Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Article excerpt

One doesn't have to be a Blues fan to realize that defenseman RICK ZOMBO is no TOM LYSIAK, who deliberately pulled the skates from beneath a linesman in 1983 and received a 20-game suspension.

Zombo, of course, has an appointment today with the National Hockey League's punishment guru, BRIAN BURKE, for his embarrassing slash of linesman KEVIN COLLINS in a game Jan. 9 in Dallas.

This "crime" was so heinous that:

Collins apologized to Zombo for interfering with him on a play that led to the Stars scoring the winning goal.

Collins didn't even file a report with the league. Zombo has cited a "heat-of-the-moment" defense, saying he didn't realize he was slashing a linesman. And why not? How often does a linesman, skating backward and not watching where he's going, bump a player?

That being said, VIV BERNSTEIN of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant has taken a decidedly darker view of the situation.

Burke, she maintains, has a chance to send a strong message to NHL players that abuse of officials won't be tolerated.

Bernstein writes:

"The NHL made a strong statement last season when Commissioner GARY BETTMAN suspended Washington center DALE HUNTER 21 games. Hunter hit New York Islanders center PIERRE TURGEON from behind after he scored a goal in the playoffs. Turgeon, who fell against the boards, suffered a separated shoulder.

"Collins wasn't hurt. He brushed it off and suggested no penalty should have been called.

"But as it did with Hunter, the league should make an example of Zombo. What Zombo did was reprehensible, and it's up to Burke to tell him that.

"Give him 20."

Letter writers, prepare those counterpoints. Mail those barbs to Bernstein at the Hartford Courant, 285 Broad Street, Hartford, Conn. 06115.

Yo, TODD CHRISTENSEN, swear off the Dippity-Do. That water-dog hairstyle has been declared out of style.

RICK FOLSTAD, columnist for the Naples (Fla. …

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