The CHL is back on TV this (Saturday) afternoon as the Regina Pats play host to the Prince Albert Raiders in a game that is to be shown on CBC. . . . If you tune in, you’re going to get Victor Findlay doing the play-by-play with analysis by Sam Cosentino, who is hardly a stranger to major junior hockey. . . . Findlay has a whole lot of play-by-play experience, having called a lot of Canadian university games, as well as a couple of Champions Hockey League finals, some Ottawa Senators games and an IIHF U-18 World championship. . . . It’ll be a quick turnaround for the teams after Regina won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. The Raiders’ bus is to hit the road at 6:15 a.m. . . . You may recall that CHL climbed into bed with Sportsnet in 1998 and then the two parties signed a 12-year “partnership extension” on Feb. 18, 2014, that was to run through the 2025-26 season. . . . Their relationship ended this summer, with Sportsnet bailing and the CHL signing on with TSN, RDS and CBC on what the hockey people called “multi-platform, multi-year broadcast partnerships.” . . . It all starts today at 1 p.m. Regina time — that’s noon PT — and you can bet the spotlight will be on Regina F Connor Bedard, who, at 16, comes with all the adjectives you might imagine. He scored the game’s first and last goals on Friday in Prince Albert and, yes, he was named first star. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was in Prince Albert on Friday night and his report is right here.
G Isaac Poulter stopped 20 shots to record the first shutout of the season as the host Swift Current Broncos got past the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. That was Poulter’s second career shutout. His first came on March 13, 2019, when he stopped 33 shots as the Broncos beat the host Regina Pats, 2-0. . . .
In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Yager, 16, who is from Saskatoon, struck for three goals as the Warriors beat the Blades, 7-1. Alex Clarke of Weyburn, Sask., became the first woman to work as an on-ice official in a WHL regular-season game when she partnered with Ryan Lundquist on the lines. . . .
The Edmonton Oil Kings got three goals from F Josh Williams and three assists from F Jakub Demek as they defeated the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 4-1. Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate points out that the Oil Kings have won 18 of their last 19 meetings with the Rebels. Yes, that’s domination. . . .
F Noah Boyko scored three times and F Justin Hall had a goal and four assists as the host Lethbridge Hurricanes dropped the Calgary Hitmen, 9-2. . . .
In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice thrashed the Wheat Kings, 10-2. Winnipeg got two goals from each of F Skyler Bruce and F Mikey Milne. Ice G Daniel Hauser stopped 20 shots, including a pair of penalty shots. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored twice in a five-round shootout to beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-4. Dwayne Jean Jr., a 17-year-old freshman from Edmonton, got the shootout winner.
In case you missed it, this from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle: “The Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a ball completely out of Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, a shot that landed on top of the left-field pavilion and disappeared into the night. According to the Dodgers’ website, only five other players have done that since the park opened in 1962: Willie Stargell (1969 Pirates), Stargell again (1973 Pirates), Mike Piazza (1997 Dodgers), McGwire (1999 Cardinals) and Giancarlo Stanton (2015 Marlins).”
F Zac Rinaldo refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19 so it would seem the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets are through with him. Earlier, the team told Rinaldo to stay away from their training camp. On Friday, Rinaldo, 31, cleared NHL waivers and the Blue Jackets told him not to bother reporting to camp with the Cleveland Monsters, their AHL affiliate, when it opens on Tuesday. . . . Rinaldo signed a one-year, two-way contract in August. He won’t be getting his NHL salary (US$750,000), but will draw his AHL salary ($300,000) while he doesn’t play. . . . The Blue Jackets have told Rinaldo that he is free to look for other opportunities.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Toby Boulet, perhaps Canada’s best-known advocate for organ donation, is asking people who aren’t yet vaccinated to take one for the team.
Boulet’s son, Logan, was one of 16 people killed in the crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on April 6, 2018. Logan, who was 20, had registered as an organ donor a short time before the accident and his organs ended up helping six different people.
Now, with transplantation surgery having been halted in Saskatchewan —only living-donor kidney transplants are performed there — Boulet told Global News that he really wants people to pull together to help us get through this.
“If you can think of what happened with the Humboldt Broncos tragedy and what you did and how you responded,” he said in an interview with Global News, “how your love went out to the families of the Broncos and the families and the community of Humboldt . . . we need you now to help other families, other people.”
Boulet, who lives in Lethbridge, also pointed out that “organ transplants are a critical service and the fact that they’re being shut down is devastating and there will be loss of life because of the decisions of some,”
At the same time, he didn’t pull any punches when looking at the overall situation.
“I firmly believe it’s the selfishness of people that don’t see the community as being first,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the team. And the team needs you right now.”
The Kidney Foundation, SK Branch feels the deep disappointment of patients on the transplant waitlist, those who have a living donor ready to donate, & the families of deceased donors who will now be unable to fulfill the last wishes of their loved one.https://t.co/bmDFu6Htcq
Dr. Hassan Masri of the U of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine was mentioned here yesterday because of his tweet about that province having to halt organ transplantation.
Later, he posted this on Facebook and his words say everything:
“Most patients that come to the ICU come in a very critical condition and without any immediate and aggressive intervention most would die in a few short minutes to hours.
“Luckily most patients do make it out of the ICU and go on to their homes eventually and it brings all of us in the ICU a lot of joy to see that recovery.
“A small number of patients unfortunately don’t survive their disease and illness and they pass away. Many of those who pass away go on to become organ donors and in turn they save the lives of other people.
“Organ donation is a critical part of my job and it’s a role that brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. More importantly, organ donors saves people’s lives because of the generosity of those who have died and their families. Being a small part of this process and facilitating this process is mind-blowing and it’s a feeling that I can’t describe to you in words.
“Effective (Thursday), Saskatchewan’s organ donation programs are shut down until further notice because of the pressure that COVID-19 has put on our ICUs. This means that no one can donate their organs and that is a shame, but it also means that no one will receive any organs and that is an equally big shame.
“Reading the email (Thursday) morning about the donation program being shut down was extremely painful and sad to me as I am sure it is sad and devastating to so many other colleagues who fought hard to have this program and to the families of those who have been waiting for an organ.
“The medical community and the SHA will continue to do their best to care for our citizens but the delay in taking any actions for weeks has a very tragic price.
“The impact of the COVID-19 fourth wave will be painful and this is just the beginning.
“I have said this and I will say this again. Fighting COVID-19 effectively cannot happen by adding more beds. It can happen by having our Saskatchewan government mandating vaccines for all who are eligible to receive it and by enforcing masks on everyone.”
Meanwhile . . .
The SJHL’s regular season was to have opened on Friday night with six games. But, said COVID-19, “not so fast, my friends.” . . . Even before the league got to opening night it had to shut down the Melville Millionaires until further notice due to a positive test somewhere within the organization. . . . “The decision for postponement did not come easy, but we all feel that this is the best decision to make at this time to mitigate the potential risks,” read an SJHL news release signed by Bill Chow, the commissioner. “The SJHL will work with the Melville Millionaires and teams affected by the postponement in rescheduling and will announce when that information is available. Any health matter is private in nature, the SJHL and the Melville Millionaires will have no further comments at this time.” . . . The Millionaires had played eight exhibition games in 14 days through Sept. 19. They were to have opened the regular season in Weyburn against the Red Wings on Friday night and then played in Weyburn on Saturday. . . . The SJHL’s original schedule had Melville playing three games through Sept. 29 and six more from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9. That included four games in five days from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5.
