A GRIP ON SPORTS
No matter how cold it gets today, no matter how bad the traffic might be, no matter how much the boss yells at you before lunch, remember, it could be worse. You could be in Sochi, covering the Olympics. Read on.
• We're not going to get into the horror stories (and there are a lot, from no street signs to missing manhole covers) from non-Communist Russia today, because no one wants to hear journalists complain. But I do want to pass along this picture of the water that comes out of the taps from one of the hotels in the area. The folks at the hotel have been warned to not drink it – or even wash their face with it – because it isn't all that safe. And the person who took this picture felt lucky. Three days before the opening ceremonies, that hotel was at least “almost” ready. There are a few that may not be ready for the closing ceremonies. But as long as NBC is able to show you downhill skiing and halfpipe, you'll be cool, right? No big deal that they are rounding up the hundreds of stray dogs in the area and offing them, Sonny Corleone-style. It's OK, as long as the events run on time.
• Speaking of on time, it's Wednesday. The traditional day for college basketball in this area. OK, it really isn't, but it's part of the new normal. The Zags host Portland at home. The Cougars take on Colorado in Boulder. The conferences' television partners are happy. That matters. It's also why there have been as many as five Pac-12 games on a Sunday. Remember the old days, when Thursday-Saturday road trips were the norm? That's so old-fashioned. The new normal is the Wednesday-Saturday or even the Wednesday-Sunday. Heck, when USC and UCLA visit the Palouse to end the Pac-12 regular season, it will be the only Thursday-Saturday conference weekend the Cougars will have. One. The final one. How times have changed.
• WSU: It may be cold in Pullman, but Jacob Thorpe can be happy he's there and not in Boulder, where it was -9 this morning. Instead, he's by the WSU fax machine as we speak, monitoring the Cougars' signees. You can follow along on this blog post and/or his live chat. Your choice. … Jacob also has a morning post with links and an advance of tonight's basketball game. … He posted his Pac-12 power rankings yesterday. … Speaking of the conference, Bud Withers attempts to catch you up with what you may have missed if you were too busy with the Seahawks to play attention. Bud also has a feature on one of WSU's football recruits. … The guys at ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog have a midweek mailbag. … We found another advance of tonight's game.
• Gonzaga: At least the Kennel will be warm tonight. The heat will be fueled by the chance of the Zags to avenge their lone conference defeat, as the Portland Pilots are in town. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game. … Jim also has a short feature on Ryan Nicholas, the G-Prep alum who will be making his final appearance in Spokane tonight for Portland. … Gonzaga fans' favorite ex-St. Mary's Gael, Matthew Dellavedova, will have his number retired later this month. … BYU's point guard is trying to improve his free throw shooting.
• EWU: The Eagles will be announcing their signing class later today (I bet, like everyone else's class, it will be “outstanding” and “the best ever”), highlighted by quarterback Reilly Hennessey. Jim Allen has a feature on the Camas High star.
• Idaho: The University of Idaho women are carving up the WAC this season with a veteran starting lineup. Thomas Clouse leads his women's basketball notebook with the Vandals success story.
• Chiefs: It's Wednesday so Chris Derrick has his usual WHL notebook but, with the Chiefs at home tonight against Seattle, he also has a feature on Spokane's defenseman, Jeremy McIntosh. Chris also has a couple blog posts that cover similar ice. … Tri-City picked up a win last night over Calgary while Seattle topped Everett.
• Shock: Spokane will have four games this season on the CBS Sports Network.
• Preps: Lake City could have put the Inland Empire League title in the bank last night but instead fell flat at Post Falls and left the door open. (Does that last sentence set some sort of record for most mixed clichés, blog division?) Anyhow, Greg Lee was at Post Falls High and filed this game story. … There are also girls and boys roundups from last night along with a boys roundup of GSL action as well. Jim Allen was at Lewis and Clark's win over Central Valley (pictured) in girls action, which leads this roundup.
• Seahawks: Today is a day of celebration in Seattle, with upward of a half-million people expected to turn out to cheer the Hawks in a parade through downtown. The event will end at CenturyLink, with the overflow being accommodated in Safeco. (And won't it be nice to see that stadium full again?) … But that is so “last year.” What about next season? Can the Hawks figure out the salary cap and keep this group together? Can they win back-to-back titles? Sure and sure. Will they is another story. … The Hawks' defensive game plan against the Broncos was pretty darn stout. … Remember the Jeremy Lane out-of-bounds incident in the NFC title game? The NFL has ruled on that. … Not surprisingly, the national media praised the Hawks' Super Bowl performance. The Broncos? They’ve been treated sort of like the Sochi water.
• Mariners: Seattle reached a contract agreement with Logan Morrison, avoiding arbitration. Justin Smoak looks to be the only player headed for a showdown. … The Times' Ryan Divish, one of my favorite people, is beginning to answer questions in preparation for spring training. I have one. If the Mariners sign Nelson Cruz, will the outfielders be issued Hoverounds? That seems to be the only way to improve their mobility.
• That's it for today. Nope, no radio. My diabolical plan to strand Keith Osso in New York forever and take his spot failed. He escaped the Newark airport with the help of some guy named Snake Plissken. Until later …