Hey, if you’re going to be in New York City on June 26, you may be interested in knowing that Springsteen on Broadway will be playing at the St. James Theater. It is scheduled to run through Sept. 4. Yes, you will need a ticket. You also will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Enjoy!
So in the eyes of the NHL, the rather innocuous comments Boston Bruins' coach Bruce Cassidy made about the officiating were five times as bad as what Tom Wilson did to Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin. Think about that for a minute.
So many people criticize athletes for providing stock answers in any kind of news conference situations. . . . Then, earlier this week, Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets offered comment on the four-game suspension he had received after a nasty hit in a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens. . . . “I thought I was going to be tried to be shut down by Phillip Danault,” Scheifele said, referring to a Montreal forward. ”Instead, it was department of player safety that shut me down.” . . . For that, the social media mavens were all over him. Yes, it’s a hard world out there.
By now you will be aware that the MLB spotlight has shifted from inept hitters who are incapable to going the other way against the shift to pitchers who are gooping up in order to increase their spin rates, which makes the ball to previously unseen things. Apparently, one of the products at least some of the pitchers are using is Spider Tack, which is what serious weightlifters use in order to make sure they have a solid grip on the bar.
Anyway, it turns out that there is another theory out there. Here’s slugger Pete Alonso of the New York Mets in conversation with media during the week: “The biggest concern is MLB manipulates the baseballs year in and year out depending on the free agency class. . . . Oh, no, that’s a fact. Yes, guys have talked about it. It’s not a coincidence. It definitely is something that they did.”
That brought this response from R.J. Anderson, who covers MLB for CBS Sports: “Whether or not one finds merit in Alonso’s conspiracy theory — and it’s reasonable to doubt that MLB is a competent enough organization from top to bottom to pull off such maneuvers — his willingness to publicize it, and to suggest other players hold the same belief, points to the distrust that exists within clubhouses toward commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners.”
And therein is the rub . . . the distrust between players and owners in MLB is off the charts.
Brazil, which has been something of a hotbed for COVID-19, is preparing to play host to Copa America, but first, well, a couple of teams have this problem. . . . Venezuela had eight players and three coaches test positive after arriving in Brazil, while three of Bolivia’s players and one coach also came up positive. . . . Venezuela, which also had two players test positive before departing for Brazil, responded by bring in 15 new players for its opening game today (Sunday) against Brazil. . . . The Bolivians are to play Monday against Paraguay. . . . The tournament will be played without spectators.
After 10 seasons in the KHL, former Kootenay Ice star Nigel Dawes has chosen to move to the DEL, having signed a two-year deal with Adler Mannheim. . . . Dawes, 36, played this season with Ak Bars Kazan, scoring 23 goals and adding 20 assists in 47 games. . . . Dawes, a Winnipeg native, left North America to play in the KHL with Barys Astana for the 2011-12 season. He spent seven seasons with the team in Kazakhstan and has a Kazakh passport. In fact, he has played internationally for Kazakhstan. . . . Dawes then played two seasons with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg before moving to Ak Bars Kazan. . . . According to Addler Mannheim’s news release, Dawes played in 608 KHL regular-season and playoff games, putting up 293 goals and 257 assists. He is No. 1 among non-Russian goal scorers and No. 2 overall. Dawes also is the fifth-leading point-getter in KHL history. . . . He played four seasons with the Ice in Cranbrook. . . . The New York Rangers selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2003 draft. In 212 NHL games, split among the Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens, he had 39 goals and 45 assists.
If/when the Okanagan Lakers get final approval, they will begin play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League in time for the start of the 2021-22 season. . . . The Lakers, who will play out of UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna, announced Friday that Kevin Bathurst will be their first head coach. He has been with the Pursuit of Excellence midget varsity team since 2018. . . . The Lakers also announced that Gage Colpron has signed on to the “coaching and operations staff.” He played four seasons at this level, splitting time between the BCIHL’s VIU Mariners and ACAC’s Augustana Vikings.
JUST NOTES: The Victoria Royals and Medicine Hat Tigers cut a deal on Friday. The Victoria Royals added D Damon Agyeman (2002) and a ninth-round selection in the 2023 WHL prospects draft with the Tigers getting a conditional sixth-round pick in that same draft. . . . Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one goal and one assist in 21 games over three seasons with the Tigers.
Nearly three years after losing his son Evan in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, Scott Thomas has written a letter in support of the semi-driver who was responsible, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu. https://t.co/o3oZTAADTm
It was in 1992 when Gatorade launched its “Be Like Mike” advertising campaign, one that was wrapped around then-NBA star Michael Jordan.
Here we are, almost 30 years later, and all I want is to Be Like Scott.
