Mother Nature interferes with WHL schedule . . . Silvertips’ Zellweger day-to-day . . . Warriors, Winterhawks gain ground


Mother Nature has thrown a wrench into the final week of the WHL’s regular-season schedule.

The Regina Pats, who are trying to get into the playoffs, were to have played the ReginaIce in Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday nights. On Tuesday afternoon, on the heels of the NHL’s decision to postpone a game scheduled for tonight between the visiting Seattle Kraken and the Jets, the WHL postponed Thursday’s game between the Pats and Ice.

The WHL’s news release didn’t mention Friday’s game; nor did it mention the possibility of Thursday’s game being rescheduled. These are the only two games left on the Ice’s schedule; the Pats, who are two points out of a playoff spot, are to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday to close out the regular season.

ICYMI, residents of southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba have been told that the worst blizzard in decades is expected to wreak havoc over the next couple of days.

If the storm is as bad as is being forecast there isn’t any guarantee the Pats will be able to get to Winnipeg for Friday’s game, which would only make things even more interesting.


Alice


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final week of their 68-game regular seasons. Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Hold three-point lead over Kamloops, each with two games to play. Will meet Vancouver, Spokane, Prince George or Victoria in first round. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (2): at Portland on Friday, at Tri-City on Saturday.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Three points behind Everett and tied with Portland. . . . GR (2): at home to Prince George on Friday and Vancouver on Saturday.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — Will finish second or third. Beat host Tri-City in OT on Tuesday night to move into tie with Kamloops. . . . GR (1): at home to Everett on Friday.
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and will have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (2): at Vancouver tonight, at Tri-City on Friday.
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (2): at Vancouver on Friday, at home to Prince George on Saturday.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Have three games remaining and are one point ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . GR (3): at home to Seattle tonight, at home to Kelowna on Friday, at Kamloops on Saturday.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Spokane for seventh with same records (23-28-5), one point behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria. . . . GR (2): at Kamloops on Friday, at Kelowna on Saturday.
  8. Spokane Chiefs — Tied with Prince George. . . . GR (2): at Victoria on Friday and Saturday.
  9. Victoria Royals — One point behind Prince George and Spokane. . . . GR (2): at home to Spokane on Friday and Saturday.
  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 will be Swift Current, Calgary, Regina or Prince Albert. . . . Home game versus Regina on Thursday has been postponed due to impending weather condtions. No word on whether it will be rescheduled. Have to think it won’t be unless Regina is still in playoff hunt. . . . GR (2): at home to Regina on Thursday (ppd.) and Friday. That is assuming Regina is able to get to Winnipeg through what should be the blizzard’s aftermath.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (2): at Medicine Hat on Friday, at Red Deer on Saturday.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Saskatoon, Moose Jaw or Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (2): at Calgary tonight, at home to Edmonton on Saturday.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Won 5-2 in Brandon on Tuesday to move two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . GR (2): at Lethbridge on Friday, at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Two points behind Moose Jaw and each team has 37 victories. . . . Three points ahead of Brandon. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon on Friday.
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Three points behind Saskatoon. . . . GR (2): at Saskatoon on Friday, at Prince Albert on Saturday.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (2): at home to Moose Jaw on Friday, at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Swift Current Broncos — Holds down conference’s last playoff spot but has only one game remaining. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince Albert on Friday.
  9. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Swift Current, two in front of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . GR (2): at home to Red Deer tonight, at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  10. Regina Pats — Tied with Prince Albert, two points behind Swift Current and one behind Calgary. . . . Three games remaining but two are at Winnipeg and the first one, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed with no word on whether it will be rescheduled. . . . GR (3): at Winnipeg on Thursday (ppd.) and Friday, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  11. Prince Albert — Tied with Regina, two points behind Swift Current and one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at Swift Current on Friday, at home to Brandon on Saturday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.


The Everett Silvertips will play out the final week of the WHL’s regular season without D Olen Zellweger after he was injured in the first period of a 4-1 loss to Everettthe host Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday.

The Silvertips aren’t saying, nor are they likely to, anything about the extent of his injury, if there is an injury, or whether he’ll be in the lineup when they open the playoffs. Zellweger is listed as being out day-to-day on Tuesday’s injury report.

