Trade wheels keep on turnin’

The race to land Tyler Miller has heated up.
Both of Thunder Bay’s SIJHL teams (the Bearcats and Fort William North Stars) also have tossed their hats in the ring—and seem to be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Port Hope in hopes of luring Miller away from their league rivals here in Fort Frances.
Whoever can seal the deal surely will have a leg up, and force the hand of other general managers to pull the trigger on deals of their own to return fire. But the league interest surely has increased Miller’s already soaring stock.
The Fort Frances Jr. Sabres appear to have the edge, considering Miller is from here and Port Hope GM Tim Clayden has a connection to the Fort and is likely to give the Sabres the benefit of the doubt—but only if the deal is right.
However, a member of Miller’s family close to the proceedings has been advocating for him to sign with the Bearcats. Whatever the reasoning for that is unknown, but it hasn’t made it any easier for the Sabres to get a deal done.
Nevertheless, Clayden said he and Sabres’ coach Wayne Strachan are close to a deal. The missing piece right now is the person heading the other way who could jump in and play on one of Clayden’s top two lines.
That’ll be a tough loss for a Sabres’ team still recovering from the departures of offensive sparkplugs Dan Smith (injury) and Carson Dubchak (OHL), but adding Colton Kennedy through trade this week may suggest he’s the replacement for whoever is on the way out.
The other option for the Sabres is adding another forward from another league, and adding him as part of the package for Miller.
Maybe a deal will be done by the time this newspaper hits the press but as of now, the bidding war and loose ends still remain.
Stay tuned.
• • •
The NFL hype engine is an amazing thing, isn’t it?
From building up its athletes like movie stars (anyone see the ROMO . . . IS . . . BACK! commercials this past weekend?) to its eight-hour pre- and post-game shows, no sport has the sideshow hype the NFL can produce on a weekly basis.
It’s no wonder their games last well over three hours time and again as the advertising revenue holding the machine afloat needs its airtime. The camera angles and slow-motion replays certainly add to the allure, but would hockey be as popular if it had half the gadgets the NFL had?
The NHL doesn’t often transfer well to television, due to poor camera angles and a lack of superstars, but a little more NFL hyperbole might help their cause down south.
Unfortunately, that’s not likely to matter until people start caring about the sport from the grassroots on up in “non-traditional” markets.
• • •
Speaking of the NFL, did anyone see the end of that Pittsburgh-San Diego game Sunday afternoon?
Pittsburgh led 11-10, San Diego had the ball at their 21-yardline, and there were five seconds to go.
The Chargers called a desperate, multi-lateral, go-for-broke play. Philip Rivers passed to LaDainian Tomlinson, who flipped the ball to Chris Chambers, who desperately threw it back in the direction of Rivers. But Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu batted the ball away, scooped it up, and walked into the end zone.
Touchdown Pittsburgh, right?
That was the initial call, and this reporter was extremely happy with that outcome because it meant they covered the spread and he would be $200 richer. Wrong.
It should have been 17-10 with an extra point to follow. However, upon further review, officials flagged Tomlinson for the illegal forward pass and said the play should’ve been dead then and there.
They admitted afterwards that reversing the call probably wasn’t the correct course of action—and that move meant the Steelers didn’t cover the 6.5 point spread.
An estimated $100 million was wagered worldwide on the Steelers/Chargers game, according to RJ Bell of, a Las Vegas-based sports information service. Roughly 66 percent of that money was bet on the Steelers, with only 34 percent on the Chargers.
“If the touchdown was properly upheld, Steelers’ bettors would have won about $32 million instead of losing big,” Bell told the Associated Press. “This admittedly incorrect call resulted in a $64 million swing in favour of the bookies.”
My other four games had covered, meaning my $10 bet would have yielded a $200 return if the Steelers had covered.
Oh well, I guess there’s a lot more sports fans who lost out on a lot more cash than I did.

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