Canada’s U-18 staff has WHL flavour . . . Blades salute former GM/head coach . . . WHL playoff spots undecided with nine games remaining

Nolan Baumgartner, a former WHL player and most recently an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and David Struch, also a former WHL HockeyCanadaplayer who started the season as the Regina Pats’ head coach, have been named to the coaching staff of the Canadian team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world championship. . . . That tournament is to be held in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany, from April 23 through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s coaching staff also includes Kori Cheverie, who will be the first female to coach one of the country’s national men’s teams. She spent five seasons (2016-21) as an assistant with Ryerson U’s men’s team and this season worked with the Canadian women’s Olympic team. . . . Baumgartner was a defenceman with the Kamloops Blazers when they won the 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup titles. He had been part of the Vancouver Canucks organization since 2012 until he was let go in a regime change this season. He was with the Canadian men’s Olympic team at the Winter Games in Beijing earlier this year. . . . Struch spent nine seasons with the Regina Pats before being fired as head coach earlier this season. He played four seasons (1988-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The U-18 team’s coach staff also includes assistant coach Todd Miller, who is a former head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2020-21, and goaltending consultant Brad Kirkwood, who works with the Calgary Hitmen and the U of Calgary women’s and men’s teams. . . . The complete news release is right here.


Courage


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final two days of their 68-game regular seasons. There are nine games remaining, with seven of them scheduled for tonight. . . . Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Portland, which is out of games. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (1): at Tri-City tonight.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Actually third in the conference, two points behind Portland, but are second seed as B.C. Division winners. . . . GR (1): at home to Vancouver tonight.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, two ahead of Kamloops. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince George tonight.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Tied with Prince George for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two up on Spokane. Each of the four has one game remaining. . . . GR (1): at Kamloops tonight.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Vancouver for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two ahead of Spokane. . . . GR (1): at Kelowna tonight.
  8. Victoria Royals — Two points behind Vancouver and Prince George, one ahead of Spokane. Beat visiting Spokane last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Spokane tonight.
  9. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped to ninth spot as they lost while Victoria and Prince George won on Friday night. . . . One point out of a playoff spot. . . . GR (1): at Victoria tonight.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent has yet to be decided. . . . GR (1): Ice will be designated as home team in Regina tonight.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (1): at Red Deer tonight.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Edmonton tonight.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Prince Albert tonight.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Prince Albert — Moved from 11th place into eighth with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon tonight.
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Actually tied for eighth with Prince Albert but have run out of games. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one in front of Regina. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th place, two points behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at home to Winnipeg tonight in what is an Ice home game, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Kyle Crnkovic broke a 1-1 tie at 11:56 of the second period as the host Saskatoon Blades edged the Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . That was his 39th goal this season. . . . Nolan Maier, the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history, stopped 35 shots for the Blades. He earned his 122nd career victory in his eighth straight start and his 60th appearance of the season. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Broncos, 4-1, in Swift Current. . . . F Carson Latimer (17), who also had two assists, snapped a 1-1 tie at 4:27 of the second period, with F Vladislav Shiloh (9) adding insurance, on a PP, at 13:16. . . . The winners got 32 saves from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In a game that was moved from Winnipeg to Regina due to inclement weather and poor driving conditions in the Manitoba capital, the Ice scored five times in the first period and beat the Pats, 6-1. . . . Pregame chatter about the Pats, fighting for their playoff lives, maybe taking advantage of home cooking turned out to be much ado about nothing. . . . In fact, the Ice, the WHL’s best team in this regular season, led this one 5-0 at the 11:09 mark of the first period. . . . The Ice had 14 players get at least one point, but only two — F Jakin Smallwood (25) and F Conor Geekie (25) — had two. Each had a goal and an assist. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 21 shots to record the victory. This season, he is 33-3-1, 1.94, .916. . . . The announced attendance, for what was a Winnipeg home game, was 2,799. . . . Oh, yes. The Pats had advertised this as Guaranteed Win Night. The meant each fan in attendance received a coupon good for a regular-season game in 2022-23. . . .

