As the first half of 2017 concludes, the sports world never comes to an end.

BIG NAMES ON THE MOVE:

Most Canadians prefer the NHL over the NBA.

The NHL generally has a much more intriguing regular season and far more compelling playoffs, however, the NBA gets the nod in the off-season for big-name player transactions.

Free agency in both leagues will begin July 1st; the NHL will put out quantity, while the NBA gets attention for quality.

Last year, Kevin Durant switched teams, which enabled Golden State to re-capture its crown from the Cavaliers.

In 2014, LeBron James returned home to Cleveland and one year later, he led the Cavaliers to their first championship title.

No one will ever forget the 2010 “Decision” when LeBron left Cleveland for Miami.

In 2015, there was the bizarre story of DeAndre Jordan agreeing to a deal with the Dallas Mavericks, only to change his mind and return to the Los Angeles Clippers a week later.

This year, the Clippers agreed to a blockbuster trade that sends All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in exchange for three players (Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, and Lou Williams), and a 2018 first-round draft pick.

The Clippers were forced into the move after Paul informed them he planned to test free agency.

Another (four-time) All-Star, Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers he plans on leaving in a year, which means Indiana has little choice but to deal him, likely this summer.

The NHL 2017 free-agent market is led by Kevin Shattenkirk and includes many players well into their 30’s; some into their 40’s.

Shattenkirk had minimal impact when he was dealt at the trading deadline from St. Louis to Washington, so why should anyone be excited about where he ends up?

The point is, player movement among mega stars is real in the NBA and minimal in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby will be a lifer with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Connor McDavid is about to sign long-term with the Edmonton Oilers, and the Chicago Blackhawks always find a way to keep their big three of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith.

Sure, Wayne Gretzky shook up the hockey world with his trade from Edmonton to the LA Kings… but that was 29 years ago (1988).

The NHL offers a better overall product where an eighth-seed can realistically reach a Stanley Cup Final.

The NBA is in a flux with mega teams, meaning two dozen of their 30 franchises have virtually no chance to win a title.

Off season headlines spark passion, controversy, and considerable debate.

As rosters change, so do the odds.

The Rockets went from 30-to-1 to 15-to-1 to win the 2017-18 NBA title after they acquired Chris Paul.

I doubt there will be an NHL summer deal that will have that kind of impact on one team.

Bring on the fireworks which, in sports, means far more than the Canada Day 150 weekend.

EX-COUGAR EARNS CAPITAL GAIN:

Prince George’s own Brett Connolly must be delighted with his two-year, $3 million dollar contract that he agreed to with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

He nearly doubled his salary from the previous season ($850,000 for 2016-17) even though he was a healthy scratch in the Caps’ last six playoff games against Pittsburgh.

The 25-year-old former PG and Cariboo Cougar notched 23 points in 66 regular season games with Washington, and no points in seven post-season games.

Connolly hasn’t reached his potential, but with increased ice time and responsibility, there’s still time for him to blossom into the player that came into the league with much fanfare as the sixth overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010.

HOME SWEET HOME… ON THE WEEKEND:

The Prince George Spruce Kings have a far more balanced schedule in 2017-18 compared to the previous year.

Last season, they concluded with 15 of their last 16 on the road.

This season, they will end with five on the road, but that follows a five-game home-stand.

The Spruce Kings are fortunate to play 24 of their 28 home games at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (RMCA) on a Friday or Saturday night.

The Prince George Cougars have 21 of their 36 games at the CN Centre on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Cougars and Spruce Kings have a whopping nine home games on the same night (October 6-7, November 17-18, December 1-2, January 19, February 9-10).

Meanwhile, the UNBC basketball teams have 10 home dates, six of which are the same night the Cougars are home (Nov 10-11, Nov 17-18, Jan 5-6).

COURAGEOUS NORTHERN BC TEEN MAKES SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE:

Myles Mattila, a Cariboo Cougars player in 2016-17, has been recognized by the Prime Minister himself after receiving the Chair of the Board Award from BC Hockey.

Mattila, who is from Quesnel and is moving from Prince George to Kelowna this summer, is the founder
of Mindcheck.ca, which promotes mental health awareness and education for young B.C. residents.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Major League Baseball is having “Game of Thrones” night at the ballpark this season. It’s a night where baseball fans and “Game of Thrones” fans will look at each other and say, “I have NO IDEA what’s going on.”

*Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon

 

Major league baseball has announced that they will allow players to wear nicknames on their jerseys for one weekend this season. Unfortunately, it will be the nicknames fans give them.

*Late Night host Seth Meyers

 

A streaker clad in only his socks ran across the field at a Brewers-Giants game in Milwaukee before three security personnel finally tackled him near shortstop. He’s expected to be charged with
misdemeanor lewd & lascivious behavior and violating the infield-fly rule.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times

 

Vince Young, released by the Saskatchewan roughriders is #701 on the QB depth charts, right behind a female tennis pro.

*Comedy writer Tony Chong of Vancouver

 

LaVar Ball says that his son Lonzo will “take the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year.”  So is he
buying them tickets?”

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Authorities in California arrested three men suspected of stealing up to $300,000 worth of avocados. Police say they caught them green-handed.

*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller