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Letters / Our readers speak out

>Glad for chance to see Martin

When Terry Pegula took the ice with the French Connection last month, he couldn't have possibly known that it would be the last time the trio would take the ice.

Rick Martin will be greatly missed. He was one of the finest Sabres to ever don the blue and gold, and an outstanding member of the community. Still, I think we should all take a moment to recognize Mr. Pegula for giving us that final opportunity to see the band back together. After all, Rene Robert had been estranged from the Sabres organization for years. If Pagula hadn't offered Robert an olive branch, we might have never had a chance to see the French Connection take the ice that one last time.

Mr. Pegula, I have no doubt that this is just the first thing we Sabres fans will have to thank you for.

Marc Deschamps

West Seneca

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>French Connection has been broken

It's a tragedy that Rick Martin of the famed French Connection is gone. A prolific goal scorer for the Sabres and also a great individual on and off the ice, he willed his way into the hearts of the people. He will be dearly missed and will take his place next to God and score hat tricks for Hockey Heaven and wait for the French Connection to be together once again.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

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>Meeting Perreault was a huge thrill

As the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres, Terry Pegula's friendly and positive demeanor endeared him to thousands of Sabres fans who have been waiting for their beloved team to win the Stanley Cup. His emotions ran high at the press conference when he saw his all-time favorite player, Gil Perreault. I can relate to his emotion upon meeting Perreault.

He is my all-time favorite and my chance to meet him came at the arena a few years ago. My husband and I were at the induction of Dick Beyer into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. I was waiting in the atrium while my husband stepped outside. My drink had slid off the window sill and as I bent over to pick up the glass, I heard someone call my name.

I looked up from my ungraceful position and I saw my hockey idol walking toward me. It was Gil Perreault! A fine gentleman, he helped me up and gave me a great big hug. Our short meeting resulted from the fact that Joe met up with Gil outside and asked him to go up to me. We took pictures, which I still have, and my excitement was shared with my family the next day. Can I understand Mr. Pegula's excitement when he saw Perreault for the first time? You bet I can. Good luck to our Sabres and Mr. Pegula.

Marge Thielman Hastreiter

Buffalo

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>Turn off the TV, save on tickets

After reading last week's letter excoriating NFL players and owners for their greed and complaining about the average fan's inability to afford a ticket to a game, I have to agree. However, the writer failed to see the answer to his plight right there in his own letter.

He is aggravated by players and owners making a fortune while the average Joe has trouble meeting his bills and that he will, as always, be there watching the team, not in the stands but in front of the TV. If the fan locked out football for a year, especially television -- Nielsen ratings go down. Ratings go down, advertising revenue goes down. Advertising revenue goes down, owners and players sooner or later get the picture. Keep sitting in front of your TV on game day and nothing will change. Neither will your complaint.

John Kane

Hamburg

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>Witherspoon didn't do enough to win

The only madness I feel is toward coach Reggie Witherspoon and another disappointing UB season.

I've witnessed every team in the MAC play this season and by far the Bulls are the most talented team. But Witherspoon has held his team back with his inability to finish strong, whether it be season or games.

One area of concern of mine is the playing of Mitchell Watt who I believe is the best player in the MAC. Every game, three minutes in, Watt comes out, McCrae in. Watt and McCrae is a coach's dream. Wake up, coach, would Wooden keep Alcindor on the bench?

So for the fifth consecutive season I will reiterate for this program to go forward, "Reggie must go." Great person, lousy coach.

Frank Daniels

Amherst

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>Canisius is happy to be mediocre

As a Canisius alumnus, I long for the days of John Beilein and even Nick Macarchuk, when the Griffs had a legitimate chance of winning their conference tourney. It's painfully obvious that coach Tom Parrotta -- like his predecessor Mike MacDonald -- is woefully overmatched as a head coach at the Division I level.

His highly acclaimed recruiting class from 2006, to his credit, did remarkably well in the classroom, but they were maddeningly inconsistent on the court. With a core group featuring five seniors, one would have thought a sixth place finish in the mediocre MAAC would be viewed as a colossal disappointment. The Canisius athletic department though, touted that "achievement," "celebrating" the fact that the Griffs avoided the play-in game of the conference tournament for the first time in nine years.

Parrotta never could figure out how to effectively utilize some rather superior athletic talent he had at his disposable -- most notably Greg Logins and Elton Frazier who despite their impressive physical stature, more often than not were relegated to taking low percentage perimeter shots.

Parrotta's bizarre substitutions in the MAAC blowout tourney loss to Rider, including the extended sitting of his only true point guard, Gaby Belardo, merely confirms the contention that he is a sub-par basketball tactician.

Dave Chojnacki

Lancaster

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>Too many games spoil postseason

College basketball tournaments have reached the stage of being ridiculous. At one time league winners and playoff winners were the only ones going to the NCAA tournament. Now we have leagues sending as many as six teams. The smaller leagues send teams that are merely practice games for the major teams.

In addition there are now three other tournaments for teams that didn't make the NCAA. That makes over 100 teams playing in so-called tournaments. Next will be a tournament for teams that lost half their games or more. But then money is the goal for meaningless championships.

Don Weimer

Williamsville

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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. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.

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