Scattershooting on a Tiebreaker Tuesday. . . . The doors are open and 5,800 hockey fans are on the move

Scattershooting

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We’re perched high — well, maybe not that high — above the ice surface at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops awaiting a full house of more than 5,800 people with the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets about to meet in a play-in game. . . . The winner will open a first-round playoff series with the Royals in Victoria on Friday. The loser? Don’t ask. It’s over. . . .

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G Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old from Victoria, will make his seventh straight start for the Blazers in the absence of the injured Dylan Ferguson. Danton Belluk, whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips, remains with Kamloops on an emergency basis and will be on the bench. . . . The Blazers are 5-0-1 in Garand’s six recent starts. . . . On the season, Garand is 11-7-3, 2.94, .902. Against Kelowna, he is 2-0-0, 0.96, .964. . . . The Rockets will counter with G Roman Basran (20-19-4, 2.79, .906). Against the Blazers this season, he is 4-3-1, 1.61, .942. . . . Judging by those numbers, someone wins by a 2-1 count tonight. . . .

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The Rockets have scratched D Lassi Thomson, D Matt Barberis and F Cole Carrier. . . . The Blazers will scratch F Travis Walton, Ferguson, and either F Jerzy Orchard or D Joonas Sillanpaa. . . .

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According to WHL regulations, the home team keeps tonight’s gate “after applicable expenses are paid” to the visitors. “This includes hotel expenses for one night, applicable meals (two days maximum) and applicable bus expenses to a maximum of $3 per mile. All expenses are in effect even if the visiting club wins the game.” . . .

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The Blazers being on the hook for the expenses may, or may not, have had anything to do with the Rockets having arrived in Kamloops on Monday for a Tuesday night game. During the regular season, these teams make the two-hour drive on game days and return after each game. A tiebreaker, of course, involves extraordinary circumstances. . . . The Blazers paying to bed and feed Rockets? That can only help the rivalry, eh!

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I’m hardly a math major, so I will leave it up to you to guesstimate what the gate receipts from tonight’s game might be with a crowd of more than 5,800 on hand. But the on-ice officials will get a cut — each of the referees is to be paid $155, with the linesmen getting $100 apiece. . . . Tonight’s referees are veterans Chris Crich and Brett Iverson. Nick Bilko and Nathan Van Oosten are on the lines. Willy Saari is the video goal judge.



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, weighs in on one of last week’s hot topics: “Jose Canseco used a Tweet to accuse A-Rod of cheating on his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez, with Canseco’s ex-wife. Minutes after that tweet ‘hit the streets,’ Canseco put out another one to challenge A-Rod to a boxing match or an MMA match ‘anytime you want’ — apparently as a way for Canseco to defend Jennifer Lopez’ honor. I guess I am glad that he suggested boxing or MMA to settle this matter and stopped short of suggesting they reinstitute duelling with pistols at 10 paces.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com asks: “Lo-Rod is: a) Engaged couple J-Lo and A-Rod’s married nickname, or b) Where Astros star Jose Altuve hangs his clothes?”



Headline at The Onion: Antonio Brown Buys Pittsburgh Billboard To Thank Antonio Brown For Putting Up With City.



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson apologized for posting a picture on Instagram that showed him driving at 105 mph. On the bright side, Vegas oddsmakers now list Jackson at 35-1 to win the Super Bowl and 5-2 to win the Indy 500.”

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“How do MLB apologists try to spin it when a player vanishes for half a season because of a marijuana suspension?” asks Perry, before answering: “Tommy Chong surgery.”



Ken Rosenthal and Emily Waldon reported on the weekend that the Toronto Blue Jays are going to give every play in their system a raise of more than 50 per cent. . . . “When the ‘Save America’s Pastime’ act passed in March 2018,” they wrote, “depriving minor leaguers of overtime pay beyond a 40-hour work week, the Blue Jays already were talking about how they could improve the compensation of players in their farm system. A year later, the team is in the process of finalizing a pay increase of more than 50 percent for any player who is on a roster of an affiliated minor-league club, from the lowest rung in the Dominican Summer League to the highest level at Triple A, club officials told The Athletic.”

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Scattershooting on a Monday as we await the arrival of spring. . . . It is coming, isn’t it?

Scattershooting


“It’s doubtful Marie Antoinette, beheaded former queen of France, ever played hockey,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “If she had, history would note her as out indefinitely with an upper body injury.”


McMars


Hey, Sportsnet, if you’re going to make a to-do about a pregame fight you should know that it happened in the ECHL, as opposed to the East Coast Hockey League. If you’re wanting to be a nation’s hockey network, you should be aware of that. Once again . . . that pregame scrap took place in the ECHL. OK?