That would be Scott Thomas.
As hard as it may be to believe, almost three years have slid by since the bus crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Thomas and his wife, Laurie, lost their son Evan in the crash. He was one of the 16 people who died as a result of the bus colliding with a big rig while en route to Nipawin for a playoff game.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck’s driver, is serving an eight-year sentence, and will be eligible to apply for parole in September. He also is waiting for a decision on whether he will be deported.
Not only does Scott Thomas think that shouldn’t happen, he has written a letter in support of Sidhu’s staying in Canada to the Canadian Border Services Agency. Thomas also has been in communication via email with Sidhu and his family.
“I don’t have the energy for hatred, our family just doesn’t,” Thomas told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. “For me to go on and function and to be the best father I can be to the one daughter I have left and to leave this place with a positive impact and do something for our son’s legacy . . . for us to move forward, the best thing for us to do is forgive. There are days when I want to scream and there are days I do scream at the world, but for us to move forward, the easiest path to that is forgiveness and compassion.”
Take a few minutes out of your day and read them both. You’ll be a better person for having done it.
Let’s not forget, too, that Scott Thomas continues to advocate for standardized training across Canada for semi-truck drivers. You can bet that we’ll be hearing from him on that subject again and again and again, all the while wondering why politicians don’t sit up and take notice.
Scott Thomas' son Evan was killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Not only has Thomas found room in his heart to forgive, he's advocating for the man who was driving the truck that killed his son to to stay in Canada after his prison sentence. My blog. https://t.co/tgPfMM8ALQ
The Regina Exhibition Association announced Friday that the ice is being taken out of the Brandt Centre, the home of the WHL’s Regina Pats. . . . Under the present public health restrictions in Saskatchewan, the Brandt Centre is closed through Jan. 29. . . . . In making Friday’s announcement, the association suggested to renters that “if the ice is installed for any reason over the next three months, ice may become available to rent.” . . . Should the WHL get to play the 24-game schedule that it has said it is “committed” to, games almost certainly will be played in empty facilities. Without ice in the Brandt Centre, the Pats could play next door in the Co-operators Centre. . . .
Earlier in the week, the Edmonton Oil Kings told season-ticket holders that if they get to play games this spring they’ll be in the Downtown Community Arena rather than Rogers Place, which also is home to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . The Spokane Arena, home of the WHL’s Chiefs, is to be used as a mass vaccination site starting on Wednesday.
In the midst of a global pandemic that is not showing any signs of abating, we take a look at messaging from a pair of under-18 hockey leagues.
In Saskatchewan, the under-18 female and male leagues have postponed their seasons, and it sure sounds as though the boys might be finished for this season.
“Due to the ongoing pandemic and health restrictions, the SU18AAAHL schedule will be postponed effective Jan. 19, 2021,” reads a release on the league’s website. “If public health measures allow for a return to game play at any time, the executive will meet and review game play options for any teams that wish to continue. “
Among the reasons for the decision: “Provide parents the freedom to move their son(s) home for personal reasons. For some parents this will take some pressure off their decision. . . . Provide billets the option to continue hosting players during the COVID-19 19 crisis. This will give them a freedom to evaluate their involvement.”
Meanwhile, next door in Manitoba, the male U18 AAA league has sent what it calls an “open letter” to Premier Brian Pallister, Heather Stefanson, the minister of health and senior services, and Dr. Roussin, the province’s chief health officer. In the letter, signed by Levi A. Taylor, the commissioner, the league makes a case for why it should be allowed to return to play.
At one point, the letter claims that “the continued prohibition of social interaction and limitation of permitted physical activities has caused immeasurable harm to the children of this province.”
Later, there is this: “The Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League calls on you to reopen recreation facilities, gyms, and fitness centres for use by children and youth. It can be done (safely), and it must be done now to curtail the harms inflicted.”
Super Sky Point to the great Hank Aaron, the man who overcame hate and prejudice to do the unthinkable: chase down Babe Ruth and his legendary mark of 714 career home runs. Let’s relive that magic night in Atlanta one more time. Thank you, Hammer. #RIPpic.twitter.com/eGbIEjF4Yc
Let me be very clear: Nobody should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve got one planned, cancel it – and don’t book a trip for spring break. We need to hang on and hold tight for the next few months, and get through to the spring in the best shape possible.
CBC News — 173 COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, above the province’s 7-day average of 160. 2 additional deaths are also being reported. On the vaccine front, 23,884 doses have been administered so far.
CBC News — Saskatchewan reported 312 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday along with eight additional deaths.
CBC News — Alberta reports 643 new COVID-19 cases, 12 additional deaths.
CBC News — Nine additional deaths, 508 new COVID-19 cases reported in British Columbia on Friday.
