Week In Review after the games played on Saturday, March 17th, 1990


Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Herald March 17th, 1990


March 17th –

Brian Leetch snaps his ankle versus Toronto

Rangers’ Breaks All Bad

Brian Leetch isn’t the first New York Ranger to break his ankle at the wrong time.  The Rangers lost Jean Ratelle in 1972 and Ulf Nilsson in 1979 to fractured ankles.  Those were the last two times the Rangers made the Stanley Cup Finals, losing in six games to Boston in 1972 and five to Montreal in 1979.  What are New York’s chances this time around?  “All through this season, I really thought we had a chance at the Stanley Cup, but now…” said defenseman Normand Rochefort after Leetch snapped his ankle in Wednesday’s game at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Without Brian Leetch, the Rangers’ mountain climb back into the playoffs has gotten more difficult


March 13th –

Fuhr Faces Yet Another Injury

Edmonton Journal

Grant Fuhr re-injures the shoulder he had hurt earlier in the season, playing just two games since his return to the lineup, in warmups before a 6-2 win over the host Quebec Nordiques.

Grant Fuhr has had a tough season


Nicholls told to Cool the Gambling

After the Rangers whipped the Kings 6-2 on Monday at Madison Square Garden, Rangers coach Roger Nielson told Bernie Nicholls to stop taking verbal shots at his former team and coaches.  “Roger told me to cool it, which was smart”, Nicholls said.  There were more troubles for Nicholls later in the week.  The Rangers reported that Nicholls and general manager Neil Smith talked to NHL president John Ziegler about a $5 bet Nicholls made with Boston’s Ray Bourque.  Bourque and Nicholls made the wager as Kelly Kisio was awaiting to find out whether or not he would receive a 5-minute major penalty in the third period of a game on February 26th.  Kisio received a major penalty and Nicholls had to pay up. Gambling is taboo in the NHL


Jari Kurri Benched

Jari Kurri was benched for the second time in his career last weekend when the Edmonton Oilers tied the Toronto Maple Leafs 1-1.  The first time came in his rookie season.

John Muckler does not tolerate anything but professionalism


Who Will Win The Calder?

Who has the inside track for NHL rookie of the year this season?  Rob Brind’Amour, the St. Louis Blues candidate believes Chicago’s Jeremy Roenick has raced to the front of the pack for the Calder Trophy.  “He had a slow start” Brind Amour said, “but he has been the best of us rookies for the last few months.  Id rather see him or Mike Modano win it than Sergei Makarov of Calgary.”  Makarov is the 31-year old veteran of the Soviets’ Central Red Army Team.  There is some controversy in the league whether he should truly be considered a rookie at his age and with his experience.

Rookie Mike Modano has dazzled North Star fans


Gretzky Passing Off the Hart?

Wayne Gretzky has won the Hart Trophy for the NHL’s most valuable player nine of the last 10 years, but Edmonton’s Mark Messier, Boston’s Ray Bourque, and Adam Oates and Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues are being mentioned before The Great One for this season’s honor.  “Those guys deserve it” says Gretzky.  “They’ve had great years.  I don’t deserve it. I hope Mess wins.”


No Tradebacks?

NHL President John Ziegler met with general managers Glen Sather of the Edmonton Oilers and Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers about the January 5th trade that sent Normand Lacombe to Philadelphia for a fourth round pick.  Lacombe suffers from a leg muscle ailment which limits his practice time.  Clarke says the Oilers should have revealed Lacombe’s condition.  Ziegler says he will rule on the matter, but hasn’t set a deadline.

Did the Oilers provide the Flyers with damaged goods in Normand Lacombe?


Dan Shank Gets Rookie Treatment

Now its official: Daniel Shank is a full-fledged member of the Detroit Red Wings – he had his head closely shaved recently.  The Red Wings, adhering to an NHL tradition to shave the heads of rookies, did the job recently on Shank.  But no players are taking credit for it.  Nor is the coach.  “I didn’t see anything” said Jacques Demers.

Daniel Shank got quite the makeover from his teammates this week.  He did seem agitated


Mario Lemieux Experiences an Earthquake

Mario Lemieux and Tom Barrasso had a chance to visit with their teammates when the Pittsburgh Penguins were in Los Angeles recently.  Lemieux is being treated in Los Angeles for his ailing back, while Barrasso’s two year old daughter is in an area hospital with cancer.  Lemieux told General Manager Craig Patrick that cortisone injections have improved his flexibility.  Lemieux went through a truly West Coast experience during his treatment – a California earthquake.  “I was having dinner and felt the table and everything shaking.  The food was shaking.  It was an experience.”


Leafs’ Fan Support Goes on the Road

Buffalo, NY (AP) – In an unusual situation for a visiting team, fan support may have been the difference for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 NHL win Friday night over the Buffalo Sabres.  A large and boisterous contingent of Leaf fans made the two-hour drive from Toronto to Buffalo and Vincent Damphousse, who scored two goals for the Leafs, said his team got a boost.  “There were a lot of our fans cheering for us,” he said, “every time we did something well, they were really loud and I think that helped us.  It gave us a little bit of a boost.”  Because the Leafs are a fairly consistent sell-out at Maple Leaf Gardens, the trip to Buffalo is a rare opportunity for many Leaf fans have of seeing their team live, Damphousse explained.  “Some people can’t get tickets in Toronto, so they come here and buy tickets in advance,” he said.  “They look forward to the game and tonight they were really noisy for us.”  They became their noisiest with 2:17 left to play, when Damphousse buried a slap shot to put the game away, pulling ahead 5-2 after the Sabres coughed up the puck in their own end.  His slap shot came from about 50 feet out and Damphousse said he wasn’t sure where it was going.  “How many guys take aim from that far out?” he asked.  “Mark (Osborne) just laid it out as best as he could and I just kind of buried my head and drove it.”  Lou Franceschetti said the performance by Toronto pointed to the split personality the Leafs have shown recently.  Gary Leeman also scored two goals for the Leafs.



