Scattershooting after watching the GOAT vs. The Kid . . . Chiefs’ Larson OK, just sore . . . Boyko sparks Ams’ victory

Scattershooting

Tony Romo is in his second season as an analyst on CBS-TV’s No. 1 NFL crew. He already is No. 1 in his field. He was at his best — and then some — on Sunday as he worked the game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. Oh my, was he good!


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By now you may have heard that Gladys Knight is to sing The Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl in her hometown of Atlanta. Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong expects her to arrive on The Midnight Train To Georgia.

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Here’s RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. Pip Pip hooray!”


Chong also reports that “China has successfully grown cotton on the moon. President Trump immediately put a 25-per-cent tariff on it.”



If you’re like me and spend time watching PTI five days a week, would you agree that we are watching Michael Wilbon grow into an angry old man? Or is it all part of a shtick?


I really wish someone could explain how the Excited States got to the point where the Clemson Tigers, the NCAA’s top football team, were treated to fast food in the White House one day before Michael Strahan, a host on the TV show Good Morning America, invited the team for a visit and a feast of lobster and caviar. I mean, shouldn’t it be the other way around?



If you are a gatherer of hockey cards, you may want to get them out and start taking a good look at the backgrounds. That’s because Stephen Zerance has discovered the Menendez brothers, who killed their parents in 1989, in front row seats at an NBA game that is part of a 1989-90 card that features Mark Jackson of the New York Knicks. . . . This is an interesting story and it’s all right here.


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You think it’s easy being a reporter in this day and age of high technology? Here’s a tweet from Perry Bergson, who covers the Brandon Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun . . .


A quiz from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times . . .

President Trump was widely panned for the Clemson football team’s White House visit because he:

a) Served the players fast-food hamburgers and pizza

b) Regaled them with nonstop political-football stories

c) Kept all the Happy Meal prizes for himself.

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Here’s another note from Perry, about something he saw on social media . . .

Jim DeBow, via Twitter, on President Trump feeding the Clemson football team hamburgers and pizza during their White House visit: “He was going to get Taco Bell but found out that Mexico wouldn’t pay for it.”


A couple of NBA-related notes from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle . . .

“History won’t view the (Houston) Rockets as a significant powerhouse, but (James) Harden is lodging himself among the all-time greats of individual scoring.”

DeMarcus Cousins made his debut with the Golden State Warriors on Friday, and that resulted in this from Jenkins . . .

“When Cousins fouled out and returned to the bench to rousing applause, (Steph) Curry was beaming. He looked like a parent at his kid’s school play. Harden may win his second consecutive MVP award, and (Boston’s Kyrie) Irving surely will dazzle fans right to the end. In the category of pure leadership, Curry stands alone.”



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F Cordel Larson of the Spokane Chiefs, who left a Saturday night game on a stretcher and SpokaneChiefswas taken to hospital, is on the road to recovery.

Larson, 17, was injured in the second period of a 2-1 shootout loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans when he crashed heavily into the end boards.

Larson was released from hospital on Sunday and is expected to join his teammates at the arena today. He won’t take part in practice, but he will be reunited with his teammates.

Dan Lambert, the Chiefs’ head coach, told Taking Note on Sunday night that Larson “is doing well . . . just soreness.”

Lambert also told Taking Note that the play on which Larson was injured “wasn’t a dirty hit . . . just unfortunate.”

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So . . . pretend for a moment that you work for the WHL and your main responsibility is to mete out discipline.

On Saturday night in Spokane, F Cordel Larson of the Chiefs skated down the right side of the offensive zone and went wide on Tri-City Americans D Aaron Hyman.

Hyman put a hip into Larson, who went heavily into the end boards and was down for about seven minutes.

When all was said and done, Hyman had a boarding major and game misconduct, while Larson was on a stretcher and on his way to hospital.

Larson, a 17-year-old freshman from Weyburn, Sask., is listed on the Chiefs’ website at 5-foot-9 and 168 pounds.

Hyman, a 20-year-old Calgarian, is in his fourth full WHL season. The Americans list him at 6-foot-5 and 221 pounds.

