The Bookshelf . . . Part 3 of 3

Bookshelf

For the past few years, I have compiled lists of books that I have read over the previous 12 months, and posted them here. With any luck, you may find an idea or two to help you get through your Christmas shopping.

So . . . here is Part 3 of 3 of the books that I have read so far in 2018.

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Paul Newman: A Life — Author Shawn Levy has taken an all-encompassing look at Paul Newman, one of the top actors of the past 50 years. There weren’t a lot of warts in Newman’s life, although it seems he was a functioning alcoholic, strayed a time or two on both of his wives, and liked to drive fast. But it’s intriguing to read how Newman moved through his career, and it is absolutely amazing to see in black and white just how much positive work Newman the philanthropist was able to accomplish.

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Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice — Bill Browder, who wrote this book, is a grandson of a man who once led the American Communist Party. Browder later co-founded Hermitage Capital Management, an investment company that at one time was a huge investor in Russia. Red Notice details the rise and fall of Red Notice within Russia, with a huge focus on what led to the latter. This is a frightening story of what can happen when someone runs afoul of — and stands up to — high-powered people in Putin’s Russia. None of it is pretty.

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Reporter: A Memoir — Seymour M. Hersh may be the greatest investigative reporter of our generation. If not, he certainly is in the discussion. No one has been a greater pain in the butt to the American government, American presidents, the CIA and assorted others in positions of power. In the mid-1990s, Hersh met with Cardinal John O’Connor, archbishop of the diocese of New York, who told him: “My son, God has put you on earth for a reason, and that is to do the kind of work you do, no matter how much it upsets others. It is your calling.” . . . That calling has resulted in what is a fascinating read for a number of reasons, including spelling out just how far those in power will go to stay in power.

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A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial — If you have ever visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., chances are that the image will remain with you forever. In this book, author James Reston Jr. chronicles all that went into this project, from the contest that was held to select the winning entry, to the vociferous opponents and all of the politics that came into play before the memorial was dedicated. Maya Lin was 21 years of age and an undergraduate architecture student at Yale when her design was selected for the memorial. A lot of the book is about her battles from 1979-84 against male authority figures, who wanted to interfere with her vision and change the memorial’s design.

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The Rooster Bar — Three law students get scammed by the system in this book from the prolific John Grisham, so they choose to try reversing things and scamming the scammers. Unlike most, if not all, Grisham books, there isn’t one person here who is really likeable, so I found it hard to feel any emotion while reading this one.

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Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America’s Main Street — Is there a more famous highway, at least in North American, than Route 66? Author Rick Antonson and travelling partner Peter drove more than 2,400 miles as they worked to see as much of the original Route 66 as possible. The result is a nifty read that is full of anecdotes about the likes of Al Capone, Woody Guthrie, Mickey Mantle, John Steinbeck and Bobby Troup. It was Troup who wrote the iconic song ‘(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.’ . . . The New York Times referred to this gem as “one of the best books of the bunch” in a 2012 Christmas roundup of travel books. It will make you want to rent a Mustang and get some kicks.

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The Russian Five — The Detroit Red Wings, under head coach Scotty Bowman, once had five Russians as key players on their roster. “Their legacy should be . . . it’s history, it really is. . . .,” says Dave Lewis, who was an assistant coach on those teams. “It was a revolutionary thing to even have one or two on your team. We had five and we haven’t seen it since. And to influence and marvel your teammates like they did, guys like Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom. Those guys aren’t dumb hockey people. I really think it should be talked about in terms of the history of the NHL, and how they changed our game.” Keith Gave, who wrote this book, covered the Red Wings for the Detroit Free Press. Gave speaks Russian and played a key role in the early days of the Russian Five — Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Igor Larionov. Gave especially was involved as the Red Wings worked to get Fedorov out of Russia. Gave was there, too, when the Russian Five took the Stanley Cup home to Moscow.

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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit — “Everyone dreams of dropping out of the world once in a while,” writes author Michael Finkel. “Then you get in the car and drive back home.” Unless you’re Christopher Knight, that is. In 1986, at the age of 20, Knight drove his car into a Maine forest, left the key in the ignition, and walked away. For 27 years, he lived in an encampment he constructed himself, surviving by raiding cottages and a camp for disabled children nearby. His ‘home’ was so well hidden that not even the authorities could find him. Eventually, technology tripped him up as he broke into a camp building and was arrested. Finkel got most of the information for this book by visiting Knight while he was in jail. This is an intriguing look into solitude and how to deal with it, and the art of survival. But I don’t know if it explains well enough just how Knight survived all of those harsh Maine winters.

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Tiger Woods — Authors Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, both of them investigative journalists, tell the story of the rise and fall of Tiger Woods. It’s doubtful that any athlete of Woods’ stature has fallen so far so fast, and the authors detail all of it — from the pressure placed on him almost from birth by obsessive parents, especially his father, Earl, to the stunning fall from grace. A couple of things really stand out here: 1. Woods was incredibly rude and insensitive to a whole lot of people on the way up; 2. It is amazing that he could have had such success inside the ropes while so much was going on away from the PGA Tour.

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Two Kinds of Truth — Harry Bosch is retired from the LAPD now and doing some freelance work for the San Fernando Police Department. Author Michael Connelly has written another vintage Bosch book, and even has the veteran cop doing some undercover work. The really good news is that the ending indicates that there is more Bosch on the way.

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The Year of the Pitcher: Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, and the End of Baseball’s Golden Age — Author Sridhar Pappu takes 1968 and explores it using all that was happening in and around the U.S., as a backdrop to the MLB season. This was the summer in which the fierce Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA with the St. Louis Cardinals and the problem-child Denny McLain won 31 games for the Detroit Tigers. They would meet in the World Series but neither would be the hero. This is an interesting look at the U.S. as the 1960s were drawing to a close, a good look at two huge names from baseball’s past, and a whole lot more.

That’s it.

Merry Christmas . . . and happy reading!

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Kennedy makes move away from advocacy centre . . . Raiders’ Gunville dies at 48 . . . Richards gets eight-game sentence

MacBeth

F Hampus Gustafsson (Regina, Brandon, 2009-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen) after requesting and receiving his release from Stjernen Fredrikstad (Norway, GET-Ligaen). With Stjernen, he had nine goals and 13 assists in 21 games, and he was the team captain. . . . Gustafsson’s contract with Frisk Asker has an option for two additional seasons.


