Seattle Kraken won seven straight road games to set a National Hockey League record, Tom Brady may have played his last game in the NFL, Canadian Brooke Henderson won the first LPGA tournament of the season, LeBron James became only the second player to surpass 38,000 career points in the National Basketball Association and Canadian quarterback sensation Nathan Rourke is taking his considerable talents to Jacksonville where, at the very best, he will be a backup to Trevor Lawrence.
And that was only January in the wonderful world of sports.
What’s to come in 2023? A gaze into the crystal ball for the next five months gives us the following (a look ahead into the last six months of 2023 will follow next week):
February — Philadelphia Eagles continue to ride the Jalen Hurts train all the way to the Super Bowl; Kerri Einarson of Gimli solidifies her position as skip of Canada’s best female curling team by winning the Scotties; and LIV Golf tour plays its first event with hardly anyone noticing, or caring.
March — Brad Gushue goes after his fifth Brier title but Brendan Bottcher guides his Alberta rink to its second national crown; Connor McDavid continues his run toward 150 points, while Connor Bedard finishes his junior career with McDavid’s numbers giving him something to shoot for; Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets continue being ‘Bad for Bedard.’
April — Finally, Rory McIlroy completes the career Grand Slam by winning the Masters at Augusta; The Raptors make a late surge and squeak into the NBA playoffs; the Blue Jays are favoured by the most observers to be an American League East contender; it will be Canada over the U.S. — again — for the women’s world hockey championship being played in Brampton, Ont.
May — Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., is the talk of baseball by hitting 14 home runs through his Jays’ first 29 games; Boston over New Jersey for the NHL’s Eastern Conference title; Winnipeg over Seattle in the West; The greatest two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby, cannot possibly be as exciting as last year, when Rich Strike came from nowhere to win at the wire, but it will be worth devoting an hour’s worth of attention on the first Saturday in May.
June — The Bruins complete their sensational season with a Stanley Cup victory; A shocker at the U.S. Open at L.A. Country Club when second-year tour player Taylor Montgomery emerges victorious; Ja Morant becomes a household name as he leads Memphis Grizzles to the NBA title; Henderson repeats her 2016 win in the Women’s PGA championship, giving her three career majors.
- Kyle Porter of CBS Sports, on this fall’s Ryder Cup in Rome: “Jon Rahm is going to go 6-0-0 at the Ryder Cup. They'll probably rename the city Rohm after he's done with his conquest.”
- From the Canadian parody website The Beaverton: “Hockey world in shock after NHL star marries brunette.”
- Everett Silvertips assistant GM Mike Fraser, a former junior and U.S. college goalie: “They can’t figure out why the red light won’t turn off (at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park). They’ve tried everything. Now they know how I felt my entire career.”
- Retired quipster Dwight Perry of Seattle, after Cowboys’ kicker Brett Maher was good on only one of five point-after attempts in a playoff game against Tampa Bay: “If nothing else, Brett Maher has introduced the baseball term ‘Mendoza line’ to the NFL.”
- Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “In Dallas' 31-14 win over Tampa Bay, Cowboys’ kicker Brett Maher missed a record four extra points. It turns out Maher is a German word for shank.”
- Farmers Open golf tournament director Marty Gorsich: “LIV Golf didn’t take our (PGA Tour’s) best golfers. They took the villains and took the guys whose names were bigger than their games.”
- Bob Molinaro of pilot online.com (Hampton, Va.), on robot umpires being used at all AAA level games next year: “Arguing balls and strikes with a robot ump is about the same as someone cursing at their laptop.”
- Broadcaster Dave Hodge, on Twitter: “The NHL should conduct a ‘Support for Ukraine’ campaign. Russian players could invoke their ‘Provorov warmup rights.’”
- Brad Dickson of Omaha, a regular critic of Nebraska Cornhuskers football team and its recent poor play: “The world’s oldest person, a French nun, has died at 118. She’s so old she can remember the last time the Huskers fielded a competitive football team.”
- From theonion.com, among ‘Things You Should Never Say to a Tom Brady Fan: ‘Which of his boring plays, among his eight-yard completions, stands out for you?’”
- From fark.com: “Wife of Phillies’ Rob Thomson unimpressed he was named one of MLB’s most handsome managers, presumably because they failed to factor in his sharp, knobby knees.”
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