Scattershooting on a quiet Sunday . . . Snoop Dogg in the broadcast booth . . . Oil Kings back on top . . . Giants stretch lead

Scattershooting

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If your favourite hockey team holds a Country Night and you don’t hear even one Merle Haggard tune, well, it ain’t a real Country Night.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Pilots, an MLB team that didn’t have much of a history, at least not in Seattle. Now, in case you haven’t noticed, the Seattle Mariners have made a boat-load of offseason moves. As Darren Rawie, a Mariners fan, noted via Twitter: “And with all the offseason moves, the Mariners have blessed us with our third expansion team.”

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“An Oklahoma woman is facing fines up to $2,400 after she bragged about killing a deer out of season on the dating app Bumble,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The potential suitor she was trying to impress turned out to be McIntosh County game warden Cannon Harrison.”

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If you were wondering, and even if you weren’t, the Kootenay Kountdown is into Day 26.

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Ever wonder what a fired football coach does with all of those clothes that feature his former team’s logo? According to Perry: “A bunch of Dirk Koetter’s Buccaneers apparel — complete with his name on the iron-on labels — was discovered at a Tampa Goodwill store less than a week after he was fired as the NFL team’s head coach.”

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A trio of headlines after Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s double-double-doing allowed the Philadelphia Eagles to win that playoff game:

Philadelphia Inquirer — Still upright.

Chicago Tribune — Post mortem.

Philadelphia Daily News — Clanks for the memory!

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After North Carolina fired Larry Fedora, the football team’s head coach, and sent him on his way with a $12-million buyout, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot noted: “What a deal. But colleges don’t have enough money to pay athletes.”

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If you haven’t seen/heard it yet, Snoop Dogg was in the house in Los Angeles on Saturday night as the Kings met the Pittsburgh Penguins. He took time to drop by the broadcast move and even engaged in a little play-by-play. As he said when his stint was over: ”I’m the host with the most.” . . . It’s all right here.

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According to a tweet from Mikaël Lalancette of TVA Sports, the QMJHL’s MonctonqmjhlWildcats are expected to introduce John Torchetti as their new general manager and head coach this week. . . . Torchetti will replace Darren Rumble, who was fired as head coach on Tuesday. . . . Torchetti has some history as Moncton’s head coach, having been there for the 2006-07 season. . . . Torchetti, 54, has extensive coaching experience, including stints with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings. . . . Rumble, once an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds, was in his sixth season as the Wildcats’ head coach. With him gone, assistant coach Josh Hepditch has been the interim head coach.

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G Lucas Mills of the Trinity Western Spartans set a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League record for career shutouts on Saturday in a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Island Mariners at the Langley Events Centre. . . . Mills, from Abbotsford, B.C., is in his fourth season with the Spartans. . . . He had shared the shutout record with Andrew Parent of the Simon Fraser U Clan. . . . Mills, who has two shutouts this season, also is the BCIHL’s career leader in GAA (1.76) and save percentage (.936).

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Riley Lamb blocked 47 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the SCBroncosvisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Swift Current (9-30-3) had lost its previous two games. The Broncos remain in the WHL’s cellar but now are only two points shy of the Kootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (17-18-6) is six points away from a playoff spot. . . . It was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for Brandon, which went 1-2-0. . . . Lamb was making his first WHL appearance since March 16 when he was with the Red Deer Rebels. He spent most of this season with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings, who traded him to the Yorkton Terriers on Jan. 2. The Broncos, having sent G Joel Hofer to the Portland Winterhawks, signed Lamb on Thursday. . . . Lamb, 20, is from Rivers, Man., which is about 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings held a 49-24 edge in shots, including 20-7 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. . . . F Ian Briscoe scored his first goal of the season at 8:10 of the first period to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. This was his 24th game this season. Last season, he failed to score in 25 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, and had two goals in 20 games with them in 2016-17. . . . D Zach Wytinck (3) pulled Brandon even at 12:37. . . . The Broncos went back in front when F Ethan O’Rourke (4) scored, on a PP, at 17:31. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it at 10:34 of the second period when F Luka Burzan (25) scored, on a PP. . . . Broncos D Alex Moar (2) broke the tie, on a PP, at 12:33. . . . F Tanner Nagel (7) added insurance at 8:45 of the third period. . . . Dutertre in the above tweet would be Scott Dutertre, one of the Broncos’ assistant coaches. Dean, of course, is Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head coach.

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The Edmonton Oil Kings moved into first place in the Central Division with a 4-1 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton (24-14-7) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (23-12-8) trails Edmonton by one point although the Hurricanes hold two games in hand. . . . Edmonton is 4-1-1 in the season series; Lethbridge is 2-4-0. . . . F Liam Keeler gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead as he had the first multi-goal game of his career. Keeler, who has eight goals, scored at 11:43 and 14:21 of the first period. . . . F Vince Lochiavo (21) made it 3-0 at 5:41 of the second, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (25) upped it to 4-0, on a PP, at 3:33 of the third. . . . Fix-Wolansky also had two assists. . . . F Jake Elmer (20) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 8:02 of the third. . . . Fix-Wolansky leads the WHL in assists (38) and is second in points (75), behind F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks, who has 79. . . . Edmonton got 31 saves from G Todd Scott, while Liam Hughes stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the third meeting in eight days between these teams. The Hurricanes won, 5-2, in Edmonton Jan. 6. The Oil Kings then went into Lethbridge and won, 5-1, on Friday. . . . Both teams were playing for a third time in fewer than 48 hours — Lethbridge went 1-2-0); Edmonton was 3-0-0. . . . The Oil Kings remain without F Quinn Benjafield and D Matt Robertson.

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F Davis Koch scored one goal and added two assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-2 Vancouvervictory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (26-12-2) has won three in a row. . . . The Giants lead the B.C. Division by nine points over the Royals. . . . Victoria (22-17-1) has lost two straight. . . . Victoria went 1-2-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1. . . . D Bowen Byram, coming off a five-point night in a 7-4 victory over visiting Kamloops on Saturday, gave the Giants a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal at 9:34 of the first period. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) made it 2-0 at 12:25 of the second. . . . D Jameson Murray (3) cut the lead in half at 14:12. . . . Koch (13) made it 3-1 at 13:12 of the third. . . . D Scott Walford (5) got Victoria back to within a goal, on a PP, at 16:59. . . . Koch has two goals and four assists in his past two games, and two goals and six assists over three games. . . . Nielsen also had two assists and has back-to-back three-point outings. . . . Byram now has 39 points, 26 of them assists, in 40 games.