So . . . my wife, Dorothy, was in Brandon last week. While they were paying 97.9 for a litre of gasoline, the price in Kamloops was 1.27.9. Does anyone have a clear and reasonable and sensible explanation for that? And you can’t use the word ‘gouging’ in your explanation.


A couple of Robservations from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: 1. Why are hockey referees so oblivious to obvious cross-checks? On Friday, for example, Logan Nijhoff of the Regina Pats was cross-checked into the Brandt Centre boards by Dakota Krebs of the Calgary Hitmen. No call. The Hitmen proceeded to score a goal when they should have been killing a penalty. The laissez-faire officiating was also on display when Nijhoff gave Kaden Elder an extra shot after finishing a check. No call (repeat). Why employ two referees if they are going to ignore penalties? . . . 2. There isn’t any justification for fighting in hockey — not when player safety is supposedly an area of emphasis.


Santa


Here’s columnist Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times on the Dodgers’ attempts to sign Bryce Harper: “They flew to his Las Vegas home this week in what appeared to be a successful attempt to convince him of their charms. It seemed like Harper was all but begging to come to Los Angeles. Yet the Dodgers let him go to the one place he clearly didn’t want to go. . . . When it comes to bringing a star to Hollywood, the Dodgers are more about raising prices than raising hopes.”


Headline at SportsPickle.com: Report: Man agrees to live in Philadelphia for $330 million.



Headline at SportsPickle.com: Somehow this Bryce Harper deal will end with the Mets paying him $1 million every month through the year 2095.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, notes: “With Bryce Harper’s $300-million, 13-year contract,  there are kids not even born in Philly who will be booing him someday.”

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Hough, again: “Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper at the Oscars had more chemistry than we’ve seen live since Trump and Putin in Helsinki.”



“By now,” writes Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, “I’m sure you have seen photos of the exploded sneaker that led to Zion Williamson’s ‘Grade 1 knee sprain’. Photos of Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ didn’t get wider distribution than the exploded shoe has gotten.”


If you’re looking for a good read, get a copy of Bower: A Legendary Life. Written by Dan Robson, it chronicles the life and times of Johnny Bower, and what an amazing story it was. It helps, too, that Bower was a perfect gentleman. It should be mandatory reading, too, for every player who is making his living playing hockey today.


OnHold


Wondering what’s in the future for outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels? Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle: “It’s nice to envision Mike Trout wearing a Giants uniform when he becomes a free agent two years from now, but that’s a pipe dream. Trout is an East Coast guy (New Jersey). His buddies are tired of staying up past midnight to watch a dreadful Angels game on television. Only the Dodgers could keep him in California.”


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times flagged this one . . . Rich de Give, via Twitter, on former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort’s sentencing memo taking up 800 pages: “Wait until you get to the end, when you find out not only did he remove a mattress tag, he used the descriptions and accounts of a game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.”

Scattershooting while wondering why winter chose to show up in February . . . Dickson checks out MeTV . . . Bingo game turns nasty

Scattershooting

Headline of the week, and it isn’t close, from Global News in Winnipeg: Customers continue to line up at drive-thru as Winnipeg A&W burns to the ground.


Einstein


Scott Ostler, in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle: Today’s quiz, and I won’t give you the answer — Which celeb golfer, playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am several years ago, was caught illegally moving his ball in the rough and explained to his caddie: “I cheat in business, I cheat on my wife, and I cheat at golf”?



An observation from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Tim Tebow, 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds; Pat Mahomes, 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds; Donald Trump, 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds. Someone is fibbing.”


As I was watching the CFL free-agent frenzy on Tuesday, I kept asking myself: Did these teams find some sunken treasure? Did they uncover the secret of Oak Island? Did they win a lottery? What happened to the poor, poor CFL?


If you’re wondering how Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon, spent Sunday evening, here’s a hint: “As you might guess, I will not be watching the NBA All-Star Game. I have something much more important to do on Sunday night; I plan to alphabetize all the checks I have written over the past 5 years. There is no reason to do that; it serves no purpose; yet it is more compelling than watching the NBA All-Star Game.”


Peanutbutter


After INRIX Global Ranking rated Boston as having the worst traffic problems in in the U.S., Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong notes: “No wonder! There seems to be a parade, marathon or some other sideshow every month.”

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Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the home of the Eastern League’s Hartford Yard Goats, has banned peanuts and Cracker Jack due to concerns about allergies. “So,” Chong writes, “the seventh-inning stretch will call for revised lyrics: ‘Buy me some donuts and cinnamon buns.’ ”


A report from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “An update on the guy arrested at New York’s JFK airport for smuggling in South American finches, prized for their birdsong. He might do time in Sing Sing.”

