Scattershooting on a Thursday evening while wondering if Regina is Queen City of Distracted Driving . . .

Scattershooting


A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A pride of lions ate three poachers who broke into a South African game reserve to hunt rhinoceroses, Newsweek reported. This partial score just in: Lions 3, Raiders 0.”

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Here’s another report from Perry: “Heretofore doughy Phil Mickelson, via Twitter, after his sister posted a beach photo in which the golfer looks absolutely ripped: ‘FYI, those weird bumps on the side of my stomach we’ve never seen before, Doc called them obliques and said it’s nothing to worry about.’ ”



Las Vegas bookies have had the most early NFL action on the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns. That resulted in this from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “There’s a reason they’ve been able to afford to build all those amazing resorts.”


Department of Pet Peeves — A couple of submissions from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon: 1. “People who refer to something as ‘very unique’ or ‘rather unique.’ Unique doesn’t take modifiers easily; something is either ‘unique’ or it is not. . . . 2. Imply’ and ‘infer’ aren’t synonyms and cannot be used interchangeably.


ParallelParking


Congrats to old friend Jim Swanson and the Victoria HarbourCats, who have led baseball’s West Coast League in attendance for a sixth straight season. The HarbourCats had 27 home games in 2019, and drew 62,400 fans for an average of 2,311 per game. Throw in five non-league games, an exhibition game and three playoff games and the total is 79,737. . . . Swanson, a long-time newspaper man before his life-long love affair with baseball took him to Victoria, is the HarbourCats’ managing partner and general manager.


It is embarrassing the way Canada’s two sports networks treat MLB fans . . .

On Monday night, TSN scheduled a doubleheader, with the second game to have started three hours after the first one began. Unfortunately for fans, both were ESPN games and ESPN telecasts never end in less than three hours. . . . Of course, TSN does have a bunch of channels — five of them in my house — so when the first game runs late you are free to wonder why the second game doesn’t start on another channel, like maybe the one that was showing Sports Centre? . . . Sorry, but I didn’t hang around for Yankees and Mariners, the second game, on Monday night. Instead, it was over to the Diamondbacks and Giants with Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, two broadcasters who get it right.

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One night later, it was Sportsnet’s turn. On this night, Yankees and Mariners were joined in progress at 8:05 p.m. PT, about an hour after the game had started. . . . There are eight Sportsnet channels on my package — the World Poker Tour was on two of them, Highlights of the Night was on one and Sportsnet Central was on five. . . . No sense treating baseball fans with a modicum of respect and putting the Yankees and Mariners on one of those eight channels at 7 p.m. PT. . . . On top of all that, Sportsnet showed Yankees-Mariners highlights before joining the game in progress at 8:05 p.m., with the New Yorkers leading, 5-0, in the top of the third. . . . Hey, Sporstnet, thanks for the poke in the eye. . . . Hey, Sportsnet, I went back to Twins at White Sox, then to Diamondbacks at Giants.


treadmill


ICYMI, Sportsnet dumped Nick Kypreos, John Shannon and Doug MacLean from its NHL coverage this week. Don’t worry, though, because Don Cherry still is there, as is Brian Burke. . . . Daren Millard, who was shown the door by Sportsnet last August, was named to the Vegas Golden Knights’ TV team on Thursday.


ICYMI Part 2 . . . Stu MacGregor, who lost his job as the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager after the WHL’s 2018-19 season, now is the Victoria Royals’ western senior regional scout. Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, dumped MacGregor in a major reshuffling of deck chairs, and added him to the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, his other toy, er, team. . . . MacGregor lasted one season with the Stars before moving on down the road.


Another WHL note . . . Each August, Alan Caldwell compiles, or attempts to compile, training camp rosters, puts them on spreadsheets, and makes them available to fans. On top of that, he adds and deletes as teams make player moves. . . . After the Kelowna Rockets informed him earlier this week that they wouldn’t be making a roster available, someone in the Little Apple took photos of a roster— it included last names only — that was posted in the arena and got them to Caldwell. He then was able to put together the Rockets roster that is right here. . . . The surprising thing about all of this is that there was someone in the arena in Kelowna who apparently isn’t part of Bruce Hamilton’s choir.

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Why would a WHL team choose not to release a training camp roster? Other than shortsightedness, who knows? . . . There was a time, more than 20 years ago, when WHL teams sometimes had players in camp under assumed names — hello, Bob Bell! hey there, Connor McRae! — supposedly to allow said players to try to protect their NCAA eligibility. Those days are over, though, so who knows what they’re afraid of in Kelowna? . . . It is interesting, though, that the WHL has established standards for the arenas in which its teams play — resulting in some cities having to purchase and install new boards, glass and score clocks with video boards — but doesn’t have any standards for something as simple as the releasing of training camp rosters.


Hey, Regina . . . Do the math: 910 x $280 is a lot of dough. My wife, Dorothy, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She is getting ready to take part in her sixth Kidney Walk. Had each of you donated $100 to support her — you can do so right here — you would have saved yourself a lot of money and gotten an income tax receipt. . . . BTW, when did Reginans become wealthy enough to throw away money in this fashion? . . . I wonder if Regina’s distracted drivers are aware that there isn’t a prize for No. 1,000?


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Scattershooting on a Sunday while wondering if Kawhi will be able to survive financially in L.A. . . .

Scattershooting

While Pittsburgh was playing the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on May 25, Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli was struck on the chin by a piece off a broken back. He hasn’t played since. Now he says he’s through catching thanks to what was the sixth diagnosed concussion of his MLB career. . . . “That’s enough,” Cervelli, 33, told DKPittsburghSports.com on Sunday. “This time is different. I can’t live like this.”


I keep reading about how Kawhi Leonard left a few dollars on the table when he left the Toronto Raptors for the Los Angeles Clippers. Apparently, he signed for US$142 million over four years, when he could have stayed in Toronto for US$190 million over five years. While I understand the cost of housing is high in L.A., leaving that money on the table doesn’t mean that Leonard will be homeless, does it?


KidsMeal


The Curse of Hammy? Is it only a coincidence that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are 1-3 — with the lone victory over the woeful Toronto Argonauts — since someone made the horrible decision not to bring back Ian Hamilton for a third season as their senior reporter?

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Of course, Saskatchewan football fans have been so wrapped up in the appearance of a giant gopher that they may not realize that their favourite team is struggling.

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Patti Dawn Swansson (aka The River City Renegade) got in on the gopher madness with: “Summer swathing and happy banjo plucking came to a halt on the Flattest of Lands last week, after Gainer the Gopher went missing and was feared to be lost in a corn maze or abducted by body-snatching aliens. Left behind was a hairball that looked like Chucky’s pet rodent.”

There’s a whole lot more right here.



Congrats to the Victoria HarbourCats for grabbing a West Coast League playoff spot with an 8-1 victory over the visiting Bellingham Bells on Sunday afternoon. The HarbourCats, who will be in the post-season for the third time in four seasons, finished atop the North Division, winning the first-half title at 18-10. The lost left Bellingham at 16-11. . . . There still are rumblings that the WCL is working to get a franchise into Kamloops, but has yet to find a baseball fan with deep enough pockets to get involved.


RippedPants


It was on July 4, 1939, when Lou Gehrig stood at home plate in Yankee Stadium and spoke about being the “luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Now, 80 years later, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot writes of that speech: “Words that still resonate . . . In another 80 years will anything a current athlete says be remembered?”


Here’s what Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun wrote about Don Cherry this weekend:

“One thing that hasn’t been confirmed for the next season of Hockey Night In Canada: the return of Don Cherry and Coach’s Corner. Rogers is cutting all over the place, which included the removal of Bob McCown on radio and television and Doug MacLean doing the same. Cherry is handsomely compensated for his work. Not sure if this is a place they want to go with the 85-year-old.”

Nothing definitive in any of that, but, oh boy, did the stuff hit the fan on social media. Gotta think the split was about 50-50, too, on whether folks want Grapes back on their TV sets.

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The debate even morphed into whether Don Cherry should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. I’m thinking if he’s in, Paul Henderson is, too.


OrganDonation2


Dorothy, my wife of more than 47 years, is preparing to take part in her sixth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 22. She also is one of the Walk’s organizers and a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. Oh, and she also helps organize a Christmas luncheon for dialysis patients, transplant recipients and kidney donors. . . . If you’re new here, she had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and she wants to give something back. . . . If you would like to help out, you are able to make a donation right here.


Scattershooting on a Tuesday as we await the start of a playoff game . . .

Scattershooting

For the second straight season, the Victoria HarbourCats of baseball’s West Coast League will be giving away a funeral package as an in-game promotion. The lucky winner gets a package that includes a will, investment/insurance advice and a funeral. The big day is June 26 when the Wenatchee AppleSox are to provide the opposition. . . . No, you don’t have to use it, especially the last part, that very day.


Laughjoggers


With the Kelowna Rockets having missed the WHL playoffs — for only the second time since they moved from Tacoma to the Okanagan for the 1995-96 season — there are a lot of hockey people looking on with a great deal of interest and wondering how Bruce Hamilton, the team’s president and general manager, will turn the team into a Memorial Cup contender in time to host the 2020 tournament.


“I’ll concede Duke star RJ Barrett of Canada is an outstanding basketball player,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “That said, what kind of goof goes by the name RJ?”

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One more from Currie: “Reuters reports a South African sow that creates paintings which sell for up to $4,000 has been named Pigcasso. I was thinking Francis Bacon, Ham Gogh or Porkelangelo.”



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had a hot take on Pacman Jones the other day. Here is part of it:

“A couple of weeks ago, Pacman Jones was arrested at an Indiana gaming casino on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation and resisting arrest. . . .

“I have lost count of the number of times that Pacman Jones has been arrested for a wide variety of improprieties to include things like disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault and — my favorite one — ‘felony assault with a bodily substance’ that was a result of him spitting on a police officer.  To date, none of those charges has resulted in any significant spans of jail-time . . .

“Jones’ most infamous brush with the law involved his presence at a Las Vegas strip club where he proceeded to ‘make it rain.’ That evidently created a scuffle that resulted in gunfire that resulted in multiple people being wounded. Jones got a suspended sentence out of that mess and lost a big civil suit to two of the wounded individuals. Believe it or not, that was more than a decade ago. Time flies when you are having fun.”

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The Sports Curmudgeon was at his best on Tuesday when he posted a piece that he chose to headline: Operation Varsity Blues. . . . Let me tell you, he is at his best — that means curmudgeonly with a good dose of sarcasm — in this one as he writes about “the college admissions/bribery scandal.” . . . You are able to read all of it right here.


Headline at TheOnion.com: NCAA launches investigation into why it wasn’t making millions off recent college-admissions scandal.


IHOP


“UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo resigned after he was indicted for allegedly taking $200,000 in bribes in a fraudulent college-admissions scheme,”  notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “That’s what he gets for using his hands.”

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Perry, again: “New Denver DB Pacman Jones was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation and resisting arrest at an Indiana casino. In other words, Chargers 4, Broncos 0.”



Australia has banned any visitor with a domestic violence charge on their record from entering the country. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “Well, there go any potential plans for NFL Australia.”


ICYMI, Barack Obama, the former U.S. president, filled out a March Madness bracket and has Duke winning it all. What about President Trump? Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong wrote: “Trump can’t decide between Trump U and the Electoral College.”

Hamilton plays big in Calgary . . . Ex-WHL player commits to U of North Dakota . . . Psst! Wanna win a funeral?


MacBeth

F Ryan Harrison (Prince Albert, Medicine Hat, Everett, 2007-13) signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL), he had 13 goals and 21 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Edgars Kulda (Edmonton, 2012-15) signed a tryout contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL), he had one goal in 31 games. . . .

F Kyle Chipchura (Prince Albert, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). Last season, with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL), he had five goals and six assists in 56 games. . . .

F Tim Bozon (Kamloops, Kootenay, 2011-15) signed a one-year plus option contract with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL A). Last season, with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A), he had seven goals and five assists in 44 games.


ThisThat

Steve Hamilton is back in the WHL, less than two months after leaving, this time as head coach of the Calgary Hitmen. The former Edmonton Oil Kings coach was introduced as Calgarythe 10th head coach in Calgary’s history on Tuesday morning.

The length of Hamilton’s contract wasn’t revealed, although it is a multi-year deal.

Hamilton replaces Dallas Ferguson, who left the Hitmen on June 26 after one season on staff. Ferguson cited family reasons in leaving Calgary. He has since surfaced as an assistant coach with the U of Denver Pioneers.

Hamilton, 44, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, four as an assistant coach and the last four as head coach. He helped the Oil Kings twice win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions (2012, 2014) and to a Memorial Cup title in 2014.

Hamilton and assistant coach Ryan Marsh were fired by the Oil Kings on May 29. Marsh has since signed on as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades.


With the Calgary Hitmen having hired Steve Hamilton as head coach, it means that eight of the WHL’s 22 teams will open the new season with head coaches who weren’t there when last season began.

To refresh your memory, here’s a look at the new guys, with the former head coaches in parentheses:

Calgary Hitmen — Steve Hamilton (Dallas Ferguson, assistant coach, U of Denver Pioneers).

Edmonton Oil Kings — Brad Lauer (Steve Hamilton, head coach, Calgary Hitmen).

Kamloops Blazers — Serge Lajoie (Don Hay, now an advisor with the Blazers).

Regina Pats — Dave Struch (John Paddock, remains general manager).

Saskatoon Blades — Mitch Love (Dean Brockman, director of hockey operations and head coach, Swift Current Broncos).

Swift Current Broncos — Dean Brockman (Manny Viveiros, assistant coach, Edmonton Oilers).

Tri-City Americans — Kelly Buchberger (Mike Williamson).

Vancouver Giants — Michael Dyck (Jason McKee).

Of those eight coaches, four — Hamilton, Struch, Love and Brockman — were working in the WHL last season.


The Medicine Hat Tigers made official Tuesday what you’ve been reading about here for RyanSmitha couple of days — they have added Ryan Smith to their coaching staff. . . . Smith, 44, spent the past three seasons as associate coach with the Swift Current Broncos, helping them win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions last season. He left the Broncos after Dean Brockman was named director of hockey operations and head coach. . . . With the Tigers, Smith fills the void created when assistant coach Bobby Fox was named director of player personnel to replace Carter Sears.


After one season with the Vancouver Giants, Dean Chynoweth has signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . Chynoweth, 49, was the associate coach with the Giants last season, after not coaching in 2016-17. . . . Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche affiliates in Cleveland and San Antonio for four seasons (2012-16). . . . He was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders for three seasons (2009-12). . . . He has other WHL experience, having coached the Seattle Thunderbirds (2000-04) and Swift Current Broncos (2004-09). He was also the general manager in Swift Current. . . . In Carolina, Chynoweth will be working with head coach Rod Brind’Amour and assistant coach Jeff Daniels.


F Murphy Stratton, who played 45 games with the Calgary Hitmen in 2016-17, has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. . . . Stratton, from Los Angeles, will turn 19 on Oct. 3. Last season, he had 16 goals and 37 assists in 54 games with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. . . . But, wait, doesn’t he lose his NCAA eligibility after playing in the WHL? . . . “NCAA bylaws mandate that playing a single game in the WHL will lead to, at a minimum, a loss of one full year of eligibility,” writes Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald. . . . According to Schlossman, Stratton now has committed to UND and been told by the NCAA that the penalty for those 45 WHL games will be “one year and seven games.” . . . The plan is to spend another season with Wenatchee and then join UND for 2019-20, although he won’t be able to play until the eight game of the 2020-21 season. . . . Stratton was selected by the Hitmen in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He had one goal and three assists in those 45 WHL games. . . . Schlossman’s story is right here.


The Victoria HarbourCats of baseball’s West Coast League are at home to the Corvallis Knights tonight (Wednesday). But the game almost will be secondary to the promotion, harbourcatsand isn’t that often the case in minor league baseball, which is something to which major junior hockey teams should be paying more attention. . . . You see, they are giving away a funeral package at tonight’s game. Yes, they are. . . . Jim Swanson, the former sports editor of the Prince George Citizen, now is the HarbourCats’ managing partner. . . . “He’s the one who came up with the idea of holding a prize draw for a funeral package,” writes Jack Knox, the Victoria Times Colonist’s terrific columnist. “Actually, he borrowed the notion (or, more accurately, stole it like Ricky Henderson) after googling weird and wonderful promotions when he became the team’s general manager in 2014.” . . . As Knox points out, though, there also is a serious side to Swanson’s idea. “When Swanson’s uncle drowned off Salt Spring Island a year and a half ago, the grieving family had the additional burden of figuring out what to do in the absence of a will or other arrangements. “He did not have his affairs in order,” Swanson says. So, the draw (fans just have to fill out an entry form at the game) is a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder to prepare for what, ready or not, awaits us all.” . . . Still, this is a promotion that fits right in what all the wonderful and whacky things that go on in minor league baseball. . . . Knox’s column is right here.



I was fortunate enough to get into the newspaper business when there really were ink-stained wretches on the job. I worked two years at the Brandon Sun before the computer-age came along. By the time computers arrived, I was at the Winnipeg Tribune. Yes, there were veteran newspaper people there who thought computers were just a passing fad. . . . Anyway, back in the day it really was a different era, one that was full of characters. . . . The Los Angeles Times is in the process of moving its offices and Bryan Curtis of The Ringer recently took a tour of the old place and offers up some memories of what used to be. It’s all right here.


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