Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if the Canucks would consider Flin Flon . . .

Scattershooting

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With the German and Swedish teams looking at extra time in quarantine 2021WJCbecause of positive tests, the World Junior Championship exhibition schedule in Edmonton has been slashed to four games from 10. And the first games will be on Tuesday, instead of today (Sunday) and Monday.

Here is the new schedule:

Tuesday, Dec. 22: Switzerland-Austria, 3 p.m. PT; Finland-USA, 6:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, Dec. 23: Canada-Russia, 3 p.m. PT; Slovakia-Czech Republic, 6:30 p.m. PT.

This means that only the eight teams who don’t have anyone in quarantine at the moment each will get to play one exhibition game. Germany and Sweden are out of luck.

The tournament schedule hasn’t been touched, at least not yet, so it all begins on Christmas Day with Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. PT; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m. PT; and U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. PT. Canada plays its first game on Saturday when it meets Germany at 3 p.m. PT.


Sorry, but I can’t get all worked up about whatever it is that’s going on between B.C. and the NHL over whether a team will be allowed to play out of Vancouver if a new season gets started next month. Fans won’t be allowed to attend so does it really matter where the games are played? If the Canucks really want home-ice advantage maybe they should play out of the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon. . . . Hey, as Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said on Friday, “There are people dying from this, people that are losing livelihoods, that are struggling to get by.” . . . Can we wait to see the mid-January numbers before we start ranting and raving?


Sissies


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, calls them “rants” and he had an especially good one earlier this week. Here is part of what he wrote:

“The NBA has problems. Those problems are significant but not fatal — unless the NBA decides to make them fatal. The core of the set of problems facing the NBA is demonstrated by diminishing interest in the NBA product. The playoffs in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ were a huge success from the point of view of epidemiology; the playoffs in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ were a disaster in terms of television ratings. Let’s get one thing clear:

“Epidemiology is important to the CDC and medical practitioners; those folks do not care about TV ratings . . . Television ratings are important to the NBA; the basketball mavens have only a passing concern about matters epidemiological.”

The entire piece is right here and I highly recommend it.



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times writes: “Raiders coach Jon Gruden wore an ‘Oakland Raiders’ cap during the first half of Thursday’s game against the Chargers, then switched to ‘Las Vegas Raiders’ for the second half. Apparently his ‘L.A. Raiders’ cap was still in the wash.”


Here’s Janice Hough, who is at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Minnesota Vikings placekicker Dan Bailey missed all three field goals and an extra point against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Uh, if Vanderbilt classes are over for the year is Sarah Fuller available?”


Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks signed a new contract worth US$228 million over five years. If you’re wondering what that is in Canadian money, the answer is $291,576,620 based on a 78-cent dollar, or enough to buy all of Alberta.


Someone with the Prince George Cougars was having some fun. . . . See if you can figure out what they’re up to here. . . .



Henry Schulman won’t be covering the San Francisco Giants for that city’s chronicle after Jan. 4, having decided to retire from the beat. Here he is the other day with the true meaning of the news release in which the Cleveland baseball club announced it will be changing its nickname, but not until at least 2022: “We are going to keep our racist logo for another year and sell souvenirs featuring this highly offensive stereotype because we have a lot of this crap sitting in storage, but to make ourselves feel better we’re going to give the money to the people we are insulting.”


Army beat Navy, 15-0, in last weekend’s annual football game. Here’s blogger Chad Picasner summing things up: “Army lived up to its training as ground forces, running the ball 53 times and passing only once. . . . Navy was severely handicapped because there was no water on the field, and their battleship wouldn’t fit through the gate.”


Bob


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Canada surpasses 500,240 cases after Saskatchewan adds 252 new infections to national caseload of COVID-19. . . . Latest tally of 500,242 cases includes 14,128 deaths; currently 76,391 active cases across Canada with 409,723 others having recovered.

CBC News: 9 more deaths, 238 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba Saturday.

CBC News: Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says 1,352 new provincial cases and 26 more deaths from COVID-19. . . . 19,260 active cases.

CBC News: Ontario reports 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths on Saturday. Ontario is reporting 27 new deaths related to COVID-19. There are currently 895 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 256 in intensive care. 146 of the patients are on ventilators.

580 CFRA: Ottawa Public Health says there are currently no patients in Ottawa ICUs with COVID-19 complications.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 2,038 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 additional deaths related to the illness. 2 of the deaths occurred within the last 24 hours. . . . There are 1,005 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 142 in intensive care.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 5 new cases of COVID-19. There are 49 known active cases in the province. 3 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 1 in intensive care.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 46 known active cases. 1 of the new cases is in the Western Zone and the other is in the Eastern Zone. Both cases are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

CBC News: P.E.I. confirms 1 new case of COVID-19 related to travel; woman in 50s self-isolating after arriving in Charlottetown on Dec. 17 from Montreal on Air Canada flight 8302

CBC News: 8 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the new cases are in the Eastern Health Region. There are 31 known active cases in the province, including 1 patient who is in hospital. 

