Truitt takes over Raiders’ bench . . . Oil Kings lose Lauer to Jets . . . Is Pierce up next in Edmonton?


The Prince Albert Raiders introduced veteran WHL coach Jeff Truitt as their new head coach on Friday morning. He takes over from Marc Habscheid, who has signed on as the head coach of Pioneers Vorarlberg of the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League. . . . Truitt, 57,was an assistant coach alongside Habscheid for the previous four seasons. . . . A Moose Jaw native, Truitt has won WHL titles as a coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (1997), Kelowna Rockets (2003, 2005) and the Raiders (2019). . . . Interestingly, he moved up to head coach of the Rockets, replacing Habscheid, after the 2002-03 season. . . . He spent four seasons (1993-97) as an assistant coach with Lethbridge and was an assistant in Kelowna for four seasons (2000-04). He then spent two seasons as the Rockets’ head coach. . . . In 2009-10, Truitt was the director of hockey operations with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Before joining the Raiders, he spent five-plus seasons as the Red Deer Rebels’ associate coach. . . . According to the WHL, Truitt has a regular-season record of 136-94-23 as a head coach. He is 29-21 in playoff games. . . . BTW, if you’re new to the WHL, that’s general manager Curtis Hunt to the right of Truitt in the above tweet.


After a four-year interlude in Edmonton, Brad Lauer is back in the NHL. Lauer, the head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings for the past four seasons has signed on with the Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach. . . . Under Lauer, the Oil Kings are the reigning WHL champions. . . . Lauer, 55, began his coaching career by spending five seasons (2002-07) as an assistant coach with the Kootenay Ice (remember them?). . . . Before joining the Oil Kings, Lauer spent eight-plus seasons as an NHL assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators. . . . As a player, Lauer was with the Regina Pats for three seasons (1983-86) before going on to a pro career that included 323 regular-season NHL games. . . .

If you’re wondering who might succeed Lauer with the Oil Kings, perhaps we need look no further than Luke Pierce, who has worked as an assistant in Edmonton for four seasons. Pierce, 38, spent six seasons with his hometown BCHL-Merritt Centennials, the last five-plus as general manager and head coach. He then was the head coach of the Kootenay Ice (remember them?) for two seasons (2015-17). . . .

The Jets also added former Kamloops Blazers D Nolan Baumgartner, 46, to their organization. Baumgartner, who played four seasons (1992-96) in Kamloops, will work as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. He also is a former Moose player and team captain. Baumgartner spent the past four-plus seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks.


PianoBar


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had this in his daily missive on Thursday:

“Having mentioned Russell Westbrook, I ran across an interesting stat about him and his contract with the Lakers.

“Assuming Westbrook plays the entire 2022-23 season with Los Angeles, he will have made a total of $91.3M in salary from the Lakers.

In 1979, Jerry Buss bought the Lakers franchise PLUS the Los Angeles Kings franchise PLUS The Forum from Jack Kent Cooke for a total of only $67.5M.”


The Saskatchewan Roughriders showed 11 players out with “illness” on the injury list released by the CFL team on Friday. They were to have played the visiting Toronto Argos today (Saturday), but the game has been moved to Sunday. . . . Some players appear to have recovered, because the team had said 13 players and three staff members tested positive.


You may recall prior to the past NBA season when Andrew Wiggins, a Canadian, caused consternation in the camp of the Golden State Warriors when he was refusing to get vaccinated. Of course, he eventually reconsidered and now that he has a championship to his credit how does he feel? “I still wish I didn’t get (vaccinated), to be honest with you,” he said. . . . To which Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, responded: “About a million Americans would offer a rebuttal if they weren’t like, you know, dead.”



Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe on a certain Kansas City Royals outfielder: “Andrew Benintendi played the dense card when asked about his anti-vax status at the All-Star Game. ‘I’m just here to answer baseball questions,’ said the former Red Sox outfielder. The natural follow-up should be, ‘But this IS a baseball question.’ When you choose to make yourself unavailable to your team, it’s a baseball issue. Benintendi’s intransigence may prevent him from being traded to a contender. The Yankees reportedly backed off when they learned Benintendi is a personal freedom fighter.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: The folks at Mount Allison U in Sackville, N.B., get it. They have stated that the school“will be maintaining mandatory indoor masking into the fall term. We will also be asking new students and staff to upload vaccination status and will provide testing kids.” . . . Anyone else just itching to see that Sleeman 2.0 commercial one more time? . . . Terry Mosher, aka Aislin, the Montreal Gazette’s brilliant editorial cartoonist, is the latest to produce a book in conjunction with what will be the 50th anniversary of the Summit Series. From Montreal to Moscow will be available in late August.


Husband


THE COACHING GAME:

The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract extension. He has been with Lloydminster since November 2018. There is a complete news release right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Hockey Canada’s NDA forbids TSN from disclosing final score for all games.


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.


ColdCase

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the Calgary Wranglers are coming back . . .

scattershooting

Camper2

Hello, friend. Yes, you . . . from the white one-ton truck that was pulled in off Wittner Road east of Kamloops on Saturday morning. You know, on the south side of the South Thompson River, just across from the Lafarge plant.

I was wondering if you lost your camper?

When I walked past your truck with the white camper on the back I didn’t see anyone, so I assumed you were fishing off the shore. I even wondered if you might be camping there for the weekend.

Then when I went for my Sunday morning stroll, I noticed your truck was gone but the camper was still there, albeit on its roof.

I can only assume that it slid off the back of your truck as you drove away and that you didn’t notice it. I mean, you wouldn’t be ignorant enough just to dump the old camper right there now, would you? Perhaps you were too busy trying to figure out how to use your turn signals to notice that the camper was gone. Hey, it happens to all of us.

Anyway . . . by now you likely have noticed that it’s missing and now you know where it is, so I’m sure you’ll drop by one day this week and pick it up.

Right?

Camper3



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Jon Berti of the Miami Marlins leads all of baseball in steals, with 25,  at the season’s halfway point. Unless you count the former treasurer of the Oakville, Ont., Minor Baseball Association, who is accused of  embezzling $468,000 from the league.”

——

Perry, again: “Green Bay Packers QB  Aaron Rodgers has a new tattoo on his left arm — intricate astrological designs by Hungarian artist Balazs Bercsenyi. What were you expecting, a bull’s-eye with the words ‘insert vaccination here?’ ”


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you were on Twitter the afternoon of July 4, I think you’ll admit it was kind of surreal with tweets about the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., and a hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y., seemingly alternating in that particular social media universe. . . . During the NHL’s 2022-23 regular season, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will meet three times — none once in the season’s second half. Seriously! In the CFL this season, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos meet on four occasions. . . . Battle of Alberta? Not in the NHL, I guess. . . . In the WHL, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen will clash on eight occasions. . . . Still with the NHL’s 2022-23 schedule, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders will see each other only three times, all before Christmas. . . .

Hey, Blue Jays fans, how did you survive Friday night with your favourites and the host Seattle Mariners available only on Apple TV+? In its attempts to find new fans, MLB does that every once in a while just to remind some of us that at the end of the day it really does take those of us who are regular viewers for granted. . . . Don’t look now but here come the Baltimore Orioles. . . .

Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders should release DT Garrett Marino after that embarrassing performance on Friday night. Will they? Marino, in his second season with the Roughriders, has proven he can be a productive player, so I would be shocked if he is cut loose. . . . Until Sunday night, I haven’t been eagerly awaiting the arrival of robo umps in Major League Baseball. But after watching Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees take six pitches, all of which were balls, and be called out on strikes, well, I guess it’s time.



“Kevin Durant is turning into the Taylor Swift of baseball,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “But at least her breakups result in good songs.”



