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Friday, September 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Grip on Sports: After Blues’ Stanley Cup triumph, only one more winter sport is hanging on

The St. Louis Blues celebrate their win over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday in Boston. (Charles Krupa / AP)
The St. Louis Blues celebrate their win over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday in Boston. (Charles Krupa / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The hockey season is over. Basketball could follow as early as tonight. Forgot the hot temperatures. That’s how we know winter is really about to end.

•••••••

• Last night’s game seven in the Stanley Cup finals wasn’t all that exciting. The St. Louis Blues took care of that, scoring twice late in the first period and putting the championship on ice in the third. The 4-1 victory was more about goaltending and Boston fans’ tears than anything else.

To think, in January the Blues had an interim coach, the NHL’s worst record and little hope. Five months later they have their first title.

Craig Berube may still be an interim coach, but the first word of that title should disappear soon. And as long as Jordan Binnington continues to play like he did between the pipes in the playoffs, the Blues should continue to contend.

That really doesn’t matter, though. What matters is now. And now the Blues’ players get to spend the summer traveling around with the Stanley Cup, the best trophy in all of professional sports.

They will enjoy it.

• Will the Warriors and their fans enjoy their final game ever at Oracle Arena? Tonight’s sixth game in the best of seven finals will not feature Kevin Durant, who underwent surgery to repair his injured Achilles tendon. And it probably won’t feature Draymond Green playing with usual wild-man abandon.

Green has to be somewhat careful. He is sitting on the edge with playoff technical fouls. If he receives one more, he would have to sit out the next game. And that next game, if there is one, would be for the title. In Toronto on Sunday.

To get there, though, the Warriors will have to win tonight.

It won’t be easy. They are worn down. There is a reason no one, since the merger, has won four titles in five years, something Golden State is trying to do. It’s not just hard, it’s a lot more body-draining games. Few of the Toronto Raptors have had to play deep into the postseason the past few years. All of the key Warriors who will be on the court tonight have been part of their run.

Will it continue?

• The U.S. Open is underway. It is being played at Pebble Beach. It’s the only U.S. Open course I’ve ever played. The first time was so long ago it only cost a little more than $100 and that included a night at the Del Monte Lodge. But didn’t include the cost of lost golf balls.

The guys playing today will probably not lose a ball. Unless it is in the rough.

The two players with local ties, Clarkston’s Joel Dahmen and Spokane’s Alex Prugh, tee off at 12:41 p.m. and 2:31p.m., respectively.

•••

WSU: Around the Pac-12, Jon Wilner took a look at the conference's expenses and compared them to other Power Five conferences.

Gonzaga: Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura received coveted invitations to the NBA Draft’s green room, which means they will more than likely be picked in the first round. Rarely does a player receive an invitation and not. Jim Meehan has more in this story.

EWE: Ryan Collingwood is out of town, working on a couple stories, but he also has one in today’s paper. It’s about J.C. Sherritt, the former Eastern star who is making the transition to coach in the Canadian Football League.

Indians: The Northwest League season begins tomorrow, but on Wednesday fans got their chance to interact and watch with this year’s team. Dave Nichols was at Avista Stadium for the third annual Fan Fest. He was joined by Tyler Tjomsland, who has the photo report, and Larry Weir, who spoke with the voice of the Indians, Mike Boyle, for the latest Press Box pod. … Steve Christilaw has a story today on a summer baseball league not a lot of us knew about. It’s called Bambino Buddy Ball, which is supported by the Indians.

Tennis: If you play a lot of tennis, you probably know about Karen and David Benish’s store, Tennis of Spokane. Sherry Kenady has their story.

Mariners: The M’s bullpen allowed a lead to disintegrate last night in Minnesota. But the offense, with help from the Twins, figured out a way to win. … Shed Long is trying to show he can play many positions. … Mallex Smith has been better since his time in Tacoma.

Seahawks: Minicamp continued yesterday and Russell Wilson did what he does. He praised his teammates. … Germain Ifedi isn't stressing out about his contract situation.

Sounders: Seattle’s stay in the U.S. Open Cup tournament was a short one, courtesy of the Timbers. Portland won 2-1 last night in Tacoma. The Sounders were without much of their usual lineup.

•••       

• I didn’t plan well for today. It’s the first day of the U.S. Open, it’s on the West Coast and I have three things I have to do outside the house, including a dentist’s appointment. Stupid. Until later …

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