Let Lemieux get well then talk about missing out on records


* News: Mario Lemieux is diagnosed as having Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system, and some folks are wondering how effective the Pittsurgh Penguins star will be when he returns to the lineup.

Views: Fortunately, these folks are in the minority. We're not talking groin pull here. With all due respect to Wayne Gretzky, we're not even talking herniated thoracic disk.

Lemieux has cancer.

Now, virtually none of Lemieux's skating brethren are placing much emphasis on when he might be able to play again. Still, though we are told the chances of a full recovery are quite good, is it really necessary to mention that the time Lemieux will miss so he can undergo radiation treatments is going to cost him a run at Gretzky's single-season record of 215 points?

Not to be sanctimonious, but a little perspective, please. Lemieux is a human being first, a sports hero second. So let's all wish him well and give the hockey part of the story a rest for a while.

* News: During a game between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks at Madison Square Garden last week, a fan hurled a puck from the stands into the net, prompting the goal judge to flash his red light and signify a Rangers goal. "Whoever threw that puck," Canucks assistant coach Rick Ley quipped, "should get a tryout with the Yankees."

Views: This story, which received a lot of media coverage in the New York area, seems hilarious but really isn't. The fact is, Garden officials have spoken with many witnesses and are still trying to find the person who threw the puck.

(Earlier in the evening, which was not a good one for the Garden's security staff, a fan sprinted across the ice, tossed his jacket at the Rangers' bench and yelled, "I love you guys." He was apprehended.)

Most fans realize it is dangerous to throw an object onto the ice and would never consider pulling such an idiotic prank.

Anyone who doesn't understand should be required to (a) take an IQ test, and (b) talk to Rod Gilbert, who starred for the Rangers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Gilbert needed two spinal fusion operations after he skated over an ice cream lid, fell into the boards and broke his back.

* News: Detroit Red Wings goalie Vincent Riendeau and his wife, Marie-Josee, are scheduled to fly to Acapulco during the All-Star break. They'll enjoy the sunshine, but are heading south of the border in order to pick up Samuel, a 2-month-old Mexican baby whom they are adopting. "There are kids out there who need homes," Riendeau said.

Views: Just wanted to end the column on an upbeat note.

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