F Yegor Klavdiev scored his second goal of the game in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Klavdiev, who also had one assist, notched his 21st goal at 1:00 of extra time. . . . F Brayden Edwards (9) also scored twice for Lethbridge. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) had given the Warriors a 4-3 lead at 16:20 of the third period, only to have F Alex Thacker (13) pull the Hurricanes even at 19:05. . . .

Ridley
Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was back where he belongs on Friday night. (Photo: Scott Roblin/CHAT-TV)

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Cossa put up his sixth shutout of this season and the 14th of his career. This season, he is 33-9-3, 2.28, .913. . . . The Oil Kings scored once in each period, with all three goals coming from freshmen — F Cole Miller (9), F Dawson Seitz (7) and F Shea Van Olm (8), who also had two assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 7-0-1 in the season series. . . . Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the Tigers had known prior to the start of this season, returned to the microphone for their final game of this season. Health issues had kept him on the sidelines to this point. . . .

——

Western Conference:

The host Victoria Royals struck four times in the first period and went on to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 7-3. . . . The Royals jumped into a 4-0 lead at 10:31 of the opening period. . . . F Marcus Almquist scored two of those early goals, giving him seven. Almquist, from Denmark, enjoyed his first career two-goal lead. He has scored six of his even goals in his past eight games. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ captain, had a goal, his 16th, and two assists. . . . F Chase Bertholet had a goal, his 24th, and two assists for Spokane. . . .

F Jonny Hooker snapped a 2-2 tie at 7:57 of the third period as the Prince George Cougars went into Kamloops and beat the Blazers, 4-2. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 early in the second period, only to have the Blazers tie it early in the third. F Reese Belton (14) pulled the home side even at 4:42, with Hooker’s 17th goal putting the visitors back in front just 3:15 later. . . . The winners got 43 stops from G Ty Young. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds got three goals from F Jared Davidson as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Davidson, who has 42 goals, has put up hat tricks in two straight games. He went into this season with 39 points, including 19 goals, in 130 games. This season, he has 89 points in 64 games. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . F Jake Sloan scored twice, giving him 17, and added an assist for the Americans, with F Parker Bell (18) adding a goal and two helpers. . . .  F Samuel Huo got No. 30 for Tri-City. . . . Seattle’s three 20-year-olds — F Henrik Rybinski, F Lukas Svejkovsky and D Ryan Gottfried — were given the night off. . . .

F Colton Dach’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Dach scored his 29th goal at 1:12 of extra time. . . . F Adam Kidd (18) pulled Kelowna into a 2-2 with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (25) had given the Giants a 2-1 lead, on a PP, just 39 seconds into the third. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored twice to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Michal Gut (17) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks then rolled their way to five straight goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP, with Dureau’s second goal, and 24th of the season, coming after Everett F Jonny Lambos was tossed with a kneeing major. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 shots for Portland. He is 24-4-0, 2.16, .931 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Silvertips got 44 saves from G Koen MacInnes.


Lettuce


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders fired Jeff Woywitka, their head coach and assistant general manager, on Friday. Woywitka started as associate coach in 2006-07 and was named head coach in November, after the firing of Adam Manah. The Crusaders were 16-16-3 under Woywitka, and grabbed the Viterra North Division’s last playoff spot. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons beat the Crusaders, 4-1, in a first-round best-of-seven playoff series. . . .

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Thursday that head coach Carter Rigby will be back for a second season. “Rigby . . . took the Coyotes from dead last in the 2019-20 pre-COVID season (21 points) to top of the KIJHL (72 points) in his first full season as head coach, earning him the top coach award in the Bill Ohlhausen Division,” reads the team’s news release. Rigby, 28, played five seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2011-15). . . .

