Scattershooting on a Saturday night as WHL players head for home . . .

Scattershooting

SOME DOTS AND THOUGHTS AS WE WAIT THIS THING OUT . . .

A couple of hours after the above tweet was posted, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they “have released their players to return home immediately.”

“We will have all players return to Kamloops at an undetermined time,” the statement read.

It wasn’t long after that until the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips said they, too, were allowing players to return to their homes.

The Cougars said they “have decided to send players home to their families until further notice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Silvertips, according to a tweet from Josh Horton of the Everett Herald, are sending players home Sunday morning. As well, there were indications on social media that the Spokane Chiefs and Winnipeg Ice are doing the same.

However, there was nothing official from the WHL as of late Saturday night.

Look, the way things are shaping up “undetermined time” and “until further notice” may well turn out to be late August, just in time for training camp prior to the 2020-21 season.

Hey, if you are being honest and assuming you have been paying attention to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and all the numbers associated with that, you might be starting to realize that this mess isn’t anywhere near close to a conclusion. . . .

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The WHL’s board of governors apparently is scheduled to chat on Tuesday. If that’s the case, it is time for them to cancel their season and do all they can to get players back to their families. Hey, billet families are wonderful, they really are, but this league is full of teenagers, some of them as young as 16, who should be with their real families until all of this blows over. . . . So scrub the season and start hoping that things will be better in time to open training camps in August. . . . On second thought, do it today. . . .


On Saturday, the ECHL announced that it has ended its season. “This decision allows our players the opportunity to return to their homes and removes the uncertainty that currently exists,” the ECHL said in a statement. . . . The ECHL is the first North American professional league to cancel its season. . . .


The world mixed and world senior curling championships have been cancelled. They were to have been held in Kelowna, April 18-25. . . . The Memorial Cup is scheduled for Kelowna, May 21-31. . . .

ICYMI, the world men’s curling championship also has been cancelled. It was to have been held in Glasgow, from March 28 through April 5. . . .



Janice Hough, who can be found at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Now March Madness is cancelled. No, let me rephrase that: The NCAA basketball tournaments are cancelled. We’re LIVING in March Madness.” . . .


Tom Brady, at the age of 42, isn’t yet ready to stop playing football. Of course, as comedian Argus Hamilton pointed out via Twitter: “He’s 35 years too young to run for president.” . . .


One supposes that you have to be ready just in case they come for the toilet paper . . .


All those people standing in line to buy toilet paper . . . are those the same people who complain about being third in line at a cash register during normal times? . . .


Are you tired of doing jigsaw puzzles yet? Is there anything worse than putting out 1,000 pieces before getting started on putting it together? . . .


Headline at TheOnion.com: Orioles suggest that MLB maybe consider cancelling entire season just to be safe. . . .



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “The saddest part about MLB prematurely shutting down spring training? Our gritty young Mariners, at 6-12, were still mathematically alive to win the Cactus League championship.” . . .

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One more from Perry: “One of the best ways to avoid catching the coronavirus, health officials say, is to avoid touching your own face. Lots of luck trying to break a third-base coach of that nasty habit.” . . .


Wash your hands and stay safe out there.

Scattershooting on a Wednesday, after watching lightning hit Tampa Bay’s outhouse. . . .

Scattershooting

“Arizona beat the Dodgers on March 29 in the longest regular-season game in Dodger Stadium history — 6 hours, 5 minutes and 13 innings,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “L.A. fans were so confused that, after leaving early in the seventh inning as usual, they came back twice more so they could leave again in the 10th and 12th.”



The defending NHL champion Washington Capitals and their captain Alex Ovechkin visited the White House,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Afterwards, President Trump denied any involvement with the Russian.”


A couple of Robservations from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post . . .

Pet peeve: References to someone setting a “new record.” The “new” is unnecessary.

Another pet peeve: Media types who make a statement and then expect an interviewee to answer. Some of the worst offenders are veteran reporters. How difficult is it to ask a question?



ICYMI, Earvin Johnson has resigned as the president of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, or, as Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted, “Magic lived up to his name — by disappearing.”


“I’m so old,” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “I remember when the Clippers were Los Angeles’s dysfunctional NBA franchise.”


Headline at The Onion: Engineers Unveil New Driverless Car Capable Of Committing Hit-And-Run.

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Headline at Fark.com: Hapless Mariners can’t even get a rebuilding year right.

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Headline at SportsPickle.com: Will Trent Richardson and Johnny Manziel have to wait 5 years to be inducted into the AAF Hall of Fame?


It was Thursday afternoon in Kamloops when two stories broke.

First came this one, with the lead from Kamloops This Week:

“Stormy Daniels is coming to Kamloops.

“The award-winning porn actress who wrote a tell-all book about her encounter with U.S. President Donald Trump — and the ensuing $130,000 payment he made to her — will be at The Duchess, 377 Tranquille Rd., on June 2 for a meet-and-greet event, according to her website.”

That was followed by this from the local WHL team: “The Kamloops Blazers have announced that the hockey club and head coach Serge Lajoie have mutually parted ways.”

Which one do you think created more buzz in the city that used to be known as Little Montreal?

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James Miller, in the Kelowna Daily Courier: “Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran needs to immediately impose economic sanctions on the City of Kamloops. First, Kamloops ends the Kelowna Rockets’ season in a single-game showdown for the final berth in the Western Hockey League playoffs. Next, they secured the biggest book tour of 2019 — Stormy Daniels. How are these things possible?”


Dorothy and I spent Monday on the road. We went from Kamloops to Salmon Arm, then over to Vernon, down to Kelowna, and back to Kamloops. A couple of observations: There are no speed limits on the highways we travelled. Those signs with numbers on them on the sides of those highways? They aren’t even guidelines. . . . There seem to be a lot of drivers who make a right or left turn onto a highway assuming that oncoming track will see them and slow down. How many times does one of those drivers do this before finding themselves in a wreck?



“Just think,” notes comedian Argus Hamilton, “if they send Lori Loughlin up the river, her daughter can row her there.”


The WHL, which has requested that a number of its team’s landlords install new glass, boards and scoreclocks at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, may want to think about requesting indoor fishing pools stocked with bass, too. After all, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River drew 153,809 fans over three days in March.


“Last time LeBron missed the playoffs was in 2005,” notes Bleacher Report. “That year . . . Netflix was delivering DVDs. . . . Apple didn’t have an iPhone. . . . YouTube was founded. . . . Aubrey Graham wasn’t Drake yet; he was Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi.”


From the Twitter account of Brad Dickson (@brad_dickson): “You complain about the Nebraska football team going 4-8 last season? If the Nebraska Legislature were a football team its record would be 1-11 yet you re-elect almost all the same people to it every time.”

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One more from Dickson: “The Dept of Homeland Security Chief just ‘retired.’ I won’t speculate on how she plans to fund her retirement but somebody just put 9 million pairs of confiscated nail clippers up for sale on eBay.”


I really liked Patti Dawn Swansson’s take on Tiger Woods, The Masters, and what a lot of folks were calling the greatest comeback in the history of the universe. Here’s Swansson . . .

You want to talk about comebacks? Okay.

  • Try golfer Ben Hogan, who lost an argument with a Greyhound bus in 1949 and suffered a double fracture to his pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a fractured left ankle, a chipped rib, near-fatal blood clots, lifelong circulation problems, and required blood transfusions. He won the U.S. Open the following year, and another five Grand Slam tournaments after that.
  • Try Muhammad Ali, banned from boxing for 3½ years due to the political climate of the day, then returning to win the heavyweight title.
  • Try Monica Seles, stabbed in the back with a nine-inch knife by a crazed Steffi Graf fan during a tennis match, disappearing for more than two years due to depression and the fear of another attack by a man who never spent a day in jail, then returning to win the Australian Open.
  • Try Mario Lemieux, who won a battle with cancer and returned to the NHL to win multiple scoring titles.
  • Try driver Niki Lauda, hauled out of a fire-engulfed car and his head and face burnt to a crisp, then returning to win the Formula 1 driving title one year later and again five years after his first retirement.