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Scattershooting on a doink-doink NFL Sunday . . . ‘Canes move to top of division . . . Miner digging second shutout

Scattershooting


Thanks to friend Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) for passing along the link to Gene Collier’s annual Trite Trophy-related column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. . . . This is the 35th annual and Collier starts it with this:

“Some in our cherished audience might find it unfathomable that the Trite Trophy has been around for 35 years, but all I need for confirmation is to Look In The Mirror, where the ravages delivered by three-and-half decades of cliché wrangling are mercilessly evident.

“It’s Not A Good Look.”

It seems that Collier isn’t much of a hockey guy, so “good stick,” “compete level” and “200-foot player” didn’t make the cut.

What did make it is all right here. Enjoy!


“I’m not saying Houston Rockets star James Harden travels a lot,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “He just plays basketball like it’s a good walk spoiled.”

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One more from Currie: “World Chess champion Magnus Carlsen is reportedly a major celebrity at home in Norway. And good news ladies, he isn’t married — although he has been mated.



When the Kootenay Ice visits Brandon on Jan. 18, the Wheat Kings are holding a promotion involving the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Surely it’s only a coincidence that the Ice, who appear headed to Winnipeg after this season, will provide the opposition on that particular night. . . . World-class marketing, or trolling?


If you haven’t already done it, you need to make Patti Dawn Swansson’s blog — The River City Renegade — a regular part of your Sunday morning.

Here’s a snippet from the latest posting:

“The Lord of Loud, Donald S. Cherry, weighed in on Canada’s demise at the world junior tourney during the Coachless Corner segment of HNIC, suggesting that our guys were beaten as payback for running up the score (14-zip) vs. Denmark. ‘You don’t beat them down like that or you pay the price,’ he said. ‘I’ve said it before, the hockey gods will get you or karma will get you.’ If karma has anything to say about it, Grapes will be wearing nothing but a loin cloth in his next life as punishment for those gawdawful suits he exposes us to on Saturday nights.”

It’s all right here.



A note from Brad Dickson on the topic of social media: “If Albert Einstein posted his brand new Theory of Relativity on Facebook it’d probably receive about 3 or 4 ‘likes’. If he then posted a photo of the Einsteins with the family dog it’d get 400 ‘likes’.”



When I worked at the Winnipeg Tribune in the mid-1970s, Bob Picken was The Voice. . . . These days, writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, “The Voice remains unmistakable, if a little weaker than it was in its prime.” . . . Picken was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September. “I will live out my days as best they are and I will be very grateful for what God has given me,” the man we all know as Pick says. . . . Friesen’s piece is right here. If you read one thing on the Internet today, this should be it. . . . Farewell, Pick!


“Los Angeles Chargers guard Forrest Lamp gave each of his teammates — drum roll, please — lamps for Christmas,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Unfortunately for the Green Bay Packers, teammate Davon House didn’t think of it first.”


shoes


After some people noticed that Kendall Jenner was missing from the Kardashian Christmas photo, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg noted: “And we thought things couldn’t get worse than with the government shutdown.”


If you didn’t notice, things were a big soap opera-ish with the Pittsburgh Steelers down the stretch. As tight end Jesse James told Penn Live: “Ah man, we are — Kardashians.”



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There’s nothing like a good sporting rivalry and it seems that things are very much alive with the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades.

The Raiders, the top-ranked team in the 60-team CHL, beat the visiting Blades, 5-2, on whlSaturday night.

After the game, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, gave Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner an assist.

Habscheid said that Priestner, according to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, “has gone around saying that the Blades are the superior team over the Raiders, after the Blades’ recent trades.”

Habscheid told D’Andrea: “They added a little bit of motivation to us. It got back to us that their general manager . . . they’ve added some players and now he thinks they’re better than us. That added to our motivation, so thanks for that.”

When contacted by Taking Note, Priestner issued a blanket denial, and said he was shocked when he first heard Habscheid’s comments on the pregame show on Saskatoon radio station 98 COOL FM.

“I have no idea what the hell he is talking about,” the Blades’ GM said. “I’ve never once thought that let alone uttered it. I’ve also never heard a head coach mock another team’s GM on their own radio station out of the blue. It was kind of bizarre when I heard it driving to the game in PA. With the incredible roster his GM (Curtis Hunt) has given him, he really shouldn’t need to make up fake statements from me to get any wins.”

The Raiders (35-4-1) have the WHL’s best record. The Blades (24-12-5) are second in the East Division, 18 points behind the Raiders.

Prince Albert leads the eight-game season series, 5-1-0; the Blades are 1-4-1.

Unfortunately, these teams aren’t scheduled to meet again until March 15 and 16, the final weekend of the regular season, when they will play a home-and-home series.


Shaun Clouston, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, added Tigers Logo Officialsome clarity to the injury situation involving a couple of his forwards on Sunday.

Clouston told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that F Ryan Chyzowski suffered a skate cut near on knee on will be see a doctor today. Chyzowski was injured during a 4-3 loss to the host Calgary Hitmen on Saturday.

Clouston also told McCracken that F Hayden Ostir, who suffered a knee injury during a 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Friday, is likely to be gone longer than Chyzowski.

The Tigers have two home games scheduled for the weekend — Friday against the Regina Pats and Saturday against the Edmonton Oil Kings.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes moved into first place in the Central Division with a 5-2 Lethbridgevictory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Lethbridge (21-10-8) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Edmonton (21-14-7) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes have a one-point lead over the second-place Oil Kings, with the Red Deer Rebels and Medicine Hat Tigers three points off the pace. . . . Lethbridge won 47 of 69 faceoffs while being outshot, 41-26. . . . F Jalen Luypen (5) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes responded with three goals before the period ended, from F Dylan Cozens (23), on a PP, at 5:57; F Logan Barlage (10), at 8:23; and F Taylor Ross (23), at 16:06. . . . D Conner McDonald (9) pulled the home side to within a goal, on a PP, at 1:10 of the third. . . . Lethbridge responded with two more goals, from F Noah Boyko (4), on a PP, at 12:07, and F Jordy Bellerive (20), at 18:04. . . . Cozens also had two assists. . . . The Hurricanes got a big game out of G Liam Hughes, who finished with 39 stops.


