Scattershooting on a Monday after paying 1.55.9 for gas in Burnaby and feeling like I’d won a lottery . . .

Scattershooting

I don’t know how you spent you Memorial Day weekend, but here’s Bob Tory, the general manager of the Tri-City Americans, heading out on another scouting junket. . . .


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is ‘involuntarily’ removing Division III powerhouse St. Thomas’ football program because of its ‘competitive’ advantages. Translation: It wins too much. . . . ‘You can do that?’ asked 31 NBA teams in unison.”



Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post, prior to St. Louis taking out San Jose a week ago: “The 2019 NBA playoffs are so much more interesting and entertaining than the NHL post-season. Honestly, is there any reason to care unless you happen to be a fan of the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues or San Jose Sharks? The entire post-season process is a grind. The officiating is awful and the calibre of play isn’t much better.”

——

Vanstone continues: “And the NHL’s video-review system? A complete mess. The offside challenges simply have to go. Give the linesmen the final say and leave it there. Please. Enough.”

——

One more from Vanstone, who was on a roll earlier this week: “Drake, who seems to think that he is playing for or coaching the Toronto Raptors, has singlehandedly turned me into a Milwaukee Bucks fan.”


Phone


Hey, NHL, I tried. I really tried. I tried to watch Game 1 of your final, but, well, this thing about letting the players decide things really shouldn’t be a thing. A cross-check is a cross-check and a slash is a slash, except when you pretend it isn’t. So, sorry, but I’m outta here. I’m off to watch the NBA final. Here’s hoping I am able to find a national U.S.-based telecast.

——

So . . . I don’t enjoy play-by-play voices and analysts who constantly seem to be yelling, which is why I rarely watch the Toronto Raptors on Canadian TV. But I tuned in to Game 5 of their series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. I gotta say the only thing missing was Buck Martinez.



If you have ever wondered about the popularity and power of the NFL, consider this . . .


“Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay forked over $718,750 to buy John Lennon’s famed piano,” reports the aforementioned Dwight Perry. “Hey, Jim, when the player-personnel people said they wanted Peppers, they meant Julius, not Sgt.”



We got home late Monday afternoon after spending some time on the highways and byways of beautiful B.C. I am pleased to report that we saw a lot of Alberta licence plates along the way, meaning those nice folks continue to visit and spent their hard-earned dollars on our expensive gasoline.


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Scattershooting on a Monday while wondering if we’ve seen last of snow . . .

Scattershooting

“The fumble-fingered Seattle Mariners entered May on pace to commit a whopping 187 errors this season,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “So if the M’s host a Sesame Street Night this season, chances are it’ll be brought to you by the letter ‘E.’ ”

——

One more from Perry: “From the Sometimes These Items Just Write Themselves file comes word that Houston Astros farmhand Seth Beer hit home runs on back-to-back Thirsty Thursday beer discount nights — April 25 and May 2 — for the Fayetteville (Ark.) Woodpeckers. As for fans of beer and Beer, that’s what you call a doubleheader.”


When Brighton and Hove Albion scored in the 75th minute of a 1-1 draw with Newcastle in a recent Premier League soccer game, it was the club’s first goal in 12 hours 15 minutes of playing time over seven games. Seriously!


Airlines


Headline at TheOnion.com: Retired Marshawn Lynch goes into Yeast Mode while baking.


Starting pitcher Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox started 0-4, 7.43 this season, which resulted in RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com noting that “the only pitcher looking worse lately is the Trivago guy.”


“Oregon is producing more marijuana than it can legally sell, as in a surplus of 1 million pounds,” reports Perry. “In a related story, demands to be traded to the Portland Trail Blazers just shot through the roof.”


WIFI


Once a pro league goes down the video review rabbit hole there isn’t any turning back, which is why the NHL has to take an immediate look at all major penalties that result in game misconducts next season. . . . And don’t make me laugh by claiming that this will only lengthen game times. Hey, it isn’t like there are four of these penalties a game.


