Thursday, October 10, 2013

1. Jumbo Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks unleashed some locker-room humour on Thursday, before his side met the Canucks in Vancouver. One reporter took it and ran with it, and before long it was all over NHLeverywhere.
For starters, that's what you hear in men's locker-rooms, so stop pretending to blush. Wasn't it Gordie Howe who once said he spoke two languages, English and hockey? Well, in this instance, Jumbo Joe was speaking hockey.
Secondly, a whole lot of reporters/journalists apparently heard Thornton, but only one of them chose to take it and run with it, posting it on a blog on his newspaper's website. That reporter, Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province, later attempted to defend himself on TSN. Among the reasons he gave for posting Thornton's comment was that the newspaper's management expects him to write with an "edge." Botchford didn’t explain how reporting locker-room/toilet humour equates to writing with an edge.
Later in the day, Scott Emmert, the Sharks' director of media relations, issued a statement that included this: "I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone in the industry that 'locker room talk' exists. Professional reporters understand that concept and respect it."
According to Emmert, Botchford's decision to post the quote was "a pathetic attempt to generate some page hits and controversy by reporting an off-the-cuff and off-the-record comment made by someone who wasn't even being interviewed at the time."
Here's a tweet from reporter Jim Toth of Winnipeg radio station CJOB: "Heard Thornton audio, that is totally off the record & you can clearly tell he is joking. Regardless of what was said unprofessional to use."
And then there was this tweet (actually, it was two tweets) from Cory Wolfe, a former sports writer with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: "#JoeThornton anatomical reference reminds me of time that former @MJWarriors coach Al Tuer described a role player's performance thus: He's got more balls than brains - and that's saying something 'cause he's a smart kid."
Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy fame has a good take on what happened right here.
Later, Botchford took to the blogosphere in an attempt to explain things. That is right here.
The last word on this situation goes to Stu Walters of Vancouver radio station CKNW. After San Jose's 4-1 victory, Walters tweeted: "About to head into #sharks room for post game, hope Thornton isn't too prickly."

2. On Thursday afternoon, I saw this tweet from Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets: "The WHL has decided not to hand out copies of the beloved Official Guide, the Bible for radio broadcasters. #shame"
Later, I saw confirmation on the WHL website.
The decision by the WHL and its teams not to print the annual Guide is shameful. It also is terribly shortsighted and a slap in the face to its dedicated fanbase and media members who follow the league.
My late father used to tell me that there is a certain cost to doing business, and if the time comes that you can't pay that cost, then you should get out of the business. The publishing of an annual Guide is one of those costs that the WHL should be eager to pay every season.
Unfortunately, the WHL, in its haste to either save money or make even more use of an Internet that it already over-uses, has made a horrible mistake. That Guide is an invaluable resource; it also has contained the name of every player who ever has played in the league and you can bet a lot of those former players looked forward to seeing their names in there every autumn.
Sure, you can download the 2013-14 Guide onto your computer. Good luck accessing it while you’re in your seat at a WHL game.
The WHL and each of its teams should be ashamed and embarrassed by this decision.

3. With the fighting/no-fighting chatter brought on by a couple of recent incidents, some folks are forgetting why some people have taken a stance against fighting in hockey.
It has nothing to do with liking or not liking fighting, with enjoying or not enjoying a bout, with whether a scrap is capable of swinging the momentum of a hockey game.
Rather, this stance is all about three things, at least it is in my case: 1. With what we are learning about brain injuries and the long-term impact of them, more must be done to get rid of fighting; 2. Sooner or later, this is going to become an issue of liability and someone will have to pay the piper; and, 3. Society is recognizing how illogical it is to suspend a player for a check to the head of an opponent, while not suspending players for punching each other in the face.
That is what this is about. Period.

4. D Zach Hodder, 20, may have ended his WHL career on Thursday when he left the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald tweeted: "Zach Hodder has left the @MJWarriors and gone home to ponder his future. With Forsberg arriving writing was probably on the wall." . . . The Warriors acquired D Jesse Forsberg, 20, from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday, so the writing may have been on the wall for Hodder, who also has played for the Vancouver Giants, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders and Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . A native of Delta, B.C., Hodder battled injuries for a lot of his career and played in only 128 career regular-season games over four-plus seasons. He has 38 career points. . . . Hodder was a first-round selection, 20th overall, by Vancouver in the 2008 bantam draft.

5. The Red Deer Rebels have added a defenceman to their roster, while moving out a forward. . . . The new face belongs to D Nick Charif, 18, who had been with the BCHL's Victoria Grizzlies. He had two points in nine games with the Grizzlies. Last season, he had 14 points in 29 games with the midget AAA Edmonton-South Side Athletic Club. . . . The Rebels also dropped F Earl Webb, 17, and D Jake McLachlan, who turns 17 on Dec. 20. Webb will play with the AJHL's Calgary Mustangs. He was pointless in five games with the Rebels. . . . McLachlan is joining the BCHL's Cowichan Valley Capitals. He had one assist in five games with Red Deer.

6. The Saskatoon Blades made a couple of roster moves on Thursday. . . . They acquired F Cory Millette, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for F Evan Polei, 17. . . . Millette, who was released earlier this season by the Rebels, was with the SJHL's Estevan Bruins. From Storthoaks, Sask., he has 40 points in 106 regular-season WHL games. Red Deer selected him in the second round of the 2010 bantam draft. . . . Polei, 17, was an 11th-round pick by the Blades in the 2011 bantam draft. He had 32 points in 34 games with the Edmonton-South Side Athletic Club last season. . . . The Blades also have added D Ross Hnidy, 17, to their roster, while deleting D Kevin Pochuk. . . . Hnidy, a sixth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, had been with the SJHL's Nipawin Hawks. He was pointless in one game with the Blades last month. He played the last two seasons with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . . Pochuk, 18, had been picked up from Red Deer in a deal over the summer. He was pointless in five games. In that deal, the Blades got Pochuk and third- and seventh-round picks in the 2014 bantam draft for F Lukas Sutter.

7. Major League Baseball is down to four times and a whole lot of history. The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals open the NLCS today, with the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox starting the ALCS on Saturday. . . . Who you got? . . . My heart tells me St. Louis and Detroit; my head says Los Angeles and Boston.

8. It was Thursday, so that meant Dorothy and I spent the morning at what is known as a "clinic" at the hospital. Bloodwork is done and then everything from that point goes off the numbers.
Dorothy's numbers are excellent. I mean, really excellent. Like Gretzky's were. On top of that, one doctor told her the new kidney is working "extremely well."
What this means is that the two of us may not have turkey this weekend -- we've joked about having kidney pie -- but this still will be the best Thanksgiving of our lives.

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