OHL now looking at Feb. 4 start to 40-game season . . . Still lots of unanswered questions . . . World Series aftermath mostly about Turner


OK . . . let’s recap the major junior hockey season to this point:

The QMJHL began its regular season on Oct. 1, but, frankly, things have been a bit messy. As of right now, its 12 Quebec-based teams are in a holding pattern, although four of them are expected to return to play this weekend. . . . Three teams have experienced positive tests. . . . It has three teams with eight games played and three that have played two apiece. . . . The Shawinigan Cataractes have moved their players into a dormitory. . . .

Meanwhile, the WHL has targeted Jan. 8 as the opening date for its next regular season. It has said that players will report to their teams after Christmas for short training camps. . . . Last week, the WHL decided to allow its players to transfer to junior A, junior B and U-18 teams. A number of WHL players have taken advantage of that, especially in joining junior A teams. . . . But there remain about a zillion unanswered questions and Jan. 8 is just over two months away. . . .

On Wednesday, the OHL announced that it will open training camps on Jan. 23 with its regular season — each team is to play 40 games — to begin on Feb. 4 and end on May 16. . . . Earlier, the OHL had said it was aiming to begin play on Dec. 1. . . . The OHL said its teams will bring in American and European players starting Jan. 8 and that they will quarantine. . . . Eight teams, four from each of its two conferences, will qualify for the playoffs. . . . The OHL has three American teams, but nothing has been decided on their immediate futures. . . . Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted that the OHL has had “NO discussion about the contact issue. Teams assume that’s not going to happen.” He also tweeted that there wasn’t any “discussion about fans . . . but that’s not a surprise at this point.” . . . If all goes according to plan, the Memorial Cup will open on June 17 and run through June 27. . . . Again, there are a zillion questions that will have to be answered, in whole or in part, between now and February. Yes, February.


charliebrown


With the World Series having ended on Tuesday night, we should be absorbing all that came before the last out of Game 6. We should be saluting the Los WorldSeriesAngeles Dodgers as a truly great team, one that had a dominating 60-game regular season and was on pace to win 116 games had they played a ‘normal’ 162-game season. We should be celebrating a Dodgers team that won seven of its last nine playoff games to win that World Series. Instead, well, it’s not about that at all.

Having been notified that Dodgers 3B Justin Turner had tested positive, MLB was able to get him out of the lineup during Game 6. But it somehow wasn’t able to him off the field during post-game celebrations.

On Wednesday, MLB announced it has launched an investigation into Turner’s post-game behaviour.

MLB ordered the Dodgers to remove Turner from the game, and he didn’t take the field for the top of the eighth inning. According to MLB, Turner “was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him.

“However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”

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Meanwhile, here’s a handful of takes from a few writers of note . . .

Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated: “In a season nearly derailed by risky behavior, this was the most irresponsible moment yet. The league has protocols restricting behavior by people who have contracted the virus. ‘Any Covered Individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must immediately wear a face covering (and) isolate from all people,’ the operations manual states. But on Tuesday, the scientists in baseball pants were allowed to make public-health policy based on what seemed most fun.” . . . Her piece is right here.

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic: “Maybe little will come of Turner’s post-game behavior. Maybe he will recover from COVID-19 with minimal difficulty, like most people in his age group, and the vast majority of the Dodgers’ bubble contingent, if not all of it, will avoid infection. Still, some with the Dodgers are higher risk. (Manager Dave) Roberts is a cancer survivor. (Pitcher Kenley) Jansen, who had a three-week bout with the virus in July, has a heart condition. At least one of the players’ wives is pregnant.

“If other team or family members test positive, the images from Tuesday night will become that much more indelible, that much more regrettable. No one stopped Turner from returning to the field. He also did not stop himself.”

That piece is right here.

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Nancy Armour of USA TODAY: “Justin Turner finally got his World Series title and Major League Baseball got its postseason TV riches, so to hell with everybody else.

“That’s how we’re doing it, right? Personal satisfaction and happiness over the collective good, science and common sense be damned.

The appalling flouting of COVID-19 protocols at the World Series on Tuesday night might as well be a microcosm of the United States, bringing into sharp focus why this country has lost almost 230,000 of its mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends in the past seven months.”

That piece is right here.

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Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “When you were a teenager, did you ever throw a party when your parents were away?

“That’s what the Dodgers and Major League Baseball did Tuesday night.

