Mironov, a Russian, coaxed teammates and countrymen Andrei Kovalenko and Mikhail Shtalenkov to join him and the bears on ice for a photo op. Mironov knows the circus organizers because his wife, Katrin, worked for them as an acrobat and a magician's assistant before she and Boris moved to Canada in 1993. "She loved being in the circus," says Mironov, "but I thought it was dangerous."
Though Kovalenko and Shtalenkov believed that the bears were also perilous—"I didn't get close unless I had to, and I kept asking if they had been fed," says Shtalenkov—Mironov was unconcerned. "The man who trains them was there," he says, "If anything went wrong, he would have handled it and said, 'Quiet, bear!' "
Lies and Damn Lies
Even as the NHL smartly expands the variety of statistics that it keeps, it continues to proffer a worthless number: players' shooting percentages. That stat—derived by dividing the number of goals by the number of shots—isn't a reflection of shooting accuracy, as it is in basketball.
While middling offensive talents like Flames center Jeff Shantz (six goals at week's end) and Sabres right wing Dixon Ward (10) were at the top of the league with percentages of around 30%, Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque, who has won the most-accurate-shot competition at the All-Star Game in five of the past nine years, was at a measly 4% (three goals on 75 shots). In fact, many superior snipers, including Penguins right wing Jaromir Jagr, were shooting under 10%.
Outstanding shooters find ways to put the puck on net much more often than other players, so their percentage is expected to be lower. But anytime a shot is on target, good things can happen—including a rebound goal by a teammate. Says Islanders director of player personnel Gordie Clark, "Shooting percentage doesn't tell you much. I don't even look at it."