- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Arbour sent goons Mick Vukota and Ken Baumgartner out for the final two seconds. When referee Don Koharski dropped the puck for the face-off, Vukota skated straight for the Rangers' Jeff Bloemberg and began pummeling him. Baumgartner performed a similar mugging on Ranger Kris King. Predictably, a brawl ensued. (Later, in an even uglier display outside, Ranger fans pounded on and rocked the ambulance in which LaFontaine was being taken to the hospital.)
In response, Ziegler suspended Vukota for 10 games and Baumgartner for one, and he fined the Islanders $25,000 and Arbour $5,000. Those stiff penalties were in order, but now it's up to Ziegler—who has regularly ignored incidents even more flagrant, and whose league is notorious for meting out selective punishment (the Flyers, for example, at times seem to have been granted diplomatic immunity)—to crack down on all coaches and players who ruin the game through violence and vigilantism.
Show up more often, Mr. President.
BACK TO LIFE
Last week the University of Oklahoma came to its senses and restored its women's basketball program. After dropping the program a week earlier (SCORECARD, April 9), the school's athletic department was assailed from all sides. The Oklahoma state senate voted 41-6 to condemn the scrapping of the program, and a public-interest law firm threatened to file a federal sex discrimination suit against the university on behalf of team members if women's basketball wasn't restored.
Oklahoma thought no one would care about a women's team that had gone 32-51 over the last three seasons and had drawn just 206 fans a game this season. But principle was at stake. Women should not be denied top-level athletic opportunity just because relatively few fans show up for their games. And women at a men's sports powerhouse such as Oklahoma, which spends lavishly on football but devotes less than 10% of its athletic budget to women's sports, shouldn't have to give up any sports programs—not until the athletic scale more closely balances.
One hopes that the Oklahoma case will help rejuvenate the women's sports movement, which has lost some momentum in recent years. As University of Washington women's basketball coach Chris Gobrecht said last week, "In some ways, it wasn't a bad thing for us to wake up to the fact that the battle isn't completely won yet."
NO. 25 AND THEN SOME
With each succeeding match—and she has played all of 16 of them on the women's pro tennis tour—it has become more obvious that the true precocity of Jennifer Capriati, who turned 14 on March 29, cannot be measured by a mere computer ranking.