SUNDAY, PENGUINS AT FLYERS, ESPN 8 PM; MONDAY, COYOTES AT PENGUINS, ESPN2 7:30 PM; THURSDAY, PENGUINS AT AVALANCHE, ESPN2 9 PM
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."
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 (40-24) 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.