Here’s Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald:

“Everett was on the power play when Zellweger skated the puck to the Seattle blue line, passed to a teammate while continuing into the offensive zone, received the return pass, then was plastered along the back boards by T-birds defenceman Samuel Knazko. Zellweger remained motionless on the ice for several moments and had to be attended to by athletic trainers from both teams before he was placed on a stretcher. Zellweger gave the crowd the thumbs up as he was being carted off following a 13-minute delay. Knazko was not penalized on the play.

The good news, according to Tips coach Dennis Williams, was that Zellweger was released from the hospital and rejoined the team just prior to leaving ShoWare Center following Sunday’s game. Williams declined to elaborate on the nature of the injury and said Zellweger had no timetable for a return, beyond being unavailable for the final two games of the regular season.”


Map


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Moose Jaw Warriors opened up a 2-0 first-period lead en route MooseJawto a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . F Ryder Korczak had a goal and two assists for the Warriors, who scored the game’s last two goals as well as the first two. .  . . Korczak has 24 goals. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (33) had a goal and an assist for Brandon, which had won its previous five games. . . . You can bet the Warriors hightailed it out of Brandon when this one was over. With a big, ugly blizzard on the way, the RCMP said it would be closing all major highways in southern Manitoba “around midnight or when it begins to snow.” . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F James Stefan scored in OT to give the Portland PortlandWinterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Stefan’s 34th goal at 1:37 of OT gave Portland its fifth straight victory. . . . The Americans had tied the score, 3-3, on F Parker Bell’s 17th goal at 12:36 of the third period. . . . The Winterhawks had a 43-23 edge in shots.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Cody Beach, who played in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and Moose Jaw Warriors, made his NHL refereeing debut on Tuesday night, working a game between the host Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils. He worked alongside Trevor Hanson, a former WHL referee. Beach, 29, played professionally through the 2015-16 season before turning to officiating. Yes, Beach worked WHL games as a referee. He is the younger brother of former WHLer Kyle Beach.


Movie


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation in these parts. That’s 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.


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.


Donut

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting for another 40-at-16 scorer to surface . . .

scattershooting

OK. Let’s adjust the list again.

I am referring to the list of WHL skaters to have scored at least 40 goals in their 16-year-old season.

This time we’re adding Dan Lucas to the list. Lucas, from Powell River, B.C., WHLscored 57 times in 70 games as a 16-year-old sophomore with the Victoria Cougars in 1974-75. One season earlier, at the age of 15, he had six goals and 10 assists in 16 games.

In 1974-75, he added 56 assists to his goal total, giving him 113 points.

If you haven’t been following along, his list got started last week after F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats scored his 40th goal. “Bedard became just the second 16-year-old in the past 30 years, and sixth in WHL history, to reach the 40-goal mark during a regular season,” the WHL reported on its website.

The WHL’s list featured Glen Goodall, Kimbi Daniels, Mark Pederson, Dave Pasin, Jeff Friesen and Bedard.

We since have deleted Daniels because he actually was 17 when he scored 43 goals for the 1989-90 Swift Current Broncos.

And we have added Ron Chipperfield, who put up 40 with the 1970-71 Brandon Wheat Kings.

Today, then, we add Lucas to the list.

And here is that list as it now sits at seven . . . at least for now:

63 — Glen Goodall, Seattle Thunderbirds (1986-87)

57 — Dan Lucas, Victoria Cougars (1974-75)

45 — Jeff Friesen, Regina Pats, Regina Pats (1992-93)

42 — Mark Pederson, Medicine Hat Tigers (1984-85)

41 — Connor Bedard, Regina Pats (2021-22)

40 — Ron Chipperfield, Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-71

40 — Dave Pasin, Prince Albert Raiders (1982-83)


Puzzle


There is little in sports that I dislike more than the loser point. Yes, it is time for it to be gone. Actually, it’s time was up a long while ago.

On Friday night, the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings held a 5-0 lead over the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who promptly scored five goals and then won in OT. The Spruce Kings, of course, were rewarded with one point.

Also on Friday night, the host Calgary Flames were beaten, 1-0 in OT, by the Buffalo Sabres. “That might be the point to get into the playoffs . . . that’s a good point for us. We didn’t score. Got a point.” . . . That’s exactly the point. The Flames didn’t score even one goal; for that, they were rewarded with a point.

Going into Saturday night’s WHL games, the Portland Winterhawks were 4-1-0 when playing the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent., Wash. The Thunderbirds, in those same five games, were 1-1-3.

