-- Just as George Bush and Dan Quayle dislike Garry Trudeau, who tickles only their angry bones in "Doonesbury," so the Calgary Flames' Doug Gilmour thinks hockey cartoonist Dave Elston isn't funny.
The center has reacted with pained fury to being lampooned. A Calgary Sun cartoon last week poked at him for his complaints that $750,000 a year, the sum awarded him by a NHL arbiter, wasn't enough.
Elston caricatured Gilmour at an adopt-a-family table applying for funding as one of the holiday season's neediest families, evoking a Christmas promotion run by the paper. "Young couple, one child, father making a lousy $750,000," reads the caption.
Gilmour was also the butt of jokes on a Calgary TV station that ran a top 10 list, a la David Letterman, making fun of why he can't live on that handsome salary. Gilmour asked for $1.2 million Canadian from the arbiter and the Flames countered with $550,000.
"Players don't win at arbitration as it stands now," Gilmour said. "The guys who play hardball wound up getting what they want. I stuck with the system. I should have known better."
Unhappy Canadien: The AIDS story continues to be played up in Montreal, where a woman who died two years reportedly claimed she had slept with about 50 NHL players. But Montreal's Guy Carbonneau thought one of the French papers was out of line when it ran a picture of him and his daughter in which she supposedly was asking him according to the caption: "Poppa, do you have AIDS."
Wrecking goalies: Mark Recchi has put a sluggish start behind him. After scoring just five goals in his first 19 games, the Pittsburgh forward had compiled 10 goals, 20 points in the 10 games he played before this weekend. Coach Scotty Bowman even used the right wing at center last week and Recchi responded with a pair of goals. After strictly being a right wing in the past, Recchi has seen time at all three forward positions this season, also playing on the left side a little.
"I lost a lot of confidence," Recchi said of his early-season problems. "There is so much depth on this team it's very, very easy to get lost in the shuffle. I don't think I was getting a lot of
ice time before. There's so much depth on this team. Now they are putting me out there is key situations and that's when I seem to concentrate more and play better."
A furor over Fuhr: Grant Fuhr and the Toronto fans aren't exactly hitting it off. When he gave up five goals last Wednesday on just 19 New York Islanders' shots, leading to a 5-4 setback for the Maple Leafs, the Gardens crowd peppered him with boos. Afterward, Fuhr refused to talk to the media, saying: "Ask the fans, they have all the answers." Just nine days earlier, Fuhr signed a contract making him the NHL's highest paid goalie at $1.6 million (Canadian) a year.
The old brawl game: There were two sides to the story of that brawl between Buffalo and the Flames, touched off by lingering hard feelings over Calgary's Jamie Macoun breaking Pat LaFontaine's jaw with a stick slash earlier this season.
"It was like two wolfpacks fighting," Flames defenseman Gary Suter said. "Problem was they had 12 wolves on the ice and we had eight."
John Muckler, named Sabres coach late last week, said: "Where's that Doug Risebrough [Calgary GM-coach]? He's full of it. What's he think this is -- the WWF [World Wrestling Federation] and he's president."