Lazuli
I had company for a brief time on my Sunday morning walk. Lazuli buntings are frequent visitors to our neighbourhood in Campbell Creek.

After I posted a story here the other day about the Kelowna Rockets switching radio stations — they left AM 1150 after more than 20 years and now are with 104.7 The Lizard — one reply to the tweet about the piece had me chuckling. . . .

BTW, some WHL fans really are waiting anxiously to find out if Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Rockets, will ever pitter-patter and get at ‘er again. . . . Hey, TSN, do you still need a play-by-play voice for your Winnipeg Jets telecasts?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have promoted Chris Moulton to director of hockey operations. He had been the director of player personnel since joining the organization on July 2, 2021. Before signing on with Brandon, Moulton spent 13 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs as director of scouting and director of player personnel. . . . Moulton’s promotion follows the May 6 announcement that general manager Doug Gasper had resigned for personal reasons. He had been with the Wheat Kings for three seasons, the first two as assistant general manager and the last one as GM. . . .

The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Niagara IceDogs to a group headed by majority owner Darren DeDobbelaer and including minority owner Wayne Gretzky. . . . DeDobbelaer and Gretzky both are from Brantford, Ont. . . . They purchased the IceDogs from Denise and Bill Burke, who had bought the franchise from the late Eugene Melnyk. . . . Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered has reported that the price the DeDobbelaer group paid is “believed to be $18 million, which is actually 10 percent less than the $20 million owners Bill and Denise Burke were seeking for the franchise.” . . . The IceDogs play out of St. Catharines, Ont. . . . This isn’t Gretzky’s first time being involved in the ownership of a major junior franchise. He was involved in the ownership of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls (1982-84) and  owned a piece of the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques (1985-92).



DeerApple
We had a visitor to our Jon Gold apple tree at noon on Sunday. She helped herself — without asking, I might add — and then laid down under the tree and digested her meal.

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.


Posters

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if Twins’ Buxton could be future MVP . . .

scattershooting

OpeningDay


A truism from Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “There are relationships that don’t last as long as the last two minutes of a close college basketball game.”


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Study: Every child who cheated at NHL 94 now a hardened criminal.

One more Beaverton headline — BREAKING: Will Smith sentenced to 10 years of watching terrible Oscars telecast from home.


Health


When The Masters started on Thursday, Tiger Woods was at 40-1 to win the whole thing. Eben Novy-Williams (@novy_williams) noted that Woods was “the most bet golfer this week.” He added that one oddsmaker had said Woods “actual” odds, if not for his popularity, would likely be 200-1. As Novy-Williams put it, Woods is “the gift that keeps giving for sports books.”



Headline from @NOTSportsCenter — Breaking: Due to LeBron James being eliminated from playoff contention, ESPN has officially canceled the 2022 NBA playoffs.


Speaking of LeBron, here’s Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “There’s only one person to blame for the Lakers’ abysmal performance this year, and that’s the general manager who put this team together — LeBron James.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: Have you tired of the gambling commercials on the telly yet? . . . Are you tired of the talking heads going and on about odds and parlays and prop bets yet? . . . How long before we start hearing about the socio-economic cost of being bombarded with all of this? . . . And where does pro sports turn for the next revenue stream? . . . OF Byron Buxton homered in the first and second innings of the Minnesota Twins’ 10-4 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sunday. When he came to the plate in the third inning, the fans were chanting “MVP! MVP!” If he stays healthy, he just might be in the running. . . . The XM Radio app is installed and running on my tablet and I can tell you that there isn’t anything better than spending a weekend listening to baseball on the radio. . . . No, I didn’t see even one putt. One of the rare few who isn’t a fan of Jim Nantz, Tiger Woods or the tweeting birds, live or on tape, at Augusta.



Tiger Woods won four consecutive majors in 2000 and 2001 and he did it using the same set of irons. In 2010, a rich guy named Todd Brock bought those irons for US$57,242. Earlier this year, Brock sold those irons at auction for US$5,156,162. . . . Now that’s not a bad return on investment for a guy who is a Houston private equity investor. . . . BTW, those are Titleist 681-T irons. You can buy a brand new set for about Cdn$1,400. But you still won’t break 90, will you?


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


English


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference:

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds wrapped up fourth place with a 4-1 Seattlevictory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . That means Seattle will have home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . F Austin Roest (13) pulled Everett to within a goal at 15:52 of the third period, but Seattle put it away with empty-netters by F Nico Myatovic (4) and F Reid Schaefer (32). . . . The Silvertips will be more concerned about the condition of D Olen Zelwegger than the loss. He left the game on a stretcher at 12:26 of the first period, but flashed a thumbs up on the way out. He leads all WHL in assists (64) and points (78), all accomplished in 55 games. . . . Seattle and Kelowna will play Games 1 and 2 in Kent on April 22 and 23, then head for Kelowna and games on April 26 and 27. The Thunderbirds were 3-1-0 in the season series; the Rockets were 1-2-1. . . . Everett (45-11-10) remains atop the conference, three points ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers, who have two games remaining. . . .

G Matthew Hutchison stopped 27 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-2 Vancouvervictory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Hutchison, who won’t turn 16 until Oct. 7, is from Nanaimo. This was his first WHL victory and came in his second start. He was a third-round selection by the Giants in the WHL’s 2021 draft. . . . F Adam Hall (17) and F Zack Ostapchuk (24) scored at 1:12 and 2:02 of the second period to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. The Rockets were never able to catch up. . . . The Giants (24-27-4) snapped an eight-game losing skid and moved into sixth place, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs and Prince George Cougars, and two up on the Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (40-20-6) will finish fifth in the conference and meet Seattle in the opening round of the playoffs.

——

Eastern Conference:

In Winnipeg, D Nolan Orzeck drew five assists as the Ice dumped the Medicine WinnipegIceHat Tigers, 8-2. . . . F Mikey Milne had one goal, his 36th, and four assists. . . . The Tigers, trailing 3-0 in the second period, cut the deficit to one goal, but the Ice closed it out with the next five scores. . . . The Ice clinched the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s regular-season champions with the victory. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 24 shots to run his numbers this season to 32-3-1, 1.97, .915. . . . The Ice (51-10-5) will meet either the Swift Current Broncos (59 points), Calgary Hitmen (58), Regina Pats (57) or Prince Albert Raiders (57) in the first round. Only one of those teams will get into the playoffs. . . . The Tigers (11-52-4) have lost 11 straight games. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last four goals and beat the host EdmontonCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . F Jake Neighbours (16) and F Dylan Guenther (45) each had a goal and an assist for the winners. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 28 shots. This season, he now is 32-9-3, 2.33 .911. . . . The Oil Kings (48-14-4) will be the conference’s No. 2 seed and will meet the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes in the opening round. . . . The Hitmen (25-33-8) are ninth, one point behind the Swift Current Broncos.


Call


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.


Dumb

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after some uninspiring NFL playoff games . . .

Scattershooting2

Shortbread
Do you know what this is? The last two shortbread cookies are on the verge of disappearing, signalling the end of another festive season in our home. Yes, it is one of the saddest pictures every year. And, yes, they tasted mighty good.

Think about taking two minutes out of your busy day to watch this. It will help you understand how a whole lot of people are feeling at this point of this seemingly never-ending pandemic . . .


The way I figure it, there was a WHL record set in Portland on Sunday night as Portlandthe Winterhawks erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Four of the coaches — two with each team — total 1,875 regular-season victories. . . . Don Hay, Portland’s associate coach, holds the WHL career record, of course, having put up 750 victories. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, is No. 10, at 472. . . . Kamloops1Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, GM and head coach, has 432, good for 16th spot. . . . Mark Holick, the Blazers’ associate coach, has 221 victories to his credit. . . . Understand that those numbers all are unofficial as we await a new WHL Official Guide and Record Book, but that is a whole lot of victories signifying that those men have been behind WHL benches for a whole lot of games. . . . Oh, the stories they can tell!