Green Turns Down Habs’ Invitation

Montreal (CP) – Rick Green turned down a friendly invitation from his former Montreal Canadiens teammates to join them in practice Friday and said he has no intention of playing again in the National Hockey League.  Green, 34, tanned from a winter playing for Merano in the Italian League, stopped in Montreal this week to see teammates from the club he retired from last Summer after seven NHL seasons.  “I like what I’m doing right now – that is, not much,” said Green, “I have no intention of coming back to the NHL.”  “For the moment, I’m taking it day by day.  I don’t know what I’ll be thingking a week from now.”  Green surprised Montreal General Manager Serge Savard this week by admitting he played in 19 games for Merano this season.  Savard had asked NHL president John Ziegler to write the International Ice Hockey Federation to have Green barred from playing.  Green was protected on the Canadiens roster this season and, under an IIHF-NHL agreement, should not have been allowed to play in Europe.  The burly defenceman has an offer to return to Merano next season, but is unsure if he will. “The league has 10 teams, two of which play on outdoor rinks, including Merano.” Said Green.  “One day, it snowed so much, we didn’t know if we could finish the game.  I had to put on two or three sweaters and wear ear-muffs.  But it didn’t stop snowing, so the referee ruled that once the officials couldn’t see the bluelines, he’d call the game.  We were losing by six or seven goals and after every whistle, the other team would be clearing the snow off the lines with their skates and we’d be following behind them covering them up again.  Finally, after two periods, they called off the game.”  Another time, a game was rained out.  “At times like that, Id ask myself what I was doing there,” said Green, “but it was a good experience on the cultural side.  I have good memories of the place, but Im glad to be back here now.”

Don’t Expect Rick Green to come back to the NHL


Lanny McDonald’s #9 Retired on March 17th, before a 6-4 loss to Hartford

The Flames Retire Lanny McDonald's Jersey



Brett Hull Gives Exclusive Interview Amidst Goal Scoring Race

Brett Hull - Part 1

Brett Hull - Part 2


Transactions – NHL Trading Deadline has passed



Team Spotlight: Don’t Sleep on the Buffalo Sabres


NHL Standings

                With two weeks remaining in the 1989-1990 regular season, we have all but 2 playoff participants decided, as the playoff fields for the Adams, Patrick, and Norris Divisions are locked in.  The only playoff position that is decided, is the Blues, who have claimed the regular season Norris Division crown.

                The horse race in the Adams Division is neck and neck as the Bruins and Canadiens are tied atop the NHL with 96 points.  This race will go down to the final days of the season, and the teams are set to meet on March 31st in The Forum.  Hartford is holding serve over the Sabres for 3rd place, ahead by 2 points.  Anyhow 3rd and 4th shake out, both teams will have a difficult 1st round match up against Boston or Montreal.

                The Patrick Division sees Washington with an 8 point lead over the second place New York Islanders.  The teams meet Tuesday in the Capital Center, where Washington can all but seal up first place.  New York has a 3 point lead over the 3rd place Flyers, who are 4 points ahead of the Devils for 4th place, and a likely 1st round match-up against a tough Washington Capitals team.

                The Blues have clinched 1st place in the Norris Division this week, while a recent surge has the Maple Leafs feeling fairly comfortable in 2nd place with a 5 point lead over the North Stars.  Chicago and Minnesota are battling it out for third place, with both teams within 2 points of one another.  Both the Blackhawks and North Stars have been playing mediocre hockey as of late.  A first round match up versus Toronto sounds much more appealing than going up against the Blues.

                The Winnipeg Jets, thanks to a stretch of a 13-5-1 record, and a near mirror record of Calgary over the same stretch of 6-12-1, have claimed first place in the Smythe Division with a 3 point lead.  Calgary still is looking to right the ship 5 points ahead of the Kings, who are on the cusp of clinching their own playoff position.  The most exciting race these last two weeks is at the bottom of the Smythe Division.  The pre-season favorite, Edmonton Oilers are only 3 points ahead of Vancouver for a playoff spot.  The teams will meet at the Pacific Coliseum on the 27th, with the winner, perhaps very likely to punch their playoff ticket.

The Blues Had a Mug Giveaway Night against the Canucks this week, as they earned the regular season Norris Division crown




Now on to the NHL’s league leaders through the NHL’s 21st week of action.

Calm, cool, and collected, Adam Oates’ point lead has increased from 1 point to 7 this past week




Hull had a 4-goal week to get within two of the 60 goal mark with 6 games remaining. 









