Week In Review after games played on Saturday, December 30th, 1989
December 30, 1989|By Mike Kiley.
Chicago Stadium was the scene of an emotional oil spill Thursday night, and now the National Hockey League faces the task of cleaning it up.
If it doesn`t act, the league will be smeared again publicly for its sometimes vague and inconsistent methods of dealing with excessive violence in a physically punishing game.
Brian O`Neill, the NHL`s ultimate judge and jury, doesn`t have much precedent. He can remember just one other embarrassing pregame brawl to match the flareup between the Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars, a clash he decried Friday as ``idiocy, extremely disgraceful and distasteful.``
O`Neill stopped short of giving assurances that there would be strong and swift action taken after what should turn out to be one of the season`s landmark decisions. He explained that he would soon schedule a hearing for the teams and review videotape of the incident before deciding whether player suspensions are in order.
Brian O’Neill Has His Hands Full
But he implied the league would take a firm stand by noting how rare such outbreaks have been in the NHL and added: ``We`re taking it very seriously. We have to deal with it.``
Coincidentally, a Mike Keenan team was involved in the other pregame free-for-all, too. His Philadelphia Flyers staged a donnybrook with Montreal before Game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup semifinals. More about that incident later.
``What happened with Minnesota was completely different,`` said Keenan, emphasizing that the Stars instigated this collision and that his players reacted in self-defense. ``Minnesota was using intimidation tactics, and they crossed over the line of acceptable behavior.``
No penalties were assessed from the Montreal-Philly altercation. But because of that brawl, the NHL passed the rule that automatically fined both the Hawks and Minnesota $25,000 for the seven-minute battle that broke out after the Stars` Basil McRae and Shane Churla hooked up with Wayne Van Dorp near center ice.
``If that`s not enough of a fine to deter this idiocy, we`ll do what we have to do to make it effective,`` O`Neill said. ``There are no excuses for such behavior.``
Keenan, who often plays the role of tough guy as a coach, has a strong winning record in his own right. He doesn`t need the historical footnote that he has now been on the scene for both pregame brawls.
``I didn`t see either one start,`` he said. ``It`s just coincidence my teams were involved.
``Thursday, I was in the tunnel outside the dressing room talking to the vendors. When I heard the crowd begin to roar, I immediately knew what had happened. I told someone to go get the supervisor of officials right away.``
Keenan recalled that what prompted two of his Flyers to ignite the brawl in the Montreal Forum was a Canadiens pregame ritual. Claude Lemieux and Shayne Corson would remain on the ice after warmups and fire a puck into the other team`s net after the opponent had left the ice. The crowd enjoyed the theater.
But Chico Resch and Ed Hospodar took exception to Lemieux and Corson coming back on the ice to perform this ritual after the Flyers had purposely stayed on the ice long enough to make Lemieux and Corson leave initially after warmups. So Resch and Hospodar got into a fight with Lemieux and Corson, and then both locker rooms emptied.
``I seem to recall Doug Crossman was out there fighting in his sandals,`` Keenan said.
``Detroit, Toronto and Minnesota have all tried to intimidate us this year in our division. They`re saying that they can be successful against us, the first-place team, by trying to knock us off our game through intimidation. I respect Brian Sutter in St. Louis because he hasn`t tried this approach. The other three teams have gone over the line in their behavior, and it`s not good hockey.``
To O`Neill, fighting can detract from his enjoyment of hockey. ``Fighting happens, but I can`t say it has a place in the game,`` he said. ``We don`t encourage it. It`s part of the game, the result of the emotional levels at which we play, but . . . well, it`s hard to explain about fighting.
``But what we had happen Thursday was an aberration, out of the ordinary. And that can`t be condoned.``
Does this sound like a man who is prepared to do nothing? Stay tuned for suspensions. O`Neill would seem to have no choice.
The pre-game brawl was ugly but the fans quite enjoyed it
By Mike Kiley. CHICAGO TRIBUNE. December 29, 1989.
CHICAGO - In one crisp line, Blackhawks centre Denis Savard described a wild game with Minnesota that started with headlocks and ended in a 5-3 North Stars victory.