“With no parents at home, no adult supervision, the Dodgers partied like it was 2019.

“As with your teenage party, it might take a while before we get a complete assessment of the damage, like when your dad found the broken wine bottle in the hot tub a week later.”

That complete piece is right here.

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Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post: “The coronavirus had to make a cameo in this series, didn’t it? What would 2020 be without the virus proving it could sneak in anywhere, even an MLB bubble? But Dodgers star Justin Turner, removed in the middle of Game 6 when one of his test results came back positive, did not have to turn himself into a poster boy for pandemic irresponsibility.Turner will and should never live down returning to the field — knowing that he had the virus — to yell with teammates, pose massless in team photos and hug whomever he please.

“Turner symbolizes far too much of America now: I will take a world health crisis, which looks like it might kill more Americans than died in battle in World War II (291,000), sort of seriously — unless I’m having a real good time.”

Boswell’s complete take is right here. Our best baseball essayist also writes about how great this Dodgers team was and how that shouldn’t get lost in Turner’s faux pas.


Poison


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The AHL now has targeted Feb. 5 as the starting date for its next season. It had been looking to start on Dec. 4. . . . From a news release: “The AHL continues to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities. Further details regarding the 2020-21 American Hockey League season are still to be determined.” . . .

The Wisconsin Badgers have had 12 positives — six players and six staff — so their game at Nebraska on Saturday has been cancelled. The positive include the first two quarterbacks on their depth chart and head coach Paul Chryst. . . . The Big Ten scheduled doesn’t include room for rescheduling so the game was cancelled. . . . Wisconsin will pause all football-related activities for seven days, while players who test positive, including starting QB Graham Mertz, must sit out for at least 21 days according to Big Ten protocol. . . .

Chilliwack FC, which oversees minor soccer in the B.C. city, has had to hire security in order to make sure that COVID-19 protocols are being followed, in particular by parents. . . . Andrea Laycock, Chilliwack FC’s chairperson, emailed parents on Tuesday, telling them that volunteers, staff and contact tracers have been facing abuse while trying to make sure protocols are being followed. . . . Laycock wrote: “Because the interactions at the contact tracing table and inside the facilities has at times been so horrific and borderline violent, Chilliwack FC has engaged Allegiance 1 Security to do periodic sweeps of all of our venues to ensure everyone is behaving and adhering to our policy. Should any issues be reported, the Chilliwack FC Disciplinary Committee will become involved and the offender(s) risk being banned from attending games to being expelled from Chilliwack FC. Enough is enough!” . . . Tyler Olsen of the Abbotsford News has more right here. . . .

The National Lacrosse League pulled the plug on its 2019-20 season in March and later cancelled it. On Wednesday, the NLL said that it hopes to get its next season started on the weekend of April 9-11. . . . Under what used to be normal circumstances, the NLL season would start in December or January. . . . The league has 13 teams, including five in Canada, so there still are lots of decision to be made before another season can get started. . . .

The 2021 Boston Marathon was scheduled for April 19, but now has moved to an unspecified date in the fall. The 2020 Marathon was cancelled earlier this year. . . .

The NFL’s Houston Texans, who are on a bye week, closed their facility on Wednesday after an unidentified player tested positive. The Texans are next scheduled to play on Nov. 8 against the host Jacksonville Jaguars. . . .

The MLS’s Minnesota United had a player come up positive before playing visiting Colorado on Wednesday night, but the game went ahead as scheduled as all others tested were negative. . . . Also on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union, despite having one positive test, went ahead with a home game against the Chicago Fire.



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——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Train

CFL delays start until at least July . . . MLB’s Arizona option gets panned . . . Heartfelt tribute to Jack Bowkus


The CFL’s regular season was to have started on June 11. The training season was to have opened in mid-May with rookie camps; main camps were set to start on May 13.

The CFL now says it won’t get started until sometime in July at the earliest.

With the cities of Calgary and Ottawa having locked down all facilities through June 30, the CFL really wasn’t left with much choice.

The league still hopes to play a full season, meaning 18 regular-season games for each team. But that doesn’t seem likely with the Grey Cup game scheduled for Regina on Nov. 22.

Here’s what Pat Neufeld, an offensive lineman with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, told Ed Tait of bluebombers.com:

“It’s tough. I’m still hopeful, but nobody knows how any of this is going to play out. It’s going to evolve over time, but now it’s a matter of keeping people safe.

