A few words from blogger Joe Posnanski:
In 1974, a rock journalist named Jon Landau watched a concert at Harvard Square Theater and wrote, “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
That’s how I feel now watching Carlos Alcaraz play. There has been a bit of sadness among many tennis fans because we all know that the greatest era in the sport’s history is coming to an end. But I’m not sure that era is ending. I saw tennis’ future and its name is Carlos Alcaraz. He just might be Fed, Rafa, Novak and Andy all rolled into one.
Is this the season when we get to see Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels in the MLB playoffs for the first time in his career? He’s the best hitter in the game and it would be great to see him perform in the autumn. As Chris Branch of The Athletic Pulse put it this week: “They’re (24-13), with Trout looking like Mickey Mantle again and Shohei Ohtani looking like Babe Ruth.” . . . Of course, the Angels haven’t finished with a record above .500 since 2015, so . . . yes, it’s early.
And then there were five . . .
The Kamloops Blazers went on the road Sunday and were able to finish off the Vancouver Giants, posting a 6-0 victory in Langley, B.C., to win their WHL Western Conference semifinal, 4-2. . . .
That leaves just one conference semifinal still being played — the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks will visit the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight. The Winterhawks hold a 3-2 lead in the series and have won both games that have been played in Kent — 4-2 on May 7 and 5-1 on Friday. . . . If this series needs a Game 7, it will be played in Portland on Tuesday. And, yes, Seattle has won twice in Portland — 5-0 on Wednesday and 3-1 on Saturday.
In the Eastern Conference, meanwhile, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice and No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings are waiting to get started. Games 1 and 2 are scheduled to be played in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday.
SUNDAY IN THE WHL:
In Langley, B.C., F Fraser Minten scored an early shorthanded goal and G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots, leading the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers to a 6-0 victory over the No, 8 Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers won the conference semifinal, 4-2. . . . The Blazers will be in the conference final for the first time since 2013 when they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops will meet either the No. 3 Winterhawks or No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in the final. Portland holds a 3-2 lead in that series going into a game tonight in Kent, Wash. The conference final is to open in Kamloops with games on Friday and Saturday. . . . Minten opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the playoffs at 6:06 of the first period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (8) made it 2-0 at 10:27. . . . Kamloops got second-period goals from F Daylan Kuefler (4), at 12:03, and F Logan Stankoven (10), on a PP at 13:07. . . . Kuefler also had two assists. . . . Toporowski (9) added a PP goal at 1:05 of the third period and F Caedan Bankier (5) closed out the scoring at 12:30. . . . Kamloops was 2-for-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-3. . . . Vancouver held a 12-10 edge in first-period shots, but was outshot 15-4 in the second. . . . Garand posted his third shutout in 10 playoff games. He is 8-2, 1.51, .940. . . . D Alex Cotton, who left Game 5 with an undisclosed injury, was in the Giants’ lineup, as was F Colton Langkow, who hadn’t played since Game 1 on May 6. F Cole Shepard left after one period on Sunday. He hadn’t played since March 16, then came back for Game 4.
Michael Bublé, who owns a piece of the Vancouver Giants, wasn’t able to be in Langley, B.C., for their WHL playoff game with the Kamloops Blazers on Sunday. He was in Las Vegas where he was a presenter during the Billboard Music Awards. . . . But he planned on listening via his phone, even while was on the red carpet. . . . “Forget about being an owner, I love hockey and I’m a proud Vancouver guy,” he told Simon Little of Global News earlier Sunday, “so even if I had nothing to do with the Giants, I’d still be on the red carpet listening to the game.” . . . He also said that he is really proud of the Giants, who went into the playoffs as the Western Conference’s eighth seed and knocked off the No. 1 Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . “I’m not sure if people realize but it’s the first time in the history of the WHL that an eighth seed has taken out the top seed,” he added. “There’s not a lot of parity in our league, it’s not like the NHL, the No. 1 seed is a goliath. The fact that we’re here, hoping to push it to seven is absolutely wild. . . . I’m surprised more Vancouverites aren’t as excited as I am. I say it all the time, I love my city but sometimes I wonder, are we a hockey town or are we a Canuck town? Prove me wrong Vancouver.” . . . The Blazers beat the Giants, 6-0, on Sunday to win the series, 4-2. The announced attendance was 4,310.
From The Associated Press: Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said on Sunday “a couple players” won’t make the trip for a three-game series in Toronto because of the Canadian government’s vaccine mandate. Servais did not identify which players will be unavailable. . . . Just as the U.S. does for foreign travellers, Canada requires anyone entering the country to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, the second at least 14 days before entry. . . . From Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times: But per an agreement between MLB and the players union, (Servais) wouldn’t provide any details. He is not allowed to speak of a player’s vaccination status.
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Poll: Majority of Canadians favour making sports betting illegal again just to get rid of the (bleeping) ads.
Another headline from The Beaverton: Sportsnet apologizes for interrupting gambling commercial with hockey.
THINKING OUT LOUD: The Winnipeg Ice and Edmonton Oil Kings are to open the WHL’s Eastern Conference final with two games in the Manitoba capital in an old arena that seats around 2,000 fans, many of them on benches. Gotta wonder if the WHL considered moving Winnipeg’s home games to Cranbrook? You know, just for old times’ sake. . . . Does anyone know when the first shovel will go into the ground to start construction of the Ice’s new home? . . . Are you old enough to remember when you could turn on your TV set and watch a WHL playoff game, or even an entire series, on Shaw? . . . The Cincinnati Reds are 9-26 this season so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that they lost, 1-0, to the host Pittsburgh Pirates who didn’t muster even one hit on Sunday. And the game won’t count as a no-hitter because the two Reds’ pitchers didn’t combine to throw nine innings.
You may have heard that a guy named Elon Musk is in the process of buying Twitter and has said that when it’s all done he will reinstate Donald Trump, who presently is sitting out a permanent ban. “In related news,” writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, “Pete Rose is lobbying for Musk to buy the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “I really was genuinely happy for Touchdown Tom, though, when I heard about the Fox deal. Finally, the guy catches a break.”
My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.
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
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
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
Or, for more information, visit right here.