Scattershooting on a Monday after paying 1.55.9 for gas in Burnaby and feeling like I’d won a lottery . . .

Scattershooting

I don’t know how you spent you Memorial Day weekend, but here’s Bob Tory, the general manager of the Tri-City Americans, heading out on another scouting junket. . . .


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is ‘involuntarily’ removing Division III powerhouse St. Thomas’ football program because of its ‘competitive’ advantages. Translation: It wins too much. . . . ‘You can do that?’ asked 31 NBA teams in unison.”



Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post, prior to St. Louis taking out San Jose a week ago: “The 2019 NBA playoffs are so much more interesting and entertaining than the NHL post-season. Honestly, is there any reason to care unless you happen to be a fan of the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues or San Jose Sharks? The entire post-season process is a grind. The officiating is awful and the calibre of play isn’t much better.”

——

Vanstone continues: “And the NHL’s video-review system? A complete mess. The offside challenges simply have to go. Give the linesmen the final say and leave it there. Please. Enough.”

——

One more from Vanstone, who was on a roll earlier this week: “Drake, who seems to think that he is playing for or coaching the Toronto Raptors, has singlehandedly turned me into a Milwaukee Bucks fan.”


Phone


Hey, NHL, I tried. I really tried. I tried to watch Game 1 of your final, but, well, this thing about letting the players decide things really shouldn’t be a thing. A cross-check is a cross-check and a slash is a slash, except when you pretend it isn’t. So, sorry, but I’m outta here. I’m off to watch the NBA final. Here’s hoping I am able to find a national U.S.-based telecast.

——

So . . . I don’t enjoy play-by-play voices and analysts who constantly seem to be yelling, which is why I rarely watch the Toronto Raptors on Canadian TV. But I tuned in to Game 5 of their series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. I gotta say the only thing missing was Buck Martinez.



If you have ever wondered about the popularity and power of the NFL, consider this . . .


“Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay forked over $718,750 to buy John Lennon’s famed piano,” reports the aforementioned Dwight Perry. “Hey, Jim, when the player-personnel people said they wanted Peppers, they meant Julius, not Sgt.”



We got home late Monday afternoon after spending some time on the highways and byways of beautiful B.C. I am pleased to report that we saw a lot of Alberta licence plates along the way, meaning those nice folks continue to visit and spent their hard-earned dollars on our expensive gasoline.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how many points Drake scored . . .

Scattershooting


Newspaper


To little fanfare Canada lost another newspaper the other day when the Saskatoon Express, a weekly that was completely local and gave readers an option of sorts to Postmedia’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix, closed its doors. The Express was home to a couple of long-time friends — Dale Brin, a former publisher of the Kamloops Daily News, was its publisher; Cam Hutchinson was the editor.

The Express also was home on a weekly basis to some of the musings of RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. As the Express went down, Currie filed one last observation:

“Boston swept Carolina out of the NHL playoffs with a 4-0 Game 4 shutout. The Bruins’ defence was so numbing, it turned the Hurricanes into the Novocaines.”



Hey, CHL, I don’t know what’s in your agreement with Rogers Sportsnet, but I’m guessing you’re not getting the exposure out of it that you expected. Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, hit the nail hard on its head when he told Donnie and The Moj on TSN 1040 Radio in Vancouver: “It was terrible. Absolutely terrible. Sportsnet . . . it’s a terrible deal for the league. We should have gone with TSN.”

The WHL’s annual general meeting is scheduled for June 11 and 12 in Kelowna. Have to wonder if national TV coverage might be on the agenda.


——

The Guelph Storm dumped the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, 5-2, at the Memorial Cup in Halifax on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, the host Halifax Mooseheads got past the Storm, 4-2. . . . On Monday, the Prince Albert Raiders, who lost 4-1 to Halifax on Friday, will meet the Huskies. . . . Halifax is the only unbeaten team, at 2-0, and is guaranteed at least a semifinal game. Guelph is 1-1, with Prince Albert and Rouyn-Noranda both 0-1. . . . The Storm and Raiders are to play on Tuesday, with the Mooseheads and Huskies meeting on Wednesday to conclude the round-robin portion of the event.


“Schick Razors has bought Harry’s for $1.37 billion,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Shaving profits soar this time of year — every time a team gets eliminated from the NHL playoffs.”



Headline at TheOnion.com: NHL Warns Hockey Fans that Banging on the Glass Scares Players.

——

Headline at Fark.com: Michigan’s John Fellein has agreed to become the future ex-coach of the Cavs.


Oldwomanshoe


“Tiger Woods has missed the cut in the PGA Championship,” noted Janice Hough at leftcoastsportsbabe.com on Friday. “So to CBS, which is televising the tournament, thoughts and prayers.”

