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Howie Meeker, former NHL star and Hockey Night in Canada icon, dies at 97 – CBC.ca

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Howie Meeker, a former NHL player, Hockey Night in Canada icon and legendary personality, died Sunday at age 97 at Nanaimo General Hospital in B.C.

Meeker, who won four Stanley Cups with Toronto and was the oldest living Maple Leaf, was an NHL star who won rookie of the year honours in 1947 after scoring 27 goals and 45 points in 55 games.

A spokesperson for the Maple Leafs, the team that signed Meeker to a free-agent contract on April 13, 1946, confirmed his death earlier Sunday. There was no immediate word on the cause.

Meeker went on to become a broadcaster and was known for phrases such as “Jiminy Cricket,” “Golly gee willikers” and “Stop it right there!” His work with HNIC earned Meeker the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 1998 after a 30-year career on CBC and TSN.

Born on Nov. 4, 1923 in Kitchener, Ont., Meeker played eight years with the Maple Leafs — winning NHL championships in 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1951 — and appeared in three all-star games.

He finished his NHL career at 30 in the 1953-54 season with 83 goals and 185 points in 388 regular-season games while adding 15 points in 42 playoff contests.

Most famously, he passed the puck to Bill Barilko for the 1951 Cup overtime winner against Montreal.

Skated into his 80s

Among Meeker’s other career highlights was scoring five goals in a 10-4 win over Chicago on Jan. 8, 1947, one of only 44 players to tally five or more times in a game.

He continued to play pro hockey on and off for another 15 years at a variety of levels, including the American Hockey League and Newfoundland Senior League, among others.

Meeker retired from playing after the 1968-69 season and kept skating into his 80s.

Dick Irvin, a fixture on HNIC for 33 years, told the Montreal Gazette in 2014 that Meeker was the first television analyst to break down the game and criticize players.

“‘You can’t do that!'” Irvin recalled Meeker saying. “‘See what he did? That was wrong! That guy J.C. Tremblay should never have done that. Tim Horton made a mistake! Look at what he’s doing there!’

Meeker spent two years as a Progressive Conservative member of Parliament while playing for the Leafs. He won the federal byelection in the Ontario riding of Waterloo South in 1951 but didn’t seek re-election two years later.

Ran hockey schools, wrote books

In 2010, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada and inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

Meeker, who also called St. John’s home through the years, ran hockey schools for more than 30 years and literally wrote the book on hockey — 1973’s Howie Meeker’s Hockey Basics.

During the ’70s, he offered up drills and tips during his Howie Meeker Hockey School sessions on CBC.

He later wrote another book called Golly Gee — It’s Me: The Howie Meeker Story. And he never ran short of opinions on how to improve the game he loved.

Meeker had six children with his first wife Grace — they were married for 55 years before she died of cancer. He remarried, living with wife Leah in Parksville on Vancouver Island where they were active in fundraising for the B.C. Guide Dog Services.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

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Cris Collinsworth Apologizes for Saying He Was 'Blown Away' by Football Questions From 'Even the Ladies': TRAINA THOUGHTS – Sports Illustrated

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1. NBC’s Cris Collinsworth has offered a mea culpa after making a head-scratching comment during Wednesday’s Ravens-Steelers game.

The Sunday Night Football analyst was talking about how passionate Steelers fans were when he said, “In particular, the ladies that I met. They had really specific questions about the game. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ You’re just blown away by how strong the fans are here in this town.”

Collinsworth singling out “ladies” instantly generated backlash on social media, with many people pointing out that it shouldn’t surprise anyone that women are knowledgeable about the NFL—or any sport, for that matter. 

A few hours after the game ended, Collinsworth addressed the controversy and issued an apology for the insulting remarks.

2. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped late Wednesday night with Chris Long. The Super Bowl champion, who now hosts the Amazon Prime pregame show on Thursday nights and the Green Light podcast three days a week, shared his insight into what NFL players are going through this season while trying to play through a pandemic. 

Long also talks about what’s going on with Tom Brady and the Bucs and why he thinks people shouldn’t sleep on the Packers.

Non-football topics Chris and I discussed include our hatred of shaving, UGGs, celebrity-scented candles, the funniest TV/movie death or funeral scenes and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

Or you can watch the podcast on YouTube.

3. We need more honesty like this from NFL head coaches.

4. Anyone else surprised that casino revenue in Las Vegas is down only 36% this year? I expected that number to be much higher.

5. It’s giveaway time. Easton Baseball has relaunched its “Green Easton” bat, and they are providing one for a Traina Thoughts reader.

The first person to email me (Jimmy.Traina@si.com) the correct answer to these two questions wins the Green Easton bat. You have to email me the answer. Do not send it via Twitter, Instagram, etc.

• On this week’s SI Media Podcast, Chris Long said he expected Mark Sanchez to be doing commercials for what after his football career?

• On the same podcast, Long cited which TV show as having the funniest funeral scene? 

