Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering about the (mis-)state of NHL officiating . . .

Scattershooting2


Had you suggested to me in January that I would have two shots of Pfizer in me by now, I would have told you that you were nuts. But that’s the case. I got Pfizer’d for a second time on Saturday, 10 days after Dorothy got her second dose. . . . We got all four of our shots at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops and, let me tell you, the operation there was running like a a well-oiled machine. On Saturday afternoon, I had a 2:15 appointment. I walked in the door at 2 o’clock. Got my shot at 2:06. Was on my way out the door at 2:21.

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On the way home, I made one stop, ducking into a small grocery store to get some plastic utensils. You know . . . just in case.


Here are a few notes of interest from Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, from a piece on the website on Tuesday: “In the 2016 season, there were 3,294 more hits than strikeouts in the majors. By 2018, strikeouts had narrowly overtaken hits. And if the 2021 numbers continue at the current rates, there will be about 5,200 more strikeouts than hits this season.” . . . Yes, MLB has a problem.


It was with some interest that I noticed Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, WHL2was given a three-year contract extension by the board of governors the other day, and that the pooh-bahs had voted unanimously in favour of it. He has been in his office for 21 years, which is as long as Ed Chynoweth ruled the league, albeit in two separate stints. Interestingly, I don’t ever recall Chynoweth having unanimous support when it came time for a new deal. . . . In fact, I can remember one time, in March of 1976, when Chynoweth actually offered up his resignation. “It isn’t a play for money,” he said. “It is simply that there is too much hassle. It is starting to bother me that all my friends in Saskatoon are going to the airport to take flights out for winter holidays. I go to the airport and fly to Flin Flon.” . . . No, his offer wasn’t accepted.


Time out. My ears are ringing. I just gotta answer this one. It might be an incoming call from Bill Gates. Be right back . . . Ahh, it was only another coal train — or maybe it was an oil train — on the CP mainline across the river.


Wed


First it was Dominique Ducharme, the Montreal Canadiens’ interim head coach, nhl2testing positive for COVID-19, while every other team member has come up negative. . . . And then word came on Sunday that Kelly McCrimmon, the general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, also has tested positive and is in self-isolation in Montreal. Apparently, no other team member has tested positive. . . . How does it happen that only one person in a team situation like this tests positive? Or is this all of this just an example of COVID-19’s quirky sense of humour? . . . BTW, that fourth Wheat Kings goaltender in the tweet at the top of this post is actually D Ryan Pulock, now of the New York Islanders. He made a game-saving stop on Saturday as the Islanders beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . When McCrimmon was running the Wheat Kings, he drafted Pulock and helped turn him into the player he is today. McCrimmon, of course, also has had a thing or two to do with putting together the Golden Knights. What this means is that McCrimmon could end up having something to do with two teams reaching the NHL final.


A lot will be said and written about Kevin Durant’s airball at the conclusion of Saturday night’s Milwaukee Bucks’ OT victory over the New Jersey Nets. But not enough will be said and written about the defence provided by Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday on the play. He was on Durant like you’re supposed to be and he did it within the rules. . . . BTW, Durant played all 53 minutes. He was 0-for-6 from the field in the OT period. Might his legs have left him?

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It was Herb Brooks who told his 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that “the legs feed the wolf.” That might well have been proven on Saturday night when the Nets didn’t eat.


In mentioning here last week that the WHL’s board of governors had scrubbed Vancouverinter-conference play at least for 2021-22, I suggested that it likely was done in an effort to cut costs because teams haven’t had any revenue coming since mid-March of 2019. . . . Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, doesn’t see it that way. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote: “Toigo balked at the idea that cost-cutting was the main factor in the league’s decision to do away with these road trips for a season. He says that it’s more about extended travel coming out of these COVID-19 times.” . . . Ewen then quoted Toigo as saying: “I think you want to do what you know you can count on being able to do. I think it’s logistical more than anything. We’re going to do more games with the U.S. teams. There’s good teams in the U.S. The more you see them, the more intense the games get, and the better the rivalries get.”


A NBA-related note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “A Twitter pal said ‘John Stockton’s stupidity has jinxed the Jazz.’ Hey, as good an explanation as any how a No. 1 seed with a 22-point lead against the Kawhi-less Clippers could not only blow a lead but lose by 12.” . . . She added: “For those who missed it, Stockton appeared in an anti-vaccine video.”