"It's not nice to see what happened for the game's sake, but I'm sure the fans enjoyed it," he said.
Chicago and the Minnesota North Stars were about nine minutes into their 20-minute skating warmup Thursday night when chaos broke out at the Stadium to the delight of the early arrivals in a crowd that later swelled to a hungry 18,472 as it smelled blood in the air.
The ensuing free-for-all turned into a tense and ugly seven-minute pre-game skirmish that will cost both organizations $25,000 in fines and could lead to further penalties after NHL officials review the film.
"The goalies were the winners," Jeremy Roenick said of Alain Chevrier stopping 27 Minnesota shots and Jon Casey making 27 saves for the Stars in a game that featured 54 penalty minutes.
It was Basil McRae's mean-mannered mouth that the Hawks blamed in large part for igniting the fires in the warmup. He and Shane Churla were the instigators, the Hawks insisted.
'A black mark'
"Hopefully they will be suspended for their actions," coach Mike Keenan said. "It's a black mark on hockey and there's no room in the game for what they did."
Chicago's Wayne Van Dorp said Churla slashed him twice after coming over the line at mid-ice to pick a fight.
"McRae and Churla both came over the line," said Van Dorp, whose bloodied arm was x-rayed to make sure no bones were broken. He also suffered facial cuts.
"This isn't junior hockey. This is professional hockey and it's uncalled for. It happened because nothing was done about it last time in Minnesota."
On Nov. 4 in Minnesota, these teams also had an altercation in warmups and the Hawks blamed McRae for egging Al Secord and Van Dorp into an incident that didn't go beyond some shoving, pushing and swearing that night.
Because NHL referees and linesmen aren't on the ice for pre-game warmups, this tussle wasn't finished until Minnesota coaches walked on to the ice and waved and pulled their players to the exit door.
Watching the film
Keenan looked on from the door that leads off the ice to his dressing room, while assistants E.J. McGuire and Jacques Martin watched from the bench.
Matt Pavelich, the NHL supervisor of officials for this game, pointed out the league rule that assesses clubs an automatic $25,000 fine for altercations that occur outside the periods. He said referee Dan Marouelli didn't issue any penalties as a result of the melee, but film will be sent to NHL executive vice-president Brian O'Neill, who will decide if further action will be taken.
CHICAGO -- The tape and reports stemming from the previous night's pre-game brawl between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars were delivered to NHL Vice President Brian O'Neill Friday.
Both teams received an automatic $25,000 fine for the melee, which occurred 25 minutes prior to Thursday night's game at Chicago Stadium before the referees came out onto the ice.
The Blackhawks are seeking suspensions for North Star players Shane Churla and Basil McRae.
Chicago coach Mike Keenan charged that Churla and McRae instigated the brawl by poking their sticks at Blackhawk players during the pre-game skatearound. The brawl ensued after Churla and Chicago's Wayne Van Dorp squared off near center ice.
'Churla and McRae started it by taking swipes at Van Dorp with their sticks,' Keenan said after the fight-filled game, which ended in a 1-1 overtime tie. 'Hopefully they'll be suspended for their actions.'
The tape sent to the league office apparently shows the first punch being thrown.
The Blackhawks, who this week lost All-Star defenseman Dave Manson to a 13-game suspension stemming from another series of incidents in Toronto, said they expected a decision from O'Neill sometime next week.
Van Dorp, who was cut on the face and arm during the fracas, returned to practice Friday. He was scratched from Thursday night's lineup and taken to a hospital for X-rays, which were negative.
A decision is expected from the NHL this week.
December 26 – Doug Harvey passes away
It is often said that time is the ultimate cleanser. What is fact today will become a blur tomorrow. In the hockey world that statement can be all too true, especially when it concerns comparing past players with current ones.
In the 1950’s prior to the arrival of Bobby Orr , the best defenseman in hockey was undisputedly Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens .
Prior to any league television contracts and when teams travelled by train rather than plane, Harvey was controlling and dominating the game from his position on the blueline.
Fans in Toronto relied on the radio and Foster Hewitt to describe what was happening on the ice.