CBC News, 7 a.m. PT: U.S. sets new record of 249,709 coronavirus cases in one day; 2,814 more people have died across U.S., pushing its death toll to more than 314,300: JHU.

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The New York Giants, already without offensive co-ordinator Jason Garrett because of a positive test, found out Saturday that offensive assistant Stephen Brown also has the virus. On Thursday, the Giants placed starting CB James Bradberry on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Bradberry tested positive, too, but his case isn’t believed related to either of the other two. . . .

The Ohio State Buckeyes played in the Big Ten championship football game on Saturday without 22 players, who were missing for reasons related to COVID-19. Yes, the game went on. . . . The Cal Golden Bears, meanwhile, experienced three positive tests during their season and ended up with four cancelled games. As John Branch of The New York Times tweeted: “I’ll let others decide if playing college football was worth it, but little debate that it was not equal.”


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Chasing a story in Pats’ shower. Yes, those really were the days . . . Is international tennis season over? . . . Hay still not ready to retire


It’s like a bad dream that just won’t go away. It pops up every year or two, from out of the mist of time. Still, it makes me laugh every single time it appears. Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself . . .

As for my broadcast partner from back in the day, well, I’m not so sure. LOL!

Those were the days when Peter was working at CK Radio in Regina, alongside Roger Millions. I was at the Regina Leader-Post. Believe it or not, Peter and I were the radio voices of the Regina Pats. Were we any good? I don’t know, but Troy Mick once refused to talk to us, a boycott that ended one night when he scored in OT to win a playoff game.

I don’t have proof that this particular ad resulted in an uptick in listeners, but I don’t have any evidence that it didn’t. So I have always assumed that it did. Although, had it been successful you might have thought there would be another ad done up, perhaps with us on the roof of the team’s bus as it hit the road . . . or perhaps Peter had the whole idea killed.

Anyway . . . whenever this photo rears its handsome head, there always are people wondering about the two young men peeking through the steam. They were two of the Pats fine defencemen — Terry Hollinger, on the left, and Jamie Heward on the right. Yes, that is the same Jamie Heward who now is on the Vancouver Giants’ coaching staff.

BTW, I no longer have any of the autographed pictures left, but I’m not sure if my ex-partner has any remaining. Should you bump into him, though, I would suggest you not ask him.

One other thing about that photo. . . . Back in the day, the media could get into a team’s shower. Now the WHL and its teams won’t allow the media in the dressing rooms.


The City of Toronto has postponed or cancelled all city-led events through June 30. . . . You have to think it would be kind of hard for the Toronto Blue Jays to play home games with something like this in place. Consider that between April 26 and June 30, the original MLB schedule called for the Blue Jays to play 44 home games. . . . You have to think it would be tough, too, for the Toronto Maple Leafs to play home games before June 30 under these circumstances. . . .

The Canadian Open, scheduled for June 8-14 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club, is expected to make an announcement later in the week. You have to know that it won’t be held as scheduled. . . .


Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia’s chief executive, has told the Sydney Morning Herald that the international tennis season may well be over. The ATP and WTA have put things on hold until June 7, but Tiley expects the pause to last a lot longer. “My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough,” Tiley said. “It relies on global travel, and I think that’s probably the last thing that’s going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged.” . . . 


I’m watching Game 3 of the 1992 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays. I had forgotten just how good Toronto 2B Roberto Alomar was. He really was smooth and made it look easy. . . .


Webster Garrison, a minor league manager with the Oakland A’s, is in a Louisiana hospital and on a ventilator because of the coronavirus. Garrison, 54, “is fighting hard and making small milestones,” his fiancee, Nikki Trudeaux, posted on Twitter. . . . Garrison was the Vancouver Canadians’ manager in 2001, when they played their second season in the Class-A Northwest League. . . .


Here’s the Thought of the Day from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, this one via H.L. Mencken: “It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favour of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”


Don Hay is back at his Kamloops home for the offseason and is hoping that his time in PortlandPortland isn’t anywhere near over. On Tuesday, Hay told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week that he is hoping for a third season as an assistant coach with the Winterhawks. . . . “I’m on a year-to-year contract and that’s OK,” Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, told Hastings. “I’d like to go back for another year and see how our team does. I’ve enjoyed working with (general manager/head coach) Mike Johnston and (associate coach) Kyle Gustafson. I’m looking forward to another year.” . . . It was almost two years ago when Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, announced at a rather bizarre news conference that Hay was retiring. Hay wasn’t at that news conference and, in fact, one day later he addressed the media and made it clear that he wasn’t ready for retirement. . . . If you click right here, you will find the column that Hastings wrote almost two years ago that summed up the situation awfully well. . . .


The Toronto Blue Jays jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, but had to go to extra innings for an 8-7 victory. . . . Bo Bichette got the GWRBI when he hit into a fielder’s choice in the 11th inning. . . . The Blue Jays had opened the season by losing their first five games. . . . Toronto also made a roster move, sending down LHP Thomas Pannone and adding LHP Marc Rzepczynski. . . . It’s all part of a simulated season being played out by the gang at Strat-O-Matic. It’s all right here, including boxscores, leaders and standings.



