Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to Mr. Hockey





So you’re the Columbus Blue Jackets and you have the first pick in the NHL’s 2012 draft. In earlier drafts, you have taken Russian forwards Nikolai Zherdev and Nikita Filatov, both bombs. . . . The top two players in June’s draft are thought to be Russian forwards Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko. . . . Hey, Columbus, it’s your move. . . . The Cowichan Valley Capitals didn’t get into a BCHL semifinal series, but don’t be pointing a finger at Devin Gannon. The 20-year-old from Kamloops, who had 79 points in 59 regular-season games, put up 10 points in the last five games of a seven-game loss to the Surrey Eagles in a BCHL first-round final series. . . .
A Sunday tweet from comedian Gerry Dee: “Congrats to Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren who each won $500,040 at this weeks PGA event at Bay Hill.” . . . Headline at SportsPickle.com: “Failed Navy SEAL wins golf tournament.” . . . Furman Bisher, a legendary sports columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, died on March 18 at the age of 93. It was Edwin Pope, a sports columnist at the Miami Herald, who once said of his good friend: “Limbo was invented when Furman first went to a pay toilet.” . . . The Denver Broncos signed quarterback Peyton Manning one day after Jim Driver of Eagle, Colo., died. Here’s one line from Driver’s obituary as it appeared in the Columbia Daily Tribune: “An avid Broncos fan, he abhorred Manning and evidently wanted out before a deal was done.” . . .
Rick Hansen’s 25th anniversary tour came through Kamloops on Thursday. Nancy Greene Raine and the gang at Sun Peaks noticed that Hansen’s support workers had two days off over the weekend so invited them up for a couple of days of fun in the powder. The fun was to include Lauren Woolstencroft who, you will recall, won five gold medals at the 2010 Winter Paralympics. . . . Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The A’s are in Japan, a monumental inconvenience, yet not a single complaint from a player! Maybe it’s the $40,000 to $45,000 each guy gets for his trouble. It’s called hush money.” . . . The Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners opened Major League Baseball’s regular season with games on Wednesday and Thursday. And then they returned to Arizona to continue spring training. . . . Only in Bud Selig’s world, folks. . . .
Norio Sakaki, the godfather of senior hockey in our town, wanted to know if I would, on behalf of fellow co-ordinators Clay Moser, Bruce White and Bob Esdale, say “thank you” right here to those men who refereed this season — Nick Hajdukovich, Jim Tateishi, Tim Araki, Peter Englisch, Doug Pockett, Ray Shindell, Bill Farley, Russ Reid, Cliff McBryan and Bob Reid. Norio wanted to say “thanks guys and have a great summer and hope to see you all back for another hockey season!” . . . Unfortunately, I had to tell Norio that it wasn’t possible to do that. Sorry, Norio. . . . Joseph Tout, a New York Post reader: “We conquered polio, defeated the Nazis, put a man on the moon. . . . My question is this: Why can’t we stop the ‘Get in the hole!!!’ guy at golf tournaments?” . . .
Here’s one from R.J. Currie, over at SportsDeke.com: “Mike Tyson is reportedly going to do stand-up comedy in Vegas. This time Iron Mike may be biting off more than he can chew.” . . . Whoever would have imagined the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs together at the bottom of the barrel and the Calgary Flames struggling to keep their heads above water, all at the same time. . . . Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis has married for the seventh time, this time to the ex-wife of one of his cousins. I always wondered why Lewis and the late Liz Taylor never hooked up. . . .
Outfielder Tyson Gillies of Kamloops has been assigned by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Eastern League’s Reading Phillies. The Double-A team will play its first home game Tuesday, an exhibition game against the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Gillies hit .238 in 105 games with Reading in 2010 but played only three games in 2011 because of hamstring issues. . . . Bob Goalby, who won the 1968 Masters, tells The Associated Press: “This will be my 54th trip to Augusta. I got $20,000 for winning the Masters. Now I get $10,000 to go there and eat a free steak.” . . .
Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: “Matt Shaner, the owner of the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League, fired his entire team while players were having a pregame meal at Orlando. I’m wondering if ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs has considered this.” . . . With Edmonton and Kootenay meeting in a first-round WHL playoff series, it meant that defenceman Griffin Reinhart of the Oil Kings was up against his two brothers, forwards Max and Sam, who play for the Ice. The Oil Kings completed a sweep on Thursday night, after which Griffin tweeted: “Best comment on the ice goes to my little bro Sam saying ‘If you touch me I’m telling mom’ when we were in a scrum.” . . .
“Martina Navratilova is the first contestant booted from Dancing with the Stars,” writes Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald. “She’s now trying to come to grips with being an accomplished professional athlete with numerous accolades who lost to the guy who played Urkel.” . . . One more from Dickson: “Nike and Reebok are in a legal fight over marketing rights to Tim Tebow. This is sort of like the tensions between North and South Korea, only with a lot more at stake.” . . . Happy Birthday to Mr. Hockey. Yes, Gordie Howe is 84 today.

(Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. He is at gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca, gdrinnan.blogspot.com and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears Saturdays.)


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