“COVID-19 is taking its toll on teams and players around the league, whether vaccinated, as breakthrough cases are all over. And the Cowboys’ Zack Martin was placed on the Reserve-COVID list on Sunday, meaning he will miss the opener.”
The NCAA Football and CFL seasons have kicked off. The NHL, NBA and NFL campaigns are hot on their heels, ready to begin their 2021-22 seasons. The question is “Will they finish their seasons under the current Covid-19 protocols?”
Gauging from stadia full of maskless fans this past weekend around CFL and college football the general public has moved beyond viral doom playing wack-a-mole with the public. They seem to be saying they accept the “risk” that, for under-70s, 99.998 percent of them will not die of Covid.
That message seems lost on league officials. To them it’s still 2020 and panic of the unknown is rampant. The rules governing Covid-19 infections were first put in place in the summer of 2020 when “bubble” sports were in vogue and Zero Covid was the goal. They involved testing using the PCR system— that even NFL officials knew was grossly misapplied— tied to test-and-trace protocols. Those protocols— plus bubble isolation— hoped to identify the infected, the people in their circle and thereby achieve Zero Covid.
Like Clemson’s unbeaten season, Zero Covid is dead in the water. The question now is, What are acceptable losses? Still, leagues are ignoring the far-more accurate T-cell immunity testing (which, roughly, identifies antibodies in the system) in favour of the PCR tests. So we saw 13 players on the Edmonton Used-To-Be-Esquimaux put on a quarantine list for being in touch via one person infected— though not seriously sick— with the virus.
In short, even if players show minute traces of virus that can’t make them sick or, crucially, produce enough virus to infect others, an NFL or CFL team may miss the postseason. Players are being warned to not test positive in great numbers or else games will be forfeited. Under these rules it’s just a matter of time till the PCR tests cost a team or teams their season.
Of course this is FUBAR. No pro sports team member without co-morbidities has died or even reached an ICU. (Coaches and administrators have had problems related to their age, morbidities endemic to the virus.) The fans have largely junked the protocols, with few if any difference in sickness rates to those masked up and huddled in their basement.
So why clinging to the old “vaccines will save us” mentality? Since the time the sports’ rules were unveiled we have learned the following:
1. As mentioned here many times, the PCR testing protocol— that leagues and media have embraced like a sailor to a sinking boat— is now understood to be highly problematic. If by highly problematic you mean utter nonsense. As Michael Senger writes in Tablet:
“Based on WHO’s guidance on COVID-19 testing, again citing Chinese journal articles, labs used, and continue to use, PCR cycle thresholds from 37 to 40, and sometimes as high as 45. At these cycle threshold levels, approximately 85% to 90% of cases are false positive…The WHO’s PCR guidance was… quite possibly the deadliest accounting fraud of all time. According to coding guidance, if the decedent had either tested positive or been in contact with anyone who had, within several weeks prior to death, then death should be classified as COVID-19 death.”
The only disqualifications should result from sick players with positive results from T-cell immunity tests. Sadly, these tests— that identify natural immunities rendering vaccines irrelevant— have been ignored for PCR tests by government and the sports bodies.
2. Masks remain the comfort blanket for health administrators. Despite testing that shows the common, thin-blue masks are porous and ill-fitted, working in just 14 percent of cases, administrators and sports leagues have once again rushing back to them as a break wall against the variants. But there is no evidence that masked states and provinces have had any noticeable advantage versus unmasked states such as Florida and Texas.
3. The magic-potion vaccines have proven anything but. Promised as the end of the pandemic they’re now falling apart . “Israel no longer considers people who have received 2 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech shots as “vaccinated.” As of September 1, only those who received 3 doses are considered “vaccinated”. They have also stated their vaccine passports now expire 6 months after the 2nd Pfizer dose.