It was late Friday night — early Saturday morning further east of here — when there was some interesting discourse on Twitter, featuring Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) and Taylor Rocca (@taylorrocca).

Brandow is a stats guy who posts interesting facts and numbers from every WHLmajor junior hockey game; Rocca is the WHL’s director of communications.

Brandow, in the course of posting tidbits after Friday night’s WHL games, wondered about the fact the WHL hasn’t made available an updated Official Guide and Record Book since the 2019-20 season.

Rocca’s responses provide some insight into the workings of the WHL’s Calgary office during this pandemic:

“Contrary to popular belief, we do not have a staff member solely dedicated to media guide/stats. We’re a small office desperately working to simply keep junior hockey on the ice, players healthy, etc. Because, you know, we’re into Year 2 of a global pandemic. . . .

“I’m not trying to fight. Just trying to provide some context. In the case of our office, specifically, we experience widespread layoffs and had LITERALLY one full-time Communications staff member for over a year who was responsible for . . .

“Web/social content, PR/media relations (people have had some questions), mobile app mgmt, dev consult/admin/launch of new streaming service, internal/external comms/Club support, COVID test results processing, etc. I’m sure I’m missing plenty of other time-consuming tasks. . . .

“Point I’m trying to make is most people don’t understand the incredible challenge it has been for small staffs to keep these leagues running. Speaking for myself, I’ve worked nothing short of 100+ hours a week, almost every single week since March 2020. . . .

“I’m not one to speak out or be overly vocal, especially on social media.

But a lot of people in junior hockey are beyond burnt out. They’re doing the best they can every day to show up & make sure the hockey gets delivered. That is what needs to happen first. For the players. . . .

“People work in jr hockey because they love the game. It’s not for the pay. When we’re frustrated about a stream that errors, or a media guide that’s later than ideal, we need to remember there are hard-working people doing their best to survive & meet beyond high demands. . . .

“Just remember: There are real people w/ real emotions, who have been working tirelessly to keep these leagues alive & navigate a world that no one has a blueprint for. And sometimes, keeping the players/staff healthy & games going is all that’s possible from one day to the next.”

It all ended on a positive note as Brandow wrote: “Fair’s fair.  I greatly appreciate the explanation and once again, I apologize for the outburst.”

Rocca closed with: “It’s all good, Geoffrey. The media guide is on the list. It will get done. All I ask for is your patience & understanding. Appreciate the time & effort you put into tracking stats across the entire CHL. I check in on them every single game night & I’m always impressed.”

While you aren’t able to download a new WHL Guide, the OHL’s new Media and Information Guide (aka record book) is available right here, while the QMJHL’s updated Media Guide, which includes a records section, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS — While the OHL is playing without fans in most of its buildings, the QMJHL has decided that it won’t resume its schedule until at least Feb. 1. It had hoped to start up again during the week of Jan. 17, but government-imposed restrictions aren’t likely to be lifted before then. . . . The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that was to have been held in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 2, has been postponed. Officials hope to reschedule it for some point during this season. . . . Congrats to referee Brett Iverson, who was presented with a WHL Milestone Award prior to Saturday’s game in Langley, B.C. Iverson has been working WHL games since 2008-09 and has been on the ice for more than 650 regular-season games. He also has done four WHL finals and two Memorial Cup tournaments. . . . If you were watching the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver play in Langley, B.C., on Friday night, you may have seen Giants F Ty Thorpe shove a linesman at 19:30 of the second period. Somehow, he escaped with only a misconduct penalty, but he missed Saturday’s rematch after the WHL hit him with a one-game suspension. . . . The Cougars swept the two games from the host Giants, leading some fans to wonder whether Vancouver will be buying or selling as the trade deadline arrives today (Monday).



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “You can start marking time until the guy who runs Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, walks the plank for his role in this fiasco with Novak Djokovic. I still love Djokovic trying to blame the mistakes on his paperwork on his agent. . . . Got it. . . . Dog ate my visa.”

——

Lupica, again: “It’s going to be fun, now that ESPN has hired David Cone, to go back to watching Sunday Night Baseball with the sound on.”


Wrench


In the SJHL, the Humboldt Broncos beat the host Melfort Mustangs, 4-3 in OT, sjhlon Friday night. No, wait a minute. Not so fast. . . . That was thought to be the final score until the Mustangs protested over what they felt was an officiating error at 10:23 of the third period. The Mustangs won the protest, so the teams replayed the last 9:37 of the third period prior to Saturday night’s game in Humboldt. . . . On Friday, the Broncos scored a 5-on-3 goal at 10:23 to get to within 3-2, at which point there was confusion over whether anyone should be allowed out of the penalty box. When no one was allowed out, Humboldt scored again another PP goal, then thought it had won it in OT. . . . When play resumed Saturday night, Melfort stretched that 3-2 lead to a 5-2 victory. . . . Humboldt then won the regularly scheduled game, 6-4. . . . There is a complete explanation right here.


There was a time, before the birth of the Toronto Blue Jays, when a lot of Canadian baseball fans got their fix through Dave Van Horne, the voice of the Montreal Expos. Van Horne, who has been calling Miami Marlins’ games for the past 21 years, has chosen to retire. It seems the Marlins cut his schedule back to 54 games last season and wanted him to do fewer than 20 games in 2022. In speaking with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Van Horne, 82, took the high road, saying: “After they made the last offer to have me come back in some role in 2022 . . . less than 20 games, I could not do it. I said I’m a baseball play-by-play broadcaster. I’m not one who makes guests appearances and works on recorded interviews. . . . I’m not upset about it. I’ve thought about it during last season. I thought this could very well be it for me. I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. Life goes on. I have, in effect, retired. I’m living on my pensions. I have no plans to pursue anything else. I will not pursue another baseball broadcast position.” . . . Jackson’s story is right here.


Antlers


The NFL’s regular season ended on Jan. 9 and the next day, as is the norm, featured a number of teams firing their head coaches. “Since the NFL is all about sponsorships,” wondered Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Babe, “how long until we start hearing about ‘Black Monday, brought to you by LinkedIn?’ ”



There was a time when pro and college football teams didn’t each employ a couple of dozen assistant coaches and aides. As Steve Spurrier, a former head coach at Florida, explained to the Orlando Sentinel, the Gators back in the day had only one nutritionist on staff: “We had one, and it was me. I used to go around during meals and tell the players to stop eating just meat and potatoes and go put something green on their plates. That’s how we handled nutrition back then.”


Bacon


THINKING OUT LOUD — Isn’t there something strange about hockey leagues that hand out minor penalties for checking to the head, but allow two players to stand and repeatedly punch each other in the face? . . . The Florida Panthers, one of the NHL’s best and most-entertaining teams, were at home and on my TV set a couple of times in recent days, beating the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars in front of a whole lot of empty seats. Meanwhile, Gary Bettman’s NHL doesn’t include a team in Quebec City, which has an arena and a huge hunger for hockey. . . . The worst thing about live sports on TV in Canada? The same commercials over and over and over and over, again. The first time I saw the spot for Cavendish waffle fries, I thought I might like to try them. By the 10th or 12th time in a couple of hours, well, there’s not a chance. . . . Isn’t it absolutely bizarre the way the NFL allows non-playoff teams with coaching vacancies to interview coaches from playoff teams while their teams are involved in preparing for games? Two of the men on the Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff interviewed for head-coaching positions prior to their Saturday night playoff game. . . . Do you think that it will bother the NFL that it let two more teams into the playoffs and the first weekend of play wasn’t especially entertaining? You’re right. They’ll likely add two more to the bracket next season.