ThisThat

After 23 years of advocating on behalf of victims of abuse, Sheldon Kennedy revealed on Tuesday that he is stepping aside from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary.

“From first introducing the idea of a Child Advocacy Centre to our Chief of Police in 2010,” Kennedy wrote, “to opening the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre in 2012 and having it renamed the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in 2013, I further stepped up that important work through my volunteer commitment to the SKCAC. I now understand that my name on the building really meant a personal responsibility for the day-to-day practice, the wellness of our front-line workers, the satisfaction of our donors and volunteers, and the proper treatment of the victims we serve. This has been a very rewarding eight years of my life and, at the same time, it has taken its toll.

“For the past several months I have had ongoing and emotional conversations with my family and close friends. They have been a great support and, through this process, I have decided to remove my name from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.

“I always preach to others that, first and foremost, they need to take care of their own mental health and find balance in their lives. I now need to take my own advice.”

Kennedy’s complete news release is right here.

Kennedy, now 49, played three seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, surviving the bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, in which four of his teammates died, then helping the team to the 1989 Memorial Cup championship. During his time with the Broncos, he was sexually abused by the team’s general manager and head coach, Graham James.

Kennedy, who grew up in Elkhorn, Man., has spent the past few years criss-crossing the country, and also making appearances in the United States, as he worked tirelessly for his cause.

During that time, he also co-founded the Respect Group, a company that specializes in providing education on how to prevent bullying and abuse, and all that accompanies that, in the sports world, schools and the work place.

I have written this before and I will do so again and again. But it’s time for the WHL to strike an award in Kennedy’s name and to present it to those who have at one time or another been involved with the league and then gone on to make a difference elsewhere in life.

Kennedy has set that bar awfully high, however such an award wouldn’t have to be handed out on an annual basis, but rather presented when there was deemed to be a worthy recipient.

To understand the impact Kennedy has had one need only to search Twitter, which was inundated with testimonials on Tuesday.


Ron Gunville, the Prince Albert Raiders’ director of player personnel, died in hospital in his hometown of Prince Albert on Tuesday afternoon. Gunville, who had been battling cancer, was 48.

Mike Fraser, in his first season as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout, got to know Gunville PrinceAlbertwhile working with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“I really liked him a lot,” Fraser told Taking Note. “He was a great scout but an even better human being and family man.”

Gunville, a defenceman in his playing days, played two seasons in the WHL. He was with the Raiders in 1988-89, then started 1989-90 with the Raiders but finished with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

He began his WHL scouting career with the Prince George Cougars (2009-13), before going to work with the Raiders prior to 2013-14. He was a scout for two seasons, then the head scout in 2015-16. When Dale Derkatch left to join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Gunville replaced him as the Raiders’ director of player personnel.

“The best parts of my day were spent with Ron either in our office or on the phone,” Curtis Hunt, the Raiders’ general manager, said in a news release. “We shared the same passion and vision to build an outstanding program from the ground up.”


F Sean Richards of the Everett Silvertips was slapped with an eight-game suspension on Tuesday after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday against the whlhost Seattle Thunderbirds.

Richards drew the stiff suspension because, according to the WHL website, Seattle D Loeden Schaufler “was injured on the play” and “the player is a repeat offender.”

Schaufler is listed on the WHL’s weekly report as being out week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Richards drew the longest WHL suspension since Nov. 4, 2016, when D Sam Ruopp of the Prince George Cougars was given eight games after becoming involved in a one-man fight during a game against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers two nights earlier.

Richards sat out Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. He will be eligible to return on Jan. 6 against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. In between he will sit out two more games against Spokane, two against the Tri-City Americans, and singletons with the Vancouver Giants, Seattle Thunderbirds and Prince George.

Richards, who is scheduled to turn 20 on Saturday, drew a five-game suspension earlier this season after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in a game against Seattle on Oct. 5. He also drew two suspensions last season — a four-gamer for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct against Seattle, and a deuce for a match penalty in a game against the Swift Current Broncos.

This season, in 27 games, Richards has 10 goals and eight assists.

The Silvertips also are without F Akash Bains and F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a pair of veterans who are out with undisclosed injuries. Both of them may return sometime in the next week.

Meanwhile, F Jermaine Loewen of the Kamloops Blazers has been suspended for three games after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game against the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday. Loewen didn’t play in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary. He also missed last night’s game in Red Deer and won’t play tonight in Medicine Hat. He will be eligible to return Friday in Cranbrook against the Kootenay Ice.

This was the second time this season that Loewen, the Blazers’ captain, has been suspended. He got four games for a headshot major and game misconduct against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 5.


If you’re wondering how the Kelowna Rockets and assistant coach Travis Crickard ended up going in different directions last week, Glen Erickson shed some light on the subject KelownaRocketson Tuesday.

Crickard was in his fifth season with the Rockets, and had helped them win the Ed Chynoweth Cup in the spring of 2015.

When Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, hired Adam Foote to replace the fired Jason Smith on Nov. 30, it turns out that he gave the new coach the freedom to make changes.

“One of the things Adam wanted was the ability to change the coaches if he wanted and I agreed to that,” Hamilton told Erickson, who writes for the Kelowna Daily Courier and dubnetwork.ca. “The only thing I did say is you’ve got to spend some time with them first.”

Foote is the fourth Kelowna head coach under which Crickard and Kris Mallette, the other assistant, have worked. They started under Dan Lambert, and also worked with Brad Ralph and Smith.

Mallette also is into his fifth season with the Rockets, but his contract will expire at season’s end.

Erickson also reported that there is speculation in Kelowna that former Rockets defenceman and captain Josh Gorges may be in line to join the staff.

“The local product and veteran of 800-plus National Hockey League games has been highly visible at home games this season and has been on the ice at practices,” Erickson wrote.

As for Hamilton, he obviously knows that Gorges is around.

“Josh is only three or four months into retirement (as a player),” Hamilton told Erickson. “I don’t want to ask him to do something that he isn’t ready to do. Adam really likes him, but we’re not in a rush to hire anybody right now.”

Erickson’s piece for The Daily Courier is right here.