Curtis Leschyshyn’s -64 is double his -32 in his 1988-1989 rookie campaign.  He is -96 in his first 133 NHL games




Often overshadowed by his defense partner Ray Bourque, Glen Wesley has been one of the top defensemen in the NHL this year, even when Bourque is out of the lineup or playing wing



Paul Cavallini is turning heads and may be considered a rising darkhorse candidate for the Norris Trophy



Ken Priestlay has emerged on the scene in Buffalo, earning a starting spot on the checking line

110 Faceoff minimum



110 Faceoff minimum





Dino Ciccarelli has been on a torrid pace of potting game winning goals as of late



Yzerman’s 8 short handed goals stand tied as the 9th most ever in a single season



Mark Messier has put more rubber on opposing goaltenders than any other



Minimum 74 shots on goal



Stephane Beauregard has provided much needed stability between the pipes for the surging Winnipeg Jets



Minimum 145 Shots Faced



Minimum 800 Minutes Played



Minimum 14 Games Played



Edmonton’s success rides on Bill Ranford this season






The 24 year old netminder is having his best season in his young career, with a career high for shutouts with 7 (so far)


Game of the Week:

The Blues Clinch the Norris with a comeback

                Tuesday night in the US Capital found a clash between two first place teams in a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview.  The Capitals played host to the St. Louis Blues in a match up that saw Curtis Joseph versus Mike Liut. 

                The Blues came out fast, as Geno Cavallini scored his 9th on a breakaway just 22 seconds into the game.  Washington would gain control though, as Geoff Courtnall joined the 40-goal club for the second straight season, and John Druce finally got on the scoreboard with his first.  Early in the second, Courtnall scored his second of the game to extend the Capital lead to 3-1.  So far this season, a 2-goal lead has been very safe in front of Mike Liut.

                With Alfie Turcotte in the penalty box serving a hooking penalty, Rod Brind Amour cut the lead in half.  However, just 1:40 later, Kevin Hatcher answered with a heavy shot from the point that found its way past Joseph.  Geno’s brother Paul Cavallini scored on a slapshot of his own 1:05 after hatcher to again cut the lead to 1, 4-3 after 40 minutes in a very entertaining game.

                Dino Ciccarelli matched Courtnall with his 41st of the season early in the third period with a one timer from the slot that was setup by Calle Johansson.  The Washington lead was again 2 goals in Washington’s favor.  The Blues would not be out-done.  At the 7:38 mark, Adam Oates broke free on a breakaway and beat Liut high to cut the lead to 1.  The Blues pressed but could not beat Liut for the next 10 minutes.  At one point, frustration bubbled over, as Robert Dirk and Neal Sheehy got into a heavyweigh fight, that saw Sheehy get an additional minor and a 10 minute misconduct. 

                One of the Capitals’ best penalty killers, Kelly Miller was in the penalty box in the final 5 minutes.  As the powerplay was ticking down, Brett Hull penetrated through the Washington box and lasered the game-tying goal stick-side on Liut.  Hull was not done yet.  With 31 seconds left, Hull took a shot from the top of the circle and followed his own shot.  Liut kicked the rebound in front, and Hull pounced on it and put the puck into the back of the net for the game-winning goal, Hull’s league leading 56th.  Adam Oates assisted on both Hull goals for a league leading 82 assists and 116 points.  Watch out for the Blues.




Wayne Gretzky is tied for the Molson 3 Star Points Lead with Cam Neely, but is expected to miss a few games





Darren Puppa of the Sabres hasn’t been as flashy as his Adams Division competition in Patrick Roy, but the Sabres have relied on his play


3 Stars of the Week:

Damphousse’s Train Could not be Derailed This Week


  1. Vincent Damphousse – Toronto Maple Leafs
  2. Adam Oates – St. Louis Blues
  3. Steve Yzerman – Detroit Red Wings

Vincent Damphousse had one of the best weeks of his career.  In four games, he put up 7 goals, one of them being a game-winner against the Rangers.  He added 2 helpers for 9 points total.  With Mark Osborne out of the lineup, Damphousse has been filling in on the top line.  Toronto went 3-1-0 this week as they try to cement home ice in the first round of the Norris Division playoffs.


Adam Oates earned the second star of the week.  The NHL’s points and assists leader put up 10 points that included 3 goals and 7 assists in only 3 games.  The Blues were also 3-1-0 this week to wrap up 1st place in the Norris Division, led by their top scorer.


Steve Yzerman may have had the best individual performance this week, but the Red Wings were 1-2-0 and are well out of the playoffs, playing out the string.  Yzerman, in the 3 games had 6 goals that included a short-handed goal and 2 powerplay goals.  He also added 4 assists for 10 points and was a plus 4.  He also added some physical play with a hit, takeaway, and was a +4.  He completes the Norris Division sweep in this week’s 3 stars, but we are starting to weigh games that matter.



The Blues powerplay is tops in the NHL









Chicago and Detroit are squaring off at #1 and #2 in the NHL for most penalty minutes







The North Stars are hoping their collective prowess in the faceoff circle can give them an edge in the playoffs










Not often noted for their goal-scoring prowess, the Winnipeg Jets should be taken seriously




Pacific Coliseum is seldom seen empty during this wild stretch run




No team has matched their expected 1989-1990 success like the New Jersey Devils



This Week In the News

March 12th Raiders back to Oakland

Davis Approves a Return to Oakland by Raiders in ’92 : Football: The owner provisionally agrees to the richest deal ever for a sports franchise, city and Alameda County say.

MARCH 13, 1990 12 AM


OAKLAND   Al Davis agreed Monday to accept the richest deal ever given a sports franchise and return his Raiders to Oakland in 1992, a decade after he beat the National Football League in court for the right to play in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Within hours, both the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors had approved the deal--the council, by a 5-3 vote with one abstention, and the supervisors, with a 3-1 vote, also with one abstention. Davis was in Florida at a meeting of NFL owners but telephoned his decision to Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson and Alameda County officials at a noon deadline. Wilson revealed the news at a press conference in his office.

“Oakland will become the sports capital of the world. No city has ever lost a franchise and brought it back before us,” said Wilson.

Davis, the Raiders’ managing general partner, speaking to reporters in Orlando, Fla., called the Los Angeles Coliseum “just not a good place to play football.”



“That’s home--Oakland. I’ll take it,” Davis said. “We were very happy there.”

Davis’ deal called for a $660-million, 15-year agreement.

The council and board of supervisors met in a rare joint session. The meeting in a downtown auditorium turned raucous, with most in the crowd of 1,000 cheering officials who support Davis and booing council members who voiced criticism of paying the Raiders with public funds.


There was an extensive parade of speakers before the vote, and it was 11:53 p.m. before the voting was actually completed. A later vote will be required to ratify specific terms of the move.

Officials said that a press conference would be held in 10 to 14 days after negotiators had finished the actual details.

Oakland and Los Angeles--joined for a time by Sacramento--have been bidding for the Raiders since last summer. Oakland officials had set a noon Monday deadline for Davis to let them know if the offer was acceptable.

If the Raiders do move back to Oakland, it will be a bitter day for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, who helped the Raiders establish a landmark in sports by defying the National Football League owners.


Ed Snider, the Coliseum’s chief negotiator, had said Los Angeles would be ready if the Oakland deal faltered--as had Davis’ 1987 agreement to move to suburban Irwindale.

“I don’t think we’re totally out of the ballgame yet,” Snider said Monday.

But Coliseum representatives have been unable to satisfy Davis almost from the day he moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982. Coliseum officials met over the weekend trying to fashion a sweetened deal for Davis but could not agree among themselves in time.


“The timing was just such that over the weekend it just couldn’t be done,” Snider said.


The chief deputy to Bradley said the city would work on acquiring another football team if further overtures to Davis are not successful.


“When the Rams moved to Anaheim, the mayor went out and put together a group of community leaders and found another football team,” said Deputy Mayor Mark Fabiani. “Los Angeles did it before and we can do it again.”

The $660-million package that Davis accepted is the most lucrative deal ever given to entice a sports team to relocate. The last NFL team to move, the St. Louis Cardinals, moved to Phoenix in 1988 on a promise of about $17 million a year from tickets and concessions. Irwindale offered a deal of less than $200 million to entice the Raiders in 1987.

Oakland and Alameda County would sell all the tickets to Raiders’ games and share the revenue with Davis. He would be guaranteed at least $28 million in ticket income a year. The city and county would keep 50% of the concessions and parking revenues. Davis would keep all television revenue, currently about $32 million a year.


Oakland and Alameda County also would put up $53.5 million to expand the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, where the team would play its eight home games a year.

With the city and county guaranteeing the proposed deal, the taxpayers would have to pick up the cost unless the Raiders consistently draw at least 57,000 fans to the expanded 63,500-seat stadium. If all tickets are sold out over the 15 years of the contract, Alameda County taxpayers could earn a return of $51 million. But if 20% of the best tickets go unsold, taxpayers could be liable for $23 million.

Fans will find the Raiders a much different team than the colorful champions and perennial contenders who left after the 1981 season. Despite stars such as Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen, the current Raiders have missed the NFL playoffs for four seasons.


Oakland fans will also find that prices have changed considerably since the Raiders were last in Oakland. About 37,000 of the seats will cost more than $30, and many will require fans to commit several years in advance and pay a premium of $2,000 to $16,000.

City Councilman Wilson Riles Jr., a candidate for mayor this year, was adamantly against the deal. “This deal is a gamble not worth getting into,” said Riles. “The risks are just too high.”

Councilman Carter Gilmore said in the Oakland Tribune on Monday that “if we were voting today, I would vote against it because of the opposition we are getting from the citizens of Oakland. Many people don’t trust Al Davis and think he is just playing games with the city.”


But when asked if he has the votes necessary to approve the deal, Mayor Wilson said Monday, “I believe I do.”

Don Perata, chairman of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, said he too expects passage but possibly not until a second meeting tonight. Davis has agreed to fly to Oakland for a joint announcement when the deal is ready to be signed, perhaps in 10 days to two weeks, Perata said.

Oakland officials had given Davis until 5 p.m. last Friday to decide if he would return. But on Friday Wilson and Perata postponed the deadline until today. Davis had given them solid personal reasons to delay his decision, they said.

If the unpredictable Davis had not called by noon Monday, they planned to withdraw the offer and cancel Monday night’s special meetings.

Faced with a similar deadline recently from Sacramento, which also sought the Raiders, Davis refused to comply with the demand. Sacramento officials then withdrew their offer to pay Davis $50 million in public funds to be raised through bonds.

Perata said Monday he was satisfied that Davis has made a genuine commitment to come back to Oakland.

“We didn’t have to call him,” Perata said. “He called (us) shortly after noon. He said he was extremely excited, (that) this was a momentous day for the Raiders organization. To say he was upbeat would not do justice to his mood.”


Davis still has two years to run on his lease to play the Raiders’ eight yearly home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He plans to honor that lease or reach an agreement with the Coliseum Commission, Oakland officials said.


For months the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission and its private managers--Spectacor Management Group and MCA Inc.--have tried to entice Davis with a new deal, but have faced the competition from other cities.

In recent weeks, Davis had reportedly been offered a fee of about $70 million, plus a share of the revenue from 200 new luxury boxes and thousands of club seats, if the Raiders would stay in Los Angeles at the Coliseum.