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Currie, again: “A friend was in Paris recently, and said the Louvre museum was so big she had trouble finding her way out. I said there must be 50 ways to leave your Louvre.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Schnauzers rioting outside Madison Square Garden following Westminster Dog Show defeat.


By now, you are aware that the Kootenay Ice will be leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for Winnipeg once this WHL season comes to an end. Now I’m told that another B.C.-based WHL team may be on the move. The Vancouver Giants, I’m told, are seriously considering going back to Pacific Coliseum after spending three seasons in the Langley Events Centre. . . . Someone else says that Giants majority owner Ron Toigo “is making a noise. . . . Think it’s more of a negotiating ploy.”


“I spend too much time watching TV news channels CNN, Fox News and MSNBC,” Brad Dickson writes. “Lately I’ve grown so sick of the political rancor and finger-pointing that permeates these networks that I vowed to stay away and watch nothing but MeTV for one entire day. Last Thursday I viewed the classic TV network almost nonstop from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.” . . . After he was all done, Dickson posted this fabulous piece right here. Enjoy!


An excerpt from the latest filing by Patti Dawn Swansson: “Another receiver who won’t be doing his thing in Pegtown is Duron Carter, now the problem child of the B.C. Lions. ‘I am looking forward to making a fresh start on the West Coast,’ he told news snoops. By my count, Carter has had six ‘fresh’ starts in seven years: Two in Montreal and one each in Indianapolis, Saskatchewan, the Republic of Tranna and now Lotus Land. His ass-clown act lasts about as long as food on Chris Walby’s dinner plate. Carter’s hands are never the problem, of course. It’s his yap. Can’t see that changing, even if Lotus Land is the natural habitat of more flakes per capita than anywhere else in the country.” . . . It’s all right here.


“Police were called when two women, 86 and 79, came to blows over seating arrangements during Bingo night at a retirement home in Rideau Lakes, Ont.,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Because it was Canada, both returned to action after serving five minutes for fighting.”


Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot knows when the brand new Alliance of American Football will have arrived. “When one of its franchises can hold a city hostage over a new stadium deal,” he writes.


Quote

Scattershooting on a Sunday while watching Jason Bourne. Again . . . Tigers are road warriors . . . Giants latest to clinch playoff spot

Scattershooting

Sheldon Kennedy spent the weekend in Swift Current, which was the host location for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday. While he was there, the City honoured him by naming an arena after him. To see the love affair between Kennedy and Swift Current makes my heart sing, because there once was a time when an observer never would have thought this was possible. . . . Well done!



ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Auston Matthews to a new contract on Tuesday. . . . What! You didn’t know that! . . . Well, you’re welcome.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on one of the Super Bowl commercials: “After the Washington Post ad in the fourth quarter, I mentioned to my Super Bowl party host that Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce action may influence the Post to the degree that their new slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ may need to be altered to ‘Democracy dies in divorce.’ ”

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And here is The Sports Curmudgeon on the Super Bowl’s halftime show: “Granted that I had no idea who any of the performers for the half-time show were. After glimpsing pieces of their acts, I can say with certainty that I need not expend an erg of energy to find out the next time any of them will be in concert near to where I live. The ad slogan for Camel cigarettes used to be, ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel.’ Well, I would not walk across the room to hear any of those folks perform.”


ChickenEgg


Perhaps you heard about the runner in Colorado who, when attacked by an 80-pound cougar, killed the big cat with his bare hands. As Dixon Tam put it on Twitter: “I hope Chuck Norris recovers from his injuries quickly.”


Ahh, yes, the Kootenay Ice Hall of Fame, announced eight days after the franchise’s post-season move to Winnipeg was confirmed. In an email, one fan told Taking Note that “it’s like sending flowers to your wife a week after you dumped her for another woman.”


If you’re wondering what Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades does on his nights off, he’s the star of the Saskatchewan karaoke circuit. . . . Actually, he was taking part in a Kinsmen-sponsored karaoke battle, so it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

 


Here for your reading pleasure is a piece written by Mark Fainaru-Wada, a staff writer at ESPN, about how the iconic Bob Costas came to the end of his run with NBC-TV. Yes, it had something to do with the NFL and, yes, it has something to do with concussions. . . . It’s all right here, and it’s another reminder about the power of the NFL.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Super Bowl halftime show marred by functioning sound system.


Luggage


ThisThat

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the WHL’s record for career victories as a head coach. He has 750 of those to his credit from stints with the whlKamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants.