——

One more from Hough: “Russell Wilson, who just signed a four-year $140-million contract, with a $65-million signing bonus, bought his mom a house for Mother’s Day. Wilson didn’t say where the house is, but we know it’s not in San Francisco. He’d have needed a bigger contract.” . . . Yes, Hough lives in the San Francisco area.


F Simon Boyko, a 20-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., scored twice on Sunday to help the host Brooks Bandits to a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings in the final game at the national junior A championship tournament. . . . Brooks led 4-1 after two periods. . . . The host team has won four of the past five titles. The Portage Terriers won in 2015, the Cobourg Cougars in 2017 and the Chilliwack Chiefs in 2018.


Defensive end Chris Long of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles ended his playing career on Saturday. Long, 34, played 11 seasons in the NFL and is a two-time Super Bowl champion. Here is his retirement announcement.


It’s the middle of May. A federal election is scheduled for Oct. 21. The Conservative Party of Canada already is running attack ads. Oh joy . . . only five more months of being inundated with such unimaginative junk.


Spidey

Scattershooting after watching Cubs and Dodgers, Tigers and Red Sox, Yankees and Angels . . .

Scattershooting

The great Al Arbour won 29 playoff series as the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. Yes, that is a franchise record. Who’s in second place? Barry Trotz, Jack Capuano and Terry Simpson, each with one.


“Look,” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “Tiger Woods is one of the greatest athletes of our time. And he’s been great for golf as a sport. But a Presidential Medal of Freedom? Is Trump awarding it to him for his Masters’ win, or for being a fellow example of success and applause after repeatedly cheating on his wife?”

——

Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong: “Tiger said he would reciprocate by giving Trump an autographed copy of the Nine Commandments.”


Hough, again, this time on the mess in which New England owner Robert Kraft finds himself: “How perfect that the Patriots finally are on the other side of being unknowingly videotaped?”



RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com weighs in on the Tampa Bay Lightning getting ousted in shocking fashion by the Columbus Blue Jackets: “With the Lightning suffering a Round 1 sweep, I’ll spare them electrical puns, like lacking a spark, feeling re-volted or the Jackets being amped up. I’ll only say this: Watt happened?”


So . . . you’re watching all the upsets in the NHL playoffs and you’re wondering two things:

  1. What does the regular season really mean?
  2. Is this parity or parody?


A baseball note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “If Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich got to play all 162 games against St. Louis, based on his first seven games against the Cardinals in 2019, his season numbers would read: .500 batting average; .625 on-base percentage; 1.542 slugging percentage; 185 home runs; 231 runs scored; 440 runs batted in.



One thing that never changes when watching an NHL playoff game go into overtime . . . I always wonder why the referees bother coming out of their dressing room.



Headline at TheOnion.com: Dedicated Russell Westbrook Stays Late After Practice To Miss 100 Extra Shots


So . . . Sportsnet picked up Game 7 between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks from NBCSN on Tuesday night. That meant that play-by-play man Gord Miller and analyst Ray Ferraro, who normally work for TSN, were doing a game on Sportsnet. Interesting!


Chess


The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will play an NHL game at 33,000-seat Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Oct. 26. Tickets went on sale to the general public on Thursday morning. According to the Regina Leader-Post: “Prices ranged from $164.50 to $369.50. It appeared that about half of the stadium’s seats were booked up within the first half hour of the public sale.” . . . Yes, many Regina hotels already are full up that night.


It’s officially baseball season now that the first round of the NHL playoffs is over. By this point of every NHL season, I am tired of watching NHL referees ignore the rule book at their choosing, and my attentions turn to Major League Baseball. This spring shall be no exception.

Scattershooting on a Wednesday, after watching lightning hit Tampa Bay’s outhouse. . . .

Scattershooting

“Arizona beat the Dodgers on March 29 in the longest regular-season game in Dodger Stadium history — 6 hours, 5 minutes and 13 innings,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “L.A. fans were so confused that, after leaving early in the seventh inning as usual, they came back twice more so they could leave again in the 10th and 12th.”



The defending NHL champion Washington Capitals and their captain Alex Ovechkin visited the White House,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Afterwards, President Trump denied any involvement with the Russian.”


A couple of Robservations from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post . . .

Pet peeve: References to someone setting a “new record.” The “new” is unnecessary.

Another pet peeve: Media types who make a statement and then expect an interviewee to answer. Some of the worst offenders are veteran reporters. How difficult is it to ask a question?



ICYMI, Earvin Johnson has resigned as the president of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, or, as Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted, “Magic lived up to his name — by disappearing.”


“I’m so old,” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “I remember when the Clippers were Los Angeles’s dysfunctional NBA franchise.”


Headline at The Onion: Engineers Unveil New Driverless Car Capable Of Committing Hit-And-Run.

