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NHL president John Ziegler habitually denies that his league is beset by too much fighting. But just take a look at the classified ads in The Hockey News. There in the video section are such enticing offers as "Brand New Part 4 Hockey's Bloodiest Fights & Knockouts." Or: "165 Hours of Good Quality hockey fights which includes 12 hrs. from '87/'88." Another recent ad, this one for 126 hours of such footage, claims to have two hours on noted New York Ranger goon Chris Nilan.
Last week hockey-fight aficionados got two more lowlights. Thursday night in Philadelphia, Flyer right wing Rick Tocchet gouged New York Islanders defenseman Dean Chynoweth's left eye during a fight. (On Monday, when the vision in Chynoweth's eye was still very blurry, Tocchet was suspended for 10 games.) On Sunday night in Madison Square Garden, David Shaw, a defenseman for the Rangers, knocked out Pittsburgh Penguin center Mario Lemieux with a vicious slash to the chest early in the third period. The sight of the NHL's leading scorer lying facedown on the ice for nearly five minutes was frightening, but fortunately Lemieux was able to leave the game under his own power. The rest of the game, though, was marred by fighting. (Shaw faces an NHL hearing this week.)
All of this must be a great delight to the traffickers in hockey fight films.
Jack Adelman, an outdoorsman in Madison, Neb., who makes equipment for waterfowl hunters, has come up with a part decoy, part retriever called Robo-Duck. The new gizmo looks pretty much like a wooden decoy, but Robo-Duck, which is hollow and water-tight, is made of fiberglass and a plastic known as PVC. Inside there's a motor that can make it go as fast as 10 mph; it's operated by a remote-control device similar to the ones used for model boats. Robo-Duck also has two 20-inch steel "fingers" that can be manipulated to pick up downed waterfowl from the surface.
Robo-Duck comes with a big bill—$1,250. "That might sound like a lot, but we don't have a very large margin of profit," says Adelman, whose Duck & Goose Hunting Specialties Company also makes portable duck blinds. "Besides, a good hunting dog nowadays goes for $500 to $800. Then you've got veterinary bills, your food and upkeep costs. Heck, you'd spend $1,250 on a dog in a year."
Adelman has sold about 100 Robo-Ducks to hunters from as far away as Switzerland. "The only complaint I've ever heard was from a hunter who said he liked to talk to his dog," says Adelman. "Well, you can talk to a Robo-Duck, too. It just won't lick your face."