Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how it was that Hogan’s Heroes ate so well . . .

Scattershooting

Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on the state of the NBA today: “The NBA and its fans must come to grips with the fact that a new era has dawned. Professional basketball in the U.S. now is part of the Age of Load Management (ALM). The inexorable fact of life in the ALM is that a fan who tunes into a game — or purchases a ticket to see a game at an arena — cannot rely on seeing star players perform even when those star players are perfectly healthy. Now, if you think as I do that far too many NBA regular-season games are nothing more than an exhibition of dunks and 3-point shot attempts, the last thing you want to see is such a contest populated by the junior varsity.”



“Seattle Mariners infielder Tim Beckham drew an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Considering he’s been hitting .211 since April 7, here’s hoping he kept the sales slip.”

——

One more from Perry: “Two weeks after the LPGA Tour’s Dow Great Lakes Invitational included a Anannarukarn-Thanapolboonyaras twosome, Im and An shot 62s to share the first-round lead at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship. That, folks, is what you call an overcorrection.”


Horses


The B.C. Lions are 1-7 after giving up a 15-point lead and losing, 35-34, to the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton on Saturday night. They also are the CFL’s biggest tire fire, lacking a pass rush and an ability to keep quarterback Mike Reilly on his feet. . . . The Lions visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-2) on Thursday, then return home to face the Tiger-Cats on Aug. 24. You are free to wonder just how many fans will show up for that one, especially if the Lions lose to Winnipeg and go home with a 1-8 record.

——

The Lions were at home to the Edmonton Eskimos on July 11. The announced attendance for what was a 33-6 loss was 17,026. But theBreaker.news checked with PavCo, the landlord at B.C. Place, and the actual attendance was 12,502. . . . On July 27, the Lions dropped a 45-18 decision to the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders before an announced crowd of 20,950.


DalaiLama


If you are wondering how this blog got to this point, moving from hockey to kidneys, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week explains it all right here.


If you haven’t seen the latest from Patti Dawn Swansson, it’s right here, including a rather timely fact check on Postmedia sports columnist Steve Simmons.


The Oakland A’s signed Nathan Patterson the other day after he hit 94 m.p.h. — or maybe it was 96 — on a radar gun in a booth at a minor-league game. Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I stepped into one of those booths about 15 years ago. Gave ’em my best Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days” speedball. The read-out was somewhere in the 50s. High 50s, as I recall. I slunk away, cursing the defective radar gun. Iced my throbbing arm for a week.

“Those speed-gun booths are to orthopedic surgeons what Halloween is to dentists. You warm up with a beer and a churro, then fire the rock as hard as you can? Snap, crackle, pop.”


File this one under ‘The More Things Change . . .’


Thread . . .


The 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for Sept. 22. Dorothy Drinnan will be walking for a sixth straight year after having a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . If you would like to support her, you are able to do so right here. . . . Thank you, in advance.


Weaving

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Scattershooting on a Sunday evening while waiting for the heat to arrive . . .

Scattershooting

“A pro surfer attacked by a shark off Jacksonville Beach, Fla., nixed a hospital visit so he could go to a bar and share his story,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “And then it was time to go back, grab his board and hang nine.”


“CFL commish Randy Ambrosie has been known to puff out his ample chest and gab about transparency. So how about ordering the Argos to release the head count at BMO Field, Commish Randy. We know it’s as bad as a bear’s breath, but why is the number a secret?” . . . It is because of notes like this that Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, is a regular read here. . . . Her latest file is right here.

——

Here’s one more bit from Swansson, and, yes, I wholeheartedly agree with her: “Why are our teenage boys playing high-level hockey tournaments during the dog days of August? Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky weren’t on the ice 12 months a year. Why should these kids be?”


Water


If you were able to watch the visiting Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in one or both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday, you got a real treat — Bob Costas handled the play-by-play in place of Michael Kay, who is recovering from surgery to repair a vocal cord. . . . A real baseball fan, Costas didn’t forget to mention the late Pete Sheehy in one of his many anecdotes. . . . His presence meant lots of anecdotes and not a lot of numbers. . . . With Costas, Paul O’Neil and David Cone in the booth, it was an enlightening double-dip. Unless you are a Red Sox fan, of course, because the Yankees swept the Beantowners, 9-2 and 6-4.