The historic stadium was also to be thoroughly rebuilt, with the familiar, gray outside walls left intact.

Over the weekend Snider, head of Spectacor, tried to get the Coliseum Commission’s backing for a more lucrative deal but time ran out.

Snider felt he needed a firm commitment that Spectacor and MCA would keep control of the Coliseum well into the next decade before making a new offer to Davis. He never got it.

“We don’t have a vote of the commission on a lease, nor did I have the comfort level to know that it would happen at the commission,” Snider said Monday.

Bill Robertson, the Los Angeles labor leader who as a commission member was instrumental in luring the Raiders originally, said the Coliseum Commission lost the Raiders by not meeting its commitments to Davis. He was especially critical of former Commission Chairman Alexander Haagen and county Supervisor Pete Schabarum.

“I’m certainly disappointed,” Robertson said. “I think the die was cast three years ago when the Coliseum Commission reneged on the commitment that I and subsequent commission presidents had made that we would do our best to bring that facility up to state of the art. Pete Schabarum and Alex Haagen were in my judgment the culprits that sabotaged that deal. Al Davis did not create this competitive bidding war. That was created by the Coliseum Commission.”


Haagen, who left the commission before the current negotiations, was not apologetic Monday.

“I think Oakland deserves the Raiders,” Haagen said. “I suggest that if Los Angeles wants a pro football team so badly, it ought to buy one like Green Bay bought the Packers. That would be a lot less expensive than trying to satisfy Al Davis.”


Schabarum said Monday he also opposed meeting Davis’ terms.

“‘No, no, no, absolutely no,” Schabarum said at a press conference Monday. “First of all, I’m not interested in keeping the Raiders in this town based on the terms and conditions that Al Davis seems to require. So go somewhere else, Big Al.”


The Raiders’ history in Los Angeles began officially in January, 1980, when the Coliseum Commission, stung by the loss to Anaheim of the Rams, announced that Davis had agreed to move in.


The Raiders were an admired championship team with a strong personality that sold out its games in Oakland. Legal troubles kept the Raiders in Oakland until the 1982 season, when they opened to lackluster crowds at the Coliseum. That first year, the Raiders ranked 22nd of the 28 NFL teams in attendance.


In 1984 the Raiders won their only Super Bowl as a Los Angeles team, but the relationship was already souring. Davis and the Coliseum Commission began to battle openly over promised improvements and luxury boxes.

Then in 1987 Davis announced plans to relocate and build a stadium in suburban Irwindale, and was given $10 million in good-faith money by the city. The Coliseum Commission and the Raiders eventually sued each other, and the Irwindale deal fell through.

This February, 83% of respondents told the Los Angeles Times Poll they wouldn’t much care if Davis took the Raiders out of town. Only 5% said they would be upset a great deal if the Raiders left.


Reich reported from Oakland and Roderick from Los Angeles.




THE RAIDERS: BACK TO OAKLAND : Win or Lose, They Threw the Status Quo for a Loss : Chronology: Linking early successes and recent failures were eight years of unpredictability.


MARCH 13, 1990 12 AM


The agony, the ecstasy--the Raiders.


It gets so mixed up in this zaniest of organizations. That’s how it has been for eight seasons in Los Angeles, all soaring highs and plummeting lows.

Two years after their arrival, the Raiders gave Los Angeles its only Super Bowl victory. In the last four seasons before announcing their intention to return to Oakland, they have failed to post a winning record or make the playoffs, the longest such slump in their history.

They list seven 90,000 crowds in the Los Angeles Coliseum. They played to as few as 32,111--five weeks before they won Super Bowl XVIII--and 10,708, for the first “replacement” game during the 1987 strike.




They got into fights, suits and snits--with opponents, the league, the newspapers, and, of course, one another.

A highlight was promotions director Mike Ornstein’s punching of executive assistant John Herrera at camp in Oxnard in 1986. In another organization, it would have been hushed up, or heads would have rolled. These are the Raiders and no action was taken, internally. Herrera signed a criminal complaint. Ornstein pleaded no contest.

Ornstein was fired two years later--for sounding out the Rams about employment. Some things Al Davis simply couldn’t forgive.

This is how it was, year by unforgettable year.




Disaster hits right away when the ticket-location procedure becomes hopelessly messed up, the skeleton Raider front office overmatched by the task at hand. A former Raider official says it was widely acknowledged that if they hadn’t opened seven weeks late, thanks to that year’s strike, they would never have been ready.

The team lives in, practices in and commutes from Oakland.

The Raiderettes fly down from Oakland, too. They’re all Oakland girls, none from Los Angeles.

The Raiders play their first home game in the L.A. Coliseum Nov. 22. A crowd of 55,060 sees them fall behind the Chargers, 24-0, then rally to win, 28-24.

The Raiders go 8-1, the NFL’s best record. Rookie Marcus Allen rushes for 697 yards.

On Dec. 18, they beat the Rams in their return to the Coliseum, 37-31. A crowd of 65,776 makes this the NFL’s first million-dollar regular-season gate.

Regular-season attendance averages only 56,798. However, 90,037--with only 651 no-shows--watch the Raiders’ AFC semifinal against the New York Jets.

The Raiders seem headed for a Super Bowl matchup with the Redskins in Pasadena but are upset by the Jets, 17-14. Jim Plunkett throws an interception to linebacker Lance Mehl, ending the last threat.

Afterward, Jet Coach Lou Michaels charges that Al Davis, up to his old tricks, called Michaels on a pay phone outside the Jets’ dressing room at halftime.

