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Your Oct. 3 issue took the SI jinx to a whole new level. High-flying cover boy Ronnie Belliard and the Indians lost six of seven and missed the playoffs. And articles on Michigan State (A Spartan's Revenge), Minnesota (A Golden Gopher) and the Patriots (Brady Time) all preceded disappointing losses. How do you guys do it?
As a hockey player and fan, I am excited about the new NHL and its rule changes ( NHL PREVIEW, Oct. 3). I am sorry, however, that the league did not, during this period of reinvention, do something about its fighting problem. Ice hockey is a game of speed, strategy and finesse. An ejection, suspension or fine should be added on top of the current five-minute fighting penalty.
Hockey may be back, but the NHL still doesn't get it. While the new ultra-unbalanced schedule may save on travel costs and please coaches, it certainly isn't fan-friendly. Ask a season-ticket holder in Minnesota who has shelled out thousands to see Vancouver three times in October but this season will never see Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, Peter Forsberg and the Flyers or the Stanley Cup champion Lightning on the ice in St. Paul.
The Greatest One
In SI's scouting report on the Pittsburgh Penguins (Oct. 3), Kostya Kennedy writes that Mario Lemieux is "the dominant scorer in NHL history." Before this season started, Wayne Gretzky had 894 goals in his NHL career to Lemieux's 683. Gretzky had 1,963 assists to Lemieux's 1,018. That brings their total points to 2,857 for Gretzky and 1,701 for Lemieux. How does that make Lemieux the dominant scorer?
In your Oct. 3 issue you referred to Tom Brady as the best player in the NFL ( Brady Time). In your season preview (Sept. 5) you rated him ninth among quarterbacks and No. 37 overall. As one who thinks the more recent reference is on the mark, my advice would be to reevaluate the criteria you use for your Player Value Rankings. Any system that concludes that Brady is less valuable than Trent Green, Marc Bulger, Kerry Collins, J.J. Arrington, Domanick Davis and Reggie Wayne is seriously flawed.