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 for 2024 with much loving care.
Although the chances are high there are no guarantees these forecasts will all fly.
What a game:
Connor Bedard of the Chicago Blackhawks scores five goals in a game to tie the NHL rookie record set by Howie Meeker (January 8, 1947) and Don Murdoch (October 12, 1976).
However, of the five none was a Michigan (Lacrosse) goal.
⚠️ CONNOR BEDARD MICHIGAN GOAL‼️ THIS IS NOT A DRILL. ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/KPWcsVGzo0
— NHL (@NHL) December 24, 2023
“I couldn’t do what he did tonight.”
—Wayne Gretzky after Connor Bedard’s Michigan goal 👀 pic.twitter.com/p3rr9ffpf3
— ESPN (@espn) December 24, 2023
Tocchet top coach but Canucks sputter in post-season:
Rick Tocchet of the Vancouver Canucks captures the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL Coach of the Year based on a strong regular season.
The Canucks though do not get past the second round of the playoffs because as Tocchet pointed out the team did not feel uncomfortable enough.
“It’s going to get harder…You’ve got to feel uncomfortable…You need the uncomfortable feeling out there and we have to make that our mindset.”
🗣 Head Coach Rick Tocchet discusses the team’s mindset and focus following the holiday break. pic.twitter.com/jHHO8oyw6x
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 27, 2023
More grief for the Maple Leafs:
Naturally, the Toronto Maple Leafs will qualify for the NHL post-season but after another early exit (they have only won a playoff series once in 20 years) there will be many disgruntled fans and media suggesting things would have been different had they played Ilya Samsonov in goal.
“I need to figure out everything in my head.”
Ilya Samsonov has never been so mentally shaken in his career. And the Maple Leafs didn’t do much to help. Where do they go after the “embarrassment” in Buffalo? https://t.co/A2MiZZTb0Y pic.twitter.com/ZvDJ7WHobk
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) December 22, 2023
Canada reaching new Heidt(s):
Riley Heidt of the PG Cougars is selected to play for Team Canada at the 2025 World Junior Hockey Championship that will be held in Ottawa from Dec. 26, 2024, to Jan. 5, 2025. He looks so impressive in a Canadian uniform that a few Hockey Canada officials are overheard asking why was he ignored on the 2024 team.
Still cannot believe Riley Heidt didn’t even get an invite to Canada’s WJC selection camp. 2 goals and 1 assist for Prince George last night in their 9-2 win over Vancouver.
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) December 17, 2023
Pistons win (sort of):
The Detroit Pistons will win a game in January to snap their NBA record-losing streak which reached 28 games last night (Thursday). That is the good news. The bad news is they will set the NBA record for most losses in a season which is 73 set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.
BREAKING: The Detroit Pistons forced overtime against the league-best Celtics before Boston recovered to win 128-122.
Detroit matched the Philadelphia 76ers with 28 consecutive losses, the longest losing streak in NBA history. https://t.co/ISrqbEAsBf
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 29, 2023
The Detroit Pistons 28-game losing streak is now one short of the all time North American pro sports record.
— Brian Barrish (@Brian_Barrish) December 29, 2023
Bills fans are reminded of Scott Norwood:
The Buffalo Bills lose the Super Bowl to the San Francisco 49ers 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 63-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
Patience is preached:
The New England Patriots will increase their win total from four in 2023 to six in 2024 and then declare their long-term plan is right on target with Canadian QB Nathan Rourke barking out the signals and coach Bill Belichick a distant memory.
A new QB in New England! 👀🇨🇦
— NFL Canada (@NFLCanada) December 18, 2023
Show me the money:
CFL Players in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa will get a raise on October 1st, 2024. That is the date the Ontario government plans to increase the minimum wage from $16.55 an hour. The government will likely announce the rate increase of perhaps a whopping buck an hour around April 2024.
And then 2:
I will always say I think we have to find a way to pay CFL players higher salaries.
They deserve more. I know the minimum has risen slightly over the last few years, but they need to find a way to continue raising it. I think they’re underpaid right now.
— Dashawn Stephens (@StephensPRSVRE) July 8, 2023
Dodgers need to spend more:
Despite their billion-dollar investment in Ohtani and Yamamoto the LA Dodgers do not win the 2024 World Series. This does not sit well with Dodgers ownership who insist to get to the next level they will need to sign more Japanese high-price superstars.
Ohtani and Yamamoto pulling up to Dodger stadium together pic.twitter.com/esENLcL6bv
— Hard Rock Bet (@HardRockBet) December 22, 2023
Cat Scan podcast:
This is season six of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that predominately features the PG Cougars.
This week my guest is Cougars president and part owner John Pateman in the first of two parts.
CAT SCAN: @Hartley_Miller sits down with co-owner and @PGCougars president John Pateman in part one of a two-part chat | https://t.co/HunYnKMDMk #cityofpg #PrinceGeorge #northernbc #sports pic.twitter.com/r7GBxOfoMR
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) December 22, 2023
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
The LA Dodgers spent over a billion dollars to sign Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. In other news, Dodger Dog hot dogs have just risen to $100.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
On the legacy of the Dodger Dog and just how many more hot dogs are sold at Dodger Stadium than any other ballpark (and, perhaps, building?) https://t.co/5Ruj3PW7Ts
— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) July 20, 2022
Look, admit some amount of sour grapes might be involved. But wonder how the two newly-signed Japanese Superstars will react when the LA Dodgers go on the road this year and discover fans of other teams consider their teams the MLB version of Godzilla?
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
A tortoise with bad feet that lives in a theme park in Norfolk, England, has been outfitted with wheel rims and tires. They renamed it Danica Patrick.
*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).