- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Through the first three weeks of the season, the National Hockey League's new teams took a terrific pasting from the old—a trend that can be expected to continue. At the end of last week's action the old clubs had won 19, lost five and tied two against the new. Worse, the East had outscored the West 103 goals to 56.
Last summer the NHL, urged on by some of the new clubs—Pittsburgh and Oakland, in particular—voted to increase from 24 to 36 the number of games between East and West teams. The feeling was that, even though the new clubs would be fortunate to win even one out of five from the old, their fans would still pay to see established stars like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Jean Beliveau.
But now it appears that increasing the interlocking schedule was a mistake. As two of the brightest young minds in hockey—Scotty Bowman of St. Louis and Wren Blair of Minnesota—have argued, the new teams should concentrate upon building rivalries among themselves and selling the new division to new fans.
Instead of attempting to conceal the vast difference between the old teams and the new, the NHL is—for the sake of a quick buck—currently making a spectacle of it. Next June the owners can do something about it.
JOHNNY'S NOT HIMSELF
Johnny Unitas' fabled right arm is going from bad to worse. One day last week he tried to throw in practice and came away saying, "What you saw me do out there today was all I can give it." What the Colts' sidelined leader had done was throw three dozen passes, none of them longer than 25 yards and none of them with any velocity.
At this point no one seems to know what to do about the chronic elbow ailment. Asked if an operation would help, Unitas said, "I really don't know. I'll do whatever the club wants me to do. I don't know what is next." The club doctors, as is their policy, are mum, but a decision seems to be due soon. The man who may have been the best pro quarterback of all time is taking up a spot on the Colts' roster, and can't perform.
THE OLYMPIC DODGE