Scattershooting on a Sunday night after spending some time with Adele . . .


Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades on CJWW, and I have been friends for more years than either one of us cares to remember.

So . . . I can imagine how excited he was prior to calling the play for the Blades’ game in Winnipeg against the Ice on Saturday night. I mean, you have to know that Les gets excited before every game. But this one was extra special.

That’s because his nephew, Nolan Powell, who is from Winnipeg, was one of the game’s two referees, along with veteran Adam Bloski.

You should know that Nolan makes music with more than his whistle.

Besides being an on-ice hockey official, he is an accomplished classical guitarist.

From a story headlined ‘To hear Nolan Powell play is to believe in perfection’ from the U of Manitoba News in June 2020: “The 2020 Master of Music graduate, who also holds a B.Mus and B.Ed from the University of Manitoba, has a long history of impressing people, and received the Dr. Bonnie Buhler Graduate Scholarship in Music for his master’s degree.”

About the only degree his uncle has involves Strat-O-Matic Baseball.

ICING THE OPPOSITION: It should be pointed out that the Winnipeg Ice swept that weekend series from the Saskatoon Blades, 4-1 and 6-0. . . . The Ice, the WinnipegCHL’s top-ranked team, now is 17-1 and has outscored its opposition, 98-31. Winnipeg leads the Eastern Conference by seven points over the Edmonton Oil Kings (12-3-3) and tops the East Division by 11 points over the Blades (11-6-1). . . . Winnipeg forwards Mikey Milne and Matt Savoie lead the WHL points race, each with 29. Milne and teammate Connor McClennon are No. 1 in goals (14), with Savoie tops in assists (21). . . . If you are a plus-minus fan, Ice players hold down the top five spots — Milne (24), F Jakin Smallwod (22), F Conor Geekie (21), and D Carson Lambos and D Nolan Orzeck each 19. . . . G Daniel Hauser of the Ice leads the league in GAA (1.45) and save percentage (.941).

I first spotted this guy over a month ago in the field that is at the top of the photo. At that time, his left antler was dangling loosely on the side of his face. I didn’t see him again until he showed up in our yard late Saturday afternoon — the light was fading fast — and it seems that the broken antler has taken root and is solidly entrenched, giving him something of a bizarre look.

THE CENTURY CLUB: G Nolan Maier of the Saskatoon Blades posted his 100th career regular-season victory on Friday, beating the Wheat Kings, 2-1, in Brandon. According to, he is the 21st goaltender in WHL history to reach 100 victories. The record is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92), each with 120. Sexsmith did it in 179 games; Hirsch in 181. Maier has played in 170. . . . Next up for Maier is Cam Ward, at 102.

LOVIN’ THE AHL: So . . . you’re wondering how Mitch Love is doing in his first season as a head coach with the AHL’s Stockton Heat? Well . . . you should know that he’s doing just fine after leaving the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff for a spot in the Calgary Flames organization. F Justin Kirkland scored the shootout winner on Friday to give the host Heat a 3-2 victory over the Henderson Silver Knights. That was the Heat’s franchise-record ninth straight victory. . . . The Silver Knights bounced back on Saturday and ended that streak with a 4-3 OT victory.

HEY, THANKS FOR COMING: The Calgary Hitmen released D Alexei Garapuchik, 18, earlier this week. He cleared CHL waivers and returned to his home in Belarus. Garapuchik, who was picked in the CHL’s 2020 import draft, was pointless in one game with the Hitmen. . . . The move left the Hitmen with Russian F Maxim Muranov, 17, and F Anton Astashevich, 17, of Belarus as their two import players. Both were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft.

EMAILBAG: After a piece appeared here the other day about the owners of the Winnipeg Ice having abandoned, at least for now, plans for a new arena, there was email. Like this one. . . . Re the Winnipeg Ice. The Ice are still being sued by the City of Cranbrook for breaking the lease in Cranbrook. . . . From a former Ice season-ticket holder in Cranbrook, now a season-ticket holder for the Cranbrook Bucks who watches the Bucks games in our little arena of 4,700.