Soon after cracking the Montreal lineup Harvey was mentioned frequently. “Harvey to Richard, Harvey has the puck, Harvey across ice to Beliveau, Harvey still has the puck” were a few phrases commonly heard when listening to a Canadiens broadcast.
Doug Harvey changed the way the position was played.
Today when you read about Bobby Orr many make that same statement about him, but it was in fact the play of Doug Harvey that made defense a more pivotal and potent position later ushering in the talented of the more offensive minded Orr who even wore Harvey’s No. 2 while playing junior hockey for The Oshawa Generals .
Few remember that the NHL changed the guidelines for powerplays because of the potency of the Montreal Canadiens attack. With Beliveau, Richard, Dickie Moore, Boom Boom Geoffrion on the ice, and Harvey quarterbacking, one two minute powerplay opportunity could result in 3 goals for the Canadiens.
Today you often hear some “experts” say Harvey cannot be compared to Orr offensively citing his modest offensive production. If you drill down further you will uncover that Harvey’s offensive skills were formidable.
Ever the consummate team guy Doug concentrated on setting up the players on the team who were actually paid bonuses to score goals. Make no mistake though that if a goal was needed Harvey could deliver it with a high tempo rush or a shot from the point.
His skating ability and puck control skills combined with his shot blocking prowess and toughness were unequaled during his tenure with the Canadiens.
Rare film footage of Doug Harvey offers a small glimpse of his talent even capturing his execution of the Spin-A-Rama maneuver long thought to have been copyrighted by Orr and Serge Savard.
Most hockey fans know little about Doug Harvey despite all the Stanley Cups, Norris Trophies, and All-Star selections. Younger fans will point to the current dominant player, Ray Bourque, as the best not having seen Harvey, or Orr perform.
Bobby Orr has the advantage of videos like The Best of Bobby Orr and The Canada Cup series as well as Legends of Hockey DVD tributes. There is very little footage of Harvey and he is noticeably missing from the Legends segments while all of his contemporaries are honored including Red Kelly and Marcel Pronovost
In the book Doug a biography by author William Brown , Harvey’s life is well chronicled including his bouts with alcoholism, bi-polar disorder and his eventual death from cirrhosis of the liver.
At his best Harvey was a gifted, charismatic, fun loving athlete, more skilled at baseball and football than hockey. He was a devoted team player who, along with Ted Lindsey stood up for his brethren by helping to form a players’ union. In retaliation the Canadiens traded Harvey, the team captain, to the New York Rangers where he won yet another Norris Trophy as the best defender in the NHL. He won seven in his entire career.
Ironically, it was the efforts of Harvey and Lindsay that allows today’s athletes the opportunity to sign lucrative contracts earning millions and enjoy solid pensions as well as sign free agent contracts unheard of in the “good ole days.”
Unlike Orr, Harvey could dominate the game physically as well as with finesse serving up crunching body checks and open ice hits to the opposition when the situation dictated it. “ No slight to Bobby Orr but Doug Harvey was the best defenseman ever to play the game," said Detroit Red Wing Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay. Lindsay, it should be noted played on same team with Red Kelly and Marcel Pronovost both Hall of Fame defenseman.
Doug Harvey wore the No. 2 throughout his remarkable career. He is the No. 2 defenseman ever to play the game but some like Ted Lindsay feel he was, in fact, No. one.
Hockey: Dino Ciccarelli`s conviction for assaulting Toronto defenseman Luke Richardson during an NHL game on Jan. 6, 1988, has been upheld by a district court judge in Toronto. Judge Marie Corbett also upheld the $1,000 fine and one-day prison sentence given to Ciccarelli, who spent a few hours in jail after his conviction in August 1988. Ciccarelli, then with the Minnesota North Stars and now with the Washington Capitals, hit Richardson, a rookie defenseman, twice on the head with his stick and then punched him in the mouth. . . .