Look, none of that makes any sense whatsoever. Please, it’s time for saner heads to prevail. Yes, even if it means bringing back tie games. Just get rid of the three-pointers.



As anyone who frequents this space will know, my wife, Dorothy, has been able to life a mostly normal life since undergoing a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Since then, she also has raised money for the Kidney Foundation by taking part in the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk. This year that walk will be held on June 5. As much as we would like to get everyone together and go for a walk, there simply are too many immunocompromised people involved so the walk once again will be held virtually. . . . You are able to take part by sponsoring Dorothy and you may do that right here. . . . Thanks so much to all who have helped already this year; in fact, right now she is the No. 1 fund-raiser in all of B.C.


Adult


I saw this tweet on Thursday and it really struck me how politicians and healthcare officials have dumped pandemic-related mandates and restrictions, while a whole lot people seem to have forgotten about the healthcare workers. . . . But you know what folks? Sorry, but it’s not over.


“If you’re commiserating about the stock market’s recent dive,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “just be glad you didn’t pay $518,000 for that ball from Tom Brady’s ‘final’ touchdown pass.”

——

Here’s Perry, again:

Not that the Russell Wilson hype train is already off the tracks for Denver fans, but KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs offered its viewers this poll last week:

“Who is the greatest Broncos quarterback of all time?

“a) Russell Wilson

“b) Peyton Manning

“c) John Elway

“d) Gary Kubiak”

Wilson had 8 per cent of the vote in early returns, compared to Elway’s 57, Manning’s 30 and Kubiak’s 5.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

D Olen Zellweger drew four assists as the host Everett Silvertips doubled the EverettSpokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . F Michal Gut added a goal, his 13th, and two assists for Everett. . . . Zellweger, an 18-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., now has 68 points, including 56 assists, in 48 games this season. He leads all WHL defenceman in assists and points. Zellweger went into the season with four goals and 21 assists in 70 games. . . . With the victory, the Silvertips (41-10-8) moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (43-14-2). . . .

In Portland, G Taylor Gauthier stopped 20 shots to help the Winterhawks to a 3-Portland0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Gauthier has 10 career shutouts, including four this season. All four have come since he was acquired from the Prince George Cougars. With Portland, he is 18-3-0, 1.74, .943. Overall, his numbers are 25-8-4, 2.12, .935. . . . F Tyson Kozak scored his 30th goal into an empty net. . . . F Cross Hanas got his 23rd goal at 1:23 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. . . . The Winterhawks (40-15-5) are third in the Western Conference, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Seattle (36-17-6) now trails Portland by seven points.


Dad


There are rumblings around and about claiming that the CFL is at least thinking about going to a four-down game. Of course, even thinking about it is a waste of time and energy. Because — and let’s be honest here — the CFL with anything but three downs isn’t the CFL.


The most-puzzling MLB free-agent signing? Easy. The Colorado Rockies, the same team that dumped 3B Nolan Arenado and let SS Trevor Story walk, signed Kris Bryant for seven years and $182 million. As Keith Law of The Athletic put it: “I have no objection to owners spending money on players, but the Rockies are going to pay Bryant a lot of money to make them a more watchable last-place team.” 



In writing about Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, and how the oligarchs came to be, the great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire dropped this line: “All gangsters are the same. Some of them just have nukes is all.”



F Kishaun Gervais, who played 50 games over two seasons with the Portland sjhlWinterhawks, now is with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. He scored the double OT winner on Saturday night as the Terriers beat the Mustangs, 4-3, in Melfort to even a first-round best-of-seven playoff series, 1-1. The best part of this story? When he was a bit younger, Gervais, now 20, was a stickboy with the Terriers when they won the 2014 RBC Cup as national champions. . . . BTW, the series moves to Yorkton for games Tuesday and Wednesday.


Doc


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.


Knife

Scattershooting on a Sunday evening as the smoke rolls in like the tide . . .

Scattershooting2

——

John Schultz of the San Francisco Chronicle, in a Saturday morning piece: “COVID-19 has claimed its first Olympic competition: Czech beach volleyball player Marketa Slukova tested positive this week, forcing a cancellation of her match with teammate Barbora Hermannova against Japan’s Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishiibeing, The Associated Press reports. The Japanese were awarded a victory by default in what would have been the tournament’s opening match. Olympics-related COVID cases in Japan has reached 127, including 14 athletes.”

By Sunday, that number had reached 137. . . . There’s more on all of that right here, including a list of athletes who have tested positive.

Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau was knocked out of the Games on Saturday by a positive test before he left for Tokyo. Patrick Reed, who finished play in the PGA’s 3M Open, will replace him on the American team. The Olympic golf tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday.

The field for that even may be set at 59 because Spain’s Jon Rahm may not be replaced after he, too, tested positive.

You will recall that Rahm, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive on June 5 while holding a six-stroke lead after three rounds in the Memorial Tournament. This time, he tested positive in the final round of tests prior to leaving for Tokyo.


Fire


On Saturday evening, I had flashbacks to December 1985 when the WHL’s KrakenRegina Pats came oh, so close to relocating to Swift Current over the Christmas break. It all began in May when the Regina Leader-Post reported that “Regina Pats fans are going to have to dip into their pockets for an extra dollar to cover parking charges announced by the Pats’ landlord, the Regina Exhibition Association.” . . . You may recall that it ultimately led to Herb Pinder Jr. and his family selling the Pats to a group of Regina businessmen. . . . Anyway, the reason for the flashback was this tweet from the Seattle Times: “The Seattle City Council will consider a proposal Monday to raise on-street parking fees in Uptown during large events at Climate Pledge Arena.” . . . That, of course, will be the home arena for the NHL’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken.

Michelle Baruchman of the Times reported:

“Under a proposal before the City Council on Monday, drivers would pay $3 per hour for their first two hours of street parking and $8 per hour for the second two hours during events that attract 10,000 or more guests.

“That means Uptown visitors parking near the arena who spend four hours shopping, eating and watching the Kraken play would pay $22 to park. On-street parking would be limited to four hours during the day and evening hours.”



I have never been a Montreal Canadiens’ fan — it was always Gordie Howe and the Detroit Red Wings for me — but I must admit to having had a tear in my eye on Friday night when the Montreal Canadiens revealed the name of their first-round selection in the NHL draft. There was a time when they set the bar for everyone else. But I guess it’s fair to say they no longer hold the torch as high as they once did.

——

Here’s veteran hockey writer Ken Campbell on the Montreal Canadiens and that first-round pick:

“When Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin faced his questioners Friday night after choosing defenseman Logan Mailloux in the first round of the NHL draft, he provided the following answer in French: ‘On the hockey side, he was the best pick.’

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, tells you everything you need to know about the toxic culture that surrounds this great game. You do have to hand it to “hockey people”, however. No matter how much they embarrass themselves, they simply don’t seem to care what people outside their tight little circle think about their attitudes and actions.”

Campbell’s complete piece is right here, and if you haven’t already you should consider subscribing to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell.

——

Colin Priestner, the president and general manager of the WHL’s Saskatoon BladesBlades, apparently was watching the draft, and he chose to hit Twitter three times with his opinion of what transpired with the Montreal Canadiens and their first pick. Priestner hitting social media with his red-hot reaction really was something when you consider that WHL and team officials rarely offer anything resembling hard-hitting commentary, or anything that might stir the pot, on anything these days. . . . BTW, he wasn’t wrong.


Beer


It is quite evident that the NFL isn’t going to show any patience with unvaccinated team personnel who don’t follow the restrictions that are being placed on them.

According to ESPN, Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told his players that an unvaccinated player will be fined “$14,000 on the spot every time he isn’t wearing a mask or is breaking a protocol.”

Arians later told ESPN in a text: “NFL policy. League rules.”

It turns out that the fine actually is $14,650.

Things could get interesting with the Bucs, too, because RB Leonard Fournette tweeted on Thursday: “Vaccine I can’t do it.”

They opened training camp on Sunday.

——

The NFL lost a pair of offensive line coaches on Friday and both appear to have departed over a refusal to be vaccinated. Rick Dennison chose not to be vaccinated so no longer is an offensive line coach/run game co-ordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, while Cole Popovich isn’t with the New England Patriots. He was their co-offensive line coach. . . . Under NFL rules, all coaches must be vaccinated in order to have any direct interactions with players, including on the field and in meeting rooms.

——

If you are wondering why the NFL is going to such disciplinary lengths to try and protect its product from COVID-19 consider this: Each team will be paid $309 million for its share of television revenue; the NFL’s salary cap this season is $198 million.


Ear


If all goes according to plan — in other words, if COVID-19 doesn’t rear its ugly head in a big way again — WHL teams will open their training camps on or about Sept. 8. That is six weeks from Wednesday. So . . . if the WHL is going to a mandatory vaccine protocol as is the OHL, anyone who hasn’t yet been fully vaccinated is running out of time.


