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IT'S ONE OF those opinionated days . . .

It seems the Buffalo Sabres are hoping the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States will take them off the hook in the matter of Ted Sator.

If Bob Johnson, current AHAUS president and former coach of the Calgary Flames, returns to the NHL as expected, the word is Sator would be the obvious choice to replace him as the czar of American amateur hockey.

Aside from Johnson, Sator has higher current visibility than any other American coach. Ted was Johnson's No. 1 aide on the last two Team USA squads in the Canada Cup international series. Johnson would be expected to recommend him as his successor.

If it does happen, it would relieve the squeamish Sabres of the unpleasant necessity of firing Sator, and they could get on with re-arranging the atmosphere in their dressing room.
I wouldn't touch Marv Levy's debate against the gun-hunting lobby with a 10-foot AK-47, but any reasonable person has to admire the courage of the Bills' leader in speaking his mind. Most NFL coaches would have politically danced away from the subject. Even the gunnies should respect Levy for not ducking his principles, despite their disagreement with him.
When they match the male and female golf pros for the J.C. Penney Classic next December, shouldn't they pair Ian Baker-Finch with Laura Rhys-Davies? They will if there is any justice-equability.
That 12-game suspension the NHL handed down to Ron Hextall, Philadelphia's full-moon goalie, as the result of his assault and battery on Montreal's Chris Chelios, represents the first month of the 1989-90 season.

That would be a significant punishment if only the NHL's regular season were significant.
Now that 30-year-old Dexter Manley of the Washington Redskins admitted he couldn't read or write until this year, his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, should be put on a year's probation for the disgrace of sending one of its students out into the world in such condition.
Why does my heart not ache when I read how rudely Dallas Green treats his Yankees?
You aren't hearing and reading as much about Jim Abbott's handicap any longer, which is true evidence that the kid pitcher straight out of the University of Michigan is making it fairly big as a major league rookie for the California Angels.
If Calgary wins the Stanley Cup, the least the Flames can do is vote a winner's share to Ron Caron, St. Louis' general manager.

Caron is the man who traded Joey Mullen to Calgary for now-retired Eddy Beers. Caron also traded Doug Gilmour to the Flames for Mike Bullard, who ended up with the Philadelphia Flyers and played so inauspiciously that he was a spectator for the playoffs.

The Gilmour deal does deserve an asterisk. That trade was made under duress, since Gilmour was one stride ahead of the process server in the celebrated case in which he was accused of molesting a teen-age baby sitter.
How can you argue with Mike Flanagan's assessment of the Toronto managerial situation?

"They should sign Cito Gaston to a three-year contract as interim manager," reasons the veteran lefty. "When you get down to it, aren't all managers interim?"

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