Did a fun little compare-and-contrast for Cox Sports that covered Boston College and Boston University opting out of a national tournament playoff in 1952. Read it here.
Thirty-five years ago today, the Miracle on Ice was still a vision in Herb Brooks’ imagination. His youthful American squad had a tie and a win to its credit, with a game against Norway looming. The Soviets were still a week away. Everyone knows what happened next, and thanks to films like Miracle, even the events leading up to the greatest upset in sports history became mythologized. One such event was the 1979 National Sports Festival held in Colorado Springs. The hockey portion was conducted at the original Broadmoor World Arena. Convened in late July as an initial tryout for the 1980 Winter Olympics, it became a seminal moment in the American march to improbable Lake Placid gold.
Esteemed sportswriter John Gilbert was in Colorado Springs to cover the event. His 2010 book, Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Hockey Mastermind, includes the definitive retrospective chapter and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning the real story of how Team USA began taking form.
In Gilbert’s book, you’ll discover the context for a post-festival stats summary I’ve included below. And there’s some fascinating stuff, like why Dave Delich’s six points weren’t enough and why Jim Craig’s 12.41 goals-against average wasn’t too much.
So in this season of Olympic recollection, please enjoy a statistical trip down memory lane and the inevitable “what ever happened to him?” questions it may inspire.
|Festival Scoring Leaders||GP||G||A||PTS||PIM||NCAA Team||Age||Position|
|Phil Verchota (Midwest)||4||5||3||8||15||Minnesota||19||Forward|
|Neal Broten (Midwest)||4||5||2||7||6||Minnesota||19||Forward|
|Dave Christian (Central)||4||4||3||7||0||North Dakota||20||Forward|
|Mike Eruzione (Great Lakes)||4||5||1||6||0||Boston University||24||Forward|
|Ken Morrow (Great Lakes)||4||3||3||6||2||Bowling Green||22||Defense|
|Dave Delich (Great Lakes)||4||2||4||6||6||Colorado College||22||Forward|
|John Harrington (Midwest)||4||1||5||6||0||Minnesota Duluth||22||Forward|
|Bobby Crawford (New England)||4||3||2||5||6||N/A||19||Forward|
|Henry Taylor (Central)||4||3||2||5||4||N/A||23||Forward|
|Mark Wells (Great Lakes)||4||3||2||5||2||Bowling Green||21||Forward|
|Mark Pavelich (Midwest)||4||2||3||5||6||Minnesota Duluth||21||Forward|
|Greg Woods (Central)||4||1||4||5||2||Denver||24||Defense|
|Jack O’Callahan (New England)||4||0||5||5||6||Boston University||22||Defense|
|Frank Roy (New England)||4||4||0||4||0||New Hampshire||22||Forward|
|Scott Lecy (Central)||4||3||1||4||2||Wisconsin||20||Forward|
|Jim Armstrong (Central)||4||2||2||4||6||Clarkson||21||Forward|
|Bill Army (Great Lakes)||4||2||2||4||2||Boston College||21||Forward|
|Mark Fidler (New England)||4||2||2||4||2||Boston University||19||Forward|
|Tom Mullen (Central)||4||2||2||4||2||American International||24||Forward|
|Les Auge (Midwest)||4||1||3||4||8||Minnesota||26||Defense|
|George Hughes (New England)||4||1||3||4||4||Harvard||23||Forward|
|Bill Whelton (New England)||4||1||3||4||2||Boston University||20||Defense|
|David Silk (New England)||4||3||0||3||8||Boston University||21||Forward|
|Rob McClanahan (Midwest)||4||2||1||3||4||Minnesota||21||Forward|
|Mike Ramsey (Midwest)||4||2||1||3||10||Minnesota||18||Defense|
|John Slonim (Central)||4||2||1||3||2||Brown||19||Forward|
|Paul Castraberti (New England)||4||1||2||3||2||Yale||19||Forward|
|Dan Lerg (Great Lakes)||4||1||2||3||0||Michigan||21||Forward|
|Brian Walsh (New England)||4||1||2||3||6||Notre Dame||24||Forward|
|Dave Feamster (Great Lakes)||4||0||3||3||12||Colorado College||20||Defense|
|Bob Grant (Central)||4||0||3||3||4||Dartmouth||22||Defense|
|Paul Miller (Great Lakes)||4||0||3||3||0||Boston University||19||Forward|
|Festival Goaltending Leaders||Minutes||GA||SVS||SV%||GAA||NCAA Team||Age||Position|
|Bruce Horsch (Great Lakes)||120||4||45||0.910||2.00||Michigan Tech||23||Goalie|
|Steve Janaszak (Midwest)||121||8||65||0.890||3.96||Minnesota||22||Goalie|
|John Rockwell (Great Lakes)||121||8||75||0.900||3.98||Michigan Tech||24||Goalie|
|Mike Dibble (Central)||220||20||105||0.840||5.45||Wisconsin||25||Goalie|
|Blane Comstock (Midwest)||119||11||57||0.840||5.54||Bemidji State||29||Goalie|