Steve Sparks, an analyst on the Houston Astros’ radio crew, won’t be on an eight-game road swing that opens today (Monday) against the Seattle Mariners. Yes, he tested positive on Sunday.


Here’s Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “For this season, unlike last, if a college football team can’t post for a game because of a COVID outbreak in its locker room, it should lose by forfeit. There are no excuses anymore.”

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, added: “I could not agree more. And I do not care if one of the elite teams has to be the one to forfeit a game and ruins its chances for the CFP.”



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “I guess we’re past the point where couples counselling is going to help with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.”


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Peter Repcik, 17, to a WHL contract. The Slovakian was selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. Repcik had nine goals and 15 assists in 27 games with Team Slovakia’s U-18 side. He also had two assists in three games with the U-20 team.


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.


Motel

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching ‘Socks’ Bottcher win the Brier . . .

Opening Day for Major League Baseball is April 1. That also is the date when the shift or not-to-shift debate will begin anew. That argument has been ongoing, mostly quietly, during spring training, but it will heat up when the regular season begins and once again it’s strikeout or hit it out for so many hitters, when launch angle becomes more important than advancing the runner.

When the Double-A season begins, they will be experimenting with an anti-shift rule that reads: “The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, each of whom must have both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield dirt.” So no more second basemen on the outfield grass.

Look, the only thing wrong with MLB games these days has to do with their length — anything more than three hours is too much. But that isn’t going away because of the number of TV commercials and you know that no one is going to do anything about that.

On Oct. 30, 1960, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the visiting New York Yankees, 10-9, in Game 7 of the World Series on a ninth-inning home run by Bill Mazeroski. There were 10 runs scored over the last two innings. The teams combined to use nine pitchers. The game was over in two hours 36 minutes.

So, MLB, just leave the game alone. If you want more balls in play, maybe hitters — yes, even the big boppers — should trying going the other way, or, gawd forbid, try bunting a time or two.

You know, maybe be like ‘Wee’ Willie Keeler, who once said that the keys to hitting success were “keep you eye clear and hit ’em where they ain’t.”

And, please, don’t be telling me that it’s the long ball boys who get the big money. Keeler was a career .341 hitter; how much do you think an average like that would be worth in this day and age?


The Langley Rivermen have opted out of the BCHL’s return to play. In a bchlstatement released on Saturday, the Rivermen explained: “After discussions with each player, the Rivermen made the tough decision not to play. There are a variety of reasons behind the decision, including educational commitments and the mental and physical health implications of both the 14 days of isolation followed by a five-week strictly controlled season.” . . . The Wenatchee Wild aren’t involved this season because the U.S.-Canada border is closed to non-essential travel. . . . The BCHL is planning to have its 16 remaining teams play out of pods in Alberni Valley, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Penticton and Vernon.



How are things going for NFL team owners? Well, it was in 1989 when Jerry Jones paid US$140 million for the Dallas Cowboys. On Monday, he signed QB Dak Prescott to a contract valued at $160 million, with a $66-million signing bonus and $126 million guaranteed. . . . Yes, business in the NFL is pretty good these days.


Are you old enough to remember when we were able to sit in the comfort of our TV rooms and watch the Toronto Blue Jays play exhibition games in Florida? . . . Hey, Blue Jays, this spring you are out of sight and out of mind. Why?



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Vintage ‘Hey, what page are we on?’ from MLB: The Texas Rangers plan to sell every seat for their April 5 home opener. The Washington Nationals aren’t allowing any fans at all, at least as things stand now. Neither plan makes a whole lot of sense, and the Rangers’ idea is glaringly reckless.”


Drugs


“Virginia joined Duke on the sideline at the ACC basketball tournament after a positive COVID-19 test, and Kansas is similarly out of the Big 12 tourney,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “So can we just end the suspense early and proclaim the virus as this year’s national champion?”

——

Perry, again: “And, in news about free agents, the Blue Jays signed George Springer, the Phillies signed J.T. Realmuto and the Royals slammed the door on Prince Harry’s possible return.”


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “Kansas and Virginia now out of their respective men’s basketball tournaments due to positive virus tests. So in this year’s March Madness brackets will there be a way to bet on COVID-19?”