Davis denies it.

After most writers have left, a man calls the same pay phone and says it was he. He’s in a bar in Queens.



The Raider players move to Los Angeles but tell anyone who asks that they miss Oakland.

The team goes 12-4.

Average attendance stays in the mid-50s during the season, but for the playoffs, the Raiders get 92,434 and 92,335.

In a Super Bowl highlighted by Jack Squirek’s interception, Derrick Jensen’s punt block, Ray Guy’s leap to catch a high snap, Marcus Allen’s 191 yards rushing, and too many more feats to mention, they squash the Redskins, 38-9, the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl until then.


Allen is the game’s MVP after a frustrating season, during which he confronted Davis and asked to carry the ball more.

Pete Rozelle is forced to present the Lombardi Trophy to his arch-foe for the second time in four years. The world waits to hear what Davis will say after moving, suing, winning the suit and now the championship of football, too.

Davis, smiling hugely, says, “Just win, baby.”

The phrase becomes more popular than “One small step for a man, one large step for mankind.”

Davis also says: “Ah believe the greatness of this team lahs in its fu-chuh.”

Lots of people agree. The Raiders have a fine old quarterback, Plunkett; a highly regarded young one, Marc Wilson; enough depth for two offensive lines; the greatest cornerback tandem ever in Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes; young Howie Long, old Lyle Alzado, zany Ted Hendricks, Rod Martin, Matt Millen, Cliff Branch.

What could go wrong?



Attendance skyrockets. Four of the eight home games draw better than 80,000. The season average is 70,023, the team record.

They start 7-1.

They face 7-1 Denver in the Coliseum, with John Elway out and Gary Kubiak subbing before 92,496, the largest crowd in Raider history.

The Broncos stun them, 22-19, in overtime. The Raiders blow a chance to kick the winning field goal when fullback Frank Hawkins fumbles inside the Denver 10.

A week later, the Raiders take a fearsome pounding in a 17-6 loss at Chicago. The young Bear defense KOs Wilson, who leaves with a right thumb injury, then breaks David Humm’s jaw. Wilson returns while Guy warms up on the sidelines.

Wilson’s thumb bothers him for weeks but he pulls out of it with a brilliant game in Miami. The Dolphins come in 12-1 and the Raiders upset them in a wild 45-34 shoot-out. Dan Marino passed for 470 yards. Haynes returns an interception 97 yards for a touchdown. Everyone thinks the Raiders are back.

But the season ends in a desultory 13-7 loss to the lowly Pittsburgh Steelers in the Coliseum. The field is a swamp, USC and Notre Dame having ground what remained of the turf under in a storm the day before. The Raiders try drying it with a helicopter. Wilson looks so bad, Tom Flores pulls him for Plunkett, who has been out with a groin injury for much of the season.

The Raiders finish 11-5. With the last game, they’ve lost their chance to play at home in the wild-card game and must go to Seattle.

Is Flores worried?

He starts Plunkett.

The Raiders get beaten, 13-7. The Seahawks rush for 205 yards, led by a plodder named Dan Dornik who gets 126.

Raider defenders point fingers all over the locker room.

“We had no offense, so we got beat,” says Alzado. “It’s as simple as that.”



Attendance climbs higher still, to an average of 70,360, another record.

The Raiders start 1-3.

Game 4, against the 49ers, is a home game televised in Los Angeles, with 92,487 tickets distributed before the 72-hour deadline.

The 49ers murder them, 34-10.

Defensive end Jeff Stover drives Plunkett to the ground, dislocating his right shoulder and ending his season. Plunkett is put on the golf cart for the ride to the dressing room. Equipment man Run Run Jones puts it in reverse by mistake, giving Plunkett another jolt.

Wilson plays shakily--his first pass the next week at New England is intercepted. The team rallies behind its stellar defense and Allen, en route to a league-high 1,759 yards rushing, plus 67 pass receptions for another 555 yards. Raider insiders still say it’s the greatest season a back ever had, since his line was mediocre.

They finish 11-1. They’ll be at home through the playoffs and figure they’re headed for a Super Bowl matchup against the Bears in New Orleans.

In their playoff opener against the Patriots, the Raiders lead, 17-7--and fall, 27-20. Wilson throws three interceptions and misses half a dozen open receivers. The Patriots score the winning touchdown when Sammy Seale fumbles into the end zone on a kickoff return.

Millen swats Patriot General Manager Pat Sullivan on the head with his helmet in a row on the way to the dressing room.

No one knows it, but the Raiders have just bade adieu to the playoffs for the ‘80s.



For the second consecutive year, the draft washes out. The year before, it started Jessie Hester-Tim Moffett-Stefon Adams. This time, it’s Bob Buczkowski-Brad Cochran.

Attendance remains high: 70,010.

Marc Wilson remains the starting quarterback, Flores having urged Davis to quash a trade to the Eagles.

Wilson plays brilliantly in a season-opening 40-38 loss at Denver.

A week later, he gets beaten up in a 10-6 loss at Washington.

The Raiders make it 0-3 the next week, losing at home to the Giants. Allen suffers a sprained ankle and his record string of 100-yard rushing games is broken at 11.

Allen will rarely be sound again. He has had one 100-yard game since.

The Raiders, though, rally to 8-4.

Wilson struggles until he’s pulled at halftime at Dallas. There are reports Davis sent a note to the dressing room, ordering it. Plunkett comes off the bench and throws two touchdown passes to Dokie Williams to win the game.

