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Letters / Our readers speak out

Gleason's got the power

Like many Buffalonians, I am a rabid hockey fan. One of the main things that keeps me up to date are Bucky Gleason's columns. I especially like the NHL power rankings, and the astute and often funny comment lines associated with each team. Bucky's opinions are well founded in statistical basis.

I regularly read the Toronto papers, and in my mind those writers can't hold a candle to Mr. Gleason. Keep it up, Bucky.

Richard Speth

Buffalo

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Nolan's actions aren't pretty

The Ted Nolan portrayed in the news conferences following Games Three and Four is not the same we remember from 10 years ago. Somewhere along the line he decided to follow the whinings of Carolina from the conference finals of last year.

The old Ted would have deflected blame to either himself or lack of effort -- not goal/no goal, or bad calls by the refs. Ted, look at the replays -- Thomas Vanek's goal in Game Three was over and kicked out, the goal/no goal in Game Four was not.

Please, for your own self respect and continued respect from a city that still holds you in high regards, stop now or pretty soon you'll find yourself in Raleigh, N.C. Good luck, see you next year.

Ron Szalkowski

Lackawanna

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Rude treatment on Long Island

I am writing to you to inform you and other readers of the truly hostile situation that occurred for Buffalo Sabres fans at Game Four on Long Island. I am a proud Buffalo native who has been living in Brooklyn for the last five years. I have seen and experienced many situations while living in NYC but that night took the cake.

Islander fans were completely rude and ignorant to any person wearing navy and gold. It started from the moment you drove into their parking lot where; they would yell obscenities and run at your car. Once inside things did not get much better.

I totally understand backing up your team and demonstrating your desire for them to win. I am also fully aware that this is the playoffs where tensions are high. However, when someone like myself, a small female, could not get to the bathroom without being -- for lack of a better word -- harassed, it has gone too far. At on point I had Islander fans on both sides of me who found it humorous to "push the Sabres fan."

As I made my way out of the situation I saw another Sabres fan, a younger guy, getting harassed much worse than myself. I have been to many hockey games in many venues and never have seen anything like what occurred on Wednesday night. I just thought how this would not happen in Buffalo. Sure we can heckle the opponents with the best of them but never would a male Buffalo fan let that turn physical on a women fan from the opposing team. This escalated from a fan supporting his team to fans just hating the opposing fans.

What I find most ironic about the situation is that these supposed "loyal" Islander fans ended up turning on their own team once they lost.

Melissa Jarzynski

Brooklyn

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Sabres winners of goalie battle

This is in response to a letter writer who proclaimed that "[the Sabres] certainly have the better team, but [the Islanders] have the better goalie." If you ask me, the latter part of that statement is borderline hilarious. What's the basis of such a proclamation? While Rick DiPietro may have beaten Ryan Miller in areas like goals-against average and save percentage, he's not even close to Miller in wins.

When necessary, Miller steps up (see his last-second save on Satan in the third period of Game Five), but DiPietro folds (see Jason Pominville's short-side goal with both defenders on him late in the third period of Game Four to put the game out of reach for the Isles). To quote experienced hockey analyst Jim Lorentz, DiPietro is "an average goalie with above-average puck-handling ability." His inability to make the big save and win when it really counts will always put DiPietro one notch below Miller.

Marie Norib

Buffalo

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What have they done to Jones' Masters?

For many years, Augusta was a course of 6,980 yards. It had no rough. It had very few sand traps (45 as compared to, say, Oakmont with 190 bunkers). The landing areas were generously wide, the greens huge and sloping and fast. It held an extra-special place in the golfing world, this venue redolent of Southern hospitality, and players often spoke of what a unique and delightful tournament the Masters was.

Then something happened. In 1997, Tiger Woods walked away with the tournament by shooting a record 270. Chairman Hootie Johnson and his followers got all bent out of shape. The course must be lengthened and narrowed and made much tougher!

(Never mind that Tiger's 270 was only one stroke better than the record shared by Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd. Never mind that the weather was mild and that Tiger had the putting week of his young life).

Never mind. Hootie brought in Tom Fazio and, over the next nine years they added enough yardage to make Augusta 7,450 yards, the second longest Major site in the world.Tee boxes were re-positioned so that the driving angle to the fairway was made tighter. Rough was now added freely, and two of the par four holes (10 and 11) now measured 505 and 495 respectively. It was as if the augustly wise old course had adopted the juvenile macho stance of "Nobody's going to eat up this course again!"

Hootie just didn't get it. Augusta was never about being penal; it was about being pleasant. Not rigorous, but relaxed. Not hostile, but hospitable. Not belligerent, spoiling for a fight, but benign, inviting the world's best players to join her in making beautiful golfing music together.

What has been the biggest loss to Augusta as a result of the short-sighted actions of those men charged with keeping alive the Augusta flame?

The Englishman Lee Westwood, a world-class player who has competed several times in this tournament, said, "I don't think I'll be back next year. It's no fun to play here anymore."

To Bobby Jones, the gentlemanly amateur who founded this friendly tournament and helped design its layout, Westwood's words would have been most saddening.

Dan Mattimore

West Seneca

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 sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.

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