Sunday, November 27, 2011





In the early days of the Vancouver Canucks as an NHL franchise, it's safe to say that things oftentimes were a bit of an adventure. Greg Douglas was the team's public relations director back in the day. Here's what he told columnist Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province the other day: “The rock in management in those days was Larry Popein. He was the assistant GM and had come from the New York Rangers and he took care of all the details. I don't think the franchise could have survived without him.” . . . Obviously, Canucks fans today should be thankful for the good work Popein did. . . . Popein, of course, is retired and living right here in River City with his good wife, Joyce. . . . Defenceman Jason Strudwick, who played for your Kamloops Blazers (1993-95), has signed for the remainder of this season with Södertälje of the Elitserien in Sweden. He played last season with the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. . . .
Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express, after reports surfaced that Pamela Anderson will play the Virgin Mary in a TV special: “Isn't Anderson portraying the Virgin Mary like Mother Teresa portraying Anderson?” . . . More from Hutchinson: “We know Anderson's ex-husbands - Tommy Lee, Kid Rock and Rick Saloman - won't be the Three Wise Men.” . . . While Buffalo was losing to the Cowboys in Dallas the other day, Bills receiver David Nelson caught a TD pass and gave the ball to gal-pal Kelsi Reich, who just happens to be a Cowboys cheerleader. Of course, Nelson caught a lot of grief for that. But as blogger R.J. Currie asked: “Since when is there a bad time to hug a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader?” . . . Forward Troy Ofukany of Kamloops has signed with the Central league's Tulsa Oilers and, in fact, scored in his first game with them on Tuesday, a 7-6 shootout loss to the Arizona Sundogs. Ofukany started the season with the ECHL's Colorado Eagles.  . . .
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be back at Edmonton's City Centre Airport next summer as part of the Edmonton Indy weekend. The NASCAR race is scheduled for July 22 and should include Sun Peaks driver Jason White. . . . The NASCAR gang stops at Vernon's Motoplex Speedway on July 14.  . . . Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Can't make sense of Tim Tebow winning unless there's something about him selling his soul to the devil and an upcoming musical planned.” . . . Here is New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, explaining why they sent an eight-man blitz after Tebow, who promptly ran for 20 yards and the game-winning touchdown last week: “At that time, we had pressured him. We thought they were going to do really what they did. They ran verticals in the passing game, so we wanted to pressure it, and quite honestly, he made a great play.” . . .
After games two weeks ago, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was fined $7,500 for grabbing an opponent by the helmet and throwing him to the ground. Meanwhile, Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett got hit for 10 grand for wearing orange shoes. . . . The moral of the story, according to Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Good thing for Stafford he wasn't wearing orange shoes when he did it.” . . . “Searching for something to be thankful for?” writes Ron Judd in the Seattle Times. “How about the lack of public debt from a white-elephant, unused sports arena? We're grateful to live in a region smart enough to chop loose its mooring lines from the sinking ship known as the NBA, whose entire 2011-12 season appears to be on the skids. Couldn't happen to a nicer organization.” . . .
Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:  “Whenever John Fox talks about Tim Tebow, even after a Denver win, the Broncos' coach comes off like a guy whose underwear is on backward.” . . . One more from Ostler, who on Thursday wrote that he is thankful for “Joe Paterno, because he and all the other folks back in JoePaLand have set the sleaze bar so high that we'll never again have to become righteously-indignant when a college program is busted for hookers on yachts with free tattoos.” . . . Oh, and Ostler also is thankful for “MLB's new ban on the use of smokeless tobacco during TV interviews. It will be a challenge for some of these guys to get through a two-minute interview without drooling brown slime, but worth it if it encourages young ballplayers to avoid the nasty habit until they're at least 12.” . . .
When a player gets traded, he often will say he wants to see his former team do well, except when playing against his new club. Not San Jose Sharks defenceman Brent Burns, who was acquired from the Minnesota Wild over the summer. He told the San Jose Mercury News: “It's like an ex-girlfriend. You really don't want her to get the white picket fence and the great job.” . . . If you're an NFL watcher, are you tired of the CTV promos yet? Thought so. . . . And how many of those shows do you watch? Thought so. . . .
On election days, why aren't there polling stations in shopping malls? Maybe it's time to take the polls to the people, rather than the way it is now, which is the other way around. . . . Folks are building a US$3.4-million boating centre on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake near Austin, Texas. Noted the aforementioned Dwight Perry: “Or as it's destined to be known in rowing circles, The Best Little Oarhouse in Texas.”

(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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