The New York Islanders placed F Jean-Gabriel Pageau and D Noah Dobson on the COVID-19 protocol list on Sunday, and you have to wonder if this might be the start of something. We’ll have to wait to see if the Islanders get shut down for any length of time.


If you are a reader of fine novels, perhaps you have read one or more that were written by Carl Hiaasen, the columnist for the Miami Herald who has a fine sense of humour and, as colleague Dave Barry put it, “a comic novelist’s eye for the absurd.” Anyway, Hiaasen is moving on from the Herald and you will want to read his final column, which is right here.

The afore-mentioned Barry says farewell to his column-writing pal right here.



Magic



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: The Tim Hortons Brier wrapped up on Sunday night and you can give an Emmy to TSN’s announcing crew of Vic Rauter, Cheryl Bernard, Russ Howard, Bryan Mudryk and Cathy Gauthier. They know their audience and they deliver to that audience. Well done! . . . Brendan Bottcher’s Alberta rink won the Brier after having lost the previous three finals. And if you don’t know about Bottcher and his winning socks, well, Google is your friend. . . . With the Vancouver Canucks boasting a 5-2 record in March, you have to think the bandwagon is filling up again. They’re on the road for four this week — two with the Ottawa Senators and two with the Montreal Canadiens. . . . Meanwhile, the Darryl Sutter Revival Tour continues with his Calgary Flames at home to the Edmonton Oilers tonight and Wednesday. It could be fun. . . . But all the while you are free to wonder if the Winnipeg Jets are the best of Canada’s NHL teams.


Meet

Scattershooting on a Saturday night before a day of virus-ravaged NFL games . . .

Scattershooting


“Detroit Lions DB Mike Ford got penalized for taunting after teammate Jamal Agnew’s 74-yard punt return cut the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ lead to 40-7,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “They had to rule it taunting, because there’s no such thing as 15 yards for stupidity.”



Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers was one of the many NCAA football coaches who went the entire season without learning how to properly wear a facemask. Of course, he’s also the guy who ranked Ohio State, 6-0 at the time, at No. 11 in the coaches’ poll. That was before the Buckeyes handed his Tigers a 49-28 drubbing in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.


It’s really too bad that someone who pulls strings in the world of NCAA football didn’t instruct the on-field officials to throw flags for unsportsmanlike conduct every time a coach was spotted with his mask under his nose or under his chin. Of course, had that happened it would have taken them about five hours to play one game.


Monk


Headline from @TheOnion: Facebook clarifies site not intended to be users’ primary information source.


So . . . when you were a youngster and ate a Christmas orange — OK, a mandarin orange — did you try to get the peel off all in one piece and then wolf down the slices, including all the white stuff? And now that you’re a mature adult, do you sit there and painstakingly remove all that white stuff, one strip at a time from one slice at a time before eating?


RB Alvin Kamara wore one red shoe and one green shoe on Christmas Day as he scored six touchdowns to lead the host New Orleans Saints to a 52-33 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Kamara is well aware that he plays in the No Fun League, so he knew he was going to have to pay for his sin. As he told reporters: “You know that the Grinch always tries to steal Christmas.”

——

True to form, the No Fun League touched up Kamara for $5,000. As Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times noted, it left “pundits to speculate whether it was $2,500 per shoe, the green shoe put him in the red, or the red shoe cost him some green.”



Back to the NFL for a moment. . . . That’s the league where the Indy Colts could finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs . . . and the New York football Giants could be 6-10 and in. Seriously!


Headline at TheOnion.com: Report: 750,000 Americans die each year during first attempt to get back in shape.



Abe


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

Entertainment Weekly: Legendary talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.​

KTVU: Funeral homes in the hot spot of Southern California say they must turn away grieving families as they run out of space for the bodies piling up.​

CNN, Saturday, 8:47 p.m.: 350,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Saturday, 7:50 p.m. PT: 20.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

——

Tony Romo, CBS-TV’s top NFL analyst, was to have worked the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. But he’s out because of COVID-19 protocols and will be replaced by Boomer Esiason. . . .

The New Orleans Saints, who are to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, ran out of running backs on Saturday when they placed Latavius Murray, Michael Burton and Dwayne Washington on the reserve/COVID-19 list as close contacts of Alvin Kamara, who had tested positive earlier in the week. . . . Running backs coach Joel Thomas also will be out as a close contact. . . . Also out due to COVID-19 are S D.J. Swearing and S C.J. Gardner-Johnson, while S Marcus Williams is out with an ankle issue.

