Guess who’s back, back again.
(Slim) Shady’s back, tell a friend.
Erik Karlsson has returned to his adopted hometown Ottawa with his lovely wife Melinda and their beautiful daughter Harlow Rain (who turned one in October), and he’s skating a few times a week at the Sensplex with a group of NHLers that includes Thomas Chabot, Erik Gudbranson, Nick Paul, Claude Giroux and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
While last season was shortened and the start of this one delayed by the pandemic, the now 30-year old Karlsson notes the bright side is he has had a chance to spend a lot of bonus time with his family.
“You realize the daily difficulties faced by mothers who stay at home while we do our work,” the Sharks defenceman told Marc Brassard of Le Droit, as translated by Google. “I learned a lot. I wouldn’t have done it without (the pandemic). I could see her grow up, go through the different stages. But now I can’t wait to get back to work.”
Before the kid reaches the terrible twos, right?
Asked if he thinks the NHL and NHLPA will resolve their differences in time to start the 2020-21 campaign by Jan. 1, Karlsson said (again courtesy of Google Translate):
“Who knows, it’s not our decision. We’ll be ready when they wave to us. Unfortunately, a lot has to be unraveled. Time is running out. We haven’t heard anything yet. I don’t know if it’s likely. Possible, maybe. We don’t know anything. We are in the dark.”
Never have so many words been used, in any language, to say “fat chance.”
TOP OF THE ORDER
Jaromir Jagr sounds like a smoker who knows he should quit, but can’t. Even at the age of 48, the former NHL superstar says he’s not yet about to retire from HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga, a team he owns in his homeland. “This year is very different from others … we don’t know what is waiting for us tomorrow and it takes a lot of energy,” Jagr said recently at an anniversary celebration of the KHL team Avangard Omsk, via NHL.com. “This year I wasn’t practising as hard as in previous years, but I still want to play this season. I think it might happen in the playoffs. I want to be a player who helps his team win. I’m not this player now, but I want to help (Kladno) return to the top division. I can’t say how long I want to keep playing. The game is getting more difficult. I think I kind of lost the drive when I wanted to prove that I’m still capable of getting better. I feel a lack of motivation to keep playing, though this year is definitely not the last in my career.” Jagr’s next season will be his 31st in professional hockey. Gordie Howe played 32 years … COVID-19 is ripping though the hockey world. Team Canada called off its Red-White game on Tuesday when two players tested positive. The Columbus Blue Jackets acknowledged they have “several” players who are quarantined after testing positive. Four Vegas Golden Knights recently tested positive. And now the death of Fred Sasakamoose, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 86 after recently testing positive for COVID-19. Saskamoose was the first Canadian Indigenous player in the NHL.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
These are not good days for the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Outfielder Randy Arozarena has been arrested in Mexico for allegedly trying to abduct his daughter from her mother’s home, and allegedly assaulting the woman’s father, FOX news reported Tuesday evening. Seeing that story led to a link for another Rays newsflash that came out four days ago, but I missed: Brandon Martin, the Rays first round pick in 2011, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2015 grisly murder of his disabled father, his uncle and an alarm installer in California … In a non-violent yet still concerning item, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com writes that the Rays have informed teams “they’re open to the idea of dealing left-handed ace Blake Snell” because they’re trying to trim their budget and the 2018 Cy Young winner is still owed $39 million over three years. Tampa had the third-lowest payroll in the majors last season at $28.3 million. On Tuesday, Tampa lost veteran Charlie Morton, who signed a one-year deal worth $15 million with Alex Anthopoulos’ Atlanta Braves. Morton reportedly turned down a similar offer to remain with the Rays. Clearly it’s time for the team to relocate from Tampa, where it has averaged crowds of slightly more than 14,000 in the last two seasons before the pandemic, but with all this other stuff going on, does anyone even want the Rays?
FOLLOW THE LEADER
As of Nov. 10, the three most-followed accounts on Twitter belonged to Katy Perry, the “world famous pop star and girl kisser) at 108.9 million, London Ontario’s Justin Bieber at 113.1 million and, the runaway leader, former U.S. President Barack Obama at 125.9 million. The only sports figure in the top 20 is Cristiano Ronaldo, the best soccer player on the planet, whose fifth on the leaderboard at 88.1 million … I follow exactly none of the above.
ON THIS (Nov. 25) DATE
Exactly 44 years ago (and 18 years before his famous run from the law), Buffalo Bill O.J. Simpson racked up 273 rushing yards in a game against the Detroit Lions … Exactly two years ago, the Calgary Stampeders exacted some championship revenge on the Ottawa Redblacks from two Novembers earlier when they won the 106th Grey Cup game, by a score of 27-16, at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton … Legendary Boston Bruins defenceman Eddie Shore was born exactly 118 years ago, while legendary New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio was born 106 years ago … Celebrating birthdays are Bob (Hound Dog) Kelly (70), Bucky (F —– g) Dent (69), Bernie Kosar (57), Cris Carter (55), and Donovan McNabb (44)
If and when the NHL season does begin, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that along with likelihood of an all-Canadian division there’s a good chance teams within the division will be playing each other in the first two rounds of the playoffs. While that would greatly intensify the rivalries, it also means only one team from Canada would still be alive for Round 3. So much for that Toronto Maple Leafs-Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup final we all await, eh? But would that improve or decrease the chance of Canada’s 27-year Cup drought continuing for another season?
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