Mark Mulvoy mentioned in his article (All Ablaze at Center, Feb. 26) that Flyer General Manager Keith Allen turned down five players for superstar Bobby Clarke. The fact is nothing could get Bobby away from Philadelphia. The Flyers are winning now. Rick MacLeish is scoring, as are Bill Flett and Gary Dornhoefer. Bob Kelly and Dave Schultz are checking, and Doug Favell is stopping rubber consistently. But Bobby Clarke does it all. He is the best center in hockey. So how come Gil Perreault is on your cover?
I commend you for finally realizing that the Buffalo Sabres are not a third-or fourth-rate team and putting one of our star players, Gil Perreault, on your cover. I attend school in New Hampshire and am continually harassed by Boston fans who think only God reigns above the Bruins. Buffalo will show them, in time.
I was outraged. I don't deny that a flock of young center icemen has appeared, but Mark Mulvoy ignored the Boston Bruins' up-and-coming rookie, Greg Sheppard. Curt Bennett may be an intellectual, but he's not nearly the hockey player that Sheppard is. Also, Punch Imlach's statement that Perreault "is the best center in the game—bar none" is ridiculous. Gil may be a dazzler on offense but he simply does not possess the all-round talents of players like Bobby Clarke, Walt Tkaczuk and Stan Mikita. And none of them compare with Boston's all-time great, Phil Esposito.
While it is true, as Mark Mulvoy says, that Buffalo has the best home record in the NHL and Gil Perreault may well be the successor to the greatest of them all, Jean Beliveau (although Jacques Lemaire's 178 goals in fewer than six seasons are not to be taken lightly), certainly the ultimate criterion by which to judge a team's performance is whether it wins. In this regard Montreal has demonstrated that it is the best team, and with its seemingly never-ending supply of young legs pro sport's greatest dynasty seems assured of continuing.
THOMAS G. MCCARTY
DOWN TO ESSENTIALS
Kenny Moore's tribute to Ron Clarke (But Only on Sunday, Feb. 25) is a fabulous statement of the real essentials of amateur sport. Although only a mediocre runner myself, I often attempt to emulate the ideal qualities of those more proficient in the sport. Ron Clarke now heads my list.
One Sunday morning a few years ago I ran with Ken Moore in a club race around Honolulu's Kapiolani Park. It was not his winning that impressed me, but the love of running that he shares with Clarke. Someday the public will understand that there is much more to distance running than just crossing the finish line. Thank you, Ken.
I applaud Kenny Moore's story on Ron Clarke. It is unfortunate that this great athlete was more often cited for what he failed to do than for what he achieved. Maybe this fine article will help right the wrong and point the criticism at the critics, for they are the ones who deserve it. Maybe Clarke did not win any Olympic or British Commonwealth Games gold medals, but I would like to see some of his critics attempt the number of races he did and come up with the same percentage of wins.
Ron Clarke states, "If youngsters are taught that losing is a disgrace, and they're not sure they can win, they will be reluctant to even try. And not trying is the real disgrace."
It takes deep thought to understand the implications of that simple statement. If only parents would instill some of this philosophy in their youngsters instead of the old clich�, "winning is everything."
LENARD W. WAHLERT
In the oh-so-clever lead paragraph of his story on Steve Smith (He's Raising the Roof, Feb. 12), Ron Reid gave us this assessment of a pole vaulter: "He is a super-special, technique-mad, slightly ridiculous pseudo-athlete, an oddity for size, speed and stamina and unsuited to sane events."