Sharks


Things I wonder about at 3 in the morning . . . How is the WHL going to deal with league and team officials, on-ice officials and players in regards to vaccinations in the lead-up to and during the 2021-22 season? . . . What if the Toronto Blue Jays had a bullpen? . . . How is construction on that new arena that is to house the Winnipeg Ice coming along? Will it be done in time for the 2021-22 season? . . . What’s happening with the lease-related lawsuit the City of Cranbrook filed against the WHL and the Ice’s owners in January? . . . Is it time for the NHL to go back to having one referee on the ice? Or maybe games  should play without any as they seemed to be doing for much of Sunday’s game between Vegas and host Montreal. Either way, the two-man system just doesn’t seem to be doing the job, does it? . . . More than two months have passed us by since the BCHL confirmed that it was leaving the umbrella of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. When will it let the world in on its plans for the immediate future?


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Man gets away with murder after eyewitness turns out to be NHL referee.


On Thursday, Brazil’s health ministry said there had been 66 positive tests among people involved with the Copa America soccer tournament. By Friday, that number had grown to 82. . . . Gee, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to move the tournament into one of the world’s hotspots? . . . Don’t forget that tournament organizers had said that it would be “the safest sporting event in the world.”

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Soccer’s World Cup is to be decided in Qatar in 2022 and the country’s government has announced that spectators will have to have been vaccinated in order to be admitted to venues. . . . To date, Qatar has experienced 220,800 positive tests and 585 deaths. . . . The World Cup is scheduled to open on Nov. 21, 2022.


Look, everyone knows that baseball is full of enough numbers to choke a calculator. But this from Dan Shulman, the sometimes voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, about blew me away: “On the heels of (Saturday’s) nine-pitch AB, how about this — Bo Bichette has fouled off 278 pitches this season, more than anyone in baseball . . .” So that got me to wondering if there’s a post-season award for that?


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

——

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.


Confucius

Report: CHL teams getting medical protocols . . . Liability huge factor in college football decisions . . . SJHL bumps openers back

Turnsignals


Rick Westhead of TSN posted a series of seven tweets on Tuesday afternoon, all of them relating to major junior hockey. Here they are, in text form and separated by dashes . . .

Major junior hockey teams are beginning to receive details of medical protocols for 2020-21 season. (If it happens.)

Some curious terms.

Players coming into Canada must quarantine for 14 days in billet home.

(What’s the point if a player’s billet family isn’t quarantining?)

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Players, team staff will have daily temperature tests upon arrival at rink.  If temp is over 38 degrees, Covid test will be required.

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After games, meetings with people external to the team must be scheduled in accordance with public health regulations. Visits with family will require social distancing.

(Consequences for breaching this rule are not detailed.)

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Body checking, fighting during games are not banned. This will allow players to develop and aspire to pro hockey in addition to offering “a quality show.”

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Teams are being discouraged from eating in restaurants and in case of buffet meals, a person must be designated to serve the food. Teams must be given a private room, or else take food to individual rooms.

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Carpooling allowed. Players/staff must wear masks and there is a limit of 4 people/car. No consuming food/drinks in the vehicles.

On team buses, players and coaches are to receive assigned seats. These must remain same through season & masks on board the buses are mandatory.

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Caveat: There are 3 different major junior leagues in jurisdictions w different levels of Covid infection & the 3 may have different rules.

Also important to note it’s August.

I’d expect these medical protocols will be amended many times by time teams hope to have players report.


I find it interesting that no one in major junior hockey has mentioned the issue of liability, although you have to think there has been discussion on that subject behind closed doors or on Zoom calls or however the pooh-bahs are meeting these days.

ESPN has reported that myocarditis appears to be one of the potential after-effects of COVID-19 and that it is turning up in young, previous healthy athletes.

Two of the NCAA’s five major football conferences postponed their fall seasons on Tuesday and it’s apparent that liability concerns played a major role in the decisions.

The Big Ten and the Pac-12 — two of the Power Five conferences — cancelled their fall athletic seasons, including football.

The ACC, Big 12 and SEC say they are still planning on holding fall football seasons. At least, that was the word as of Tuesday afternoon.

After the Pac-12 decision was announced, Michael Schill, the U of Oregon’s president, told a webinar that “we are science-based, we’re academics. We look at facts, not opinions.”

Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported on Monday that “myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, has been found in at least five Big Ten Conference athletes and among several other athletes in other conferences, according to two sources with knowledge of athletes’ medical care.