KINGS OF THE HILL: The Saskatoon Hilltops have won seven consecutive Prairie Football Conference championships after going into Regina, rushing for 386 yards, and beating the Thunder, 29-9, on Sunday. Yes, they’ve got a junior football dynasty going in Toontown. . . . The Thunder had gone into the final with a 9-0 record, including a pair of three-point victories over the Hilltops, who now are 8-2. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and posted this report right here. . . . The Hilltops will visit the Langley Rams, the B.C. Football Conference champs, in a CJFL semifinal on Saturday. . . . It’s worth pointing out that the Hilltops’ run of six straight Canadian titles was halted by the pandemic, which refused to allow a 2020 season.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGEWATER: Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) of YahooSports tweeted late last week that “it’s pretty amazing that the current Carolina Panthers regime now is paying Teddy Bridgewater (who they signed to replace Cam Newton) and Sam Darnold (who they traded for to replace Teddy Bridgewater) only to pay Cam Newton to fix their QB problems.”

Or, as Dion Beary (@hashtagdion) put it: “David Tepper is current paying Cam’s replacement, the replacement for Cam’s replacement, and Cam to replace the replacement for his own replacement.”


PERRY’S CORNER: “Green Bay Packers backup QB Jordan Love completed just 6 of 17 passes for 30 yards against the blitz, according to ESPN Stats and Information, in losing 13-7 to the Kansas City Chiefs in his starting debut,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Who says you can’t hurry Love?”


Perry, again: “The Los Angeles Rams have replaced wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was released after complaining he wasn’t getting enough touches with the Rams, with Odell Beckham Jr., who complained he wasn’t getting enough touches with the Cleveland Browns. Check back in a month or so for any updates.”

TINFOIL MAN: “What if the 49ers had drafted Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith?” writes Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It might have led to greater glory, maybe Super Bowls. And now San Francisco fans would be stuck with an all-time local hero that they are ashamed of. Maybe Mike Nolan knew what he was doing, after all.”


Ostler, again: “This just in: Rodgers has lost another appeal to the NFL. Rodgers, citing personal freedom to make his own health decisions, and extensive research, requested permission to ditch his standard football helmet and wear a tinfoil hat.”


HEY, THANKS FOR COMING, PART 2: The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders have dumped their top two selections from the NFL’s 2020 draft because of off-field indiscretions. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “Apparently NFL teams employ psychologists to help them evaluate draft picks’ readiness. . . . Seems like the Raiders need to re-evaluate their evaluator.”

AN IMPERFECT 10: F Drake Batherson had two goals and two assists as the host Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3, on Saturday. He didn’t play in Sunday’s game against the visiting Calgary Flames after testing positive and becoming the 10th Ottawa player to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. It also marked the ninth straight day on which the Senators have had someone test positive. . . . Batherson joined F Connor Brown, D Josh Brown, F Alex Formenton, F Dylan Gambrell, D Nick Holden, D Victor Mete, G Matt Murray, F Austin Watson and D Nikita Zaitsev on the list, along with associate coach Jack Capuano. . . . Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported Sunday that the Senators have had to make so many recalls from AHL-Belleville that there now are only nine players left with the farm club who are under contract to the NHL team. . . . The NHL hasn’t shown the Senators any mercy, either, as it refuses to postpone games. On Sunday, the Senators lost, 4-0, to the Flames. . . . On Sunday night, the Senators announced they won’t practise on Monday, the fourth straight practice to be cancelled. . . . Ottawa next is scheduled to fly out Monday for a Tuesday night date with the New Jersey Devils.


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Scattershooting on a Saturday while pulling for Cypress Roed and her new kidney . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time in this space writing about Cypress Roed, an eight-year-old from Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., who, at that time, was preparing for a kidney transplant.

Cypress had the transplant on schedule, on Oct. 24, and now is recovering at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Her mother, Chantelle Deley, told me on Saturday that Cypress “is doing well.”

There have been a couple of early issues but nothing that the medical people haven’t been able to handle.

If you missed the earlier story on Cypress, it’s right here.

The Portland Winterhawks and their fans celebrated the career and retirement of Dean (Scooter) Vrooman as they beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, on Saturday night. . . . He was the voice, and the face, of the Winterhawks for a whole lot of years. . . . Allow me to offer my congratulations to an old friend, and here’s hoping retirement is as kind to you as it has been to me. . . . Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune has more right here, including the hilarious story on how Vrooman got his nickname.

