George Johnson of the Calgary Herald is one of our country's finest sports columnists. Here he is on the impending (?) end of the NHL lockout: "And naturally we'll be expected to celebrate as if Caesar were marching into Rome after the sack of Gaul. Flowers! Music! Wenches! Over-priced beer! Ten bucks for parking! They're counting on everyone being so damned happy to see them back whacking pucks off the glass to clear the zone that the pungent stench of the past four months will be forgiven, forgotten." . . . The NBA suspended Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat the other day. He got one game without pay for a kick to the man zone belonging to Ramon Sessions of the Charlotte Bobcats. One game's pay for Wade? That would be $154,764. . . . If you were wondering, the same one-game suspension without pay would be worth $50 to a 20-year-old WHL player. . . .
A December highlight from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: "Caddies Grant Buchanan and Matt Kelly faced probable fines from the PGA after resorting to fisticuffs near the putting green before the opening round of the Australian Open. One reportedly landed three punches but said, 'Put me down for a five.' " . . . With Canada trailing the U.S., 4-0, on Thursday at the World Junior Championship, Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail tweeted: "Soon as the Wave starts, you know you're into a boring game - Wave has started . . ." Headline at Fark.com: Much like Jay Cutler, Lovie Smith has been sacked. . . .
If you're wondering whether NFL on-field officials ever watch games as fans, here's referee Ed Hochuli, in conversation with Sports Illustrated when asked if he watched games early in the season when he and his brethren were locked out: "I don't watch a lot of football for fun. I've tried, but I'm always looking to see if the left tackle is holding." . . . "The NFL Pro Bowl teams have been announced," notes Richmond blogger TC Chong. "A new position has been created for this year's game - Sideline All Pro. For the AFC, Tim Tebow; and for the NFC, Jerry Jones." . . . Defenceman Brendon Nash, who is from Kamloops, has been loaned by the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs to that league's San Antonio Rampage. Nash had a goal and seven assists in 26 games with Hamilton. The Bulldogs are affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens; the Rampage is hooked up with the Florida Panthers. . . .
In a year-end column, Ron Judd of the Seattle Times gave the Fans, Schmans Award "to the University of Washington Athletic Department, which would gladly assign local college football games 3 a.m. start times if a TV network promised an extra 50 bucks in revenue." . . . Judd saw fit to give his All-In-Good-Time Award "to NBC Sports, which will be showing the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics to West Coast viewers at midnight tomorrow." . . . The Tri-City Americans will be here to play the Blazers on Wednesday night. The Americans, who went into last night with 21 victories in 38 games, have an opportunity to tie a WHL record for consecutive 40-victory seasons. At present, the record is shared by the Blazers (1989-96) and Regina Pats (1979-86). . . .
They had quite a brawl in the Southern Pro Hockey League during a Dec. 28 game between the Mississippi Surge and the host Huntsville Havoc, and forward Anthony Collins was right in the middle of it. Collins, a former Kamloops Storm and TRU WolfPack skater, came out of it with a three-game suspension and an undisclosed fine. All told, 28 games worth of suspensions and a bunch of fines were handed out. . . . The football world is waiting to see which TV network will land soon-to-be-retired linebacker Ray Lewis as an analyst. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweeted this on Thursday: "ESPN just reported that SI is reporting that Ray Lewis will sign a contract with ESPN. ESPN says an ESPN spokesman has no comment. Seriously." . . .
Headline at TheOnion.com: NBA arrested for marijuana possession. . . . Willie Nelson owns the Pedernales Golf Club, which is outside Austin, Texas. It was Nelson who reportedly said that on his golf course "par is anything you want it to be." . . . And now I think I've finally figured out the speed limit on the Trans-Canada Highway through Valleyview and on the Hallston Connector - it's whatever you want it to be. . . . "Cameron Wake was the only Dolphin selected to the Pro Bowl," notes Greg Cote of the Miami Herald. "That's the game players are thrilled to be chosen for, but then schedule hangnail surgery and bad hair days to avoid actually playing in." . . .
Len Berman of ThatsSports.com, sums up the season of the New York football Giants: "So you have a 9-7 record and you go on to win the Super Bowl. The next year you have a 9-7 record and you don't make the playoffs. They say it's a fine line between winning and losing. There's no better proof than the Giants." . . . Berman also pointed out that Avery Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets was saluted as the NBA's coach of the month for November. And he got fired in December. "Boy," Berman wrote, "he became a bad coach fast." . . . A question via Twitter from business analyst Daniel Tolensky: "If season is cancelled, what stat is more impressive: Gary Bettman, 2928 reg season games cancelled or Wayne Gretzky, 2857 reg season pts?"
(Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. He is at email@example.com, gdrinnan.blogspot.com and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears Saturdays, except when it doesn't.)