Remote


Perhaps you follow Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner) on Twitter or perhaps you have seen reference to a tweet or two of his on this site. When it comes to the history of the Regina Pats, he’s THE MAN. He often posts tweets involving Pats games from the 1960s and early ’70s, and chances are that the stories in those posts were written by Mal Isaac, then of the Regina Leader-Post. . . . Isaac, who went through two hearts, both of which were stronger and tougher than any hockey player, died on Saturday. He was 84. . . . Condolences to Vivian and family, and to Mal’s brother, Dale. Both brothers are in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.


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.


Kitchen

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after a Grey Cup game to remember . . .

Scattershooting2

Merry Christmas . . .


The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the CFL title on Sunday, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who were playing at home, 33-25 in OT to successfully defend their Grey Cup championship. The Bombers also won in 2019; the CFL didn’t play in 2020 because of the pandemic. . . . This was a terrific football game, with a strong wind making the decision-making process that much more important and the passing and punting games difficult. . . . If you’re not aware, the CFL OT format opens with mini-games as each team scrimmages from the 35-yard line. Score a TD and you have to go for two. The Bombers went ahead 31-25 on a Zach Collaros to Darvin Adams TD pass, with Collaros then hitting Rasheed Bailey for the deuce. . . . Moments later, the Bombers sealed the victory with an interception by LB Kyrie Wilson. . . . This was the 108th playing of the Grey Cup game and only the fourth time OT was needed. . . .

The Bombers were trailing 22-10 in the fourth quarter. They got to within 22-13 with a 20-yard field goal, and 22-20 with a 29-yard pass to Nic Demski and the convert. . . . A rouge on the kickoff got the Bombers to within one, at 22-21. . . . The Bombers took their first lead of the game, 24-22, with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter when K Sergio Castillo booted a 45-yard field goal. . . . Another rouge on the kickoff stretched that lead to 25-22. . . . The Tiger-Cats pulled even when Michael Domagala hit on a 13-yard FG with six seconds left. . . .

Richie Hall, Winnipeg’s defensive co-ordinator, is one of the game’s really good guys. He now has won five Grey Cups — two with the Blue Bombers and three with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. . . . The 2009 and 2010 Montreal Alouettes were the last team to win back-to-back championships. . . . Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea is 6-0 in Grey Cup games — the two with the Bombers, one as an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts and three as a smash-mouth linebacker with the Argos. . . .

The Blue Bombers went through an early-season stretch where they struggled in the kicking game. That’s when they signed Castillo, who was with the NFL’s New York Jets last season. On Sunday, he kicked five field goals. . . . Winnipeg beat Hamilton 33-12 in the 2019 Grey Cup game in Calgary. . . . The Tiger-Cats last won the Grey Cup in 1999. They are 0-4 in finals since then. . . . In the next while, you are going to hear noise about Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer perhaps going to the U of Washington as defensive co-ordinator and the Edmonton Elks wanting O’Shea as GM/head coach. . . . You also are going to hear rumblings about the CFL pooh-bahs studying all aspects of the game, including three-down football versus the four-down variety. Of course, a change to four-down would turn the CFL into a mini-NFL and that wouldn’t fly with Canadian fans, would it? . . . One of those Canadian things is the rouge, something that may seem minor but played a major role in Winnipeg’s victory on Sunday. The CFL doesn’t need to tinker; it needs to develop players — especially Canadians — so that it can provide its fans with more games like the one that ended the 2021 season.


So . . . the owner of the Vancouver Canucks fired six men last week, moves that will have impacted the lives of a number of people. And he takes to Twitter on Saturday evening in search of a few pats on the back! It’s all about priorities, in case you were wondering why this franchise wanders around the NHL wilderness like a dying man in search of water. . . . Yes, the Canucks now have won four straight since the regime change was undertaken. But a grain of salt, please — while all four victories were home games, three of them came against teams that had played the previous night while the Canucks were off. . . . Besides, four victories don’t erase the mess that Aquilini has been paddling through for the past few seasons. . . . The Columbus Blue Jackets are to visit Vancouver on Tuesday night. Vancouver then plays the host San Jose Sharks on Thursday before returning home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.


BlackFriday


Recent headlines, courtesy of Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. . . . At @NOTSportsCenter: “Report Chase Claypool is still at US Bank Stadium celebrating his 4th-down catch, and is wondering where everyone went.” . . . At TheOnion.com: “Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail.”

——

“A fan in Las Vegas took off her prosthetic leg and beat another fan with it during the Golden Knights’ 3-2 loss to Edmonton the other night,” reports Perry. “Lucky she wasn’t whistled for a gam misconduct.”

——

Perry, again: “Seattle just experienced its wettest fall in history, with 19 inches of rain between September and November. It got so bad, the Seahawks practiced swimming for a first down.”


Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, on Chase Claypool’s strutting at a rather inopportune time on Monday Night Football: “It was the stupidest thing done in the NFL, besides saying, ‘Trade me to the Jets.’ ”


“Starting January 15, unvaccinated NBA players will no longer be able to play in Canada,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “Suddenly find myself hoping the Toronto Raptors end up in the playoffs.”


PANDEMIC NOTEBOOK: Ngozi and Kibo, residents of the Denver Zoo, are the first hyenas in the world to have tested positive. . . . The Chicago Zoo has had positive tests in a bearcat, a fishing cat and a coati. There also were two hippos who tested positive in Belgium. From a story by the National Geographic’s Natasha Daly: “They’re now part of a group of 315 animals from 15 species in the United States confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The list also includes cats, dogs, tigers, lions, snow leopards, gorillas, otters, a cougar, a ferret, white-tailed deer. (Infected mink, nearly all on fur farms, are not included in the total).” . . .

The Chicago Bulls are supposed to play the visiting Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. However, the Bulls, who are to play the host Toronto Raptors on Thursday, had nine players in COVID-19 protocol as of Sunday evening. They are down to nine healthy players, with eight needed to play a game. . . . The Raptors have their own COVID-19 issues, having put F Precious Achiuwa into protocol on Sunday as a close contact of someone who tested positive. As well, Masai Ujiri, their president and vice-chairman, tested positive late in the week. They are to entertain the Sacramento Kings tonight. . . .

The OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, who had 12 players come up positive, will return to action on Thursday when they visit the Barrie Colts. The Wolves, who last played on Nov. 27, had five games postponed while they dealt with the outbreak.


Wisdom


You may have seen video of Fox-TV’s 50-foot artificial Christmas tree in midtown Manhattan going up in flames on Wednesday. It was Stephen Colbert who pointed out: “Of course, it would never have happened if the tree had a gun.” . . . Vanity Fair, in the prelude to a story by Caleb Ecarma, noted: “Even though police haven’t ascribed a motive to the suspected arsonist, (Fox-TV) hosts and guests framed the incident as a ‘hate crime,’ part of a ‘war on religion,’ and emblematic of out-of-control crime. ‘No city is safe,’ said Brian Kilmeade.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Nothing has changed on the subject of vaccinations: The idea that this has become a polarizing political issue and not a medical one is as dumb a moment as we’ve ever had in America.”

——

Lupica, again: “You can talk about the great Vince Lombardi and Chuck Noll and Bill Walsh, and Bear Bryant from college football. But in the history of coaches, there is Nick Saban and there is Bill Belichick and then there is everybody else.”


