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Scorecard April 21, 1997
Edited by Richard O'Brien and Hank Hersch
April 21, 1997
NHL Playoff Preview...Death at the Masters...The Two Tim Belchers...The Indiana Compromise...Remembering a Pitcher...North Korea's Biggest Export?
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April 21, 1997

Scorecard April 21, 1997

NHL Playoff Preview...Death at the Masters...The Two Tim Belchers...The Indiana Compromise...Remembering a Pitcher...North Korea's Biggest Export?

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All in a Row
For an NBA-record nine straight seasons (1987-88 through '95-96), John Stockton of the Utah Jazz led the league in assists. But Stockton's dominance as a disher will end this year; he'll finish behind the Indiana Pacers' Mark Jackson. Here's a look at some hardy perennials in other sports.

 

Streaker

His Run

Ended by

Basketball

Luis Aparicio

Tiny speedster averaged 41 thefts with White Sox and Orioles while winning every stolen base title from 1956 to '64.

Bert Campaneris

NHL

Wayne Gretzky

The Great One iced assists titles from 1979-80 to 1991-92 and won nine MVP awards in that span.

Adam Oates

Golf

Calvin Peete

From 1981 to '90, the not-so-long-but-oh-so-straight Peete was the Tour's most accurate driver.

Hale Irwin

NFL

Don Hutson

Sturdy Packers Hall of Fame end led the league in receptions from 1941 to '45.

Jim Benton

NFL

Jim Brown

The NFL Rookie of the Year in 1957, Cleveland's battering ram was rushing champ from that season through '61.

Jim Taylor

Getting Real

With the NHL playoffs—a.k.a The Real Season-starting this week, here are five predictions:

1) The Ottawa Senators, who for their first four years were to hockey what Pauly Shore is to acting, will surprise the Buffalo Sabres in the first round. The overachieving Sabres showed spunk in winning the Northeast Division despite the early season loss of star forward Pat LaFontaine, but they've run out of gas in the last month. And while Buffalo goalie Dominik (the Dominator) Hasek can win a series by himself, he's meeting formerly forlorn Ottawa at the wrong time. The Senators slipped into the playoffs for the first time, and then into the seventh slot in the Eastern Conference, by winning games in the final week against the Hartford Whalers, the Detroit Red Wings—in Detroit—and the Sabres when any loss might have eliminated them. Look for Ottawa's rushing defenseman Steve Duchesne (19 goals this season) to put in a game winner.

2) The most intriguing first-round matchup will be between two teams representing the NHLs push into the Sun Belt: the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Ottawa's expansion cousins, and the Phoenix Coyotes, the erstwhile Winnipeg Jets. The series should be the national coming-out party for Anaheim's preternaturally creative Paul Kariya and linemate Teemu Selanne, but also watch underappreciated goalies Guy Hebert of the Ducks and Nikolai Khabibulin of the Coyotes. Khabibulin's Bulin Wall nearly stoned Detroit last spring in the opening round.

3) The Red Wings will be surprisingly tough. If any coach other than Detroit's Scotty Bowman had taken a recent MVP and moved him from forward to left defense—as Bowman did with Sergei Fedorov three weeks ago, putting him alongside Larry Murphy—his sanity would have been questioned. But Bowman is hockey's winningest coach, and Fedorov, the Hart Trophy winner in 1994 and a third-liner for part of this season, has lent speed to a sometimes creaky defense. If Bowman gets consistent goaltending from Mike Vernon or Chris Osgood, the Wings will make life miserable for the Dallas Stars in the second round.

4) Because goalie is the most important position in the playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers are at a disadvantage. The Flyers' duo of Ron Hextall and Garth Snow is eminently exploitable and should sabotage a Philly team that is otherwise poised to take a hard run at the Stanley Cup.

5) In our NHL preview issue (Oct. 7), SI predicted that the defending champion Colorado Avalanche would beat the New Jersey Devils, who missed the 1996 playoffs but are now the East's top seed, in the Cup final. We still like our pick.

A Dangerous Trade

Like everyone else who heard the news, ticket brokers at the Masters were saddened by the apparent suicide of Allen Caldwell III, a 40-year-old restaurateur and corporate-events planner from Martinez, Ga. Caldwell shot himself with a 12-gauge shotgun last Friday morning after failing to come up with approximately 100 Masters tickets—known as badges—that he had contracted to provide to corporate clients. The brokers were also quick to point out a cold lesson of Caldwell's death: Theirs is not a business for amateurs.

The mechanics of ticket brokering are simple enough: Secure orders at a certain price and then try to fill them by buying up tickets wherever they're available, preferably at a low enough price to make a profit (SI, April 7). However, Masters badges are among the most sought after, and therefore most expensive, secondary-market tickets in sports.

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