The Regina Pats, with a couple of regulars on the shelf, have added D Sam McGinley, 16, to their roster. McGinley was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Calgary, he has five goals and 10 assists in 19 games with the Edge School’s prep team in his hometown. . . . The Pats are without D Ryker Evans and D Brady Pouteau, both of whom are out with undisclosed injuries.


With G Ian Scott in camp with Canada’s national junior team, the Prince Albert Raiders have added G Brett Balas, 17, to their roster. . . . The Raiders also are without F Brett Leason, who is in Canada’s camp, and F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . So the Raiders have added F Tyson Laventure, 15, to their roster. . . . Balas, a third-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, is playing with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. . . . Laventure, from Lloydminster, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He is playing with the Edmonton-OHA prep team and has 18 goals and 25 assists in 22 games. . . . The Raiders are scheduled to play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.


According to the WHL’s weekly roster report, D Jacson Alexander of the Edmonton Oil EdmontonOilKingsKings won’t play again this season due to an undisclosed injury. Alexander, 17, was a first-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings acquired him from the Broncos in a trade on Aug. 21. . . . Last season, Alexander had one goal and four assists in 32 regular-season games with the Broncos, then added one assist in 26 playoff games. This season, he had three goals and two assists in 15 games. He last played on Oct. 26.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Chase Wheatcroft and D Rylan Thiessen to WHL contracts. . . . Wheatcroft, 16, is a list player who was in the Hurricanes’ camp in August. This season, he has 12 goals and eight assists in 21 games with the midget AAA Calgary Royals. . . . Thiessen,17, also is a list player. The Brandonite has eight goals and 15 assists in 19 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Tuesday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Gary Haden scored four times, including the game’s last three goals, and added an Saskatoonassist to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (20-10-3) has won three in a row. . . . The last time the Blades won 20 games quicker during one season was 2011-12 when they were 20-11-1 after 32 games. (Thanks to Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ radio voice, for that gem.) . . . Edmonton (16-12-5) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . Haden enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first five-point game. . . . According to the WHL (@TheWHL), it was the first four-goal game for a Blades player since Oct. 6, 2013, when F Nathan Burns did it against the Regina Pats. . . . D Matthew Robertson (5) pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 11:10 of the second period. . . . Haden, who has 12 goals, broke the tied at 8:11 of the third, added insurance at 12:04 and put it away at 12:25. . . . Haden, 19, has 11 goals and 10 assists in 20 games with the Blades, after opening the season with a goal and two assists in nine games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Brett Kemp scored his 20th goal of the season for the Oil Kings. He has 20 in 33 games; last season, he finished with 17 in 69.


The Kelowna Rockets struck three times on the PP en route to a 3-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Kelowna (15-15-2) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . This was the first of a four-game road trip for the Rockets, who also will stop in Lethbridge, Calgary and Medicine Hat before breaking for Christmas. . . . Kootenay (7-21-6) has lost 12 straight (0-9-3). . . . The Rockets, who were 3-4 on the PP, got two goals from F Leif Mattson. . . . He made it 1-0 at 5:26 of the first period and 3-1 at 2:46 of the second. He’s got 14 goals. . . . F Kyle Topping (13) gave Kelowna a 2-0 lead at 11:50 of the first. . . . Kootenay got its goal from F Cole Muir (7), at 1:31 of the second period. . . . Kelowna finished 3-4 on the PP.


The Red Deer Rebels built a 2-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red DeerKamloops Blazers. . . . The Rebels (20-9-2) have points in four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-13-3) have lost three in a row (0-2-1), all of them on a Central Division trip. . . . F Reese Johnson (14) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 16:27 of the first period. . . . F Alex Morozoff (6) upped that to 2-0 at 15:06 of the second. . . . F Brodi Stuart (8) scored for Kamloops at 7:14 of the third. . . . Red Deer was 1-9 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 41 shots for Kamloops, 10 more than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders. . . . The Blazers, already without F Jermaine Loewen who is two games into a three-game suspension, lost F Zane Franklin at 12:14 of the first period when he was given a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on D Alex Alexeyev, who left the game and didn’t return. In fact, he was taken to hospital, but an update on his condition wasn’t available after the game. . . . Alexeyev also is on the selection-camp roster for the Russian team that is to play in the 2019 World Junior Championship.


F Zack Andrusiak struck for five points with F Nolan Volcan adding four, including three Seattlegoals, as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-5, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle improved to 11-14-3. . . . The Cougars (11-17-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead at 16:34 of the first period. . . . The Thunderbirds scored the game’s next four goals. . . . Volcan’s first goal, at 17:39, got the Thunderbirds to within a goal. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (1) tied it 47 seconds into the second period. . . . Volcan gave Seattle the lead at 1:57, and Andrusiak, who has 21 goals, stretched the lead, on a PP, at 9:50. . . . Mikhalchuk (11), who also had an assist, cut Prince George’s deficit to one at 13:01, only to have Volcan complete his second career hat trick, on a PP, at 9:25. . . . F Josh Maser (10) got the Cougars’ last goal, at 18:00. . . . Andrusiak finished with two goals, giving him 21, and three assists for his first five-point game after four four-pointers. . . . Volcan’s night included his 200th regular-season point. He now has 203 points, including 83 goals, in 291 games.


The host Victoria Royals erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals and went on to a 7-4 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (14-12-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Portland (18-11-2) had a four-game winning streak end. . . . F Cross Hanas and F Joachim Blichfeld (27) gave Portland a 2-0 lead before the first period was 11 minutes old. . . . The Royals scored three times before the period ended, with F Tarun Fizer, F Brandon Cutler (6) and D Ralph Jarratt (3) finding the range. . . . F Dante Hannoun and Fizer added goals early in the second period for a 5-2 lead. . . . F Mason Mannek (8) got the Winterhawks to within two at 15:49, only to have the Royals strike twice more. . . . Fizer, who scored twice in 45 games last season, completed his first career hat trick with his seventh goal at 17:48. . . . Hannoun later added his 12th goal, with Hanas (5) scoring again for Portland. . . . D Scott Walford drew four assists for the Royals, with Hannoun adding two assists for a four-point night, too. . . . They’ll do it all over again tonight in Victoria.