Scuba


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Medicine Hat Tigers beat the host Red Deer Rebels, 4-3, in a shootout on Saturday night. That halted the Tigers’ 16-game losing skid. It also was the 393rd regular-season victory of head coach Willie Desjardins’ WHL career. Seven more victories and he becomes the 19th member of the WHL’s 400 Club. . . . There won’t be a 20th member of that club for a while, as the next active head coach on the list is Mark Lamb of the Prince George Cougars, and he’s at 264. After him, it’s Michael Dyck of the Vancouver Giants (237) and Steve Konowalchuk of the Red Deer Rebels (236). . . .


Back in the day, when Kevin Gallant was the vociferous play-by-play voice of the Regina Pats, you know that the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades were Public Enemies Nos. 1A and 1B. Now Gallant’s oldest son, Matthew, is a freshman defenceman with the Warriors. His other son, Michael, was selected by the Blades in Thursday’s WHL draft. . . . Just in case you didn’t know that the hockey gods have a sense of humour. . . .

F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has made the roster of Canada’s national junior team as a 16-year-old. Mark Masters of TSN has Bedard as the seventh player to make the team at 16, the others being Connor McDavid, Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky. . . . The 25-player roster features 12 players from the WHL, including goaltenders Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers), five from the OHL, four from the QMJHL, and two each from the AHL and the NCAA. . . . A complete roster is right here. . . .

Team Canada’s roster includes three returnees from the team that won silver at the 2021 tournament — Garand, D Kaiden Guhle (Edmonton) and F Cole Perfetti (AHL-Manitoba Moose). . . . Three WHLers — F Jack Finley (Winnipeg Ice), D Vincent Iorio (Brandon Wheat Kings) and D Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors — were among the final cuts on Sunday. Hunt was released after he was injured while blocking a shot during a Sunday game against university players. . . . Team Canada will train in Banff through Dec. 18. It will play two exhibition games in Red Deer (Switzerland, Dec. 19; Sweden, Dec. 20). . . . The tournament, which is to be played in Red Deer and Edmonton, runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . .

Apropos of nothing, I’ll just leave this here. . . . F Ivan Ivan, a 19-year-old Czech, has 30 points, including 18 goals, in 29 games with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. . . . F Marcel Marcel, an 18-year-old Czech, has six goals and 18 assists in 22 games with his country’s under-20 side.


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.


Clowns

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after spending some time with Adele . . .

Scattershooting2


Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades on CJWW, and I have been friends for more years than either one of us cares to remember.

So . . . I can imagine how excited he was prior to calling the play for the Blades’ game in Winnipeg against the Ice on Saturday night. I mean, you have to know that Les gets excited before every game. But this one was extra special.

That’s because his nephew, Nolan Powell, who is from Winnipeg, was one of the game’s two referees, along with veteran Adam Bloski.

You should know that Nolan makes music with more than his whistle.

Besides being an on-ice hockey official, he is an accomplished classical guitarist.

From a story headlined ‘To hear Nolan Powell play is to believe in perfection’ from the U of Manitoba News in June 2020: “The 2020 Master of Music graduate, who also holds a B.Mus and B.Ed from the University of Manitoba, has a long history of impressing people, and received the Dr. Bonnie Buhler Graduate Scholarship in Music for his master’s degree.”

About the only degree his uncle has involves Strat-O-Matic Baseball.


ICING THE OPPOSITION: It should be pointed out that the Winnipeg Ice swept that weekend series from the Saskatoon Blades, 4-1 and 6-0. . . . The Ice, the WinnipegCHL’s top-ranked team, now is 17-1 and has outscored its opposition, 98-31. Winnipeg leads the Eastern Conference by seven points over the Edmonton Oil Kings (12-3-3) and tops the East Division by 11 points over the Blades (11-6-1). . . . Winnipeg forwards Mikey Milne and Matt Savoie lead the WHL points race, each with 29. Milne and teammate Connor McClennon are No. 1 in goals (14), with Savoie tops in assists (21). . . . If you are a plus-minus fan, Ice players hold down the top five spots — Milne (24), F Jakin Smallwod (22), F Conor Geekie (21), and D Carson Lambos and D Nolan Orzeck each 19. . . . G Daniel Hauser of the Ice leads the league in GAA (1.45) and save percentage (.941).


Antler
I first spotted this guy over a month ago in the field that is at the top of the photo. At that time, his left antler was dangling loosely on the side of his face. I didn’t see him again until he showed up in our yard late Saturday afternoon — the light was fading fast — and it seems that the broken antler has taken root and is solidly entrenched, giving him something of a bizarre look.

THE CENTURY CLUB: G Nolan Maier of the Saskatoon Blades posted his 100th career regular-season victory on Friday, beating the Wheat Kings, 2-1, in Brandon. According to quanthockey.com, he is the 21st goaltender in WHL history to reach 100 victories. The record is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92), each with 120. Sexsmith did it in 179 games; Hirsch in 181. Maier has played in 170. . . . Next up for Maier is Cam Ward, at 102.


LOVIN’ THE AHL: So . . . you’re wondering how Mitch Love is doing in his first season as a head coach with the AHL’s Stockton Heat? Well . . . you should know that he’s doing just fine after leaving the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff for a spot in the Calgary Flames organization. F Justin Kirkland scored the shootout winner on Friday to give the host Heat a 3-2 victory over the Henderson Silver Knights. That was the Heat’s franchise-record ninth straight victory. . . . The Silver Knights bounced back on Saturday and ended that streak with a 4-3 OT victory.


HEY, THANKS FOR COMING: The Calgary Hitmen released D Alexei Garapuchik, 18, earlier this week. He cleared CHL waivers and returned to his home in Belarus. Garapuchik, who was picked in the CHL’s 2020 import draft, was pointless in one game with the Hitmen. . . . The move left the Hitmen with Russian F Maxim Muranov, 17, and F Anton Astashevich, 17, of Belarus as their two import players. Both were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft.


EMAILBAG: After a piece appeared here the other day about the owners of the Winnipeg Ice having abandoned, at least for now, plans for a new arena, there was email. Like this one. . . . Re the Winnipeg Ice. The Ice are still being sued by the City of Cranbrook for breaking the lease in Cranbrook. . . . From a former Ice season-ticket holder in Cranbrook, now a season-ticket holder for the Cranbrook Bucks who watches the Bucks games in our little arena of 4,700.


Bears


KINGS OF THE HILL: The Saskatoon Hilltops have won seven consecutive Prairie Football Conference championships after going into Regina, rushing for 386 yards, and beating the Thunder, 29-9, on Sunday. Yes, they’ve got a junior football dynasty going in Toontown. . . . The Thunder had gone into the final with a 9-0 record, including a pair of three-point victories over the Hilltops, who now are 8-2. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and posted this report right here. . . . The Hilltops will visit the Langley Rams, the B.C. Football Conference champs, in a CJFL semifinal on Saturday. . . . It’s worth pointing out that the Hilltops’ run of six straight Canadian titles was halted by the pandemic, which refused to allow a 2020 season.


WATER UNDER THE BRIDGEWATER: Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) of YahooSports tweeted late last week that “it’s pretty amazing that the current Carolina Panthers regime now is paying Teddy Bridgewater (who they signed to replace Cam Newton) and Sam Darnold (who they traded for to replace Teddy Bridgewater) only to pay Cam Newton to fix their QB problems.”

Or, as Dion Beary (@hashtagdion) put it: “David Tepper is current paying Cam’s replacement, the replacement for Cam’s replacement, and Cam to replace the replacement for his own replacement.”


Bunker


PERRY’S CORNER: “Green Bay Packers backup QB Jordan Love completed just 6 of 17 passes for 30 yards against the blitz, according to ESPN Stats and Information, in losing 13-7 to the Kansas City Chiefs in his starting debut,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Who says you can’t hurry Love?”