The Pittsburgh Steelers put CB Joe Haden, TE Eric Ebron and LB Massius Marsh on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . . They won’t play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns who, on Saturday, closed their facility for the third time in four days after another positive test, this time to wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea. Bill Callahan, the Browns’ offensive line coach, and his assistant, Scott Peters, are out due to COVID-19 protocols. The Browns also will be without CB Denzel Ward, TE Harrison Bryan, LB Malcolm Smith, LB B.J. Gordon and S Andrew Sendejo, all of whom tested positive this week. . . .

The Buffalo Bills placed TE Tyler Kroft on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday so he won’t play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. . . .

The Arizona Cardinals won’t have WR Christian Kirk when they play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday because he’s on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who get the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, have placed LB Devin White, LB Shaq Barrett and DL Steve McLendon on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . .

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will play Sunday without some personnel. Dave DeGuglielmo, the Giants’ offensive line coach, tested positive, so he’s out. The Cowboys will be without S Darian Thompson and DT Justin Hamilton, both of whom now are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As well, assistant head coach Rob Davis, offensive assistant Scott Tolzien and special teams assistant Matt Daniels didn’t make the trip due to protocols.


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.


Barnyard

Ferris and Lindsey Backmeyer: A mother’s love is everything when her child continues to fight . . .

If you’re a regular here, you will know that we have been paying particular attention to Ferris Backmeyer and her family, who are from Kamloops.

That’s because her mother, Lindsey, has been keeping friends and family (and us) updated on Ferris via Facebook.

Lindsey has poured out a mother’s heart in her posts, refusing to hold anything back. She has written with angst and anger and pain and, yes, even some humour as Ferris, at just three years of age, continues to travel a road that hopefully will end with a kidney transplant.

The outpouring of emotions is understandable as Lindsey helps guide husband Pat and Ferris’s two sisters — Tavia and Ksenia — through all of this.

The older girls — the “bigs” as Lindsey refers to them — were in Vancouver for three weeks before returning home with Lindsey’s mother after the weekend.

Lindsey and Pat now are completely focused on getting Ferris through this rough patch, helping her get well enough to go back on the transplant list, and back home. But the last bit hasn’t been an easy stretch.

For example, here’s a bit from a Facebook post by Lindsey on July 20 after doctors implanted a central dialysis line:

“Ferris had complications intraoperatively. The line was technically difficult because of her anatomy and while they were placing it they irritated her heart. Her higher potassium levels lower her threshold for things like that and she went into a PEA arrest. She had roughly 3 minutes of CPR and 1 dose of epinephrine when they got her pulse back. She was hypoxemic and difficult to ventilate for a bit afterwards. They were confident that it was noticed very quickly and that she responded fairly quickly. Thankfully they were able to extubate her and pull her art line before going to the dialysis unit.”

One day later, Lindsey wrote:

IV
Despite all that she has been through, Ferris Backmeyer, 3, can still find a smile for the camera. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“As for today . . . she’s super low key but perked up by evening and wanted to go to the beach and build sand castles . . . so that’s what we did:) she spent about 5 minutes total on her feet today but that’s okay!! Lots of couch time. She’s sore and much happier with Tylenol on board. I’d be lying if I am not super anxious/protective over her right now. She has little pen crosses on her pulses and blood in her hair that I rinsed off into a paper towel. A bath was not a today thing. She has no idea what a big day yesterday was, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”

Last Thursday, Ferris had more surgery as a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter was implanted. She had been doing PD at home when fungal peritonitis brought it all crashing down. That resulted in this most-recent trek to B.C. Children’s Hospital and all that has followed.

After Thursday was over, Lindsey, her emotions on her sleeve by now, wrote: “It was a super hard, inpatient kinda day.”

A day later, there were more complications, this time with cell counts.

“The question of when she could get listed again (for a transplant) comes up and at this point we just don’t know,” Lindsey wrote. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shattered by today’s news.

“My heart is breaking for Ferris. She normally takes all the medical stuff in stride and right now she’s really struggling. I call it a trauma cry because it’s one I have hardly ever seen before and she looks like she’s being tortured. With things she used to handle like a champ. As she gets older navigating her mental health is so much more challenging and so ridiculously important!”

The next day, doctors had to put in an IV line, which brought this response from Lindsey:

“Oh man . . . after posting how she’s not doing so well coping . . first time ever IV placement without tears! This is her 5th IV this go-round and she’s not left with a lot of sites. She was so ridiculously cute and compliant for the nurse and she was friggin amazing with Ferris! Decent end to a not so awesome day!!”