Dorothy and I live about 20 km east of Kamloops, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. Spent some time on that highway this weekend and I just want to thank all the Albertans for visiting with us and spending their money here, especially on our over-priced gasoline.

——

BTW, we were driving west on the Trans-Canada Highway going up the big hill that runs through Kamloops on Sunday afternoon. A driver in front of us moved into the left lane in preparation of passing a big rig, so I moved over, too. We both were doing 100 km/h in a 100 zone. I checked the rearview mirror and the driver behind me was giving me the palms-up ‘get the hell outta my way’ gesture, never mind that there was a car in front of us. . . . Once we got past the big rig and back into the right lane, Ms. Palms-Up jammed it to the floor and zoomed past in a cloud of exhaust. . . . The real miracle of our highways is that there aren’t more accidents, especially when you consider the number of idiots who think they are the only ones on them.



NFL training camps are rolling, which means that Hard Knocks, the show produced by NFL Films and HBO, is about to hit the air. (It starts on Tuesday.) . . . This time, it’s in the camp of the Oakland Raiders. . . . Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle setting the stage: “That damn ‘Hard Knocks’ will be a distraction, says the football team that has sucked for decades, was homeless for months before sulking back to the Oakland Coliseum, and recently signed one player who arrived in a hot-air balloon, and another who will sit out two games because, according to a police report, he allegedly threatened to kill mortuary workers when they wouldn’t let him cut off his dead father’s head for research.”


Genetics


If you are headed for Kamloops, you should know that the forecast is for heat — 35 C on Monday, 36 on Tuesday, 35 on Wednesday . . . and so it goes.


After another “retirement’ by Urban Meyer, Jack Finarelli, who can be found at SportsCurmudgeon.com, noted: “If you look at leaving a job as a head coach in college football as akin to divorce, then Meyer is the Zsa Zsa Gabor of the Gridiron.”



The pooh-bahs who run PAC-12 football are crying in their milk because of what they see as a lack of attention from fans who live in the Eastern time zone. So the deep thinkers are contemplating starting games at 9 a.m. Pacific time. . . . As someone who lives in the Pacific time zone, I will say that this is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard. . . . The afore-mentioned Jack Finarelli, The Sports Curmudgeon, offers: “Starting games at 9 a.m. Pacific means that the entire atmosphere of PAC-12 games will change. Instead of energetic and aroused fans in the stadium who might not be able to pass a breathalyzer test because they have been tailgating/partying for six hours before the game, the fans will be hungover from Friday night and/or still asleep in the dorms/frat houses. . . . The fan-experience at college football games is built around energy and adrenaline and enthusiasm. Some of those intangibles will be in shorter supply if the games start on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.” . . . But, hey, those TV numbers!


Pete Carroll, the head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, mentioned the other day that L.J. Collier, a first-round draft pick, would be out “a bit” with an ankle injury. Brett Miller, a sports desker at the Seattle Times, tweeted: “Carroll famously undersells injuries, so I’m not even certain Collier is alive after reading this.”


MRI

 

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

Scattershooting on a quiet New Year’s Eve . . . Tracey fills hat for Warriors . . . Americans get three SHG in victory

Scattershooting

It is because of items like this that I never miss reading Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) . . .

“The Chicago Bears are going to sell beer in cans not plastic cups. The reason is that beer cans are more environmentally friendly — they are recyclable — and plastic cups are now seen as spawn of the Devil. It was not all that long ago when all the momentum was to sell beer in plastic cups because when an angered and inebriated fan threw the beer container at an opposing player or official, the cup was a lot safer than a full can of liquid.

“According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Soldier Field peddles about 20,000 cases of beer a year at the Bears’ home games — including exhibition games — and whatever other ancillary events take place there.  That amounts to 480,000 cans of beer.

“That is a lot of ‘ammunition’ to put in the hands of potentially angry spectators — and that is almost a half-million plastic cups that need not be used.”

——

Take time on this first day of 2019 to visit The Sport Curmudgeon’s site and read his take on the bad ads of 2018. I guarantee that you will find yourself nodding your head in agreement. . . . It’s all right here and it’s good stuff!



Whenever I’m flipping channels and come across The Bourne Identity, well, there goes another couple of hours. Yes, I happen to own the first three Bourne movies. No, I don’t think I have ever put one of them in the DVD player.