“That means you need booster shots to keep the vaccine passport valid. Meanwhile, Israeli Health officials indicated that 90% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are fully vaccinated.” Coming to a government near you, North America. And the demonization that follows mandatory vaxxing and passports will continue though three, four or more boosters.
4) Obesity— and resultant diabetes— is an equally lethal Covid risk. 60 percent of those in ICUs are morbidly obese. Yet we see porky politicians and overweight media scolds attack those not vaccinated as the greatest threat under the virus. The teams also need to emphasize preventatives and early treatments that are now , despite the protests of purchased media, showing positive results. See: Joe Rogan Ivermectin.
5) As we’ve often repeated: this is not a Covid issue anymore. It’s a healthcare capacity issue. Both Canada and U.S. denying that fact means we will be stuck in this rut till the next virus hits. Simply, if people want better healthcare they’re going to have to pay a lot more for it.
As for sports leagues they’d best find a safe position on what constitutes ground for a forfeit of games or a season. Because increasingly desperate healthcare zealots will define it for you if it helps covers their ass.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author of Cap In Hand is also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, his new book Personal Account with Tony Comper is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx
We Have Met The Goalies, And The Goalies Have Won
The NHL’s problem, Boston Bruins GM legend Harry Sinden told us years ago, is that there are 30 teams. But just one Stanley Cup. That makes for a lot of disappointment.
As Toronto fans can now attest, that disappointment stings worst when you have a team with a likely Hart Trophy winner and an impressive regular season. By rights a healthy Leafs squad should have disposed of the defending champions from Tampa Bay, who finished five points below them in the standings.
But the NHL is no place for favourites. Analytics have found that, generally, you’d have to play a best-of-51 series before the higher-seeded NHL team would have the advantage. (The NBA is much more favourable to the chalk.) So, given enough time Toronto would have outlasted the Lightning. It could/ would have taken till August to do so, however.
Why? Because the NHL— despite fitful attempts to redress this discrepancy— has created a Frankenstein playoff model that allows lesser teams to clog the ice, funnel shots from bad angles and get away with fouls that wouldn’t stand in the regular season. Using the rules today, a defensive-minded team can clog the front of the net, blocking as many shots as does their goalie.
In Toronto’s Game 7 loss to Tampa, the Leafs directed 57 shots at impenetrable goalie Andrei Vasilevsky. He stopped 30 of 31 that reached him. His defence almost matched him, blocking 26 shots. (Toronto blocked 13 shots while goalie Campbell stopped 20 of 22 shots that rewashed him.)
Toronto buzzed the scoring zone, dominating puck possession. They dominated faceoffs, winning 61.8 percent. In the end it meant zilch, be cause Vasilevsky was a brick wall.
It was the same for the Pacific Conference champion Calgary Flames against 23-year-old goalie Jake Oettinger and the Dallas Stars— who only snuck over .500 on the final day of the season. In Game 7 Calgary sent 129 shots toward the net, with Oettinger making 64 saves into OT. And his defence blocked 32 Calgary shots on Sunday.
On average the Flames outshot the Stars (272 shots) by over 20 shots in each of the seven games. Yet the lower-rated Dallas almost escaped with the series win, because Oettinger was otherworldly. It took a bad-angle goal from Johnny Gaudreau in OT to propel the favoured Flames to a Round 2 Battle of Alberta with Edmonton.
The NHL shows no inclination to reward hight-ranked teams, preferring to lionize the grinders and bangers by letting them hit opponents late and charging guys along the boards. If there were a goal that epitomized this credo it has to be Gm.4 of the Kings/ Oilers series when Carl Grundstrom slid on his belly into goalie Mike Smith, pushing the puck under the Oilers goalie with a two-handed shove. Ugly? Yes, but effective against the massive goalies.
Of course, what are scorers to do when faced with 6-foot-5 goalies like Smith and his towering peers blotting out the sun? The epidemic of skilled giants wearing huge equipment has led to teams not shooting till they can screen the goalie or knock in a rebound. It was something we wrote about in February of 2021 following publication of an article by Ken Dryden in The Atlantic entitled “Hockey Has a Gigantic-Goalie Problem”.