F Andrej Kukuca and F Noah Philp each had two goals as the Seattle Thunderbirds Seattledoubled the host Regina Pats, 6-3. . . . Seattle (12-20-4) had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1), and now is 1-1-0 on a six-game East Division swing. It is five points away from a playoff spot now. . . . Regina (12-27-2) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Thunderbirds outshot the Pats, 47-22, including 20-4 in the first period and 16-6 in the third. . . . Kukuca, in his first game since playing for Slovakia at the WJC, opened the scoring at 7:34 of the second period. . . . F Robbie Holmes (9) tied it, on a PP, at 9:04. . . . F Matt Wedman (12) put Seattle back in front at 12:09. . . . Regina tied it, again, when F Sebastian Streu (2) scored, on a PP, at 18:30. . . . Seattle then outscored its hosts 4-1 in the third period. . . . Philp, who also had an assist, made it 3-2 at 1:54, only to have Regina F Riley Krane (8) tie it, on another PP, at 4:16. . . . The Thunderbirds then got two PP goals — from D Jarret Tyszka, at 8:59, and Kukuca (9), at 13:12. . . . Philp, who has 15 goals, completed the scoring at 17:52. . . . Regina got 41 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . The Pats were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having lost 2-1 in OT in Saskatoon on Friday and 1-0 in Swift Current on Saturday. . . . G Roddy Ross, 18, made his first start for Seattle and earned the victory with 19 saves. He had signed with Seattle on Tuesday after playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . F Henry Rybinski, who had an assist, and F Michael Horon, both 17, made their Seattle debuts. Rybinski was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, while Horon joined the Thunderbirds last week from the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. Seattle acquired him from the WHL’s Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . Among Seattle’s scratches were D Cade McNelly (suspended), F Sean Richards (suspended), F Dillon Hamaliuk, who won’t play again this season, and D Loeden Schaufler.


The host Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Brandon SaskatoonWheat Kings, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (25-12-5) is second in the East Division, seven points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Brandon (16-15-6) now is four points from a playoff spot. . . . The Blades were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They beat the visiting Regina Pats 2-1 in OT on Friday, then were beaten 5-2 by the Raiders in Prince Albert on Saturday. . . . F Ben McCartney (9) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the game. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Max Gerlach (24), at 3:52, and D Reece Harsch (3), at 7:30. That was Harsch’s first goal since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday. This was his third game with the Blades. . . . F Luka Burzan (23) tied it, on a PP, at 19:16. . . . Saskatoon F Josh Paterson (13) broke the tie, on a PP, at 3:27 of the second period. . . . The Blades iced it with two third-period goals from F Zach Huber (8), at 7:45, and D Emil Malysjev (2), into an empty net, at 19:26. . . . The Blades were credited with winning 39 of 55 faceoffs. . . . Brandon lost F Baron Thompson to a headshot major and game misconduct at 13:59 of the second period. Saskatoon D Majid Kaddoura, who took the head, left for repairs but returned to finish the game. . . . Brandon scratched  F Linden McCorrister, meaning the Wheat Kings were without any 20-year-olds. . . . The Blades again were without F Kiby Dach and D Nolan Kneen, both out with undisclosed injuries.


G Trent Miner stopped 24 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 6-0 victory over the VancouverKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Vancouver (24-12-2) had lost its previous four games. It finished a six-game Central Division trip at 2-4-0, and leads the B.C. Division by nine points over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kootenay (8-27-7) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Ice went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Milos Roman (17) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 4:11 of the first period and that’s all the visitors would need. . . . They also got goals from F Brayden Watts (9), F Jadon Joseph (13), F Dawson Holt (6), F Lukas Svejkovsky (4) and D Dallas Hines (5). . . . Hines, who was acquired from the Ice on Friday, scored the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 19:37 of the third period. . . . Trent posted his second career shutout, both of them coming this season. He is 11-3-1, 1.84, .933, in 16 appearances.


G Max Palaga turned aside 37 shots as the Everett Silvertips defeated the visiting EverettKamloops Blazers, 5-1. . . . Everett (31-8-2) has won two in a row; it also has won 11 straight on home ice. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (15-19-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers hold down the Western Conference’s second-wild card spot, four points ahead of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, spent last season with the Blazers, who released him prior to this season and later dealt him to Everett for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. In seven appearances with the Silvertips, Palaga, 18, is 4-0-1, 1.56, .950. . . . The Silvertips scored the game’s first five goals, getting snipes from F Zack Andrusiak (29), D Wyatte Wylie (7), F Connor Dewar (28), F Conrad Mitchell (1) and D Gianni Fairbrother (5). . . . Mitchell’s first WHL goal came in his 26th game. He is a 17-year-old freshman from Thorsby, Alta. . . . F Max Patterson, who also is from Kamloops, had two assists. . . . F Brodi Stuart (12) scored for Kamloops at 13:48 of the third period. . . . The Blazers lost 4-1 to the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday, then beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets 4-1 on Saturday, Kamloops was back on its bus right after that game in order to get to Everett for this game, which started at 4 p.m. . . . Everett also was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours, having split a home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans on Friday and Saturday nights, losing the first one 3-2 in Kennewick, Wash., and then winning 4-1 at home. . . . Everett swept the season series with Kamloops, outscoring the Blazers, 23-6 in the process. In the four games, Everett was 11-20 on the PP and 11-12 on the penalty kill. . . . The way things are shaping up, these teams could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs.


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Scattershooting on the eighth Sunday before Christmas . . . Desjardins goes to Hollywood . . . Tigers, ‘Hawks both get victories

Scattershooting

A note from Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon: “Memo to Commissioner Manfred — I know you cannot predict which games will take forever and which ones will be over in short order. Nonetheless, please use your ‘Commish authority’ to require one game in the World Series to be played with an afternoon start. In fact, let me be more specific — make it the Saturday World Series game. You may get lucky and have a great game on TV at a time when a lot more people can be awake to see it happen.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Golden State raises 2018, 2019, 2020 championship banners.