Is Pierre McGuire the only broadcaster in captivity who is able to speak without breathing, something that allows him to just keep on talking and talking and talking . . .?


In case you are wondering why old friend Jack Finarelli is the Sports Curmudgeon, here’s a recent example:

“I read a report recently that a school district in Central New York will not use any pesticides on any of the athletic fields in the district.  Folks there have run across some “organic stuff” that will be applied to the fields and that will supposedly take care of all the pests that might be associated with large grass fields in that climate zone. How ecologically friendly is that?

“I wonder why they don’t take the next rather obvious step here and end the use of mowing equipment whose 2-cycle engines spew all sorts of environmental nasties into the air.  For the cost of a bit of fencing the school district managers could get a few goats and turn them loose on the field to let Mother Nature really take over there.”

Now you know my he’s a must-read on a daily basis.


It is Friday, 11:25 a.m. There are six Rogers Sportsnet channels available on our satellite TV feed. One of them is showing darts. Of course, it is. . . . The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are just starting a game on another one. On the other four? The game from the previous night between the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels.


If you’re wondering what all went down after the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated has the story right here.


Hunch

Scattershooting after watching Cubs and Dodgers, Tigers and Red Sox, Yankees and Angels . . .

Scattershooting

The great Al Arbour won 29 playoff series as the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. Yes, that is a franchise record. Who’s in second place? Barry Trotz, Jack Capuano and Terry Simpson, each with one.


“Look,” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “Tiger Woods is one of the greatest athletes of our time. And he’s been great for golf as a sport. But a Presidential Medal of Freedom? Is Trump awarding it to him for his Masters’ win, or for being a fellow example of success and applause after repeatedly cheating on his wife?”

——

Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong: “Tiger said he would reciprocate by giving Trump an autographed copy of the Nine Commandments.”


Hough, again, this time on the mess in which New England owner Robert Kraft finds himself: “How perfect that the Patriots finally are on the other side of being unknowingly videotaped?”



RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com weighs in on the Tampa Bay Lightning getting ousted in shocking fashion by the Columbus Blue Jackets: “With the Lightning suffering a Round 1 sweep, I’ll spare them electrical puns, like lacking a spark, feeling re-volted or the Jackets being amped up. I’ll only say this: Watt happened?”


So . . . you’re watching all the upsets in the NHL playoffs and you’re wondering two things:

  1. What does the regular season really mean?
  2. Is this parity or parody?


A baseball note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “If Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich got to play all 162 games against St. Louis, based on his first seven games against the Cardinals in 2019, his season numbers would read: .500 batting average; .625 on-base percentage; 1.542 slugging percentage; 185 home runs; 231 runs scored; 440 runs batted in.



One thing that never changes when watching an NHL playoff game go into overtime . . . I always wonder why the referees bother coming out of their dressing room.



Headline at TheOnion.com: Dedicated Russell Westbrook Stays Late After Practice To Miss 100 Extra Shots


So . . . Sportsnet picked up Game 7 between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks from NBCSN on Tuesday night. That meant that play-by-play man Gord Miller and analyst Ray Ferraro, who normally work for TSN, were doing a game on Sportsnet. Interesting!


Chess


The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will play an NHL game at 33,000-seat Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Oct. 26. Tickets went on sale to the general public on Thursday morning. According to the Regina Leader-Post: “Prices ranged from $164.50 to $369.50. It appeared that about half of the stadium’s seats were booked up within the first half hour of the public sale.” . . . Yes, many Regina hotels already are full up that night.


It’s officially baseball season now that the first round of the NHL playoffs is over. By this point of every NHL season, I am tired of watching NHL referees ignore the rule book at their choosing, and my attentions turn to Major League Baseball. This spring shall be no exception.

Scattershooting on a Tiebreaker Tuesday. . . . The doors are open and 5,800 hockey fans are on the move

Scattershooting

——

We’re perched high — well, maybe not that high — above the ice surface at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops awaiting a full house of more than 5,800 people with the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets about to meet in a play-in game. . . . The winner will open a first-round playoff series with the Royals in Victoria on Friday. The loser? Don’t ask. It’s over. . . .

