Sunday, July 1, 2012





My goodness, but what has happened to the Minnesota Twins? It wasn’t that long ago when Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were going to be the second coming of the M&M boys, but it hasn’t quite turned out that way, has it? . . . The Calgary Flames give Dennis Wideman US$26.25 million over five years. Jonathan Quick gets $58 million over 10 years from the L.A. Kings. Sidney Crosby, despite two seasons ruined by post-concussion syndrome, gets $104.4 million over 12 years from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The salary cap now is $70.2 million; the floor is $54.2 million. When the NHL came out of its lockout for 2005-06, the cap was $39 million. . . . So why do I get the feeling that the new CBA, whenever it gets done, won’t matter one iota because the players already have won? . . . Just like the last time. . . .

Ron Judd, in the Seattle Times: “(NBA commissioner David) Stern not only bullied, lied to and mocked Seattle throughout a decade of previous arena and ownership issues, he got the last laugh by exacting revenge, making an example of a city that dared defy him by spiriting its franchise off to Oklahoma City. Calling him a snake is offensive to all things that slither.” . . . Forget climate change. Jim Barach, a meteorologist at WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., has a different theory. "A report says that the world population is 17 million tons overweight," he notes. "Which means the sea level isn't rising at all. We're just so fat that the land is sinking into the ocean." . . .

Don’t make plans for Monday, 11 a.m. to noon, because you’re going to want to be at the Tournament Capital Centre where Kamloops will celebrate the city’s Olympians. Be there or be square. . . . Or Dylan Armstrong will be sent to get you. . . . “He was going 35,” Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald wrote after sprinter Usain Bolt was in a minor accident. “No word if he was inside a vehicle or on foot.” . . . If you haven’t heard, the BCS is firming up the details for a four-team U.S. college football playoff. But, as Dickson points out: "Details still have to be worked out, including how to make sure that Boise State finishes fifth every year." . . .

There isn’t anything more painful in all of sports – think all of Grandma’s knitting needles stuck in your ears – than listening to Ken (Hawk) Harrelson call a Chicago White Sox game. If you don’t have a lineup in front of you, forget it. He talks of Pauly and Tank and Youk and Alex and Alexei and A.J., and us and we, and he is the biggest (read: worst) cheerleader in the history of history. . . . Tank hit a three-run homer to beat the Yankees the other night. I still don’t know the guy’s name. . . . When one of “their” guys strikes out, Hawk says: “He gone.” Here’s hoping Hawk strikes out one of these days. . . . The first round of the NHL draft took four hours. The last six rounds were done in two hours 45 minutes. Which is what happens when you take TV and its talking heads out of the picture. . . .

Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, has spent upwards of US$600 million to purchase the Hawaiian island of Lanai. “Lanai, of the Hawaiian chain, is only 141 square miles,” writes Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, “so it's a starter island. Because it has only two golf courses and no Costco, Lanai is considered a fixer-upper.” . . . In case you missed it, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are supposed to have the best fans in all of the universe, have closed practices to the public on two days each week. It seems some of the many fans who attend practices were doing too much chattering on the Internet about what they were witnessing. . . . Who knew that you weren’t supposed to talk about what you were watching. . . . Yes, paranoia is running rampant in the house that George and Ronnie built. . . .

If you’re wondering what Kamloops Blazers head coach Guy Charron is doing with his summer, check out the Italian team at Euro 2012 on Sunday. They claim the head coach’s name is Cesare Prandelli, but I haven’t seen Charron since before Euro started. . . . The Hockey Hall of Fame? Wake me when Pat Burns and Fred Shero are inducted. . . . After Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended his four-year victory drought, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote: "The most important development in NASCAR Nation since the advent of naked-lady mudflaps." . . .

Defenceman Brendon Nash of Kamloops signed a one-year, two-way deal with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens this week – $575,000 in the NHL; $75,000 in the AHL. Nash missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, so likely will start the season with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. In 2010-11, he got into two games with the Habs and had 30 points in 75 games with Hamilton. . . . Robert Sacre, the North Vancouver kid who played at Gonzaga, was drafted by the L.A. Lakers on Thursday. The 7-footer obviously is no fool, judging by this post-draft comment: “I think it's going to be very similar to Ronny Turiaf's role . . . shut my mouth, know my role and help Kobe get another ring.” . . . Yes, Sacre knows who is boss in L.A. . . .

“A farmer caused traffic chaos by herding 5,000 ducks through a Chinese town,” reports R.J. Currie at sportsdeke.com. “Frustrated motorists reported dozens of quack-ups.” . . . Let’s be honest — no one puts things quite like TNT’s astute basketball analyst Charles Barkley. Here he is on the seemingly world-wide anti-LeBron James sentiment: “Everybody hates the homecoming queen because she's pretty. All the ugly girls hate the homecoming queen. And all the dumb kids hate the smart kids. That's just the way it is.”

(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,except when it doesn’t.)

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