As you watch the video in the above tweet, ask yourself: Does that hit warrant a suspension?

The WHL decided it didn’t because Hyman was in the Americans’ lineup on Sunday as they met the Winterhawks in Portland.



The above tweet was posted on Saturday.

If you aren’t familiar with one of the great stories in WHL history, it all began on Jan. 19, 1983, when the Seattle Thunderbirds traded F Tom Martin to the Victoria Cougars in exchange for a bus. Yes, it really happened.

Evan Weiner of nhl.com wrote about the trade on Oct. 31, 2008, and it’s all right here.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Red Deer Rebels built up a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Red Deer (27-14-3) now is second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton Red Deerand a point ahead of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . Calgary (21-19-4) has lost three in a row and now is 10 points behind Medicine hat. . . . The Rebels were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went 2-1-0. . . . F Brandon Hagel (27) got Red Deer started with a shorthanded goal at 1:49 of the first period. . . . F Alex Morozoff (8) upped it to 2-0 at 14:59, and F Arshdeep Bains (4) got it to 3-0 at 1:40 of the second. . . . Calgary got its goal fro F Hunter Campbell (2), shorthanded, at 9:50. . . . D Carson Sass (7) scored Red Deer’s fourth goal, on a PP, at 14:41. . . . Red Deer was 1-7 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . The Hitmen lost F Mark Kastelic at 16:32 of the second period when he was ejected with a match penalty for head-butting. . . . At 3:47 of the third period, Calgary D Egor Zamula was hit with a headshot major and game misconduct. . . . G Byron Fancy stopped 23 shots for Red Deer. . . . With G Carl Stankowski still out of action, G Jack McNaughton made his 19th straight start for the Hitmen. He stopped 28 shots. . . . The Hitmen scratched F Jake Kryski and F James Malm. . . . The Rebels were without D Alex Alexeyev. He left Saturday’s game in the second period, but came back and finished. However, he obviously was unable to play yesterday. . . . Red Deer also was without F Jeff de Wit, who was injured Saturday in a goal-mouth collision. . . . F Sean Tschigerl, a 15-year-old from Whitecourt, Alta., made his WHL debut with the Hitmen. The fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, he has 43 points, including 18 goals, with the OHA Edmonton prep team.


The Kamloops Blazers scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Cougars, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops1Prince George. . . . Kamloops (17-24-3) went into the doubleheader in Prince George having lost six straight. Now the Blazers have won two in a row. They beat the Cougars 3-1 on Saturday night. . . . Kamloops is tied with Seattle for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Cougars. . . . Prince George (16-24-4) has lost three in a row. . . . Kamloops is 5-0-0 against the Cougars this season, having outscored them 20-8. On top of that, Kamloops now has won 10 straight games in Prince George. . . . The Blazers went 2-1-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Josh Maser (18) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 12:01 of the second period. . . . The Blazers tied it at 12:27 when D Montana Onyebuchi (5) scored. . . . F Matěj Toman (5) put the Cougars ahead 2-1 at 15:50. . . . F Martin Lang (10) pulled the Blazers even at 8:38 of the third period. . . . F Zane Franklin won it with his 21st goal, at 4:10 of OT. . . . Lang, who had a goal and an assist on Saturday, added an assist to his Sunday goal. . . . The Cougars failed to score on the game’s lone PP. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 27 shots for Kamloops, eight fewer than the Cougars’ Taylor Gauthier, who made his ninth straight start. . . . F/D Jeff Faith returned to the Blazers’ lineup after serving a five-game suspension, but D Luke Zazula missed his second game in a row.


G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 39 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 2-1 victory over VictoriaRoyalsthe Silvertips in Everett. . . . Victoria (23-19-1) had lost its previous four games. The Royals are third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of Kelowna with two games in hand. . . . Everett (33-12-2) has lost three straight. It leads the U.S. Division by nine points over Portland. . . . Outhouse stopped 13 shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 14 in the third. . . . F Tarun Fizer (10) put Victoria ahead at 1:40 of the second period. . . . Everett F Bryce Kindopp (23) tied it 57 seconds into the third. . . . F Kody McDonald (10) broke the tie at 7:54. . . . The Silvertips got 20 saves from G Max Palaga. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours — Victoria went 1-2-0; Everett was 0-3-0. . . . The Royals scratched D Ralph Jarratt, who apparently was injured while blocking a shot on Saturday night. . . . Victoria was able to dress only 16 skaters, two under the maximum. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother, who had been ill, was back in Everett’s lineup after a two-game absence.