The WHL is pleased to congratulate Alex Clarke, who is set to become the first female linesperson in WHL history.
When the Regina Pats met the Warriors in Moose Jaw in an exhibition game on Friday night, Alex Clarke of Weyburn was to be one of the on-ice officials, becoming the first female to work the lines in a WHL game. This comes after Clarke, 28, worked the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Calgary in August. . . . From a WHL news release: “Clarke boasts extensive international experience, having been assigned to the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship, 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship (Division 1, Group B), 2018 4 Nations Cup, and 2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship (Division II, Group B).” She also has worked various leagues on the Prairies, including the SJHL and U Sports women’s games. . . . BTW, the WHL news release announcing that Clarke has joined the league’s officiating team referred to her as a linesperson. Does that move linesman/linesmen out of the vernacular? . . . The Pats won the game, 4-1. Unfortunately, the online scoresheet doesn’t list Clarke as one of the on-ice officials — there isn’t a Linesman 1 shown. Hopefully the league is able to get her name in there so that this moment in WHL history is right there on the website.
JUST NOTES: The Vancouver Giants will wear a patch on their sweaters this season in memory of Elizabeth Toigo, the mother of majority owner Ron Toigo, after she died on Friday morning. . . . The Ontario government and health officials announced some adjustments to restrictions on Friday, so OHL games played in Ontario arenas now can be opened up to 50 per cent capacity. . . . The CHL has cancelled the Canada-Russia series because of the pandemic. The six-game series last was held in 2019. . . . F Connor Zary, who played 203 regular-season games over four seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, will be out for a while — the NHL’s Calgary Flames show him as week-to-week — with a fractured ankle. Fortunately, the injury won’t require surgery. Zary, who turns 20 today (Saturday), was injured when he blocked a shot in a rookie game against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He has signed with the Flames and likely is ticketed for their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.
Organizers of the 2022 Manitoba Games announced Friday that they won’t be held. The Games were scheduled for Niverville, from Feb. 27 through March 5, and would have involved around 1,500 participants and about 1,000 volunteers. . . . From a Sport Manitoba news release: “Over the last 18 months, inconsistencies in competition and training opportunities had an effect on athlete development. Without regular training, conditioning, and recovery routines in this crucial stage, the risk of injury, mental fatigue, and overtraining were also factors in making this decision. Along with continued uncertainty about the pandemic, and public health restrictions, it became clear it would not be possible to host an event of this magnitude and execute a safe and successful multi-sport Games experience.”
Andrew Wiggins, who is from Thornhill, Ont., was the first overall selection in the NBA’s 2014 draft. However, he really hadn’t had much of a career until last season when he joined the Golden State Warriors. But now it turns out he’s an anti-vaxxer and, well, here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle . . .
“If Wiggins carries through with his rejection of the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving the Warriors with a part-time player who had been counted upon to start, his career is essentially over. Remember Draymond Green’s unbridled fury at Kevin Durant because he might not be fully committed to the franchise? Imagine how Green, and the rest of the Warriors, will react if Wiggins joins the list of selfish, isolated professional athletes who choose principle — even if it’s something they can’t adequately explain — over the team dynamic and the health of others.”
Jenkins also reported that Wiggins, if he isn’t vaccinated, won’t “be able to play in any home games at Chase Center, due to San Francisco’s updated policy for large indoor gatherings.”
On Friday, the NBA announced that it had denied Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Health’s order requiring vaccination for anyone 12 and older at large indoor events.
Wiggins is scheduled to make something like US$29.54 million for 2021-22.
The Chicago Blackhawks were missing two players from Friday’s on-ice sessions because of COVID-19 protocols. G Kevin Lankinen and F Mike Hardman. That doesn’t mean either player tested positive; perhaps they were in contact with someone who did. No further details were released. . . . The Blackhawks are 100 per cent vaccinated, according to GM Stan Bowman.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
One of the really unfortunate thing about the past 18 months — or however long this damned pandemic has dominated our lives — is how so much of the fight against it has been politicized, seemingly right from the start, and how no two jurisdictions seem capable of working together on any part of this.
Well, other than the Maritime provinces and their travel bans, that is.
But take the parties that are planned for Regina and Winnipeg later in the week.
In Regina, the Roughriders are scheduled to play their CFL regular-season opener on Friday against the B.C. Lions. The game is to be played in front of a sold-out Mosaic Stadium, which means more than 33,000 fans. All are welcomed, including those who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated.
As Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post put it: “You can’t bring peanuts, blow horns, selfie sticks or sunflower seeds into Mosaic Stadium, but you can bring in COVID-19. Proof of vaccination is not required for entry.”
Then, on Saturday, the defending Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers — they won it in 2019, the last time the CFL played a game — are to entertain the Hamilton Tigers-Cats at IG Field, likely in front of around 33,000 fans. You must be fully vaccinated if you want to attend that game.
Adam H. Beasley of profootballnetwork.com reported on Sunday that “the NFL currently has more than 50 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including nine Arizona Cardinals, the most of any team in the league.” . . . He also reported that “nearly 10 per cent of Washington Football Team’s roster” is on the list. . . . Ron Rivera, the WFT’s head coach, is a cancer survivor and, as a result, has a compromised immune system. He spoke out last week about being disappointed and frustrated with the reluctance of some players on the team to get vaccinated . . .
George Godsey, the Miami Dolphins’ co-offensive co-ordinator, also has tested positive. One of the Dolphins on the list is tight end Adam Shaheen, who is an anti-vaxxer. . . . Keep in mind that being on the COVID-19 list doesn’t mean a player tested positive. It might be a case of someone having been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. . . .
On Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings had one QB test positive with two others identified as close contacts. As a result, starter Kirk Cousins, backup Nate Stanley and freshman Kellen Mood all missed practice, leaving Jake Browning as the only QB available for practice. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Browning is fully vaccinated to didn’t have to isolate like the other three. . . . “I am disappointed that this happened,” Zimmer said. “I’m frustrated with, not just my football players that won’t get vaccinated, I’m frustrated with everybody . . . It’s disappointing.” . . . As for Browning, Zimmer added: “Jake’s really smart. He’s vaccinated.”
So . . . I ate in a restaurant for the first time in 16 months on Sunday evening. In the interim, I have seen lots of stories on social media relating to restaurant staff being mistreated by impatient customers. So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when one of the young women working in this particular restaurant stopped by our table to catch her breath. She obviously just needed a shoulder for a few minutes. . . . Between dealing with those of us eating inside and lots of takeout orders, the staff was running, running, running. It seems that one customer spotted her order sitting under the warming lights, so just had to get up on her hind legs and bark, wondering if she was supposed to “come back there and get my order.” . . . In telling us what had happened, this employee was almost in tears. . . . Have people always been this miserable, or have they lost their humanity in this pandemic? Or maybe the smoke in these parts made this customer lose her marbles.
