Our Christmas arrived earlier than usual . . . Of fresh peaches and leukemia, outdoor rinks and a hurting Mule


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What? You thought I’d take the night off? Hey, the big guy is working tonight, so I am, too. LOL!


As I sit here on Christmas Eve, drinking tea — well, there may have been a glass of wine earlier — and nibbling on shortbread, let me tell you about our Christmas.

We actually got our first gift a couple of Fridays ago, and what a gift it was!

Dorothy has to visit the renal clinic here — why don’t they rename it the kidney klinic? — three times a year. She has been going for bloodwork once a month for about as long as we can remember. It’s at her thrice yearly sessions at the clinic that the good people there interpret the numbers and let her know just how she’s doing.

So there she was two Fridays ago, handing out crocheted dishcloths and smiles, as she always does, then meeting with Dr. Conley, one of three nephrologists who look after her so well.

It took Dr. Conley a matter of moments to tell Dorothy how thrilled she was with the numbers and just how well she was doing, and then the two women moved on to Christmas chatter and chit-chat about life in general.

Oh, Dr. Conley also added that bloodwork now need be done every second month.

Now all of this may not seem like much to the unaffected, but let me tell you that it’s a big deal in our household. It means that more than five years after Dorothy underwent a kidney transplant, she continues to move forward.

Yes, it was a great, great start to our Christmas season.

Our wish to you, then, is that you don’t ever take your health for granted, and don’t ever hesitate to give those close to you a hug and let them know that you love them.

Merry Christmas to all, thanks for stopping off here, and please stay safe.


It also is the time of season to give thanks . . .

Thanks to Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, for all he does for this site over the course of a year. Not only do I steal lines from sportscurmudgeon.com, but I also take the odd graphic from the almost daily funnies that he sends along. . . .

Thanks, too, to Garth MacBeth, who has stuck with me from the start as he tracks former WHLers on their journeys through Europe, Asia, Australia, etc. . . .

Thanks also to Terry Massey. In another blog life, he designed a whole lot of graphics for me, many of which are still being used on this site.

And thanks to Dwight Perry, Janice Hough, Cam Hutchinson, RJ Currie, Torben Rolfsen, TC Chong and the other regular contributors to Scattershooting. I couldn’t do it without you.



One of the great Christmas columns has to do with fresh peaches and a youngster who was dying of leukemia. . . . If you haven’t already seen it, it’s right here. Enjoy!


If you’re looking for a real touch of Canadiana on this Christmas Eve, and if you’re on Twitter, check out the account operated by TSN’s Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger). . . . A lot of people send Dreger photos of outdoor rinks (past and present) and he passes them along via his account. Oh boy, there are a lot of memories and good feelings there.


When F Johan Franzen played in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings, his nickname was The Mule. That tells you what kind of game he played. . . . Now, almost four years since brain injuries ended his career, he struggles to get through his daily life. . . . “Sometimes my whole world falls apart and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Franzen told Expressen, a Swedish newspaper. . . . Click on the link in the above tweet for more on this story.


EHC Biel beat visiting Geneve Futur, 4-3, in a game in Switzerland’s top junior league on Friday night. There were 47 fans on hand; they witnessed a 25-round shootout. Yes, there were more shootout attempts than there were spectators. . . . Both goaltenders were beaten twice in the first five rounds of the shootout, then were perfect until the 49th shot. . . . According to the IIHF, this was the longest shootout “worldwide in male ice hockey.” The previous record was set two years ago when HC Ajoie beat HC La Chaux-de-Fonds, 3-2, in a game that was decided in a 23-round shootout in Switzerland’s second-tier pro league. . . . If ever there were two good reasons to dump the shootout . . .


