SUNDAY, PENGUINS AT FLYERS, ESPN 8 PM; MONDAY, COYOTES AT
PENGUINS, ESPN2 7:30 PM; THURSDAY, PENGUINS AT AVALANCHE, ESPN2
Animal Planet meets the NHL as Pittsburgh, which as of Sunday
was riding a nine-game winning streak, faces off against three
of the league's top teams in games that will showcase five of
the NHL's top nine scorers. Pumped-up Penguins right wing
Jaromir Jagr (right), who was leading the league in scoring with
81 points, will match Hart Trophy credentials first with
Philadelphia center Eric Lindros (75 points) and left wing John
LeClair (69), and later with Colorado centers Peter Forsberg
(61) and Joe Sakic (57). Recently the Penguins donned their
penguin suits, a.k.a. tuxedos, to serve as waiters at a charity
dinner. Sage diners knew better than to say, "Check, please."
February 22, 1999
Felix Trinidad vs. Pernell Whitaker
HBO 9:30 PM
No man is an island? Tell that to Trinidad, 26, an insular
native of Puerto Rico who has a 33-0 record (29 KOs) and has
held the IBF welterweight title for six years while remaining
relatively anonymous. For instance, when Whitaker was asked a
few years back if he wanted to take on Trinidad, he replied, "I
don't want to fight there." (What Jamaica that reply?) Tonight
at Madison Square Garden, the 35-year-old Whitaker (40-2-1)
steps into a ring for the first time in 16 months, a hiatus that
included a suspension for cocaine use.
TNT 8 PM
New Orleans, 1965. Two Catholic high schools, one with an
all-white enrollment (Jesuit) and the other all black (St.
Augustine), are city champs in the segregated South. Then a
prodigal son, who is a brother and a father as well as the new
coach in town--think Gene Hackman in Hoosiers but with a
rosary--promises his St. Augustine players that he'll line up a
game against their paler peers. Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life
on the Street) smolders as Father Joseph Verrett in this
laudable fact-based film directed by Steve (Hoop Dreams) James.
HBO 10:30 PM
Putting the BO in HBO tonight is the stench emitted from some of
the subjects of a Real Sports/SI investigation on the Olympic
scandal. Frank Deford interviews IOC members including Marc
Hodler, the man who blew the whistle on agents selling votes to
influence the selection of Olympic sites. Deford: "Do you feel
like a hero?" Hodler: "Like a soldier who has done his duty." In
another piece correspondent Armen Keteyian sizes up the
escalating TV sports turf war between ESPN and Fox Sports.
SuperSonics at Rockets
TNT 8 PM
Scottie Pippen has gone from Tex Winter to a Texas winter, one
that got much chillier last weekend when Houston lost its top
scorer and the league's leading rebounder, Charles Barkley, for
three to four weeks because of a cartilage tear in his left
knee. With Pippen's old pal Michael Jordan retired and Sir
Charles sidelined, Seattle point guard Gary Payton is now the
NBA's fiercest bald competitor, averaging 26.4 points and 9.0
assists through Sunday for the 5-0 Sonics. Perhaps the league's
best open-court defenders, Payton and Pippen tonight will also
be their teams' first options at the offensive end.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. SOURCE:
NIELSEN SPORTS MARKETING SERVICE.
Bow-ffo cable rating on Feb. 9 for USA Network's second and
final night of the Westminster Dog Show, the event's highest
rating ever. TNT'S Celtics-Heat game telecast opposite the
pooches earned a 1.7.
How, we wondered before Sunday's newly expanded one-hour Sports
Reporters (ESPN, 10 a.m.), would the show's producers kill the
time? With a "Cooking with Lupica" segment? No. While a nearly
14-minute discussion of O.J. Simpson did use tired footage from
a previously shown 50 Greatest Athletes program, the rest of the
show was debate--straight, informative, lively. In other words,
it was Sunday's fastest 60 minutes this side of 60 Minutes.