It was just last season when Hay broke the record of 742 that had been held for so long by Ken Hodge, who worked with the original Edmonton Oil Kings before making the move to Portland with the franchise.

On Saturday night, Marc Habscheid, now the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth man in WHL history to get to 500 victories.

So . . . you are wondering if Hay’s career victories record is safe, or whether Habscheid might break it?

Hay will turn 65 on Wednesday. Habscheid will hit 56 on March 1.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Hay won’t be a WHL head coach again, although it’s apparent that he isn’t as done with coaching as we once were led to believe. (Hey, the Prince George Cougars might be in the market for a head coach once this season ends. Might Hay be a good fit there?)

Habscheid, meanwhile, is a career coach; he has been for more than 20 years. There is little doubt that he will coach for at least another 10 years. The question one has to ask is this: Will he spend the remainder of his coaching days in the WHL?

To date, Habscheid has had only one brief taste (2006-07) of the NHL, that as an associate coach, alongside head coach Dave Lewis, with the Boston Bruins. Peter Chiarelli, then the Bruins’ general manager, fired them after one season.

Perhaps Habscheid will end up as part of the management team with the NHL’s expansion Seattle franchise that is to begin play in 2021-22. When that organization starts hiring, it may take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, see the number of former WHL head coaches involved there and decide to follow suit. Kelly McCrimmon, Mike Kelly, Ryan McGill, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio and Bruno Campese, each a former WHL head coach, all are on the Vegas payroll.

If Habscheid’s phone doesn’t ring and if he ends up staying in the WHL, and if Hay doesn’t get another head-coaching gig, you can bet Habscheid will end up with more regular-season victories than anyone else.

When would that happen? Perhaps sometime in 2025-26.

By that time, Habscheid might be the head coach of the WHL’s Abbotsford Aardvarks, or the Boise Bulls, or the Wenatchee Wings. Or he may still be in Prince Albert. Or perhaps he will settling comfortably in a new role as a pitchman for Dairy Queen.

No matter. It’ll be fun watching it all unfold.

There’s more on Habscheid right here in an interesting piece filed earlier this month by Mike Commito of Sportsnet.

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THE WHL’S 300 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 495

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 386

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Mike Johnston (Portland) 348

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Logan Stankoven set a franchise single-game points record on Sunday, counting eight thompsonblazersof them as the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 10-0, in a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League game. . . . Stankoven scored three times and added five assists. . . . He leads the league in goals (43), assists (41) and points (84). His lead in the scoring race now is 34 points over F Tyler Crystal of the Vancouver North West Hawks. . . . According to a tweet from the team, Stankoven is one goal shy of the BCMMHL single-season goal record that is held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. . . . This was Stankoven’s third game of the weekend, after he played Friday and Saturday nights with the WHL’s Blazers, who selected him fifth overall in the WHLs 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has one assist in seven games with the Blazers. In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets, head coach Serge Lajoie gave him third-period time with veterans Jermaine Loewen and Zane Franklin in an attempt to inject some life into a stagnant offence. The goals didn’t come, but the chances were there as Stankoven showed again that he is more than capable to making the jump to the WHL.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley McKay and F Chase Wouters had two goals each to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Saskatoon6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-8) has points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (23-22-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blades took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from McKay, at 9:23; F Kyle Crnkovic (7), on a PP, at 14:36; and Wouters, at 15:07. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal in the second period as F Linden McCorrister (12) scored while shorthanded, at 0:32, and F Stelio Mattheos (33) scored on a PP, at 10:39. . . . Wouters countered with his 12th goal, at 11:22. . . . F Ridley Greig (11) pulled the Wheat Kings back to within a goal, again, at 13:29, on another PP. . . . Saskatoon put it away on third-period goals from D Dawson Davidson (11), on a PP, at 5:02, and McKay (11), into an empty net at 18:27. . . . Each team was 2-7 on the PP. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Max Gerlach. . . . G Jiri Patera returned from a leg injury to start for Brandon and stop 31 shots. He hadn’t played since being injured on Jan. 25. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were without F Kirby Dach, who left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos after being struck by a puck in the throat area. Taking Note was told after Saturday’s game that Dach was taken from the game was only precautionary. Saskatoon next is to play Wednesday when it visits the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was on hand for this one and his piece is right here.