Sweden beat the United States 6-5, and Canada, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia kept their perfect records intact after three rounds of the World Junior Hockey Championships in Helsinki, Finland. The Americans rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the third period to tie the game, only to lose on Mattias Olsson`s goal with 1:41 remaining. The U.S. has lost all three games, two by one goal. Sweden is 2-1. Canada beat winless Norway 6-3. Victor Gordiyuk`s goal with less than 10 minutes to play gave the Soviets a 3-2 victory over Finland (1-2). Czechoslovakia crushed winless Poland 11-1.
Manson Suspended For 13 Games
December 27, 1989|By Neil Milbert, Chicago Tribune.
ST. LOUIS — The Blackhawks` fears became reality Tuesday when the National Hockey League suspended defenseman Dave Manson for 13 games.
Manson`s suspension, which will keep him off the ice until the Jan. 27 game in Hartford, came because of his role in the brawl at the end of the second period in Saturday`s 6-3 victory in Toronto.
He was slapped with three games for abuse of an official-shoving linesman Ron Finn to the ice when he charged to the aid of Denis Savard in a scuffle with Brian Curran-and 10 games for returning to the ice after being escorted off the playing surface.
Although Manson contends he didn`t leave the ice, referee Andy van Hellemond`s report to NHL Executive Vice President Brian O`Neill contradicted that claim.
``I knew if I went off it would be a 10-game suspension, so that`s why I didn`t go off,`` said Manson, who already has served one three-game suspension for bowling over an official earlier this year.``
Saturday`s brawl wound up at the Hawk blue line, where Savard and Curran tangled.
``It was a bad situation because our dressing room entrance way was right there (behind the goal) where the fight was going on,`` said Manson.
``It was easy for them to try to take our guys off instead of trying to get their guys all the way down to the other end.``
``The problem was that our guys were outnumbered. I did what I had to do. I had my eyes on Savard and Curran. I didn`t even see the linesman who was trying to break them up by himself. I didn`t hit him-I just bumped him.``
According to General Manager Bob Pulford, the Hawks cannot appeal either suspension but can have the 10-game suspension rescinded-if they can prove Manson never left the ice.
``We`ll have to take these three, even though I don`t think he deserved that, and I won`t know until after that what we can do about the other,`` said Pulford. ``Finn has his back to Manson. He kicks the linesman`s feet from under him and Finn goes flying. We know that happened.
``But it wasn`t deliberate. He was focusing on Curran. And certainly (Toronto`s Brian Curran) manhandled (linesman Shane Heyer) in that same fight, and Curran didn`t get any suspension.
``There was a lot of confusion. Both Denis Savard and (Hawk defenseman) Cam Russell are definitely off the ice and no one sees it. But even if that shows up on the film, they can`t be suspended. The suspensions are based on the officials` report.``
``To lose a player like Manson for 10 games is a very severe thing. There should be a fine for something like that and not a suspension. Fans play to see players, not to see them sit in the stands serving suspensions. And a big fine would be just as much a deterrent to a player.``
Manson suspended for leaving the lockerroom to join this altercation
Team Spotlight: The First Place, Mis-Behaved Chicago Blackhawks
As teams begin to hit the half-way mark of the season, it is time to look at the NHL standings.
The Whalers have corrected their stumble through the absence of Mike Liut and are 2-0-1 in their last 3 games. They hold a 3 point lead with the NHL’s best record over the Canadiens, and lead the Bruins by 5 points over 3rd place. The Adams Division, by far the toughest in the NHL thus-far, has a 4th place team, the Buffalo Sabres with 40 points. Those 40 points would be leading the Norris Division. Quebec continues to fade out of contention, having been able to finally talk Greg Millen into suiting up in goal, but still dropped their game with the Islanders 7-3. Millen is the 5th goaltender to suit up for the Nordiques this season, who have allowed an NHL-high 181 goals-against.
The New York Islanders continue to compete with the Whalers for the NHL’s surprise story of the season, posting a 22-13-4 record to stand alone on top of the Patrick Division. They are second in the NHL with a +30 goal differential, better than the Flames, who many feel are the best team in the league. The Flyers, despite ending their 6 game winning streak at the hands of the Kings Saturday night in overtime are in second place, 1 point ahead of the Devils, who are 1 point ahead of the Capitals. 2 points separate 2nd and 4th place in the Division. The Rangers continue to struggle and are 10 points out of a playoff spot. Once favored to win the Division, they will be fighting for their lives through the second half of the season. Pittsburgh is in the basement. They fired the GM and the Head Coach, there are not many more cards to play to turn around the season that finds them 17 points behind the playoff spot.