The eighth victory is recorded at San Diego. Allen wins it with a 29-yard touchdown run in overtime, dragging several Chargers across the goal line.

The playoffs appear a lock. The Raiders will play three of their final four at home, including games with the lowly Eagles and Indianapolis Colts.


The Eagles stun them, 33-27 in overtime. With the winning field goal in sight, Allen fumbles at the Eagle 12 and a defensive back runs it back into the end zone.

The Raiders go to Seattle for what is now a big game. The night before, a couple of team officials ask Hawkins, the most indomitable of players, if the team is ready.

Hawkins shrugs and says they have no chance up here. Give that man a cigar. They lose, 37-0.

They drop their next two, at home to the Kansas City Chiefs and Colts, finish 8-8, and miss the playoffs.



Excitable Rusty Hilger takes over at quarterback and plays erratically in victories over the doormat Packers and Lions.

The strike ensues. The Raiders field a powerful strike team, with Vince Evans and vets Howie Long and Bill Pickel, but are upset by Denver’s no-names. A week later, Evans throws a game-losing interception to San Diego’s Elvis Patterson. When the strikers return, the team is 3-2 instead of the 5-0 it expected, and everyone in angry at everyone else.

It shows. The Raiders lose seven in a row.

An official is heard in the press box at Minnesota, saying, “Mr. Davis wants a new quarterback.” Exit Hilger, hello Marc Wilson.

Bo Jackson helps end the streak with his 221-yard game at, of all places, Seattle.

Jackson leads a 34-21 wipeout of improved Buffalo a week later.

Suddenly bursting with momentum, the Raiders wonder if they can finish a respectable 8-7?

Nope. Jackson goes back to Kansas City where his baseball fans feel betrayed and boo him. He sprains an ankle, runs off to the dressing room to be treated but returns for only a few plays. The Raiders lose. Jackson doesn’t play at all in season-ending home losses to the Browns and Bears.

The Raiders finish 5-10, their worst record in the Davis era.

Attendance plummets to 53,727.



Tom Flores resigns as coach, not under pressure, he says.

Davis goes outside the organization for the first time for a coach: Denver assistant Mike Shanahan.

Wilson, whose contract is up, is waived after refusing to attend minicamp.

Davis wheels and deals. He gets Willie Gault and Jim Lachey, trades Lachey for quarterback Jay Schroeder.

Schroeder struggles. The Raiders stumble to 7-8, but need only beat Seattle in the finale at the Coliseum to make the playoffs.

They lose, 43-37.

Attendance comes back only to 57,480.



Unsettling reports precede the season: Davis is talking to Oakland and Sacramento; Davis is unhappy with Shanahan.

The Raiders go 0-4 in exhibitions.

After they beat the lowly Chargers in their opener at home, a taut Shanahan says they’d had their “backs to the wall.”

At 1-3, Davis, who has never fired a coach, cans Shanahan after 20 games and appoints Art Shell.

The players rejoice at a return to the Raider Way. With Bo Jackson running wild, they start 4-1 under Shell, losing only when Jeff Jaeger misses a couple of medium-range field goals at Philadelphia.

With two games left, they’re 8-6. One more victory will put them in the playoffs.

They lose at Seattle and in the Meadowlands to the Giants.

Attendance drops to 51,000.



Davis finally announces his choice: Oakland, but probably not until 1992


March 13, 1990 Tornado Outbreak

On March 13, 1990, an early season outbreak of tornadoes ripped across the interior United States.   A total of 59 tornado touchdowns impacted the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.  Of the 59 tornadoes, 44 of the tornadoes occurred in Nebraska and Kansas.  The more well known tornadoes on the 13th include the Hesston, Kansas F5 tornado, and the Lawrence, Nebraska F4 tornado.  A description of the Fujita Scale ranking can be found here.  This summary focuses on the tornadoes across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas.  The Lawrence, Nebraska tornadic complex tracked northeast for 124 miles, setting a record for the longest track tornado in the state of Nebraska.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Hastings was fortunate to receive video footage of the tornadoes in the Grand Island and Lawrence areas. As seen in the pictures below and the video, the tornadoes were an ominous site as they wrought havoc across the Central Plains.

The maps below depict the location of the tornadoes across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas, and across the Plains region.  The table shows the strength (ratings) of the tornadoes.  As widespread as the outbreak of tornadoes was on the 13th, experiencing tornadoes in March is typically not a common occurrence.  Historically speaking, in Nebraska, 57 tornadoes have been reported in March since 1950.  Tornadoes have been reported during March in just 12 different years since 1950. The majority of those 57 tornadoes occurred in just three years:  16 tornadoes occurred in 2007, 15 in 1990, and 8 in 2009.   Based on the data, since 1950, the average number of tornadoes in March is about 1.


Since 1880, only one other March tornado event seems to compare in intensity to March 13, 1990:  The "Easter Sunday" tornado outbreak on March 23, 1913. Several tornadoes devastated the Omaha area on that fateful day. 103 people were killed, including 94 in Omaha. At least 600 homes were destroyed in Omaha and another 1,100 damaged. There were no less than four F4 tornadoes reported.

Now, let's look back at the facts and impacts of the tornadoes, by ranking, on March 13, 1990:


The F4:

 Highlights of the "Lawrence Tornado":

124 mile path from 3 miles south of Red Cloud to 3 miles east of Schuyler.  Longest path tornado in Nebraska recorded state history

Total of 9 injuries. No fatalities occurred.