F Michael Misa of the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is expected to be the first overall selection in the OHL’s draft, which is scheduled for April 29. Misa is the sixth player to have been granted exceptional status in order to play in the OHL as a 15-year-old, the others being F Shane Wright, D Sean Day, F Connor McDavid, D Aaron Ekblad and F John Tavares. . . .

The junior B Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have hired Ron Johnson as their head coach. He replaces Chris Price, who had been head coach for two-plus seasons. Price has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. . . .

D Keith McInnis has signed a tender with the USHL’s Waterloo BlackHawks. McInnis, who turned 16 on Jan. 8, is from Red Deer and was selected by the Rebels in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2021 draft. He played this season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C.


Sucks


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here. . . . You should know that Dorothy was all smiles on Friday morning when an NHL team’s head coach joined her team with a donation. Talk about an ear-to-ear smile!


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.


Comcast

Morgan Gobeil progressing, but needs your help . . . COVID-19 showing up all over . . . Finland WJC team loses key player to quarantine

Merry Christmas . . .


Morgan Gobeil survived the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on April 6, 2018, and the young man continues to work on his recovery. . . . The facility in which he does so much of his rehab work is in need of a Smith Machine. With that in mind, Last Man Back, which was started by family and references Morgan’s having been the last survivor to be released from hospital, is selling clothing. His brother, Ryan, tweets that “all money is going directly to First Steps to purchase much need equipment for Morgan and others. . . . Check out the above tweet and then send a DM to Ryan to place an order. . . . I have a Last Man Back hat that I really like, and it has become my go-to lid.


It was March 11, 2020. Rudy Gobert and the New Orleans Jazz were in Oklahoma CovidCity for an NBA game with the Thunder. Officials and players were on the floor preparing for the game to start when word came that Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. It wasn’t long before the NBA season was indefinitely suspended. One positive test . . .

Keep that in mind as you read what follows . . .

The coronavirus has dominated the news from the sporting world through the first two days of this week. And it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted Monday afternoon: “Spoke to infectious disease Dr. Andrew Morris (@ASPphysician) about pro sports events & Omicron. He says Omicron cases doubling in Ont. every 2-3 days. Estimates 10K daily cases by Dec. 31. Predicts Ont. govt will soon have to close NHL/NBA games to fans. ‘Govt has no choice.’ ”

On Tuesday, the NHL postponed a game between Carolina and the host Minnesota Wild that was to have been played that night. The Hurricanes have eight players in protocol.

On Monday, the Calgary Flames had six players and a member of their training staff enter protocol, so the NHL postponed three games. The Flames added three more players on Tuesday.

Here’s a brief look at the last two days in the NHL . . .

BOSTON BRUINS: F Brad Marchand and F Craig Smith went into protocol on Tuesday, before the Bruins were beaten, 4-1, by the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. . . . The Bruins were awfully flat in this one; in fact, only Boston play-by-play voice Jack Edwards was flatter. In fact, he almost sounded bored, which may have been because of the score.

CALGARY FLAMES: They shut things down on Monday after six players and a member of their training staff entered protocol. By Tuesday, there were nine players on the list. . . . The NHL postponed Calgary’s next three games, including a scheduled Monday date against the Blackhawks in Chicago. Also postponed was the Flames game in Nashville against the Predators on Tuesday and a game against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. . . . The NHL said in a Monday news release that it was postponing the games because of the “likelihood of additional positive cases in the coming days.” . . . Eric Francis of Sportsnet wrote on Monday: “With (Andrew) Mangiapane, Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Adam Ruzicka and Brad Richardson joining the list no one wants to be on, there now have been 123 NHL players in COVID protocol this season, which is roughly 17 per cent.” . . . On Tuesday, the Flames added F Milan Lucic, F Sean Monahan and D Noel Hanifin to the list. . . . If all goes well, the Flames will return to practice on Friday and face the visiting Blue Jackets on Saturday.