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The Bookshelf . . . Part 2 of 3

Bookshelf

For the past few years, I have compiled lists of books that I have read over the previous 12 months, and posted them here. With any luck, you may find an idea or two to help you get through your Christmas shopping.

Part 1 appeared here yesterday and may be found by scrolling down a wee bit.

And here is Part 2 of 3 of the books that I have read so far in 2018.

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Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL — If you aren’t old enough to remember the USFL, it was a spring league that actually made the NFL nervous. Until, that is, a guy named Donald Trump took over the New Jersey Generals and, like a pied piper, led the league over a cliff and into obscurity. This is a great read, full of all kinds of anecdotes and head-shaking moments. When you’re done with it, you are left to wonder what might have happened had the USFL been able to avoid Trump and had it stayed a spring league. Author Jeff Pearlman obviously had fun writing this one and it shows.

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The Force — In the world of gritty novels about those who live on both sides of the law, and even on the edge, there was Mickey Spillane. Then came Joseph Wambaugh. Now it’s Don Winslow. Winslow’s latest work, The Force, tells the story of Denny Malone of the NYPD and his partners as they transform into exactly what it is they are trying to get off their streets. Warning: There are times during The Force when you may feel as though you need a shower.

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The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye — This is the fifth book in the series that features the unique Lisbeth Salander and Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The series began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that was written by the late Stieg Larsson. He wrote two more — The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Next. With Larsson’s death, David Lagercrantz produced The Girl in the Spider’s Web. The latest book in the series opens with Salander in prison and goes from there, as she exposes corruption the system and Blomkvist gets another scoop for his magazine.

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Heart of the Game: Life, Death and Mercy in Minor League America — All signs pointed to Mike Coolbaugh having what it takes to play Major League Baseball. But he never was able to get into the right place at the right time. When he turned to coaching in the minor leagues, he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and died after being struck on the head by a foul ball. In this book, S.L. Price, a terrific writer with Sports Illustrated, weaves a story that ties so many things together, especially how fate brought Tino Sanchez, who hit the fatal foul ball, and Coolbaugh together that night in North Little Rock, Ark. This book is hard to read at times, but it also is hard to put down.

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Hockey Fight in Canada: The Big Media Faceoff over the NHL — David Shoalts, who covers the sports media for The Globe in Mail, has written a book that explains all of the intricacies involved with Rogers landing the contract as the NHL’s national broadcaster in Canada. He also explains how CBC-TV stayed involved and, in fact, ended up giving — GIVING! — Sportsnet space in its office building and on its airwaves. Shoalts also covers the crowning of George Stroumboulopoulos as Hockey Night in Canada’s host, and his departure to make room for the return of Ron MacLean, who just may be the most powerful hockey TV personality in Canada. One other thing — if you are one of those hockey fans who wonders why the national sports networks force feed you so much Toronto Maple Leafs stuff, well, Shoalts explains that, too.

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A Legacy of Spies — Author John le Carré has spun another gem that includes old favourite George Smiley and a cast of characters from the British Secret Service, all of whom know their way around the Cold War. The focus of this book is Peter Guillam, who had worked closely with Smiley but now is retired . . . until a letter arrives.

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Lightning Men — Author Thomas Mullen follows the early careers of Lucius Boggs, Denny Rakestraw and other black officers as they begin to integrate the Atlanta police force in the 1950s. Lightning Men is the sequel to Darktown and they really do tell the stories of what was a completely different era. Or was it?

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A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for BC — This is the book that is likely to make aspiring journalists want to be involved in covering the political arena, at least in British Columbia. Authors Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman both have been involved in doing just that, and here they chronicle all that happened prior to, during and after the province’s 2017 election. You may remember that the Liberals won that election — both in the number of seats and the popular vote — but their minority government lost a non-confidence vote to the Green and NDP parties. This is a must-read for political junkies and, for that matter, anyone who votes.

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The Midnight Line — This is another (No. 22) in the long line of books by Lee Child that detail the wanderings of Jack Reacher. This one is Reacher — and Child — at his best. It all starts with a West Point Military Academy ring in a pawn shop in Wisconsin, and it’s a great, albeit dusty, ride from there. (Please, though, let’s not have any more Reacher movies starring Tom Cruise.) . . . If you’re a real Reacher fan, you also will want to get your hands on No Middle Name, a collection of Reacher-related short stories from Lee Child.

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Only Time Will Tell — This is the first book in The Clifton Chronicles, author Jeffrey Archer’s seven-book series that follows the lives and loves of Harry Clifton, along with family and friends. I am a sucker for books of this nature — see Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth and its sequels — and really enjoyed Only Time Will Tell. Yes, I will be reading the remaining six books in Archer’s Clifton Chronicles. (I have since read the second book in the series, The Sins of the Fathers; the third, Best Kept Secret; and the fourth, Be Careful What You Wish For. This is good escapism, and isn’t that what fiction is supposed to be?)

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Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada — The South Thompson River flows quietly past our home. I will never look at it the same way, nor will I take it for granted, after reading this tremendous book by Roy MacGregor, one of the great Canadian writers of this generation, who also has a lifelong love affair with the canoe. The South Thompson isn’t one that gets profiled in this book, but the Fraser is there, along with a number of other great Canadian waterways. It is stunning to read about the amount of abuse that has been foisted upon these rivers and their tributaries. But, at the same time, it is uplifting to learn there are a whole lot of people out there who care and who are working so hard to help these rivers regain their health. If you are one who cares about water and has an interest in history — and even if you don’t — this is a wonderful read. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that our schools couldn’t go wrong by making it part of their curriculum. (There are lots of rivers out there; here’s hoping there is a sequel, or even two, in MacGregor’s future.)

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TOMORROW: Part 3 of 3.

Silence not golden in Cranbrook . . . Royals get d-man from Blades . . . Farewell to a great Canadian

MacBeth

D Logan Pyett (Regina, 2003-08) signed a contract for the rest of this season with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). This season, he had one assist in 10 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL). He was released by Hershey on Friday.


ThisThat

The silence emanating from Cranbrook, B.C., the home, at least for now, of the Kootenay Ice has gone beyond deafening to embarrassing for the WHL.