“The condition is usually caused by a viral infection, including those that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza or mononucleosis. Left undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause heart damage and sudden cardiac arrest, which can be fatal. It is a rare condition, but the COVID-19 virus has been linked with myocarditis with a higher frequency than other viruses, based on limited studies and anecdotal evidence since the start of the pandemic.”

On Tuesday, DeArbea Walker of Deadspin wrote:

“If myocarditis is left undiagnosed or untreated it can lead to cardiac arrest. Heart issues connected to coronavirus have turned up in at least 50 percent of all cases in the U.S. and in 80 percent of hospitalized patients. Twenty-seven year-old Boston Red Sox ace Eduardo Rodriguez was shut down last week after testing positive for COVID-19 and receiving a myocarditis diagnosis that has pushed his MLB future into question.”

The decisions to postpone football seasons are likely to have huge impacts on campuses across the U.S. It is hard to imagine how much money this will cost schools, but football programs at a lot of these places fund so many other sports.

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that there are other sports than football getting hurt,“but it is mostly focused on football, because football is the revenue driver. The donor magnate, the alpha sport. The financial ramifications of one year without football are going to be enormous.”

On Monday, the Mountain West Conference postponed all fall sports including football. It, too, is considering a spring football season. The conference had announced just eight days earlier that its football teams would play an eight-game schedule starting on Sept. 26.\

Earlier this month, the Mid-American Conference cancelled its fall football season. It was the first FBS conference to pull the plug.


Parrot


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

When the Big Ten announced the postponement of fall sports on Tuesday, its news release didn’t mention hockey. . . . Later in the day, Chris Dilks (@ChrisDilks) tweeted that the U of Michigan had “suspended practices for all sports, including hockey.” . . . No NCAA schools have made a decision on their hockey season, with some observers feeling that is five or six weeks away. . . .

Anthony Lynn, the head coach of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, has said that he tested positive. Lynn made the revelation on the HBO show Hard Knocks. Lynn, who indicated that he had symptoms, didn’t say when he tested positive, but he has recovered. . . .

Trini Lopez, who took If I Had a Hammer to the top of the charts in 1963, died from COVID-19 on Tuesday. He was 83. . . . Lopez also was in the movie The Dirty Dozen. . . . Rolling Stone has more right here. . . .

Curling’s 2020 Canada Cup has been postponed indefinitely. It was to have been held in Fredericton, Nov. 24-29. Curling Canada hopes to hold it early in 2021 as it is a qualifier for the 2021 Roar of the Rings Olympics trials. . . . At the same time, Curling Canada has cancelled the Canadian Mixed, which was set for Canmore, Alta., Nov. 7-15, and the Canadian Curling Club Championships (Ottawa, Nov. 22-28).


The Alberta-based Heritage Junior B Hockey League is hoping to start its 24-game season on Oct. 28. It includes teams in Airdrie, Olds, Ponoka, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler and Sylvan Lake in the Northern Division, with a Southern Division comprising teams in Coaldale, Cochrane, High River, Lomond, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, Standoff and Strathmore. . . .

There were reports Tuesday afternoon that the SJHL has pushed back its opening date. It had said that it hoped to open on Sept. 25. . . . Clark Stork, the play-by-play voice of the Nipawin Hawks, tweeted that the league had sent an email to teams “saying the start date of the season has been pushed back by two weeks.” . . . That would take it to Oct. 9.


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

——

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

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


The SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds have promoted Brett Pilkington from assistant coach to Houndsgeneral manager and head coach. He takes over from Phil Roy, who has moved on to the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes as an assistant coach. . . . Pilkington, 36, is from Calgary. He was a second-round selection by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 1999 bantam draft, but chose to go the NCAA route and played four seasons at Bowling Green. . . . Last season was his first with the Hounds. . . . Roy, who is from St. Leonard, Que., spent two seasons with the Hounds.



Ralph Klassen, who played five seasons (1970-75) with the Saskatoon Blades, died on Aug. 3 after a battle with cancer. He was 64. . . . Klassen, a rugged two-way player from Humboldt, put up 275 points, including 194 assists, in 300 regular-season games with Saskatoon. He added 45 points, 11 of them goals, in 50 playoff games. . . . He won silver with Canada’s national junior team in 1975. . . . The California Golden Seals selected him with the third pick of the NHL’s 1975 draft. He went on to score 52 goals and add 93 assists in 497 regular-season games, split among the Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, Colorado Rockets and St. Louis Blues. He retired in November 1983. . . . There is a complete obituary right here.


Ship

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