Saturday, February 19, 2011





The Pittsburgh Penguins employ the hockey assassin, aka Matt Cooke, and their boy Eric Godard was the only one to leave the bench during that gong show with the New York Islanders a few days ago. And now Mario Lemieux wonders if the NHL is going in the right direction? . . . The Twitterverse was in a state of apoplexy shortly after Lemieux’s statement showed up on the Penguins’ website on Sunday. Perhaps the best tweet came from John Shannon of Sportsnet: “Message from one NHL governor . . . ‘If Mario would like to change the game, maybe he should show up at the meetings.’ ” . . . Later, Jeff Blair of The Globe and Mail wrote: “It would be nice if Lemieux had been similarly outspoken after his own rockhead, Matt Cooke, ambushed Marc Savard, but, better to come to Jesus late as opposed to never, right?” . . . Blair also pointed out: “The reason the NHL won’t clean up head shots is they would then have no response to people who will ask: ‘If it isn’t OK to hit a guy in the head with your shoulder, how come it’s OK to use your fist?’ ” . . .
 Here’s Montreal Canadiens forward Scott Gomez, upon being asked what sparked the goofiness between the Pens and Isles: “It’s just happened to be one of those weeks. Maybe guys didn’t know what to get their girlfriends or wives for Valentine’s and it’s creeping up on them and they’re taking it out on each other.” . . . Here we are in the middle of February and who would have thought that Carl Spackler would have one more victory on this season’s PGA Tour than Tiger Woods? . . . Ron Judd, in the Seattle Times: “Donald Trump is considering throwing the strange animal that rides atop his head into the ring for the U.S. presidency in 2012.” . . . You know spring has sprung when Karen Willies gets us the Interior Running Association’s guide for another season. The River’s Spring Run-Off, a 10km run, is set for March 20, with the Blackwell Dairy 15K scheduled for May 29. . . . If the NHL teams continue to trade the way they have of late, you have to wonder what will be left for all the talking heads at TSN and Sportsnet to chatter about on Feb. 28? . . .
 Tony Chong, a regular reader from Richmond, passes along this one: “Sports scandal in Japan. A total of 13 sumo wrestlers have been accused of involvement in match fixing. The wrestlers said the gangsters threatened to send some heavies after them if they didn’t co-operate.” . . . Chong also notes that “Tiger Woods and Robbie Alomar are now friends on Facebook.” . . . It took left-hander Andy Pettitte almost until the start of spring training to announce his retirement from the New York Yankees. Former Washington Times columnist Dan Daly explained the holdup via Twitter: “Would have happened sooner, but it took a while to cross all the T’s.” . . .
 Upon finding out that Damon Allen wasn’t elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun wrote: “This is not only a joke, but an insult. And it’s an abomination of responsibility. The very notion that Damon Allen was passed over in his first time as eligible for the Hall borders somewhere between absurd and unexplainable.” . . . Simmons is correct, too. Allen’s numbers, including four Grey Cup titles, show that he is one of the all-time greats. To pass him by like the voters did is embarrassing. . . . The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials have scheduled their spring camp for April 1-3 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Registration is April 1, 3-4 p.m. Call Luke Pierce, the GM/head coach, at 250-378-3607 for more info. . . .
 Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves put up his 42nd straight double-double on Wednesday, and you’re thinking he must be closing in on an NBA record. Uhh, no. The record, set by Wilt Chamberlain from 1964-67, is 227. . . . Kamloops’ own Steve Seibel continues to have whistle, will travel. He recently returned from Corrientes, Argentina, where he worked qualifying games in the FIBA Americas League. And now he has been nominated to represent Canada at the FIBA Americas League Final Four in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, March 4-6. In Mexico, he will officiate games involving two teams from Mexico, one from Argentina and one from Puerto Rico. . . . Both Mexican teams — Halcones UV Xalapa and Halcones Rojos de Veracruz — are from the state of Veracruz, so Seibel could have some exciting times in this one. . . .
Defenceman Brendon Nash, who is from Kamloops, played his second NHL game with Montreal on Thursday as the Canadiens lost 4-1 to the Oilers in Edmonton. He got into the lineup because the equipment belonging to Paul Mara, acquired late Wednesday from the Anaheim Ducks, didn’t make it to Edmonton. Nash, who played four seasons at Cornell U, then played more than anticipated because James Wisniewski took a puck to the face early in the first period and didn’t return. . . . Wisniewski is listed as probable for Sunday’s outdoor game in Calgary. If he plays, Nash likely will get to watch this one from the warmth of the press box. . . . A tweet from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun: “Does starting CFL free agency at midnight make any sense to anybody? What’s wrong with noon? Imagine NHL trade deadline at 4 a.m.?” . . . Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Refresh our memory again: Is that Fabio who graces the cover of all those bodice-ripper paperbacks, or Packers linebacker Clay Matthews?” . . .
Ian Hamilton, in the Regina Leader-Post: “A Malaysian woman recently saved her husband from a tiger attack by using a wooden spoon to beat the animal on the head until it ran away. That’s strange; usually it takes a nine-iron to make a Tiger flee.” . . . One more from Hamilton: “The Daytona 500 is set for Sunday. The best thing about NASCAR’s Super Bowl is it won’t have a halftime show by the Black Eyed Peas.” . . . Tom Clements won two Grey Cups, but didn’t win both with the Ottawa Rough Riders, as was mentioned in this space last week. As a sharp-eyed pharmacist has pointed out, Clements won one of them with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. . . . “The NFL and the players’ union have cancelled their contract negotiations, which could mean no football for next season,” notes Conan O’Brien. “Both sides agreed this is the only way to prevent another Black Eyed Peas halftime show.” . . . Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Roger Clemens made an appearance at Mohegan Sun the other night and, well, it’s nice to see the big guy still getting out and about. While, you know, he still can.”

Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. Email him at gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca, follow him at twitter.com/gdrinnan, or visit his blog at gdrinnan.blogspot.com. Keeping Score appears Saturdays.

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