The “big story” this week is one that may have long-term implications. Of course, I’m talking about the Edmonton Oilers literally defying the odds and winning the no. 1 NHL draft pick for 2015. This is a big deal because the kid who will be the no. 1 pick, Connor McDavid, is apparently a “generational” player, a Mario Lemieux-like guaranteed superstar who can singlehandedly boost a team to a Stanley Cup and/or find a cure for cancer. The Oilers have been the poster team for ineptitude for almost a decade now, and their continued incompetence has turned many of their fans into former fans. Like many in Edmonton, I’ve grown to kind of despise the whole organization, and a bit of me is unhappy the inept Craig McTavish has been rewarded for his years of utter incompetence. But another part of me — the born-and-raised Edmontonian part — wants the team to succeed. They are, after all, still the EDMONTON Oilers. So welcome to Edmonton, Connor McDavid. Good luck … you’ll need it.
The latest cop-kills-black-man story in the U.S. comes with a twist — it was an accident. Or, more accurately, an accident waiting to happen. In Tulsa, OK, a cop pulled out his gun instead of his Taser and shot a black man who was resisting arrest. But there’s another twist — the cop was a VOLUNTEER who was allowed to go on a sting operation, fully armed. Better yet, he is 73 YEARS OLD, and an insurance executive. How did he qualify to go on a genuine police operation? He was a generous donor to the Tulsa police department. Oh, America.
The U.S. presidential race is starting to shape up, a full 18 months before the actual election. In this corner, Hillary Clinton, who is so well financed and unstoppable any Democratic challenger will only be a paper candidate inserted into the race to make it look like an actual election. A mammoth media horde is already following Clinton, and the big “story” so far is that she stopped at a Chipotle restaurant for a meal, which was captured on a security camera. In the other corner, we have extreme libertarian Rand Paul, anti-immigrant son of an immigrant and former Canadian Ted Cruz, and wishy-washy token non-white Marco Rubio. They have collectively zero chance of winning the Republican nomination, but it’s always fun to watch delusional idiots go nuts.
Speaking of delusional idiots, Oiler GM Craig McTavish held an end of season press conference this week, on the heels of the club’s ninth straight year out of the playoffs. One of the gems from the GM: “There is no greater springboard to development than failure.” Is this guy a hockey general manager, of a self-help guru? He also said he sees a “very entertaining, very impactful, very successful era of Oilers hockey on the horizon.” Funny thing about horizons — they never really get any closer.
Also in business, Postmedia completed its deal to buy Sun publications, trumpeting the sale with a full page ad in the Journal. No word yet on what it will mean, but my guess is that it won’t be long before the staff of the mostly empty Sun building move into the mostly empty Journal building downtown.
Still with the Journal, a reporter talked to a homeless man about the Edmonton Public Library’s new ‘no sleeping in the library’ policy. The homeless man, Darren Richards, has been homeless for four years, and stops by the library to read, rest and charge his cellphone. Wait, what? A homeless guy with a cellphone? What company sold a homeless guy a cellphone? How do they bill him? Who calls him? Who does he call?
The Supreme Court continues to shoot holes in Stephen Harper policies. This week, the Supremes ruled that a mandatory minimum sentence for illegal gun possession was unconstitutional. This is something like the ninth straight time the government has lost a Supreme Court ruling. Hey, I’m no lawyer, and I have no idea if the Supreme Court is right or wrong on any of these issues, but I’m always cheering any defeat of anything Stephen Harper does. On another issue, the court also ruled that a Quebec town council was banned from starting their meetings with a Catholic prayer. Can you imagine the U.S. supreme court making similar rulings?
RIP: Percy Sledge, 74, who recorded one of the greatest of all soul love songs, When A Man Loves A Woman. A great song, later covered and nearly ruined by Michael Bolton … longtime Edmonton Eskimo fans will remember Howie Schumm, who spent almost all of his 14-year career with the Esks as a linebacker and fullback from 1959-66. He was 75.