The WHL, the Kootenay Ice and the Victoria Royals have clarified the terms of a deal made on Saturday. . . . When the deal was announced, it had F Carter Loney, 16, and a seventh-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft going to the Ice in exchange for sixth- and seventh-round picks in the 2019 draft and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2020. . . . Sometime after that, the news releases announcing the deal were changed. It seems that Victoria gets a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft and a conditional fourth-round selection in 2020. . . . Loney, from Winnipeg, was taken by the Royals in 10th round of the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t yet signed a WHL contract and, in fact, has committed to the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for 2021-22. . . . This season, he is playing in Winnipeg for the Rink Hockey Academy prep team.


If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


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Scattershooting on a quiet Sunday . . . Jack’s a ‘BoLevier’ in Bo Levi . . . Sillinger assist one to remember . . . Portland hangs 10 on Ice

Scattershooting

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Jack Finarelli, who posts at sportscurmudgeon.com, watched the Grey Cup game and mentioned something that had escaped me: “When I started viewing the game, I was confused for the first several minutes. The team wearing red and black uniforms was not the Redblacks; the team wearing the white uniforms was the Redblacks. Whatever . . .”

——

Here’s more from Finarelli on the CFL’s big game: “I have had fun in the past with the name of the Stampeders’ QB, Bo Levi Mitchell. (When I see his face, then I’m a BoLevier . . . Sorry about that.) After seeing him play a couple of times, I think that NFL teams that are “deficient at the QB position” might want to give this guy a chance. I do not think he is the next coming of Andrew Luck or anything like that, but I do “bo-lieve” that he can play QB better than some of the guys who hold those positions in the NFL this year.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “According to one report, 28 per cent of shoppers are still in debt from their spending last Christmas.2018? How about 2013?’ said the Mariners, still on the hook for $120 million to Robinson Cano.”


Perry, again: “Ballybrack, an amateur Irish soccer team, got its upcoming match against Arklow Town canceled by incorrectly claiming that one of its players had been killed in a motorcycle accident. We’ve heard of faking soccer injuries before, guys, but . . . c’mon.”


John Daly once told the Charlotte Observer he played better golf back when he was a drunk,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Presumably in those days he used a putter, a wedge and a designated driver.”



Pet peeve: Hearing or reading that a season is past the quarter-pole when it’s one-quarter over. Quarter-pole is a horse-racing term; the quarter-pole is a marker that is a quarter-mile from the finish line.


I really need someone to explain to me how we got to this point . . .


Note


Headline at TheOnion.com: Yankees avoid luxury tax by moving franchise to offshore location.


From Cam Hutchinson, at the Saskatoon Express: “Former NFLer David Diehl recently shared a story about highly-touted, but underachieving quarterback Jamarcus Russell. His coaches didn’t think he was studying tapes at night. One day he showed up at practice and said he had watched blitz packages. How did he do that? The coaches gave him blank tapes.”


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

No. of trades: 6.

Players: 17.

Bantam draft picks: 15.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


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 HIGHLIGHTS:

The Medicine Hat Tigers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Pats, 3-2, in Regina. . . . Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat improved to 13-13-3. . . . Regina (8-20-0) has lost five in a row. . . . Regina went 0-3-0 and was outscored 13-5 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours, one in Brandon and two at home. . . . On Sunday, F Sergei Alkhimov (5) and F Austin Pratt (11) gave the Pats a 2-0 lead before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Bryan Lockner, who began his WHL career with Regina, got Medicine Hat’s first goal, his eighth, at 1:19 of the third period. . . . The Tigers tied it at 7:13 when F Josh Williams (6) scored off a pass from F Cole Sillinger, who recorded his first WHL point. . . . Sillinger, 15, is from Regina and is the son of former Pats star Mike Sillinger. Cole, the 11th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . . F James Hamblin snapped the tie with his 13th goal at 18:30. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP; each team won 36 faceoffs. . . . The Pats got 38 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . Tigers G Jordan Hollett, who also began his WHL career with the Pats, stopped 30 shots.