A note from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, who happens to be correct with this one: “Free, unsolicited advice for the WHL: Stop scheduling games for Dec. 27, thereby allowing players to spend Boxing Day with their families instead of having to travel. Scheduling-wise, this should be a snap now that the regular season has been shortened from 72 to 68 games per team.”

My take: Players shouldn’t be coming back from the Christmas break to a schedule that calls for them to play four games in five nights. Maybe it’s time to cut the schedule to 60 games.



You likely heard by now that Jim Lites, the Dallas Stars’ CEO, unloaded a premeditated and obscenity-laced rant aimed at forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn the other day. The chances are good, I would suggest, that Lites was only the messenger for owner Tom Gaglardi. . . . You may remember a time a few years ago when Craig Bonner, then the general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, was the messenger — via a letter that bore his name — when Gaglardi tried to get a particular newspaper to dump the writer who was covering the Blazers. . . . Yes, this latest performance was deja vu all over again, except that the writer wasn’t being paid millions by Gaglardi.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle had this one among his new year’s resolutions: “To buy myself a pair of $300 sneakers. Because what if it is the shoes? It would be cool to dunk again.”

——

Ostler also had this one: “To invent a ballpark food. Perhaps something inspired by the turducken concept. Like, a churro inserted into a hot dog, inner-tube style, and the hot dog wrapped in a pizza. Churdogza. With a jalapeño hot-fudge ranch dip.”


Fishing


Meanwhile, columnist Dave Barry of the Miami Herald was wrapping up 2018 as only he is capable of doing. It’s all right here.


Are you old enough to remember when an NHL outdoor game was a big deal? Did you even realize that two teams — without going on the Internet, I couldn’t tell you which two — are playing somewhere outdoors today? . . . And now we hear that the NHL is expected to announce that Mosaic Stadium in Regina will be the site of a couple of games next season, one featuring the Winnipeg Jets against the Calgary Flames, with the Pats to play someone, likely the Moose Jaw Warriors, perhaps the day after the NHL game. . . . Sorry, but I just can’t get excited about this stuff. . . . Hey, wasn’t Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post writing about this a year or more ago?


Security


If ever there was a case for the WHL to get rid of the loser points, it is being made right whlnow in the Central Division. . . . Let’s check the standings. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings are 20-12-7, which means they have 20 victories and 19 losses. They also are in first place, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and three up on the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge is 19-10-7, meaning it has 19 victories and 17 losses. . . . Red Deer, meanwhile, is 21-12-2, so has 21 victories and 14 losses. . . . In other words, the team with the most victories and the fewest losses is in third place. . . . Of course, Red Deer holds a game in hand on Lethbridge and four on Edmonton. . . . Still, the loser point’s time is up. Please!



Happy New Year and thanks to all you for stopping off and hanging out in these parts in 2019. If you are so inclined, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and follow the instructions. Thank you, in advance.


MacBeth

F Miles Koules (Medicine Hat, Portland, 2012-15) has been released after an unsuccessful tryout with HIFK Helsinki (Finland, Liiga). He had two goals in 13 games. Earlier, he was pointless in two games with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL). . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has been released by the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had four goals and six assists in 14 games. . . . Earlier this season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), and three goals and three assists in six games with Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL).


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars, battered and bruised from a brutal schedule, have added D PrinceGeorgeCole Beamin, 17, to their roster. . . . In 28 games with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Saskatoon native has two goals and an assist. . . . Beamin was pointless in two games with the Cougars last season. He played two seasons with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts before joining the Hawks. . . . Beamin was a second-round selection by the Cougars in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Cougars, who are 1-7-0 on an 11-game road trip, will play the Rockets in Kelowna on Wednesday.