So . . . the NHL sends the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets to Finland and games on Thursday and Friday, both of which began at 11 a.m. PT, were regional telecasts via one TSN channel in Canada. Meanwhile, games between the Chicago Blackhawks and host Vancouver Canucks, and the Colorado Avalanche and host Calgary Flames, which had been played the previous nights, were being replayed Thursday and Friday mornings on four Sportsnet channels. . . . Is this what the NHL calls growing the game?

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Thankfully, ICYMI, the Christmas movie season is upon us. Yes, at least one channel on my satellite package is showing Christmas movies for something like 20 hours a day. Yes, every day. You’re welcome. Hey, that’s really growing the game.


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“A man using a blowtorch to kill spiders burned down his mother’s house in Fresno, Calif.,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “He reportedly got the idea watching Jon Gruden tinker with the Raiders’ roster.”

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One more from Perry: “We can just picture Dodgers shortstop Manny (Don’t Call Me Charlie Hustle) Machado drowning his sorrows after the World Series . . . ‘Bartender, make it a single.’ ”



On my way home from a Friday night hockey game, I drove past a home that featured a Christmas tree all lit up and standing in a corner of the living room. Umm, Friday was Nov. 2. . . . Just for those folks, right here is Darlene Love with All Alone for Christmas.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, has a question: “How long until Vegas looks at the purchase of the Oakland Raiders under California’s Lemon Law?”


“Four kids came to our door dressed as Jacksonville Jaguars,” relates comedy writer Alex Kaseberg of Halloween, “handed us a $64,170 bar tab and then ran away.”



A note to Toronto sports writers from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Auston Matthews is a good hockey player, but he’s not a god or a saint. So stop writing columns like hte Gospel According to Matthews.”

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“Retired Olympic gold-medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton just got divorced after 27 years,” reports Currie. “I’m not saying she’s ready to start dating, although she may give you a tumble.”


MacBeth

F Tyler Coulter (Brandon, 2012-17) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Vimmerby (Sweden, Division 1). Last season, he had one goal and three assists in 14 games with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), and two goals and one assist in 11 games with the University of Calgary (Canada West, USports).


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ICYMI, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Sunday morning in a move that had a number of WHL ties. . . . Willie Desjardins, 61, was named the interim head coach, which should take him through the remainder of this season. . . . Desjardins spent 2002-10 with the Medicine Hat Tigers, the first three seasons as head coach and the last five as general manager and head coach. . . . Desjardins also was the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks for three seasons (2014-17). The Kings are scheduled to visit Vancouver on Nov. 27. . . . Desjardins spent last season as the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team. . . . Assistant coach Don Nachbaur, the third-winningest head coach in WHL history, also was fired by the Kings. Nachbaur, who was in his second season on the Kings’ staff, has coached in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. His 692 regular-season victories trail only Don Hay (750) and Ken Hodge (742). . . . Dave Lowry, a former WHL coach, remains on the Kings’ coaching staff, as does goaltending coach Bill Ranford. Lowry coached with the Calgary Hitmen (2005-09) and Victoria Royals (2012-17). He is in his second season with the Kings. . . . Ranford played three seasons (1983-86) with the New Westminster Bruins and has been with the Kings since 2006-07.

There is more right here from Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times.


Chances are that most hockey fans had never heard Elgar Petersen’s name before the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crashed on April 6. After that accident, though, his name was heard rather frequently because the arena in Humboldt, which is home to the SJHL’s Broncos, is named after him. Petersen died on Saturday evening at the age of 82. Phil Tank of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more on Petersen 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.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Linus Nassen scored two goals and added an assist to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official5-4 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Tigers (9-7-2) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Hitmen (5-11-2) have lost two in a row. . . . Calgary was playing its third game in as many nights. It beat the visiting Tigers 7-5 on Friday, then dropped a 1-0 home-ice decision to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday. . . . F Kaden Elder got the Hitmen to within a goal, at 3-2, at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Nassen, who has four goals, then stretch the lead to 5-2 with goals at 14:43 and 18:01, the latter on a PP. . . . The Hitmen got close on goals from F Luke Coleman (4), at 18:33 of the second, and Elder (8), at 17:55 of the third. . . . Nassen, a 20-year-old Swedish sophomore, has three three-point outings this season after enjoying two of them last season. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-4 on the PP. . . . Calgary held a 44-33 edge in shots, including 16-1 in the third period. . . . The Tigers got 40 saves from G Jordan Hollett.


The Portland Winterhawks struck for four PP goals en route to an 8-6 victory over the PortlandChiefs in Spokane. . . . The Winterhawks (10-6-1) won three games in as many nights this weekend. They swept a Friday-Saturday doubleheader from the visiting Victoria Royals, 7-3 and 2-1. . . . The Chiefs (8-6-3) have lost two in a row. . . . Spokane actually led this one, 5-3, with five minutes left in the second period. . . . F Jake Gricius (9) pulled Portland to within one, on a PP, at 15:22 of the second. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who finished with two goals and three assists, tied it at 4:04 of the third. . . . D Nolan Reid (3) gave the Chiefs the lead, again, at 5:41. . . . Portland put it away with the last three goals — from F Ryan Hughes (6), on a PP, at 6:18; F Reece Newkirk (10), on a PP, at 17:00; and Blichfeld (14), into an empty net, at 19:27. . . . Portland G Dante Giannuzzi came on in relief to stop four of the five shots he faced in 27:18 and earn his first WHL victory. . . . Blichfeld now has 35 points, including 21 assists, in 17 games. This was his second five-point game of his career, both of which have come this season. . . . Portland got four assists from D Jared Freadrich, who enjoyed the first four-point night of a career that is into its fourth season. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from F Riley Woods, who has 12 goals, with F Ethan McIndoe (4) scoring once and adding two assists, and F Jake McGrew drawing three assists. . . . Portland F Jaydon Dureau scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot at 18:09 of the first period, tying the score 3-3 in the process. . . . The Winterhawks outshot the Chiefs, 53-23, including 23-10 in the first period. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes, who left Saturday’s game in the first period after absorbing a hard hit, was back in the lineup last night and had a goal, his sixth, and an assist. . . . The Winterhawks were without F Cody Glass, while the Chiefs scratched D Ty Smith and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan. Glass and Smith are expected to play for Team WHL against a touring Russian side tonight in Kamloops as the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series gets started. Anderson-Dolan would play if healthy, but now has missed three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Seth Jarvis (Portland) and F Jack Finley (Spokane) are at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.