If it wasn’t already, Gregory Strong, a writer with The Canadian Press, turned this into a Kootenaynewnational story on Monday by filing a story that was written after speaking with Vancouver-based Tom Mayenknecht, who is described as “a marketing communications executive and sport business commentator,” and Richard Powers, a sports marketing specialist who is an associate professor at the U of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

The story deals with whether a relocated WHL franchise would be able to make a go of it in the Manitoba capital, which also is home to NHL and AHL franchises.

Powers offers the opinion that “I just don’t see how it can be financially viable,” while Mayenknecht seems to think that hard work and a sound marking strategy just might make it work.

“They’ll have to be very aggressive with their pricing in terms of really making it a family entertainment opportunity and price it a heck of a lot lower than the Jets and even the Moose,” Mayenknecht told Strong.

When Strong approached the WHL for comment, he got the same spiel that the league first issued in October, one that includes this sentence: “The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook.”

Strong also pointed out that “a message left with team president and general manager Matt Cockell wasn’t immediately returned.”

Strong’s complete story is right here.

In Cranbrook, meanwhile, the folks would like someone to say something . . . anything.


The Victoria Royals have acquired D Jake Kustra, 19, and a seventh-round selection in the VictoriaRoyalsWHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-rounder in 2019.

The seventh-round pick is being returned to its original owner. The Blades had acquired it from the Royals in exchange for F Tyler Lees, 18, on July 19.

Kustra, 19, has been on the shelf since Oct. 14 and has played in only 10 games this season. But he apparently is close to a return, which would have left the Blades with nine healthy defencemen.

This season, the native of Yorkton, Sask., has one assist in 10 games. In 169 career regular-season games, all with the Blades, he has six goals and 25 assists. He was a second-round pick by Saskatoon in the 2014 bantam draft.

Kustra now becomes one of eight defencemen on Victoria’s roster.

The Royals are at home to the Portland Winterhawks tonight and Wednesday. . . . The Blades are to entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.

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The Red Deer Rebels have acquired G Eric Ward, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Ward is 5-4-3, 3.42, .907 with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians this season. . . . Ward, who wasn’t selected in the bantam draft, is from Edmonton and will remain with the Canadians.

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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 2.

Bantam draft picks: 3.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added G Connor Ungar, 16, to their roster with starter Jiri Patera in the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team. . . . Ungar, from Calgary, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team (2.24, .916). . . . With Patera away, freshman Ethan Kruger, 17, will take over the Wheat Kings’ starter’s role. In six appearances this season, he is 3-1-2, 2.95, .910.


As you no doubt are aware, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders had his season-opening point streak snapped at 30 games in a 1-0 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Sunday.

In the tweet above, you will find a list of CHL point streaks, starting with the 1997-98 season.

The top three point streaks in WHL history are right here . . .

56 — Jeff Nelson, Prince Albert, Oct. 24, 1990 through March 6, 1991 (108 points).

47 — Jock Callander, Regina Pats, Oct. 30, 1981 through Feb. 23, 1982 (141 points).

     — Wally Schreiber, Regina Pats, Oct. 20, 1981 through Feb. 23, 1982 (99 points).

45 — Jim Benning, Portland Winter Hawks, Dec. 4, 1980 through March 25, 1981 (95 points).

The longest current streak in the WHL is a 16-gamer by F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks. However, he is going to have to wait before attempting to extend it as he is in camp with Canada’s national junior team in Victoria.


It used to be that the champion of junior hockey in Western Canada was presented with the Abbott Cup following the conclusion of a best-of-seven series. Over time, however, we found ourselves with junior A and major junior leagues; the Abbott Cup, which was named in honour of war hero Lyman (Hick) Abbott, was relegated to the junior A ranks and soon went to the winner of a single game. (Every year, around Nov. 11, I post a feature-length story here that details the heroics of Hick Abbott and how a Regina-born gentleman Lyman Potts came to be named after him.)

One day, during my 12-year stint as the sports editor at the Regina Leader-Post, I received a letter from Potts, who was concerned that the Abbott Cup wasn’t being treated with the respect its namesake warranted, and suggested that he would like to see the trophy retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thus began a campaign that could involve Potts, former Leader-Post sports editor Tom (Scotty) Melville and me. . . . It didn’t happen overnight but, in time, the Abbott Cup was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame and, later on, Abbott would be inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

As I would come to find out, Potts was a giant himself; in fact, as The Globe and Mail pointed out on Monday, he “was a founding father of Canada’s music industry.” He was, for example, the push behind Gordon Lightfoot’s first recording session. Potts also was a giant of the Canadian radio industry.

My friend Lyman Potts died on Sunday. He was 102.

If you would like to know more about this great Canadian, Fred Langan has the story right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


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Mondays With Murray: On Bull Throwing

Jim Murray used to say that you can’t write about golf and horse racing every week or you’ll lose the truck drivers. So, this week is for the blue-collar working folks out there. Those with dirt on their jeans and callouses on their hands. The ones who root for the guy on the back of the bull, not the bull. We’re going to the rodeo!

This week concludes the 60th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. The Super Bowl of ropin’ and ridin’. Where eight seconds is an eternity and being able to walk away is considered a victory. Today we take you back to November of 1962 when Jim Murray wrote about the animals that the rodeo competitors are up against. That was the first year the NFR was held in Los Angeles. LA played host to the event until 1964 when it was moved to Oklahoma City. It stayed there until 1985 when it was moved to its current home, Las Vegas.

The 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas runs through Saturday.

from Thursday, December 6 through Saturday, December 15.

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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1962, SPORTS

Copyright 1962/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

On Bull Throwing

   The next time you go to a game and get to your feet to cheer a tiny safety man who brings down Jim Taylor in the open field, try to imagine what would happen if Taylor weighed twice as much and had horns and two more hooves.

  And if you ever have to face Sonny Liston in the ring, take comfort in the fact, at least mondaysmurray2that after he knocks you down, he probably won’t try to bite and kick you. At least, I hope he won’t.

  Rodeo cowboys aren’t so lucky. They’re the first guys since the Roman Christians who have to fight wild animals for a living.

  And these are not just ordinary wild animals. These are the Mafia of the animal world — four-footed rubout artists. They should show up wearing pin-stripe suits and pearl fedoras. If they were human, they’d get the electric chair.

