The stunt that St. Louis Blues coach Jacques Demers pulled in the second game of the team's first-round playoff series with the Minnesota North Stars was stupid. During a stoppage of play in the third period, Demers tossed five pennies onto the ice to prolong the delay and give his team more rest. As Blues defenseman Doug Gilmour picked up the pennies and the other players took a breather, referee Kerry Fraser skated to the Blues bench. "He told me, 'You were throwing pennies on the ice,' " admits Demers. "We got caught. I stopped. I won't do it again."
After the game, which the North Stars won 6-2, Blues owner Harry Ornest called the incident "a tempest in a teapot," adding, "It's like some player whose lace on a hockey glove is untied getting a timeout." The league office apparently agreed with Ornest and gave Demers only a reprimand.
But Demers's stunt wasn't the small change that the NHL's action would make it seem. A coach flouted the rules to gain an advantage and wasn't penalized. That isn't the worst of it. Because of the obvious dangers to players and other spectators, the NHL encourages arena officials and police in league cities to come down hard on fans who throw objects onto the ice. Demers's penny-pitching will only encourage such conduct. The fact that he got away with it will encourage it all the more.
FROM PINSTRIPES TO JAIL STRIPES
The enticing telegrams went out to 950 New York City fugitives at their last known addresses: Come to the Kings-bridge Armory in the Bronx for a free champagne breakfast with Yankee manager Lou Piniella and a chance at fabulous door prizes. Then we'll bring you to your box seat for the Yankee-Royals game. Signed, the Bronx Sports and Exposition Co.
It was a ploy. The invitations came from the Bronx district attorney's office, which was hoping to snare the suspected criminals. A similar sting operation in Washington, D.C. last December, which had used an offer of free Redskins tickets, had led to the arrest of 98 fugitives.
But as everyone knows, New Yorkers are a wary lot, which may explain why only three of the 950 (and three others) showed up for the free breakfast. Those few respondents were greeted by Yankee posters and paraphernalia, and a man claiming to be the team's new skipper; he was in fact detective Roy Casse.
"What do I look like, dumb?" guest Renaldo Santiago told the New York Daily News. "That guy didn't look anything like Piniella." But none of the guests realized what was happening until they were in handcuffs. Two of them were wanted on larceny charges, while Santiago—who'd unluckily received an invitation intended for another Renaldo Santiago—turned out to be wanted for nonsupport of a child. The D.A.'s office was disappointed by the sting's .003 batting average, but those nabbed were even more upset. Said Santiago, "I'm no longer a Yankee fan."
I THINK THAT I SHALL NEVER SEE