G Talyn Boyko made 45 saves to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityWinterhawks in Portland. . . . Tri-City (24-16-3) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot by 14 points, and also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just two points behind Spokane. . . . Portland (27-13-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind Everett. . . . The Americans lead the season series, 5-0-0; Portland is 1-3-1. . . . The Americans played their third game in fewer than 48 hours and finished 3-0-0, with the first two victories both coming in shootouts. . . . Tri-City took a 1-0 lead at 10:49 of the first period when F Kyle Olson scored, on a PP, and never trailed. . . . Olson, who has 13 goals, made it 2-0 at 19:09. . . . F Cross Hanas (6) scored for Portland at 2:49 of the second period. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (3) restored Tri-City’s two-goal lead at 5:59 of the third. . . . F Joachim Blickheld (40) pulled Portland to within one at 14:31 but the Winterhawks weren’t able to equalize. . . . The Winterhawks outshot the visitors 15-8, 14-5 and 18-5 by period. . . . Boyko, a 16-year-old freshman from Drumheller, Alta., was making his fourth start — his fifth  appearance — of the season. He is 2-1-1, 4.08, .886. The 6-foot-6 Boyko was a third-round pick by the Americans in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.


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

Scattershooting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia Inquirer — Still upright.

Chicago Tribune — Post mortem.

Philadelphia Daily News — Clanks for the memory!

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

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

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

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

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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

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

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

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

Scattershooting


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

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

“It’s Not A Good Look.”

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

What did make it is all right here. Enjoy!


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

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



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


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

Here’s a snippet from the latest posting:

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

It’s all right here.



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



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


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


shoes


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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


If you enjoy what you see here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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


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


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


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


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


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


ThisThat

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 Sunday after putting a wrap on things . . . We’ve got goals and lumps of coal; Nanaimo bars and Maple Leafs stars; and a whole lot more

Merry2018

On the 12th day of our annual Christmas countdown, we have three good ones for you . . .

First, we’ve got John Berry with Oh Holy Night, and it’s right here.

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Second, we’ve got Johnny Reid, with Waiting for Christmas to Come, and it’s right here.

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And, finally, if you click right here you’ll find Sarah McLachlan and her Music Outreach project with Happy Xmas (War Is Over)


Scattershooting

Womenstable

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Yes, I finished my Christmas shopping on Sunday. . . . But I have questions. . . . There is an up escalator and there is a down escalator; in between, there is a flight of stairs. So why do people walk up or down the escalators, rather than take the stairs? . . . Why does a shopper stop in the middle of an aisle, without checking for traffic, just to stare at a phone’s screen? . . . Why are so many shoppers in such a rush at this time of the year when, really, it’s a time to slow down and enjoy the season? But if they did slow down it would destroy some of this shopping season’s entertainment value, wouldn’t it?


Do you get the feeling that whoever is calling the shots with the Philadelphia Flyers is using some kind of system involving a revolving wheel and darts?


Please! Please!! Please!! . . . The World Junior Championships aren’t being held in Vancouver and Victoria. The World Junior Championship is being held there. There is one championship up for grabs. It’s singular. Please!


A note from Brad Dickson, formerly of the Omaha World-Herald: “Kids, think about it. The Postal Service can’t get a letter delivered across town — how the hell is it gonna get your letter to Santa to the North Pole?”


Hockey leagues that no longer print annual guides are doing a real dis-service to their fans. You simply can’t pick up an online guide and flip through it, stopping here and there for a visit, like you can with the printed version.


Patti Dawn Swansson, The River City Renegade, is handing out goals and lumps of coal in her latest post. . . . It’s all right here. Enjoy!