“’Tis obviously better to be a tortoise than a hare,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Washington Nationals started the season 19-31 and wound up winning the World Series. The St. Louis Blues sat in last place on Dec. 31 and wound up winning the Stanley Cup. In short, the Seattle Mariners — who opened 13-2 and wound up 68-94 — are going about this thing totally backward.”


One more from Perry: “Somebody just carried out the best fake play of the football season. A red-faced ESPN Events ‘terminated’ its three-week-old agreement with DreamHouse to be the New Mexico Bowl’s presenting sponsor after realizing the purported film-production company doesn’t even exist.”

The other night, I spent 90 minutes watching the documentary Searching for Sugar Man. I have seen it numerous times but it continues to amaze me. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Detroit musician Sixto Rodriguez and his influence on the people of South African, check it out. You can thank me later.

Sheesh, TSN, all I want as a viewer is some respect. With the Washington Nationals on a magical run, you let us watch PTI until the day after the World Series ended. Then you cheated us out of watching Tony Kornheiser celebrate. How could you? . . . You bumped PTI for ATP Tennis, but couldn’t find room for it on one of your other four channels. Please, just a little respect and some continuity in your programming. Is that too much to ask? . . . On second thought, don’t worry about it. I have discovered PTI on YouTube, so I won’t need to check your multi-channel setup anymore.

ICYMI, the BCFC’s Langley Rams will be the host team when they meet the PFC’s Saskatoon’s Hilltops for the Canadian junior football title on Nov. 16. The Rams took out the Westshore Rebels, 35-12, in one national semifinal on Saturday. Later in the day, the Hilltops dumped the host London Beefeaters, 51-1. . . . The Hilltops will be looking for their sixth straight national championship. Yes, they qualify as a dynasty. . . . One year ago, in Saskatoon, the Hilltops whipped the Rams, 58-21, in the final. The Hilltops also beat the Rams in the 2012 and 2014 finals.


“The Christmas turkey will be served early this year,” writes Janice Hough of, noting that the Miami Dolphins (0-7) and Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) are to play on Dec. 22.

The Winnipeg Jets recalled F C.J. Suess from the AHL’s Manitoba Moose on Friday. His nickname had better be Cat or Horton or even Doctor. But, this being hockey, I am betting it’s something like Suessy. . . . Actually, his surname is pronounced CEASE. . . . Interestingly, he was C.J. Franklin — yes, teammates called him Frank — when he began his college career with the Minnesota State Mavericks. He has since changed it to Suess, his mother’s maiden name. . . . In a story posted in January, Jamie Thomas of reported that new nicknames in circulation were Seeser, C-Joe and Sweets.

So . . . it was Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Oilers are said to have won, 2-1 in OT. . . . If you’re a hockey fan, you know that is as good a matchup as you will see all season long — or until these teams meet again. . . . So, NHL, why would you schedule this game for a Saturday afternoon? That is a prime-time game if ever there was one. . . . BTW, the next time these teams are to meet will be on Dec. 20 in Edmonton. Yes, it will be a night game.

Hey, Andy Murray and Glen Williamson . . . your buddy has come a long, long way from Souris and the Chocolate Shop. . . . Don’t believe me? Check out the link in the tweet. . . . Yes, the big, big pizza chains will be calling soon.

A tip to junior hockey players being interviewed before or after games — if you must wear a cap, wear it with the bill to the front. Not only does it look more professional, but it also shows off your team’s logo.

JUST NOTES: Had a friend who had just seen some video from a Winnipeg Ice home game in which fans seemed to be in scarce supply suggest that the WHL should move the team to Chilliwack. . . . Another WHL fan emailed me this: “I just watched the highlights of the Lethbridge-Winnipeg game on the WHL site. Couldn’t see too much of the seats with the camera angles they had, but I bet MJHL teams get better crowds than that. Instead of putting a team in a city that already has NHL, AHL, and MJHL plus Junior B teams, the WHL should have put the team in a place where it was the biggest attraction in town.  A place like . . . Cranbrook!” . . . On the subject of the Ice, does anyone know how the new arena in which the team will play is coming along? . . . Hey, Sportsnet, those virtual ads that you put on the glass during hockey games are absolutely awful. You’re welcome. . . . The New York Yankees chose not to re-sign Edwin Encarnacion and his parrot, so do the Toronto Blue Jays bring him back? . . . Do you ever wonder what Brian Burke’s hair looks like when he first wakes up in the morning?


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