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Naysayer Wilson stands on principle

Sunday musings . . .

*Ralph Wilson's "no," one of just two against the peace-at-any-cost pact between the NFL's large-market owners, the small-market owners and the Players Association, was a vote on principle. He didn't think the small-market teams were protected enough in the new six-year contract.

Yes, there is still principle in pro sports and if anyone is surprised at Wilson's protest vote they shouldn't have been. The Bills' owner has always been a for-the-good-of-the-league man. Remember that his under-the-table investment in the Oakland franchise during the early AFL days kept the Raiders from dissolving. He also saved the Patriots by staking owner Billy Sullivan to a hefty loan when Sullivan ran out of funds.

*So the NHL trading deadline came and went without the Sabres making a significant deal. Not many teams did.

There is a lot to be said for team chemistry, especially when just about everyone in a Buffalo uniform is playing well.

*Let's see, Patrick Beilein is still shooting threes for his father John at West Virginia, but by 2015 he should be a candidate for the job of head basketball coach at Canisius.

Doesn't that happen to a son of every ex-Golden Griffins head coach? Consider the identities of the coaches who are being mentioned for the current vacancy. Dave Niland, head coach of Penn State-Behrend, is the son of Joe Niland, the Griffs' head coach in the '50s; Marshall assistant Bob MacKinnon Jr.'s father, one of the school's all-time great players, coached for 13 years stretching over the 1950s, '60s and '70s; and Iona assistant Nick Macarchuk III's father coached in the '80s.

If Niland gets the job he would be the third member of the family to become head coach of the Griffs. John Beilein's mother is Joe Niland's sister.

*OK, so Jim Boeheim went a little nuts defending his superb senior guard, Gerry McNamara, from charges in the Syracuse University newspaper that McNamara was overrated. The Hall of Fame coach has always stood by his players. Once after the Carrier Classic Tournament in 1977 he berated the Syracuse writers for not voting for his Marty Byrnes as tournament MVP rather than some guy from Michigan State named Earvin Johnson, more commonly known as Magic.

*One guy I'll be following when the baseball season starts is Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies shortstop whom I've always admired. He has a 36-game hitting streak that merely paused at the end of the 2005 season and will resume on opening day.

*The Mets loaded up with helpful talent in the offseason and if they don't contend in the National League East Willie Randolph won't be at ease. The team's third base coach, Manny Acta, has been considered a comer and now that he's getting glowing reviews for his work managing the Dominican Republic's team in the World Classic, he's being fingered as Option B if Randolph falters.

*No Stanley Cup this year for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NHL's most historic franchise. Oh well, it's only been 39 years.

*I don't have a vote for the baseball Hall of Fame, but if I did I would keep in mind that Barry Bonds had Hall of Fame credentials before he started taking steroids and that he was the best all-around player in baseball for many years.

Former News columnist Larry Felser appears in Sunday's editions.

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