BTW, if you’re wondering about not eating in a restaurant for 16 months, let me just say that you really, really take this pandemic seriously when your significant other has a compromised immune system. Yes, we will be wearing our masks for a long, long time.
People talk about ketchup chips or poutine, but we don't give nearly enough love to this God-tier Canadian snack.
So . . . what does Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmugeon, think of the new nickname for Cleveland’s MLB franchise? Well, after noting that team officials said they had considered 1,200 possibilities before narrowing it down to one, he wrote:
“How did you wind up with a team name as lame as the Cleveland Guardians?
“Seriously, if I woke you up from a dead sleep at 2 a.m., and asked you to give me all your free association thoughts that go with ‘Cleveland,’ would you have gotten to ‘Guardians’ any time before 6 a.m.? The explanation offered is that the team is named in alignment with four large statues on a bridge in Cleveland and the statues are known collectively as the ‘Guardians of Traffic.’ It took almost two years and 1,199 other possible names to come up with that. Well, OK then . . .”
The curmudgeonly one had a great week at the keyboard. On Thursday, while ranting about the “proposed movement of Texas and Oklahoma” football from the Big-12 to the SEC, he wrote: “Texas A&M officials have been less-than-happy about the Texas move since the Aggies have been the sole focus of SEC football in the state of Texas for the last decade. Of course, the reason that has been the case is that Texas A&M switched conferences from the Big 12 to the SEC back in 2012 — but let us not bring that up now.”
Then he added: “The Big-12 Commissioner’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to ESPN saying that ESPN had lured the two schools away from the Big-12 thereby doing harm to the conference and the other schools in the Conference. I assume the ESPN lawyers are drafting a response that is the legal and more genteel version of “WTF are you smoking?”
This month in 1997, Greg Maddux tosses a 76-pitch complete game. I believe this is now known as "4 innings" to most current starting pitchers. pic.twitter.com/J6BRNWIIYa
Don Mattingly, the manager of the Miami Marlins, tested positive on Saturday, so wasn’t around has his club lost to the visiting New York Yankees. He also missed Sunday’s loss to the Yankees, the club with which he played 14 seasons (1982-95). Mattingly, 60, who has mild symptoms, is fully vaccinated. . . . Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers are without pitchers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland. Cousins and Strickland have tested positive; Gustave was identified as a close contact. The Brewers also are without OF Christian Yelich, who tested positive earlier in the week, and INF Jace Peterson, who was a close contact.
Seattle Times — At least 60 Seattle bars and restaurants now require proof of vaccination to eat on their premises.
Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Great stuff from the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments: A pitch clock (20 seconds with nobody on base) and a rule demanding that batters keep at least one foot in the box between pitches. Pay attention, MLB. There’s your key to shortening the games.”
Ed (Rusty) Patenaude, who played in each of the WHL’s first four seasons, has died. He was 71 when he passed away from complications due to Guillain Barre Syndrome in Williams Lake, B.C. . . . Patenaude played two seasons (1966-68) with the Moose Jaw Canucks in what was then the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. He spent the next two seasons with the Calgary Centennials in the Western Canada Hockey League, the CMJHL having changed its name. . . . In 218 regular-season games, he scored 115 goals and added 121 assists. . . . He went on to play six seasons in the WHA — one with the Alberta Oilers, four with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the Indianapolis Racers.
F Jayden Perron of Winnipeg has made a commitment to play for the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, starting in 2023-24. . . . Perron, 16, is expected to play for the USHL’s Chicago Steel in 2021-22. . . . He was the Portland Winterhawks’ first selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, going to them in the second round, 23rd overall. In 2019-20, Perron had 104 points, including 46 goals, in 36 games for the U15 AAA Winnipeg Warriors A team.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
By now you probably have heard about the USOC having suspended sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson over a positive test for marijuana. She has accepted the disciplinary action and has said that she was dealing with the death of her mother at the time. Of course, marijuana isn’t performance-enhancing, but it’s still on WADA’s banned list. Still, as Seth Rogen, who knows a thing or two about weed, put it: “If weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo.”
A note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “Wonder how many advertisers signed up expected an NBA final with the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets? Oops.”
For whatever reason, Ken Campbell no longer is writing for The Hockey News after what was a lengthy run. Now he’s a freelancer and has set up shop at Substack. . . . Campbell is a hockey writer. Period. He never has been beholden to anyone in the game and he writes like it. . . . If you check on his new site, you’ll find pieces like the one referred to in the above tweet. The NHL has made a new hire and, well, you have to read Campbell’s piece to believe it. . . . He also is providing almost-instant analysis as things happen in the hockey world. For example, it may have been Canada Day on Thursday, but that didn’t stop Campbell from writing about the Arizona Coyotes’ new head coach and a trade between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. That piece is right here. . . . It’s worth your while to check out Campbell’s new home.
Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “ I read something the other day about how Ryan Nugent-Hopkins reupping with the Oilers on an eight-year deal for an average annual value of $5.125 million coincides with Edmonton’s Stanley Cup window remaining open, and I must confess, the joke went way over my head.”
Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Here’s a hearty toast to the WNBA, which recently announced a 99 percent vaccination rate among its players and no positive tests since the start of the season. If only that were the norm in a country tarnished by rockhead thinking. On the verge of playing for the College World Series championship (a run that included a 10-4 win over Stanford), North Carolina State was sent home due to positive tests and contact tracing protocols. It seems coach Elliott Avent just couldn’t be bothered, saying he didn’t want to ‘get political’ or ‘indoctrinate’ his players to get vaccinated. Talk about shocking ignorance of the big picture.”
Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News explains how it was that the Yankees got swept by the Red Sox in Boston last weekend: “The Yankees had a DH playing first, a second baseman who ought to be at first playing second, a second baseman playing short, a third baseman in left, a right fielder in center, and left fielder in right.”
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a couple of thoughts about the tacky mess in which MLB finds itself:
“Two substances I’m not sure pitchers have tried: Tar from the LaBrea Tar Pits in Los Angeles (Mastadon Mud), and lemon meringue. Or a combo.
“Why are pitchers complaining? Because they are the biggest divas in sports, with the possible exception of bullfighters. Pitchers have been allowed to drag down the pace of play by treating every pitch like it’s a 20-foot putt for the Masters’ green jacket. Let the pitchers eat some humble pie. But not lemon meringue.”
The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders held their annual general meeting on Thursday night and announced a profit of $178,702. How did that happen in what was a pandemic-riddled season? Well, according to the team, it “had received close to $83,000 in government assistance programs, which include the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, CEBA loans and Manitoba Bridge Grants.” . . . As well, Cramer Coulthart, the team president, said that “year over year we generated approximately the same revenue, but expenses were down” $250,000. He added that “with the (season) cut short, the majority of season-ticket holders and sponsors have donated some or all of their packages back to the team. This puts us in a much better position moving forward into 2021-22 season.” . . . A year ago, at their AGM, the Stampeders announced they had lost $80,906 in the 2019-20 season, leaving them in the red to the tune of about $240,000. The profit from the 2020-21 season, then, will take a big chunk out of that debt.
Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “One of these days former hero mayor Rudy Giuliani might need to borrow one of those raincoats that Wall Street guys used to throw over their heads when Giuliani was perp-walking them back in the day.”
The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League, which has scheduled its season-openers for Oct. 15, announced on Friday that it has added the Okanagan Lakers to its roster of teams. The Lakers, according to a news release, “are an independent collegiate team based in Kelowna and consisting of student-athletes from both UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College.” . . . Earlier, the Lakers had announced that Kevin Bathurst would be their first head coach. . . . With the Selkirk College Saints having ceased operations in March, the addition of the Lakers brings the BCIHL back up to five teams. . . . Like so many other leagues, the BCIHL didn’t play in 2020-21. The plan for 2021-22 is to have each team play 12 regular-season games with a four-game provincial championship to follow. The BCIHL will return to a 24-game schedule for 2022-23. . . . Chris Munshaw, the BCIHL’s president, also said that the league continues to look to expand. . . . The news release is right here.
In perhaps the poorest decision in the sporting world in 2021, MLB has decided that players in the All-Star Game no longer will wear their team uniforms as they have for years and years. . . . Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Isn’t it cool to see players wearing their own uniforms at the All-Star Game? It was a perennial treasure for the baseball-card companies, able to line up superstar pairings rarely seen, and I immediately think back to the Topps card ‘Managers’ Dream,’ showing Mickey Mantle alongside Willie Mays in 1962. It’s a big part of the charm for fans as the stars maintain their team identity. Well, MLB is all done with that. Players will be wearing homogeneous, corporate-looking jerseys — that’s right, during this year’s game in Denver — and everyone will look the same. Is that Buster Posey or Max Muncy? From a certain angle, maybe you’re not quite sure. Can you imagine anyone actually thinking this is a good idea?”
Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, notes: “Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso was arrested Wednesday in Texas for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Silly man. Pot is legal in Los Angeles. In Texas he’d have been better off carrying a couple unregistered guns.”
Catching up with the Houston-area teen who came out of the crowd and rocked out with Bruce Springsteen – CultureMap Houston https://t.co/FSgr1iIvR3
Noah Doherty, who played briefly in the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, is one of two men charged after Calgary police said they seized more than $1 million worth of drugs. . . . Doherty, 18, is from Airdrie, Alta. A defenceman, he was pointless in three games with the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders in 2020-21. . . . According to a news release, Calgary police acted on two search warrants and “seized more than 11,000 grams of fentanyl, nearly 500 grams of methamphetamine, 200 grams of cocaine, 87 Oxycodone pills, along with smaller amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, and other unknown substances. The total street value of the drugs seized is estimated to be $1.187 million.” . . . Also charged was Justin Fedoruk, 21, who is from Airdrie. . . . Fedoruk was to have appeared in court on Friday (June 25), with Doherty scheduled to appear on Friday (July 2).
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
JUST NOTES:Jimmy McKnight has signed on as the Edmonton Oil Kings’ head athletic therapist. McKnight had been with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, as head athletic therapist and strength coach since the 2017-18 season. He takes over from Brian Cheeseman, who left the Oil Kings for the CFL’s Edmonton Elks. . . . Brandon Switzer is joining the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and associate coach. He spent last season scouting for the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, a role with which he will continue. Prior to that he coached with the bantam AAA Brandon Wheat Kings and the Brandon AAA U17 program.
It has been a while since the sporting media has had access to locker rooms/dressing rooms, and it would appear that this situation will go on for a while longer. For starters, it seems the NFL is going to keep the warriors of the keyboards and the talking heads away at least during training camps and exhibition games. . . . The NFL, of course, is citing health concerns due to COVID-19, but this kind of access has come to be a real bone of contention in recent years. . . . During the pandemic, media has had to make do, for the most part, with Zoom calls. . . . Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing writes: “The longer ‘no reporters in the locker room’ is the practice, the tougher it might be for reporters to ever get that privilege back again. If that happens, the job is going to look much, much different for sports journalists.” . . . Rigdon’s report is right here.
Meanwhile, in MLB, members of the media who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to have one-on-one conversations with team personnel on the field during pre-game warmups and batting practice. . . . Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing has more on all of this right here.
French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton not taking questions after fining Osaka for doing the same isn't just ironic—it's predictable, and it's emblematic of how many powerful people see the world. They think there are different rules for them (because there are).
I haven’t watched a whole lot of these NHL playoffs, and I was reminded why after tuning in for the last half of the Wednesday night game between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. The inconsistent standard of officiating just never seems to change. The Golden Knights got away with a cross-check off a faceoff that should have been a double minor, then lost the game on a PP goal after a slashing call that was embarrassingly soft. . . . It’s too bad because that weak slashing call overshadowed what had seemed to be an awfully good playoff game.
Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, reflecting on the number of injuries to key players in the NBA playoffs and whether a compressed regular season may be having an impact: “It would be such a sensible idea to shorten the schedule and lengthen the spells between games. Back-to-backs: never again. Long stretches of playing every other day: nope. Cut it to 58 games, each of the 30 teams playing the others twice each. Couldn’t be simpler, except for one thing: the greedy nature of billionaire owners. As Draymond Green put it so well on TNT the other night: ‘If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.’ ”
The Victoriaville Tigres won the QMJHL championship on Saturday afternoon, beating the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 3-2 in double OT, on a goal by F Alex Beaucage. . . . Victoriaville won the best-of-seven championship, 4-2, with all games played in Quebec City. The first game was played without fans; a maximum of about 2,000 fans was allowed for each of the last five games. Saturday’s announced attendance was 2,176. . . . The Tigres led 2-1 after the first period. . . . The Foreurs forced OT on F Jeremy Michel’s goal at 14:40 of the third period. . . . Beaucage won it at 1:01 of the second extra period.
#QPlayoffs#SeriesLHJMQ#VdOvsVIC: This is the third straight postseason the Final has ended in six games. Never happened before in League history. @TigresVicto scored 15 times in the series, ties the 2007 MAINEiacs (who also beat VdO) for fewest by Champion in last series.
“Head hits. Whether intentional, careless or completely accidental, that distinction matters only to the hitter, not to the player hit. Nor even much to the rest of us now. The back stories — it’s the sort of thing he would do, or wouldn’t do — who cares? It’s about Tavares not Corey Perry, Evans not Mark Scheifele.
“And we know now. Everybody knows. Not just the scientists. The media know. Ron MacLean knows. So do Elliotte Friedman and Cassie Campbell, so do Darren Dreger, Craig Simpson, Pierre LeBrun and all the others. They know. George Parros knows, Bill Daly knows, so do all the owners. Jeremy Jacobs, Geoff Molson, Larry Tanenbaum, they all know. Mark Chipman, David Thomson, Murray Edwards, Daryl Katz, Francesco Aquilini, Eugene Melnyk. They all know. Don Fehr, the head of the NHL Players’ Association, he knows. Gary Bettman knows.”
Jon Rahm, the second-ranked golfer in the world, finished his third round with a six-stroke lead at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, on Saturday when he was told that he had tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he had to withdraw from the tournament. . . . It’s interesting that Rahm didn’t get vaccinated until earlier this week when contact tracing found him to have been in close proximity to someone who had tested positive. . . . He was in line to win more than US$1.5 million. . . . Bob Harig of ESPN has more right here.