As we reported the last two weeks, once again, we can keep the content identical: the top 3 teams in the Norris Division, St. Louis, Toronto, and Chicago are all within 1 point. One team has failed to emerge from the pack as of yet. St. Louis holds some games in hand and are the only team at .500. There is a dogfight at the bottom of the Norris for the playoffs between Minnesota and Detroit. The North Stars hold the spot by just 3 points. This Division is an actual street fight that does not appear to be coming into focus. The Blues still hold the upper hand with 3 games in hand on the Leafs, and 2 on the Blackhawks. Lots of penalty minutes, mediocre goaltending throughout.
Calgary has a 12 point lead in the Smythe over the Kings. The Jets are looking to cash in their games in hand and pass the Kings to solidify their playoff standing. Vancouver is beginning to falter and have a -20 goal differential. The Oilers are breathing down their necks and look poised to stop under-achieving and overtake the Canucks’ playoff position. The Oilers are coming off what looked like a season-changing win over Montreal this week that had a playoff atmosphere in the Northlands Coliseum.
Now on to the NHL’s league leaders through the 12th week of action.
Steve Yzerman Becomes this Season’s First 30-Goal Man Thanks to a 4-Goal Night Friday at Washington
The Great One Has Assumed a Familiar Place at the Top of the NHL Scoring Race
POINTS PER GAME LEADERS
Trevor Linden has the Best Plus-Minus of Any Forward in the NHL, Despite the Canucks’ -20 Goal Differential
Curtis Leschyshyn is in Jeopardy of Reaching Bill Mikkelson’s NHL Record of -82 for the 1974-1975 Season
PENALTY MINUTES LEADERS
Basil McRae Joins the Top 10, But Will Likely Miss Time Due to His Role in a Pregame Brawl With Chicago
Dave Manson took Things too Far, and Will Have to Sit Out 13 Games
The Underrated Rob Ramage is 2nd in the NHL in Hits
FACEOFF PERCENTAGE LEADERS
POWERPLAY GOALS LEADERS
Neely and the Bruins Make the Most of the Man Advantage
GAME-WINNING GOALS LEADERS
Pat LaFontaine is at the Top of the NHL in Game-Winning Goals and Shots
SHORT-HANDED GOALS LEADERS
SHOTS ON GOAL
SAVE PERCENTAGE LEADERS
Despite Being Sidelined With A Knee Injury, the Whalers’ Mike Liut is at the Top in Most Goaltending Statistics
GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE LEADERS
GOALIE RATING PERCENTAGE LEADERS
The Tandem of Fitzpatrick and Healy Has Given Confidence to the Islanders’ en route to the Top of the Patrick Division
Game of the Week:
Stanley Cup Rematch In Alberta
Montreal came into their third meeting with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Calgary Flames, on the second of a 3-game Western Canadian road trip. This was the rubber match, the third meeting between the clubs who split a pair of games in the Montreal Forum. Much like their previous game in Vancouver, the Habs received a mixed welcome from the Flames faithful, as well as Montreal fans, who are positioned throughout Canada.
Early in the game, the Flames took a penalty for too many men on the ice for a bad line change, a mistake not characteristic of this team. Montreal capitalized, as the powerplay carved out a nifty passing play off the faceoff from Lebeau to Richer on the point, setting up Skrudland in the low slot, who tapped it past Wamsley to take the 1-0 lead. Later in the first. Paul Ranheim tied it for Calgary, sending it into the break tied up, with Montreal holding an 11-8 shots advantage.
Montreal again jumped ahead early in the period as Russ Courtnall scored his 13th 3:30 into the period, tipping Eric Desjardins’ shot from the point. The Flames would again extinguish the lead, this time on the powerplay with Matthieu Schneider in the penalty box. Doug Gilmour jumped on a rebound kicked out by Hayward from a Theo Fleury shot to tie the game at 2. Brian Skrudland would answer quickly, just 31 seconds later with his 2nd of the game and 6th of the season to re-take the lead 3-2.