Dorothy always includes Nanaimo bars in her Christmas baking. The late Charlie Hodge, who was a favourite among the hockey scouting fraternity, loved Nanaimo bars. That’s why I always find myself remembering Charlie at this time of year.


Cole


Headline at TheOnion.com: U.S. military honors sacrifices of NFL players by wearing jerseys throughout December.


“According to AAA,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “112.5 million Americans will travel during the holidays. In keeping with the theme, there are five NBA games on Christmas Day.”

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Perry has a nomination for the penalty of the year: “Washington receiver Josh Doctson was penalized 15 yards for taunting against the Giants — with his team trailing 40-16.”


Here’s a nomination for quote of the year, this one from Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after they beat the New England Patriots to end a three-game skid: “Sometimes you’ve got to cut your eyelids off when you want to blink, when it gets thick.”


Wisemen


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Scholars can’t agree who has travelled farther. The Magi on their biblical journey? Or James Harden on his way  to the basket.”

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Currie, again: “Leafs forwards Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews appeared in a stage production of The Nutcracker. Afterwards, TSN said Matthews is a shoo-in for Best Actor at this year’s Tony Awards.”


TC Chong, the blogger from Richmond, B.C., wonders: “Sears execs are expecting to be paid over $25 million in bonuses, while the workers will be getting a lump of coal. Would it be fitting if the execs received payment in Sears gift cards?”

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One more from Chong, who may, or may not, be related to Tommy: “Budweiser is testing cannabis-based drinks. Will it be marketed as BC Bud?”


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 from beside the Christmas tree . . . Vandekamp marks a milestone . . . Three tied for first in Central Division

Scattershooting

On the fifth day of our annual Christmas countdown, we’ve got Bing Crosby and David Bowie with The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth). It’s right here.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “Two nuns have been accused of embezzling about $500,000 from St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., to support their gambling craze. Apparently they put too much money down on the Cardinals this season and not enough on the Saints.”


Whenever I see a reference made to the Moose Jaw Warriors’ merchandise store, it brings a smile to my face. They named it The Crushed Can, something that keeps the old barn’s memory alive. Thank you to whomever was responsible. Well done!


Ducks


If computers aren’t human, why do they always want to do updates when it’s inconvenient to the user?


The below tweet is from Friday night’s WHL game in Kent, Wash. It begs the question: Why aren’t all of these scouts doctors?


Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “I’m still digesting the news that North Carolina gave dismissed football coach Larry (The Hat) Fedora a $12-million buyout. What a deal. But colleges don’t have enough money to pay athletes.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: L.A. adds lanes for cyclists to recover from getting hit by cars.


Tree


The World Chess Championship in London was decided in the 13th match, after the first 12 ended in draws. According to Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong: “Norwegian Magnus Carlsen won it just before judges were going to decide the match using penalty kicks.”

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One more from Chong: “Sesame Street has introduced Lisa, the first homeless Muppet. Really? So does living in a garbage can like Oscar the Grouch count as bona fide housing?”


If you’re looking for an entertaining read, check out Patti Dawn Swansson’s blog The River City Renegade.

You’ll find stuff like this . . .

Canadian Football League outfits are dumping coaches, scouts and management at an alarming rate. We haven’t seen this kind of cost cutting since the suits at Postmedia lost their minds. I don’t know if the CFL is still a professional sports league or a thrift store.”

And this . . .

“Steve Simmons of Postmedia Tranna calls Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play fossil Bob Cole the ‘voice of a lifetime’ and ‘the Hockey Sinatra.’ Oh, please. Apparently he never heard Danny Gallivan call a game. No one did it like Gallivan. His voice was electric. His vocabulary immense. I still get chills when I hear his call of Guy Lafleur’s tying goal in Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup semifinal. ‘Lafleur, coming out rather gingerly on the right side . . .’ Rather gingerly. Who says that? Only Gallivan. Bob Cole is the Hockey Sinatra like I’m Celine Dion.”

The River City Renegade’s latest piece is right here.


2018 . . .

 

Selfie


After Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, suggest that he would like to limit defensive shifts, Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com offered this suggestion: “Uh, here’s a solution: Teach players to bunt.”