As another reminder of the times in which we are living, the Singapore Grand Prix that was scheduled for Oct. 3 has been cancelled due to the pandemic. The Canadian Grand Prix that was to have run on June 13 and the Chinese Grand Prix both were cancelled earlier in the year. . . . The Turkish Grand Prix was going to take over the June 13 race date, but that also was cancelled. . . . The Australian Grand Prix was to have been run in March but now is on the schedule for November.
Soccer’s Canadian Premier League will gather its eight teams in Winnipeg and play 32 games from June 26 through July 24. Games will be played without fans at IG Field, the home of the CPL’s Valour FC and the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. . . . Following the completion of the Winnipeg schedule, teams will return to their homes and hopefully complete their seasons with fans in the stands.
Gaelan Patterson has joined the junior B Port Alberni Bombers as the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League expansion team’s first general manager and head coach. . . . Patterson, 30, spent three seasons on the coaching staff of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves, leaving in mid-April to take over as director of hockey operations for the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association. His stint with NMHA didn’t last two months. . . . The VIJHL recently awarded an expansion team to the same Port Alberni group that owns the BCHL’s Bulldogs. . . . Patterson played four seasons (2006-10) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. . . . Most recently, he was the Ice Wolves’ associate GM and associate head coach.
The Sarnia Sting selected G Taya Currie in the 14th round of the OHL’s Priority Selection draft on Saturday. The 16-year-old from Parkhill, Ont., thus became the first female player to be picked in the draft’s history. She is 5-foot-7, 143 pounds and catches left. She played in 2019-20 with the U-16 AAA Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, but her 2020-21 season was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, today. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
You may have heard that LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may or may not have been in violation of NBA protocol when he recently attended a promotional event for a tequila brand that he has backed as an investment. No, the NBA didn’t suspend him, so he was able to play in that play-in game against the Golden State Warriors. . . . The best explanation I have seen as to why he wasn’t disciplined came from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon: “The NBA is not going to suspend LeBron James from the playoffs or require him to be in quarantine for a week or so unless he tests positive for the coronavirus three or four times in succession as do a half-dozen of his teammates along with his family with whom he has had close contact for the past 10 days.”
If you’ve been wondering just how things went down in Everett as the Silvertips made the decision no to renew GM Garry Davidson’s contract, Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has the dope right here . . .
COLUMN: Why did the Silvertips part ways with highly-successful GM Garry Davidson, and what does it mean for the organization’s future? It’s a sad tale that has no winners: https://t.co/v2dIMb3EUo
I saw this note from TSN on Tuesday night, after the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Montreal Canadiens, 4-0, in a playoff game: “The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs shutout the Montreal Canadiens in playoffs was April 22, 1967. It was Johnny Bower’s last playoff shutout.” . . . Gotta love historical notes like that one. And if you haven’t read Dan Robson’s book on Bower — Bower: A Legendary Life — give it a look. Bower, a terrific person, was a great story and this is a truly enjoyable read.
If you’re a regular here, you know that Dwight Perry’s name shows up in Scattershooting on a regular basis. He writes and puts together Sideline Chatter for the Seattle Times, something he has done since 1999. However, he is on the IL as he deals with a health-related issue, but if you click right here you will find what a tribute to him that was put together by his friend and workmate, Scott Hanson . . . Enjoy!
The next time you’re on your deck or patio putting the chops on the barbecue — or grill — think about this for a moment: The Food Network just signed Guy Fieri to a new three-year contract said to be worth US$80 million, or more than Cdn$96 million. . . . You are correct. We picked the wrong line of work but, hey, enjoy the chops!
Remember the Vancouver riot of 2011? If so, you’ll remember the iconic photo of the couple — Alex Thomas and Scott Jones — laying in an empty street and embracing, with a riot cop in the forefront. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski checked in with them in Australia and with the Vancouver-based photographer, Richard Lam, this week and came up with a great read that is right here. Enjoy!
So I was puttering around in our yard earlier this week and got to wondering if anyone else has noticed that we really are living on one giant anthill (aka earth)?
Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “They’ve taken down the ‘Loretta’s Lounge’ sign at the White Sox’ ballpark, honoring the late Loretta Micele, whose service in club concessions dated to the original Comiskey Park in 1945. The eating/seating area is now called ‘La Russa’s Lounge’ after manager Tony La Russa, 76, certain to retire within the next few years (if not sooner) and who has a history of DUI issues. Man, that’s tacky.”
If you haven’t already seen this, turn up the volume . . .
The NBA’s New York Knicks announced Friday that if they advance to the second round of the playoffs, tickets will be sold only to people who have been fully vaccinated. . . . “With the Knicks’ sizeable and boisterous crowds becoming a national conversation,” wrote Marc Berman of the New York Post, “the Knicks announced they will sell second-round tickets to only vaccinated fans. No socially distanced sections will be available.” . . . Of course, the Knicks are trailing the Atlanta Hawks, 3-1, in a best-of-seven first-round series so the announcement may have been for naught. They’ll play Game 5 in New York on Wednesday.
Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News: “It is worth pointing out, as the second tennis major of the season begins at Roland Garros, that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic have combined to win 58 major tennis championships. Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe combined to win 26.”
Victoriaville is the first team since Rimouski in Game 6 in 2015 to win when being down by 3 goals at any point (4-1 in 2nd, won 5-4 in OT). First team ever to dissolve a 3-goal deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining in any QMJHL Final game and win. https://t.co/Spp9tgmoxf
In the QMJHL, the host Victoriaville Tigres scored three times in the last 6:36 of the third period and went on to beat the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 4-3 in OT, in the championship final. Victoriaville leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. . . . F Conor Frenette got the winner at 7:03 of OT. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Victoriaville on Tuesday. . . . On Sunday, the Tigres tied it on goals from F Nicolas Daigle, at 13:25 of the third period; F Shawn Element, at 18:54; and F Alex Beaucage, at 19:55.
Some Friday numbers for you to chew on . . .
One in 10 Americans has now tested positive for coronavirus via Census and JHU:
A note from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “RIP Gavin MacLeod, aka Captain Stubing. Must admit I loved ‘The Love Boat.’ Except for when I got into the travel industry and clients expected cruise ship cabins to look like they did on TV.” . . . In real life, she’s a travel agent in Palo Alto, Calif.
One more note from The Left Coast Sports Babe: “In St. Petersburg, Fla., a concert promoter is offering tickets for $18 if you’re vaccinated . . . $1,000 if you aren’t. Sometimes I love the free market!”
Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6; yes, that’s coming up on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
JUST NOTES:Zach Hodder revealed via Twitter on Friday that “my time as manager of player development with the WHL has come to an end.” He joined the WHL office staff on Sept. 13, 2018. Hodder, 27, is a former WHL player who split 128 regular-season games between the Vancouver Giants, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders, Medicine Hat Tigers and Moose Jaw Warriors (2010-14). . . . Vukie Mpofu, who once played for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has been named manager of hockey operations and legal affairs with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He played four games with the Rebels in 2012-13 and 65 more in 2013-14. . . . The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Carter Duffin, their general manager and head coach, to a “multi-year extension.” He is preparing for his fourth season with the Rebels. . . . The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have signed Thomas Koshman as assistant GM and associate coach. He had been with the junior B Langley Trappers as GM and associate coach for the previous three-plus seasons.
