Oil Kings have edge after road win . . . Kubicek and Cossa shine in 4-0 triumph . . . Game 4 scheduled for tonight

It you are a junior hockey fan, TSN is the place to be this week. All three major TSNjunior leagues are into their best-of-seven final series and all games now are being televised by TSN. . . . On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oil Kings skated past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-0, in Kent, Wash. Edmonton leads that series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight (Wednesday) and, yes, it’ll be on TSN with Victor Findlay calling the play and Kevin Sawyer providing analysis. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders and Shawinigan Cataractes are scheduled to resume hostilities tonight (Wednesday). Shawinigan won twice in Charlottetown — 5-1 and 4-3 in OT — so takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on home ice and on TSN. . . . This will be the first game in a doubleheader on TSN tonight — the QMJHL game starts at 7 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET), with the WHL game to follow. . . . Game 4 in the QMJHL final is to be played in Shawinigan on Thursday night. . . . Adam Dunfee is doing the play-by-play and Marc Methot is the analyst. . . .

In the OHL, the host Windsor Spitfires dumped the Hamilton Bulldogs, 6-3, on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in that championship series. F Alex Christopoulos and F Wyatt Johnston had two goals each for the winners. With the arena in Windsor tied up with graduations, they won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. . . . Jon Abbott is calling the play for TSN in this series, with Craig Button beside him.


Jerks


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Kent, Wash., D Simon Kubicek, who began his WHL career with Seattle, had a EdCupgoal and an assist and G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 4-0 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight. The teams then will return to Edmonton for the remainder of the series, starting with Game 5 on Saturday. . . . In these playoffs, Cossa now is 14-2, 1.98, .911 with four shutouts. He wasn’t challenged a whole lot in this one as the Oil Kings played a near-perfect defensive game, rarely allowing the Thunderbirds free travel through the neutral zone. . . . After the third goal-less first period in as many games, the Oil Kings had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring while shorthanded in the second period when F Jake Neighbours and F Jalen Luypen broke in alone on Seattle G Thomas Milic. The two skaters played give-and-go and it ended with Milic making a tremendous pad save on Neighbours at 15:28. . . . F Jakub Demek (4) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 17:02 of the second period, just 12 seconds after Edmonton had killed off a penalty. Demek, starting in his zone, broke down the right wing and got around a Seattle defender to beat Milic with a backhand-to-forehand. . . .

Kubicek (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead when he scored at 4:10 the third period, Edmontonjust seven seconds into a PP from a play that developed after Edmonton won a faceoff in Seattle’s zone. . . . Kubicek, 20, is from Czech Republic. He played in 113 regular-season games with Seattle before being dealt to Edmonton for Belarusian F Vladimir Alistrov on Jan. 25, 2021. Kubicek didn’t play for Edmonton in the 2021 development season, while Alistrov, then 19, never did play for the Thunderbirds. . . . This season, Kubicek had 41 points, 14 of them goals, in 68 regular-season games with Edmonton. He also led the WHL in penalty minutes, with 133, but keep in mind the WHL doesn’t include misconducts, game misconducts, etc., in individual penalty totals. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-0 when D Kaiden Guhle (7) scored from the high slot at 11:47 of the third period. . . . F Carter Souch (12) provided the empty-netter for Edmonton at 19:19. He’s got goals in five straight games now. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 0-for-3. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves. . . .

Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, who had 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, didn’t finish the game. He has 21 points, 13 of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game after he absorbed a check from Guhle in Game 1. He missed three of the seven games against the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference final and sat out Game 2 against Edmonton on Sunday. Rybinski has 18 points, 14 of them assists, in 17 playoff games after putting up 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Jason Clarke, already the head coach, has added the general manager’s duties to his role with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He signed a two-year deal. Before jumped into the QMJHL after being the owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes when the 2021-22 season began, but signed on as head coach of the Titan in late November. . . . With the Titan, he replaces Sylvain Couturier, who resigned on May 27. . . .

Who says you can’t go home again? Former NHLer Eric Fehr has signed on with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers, his hometown team, as director of player development. In a 17-year pro career, Fehr, a former Brandon Wheat Kings star (2001-05), was on teams that won the Calder Cup, Spengler Cup and Stanley Cup. . . . In 2021-22, Fehr, 36, played five regular-season and two playoff games with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.