If you haven’t read this already, you are going to want to give it some of your time. It’s a story about Charles Barkley — yes, that Sir Charles — and his unlikely friend, Lin Wang. This is a wonderful story and it’s right here.


Queen


Jack Finarelli, who can be found at sportscurmudgeon.com, has come bad news for fans of the Baltimore Orioles: “The fact is that the Orioles are going to stink like a bloated rhino carcass in the hot sun on the veldt for at least a couple of years. Maybe those 115 losses in 2018 represented the nadir of this losing cycle; maybe not.”


ThisThat

Mike Vandekamp was behind a junior team bench for the 1,500th time on Saturday night when his Cowichan Capitals met the host Salmon Arm Silverbacks in a BCHL game.

Vandekamp has quite a coaching history, having made stops in his hometown of Fort St. CowichanJohn, B.C., as well as Grande Prairie, Alta., and the B.C. hockey havens of Prince George, Vernon, Merritt, Nanaimo and Duncan, the latter being the home base for the Capitals.

These days he’s the GM and head coach of the Capitals, who are 10-20-5 and tied for fourth in the five-team Island Division. He’s in his first season as the Capitals’ GM and head coach, and here’s hoping he gets some time to turn things around there.

And how did No. 1,500 go? The Capitals won, 6-3.

Vandekamp actually posted one of my all-time favourite tweets on March 2. He had started the season with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, but was dumped after an ownership change. So when the BCHL playoffs got started, Vandekamp was on the outside looking in, but, hey, he had a nice view from a beach in Hawaii. Still, like all those coaches who have the hockey disease, he could think of a million arenas in which he would rather have been.


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, and Merry Christmas.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored four times in the third period en route to a 6-4 victory Lethbridgeover the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge (18-9-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1), is 9-1-2 in its past 12, and is tied with the Red Deer Rebels (20-10-2) and Edmonton Oil Kings (18-12-6) atop the Central Division. . . . Calgary (15-15-4) had points in each of its previous six (5-0-1). . . . The Hitmen scored three times in the second period, taking a 3-2 lead when F Kaden Elder (14) scored, on a PP, at 13:40. . . . F Dylan Cozens (8) got Lethbridge into a tie at 5:29 of the third period, only to have F Riley Stotts (10) shoot Calgary back in front at 8:25. . . . Lethbridge D Ty Prefontaine (1) tied it at 8:49, and F Logan Barlage (9) snapped the tie at 9:49. F Jordy Bellerive (16) provided insurance with his second goal of the game, at 18:53. . . . That was Bellerive’s 100th career regular-season goal and it came in his 239th game. He also had an assist in this one, and now has 39 points, including 23 assist, in 33 games. . . . It was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for Calgary, which went 1-1-1.


F Dylan Guenther, the first selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, scored twice to help EdmontonOilKingsthe Edmonton Ice to a 7-4 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Edmonton (18-12-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1) and goes into the break in a tie atop the Central Division with the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Ice (8-22-6) is 14 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Guenther, a 15-year-old from Edmonton, has three goals and an assist in seven games with the Oil Kings. . . . A goal from F Brett Kemp and two from Guenther gave the home side a 3-1 lead in the first period. . . . F River Fahey (2) got the Ice to within a goal at 15:54. . . . Kemp, who has 22 goals, scored at 3:01 of the second, for a 4-2 lead, only to have D Martin Bodak (6) score for Kootenay at 4:14. . . . The Oil Kings put it away with three third-period goals, from F Vince Loschiavo (16), F David Kope (7) and F Scott Atkinson (5), the latter into an empty net. . . . Kootenay F Peyton Krebs, the team captain, took a game misconduct at 19:50 of the third period. . . . Kemp also had an assist, for a three-point evening. F Carter Souch had three assists for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield for a second straight game.


