News you need to get through the day …
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org 905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 7-9 on 900CHML
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.