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Hockey seemed a little out of place considering yesterday’s weather

Ondrej Palat scores past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during third period in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory over Chicago in Game 3. (Associated Press)
Ondrej Palat scores past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during third period in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory over Chicago in Game 3. (Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • You like it hot? You like triple digits? You crazy? Then yesterday was for you. Of course, the best sporting event of the day was played on ice, but still, yesterday was for you. Read on.

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• Understatement alert: It was hot yesterday around these parts. I actually saw 103 on a reader board, though I don’t believe it was accurate. The hottest my car thermometer recorded was 99. But that’s hot enough for June in Spokane. Way too hot actually. The record for the date in Spokane going into yesterday? That would be 91, set in 1931, way before even I was born. The official high was 96, though it was in the triple digits in a lot of towns not too far from here. Which made last night all that more surreal. See, the NHL finals are going on. Guys playing ice hockey in Chicago while the grass outside bakes to a crisp. It’s hard to put those two things together. It was great hockey, though, with Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop pulling a Willis Reed and the offense, with Spokane’s Tyler Johnson chipping in, scoring two times in the third period of a 3-2 Tampa Bay win. I don’t believe there is a sport in which the playoff version is so much better than the regular season version, though that could be just me. I watch during December and it seems a bit dull. I watch in June, with the air conditioning going full blast, and it seems fast and furious. Maybe the sport really was designed for this time of year.

• Hockey wasn’t alone on the radar yesterday though. The U.S. Women opened their pursuit of the World Cup, winning 3-1 over Australia, a top 10 team. The odd part about watching that? It was played on artificial turf, usually a no-no in international soccer. FIFA, however, gave the Canadians a waiver to play on it for this World Cup. Which leads to just one question: I wonder how much money changed hands for that to happen? With all the revelations about bribery in past FIFA transactions, that has to be the first thought, right?

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• WSU: Want to know what Mike Leach has been doing with his time this off-season? This piece from ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog tells you. ... The conference came up with some interesting changes from its CEO meeting in Coeur d’Alene over the weekend.

• Gonzaga: A couple of interesting things for here, including former St. Mary’s Gael Matthew Dellavedova getting a write-up in the New York Times. ... The most interesting news, however, is the radical change coming to women’s college hoop. We’ve all heard the banter about the changes to the men’s game, which were also approved yesterday, but the women’s game is really getting a makeover. As someone who attends quite a few games each year, the changes will be hard to get used to.

• EWU: The Eagles filled the open spot on their basketball coaching staff with a veteran of the California community college ranks, Chris Victor.

• Preps: About a week after being reinstated, former Mead High football coach Sean Carty resigns the position. Tom Clouse has the story.

• Seahawks: Where would we be without Russell Wilson contract stories? Today, a Tuesday in early June, we can pass along three stories related to the situation. Three. Amazing. ... There was an OTA yesterday, though the media was not invited.

• Mariners: No game yesterday, so no loss. However, there was the first day of the draft, with the Mariners taking two right-handed pitchers with their two late picks. ... Nelson Cruz is no longer leading in the all-star balloting. Kansas City players lead at seven positions, which, if it holds, will probably make major league baseball go away from fan balloting as happened more than a half-century ago.

• Sounders: Time has not soothed the Sounders or coach Sigi Schmid. Keeper Stefan Frei is still ticked about the penalty he received that decided the game against Kansas City while Schmid continues to rail about that call and the off-sides that cost Seattle a goal. ... Though the injured players may not be back this week, at least Clint Dempsey will be. ... Another interesting week in the MLS.

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• The final U.S. Open qualifying occurred yesterday – no, the golf tournament I played in didn’t have anything to do with it – and a bunch of local folks made good runs at playing at Chambers Bay. Until later ...




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