So the hockey season has started, and since the Canadiens ended up in third place and, through a rather ridiculous playoff system, won the Stanley Cup, they have become the greatest team in hockey (Enter the Icemen, Oct. 18). Montreal Goalie Ken Dryden becomes the new Georges Vezina, never mind Ed Giacomin and Tony Esposito. Guy Lafleur, although unproven, becomes the most accomplished player since Bobby Orr. Meanwhile, Ranger Defenseman Brad Park had a poor season while being selected to an All-Star berth and scoring 44 points. And if he has a good season the Ranger defense, which allowed 177 goals last season, just might be able to rival Montreal's, which gave up 216.
Maybe you are right: Montreal is a great team, Boston is second best despite its 76-goal scorer and New York is hanging in the race by its Vezina goaltending. But I think it would be advisable to see what actually happens before any names are engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Shame on you, Mark Mulvoy! Have you flipped your wig over the summer? How can you have the audacity to pick Montreal to beat out the mighty Bruins in 1971-72? The Bostonians have perhaps the best hockey team ever, and this year they will finish no lower than first.
JEFF DE FEO
I enjoyed your article on the opening of the National Hockey League season, and as a Chicago Black Hawk fan I particularly appreciated the comment by Boston's Phil Esposito: "Nobody remembers the 37 records we set...just...the Stanley Cup we didn't win."
In 1968-69 Bobby Hull set a record by scoring 58 goals, but the Hawks finished in last place. A winner can talk about records, but a loser has nothing to say.
ROBERT H. SLOSS
Highland Park, Ill.
Your no-holds preview was excellent. But neither the antics of Ken Dryden nor the million-dollar price of Bobby Orr and his animals will contain the New York Rangers. The most balanced attack in the league will bring the Stanley Cup to New York.
Silver Spring, Md.
After the Minnesota North Stars finish the 1971-72 hockey season, everybody, including Mark Mulvoy, will know what the Goldy Shuffle is.
My thanks and congratulations to Melvin Maddocks for his article on youth hockey (New Awakening in Orr Land, Oct. 11). It was a long time in coming but well worth the wait. The hockey mania has indeed hit in more places than Boston.
What a delight to read your article on youth hockey! As transplanted Canadians we were thrilled to find a gung-ho minor hockey program out here in San Diego, even though it means practices beginning not at four or five a.m. but at one a.m. on Saturdays and games beginning at two a.m. on Sundays. With nearly 400 boys playing the game and a waiting list besides, one rink is hardly enough.
Meanwhile, we have sent two boys to Canada in Junior A, one made the final cut of the WHL's San Diego Gulls and two more are at American colleges on hockey scholarships a la Chicago's Keith Magnuson and Montreal's Ken Dryden. Not bad for an eight-year-old program 15 miles from Mexico.