CAROLINA HURRICANES: The Hurricanes put F Sebastian Aho, F Seth Jarvis and a member of the training staff on the COVID-19 list on Monday. As per Canadian regulations, all three are to remain in Vancouver while in quarantine, a stretch that will take them past Christmas Day unless the team is able to get clearance for a medical flight to get them home. While Aho didn’t play on Sunday in Vancouver — the team said he was ill but didn’t provide specifics — he and Jarvis had played against Calgary and Edmonton. D Tony DeAngelo and D Brett Pesce of the Hurricanes have been in protocol since Nov. 28. . . . On Tuesday, the Hurricanes added D Ian Cole, F Steven Lorentz, F Jordan Staal and F Andrei Svechnikov to the list.

COLORADO AVALANCHE: Colorado moved D Devon Toews into protocol.

DETROIT RED WINGS: Detroit F Tyler Bertuzzi, the NHL’s only unvaccinated player, is out of quarantine and returned to the lineup last night (Tuesday) against the visiting New York Islanders. Despite having missed eight games so far — he isn’t allowed to travel into Canada — he said he isn’t about to get vaccinated, claiming that he has “natural immunity now.” Of course, immunity didn’t help D Danny DeKeyser of the Red Wings, who is back after a second go-round with the virus. . . . The Red Wings are 2-6 without Bertuzzi, who missed five games while in quarantine and three in Canada. . . . Detroit beat the Islanders, 2-1.

EDMONTON OILERS: The Oilers placed F Ryan McLeod into protocol on Tuesday, while head coach Brad Tippett wasn’t on the bench for that night’s 5-1 loss to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. The Oilers said Tippett was kept away for precautionary reasons. With Tippett out, assistant coach Glen Gulutzan was in charge of the bench. . . . After the game, Edmonton assistant coach Jim Playfair said that Tippett had gone into protocol. The earliest Tippett could return is for a Dec. 27 game at Calgary.

FLORIDA PANTHERS: F Ryan Lomberg went into protocol on Tuesday before the Panthers were beaten 8-2 by the visiting Ottawa Senators.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS: There were reports that the Nashville Predators had a “handful” of positives, the specifics of which had yet to be released as of Tuesday night. F Ryan Johansen went on the COVID-19 list on Sunday.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: The Islanders put F Mat Barzal on the list on Tuesday before playing the host Detroit Red Wings. Barzal stayed in quarantine in Detroit as the Islanders went home where they are to face the Bruins on Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: F Morgan Frost was pulled from a 6-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils as he entered protocol. Frost played three shifts totalling 2:12 early in the first period before leaving the game.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Vancouver, which had such a miserable time with an outbreak in May, put D Luke Schenn and F Juho Lammikko into protocol. So those two were missing from Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Just prior to game time, Vancouver D Brad Hunt also went into protocol. . . . During the game, the Canucks lost D Tucker Poolman when he was pulled late in the first period after being informed of a positive test. Poolman also tested positive while with the Winnipeg Jets in January.

MEANWHILE, Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported Tuesday afternoon that “as of now, there’s been no discussions about pausing the season due to COVID cases. NHL and NHLPA have a regularly scheduled call (will happen tonight or tomorrow) where they will discuss if there’s a need to enhance protocols.” . . . TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted Tuesday night that a medical conference took place Tuesday night. He added that “it’s likely enhanced protocols will be implemented on a league-wide basis for a period of time. Final details being worked out.” Later, he added: “Basically, it would be a return to last season’s protocols.”

——

In the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets added four players, including James Harden, to what the league refers to as health and safety protocols on Tuesday, shortly before playing the Raptors in Toronto. . . . That left the Nets with eight healthy players after they upgraded Kevin Durant from questionable. An NBA team needs eight players in order to play a game. . . . According to head coach Steve Nash, the Nets also placed two coaches and two staff members on the list. . . . The shorthanded Nets still beat the Raptors, 131-129 in OT. . . .

On Monday, the NBA postponed two games involving the Chicago Bulls thanks to outbreak on their roster. They have 10 players and some staff members in protocols.

