Saturday, February 15, 2014




After Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the Winter Games because of back woes that flared up during warmup, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg wrote: “As he was coming off the ice, he tripped and fell on the carpet and, out of habit, the Russian judge gave him a perfect score.” . . . In case you don't know much about the International Olympic Committee, here's Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports with an explainer: “For the uninitiated, the IOC is about the most pointless, pretentious and, alas, profitable organization on earth. Take all the worst tendencies of the NCAA, add the most corrupt parts of governmental graft, add a healthy dose of Kardashian-level arrogance, quadruple everything and you get a fraction of this organization.” . . .

Here’s Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, on one of the happenings in Sochi that involved two Canadians: “I’m not buying into the warm-and-fuzzy story about Gilmore Junio giving his spot to Denny Morrison in the Olympic 1,000-metre speed skating event. Plain and simple, Junio was pressured into giving up his spot. When a coach asked him to consider letting Morrison race, the decision was made. When my boss asks me to consider writing a story about so-and-so, my hands are all over the keyboard or I start sending out resumes. The coach who ‘suggested’ Junio switch out should be ashamed for taking an Olympic moment away from somebody who earned his spot. Junio might be a great guy, but he is a victim of a coach’s need to get one of his guys onto the podium.” . . .

Don't count Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot among those football fans who want to do away with the point after touchdown. Why not? “Whenever a quarterback throws an interception that’s returned for a touchdown, it will have to be known as a pick-seven," he explains. . . . Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: "Only the Yankees, bless their hearts, can spend $155 million in salary and $20 million more in a posting fee for a pitcher like Masahiro Tanaka and see him as a No. 3 starter." . . . Lupica, again: “The Seahawks win the big game and the Trail Blazers are playing this way, so clearly Paul Allen — who owns them both — has his eyes set on world domination.” . . .

“The NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes will be redubbed the Arizona Coyotes next season, the team announced,” scribbles Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Given the team’s 2-8 faceplant in playoff series since its 1996 move from Winnipeg, maybe it ought to be Wile E. Coyotes.” . . . “Two weeks ago,” writes Ron Judd in the Seattle Times, “Seattle was a diverse, thriving community in a stunning environment. Today it still is — with a shiny trophy and some cool sports memories. Good enough. And the rest of the country can get back to paying little attention to us any time, thanks.” . . . “The victory parade was cool,” Judd adds, “and sure to be a lifetime memory to the crowd estimated at 3.7 million by a cop at Fourth and Pine.” . . .

“The NHL is on its Olympic break until Feb. 27,” writes Greg Cote of the Miami Herald. “Based on the standings and playoff race, is there any point in the (Florida) Panthers bothering to even resume play?” . . . “If fighting is such an essential component of a hockey game,” wonders Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, “why is it so unlikely that anyone will drop the gloves during the Winter Olympics?” . . .

“The Guardian reports a British man fell through the skylight of a London pet shop straight into a large aquarium,” R.J. Currie of SportsDeke.com informs us. “And people say the Cleveland Cavaliers are tanking?” . . . Currie, again: “Molly Schuyler, a 5-foot-7, 125-pound Nebraska mother of four, ate a record 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes at Wing Bowl 22. Witnesses say she was poultry in motion.” . . . You have to love the Valentine’s Day promotion run by the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. They called it Honka Honka Burnin’ Love, and the ticket package included merchandise autographed by defenceman Julius Honka, a freshman from Finland. . . .

It’s not quite Honka, but it’s close. As you may be aware, Kevin Koe’s rink won the Alberta men's curling championship last Sunday, beating Kevin Martin in the final. Koe-, Martin- and Randy Ferbey-skipped rinks have so dominated men's curling in the oily province that the last time one of those three didn’t skip the top men’s rink was 1999 when Ken Hunka of Edmonton won it all. . . . Hunka then went 5-6 at the Brier, which was held in Edmonton. . . . The Tim Hortons Brier opens March 1 in Kamloops. I saw an ad the other day that was pushing single-draw tickets for $25 and up. It will be interesting to see whether this market supports that kind of ticket price. . . . “A couple in Alabama has named its daughter Krimson Tide,” reports Brad Rock of the Deseret News. “Is this a ’Bama thing, or can fans plan on a baby named Thundering Herd showing up in West Virginia?” . . . Marshall U, the home of the Thundering Herd, is in Huntington, W. Va. . . .

“In Jay Leno’s 22 years on The Tonight Show,” notes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, “he taped 4,610 shows. More than Johnny Carson, who taped 4,531 shows in 22 years. So we weren’t imagining it when we thought Johnny took a lot of vacations.” . . . “What’s the big deal?” Hough asked after U of Missouri footballer Michael Sam told the world that he is gay and there immediately were questions about acceptance in NFL locker-rooms. “NFL players have been showering with rapists, adulterers, potential murderers and at least one dog-killer. And a gay guy is supposed to freak them out?” . . . Let’s finish with Hough, who offered this on the death this week of Shirley Temple: “Millions of young Americans wondered why her parents named her after a drink.”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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