“The problem isn’t the game. The problem is the goalie, who is changing the game”, declared Dryden. “This game, one that allows for such speed and grace, one that has so much open ice, is now utterly congested… Never in hockey’s history has a tail so wagged the dog.”
Dryden reviews the evolution of the position from goalies’ bodies protruding above the cross bar to having their entire body below it. “Pads that had been made of heavy leather, deer hair, and felt were replaced with nylon, plastic, and foam rubber. These lighter materials, which made the pads less awkward to move around in and less tiring to wear, could then also be made bigger. And bigger equipment, covering a body now in position below the bar, filled even more space.”
Dryden explains how a properly positioned 6-foot-3 or taller goalie can now block all avenues for the puck— from his knees. “But really, in that equipment, with those body strategies, why get up? Why move? What better puck-blocking position could he take?”
The response from coaches and shooters? “Rush the net with multiple offensive players, multiple defensive players will go with them, multiple arms, legs, and bodies will jostle in front of the goalie, and the remaining shooters, distant from the net, will fire away hoping to thread the needle, hoping the goalie doesn’t see the needle being threaded, because if he does, he’ll stop it
It’s not a formula Dryden likes. “All the players’ amazing skills, developed in hours of practice, visualizing and dreaming in basements, on roads and local rinks, in drills with coaches and expert teachers, their minds and hands now able to move as fast as their feet, to find and use all the open ice that is there. But with so little open ice where open ice matters, for what?”
He contrasts how basketball solved its size problem: introducing the three-point line to open up scoring in what was becoming a stalemate beneath the hoop. “If a big guy can’t pass and shoot, there’s no place for him. With big guys dispersed and away from the basket, little guys now even get rebounds. All 10 players are involved. All 10 players can have a role. All 10 players, on the best teams, and on even better teams in the future, need to have a role to win. This NBA game, played on a much smaller surface than a hockey rink, is now far more open, much less congested.”
Dryden’s solution is a reluctant one. “The clever cat-and-mouse game between goalies and shooters has run its constructive course. The goalies, by winning, have changed the game.” So the net must be made bigger. “Maybe only six inches or a foot wider, maybe only six inches higher. And only for those in junior and college leagues and above.”
Whether the NHL can see beyond its cherished myths of grinders and role players to admit it has a problem is the question. A question that, as long as Gary Bettman is commissioner, will never be answered.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx
Pfizer Pflunks: How Sports Finally Rejected The Covid Hustle
“We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate & that it’s a disease mainly in the elderly, kind of like flu is, although a bit different than that… Shutting down schools was a bad call; it didn’t stop case growth and the education deficit will take years to recover from it”.— Bill Gates, May 2022
These are the first NHL playoffs since 2019 not completely blighted by the miseries of Covid-19 protocols. For the past two postseason sessions, the NHL— like its sister leagues— has been obsessed with the test-and-trace strategy recommended by the WHO, CDC, Health Canada and other regulatory bodies. (And by people like Jeffery Epstein’s pal Bill Gates.)
This resulted in “bubble cities”, draconian quarantine practices and the dreaded testing regimen imposed by PCR testing. By testing healthy young athletes at elevated cycles this produced a flood of minute samples of a virus that were, pace Bill Gates, a “kind of flu” that few could pass on to the general public.
The insane panic surrounding this process was exacerbated by the scribblers of the media who, currying favour with liberal authorities, rejected any alternatives. As a result, healthy players were locked up in hotels with nothing better to do than play games before empty arenas and then scuttle back to the hotel like mice retreating to their burrows. Or remain bunkered at home.
Even by 2021, when, test-and-trace was shown to be useless stopping a pandemic, the NHL and the rest of sports continued to play whack-a-mole with anyone who had a speck of the virus. Players were quarantined, teams played with depleted lineups, fans were not allowed to see games live.