——

The NFL added 37 players — yes, 37 players! — to their COVID-19 list, the most in any single day since this pandemic got started. According to the NFL, all 37 of those players tested positive. Things weren’t much better on Tuesday, with at least another 31 players added, including nine from the Los Angeles Rams and eight from the Cleveland Browns.

On Oct. 22, WR Odell Beckham Jr., then with the Browns, stated that he wouldn’t get COVID-19 because “its a mutual respect.” Now with the Rams, he tested positive on Tuesday.

On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter pointed out on Twitter: “Worth noting that 86 percent of NFL player and staff COVID positives this season originated away from team facilities. Community-spread has been the issue.”

——

Also on Monday, the English Premier League postponed a game for the second time in three days. Manchester United at Brentford, scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed on Monday. Tottenham was to have played at Brighton on Sunday but came up with eight positives and that game was postponed.

There also have been reports that Aston Villa and Norwich have had positive tests among their players.

The number of positive tests in the league through Sunday had jumped to 42 from 12 the previous week.

——

One more from Monday . . . the New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island U18 Hockey League announced that “as a result of the latest New Brunswick COVID restrictions all games involving New Brunswick Major U18 teams will be postponed until further notice.”


Toads


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Brandon Lisowsky scored three goals in 6:42 of the second period to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 5-4 OT victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday. F Tristen Robins scored the winner 35 seconds into extra time. . . . Robins had scored three goals in 6:16 of the second period in a 6-2 victory over the Warriors on Oct. 27. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Evan Herman’s three goals helped the Raiders to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice is 23-4-1 this season, having lost twice to the Raiders (11-13-2) and the Edmonton Oil Kings (19-6-3). . . .

The Vancouver Giants dropped a 5-3 decision to the Cougars in Prince George on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver F Cole Shepard scored Vancouver’s second goal, 50 seconds into the third period. It was his first goal since Feb 19, 2020, when he counted in a 6-2 victory over the host Victoria Royals. Shepard played his first game since March 7, 2020, on Dec. 10 as he completed a recovery from hip surgery. . . .

The Victoria Royals outshot the host Kelowna Rockets, 19-3, in the third period but gave up the frame’s only goal and ended up dropping a 5-4 decision in OT. That ended Victoria’s five-game winning streak. Still, the Royals are 7-1-4 since starting the season 1-10-0. Victoria is 7-0-3 in its last 10 outings.



WJC NOTES: Finland’s entry in the World Junior Championship took a hit with the news that F Aatu Räty, a draft pick of the NHL’s New York Islanders, is off the roster because of having to quarantine. Räty was seen as perhaps Finland’s No. 1 centre. . . . The Finns are to fly into Edmonton today (Wednesday). . . . Chris Peters (@chrismpeters), who is an excellent follow for all kinds of hockey news, tweets that the Slovakian team “is bussing to Munich to hop on a charter with Austria, Germany and the Czechs. Fly to stopover in Iceland, then on to Edmonton, then a bus to Red Deer. Then 2-day quarantine.” . . . If you are at all interested in the WJC, Peters has a really thorough look at Tuesday’s news right here. . . .

Russia’s roster doesn’t include three NHL draft picks — D Daniil Chayka (Vegas Golden Knights), D Yan Kuznetsov (Calgary Flames) and F Matvey Petrov (Edmonton Oil Kings). All three left Russia to play junior in North America, Chayka with the OHL’s Guelph Storm, Kuznetsov with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs and Petrov with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion.


Cat


JUST NOTES: Two former WHL players and a former WHL coach have been added to the coaching staff of Canada’s entry in the Spengler Cup, replacing Bruce Boudreau and Scott Walker, who now are on the Vancouver Canucks’ coaching staff. Nolan Baumgartner, a defenceman with the Kamloops Blazers (1992-96), had been an assistant coach with the Canucks before losing his job in last week’s purge. Jeremy Colliton (Prince Albert Raiders, 2001-05) had been the Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach before being fired on Nov. 6. Ben Cooper also will be with Team Canada. He was on the Victoria Royals’ coaching staff for two seasons (2011-13). Cooper now is an assistant coach with EC Salzburg of the ICEHL. . . .

