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The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

A few way­ward thoughts on a Satur­day fol­low­ing a dis­tract­ingly warm week that sug­gested sum­mer might be on its way af­ter all … STAR-STRAN­GLED BAN­TER

So far this play­off run, the Nashville Preda­tors have had the “Star Span­gled Ban­ner” sung by Car­rie Un­der­wood, Luke Bryan, Lit­tle Big Town, Vince Gill, Lady An­te­bel­lum, Keith Ur­ban and Kelly Clark­son. Be­tween them, they have 43 Grammy Awards. The team’s reg­u­lar an­them singer — cor­po­rate re­cruiter Den­nis K. Mor­gan — who’s ex­pressed frus­tra­tion at be­ing bounced has … well … he’s still wait­ing for his first. But you knew that. THE BIG SHO

Re­tir­ing bas­ket­ball star — re­tir­ing from Team Canada and in­ter­na­tional play, any­way — Shona Thorburn told my ra­dio show that Sho-Time is the only nick­name she’s ever had, pub­licly or pri­vately.

It came from the pen of late Spec sports writer Jeff Dick­ins back when she was in high school. Just showed up one day in the pa­per. And she’s never com­plained about it since. Not once.

“No, it was awe­some,” she says. “Are you kid­ding me? That’s fol­lowed me for life now. I ap­pre­ci­ate his cre­ativ­ity.” BANG FOR THE BUCK

Hockey teams are al­ways look­ing for value when they sign play­ers. And who was the best value of any player in the NHL this sea­son? Some guy named Con­nor McDavid.

The sopho­more su­per­star was paid $925,000 this sea­son and col­lected 100 points, mean­ing he cost the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers $9,250 per point.

Sec­ond on the list was Nashville’s Vik­tor Arvids­son ($10,355 per point) and third was Chicago’s Artemi Pa­narin ($10,980). Toronto’s rookie-of-the-year favourite Aus­ton Matthews checked in at $13,406 per point.

The worst value? Bryan Bick­ell cost Carolina $4 mil­lion for his one point. BEST OS­CAR SPORTS FLICKS

It was this week in 1929 that the first Acad­emy Awards were pre­sented. It says here that the best sports-re­lated movies ever to win best pic­ture are: 1. Rocky (1977) — Box­ing 2. Char­i­ots of Fire (1981) — Run­ning 3. Ben Hur (1959) — Char­iot Rac­ing 4. For­rest Gump (1994) — Run­ning, foot­ball and ta­ble ten­nis 5. Mil­lion Dollar Baby (2004) — Box­ing Of course, Rag­ing Bull should be on this list. But Martin Scors­ese and Robert De Niro’s black and white mas­ter­piece was bounced in 1981 by

Or­di­nary Peo­ple. And Hoosiers should’ve won in 1987 but it wasn’t even nom­i­nated the year

Pla­toon took the tro­phy. YOU’RE GONE

Sil­li­est sports web­site worth check­ing out this sum­mer? Try the Um­pire Ejec­tion Fan­tasy League (por­tal.close­call­sports.com). It’s an ac­tual

fan­tasy league in which par­tic­i­pants draft um­pires and get points each time one of their guys tosses some­one.

Tripp Gib­son is presently in first place with four ejec­tions this young sea­son, which in­cludes spring train­ing and the World Base­ball Clas­sic. Blue Jays’ favourite Vic Cara­pazza (ahem) is tied for sec­ond with two. Both of the peo­ple he’s tossed are Blue Jays.

Dale Scott and Todd Tichenor led the way last sea­son with eight each. BIZARRO WORLD

In ev­ery sin­gle sea­son of the 1980s, the Bos­ton Celtics, Los An­ge­les Lak­ers or Philadel­phia 76ers — or some com­bi­na­tion of two of them — were in the NBA fi­nals.

On Tues­day night, the NBA draft lottery de­ter­mined the three fran­chises would be pick­ing first, sec­ond and third in June’s draft.

The 1980s have of­fi­cially been turned on their head. BUDDY IS ROLLING

For­mer Hamil­ton Red Wing Buddy Robin­son — a team­mate of Maple Leaf winger Zach Hy­man when he was in Hamil­ton — is 18th in play­off scor­ing in the Amer­i­can Hockey League. The San Jose Bar­racuda winger has eight points in 10 games. BERGEVIN IS NOT

Num­ber of play­off games the AHL Hamil­ton Bull­dogs won in the five years be­fore Marc Bergevin be­came gen­eral man­ager of the Montreal Cana­di­ens and, by ex­ten­sion, the farm team: 24.

Num­ber of play­off games the Bull­dogs/St. John’s IceCaps have won since: 1 HE COULD’VE BEEN BABY HORNQVIST

A cou­ple from Pitts­burgh who de­scribe them­selves as diehard Pen­guins fans had a baby be­tween Games 1 and 2 of the se­ries against Ot­tawa. To show their sup­port for the team, they named the boy Kes­sel. As in Phil. A day later, Kes­sel — the player, not the baby — scored the game-win­ning goal.

Oddly, how­ever, th­ese same Pen­guins-crazed par­ents gave the child the mid­dle name Ryan. This just 24 hours af­ter the Sen­a­tors Bobby Ryan scored in over­time to give Ot­tawa the first game of the se­ries. WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Two of the world’s best ath­letes are hockey star Con­nor McDavid and UFC cham­pion Conor McGre­gor. So is there some kind of magic in the name Con­nor Mc-some­thing-or-other?

We’re go­ing to find out. This week, Con­nor McMichael signed on with the Hamil­ton Bull­dogs to play for the OHL team next sea­son.

sradley@thes­pec.com 905-526-2440 | @radley­atthes­pec Spec­ta­tor colum­nist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show week­nights from 7-9 on 900CHML

MARK HUMPHREY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Car­rie Un­der­wood sings the U.S. na­tional an­them be­fore a Nashville Preda­tors play­off game.

Blue Jays in­fielder Dar­win Bar­ney, left, and the mask from the thriller, V For Vendetta.

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