The Western Lacrosse Association has postponed the start of its 2020 season. The WLA’s 52nd regular season was scheduled to begin on May 21. The seven-team WLA features the Burnaby Lakers, Coquitlam Adanacs, Langley Thunder, Maple Ridge Burrards, Nanaimo Timbermen, New Westminster Salmonbellies and Victoria Shamrocks. . . .


Memorial Cup in June? Who knows? . . . Gallivan, Irvin stand test of time. Oh, do they! . . . Social distancing is the thing


The Memorial Cup, a four-team tournament for the CHL championship, is scheduled for Kelowna, May 22-31. If it is held, the tournament will include the host Rockets and the OHL, QMJHL and WHL champions. . . . Bob McKenzie, the godfather of TSN’s Insiders, reported Thursday that the Rockets “have secured the ice for June if the Memorial Cup needs to be moved back a month. And they’re also working on hotel blocks just in case. No one is necessarily optimistic but all options are still on the table for the Memorial Cup.” . . .

Interestingly, as is noted in the tweet below from Kevin Shaw, the first game of the 1919 Memorial Cup — the first time the trophy was contested — was played on March 19, 1919.



Not many, if any, WHL players appear to have been made available to the media since the league shut down on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kamloops Blazers, though, made captain Zane Franklin available for a chat with Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. Franklin, who was busy helping Mom bake cookies on the family’s farm, was, well, frank as he usually is during the conversation, even explaining that he and his teammates “were all a little worried because we were in that area where it was getting bad” during a road swing into Washington state a few days before the shut down. “It was kind of nerve-racking, but we saw we were healthy, so were weren’t too worried after that. I’m as healthy as I can be.” . . . The whole piece is right here.


Irvin 2
On a cool day in November 1988, Dick Irvin (right) tells me about growing up in central Regina. (Photo: Patrick Pettit/Regina Leader-Post)

If you were like me on Thursday afternoon, you were flipping channels and stumbled the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders playing Game 6 of the 1983 Prince of Wales Conference final on Sportsnet. . . . The Islanders, behind four goals from Mike Bossy, beat the visiting Bruins, 8-4, to win the series, 4-2. . . . Oh, the 30 minutes I was able to watch were glorious. . . . The great Danny Gallivan calling the play and the observant Dick Irvin providing colour/analysis from right beside him. It was glorious. . . . Of course, you notice the all-white boards and a playing surface interrupted only by lines necessary for the game to be played. . . . There were a handful of players without helmets, and Butch Goring of the Islanders wearing his infamous Spaps helmet. . . . The goaltenders — Billy Smith of the Islanders and Pete Peeters of the Bruins — looked to be half of the size of today’s behemoths. . . . And, well, I’m thinking that today’s players, on the whole, are much better skaters than those from days of yore. . . . BTW, the Islanders also got goals from Goring, Brent Sutter, Bryan Trottier and Wayne Merrick. . . . Rick Middleton, with two, Craig MacTavish and Ray Bourque scored for the Bruins. . . .

Hearing Irvin’s voice brought back memories of a cool November day in 1988 when he visited Regina while promoting his book, Now Back To You Dick. Leader-Post photographer Patrick Pettit, sports writer Rob Vanstone and I met Irvin in central Regina and we strolled around the neighbourhood in which Irvin had spent his childhood. . . . “I don’t get teary-eyed or sentimental thinking about Regina,” Irvin said at the time. “I still come back. It’s not like I’ve been away 20 years.” . . . Irvin, then 56, had moved to Montreal in 1951. His father, Dick Sr., spent 27 seasons as an NHL coach — 14 with the Canadiens. . . . The family home, built by Dick Sr. in 1921, had been demolished in 1985. By the time we visited the area, there wasn’t any sign of the pigeons, chickens and show dogs that had been raised in the backyard. . . . “I’m glad I wasn’t walking down the street when the wreckers came in,” Irvin said.



Not only has the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League cancelled the remainder of its season, but, as Kelly Moore of radio station CJOB reports, it has had to postpone its 50th anniversary gala and awards dinner that was scheduled for May 13. . . . Moore reported that the decision to end the season came “moments before last Thursday’s opening game of the MMJHL McKenzie Cup playoffs between the St. Vital Victorias and Fort Garry/Fort Rouge Twins at the St. Vital Arena.” According to Moore: “The players had actually warmed up, on-ice officials were ready to go, and fans were in the stands when both teams were advised the game was not going to be played.”



If your are a follower of the PGA Tour, you should know that the next scheduled stop is the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, May 21-24. . . . The first major of the season, now that the Masters has been bumped, is the U.S. Open that is scheduled for Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., June 18-21.



Hey, I don’t know where the puck is, but I’m thinking these are the hottest sweaters I saw this hockey season. Yikes, these are good!