The Acadie-Bathurst Titan and host Halifax Mooseheads were scheduled to play on Friday night. That game — it is a Teddy Bear night — has been moved to Thursday due to, according to a post on the Mooseheads’ Facebook page, “the recent restrictions announced by the Nova Scotia government.” Global-TV explained: “spectators will be placed into groups of 150 people. There can be multiple groups, so long as each group has a separate entrance, exit and washrooms. Within those groups of 150 people, masking and physical distancing will be maintained, unless people are with their own household or a consistent group of 20. Eating and drinking will no longer be allowed in the stands or seats, and can only happen in separate designated seating areas.” Tim Houston, Nova Scotia’s premier, wasn’t pleased, saying in a statement that “the time between the announcement and the implementation was to give businesses, organizations and individuals time to prepare . . . not to give organizations an opportunity to reschedule events and get in front of the changes.”


Fifi


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.


Cooking

Scattershooting on a Tuesday night while not watching the World Series game . . .

Scattershooting2

Hello, Interior Health . . . anyone home? Call for you on Line 1 . . . and Line 2 . . . and Line 3 . . . and . . .

Hey, Interior Health, when you say there’ll be news on Friday and then you stiff the commoners without so much as a whisper, well, we’re into Wednesday and we’re still waiting. Oh, and the people whose livelihoods are being messed with also are waiting.

Maybe it’s time for you to lift the veil of secrecy or come out from under the cone of silence and explain why you do the things you do. Tell them the gypsy fortune teller didn’t show up for work, or that it’s the health ministry that operates the puppet strings that control the messages you send out. Tell them something. Anything.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, announced on Oct. 19 that restrictions on attendance at some sporting events — including Vancouver Canucks’ home games — were to be lifted. (Yeah, I know. I was shocked at the timing of that one, too.)

When the announcement was made, the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets were among those to express relief. But, wait, not so fast . . .

It turned out that while the lifting of restrictions also included the Vancouver Giants, who play their home games in Langley, and the Victoria Royals, it didn’t apply to the Prince George Cougars, who are in the Northern Health Region, or the Blazers and Rockets, who are within the Interior Health Authority. So those three teams are left to operate under a restriction that allows them to sell only 50 per cent of available seats in their arenas.

Why? If it really is because of the hospitalization (high) and immunization rates (low) out here in the boonies, why not say so? Why not tell that to the teams on Friday?

“We kind of felt when Dr. Henry made her announcement that would be all Rocketsencompassing,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner and general manager, told Madison Erhardt of castanet.net for a story that is right here. “I understand they have decided now to have some regional rules put in where we didn’t have that most of the year. In the Northern region things are tougher up there right now than they are down here. But for you to allow Vancouver and Victoria to get going it has such a huge impact on our business and not just us.

“We just don’t understand it and we can’t get any answers and I guess that is the biggest frustration.”

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week reported Tuesday morning that the WHL “has formally requested exemption from Interior Health’s indoor spectator limit of 50 per cent of a facility’s capacity.”

The newspaper got its hands on an email sent by Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, to Dr. Sue Pollock, the IHA’s interim chief medical health officer, on Monday.

“Given the preventative measures we have taken, combined with the public health guidelines currently in place in the province of B.C., we believe that WHL games in Kamloops and Kelowna represent no significant risk to the Interior public health system,” the email reads.

“With this in mind and given our proven track record with the WHL hub centres in Interior B.C., we would formally request that the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets be granted an exemption from the indoor events capacity order and be permitted to operate at 100 per cent spectator capacity.”