It’s hard to restrain the enthusiasm for the Vancouver Canucks after watching their 3-2 OT victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night. . . . But based on that one game Travis Green should be the favourite for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. . . . Oh, and maybe the Canucks’ ownership might see fit to sign him to a contact before he chooses free agency after this season. . . . If you aren’t aware, Green was one of the 20-plus folks in the Canucks organization who tested positive for COVID-19 — and that doesn’t include numerous family members. Green also was quite ill. . . . If you are wondering what he went through, Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet has that story right here.
Full marks to Canucks G Braden Holtby for his performance on Sunday. He was solid all night, but it was his early play that allowed the Canucks to get their legs underneath them and gave them time to come to the realization that, yes, they could still play this game at a high level. . . . Kudos, too, to D Tyler Myers. His season to date has been so-so, but he was a minute-eater in this one, especially after D Alex Edler was tossed with a kneeing major. Myers also made a terrific play to get F Bo Horvat started towards the play that resulted in the game-winner. . . . It’s the Canucks and Maple Leafs from Vancouver again on Tuesday night. It should be just as interesting as was Sunday’s game. . . . Vancouver assistant coach Newell Brown was missing on Sunday because of COVID-19.
Bless you, Canucks. You should get a playoff spot for that one. The Canadiens should give you theirs. They don't act like they want it anyway.
Old friend Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times dug up this nugget — “Stumpycricket blogger Jack Mendel, to News.com.au, on cricket officials wanting to change the term ‘wickets’ to ‘outs’ to attract new fans: ‘Utterly, utterly nonsensical semantic bollocks . . . It almost feels like they are trying to de-cricket cricket.’ ”
It could be said that’s what MLB is trying to do by allowing each team to start extra innings with a runner on second base — trying to de-baseball baseball.
A statue of the late Fred Sasakamoose, the first hockey player with treaty status to play in the NHL, is being commissioned and is likely to be placed near the entrance to Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. . . . COVID-19 claimed Sasakamoose in hospital on Nov. 24. . . . His story — Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player — is to be released to book stores on May 18.
Fraser Downs, a harness racing track in Cloverdale, B.C., closed its door after Friday night’s races. According to Harness Racing BC, it simply couldn’t make ends meet without receiving money from the casino that it isn’t allowed to operate in these pandemic times. The closure put 135 people out of work.
Handy tip: The microchip they secretly implanted in your arm during your "vaccination" can be de-activated by a quick blast from a Jewish space ray.
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle attended an Oakland A’s home game the other night. Afterwards, he wrote: At the A’s ballpark, I interviewed one of those cardboard fans, the only one that was not smiling. Said the fan, “I wasn’t cut out for this.”
The Minnesota Twins had Saturday and Sunday games against the host Los Angeles Angels postponed because of positive tests, and now their Monday series-opener in Oakland against the A’s also has been postponed. The reason? MLB says it’s “to allow for continued testing and contact tracing involving members of the Twins organization.” The Twins have had at least three players and one staffer test positive.
A quick note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “Minnesota Twins’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons declined a COVID-19 vaccine last week, and Wednesday tested positive. Another reminder there is no correlation between athletic ability and intelligence.”
My promise every spring: One day the Montreal Expos will rise from the ashes and I pledge that I’ll be there for the home opener. pic.twitter.com/ThqmPFxVZq
Seattle University informed students this week that it now has a requirement that “all SU students —undergraduate, graduate and professional — be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and report it to the university prior to arriving on campus in the fall. Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks, but students will be required to register their vaccination status once completed.”
The pitching mound in the six-team independent Atlantic League will be moved back one foot, to 61 feet, six inches, for the second half of the season. It’s an experiment being conducted at the behest of MLB, which badly wants to see fewer strikeouts and more balls in play.
Here’s former starting pitcher Mike Krukow, now a broadcaster with the San Francisco Giants in conversation with Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I’m really not sure what to think about it. Nobody does — you can’t know until you try it. This could have a big effect on breaking pitches, which are the hardest to command. Just in general, though, the players’ union could prevent all this with a widespread emphasis on situational hitting — using the whole field, a style that worked so well for years and really keeps the fans interested. Now we have to change the rules because players can’t make the adjustment? To me, that’s insulting.”
If MLB really wanted fewer strikeouts and more balls in play, it could start by putting the New York Yankees’ season on hold. If you haven’t noticed, the Yankees can’t hit and can’t catch the ball. Manager Aaron Boone is lucky that George Steinbrenner no longer is with us, because he would have brought back Billy Martin by now. Yes, I know that Martin no longer is with us. The Boss still would have made the change.
D Bill Mikkelson of the 1974-75 Washington Capitals finished at minus-82, the worst plus-minus in NHL history, on a team that wound up 8-67-5. As he told TSN: “We had a good team. We were just in the wrong league.”
The QMJHL’s regular season is over, with playoffs of some sort set to begin on Tuesday. . . . The 18 teams in the league played between 27 and 43 games. . . . The Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs, the league’s three New Brunswick-based teams, open a nine-game round-robin tournament on Tuesday. There aren’t any playoffs for the other Maritimes teams because of travel restrictions. . . . The round-robin is scheduled to end on May 2, with the winner meeting the Charlottetown Islanders in the Maritimes Division final. The Islanders finished with the QMJHL’s best record (35-5-0). . . . The Maritimes winner and three Quebec-based teams that emerge from their series will meet in a bubble event to decide the championship.
In the WHL on Sunday . . .
D Braden Schneider came out of the penalty box to score the winner in OT as the Brandon Wheat Kings got past the Winnipeg Ice, 5-4, in Regina. . . . F Peyton Krebs (10) had given the Ice a 4-3 lead, on a PP, at 15:23 of the third period. . . . F Ridly Greig, who was in the penalty box when Krebs scored, tied it at 18:34. . . . Schneider took a headshot minor at 19:49 of the third period, then scored the winner, his fourth goal this season, at 1:56 of OT. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (8) and F Marcus Sekundiak (2) scored first-period goals for Brandon, with F Jakin Smallwood (11) counting for Winnipeg at 19:35. . . . F Owen Pederson (11) got the Ice into a tie at 4:08 of the second. . . . D Neithan Salame (3) put the Wheat Kings back out front at 13:31. . . . Ice F Connor McClennon tied it at 8:16 of third period with his 13th goal. He also had two assists as he ran his point streak to 12 games. He has nine goals and 11 assists over that stretch. . . . Brandon (15-3-2) has won four in a row; it went 4-0-0 against Winnipeg in this shortened season. . . . The Ice now is 13-5-1. . . . Winnipeg was 3-for-8 on the PP; Brandon was 1-for-4. . . . F Ben McCartney drew four assists for the Wheaties. . . . Krebs added three assists to his goal and now is on an 18-game point streak. He was blanked in the season’s first game and now leads the Regina hub with 35 points, 25 of them assists. . . .