The Prince George Cougars jumped out to a 4-0 lead and went on to a 5-3 victory over the PrinceGeorgevisiting Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (11-14-3) had lost its previous four games. With the victory, the Cougars moved back into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have four games in hand. . . . Victoria (13-10-0) had beaten the host Cougars, 5-1, on Saturday night. . . . The Cougars got two goals from F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who has eight, and one each from D Rhett Rhinehart (2) and F Josh Maser (8) to lead 4-0 early in the second period. . . . The Royals got to within two on second-period goals from F Tarun Fizer (3) and F Dante Hannoun (10), on a PP. . . . But F Ilijah Colina (5) restored Prince George’s three-goal lead, on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Victoria D Matthew Smith’s first goal rounded out the scoring at 3:32 of the third period. . . . Maser and Colina added two assists each. . . . Mikhalchuk’s first goal, at 7:49 of the first period, was the Un-Teddy Bear goal. The Cougars have moved away from a Teddy Bear game, instead asking fans to bring scarves, toques, etc., and to throw them on the ice after their first goal. . . . The Cougars will play their next 11 games on the road, with eight of them in the U.S. Division on three separate junkets; their next home game is scheduled for Jan. 11.


F Kaden Elder and F James Malm each scored twice to lead the host Calgary Hitmen to a Calgary5-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Calgary (12-14-3) has won two in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (15-6-4) had points in each of its previous 10 games (9-0-1). . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours and each went 2-1-0. . . . In fact, Moose Jaw went 3-1-0 in playing four road games in five days. . . . Calgary scored once in the first period and three times in the second to take a 4-0 lead into the third. . . . Elder, who also had an assist, opened the scoring with two PP goals, at 9:04 of the first and 3:25 of the second. He’s got 11 goals. . . . Malm upped the lead to 3-0 at 16:25, and D Egor Zamula (4) made it 4-0 at 17:56. . . . F Justin Almeida (6) scored the Warriors’ goal, on a PP, at 4:43 of the third. . . . Malm finished the scoring, getting No. 14 into an empty net at 19:18. . . . The Hitmen got a big game from F Riley Stotts, who had four assists. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 33 shots for Calgary. . . . The Hitmen lost F Luke Coleman 22 seconds into the third period when he was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct.


D Nolan Jones scored in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Red LethbridgeDeer Rebels in a game that included three goals in the last 2:26 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge (14-8-5) is 5-0-1 in its last six games and has moved to within three points of the Central Division-leading Rebels. . . . Red Deer (17-9-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Rebels were playing their fifth game in six nights — they went 1-4-0 — and their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 1-2-0. . . . Lethbridge went 3-0-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Taylor Ross gave Lethbridge a 2-0 lead in the first period, the second goal coming via the PP. . . . Red Deer went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Chris Douglas (9), at 7:12 of the second; F Zak Smith (7), at 5:00 of the third; and F Brett Davis, shorthanded, at 11:35. . . . F Dylan Cozens (14) tied it for Lethbridge, at 17:34, only to have Ross (16) complete his first career hat trick at 18:43. . . . Davis (9), who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Friday, got Red Deer back into a tie at 19:42. . . . Jones won it at 1:50 of OT with his second goal of the season. . . . Jones went into this season without a goal in 12 games. This season, he now has two goals in 22 games. . . . Meanwhile, Ross, who also had an assist, had four previous two-goal games, three last season and one this season, but have never scored three times in one outing. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Jake Elmer. . . . Davis added an assist to give him three points. . . . Douglas has nine goals and seven assists in 28 games; he finished last season with nine goals and seven assists in 72 games. . . . The Rebels won 40 of the game’s 66 faceoffs.


F Cody Glass, D Jared Freadrich and F Joachim Blichfeld combined for 14 points as the Portlandhost Portland Winterhawks dumped the Kootenay Ice, 10-2. . . . Portland (16-10-2) has won two in a row and has scored 18 goals in the process. . . . Kootenay (7-20-4) has lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . The Ice played in three U.S. Division cities in fewer than 48 hours and lost (three) times, getting outscored 20-6 in the process. . . . This one was never in doubt as Blichfeld scored 28 seconds into the first period and Portland took a 4-0 lead into the second. . . . Glass had two goals, giving him 11, and three assists for the fourth four-point game of his career. . . . Freadrich drew five assists, giving him his first five-point game. He had four assists in an 8-6 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane on Nov. 4. . . . Blichfeld had three goals, giving him 25 this season. He also had an assist for the sixth four-point game of his career. . . . Blichfeld has 53 points in 28 games this season; Glass has 51 points in 24 games. . . . Portland was 4-6 on the PP. . . . F Peyton Krebs (11) had one of the Ice’s goals.


The Vancouver Giants overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit and beat the Tri-City VancouverAmericans, 4-2, in Langley B.C. . . . Vancouver (20-6-2) has won six straight. . . . Tri-City (14-11-1) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . On Saturday night, the Giants had beaten the visiting Americans, 5-2. . . . F Blake Stevenson (5) scored shorthanded to give the Americans a 1-0 lead at 12:15 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (6) tied it at 5:26 of the second, only to have F Isaac Johnson (11) score on a PP to give the Americans a 2-1 lead at 7:44. . . . Vancouver won it on third-period goals from F Aidan Barfoot (2), at 7:26; F Davis Koch (9), on a PP, at 13:49; and F Milos Roman (16) at 15:16. . . . Roman now has goals in six straight games.


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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 on a rainy Sunday . . . Rasmussen on Wings’ roster . . . Raiders win fifth straight . . . It’s a milestone for Mayer

Scattershooting

Brad Rock of the Deseret News proved that he’s ready for NBA training camps with this:

“The NBA season is nearly here, but there’s nothing to see until the playoffs.

“Well, maybe a few things.

“Last season went like this: Kawhi Leonard dissed Gregg Popovich, Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face, Dwane Casey was fired before being named Coach of the Year, and Kobe Bryant won an Oscar.

“Next they’ll be telling us a player is dating a Kardashian.

“Never mind. That’s not news.”

——

Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post:

“The hockey community as a whole should dispense with the dopey double talk and fully embrace the concept of player safety. Severe sanctions should be imposed for fighting. The pugilism is especially appalling at the major-junior level, with people paying money to watch barely compensated teenagers punch each other in the head. Hockey should have evolved far beyond that by now, but so many coaches, general managers and administrators are woefully stuck in the 1970s.”

——

You may have heard that HBO has decided boxing no longer will be a part of its programming. Larry Merchant, a long-time boxing insider with HBO, put it like this: “Once upon a time we were a promising kid. Then a challenger. Then a champion. A great champion. A long-time champion. And then a has-been who finally retired. So long, champ.”

——

Paul Gosar is a Republican candidate in Arizona who has six siblings endorsing his opponent. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “And you think your Thanksgiving family dinner might be awkward.”

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The Saskatoon Blades are two games into a stretch of four games in five nights and six in eight nights, with the last five of those on the road. I guess I was rather naive to think that kind of scheduling would disappear when the WHL cut its regular-season schedule from 72 games to 68.

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“Richard Mietz of Germany broke a Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a guy dressed as a landmark,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “It was a monumental achievement.”

——

It would seem that Currie is a big fan of marathons. After Jamie Buckland of Great Britain broke the Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a man dressed as a French maid, Currie noted: “Not only that, he dusted the competition.”

——

Who knew there were such records? Other than Currie, that is?

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Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express passes along this one from a fake John Gruden account on Twitter: “I’ll tell ya what. Watching Patrick Mahomes throw the football is like music to my ears, man. He reminds me of that one West Virginia song. Take Mahomes country road.”

——

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette: “I’m looking for a smartphone that tells you to get off the stupid phone and get a life.”


