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THE TRUTH HURTS
Speaking their minds about the shoddy state of NHL officiating has cost Boston general manager Harry Sinden $2,000 and New York Islander center Bryan Trottier $1,000. Sinden, who like most club officials is a vocal critic of NHL officiating, was fined for publicly berating referee Kerry Fraser after the Bruins' 7-3 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal on Feb. 16. Referee Fraser had inexplicably failed to penalize Canadien Chris Chelios for a blindside boarding that left Bruin forward Rick Middleton with a concussion.
Trottier, who is also president of the NHL Players' Association, was fined by league president John Ziegler for his remarks in a guest editorial in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hockey News. "The quality and speed of NHL hockey is far worse than it was two years ago," he wrote. "The less skilled players are getting away with more because the officials have been less inclined to legislate against the garbage—the holding, the clutching, the grabbing."
When a player of Trottier's stature risks censure by going public on an issue as much in need of attention as NHL officiating, he is doing the game and its fans a service. If his criticism leads to better refereeing. the league should return his $1.000. with interest.
ACROSS THE BOARD
An enterprising Las Vegas bookmaker. Gene Maday of Little Caesar's Sports Book, had the kind of idea that separates the titans from the ribbon clerks in his business. He wanted to make book on whether Oral Roberts would meet what the evangelist claims is God's personal directive to him to raise $4.5 million by a now-or-never-ever deadline of March 31. Maday had hardly gotten around to thinking about the odds, however, when the Nevada Gaming Control Board intervened, saying such bets contravened state gaming policy.
"Unlike a horse race or sporting event." wrote board chairman Bart Jacka in his Dear Gene letter, "the outcome would be known, or known to a reasonable certainty, by the individuals in charge of collecting and tabulating the contributions being made to Oral Roberts."
Jacka claimed no knowledge of God's will in the matter, but when it comes to human nature, he's the devil's advocate.