In his story, Hastings pointed out that “there has been some confusion as to whether the 50 per cent capacity limits in Interior Health were eliminated by last week’s decision to lift capacity limits. Interior Health stated it would have clarification by Oct. 23, but the health authority did not address the matter by that date and has yet to respond to myriad media requests for answers on the issue.”

At a media briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Henry claimed that the situation is fluid.

“We’re looking at this on a day-to-day basis,” she said, “and I do believe it will be settling in the next few days and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to lift restrictions and get back to those important hockey games and arts and other events safely and very soon.”

At the same time, Dr. Henry explained: “Where we are still seeing high rates of transmission and low rates of immunization, those are all things that are important and we take into account.”

She also stated that “we’re not at the point where we feel we can take that risk of allowing that type of activity to occur with the stresses that are on the healthcare system right now.”

It would seem then that the Blazers, Cougars and Rockets are out of lock for the immediate future.

As for Robison’s request, perhaps he should have emailed Dr. Henry because she’s the one who pulls the strings.


Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, in a column on former football coaches Jon Gruden and Nick Rolovich, one of whom emailed his way out of the Las Vegas Raiders’ organization and the other of whom was fired as Washington State’s head football coach because he refused to be vaccinated:

“Too often coaches, operating in their own little fiefdoms, are insulated from the real world. They are awarded absurd amounts of power, compensation and fealty for coaching a sport. A study of the highest-paid state employees in 2021 reveals that in 41 states, the highest paid state employee is either a basketball or football coach (including California, where the dubious honor goes to UCLA football coach Chip Kelly).”

Yes, Rolovich was the highest paid state employee in Washington.

BTW, if you aren’t familiar with the Rolovich situation, well, Google is your friend. He has since filed a lawsuit against Washington State claiming that he was fired because of his — wait for it — Catholicism.

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Headline at fark.com: “The NFL has investigated all the emails, and found it was only Jon Gruden being racist and homophobic. Trust us. Pinky swear. Honest.”

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As you will be aware, Jon Gruden’s emails surfaced in an NFL investigation into the operation of the Washington Football Club. Despite going through 650,000 emails, the NFL claimed only some from Gruden were found to be sketchy. As Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune put it: “Football’s Warren Report. Gruden acted alone.”


Clowns


Three notes from Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette: “With their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are a lock for the 2012 NBA championship. . . . The only way a World Series between the can-banging Astros and the tomahawk-chopping Braves could be worse is if the Blue Jays had made it. . . . . Has it occurred to Tyler Bertuzzi that he’s a really rotten teammate?”


It’s believed that Tyler Bertuzzi, a forward with the Detroit Red Wings, is the only unvaccinated player left in the NHL. That’s because G Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils got his first vaccination last week. He has begun the process but will have to follow the NHL protocols for unvaccinated players until two weeks after he gets a second dose. . . . You wonder if the fact that he has a chance to be part of Canada’s Olympic team factored into his decision to finally get vaccinated?


We have news from Calgary . . .


As of Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks had five players in COVID-19 Covidprotocol — F Jonathan Toews, F Henrik Borgstrom, F Patrick Kane, D Riley Stillman and F Jujhar Khaira — along with assistant coaches Marc Crawford, Tomas Mitell and Jimmy Waite. . . . The Blackhawks, who have yet to win this season (0-5-1), face the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. . . .

The St. Louis Blues placed F Ryan O’Reilly and F Brandon Saad on the non-roster COVID list on Tuesday. . . . O’Reilly has tested positive and is experiencing symptoms. He will miss at least four games. . . . Saad sat out the past two games and is expected to miss at least two more, including Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. . . . The Blues are 5-0-0 in the early going of this season. . . .

The Minnesota Wild is on a road trip without assistant coach Darby Hendrickson, goaltender coach Freddy Chabot and video assistant T.J. Jindra, all of whom are in COVID protocol. . . . Wild general manager Bill Guerin was in protocol and will rejoin the team in Seattle on Thursday. . . .

