The helicopters, boss. It was the helicopters. That’s how tight end Visanthe Shiancoe figured out that quarterback Brett Favre was on his way back to the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp facility in Eden Prairie. “I figured that out when I left the facility and saw the helicopters,” Shiancoe told Sirius NFL Radio. “Either they were chasing O.J. again, or Brett’s back.” . . . Former NFL head coach Jimmy Johnson, in conversation with the ESPN radio outlet in Orlando, Fla., on the Vikings’ pursuit of Favre: “You sacrifice so much of the team concept when you make so many concessions for one player. It’s almost like he’s the savior and if he doesn’t carry us to the promised land, then the rest of them aren’t going to be able to do it. Some of the other players have to be saying, ‘What about me?’ ” . . .
After Roger (Misremember) Clemens was indicted on perjury charges, the Left Coast Sports Babe wondered: “When will they ever learn? You just cannot get away with lying in Washington unless you’ve been elected.” . . . Just how excited do you think NHL owners are to have Donald Fehr taking over the NHL Players Association? Yes, this is going to be fun to watch, if Fehr and the NHLPA can ever get a deal done. . . . Forward Malcolm Gwilliam of Kamloops has signed to play this season with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, who play out of Boise. Gwilliam, 25, played five games with the ECHL’s Reading Royals last season after finishing his four-year career at Michigan Tech as the Huskies’ captain. . . . Meanwhile, forward Troy Ofukany, who also is from Kamloops, has re-signed with the Central league’s Odessa Jackalopes. They picked him up last season from the Wichita Thunder. . . . Tyson Gillies, the outfielder from Kamloops who was charged with possession of cocaine last week in Clearwater, Fla., remains in Clearwater where he continues to work on rehabbing the hamstring injury to his left leg that has cost him most of this season. As he says, he is “focusing on getting my leg back strong and healthy.” He also has chatted with former major league pitcher Dickie Noles, who works with the Philadelphia Phillies as a consultant who counsels players on the dangers of booze and drugs. . . .
Rooney Mara has been selected to play the role of Lisbeth Salander in Hollywood’s version of the Stieg Larsson best-seller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She is the granddaughter of the late Wellington Mara, who owned the NFL’s New York Giants, and the niece of John Mara, presently a Giants co-owner. . . . I don’t know what Hollywood will come up with, but the Swedish version, which was directed by Niels Arden Opley, was terrific. . . . Ron Judd, in the Seattle Times: “South Korea has blocked North Korea’s new Twitter account from being accessed in the South. North Korea is expected to retaliate by tying South Korea’s shoelaces to a desk when it is not looking.” . . . One more from Judd: “China has surpassed Japan to claim the world’s second-largest economy. They now trail only the Tulalip Tribes.” . . .
Was there anything sadder this baseball season than watching the once-fiery Lou Piniella playing out the string on the Chicago Cubs’ bench? . . . At the same time, there may not be a better story in the bigs this season than that being penned by Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds. A year ago, he was grounded by depression; today, he may be the NL’s MVP. . . . Oh, and he’s Canadian. . . . If you check out the Hamilton, Ohio, team at the Little League World Series, you’ll note that Brooks Robinson is wearing No. 5 and playing third base. “They told me if I ever had a kid, you have to name him Brooks Robinson,” Brooks’ father, Tim, told The Associated Press. . . .
Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Bobby Hull were together again at a function in Winnipeg the other day. They, of course, wrote some hockey history as a line with the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets. How good were Hedberg and Nilsson? “You can go to the bank with this,” Hull said. “They’re the best I ever played with.” . . . Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Much debate over whether U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin will select a struggling (Tiger) Woods for the team. Cannot confirm LeBron will announce Pavin’s decision in a one-hour special on ESPN.” . . . One more from Cote: “Marlins had won four in a row before Saturday, but overshadowing that was the MLB suspension of Ronny Paulino for using a banned performance-enhancing substance. Paulino blamed a diet pill, and that diet pill sure worked. The Marlins lost 250 pounds of catcher overnight.” . . . Cote had a good week: “ESPN curmudgeon Jay Mariotti was arrested over the weekend on a felony charge related to an apparent domestic dispute. Must have been somewhat serious because the bail he made was a fairly steep $50,000. Is it official now? Has every ESPN announcer been arrested? I think that’s the only network where each on-air personality gets his own wardrobe consultant, makeup artist and defense lawyer.” . . .
Thanks to Keith Tordoff who is the first person to donate to this year’s Daily News Christmas Cheer Fund. We won’t officially open for business until mid-November, but the two boxes of pennies are on a shelf in the counting room. The head elf was away Friday — I eagerly await her return. . . . Jerry Greene, at ESPN.com: “In Boston, denial is the prevalent mood among the Sox. Said David Ortiz: ‘For what we’ve been going through this year, we’re not doing that bad.’ Curiously, that was the same thing Gen. Custer said in his final press conference before his engagement at Little Bighorn.” . . . As the Omaha World-Herald celebrated its 125th birthday, Brad Dickson noted: “The first issue was published Aug. 24, 1884. The headlines: ‘Paterno takes job with Nittany Lions’ and ‘All potholes to be repaired by June.’ ” . . . If you were wondering, Paul Kelly, the chief executive officer of College Hockey Inc., wasn’t invited to the World Hockey Summit that wrapped up Thursday in Toronto. So much for it being a ‘World’ Hockey Summit. . . . It was blustery Brian Burke, the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who said during that gathering of chest-thumpers: “Parents are the worst judges of talent that have ever walked the planet.”
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.