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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

Get your Last Man Back gear right here . . . Bedard continues red-hot start for Pats . . . Selkirk College drops hockey


We are nearing the third anniversary of the bus crash that involved the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. It occurred on April 6, 2018. Morgan Gobeil, who wore No. Humboldt24, was injured in the crash and spent almost a year in hospital. Morgan was, in fact, the last person from the crash to be released from hospital; he was the Last Man Back.

His brother, Ryan, was in the hospital with his brother one day when he found himself entranced by the heart monitor. So Ryan had Morgan’s heartbeat off the monitor tattooed onto one arm.

“I was watching the screen for, I don’t know how long it was,” Ryan told Global News. “I thought to myself, I never want this moment to end for me.

“I have this on me and it is something that I can see all the time. Whether we’re in the waiting room or going to catch some sleep, or eating or whatever. We can always see it. It’s always there.”

Ryan also has taken to marketing Last Man Back clothing, with all proceeds going to STARS air ambulance, the service that responded to the bus crash. The Last Man Back logo also incorporates No. 24.

If you’re interested, there’s more info in the tweet below . . .


Former WHL G James Priestner and his brother, Jared, are part of a Vancouver-based rock band — Rare Americans — these days. And they have had to ask for help from police after a thief or thieves stole some instruments and unreleased music . . . . CTV Vancouver reported: “The items were taken on Wednesday night, while James and his girlfriend were asleep in their home in Gastown. But it wasn’t until Friday, when the band got together in James’ basement studio, that they noticed several things were missing.” . . . The complete story is right here.



I don’t watch a lot of NCAA basketball, but I do see some of it during March Madness. One thing that crossed my mind while watching this weekend was that the men’s coaches sure seem to spend a lot of time whining about or at the officials. I kind of shrugged it off, until Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, posted this as part of a brief Monday comment on the Florida State-Michigan game: “I also liked the fact that both coaches avoid histrionics on every possession and they also accept some of the calls that go against their team without making it seem as if they are suffering more than Job.” . . . Glad to know it wasn’t just me.



G Nolan Maier stopped 24 shots on Monday night, helping the Saskatoon Blades Bladesto a 4-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . This was the 11th shutout of this WHL season, but the first in the Regina hub. . . . Maier has eight career shutouts, all of them with the Blades, who are off to a franchise-best 8-0-1 start. He is one shutout shy of the franchise record held by Andrey Makarov. . . . This season, Maier is 6-0-0, 2.00, .913. . . . The victory was the 85th of Maier’s career, tying him with Tim Cheveldae for the franchise’s regular-season record. . . . Saskatoon got two goals and an assist from F Colton Dach (6). . . . The Raiders slid to 3-4-2. . . . The Blades were 2-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Raiders lost F Logan Linklater to a butt-ending major and game misconduct for a play involving Colton Dach at 3:20 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters got the ol’ heave-ho for cross-checking for a hit on Raiders F Ozzy Wiesblatt at 11:50 of the third. . . . The Raiders continue to play without D Kaiden Guhle and G Max Paddock, so again had only one goaltender — Carter Serhyenko — dressed. . . .

F Connor Bedard, the only player in WHL history to have been granted exceptional status to play at 15 years of age, had a goal and three assists as the Regina Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 9-4. . . . Because of the pandemic, Bedard is hardly the only 15-year-old in the WHL, but he is at the head of the class with seven goals and 10 assists in nine games. . . . The Pats (3-4-2) got two goals and an assist from F Zack Smith, three assists from F Carter Chorney, and two more goals from F Carson Denomie (9). . . . D Mathew Ward had a goal, his first, and an assist for the Broncos (2-7-1). The 14th overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft has a goal and 12 assists in his first 10 games. . . . F Owen Williams of the Broncos scored once in his 200th regular-season WHL game. . . .

F Connor Bowie scored three times to spark the Prince George Cougars to a 5-3 PGvictory over the Victoria Royals in Kelowna. . . . This one was the Royals’ home-opener. . . . Bowie, who will turn 20 on April 10, went into this one with 17 goals in 137 regular-season games with the Cougars (1-1-0). That included three in 64 games as a freshman in 2018-19. . . . F Riley Heidt, the second overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, scored his first goal in his second game. . . . Prince George F Ethan Browne (2) snapped a 3-3 tie at 6:55 of the second period and Bowie added insurance at 19:19. . . . The Royals (0-2-0) and Spokane Chiefs (0-4-1) are the only WHL teams without at least one victory.


Elliotte Friedman posted his weekly 31 Thoughts on Monday, and the top of it is terrific. He wrote about Ryan Fanti and his parents. Who? Fanti is a goaltender with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. He spent six periods on the bench Saturday night watching his guys play the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in a regional final game in Fargo, N.D. But when starter Zach Stejskal started cramping up early in the fourth OT, Fanti got the call. He finished with six saves and the Bulldogs won, 3-2. But it’s what happened right after the goal was scored that made an impression with Friedman and anyone else who saw it on TV. Fanti took time away from celebrating to console UND G Adam Scheel. . . . Friedman’s piece is right here.



The Montreal Canadiens were back on the practice ice on Monday, the first time they had skated since being shut down on March 22 because of COVID-19 protocol. F Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been removed from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, but F Joel Armia and newly acquired F Eric Staal remain. . . . General manager Marc Bergevin has said that one player had tested positive for a variant. That player wasn’t Armia or Kotkaniemi, but several players were identified as close contacts of the player so things were shut down. . . . The Canadiens, who haven’t played since March 20, are scheduled to return to game action tonight (Tuesday) against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.


Volcano


Selkirk College, which has is main campus in Castlegar, B.C., has dropped its men’s hockey program “due to budgetary constraints.” The Saints had been members of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League since 2006. The Saints won four consecutive BCIHL championships (2013-16). . . . Selkirk College’s departure leaves the BCIHL with four teams — Simon Fraser U, Trinity Western U, the U of Victoria and Vancouver Island U. However, Trinity Western was to join Canada West for the 2020-21 season that ended up being scrubbed because of the pandemic. Presumably Trinity Western will make the move whenever the next season gets started.


The Vancouver Canadians announced Monday that they will at least open the 2021 baseball season by playing out of Hillsboro, Ore. They usually play out of Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver, but that isn’t possible these days with the U.S.-Canada border closed to non-essential travel. The Canadians will share Ron Tonkin Field with the Hillsboro Hops. . . . Both the Canadians and Hops play in the High-A West; the Canadians are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Hops with the Arizona Diamondbacks.


——

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.


Mitts

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