——

Perry, again: “The Los Angeles Rams have replaced wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was released after complaining he wasn’t getting enough touches with the Rams, with Odell Beckham Jr., who complained he wasn’t getting enough touches with the Cleveland Browns. Check back in a month or so for any updates.”


TINFOIL MAN: “What if the 49ers had drafted Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith?” writes Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It might have led to greater glory, maybe Super Bowls. And now San Francisco fans would be stuck with an all-time local hero that they are ashamed of. Maybe Mike Nolan knew what he was doing, after all.”

——

Ostler, again: “This just in: Rodgers has lost another appeal to the NFL. Rodgers, citing personal freedom to make his own health decisions, and extensive research, requested permission to ditch his standard football helmet and wear a tinfoil hat.”


Eyes


HEY, THANKS FOR COMING, PART 2: The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders have dumped their top two selections from the NFL’s 2020 draft because of off-field indiscretions. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “Apparently NFL teams employ psychologists to help them evaluate draft picks’ readiness. . . . Seems like the Raiders need to re-evaluate their evaluator.”



AN IMPERFECT 10: F Drake Batherson had two goals and two assists as the host Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3, on Saturday. He didn’t play in Sunday’s game against the visiting Calgary Flames after testing positive and becoming the 10th Ottawa player to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. It also marked the ninth straight day on which the Senators have had someone test positive. . . . Batherson joined F Connor Brown, D Josh Brown, F Alex Formenton, F Dylan Gambrell, D Nick Holden, D Victor Mete, G Matt Murray, F Austin Watson and D Nikita Zaitsev on the list, along with associate coach Jack Capuano. . . . Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported Sunday that the Senators have had to make so many recalls from AHL-Belleville that there now are only nine players left with the farm club who are under contract to the NHL team. . . . The NHL hasn’t shown the Senators any mercy, either, as it refuses to postpone games. On Sunday, the Senators lost, 4-0, to the Flames. . . . On Sunday night, the Senators announced they won’t practise on Monday, the fourth straight practice to be cancelled. . . . Ottawa next is scheduled to fly out Monday for a Tuesday night date with the New Jersey Devils.



Storage


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.


TimeTravel

Scattershooting on Sunday night while wondering if summer has left us for another year . . .

Scattershooting2


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the Swift Current Broncos. They opened their ScurrentWHL exhibition schedule on Friday night and admittance was $5 “or free with food donation.” The Broncos also had a vaccine clinic on site. Anyone getting a vaccination was given free entry to the game. Well done!


It would seem that the Boston Bruins have all but decided to send Swedish F Fabian Lysell, 18, their first selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft, to the WHL’s VancouverVancouver Giants. Don Sweeney, the Bruins’ general manager, told reporters at a prospects tournament in Buffalo on Sunday that “in all likelihood” Lysell will play in Vancouver.

What kind of player is Lysell?

“He’s got some areas, in traffic, and some things that he’s going to have to be aware of, and defensively,” Sweeney added. “All are things we believe we can teach those young players as long as they are willing and receptive to learn. But he’s got the skill set that’s pretty unique for us to be adding to our group and to be excited about.

“It will be important for him to play against kids in his peer group. We’re excited that he’s going to play over here. We do believe the transition to the smaller ice surface, especially with young guys, they have to play in the hard areas of the ice in order to be successful. He’s more than willing to do that but he’s got to find his space.’’

For more, check out Rinkside Rhode Island with Mark Divver, who pays particular attention to the AHL’s Providence Bruins. His latest file is right here.

Via Twitter, Steve Ewen of Postmedia explained the Giants’ import situation:

“Assuming Swedish goalie Jesper Vikman is re-assigned to the Giants,  Vancouver would have three Euros (Vikman, Lysell and Slovak D Marko Stacha). They can only keep two. They’d have two weeks from the start of the WHL regular season to pick.

“Stacha and Lysell are both trade eligible, since Stacha played with the  Giants last season and Lysell was on their roster all season. Vikman, who was Vancouver’s import pick this off-season, is not trade eligible.”

Vikman, 19, was a fifth-round pick by Vegas in 2020, but has yet to sign with the Golden Knights.



SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART I:

After the NFL’s Buffalo Bills announced that you will need to be fully vaccinated in order to attend home games, some fans said they’ll start going on the road. After all, at this point in time the Bills, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are the only NFL teams that are implementing such a restriction. . . . So now the likes of receiver Cole Beasley, the Bills’ vocal anti-vaxxer, and centre Reid Ferguson are offering to buy tickets for those fans to some road games. . . . One of those fans, who won’t get vaccinated, told Jason Wolf of the Buffalo News: “I’ve had Covid, so in my opinion, I’ve already got the antibodies. I think they’re just as good as the vaccine. The vaccine came out pretty rushed. I don’t really know all the information. In my opinion, there’s so little information out there and it all seems to be one-sided. And then, personally, my religious beliefs. I think God created me for a purpose. He has a plan for my life. And whether I have the vaccine or not, I’m taken care of.” . . . That particular fan is 39 years of age and has five children.

——

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART II:

The Blackfalds Bulldogs made their AJHL debut on the road on Friday night. The Brooks Bandits welcomed them to the league by dropping them, 17-0. Yes, 17-0. . . . (On Saturday, the Bulldogs went into Olds and beat the Grizzlys, 5-4.)

——

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART III:

Sask


So . . . the Minnesota Vikings had the opportunity to beat the host Arizona Cardinals with a last-play field goal on Sunday. The kick was wide right, but Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Vikings, thought, well, give it a listen . . .



OF Eddie Rosario of the Atlanta Braves hit for the cycle Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 victory over the host San Francisco Giants. Yes, hitting for the cycle is a big deal in baseball. But think about this for a moment — in those four at-bats, Rosario saw a total of five pitches.


Dodgeball


A note from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “Jim Hughson, one of Canada’s premier sports broadcasters, is telling people that he has retired. Most recently, Hughson was the No. 1 play-by-play voice at Hockey Night In Canada, and long before that was the voice of the Blue Jays on TSN. He won’t be easily replaced. Rogers Sportsnet, as is their custom, has made no official announcement on his future of the Hall of Fame broadcaster.” . . .  Retirement? Already? Sheesh, it’s only been 43 years since we both were on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ beat, Jim with CKLQ radio and me with the Brandon Sun!



The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Guelph Storm. The franchise now is owned by Joel Feldberg and Jeffrey Bly, a pair of Toronto businessmen, who purchased it from Rick Gaetz, John Heeley, Rick Hoyle and Scott Walker. . . . Feldberg is the president/CEO of The Global Furniture Group of companies; Bly is the senior vice-president.


JunkDrawer


The best part of waking up today (Monday) will be knowing that it’s election day in Canada, which means all those attack ads on TV will be a thing of the past, at least until next time. And all those signs that are such a horrible blight around our intersections and on our hillsides will be gone.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “SF Giants starter Alex Wood, out nearly 3 weeks with COVID-19,“politely declined again to disclose his vaccination status.” Translation: He hasn’t been vaccinated. Sigh.”


Velcros


JUST NOTES: I spent part of Saturday night watching the CFL game in which the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat Edmonton, 37-22, and when it was over I was left thinking that the Elks just may be on to something with quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who made his first appearance. He’s a 6-foot-5 product of Oklahoma State and he can fling it. . . . Trevor Harris (neck), the Elks’ starting QB, is on the six-game injured list. . . . The Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the visiting Toronto Argos, 30-16, on Friday night before an announced crowd of 25,883. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post pointed out that it was the Roughriders’ “lowest crowd since July 8, 2007 (25,862); ’Riders beat Calgary 49-8. . . . When we last heard from Andrew Milne, the general manager and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, the AJHL had fined him $1,000 and hit him with a 15-game suspension for the dastardly sin of discussing with the media a COVID-19 outbreak that had hit his team and community. He has served two games of that sentence and the Eagles won both games. With Milne in AJHL jail, the Eagles’ bench will be run by a three-headed monster featuring assistant coach Bryan Arneson; Mike Glawson, an Eagles’ scout who is the head coach of the U-18 AAA Calgary Flames; and Kyle McLaughlin, who was on the Eagles’ staff last season.