F Drew Englot’s first goal of the season broke a 3-3 tie as the Regina Pats beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-3. The game was played in the Regina hub, but the Pats were the visiting team. . . . Englot scored his first goal, on the PP, in 19 games at 17:59 of the second period. . . . The Pats (7-9-3) had lost three in a row. . . . The Raiders (7-9-3) had been 3-0-1 in their past four outings. . . . F Cole Dubinsky and F Carter Chorney (3) gave Regina a 2-0 lead before F Tyson Laventure got the Raiders on the board at 9:03 of the second period. . . . Dubinsky (4) upped Regina’s lead to 3-1 just 48 seconds later. . . . Laventure scored his fourth goal of the season at 14:28 and D Tre Fouquette (1) tied it at 15:50. . . . Laventure has four goals and three assists this season, all against the Pats. . . . Fouquette, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, also added an assist in just his second WHL game. . . . The Raiders lost F Justin Nachbaur in the first period with a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on F Braxton Whitehead. . . .
The host Everett Silvertips scored three third-period goals as they skated to a 6-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Ethan Regnier completed his first WHL three-goal game at 15:33 of the third period. He’s got six goals. . . . Regnier and F Jalen Price (1) gave Everett a 2-0 lead with second-period goals. . . . Everett F Brendan Hunchak, who turned 18 on April 10, earned the primary assist on Price’s goal for his first career point in his eighth game. He is the son of former WHL coach Dave Hunchak. . . . F Seth Jarvis (7) got Portland on the board at 11:42 of the second, but Regnier got that one back at 16:23. . . . D Ryan McCleary (2) pulled the Winterhawks to within one at 19:36. . . . The Silvertips put it away with third-period scores from F Hunter Campbell (5), F Ryan Hofer (3) and Regnier. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 37 stops. . . . Everett is 11-3-0 after its second straight win. . . . Portland (6-5-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . .
G Trent Miner stopped 27 shots and F Tristen Nielsen scored three times as the Vancouver Giants beat the host Kamloops Blazers, 4-0. . . . Miner leads the WHL with four shutouts. He blocked 30 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Blazers on April 5. . . . The Giants (7-3-0) have put up five shutouts in their 10 games. . . . Nielsen enjoyed his second natural hat-trick of the season as he gave the Giants a 4-0 lead with the game’s last three goals. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (3) got the game’s first goal at 3:34 of the first period. . . . Nielsen, who has 11 goals in 10 games, scored at 11:01 of the first period and 9:20 and 18:07 of the second. . . . The Blazers (7-2-0) had won their previous three games. . . .
F Carter Souch scored twice and added an assist to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Souch, who has four goals, opened the scoring at 9:23 of the first period. . . . F Josh Williams (9) made it 2-0 at 17:24. . . . F Dino Kambeitz, who had sat out the Hurricanes’ last two games, scored his fourth goal 40 seconds into the second period. . . . The Oil Kings came back with goals from F Caleb Reimer (2) and Souch at 1:44 and 2:15 for a 4-1 lead. . . . F Carson Latimer (5), who also had two assists, had Edmonton’s other goal, while F Logan Barlage (5) and F Noah Boyko (9) finished Lethbridge’s scoring. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours ran his point streak to 15 games with one assist. He’s got 26 points, 20 of them assists, during his tear. . . . The Oil Kings now are 14-1-1. . . . The Hurricanes are 7-8-2. . . . On Saturday, Lethbridge went into Edmonton and won 6-5 in a shootout after losing 4-0 to the visiting Oil Kings on Thursday.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Opening Day for Major League Baseball is April 1. That also is the date when the shift or not-to-shift debate will begin anew. That argument has been ongoing, mostly quietly, during spring training, but it will heat up when the regular season begins and once again it’s strikeout or hit it out for so many hitters, when launch angle becomes more important than advancing the runner.
When the Double-A season begins, they will be experimenting with an anti-shift rule that reads: “The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, each of whom must have both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield dirt.” So no more second basemen on the outfield grass.
Look, the only thing wrong with MLB games these days has to do with their length — anything more than three hours is too much. But that isn’t going away because of the number of TV commercials and you know that no one is going to do anything about that.
On Oct. 30, 1960, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the visiting New York Yankees, 10-9, in Game 7 of the World Series on a ninth-inning home run by Bill Mazeroski. There were 10 runs scored over the last two innings. The teams combined to use nine pitchers. The game was over in two hours 36 minutes.
So, MLB, just leave the game alone. If you want more balls in play, maybe hitters — yes, even the big boppers — should trying going the other way, or, gawd forbid, try bunting a time or two.
You know, maybe be like ‘Wee’ Willie Keeler, who once said that the keys to hitting success were “keep you eye clear and hit ’em where they ain’t.”
And, please, don’t be telling me that it’s the long ball boys who get the big money. Keeler was a career .341 hitter; how much do you think an average like that would be worth in this day and age?
The Langley Rivermen have opted out of the BCHL’s return to play. In a statement released on Saturday, the Rivermen explained: “After discussions with each player, the Rivermen made the tough decision not to play. There are a variety of reasons behind the decision, including educational commitments and the mental and physical health implications of both the 14 days of isolation followed by a five-week strictly controlled season.” . . . The Wenatchee Wild aren’t involved this season because the U.S.-Canada border is closed to non-essential travel. . . . The BCHL is planning to have its 16 remaining teams play out of pods in Alberni Valley, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Penticton and Vernon.
Isn’t it funny how people get so angry when you break something of theirs they never use. Like turn signals on a car… With a baseball bat.
How are things going for NFL team owners? Well, it was in 1989 when Jerry Jones paid US$140 million for the Dallas Cowboys. On Monday, he signed QB Dak Prescott to a contract valued at $160 million, with a $66-million signing bonus and $126 million guaranteed. . . . Yes, business in the NFL is pretty good these days.
Are you old enough to remember when we were able to sit in the comfort of our TV rooms and watch the Toronto Blue Jays play exhibition games in Florida? . . . Hey, Blue Jays, this spring you are out of sight and out of mind. Why?
Here’s how you get people to use the steps instead of the escalator.
Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Vintage ‘Hey, what page are we on?’ from MLB: The Texas Rangers plan to sell every seat for their April 5 home opener. The Washington Nationals aren’t allowing any fans at all, at least as things stand now. Neither plan makes a whole lot of sense, and the Rangers’ idea is glaringly reckless.”
“Virginia joined Duke on the sideline at the ACC basketball tournament after a positive COVID-19 test, and Kansas is similarly out of the Big 12 tourney,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “So can we just end the suspense early and proclaim the virus as this year’s national champion?”
Perry, again: “And, in news about free agents, the Blue Jays signed George Springer, the Phillies signed J.T. Realmuto and the Royals slammed the door on Prince Harry’s possible return.”
Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “Kansas and Virginia now out of their respective men’s basketball tournaments due to positive virus tests. So in this year’s March Madness brackets will there be a way to bet on COVID-19?”
The New York Islanders placed F Jean-Gabriel Pageau and D Noah Dobson on the COVID-19 protocol list on Sunday, and you have to wonder if this might be the start of something. We’ll have to wait to see if the Islanders get shut down for any length of time.