Woods battled back from self-inflicted public humiliation and numerous physical challenges that could have ended his career, but nothing life-threatening. His is a terrific story, to be sure. But the greatest comeback ever? Not even close.

The entire column is right here and, as usual, it goes down well with morning coffee.

Scattershooting after a football-filled Sunday . . . Peckford and Franklin enjoy five-pointers . . . Woods fills his hat for Chiefs

Scattershooting


It won’t be long until the Oakland Raiders are at their new home in Las Vegas. As Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle noted: “Usually when a high-rolling loser comes to Vegas, the casinos set him up with a comp hotel room. With (owner Mark) Davis, they’re giving him a comp stadium.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Sarah Huckabee Sanders Denies Doctoring Footage Showing Jim Acosta in Clown Makeup Blowing Up Gotham Hospital.



After word got out that President Trump was to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley, comedian Argus Hamilton noted: “It was a brilliant move. Trump finally figured out a way to get a sports champion and a member of the entertainment industry not to refuse an invitation to the White House.”


The ex-husband of a good friend died recently. Here’s a line from his obit: “If you wish to honour Rod, boycott Trump by avoiding a trip into the United States. Now that would make him happy.” . . . They — he and his ex, not he and Trump — were friends until the end.


Headline at Deadspin: Most annoying Warriors player says he and second-most annoying Warriors player are cool now.



“Supporters of Rijnsburgse Boys, a soccer team in the Netherlands, hired a porn star named Foxy to run in nothing but shoes and socks across the field to unnerve rival Amsterdamsche FC players, but it didn’t work as first-place AFC breezed to a 6-2 win,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Now that’s what you call a losing streak.”


There was a report the other day that American CEOs earn 312 times what the average worker takes home. To which Brad Rock of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City wrote: “Latrell Sprewell’s first thought: ‘Hey. They got families to feed.’ ”



The best sit-down/stand-up comedy act in the NHL? That’s easy . . . it’s the play-by-play team of Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, who give you the most-slanted coverage of an NHL team (Boston Bruins) that you can imagine. . . . Go in knowing what you are going to hear and the whining and whimpering becomes hilarious.



Slava Malamud, aka Twitter’s official Russian sports writer, tweeted this the other day, and it’s impossible to disagree with his premise: “Do any fans, ever, in the history of life, look forward to between-the-periods player interviews? Do you learn anything from them? Are they in any way whatsoever needed at all?”



The owner of Benshot, a Wisconsin company, chose to offer handguns to its 16 employees as Christmas presents because they are “kind of fun and exciting gifts.” . . . Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, offered: “And you thought your office Christmas party got out of control after people get drunk and argumentative.”


Ever wonder what the late Howard Cosell would have thought of today’s sports-media landscape? “He would hate social media,” said Al Michaels, NBC-TV’s top football play-by-play man. “He would hate talk radio. . . . He would describe it as a ‘cacophony of crap.’ ”


