFL stints with the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins). He demonstrated great potential at the CFL level, but his numerous injuries kept him from consistently succeeding. They weren't what eventually caused him to leave the sport in 2010, though; that was his desire to focus on bobsleigh.

    Read More »from Weird and wacky Canadian men’s bobsleigh team includes Lyndon Rush’s CFL socks, Jesse Lumsden’s hair, everyone’s beards
  • Will women lead the way for Canada in Sochi?

    Speed-skater Christine Nesbitt is among the Canadian women predicted to medal in Sochi.When it comes to Canadian medals at the Winter Olympics, female athletes have played a large role recently. The Olympics in Vancouver, Turin and Salt Lake all saw Canadian women take home over 50 per cent of the country's total medals, with Nagano in 1998 representing the last time men won over half of Canada's medals. The Olympic medal projections from Infostrada (part of a number of projections that have Canada doing very well) suggest that trend is going to continue in Sochi, with Canadian women projected to win 18 of Canada's 33 medals (plus help win three more in mixed competitions). Here's a breakdown of how many medals Canadian women have won at each Olympics stretching back to Nagano, including the projected Sochi numbers:

    It's notable, however, that Canadian female athletes haven't dominated the gold-medal landscape as thoroughly over that span. Canada's only received more golds from women once in the past four Olympics, in Turin, (however, Nagano and Salt Lake both resulted in ties), and the discrepancy was particularly large in Vancouver, where just five of Canada's 14 golds came in women's events (a sixth came in a mixed event). That trend is also projected to continue by Infostrada, with Canadian women expected to win just four of the country's predicted 11 gold medals in Sochi. Here's a look at how medals of each type have broken down by gender over the last four Games, with projected Sochi numbers added as well:

    Read More »from Will women lead the way for Canada in Sochi?
  • Own The Podium CEO Anne Merklinger predicts Canada will top Vancouver medal totals in Sochi.Canada could be set to make Olympic history in Sochi, becoming the first country to twice improve on a total medal performance after hosting the Games. That happened after the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, with Canada's medal haul going from five there to seven four years later in Albertville, and it could happen again this year, as several sets of predictions have Canadians continuing the streak of improvement at every Winter Olympics since 1984 and bringing home more than the Canadian-record 26 medals won in 2010. How is that likely, as Canada won't have home-field advantage any more, or the massive corporate backing that came with it? Well, new events are expected to play a key role, as is the surprising amount of funding Canadian athletes were able to keep.

    Read More »from Canada projected to win more medals in Sochi than in Vancouver, with new events and funding playing key roles
  • What’s next for the Bombers, now that Henry Burris has turned them down?

    Henry Burris is taking his talents to Ottawa, leaving Winnipeg in the cold.After putting up a 3-15 mark with a variety of quarterbacks in 2013, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers came into this offseason determined to get better at the position. So far, though, that hasn't worked out for them despite the abundance of quarterbacks on the market. Both Zach Collaros and Henry Burris were released by their teams in advance of free agency, and the Bombers went after both, but Collaros opted to go to Hamilton instead (triggering the Burris release), and Burris elected to join the Ottawa Redblacks. That's left Winnipeg in the cold, with only limited options. From Kirk Penton of The Winnipeg Sun:

    The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been spurned by their second quarterback in as many weeks, but this one really hurts. ...

    Winnipeg put in an offer for free agent pivot Zach Collaros last week, but the former Toronto Argonauts backup signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats instead. Burris is the one the Bombers really wanted, but he has instead agreed to sign with his former Calgary coaches, Mike Gibson and Rick Campbell, in the nation’s capital.

    Bombers GM Kyle Walters was offering between $300,000 and $350,000 a season for Burris to help get the Blue and Gold out of the volcano that was their 3-15 campaign in 2013 and be a reason to give fans some short-term hope.

    The Burris signing leaves Kevin Glenn’s status up in the air. The RedBlacks took Glenn from the Calgary Stampeders in the expansion draft, and it’s unlikely both he and Burris will start the season in Ottawa. ...