G Carl Stankowski earned his first victory since Nov. 23 as the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarydumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Calgary (28-20-5) is fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one in front of the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary does hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (30-14-8) had won its previous two games. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . The Warriors were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went (2-1-0). . . . Stankowski was making his second appearance since suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 23 in a 5-2 victory over his former club, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Kent. Wash. . . . On Sunday, Calgary took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Mark Kastelic (38), at 1:16, and F Tye Carriere (6), at 5:59. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (13) scored for Moose Jaw at 14:55. . . . Second-period goals by F James Malm (23), at 3:39, and F Kaden Elder (23), at 15:47, left Calgary with a 4-1 lead. . . . D Josh Brook (13) got the Warriors to within two, on a PP, at 1:40 of the third. . . . Calgary iced it as F Riley Stotts (17), at 4:33, and F Cael Zimmerman (7), at 14:46, scored. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Carson Focht. . . . G Brodan Salmond turned aside 33 shots for Moose Jaw.


F Andrew Fyten scored once and added two assists to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-EdmontonOilKings2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Edmonton (30-16-8) is atop the Central Division, one point up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina (15-37-3) is 27 points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Austin Pratt (20) scored at 17:32 of the first period. . . . F Carter Souch (9) tied it 50 seconds into the second period and F Scott Atkinson (8) made it 2-1 at 1:52. . . . D David Kope (10) made it 3-1 at 6:25, giving Edmonton three goals in 5:35. . . . Fyten (13) upped the lead to 4-1 at 4:23 of the third period. He’s got five goals and nine assists in 20 games with Edmonton since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (5) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:05. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-0-0 in the season series and have outscored the Pats, 16-4. Fix-Wolansky, who added an assist to his goal in this one, has two goals and eight assists in the series. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 34 saves, six fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . Regina F Cole Dubinsky was back after serving a four-game suspension. . . . The Oil Kings welcomed back F David Kope and D Matthew Robertson from injury-related absences, while F Jake Neighbours served the second of a four-game suspension.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Medicine Hat (31-18-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers went 3-0-1 in a four-game swing that included stops in Cranbrook, Everett and Kent, Wash. The only blemish was a 4-3 OT loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent. . . . Portland (33-16-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (2-0-1), while the Winterhawks were (1-1-1). . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. He leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (93). . . . The Tigers tied it at 4:36 of the third when F Ryan Jevne (25) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard made 28 saves through regulation time, then stopped four shots in OT and foiled five skaters in the shootout. . . . Portland got 38 saves from G Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Cody Glass (knee), who last played on Jan. 26, and D Brendan De Jong, who left Saturday’s 5-0 loss in Everett with an apparent injury to his left knee.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George VancouverCougars, 4-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (37-13-3) has won five in a row. It will finish first in the B.C. Division, and now is one point behind the Everett Silvertips (38-13-2), who lead the Western Conference. . . . The Giants became the third WHL team — behind the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett — to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver will be in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing three in a row. . . . Prince George (16-32-6) now has lost 13 in a row (0-10-3), the longest losing skid in the league this season. The Cougars are 10 points from a playoff spot. . . . F Ethan Browne (8) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (12) tied it 42 seconds into the second period. . . . Vancouver put it away with three third-period goals, from F Davis Koch (22), on a PP, at 7:06; F Justin Sourdif (15), at 11:35; and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 15:24. . . . Vancouver D Bowen Byram, who had two assists, took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner at 13:48 of the third period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants, while G Taylor Gauthier, back after being shaken up and leaving a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday, made 25 saves for Prince George. . . . The Giants dressed only 11 forwards and then lost Brayden Watts in the first period. “Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks,” head coach Michael Dyck told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting after dozing through Stupor Bowl . . . Brodsky family gets Hall call . . . Seattle’s O’Dette voices some displeasure

Scattershooting

Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Tiger opens season at Torrey Pines: Justin Rose carries a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Tiger Woods, in his first event of the new season, made the cut but is 13 off the lead. Except on the attention leaderboard, where he remains on top.”


Prior to this season, the WHL cut its regular-season from 72 to 68 games, and there still are far too many instances of teams having to play three games in fewer than 48 hours. Maybe it’s time to cut back to 64 games, or even 60, and get rid of even more of those dastardly mid-week games.


Itch

How excited was Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, to see the Super Bowl halftime show? “This year’s performance will feature Maroon 5 as the headliner,” he wrote, “In the event that Maroon 5 were to pull out of the performance at the last minute and be replaced by Chartreuse 7.5, I would not know the difference.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “There’s rumblings out of L.A. that the Lakers are itching to swing a three-city trade to land Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. In return, the Lakers would send Lonzo Ball to New Orleans, and LaVar Ball to Flin Flon.”

——

Perry, again: “Whacky ex-slugger Jose Canseco tweeted that aliens have been trying to teach mankind the fine art of time travel but, alas, our species has just been too reluctant ‘to change our body composition.’ Which raises the question: Is there a concussion-protocol statute of limitations for home-run balls off the top of the noggin?