ThisThat

Austyn Playfair spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL, playing for the Tri-City Americans, while dreaming of following his father Jim’s path to the NHL. However, a shoulder injury derailed those plans and he ultimately left hockey and jumped into the world of fashion design. . . . Audrey Lim of dailyhive.com has that story right here.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit fired head coach Troy Smith on Sunday, replacing him with associate coach Chris Lazary. The Spirit is 11-9-2, after losing twice on the weekend — 5-2 to the Rangers in Kitchener on Friday and 5-1 to the visiting Windsor Spitfires on Saturday. Saginaw is tied for second with Windsor (11-10-2) in the five-team West Division, six points behind the Soo Greyhounds. . . . Smith was in his second season as the Spirit’s head coach.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ryan Peckford scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to MooseJawWarriorsa 9-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Warriors (10-5-4) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Ice (7-14-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Ice went 0-2-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. Kootenay lost 5-0 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday night, then dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors scored the game’s first four goals as they took a 4-0 lead on Peckford’s second goal of the game at 12:17 of the opening period. . . . He added his third and fourth goals at 5:05 and 10:56 of the second period. . . . Peckford went into the game with four goals this season and came out with eight. This was his first four-goal game and second five-point outing; he had a six-pointer (one goal and five assists) while with the Victoria Royals in 2016-17. A 19-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., who was acquired last season from the Royals, Peckford now has eight goals and eight assists in 18 games. . . . F Tyler Smithies added his first two goals and an assist for the Warriors. He went into the day with one goal in 54 career regular-season games. . . . The Ice’s goal came from F Owen Pederson, who has goals in two straight games since being brought in Saturday from OHA-Edmonton’s prep team. . . . Moose Jaw had a 43-20 edge in shots. . . . The Ice scratched F Peyton Krebs, while the Warriors remain without F Justin Almeida.


F Zane Franklin scored once and added four assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 Kamloops1victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . The Blazers (8-9-2) have won two in a row. On Saturday night, they beat the host Cougars, 5-1. . . . Prince George (9-10-3) has lost two straight. . . . The Blazers have won their last eight games in Prince George. . . . Franklin, an off-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, assisted on four of the Blazers’ first five goals as they took a 5-0 lead before the second period was 14 minutes old. . . . Franklin, 19, had never had a four- or five-point game in 155 regular-season outings prior to this one. He had three three-point games to his credit. Franklin now has 14 goals and 11 assists in 19 games. He finished last season with 14 goals and 24 assists in 67 games. . . . The Blazers were 2-3 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. The Cougars went 1-9 on the PP. . . . F Orrin Centazzo and F Luc Smith each had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, with D Nolan Kneen and D Luke Zazula each recording three assists for the Blazers. Smith has eight goals, while Centazzo has four.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last three goals as they skated to a 3-1 victory over VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Victoria (12-6-0) has won two in a row. This was the Royals’ fifth road game of the season; they are 3-2-0. . . . The Giants (14-6-2) have lost two straight. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (2) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Logan Doust (1) got Victoria into a tie at 7:43, and F D-Jay Jerome (11) broke the tie at 13:12. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (4) added insurance with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:47 of the third. . . . Doust, who notched his first WHL point, is from North Vancouver. . . . The Giants had been 9-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal. . . . The Royals got 28 saves from G Griffen Outhouse as he posted his 98th career regular-season victory. . . . Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 22 shots. . . . Outhouse made his 165th appearance, which tied Coleman Vollrath’s franchise record (2012-16) for most appearances by a goaltender.


F Riley Woods scored three times to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-2 OT victory over the SpokaneChiefshost Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane now is 12-8-3, with Everett at 16-7-1. . . . Woods, who has 18 goals, opened the scoring with two PP goals — at 6:24 and 8:42 of the first period. . . . Everett pulled even on goals from D Wyatte Wylie (5), on a PP, at 11:15 of the first, and F Dawson Butt (5) at 6:00 of the second. . . . Woods won it at 2:27 of the extra period as he completed his first WHL hat trick. . . . Woods, who was acquired from the Regina Pats during 2016-17, has 18 goals and 15 assists in 23 games. Last season, the 20-year-old from Regina finished with 25 goals and 32 assists in 72 games. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 38 shots and picked up an assist on the game’s first goal for Spokane. . . . D Ty Smith had two assists for the Chiefs; he’s got three goals and 28 assists in 20 games. . . . For the second straight weekend, Everett played three games in fewer than 48 hours. After going 3-0-0 the first time, the Silvertips were 1-1-1 this time. . . . The Chiefs also went three times in fewer than 48 hours this weekend, finishing 2-1-0.


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