Note that after Sunday’s games, the WHL is off until Friday.


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Scattershooting on Sunday, after a flat World Series . . . Will you pay to watch Phil vs. Tiger? . . . Blazers complete dominating weekend sweep

Scattershooting

Jack Finarelli, who writes daily at sportscurmudgeon.com, with a tip for all of us: “The latest news related to the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson challenge match that will be on pay-per-view is that the only way you will be able to see it is on pay-per-view.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that no tickets will be available for the event; the only folks on the course with Woods and Mickelson will be those who are there to provide the TV coverage, sponsors and guests of the sponsors.  So, just in case you were thinking of heading out to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend and trying to score tix to the event at Shadow Creek Golf Club, stay home.”



The neatest statistic from this season’s World Series is this one and it isn’t close. . . . Game 3 between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Kings went 18 innings and took seven hours 20 minutes to complete on Friday night. It took longer to play that one game than it did to play the entire 1939 World Series when the New York Yankees swept the Cincinnati Reds with the four games taking a combined 7:05.



Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: Toronto-based Postmedia columnist Steve Simmons is at it again. “Where does Auston Matthews fit in with this question: Best wrist shot in Leafs history? I’m figuring Wendel Clark and Lanny McDonald are 1-2. Matthews has the most deceptive shot. Over time he may wind up ahead of Clark and McDonald.” Please give us a break from this crap.


Hutchinson also passes along this one . . . From the Twitter account of @wrestlingbubble: “A woman at the grocery store asked me what self-checkup meant, so I told her grocery stores are on the honour system now, and she should just pay what she thinks is fair.”



“Now,” comedy writer Alex Kaseberg says of Boston pitcher Chris Sale, “I don’t want to say Sale is skinny, but if the Red Sox wore pinstripes, he would wear a pinstripe.”


From Vancouver comedy writer Torben Rolfsen: “John Tortorella says he misses ‘the hate’ in today’s NHL. He should go on Twitter.”


The readerboard at Beerhaus Las Vegas recently carried this message: “Marty, I just got back from 2078. Canucks still haven’t won a Cup.”



RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com has a question: “With hurricanes being named after both genders, shouldn’t we call them himicanes and hericanes?”


“SI.com reports Jon Gruden is on a three-year rebuild so the Raiders win the Super Bowl in 2020,” Currie writes. “Why not use his old formula? Have Tony Dungy build the team, then take over.”



Well, that World Series was definitely a letdown. I really expected more out of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were clearly inferior to the Boston Red Sox in all areas of the game. . . . Who knew the Dodgers wouldn’t seem to get any kind of lift from the 18-inning victory in Game 3? . . . But it was only fitting that Manny (The Hustler) Machado should make the series’ last out.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Aaron Hyman set up three goals and was plus-4 as the host Regina Pats skated to a 7-Patsvictory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Regina (4-11-0) had lost five in a row. This was the Pats’ first victory on home ice in nine starts — yes, they are 1-8-0. . . . The Broncos (1-14-0) have lost seven in a row. They are scheduled to entertain the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. At 0-4-0, Swift Current is the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have won at home. . . . In Regina, the Pats took a 1-0 lead in the first period and stretched it to 4-0 before the second was seven minutes old. . . . F Austin Pratt and F Sergei Alkhimov each scored twice for Regina. Pratt has seven goals; Alkhimov has four. . . . Regina held a 40-22 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos are 13 points out of a playoff spot, while the Pats are seven points back. . . . Regina went 1-2-0 as it played three games in fewer than 48 hours.


F Kirby Dach scored twice and added an assist to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Saskatoon (9-5-1) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Calgary (4-9-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Dach has 27 points, 10 of them goals, in 16 games. . . . The Blades had 2-1 and 3-2 leads. . . . Calgary tied it, 3-3, at 4:02 of the third period when F Zach Huber (4) scored. . . . F Kristian Røykås Marthinsen (5), a freshman from Norway, snapped the tie at 12:43 and Dach added the empty-netter at 19:50. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldaus played in his 200th regular-season game. A 20-year-old from Calgary, he has played 90 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, 71 with the Red Deer Rebels, 28 with the Moose Jaw Warriors and 11 with the Blades. . . . Saskatoon was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. It went 1-1-1.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky continued to pile up the points as the host Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdoubled the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-3. . . . Edmonton (9-7-1) has won four in a row. . . . Lethbridge (7-5-3) had points in its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . The Oil Kings went 3-0-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Fix-Wolansky finished with a goal, his 11th, and three assists. In 17 games, he has put up 32 points, including a WHL-leading 21 assists. He is second in the scoring race, three points behind F Brett Leason of the idle Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Edmonton F David Kope (2) broke a 1-1 tie at 8:05 of the first period. That was the first of five straight goals for the Oil Kings as they took control. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (7) scored twice — once while shorthanded and once on the PP — while F Jake Neighbours (5) scored twice and added an assist.


The Red Deer Rebels got out to a 6-2 lead before the second period was 12 minutes old Red Deerand went on to an 8-5 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Rebels (10-4-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (4-7-3) has lost two straight. . . . Red Deer F Reese Johnson scored twice early in the first period — at 1:11 and 2:29 — for a 2-0 lead. . . . The Ice pulled even when F Brad Ginnell (3), at 4:06, and F Cam Hausinger (5), at 4:42, quickly replied. . . . F Blake Sydlowski (1) put Red Deer ahead at 7:59, and the visitors took control with three second-period goals. . . . The Ice got to within 6-5 early in the third period, scoring three PP goals, but F Jeff de Wit (9) upped Red Deer’s lead to 7-5 at 10:59 and Johnson (8) completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:58. . . . D Alex Alexeyev had a goal (7) and two assists for Red Deer, with F Brandon Hagel drawing three assists. . . . Ginnell added two assists to his goal. . . . The Ice had a 41-26 edge in shots. . . . The Ice has played two home games since a committee hoping to keep the franchise from moving to Winnipeg held a town hall meeting on Thursday. The announced attendance at those games was 2,208, for a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings, and 2,094 yesterday. . . . The Ice’s next home game is scheduled for Friday when the Oil Kings make their third and final visit of the season.


