NHL keeps rollin' along

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:04 AM ET

The National Hockey League has partnered with the North American Roller Hockey Championships.

For those not aware, the NARcH is a collection of tournaments across the U.S. and Canada, including a June 17-19 gathering in Red Deer, that features 11,000 players from as young as six to the 35-and-over division.

It's also known as tryouts.

RINK RAP: Great ad on the Internet from the National Hockey League Fans' Association (NHLFA.com). A suit-wearing man (not sure if he represents an owner, player, agent or all of them) walks to the centre faceoff dot in an empty arena, chips away at the ice to grab the loonie. It concludes with the phrase: "When did hockey come to this?" ... The latest proof where hockey stands in the pecking order. Sports Illustrated's website no longer has the NHL on the navigation bar. You have to click on 'More Sports' to find it -- below tennis and above soccer ... Message to Dominik Hasek, don't let the door hit your butt as you leave the NHL to resume your roller-hockey career ... Flames forward -- when they're playing -- Marcus Nilson is facing a suspension for as much as the Swedish Elite League playoffs after attempting to gouge an opponent's eyes (that's right, plural) last week.

LINK LINES: Hands up everyone who failed to take advantage of yesterday's beautiful weather by watching the Doral showdown between Lefty and Tiger. Don't feel too guilty because it was worth it ... Just two questions: What was Tiger Woods thinking going for the green off the 16th tee? And why can't we help but feel Phil Mickelson lost it more than Tiger won it by missing an easy par putt on 16 and then blowing his approach on 18? ... Can't help but wonder why Woods doesn't flinch when the gallery a hole over erupts in the middle of his swing but he goes nuts with "C'mon guys" when one camera clicks ... Still, whenever he's in the hunt, my money's on Tiger.

AND ANOTHER THING: Is there anyone in sports who exudes cool as much as New York Yankees manager Joe Torre? Throughout everything George Steinbrenner and the Bronx Bombers cause him in trials and tribulations, the skipper takes it all in stride like so few could ... This week's least classy pro athlete award goes to Alonzo Mourning. Let's get this straight: He signs a $20-million, two-year deal with New Jersey last off-season and complains the brass gave up on winning, then doesn't report to Toronto to get a $9-million buyout before saying he's taking a financial hit to return to Miami. If only we could suffer that kind of hardship ... Latest proof against the argument a salary cap helps teams keep important players: Troy Brown, late of the New England Patriots ... This year's Westminster Kennel Club telecasts on the USA Network drew a higher rating than last year's NHL Finals on ESPN -- 2.9 to 2.2 -- according to Nielsen Media Research ... Best news to come from the first race of the Formula One season: Michael Schumacher didn't win.

LAST RITES: Dave Hodge says NHL fans should turn to the curling crowd to find an end to the lockout after they forced the CBC to improve its coverage of the Brier. Hodge, on the TSN show The Reporters, said Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow should be wary of a collection of "broom-wielding, hurry-hard shrieking fanatics who know how to execute a double takout."

Oh, to dream.


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