    Winnipeg is also believed to be interested in Saskatchewan Roughriders backup quarterback Drew Willy, who will become a free agent next week.

    Choosing between Kevin Glenn and Drew Willy isn't exactly an appetizing prospect, but it may be what the Bombers are left with. Neither's all that attractive of a choice at the moment, though. Glenn's a 13-year CFL veteran, and a guy who had success in Winnipeg before, and his 2013 stats with Calgary were reasonably impressive (2,710 yards, 18 touchdowns against seven interceptions, a 66.7 per cent completion rate), but they weren't on the level of Burris, who led the league with 4,925 passing yards (which explains why Ottawa would go after Burris despite already having Glenn). Glenn's also 34, so while he could have some good years left, he's not a long-term solution, and although he was more efficient than Burris last year in completion percentage and TD/INT, it's tough to say he's the better quarterback at this moment in time. He also didn't exactly part ways on good terms with current Bombers' offensive coordinator Marcel Bellefeuille, who implemented a two-quarterback system with Glenn and Quinton Porter in 2011, his last year as the head coach in Hamilton. Winnipeg could well wind up with Glenn, and he might provide them with a decent stabilizing veteran presence for a while, but for those fans who had dreams of Collaros or Burris, that would seem to be a disappointing outcome.

    Read More »from What’s next for the Bombers, now that Henry Burris has turned them down?
  • Korey Banks – Kito Poblah trade carries high upside for both Bombers and Lions

    November's playoff game against Saskatchewan was Korey Banks' last for B.C.It's unusual to see big-name players traded in the CFL, and it's even more rare to see trades that look like a win for both sides, but both of those elements can be found in Friday's deal that sent B.C. import defensive back Korey Banks to Winnipeg in exchange for Canadian receiver Kito Poblah. Banks is a much more established player at the moment, and he should help shore up a Winnipeg secondary that was extremely leaky last season, but Poblah has a lot of potential and could give the Lions extra Canadian depth at receiver, something they haven't always had. Both players were unlikely to do much with their current teams going forward, so this looks like a win for both B.C. GM Wally Buono and Winnipeg GM Kyle Walters; each addressed a need of their club while giving up someone who wasn't a big part of their future plans. There's no guarantee that either Banks or Poblah will do big things with their new team, but both have the potential for greatness, and acquiring players with that kind of potential while only giving up minimal assets is smart.

    Banks is the more established player here, and the one who's more likely to star with his new team. He's a 10-year CFL veteran, a seven-time divisional all-star, and a four-time league all-star (including back-to-back nods in 2011 and 2012), so he instantly improves the credibility of a Winnipeg secondary that was awful against the pass last year. In 2013, the Bombers gave up 432 completions, a 68.1 per cent completion mark, 235 passing first downs and 35 passing touchdowns, putting them last or tied for last in every one of those categories; they also recorded a league-low 12 interceptions, less than one-third of Banks' career total of 37. Thus, it shouldn't take much to make them better.

    2013 was a bit of a down year for Banks from an interceptions standpoint, as he only notched two picks, but he's still an incredibly capable defender, and a versatile one who can play linebacker, nickel back or deeper in the secondary. That could be important, as Winnipeg hasn't named a defensive coordinator yet, so acquiring players like Banks who can fill a multitude of roles may prove beneficial regardless of what scheme they eventually run. Banks turns 35 in August, so who knows how long he'll be able to keep playing for, but he should be able to at least help the Bombers out this year, and he might be a key part for them for several seasons if he can maintain his form.

    Why did B.C. let Banks go? According to Lowell Ullrich of The Province, money seems to be a factor:

    Read More »from Korey Banks – Kito Poblah trade carries high upside for both Bombers and Lions
  • Riders release NFL-bound Weston Dressler: the first offseason loss of many?

