Sunday, June 23, 2013

There may be no truth to the rumour that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is prepared to leave for Boston where he would coach the Celtics and be Boston Pops. . . . The New York Yankees need a bat; actually, they need a few of them. Manny Ramirez, 41, has left Taiwan, where he hit .352 with eight home runs. Ramirez, born in the Dominican Republic, grew up in Washington Heights in Manhattan. . . . Perhaps Manny will finish his career being Manny in New York City. . . .  “Somehow this is almost perfect,” writes Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. “Alexander Ovechkin, who played well for half a season, has won the Hart Trophy in what essentially was little more than half a National Hockey League season.” . . .

You will recall hearing of the 84-year-old woman in Florida who won the $590 Powerball lottery last month. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Can you imagine making hundreds of millions of dollars just for driving to the convenience store and buying a ticket? That’s almost as impressive as Chris Bosh, who makes hundreds of millions of dollars just for standing around and watching LeBron do all the work.” . . . “The folks at Warner Bros. have nixed their plan for a sequel to Dumb and Dumber,” writes Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post. “They realized they couldn’t top some of the things Don Cherry utters on Coach’s Corner.” . . .

It says here that the New York Rangers will be in the NHL’s final four next season. They’ve got a terrific head coach in Alain Vigneault, who went where he’ll have one of the game’s best goaltenders on his side. . . . I’m sure a US$10-million, five-year deal had something to do with it, too. . . . First, it was the NBA using Seattle as a pawn as it worked to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Now it’s the NHL’s turn, as it uses Seattle in an attempt to gain leverage in the Phoenix Coyotes’ mess. Pretty soon the World Chess Federation will be wanting to stage a tournament in Seattle. . . .

When New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft claimed that Russian president Vladimir Putin stole a Super Bowl ring, headlined its story: Putin on the blitz. . . . “Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila are getting a divorce after 29 years of marriage,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “No word on who gets custody of the Super Bowl ring.” . . . “Tennis star Victoria Azarenka has reportedly launched a new line of perfume,” notes RJ Currie of “Lemme guess: Estee Louder?” . . . One more from Currie: “Vladimir Putin is getting a divorce amid rumours he’s been courting former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva. Putin denies any fling, but I suspect he gave the gymnast a tumble.” . . .

It only took eight years, but the debate finally is over and Medicine Hat will get a new arena in time for the 2015-16 hockey season. It will cost north of $60 million to build and will seat around 6,000 for hockey. This means the Tigers have two years left in the aptly named Arena, which has 4,006 seats. . . . Something tells me the new building won’t be called the Arena. Not at that price. . . . Outfielder Tyson Gillies won a game for the Double-A Reading Fightin’ Phils, his single up the middle in the 10th inning giving them a 9-8 victory over the visiting Portland Sea Dogs. Gillies went into last night hitting .235 in 41 games (148 plate appearances) with Reading. . . . Catcher John Suomi, 32, who played baseball at TRU when it was UCC and now is a veteran minor leaguer (Crash Davis?), returned to Reading on Wednesday, after a stint with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

“Is there a worse fit on telecasts of our national golf championship than clownish, here-I-am hambone Chris Berman?” asks Phil Mushnick of the New York Post. “Leave it to ESPN to serve garlic ice cream.” . . . “Say,” wonders Mushnick, “how did all those ‘Adam (Pacman) Jones has turned his life around’ stories turn out?” . . . Richmond blogger TC Chong, who must have used Brylcreem as a kid, wonders “if Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya’s nickname is ‘Lil Dab.’ ” . . . Finally, someone has been able to explain how it is that Vinny Del Negro was fired as head coach of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, despite winning a club-record 56 games and the team’s first division title. Here’s Brad Rock of the Deseret News: “Sources say the ownership liked his style, but felt he had violated a time-honored Clippers tradition of finishing last and losing 50-plus games per year.”

(Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. He is at, and Keeping Score appears Saturdays, except when it doesn’t.)

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