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If you were an early visitor to this site after I posted on Saturday night, you will have seen a lead item that was critical of the WHL for its focus on video at the expense of what whlI referred to as “old-fashioned news releases.”

I also posted a tweet in which there was a link to a season-opening interview with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Shortly after that post went live, I heard from Taylor Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, pointing out that the WHL did post an old-fashioned news release on its website, one that included most, if not all, of what Robison touched on in his video appearance.

Apologies to all involved for my having missed that news release, which was posted on Sept. 20.

A couple of things from that news release, which you are able to find right here . . .

On the trading of young players: “The WHL has adopted new restrictions on the trading of 15- and 16-year-old players. Effective this season, a 15- or 16-year-old player who has signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement cannot be traded under any circumstance.”

The trading of first-year import players, which has been prohibited prior to now, apparently will be allowed between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trade deadline. But there isn’t any mention of this in the news release.

On new disciplinary standards: “The WHL has taken further steps to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head. The WHL Seven Point Plan was first adopted in 2011 to establish a comprehensive education and prevention plan to address player safety issues.

“In strengthening the WHL’s Player Safety Seven Point Plan, Kevin Acheson was appointed the WHL Director, Player Safety and is responsible to oversee all on-ice discipline and supplemental discipline matters during pre-season, regular season and playoff games. In addition, new standards have been implemented with a particular focus on repeat offenders and checks to the head.”

There also was a paragraph further down that I was thrilled to see. It had to do with a promotion the WHL was involved with last season and will do again in 2018-19: “The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2018-19 season, including the second run of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.”

Last season, the WHL’s 17 Canadian franchises took part in this promotion and raised $265,500 on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.


The Saskatoon Blades played without F Brad Goethals, 20, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Raiders in Prince Albert on Sunday night. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Goethals has left the team. . . . A native of Ile Des Chenes, Man., Goethals had one goal in three games this season after recording 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games last season. . . . Without Goethals, the Blades are down to a pair of 20-year-olds — F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson.


The Tri-City Americans are going to be without F Michael Rasmussen for a while, perhaps even for the remainder of the WHL season. Rasmussen, 19, will be on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster when they open the NHL’s regular season against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. . . . Rasmussen, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, is from Vancouver. The Red Wings selected him with the ninth overall pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, he had 31 goals and 28 assists in 58 games with the Americans. In 161 regular-season WHL games, he has 81 goals and 76 assists.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders struck for three goals in 16 seconds en route to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders broke open a scoreless game with second-period goals from F Justin Nachbaur (7:30), F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7:39) and F Parker Kelly (3) as they ran their record to 5-0-0. . . . That established a club record for fastest three goals and was four seconds off the WHL record. The Raiders’ record of 22 seconds had been set by F Wayde Bucsis, F Mike Modano and F Pat Elyniuk on Feb. 25, 1987 in Brandon. . . . The Blades went into the game at 3-0-0. . . . 

F Brayden Watts tied the game at 19:15 of the third period and then won it in a shootout as the host Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . Watts also had two assists. . . .

F Tristin Langan scored twice to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Langan, 20, has two goals and four assists in four games. . . . The Pats now are 0-4-0. . . . G Brodan Salmond, who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets, stopped 31 shots in winning his first start with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brandon Schuldhaus back in the lineup after he served a three-game suspension left over from last season. . . .

F Brandon Hagel had a goal and three assists, and D Dawson Barteaux had four assists as the Red Deer Rebels beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev, a Russian freshman, won the game 31 seconds into OT. Hagel and Barteaux drew assists on the winner. . . . Hagel, 20, has 10 points, including seven assists, in five games. . . . Calgary F Tristen Nielsen took a boarding major and game misconduct at 2:04 of the second period for a hit on Red Deer D Carson Sass.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note coffee fund.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Saturday night:

Scattershooting on a Sunday: Boxberger tops . . . Will you pay for Phil vs. Tiger? . . . Regina has had quite a year

Scattershooting

“When I heard the Leafs had signed Hayley Wickenheiser,” writes Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, “my first thought was, ‘She doesn’t play defence, does she?’ ”


No, I’m not a fan of MLB’s players’ weekend in which players are outfitted in (in some cases) horrid-looking uniforms and allowed to put nicknames on the namebars. But Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Brad Boxberger gets full marks for having fun with it.