    Former Riders' receiver Weston Dressler is off to the NFL.The Saskatchewan Roughriders have had an offseason of difficult losses already, and it looks like it may be about to get worse. The team released star slotback Weston Dressler Thursday, and while the move wasn't all that unexpected (Dressler was set to be a free agent Feb. 15 and had received interest from several NFL teams), it means the loss of one of their best players is finally a reality. There's also continuing NFL interest in star running back Kory Sheets, and the Riders have plenty of other players set to hit the open market in February, so this loss may just be one of many when all's said and done. Attrition's to be expected when you win a championship, but still, the loss of a long-time face of the franchise like Dressler (like also-departed receiver Andy Fantuz, he had his own line of edibles) seems like one that will particularly sting in Saskatchewan. As Riders' assistant GM Jeremy O'Day told The Canadian Press, Dressler will be tough to replace:

    Read More »from Riders release NFL-bound Weston Dressler: the first offseason loss of many?
  • VANOC CEO John Furlong says it’s too soon to blast Sochi organizers

    Former VANOC CEO John Furlong thinks people should wait to judge Sochi.While stories of numerous problems in Sochi just keep coming ahead of February 7's Olympic opening ceremonies, the Russian organizers have picked up one notable defender—John Furlong, the former CEO of VANOC, the organization that put on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. James Keller of The Canadian Press interviewed Furlong this week about how things looked heading into the Vancouver Games and how they look now, and Furlong cited the numerous reports of weather issues and other problems in advance of the 2010 Olympics as evidence that only the final impression really matters.

    "We had spent a month literally toiling, exhausted on Cypress Mountain trying to save that mountain," Furlong recalled during an interview this week with The Canadian Press. "This was almost a military exercise. Cypress was a 24-hour venture for us. People were sleeping up there. People didn't go home."

    In hindsight, the anguish over the snow, which dominated headlines in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Olympics, may seem almost quaint compared to the laundry list of problems that have plagued the Sochi Games, which begin in a week.

    Take your pick: an astronomical budget, allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement, terrorist threats, concerns about heavy-handed security, controversy about Russia's anti-gay laws.

    And, yes, there has also been persistent anxiety about the weather, though recent snowfall in and around Sochi seems to have allayed those worries somewhat.

    In spite of all that, Furlong is still prepared to give Russian Olympic organizers the benefit of the doubt, urging outsiders to wait until the Games are finished before passing judgment.

    "I think some of what's been said about Sochi is not fair," said Furlong. "The real story for Sochi will come on the last day of the Olympics, when the world gets a chance to see how Sochi delivered the experience they promised the world."

    Furlong has a point there. The Vancouver Olympics had numerous serious problems, including the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili (there's an excellent AP piece this week talking to his family four years later), the weather, the torch malfunction and more, but in the end, they went off rather well. You wouldn't have expected that from a lot of the pre-Olympics coverage, so there is some justification for a wait-and-see approach.

    Read More »from VANOC CEO John Furlong says it’s too soon to blast Sochi organizers
  • Hamilton signs Zach Collaros, releases Henry Burris, starts QB chain reaction

    Former Argos' pivot Zach Collaros is headed to the Tiger-Cats.The CFL's Battle of Ontario just got a little more interesting, as a quarterback has crossed the lines. According to both a Canadian Press report and a piece from Drew Edwards of The Hamilton Spectator, former Toronto Argonauts pivot Zach Collaros has signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Collaros did well in extended stints replacing Ricky Ray this past season and was set to become a free agent in February, but Toronto released him early to let him explore his options; now, he's signed with their biggest rival. Moreover, this signing likely means that Henry Burris is on his way out of Hamilton, and Matthew Scianitti of TSN reports that the Tiger-Cats have already released him. Burris had a tremendous season in 2013, topping the league with 4,925 passing yards, and he led the Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup appearance, but he was also set for free agency in February, and there had been rumblings that Hamilton wasn't willing to pay big for a 38-year-old quarterback. The Collaros move thus could set off a chain reaction of events across the league, depending on where Burris winds up.

    The most likely landing spot for Burris would appear to be the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who look like the team most in need of a proven quarterback. None of Winnipeg's younger guys have panned out yet, and while Burris might not have that many years left, he's arguably one of the league's best quarterbacks ever. Furthermore, the Bombers appear eager to turn things around quickly, and Burris would give them an excellent shot at that. They would still need to develop a younger guy as well, but given that they don't seem to have any capable starters at the moment, a move for Burris either in free agency or sooner if Hamilton cuts him before then could make a lot of sense. The Ottawa Redblacks could also take a look, but they have Kevin Glenn and Thomas DeMarco already, and while neither's necessarily a great option right now, that doesn't leave much room for Burris. Thus, Winnipeg's the most probable landing spot for him. It isn't the only one, though.

    Read More »from Hamilton signs Zach Collaros, releases Henry Burris, starts QB chain reaction
  • All-star Calgary guard Dimitri Tsoumpas retires at 28, citing concussions

    Calgary guard Dimitri Tsoumpas announced his retirement Wednesday.If further evidence was needed that concussions are still a major issue for the CFL, Calgary Stampeders' Canadian offensive guard Dimitri Tsoumpas' retirement Wednesday can be added to the pile. Tsoumpas is at least the second player to retire this offseason in the wake of concussion problems, following legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo, but unlike Calvillo, his retirement doesn't come after a long career. It's been an impressive one, as Tsoumpas was selected as a league all-star three times in his six seasons, and he'll be very tough for Calgary to replace. However, at just 28, he should have had plenty of good years left. Why did he decide to quit now? Well, according to the statement he released through the Stampeders, he's recovered from the concussion that forced him to miss most of the 2013 season, but the long and agonizing recovery process made him decide he didn't want to risk further injury:

    Read More »from All-star Calgary guard Dimitri Tsoumpas retires at 28, citing concussions
  • Orlando Franklin, Rob Ford’s jersey among the many Canadian Super Bowl connections

    Rob Ford wore a jersey of Toronto native Orlando Franklin Monday.Sunday's upcoming Super Bowl has plenty of Canadian connections, and several have been on display so far this week. Toronto-raised Orlando Franklin is the Denver Broncos' regular starting right tackle and a key member of their offensive line, and he's getting plenty of attention from Canadian media outlets thanks to his remarkable story. From CBC's Michael Shulman, here's a look at how Franklin went from in-trouble-teen to star football player:

    "We really had no money,” says [childhood friend Shawn] Williams. “You would want to get food, talk to girls, so we would get in trouble. …stealing cars, trying to be cool, stuff like that.”

    ...The trip to jail seemed to be the sobering lesson that motivated Franklin.

    His head coach with the Scarborough Thunder, Roberto Allen, says Franklin agreed to sign a contract with his mother saying that he would stay out of trouble.

    Allen soon saw a change in Franklin's performance.

    “That last year when he played with us he was very focused,” says Allen. “He grew, he wanted this. He kept saying to me, I’m going to be the first one to make it.”...

    With Franklin starting to turn things around at home, his mother went looking for work in Florida in hopes that she could move there with him to increase his chances to advance in his football career.

    "I owe so much to my mom," Franklin told the Toronto Sun.

    “When I said I wanted to move to Florida, she quit her job and moved down there a week later. You have a lot of parents who want to see their kids succeed, but you don’t have a lot of people who pick up and relocate just to accommodate a 15- or 16-year-old kid.”

    While that relocation and the higher visibility it gave Franklin (leading to a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he starred en route to the NFL) proved essential to Franklin's career, Sportsnet's Kristina Rutherford wrote in October that it was another decision his mother Sylvia Allen made that was the most pivotal moment for him; namely, letting him sit in a Toronto jail for six weeks in 2002:

    Read More »from Orlando Franklin, Rob Ford’s jersey among the many Canadian Super Bowl connections

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