Rated an F4 on the original Fujita Scale. Winds estimated between 207 mph and 260 mph.

Estimated width of 1200 feet, or about 1/4 mile.

In Webster County, 7 farms damaged. One farm was "wiped out".

In Nuckolls County, 53 homes damaged in Lawrence, included eight which were destroyed. Eight more farmsteads were hit in rural areas.

In Clay County, one business was destroyed, 11 were damaged, 20 farms were hit and 49 homes were damaged in Sutton.

In Fillmore County, power lines and trees were damaged in the extreme northwest corner of the county.

In York County, about a dozen farms were hit. One farm house 4 miles west of McCool Junction was destroyed. Near Waco, 57 train cars were derailed. The roof was torn from a motel at the Interstate 80 interchange south of York. An estimated 10,000 geese were killed by the storm.

The F3's:


Highlights from the tornado northwest of Grand Island:


25 mile path from 1 mile north of Alda to 3 miles southeast of Palmer.

No injuries or fatalities.

Rated an F3 on the original Fujita Scale. Winds estimated between 158 mph and 206 mph.

Estimated with of 600 feet.

In Hall County, 15 railroad cars were overturned at the old Army Ordinance Plant west of Grand Island. 47 rail cars were toppled on the Burlington Northern line northwest of Grand Island. One mobile home was demolished 5 miles northwest of Grand Island and several farms sustained damage.

In Howard and Merrick Counties, one mobile home was destroyed southeast of St. Libory. Extensive damage, with loss of cattle, occurred on four farms southeast of Palmer.

Highlights from the Minden/Lowell tornado:


36 mile path from 3 miles northwest of Minden, to 2 miles south of Cairo (passing 1 mile east of Lowell, 7 miles southwest of Shelton, and 6 miles west southwest of Wood River to 2 miles south of Cairo).

No injuries or fatalities.

Rated an F3 on the original Fujita Scale.  Winds estimated between 158 mph and 206 mph.

Numerous outbuildings were destroyed, trees uprooted, power lines downed, and a county bridge was destroyed.

Four farmsteads were heavily damaged southeast of Lowell, and a farm southwest of Shelton had extensive damage.

Highlights from the Carleton/Exeter tornado:

0.6 mile path from 1 mile north of Carleton to 6 miles southeast of Shickley, then lifted 3 miles southeast of Exeter.

No injuries or fatalities.

Rated F3 on the original Fujita Scale.  Winds estimated between 158 mph and 206 mph.

Damage to a farm north of Carleton.  Windows were broken and trees uprooted.

On the northeast edge of Strang, a mobile home was destroyed and a metal roof was pulled off of a building.

On another farm northeast of Strang, a large hog facility and outbuildings were destroyed, and downed trees blocked the highway.  Power lines were damaged.

Highlights from the Chester/Hebron tornado:

13 mile path from Chester to 5 miles east of Hebron.

No injuries or fatalities.

Rated F3 on the original Fujita Scale.  Winds estimated between 158 mph and 206 mph.

Trees, outbuildings, and propane tanks were damaged on the outskirts of Chester.

Two miles northeast of Chester, a farm home was damaged, a machine shed was destroyed, and there was extensive damage to a combine, tractor and truck.

A number of farmsteads were damaged southeast of Hebron.  Trees were uprooted, power lines downed, and fences damaged along the path.

The F2's:


Highlights from the Belgrade tornado:


13 mile path from 2 miles northwest of Palmer to 5 miles southwest of Belgrade.

No injuries of fatalities.

Rated an F2 on the original Fujita Scale.  Winds estimated between 113 mph and 157 mph.

The tornado damaged 10 farms in Nance County, including four farm homes.  Trees were uprooted, power lines downed, and outbuildings were damaged.

Highlights from the Wilcox tornado:


8 mile path from 1 mile south of Wilcox to 7 miles north of Wilcox.

No injuries or fatalities.

Rated an F2 on the original Fujita Scale.  Winds estimated between 113 mph and 157 mph.

Extensive damage occurred to farms south and north of Wilcox, where livestock were killed.

Outbuildings, and center pivots were destroyed and trees were downed.

Highlights from the Prosser/Wood River tornado:

9 mile path from 4 miles west of Prosser to Wood River.

No injuries of fatalities.

Rated an F2 on the original Fujita Scale.  Winds estimated between 113 mph and 157 mph.

Two farms were hit causing extensive damage to a farmhouse.  Outbuildings, grain bins, two barns and many trees were damaged or destroyed.

Additional tornadoes (F1 and F0):

Several F1 tornadoes and an F0 tornado also touched down on the 13th.  An F1 had a 13 mile track from 2 miles north of Smith Center, KS, and lifted just two miles south of the Nebraska border (6 miles east of Thornburg, KS).  An F1 tracked for 1.5 miles about 1.5 miles northeast of Esbon, KS.  At Lovewell Lake, a tornado began 2 miles south of the lake, and moved north northeast across the lake, lifting near Webber.   Several large trees were ripped from the ground and several boats and small buildings were destroyed.  An F1 tornado began 2 miles northwest of Shelton and moved northeast for one mile, causing minor damage.  An F1 tornado started 2 miles southeast of Fullerton and moved northeast to three miles east of town before lifting.  Trees were uprooted and power lines destroyed.  Finally, an F0 tornado occurred briefly in an open field two miles north of Kearney.






The Hunt for Red October reigns for its second straight week at the top of the box office


March 16th



“Escapade” by Janet Jackson continues holding the #1 spot in the Billboard 100 for the third week in a row