——

Headline at Fark.com: Hapless Mariners can’t even get a rebuilding year right.

——

Headline at SportsPickle.com: Will Trent Richardson and Johnny Manziel have to wait 5 years to be inducted into the AAF Hall of Fame?


It was Thursday afternoon in Kamloops when two stories broke.

First came this one, with the lead from Kamloops This Week:

“Stormy Daniels is coming to Kamloops.

“The award-winning porn actress who wrote a tell-all book about her encounter with U.S. President Donald Trump — and the ensuing $130,000 payment he made to her — will be at The Duchess, 377 Tranquille Rd., on June 2 for a meet-and-greet event, according to her website.”

That was followed by this from the local WHL team: “The Kamloops Blazers have announced that the hockey club and head coach Serge Lajoie have mutually parted ways.”

Which one do you think created more buzz in the city that used to be known as Little Montreal?

——

James Miller, in the Kelowna Daily Courier: “Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran needs to immediately impose economic sanctions on the City of Kamloops. First, Kamloops ends the Kelowna Rockets’ season in a single-game showdown for the final berth in the Western Hockey League playoffs. Next, they secured the biggest book tour of 2019 — Stormy Daniels. How are these things possible?”


Dorothy and I spent Monday on the road. We went from Kamloops to Salmon Arm, then over to Vernon, down to Kelowna, and back to Kamloops. A couple of observations: There are no speed limits on the highways we travelled. Those signs with numbers on them on the sides of those highways? They aren’t even guidelines. . . . There seem to be a lot of drivers who make a right or left turn onto a highway assuming that oncoming track will see them and slow down. How many times does one of those drivers do this before finding themselves in a wreck?



“Just think,” notes comedian Argus Hamilton, “if they send Lori Loughlin up the river, her daughter can row her there.”


The WHL, which has requested that a number of its team’s landlords install new glass, boards and scoreclocks at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, may want to think about requesting indoor fishing pools stocked with bass, too. After all, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River drew 153,809 fans over three days in March.


“Last time LeBron missed the playoffs was in 2005,” notes Bleacher Report. “That year . . . Netflix was delivering DVDs. . . . Apple didn’t have an iPhone. . . . YouTube was founded. . . . Aubrey Graham wasn’t Drake yet; he was Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi.”


From the Twitter account of Brad Dickson (@brad_dickson): “You complain about the Nebraska football team going 4-8 last season? If the Nebraska Legislature were a football team its record would be 1-11 yet you re-elect almost all the same people to it every time.”

——

One more from Dickson: “The Dept of Homeland Security Chief just ‘retired.’ I won’t speculate on how she plans to fund her retirement but somebody just put 9 million pairs of confiscated nail clippers up for sale on eBay.”


I really liked Patti Dawn Swansson’s take on Tiger Woods, The Masters, and what a lot of folks were calling the greatest comeback in the history of the universe. Here’s Swansson . . .

You want to talk about comebacks? Okay.

  • Try golfer Ben Hogan, who lost an argument with a Greyhound bus in 1949 and suffered a double fracture to his pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a fractured left ankle, a chipped rib, near-fatal blood clots, lifelong circulation problems, and required blood transfusions. He won the U.S. Open the following year, and another five Grand Slam tournaments after that.
  • Try Muhammad Ali, banned from boxing for 3½ years due to the political climate of the day, then returning to win the heavyweight title.
  • Try Monica Seles, stabbed in the back with a nine-inch knife by a crazed Steffi Graf fan during a tennis match, disappearing for more than two years due to depression and the fear of another attack by a man who never spent a day in jail, then returning to win the Australian Open.
  • Try Mario Lemieux, who won a battle with cancer and returned to the NHL to win multiple scoring titles.
  • Try driver Niki Lauda, hauled out of a fire-engulfed car and his head and face burnt to a crisp, then returning to win the Formula 1 driving title one year later and again five years after his first retirement.

Woods battled back from self-inflicted public humiliation and numerous physical challenges that could have ended his career, but nothing life-threatening. His is a terrific story, to be sure. But the greatest comeback ever? Not even close.

The entire column is right here and, as usual, it goes down well with morning coffee.

Scattershooting on a Tuesday as we await the start of a playoff game . . .

Scattershooting

For the second straight season, the Victoria HarbourCats of baseball’s West Coast League will be giving away a funeral package as an in-game promotion. The lucky winner gets a package that includes a will, investment/insurance advice and a funeral. The big day is June 26 when the Wenatchee AppleSox are to provide the opposition. . . . No, you don’t have to use it, especially the last part, that very day.