——

G Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old from Victoria, will make his seventh straight start for the Blazers in the absence of the injured Dylan Ferguson. Danton Belluk, whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips, remains with Kamloops on an emergency basis and will be on the bench. . . . The Blazers are 5-0-1 in Garand’s six recent starts. . . . On the season, Garand is 11-7-3, 2.94, .902. Against Kelowna, he is 2-0-0, 0.96, .964. . . . The Rockets will counter with G Roman Basran (20-19-4, 2.79, .906). Against the Blazers this season, he is 4-3-1, 1.61, .942. . . . Judging by those numbers, someone wins by a 2-1 count tonight. . . .

——

The Rockets have scratched D Lassi Thomson, D Matt Barberis and F Cole Carrier. . . . The Blazers will scratch F Travis Walton, Ferguson, and either F Jerzy Orchard or D Joonas Sillanpaa. . . .

——

According to WHL regulations, the home team keeps tonight’s gate “after applicable expenses are paid” to the visitors. “This includes hotel expenses for one night, applicable meals (two days maximum) and applicable bus expenses to a maximum of $3 per mile. All expenses are in effect even if the visiting club wins the game.” . . .

——

The Blazers being on the hook for the expenses may, or may not, have had anything to do with the Rockets having arrived in Kamloops on Monday for a Tuesday night game. During the regular season, these teams make the two-hour drive on game days and return after each game. A tiebreaker, of course, involves extraordinary circumstances. . . . The Blazers paying to bed and feed Rockets? That can only help the rivalry, eh!

——

I’m hardly a math major, so I will leave it up to you to guesstimate what the gate receipts from tonight’s game might be with a crowd of more than 5,800 on hand. But the on-ice officials will get a cut — each of the referees is to be paid $155, with the linesmen getting $100 apiece. . . . Tonight’s referees are veterans Chris Crich and Brett Iverson. Nick Bilko and Nathan Van Oosten are on the lines. Willy Saari is the video goal judge.



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, weighs in on one of last week’s hot topics: “Jose Canseco used a Tweet to accuse A-Rod of cheating on his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez, with Canseco’s ex-wife. Minutes after that tweet ‘hit the streets,’ Canseco put out another one to challenge A-Rod to a boxing match or an MMA match ‘anytime you want’ — apparently as a way for Canseco to defend Jennifer Lopez’ honor. I guess I am glad that he suggested boxing or MMA to settle this matter and stopped short of suggesting they reinstitute duelling with pistols at 10 paces.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com asks: “Lo-Rod is: a) Engaged couple J-Lo and A-Rod’s married nickname, or b) Where Astros star Jose Altuve hangs his clothes?”



Headline at The Onion: Antonio Brown Buys Pittsburgh Billboard To Thank Antonio Brown For Putting Up With City.



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson apologized for posting a picture on Instagram that showed him driving at 105 mph. On the bright side, Vegas oddsmakers now list Jackson at 35-1 to win the Super Bowl and 5-2 to win the Indy 500.”

——

“How do MLB apologists try to spin it when a player vanishes for half a season because of a marijuana suspension?” asks Perry, before answering: “Tommy Chong surgery.”



Ken Rosenthal and Emily Waldon reported on the weekend that the Toronto Blue Jays are going to give every play in their system a raise of more than 50 per cent. . . . “When the ‘Save America’s Pastime’ act passed in March 2018,” they wrote, “depriving minor leaguers of overtime pay beyond a 40-hour work week, the Blue Jays already were talking about how they could improve the compensation of players in their farm system. A year later, the team is in the process of finalizing a pay increase of more than 50 percent for any player who is on a roster of an affiliated minor-league club, from the lowest rung in the Dominican Summer League to the highest level at Triple A, club officials told The Athletic.”

Scattershooting on Sunday while wondering if there are any NHL trades yet to come . . .