PineCone


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.


Voodoo

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after a day full of football and glorious weather . . .

Scattershooting2


Research


So . . . some members of Canada’s goof troop say they again will be protesting whatever it is they don’t like in front of various hospitals today (Monday). . . . There aren’t words anywhere in the English language to describe how despicable these protesters are. We have friends who are doing a stint in Vancouver while John recovers from a kidney transplant. His wife is 61 years of age and as kind and gentle a soul as you would ever hope to meet. The last time the loonies protested in front of Vancouver General Hospital, she had to manoeuvre through the clown show in order to visit her husband and that just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. . . . Come on, people, be better than that. Take your protests somewhere else, like to the nearest landfill.


Another sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . .

Yes, Darren Steinke was in attendance. He’s got a blog entry and photos right here.


One more sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . .

If you watched the visiting Oregon Ducks upset the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon, you may have noticed that there didn’t appear to be many masks in the crowd of 100,482 fans. That’s because Ohio State doesn’t require fans to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test, and masks are only required in indoor spaces — like restrooms, suites and the press box. . . . “We’re leaving it up to our fans to be safe and responsible,” explained athletic director Gene Smith. . . . Yeah, because expecting people to be “safe and responsible” really is working well in this pandemic, isn’t it?


Robber


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the NFL’s first Sunday of another season — “Pregame observation: Jimmy Johnson’s hair is in midseason form. And, is that the same Randy Moss who cave-manned the media throughout his career? Some see it as charm, I call it smarm.”

——

Ostler, again: “How many pages are there on that flip chart the 49ers’ quarterbacks wear on their left wrists? It looks like they’re getting ready to order off the TGI Fridays menu.”


The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League informed fans on KrakenThursday that “starting Sept. 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine” in order to attend games. “By Oct. 24, you must be fully vaccinated.” This is, of course, by order of B.C.’s provincial health officer. . . . As the VIJHL pointed out, “These orders apply to everyone in this league: players, team staff, volunteers, executives, etc., and will apply to all spectators at VIJHL games as well.” . . . At the same time, the league has had to postponed the expansion Lake Cowichan Kraken’s first three games. Kevin Rothbauer of the Lake Cowichan Gazette reported that according to the league the decisions were made out of “an abundance of caution” following a decision by its COVID committee. . . . The Kraken was to have played three games by now — at the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday, versus the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Friday, and at the Kerry Park Islanders on Saturday. All three games were postponed.


Lego


By now you will be aware that Montreal’s Leylah Fernandez won over the world after losing the U.S. Open final in New York on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of 9/11. At the ripe old age of 19 — she hit that milestone on Sept. 6 — she took the microphone after the match and told the crowd: “I know on this special day it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years.” . . . Did you know, though, that she also did post-match news conferences in English, French and Spanish?


Once a person learns to relax and take Twitter for what it is, it becomes a tremendous source of humour. . . . Example? . . . On Thursday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post tweeted that the NHL’s Rangers, among other things, were going to need proof of vaccine from fans 12 years of age and over wanting to attend games. . . . “What if my religion prevents me and my children from getting vax?” responded one fan. To which another answered: “Then it prevents you from going to Rangers games, too.” . . . Still another fan tweeted: “Ok and what about those who don’t want the vaccine? We can enjoy going to games?” That drew this response: “Enjoy the couch, get used to it.”


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “About the idea of banning air travel for the unvaccinated. Strikes me if you don’t believe science could develop a safe vaccine, you wouldn’t believe that science could make 100-plus tons of metal to fly passengers through the air safely either.”


Internet



The WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings have two home exhibition games on their Edmontonschedule, and announced on Thursday that fan’s won’t be allowed in Rogers Place for either contest. . . . The Oilers Entertainment Group will use the games, along with the Edmonton Oilers’ rookie game on Sept. 18, “to deliver staff and building operations training related to the updated venue protocols.” . . . The Oil Kings entertained the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night and will meet the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Sept. 24.


The OHL postponed a Sunday afternoon exhibition game between the Guelph Storm and the host Mississauga Steelheads, but didn’t provide a reason for the decision. The postponement apparently wasn’t COVID-19 related.



The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation has withdrawn two of its teams from IIHF world championships due to concerns about the pandemic. The U-18 women’s team was to have competed in the Division II Group B event in Turkey in January, while the U-20 men’s team was in the Division III tournament in Mexico, also in January. . . . As well, Iran has pulled out of the IIHF women’s world championship Division III Group B.



Ear


The Boston Red Sox simply can’t shake COVID-19. Now it’s starter Chris Sale who has tested positive. He missed his start on Sunday against the host Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox did get back SS Xander Bogaerts late in the week; he had been quarantining for 10 days in St. Petersburg, Fla. Over the past two weeks, the Red Sox have put 12 players on MLB’s COVID-19 list with 10 of them having tested positive. . . . RHP Nick Pivetta, a native of Victoria, came off the COVID list to make the start on Sunday for Boston. He allowed one unearned run on three hits in 5.1 innings as the Red Sox dropped a 2-1 decision.


JUST NOTES: Isn’t it about time that the Baltimore Orioles were relegated somewhere, like to High A or the Mexican League? . . . The best team in the CFL? Well, here’s Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson after his club was beaten 33-9 by the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Saturday: “Winnipeg is the class of the league right now. They are better than the rest of us and it’s by quite a bit.” The Bombers had won, 23-8, in Regina on Sept. 5. . . . Did fans of the Cleveland Browns really believe that they were going to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City even with that late lead? How many Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans jumped from the bandwagon when they were trailing the Bills 10-0 in Buffalo? . . . Famed documentarian Ken Burns has been putting together a four-parter on the life of Muhammad Ali for the past seven years. It debuts on PBS on Sept. 19 and continues each night through Sept. 22.. Enjoy!


Mime


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.

——

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Calgary Hitmen have signed former NHL F Matt Stajan as an assistant coach. He replaces Joel Otto, an assistant for 15 years. According to a news release, Otto “is relinquishing his role on the coaching staff due to a hip injury that will not allow him to continue providing on-ice instruction.” . . . Stajan played in 1,003 career NHL games before concluding his playing career with Munich EHC in Germany’s DEL in 2018-19. He spent more than eight seasons with the Calgary Flames, whose parent company owns the Hitmen. . . . Stajan will work alongside head coach Steve Hamilton, assistant Trent Cassan and goaltending coach Brad Kirkwood. . . .

Steve Young, a former WHL player and coach, will spend this season as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Northern Bears, a female U-18 AAA team. Young, 52, was on the Prince Albert Raiders’ coaching staff for five seasons (2008-13). As a player, he split 200 regular-season games over four seasons (1986-90) between the Calgary Wranglers, Lethbridge Hurricanes, New Westminster Bruins, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert and Portland Winterhawks.


Wedding

Scattershooting one night after spending some time with The Bachman-Cummings Band . . .

Scattershooting2

Virus

Hey, is this a great time to be alive, or what? . . . I mean, some of the walking dead who live among us are taking their anti-everything protests to various hospitals on Sept. 1, choosing for some reason to thumb their noses and everything else at healthcare workers who mostly are in crisis after almost two years of this crap. . . . Some restaurant owners, who should be thankful that governments haven’t shut down eat-in dining again, say they won’t be checking for vaccination status when the mandates arrive. . . . And some of the New York Mets have taken to flashing thumbs down to their fans at Citi Field. Why? Javier Báez, the chief rocket scientist on that roster, says: “To let (the fans) know when we don’t get success we’re going to get booed, so they are going to get booed when we have success.” . . . Yeah, that’ll work. Especially in the Big Apple.