None of which did anything to curb the death rate among those who were, as Gates allows, most vulnerable. So athletes, children and healthy adults were treated like a scurvy crew. To distract people, media ginned up stories about the exceptions to this pattern to keep their pals in the fear business happy.
Adding to the misery was the new autocracy of vaccines. First one shot, then two, then boosters, then more boosters. All pushed by government advertising that branded objectors as some form of vermin (see Justin Trudeau’s libel of the truckers convoy as he hid). The Maoist conformity this produced was backed up with travel bans and ostracization.
Anyone daring to present contrary evidence—or mention healthy athletes dying post-vaccine— was instantly made a non-person by the Theresa Tam health bureaucracy who’d taken their marching orders from the Chinese. Social media cancelled critics like Alex Berenson, the Barrington Declaration, Ivor Cummins and Dr. Robert Malone for injecting some doubt about the forced lockdowns and mandatory vaccine regime.
For much of 2020 and early 2021, when someone tried to point out that Sweden had taken a different course at far less social disruption they were labelled as killers and subversives by the Hollywood elite.
Eventually the absurd testing mechanisms and arbitrary suspensions to the “Covid List” grew too absurd for some. As we wrote last December, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman finally said, enough is enough:
“At the end of the day, I think — and now I’m getting political — but at the end of the day our players are testing positive with very little symptoms, if any symptoms at all. I don’t see it as a threat to their health at this point. I think you might take it a step further and question why are we even testing, for guys that have no symptoms.”
This skepticism extended past hockey to, “…the NFL where games are being delayed because hundreds of players and staff— many of them asymptomatic— have tested positive using the NFL’s mandatory PCR testing. Tampa Bay Bucs coach Bruce Arians told reporters, “If you’re asymptomatic, you should be allowed to play.”
Slowly, the leagues pulled back, even as radicals in healthcare and media still shrieked about the deaths that stadiums and arenas full of maskless people would produce. The leagues made the call that the virus and its variants were epidemic and— as the data showed— highly unlikely to affect a demographic like trained athletes.
Yes, people in risk groups would still get sick. Some would die. But test-and-trace was ineffectual in halting any of it. So were masks on airplanes.
As a result, the public’s unwavering trust in the white lab coats and the politicians who slavishly followed them was shaken. What if all the sacrifices meant nothing? What if, as Gates now allows, the official diagnosis of the Covid-19 panic was a massive over-reaction? Treating every demographic the same was madness?
What if vaccines sold as a panacea by governments across much of the Western world, were also a fraud imposed on citizens? After much effort to hide the truth for 75 years, Pfizer was forced to show that it knew their vaccine— one Trudeau is using to impose three-year travel bans on dissenters— only had about 12 percent efficacy in the short term. This when the CDC, Tam, Fauci, and all the Twitter doctors swore it was 95 percent effective. And that pregnant mothers were at risk of miscarriage, despite protestations from officials.
Likewise, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been withdrawn; the FDA cited Johnson & Johnson’s #COVID-19 vaccine due to risk of blood clots. Data from the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) shows vaccine injuries occurring regularly not only from Pfizer Vaccines, but from all the “benign” mMRV-2 vaccines sold by governments in advertising and directives.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years we will learn— despite the strenuous efforts of the guilty— that elected officials and drug manufacturers hid far worse outcomes about their prescriptions. That they suppressed alternative treatments. They’ll reluctantly do this because all vaccine users signed off on their products as experimental. They can’t be sued— government saw to that.
Leaving only elected officials like Trudeau, whose government still labels its draconian measures as “life saving”. By then he’ll be in a cozy sinecure created for him by the World Economic Fund. Good luck extraditing him. And society will swear not to do this again. Till the Climate Hustle cranks up.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster . (The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper). A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx
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