G Trent Miner stopped 37 shots through OT and wasn’t beaten in the shootout as the VancouverVancouver Giants beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants improved to 11-3-2. . . . Brandon (6-3-5) has lost five straight (0-2-3). The Wheat Kings are 0-2-2 on a seven-game road trip that continues Tuesday in Prince George. . . . Miner is from Souris, Man., and played one season with the bantam AAA Wheat Kings and two with the midget AAA Wheat Kings. . . . This season, Miner is 4-0-1, 1.41, .953. . . . Vancouver F Brayden Watts, the last shooter in the third round, scored the only goal of the shootout. . . . Three of the game’s four ‘real’ goals came via the PP, with Vancouver getting two of those. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (5) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the first period; Vancouver F Milos Roman (7) tied it at 13:26. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 at 12:29 of the second as F Caiden Daley (2) scored the game’s only even-strength goal. . . . Watts  (4) tied it at 10:30 of the third. . . . The Giants won 42 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . Vancouver continues to play without D Bailey Dhaliwal, D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Joel Sexsmith and F James Malm, all of whom are out with injuries. The Giants play once between now and Nov. 10, so hope to have some bodies back before then.


The Kamloops Blazers completed a weekend sweep with a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops1Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (6-6-1) has won four in a row. . . . Portland (7-6-1) has lost three straight. . . . This was the final game of the season series with each team winning twice on the road. . . . The Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 7-2 in Kent, Wash., on Friday, then won 6-2 in Portland on Saturday. . . . The Winterhawks also played three games in fewer than 48 hours, but they went 0-3-0. They lost 4-1 in Spokane on Friday. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 32 shots and then, like a number of other WHL players, left for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that runs from Nov. 3 through Nov. 10 in Quispamsis and Saint, John, N.B. . . . Garand, who backs up Dylan Ferguson, is 1-1-1, 2.52, .916 in five appearances. . . . The Blazers took control with the game’s first three goals — two in the second period and one in the third. F Josh Pillar and F Kobe Mohr each had a goal and an assist. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Jared Freadrich, who drew a one-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Saturday’s game. He hit D Luke Zazula on the play in question.


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Scattershooting while watching Brady vs. The Kid . . . Haden wants a trade . . .Giants hand Royals first loss . . . Weekend sweep for ‘Tips

Scattershooting

Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, with a good question: “Idle thought: Was Orioles manager Buck Showalter fired? Or was he granted clemency?”


Another question, this one from me: Do the New York Yankees bring back Buck Showalter or Joe Girardi to replace Aaron Boone, whose handling of his pitching staff oftentimes was mystifying?



A note from humourist Brad Dickson: “It hasn’t been easy to resist the siren call of fantasy football. Indeed in 2018 playing fantasy sports has become America’s new pastime, having supplanted the erstwhile, laudable pursuits of Fidget-spinning, dabbing and searching for Pokemon.”


With the NBA season almost upon us, it’s worth noting that the sports books in Las Vegas have taken more bets on the L.A. Lakers winning the title than on any other team. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports  Babe, noted: “If anyone wondered how they got the money to build all those big hotels.”


When you’re watching an NFL game on CTV, don’t you get the feeling that the network could squeeze in at least one more promo for an upcoming show if it really tried?


Just last week, with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations having announced that she is leaving the post, Donald Trump suggested he might appoint his daughter, Ivanka, if not for the likelihood that he would be accused of nepotism. Here’s Hough: “Well that and it would interfere with her current duties as his real VP and First Lady.”


“The Nashville Predators, knocked out in Round 2 of the 2018 playoffs, raised three banners commemorating last season,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “I think one of them was for participation.”


Currie, again: “I heard on Sportsnet that the first requirement of a top-notch NHL goalie is a short memory. Hand me some goalie pads; I’m going to be an all-star!”


How naive am I? I had no idea that junior hockey players are using match-making apps like Tinder to meet up with young women while on the road.


Some scores for you to digest: 41-7, 59-1, 38-8, 79-7, 48-24, 36-16, 53-0, 48-7. . . . Those are the scores that carried junior football’s Saskatoon Hilltops to an 8-0 regular-season record.



ThisThat

F Gary Haden has asked the Medicine Hat Tigers to trade him.

Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News reports that Haden, 19, made the request on Tigers Logo OfficialThursday, and that the Tigers sent him home on Friday.

This season, Haden had a goal and two assists in nine games. Last season, he had 17 goals and 25 assists in 70 games.

A ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, the native of Airdrie, Alta., has 53 points, including 25 goals, in 115 regular-season games, all with Medicine Hat.

The Tigers acquired Haden on Jan. 10, 2016, when they sent F Cole Sanford to the Pats and also got back F Brian Williams, a third-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, a fifth-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018.


The WHL’s Department of Discipline is just like New York City — it never sleeps. . . . On whlSunday, the DoD issued three suspensions resulting from incidents in Saturday night games. . . . F Ryley Appelt of the Kamloops Blazers was given a two-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct during a 7-2 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. Originally, Appelt was penalized for a headshot, but was changed to charging. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors got one game after being hit with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct during a 4-3 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Mike MacLean of the Prince George Cougars also got one game, this one for a boarding major and game misconduct during a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. MacLean sat out the Cougars’ 2-1 OT victory over the host Kootenay Ice on Sunday.


F Brad Goethals, 20, who left the Saskatoon Blades earlier this month, now is with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. . . . They acquired his rights from the Selkirk Steelers over the weekend, giving up F Noah Basarab, 19, a 2019 sixth-round draft pick and future considerations in the exchange. . . . Goethals had 16 goals and 17 assists in 72 games with the Blades last season. . . . Goethals had a goal on Sunday, helping the Stampeders to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons.


