How lucky is the world that President Trump was busy golfing in Florida when the false Hawaiian missile attack alert was issued rather than sitting at his desk within easy reach of his “bigger” button?

     2018 voting for baseball’s Hall of Fame is underway. As the only player in major league baseball history to have a lifetime batting average over .300; 350 or more home runs; 200 or more stolen bases; and, a .400 or higher on-base percentage, why isn’t Larry Walker already in?

NHL Offside Review Needs Change

     There are few things in sports, if any, as ridiculous as the NHL’s review of a possible offside that may have happened a minute or more before a goal was scored, always resulting in a lengthy game delay and often in an otherwise perfectly legitimate goal being disallowed because a player’s skate was a fraction of a millimetre off the ice for a fraction of a millisecond.

     Now that this particular review genie is out of the bottle there’s no way that the NHL’s bull-headed decision makers will get rid of it. (When was the last time Gary Bettman admitted he was wrong?) But they could improve it considerably with two simple changes.

     First, change the requirement that a player’s skate has to be in contact with the ice to the same criterion used in football to determine whether a touchdown has been scored, which is whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line. Make it that as long as the player’s skate breaks the plane of the blue line he’s onside, regardless of whether his skate was in contact with the ice.

     Second, don’t allow a review at all if more than ten seconds have passed or any defending player has touched the puck after it entered the defending zone. If the defending team was unable to regain or keep possession of the puck within ten seconds, that’s the main reason the goal was scored, not the offside.

Astonishing Turnover In NHL Scoring Leaders

     A comparison of the current top ten leaders in the categories of goals, assists, and points  to the top ten leaders in these categories at the end of last season reveals an astonishing turnover. Goals: only Nikita Kucherov and Anders Lee are on both lists. Assists: only Connor McDavid and Blake Wheeler. Points: only McDavid and Kucherov.

     That’s an almost 90% turnover. And it doesn’t stop there. An examination of goalies’ save percentage leaders reveals that none of last season’s top ten are in the top ten right now. 

The Problem With Statistics

     Writing the previous item reminded me of an adage that I heard a lot when I was a kid because it happened to be one of my father’s favourites. It was: Figures don’t lie but liars can figure.

     As much as I love them, statistics are easily manipulated. For example, the following statement is statistically correct: every time  the Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews has been penalized this season the opposition scored while he was in the penalty box. But as he’s incurred just one penalty, the perfectly correct statement is virtually meaningless.

     Another one I’ve always liked (and have often used) is: put your head in a furnace and your feet on a cake of ice and on average you should feel pretty good.

Korean “Summit” In Vancouver

     Regular readers are well aware of my opinion that one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s main shortcomings is that, as well-meaning as he may be, he is hopelessly naive, and especially so when it comes to foreign affairs. 

     This week’s so-called “summit” meeting in Vancouver, purportedly designed to convince North Korea leader Kim Jong-un to dismantle his nuclear program, is a case in point. How can it be called a “summit” when Russia and China, the only two countries positioned to influence Kim, weren’t invited? And, what are the odds on it having any effect whatsoever on him?

     The Trudeau government has stated that China and Russia were welcome to send “observers” to Vancouver who would be fully briefed after the meeting. That’s like saying you can’t come to the birthday party, but if you hang around outside we’ll give you a loot bag after everyone has left. Did Trudeau actually think they’d send anyone?

     This “summit” will prove to be about as effective as spitting on a forest fire. The only thing it will accomplish is another costly hit on Canadian taxpayers.