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Letters / Our readers speak out

Senators loom as team to beat

It is really difficult to bring up a negative about a team that is having such a terrific year as the Sabres are. After all, they are virtually guaranteed to be a playoff team this season for the first time in quite awhile. Plus they appear to be an extremely talented group totally suited to the new era of the NHL, and may be for the future as well.

The only downside is that this is all happening at a time when there happens to be a team in the conference with the talent of the Ottawa Senators. It kind of reminds me of years past in the NFL when the NFC Championship Game was always looked upon as the "real" Super Bowl, no matter which sacrificial lamb the AFC had to offer a week later. For a while the NFC was that dominating.

What makes this situation even worse for the Sabres is that the Senators are even in our conference. At least if they were in the West, there would be a much better chance of reaching the Stanley Cup finals before having to take on the Senators in a seven-game series.

I realize a lot can happen, injuries, upsets (before the Sabres would meet them in the postseason), etc. But from what I've seen in the Sabres-Senators matchups this season, the Sabres would need a gargantuan turnaround to win a series with them.

In years past the Leafs always were handled by the Sens in the regular season, only to turn the tables by "mugging" them, by taking advantage of their "softness," which supposedly won't be allowed in the new era of NHL play. Time will tell if the NHL means business in the first year of the playoffs under the zero-tolerance rules. If they do, it's going to be awfully tough to eliminate Ottawa. For any team.

Charlene Nagel Schrenk



Canisius should consider Daemen hoops coach

Let's continue to utilize our local talent.

Psst, Canisius, we have local home-grown coaching talent right down Main Street. Daemen's Don Silveri is a talented head coach, has the ability to recruit both locally and outside the area, bring back the local fans to the Koessler Center and, most important, win.

What Reggie Witherspoon is doing for the Bulls and the City of Buffalo, Silveri can do the same for the Griffs and give Western New York basketball fans a chance to dream in March.

Jim Nowicki



Bisons' Grant faced racism

The Feb. 28 story about Frank Grant's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame summarized his achievements and abilities on the field. However, there were two omissions in the story. In "Baseball's Great Experiment," Jules Tygiel wrote that some baseball historians attribute the invention of shin guards to Grant or Bud Fowler (the first black professional baseball player and also a second baseman) for protection against the spikes of white base runners.

Tygiel also wrote that in 1888, Grant's Buffalo Bison teammates refused to pose for a team picture if it included him. At the time, he was the Bisons' leading hitter.

Bruce Caulfield



Somewhere, Maris must be laughing

Disappointment . . . what other word can describe this figure named Barry Bonds? Just as one steroid scandal seems sunk in the McCovey Cove beyond the right field stands, a startling new one is revealed in a book by San Francisco-area writers.

Not only Bonds, but McGwire, Sosa, Giambi and current Commissioner Bud Selig, must all share the blame for ruining baseball's most cherished record -- the home run mark. Ruth, Aaron and Maris shall be forever embraced as true home run legends, no matter what the steroid-induced clowns mentioned above have accomplished in this disgusting period of major league baseball.

Why didn't Selig and everybody else notice how these four freaks went from almost skin and bone when they broke into the majors, to gigantic physical specimens with the strength of Samson when they began crashing home runs at alarming rates?

I say it's payback time for Roger Maris. For years, even well past his death in 1985, he had to live with an asterisk by his record because he hit 61 home runs in 162 games, not the 154 that Ruth did. When Bonds breaks Aaron's all-time record an asterisk as huge as his steroid-filled head and larger ego should be placed in that same record book, next to McGwire's.

Henry Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays will always be known as the true, top sluggers ever to play this game. Cheaters like Bonds, Sosa and McGwire shall be forever known as imitations.

Joseph Zanghi



Get those stockings tangled up in blue

Something to think about . . .

A sure-fire way to win baseball's World Series this year in four games . . . change your team name to the Blue Sox!

2004 -- Red Sox win, 4-0

2005 -- White Sox win, 4-0

2006 -- Blue Sox, 4-0?

Baseball -- America's favorite pastime (red, white and blue). . . . Can't miss!

Dick Macko



Lackawanna teacher a plus in students' lives

I would like to commend Keith McShea for his tremendous coverage of high school sports, and more specifically the attention given to the New York State champion Lackawanna Steelers.

Perhaps even more gratifying, as a graduate of Lackawanna High School, was the recognition he gave to former Lackawanna mathematics teacher Michael Sanders as the lead in his championship game recap.

The lessons Mr. Sanders taught throughout his tenure in Lackawanna City School District went far beyond the scope of a classroom, and his words ring within us like his booming cheers that have become a Lackawanna tradition.

I, like many fortunate Lackawanna students, have known Mr. Sanders as a teacher, mentor, colleague, supporter and friend for decades. Win or lose, state championship or street pickup game, in class, after school, or opening his door to students who needed extra academic attention but were embarrassed to ask for help in a school setting, Mike Sanders never wavered in his vision and gave real meaning to the adage, "No child left behind."

State championships are tremendous accomplishments, but Mr. Sanders may have been the greatest trophy thousands of Lackawanna students ever received.

Richard W. Kozak Jr.

Lake View


Anti-hunters ignore cold, hard facts

Every week we read these letters from anti-hunters on how the hunters kill needlessly, or scare animals out of their homes when in search of game. They write about killing fluffy birds and cuddly animals. Let me ask them how many animal homes are destroyed every time we put up another cell phone tower or housing development so we can move farther from city life.

How many pairs of leather shoes or belts do you own? Where do you think they come from? What about the mouse that just ran across your kitchen, the spider in your shower or the mosquito in your yard? Are they not cute enough to protect? You don't think twice on having to kill them.

Hunters put an awful lot of money into local economies through the purchase of the equipment and licenses. Hunters use the restaurants and hotels at a time of year when a lot of little towns count on their return. How much land is purchased and protected through the use of the hunters' license money? How much meat is put on the table of homeless people every year thanks to hunters?

Let's face it, one way or another, we all kill animals for pleasure, comfort or sometimes childish fears. Some people pull the trigger in different ways, but you still pull the trigger.

Paul Banyi


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 be signed and include address and telephone number for verification.

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