Robbery


Before you start complaining about the many viewings we are being treated to of Justin Bieber in that Tim Hortons commercial . . . just be thankful that he isn’t offering gambling advice.



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.


Nap

Milestone victory for Hamilton . . . Habscheid helps out WHL’s Christmas fund . . . Celebration of Swaby’s life on Friday

THE COACHING GAME:

Steve Hamilton, the head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, joined the 200 WHLClub on Sunday when his side dumped the visiting Regina Pats, 10-3. He put up 108 coaching victories in four seasons as head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings; Sunday’s victory was No. 92 with the Hitmen. . . .

Meanwhile, Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders won his 561st regular-season game as a head coach when his guys beat the host Winnipeg Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Sunday. Habscheid is the winningest active head coach in the WHL today. He is sixth on the all-time list and could move up a notch before season’s end; Mike Williamson is next on the list at 572. . . . The Raiders enjoyed quite a trek into Manitoba, as they beat the Wheat Kings, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert is 8-12-1; Winnipeg is 21-1-1, with Brandon at 9-11-0. . . .

Attention WHL coaches . . . you have been forewarned. The head office has opened its Christmas party fund. Habscheid was the first to contribute after being fined $750 on Monday. That’s the price he pays after being ejected from a Nov. 24 game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. He got the ol’ heave-ho from referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray prior to the start of the third period of a game the Raiders would lose, 4-1. . . . Habscheid later told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “. . . I just wished them a Merry Christmas, and that was that.” . . . It could be then that Habscheid was tossed for not waiting until December to start spreading Christmas joy. . . .


In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan signed Jason Clarke as its new head coach, replacing Mario Durocher, who was fired last week. Clarke was working as an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. He is a former owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League.


Pancakes


The Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats weren’t done any favours by the schedulemaker last weekend and they came out of it, perhaps predictably, with one victory to show for five games . . .

The Blades won once during their three-game trek into Alberta. They went into the weekend with five healthy defencemen, then lost one of those guys on Sunday. Still, you have to think they were quite pleased with their trip. . . . They opened in Red Deer by beating the Rebels, 3-1, on Friday night. The Blades played again Saturday, this time at 1:30 p.m., and got dumped, 7-0, by the Hitmen, who hadn’t played on Friday. On Sunday, Saskatoon ventured into Edmonton for a 4 p.m. start, scored the game’s first two goals, then gave up five in a row and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Oil Kings, who had been off on Saturday. . . .

Meanwhile, the Pats were in Alberta for two games. They played Saturday night in Red Deer, losing 4-2, and then had to be back on the ice Sunday in Calgary for an 11 a.m. — yes, a.m. — start. They were drubbed, 10-3, by the Hitmen, who got four goals and two assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz.

Yes, there oughta be a rule about morning or afternoon starts after a team has played the previous night. And it should never, ever happen when the home team was off the previous night.


A celebration of Matt Swaby’s life is scheduled for Friday, 1 p.m., at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Swaby, who played in the WHL for four seasons, was killed in a farm accident near Prince Albert on Friday. He was 34 and is survived by his wife, Carla, and three sons — Thomas, 6; Blake, 4; and Kody, 2. . . . The celebration of life is to be videotaped and live-streamed at grays.ca/memorial-videos/ . . . A GoFundMe page to benefit the family had raised $178,106 as of Monday evening. That page is right here.



The Dallas Cowboys will be without head coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday when they meet the host New Orleans Saints. He has tested positive, and there are reports that the Cowboys have as many as eight positives in their organization. That includes WR Amari Cooper, who is unvaccinated and has missed two games after a positive test. . . .

NFL teams placed at least seven players on the COVID-19 list on Monday — S Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans, OT Kyle Murphy of the New York Giants, CB Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, DB Kevin Seymour of the Baltimore Ravens, long-snapper Trent Sieg of the Las Vegas Raiders, RB J.J. Taylor of the New England Patriots and LB T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Off the Mark
Off the Mark

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS . . .

The CBA that governs Major League Baseball expires on Wednesday night at 11:59 ET. At that time, it is expected that MLB will lock out the players; it also is anticipated that this lockout could last and last and last and . . .

And won’t it be fun if any of the owners plead poverty.

