CALGARY - Things sure have worked out well for Brent Sutter, these days.
By parting ways with the Calgary Flames after three years of coaching service, Sutter avoided being part of the NHL's latest labour impasse.
Looks like the Sylvan Lake rancher also managed to avoid being a casualty in another major issue dominating the headlines: The beef recall.
"I sold all my calves four days before they shut the plant down in Brooks," said Sutter, who runs a calving operation at his family homestead that has 450 head of cattle.
"That night (the beef scare hit), calves dropped 10 cents per pound. I was lucky."
Sutter has returned to his general managing duties with the Red Deer Rebels, which he owns -- a team off to a slow start despite featuring hotshot Calgary blueliner Mathew Dumba, seventh overall pick of the Minnesota Wild, this summer.
Fellow ranch-hand Curtis Glencross also managed to sell the bulk of his 220 head of cattle in Penhold before the real trouble hit. It appears that's where his luck ran out, though, as he stands to lose $2.5 million if the lockout lasts an entire season, as predicted in this space.
Now, for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering how long it will take the NHL players to realize the onus is on them to make significant concessions in order for the league to resume play this year or next.
OFF THE GLASS: For further proof things are radically different over in the KHL, we defer to Calgary goaltender Jeff Glass, who plays in Siberia where he sees new things every day: "We played Omsk Avangard the other night, who is captained by Alexander Frolov, formerly of the L.A. Kings. With a few minutes left in the second period, they threw the puck on goal and crashed the net, as hard as guys do in this league. There was a little controversy, but the puck was under me, not in the net. Frolov was convinced he had scored and was insisting they go upstairs to review the play. I told him and the ref not to waste anyone's time, because 100% it was not in. He asked me how much I wanted to bet that it was a goal. Knowing that he probably uses a salary like mine as spare change, I didn't say much. He stuck out his hand and said "$100." I didn't know what to do, other than take my glove off and shake it right back. The play was reviewed and the call on the ice stood, no goal. No more than five minutes after the game their stick boy had 3,200 rubles, the equivalent of $100, delivered to our room."
PARTING GIFTS: If most cyclists are doping, then Lance Armstrong's accomplishments are still just as stunning as they were before the USADA's report. Being the best of the dopers has to count for something, doesn't it? "¦ Can't think of a sport in the world that can bolster its relevance from the regular season to the playoffs like baseball. As usual, the drama so far this October is simply phenomenal "¦ Anyone else out there thinking the stunningly nonsensical move to arbitrarily shut Washington Nationals pitching ace Steven Strasburg down despite the team's playoff race will haunt the organization for decades? I'm thinking modern-day curse of the Bambino-type stuff. Fact is, the bad karma was on display late in Game 5 when the Nats blew a 6-0 lead and the series against St. Louis. Serves them right "¦ FIFA's bigwigs are a bigger joke than the NHL's: discuss "¦ If the replacement for NHL hockey is live coverage of a man plummeting 120,000 feet, I say let the lockout continue indefinitely "¦ The Okotoks Oilers are having an 80th birthday and roast for Bearcat Murray Nov. 15 with a long list of alumni in line to take a piece out of the ol' Potlicker from Okotoks where he has lived since 1937. For those who don't know, he's so ingrained in the 'Toks there's an arena there named after his father, Allan Murray. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at the Oilers' website.
Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.