Happy Canada Day, aka the one day a year in which NHL general managers hand out bad contracts — you get one, you get one, and you over there, you get one, too — knowing that they probably won’t be around when the time comes to clean up the mess.
It’s also a day that always has me, for whatever reason, thinking of the cover on the August 1973 issue of the long-gone Sport Magazine that showed New York Yankees outfielder Bobby Murcer on an outfield of greenbacks.
Murcer was the third Yankees player to sign a contract calling for at least $100,000 a season. The other two were Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Yes, $100,000. Think about that today when you were reading about the money being tossed around in the NHL.
At the same, ask yourself this: What do NHL players think when they look at the money that started being thrown around like so much confetti in the NBA when free agency arrived on Sunday? NBA teams announced more than $2.1 billion — that’s BILLION — worth of contracts in a couple of hours.
BTW, Murcer was traded to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Bobby Bonds on Oct. 22, 1974. It was the first time in MLB history that two $100,000 players had been swapped for each other. Yes, think about that for a moment or two.
I will save you the trouble of watching TV today.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to trade F Connor Brown and D Nikita Zaitsev to the Ottawa Senators for D Cody Ceci. . . . The Leafs also have signed F Kenny Agostino. . . .
The Columbus Blue Jackets will re-sign F Artemi Panarin. . . . Or maybe the New York Islanders will sign Panarin, along with G Semyon Varlamov. . . .
The Florida Panthers will sign G Sergei Bobrovsky and F Brett Connolly. . . .
The Vancouver Canucks will sign D Jordie Benn and D Tyler Myers. . . .
The Calgary Flames will sign G Cam Talbot. . . .
The Dallas Stars will sign F Corey Perry and F Joe Pavelski. . . .
The Detroit Red Wings will sign G Calvin Pickard. . . .
The Nashville Predators will sign F Matt Duchene. . . .
The Edmonton Oilers will end up with G Mike Smith. . . .
The Tampa Bay Lightning will sign D Luke Schenn. . . .
The Minnesota Wild will sign F Mats Zuccarello and F Ryan Hartman. . . .
The Washington Capitals will sign F Richard Panik. . . .
The Colorado Avalanche will sign F Joonas Donskoi. . . .
Speculation on these signings, with most of them including money and term, have been reported by various ‘insiders’ in advance of the NHL’s free-agent signing period opening today. Many of those same insiders will be twiddling their thumbs on TV today.
So . . . go out and cut the grass, or take the family to the nearest DQ for a Canada Day Blizzard. You’re welcome!
While we are on the subject of money, let’s not forget that today is payday for Bobby Bonilla, who last played in the bigs in 2001 when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. . . . The New York Mets will pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 today, as they have on every July 1 since 2011 and will on every July 1 through 2035. . . . There’s more on that deal right here in a story by Darren Rovell that first appeared on ESPN’s website three years ago.
Dorothy, my wife of more than 47 years, is preparing to take part in her sixth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 22; she also is one of the Walk’s organizers. If you’re new here, she had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here.
A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “According to Le’Veon Bell’s 911 call, the last time the New York Jets running back saw those two ‘girlfriends’ who allegedly stole $500,000 of his stuff, he was leaving for the gym and they were still naked in his bed. . . . In other words: Bares 2, Jet 0.”
“LeBron James is giving up his Los Angeles Lakers jersey No. 23 for Anthony Davis, who has worn the number since high school, which is a nice gesture” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe. “And whether James goes back to the No. 6 he wore with the Miami Heat or another number, I am sure the thought of new jersey sales never entered his mind.”
Headline at TheOnion.com: Norfolk Tides third baseman sent down to Baltimore Orioles.
Buried in Patti Dawn Swansson’s latest collection of gems is this one:
“The Chicago Cubs recruited good, ol’ Cookie Monster from Sesame Street to warble Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field on Thursday. It’s believed that Cookie is the first Muppet to perform the ritual since Don Cherry.”
The complete piece — featuring lots of goals and yellow and red cards — is right here.
Hey, Sportsnet and TSN, it’s time you stopped blocking off three hours for MLB games, especially when you have a doubleheader scheduled. The day is long gone when you could count on a big league game being completed in fewer than three hours. . . . I have a particular bone to pick with Sportsnet, which scheduled a game involving the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays the other day. When that game had an early 57-minute rain delay, the network switched to a game featuring the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals, and never did go back to the Twins and Rays. Hey, Sportsnet, when you schedule a game, it is taken off the menu for those of us who subscribe to MLB Extra Innings. Your decision to show Twins-Rays and then not show it meant that viewers were cheated out of watching those two teams play 18 innings.