Please feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a donation to Taking Note’s coffee-and-lunch fund.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Vancouver Giants handed the host Victoria Royals their first loss of this regular-Vancouverseason, beating them, 3-2. . . . The Royals (7-1-0) had beaten the visiting Giants, 3-2 in OT, on Saturday night. . . . The Royals now are 5-1-0 at home. All eight of their games to this point have been against B.C. Division opponents. . . . At 7-0-0, the Royals had tied the franchise record for best start to a season. Last season, they also opened with seven straight victories. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings now are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have lost in regulation time. The Wheat Kings (5-0-2) are scheduled to entertain the Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday. . . . Vancouver has points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Giants were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having beaten the Kamloops Blazers, 4-3 in a shootout, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . F Milos Roman (5) scored twice for Vancouver; he’s got goals in four straight games. . . . F Brayden Watts (3) got the winner when he broke a 2-2 tie at 16:21 of the second period. . . . The Giants held a 40-20 edge in shots. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck stopped 18 shots in his third straight start. . . . Trent Miner, Vancouver’s other goaltender, missed all three games as he travelled home to Brandon after the deaths of both of his grandfathers. . . . According to the online scoresheets, the Giants didn’t dress a backup goaltender for any of the three weekend games.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Blades, 6-2, in PrinceAlbertSaskatoon. . . . The Raiders (10-1-0) are the first WHL team to 10 victories this season. They have won three in a row and now led the overall standings by three points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blades (7-3-0) had won four in a row. . . . F Brett Leason (9) led the Raiders with two goals and an assist. He’s got at least a point in each of the Raiders’ 11 games. . . . Leason broke a 2-2 tie at 17:12 of the second period. . . . D Brayden Pachal (1) added a goal and two assists for Prince Albert. . . . Leason now is tied for the lead in the WHL’s points race. He and F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks have 22 points apiece. . . . Leason leads the WHL in goals with nine.


The Everett Silvertips completed a weekend sweep by beating the Winterhawks, 4-2, in EverettPortland. . . . The Silvertips (6-3-0) were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having beaten the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-3, on Friday, and the Kamloops Blazers, 7-2, on Saturday. . . . The Winterhawks (5-3-1), who had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games, hadn’t played since Wednesday. . . . Everett got 30 saves from Dustin Wolf, who is the only goaltender the Silvertips have used to this point in the season. Wolf is 6-3-0, 1.90, .922. . . . The Winterhawks were 0-10 on the PP. . . . F Connor Dewar had two assists for Everett, giving him 14 points, including seven helpers, in nine games.


G Taylor Gauthier turned aside 45 shots to help the Prince George Cougars to a 2-1 OT PrinceGeorgevictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice held a 46-27 edge in shots, including 21-5 in the third period. . . . Each team was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Cougars lost 4-1 to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday, then beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-5 in a shootout, on Saturday. . . . The Ice lost 3-2 to the visiting Regina Pats on Friday night, then dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, F Jackson Leppard (1) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 13:32 of the second period. . . . The Ice pulled even at 3:39 of the third on a goal by F Peyton Krebs (3). . . . F Ilijah Colina (3) won it 33 seconds into extra time. . . . The Ice (3-4-1) has lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . The Cougars improved to 4-5-1. . . . Prince George was without F Josh Maser and F Mike MacLean, both of whom were serving WHL-issued suspensions.


F Nick Henry scored 14 seconds into OT to give the visiting Regina Pats a 4-3 victory over Patsthe Calgary Hitmen. . . . D Aaron Hyman (3) had pulled the Pats (3-6-0) into a 3-3 tie, on a PP, at 11:06 of the third period. . . . Henry, who also had two assists, won it with his second goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen slipped to 1-5-2. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (4) had a goal and two assists for Regina. . . . F Cole Dubinsky, who won’t turn 16 until Dec. 4, scored his first goal for the Pats. From Ardrossan, Alta., he was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Tristen Nielsen was back in Calgary’s lineup after serving a three-game suspension.


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It’s time for WHL to do the right thing . . . Decision-makers must act . . . Fighting, headshots have to go

 


ThisThat

Included in a WHL news release that was issued on June 14 following the league’s annual meeting in Vancouver was this sentence:

“The WHL took further measures to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head.”

The news release didn’t provide any further details, but it says here that anything short of a complete ban on fighting and all contact with an opponent’s head, including incidental contact, is a complete failure.

If the WHL really — really, really, really — cares about the health and safety of its players it is time to make these moves. In fact, it’s well past time.

Why?

Well, let’s start with this Ken Dryden piece from the op-ed pages of the Washington Post.

And then there’s this piece right here from The Players Tribune. Written by Nick Boynton, a former major junior player who went to skate in the NHL, it isn’t pretty.

At one point, Boynton writes of his three-year-old son: “But I cannot, in good conscience, let him play the game of ice hockey until something changes and we start looking out for our players by taking the problems of head hits and concussions — and their potential impact on mental health — more seriously.”

Boynton also writes:

“Yes, ours is a physical, violent sport. And it may be the case that we cannot rid hockey of that violence and danger altogether. But at the very least let’s deal with the issues that arise as a result of that. Deal with the head trauma. Deal with the concussions. And deal with all of the ramifications that those things bring about.

“Stop telling people the world is flat and just do the right thing. Instead of ignoring the damage that occurs to the brain when you get your bell rung out on the ice, let’s own up to it and get guys the help they need. Not just after they retire, but while they’re playing the game.

“Let’s start addressing the problem. Let’s look closely at the brain — and how our sport as we currently play it might be harmful to the brain — and begin making things right.”

In a recent conversation with Brandon Rivers of dubnetwork.ca, WHL commissioner Ron Robison was asked about the fact that the OHL has fighting restrictions — Rivers pointed out that “If a player fights more than three times in a season, that player will be subjected to a two-game suspension for each fight over the number allowed” — while the WHL has no such thing.

Robison replied:

“I think that is another example. Each in our own way we are looking to reduce or eliminate fighting or what we would call . . . unnecessary fighting in the game. In our case, we have a WHL Player Safety Seven Point Plan, which has been in place for several seasons. We review that annually and make recommendations and we will be reviewing that actually with our general managers . . . It is an ongoing process. We each approach things a little differently but for the most part we are on the same page as far as what we are trying to accomplish.”