“Semi-retired Chris Berman could return to ESPN in a reduced role on ‘SportsCenter’ and NFL-related programming, the New York Post reported,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In other words, Berman might be . . . nah, too easy.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com had this take: “Chris Berman reportedly may return to ESPN, but only in a reduced role. So he . . . won’t . . . go . . . all . . . the . . . way!”


Perry, again: “Corey Bellemore, winner of this year’s Beer Mile World Classic in Vancouver, B.C., was disqualified when race officials ruled he didn’t consume enough beer during the race’s four mandatory brew stops. It’s believed to be the first time in sports history in which a runner was stripped of his title for failing to fail a drug test.”



One more from Currie: “A golfer reportedly had a finger bitten off at the knuckle in a fight at a Massachusetts club. You can read about it in Golf Digits — er — Digest.”


I can agree with Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun on these items from his Sunday column: “Is there anything more ridiculous than the French Open banning Serena Williams’ tennis outfit? . . . Might be in the minority on this, but I wouldn’t pay 10 cents to watch Tiger Woods play Phil Mickelson head-to-head on pay-per-view.”


I have a feeling Simmons would agree with me when I say that there is something wrong about junior hockey teams playing games in August.


After Puerto Rico beat Canada, 9-4, eliminating the team from Whalley, B.C., at the Little League World Series, Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted: “Donald Trump said, ‘See, I told you Puerto Rico had power.’ ”



After Carmelo Anthony signed a one-year contract with the Houston Rockets, Janice Hough (aka The Left Coast Sports Babe) wrote: “This is great news for the Warriors, Lakers and Spurs.”


One more from Hough, who is at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Due to rule technicalities, Robinson Cano, returning from a 90-game PED suspension, is ineligible for any playoff games, while  Roberto Osuna, returning from a  75-game domestic violence suspension, is eligible. If Cano had only beaten his girlfriend instead of taking PEDs he could play in the postseason. Is this really how MLB wants to compete with the NFL?”


After Caesar’s Palace Sports Book in Vegas revealed that it had taken more bets on the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North than the other three division teams combined, Hough commented: “Beam me up, Scotty.”




Over the past four-plus years, former NBA star Kobe Bryant has invested US$6 million in BodyArmor, the producer of a sports drink. Sources have told ESPN that Bryant’s investment now is worth about US$200 million. . . . And how are your investments doing these days?


Receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has missed 56 of 96 NFL games, mainly due to drug-related suspensions. As old friend Jack Finarelli, who can be found at SportsCurmudgeon.com, noted: “To say that Gordon has had an ‘unorthodox career’ to date would be akin to saying that Frank Sinatra ‘could sing a little.’ ”


I will assume that you are familiar with the look on the face of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prior to the postgame interview. Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle describing it: “The dude at your gym waiting impatiently for you to get your wimpy ass off the bench-press machine.”


ThisThat


It seems I got my minor midget and major midget Thompson Blazers hockey teams mixed up in this space on Saturday night. . . . The minor midget Blazers are a first-year team and will have Neil Pilon and Darryl Sydor on board as assistant coaches, alongside head coach Chris Murray, who is a former WHL/NHL skater. . . . Meanwhile, Carter Cochrane is the first-year head coach of the major midget Blazers. Mitchell Barker has returned as an assistant coach and is joined by James Friedel and Devin Gannon. . . . Apologies to all involved for the confusion.