Matt Nagy, the head coach of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, announced on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. They had placed RT Elijah Wilkinson and LB Caleb Johnston on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sunday morning. . . . The Bears are scheduled to entertain the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. . . .

The Green Bay Packers (6-1) have placed WR Davante Adams and WR Allen Lazard on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning they’re not likely to play Thursday night against the host Arizona Cardinals (7-0). As well, Green Bay defensive co-ordinator Joe Barry tested positive on Monday. . . . Meanwhile, the Cardinals, who had bye last weekend, have activated DL Zach Allen and LB Chandler Jones from the list.



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You may be aware that there was some nasty weather off the West Coast coming WHLout of the weekend and that it resulted in the cancellation of a number of ferry sailings to and from Vancouver Island. As a result, the WHL had to reschedule a Tuesday night game that had been scheduled for Prince George. The Victoria Royals were to have been in Prince George for the fifth straight game between these teams — the Cougars won the first four. . . . But the Royals weren’t able to get off the island, so that game has been moved to Jan. 18. . . . The Royals are still scheduled to be in Prince George for a game tonight. . . . Victoria, with nine roster players injured, is scheduled to meet the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday and the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . BTW, the Royals have dropped Austrian G Sebastian Wraneschitz, 19, from their roster. He was selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . .

Meanwhile, there was one WHL game on Tuesday night . . .

In Red Deer, the Winnipeg Ice ran its record to 10-0-0 with a 3-1 victory over the Rebels. . . . The last WHL team to open a season with 10 straight victories? The 2014-15 Kelowna Rockets. . . . F Skyler Bruce (6) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:48 of the third period and F Connor McClennon (9) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . F Arshdeep Bains played in his 200th regular-season game with the Rebels (6-4-1). . . . The Ice has outscored its opponents, 61-18. . . . The Ice is scheduled to visit the Calgary Hitmen (4-3-0) tonight and the Edmonton Oil Kings (6-2-1) on Friday.


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “St. Louis pitching prospect Dalton Roach was bitten by a black bear while bow hunting in Wisconsin. Cubs-Cardinals vitriol, it appears, knows no offseason.”

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Perry also spotted this tweet from Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register: “Congratulations to the first person who said Kyrie Irving finally found a shot he couldn’t take.”


Headline at @TheOnion: Astros Hope Victory Will Inspire Kids To Break Rules Without Punishment.

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Headline at The Beaverton: No one on Raptors has the heart to tell Drake he’s not on the team.


Stupid


I’ve got a couple of early Christmas presents for you, both from Jeff Pearlman, who knows his way around a keyboard. Both of these pieces are lengthy, so don’t think you’ll read them both in one sitting. Set one aside for a different pot of coffee or tea.

First, right here is a list of what Pearlman calls his “64 favourite sports writers of 2021.”

And then there’s this right here. . . . Pearlman’s list of what he considers to be the top 50 all-time sports books.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings have signed general manager and head coach Cody Mapes to a three-year contract that will run through the 2023-24 season. Mapes had been an assistant coach with the Red Wings for two years. He was promoted on Aug. 4 after the Red Wings dropped GM/head coach Rich Pilon on Aug. 4, with team president Brent Stephanson saying at the time that “there are no further details at this time due to legal reasons.” . . . The Red Wings are 3-6-2 and tied for third place in the four-team Viterra Division. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders have added F Carter Massier, 20, to their roster and dropped F Michael Horon, 20. After being dropped by the Regina Pats, Massier had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . .

Former Kamloops Blazers D Nolan Baumgartner, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, will be inducted into the AHL Hall of Game on Feb. 7 in Laval, Que. Baumgartner played in 878 AHL games, splitting them between the Portland Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, Manitoba Moose, Philadelphia Phantoms, Iowa Stars and Chicago Wolves. He also was an assistant coach for five AHL seasons with Vancouver affiliates in Utica, N.Y., and Chicago.


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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Tinfoil

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