My neighbour Neil poked his nose over the fence Tuesday night to say hi. He asked how my tomato plants were doing and we got to chatting about sports a bit, too.
I shared with him that I thought I’d seen everything in sports, but the current storylines are the most unique in my time — and compelling because of that.
It later got me thinking about my most notable memories in hockey. There are many, but here’s a few that popped into my melon:
• Bobby Orr scoring the game-winner against the Blues to win the Cup in 1970. I was a huge Bruins fan as a boy and Ken Hodge was my favourite player;
• Being in the Winnipeg Arena when the Jets won their first Avco Cup in 1976. Yes, I was a Jets fan as a teenager and my favourite player from those days was Willy Lindstom;
• Sitting in the arena after the game had ended, when Jets 1.0 played their last-ever game on April 28, 1996, a home playoff loss to the Detroit Red Wings, and wondering if we’d ever see NHL hockey again in this city;
• Attending the press conference in my current role with the paper on May 30, 2011 when it was officially announced the Jets were returning to Winnipeg.
I’ve seen a lot of games since 1970, but none like we will see this week, folks.
The puck finally dropped again Tuesday night with a trio of NHL exhibition games. Tonight, the Jets will face off against the Vancouver Canucks in their lone pre-season tilt. And then Saturday, the real action gets underway with the top four teams in each conference, based on points percentage, playing a three-game round-robin, and the No. 5-12 seeds playing in eight best-of-5 series. The winners of those series will advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the four teams from the round-robin. Hope that’s clear as mud.
Mike McIntyre is in Hub City covering the Jets as they prepare for their play-in series with the Flames. Here’s what he has for us today:
• The Winnipeg Jets are playing Cornhole. The Carolina Hurricanes chose Catan. The Colorado Avalanche are holding push-up competitions. The New York Rangers are competing in virtual golf. The Chicago Blackhawks are blasting table tennis serves past each other. And the Pittsburgh Penguins are draining jump shots on the basketball court. There’s no question the bubble environments created inside Edmonton and Toronto hotels have added to the uniqueness of these Stanley Cup playoffs. Mike has a column on how it’s only going to get stranger later this week as players emerge from strict team-related isolation and can begin fraternizing with the enemy;
• Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff did a Zoom interview with reporters on Tuesday and said he believes the group assembled here in Edmonton is capable of going on a lengthy run — but warned they better be prepared to come flying out of the starting blocks;
• The American Association is a month into the season and they’ve had no major headaches — which is something Major League Baseball can’t relate to. Commissioner Joshua Schaub discusses with Taylor what the biggest challenges of running a league in the middle of a pandemic are and how they’ve been able to make it work;
• Local golfer Aaron Cockerill is coming off an impressive performance at the British Masters last weekend on the European Tour. With seven upcoming events on his calendar, he told Taylor during an interview from the UK that he hopes it’s only the beginning.
• Flames in four: ESPN’s top-notch hockey team of Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski have put together a comprehensive NHL playoff preview that includes their picks for play-in series winners. They like Calgary’s depth to prevail;
• Is the sky falling?: Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi offers up a level-headed and interesting analysis of the crisis MLB is facing, where the Miami Marlins are dealing with a significant COVID-19 outbreak, putting the entire season in jeopardy less than a week after it began;
• No huddle bubble: The virus outbreak with the Marlins has also focused attention on the NFL, which hasn’t put a bubble in place. With training camps opening this week, ESPN’s Kevin Seifart has a story on why the league decided against it and what’s next;
• The Cold War, the Klan and the Olympics: Sports Illustrated Daily Cover story explains how the cloak-and-dagger Soviets tried to ruin the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
MIAMI – Major League Baseball suspended the Miami Marlins’ season through Sunday, and the Philadelphia Phillies will remain idled by the coronavirus pandemic until Friday, while the rest of baseball forges ahead with trepidation. Read More
WASHINGTON – Hayden Bluth is just one of at least 41,313 Washington-area baseball fans who weren’t allowed inside the gates Monday at Nationals Park. But he’s the only one who showed up anyway. Read More
TORONTO – Mark Casse is hoping to provide the star power for this year’s $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile. Read More
Brady and Brees aren’t the B words dominating the opening of NFL training camps. Read More
PHILADELPHIA – Chris Pronger might not book a client of his family’s blossoming boutique travel agency business into the NHL bubble. But if Pronger were stuck in one of the league’s hub cities for an extended period, the Hall of Famer knows what he would pack. Read More
EDMONTON — Paul Maurice described it as the Stanley Cup playoffs “on steroids.” And his Winnipeg Jets got their first major dose on Monday, breaking out of the secure bubble for a couple of hours and hitting the practice ice in their temporary hockey hub. Read More
EDMONTON — Travis Hamonic is as heart-and-soul as they come, a beloved team member who has repeatedly shown a willingness to sacrifice any part of his body for the greater good. A broken bone here, a missing tooth there — the guy never met a puck, stick or fist he’s not prepared to eat if it helps his club win. Read More
MMA middleweight Ksiazkiewicz is banking the future on a win in his upcoming UFC tryout in Vegas Read More
In today’s uncertain sports landscape, chaplain Lorne Korol has never been busier counseling, comforting city’s pro players Read More
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