Ferguson Jenkins invited to Winter Classic


As a Canadian, Ferguson Jenkins should feel right at home on an outdoor rink.


As a Canadian, Ferguson Jenkins should feel right at home on an outdoor rink.

The Chatham, Ont., native and Hall of Fame pitcher with the Chicago Cubs is one of three invitees — Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams are the others — to the Winter Classic between the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings on New Year’s Day at Wrigley Field.

“I started skating when I was four years old, and I got into a league when I was 9 or 10,” Jenkins told the Chicago Tribune. “I didn’t get into baseball wholeheartedly until I was about 16, when I started to pitch. I wasn’t a scoring machine when I played hockey, but I did score some goals.

“When I look back, I probably picked the right sport. I don’t know if hockey would have been my second choice. Maybe basketball. But as a kid growing up in Canada, every kid plays hockey.”

The former Cy Young Award winner won 284 games in his baseball career.

Colorado coach steamed at Tootoo

Avalanche coach Tony Granato is unhappy with Nashville Predator Jordin Tootoo’s antics against his club this week.

Granato called Tootoo out for not answering Darcy Tucker’s challenge of a fight after Tootoo tried for a major hit on Colorado’s Cody McLeod.

“We expected a guy who was running around to stand up and fight for himself. Instead, he went down and covered up,” Granato said of Tootoo to the Denver Post. “I would expect a guy that runs around that much, finishing his check and stirring the pot as much as he does, to be able to answer the bell. I’m sure Darcy felt the same thing.”

Tucker was assessed four minutes for cross-checking Tootoo and unsportsmanlike conduct for going after the Predator.

Bergeron still suffering

Boston Bruins hard-luck forward Patrice Bergeron continues to battle concussion-related symptoms.

After being sent to the sidelines with a concussion on Dec. 20, Bergeron’s headaches continue to be a problem.

“His headaches are always better as we move on. But they’re still there,” head coach Claude Julien said to the Boston Globe. “That’s the reality of it. He is feeling better, and certainly at a better rate than the first time it happened. It’s not even comparable. But the headaches are still there. They’re minimizing every day and hopefully, sooner or later, they’ll disappear.”

Bergeron missed the bulk of last season with a concussion.

There is no timetable set for a return to physical activity.

Legein back in Jackets plans

Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Stefan Legein, who briefly retired from hockey this summer citing a lack of passion, is headed for a meeting with the Jackets brain trust this Monday.

Legein has made it clear he would like to resume his career, and that would probably start in the Blue Jackets’ minor-league system.

“Where he plays is going to be up to (general manager Scott Howson),” Doug Woods, Legein’s agent, told the Columbus Dispatch. “He may be going to Syracuse (of the AHL) or staying in Columbus.”

Howson said the meeting won’t be formal, and it will be more about where they see him fitting in after fitness testing.

Cooke feels Big Ben’s pain

Attending the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final regular season game on Sunday, Penguins gritty forward Matt Cooke empathized with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after the latter was taken off the field with a concussion.

Cooke has suffered the same fate in his NHL career.

“Knock on wood, just one bad one,” Cooke told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review of his concussion history. “I got caught off guard with an elbow to the chin, hit my face on the ice when I fell and I was out.

“It’s something as an athlete you don’t really think of, but if you sit back and watch another sport or watch your sport after you are done playing, you think, ’Holy cow! I’m surprised how (violent) that looks.’”


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