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The group that owns the Victoria HarbourCats of baseball’s West Coast League has announced that if all goes well it will field a team in Nanaimo’s Serauxmen Stadium in time for the 2020 or 2021 season. It would be the third Canadian team in a league that also includes the Kelowna Falcons. The 12-team WCL has expressed interest in Kamloops and NorBrock Stadium in the past but hasn’t been able to find anyone interested in bankrolling the project.


The NBA has fined Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans the grand sum of $50,000 because his agent went public with a trade request. As RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com points out: “Tsk. There’s seven minutes salary he’ll never get back.”


When it came to watching the NFL Pro Bowl on TV, Hampton Roads, Va., was third in the ratings, behind only Kansas City and Pittsburgh. “Hey, neighbors,” wrote Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, “maybe it’s time we got out of the house more often.”


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The best part of that Super Bowl game is that it’s over, which means it’s now baseball season. . . . Although I have to admit that the NFL’s showcase game did one thing good — it put me to sleep. Not once, but twice.


“Perhaps the highlight of the Super Bowl for most average Americans,” notes Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com, “was the realization that 70,000 members of 1% paid thousands of dollars to be inside where they couldn’t change the channel.”


Former UCLA star Bill Walton, now a TV analyst, has suggested that Barack Obama should replace the fired Steve Alford as the men’s basketball coach at UCLA. To which Brad Rock of Salt Lake City’s Desert News asked: “What? Gene Hackman was busy?”



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The Brodsky family, a major contributor to the WHL over the years, is among the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2019 inductees. The announcement was made on Saturday, with the saskhallinduction ceremony scheduled for July 6 at Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park.

“As probably everybody in the room will tell you, you come into these things and you just go to work every day and you do the things you want to be doing and enjoy doing,” Jack Brodsky said. “To be recognized, I’m especially appreciative of the fact that it’s the entire family going in. My dad (Nate) and my brothers (Rick and Bob) and sister (Debbie) were so supportive. To be here, for us to be recognized for this, is a wonderful thing. It’s humbling.”

Nate was a long-time owner of the Saskatoon Blades, which stayed in the Brodsky family until the franchise was sold to Mike Priestner of Edmonton after the 2012-13 season. . . . Rick Brodsky purchased the Victoria Cougars, moved them to Prince George in 1994 and and was involved until selling the franchise to local interests after the 2013-14 season. . . . Jack and Rick Brodsky both were heavily involved in the WHL at the administrative level, as well.

Also in the class of 2019 — Players: Bert Olmstead, Fernie Flaman, Keith Magnuson, Curtis Leschyshyn, Brian Skrudland and Ed Van Impe; Grassroots: Jim McIntyre and Joe Bloski; Builders: Murray Armstrong, Max McNab, Bill Thon and the Brodsky family; Official: Brad Watson; Teams: 2004-05 Saskatoon Contacts and 1966-67 Saskatoon Centennials. . . . The SHHOF is located at the Credit Union I-Plex, the Swift Current Broncos’ home arena.

Darren Zary of the SaskatoonStarPhoenix has more right here.


Officials of WHL teams and the folks who run their home arenas need to read this piece right here from CBS News. It details how the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons cut their concession prices, some by as much as 50 per cent, and had revenues rise by 16 per cent. Other teams have since followed suit and have experienced similar results. . . . “We talk about lifetime value of customers … and the lifetime value of the customer, for the Atlanta sports fan is, I think, quite higher now because people want to go there,” Scott Rosner, director of Columbia University’s sports management program, told CBS. “They don’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of. It’s an affordable experience.”


You are free to wonder if Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, will Seattlebe hearing from Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s sheriff, after expressing some disgruntlement after a 7-2 loss to the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday night.

For starters, O’Dette wasn’t happy with the fact that Everett F Connor Dewar, who finished with four goals and two assists, wasn’t given a kneeing penalty for a hit on Seattle F Matthew Wedman.

“They saw everything that we did obviously,” O’Dette told Andy Eide, who covers the Thunderbirds of 710 ESPN in Seattle. “We know what knees can do and we’re pretty sensitive about that. They continue not to call them. I don’t know why, but they continue to not call them.”

The Thunderbirds are sensitive because F Dillon Hamaliuk had his season ended by a knee-on-knee hit agains the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Dec. 29. D Matthew Quigley was suspended for four games after that hit.

On Saturday, Everett finished with nine power-play opportunities, while Seattle had two, none after the early part of the second period.