Scattershooting

Scattershooting on a quiet Sunday while watching The Bourne Supremacy — again — and wondering why none of the Bourne movies won an Oscar. . . .


If you’re like me, you’re wondering why the WHL couldn’t have found a way to leave franchises in Chilliwack and Cranbrook, and sold expansion franchises for Victoria and Winnipeg. . . . I don’t know what an expansion franchise would go for, but you have to think there are WHL teams that could use a chunk of $5 million or so. . . . And don’t bother me with the theory that the player pool isn’t deep enough for two more teams. That has never stopped anyone from expanding, has it?


A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Look who’s back, back, back in the booth. Former ESPN icon Chris Berman will be among the rotating stable of announcers calling call Red Sox games on WEEI Radio this year. Mookie ‘Gentlemen, Place Your’ Betts and Mitch ‘This Land Is’ Moreland refused comment.”

——

Here’s some 20/20 hindsight from Perry: “Marshawn Lynch should have run. Robert Kraft should have passed.”

——

Godot


Hey, NBC-TV, now that you’ve given us the Elvis All-Star Tribute, how about showing us the ’68 Comeback Special in its entirety? Please.


If you haven’t already seen it, the latest post from The River City Renegade (aka Patti Dawn Swansson) is right here. As usual, it’s good and readable, although I doubt that Nick Kypreos will check it out.


Shoelaces


Headline at SportsPickle.com: Jordan makes sure all the bad Nikes go to Duke.


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “We’re not going to know what caused Zion Williamson’s shoe to blow up until Nike recovers the black box.”

——

Here’s Ostler, with a thought on the future of Major League Baseball: “If the player-manager is an extinct breed, the next breed to vanish could be the manager-manager. We have the driverless car, next comes the manager-less ballclub. Why pay a guy to make pitching changes or defensive switches when a computer can do those things more effectively? Five years from now the manager’s primary job will be making sure the players keep the dugout tidy.”


After France recognized lightsaber duelling as a competitive sport, Jim Barach of JokesByJim.blogspot.com asked: “What next? Putting together a Quidditch team for the Olympics?” . . . Well, break-dancing may be a recognized medal sport in the 2024 Paris Olympic Summer Games, so why not?


Cold


You may have seen a puck go off the face of Carolina F Justin Williams and into the net for a Hurricanes goal the other night. That got RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com to wondering: “Is that scoring on a faceoff?”

——

Here’s Currie, again: “A final score from the Canadian women’s curling championship: P.E.I. 13; New Brunswick 12. Put it this way: they exceeded the Patriots-Rams Super Bowl total by three field goals.”


“Well,” points out Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, “Kyler Murray is leaving baseball for football. If this lack of contract keeps up, maybe Bryce Harper can join him?”


I would have bet the house that Ontario skip Rachel Homan would have made one of the 10th- or 11th-end last-rock draw attempts, either of which could have won the Canadian women’s curling championship, on Sunday in Sydney, N.S. Instead, she pulled the string on both, meaning I’d be homeless tonight had the bookie taken the bet.


No, I won’t be up at 5 a.m. PT to watch NHL trade deadline day silliness. Will you?


Crows

Scattershooting while wondering why winter chose to show up in February . . . Dickson checks out MeTV . . . Bingo game turns nasty

Scattershooting

Headline of the week, and it isn’t close, from Global News in Winnipeg: Customers continue to line up at drive-thru as Winnipeg A&W burns to the ground.


Einstein


Scott Ostler, in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle: Today’s quiz, and I won’t give you the answer — Which celeb golfer, playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am several years ago, was caught illegally moving his ball in the rough and explained to his caddie: “I cheat in business, I cheat on my wife, and I cheat at golf”?



An observation from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Tim Tebow, 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds; Pat Mahomes, 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds; Donald Trump, 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds. Someone is fibbing.”


As I was watching the CFL free-agent frenzy on Tuesday, I kept asking myself: Did these teams find some sunken treasure? Did they uncover the secret of Oak Island? Did they win a lottery? What happened to the poor, poor CFL?


