So . . . on a day when Seattle’s expansion NHL franchise dug into the depths for its nickname — Kraken — the NFL’s Washington franchise announced that it will spend the approaching season as the Washington Football Team. . . . The New York Yankees and host Washington Nationals opened the delayed MLB season with a game that was played in front of empty seats and was shortened by inclement weather, while the visiting San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers played before cardboard cutouts. . . . What a time to be alive, eh?
The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives have begun the process of changing their nickname. . . . Ken Pearson, the club’s general manager and head coach, told CBC News: “We’re just trying to get ahead of the curve here and . . . be ahead of the game.” . . . Neepawa has had a team with that nickname, either in intermediate or junior hockey, since the early 1960s. . . . A decision on a new nickname for the MJHL team is expected before the 2021-22 season.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
OF Juan Soto wasn’t in the Washington Nationals’ opening night lineup Thursday after testing positive. He was placed on the injured list about five hours before game time. . . . Soto, 21, is reportedly asymptomatic and will need two negative tests before he is allowed to return. . . .
OF Hunter Dozier of the Kansas City Royals has tested positive. He said he has a “couple of symptoms” so won’t be available when the team opens the season in Cleveland on Friday. . . . He is the ninth Kansas City player to have tested positive. . . .
Veteran MLB scout Johan Maya died of COVID-19 on Thursday. Maya, 40, had been working for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was in the Dominican Republic at the time of his death. . . .
Former MLBer Mike Napoli, now a quality assurance coach with the Chicago Cubs, has tested positive so has been away from the team. . . .
Two more NHL players have revealed that they tested positive and have recovered. . . . D Anthony Bitetto, who was back on the ice for the first time with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, said he tested positive about a month ago and self-quarantined for 29 days. . . . D Xavier Ouellet of the Montreal Canadiens actually tested negative before coming up positive and never did have any symptoms. He returned to the ice on Wednesday. . . .
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has announced a tentative plan under which some fall sports, including football, soccer and volleyball, will start on March 1. . . . Under the plan, basketball would get going on Jan. 4, with track and field starting on April 26. . . . Other sports like cross-country, slo-pitch, golf and tennis are to begin on Sept. 7. . . . Mick Hoffman, the WIAA executive director, said everything remains fluid. “When you look at dates,” he said, “those are definitely written in pencil.” . . .
Earlier in the week, the Florida High School Athletic Association went against the recommendation of its medical people and said football season would begin with practices starting on Monday. After a whole lot of backlash, the FHSAA reversed its field on Thursday and pushed things back until at least Aug. 24. But like so many other things these days all of that seems to be fluid. . . .
The KHL has made it official. With the Russia-China border closed to people — it’s open to the transportation of goods — a decision was made that Kunlun Red Star Beijing will play its home games for 2020-21 in Mytishchi, which is on the northern outskirts of Moscow. . . . The KHL, unsure of how many teams will play this season, has yet to release a schedule but has said that should happen by month’s end.
Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from former MLB owner Bill Veeck: “Baseball is almost the only orderly thing left in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.”
The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs are looking for a general manager, having revealed on Thursday that they won’t be renewing Darren Kelly’s contract when it expires on Aug. 12. . . . The Frontenacs added a new head coach this summer, with Paul McFarland returning after three seasons as an NHL assistant coach. . . . Kelly had been with the Frontenacs since 2008, including the past three seasons as general manager.
Alexander Gusev, a defenceman on the Soviet Union team that played Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, died on Wednesday, according to his former club, CSKA Moscow. Gusev was 73. . . . He was a contributing factor on the Soviet national teams of the 1970s. . . . Andy Potts of iihf.com has more right here.