   Rodeo stock is drafted as carefully as NFL players. Scouts comb the country for the national finals looking for the meanest, orneriest cayuses they can find. Any animal that missed a chance to step on a baby carriage or push an old lay’s wheelchair down a cliff is automatically rejected. Any sign of sentimentality is fatal. These are horses you can’t feed a lump of sugar to — or they’d take your hand with it. Brahma bulls which would use you for silage if you didn’t get out of their way.

  Some of the bucking horses picked for the National Finals that opens at the Sports Arena next week have killed more cowboys than Billy the Kid. The calves get YOUR liver for a change.

  It has been said a rodeo is unique in that the bull throws the man for a change but the nationals are unique in that it is a contest of pure champions. Both man and beast are the best at their specialties that can be found. No third-round draft choices need apply. You have to be one of the 15 top cowboys in your event to qualify. And this is not left to a sportswriters poll. To prove you belong you have to have won more money at rodeo than No. 16.

  There are six events in the finals: Bull-riding, Bareback Bronc Riding, Calf Roping, Team Roping and Steer Wrestling (better known as “Bulldogging”).

  Now, high among the things I never expect to do is ride a bull. Those dagger-horned cross-bred Brahmas might be the answer to a cow’s prayer but the cowboy on his back offers up a prayer of another sort. He is one ton of hate – a 4-H club of his own, head, hooves, hate and heave. You’re on him only eight seconds but if you play it right, that’s enough.

  You don’t have to rowel a bull to get him sore. But you’re expected to do this to a bucking bronc. This is a little like being asked to spit in the eye of an opponent at the introductions or telling him you think his wife’s pretty ugly and so are his kids; but a cowboy on the scent of first money would rather find a rattler under his saddle than a sweet-tempered horse.

  Some of these critters are so long in the teeth that they might have got mustered out of the army by General Grant himself but their claim to fame is they have been ridden by men for years but these guys’ total elapsed time on horseback wouldn’t be enough to hard-boil an egg. These equine octogenarians are to rodeo what Man O War was to racing.

  They give these brutes names like “Midnight,” “Homicide,” “War Paint” and “Sidewinder” because, compared to them, Jack the Ripper loved people. If all the human bones they broke were laid end-to-end it would look like an explosion in a paleontology museum but at that, they’re not a patch on the Brahmas. A superannuated bull rider named Freckles Brown was far in the lead in his specialty this year with $18,675 won to Nov. 1 when he got aboard a freight-car-sized bull named Black Smoke.

  When he got off, his vertebrae were rearranged, and his yearly take might just be enough to pay for the six weeks in traction. At 41, Freckles is the oldest living bull-rider in captivity but the bulls sometimes seem determined he not get any older.

  On bull or bronc, the cowboys spend their time in the spotlight somewhere between the animal’s back and the sky. Also, they have to be careful with their spurs that they rake the animal’s neck and not their own.

  I come from a long line of horse-haters. My people followed the horses either with a scratch sheet or a broom and shovel. Either way, you find out what double-crossers they are. And bulls, I can take or leave alone — preferably the latter.

  When I wrestle, I prefer an opponent you can tap on the shoulder and say, “OK, I give up. You’re hurting me.” But to win the All-Around Cowboy which is the Most Valuable Horse and Cow Fighter Award, you have to be good at two or more of these events. Also, of course, you have to survive them. The Rodeo Cowboys Association frowns on posthumous awards. Gives the game a bad name. Its proper name, of course, but a bad one.

  But I wouldn’t miss this horse-and-bull Olympics at the Sports Arena Dec. 4 to 10. Ninety of the best cowboys against a couple hundred of the worst outlaws on four feet has to make the Rose Bowl look like a spelling bee.

  I’ll tell you something else: It’s nice to go to a wrestling match that isn’t fixed for a change. If these are fixed, I have to say those steers are awful good actors when, in truth, they’re bad actors.

  I also want to see the year’s leading All-Around Cowboy. Dean Oliver, go legit. Dean, you may remember, is the Idaho boy who used to hide in the ditches and ambush the cows going home to milking to practise his bulldogging. Things went all right till they started to give buttermilk. So next week it’ll be nice to see Dean getting paid to do something he used to get shot at for.

  So, fetch me my Stetson and shootin’ arn, son, I’m going into town to see thet thar “row-dee-oh” and I’m laying 8-5 on the bull. At least, I know he’s trying.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116

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What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org.

The Bookshelf . . . Part 1 of 3

Bookshelf

It’s back, by popular demand (well, Dan Russell always asks for it) . . . For the past few years, I have compiled lists of books that I have read over the previous 12 months, and posted them here. With any luck, you may find an idea or two to help you get through your Christmas shopping.

So . . . here is Part 1 of 3 of the books that I have read so far in 2018.

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All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row — This book chronicles, as the title suggests, the rise and fall — an amazingly quick fall at that — of Aaron Hernandez, who was a tight end with the NFL’s New England Patriots when it all came crashing down. By book’s end, the reader knows that there can only be one outcome. But what leads to that outcome is mind-numbing; it is absolutely incredible how much badness one person of such high visibility was able to cram into his young life. James Patterson, one of the biggest-selling authors of this generation, had a hand in the writing, along with Alex Abramovich, with Mike Harvkey.

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American Gods — If you choose to read Neil Gaiman’s work, suspend all your beliefs and open your imagination wider than it has ever been. This is science fiction and fantasy and everything in between; it is a horror story and reality. It is about gods and non-gods and war and our culture. And it’s likely different than anything else you have ever read. After you have finished it, you will look at the people next to you somewhat differently, whether you are shopping, dining, at a hockey game . . .

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Beartown — Beartown is a town, presumably in Sweden, that loves its junior hockey team. In fact, if there is a word stronger than love, well, that’s what it would be. Written by Swedish author Fredrik Backman (and translated by Neil Smith), Beartown is one of the best works of fiction that I have encountered. It explores the relationship between a team and a hockey-obsessed community, including the parents and sponsors to whom winning is the only thing. This is a dark, dark novel and, if you know anything at all about junior hockey, it is absolutely full of truisms. It often will have you shaking your head, nodding your head and raising an eyebrow — often at the same time.

