Happy New Year!
With my last column of the year, I will see the future without any fear.
To this end, I go on a dare and make some notable predictions in 2023 with much loving care.
Although the chances are high there are no guarantees these forecasts will all fly.
More grief for the Leafs:
The Toronto Maple Leafs will qualify for the NHL post-season but their streak will continue of not winning a playoff series in 19 years (since 2004). Toronto will lose again in the opening round to Tampa Bay. Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews will tell the media “It’s sad to see it end the way it did. This is a feeling we’ve experienced seven years in a row since I have been here. We are so close that things will be different in 2024.”
The Hockey News Headline
“The Toronto Maple Leafs have not been this close to a Stanley Cup in more than 50 years.”
— Dr. Jimmy Yam (@JimmyJoeYam) March 18, 2021
Stanley Cup Final unwatchable:
The New Jersey Devils will beat the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Final. The television ratings will set a modern-day new low for an NHL championship series. How low you ask? Even the 3 AM Sports Centre repeat on TSN 5 (the day after the cup final) will have a bigger audience.
The Official BarstoolChief “Most Fun Teams To Watch” in the NHL Power Rankings
1) New Jersey Devils
2) Dallas Stars
3) Buffalo Sabres
4) Edmonton McDavids
5) Boston Bruins
6) LA Kings
7) Seattle Kraken
8) Vegas Golden Knights
9) Toronto Maple Leafs
10) Pittsburgh Penguins
— Chief (@BarstoolChief) December 8, 2022
The PG Cougars do it:
No, the Prince George Cougars do not win the 2023 WHL championship but they do win a playoff series for the first time in 16 years (since 2007). Coach and GM Mark Lamb pops a bottle of champagne after the Cougars beat the Everett Silvertips in a long first-round series.
The @PGCougars pounced for three first-period goals to beat the Everett Silvertips as WHL action resumed Friday.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) December 28, 2019
What a game:
Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats sets a WHL record with 11 points (five goals and six assists) in a game. (The old record of 10 points was shared by five players). Bedard is congratulated by former Toronto Maple Leaf Daryl Sittler, who offers him a challenge to beat his NHL record of 10 points in a game set on Feb. 7, 1976. (Sittler was 26 at the time)
Bedard will break Sittler’s record the first time he plays the Chicago Blackhawks.
I’m pretty sure Connor Bedard is the best player in the NHL… pic.twitter.com/lttHFqmaQi
— James Nichols (@JamesNicholsNHL) December 20, 2022
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 30, 2022
Bills fans are reminded of Scott Norwood:
The Buffalo Bills lose the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles in a gut-wrenching fashion. On the game’s final play, and the Bills trailing by two, Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass misses a 47-yard field goal. Shortly after the game, Bass is consoled by 62-year-old Scott Norwood (who missed a game-winning field goal attempt from a similar distance at the end of Super Bowl XXV). The prolonged Buffalo drought in football (and hockey) will continue.
1990: Timeline Cleanser-The Greatest Super Bowl played & came down to Scott Norwood who never made a FG this far on grass (47 yards). It was wide right & #NYGiants walked off with over 40 minutes of time of possession & their 2nd Super Bowl title by the score 20-19 #TogetherBlue pic.twitter.com/yObEAclsVN
— BigBlueVCR (@BigBlueVCR) July 2, 2022
One for the ages:
7-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after three seasons but the free agent announces he will play again at age 46. Brady wants the easiest path to the playoffs so he remains in the lowly NFC South and signs with the New Orleans Saints who bring back Sean Payton as their coach. The plan all along was for Brady and Payton to join forces. The original plan was for them to get together in Miami but the two came to their senses and decided not to go thru the grind of the AFC.
As the coaching carousel prepares to spin, there’s increasing chatter in league circles about Sean Payton returning to the Saints — possibly with Tom Brady at QB. https://t.co/nFqZx8Hn0d
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 27, 2022
Patience is preached:
The Chicago Bears will double their win total from three in 2022 to six in 2023 and then declare their long-term plan is right on target.
While much of the attention is on the Bears’ draft position and their future, Justin Fields is simply sick of being on an eight-game losing streak.https://t.co/W8cULFSBjo
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) December 28, 2022
Show me the money:
CFL Players in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa will get a raise of a whopping 50 cents an hour on October 1st, 2023 (just like they did on October 1st of 2022). On October 1st the Ontario government strongly indicated a minimum wage increase which currently stands at $15.50 an hour in that province.
— The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) May 27, 2018
Cat Scan podcast:
The Prince George Cougars Director of Business and goalie coach Taylor Dakers is this week’s Cat Scan podcast guest.
Taylor talks about what he has learned in his short time on the new job, paying attention to fans’ requests, concession sales & lineups, the two-goalie system, second-half promotions, improved attendance, and more.
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) December 27, 2022
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Last week marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic plays in the history of sports, Franco Harris’ TD of a caught deflected pass known as The Immaculate Reception. 50,000 people were at that game in Pittsburgh back in 1972—-28,445,333 claimed they were at that game.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
RIP Franco Harris
The immaculate reception happened 50 years ago this week.
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) December 21, 2022
Love that Tyler Rogers will play with his identical twin brother Taylor on the San Francisco Giants. Even though it would have been perfect marketing had they both ended up with Minnesota.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
North Pole police have finally cleared Santa’s head elf on charges of careless use of a firearm. Authorities admit mistakes were made after finding a cartridge in a pear tree.
*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for Prince George Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).