F Kyle Olson’s second goal of the game, a shorthanded snipe in OT, gave the Tri-City tri-cityAmericans a 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Americans (17-12-2) have won three straight. . . . The Winterhawks (19-11-4) have points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . On Saturday, the Americans had scored three late goals, including a tying score with the extra attacker on the ice, to erase a 2-0 deficit and beat the visiting Winterhawks, 3-2 in OT. . . . Last night, Portland D Jared Freadrich (4) forced OT when he scored with the extra attacker on the ice and just 34 seconds left in the third. . . . Olson won it with his eighth goal of the season at 4:37 of extra time. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 1:06 of the second period. He also had two assists and now leads the WHL in goals and points (65), one more than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders and F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings. Leason is with Canada’s national junior team, while Fix-Wolansky has sat out Edmonton’s past two games. . . . Olson tied it at 6:40 and teammate Riley Sawchuk, who had two goals and two assists, gave the Americans the lead at 9:01. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) pulled Portland into a tie at 9:54. . . . Sawchuk, who has 11 goals, gave Tri-City a 3-2 lead at 12:58 of the third period. . . . This was the first four-point game of Sawchuk’s WHL career; in fact, he had never had three points in a game. This was his 159th regular-season game, all with Tri-City. . . .


F Eli Zummack scored in OT to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 6-5 victory over the Seattle SpokaneChiefsThunderbirds. . . . Spokane (19-11-4) has won three in a row. . . . Seattle (11-16-4) has lost three straight. . . . Spokane has won the first five meetings of the season. . . . Seattle went 0-2-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. That included a 5-3 loss to visiting Spokane on Friday. . . . Zummack also scored the OT winner in a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Dec. 8. . . . Last night, Zummack, who also had two assists, won it with his 11th goal at 1:47 of OT. . . . The lone assist went to F Adam Beckman, who finished with two goals — he’s got 17 — and two assists. Beckman, a 17-year-old rookie from Saskatoon, was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. This season, he’s got 28 points, including 11 assists, in 34 games. . . . Beckman, was in on each of his side’s last three goals, gave the Chiefs a 4-3 lead at 1:04 of the third period. . . . F Matthew Wedman (11) got Seattle into a tie at 8:07. . . . Spokane went back in front at 10:23 when D Noah King (3) scored. . . . The Thunderbirds forced extra time at 17:11 as F Dillon Hamaliuk (11) scored on a PP. . . . Seattle was 2-2 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . Spokane lost D Bobby Russell to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 6:02 of the second period after a hit on Seattle F Tyler Carpendale. . . . Seattle again was without F Noah Philp.


F Brayden Watts scored twice, including the winner late in the third period, as the VancouverVancouver Giants beat the Prince George Cougars, 2-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (22-8-2) had lost its previous two games. . . . Prince George (11-19-3) has lost five straight. . . . The Cougars are five games into an 11-game road trip that will pick up after the Christmas break. They are 0-5-0 in those first five outings. . . . The Giants got 30 saves from G David Tendeck, 17 of them in the second period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (7) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 4:02 of the first period. . . . Watts tied it, on a PP, at 9:23 of the second. He won it with his seventh goal, on another PP, with 49.5 seconds left in the third period. . . . D Bowen Byram and F Davis Koch drew assists on both goals. . . . Vancouver was 2-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . The Cougars got 32 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Prince George last played at home on Dec. 2, and won’t appear there again until Jan. 11. They will return from the break to play six more road games — in Kent, Wash., and Everett on Dec. 28 and 29, in Kamloops and Kelowna on Dec. 30 and Jan. 4, and then back into the U.S. Division against Tri-City and Spokane on Jan. 8 and 9. . . . Vancouver was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours; it went 1-2-0. . . .

Prior to the game, linesman Nathan Van Oosten was presented with a WHL Milestone Award by Kevin Muench, the senior director of officiating. The award celebrates outstanding achievements by those associated with the WHL. Van Oosten is in his 13th season as a WHL linesman, and has worked in three championship finals and two Memorial Cups. He also has been on the ice for one World Junior Championship, two World Championships and one Olympic Winter Games.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday with thoughts of Lennon and Breslin . . . Maier, Blades stop Leason and Raiders . . . Wolf howls against Chiefs

Scattershooting

The Edmonton Oilers’ roster may include the player some observers consider to be the best in the world, Connor McDavid, but they still are offensively challenged. When the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6, on Tuesday, they scored as many goals in one game as the Oilers had scored in their previous five outings. . . . Of course, the Oilers beat the visiting Flames, 1-0, on Sunday night. If you don’t give up any goals, chances are you’ll win every time.



