Jon Scher's article about Ulf Samuelsson of the Pittsburgh Penguins (Mr. Dirty, March 1) both pleased and enraged me. As a longtime Samuelsson hater, I was happy to sec his goonery put in the spotlight. While the NHL strives to eliminate dirty players from its ranks, Samuelsson keeps on doing, in his own words, "whatever it takes," including injuring opposing teams' star players. Yet this is what he does best, keeping the league's stars off the ice.
But hockey isn't about cheap shots, injuring players and fighting. If these talents are all that Samuelsson can bring to the ice, he should stay home. He wouldn't be missed.
ROBERT D. HEROS
I find it odd that a magazine that consistently berates the NHL for its violence should glorify the exploits of the current king of goondom, Ulf Samuelsson.
Here you have the Pittsburgh Penguins, arguably the best NHL team, with more talent than most of the rest of the league combined, and what does SI write about? Fighting! Next time discuss the skillful passing of Mario Lemieux; the third-period play of Jaromir Jagr; the outstanding netminding of Tommy Barrasso; the leadership of the winningest coach in NHL history, Scotty Bowman; or maybe even how Mike Lang, the Penguins' local announcer, has helped to bring hockey alive in western Pennsylvania.
April 4, 1993
Write something positive about a team that has won two consecutive Stanley Cups and is possibly en route to a third.
North Charleroi, Pa.
I consider myself a hockey purist. When I see a game, I watch for men who play their positions and the game the way they should be played—with tough, in-your-face defense, aggressiveness and the offensive skills to survive in the NHL. Samuelsson has all of that and more.
Ulfie is more than an eye-for-an-eye player. His plus-minus ratio has always been above average. He was even a +23 with the woeful Whalers in 1988-89. I say that Ulf Samuelsson is good for the game of hockey.
JOSEPH M. BUKOVAC
I was disappointed in the treatment that the five lost Colorado skiers received from the press (Snow Business, March 8). This was a case of experienced skiers making an error in judgment. Rather than chastising them, we should be thankful for their safe return. They are, after all, human.
CHARLES M. BOYLES
The skiers' arrogance and disregard for warnings or proper preparations prove that they were survivors and not heroes. The heroes were the rescuers who worked to save those unprepared adults who acted like children. What's more irritating is that in spite of their stupidity, they will look like heroes when their stories are retold on film or TV and will reap undeserved money for this near tragedy.
If these skiers turn over all their proceeds from TV, movies, books, personal appearances, etc., to the Mountain Rescue Association, then the story will indeed have a happy ending.
Steve Rushin hit a home run with his March 1 POINT AFTER. Few baseball fans would disagree that interleague play and an eight-team playoff would spread the game too thin. Baseball owners are wrong about the economics of the sport if they think that increasing the supply—more teams, more playoffs—would increase the demand. Rather, it would dilute the playoffs, making the teams less important and the World Series anticlimactic. When the drama and continuity of baseball are lost, so are the fans.
Keep the protest alive, Steve!
New York City
I disagree with Rushin. Expanding the baseball playoffs would be the best thing the owners could do. Shortening an already too long regular season and replacing those games with ones that count for something would keep more fans interested. The playoffs would allow teams that are playing well late in the season to show how good they really are and would make the end of the season more exciting.
Jack McCallum had a brief item in INSIDE THE NBA (March 8) stating that the league was thinking of expanding to Canada. Why not? Basketball was invented by a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith.
•Indeed, Naismith was born in Almonte, Ont., on Nov. 6,1861, and educated in Montreal at McGill University and Presbyterian Theological College, which he was attending when the picture above was taken, before moving to Springfield, Mass., where he invented the game of basketball in 1891.—ED.
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