After all, the New York Mets have signed RHP Max Scherzer, 37, to a three-year deal worth $130 million. As Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter, pointed out, Scherzer will make $3.95 million more this year than the Mets paid Dwight Gooden for his entire time in New York, factoring for inflation.” Scherzer has averaged 28 starts and 182 innings pitched in his career. Based on that, he will be paid $1.5 million per start, or $238,000 per inning. . . . Remember when people got excited when the New York Yankees signed RHP Gerritt Cole to a deal that pays him $36 million per season? That was in 2019. Scherzer will make $43.3 million a season.

The Mets aren’t the only team throwing money around.

LHP Robbie Ray won the American League’s Cy Young Award in his only season with the Toronto Blue Jays and now is headed to the Seattle Mariners for $115 million over five years.

The Blue Jays turned around and signed RHP Kevin Gausman for $110 million over five years.

Toronto also lost 2B Marcus Semien, who hit 45 home runs in 2021. He is joining the Texas Rangers for $175 million over seven years. The Rangers also have signed SS Corey Seager for $325 million over 10 years. He had been with the Los Angeles Dodgers with whom he was the 2020 World Series MVP.


Meanwhile, in the world of U.S. college football, Lincoln Riley, 38, is leaving Oklahoma after five seasons to become the head coach of the USC Trojans. Why is he moving? Well, his new contract apparently is worth $110 million. As well, USC will purchase the two homes he owns in Norman, Okla., for $500,000 over the asking price; USC is to buy him a $6 million home in Los Angeles; and he will have unlimited use of a private jet for his family. . . .

At the same time, head coach Brian Kelly, 60, is leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for LSU, and it’s expected that he’ll be paid $15 million per season. . . . Kelly’s Notre Dame players found out via social media; he then sent a text to them, telling them that he will inform them officially when they meet at, uhh, 7 a,m.

What do you think? Is it time to pay the players?


YogiBear


The Winter Universiade, featuring university athletes from more than 50 countries, was to have opened in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Dec. 11, with 102 Canadian student athletes in attendance. However, the games were cancelled on Monday as part of the world’s reaction to Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant. Including coaches and support staff, Canada would have had 144 people in Lucerne. . . . The next Winter Universiade is scheduled for Lake Placid, N.Y., in January 2023.


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.


Raise

NFL to be hard on unvaccinated . . . Bergson 17-parter on Wheaties arrives Monday . . . Ice inks two imports

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills?

The NFL on Thursday informed its teams that it won’t be postponing any games that can’t be played for COVID-related reasons because there isn’t room in the 18-game schedule. The NFL also said that if a team can’t field a team because of virus spread within unvaccinated players, then that team will forfeit the game and be given a loss in the standings, something that could have rather expensive playoff implications.

As well, the NFL said the forfeiting team would be responsible for all expenses incurred by the other club and that players from both teams wouldn’t be paid for the missed game. The forfeiting team also could be disciplined by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

That brings us to the Bills . . .

Here’s a tweet from OG Jonathan Feliciano, out of the U of Miami: “It’s been proven that COVID was made in lab. Fauci also a part of Pfizer . . . that’s why ppl don’t want to get the vaccine. Sad to come to the realization that you can not trust the government. #dontshootthemessenger.”

And then there was this one from WR Cole Beasley, an SMU product who has been spewing anti-vaxx stuff for a while now: “The players association is a joke. Call it something different. It’s not for the players. Everyone gives me the 98 percent of people who are vaccinated don’t get cover again. The odds of me getting in the NFL and playing for 10 years are lower than that and I’m here.”

Meanwhile, DE Jerry Hughes Jr., who played at TCU, came at it like this: “Sooo the top scientists in the entire world got together to figure out how to combat Covid-19. And when they came up with a vaccine, you question them. They are trying to save lives and you have doubt.”

Yes, these could be interesting times around the Bills, who are scheduled to open camp on Wednesday.

And then there was WR DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals, who fired off this tweet: “Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @NFL.”

Shortly after, Hopkins deleted that tweet, and added this one: “Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day”

That second tweet might have something to do with the fact that were Hopkins to leave the NFL, he would have to repay the Cardinals US$22 million in unearned signing bonus money.

BTW, last week The Associated Press reported that the NFL had four teams that didn’t have as many as 50 percent of their players vaccinated, although it now says those teams have surpassed that mark. USA TODAY reported that 78 percent of NFL players have had at least one shot.

