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Letters / Our readers speak out

>NHL doesn't need violent hitting

I am not referring to military operations, but the barbaric hit Alexander Ovechkin perpetrated on Brian Campbell during the March 7 game. The hit was from behind, after the shot, and cruel. I am a hockey mom and am becoming more disgusted with this type of play in the National Hockey League. What hope do I have that my son will find professional role models to look up to?

The Vancouver Olympics, where we got to see truly awesome hockey, was performed without savage hits and fighting, which have escalated over the last several years. I would like to ask Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, what is his measuring stick for Ovechkin's two-game suspension? Was it because Campbell got an injury or was it just bad hockey? Do we have to wait for a player to incur a life-altering injury before we suspend a player for the season?
Campbell may be done for this season, although some say he will be back in eight weeks. When is the NHL going to wake up and enforce rules that will protect players and not on-ice bullies?

Ellen Glanowski



>NHL points system doesn't add up

When is the NHL going to stop rewarding teams that tie in regulation with extra points? To illustrate how ridiculous it could get, consider a team that ties every one of its games in regulation, then wins half of them in overtime or a shootout. Isn't this the quintessential average hockey team?

Not at all. Under the present points system, such a team would earn 123 points (out of a maximum of 164), win the Presidents' Trophy, and be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. On the other hand, a team that wins half and loses half of its games in regulation would only get 82 points and would likely miss the playoffs.

The solution, of course, is to make regulation wins worth three points -- similar to the way it was done in the round-robin games at the Olympics. Under this system, both of the above teams would earn 123 points (half of 246 points available in an 82-game schedule). All games should be worth three points, not just "regulation ties."

The NHL has been discussing this three-point system for several years now. Unfortunately, with the way change happens in the NHL, there will be several more years of discussion before it eventually adopts a fairer scoring system. Until then, two points will be awarded regardless of whether a team wins 10-1 or ekes out the "victory" on the 10th player in a shootout.

Tom Bartkowski



>Nose tackle and OT are top priorities

The Bills seem to be well on their way to rebuilding the defense. One excellent inside linebacker and one excellent defensive end are now in the fold. How solid our new right tackle is I haven't a clue. We are still searching for that all-important nose tackle for our new 3-4 defensive alignment, a right tackle for our offense and a quarterback for the future. In my opinion, no matter who the quarterback is, he will not be playing much in 2010.

My hope for the draft is that we go for the nose tackle and right tackle in the first two rounds. As to finding a quarterback, it would be great if Dan LeFevour from Central Michigan fell to rounds three or four. Dan has more touchdowns than any other quarterback in NCAA history. Sometimes it isn't very pretty, but the guy gets the job done.

Phil Wiggle



>Time to swap Lynch for Michael Bush

Marshawn Lynch seems to be having trouble adjusting to Buffalo outside of football; maybe a change of location would help.

Oakland, being his home, has an attractive substitute for the Bills in Michael Bush. Match him with Brian Brohm and Eric Wood and you reunite a very productive middle of the offense (familiarity doesn't always breed contempt). Both teams are in need of a shake-up and I think Brohm deserves at least a chance at the starting job. As seniors Brohm and Bush played against each other in Kentucky's high school championship. Bush threw for five touchdowns and ran for another. (A little wildcat, anyone?)

With our new management staff and coach who has proved in the past quite capable of working with young talent, what's the worst that can happen, one of the lowest-rated offenses?

Ron Szalkowski



>Where oh where are the UB fans?

Where are the University at Buffalo fans? I've been an avid fan of the Bulls for well over a decade. I attend many basketball and football games anticipating large crowds and it never happens.

I am aware of the large fan base that is in place -- students, alumni, and the Western New York community. Why don't more fans attend these games?

My belief is that the university itself is to blame. The marketing department does a poor job of selling its product. One example being a football season-ticket holder I received complimentary basketball tickets last season; this season, nothing.

I also believe someone in a seat is better than no one in that seat. The price of tickets is high for a community bordering on poverty level. So lower ticket prices or offer discount tickets or promotional incentives to the youth of our community. There are ways to fill those seats.

Teams perform better when the fans are out in force.

One final thought. Now that we have suffered through another horrible basketball season, it's time to reiterate, "Reggie Must Go."

Frank Daniels



>UB basketball needs new coach

It's time for the University at Buffalo to take stock of its basketball program. Since 2006 Reggie Witherspoon has come up empty in big games. He has lost championships in his conference tournaments. The recent quarterfinal loss to Miami was ugly due to Miami's 14-17 record.

Athletic Director Warde Manuel needs to make an evaluation with a view to getting to the next level (Big East membership). Ohio and Akron consistently out-recruit UB and you have to wonder if Witherspoon is a coach who can take them to a certain plateau and no further.

Western New Yorkers want to rally around UB as their team of choice.

John Poole



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. They should include the writer's name, hometown and a phone number for verification.

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