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky — At the age of 18, Pino Lella finds himself as the personal driver for General Hans Leyers, a man of great power within the Nazi party. It’s late in the Second World War and Leyers is working in the area of war-torn Milan, Italy. Oh yes, the teenager also is a spy for the resistance. Written by Mark Sullivan, this one is based on the story as related to him by Lella, and as you read you have to keep reminding yourself that this is non-fiction.

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The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created — Jane Leavy wrote two earlier baseball classics, The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax, and you can put The Big Fella right there, too. While The Last Boy was about Mickey Mantle, The Big Fella details the life and times of Babe Ruth. Meticulously researched, Leavy writes not only about Ruth but about the impact he had on the people around him and, indeed, society at the time. This is a wonderful, wonderful look at America in Ruth’s time.

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Bottom of the 33rd — Darn, but this is a great book. . . . The Rochester Red Wings visited the Pawtucket Red Sox for an International League baseball game on April 18, 1981. It turned into the longest game in pro baseball history, lasting 33 innings and taking 8 hours 25 minutes to play. The game was suspended on April 19, around 4 a.m., with 19 fans still in the stands at McCoy Stadium. The final inning, the 33rd, was played on June 23 and lasted only 18 minutes. Author Dan Barry magically explores the game, all of its nuances and oh, so many sidebars. Like the pitcher who went home at 1 a.m., but whose wife wouldn’t let him in because she thought he and teammates had been out drinking and carousing. . . . If you haven’t already read this one, find a copy and prepare to be entertained.

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Camino Island — This work from prolific author John Grisham is somewhat different from the legal thrillers that he has written. There aren’t any lawyers involved in what is a book drafted around the world of rare books. The pace is leisurely as it follows Bruce Cable, who owns a bookstore on Florida’s Camino Island, and Mercer Mann, a would-be writer who is trying to find her way into a second novel.

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Clandestine — This cop book, written by James Ellroy, has been around since 1982. Ellroy, of course, also wrote the Black Dahlia and LA Confidential, among other works. He is a master of the noir detective novel and Clandestine is no exception. It follows Fred Underhill, who is an LAPD detective when the book opens but, well, you’ll have to follow the twists and turns to see if he still has a badge at book’s end. If you like the noir genre, you’ll love this one.

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Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA — Ed O’Bannon, a former basketball star at NCAA, and lawyer Michael McCann explain in plain terms how and why the former chose to be the frontman in a lawsuit aimed at allowing so-called student-athletes to control the use of their names and likenesses. It all started after O’Bannon’s college basketball career was over when he saw his image playing in an EA Sports video game. Through it all, the NCAA comes out looking like a plantation owner.

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Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink — Using archived material, author Anthony McCarten provides us with a play-by-play of the days leading up to Britain’s official involvement in the Second World War. Hitler is moving west through Europe and, surely, Britain will be next. At the same time, the political arena in Britain is a mess, with Churchill only days into his run as Prime Minister. There are those who would negotiate with “Herr” Hitler and “Signor” Mussolini. Churchill, though, isn’t so sure. But will he or won’t he?

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Dark Sacred Night — The latest from author Michael Connelly has Harry Bosch, who is officially retired from police work but just can’t give it up, and LAPD detective Renée Ballard teaming up. Bosch is kind of freelancing with the San Fernando PD, and is investigating a cold case, while Ballard works the late show (night shift) with the LAPD. Connelly is a master at writing this kind of fiction, and Dark Sacred Night is another fine addition to the library that includes Bosch.

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Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey — This book, from author Greg Oliver, deserves a prominent spot on the shelf with others that detail important stories in Canada’s hockey history. There was a time when senior hockey teams, most of them having had to fund-raise, represented Canada at Olympic Games and World championships. Then along came Father David Bauer, whose dream changed the face of Canadian hockey. It wasn’t that easy, though, and Oliver has all the stories right here. If you care about Canada’s hockey history, don’t miss this one.

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Finnegan’s Week — Fin Finnegan is a cop in San Diego but he would rather be an actor. He really doesn’t have a whole lot of luck at either. Finnegan, with three ex-wives behind him, is the main character in author Joseph Wambaugh’s book from 1995. It’s full of lots of great dialogue and some truly off-the-wall characters.

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TOMORROW: Part 2 of 3.

Scattershooting on a Sunday with thoughts of Lennon and Breslin . . . Maier, Blades stop Leason and Raiders . . . Wolf howls against Chiefs

Scattershooting

The Edmonton Oilers’ roster may include the player some observers consider to be the best in the world, Connor McDavid, but they still are offensively challenged. When the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6, on Tuesday, they scored as many goals in one game as the Oilers had scored in their previous five outings. . . . Of course, the Oilers beat the visiting Flames, 1-0, on Sunday night. If you don’t give up any goals, chances are you’ll win every time.



While it’s great to see Seattle be awarded an NHL franchise — yes, for US $650 million — you really have to wonder why the NHL won’t go into Quebec City, don’t you?


John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. If you haven’t read the column written by the late Jimmy Breslin, you have cheated yourself. It’s a classic and it’s right here.


F Tyler Steenbergen scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Swift Current Broncos last season, then later scored the goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. This season, he’s with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He scored their Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Should the NFL prohibit players from appearing in hotel security footage?



“The U.S. Postal Service, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, suspended regular mail deliveries Wednesday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Pistons apparently forgot and mailed it in anyway, getting outscored in every quarter in a 115-92 loss to the Bucks.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Head coach Jay Gruden said exiled QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good option for Washington. I’ll say! The poster boy for minority injustice in America playing for a team called the Redskins?”


Here’s a groaner from Currie: “Barbara Streisand’s two Coton de Tulear pooches are both clones of her previous pet, Samantha. If Elvis were alive, he’d say “You ain’t nothing but a cloned dog.”


ThisThat.

Maybe F Brett Leason and the Prince Albert Raiders are human after all.

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots on Sunday to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory PrinceAlbertover the visiting Raiders, handing Prince Albert, the CHL’s top-ranked team, its first regulation-time loss of this season.

The Raiders (28-2-1) went into the game with one other regulation loss; they were beaten 4-3 by the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 6. They also suffered a 3-2 shootout setback at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Dec. 4.

When Sunday’s game ended, the Raiders still led the East Division by 16 points over the Blades. Still, the Saskatoon players had reason to like their performance.