Laughjoggers


With the Kelowna Rockets having missed the WHL playoffs — for only the second time since they moved from Tacoma to the Okanagan for the 1995-96 season — there are a lot of hockey people looking on with a great deal of interest and wondering how Bruce Hamilton, the team’s president and general manager, will turn the team into a Memorial Cup contender in time to host the 2020 tournament.


“I’ll concede Duke star RJ Barrett of Canada is an outstanding basketball player,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “That said, what kind of goof goes by the name RJ?”

——

One more from Currie: “Reuters reports a South African sow that creates paintings which sell for up to $4,000 has been named Pigcasso. I was thinking Francis Bacon, Ham Gogh or Porkelangelo.”



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had a hot take on Pacman Jones the other day. Here is part of it:

“A couple of weeks ago, Pacman Jones was arrested at an Indiana gaming casino on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation and resisting arrest. . . .

“I have lost count of the number of times that Pacman Jones has been arrested for a wide variety of improprieties to include things like disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault and — my favorite one — ‘felony assault with a bodily substance’ that was a result of him spitting on a police officer.  To date, none of those charges has resulted in any significant spans of jail-time . . .

“Jones’ most infamous brush with the law involved his presence at a Las Vegas strip club where he proceeded to ‘make it rain.’ That evidently created a scuffle that resulted in gunfire that resulted in multiple people being wounded. Jones got a suspended sentence out of that mess and lost a big civil suit to two of the wounded individuals. Believe it or not, that was more than a decade ago. Time flies when you are having fun.”

——

The Sports Curmudgeon was at his best on Tuesday when he posted a piece that he chose to headline: Operation Varsity Blues. . . . Let me tell you, he is at his best — that means curmudgeonly with a good dose of sarcasm — in this one as he writes about “the college admissions/bribery scandal.” . . . You are able to read all of it right here.


Headline at TheOnion.com: NCAA launches investigation into why it wasn’t making millions off recent college-admissions scandal.


IHOP


“UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo resigned after he was indicted for allegedly taking $200,000 in bribes in a fraudulent college-admissions scheme,”  notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “That’s what he gets for using his hands.”

——

Perry, again: “New Denver DB Pacman Jones was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation and resisting arrest at an Indiana casino. In other words, Chargers 4, Broncos 0.”



Australia has banned any visitor with a domestic violence charge on their record from entering the country. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “Well, there go any potential plans for NFL Australia.”


ICYMI, Barack Obama, the former U.S. president, filled out a March Madness bracket and has Duke winning it all. What about President Trump? Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong wrote: “Trump can’t decide between Trump U and the Electoral College.”

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. . . .

——

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. . . .

——

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. . . .

——

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.” . . .

——

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!

——

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.”

——

“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.”

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering the great Dan Jenkins . . .

Scattershooting

Dan Jenkins — yes, THE Dan Jenkins — died Thursday night in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 89. If you haven’t read any of his work, you should. . . . In the meantime, Tom Callahan, a contributing editor at Golf Digest, wrote a tribute that is right here. I guarantee that this will be the best thing you will read this month, and maybe even this year.

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A daughter remembers her father right here, and this is a great read, too.

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ICYMI, Geir Helgemo, the world’s top-ranked bridge player, has been disciplined after testing positive for synthetic testosterone and clomifene, a female fertility drug. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “It’s enough to make you long for the purity of pro wrestling.”


Uber


Charles Barkley has said the Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics is “one of the most miserable people” he has ever seen. Of course, as Jim Barach of JokesByJim.blogspot.com points out: “You would not be happy, either, if you were always worried about falling off the edge of the world.”


“The Kansas City Chiefs want OT rules changed so both teams will get a possession,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “ ‘Fantastic idea, and fair to both sides,’ said the CFL — 19 years ago.”

Best wishes to Brad Watson, one of the good guys. When I was the sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and running the Christmas Cheer Fund there, he always made a contribution.


DieHard


“The North Dakota State men’s football team is the latest championship squad to be served Big Macs and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at The White House,” writes Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong. “Of course, the rest of the world only gets Donny’s Whoppers.”


So . . . in watching the Scotties and the Brier on TSN, I noticed that some folks took it upon themselves to name the best of this and the best of that when it comes to curling in Canada. . . . I only have one question. . . . Why?


Here’s Michael Rosenberg of SI.com, explaining how it is that super-agent Scott Boras has such success: “He stays patient, shows incredible guts, ingratiates himself and manipulates the media with leaks of a record offer from a mystery team on Mars that includes free use of a spaceship.”


A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Pot-loving Cowboys DT David Irving — suspended yet again by the NFL for violating its substance-abuse policy — says he’s quitting football. Or is he just blowing more smoke?”

——

Perry, again: “Just found a roll of $1 bills with a rubber band around it. Or as it’s known around Jupiter, Fla.: Kraft singles.”


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