CHERRY AND THE RETREADS
I just don't understand how you can refer to the Boston Bruins' roster as "largely filled with retreads" (The Wrath of Grapes, Jan. 15). I agree that Coach Don Cherry has a talent for getting something extra out of every hockey player, but to call players like Jean Ratelle, Peter McNab and Wayne Cashman retreads is going too far.
HENRY WAGNER JR.
How could a team with a roster "largely filled with retreads" be in the finals with the Montreal Canadiens two years in a row? I did not see the New York Islanders, the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Philadelphia Flyers there.
The Bruins have players who should be on any all-star team. I hope Bill Torrey and Scotty Bowman keep that fact in mind when they select the rest of the NHL squad for the Russian series.
Moreland Hills, Ohio
Don Cherry's endorsement of fighting as a hockey stratagem leads me to the inescapable conclusion that the Bruins aren't very good.
Television has found hockey to be a bomb, and I suspect that a major reason for this sport's decline is the belief that fighting is a part of the game. Cherry's condemnation of the intellectuals (those who insist upon the purity of hockey) is ironic. Frankly, I'd rather have his dog Blue.
When a man is against the wearing of helmets in a game such as ice hockey, he has to be some kind of nut. I am not impressed with Cherry's thinking.
STACY CAMPBELL JR.
Pompano Beach, Fla.
I have never enjoyed any article more than the one about Don Cherry. Jerry Kirshenbaum lets everyone in on the humor and wit of the Bruin coach. We here in New England see evidence of these qualities on the ice and in the news every week. Cherry is the reason for the Bruins' success. The front office would be foolish to let him go.
SI has said some outrageous things in its time, but the statement that Tony Esposito is not a first-team all-star tops them all (SCORECARD, Jan. 15). You could be right about the other five players, but not about Esposito. Just look at the box scores and see how many shots Esposito faces. Few teams have had as poor a defense as the Black Hawks for the past five years, but, in my opinion, no goaltender has been as steady as Esposito. That isn't to say that Ken Dryden or a few others aren't superb goaltenders, but look at the difference in strength of the teams they play for! If Esposito starts for the NHL against the Soviets next month, the world will see just how good he is.
BARRY M. ROZNER
You said that New York Rangers Pat Hickey, Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg and Ron Greschner do not qualify as starters on the NHL all-star team. Although the "Swede 16" line hasn't been tearing up the league, it has been doing a fine job. Greschner is the second leading scorer for all defensemen in the league. And Nilsson and Hedberg have valuable experience in international play. When the series with the Russians comes along, I think the fans will be proved right in their selections.
BOBBY D & CO.
As a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, I take offense at Curry Kirkpatrick's remark that Norfolk State is "an obscure enough institution except for its celebrity in the vast reaches of the CIAA" (A Bullet of the Highest Caliber, Jan. 15). We may not have the publicity of the ACC or the Big Ten, but we are known in some circles for producing not only the Bullets' Bobby Dandridge but also Sam Jones, Al Attles, Earl Monroe, Curly Neal, Twiggy Saunders, Marvin Webster, Mike Gale, Mike Davis and others.
PHILIP J. BUSHER
Sports Information Director
Johnson C. Smith University