If you’re wondering how Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon, spent Sunday evening, here’s a hint: “As you might guess, I will not be watching the NBA All-Star Game. I have something much more important to do on Sunday night; I plan to alphabetize all the checks I have written over the past 5 years. There is no reason to do that; it serves no purpose; yet it is more compelling than watching the NBA All-Star Game.”


Peanutbutter


After INRIX Global Ranking rated Boston as having the worst traffic problems in in the U.S., Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong notes: “No wonder! There seems to be a parade, marathon or some other sideshow every month.”

——

Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the home of the Eastern League’s Hartford Yard Goats, has banned peanuts and Cracker Jack due to concerns about allergies. “So,” Chong writes, “the seventh-inning stretch will call for revised lyrics: ‘Buy me some donuts and cinnamon buns.’ ”


A report from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “An update on the guy arrested at New York’s JFK airport for smuggling in South American finches, prized for their birdsong. He might do time in Sing Sing.”

——

Currie, again: “A friend was in Paris recently, and said the Louvre museum was so big she had trouble finding her way out. I said there must be 50 ways to leave your Louvre.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Schnauzers rioting outside Madison Square Garden following Westminster Dog Show defeat.


By now, you are aware that the Kootenay Ice will be leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for Winnipeg once this WHL season comes to an end. Now I’m told that another B.C.-based WHL team may be on the move. The Vancouver Giants, I’m told, are seriously considering going back to Pacific Coliseum after spending three seasons in the Langley Events Centre. . . . Someone else says that Giants majority owner Ron Toigo “is making a noise. . . . Think it’s more of a negotiating ploy.”


“I spend too much time watching TV news channels CNN, Fox News and MSNBC,” Brad Dickson writes. “Lately I’ve grown so sick of the political rancor and finger-pointing that permeates these networks that I vowed to stay away and watch nothing but MeTV for one entire day. Last Thursday I viewed the classic TV network almost nonstop from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.” . . . After he was all done, Dickson posted this fabulous piece right here. Enjoy!


An excerpt from the latest filing by Patti Dawn Swansson: “Another receiver who won’t be doing his thing in Pegtown is Duron Carter, now the problem child of the B.C. Lions. ‘I am looking forward to making a fresh start on the West Coast,’ he told news snoops. By my count, Carter has had six ‘fresh’ starts in seven years: Two in Montreal and one each in Indianapolis, Saskatchewan, the Republic of Tranna and now Lotus Land. His ass-clown act lasts about as long as food on Chris Walby’s dinner plate. Carter’s hands are never the problem, of course. It’s his yap. Can’t see that changing, even if Lotus Land is the natural habitat of more flakes per capita than anywhere else in the country.” . . . It’s all right here.


“Police were called when two women, 86 and 79, came to blows over seating arrangements during Bingo night at a retirement home in Rideau Lakes, Ont.,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Because it was Canada, both returned to action after serving five minutes for fighting.”


Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot knows when the brand new Alliance of American Football will have arrived. “When one of its franchises can hold a city hostage over a new stadium deal,” he writes.


Quote

A return to Scattershooting . . . Ice sweep Hitmen . . . Pats’ struggles continue . . . Giants really playing large

Scattershooting

We’re back and we’re scattershooting on a Sunday night while watching the Dallas Cowboys and the Raiders playing in Los Angeles, and what a day it was for whacky NFL happenings:


Thanks to all who contacted me over the past day or two. I especially like the note that referred to Taking Note’s return as a Christmas miracle. Uh, no. But I do live with a miracle.


While I was on hacker-enforced hiatus, the Saskatoon Blades issued an injury report that actually specified the injuries. Yes. Seriously. According to the Blades, G Ryan Kubic (knee), F Gage Ramsay (groin) and F Caleb Fantillo (knee) all were sidelined. . . . Of course, by the time the WHL office posted its weekly roster report, all three were out with “lower body” injuries.


