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Letters / Our readers speak out

MacDonald does well given his situation

As an individual who enjoyed coaching a young man in high school who later participated in the Final Four, a young man who went on to co-captain Niagara University with Calvin Murphy and, more recently, a young lady who performed as soundly on her 13-point scoring days as on her 30-point days at Niagara, I can report that my observations of Mike MacDonald's coaching have completely satisfied me.

No coach could have asked for more from his players' offensive and defensive execution, bench timeout attentiveness and respect, screens, execution against the press and their enjoyment of the game than what MacDonald got from his team in the recent Fairfield game.

I attended a Bobby Knight clinic at West Point when Mike Krzyzewski was a senior diving on the floor during the loose-ball drills, and Army's record was comparable to the Canisius and Niagara records of late. The Dukes and UConns of today will continue to garner the talent in this country, and the schools like Canisius, Niagara and Vanderbilt will continue to exist and just hope to gain a Mike Smrek or Juan Mendez. Athletic directors may change coach after coach, but reality does not change.

Robert W. Miller

Orchard Park


Watch Griffs' effort, not the team's results

I disagree with the Canisius fan from Delaware who advocated firing Mike MacDonald in last week's letters.

College coaches are as good as the players who are picked to play at the college level.

John Beilein is a prime example. He took Canisius to the NCAA Tournament and earned a great deal of money for the school's basketball program. However, the financial support he received was low, to say the least. He now coaches at West Virginia.

I have been a season-ticket holder for some time and I see the effort our players give for MacDonald. I have witnessed their grief and joy but never the willingness to quit.

Canisius will never have a major Division I basketball program. Therefore, we should judge them by the effort of the players and their coach. If wins is your priority, follow Duke or Connecticut, where the recruiting budget is unlimited.

MacDonald is a quality coach, and we need a class person at the helm. Western New York Division I teams give the fans a great deal of entertainment because of the effort they learned from their coaches. That is what I go to see.

Henry J. Kaye



Area needs more like Griffs' coach

More of the letters in this space favor the firing of Canisius' Mike MacDonald. I differ.

He proves to be a consistent levelheaded authority that the youth of today surely lack. It's steadiness and stability the college and the area needs more of.

George Kunz



Kwan's withdrawal treated too kindly

It's really sad when the truth can be altered so that a "legend" can be perpetuated. Case in point being Bucky Gleason's Monday tribute to Michelle Kwan in the style of USA Today's Christine Brennan.

Gleason claimed, "Kwan graciously stepped aside . . ." with regard to the '94 Olympics. Wrong. Kwan had no choice in the matter. The U.S. Figure Skating Board of Governors had already decided on Harding and Kerrigan.

And if Kwan's withdrawal from the 2006 Games was out of concern for the team, why did she petition in the first place? And why was she allowed to skip out of the Grand Prix three years running, while Evgeni Plushenko was threatened by the ISU for missing just one season?

Gleason highlights 43 titles and 57 perfect scores but fails to mention all the gimmie pro-ams and gift medals like 1998 Worlds and 2000 Nationals. Most 6.0s came from American judges for the sake of hype.

Most disturbing is Gleason promoting Kwan at Tara Lipinski's expense. Kwan is given credit for "pushing Tara Lipinski." Wrong again. Lipinski did the pushing at the '97 Nationals, GP and Worlds. Kwan heard the footsteps in Nagano and skated with caution to a silver medal.

Finally, consider the notion of Kwan "all but saving the sport from ruins." Figure skating was around long before Kwan, and it'll be there long after her. Give thanks to Tonya Harding for giving the sport more publicity than a six pack of Michelle Kwan's.

David M. Dunaj



Here's a way to deal for Leinart

Back when Bill Polian was Buffalo Bills general manager, he understood that he would be remembered by the teams he built. He was not afraid to go after the key players he thought he could build a team around. Payton Manning today, Jim Kelly back then. But he made the huge trade, during draft time, for Cornelius Bennett. At the time, even Marv Levy thought we gave up too much, but we got him, and the fans loved it. It put people in the stands. I loved the Denver game that year because of Cornelius.

Polian didn't just play the cards he was dealt, he made opportunities for himself. This year, Levy has his chance to put his stamp on his general manager legacy. Matt Leinart is the next Tom Brady -- a player who comes along only rarely. Levy can build the next 10 years around him. When else will he get this chance? It is almost worth anything. Houston may ask for Leinart, but they already have a quarterback, so they might think twice. We could offer them our first pick this year, and our first next year. If not, a player may sweeten the deal. Polian threw in Greg Bell. Also, New Orleans drafts right after, and they love J.P. Losman -- our first pick.

I don't have a direct line to Levy, but Tom Modrak or anyone with Levy's ear can float this idea. Please, please.

Gordon Musilli



Sabres are winning despite Lindy Ruff

So Ryan Miller admitted last week that he was exhausted after playing the last nine games in a row, and it showed in the last few games. Why not use Marty Biron? He is widely considered a No. 1 goalie for many teams. Couldn't Lindy Ruff have throw him in against even one of the Canadiens home-and-home games? Not that Miller played bad, but we had Florida and league-leading Carolina in two of the next three nights. We could have used a fresh Miller for those games. It's par for the course with Ruff. Just a few weeks ago a goal against Calgary gets kicked it. All the players on the ice saw it and were yelling. Darcy Regier was motioning to the bench to not let the Sabres line up for the faceoff. The puck gets dropped, and we get cheated out of a goal because of Ruff's lack of assertion.

I fear that this town is on Cloud Nine with this team playing so well, but many are forgetting that the guy behind the bench led this team to last place in the division the previous three years. I believe this team is winning in spite of Ruff not because of him.

David Moretta



Focus on Gretzky is way overblown

I was very disappointed with Bucky Gleason's article regarding Wayne Gretzky. If the media's attention is directed at him throughout the Turin Olympics, it is because the media has focused on him to the detriment of the Olympians. This case is much ado about nothing. As long as he, his wife and his assistant coach are not betting on hockey, then what is the problem? If any or all of them did something illegal, let the law handle it and report on those proceedings, and then move on.

Comparing Gretzky to Pete Rose is absurd and insulting; Rose bet on his own team! Ask how well we know Gretzky? How well should we be entitled to know him? Would you want the readers of The Buffalo News to know about, and have the opportunity to endlessly debate in a public forum, your private life?

The one sentence allowing that he is innocent until proven guilty, which by law he is entitled to, was quietly stated in the midst of an otherwise vitriolic article. You had absolutely nothing else to write about?

Lisa Hoffman



Can't see the sport in big-game hunting

To the writer from Angola who defends big-game hunting and says we need to learn more about it, I offer this rebuttal.

What is there to learn about hunting? Seek, stalk and kill animal -- end of lesson. Make no mistake about it, the word is kill. Hunters like to use the euphemism "harvest." He says, it's no crime, but it can be. See articles on deer poaching in Stiglmeier Park, on black bear poaching in Tennessee and elephant poaching in Africa. This crime is a huge international problem causing an ever-increasing endangered species list.

Frankly, those who derive pleasure from killing lack scruples.

Gary Zwolinski


Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Submissions must include address and telephone number for verification.

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