Cincinnati is gaga over the Ickey Shuffle. A modest end-zone celebration that contains hints of both ballet and waltz, the shuffle is the creation of the Bengals' star rookie running back, Ickey Woods. He does it every time he scores, which has been 15 times in 15 games so far this season. The fans love it, and the officials, who technically should assess a penalty for this sort of thing, have been winking at Ickey's dancing. (They penalized the Bengals only when Ickey shuffled twice in Buffalo.) Even Paul Brown, Cincy's 80-year-old general manager, has been spotted doing the Ickey Shuffle in his office. He says his wife likes it.
Now the Shuffle has won critical acclaim. Dayton (Ohio) Daily News sports columnist Gary Nuhn arranged for his paper's dance critic, Terry Morris, to view the Shuffle and comment on it. Morris wrote in Nuhn's column: "His little divertissement is in such obvious good taste...and it's classic simplicity itself. He knows his terpsichorean limitations, and a critic can appreciate that. I say, encourage him. The world needs more dancing big men."
Last Friday night, a day after signing as a free agent with the San Diego Padres for $5.25 million, Bruce Hurst, who pitched for the Boston Red Sox for the past nine seasons, did what he often does when the Celtics play at home: He went to watch his friend Danny Ainge perform.
Boston beat the Philadelphia 76ers 121-107 as Ainge scored a career-high 45 points, but the game was only a sideshow. The main event was in the stands, where Hurst became the target of angry abuse by members of the local lunatic fringe. The first reaction of the Boston Garden crowd to Hurst's appearance was a mild mixture of boos and applause, but in the second half, hecklers approached his seat, shook fingers and fists at him and shouted insults. Later a small but noisy group of fans sitting behind him began chanting, " Bruce Hurst sucks."
Hurst remained composed throughout the ordeal, staying in his seat for the whole game and even signing autographs for half an hour afterward. Among the Boston fans who approached to wish him well was an elderly woman who ruefully said, "Thanks to you, I'm going to die without seeing the Red Sox win a World Series."
Tickets for the second coming of Guy Lafleur to the Montreal Forum were the toughest in that city's sports history. By early last week, scalpers were fetching as much as $500 apiece for ducats to the game between the Canadiens and the New York Rangers on Dec. 17, the attraction being the dramatic homecoming of the balding, 37-year-old Lafleur, who led the Canadiens to five Stanley Cups. After a four-year retirement from the game, Lafleur returned to the ice this season with the Rangers.
On Saturday night, however, the bottom fell out of the scalpers' market. In a Rangers-Bruins game at the Boston Garden, Lafleur broke a bone in his left foot blocking a shot. Montreal's hero will be sidelined for 10 to 14 days, which means he won't be back on the ice until Dec. 20 at the earliest.
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