If you are a reader of fine novels, perhaps you have read one or more that were written by Carl Hiaasen, the columnist for the Miami Herald who has a fine sense of humour and, as colleague Dave Barry put it, “a comic novelist’s eye for the absurd.” Anyway, Hiaasen is moving on from the Herald and you will want to read his final column, which is right here.
The afore-mentioned Barry says farewell to his column-writing pal right here.
JUST NOTES: The Tim Hortons Brier wrapped up on Sunday night and you can give an Emmy to TSN’s announcing crew of Vic Rauter, Cheryl Bernard, Russ Howard, Bryan Mudryk and Cathy Gauthier. They know their audience and they deliver to that audience. Well done! . . . Brendan Bottcher’s Alberta rink won the Brier after having lost the previous three finals. And if you don’t know about Bottcher and his winning socks, well, Google is your friend. . . . With the Vancouver Canucks boasting a 5-2 record in March, you have to think the bandwagon is filling up again. They’re on the road for four this week — two with the Ottawa Senators and two with the Montreal Canadiens. . . . Meanwhile, the Darryl Sutter Revival Tour continues with his Calgary Flames at home to the Edmonton Oilers tonight and Wednesday. It could be fun. . . . But all the while you are free to wonder if the Winnipeg Jets are the best of Canada’s NHL teams.
There isn’t any doubt but that the highlight of the opening weekend of WHL play occurred in Medicine Hat on Saturday night when Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers on CHAT, called his 4,000th game. . . . The hometown Tigers beat the Red Deer Rebels, 7-2, giving Ridley lots of goals to call. . . . Congratulations, Bob. The only thing missing was the fans, but had the house been packed the standing ovation would have delayed the start of the game by, oh, about an hour. . . . Ridley, 76, is the only play-by-play man the Tigers and their fans have known since they entered the league in time for the 1970-71 season. . . . Prior to Saturday’s game, the WHL introduced the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence and named Ridley as its first recipient. There is a news release right here. . . . I would suggest that Ridley should have been named the only recipient. I mean, how high is the bar? Don’t forget that Ridley also drove the team bus for 45 seasons. Who else has done that? . . . It’s only surprising that Ridley isn’t in the Coffee Drinkers Hall of Fame, assuming there is such an honour. . . . I used to wonder why there wasn’t a country tune about a bus-driving play-by-play man. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News has more on Ridley right here.
For quite a while during this pandemic, I would post a lot of virus-related statistics. But I stopped in recent times because it is apparent that the numbers don’t mean anything to so many people. . . . I came to the realization a few weeks ago that people had become numb or desensitized to them. Does it matter to anyone that as of Saturday at 4 p.m. PT, Canada had 30,864 active cases and had experienced 21,960 deaths? Or that, as of 9 p.m. PT, there had been 2,524,413 deaths worldwide, with the United States’ total at 524,669? . . . Perhaps you have to have a personal connection to COVID-19 before the scope of all the numbers really hits you. Maybe you have to have lost a friend to it, or maybe you need to known a kidney transplant recipient whose donor died of COVID-19. Maybe you need to have a granddaughter whose daycare was impacted by community transmission that began at a trivia night in a big city bar before you realize — really realize — what’s going on here. . . . BTW, that trivia night has been linked to at least 300 cases.
“On March 17, 2020, Ontario and Alberta declared states of emergency,” writes Brooke Taylor of CTVNews.ca. “By March 20, when B.C., Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba also declared states of emergency, Canada had a total of 215 new cases of COVID-19, with a seven-day average of 127 cases. Eleven months later, on Feb. 25, 2021, Canada added 3,094 cases with a seven-day average of 2,961.”
Taylor’s story on how Canadians have become desensitized to the numbers is right here and it’s well worth a read.
NBC News — New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, goes into lockdown after 1 new COVID-19 case found. . . . The lockdown will allow people to leave home only for essential shopping and essential work. . . . New Zealand, one of the most successful developed nations in controlling the spread of the pandemic, has seen just over 2,000 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
Not sure if there’s much funnier than failed would-be media types crapping on actual journalists for alleged culpability in this year’s sports cancellations while also conveniently ignoring their own role hyping up expectations the real world knew were unrealistic all along 😂🤣
Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The (Los Angeles) Dodgers did well to re-sign 36-year-old third baseman Justin Turner, described as ‘the heart and soul of this team’ by catcher Austin Barnes and many teammates. Turner wasn’t punished for his reckless display in the World Series — yanked from Game 6 after testing positive for the coronavirus, he showed up without a mask for much of the on-field celebration — but what’s the point? That is today’s America, jam-packed with folks who ridicule the pandemic and feel they’re quite above it all.”
One more note from Jenkins: “Heed these words from old friend Dusty Baker, who got his second vaccination shot Feb. 5: ‘I’m still pretending like I didn’t get my shots. You just can’t let your guard down, because there’s still so much about it that we don’t know.’ ”
Government and medical officials in Nova Scotia have shut down sports games in the province for four weeks. The order went into effect on Saturday. At the same time, practices are allowed for groups up to 25. The move follows the announcement of eight new cases on Thursday and 10 on Friday. . . . The 12-team Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, which played four games on Friday night, cancelled its season as of Saturday, 8 a.m., “due to the uncertainty of the future decisions of the N.S. government.”
Meanwhile, the QMJHL’s three New Brunswick-based teams — the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs — have received clearance from health officials to return to play on March 8. According to a QMJHL news release, the three teams “will only play against each other in March with fans in the buildings.” . . . Those teams last played in late November. Moncton has played 13 games, with the other two each having played 15.
Bob Mackin of theBreaker.news reported Saturday that the 17-team BCHL “is on the cusp of cancelling its season” if provincial officials “do not approve an amended season proposal by March 3.” . . . That, of course, would be Wednesday. . . . In a Feb. 26 letter to officials, which was obtained by theBreaker.news, Chris Hebb, the league’s commissioner, wrote: “We are simply out of time and can’t make our players and their parents wait any longer. The clock has run out.” . . . Mackin reported: “If the BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.” . . . The BCHL’s return-to-play plan includes having teams play in five hub communities. . . . Mackin’s story is right here.
Danton Danielson no longer is the head coach of the U18 AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He been in the position for two seasons. In making the announcement via Twitter, Danielson said that his decision was “based on family considerations. My wife and I will be moving our family back to Saskatoon so that she can return to her job . . . and so that we can be close to our family support system.”
ICYMI, Taran Kozun, a former WHL goaltender, has joined his sixth team of this season, the ECHL’s Allen Americans. . . . Before heading to Allen, Kozun, the WHL’s top goaltender in 2014-15 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, had gotten into one game with each of the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush and Orlando Solar Bears, and the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. . . . He already has played in four games with the Americans. . . . Kozun, 26, was the goaltender of the year in Canadian university hockey in each of the previous two seasons while with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies.
More than 1.5 million people have registered their decision in BC’s Organ Donor Registry. As of January 1, 2021, 737 people are still waiting for an organ transplant in BC. Register as an organ donor at https://t.co/zhcb00IR06. pic.twitter.com/odNPdZvMKE