Rocks, hoops and trivial pursuits
Between writing and editing, clearing driveways and ticking off the days until the San Francisco 49ers open training camp (I’m still getting over that Super Bowl loss), one can pile an extra thought or two.
Let’s go to the video tape — here’s the belated Family Day edition of the CJ Sports notebook.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE 1-2 PUNCH: Shaq and Kobe. Crosby and Malkin. Flacco and any Baltimore receiver (it still pains me to admit that one).
These are effective one-two punches in sports. Every strong teams needs one. The Krista McCarville curling rink had that with Krista McCarville at skip and third Tara George. Frankly, they haven’t been their dominant selves since George left three years ago.
Now this is nothing against current third Ashley Miharija, who is a budding curling star in her own right. But George — a veteran skip when she joined forces with McCarville in 2006 — set the table for many of McCarville’s shots during their Ontario and Canadian championship runs.
In that span, the McCarville rink, along with Lorraine Lang and Tiffany Stubbings (later Miharija and Kari Lavoie) won four provincial titles, bronze medals at the 2009 Olympic Trials and the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts and a quartet of final four appearances in World Curling Tour grand slams.
Last week, McCarville, 30, announced she would be taking next season off due to family and work commitments. It’s the same reason George chose to lay the broom down three years ago. Consider it a well-deserved break for McCarville, who has been curling at a high level since her early teens.
Perhaps Miharija leading her own squad in the competitive women’s ranks next winter will add to her growth. If her and McCarville reunite in 2015, Thunder Bay may get its dangerous one-two punch back.
IS IT JUST ME?: Or do the Lakehead Thunderwolves men’s basketball team really need Joseph Jones and Ben Johnson to relocate their past form for these OUA playoffs?
When the Thunderwolves tip off their OUA West division semifinal Saturday at C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse, they’ll do so with rebounding star Yoosrie Salhia and sharp-shooting forward Ryan Thomson healthy and ready to go.
Lakehead couldn’t say that last year when the team still qualified for the Canadian tournament but didn’t do much else. Their presence may make difference this time around.
However for the Thunderwolves to become a truly dangerous team, the drives and perimeter shots from the two J’s have to fall to complement Salhia and Thomson.
Jones and Johnson — who are in their final year of eligibility — have each been plagued by inconsistency this season. Johnson was one of the country’s top three-point shooters before disappearing in last year’s OUA final four. Jones doesn’t have the same impact off the bench.
Three representatives in the OUA will advance to the nationals in Ottawa next month. On paper three schools — Carleton, Ryerson, Ottawa and Windsor — are ranked ahead of Lakehead.
The Thunderwolves are capable of defeating any of those clubs in a do-or-die setting. They need more than Salhia and Thomson to get it done.
HOME FIRES: Remember when the Fort William Gardens was a house of post-season horrors for visiting university hockey teams?
The Lakehead Thunderwolves were 19-1 at home in the playoffs through their first eight seasons in the OUA. Since then, they’re just 7-6 with all six of those losses ending their seasons.
TRIVIA PLUG: There’s still time for individual players or teams of six to sign up for the annual Hockey Trivia in Thunder Bay on Thursday.
The event, which includes a spaghetti dinner and cash bar, will be held at the Knights of Columbus Centre on May Street beginning at 6:30 p.m. Cost per player is $45 and we’ll put you into teams that will compete for the Jim Johnson Memorial Trophy. The fee for pre-arranged teams is $240.
Signed jerseys by Wendel Clark, Cam Neely and Lanny McDonald are among the auction items. Proceeds will go to the Catholic Family Development Centre.
I will serve as one of the judges while The Chronicle-Journal vice-president of operations Clint Harris and former sports radio star Bryan Graham will be the co-emcees. There’s some doozy questions this year.
Call Rob Barrett at 345-7323 or email email@example.com for more information.
QUICK HITS: It’s no guarantee that Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross will become a breakout star because he won the NBA dunk contest over the weekend. For every Blake Griffin, Michael Jordan or Vince Carter there are five or six Nate Robinsons, Gerald Greens, Fred Jones, Jason Richardsons, Desmond Masons and Harold Miners. Translation: Dunking does not an all-star or hall of famer make. . . . Why didn’t we see any archived NFL footage in Silver Linings Playbook? While we’re on the subject, I’m picking Lincoln over favoured Argo for Best Picture at the Oscars this weekend — plus points.