“This is bigger than sports and entertainment right now. People have to stay patient and stay hopeful and understand this. We’ll get through this and eventually we’ll have football.”


In the meantime, Major League Baseball apparently has been discussing options, one of which would involve taking all of its 30 teams to Arizona, holding mini-training camps of some sort, and then playing regular-season games in empty facilities throughout the state.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post has taken a look at MLB, this particular option and the logistical nightmare that would be involved in making it work. That’s all right here.

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Here’s Larry Stone of the Seattle Times:

“But this possible plan floated by MLB — which likes to send out more trial balloons than the United States Weather Service — is rife with holes, wishful thinking, dangerous assumptions and unsolvable quandaries.

“Beyond that, is it really wise to be putting so aggressive a timeline on baseball’s return at a time when the full scope of coronavirus’ devastation is still being felt?

“As much as we all covet the return of live sports in general, public health is still paramount, and I have a hard time wrapping my brain around how this advances that cause. COVID-19 is not an illness that adheres to the calendar. We’ve already learned in painful fashion, as the reopening of various elements of society keep getting pushed back. To think we can control the timeline borders on recklessness.”

Stone’s entire column is right here.


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I have to think MLB would have a hard time selling that plan to players and their wives. Here are three tweets from Eireann Dolan, the wife of Washington Nationals’ reliever Sean Doolittle:

“Ok now what about the non-millionaire hotel workers, security staff, grounds crews, media members, team traveling staffs, clubhouse attendants, janitorial workers, food service workers, and the billion other people required to make that 3.5 hour game happen every night?”

“Y’all asking them to stay at their current salaries but also stay locked inside Baseball Biodome for an indefinite amount of time away from their families during a GD pandemic? This is a reckless and irresponsible kernel of an idea. Shut it down.”

“Let me clarify that I really want baseball back. But not if it’s not done safely, not if it requires sacrifices like this from people who make minimum wage, and not if it means redirecting badly needed medical and testing supplies away from the public and to a sports league.”

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When looking at this one MLB option, the naysayers are forgetting one thing. It was just last month when Agent Orange told some state governors: “The virus that we’re talking about having to do, a lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat, as the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April.” . . . Well, it gets real hot — REAL HOT! — in Arizona in the heart of the summer. So, if we are to believe Agent Orange, as millions seem to do, well, maybe MLB is on to something here.


Gaugin



The NFL’s 32 teams are to hold their 2020 draft April 23-25. It will be a virtual draft with everyone involved operating from the safety of their own homes.

So how might all of this work out. Here’s Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports:

“It’ll be interesting to see how the NFL approaches a fully virtual draft from a technical standpoint, not to mention how it’ll be covered on TV. I feel like there’s a good chance of chaos here. Are we going to see pets/toddlers/shirtless dads interrupt draft interviews on Skype? What if technology fails? What if Bill Belichick manages to hack the mainframe and rig the whole thing?

“If my experience with fully virtual fantasy football drafts is any indication, most GMs will be way too drunk by the middle rounds and at least two players will be auto picked after the front office loses wifi connection.”


When Pro Football Focus asked “Best defence in sports history?”, the response from @SportsPickle was “O.J. Simpson’s.” . . . Hey, hard to argue with that.


Gator


The plan was for NBC to provide 7,500 hours of content on various platforms from the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo in July. Of course, those Games now are scheduled for 2021. . . . Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had a couple of ideas on how NBC will fill the time now:

“NBC has a cache of Law and Order SUV episodes that date back about 20 years.  If they play them sequentially as reruns, we can watch Marissa Hargitay’s career progression from Detective through Captain.

NBC has available reruns of Chicago FireChicago P.D and Chicago Med.  Maybe they will have time to produce a few episodes of a new series — Chicago Veterinarian — to augment that line of broadcasting.”

The curmudgeonly one’s Tuesday offering is right here.

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And here is his Thought of the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “A judge is a law student who grades his own examination papers.”


The Canadian Grand Prix that was to have been held in Montreal, June 12-14, has been postponed. Formula One’s first eight races have either been cancelled (two) or postponed (six). The Canadian race is No. 8 on the calendar. . . . A further decision is expected this month. . . .

Former NHLer Craig Ramsay is the head coach of the Slovakian national men’s hockey team. He said Tuesday that he is forsaking his salary while he, like so many others, is unemployed and waiting to go back to work. . . . Ramsay is believed to be earning €140,000 a season, which is about Cdn$213,000. . . .


Hills