The Calgary Hitmen continue to play musical goaltenders as they fill the back up spot Calgarybehind Jack McNaughton, who is seeing the bulk of the action with Carl Stankowski on the shelf with an ankle injury. . . . On Sunday, the Hitmen had Brayden Peters of the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes on the bench during a 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. With Peters returning to the Hurricanes, who are playing in the Mac’s tournament in Calgary, the Hitmen now have added Ethan Hein of the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires to their roster. Hein, 16, is from Saskatoon, and was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen acquired him in a Nov. 25, 2017, deal in which seven players and two bantam draft picks changed hands. . . . Calgary is at home to the Victoria Royals this afternoon.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey scored three times to lead the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-1 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (20-8-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Brandon (15-14-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Warriors had beaten the Wheat Kings, 6-2, in Brandon on Sunday. . . . This was the fourth game in five nights for both clubs. Moose Jaw went 3-0-1; Brandon finished 0-4-0. . . . Last night, D Chase Hartje (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 10:31 of the first period. . . . Tracey, who has 14 goals, tied it at 11:54. . . . He gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 5:07 of the second, then added insurance, on a PP, at 5:45 of the third. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old from Calgary, was a first-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He had two assists in five games with Moose Jaw last season. This season, he has 38 points in 34 games. . . . This was his first career hat trick and his second multi-goal game. . . . G Connor Ungar, 16, made his first WHL start for the Wheat Kings after coming on in relief and stopping nine of 10 shots in the third period of a 6-2 loss to the visiting Warriors on Sunday. Ungar finished this one with 24 saves. He plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . Brandon F Linden McCorrister returned after a two-game absence, but D Schael Higson was scratched. That left Brandon with two 20-year-olds. . . . Brandon Crowe, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, tweeted before the game that he was told Higson’s absence was a “coach’s decision . . . he did not make the trip.” . . . F Stelio Mattheos, who leads Brandon in goals, assists and points, sat out the third of a three-game WHL-issued suspension.


The Victoria Royals coughed up a 3-1 lead and then needed OT to beat the Kootenay Ice, VictoriaRoyals4-3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Victoria (18-14-1) is 2-1-0 on a six-game Central Division tour. . . . Kootenay (8-24-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Dino Kambeitz (6) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 8:46 of the first period. . . . F Davis Murray (6) tied it at 17:01. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (18) put the Royals ahead at 4:15 of the second period and F Kaid Oliver (16) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 6:17. . . . Kootenay tied it on goals from F Brad Ginnell (9), at 15:28 of the second, and D Dallas Hines (4), at 3:37 of the third. . . . The Royals won it when D-Jay Jerome scored his 15th goal of the season, on a breakaway at 3:37 of OT. . . . The Ice opened the game with the first four shots on goal, but then surrendered 15 in a row. . . . Victoria finished with a 52-29 edge in shots, including 5-1 in OT, as they set a Royals franchise record for shots in one game. The previous record (50) was set on Jan. 14, 2012, in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. (The franchise record of 68 was set by the Chilliwack Bruins in a 4-3 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland. G Kurtis Mucha stopped 65 shots for Portland.) . . . G Jesse Makaj, who was named the Ice’s player of the month for December, finished with 48 saves, 22 more than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . Kootenay was credited with wining 49 of 80 faceoffs. . . . The Ice had both Ginnell and F Peyton Krebs in the lineup. Ginnell wasn’t suspended after taking a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jordy Bellerive doing an 8-4 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. Bellerive wasn’t injured on the play; in fact, he picked up an assist on a goal just 45 seconds later. . . . Krebs left Saturday’s game late in the third period.


F Ryan Hughes had a goal and three assists to help the host Portland Winterhawks to a 6-Portland3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (21-11-5) has points in six straight (3-0-3). . . . Seattle (11-19-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Seattle actually took a 3-1 lead into the second period on two goals by F Zack Andrusiak and one from F Tyler Carpendale (4). . . . Andrusiak, who has 27 goals, has 12 goals and two assists in six games against Portland this season. He has scored six times over the past two games. . . . Hughes, who had the third four-point game of his career, scored his 17th goal, on a PP, for Portland’s first tally. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals (34) and points (72), pulled Portland even by scoring twice, at 0:39 and 5:59 of the second period, the second goal coming on a PP. . . . F Michal Kvasnica (5) snapped the tie at 8:56, and D Jared Freadrich (5) added insurance, on a PP, at 16:09. . . . F Seth Jarvis (8) got Portland’s final goal, at 8:03 of the third period. . . . Freadrich also had two assists, and Blichfeld added one. . . . Portland was 3-6 on the PP; Seattle was 1-7. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Kvasnica at 13:28 of the second period. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman was given a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jake Gricius at 8:55 of the third period. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley and D John Ludvig, both of whom are serving suspensions, and D Brendan De Jong (concussion). . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk was scratched. Quigley drew a TBD suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Hamaliuk in Portland’s 8-6 victory over Seattle in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . Seattle opens an East Division trip in Brandon on Saturday, while Portland begins its swing in Swift Current that same night. It remains to be seen who will be missing from both teams due to suspensions and injuries.


The Tri-City Americans scored three times while shorthanded en route to a 6-1 victory tri-cityover the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (19-13-2) had dropped a 2-1 decision in Spokane on Sunday night. . . . The Chiefs (20-13-4) are third in the U.S. Division, four points ahead of the Americans who hold three games in hand. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund got the Americans started with his first goal of the season — in his 22nd game — at 6:58 of the first period. . . . D Jarod Newell made it 2-0 with his first WHL goal — in his 21st game — just 44 seconds later. . . . F Kyle Olson (9) upped the lead to 3-0 at 17:45. . . . The Americans put it away with three shorthanded goals — F Parker AuCoin had two of them, with F Blake Stevenson (7) adding the other. . . . AuCoin now has 20 goals, one shy of his career high from 2016-17. . . . F Jake McGrew (13) scored for Spokane at 19:30 of the third period. . . . Olson had two assists and AuCoin one as both had three-point games. . . . G Arnold Campbell, who plays for the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs by playing the third period. He stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 22 shots to record the victory. . . . D Nolan Reid of the Chiefs played in his 301st regular-season game. He got to No. 300 — 138 with the Chiefs after playing 162 with the Saskatoon Blades — on Sunday.


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Scattershooting after a football-filled Sunday . . . Peckford and Franklin enjoy five-pointers . . . Woods fills his hat for Chiefs

Scattershooting


It won’t be long until the Oakland Raiders are at their new home in Las Vegas. As Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle noted: “Usually when a high-rolling loser comes to Vegas, the casinos set him up with a comp hotel room. With (owner Mark) Davis, they’re giving him a comp stadium.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Sarah Huckabee Sanders Denies Doctoring Footage Showing Jim Acosta in Clown Makeup Blowing Up Gotham Hospital.



After word got out that President Trump was to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley, comedian Argus Hamilton noted: “It was a brilliant move. Trump finally figured out a way to get a sports champion and a member of the entertainment industry not to refuse an invitation to the White House.”


The ex-husband of a good friend died recently. Here’s a line from his obit: “If you wish to honour Rod, boycott Trump by avoiding a trip into the United States. Now that would make him happy.” . . . They — he and his ex, not he and Trump — were friends until the end.


Headline at Deadspin: Most annoying Warriors player says he and second-most annoying Warriors player are cool now.



“Supporters of Rijnsburgse Boys, a soccer team in the Netherlands, hired a porn star named Foxy to run in nothing but shoes and socks across the field to unnerve rival Amsterdamsche FC players, but it didn’t work as first-place AFC breezed to a 6-2 win,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Now that’s what you call a losing streak.”


There was a report the other day that American CEOs earn 312 times what the average worker takes home. To which Brad Rock of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City wrote: “Latrell Sprewell’s first thought: ‘Hey. They got families to feed.’ ”



The best sit-down/stand-up comedy act in the NHL? That’s easy . . . it’s the play-by-play team of Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, who give you the most-slanted coverage of an NHL team (Boston Bruins) that you can imagine. . . . Go in knowing what you are going to hear and the whining and whimpering becomes hilarious.



Slava Malamud, aka Twitter’s official Russian sports writer, tweeted this the other day, and it’s impossible to disagree with his premise: “Do any fans, ever, in the history of life, look forward to between-the-periods player interviews? Do you learn anything from them? Are they in any way whatsoever needed at all?”



The owner of Benshot, a Wisconsin company, chose to offer handguns to its 16 employees as Christmas presents because they are “kind of fun and exciting gifts.” . . . Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, offered: “And you thought your office Christmas party got out of control after people get drunk and argumentative.”


Ever wonder what the late Howard Cosell would have thought of today’s sports-media landscape? “He would hate social media,” said Al Michaels, NBC-TV’s top football play-by-play man. “He would hate talk radio. . . . He would describe it as a ‘cacophony of crap.’ ”


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Austyn Playfair spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL, playing for the Tri-City Americans, while dreaming of following his father Jim’s path to the NHL. However, a shoulder injury derailed those plans and he ultimately left hockey and jumped into the world of fashion design. . . . Audrey Lim of dailyhive.com has that story right here.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit fired head coach Troy Smith on Sunday, replacing him with associate coach Chris Lazary. The Spirit is 11-9-2, after losing twice on the weekend — 5-2 to the Rangers in Kitchener on Friday and 5-1 to the visiting Windsor Spitfires on Saturday. Saginaw is tied for second with Windsor (11-10-2) in the five-team West Division, six points behind the Soo Greyhounds. . . . Smith was in his second season as the Spirit’s head coach.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ryan Peckford scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to MooseJawWarriorsa 9-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Warriors (10-5-4) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Ice (7-14-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Ice went 0-2-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. Kootenay lost 5-0 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday night, then dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors scored the game’s first four goals as they took a 4-0 lead on Peckford’s second goal of the game at 12:17 of the opening period. . . . He added his third and fourth goals at 5:05 and 10:56 of the second period. . . . Peckford went into the game with four goals this season and came out with eight. This was his first four-goal game and second five-point outing; he had a six-pointer (one goal and five assists) while with the Victoria Royals in 2016-17. A 19-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., who was acquired last season from the Royals, Peckford now has eight goals and eight assists in 18 games. . . . F Tyler Smithies added his first two goals and an assist for the Warriors. He went into the day with one goal in 54 career regular-season games. . . . The Ice’s goal came from F Owen Pederson, who has goals in two straight games since being brought in Saturday from OHA-Edmonton’s prep team. . . . Moose Jaw had a 43-20 edge in shots. . . . The Ice scratched F Peyton Krebs, while the Warriors remain without F Justin Almeida.


F Zane Franklin scored once and added four assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 Kamloops1victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . The Blazers (8-9-2) have won two in a row. On Saturday night, they beat the host Cougars, 5-1. . . . Prince George (9-10-3) has lost two straight. . . . The Blazers have won their last eight games in Prince George. . . . Franklin, an off-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, assisted on four of the Blazers’ first five goals as they took a 5-0 lead before the second period was 14 minutes old. . . . Franklin, 19, had never had a four- or five-point game in 155 regular-season outings prior to this one. He had three three-point games to his credit. Franklin now has 14 goals and 11 assists in 19 games. He finished last season with 14 goals and 24 assists in 67 games. . . . The Blazers were 2-3 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. The Cougars went 1-9 on the PP. . . . F Orrin Centazzo and F Luc Smith each had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, with D Nolan Kneen and D Luke Zazula each recording three assists for the Blazers. Smith has eight goals, while Centazzo has four.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last three goals as they skated to a 3-1 victory over VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Victoria (12-6-0) has won two in a row. This was the Royals’ fifth road game of the season; they are 3-2-0. . . . The Giants (14-6-2) have lost two straight. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (2) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Logan Doust (1) got Victoria into a tie at 7:43, and F D-Jay Jerome (11) broke the tie at 13:12. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (4) added insurance with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:47 of the third. . . . Doust, who notched his first WHL point, is from North Vancouver. . . . The Giants had been 9-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal. . . . The Royals got 28 saves from G Griffen Outhouse as he posted his 98th career regular-season victory. . . . Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 22 shots. . . . Outhouse made his 165th appearance, which tied Coleman Vollrath’s franchise record (2012-16) for most appearances by a goaltender.


F Riley Woods scored three times to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-2 OT victory over the SpokaneChiefshost Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane now is 12-8-3, with Everett at 16-7-1. . . . Woods, who has 18 goals, opened the scoring with two PP goals — at 6:24 and 8:42 of the first period. . . . Everett pulled even on goals from D Wyatte Wylie (5), on a PP, at 11:15 of the first, and F Dawson Butt (5) at 6:00 of the second. . . . Woods won it at 2:27 of the extra period as he completed his first WHL hat trick. . . . Woods, who was acquired from the Regina Pats during 2016-17, has 18 goals and 15 assists in 23 games. Last season, the 20-year-old from Regina finished with 25 goals and 32 assists in 72 games. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 38 shots and picked up an assist on the game’s first goal for Spokane. . . . D Ty Smith had two assists for the Chiefs; he’s got three goals and 28 assists in 20 games. . . . For the second straight weekend, Everett played three games in fewer than 48 hours. After going 3-0-0 the first time, the Silvertips were 1-1-1 this time. . . . The Chiefs also went three times in fewer than 48 hours this weekend, finishing 2-1-0.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday: Boxberger tops . . . Will you pay for Phil vs. Tiger? . . . Regina has had quite a year

Scattershooting

“When I heard the Leafs had signed Hayley Wickenheiser,” writes Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, “my first thought was, ‘She doesn’t play defence, does she?’ ”


No, I’m not a fan of MLB’s players’ weekend in which players are outfitted in (in some cases) horrid-looking uniforms and allowed to put nicknames on the namebars. But Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Brad Boxberger gets full marks for having fun with it.


“Semi-retired Chris Berman could return to ESPN in a reduced role on ‘SportsCenter’ and NFL-related programming, the New York Post reported,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In other words, Berman might be . . . nah, too easy.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com had this take: “Chris Berman reportedly may return to ESPN, but only in a reduced role. So he . . . won’t . . . go . . . all . . . the . . . way!”


Perry, again: “Corey Bellemore, winner of this year’s Beer Mile World Classic in Vancouver, B.C., was disqualified when race officials ruled he didn’t consume enough beer during the race’s four mandatory brew stops. It’s believed to be the first time in sports history in which a runner was stripped of his title for failing to fail a drug test.”



One more from Currie: “A golfer reportedly had a finger bitten off at the knuckle in a fight at a Massachusetts club. You can read about it in Golf Digits — er — Digest.”


I can agree with Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun on these items from his Sunday column: “Is there anything more ridiculous than the French Open banning Serena Williams’ tennis outfit? . . . Might be in the minority on this, but I wouldn’t pay 10 cents to watch Tiger Woods play Phil Mickelson head-to-head on pay-per-view.”


I have a feeling Simmons would agree with me when I say that there is something wrong about junior hockey teams playing games in August.


After Puerto Rico beat Canada, 9-4, eliminating the team from Whalley, B.C., at the Little League World Series, Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted: “Donald Trump said, ‘See, I told you Puerto Rico had power.’ ”



After Carmelo Anthony signed a one-year contract with the Houston Rockets, Janice Hough (aka The Left Coast Sports Babe) wrote: “This is great news for the Warriors, Lakers and Spurs.”


One more from Hough, who is at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Due to rule technicalities, Robinson Cano, returning from a 90-game PED suspension, is ineligible for any playoff games, while  Roberto Osuna, returning from a  75-game domestic violence suspension, is eligible. If Cano had only beaten his girlfriend instead of taking PEDs he could play in the postseason. Is this really how MLB wants to compete with the NFL?”


After Caesar’s Palace Sports Book in Vegas revealed that it had taken more bets on the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North than the other three division teams combined, Hough commented: “Beam me up, Scotty.”




Over the past four-plus years, former NBA star Kobe Bryant has invested US$6 million in BodyArmor, the producer of a sports drink. Sources have told ESPN that Bryant’s investment now is worth about US$200 million. . . . And how are your investments doing these days?


Receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has missed 56 of 96 NFL games, mainly due to drug-related suspensions. As old friend Jack Finarelli, who can be found at SportsCurmudgeon.com, noted: “To say that Gordon has had an ‘unorthodox career’ to date would be akin to saying that Frank Sinatra ‘could sing a little.’ ”


I will assume that you are familiar with the look on the face of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prior to the postgame interview. Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle describing it: “The dude at your gym waiting impatiently for you to get your wimpy ass off the bench-press machine.”


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It seems I got my minor midget and major midget Thompson Blazers hockey teams mixed up in this space on Saturday night. . . . The minor midget Blazers are a first-year team and will have Neil Pilon and Darryl Sydor on board as assistant coaches, alongside head coach Chris Murray, who is a former WHL/NHL skater. . . . Meanwhile, Carter Cochrane is the first-year head coach of the major midget Blazers. Mitchell Barker has returned as an assistant coach and is joined by James Friedel and Devin Gannon. . . . Apologies to all involved for the confusion.


The Moose Jaw Warriors played their annual Black-White game on Sunday at Mosaic Place to bring an end to their training camp. A tip of the fedora to the Warriors for keeping alive the memory of Ethan Brown.

If you aren’t aware of Ethan Williams, you should click right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


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