Calgary threw everything they had at Montreal and Brian Hayward throughout the 3rd period, outshooting Montreal 15-7. With 2:20 left, pressing to tie, Calgary drew the defenders down low. Gary Roberts got free with the puck and slid it out to an open point manned by Gary Suter. Suter blasted the puck past Hayward to tie the game and whip the crowd into a frenzy.
The celebration didn’t last though. With 1 minute left, disaster struck on a play that everyone in attendance thought was going to be a penalty on Shayne Corson. The referee assessed the second bench penalty of the game on the Flames for too many men. The first minute of the powerplay was killed off, leaving one minute for Montreal’s powerplay. Near the end of the powerplay, Corson set up Lebeau with a shot that was saved by Wamsley. The puck ended up going to an empty area of the zone, and Skrudland picked up the puck and he quickly took the shot. Skrudland’s shot karomed off Wamsley’s pads right to Shayne Corson, who buried the shot into a wide open net to claim victory for the Habs.
Fight of the week:
In a week that featured a lot of negative headlines for the NHL, the major incidents have been covered as the Blackhawks continue to vex the NHL’s disciplinary decision makers. We did have a good bout in The Capital Center Tuesday night.
Fresh off from the Christmas break, the Capitals and Penguins clashed in a Patrick Division match-up. Washington jumped up in the first period 2-0, but the penguins erased that lead in the second. Mario Lemieux scored with 7:25 left in the period to tie it at 2. Off the next faceoff, Kevin Stevens and Alan May collided and appeared to fight, but the referee Kerry Fraser gave them each 4:00 double minors and a 10-minute misconduct to Stevens for being a bit rough with the officials in attempt to get back at May.
By the time Stevens got out of the penalty box, the game was 4-2 Capitals with 12:27 remaining. Head coach Craig Patrick waved at Stevens to keep him out on the ice. Bryan Murray reciprocated and Alan May hopped the boards. The two players again clashed off the faceoff, trading punches until Stevens knocked May down. Stevens ended up with an extra 2 for roughing and another misconduct to bring his total PIM for the game to 31.
MOLSON 3 STAR POINTS LEADERS
3 Stars of the Week:
Bruce Driver had a big week anchoring the Devils’ blueline, scoring a goal and 6 assists for 7 points in New Jersey’s 3 games. Driver had 9 shots on goal and 5 takeaways this week as well, earning him the first star of the week. Pat LaFontaine was this week’s 2nd star. Scoring 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points, he also went 69.2% in the faceoff circle, had a hit, 2 takeaways, and 2 game-winning goals this week. Yzerman had a 4 goal night Saturday which was a bulk of his production, but it can’t be ignored. The Detroit captain had 13 shots on goal for 5 goals and an assist, as well as 2 hits, 2 takeaways, and a game-winning goal.
TEAM PP% RANKINGS
TEAM SH RANKINGS
TEAM GOAL DIFFERENTIAL
The Whalers Have Been the Class of the NHL so Far
TEAM FACEOFF PERCENTAGE
Guy Carbonneau and the Habs have been the Best at the Dot
TEAM GOALS FOR
Despite the Penguins Having a Tough Season, Fans Continue to Support the Team
REPLAY VS. ACTUAL POINTS
This Week In the News
SPORTS: THE NEXT DECADE: By 1999, We Might Be Paying Per Every View
EXPERTS ARE SAYING THE SUPER BOWL WILL GENERATE ABOUT $700 MILLION AS A PAY-PER-VIEW EVENT.
December 28, 1989|LARRY STEWART | TIMES STAFF WRITER
It is the fall of 1999 and you can watch any Raider or Ram home game that does not sell out.
It costs you $29.95, about the cost of two six-packs. And, anyway, you get together with some neighbors and split the expense.
More than likely by now you own a high-density, big-screen TV that has been on the market since 1995.