And now the Backmeyers are playing something of a waiting game. As Lindsey wrote on Monday:

Couch
Ferris likes the couch a whole lot more than a hospital bed. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“So far the cultures haven’t grown anything! They have stopped the antibiotics. Gonna repeat a sample on Wednesday and if cell counts have trended down will likely drop the antifungals (she’s been on fluconazole since we got down here a month ago). Then it will be a bit of a wait-and-see. I think they will go ahead and start using the catheter as planned. Best case scenario . . . home in a couple of weeks!! Trying so desperately to remain optimistic!!

“Ferris wants nothing to do with a hospital bed after she gets out of it in the morning. All bad things start with that bed . . . I can’t really blame her! She’s passed out on the couch the last 3 nights. Hoping for a super uneventful week!!”

BTW, Lindsey and Pat celebrated their 16th anniversary last week.

“Happy Anniversary to the most incredible momma bear,” Pat wrote, above a photo of a snarling grizzly bear. On the photo, it read: “Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ And the mama bear whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’ ”

——

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


Here’s the deal on the above tweet. . . . It’s the story of Carrie, who has had a heart transplant and now has met the family of her donor. . . . From the Provincial Health Services Authority: “Filmed in February 2020, Carrie finally got to hug the family of Darcy, her organ donor. After 17 years of writing letters to each other, she was met with open arms by his mother Marie and brother Daryl in a first ever face-to-face meeting.” . . . The video is right here.





McLennan celebrates two years with friend’s kidney . . . Kamloops woman finally gets her transplant

Hugh
Two years ago, Hugh McLennan (second from left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor were roaming the halls at Vancouver General Hospital, along with Hugh’s wife, Billie. The big question: Where in the big city did they tie up their horses? (Photo: Hugh McLennan/Facebook)

Happy anniversary to Hugh McLennan, who has been living for two years with a transplanted kidney, courtesy of his good friend Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

Here’s what Hugh wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday:

“Two years ago (Friday) this guy gave me one of his kidneys! We’re both doing fine and we’d encourage you to look into being an organ donor and if you know someone on dialysis look into getting tested as a living donor.”

Now that is really sound advice.

Hugh and his wife, Billie, own and operate a ranch near Pinantan Lake, just outside of Kamloops.


Best wishes to Melissa Wells of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 9.

Melissa has a kidney disease — Type 3 Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) — that resulted in kidney failure. She spent more than six years waiting for a transplant, all the while doing dialysis.

In July, her husband, Marty, wrote:

“She’s been through countless failed surgeries, successful surgeries, and even had a direct line put into her heart just so she was able to get treatment to stay alive.”

Marty also added something that, with all that Dorothy has been through, I think of regularly. It has to do with the number of people walking around who live with kidney disease but don’t give any appearance of being ill.

“If you saw Melissa today she would seem totally normal,” Marty wrote in July. “She goes about her daily life — visiting family, hanging out with friends, going shopping. What you don’t see is her strength. She fights through constant headaches, nausea, fatigue, shooting pains through her arm, and overall pain of having major organ failure. The constant needling of her arm almost every day and the perpetual surgeries she has to deal with in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver are exhausting and expensive.”

The good news is that Melissa has a new kidney now. Here’s hoping that all goes well.


What happens when an organ or organs come available for transplant? How quickly does the window of opportunity close? When there is a death, how many organs might be available for transplant? What about tissue, corneas, etc.? . . . Shawn Logan of Postmedia has an excellent look at all of that and a whole lot more right here.


Susan Bell and Dorothy Stewart of CBC News have produced a story that includes Colleen Atsynia, a single mother of five.

According to the story, she “was in her mid-40’s when kidney disease forced her to leave her job, her family and her northern Quebec community of Wemindji for dialysis treatment in Montreal.”

As Atsynia told the reporters: “When you first find out you need a transplant, to me it felt like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m done. I’m just going to die.”

According to the story, Atsynia’s life changed when “someone she doesn’t know gave it all back to her by donating a kidney” in May 2018.

“I was extremely happy because I knew I was going to finally come home,” she said. “My kids were happy . . . they were really happy.”

That story is right here.




This doesn’t have anything to do with transplants or kidney disease, but it is a great watch . . .


%d bloggers like this: