The highlight of TSN's free-agent frenzy on Thursday came when host James Duthie reported that Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter was on the verge of bringing back forward Olli Jokinen. Every single panelist admitted to being flabbergasted. And then Duthie added that negotiations to bring back Joel Otto were continuing. . . . To which someone was heard to say: “They'd be better off with Otto.” . . . Once Jokinen’s signing — two years, US$6 million — had been confirmed, the usually verbose Pierre McGuire uttered: “I'm speechless. This is bizarro-world.” . . . Here’s Allan Maki of The Globe and Mail, who works out of Calgary: "If the Flames brought back Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen, and also made a pass for Marc Savard, what's their next move? Bringing back Jim Peplinski and Joel Otto? The Pengrowth Saddleome is now the place where original thinking goes to die. Probably the Flames, too.” . . .
Russell Martin, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ catcher, got thrown out at second base to end a recent game and then he was ejected. Here’s how the incomparable Vin Scully called it: “Russell Martin has just gotten thrown out of the game, but there's no game for him to be thrown out of." . . . TV’s Jon Stewart, who obviously is a comedian: "If we win the World Cup, the whole rest of the world has to then refer to the sport as soccer." . . . The Americans, of course, won’t win, so we won’t have to concern ourselves with that. . . . After last Saturday’s soccer games had ended, CBC-TV switched over to a newscast. Right off the top there was video showing police cars burning in the streets of Toronto. For just a split second, I thought the Maple Leafs had won the Stanley Cup. . . .
You may have heard that Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita received more than 1,000 death threats, via email, after getting red-carded out of a World Cup loss. “The good news,” noted Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen, “is none of them asked for his bank-account number.” . . . "World Cup officials won't say if replay is part of the sport's future after a couple of embarrassing mistakes were made in this year's tournament," wrote Budd Bailey of the Buffalo News. "However, referees are being taught to say 'After further review, the play stands' in two dozen different languages." . . . Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “France's soccer team, which didn't exactly bathe itself in glory at this year's World Cup, flew home to the small Bourget airport and avoided fans and media by slipping out a side gate. In other words, the Chumps d'Elysées parade route.” . . .
Headline on the front page of the New York Post, after the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup: This sport is stupid anyway. . . . The world is a poorer place with the recent death of former NBAer Manute Bol, who tried so hard to fix all that ails his home country of Sudan. But back in 1983 the San Diego Clippers were prevented from selecting Bol in the NBA’s 1983 draft. According to the NBA, documents showed that the 7-foot-6 Bol was too young. Former Clippers head coach Jim Lyman told Sports Illustrated: "The NBA used his passport to say that he was only 19 years old. His passport also said he was 5 feet 2. Manute said he was sitting down when he was measured." . . .
Jerry Greene, at ESPN.com: “The Trail Blazers fired GM Kevin Pritchard but asked him to hang around and do their NBA Draft. . . . ‘And with the 22nd pick in the NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select . . . Megan Fox.’ ” . . . Blogger R.J. Currie notes: “Twitter went down for about three hours last week. So for three hours a lot of people with nothing to do were upset they had nobody to tell about it.” . . . The Left Coast Sports Babe, it turns out, is following the World Cup. “The Nigerian president suspended their national soccer team for two years for their dismal performance,” she writes. “Meanwhile, at the University of Michigan, football coach Rich Rodriguez is hoping the university president doesn’t hear about this.” . . .
After someone from ESPN asked New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni to explain the team’s sales pitch to LeBron James, he replied: "You mean after the groveling?" . . . Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “LeBron James and Chris Bosh, both of them, together with Dwyane Wade? Turning every Heat game into an event? Making Miami the new epicenter of the NBA for years? Catholics have flocked to confession for thoughts involving far less greed and gluttony than that.” . . . Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs may want to make their way to Lethbridge today because one of their players will have the Stanley Cup there for the day. Kris Versteeg, who did a 14-game stint with the Kamloops Blazers in 2005-06 , was dealt by the Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks to the Leafs on Wednesday night. And it’s his day with the Cup today. . . .
Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “John Wooden had a favorite Chinese restaurant. The owner asked permission to use some of the coach's famous words of wisdom in fortune cookies. Wooden said sure and refused to take any money from the man. One day one of Wooden's grandkids cracked open a couple of fortune cookies and said, ‘Paw-paw, now I know where you got all those sayings!’ ” . . . We close with this from The Wisdom of Wooden, the final book written by the legendary basketball coach who died at the age of 99 on June 4: "Love is the greatest word in the English dictionary. What joy it brings. We should all say it more with those we love. Please don't be shy about it." . . . Think about that while you enjoy the weekend.
Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his blog at gdrinnan.blogspot.com. Keeping Score appears Saturdays.