 “This is huge,” Maier told blogger Darren Steinke. “We were talking about it before in the room saying that this was a statement game to be heard around the whole league.

The 17-year-old goaltender also helped bring an end to Leason’s 30-game point streak. Yes, Leason had recorded at least one point in each of his club’s first 30 games. He put up 28 goals — he leads the league in goals — and 36 assists during that stretch, and his 64 points have him atop the WHL scoring race, by two points over F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Leason’s lead isn’t likely to last, though, as he now is on his way to Victoria and the selection camp for Canada’s national junior team. Should he earn a spot on that team, he would miss at least nine of the Raiders’ games.


You can’t accuse the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club of not thinking big.

The club already is planning for the 2020-21 season when all signs point towards it Portlandmaking the East Division swing with its favourite team.

How avid are club members? Even with barely any planning done, the bus was already two-thirds full.

No, fans aren’t going to ride a bus all the way to the Prairies. Rather, they will fly to Regina, stay in the Saskatchewan capital and take a bus from there to games in other cities.

“The cost is estimated to be $2,400 to $3,500, including flight, bus, game ticket(s) and hotel,” Stuart Kemp, the club’s president, told Taking Note in an email. “There is no other WHL booster club that can do this . . .

“So far, enough have committed to go on the swing based on current costs, that the planning for the trip is in full-swing mode. Currently, we are close to having a waiting list as the trip is nearly sold out!”


“It was a sham all along,” writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s the bitter conclusion supporters of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice have come to as the Kootenaynewjunior franchise is poised to move to Winnipeg.

“At first, John Hudak wanted to believe in Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice a year and a half ago.

“But Hudak, a retired RCMP officer who spearheaded a local drive to save the team, says it turns out he was banging his head against the wall.”

Friesen’s complete column — it carries the headline: WHL move to Winnipeg ‘a done deal’ — is right here.

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Meanwhile, Ian Cobb, the owner/editor of e-KNOW.ca, has provided an overview of things from the perspective of a hockey fan in the Kootenays. He suggests that it’s time for the fans in the area to start attending games in large numbers. . . . Cobb’s piece is right here.


Let’s be honest. The WHL’s playoff format stinks to high heaven. So, too, does the NHL’s, which is identical.

Here’s Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

“Imagine Wimbledon every year matching up the top two seeds in each half of the draw in the second round. Imagine the World Cup placing the four most powerful squads in the same group. Imagine March Madness placing the top four seeds in the country in the same region.

While you’re at it, you may as well imagine there’s no heaven, because it’s easy if you try to imagine the NHL cutting off its own knees by matching up its best teams in the first or second round of the playoffs in a made-for-marketing scheme, because that is exactly what Sixth Avenue and its band of clueless co-conspirators on the Board do year after year after year.”

As you read this, just substitute NHL with WHL and go from there.

The complete column is right here.


G Kyle Dumba got his first taste of junior hockey in 2013-14 when he played one game with each of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.

Since then he has had stints with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats, and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Calgarian made his 106th junior appearance on Saturday night and recorded his first shutout. He’s with the Grizzlies now, sparked by his 43 saves, they beat one of his former teams, Salmon Arm, 2-0.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots and F Tristen Robins scored the game’s only goal as the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 1-0. . . . The Blades (19-10-3) have won two straight. . . . The Raiders (28-2-1) had been 21-0-1 in their previous 22 games. This was their first regulation loss this season. . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both of these teams and each went 2-1-0. . . . The Raiders had won the first two meetings with the Blades — 4-1 in Prince Albert and 6-2 in Saskatoon on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, respectively. . . . Maier posted his second shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. This season, he is 15-8-2, 2.70, .912. . . . Robins’ goal, his fifth of the season, came at 5:14 of the second period and also was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason had his 30-game point streak come to an end, despite having five shots on goal. . . . Leason and G Ian Scott, who stopped 26 shots, will be on the ice in Victoria on Tuesday as the selection camp opens for Canada’s national junior team. . . . When the Raiders next play, on Wednesday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, they will be missing Scott, Leason, F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego. The latter two are with the Belarus national junior team at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home Sunday for his third game in fewer than 48 hours, too, and his post is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 second-period tie with four goals in a span of 4:02 en Calgaryroute to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Calgary (14-14-3) has won four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-12-3) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Kamloops now is 0-1-1 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . Calgary went ahead 1-0 at 4:18 of the first period when F Kaden Elder (12) scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Martin Lang (6), who also had two assists, pulled Kamloops even at 1:42 of the second period, but F Jake Kryski (14) got that one back, on a PP, at 4:11. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (4) got the Blazers back into a tie, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . It was all Calgary after that, with F James Malm (15) counting at 10:47, F Tye Carriere (3) at 11:13, and D Egor Zamula scoring twice, at 12:34 and 13:49. . . . Zamula, who has seven goals, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (17) closed out the scoring at 13:55 of the third period. . . . Zamula, who also had an assist, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his career. . . . Calgary F Riley Stotts had three assists. He’s got a goal and seven assists over his past three games. . . . The Blazers were without F Jermaine Loewen and F Kobe Mohr, both of whom were suspended by the WHL earlier in the day. Loewen drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 3-2 OT loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday, while Mohr got one game under supplemental discipline from the same game.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (25-7-1) now has points in 11 straight (10-0-1). . . . Spokane (16-11-4) had won its previous two games. . . . Everett leads the Western Conference by seven points over the idle Vancouver Giants (21-6-2), who have four games in hand. . . . Everett is atop the U.S. Division by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks (18-10-2), who hold three games in hand. . . . This season, Wolf, a 17-year-old sophomore, is 23-7-1, 1.84, .928. He has three shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . The shutout yesterday lowered his career GAA to 1.99 in 51 appearances, 31 of them this season. . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored both goals, at 14:34 and 19:48 of the third period. The second one was into an empty net. He’s got 13 goals. . . . Spokane got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . The Chiefs were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 2-1-0. They also were in their fourth game in five nights. They were 2-2-0 in those four games, with the other loss also at the hands of the Silvertips, 4-2 in Everett on Wednesday. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards, who drew a TBA suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Richards hit D Loeden Schaufler at 10:10 of the second period; Schaufler left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Silvertips also were without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has missed two straight games.