The Moose Jaw Warriors played their annual Black-White game on Sunday at Mosaic Place to bring an end to their training camp. A tip of the fedora to the Warriors for keeping alive the memory of Ethan Brown.

If you aren’t aware of Ethan Williams, you should click right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting on a Sunday . . . Warriors get a Harley . . . Get outta here, Buck . . . Froot Loops on a hot dog


Scattershooting

I haven’t yet watched Sunday’s heats from the Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede, so don’t know how Calgary Hitmen scout Chad Harden did. But he won his heat on Saturday night. Wes Gilbertson of Postmedia has more on Harden right here.


There are seven Sportsnet channels on my satellite TV package. On Wednesday, four of those channels started showing the MLB game between the Boston Red Sox and the host Washington Nationals at 8 a.m. Pacific (11 a.m. ET). Meanwhile, the visiting New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, two of the best young teams in MLB, were to begin at 10 a.m. PT (1:05 p.m. ET) and Sportsnet had that game scheduled for the same four channels. . . . By the time the Braves and Yankees got on those channels, the Bronx Bombers had a 5-0 lead. You would think that maybe, just maybe, the Braves-Yankees game could have been shown in its entirety on one of those channels. . . . You just wonder if Sportsnet does things like this on purpose, you know, just to upset viewers.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times wonders . . . The biggest competitive mismatch these days is: (a) Globetrotters vs. Generals; (b) Warriors vs. NBA; (c) Joey Chestnut vs. hot dogs?


After the Golden State Warriors signed free-agent centre DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins, who is all-star calibre, Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle noted: “It’s like you ask Santa for a bike, and he brings you a Harley.”


Hey, TSN, I think we can do with fewer shots of beer-swilling fans during your CFL telecasts. I would suggest that it was completely out of hand during Thursday’s game from Pilsner-land (aka Regina).


If Brendan Shanahan wants a shot at the Stanley Cup immediately,” writes Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, “he should trade John Tavares to Ottawa for Erik Karlsson.”


If auto-correct had half a brain it would correct your spelling mistakes, instead of taking words that you spell correctly and changing them.


Headline at Fark.com: 29 NBA teams to change their name to the Washington Generals in 2019.


Jack Finarelli, over at sportscurmudgeon.com, had a tasty note the other day: “In Cleveland at Progressive Field, fans attending Indians’ games can order a Slider Dog. That would be a hot dog topped with mac and cheese, bacon and Froot Loops. Seriously . . .”


I don’t know what is more hilarious . . . Buck Martinez, the lead cheerleader on most Toronto Blue Jays telecasts, screaming “Get outta here ball” as one dies on the warning track, or hollering “Get outta here ball” with his favourite team trailing 8-4 with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning.


“I was just watching Terminator 2 where the T-1000 becomes so brittle that part of his body breaks with each movement,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Anyone else just think of Milos Raonic?”


Currie, again: “God’s truth, I’ve just watched 11 minutes of TSN without any mention of John Tavares. So I must — ooops; they didn’t make it to 12 minutes.”


One more from Currie: “So far, Cavaliers Game 1 goat J.R. Smith hasn’t gone into witness protection. And if he did, what would his last name be?”

Saskatchewan tragedy touches Humboldt Broncos . . . Evason on way back to NHL . . . Will Rockets be doing the haka?

MacBeth

F Brad Ross (Portland, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had 10 goals and 18 assists in 49 games. . . .

F Sergei Drozd (Tri-City, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Yunost Minsk (Belarus, Extraliga). Last season, with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL), he had two goals and four assists in 45 games. . . .

F Chris Langkow (Spokane, Saskatoon, Everett, 2005-10) signed a one-year contract with MAC Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, with the Worcester Railers (ECHL), he had 18 goals and 27 assists in 50 games. On loan to the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), he had one goal and one assist in seven games. He was second on Worcester in assists and points.