Earlier, the NFL had told its teams that unvaccinated players will be subjected to daily testing; will have to wear masks inside the team facility; won’t be allowed to leave the team hotel while on the road other than for the game; and won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates on the road or at the team facility.


Organizers announced 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday that have been linked to the Tokyo Olympics. With the Games about to get into high gear, the total since July 1 rests at 106. . . .

Remember that it was IOC president Thomas Bach who said a while back that there was “zero risk” of there being any spread because of these Games. . . .

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who is in Tokyo: “As the circus gets under way, the citizens of Tokyo are going about their business in this city, which is somewhat muted under a state of emergency. There are no visible protests, but the displeasure is clear. It has been measured by polls that show how opposed the public is to these Games. Perhaps the most damning development is that Toyota pulled all its Olympic-related advertising in the country. One of the most important corporations in Japan doesn’t want to give any implication of endorsing these COVID Games.”


Phil Hoad, at theguardian.com: “From Wednesday, showing either a health pass, or proof of a negative PCR test dated to within 48 hours, is obligatory in France for anyone wishing to access any cultural or leisure facilities with a capacity of more than 50 people. This includes cinemas, art galleries, libraries, museums, sports centres and work-related events. Cafes, restaurants and trains will fall under the measures at the beginning of August.

“The measures are part of President Macron’s push to reignite France’s flagging vaccination drive amid a fourth wave of the pandemic. With 18,000 cases reported in the 24 hours prior to 20 July, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal described the Delta variant-driven surge as ‘stratospheric’; the national week-on-week infection rate has jumped 125% to 86 per 100,000, well above the national alert threshold of 50.”

The New York Times: “Italy said it will require vaccination proof or a negative Covid test for many social activities, including indoor dining and attending shows, as debate grows over limits being placed on the unvaccinated. France made a similar announcement last week.”


If the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings aren’t the greatest team in WHL history, Brandonthey certainly are in the discussion. Perry Bergson covers the Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun and is about to unleash a 17-part series on that team, one that went 58-5-9 — the 9 representing ties (remember them?) — and earned 125 of a possible 144 regular-season points. . . . The Wheat Kings won the WHL title that season, but lost the Memorial Cup final in OT. . . . The series will include a capsule on each of the 104 games the team played that season. . . . Bergson, who finished the writing part on Wednesday at 6 a.m., will have a new feature each day as he looks at the 21 players and the late Dunc McCallum, who was the team’s coach. Bergson also has been into The Sun’s photo files and the series will include previously unpublished pics. . . . It all starts on Monday. Watch for it!


Murphy


As I do from time to time, I would like to point out that the cartoons that appear on this website are provided by Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon. . . . Thanks a bunch, Jack. . . . And if you haven’t already you should check out his rants at sportscurmudgeon.com. It’s well worth a daily visit.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed D Martin Bohm and D Maximilian Streule to WHL Winnipegcontracts. . . . Both were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bohm, 18, is from Czech Republic. From a news release: “Bohm played for Bili Tygri Liberec in the Czech U20 league where he scored three goals and added seven assists in eight games. He also spent time playing for HC Benatky nad Jizerou in the Czech2 league where he scored two goals in 17 games.  Bohm has represented the Czech Republic at the U16 and U18 levels.” . . . Streule, 17, is from Switzerland. He played last season with the GCK Lions in a U20-Elit league, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


Stabbing


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.


JUST NOTES: Kris Mallette, the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has been added as an assistant coach for Hockey Canada’s U-18 team’s summer development camp. He replaces Dennis Williams, the GM/head coach of the Everett Silvertips, who now is an assistant coach with the national junior team. . . . Carter Duffin has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as assistant general manager and assistant coach. He spent the past three seasons as the GM/head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . .

Kelly Buchberger, whose contract as the head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans wasn’t renewed, has joined the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, as an assistant coach. Buchberger, who spent three seasons with the Americans, signed a three-year deal with Laval. . . . The Americans haven’t yet introduced their next head coach. . . .

Daniel Renaud has signed on as the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. Renaud was the Cataractes’ head coach for three seasons (2017-20) before moving on to become head coach of the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Jason Clarke, former GM/head coach of the Carleton Place Canadians of the junior A CCHL is joining Shawinigan as an assistant coach. . . Darryl Robinson has taken over as the director of scouting for the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles. He joined the Eagles’ scouting staff in 2020 after working with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.


Stab

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