CBC News — Ontario is reporting 2,662 new cases of COVID-19 and 87 new deaths. 779 of the new cases are in Toronto, 542 are in Peel and 228 are in York Region.
CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,631 new cases of COVID-19 and has added 88 deaths to its tally, 18 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.
CBC News — 30 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick. This is the 4th time in a week the number has exceeded 30; the 7-day average for new cases in 29.
CBC News — Full lockdown announced in New Brunswick’s Zone 4 Health Zone. All schools to move to virtual learning, non-essential businesses to close, indoor formal gatherings not allowed. 19 of the 30 new cases on Friday are in Zone 4, which is the province’s northwest and includes Edmundston.
CBC News — Nunavut has its 1st new case of COVID-19 since Dec. 28. The new case is in Arviat. The person is asymptomatic and self-isolating.
KTVZ-TV — Oregon reports 22 more COVID-19 deaths, death toll at 1,865; 877 new cases, total at 136,839. . . . Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 270,453 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations were administered by Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).
The Olympian — The Washington State Department of Health on Friday reported 2,162 news confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 49 new deaths. Statewide totals . . . are at 298,249 cases and 4,114 deaths.
Public Health Agency of Canada, Friday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 737,407. . . . Active cases: 65,750. . . . Deaths: 18,828.
CNN, Friday, 4:31 p.m. PT — 413,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.
CNN, Friday, 7:21 p.m. PT — 24.8 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.
The New York Times — Since March of last year, at least 424,000 more Americans have died than would have in a normal year, showing that the true toll of the pandemic may be higher than previously known.
Former MLB player and manager Davey Johnson is back in his Florida home after spending time in hospital with COVID-19. Johnson, now 77, was the New York Mets’ manager when they last won the World Series, in 1986. He played for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs (1965-78). He managed the Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals (1985-2013. . . .
Matt Norlander, CBS Sports: “Multiple conference commissioners and athletic directors told CBS Sports in the past week-plus that there is a growing sense of nervousness over the stability of the college basketball season. . . . With Joe Biden now holding office, high-ranking NCAA officials are in wait-and-see mode about monitoring case counts across the country and bracing for the possibility of federal shutdowns that could impact dozens if not hundreds of schools — prompting a midseason pause in the process.” . . .
After having their first four NHL regular-season games postponed after at least 17 players tested positive, the Dallas Stars were in action on Friday night. They were without F Blake Comeau, who was placed on the COVID-19 list earlier in the day, as they beat the visiting Nashville Predators, 7-0. . . . The Detroit Red Wings added F Filip Zadina to the list on Friday, too. He joined teammates F Robby Fabbri, F Adam Erne and F Sam Gagner, and D Jon Merrill on the list. . . . The Washington Capitals were without F Alex Ovechkin, F Evgeny Kuznetsov, D Dmitry Orlov and G Ilya Samsonov as they beat the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 4-3 in OT, on Friday night. All four, one of whom reportedly tested positive, will miss three more games as they all are on the COVID-19 list. . . .
The Memphis Grizzlies have had four straight games postponed, bringing the NBA’s total of such games to 20. The Grizzlies were to have met the Trail Blazers in Portland on Wednesday and last night (Friday) and were to have played the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday and Monday. . . .
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Clay Plume, who spent three seasons in the WHL, died on Tuesday. He was 37. Plume was from Standoff, Alta. . . . Plume, a defenceman, spent two-plus seasons (2001-04) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes before finishing the 2003-04 season with the Prince George Cougars. In 181 regular-season games, he has 22 goals and 43 assists. . . . He went on to play one season in the ECHL and six in the CHL. . . . Plume played 24 games over the past two seasons with the senior AA Fort Macleod Mustangs of the Alberta-based Ranchland Hockey League. . . . Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald has more on Plume right here.
JUST NOTES: F Nigel Dawes, who doesn’t get nearly enough plaudits when the conversation turns to great WHLers, picked up the 500th regular-season point of his KHL career in a 4-3 OT loss to host Lokomotiv on Friday. Dawes, 35, is in his 10th KHL season, but his first with Ak Bars Kazan. This season, he has 22 goals and 17 assists in 40 games. He had a goal and an assist on Friday, leaving him with 501 points, including 266 goals, in 536 games. In his WHL career, he put up 272 points, 159 of them goals, in 245 games. He played four seasons (2001-04) with the Kootenay Ice (remember them?). . . . The QMJHL returned to action with four games on Friday night, its first action since Nov. 29. Playing what it calls a “controlled environment” rather than a bubble, there were games in Shawinigan, Drummondville, Rimouski and Chicoutimi. There will be games in the same venues Saturday and Sunday.