Saw this comment on Facebook earlier: “pages that are protesting vaxx passports say, if you don’t follow the rules you can’t join, haha oh the irony.”


Bear2
A black bear takes a stroll at the treeline of a hayfield near Barnhartvale, just southeast of Kamloops, on Saturday afternoon.

The  Bachman-Cummings Band rocked Shaw Park in Winnipeg as part of the Unite 150 show on Saturday night. I was fortunate enough to catch a lot of it on my laptop and, yes, it was a whole lot of fun, and a whole lot of Guess Who memories. . . . And, yes, it’s still hard to comprehend the decision by CBC Radio pooh-bahs to axe Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 years. . . . BTW, you are aware that Burton Cummings now calls Moose Jaw home, aren’t you? Seriously. You can look it up. . . . That has to stick in Regina’s craw, don’t you think?


While I was away from here for a few days, Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, had his title changed by the Portland Winterhawks. Where he was an assistant coach for the past three seasons in Portland, he now is the club’s associate coach. And here — silly me! — I thought he had retired in May 2018 after spending four seasons as head coach of his hometown Kamloops Blazers.



Ian Henry, who had been the media relations, communications and digital media director with the Seattle Thunderbirds, lost his job last month in one of those mind-numbing COVID-19-related moves. Henry, who had been with the Thunderbirds since July 2002, really was one of the WHL’s good guys, and if there is a team or organization out there in need of a communications/public relations-type with a boatload of experience, well, look no further. . . . Hey, Seattle Kraken, how about it?


Sorry, ESPN, I tried to watch the Sunday night game with the New York Yankees in Oakland against the A’s. I really tried. But there is way too much chatter. The game just doesn’t get a chance to breathe and a baseball telecast needs some of that in order to be watchable.


Family


ICYMI, the state of Oregon has imposed a mask mandate for people who gather outdoors. You’re right. This isn’t going away. . . . If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the numbers, trending and modelling aren’t good in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with Washington state. . . . Throw in Manitoba, where various mandates and restrictions are in place, that covers the six jurisdictions in which the WHL operates. . . . And don’t forget that indoor games being played in B.C. are limited to 50 spectators at least through Sept. 20.

——

Meanwhile, I would suggest that the WHL, which has teams scheduled to open training camps on Wednesday, will be coming up with a revamped 2021-22 regular-season schedule. . . . Bruce Hamilton, the owner of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman of the league’s board of governors, has told Regan Bartel, the team’s long-time play-by-play voice, that “we do have plans in place that if we have to adjust for a month or two, we can.” . . . The original schedule doesn’t include any interlocking play between conferences. But the B.C. Division teams, for example, are supposed to play games against their U.S. Division counterparts. I wouldn’t bet on that happening, at least not before Christmas. . . . Hamilton told Bartel that having teams cross the U.S.-Canada border remains “in question.” Keep in mind that while the border is open to Americans wanting to visit Canada, the reverse isn’t true, with the next update expected around Sept. 21. . . . “To have our team travel (to the U.S.),” Hamilton explained, “we would have to take a rapid test going down and a PCR test coming home, so you are looking at $5,000 to $6,000 each time for every trip you make across the border.”

——

BTW, just because WHL training camps open in a couple of days doesn’t mean you should expect to see pre-season team-by-team rosters on the league’s website. As of Sunday evening, only the Edmonton Oil Kings and Kamloops Blazers had posted rosters. . . . It is absolutely mind-boggling that the WHL, which one might think needs a strong marketing effort after being mostly out of sight and perhaps also out of mind for far too long, isn’t able to provide its fans with something as basic as rosters.



Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “One of those stories I had to double check to make sure it wasn’t satire: National Rifle Association just announced they’ve canceled Sept 3-5 annual meeting because of worsening Covid-19 situation in Houston. Is this first time Texas has behaved too stupidly for the NRA?”


Randy


It isn’t often that I will pre-order a book, but I jumped all over the opportunity to do just that when I found out about Year of the Rocket: John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, a Crooked Tycoon, and the Craziest Season in Football History. . . . It was written by Paul Woods, a long-time fan of the Toronto Argonauts who was an editor with The Canadian Press. . . . The Rocket, of course, was Raghib Ismail and the Crooked Tycoon was Bruce McNall. . . . The bottom line is that the early-1990s was an amazing time — take that any which way you want — to be around the CFL, and this sounds like it will be a fun book. . . . Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun has more on it right here.



So . . . the Winnipeg Rifles travelled to Regina for a Prairie Football Conference clash with the Thunder on Sunday afternoon. Uhh, the Thunder turned a 64-3 half-time lead into a 64-19 victory. Now that’s calling off the dogs.


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Here’s an idea for the NFL: Put all the non-vaccinated players on a new team named the Freedom Fighters. Each Sunday, tell the Freedom Fighters that their game is canceled due to COVID concerns, and they have been awarded a forfeit victory. At the end of the season, announce on some murky internet site that the Freedom Fighters have been declared Super Bowl champs by default. The team’s players will believe it, because they believe anything they read on the internet. The rest of the NFL players can play football. Everyone is happy.”


Organdonation

——

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.


Turnsignals

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how much smoke awaits tomorrow . . .

Scattershooting2

By now you probably have heard about the USOC having suspended sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson over a positive test for marijuana. She has accepted the disciplinary action and has said that she was dealing with the death of her mother at the time. Of course, marijuana isn’t performance-enhancing, but it’s still on WADA’s banned list. Still, as Seth Rogen, who knows a thing or two about weed, put it: “If weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo.”


A note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “Wonder how many advertisers signed up expected an NBA final with the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets? Oops.”


Bear


For whatever reason, Ken Campbell no longer is writing for The Hockey News after what was a lengthy run. Now he’s a freelancer and has set up shop at Substack. . . . Campbell is a hockey writer. Period. He never has been beholden to anyone in the game and he writes like it. . . . If you check on his new site, you’ll find pieces like the one referred to in the above tweet. The NHL has made a new hire and, well, you have to read Campbell’s piece to believe it. . . . He also is providing almost-instant analysis as things happen in the hockey world. For example, it may have been Canada Day on Thursday, but that didn’t stop Campbell from writing about the Arizona Coyotes’ new head coach and a trade between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. That piece is right here. . . . It’s worth your while to check out Campbell’s new home.



Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “ I read something the other day about how Ryan Nugent-Hopkins reupping with the Oilers on an eight-year deal for an average annual value of $5.125 million coincides with Edmonton’s Stanley Cup window remaining open, and I must confess, the joke went way over my head.”


Peas


Ferrisposter

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Here’s a hearty toast to the WNBA, which recently announced a 99 percent vaccination rate among its players and no positive tests since the start of the season. If only that were the norm in a country tarnished by rockhead thinking. On the verge of playing for the College World Series championship (a run that included a 10-4 win over Stanford), North Carolina State was sent home due to positive tests and contact tracing protocols. It seems coach Elliott Avent just couldn’t be bothered, saying he didn’t want to ‘get political’ or ‘indoctrinate’ his players to get vaccinated. Talk about shocking ignorance of the big picture.”



Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News explains how it was that the Yankees got swept by the Red Sox in Boston last weekend: “The Yankees had a DH playing first, a second baseman who ought to be at first playing second, a second baseman playing short, a third baseman in left, a right fielder in center, and left fielder in right.”



——

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.


Marriage

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