Robison, if you haven’t noticed, has got commissioner-speak down to a fine art where he uses many words to really say, well, not much. What he should have said is this:

“There is more and more scientific evidence linking CTE to blows to the head. Whether or not CTE is a direct result of blows to the head and/or concussions/traumatic brain injury, we are well aware that blows to the head aren’t good and may cause irreparable damage.

“As a result, the WHL is moving to the forefront of this issue by banning fighting. When a player has one fight, he will receive a warning. A second fight will carry with it a two-game suspension, with three games for a third, four for a fourth, etc.

“This is just another case of our wanting to protect the health of our players now and in the future.”

It would be easy for the WHL to adopt the IIHF’s rule that deals with checking to the head or neck. It’s Rule 124 in the IIHF rule book that is readily available at iihf.com.

Dryden, the former NHL goaltender whose latest book is Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey, spoke for 40 minutes at the See The Line symposium in London, Ont., on Thursday.

“Six years ago the process began (with See The Line),” he said. “Injuries happen, sometimes career-diminishing, sometimes career-ending, some that change a person’s life; and change them and make them not them anymore. In six years we are now more aware of that too.

“But after six years we still have this immense problem with brain injury in sports. Why? What can we do now? Our response to it is we need better science; we need to understand it better and that becomes our focus . . . to get better technology and the focus becomes on science. The problem is when it becomes so much of the focus; science takes time and games are played tomorrow.”

Later, he told Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press, whose piece is right here:

“If you don’t force decision-makers to do something, things will remain the same. We have to move beyond just awareness and science. As I said in the end it is up to the decision-makers to take all this awareness that’s been raised and apply it. They have every right to simply carry on and that’s the problem; they are the roadblock. Why do we let them off the hook? Put it into the hands of those whose hands it should be in. Say to them ‘you are not custodians of the game; but custodians of the people playing the game.’ What are you doing for them?”



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.



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Scattershooting on a Sunday: No welcome back Carter . . . Kamloops adds a scout . . . DD Train is rolling now


Scattershooting

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Former NFL running back Ricky Williams, who once took a break from smoking weed to swear to me that he was done smoking weed, is selling his own line of weed products, ‘Real Wellness by Ricky Williams.’  I hope it’s better than the line of baloney he used to sell.”


On the subject of weed and footballers, you don’t suppose the Saskatchewan Roughriders released Duron Carter because he had become too much of a distraction, do you? That being the case, the move should have been made weeks, if not months, ago.

Carter received an absolute discharge on June 21 in Winnipeg after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana-laced cookies — they also featured chocolate chips — following his arrest at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport on Nov. 25 in November.

He also has pleaded not guilty to another possession charge, this one stemming from an arrest at Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport on Feb. 1. That case is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 3.

——

For any football fans expecting an honest explanation from the brass as to why the Roughriders dumped Carter, well, forget it. Chris Jones is the top dog there — actually, he is the vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator — and the team’s playbook carries the title ‘My Way or the Highway.’ Jones also isn’t alone in footballdom in operating under a cone of silence. I mean, are you still expecting New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to explain why he didn’t use defensive back Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII?

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If you’re interested in an overview of the situation involving the Roughriders and Carter, Ian Hamilton, the senior reporter at riderville.com, has a good look right here.


The Kamloops Blazers have added Jason Pashelka to their scouting staff. Pashelka, from Kamloops1Calgary, spent 11 seasons scouting with the Portland Winterhawks, so has a connection to Matt Bardsley, the Blazers’ new general manager. Bardsley had been in the Winterhawks’ organization since 1999 before signing on with the Blazers. . . . Pashelka spent the past two seasons scouting southern Alberta for the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Earlier, the Blazers lost scout Mark Blair, who left after 11 seasons with them. He since has joined the scouting staff in Moose Jaw.


“Estaban Loaiza, who made over $40 million as a Major League pitcher, faces life in prison for attempting to sell $500,000 in cocaine near a San Diego school,” tweets comedy writer Alex Kaseberg. “Experts say this is the stupidest thing attempted since IHOP changed its name to International House of Burgers.”

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Kaseberg, again: “In Florida, a police helicopter filmed a fleeing woman who stole a car being herded by cows toward the police. Authorities do not consider this a full-blown Florida incident as she was not carrying an alligator under her arm at the time.”


The Kamloops Broncos dropped a 42-0 decision to the Vancouver Island Raiders in a junior football game played in Nanaimo on Saturday night. Judging from the above tweet, the Broncos had some issues with their punting game.


The Las Vegas Aces, a team in the WNBA, spent 24 hours en route to Washington, D.C., for a recent game with the Mystics. When they didn’t arrive in Washington until five hours before the scheduled game time, they chose not to play “for health and safety reasons.” . . . Seriously. . . . Under similar circumstances, how many junior hockey games wouldn’t get played over the course of a season? . . . The WNBA later forfeited that game to the Mystics.



“The Dallas Cowboys welcomed Randy Gregory to camp after he had been suspended by the NFL for a year due to substance abuse violations,” notes Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon. “This is merely the latest in a series of suspensions for the same reason. A couple of weeks ago, Jerry Jones said without any modifiers that if one of the Cowboys did not stand on the sidelines for the national anthem, that player would not play for the Cowboys. So, a serial drug abuser is OK, but . . .”


Brian Elder is the new head scout for the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. Elder, who played three seasons (1994-97 ) tending goal with the Brandon Wheat Kings, lives and teaches school in Souris, Man. He spent the previous four seasons as a scout with the Oil Capitals. . . . Jamie Hodson, the Oil Capitals’ director of business and hockey operations, also is a former Wheat Kings goaltender (1997-2001).


The DD Train has started to roll. Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. This year, on Sept. 23, she will take part in her fifth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you may do so right here. As of last night, she was among the top-10 fundraisers in B.C. Yes, we are rather proud of her in these parts.


“Give Trump credit,” writes Janice Hough (leftcoastsportsbabe.com). “Before this year, almost nobody cared what the SCORES were for preseason football, let alone what players were doing during the anthem.”

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Hough, again: “The San Francisco 49ers now say there isn’t anything they can do about the intense sun and heat faced by fans on the east side of Levi’s Stadium. But they will lower the price of bottled water from $6 to $2 so fans can stay hydrated. That’s the NFL equivalent of ‘thoughts and prayers’.”


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