The day may come when the WHL realizes that a renewed emphasis on transparency might translate to more fans in the stands.


According to the WHL standings, the Seattle Thunderbirds have a .515 winning percentage. But their record is 15-14-4, which means they have lost three more games than they have won. Sorry, but that doesn’t compute to a .500 record. Oh, and don’t bother telling me that it has to do with loser points, something that has bastardized standings and the record book unlike anything else in sporting history.


The Regina Pats were one of those bogus .500 clubs going into Sunday’s games. They were 16-16-3, which the WHL claims is .500, before losing 3-1 to the host Saskatoon Blades on Sunday. The Pats now are 16-17-3, which the WHL claims is .486.


The Pats, of course, are the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. With 36 games remaining in a 72-game schedule, they have lost four more games than they have won. Yes, their fans are in a tizzy. Should they be? No, not yet. They need to relax, enjoy Christmas and check back about Jan. 17. By that time, the trade deadline will have come and gone, meaning general manager/head coach John Paddock will have played out his hand, the World Junior Championship will be over, and there will be few remaining distractions. That’s when what Regina fans see is what they’ll get.


In the meantime, Regina hockey fans will be hoping their bankers all are friendly and that interest rates stay low, what with two outdoor games, an Eagles concert and the Memorial Cup all quickly approaching.



While Regina fans have their hands hovering over the panic button, followers of the Portland Winterhawks are staying away from bridges, and fans of the Red Deer Rebels are wondering what happened to their season.


Brent Sutter’s Rebels snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday night. Prior to the start of this season, who saw Red Deer with an 11-game losing streak included in its record? The Rebels are 10-18-6, leaving them seven points out of a playoff spot. They are 1-4-5 in their past 10 games.


Don Hay, the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, goes into the Christmas break with 736 regular-season victories. He needs six more to get to 742, which will move him into a tie with the retired Ken Hodge for the WHL’s career record.


The Blazers will come back from the Christmas break to play 13 games, seven on the road, from Dec. 27 through Jan. 21. That crazy WHL schedule then calls for them to play Portland three times in fewer than 48 hours, meeting in Kamloops on Jan. 26 and 27, and in Portland on Jan. 28. Of course, Hodge put up most of his coaching victories while with the Winterhawks.


You may have noticed that Portland F Cody Glass wasn’t able to crack the roster of Canada’s national junior team. That means that the Canadian team must be pretty darn good. . . . F Matthew Phillips of the Victoria Royals didn’t even get invited to the selection camp. . . . Yes, Canada must be really, really good.


The Vancouver Giants go into Christmas having won six straight games, including home-and-home sweeps of Portland and Victoria. The Giants now are 18-13-4 — that’s a legitimate plus-500 — and only three points out of first place in the B.C. Division. That’s rarified air for a team that won 20 games last season and has made the playoffs once in the past five seasons.


With a new year on the horizon, the WHL’s 2017-18 Official Guide remains, well, unavailable. This is the second season in a row in which the WHL hasn’t been able to make the Guide available in a timely fashion.


ICYMI, the home arena of the Everett Silvertips underwent a name change while I was on hiatus. What once was Xfinity Arena now is . . . wait for it . . . Angel of the Winds Arena. The Angel of the Winds Casino Resort is paying US$3.4 million over a 10-year agreement for the naming rights. The casino is operated by the Stillaguamish Tribe. . . . Apparently, there wasn’t enough support to have the facility renamed The House That Kevin Left.


If you weren’t aware, the WHL now is shut down for Christmas. Most players will return to their teams on Boxing Day (aka Black Tuesday), with all 22 teams scheduled to play on Dec. 27. All 22 teams also will be in action on Dec. 30, after which each team will have returned from the break to play three games in four nights. Six teams — Brandon, Moose Jaw, Portland, Tri-City, Spokane and Seattle — also will play on Dec. 31, meaning those players have four games in five nights to think about while trying to enjoy Christmas.