The Raiders now play at Anaheim Stadium. Al Davis, after moving the team to Oakland, brought it back to the lucrative L.A. market in 1996 after the NFL got into the pay-per-view business.
The Rams have since returned to the Coliseum, and are waiting for long-promised renovations.
The Rams and Raiders still rarely sell out, but Davis and Ram owner Jerry Buss--he bought the team in 1995--aren't complaining.
The teams, for home games, attract nearly a million paying viewers nationwide, providing TV revenue of almost $30 million per game.
NFL road games, playoff games and the Super Bowl are still on commercial TV, but that's expected to change soon after the turn of the century. The speculation is that all NFL games are headed for pay TV.
The Super Bowl alone, some experts are saying, will generate about $700 million as a pay-per-view event.
By 2010, the one-day take should be more than $1 billion.
Here in the fall of 1999, all Clipper and Laker games, home and away, are on pay TV.
The cost for the Clippers is $14.95 per game, or $800 for the 82-game regular-season schedule.
Before buying the Rams, Buss sold the Lakers to Donald Sterling the year after Magic Johnson and James Worthy retired.
The Clippers, under new ownership, moved to Orange County and won two NBA championships. The Lakers haven't made the playoffs in five seasons.
The Clipper announcer is Chick Hearn, who jumped ship when Buss sold the Lakers. Hearn says he plans to retire in three or four years.
Sterling's Lakers are priced less--only $9.95 per game and $500 per season. Still, the Clippers outdraw the Lakers five to one.
You see, some things do change.
There are still a few NBA games on commercial TV and the NBA Finals have yet to make the switch.
Neither have the World Series and baseball playoffs, although Dodger and Angel telecasts are now almost exclusively on pay TV.
There are some regular-season baseball games still on free TV, but, experts say, not for long.
If the 1980s were the decade of cable television, the 1990s are expected to be about pay-per-view.
The major players in the pay business figure to be regional sports networks such as Prime Ticket and SportsChannel.
As the '80s close, those two are battling it out. Both might not survive the '90s.
The logical thing would be for either Bill Daniels, Prime Ticket's owner, or Cablevision and NBC, SportsChannel's owners, to buy out the other.
Thus, the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and non-network USC and UCLA football--and possibly home Ram and Raider games as well--could all be offered on one premium pay channel.
Meanwhile, most sports events involving teams from other areas and L.A. events of lesser importance would remain on basic-service cable channels.
The consensus is that major networks--CBS, NBC and ABC--will continue to do fewer regular-season telecasts but hang onto the big events, at least through the decade.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has said the Super Bowl will not be on pay-per-view before the year 2000.
But that's only 10 years away.
Of course the pay-per-view business has been around for quite a while for movies and major boxing matches.
But during the '90s, it's going to become more widespread and figures to involve most major sports.
Pay television basically will be in two forms--(1) pay-per-view and (2) pay packages, such as a Laker or Clipper season or half-season package.
The pay business could actually be a good thing for spouses of sports fanatics. The consumer will have to be, or should be, more selective in what he watches. Otherwise, he will be spending hundred of dollars each month.
Sports viewing will be like using the telephone. You will be charged a minimal service fee for having cable, but if you use it a lot, you will pay a lot.
At least, the pro-pay argument goes, you won't be paying a huge monthly fee for programming you're not watching.
John Severino, Prime Ticket's president, says the phone companies might become major players in the cable business.
"Cable companies aren't interested in wiring lower economic areas because they fear they may not make back their investment," he said. "Here's where the phone companies could get involved. They already have such areas wired.
"This would be a way for cable TV to eventually be in virtually every home."
And that's when the pay business will really take off.
Marc Lustgarten, vice chairman of Cablevision, the company that owns 50% of the SportsChannel regional networks, including SportsChannel L.A., says the switch to pay TV will be gradual.
"As the audience share for the major network continues to erode, the amount of advertising revenue must also decrease," he said.
December 25th, 1989 - Romania -- Ex President Shot By Firing Squad
Ex Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena have been shot by a firing squad after a secret military tribunal found them both guilty of genocide and other crimes against the state.
“Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins continues at #1 on the Billboard 100 music charts for the second straight week to close out 1989