O’Dette was so frustrated that when referees Tyler Adair and Fraser Lawrence awarded Seattle a PP at 19:56 of the third period, he ended up with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“A typical referee move to give us a call with two seconds left,” O’Dette said. “No, no, no, no, we’re not taking that. We’re not making it look good on the boxscore. Typical cowardly ref move to do that. We didn’t want that power play.”

Eide’s complete story is right here.


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Scattershooting as Ethan Hunt saves the world . . . Oil Kings back on top . . . Goodness Gricius! It’s the J and J show in Portland

Scattershooting

If you are at all familiar with Sheldon Kennedy, all-Canadian hero, and his work you may have wondered: Just how broad are his shoulders? Because the load he was carrying was huge. . . . Kennedy, you may be aware, has made the decision to step back a bit and lighten his load. . . . Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star chatted with Kennedy and filed this piece right here.


“The NBA-champion Golden State Warriors paid a visit to former President Barack Obama in D.C. during their trip to play the Washington Wizards,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Apparently it was such a last-minute deal that there wasn’t even time to have hamburgers and pizza delivered.”



Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Henrik Lundqvist tied Terry Sawchuk on the all-time wins list the other night, which is true but not contextually accurate. Sawchuk played in an era with tie games. He had 171 ties in his career. If every one of those games had a win/loss result, his win total would be significantly higher than what Lundqvist has accomplished here.” . . . It’s true. Thanks to the introduction of the loser point, hockey’s numbers from one era to another no longer can be compared.

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A question from Simmons: “Why do so many Canadian media members become giddy cheerleaders when Denis Shapovalov plays tennis?” . . . That brought this response from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Why do Toronto media cheerleaders get giddy when Auston Matthews farts?”



The Baseball Hall of Fame? I’ll pay attention when the doors swing open for Larry Walker. As Keith Olbermann so eloquently put it on Twitter: “And none of this Coors (Field) crap — 70 per cent of his PA weren’t at Coors.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com is ready for a movie on women’s curling, and he even suggests three titles: 1. Kiss of the Slider Woman; 2. Erin Rockovich; 3. Brush, Brush Sweet Charlotte.

——

“New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera is the first player to be unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame,” writes Currie. “Makes you wonder what gripe voters once had with Babe Ruth?”


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On Dec. 15, Postmedia columnist Terry Jones of Edmonton wrote: “For the entire calendar year, Peter Chiarelli has been a combination of the village wart carrier and village idiot. Friday night at Rogers Place, almost everywhere you looked, the Edmonton Oilers general manager appeared to be the resident genius.” That was after the Oilers won a sixth straight game. . . . How quickly things change in hockey. Chiarelli was fired during the second intermission of a 3-2 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.


Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong points out that POTUS “called his buddy Robert Kraft and congratulated him and his New England Patriots for making it to the Super Bowl. He didn’t do the same for the Los Angeles Rams. So make that two non-calls involving the Rams last Sunday.”


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle always provides an entertaining read. He has another one right here, as he writes about the jerks who are in his personal hall of fame for, if nothing else, making his job that much more fun.


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Old friend Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, signed up for an exercise class and then discovered that a requirement was that he wear loose-fitting clothing. As he noted: “If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing I wouldn’t need the bleepin’ class!”


I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again . . . If you want an entertaining read on a regular basis, check out Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade.

Among her latest observations . . .

“John Shannon, the sometimes smug gab guy on Sportsnet, delivered what was labeled his Power 25 — the top movers and shakers in the NHL — and he listed wet-eared Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks the sixth most-powerful person.

What Shannon failed to do was explain exactly what makes Pettersson more of a power broker than, say, Puck Pontiff Mark Chipman, co-bankroll and governor of les Jets and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. Perhaps Shannon will also tell us that a parish priest in Moose Jaw holds more sway with Catholics than the Pope. Or that Adam Sandler makes better movies than Steven Spielberg.

“That’s really, really dumb.”

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


If you’re wondering, and I know you were, the Kootenay Kountdown is into Day 40. . . . The other Kootenay Kountdown is at 48 days. Yes, the Ice will play its final home game in Cranbrook in 48 days.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s first four goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the Calgaryvisiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Calgary (23-19-4) has won two in a row and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . Kootenay (10-32-8) has lost four straight (0-3-1). . . . The home side went ahead 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kaden Elder (18), at 3:34, and F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (3), at 6:51. . . . The Hitmen went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Tye Carriere (4), at 8:20, and F Hunter Campbell (3), at 12:23. . . . F Austin Schellenberg (5) scored for Kootenay at 15:25. . . . G Jack McNaughton, making his 21st straight start for Calgary, stopped 20 shots, four fewer than the Ice’s Curtis Meger.


D Conner McDonald scored twice as the host Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Prince George EdmontonOilKingsCougars, 2-1. . . . Edmonton (26-15-8) now leads the Central Division, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and two up on the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Prince George (16-27-5) has lost seven straight (0-5-2) and is five points from a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours; they went 0-3-0 and were outscored 11-3 in the process. . . . On Sunday, F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (17) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:51 of the first period. . . . McDonald tied it at 6:48 of the second period, then snapped the tie, on a PP, at 8:55. . . . McDonald, who has 12 goals this season, enjoyed the first two-goal game of his career. He has 31 goals in 237 career games. . . . This season, the 19-year-old McDonald, with three goals and two assists over his past three games, has 30 points in 49 games. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 27 shots for the Oil Kings, with Taylor Gauthier blocking 30 for the Cougars. . . . F Josh Maser of the Cougars completed his three-game suspension.


F Leif Mattson drew three assists in regulation time then scored the shootout winner as KelownaRocketsthe Kelowna Rockets beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3, in Langley, B.C. . . . Kelowna (20-24-4) had lost its previous two games, including a 2-1 loss to the visiting Giants on Saturday night. The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Victoria Royals and three ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . Vancouver (31-12-3) had one its past eight games and now has points in nine straight (8-0-1). The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 15 points over Victoria. . . . Kelowna went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Last night, Kelowna grabbed a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from F Mark Liwiski (4), at 11:31, and F Kyle Topping, at 14:23, and a second goal from Topping, at 7:15 of the second period. Topping, who also had an assist, now has 19 goals. . . . F Justin Sourdif (12) started the Giants’ comeback at 8:20, with F Davis Koch (19) making it 3-2 at 12:19. . . . D Bowen Byram (18) pulled the Giants even at 13:11 of the third period. . . . Byram, who will be early first-round selection in the NHL’s June draft in Vancouver, now has 46 points in 46 games. . . . Mattson was the second shooter of the third round and scored the lone goal to give the Rockets the victory. . . . D Noah Dorey, who turned 16 on Jan. 21, made his WHL debut with the Rockets. From Surrey, B.C., he was a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the West Van Academy prep team. . . . F Liam Kindree was among Kelowna’s scratches. He didn’t finish Saturday’s game after being involved in a collision with teammate Cayde Augustine.


G Joel Hofer stopped 37 shots, 19 of them in the second period, to lead the host Portland PortlandWinterhawks to a 3-0 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Portland (30-13-5) has won three in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Lethbridge (25-15-8) has lost two straight and now is fourth in the Central Division, one point out of second and two back of first. . . . The Hurricanes were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 1-2-0. . . . Since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for six bantam draft picks, Hofer is 4-1-0, 1.59, .946. . . . Lethbridge F Dylan Cozens wasn’t able to beat Hofer on a second-period penalty shot. . . . F Jake Gricius scored Portland’s first two goals, at 4:32 and 10:01 of the second period. Gricius, who has 22 goals, scored the second one while shorthanded. . . . F Seth Jarvis (14) scored the other goal, at 16:36. . . . The Winterhawks were without F Cody Glass, who was helped from the ice in the third period of Saturday’s games with an apparent injury to his left knee. . . . Glass was in attendance last night, according to a Twitter post (@kerstineLarsen) “with only one crutch, and even looks like he may be putting a little weight on that leg.”


F Matthew Wedman scored twice and added an assist to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to Seattlea 5-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (18-22-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Thunderbirds moved back into the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Kamloops. . . . Kamloops (19-25-3) had a four-game winning streak come to an end. The Blazers are fourth in the B.C. Division, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seattle took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Noah Philp (19), at 6:05 of the first period, and Wedman, on a PP, just 1:21 later. . . . The Blazers got their first goal from F Zane Franklin (23), on a PP, at 10:24. . . . The Thunderbirds restored their two-goal lead in the second period on goals from D Tyrel Bauer (1), at 2:53, and Wedman, at 8:07. Wedman now has 21 goals. . . . F Connor Zary (12) got a PP goal for Kamloops at 18:13. . . . F Sean Richards (15) scored Seattle’s fifth goal at 14:33 of the third period. . . . F Henri Rybinski had three assists for Seattle. . . . Bauer, a 16-year-old freshman from Cochrane, Alta., got his first WHL goal in his 44th game. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Blazers, who played at home on Saturday, went (2-1-0); the Thunderbirds, who were in Portland on Saturday, were (1-1-1). . . . F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s captain, was scratched after appearing to injure an arm in Saturday’s 3-2 OT loss in Portland.


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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.”


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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.


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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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