Sunday, March 1, 2009

Keeping Score

After U.S. President Barack Obama had concluded his first visit to Canada, Janice Hough, The Left Coast Sports Babe, reported: “Obama said in Ottawa he is hopeful of turning the U.S. economy around, bringing troops home from Iraq, and solving global warming. But, realistically, there is nothing he can do about the Senators and the Maple Leafs.” . . . In case you missed it, Penn State beat Illinois 38-33 in a Big Ten men’s basketball game last week. When the same two schools met during the football season, the final score was Penn State 38, Illinois 24. . . . Would someone explain one more time why the owner and the general manager ran head coach Mike D’Antoni out of the Phoenix Suns’ organization?
Emailer David Abrahams, to the Chicago Sun-Times, after the agent for receiver Plaxico Burress said his client might be up for a trade: “Unfortunately for the Giants, the only offer they got was from the Buffalo Bills — for Marshawn Lynch and two ammo clips to be named later.” . . . Congrats to former Kamloops Blazers head coach Mark Ferner on being named the BCHL Interior Division’s coach of the year. Ferner’s Vernon Vipers are the conference’s top seed as the playoffs begin. . . . Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Heartwarming story when Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, became the oldest dog to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club. Steroids? I’m not saying. I’m just asking.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a forward who was selected first overall by the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL’s 2008 bantam draft, is in town this weekend. His Vancouver-North West Giants will play the Thompson Blazers today, 6:45 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m., at the Interior Savings Centre. He leads the B.C. major midget league scoring race, with 82 points in 34 games, and also has found time to pick up six points in five games with the Rebels. . . . Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: “I Believe. I believe I will be so sick of hearing promotions for the 2010 Olympics that I won’t be able to stomach watching them.” . . . One more from Hutchinson: “Approximately 150 bowling balls were stolen from an alley in upstate New York, the Utica Observer-Dispatch reported (last) week. Among those with an air-tight alibi is Barry Bonds — everybody knows he doesn’t have any.”
The Prince George Axemen will be one of four teams at the third annual Kamloops Black Sox spring tournament, April 25 and 26. Also in attendance will be the Tacoma Cascades and Surrey Red Sox. The Axemen already are holding daily workouts as they prepare to play host to the eight-team World Baseball Challenge, July 16-26, and the Kamloops tournament will be their first outdoor games of the season. . . . Social note: Brian Urlacher, the Chicago Bears fearsome linebacker, and Sarah Larson were spotted at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Valentine’s Day. . . . Sarah Larson? She used to hang out with George Clooney. . . . Maybe she has a thing for football players. . . . Ahh, you didn’t see Leatherheads either.
Steve Rosenbloom, at “The Bears have decided not to raise ticket prices for next season because of an economy as weak as their pass rush. Team president Ted Phillips says the team will look for areas to cut, a process they began last season when they eliminated the wide-receiver position.” . . . Ian Hamilton, in the Regina Leader-Post: “Boxing’s braintrust has barred Britain’s Sarah Blewden from competing internationally because she has breast implants. Opponents must have beefed about her uncanny ability to boob and weave.” . . . Gary Loewen, in the Toronto Sun: “In related news, Colin Montgomerie will be allowed to continue golfing.” . . . The weather is about to warm up. I guarantee it. That’s because we finally put the wraps on the seventh edition of your Christmas Cheer Fund. Tina Whyte (Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home), Michele Walker (YMCA/YWCA Y Women’s Emergency Shelter) and Tim Larose (New Life Mission) stopped by Wednesday and each left with a cheque for more than 16 grand. Take a bow, Daily News readers. And now make way for spring.
Someone at WAXY, a Florida radio station, asked Wayne Huizenga, the former owner of the Miami Dolphins, what he thought of moving the Pro Bowl out of Hawaii and playing it in Miami. His response: “I’ve always been a fan of bringing it back to the United States.” . . . Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “It was announced this week that David Beckham will be returning to the Galaxy and here are my questions on that: Who’s the Galaxy? And when did Beckham leave?” . . . Goaltender James Priestner, who was dealt by the Kamloops Blazers to Brandon earlier this season, will long remember his introduction to the Wheat Kings. “One of the first days I got here I was hanging out with (Wheat Kings captain) Keith Aulie,” a chuckling Priestner told the Brandon Sun’s Rob Henderson, “and he was like ‘(GM/head coach Kelly McCrimmon) has never made a bad trade before, ever. Let’s hope you’re not a bad trade.’ I mean, that’s not much pressure to put on a 17-year-old goalie in his first week here.”
Swimmer Michael Phelps was to have visited Vancouver for a speaking engagement on March 6. But someone nipped it in the bud and he cancelled. . . . According to the New York Post, the large-lunged Phelps has taken to “hiding out in strip clubs” to avoid paparazzi, who by law are not allowed to venture inside. The decision Phelps is faced with is this: Get shot by paparazzi outside or Plaxico Burress inside. . . . Reggie Hayes, in the Fort Wayne, Ind., News-Sentinel: “The New York Rangers fired coach Tom Renney on Monday after the team lost 10 of its last 12. Out of habit, the New York media blamed A-Rod.”

Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. He is at and Keeping Score appears Saturdays.

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