A revealing sidelight to all this occurred during a recent game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. A run-of-the-mill fight broke out on the ice, and the Kings' rookie coach, Don Perry, ordered 6'4", 220-pound Paul Mulvey off the bench and into the fray. Mulvey had been obtained by the Kings from Pittsburgh late in December to give L.A. a little muscle; he'd already had 126 minutes in penalties as well as a one-game suspension this season. But he refused to follow Perry's orders, recalling the league rule that slaps a three-game suspension on anyone coming off the bench to join a fight.
Perry, furious at Mulvey, told him four times to get out on the ice, but Mulvey refused until other players had preceded him and both benches were about to empty onto the rink. Perry raged at Mulvey in the locker room afterward, told reporters, "I don't want him on my hockey team," and soon thereafter L.A. put Mulvey on irrevocable waivers.
"I'm a human being," Mulvey said, "and I stuck up for my rights as a person. I was being shoved out there as if I was nothing—he was asking me to get a couple more games in suspensions. I've had my share of fights, but I don't think my role is to fight. I'm a hockey player. What I have to do is play hockey."
If only the management of his former teams believed that.
KISSING YOUR SISTER
Or maybe Perry was just working off some frustrations. After all, by tying Philadelphia last Wednesday, the Kings extended two streaks simultaneously: six games without losing and 16 games without winning.
When baseball fans think of Tony Conigliaro, they think of a hard-luck player. They remember the early promise and the awful 1967 beaning that left Conigliaro's left eye damaged and his career in jeopardy. They may recall the embarrassing attempt at a singing career and the desperate digging up of his dad's front lawn when Tony decided to build a pitcher's mound in an attempt to find a ticket back to the majors.
Perhaps they recall the unpleasant stories about Tony C.'s arguments with Boston Manager Dick Williams and the subsequent shipping of Conigliaro to the California Angels. Lately, they've heard that the health food business Conigliaro was running in San Francisco was lost in the mudslides and that he suffered a heart attack in Boston a few weeks ago. They know that he has been lying unconscious in Massachusetts General Hospital and that his chances for a complete recovery dim with each passing day.
What is often forgotten in stories about hard-luck guys are the bright moments, and Conigliaro had a luminous one that bears recounting at this dark hour. After his beaning, the vision in Tony's left eye, once 20/15, deteriorated to 20/300, and doctors at the Retina Foundation in Boston told him the damage was irreparable and that he'd never play baseball again. Here's what is generally forgotten: Not only did Conigliaro play again, but he drove in a total of more than 200 runs for the Red Sox in 1969 and 1970. Two years after the beaning, ophthalmologist Dr. Charles Regan reexamined Conigliaro and discovered that, miraculously, his eye had healed itself and the vision in it was 20/20. "You're an amazing young man," Dr. Regan said. "Someone must have been saying a lot of prayers for you."
The man, still young at 37, is seemingly in need of another miracle. A lot more prayers are asking that he have at least one more shining moment.