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: As I’ve said, funniest TV/movies death or funeral scenes was a topic on this week’s SI Media Podcast with Chris Long. Some of my Twitter followers passed along their favorites, and I need to shout out Sean Malone for this one. 

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy on this date in 1988. We’ve all seen Sanders’s Lions highlights many times, but did you all know he once had a 100-yard kickoff return during his Heisman season at Oklahoma State?

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.

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STYX Releases Quarantine Video For 'Too Much Time On My Hands' In Time For STEELERS/RAVENS Football Game – BLABBERMOUTH.NET

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STYX has released a video for its classic hit “Too Much Time On My Hands”, filmed from the band’s home studios specifically for Pittsburgh #SteelersNation in time for yesterday’s (Wednesday, December 2) game against the Baltimore Ravens.

STYX‘s affiliation with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been strong for years. One of the band’s other signature hits, “Renegade”, has been an adopted theme song of the team for over a decade, and they’ve sung the national anthem at many Steelers games in recent years.

STYX recently asked fans for donations to be made to the Pittsburgh Foundation Emergency Action Fund. The Pittsburgh region is facing unprecedented economic, health and human services challenges in the global public health pandemic brought on by the COVID-19 virus. In response, on March 16, local philanthropies partnered to create the Emergency Action Fund, which awarded operating grants on a rolling basis to emergency service providers and nonprofit organizations serving on the front lines of recovery.

STYX has spent the last few months working on its new studio album, The upcoming effort will be the follow-up to “The Mission”, which was released in June 2017. That disc marked STYX‘s first new LP in 14 years. It was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, co-produced and co-written with Will Evankovich, a longtime collaborator of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw‘s in the SHAW/BLADES band and who also plays with THE GUESS WHO.

STYX‘s James “JY” Young told Radio Forrest in September that the band will hold off on releasing the new album until it can go back on tour. “That’s the current plan,” he said. “Because we like to have everything kind of get launched at once. It’s easier to make people aware of it if it’s not released in a vacuum. But if you can get a tour going, and tickets are selling, and then the record’s out, it’s easier to build a critical mass for awareness.”

This past August, Young told the Q105.7 radio station that STYX‘s next LP may not arrive for at least another year. “If Dr. Fauci [Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] is right, [we won’t be able to tour until] the end of [2021], so that would put us out in 2022, which would be the 50th-anniversary year of us signing our first recording contract, which is February 22, 1972,” he said. “But if it’s in ’22 that this record comes out, it’ll be 2-22-22, so maybe that’s what we’ve gotta wait for.”

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, four straight STYX albums sold at least two million copies — “The Grand Illusion” (1977), “Pieces Of Eight” (1978), “Cornerstone” (1979) and “Paradise Theatre” (1981). The band eventually replaced original singer/keyboardist/songwriter Dennis DeYoung in 1999 with Lawrence Gowan.

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Raptors prop odds roll out in advance of season – Sportsnet.ca

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With the start of the NBA regular season less than three weeks away the Toronto Raptors are adjusting to life in their temporary home of Tampa Bay. Forced to relocate due to continued cross-border travel restrictions related to the ongoing pandemic, the Raptors will play home games at Amalie Arena until further notice.

However, with a COVID-19 vaccine looking increasingly likely to roll out at some point in 2021, the odds of the Raptors playing at least one home game in Toronto this season sit at a short -250 in NBA props betting at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

But faced with the prospect of living out of hotels for the entirety of the NBA season, the Raptors have taken a step back on the NBA odds.

Victorious in 53 games last season, second most in the NBA, the Raptors’ win total for the upcoming season sits at just 43.5. Toronto remains a -360 favourite to return to the NBA playoffs for an eighth straight season, but their temporary exile from Scotiabank Arena and recent offseason moves have raised questions. While the team locked up Fred VanVleet with a lucrative four-year contract, the departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol suggest the team is undergoing a changing of the guard.

Those concerns extend to team president Masai Ujiri, who has been in demand around the league since leading Toronto to a championship and sports -110 odds of resigning his position with the Raptors before next season’s NBA playoffs.

Indeed, if the Raptors fall out of postseason contention during their upcoming nomadic campaign, Kyle Lowry’s future with the team could also be in question. The heart and soul of the Raptors since his arrival in Toronto eight years ago, Lowry played a crucial role in the team’s march to an NBA title in 2019. But with Lowry turning 35 in March, and entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $30 million, he is listed as a +250 wager at online betting sites to not finish the season as a member of the Raptors.

While a slow start could place Lowry’s future in question, Drake’s position with the Raptors appears to be eternal. The Toronto-born hip hop star has served as the team’s global ambassador since 2013, and has become a familiar presence around the franchise both on and off the hardwood.

That is not expected to change, even as the global pandemic rages, with the musician sporting -850 odds to take his familiar seat at courtside for at least one Raptors game in the season ahead.

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