While it’s great to see Seattle be awarded an NHL franchise — yes, for US $650 million — you really have to wonder why the NHL won’t go into Quebec City, don’t you?


John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. If you haven’t read the column written by the late Jimmy Breslin, you have cheated yourself. It’s a classic and it’s right here.


F Tyler Steenbergen scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Swift Current Broncos last season, then later scored the goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. This season, he’s with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He scored their Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Should the NFL prohibit players from appearing in hotel security footage?



“The U.S. Postal Service, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, suspended regular mail deliveries Wednesday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Pistons apparently forgot and mailed it in anyway, getting outscored in every quarter in a 115-92 loss to the Bucks.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Head coach Jay Gruden said exiled QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good option for Washington. I’ll say! The poster boy for minority injustice in America playing for a team called the Redskins?”


Here’s a groaner from Currie: “Barbara Streisand’s two Coton de Tulear pooches are both clones of her previous pet, Samantha. If Elvis were alive, he’d say “You ain’t nothing but a cloned dog.”


ThisThat.

Maybe F Brett Leason and the Prince Albert Raiders are human after all.

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots on Sunday to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory PrinceAlbertover the visiting Raiders, handing Prince Albert, the CHL’s top-ranked team, its first regulation-time loss of this season.

The Raiders (28-2-1) went into the game with one other regulation loss; they were beaten 4-3 by the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 6. They also suffered a 3-2 shootout setback at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Dec. 4.

When Sunday’s game ended, the Raiders still led the East Division by 16 points over the Blades. Still, the Saskatoon players had reason to like their performance.

 “This is huge,” Maier told blogger Darren Steinke. “We were talking about it before in the room saying that this was a statement game to be heard around the whole league.

The 17-year-old goaltender also helped bring an end to Leason’s 30-game point streak. Yes, Leason had recorded at least one point in each of his club’s first 30 games. He put up 28 goals — he leads the league in goals — and 36 assists during that stretch, and his 64 points have him atop the WHL scoring race, by two points over F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Leason’s lead isn’t likely to last, though, as he now is on his way to Victoria and the selection camp for Canada’s national junior team. Should he earn a spot on that team, he would miss at least nine of the Raiders’ games.


You can’t accuse the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club of not thinking big.

The club already is planning for the 2020-21 season when all signs point towards it Portlandmaking the East Division swing with its favourite team.

How avid are club members? Even with barely any planning done, the bus was already two-thirds full.

No, fans aren’t going to ride a bus all the way to the Prairies. Rather, they will fly to Regina, stay in the Saskatchewan capital and take a bus from there to games in other cities.

“The cost is estimated to be $2,400 to $3,500, including flight, bus, game ticket(s) and hotel,” Stuart Kemp, the club’s president, told Taking Note in an email. “There is no other WHL booster club that can do this . . .

“So far, enough have committed to go on the swing based on current costs, that the planning for the trip is in full-swing mode. Currently, we are close to having a waiting list as the trip is nearly sold out!”


“It was a sham all along,” writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s the bitter conclusion supporters of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice have come to as the Kootenaynewjunior franchise is poised to move to Winnipeg.

“At first, John Hudak wanted to believe in Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice a year and a half ago.

“But Hudak, a retired RCMP officer who spearheaded a local drive to save the team, says it turns out he was banging his head against the wall.”

Friesen’s complete column — it carries the headline: WHL move to Winnipeg ‘a done deal’ — is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Ian Cobb, the owner/editor of e-KNOW.ca, has provided an overview of things from the perspective of a hockey fan in the Kootenays. He suggests that it’s time for the fans in the area to start attending games in large numbers. . . . Cobb’s piece is right here.


Let’s be honest. The WHL’s playoff format stinks to high heaven. So, too, does the NHL’s, which is identical.

Here’s Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

“Imagine Wimbledon every year matching up the top two seeds in each half of the draw in the second round. Imagine the World Cup placing the four most powerful squads in the same group. Imagine March Madness placing the top four seeds in the country in the same region.

While you’re at it, you may as well imagine there’s no heaven, because it’s easy if you try to imagine the NHL cutting off its own knees by matching up its best teams in the first or second round of the playoffs in a made-for-marketing scheme, because that is exactly what Sixth Avenue and its band of clueless co-conspirators on the Board do year after year after year.”

As you read this, just substitute NHL with WHL and go from there.

The complete column is right here.


G Kyle Dumba got his first taste of junior hockey in 2013-14 when he played one game with each of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.

Since then he has had stints with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats, and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Calgarian made his 106th junior appearance on Saturday night and recorded his first shutout. He’s with the Grizzlies now, sparked by his 43 saves, they beat one of his former teams, Salmon Arm, 2-0.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots and F Tristen Robins scored the game’s only goal as the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 1-0. . . . The Blades (19-10-3) have won two straight. . . . The Raiders (28-2-1) had been 21-0-1 in their previous 22 games. This was their first regulation loss this season. . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both of these teams and each went 2-1-0. . . . The Raiders had won the first two meetings with the Blades — 4-1 in Prince Albert and 6-2 in Saskatoon on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, respectively. . . . Maier posted his second shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. This season, he is 15-8-2, 2.70, .912. . . . Robins’ goal, his fifth of the season, came at 5:14 of the second period and also was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason had his 30-game point streak come to an end, despite having five shots on goal. . . . Leason and G Ian Scott, who stopped 26 shots, will be on the ice in Victoria on Tuesday as the selection camp opens for Canada’s national junior team. . . . When the Raiders next play, on Wednesday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, they will be missing Scott, Leason, F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego. The latter two are with the Belarus national junior team at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home Sunday for his third game in fewer than 48 hours, too, and his post is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 second-period tie with four goals in a span of 4:02 en Calgaryroute to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Calgary (14-14-3) has won four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-12-3) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Kamloops now is 0-1-1 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . Calgary went ahead 1-0 at 4:18 of the first period when F Kaden Elder (12) scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Martin Lang (6), who also had two assists, pulled Kamloops even at 1:42 of the second period, but F Jake Kryski (14) got that one back, on a PP, at 4:11. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (4) got the Blazers back into a tie, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . It was all Calgary after that, with F James Malm (15) counting at 10:47, F Tye Carriere (3) at 11:13, and D Egor Zamula scoring twice, at 12:34 and 13:49. . . . Zamula, who has seven goals, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (17) closed out the scoring at 13:55 of the third period. . . . Zamula, who also had an assist, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his career. . . . Calgary F Riley Stotts had three assists. He’s got a goal and seven assists over his past three games. . . . The Blazers were without F Jermaine Loewen and F Kobe Mohr, both of whom were suspended by the WHL earlier in the day. Loewen drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 3-2 OT loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday, while Mohr got one game under supplemental discipline from the same game.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (25-7-1) now has points in 11 straight (10-0-1). . . . Spokane (16-11-4) had won its previous two games. . . . Everett leads the Western Conference by seven points over the idle Vancouver Giants (21-6-2), who have four games in hand. . . . Everett is atop the U.S. Division by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks (18-10-2), who hold three games in hand. . . . This season, Wolf, a 17-year-old sophomore, is 23-7-1, 1.84, .928. He has three shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . The shutout yesterday lowered his career GAA to 1.99 in 51 appearances, 31 of them this season. . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored both goals, at 14:34 and 19:48 of the third period. The second one was into an empty net. He’s got 13 goals. . . . Spokane got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . The Chiefs were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 2-1-0. They also were in their fourth game in five nights. They were 2-2-0 in those four games, with the other loss also at the hands of the Silvertips, 4-2 in Everett on Wednesday. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards, who drew a TBA suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Richards hit D Loeden Schaufler at 10:10 of the second period; Schaufler left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Silvertips also were without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has missed two straight games.