|Mark Holden (New England)||121||12||53||0.790||5.97||Brown||22||Goalie|
|Jay Palladino (New England)||91||10||55||0.840||6.62||Salem State||21||Goalie|
|Peter Waselovich (Central)||20||3||5||0.630||9.00||North Dakota||23||Goalie|
|Jim Craig (New England)||29||6||16||0.730||12.41||Boston University||22||Goalie|
Not even the ambling approach of a rogue bulldog could shake Ben Crenshaw from his putt-sinking trance. After all, Muggsy was just another friendly face at Wannamoisett Country Club, albeit one that was slightly out of place on the No. 4 putting green. Continue reading
Beginning Thursday, 156 players from 27 countries will compete for the national championship of American golf, the 114th U.S. Open, to be contested on Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course in North Carolina. It will be a far cry from the very first U.S. Open, when 11 hearty competitors smacked their gutta-percha balls off small hills of Rhode Island sand at the Newport Country Club. Continue reading
It was on this date in 1982 that the NHL board of governors tipped a domino in Denver, when the cash-strapped Colorado Rockies, said to be losing more than $2 million annually, were granted transfer to East Rutherford, N.J.
The move had become something of a mundane inevitability at the time, but the ensuing chain reaction makes it worth more than a mere footnote in pro hockey history. The repercussions are still apparent today, especially in the NHL’s Pacific and Central Divisions, which were, to some degree, shaped by the events of May 27, 1982. Continue reading
Not much history in this one, but I did manage to work Cinderella and a pumpkin into an NCAA lacrosse recap for Cox Sports Online. It started something like this:
“After an opening weekend as belles of the ball, the unseeded upset quartet finally fell in the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament quarterfinals. But, while the clock struck midnight for Albany, Drexel, Johns Hopkins and Bryant, they’ll be left with much more than a pumpkin and four mice when they look back on 2014.”
It’s that time of year. The IIHF World Championship is underway, and I wrote a Team USA preview piece for Cox Sports focused on former Providence College forward Colin McDonald. Check it out by clicking here.
Tom Verducci from Sports Illustrated chronicled the Milwaukee Brewers’ aggressive hitting approach today, noting that “the three most aggressive teams in baseball, at least as measured by fewest pitches per plate appearance, all have winning records: Milwaukee, Colorado and Baltimore.”
Verducci goes on to explore the now-counterculture wisdom of being aggressive within the strike zone, illustrating it with incisive comments from Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. Among them, Melvin hints at the folly of taking grooved pitches in hitter’s counts. He also discusses the diminishing effectiveness of “getting to the bullpen” as an offensive strategy.
Setting aside baseball strategy – which isn’t easy for me to do, but for the sake of brevity, I will in this instance – and focusing solely on the game’s aesthetics, we can only hope that this return to aggressiveness is the beginning of a trend in Major League Baseball. One need only watch an inning or two of big-league baseball from the 1980s to be reminded of an era that wasn’t nap-inducing. Pitchers worked quickly and hitters swung at strikes. It was a game of action, rather than a game of in-action. It was an attack, not a battle of attrition.
Baseball was a better game in the 1980s, or at the very least, a more fun game. Perhaps the 2014 Brewers can help turn back the clock.
It’s been a busy few months, but with tournament season upon us, I managed to pen a college hockey “bracketology” piece for my friends at Cox Sports. And I even slipped a little history in there. Check it out by clicking here.
Marching bands and football have filled the autumn air together for more than a century, but in 1982, as families finalized their Thanksgiving plans, the relationship grew too close. That’s when the band took the field in Berkeley and total chaos ensued. Five days later, with order seemingly restored, a one-man band took the field in Detroit and wrought a different kind of chaos, a Thanksgiving Day fury that changed the game forever. Continue reading