SUNDAY’S SCOREBOARD:

At Calgary, D Jonathan Smart scored 30 seconds into OT to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Ice (15-17-2) has points in three straight (2-0-1) and is tied for Kootenaynewsecond with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (15-16-2) in the Central Division. . . . Kootenay won 14 games all of last season and 12 in all of 2015-16. . . . The Hitmen (10-18-5) have lost two in a row (0-1-1), both to the Ice. . . . Calgary is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . On Sunday, the Hitmen took a 3-1 lead into the second period. . . . F Jakob Stukel (15) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 5:28. . . . The Ice tied it at 6:09 as F Michael King (6) scored. . . . The Hitmen then got goals from F Andrew Fyten (4), at 9:32, and F Mark Kastelic (8), shorthanded, at 17:36. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (9) pulled the Ice to within a goal, on a PP, at 5:18 of the second period. . . . Kootenay F Alec Baer forced OT with his 13th goal at 16:47 of the third period. . . . Smart, who was acquired from the Regina Pats on Nov. 14, won it with his fourth goal of the season on the only shot of OT by either team. That was his second score in 13 games with the Ice. . . . F Colton Kroeker drew an assist on each of his side’s last two goals. Baer also had an assist on the winner. . . . Kootenay was 1-6 on the PP; Calgary was 1-1. . . . Kootenay got 18 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . Calgary G Nick Schneider stopped 17 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 6,269.


At Saskatoon, the Blades scored the game’s first two goals and went on to a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (15-17-3) is tied with the Prince Albert Raiders (13-14-Saskatoon7) for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card playoff spot. . . . The Pats (16-17-3) have lost four straight (0-3-1). The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup holds down the conference’s first wild-card spot. Regina is fourth in the East Division, 14 points behind the third-place Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . On Sunday, the Blades took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Braylon Shmyr (15), on a PP, at 11:08, and F Chase Wouters (7), at 19:35. . . . F Matt Bradley (22) got the Pats to within one, on a PP, at 4:43 of the second period, only to have Saskatoon F Josh Paterson (12) get it back, on a PP, at 15:42. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn pulled the visitors back to within a goal at 14:40 of the third period. . . . Shmyr also had two assists as he figured in each of Saskatoon’s goals. . . . Saskatoon also got two assists from F Kirby Dach. . . . Saskatoon was 2-4 on the PP; Regina was 1-6. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . Regina got 22 stops from G Tyler Brown. . . . The Pats were without F Sam Steel and D Josh Mahura, both of whom are with Canada’s national junior team. Mahura had been among the players cut from the selection camp, but was recalled to the team on Saturday following an injury to D Dante Fabbro of Boston U. Fabbro suffered an undisclosed injury in an exhibition game against Denmark on Friday. If Fabbro isn’t able to play, Mahura is expected to be named to the 22-man roster on Dec. 25. . . . Announced attendance: 3,534.


At Everett, the Silvertips moved past Portland and into first place in the U.S. Division with a resounding 8-3 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (21-13-2) have Everettwon two straight and are 9-1-0 in their past 10. They lead the Winterhawks (21-11-1) by one point atop the U.S. Division. They also lead the Western Conference, by one point over Portland, the Kelowna Rockets (20-11-3) and Victoria Royals (20-13-3). . . . The Winterhawks have lost two in a row and are 2-7-1 in their past 10. . . . On Sunday, the teams were 2-2 going into the second period where the hosts exploded for five goals. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie, who has 23 goals, scored twice in the opening period, sandwiched around Everett goals from F Bryce Kindopp and F Luke Ormsby (1), who is from Monroe, Wash. That was Ormsby’s first goal since he was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kindopp (11) snapped the 2-2 tie at 5:20 of the second period to start the onslaught. . . . Before the period was over, Everett had goals from F Martin Fasko-Rudas (1), F Akash Bains (2), F Patrick Bajkov (20) and F Riley Sutter (13). . . . F Jake Gracious (5) of Portland and Everett F Brandson Hein (2) exchanged third-period goals. . . . Everett got two assists from each of D Montana Onyebuchi, F Reece Vitelli and F Connor Dewar, with Fasko-Rudas, Ormsby, Sutter and Bains getting one apiece. . . . Everett was 0-3 on the PP; Portland’s PP unit didn’t get on the ice. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 26 shots for the Silvertips. . . . Portland starter Shane Farkas allowed five goals on 24 shots in 29:15. Cole Kehler, who turned 20 on Sunday, came on to stop 12 of 15 shots in 30:45. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes played his second game after returning from surgery to repair a broken leg suffered on Oct. 10. . . . Everett was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. It went 2-1-0. . . . Announced attendance: 3,817.


