PLAYTHING OF THE WEST
It is that time of the year again when the National Hockey League devours its young. Last spring, in a dispute over a few thousand dollars in salary, the wealthy Boston Bruins let their esteemed young coach, Harry Sinden, walk away from the game after he led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup championship. Now the St. Louis Blues have pulled the rug out from underneath Scotty Bowman, the team's outstanding coach and general manager.
It was Bowman, 37, who transformed the Blues into the jewels of the West and the very model of an expansion franchise. In 1967 he took over a team that was struggling to escape the cellar and turned it into a civic prize that reached the Stanley Cup finals three years running. In his spare time Bowman dabbled in instructing Sid Salomon III, 33, in the rudiments of the game. Young Salomon's credentials as a hockey authority are otherwise founded on the fact that his father, Sid Salomon Jr., controls the team.
Last week Bowman was finally forced out of the organization he made. "They want me to be a puppet," he said. "I can't let that happen." The toy of a team is now the Salomons' to play with all by themselves.
RENDER UNTO CAESAR
A frequent sight at almost every racetrack in the country are the nuns who sit patiently near the entrances with wicker alms baskets. They are as familiar as Dalmatians around firehouses. The ubiquitous nuns also receive a good bit of attention, as many bettors feel guilty upon arriving at the track and either blessed or cursed upon departure, and are thus moved to make a donation to set things straight.
Last Friday in New York, as special off-track betting windows opened for the Kentucky Derby, the nuns suddenly showed up. It was like the Good Housekeeping stamp of approval. That day, for the first time, off-track betting went into the black.
ELI, ELI, BOW, WOW, WOW
A Broadway musical, Frank Merriwell, based on the mythical Yale athletic hero, closed last week after one performance.
LOCAL OPTION: NO SLEDS
It is already known that much of Denver has regrets about its role as host of the 1976 Winter Olympics (SI, Feb. 15), and now the whole Colorado state legislature is disturbed at the prospect. Closing its latest session, the legislature created a Colorado Olympic Commission, but with an amendment to the bill that declared: "In view of adverse fiscal and environmental impacts that would accompany the holding of the bobsled event within the state of Colorado, the commission shall endeavor to secure elimination of the bobsled event." The whole package passed, 32-1, was accepted by the House and now needs only Governor John Love's signature to become law.