Ex-Humboldt player, family killed in crash

Troy Gasper, a former Humboldt Broncos forward, his wife and their three young children were killed in a two-vehicle accident north of Elrose, Sask., on Friday afternoon.

Gasper, 26, his wife Carissa, 28, and their children — Kael, 6, Shea, 4, and Maks, 2 — were killed when two SUVs collided on Highway 4.

The driver of the other vehicle, a 71-year-old woman from Swift Current, also died in the accident.

The Gaspers were from Rosetown, which is just south of Elrose. Gasper played two seasons (2009-11) with the Broncos. He then played four seasons with the senior Rosetown Redwings. The Moose Jaw Warriors selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft, but he never played in the WHL.

Troy was a salesman at Western Sales Ltd., a John Deere dealership, while Carissa worked for her father’s accounting business.

Troy’s father, Doug, is a veteran scout. He joined the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2007, moved to assistant head scout in 2012 and was director of scouting for two seasons (2015-17). He left the Warriors last summer to join the scouting staff of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.


Scattershooting

Somehow I missed a move back to the NHL by former WHL player and coach Dean Evason. After six seasons as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, Evason has signed on as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild. . . . Evason, 53, was the Kamloops Blazers’ head coach for three seasons (1999-2002) and the Vancouver Giants for two (2002-04), then spent 2004-05 with the Calgary Hitmen. He was an assistant coach for seven seasons with the NHL’s Washington Capitals before heading to Milwaukee. . . . While in Washington, he worked under head coach Bruce Boudreau, who now is the Wild’s head coach. . . . Evason was prolific scorer with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers, putting up 164 points, including 71 goals, in 70 games in 1982-83 and 137 points, 49 of them goals, in 57 games in 1983-84.


Karl Taylor is the new head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . In 2013-14, Taylor was an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks.



If you weren’t aware, Kelowna Rockets assistant coach Travis Crickard is spending part of his off-season in New Zealand. There is a rumour out there that this will lead the Rockets to perform the haka before home games in 2018-19.


Here is Jack Finarelli (sportscurmudgeon.com) with a couple of Detroit Lions-related notes:

“To give you an idea of the futility of the Lions as a franchise, the team has been in the NFL for 89 seasons (since 1930). Over that time, the Lions winningest coach is Wayne Fontes and Fontes’ career record with the Lions was 66-67-0.

“Here is another Lions’ oddity. Since the merger of the NFL and the AFL in 1970, no head coach of the Lions was ever a head coach for another NFL team after Detroit fired him. It is almost as if the rest of the league doesn’t want to risk that sort of taint on their franchise. Welcome to Detroit, Matt Patricia. . . .”


“Derek Jeter has put the 115-year-old Tiedemann Castle — his residence on Greenwood Lake, N.Y., during his Yankee playing days — on the market for US$14.75 million,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “It features a 12,590-square-foot home, six bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, one pool, one lagoon and one replica of the Statue of Liberty but, alas, no gift baskets.”


Garrett Rank, an NHL referee, qualified for and played in golf’s U.S. Open earlier this year. At one point, he heard someone in the gallery yell: “Call more slashing on Pittsburgh!”


A note from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Ex-New England mafia boss Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme was convicted last week for the 1993 murder of a nightclub owner. I’ve always thought mobsters have the best nicknames.” . . . Methinks Hutchinson loved The Sopranos.


One more from Hutchinson: “A survey found 50 per cent of Internet users will quit waiting for a video to load after 10 seconds. I wait five — tops.”


Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen wonders: “Does Barry Trotz get to rejoin the Capitals for their Kremlin visit?”


“The Milwaukee Brewers have promised their famous racing sausages will compete ‘beyond 2018’ with new sponsor Johnsonville,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “It reassured fans who had feared for the wursts.”


The Kansas City Royals are in the tank and soon to start wheeling and dealing as a rebuild gets started. As Currie puts it: “Call it the Royal weeding.”