"Give her time," says Alt's manager, Steve Gutstein. "The qualities that made people take to her in Italy will make them take to her here. She's got the acting ability, she's obviously got the looks—on the screen you can't take your eyes off her. She's in great shape. No one will outwork her. And she wants it badly. A coach's dream."
As that analogy suggests, Gutstein is also a sports agent; indeed, he represents Greschner. Today Gutstein's pulling out what little of his hair remains, because tonight the Rangers will attempt to extend a four-game winning streak at the Garden. The phone keeps ringing. Long-lost friends are checking in: "Oh, and by the way, have you got any extra tickets?"
The Rangers are off to one of their best starts ever. "Can you believe Beezer?" says Alt, referring to Ranger goalie John Vanbiesbrouck's extraordinary comeback from wrist surgery. "He wasn't supposed to play until December, and he started at the beginning of the season. And the guys are scoring goals all of a sudden. They won 8-2 the other night!"
It was Alt's acting ability that got Greschner to a chiropractor over the summer, which helped get him back on the ice for a 15th season. Greschner played 51 games last season with a sore shoulder, and just how sore the public never knew. His shoulder continued to bother him, but Alt's attempts to get him to see a chiropractor were unavailing until, as she says, "I reverse-psychologied him."
One day Alt went to a chiropractor because her back was bothering her, and when she got home said, "Geez, I feel the best I've ever felt. I feel great!" This went on for days, until Greschner asked meekly, "Think I could go see the chiropractor?" After getting himself realigned and having his right biceps stretched—atrophy had set in as a result of his shoulder injury—Greschner found he could work out without pain.
"He's in the best shape of his career," exults Alt. "He's laughing out on the ice. No one can get around him." While that might be a slight exaggeration, it's safe to say that Greschner is a leader and a key player in what, when its members are healthy, is the NHL's best defensive corps.
He and Alt met in 1982, just a month after she appeared on the cover of SI's swimsuit issue. Because of her ability to convey so many looks and moods—pouting, tempting, introspective, victimized by a rat attack—she has been one of the most-sought-after cover girls of this decade.
"I'm like a chameleon," she says. "What I do is create a scene and a character in my head. That's how I can look so different in so many different pictures."
In 1986, when Italian director Carlo Vanzina sought a leading lady for his film Via Montenapoleone, he brought a stack of photos to an agent. Each, he thought, could be his star. Virtually all the photos were of Alt.
After Alt agreed to take the part, show-biz types tried to scare her with talk of the hours she would have to work. A waste of breath. A week into the shooting, having worked a series of 14-and 16-hour days, Alt asked the crew, "Aren't you tired?"