At Spokane, F Nikita Malukhin scored his first two WHL goals to help the Thunderbirds to a 10-3 romp over the Chiefs. . . . Seattle (15-14-4), the WHL’s defending champion, has Seattlewon two in a row and holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Spokane (18-13-3), which now is 17-2-1 when scoring at least three goals. . . . Malukhin, a freshman from Kazan, Russia, went into the game with one assist in 18 games. . . . F Blake Bargar, who has seven goals, and F Zack Andrusiak, who has 18, also had two goals each for Seattle. . . . Andrusiak opened the scoring 20 seconds into the game. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, on a PP, tied it for Spokane at 3:14. . . . The Thunderbirds took control by scoring the next five goals. . . . F Nolan Volcan (13), who drew four assists, and D Austin Strand (12) scored before the first-period ended, and Bargar, Malukhin and Andrusiak added second-period goals. . . . Spokane got to within three goals, at 6-3, as Anderson-Dolan (16) scored, on a PP, at 7:12 of the third period and F Riley Woods (13) counted at 8:37. . . . But the Thunderbirds wrapped it up with the game’s last four goals, from Bargar, F Matthew Wedman (4), D Reece Harsch (6) and Malukhin. . . . Wedman added two assists to his goal, with Strand, Harsch, Bargar and Andrusiak each getting one. . . . D Ty Smith had two assists for the Chiefs. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-3 on the PP; the Chiefs were 2-4. . . . G Matt Berlin earned the victory with 31 stops. . . . Spokane starter Donovan Buskey was beaten five times on 19 shots in 34:50. . . . G Campbell Arnold, 15, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs, coming on in relief at 14:50 of the second period. He allowed five goals on 10 shots in 25:10. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., was added on Friday after the Chiefs returned G Declan Hobbs, 19, to the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. Hobbs, whose rights were acquired from the Kootenay Ice in July, had been with the Chiefs since Dec. 1. Arnold has been playing for the prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. The Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 4,042.


At Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants ran their winning streak to six games with a 2-0 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Giants (18-13-4) are 8-2-0 in their past 10 Vancouvergames. They are third in the B.C. Division, just three points out of first place. . . . The Cougars (12-17-5) are last in the Western Conference. They are four points out of a wild-card spot and 11 points behind Vancouver. . . . D Bowen Byram (2) broke a scoreless tie at 11:31 of the third period. . . . F Ty Ronning scored Vancouver’s second goal, an empty-netter, at 19:00. He has 32 goals in 35 games; last season, he totalled 25 goals in 68 games. In 2015-16, he had 31 scores in 67 outings. In his career, he has 98 regular-season goals in 250 games. . . .  Ronning also drew an assist on Byram’s goal. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 40 shots for his second shutout of the season. He is 12-6-1, 2.90, .913. . . . The Cougars got 31 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . Vancouver was 2-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . The Giants went 3-0-0 as they played three games in fewer than 48 hours. They swept the Victoria Royals in a home-and-home set. . . . The Cougars went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They lost 4-0 in Everett on Saturday, meaning they have been blanked in two straight games. . . . The Cougars return from the Christmas break to play four road games — in Victoria on Dec. 27 and 28, and back in Langley on Dec. 30 and Jan. 1. . . . Announced attendance: 4,088.


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