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Regular Season Summary and Playoff Preview

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NHL Standings

                 The Regular season has concluded and we have had several surprises.

The Montreal Canadiens claimed the Adams Division and Presidents’ Trophy on the last night of the season.  Likewise, the Calgary Flames claimed the Smythe Division Sunday.  The Blues and Capitals were the victors in the other divisions.  Washington was perhaps the NHL’s most surprising team, coming in 21 points ahead of their actual 1989-1990 finish.  That was the largest improvement.

On the other side was the New York Rangers.  The Rangers were 26 points behind their 1989-1990 Division winning campaign.  Scoring was their biggest problem as they scored only 229 goals, the second fewest in the NHL, just 18 ahead of the disaster that took the ice in Quebec. 

The Islanders, Kings, Blues, and Canadiens were the other teams who improved their finish by 10 or more points. 

The Oilers, Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Penguins joined the Rangers among the most disappointing in the league.  The Oilers were able to sneak into the playoffs thanks to playing well down the stretch and Vancouver limping to the finish.  In the case of the Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Penguins, they are all teams with discipline problems to go along with poor goaltending.  A lethal combination.  Chicago and Pittsburgh joined Quebec as the only teams to allow more than 300 goals. 

Toronto and Minnesota finished within 1 point of their actual finish.  New Jersey finished only 3 points less than they did in 1989-1990.

The Philadelphia Flyers are the only non-playoff team who were able to jump into a playoff spot.  That was mostly thanks to Patrick Division-favorite New York Rangers falling on their faces.  Philadelphia however, finished 7 points ahead of their 1989-90 finish, despite a late-season collapse after they had clinched a playoff position.

Quebec was almost as bad as advertised, going through 7 goaltenders, they allowed 368 goals, while scoring only 211.  They were 0-16-0 away within the Adams Division.  The Penguins were the second worst, but the dice finally started getting hot (7-2-2) just before Mario Lemieux went down with his back injury, and they were 4-18-0 since.

Overall, goals per game were slightly down, and powerplay percentage was high.  Home teams were 401-363-76.

 

               

 

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ACTUAL 1989-1990 Standings

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Now on to the NHL’s final league leaders

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Adam Oates took the points title with 128 points.  Yzerman came on blazing at the end, including a 5 point night the last game of the season at Philadelphia.  Yzerman was stopped on a few goalie rating draws late as him and the Red Wings were furiously trying to steal Oates’ points lead.

POINTS LEADERS

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GOALS LEADERS

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Steve Yzerman’s 4 goal night to close out the season took home the Goal Scoring race from Brett Hull.  20 Players across the league topped 40 goals on the season.

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ASSISTS LEADERS

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POINTS PER GAME LEADERS

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PLUS/MINUS LEADERS

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Washington’s Top-End Players were Dominant this Season

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WORST PLUS/MINUS

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PENALTY MINUTES LEADERS

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Dave Manson topped 400 Penalty Minutes.  He is the 4th NHL player to reach 400, and he only played in 59 games.  13 of his 21 games missed were due to a suspension as a result of a pregame brawl with Minnesota.

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TAKEAWAYS LEADERS

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Mike Ramsey’s stay-at-home presence was a critical component of the Sabres’ 1989-1990 success in preventing opposing teams from scoring (best GAA in NHL)

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HITS LEADERS

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Rob Ramage is the undisputed NHL hits king, with 54 hits on 77 tries, over a 70% success rate.

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FACEOFF PERCENTAGE LEADERS

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Bob Carpenter (right) has worked hard at all facets of his game and will undoubtedly be a finalist for the Selke Trophy

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125 Faceoff minimum

 

WORST FACEOFF PERCENTAGE

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125 Faceoff minimum

 

POWERPLAY GOALS LEADERS

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Cam Neely made opponents think twice before taking untimely penalties

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GAME-WINNING GOALS LEADERS

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Dino Ciccarelli had a staggering 15 game-winning goals, propelling Washington to a Patrick Division first place finish

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SHORT-HANDED GOALS LEADERS

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SHOTS ON GOAL

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Steve Yzerman puts that stick to good use, leading the NHL in both short-handed goals and shots (along with goals)

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SHOOTING PERCENTAGE

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Nobody made the most of their opportunities like Paul MacLean of the St. Louis Blues

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Minimum 95 shots on goal

 

GOALTENDING

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Will Patrick Roy’s Vezina Caliber Season Lead to Stanley Cup Redemption?

 

SAVE PERCENTAGE LEADERS

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Minimum 200 Shots Faced

 

GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE LEADERS

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Minimum 850 Minutes Played

 

GOALIE RATING PERCENTAGE LEADERS

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Nobody proved to be more consistent in making challenging saves than Buffalo’s Clint Malarchuk

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Minimum 20 Games Played

 

GOALIE WINS

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Patrick Roy chalked up the most wins in the NHL

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MINUTES PLAYED

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SHUTOUTS

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Patrick Roy was a brick wall for much of the season, posting 7 shutouts

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Games of the Week:

The Oilers Break Through to Clinch a Playoff Spot to Cap a Long Race With the Canucks

                There was a trifecta of games of the week this week.  Tuesday night, Edmonton and Vancouver got it on for one final time.  Vancouver would need to win to get help.  Edmonton needed just a win or a tie to vancquish the Canucks and punch their tickets to the postseason.  Vancouver limped into the game, missing young star forward Trevor Linden and star defenseman Paul Reinhart.

With numerous opportunities and failing to solve Kirk McLean, the Oilers started to show frustration.  Vladimir Ruzicka broke the scoreless tie halfway through the second.  However, Igor Larionov whipped the partisan Pacific Coliseum crowd iunto a fenzy when he tied it up at 1 with 13:41 remaining. 

The dam broke less than 2 minutes later as Craig Simpson scored to again take the lead.  The Oilers took advantage of a desperate Vancouver team and scored 3 quick goals in the final 5 minutes to seal the deal.

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Roy, Montreal Claims the Adams Division and Presidents Trophy

                The long awaited showdown between the NHL’s two top teams took place Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.  The 103 Point Bruins faced the 102 point Canadiens.  The winner would likely claim the Presidents’ Trophy and Adams Division.  Each team’s star goal-getter had to sit out, as Cam Neely and Stephane Richer watched from the press box, resting nagging injuries in preparation for an extended playoff run.

                The Bruins claimed superiority early, as Greg Hawgood beat Patrick Roy for the 1-0 lead.  Both goalies, Patrick Roy and Andy Moog were strong, saving a total of 8 or 9 goalie rating draws.  Moog had a shutout bid for the first 39:46 of the game, but Eric Desjardins put Montreal on the board on an inside shot in the closing seconds of the second period, to send the frenzied crown into intermission.

                The third period saw a rejuvinated Montreal squad throw 17 shots on Andy Moog.  With 4:47 left, Mike McPhee tapped in a rebound following a Claude Lemieux breakway to break the stalemate and claim the lead.  The Habs held for the final 5 minutes and took the game and the NHL lead.  They would take care of business the following day against Hartford to seal the Adams Division and Presidents Trophy.

                This was a very well played game, and could be a preview of the Adams Division Finals.  Neither team can afford to look past their first round opponent though.  Montreal plays a Buffalo team that makes you earn every goal, and the Bruins play the Whalers, who can strike from any line.  

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Steve Yzerman Steals the Goals Crown and Nearly the Points Crown on the Last Night of the Season

                Coming into Sunday at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, the Detroit Red Wings knew they were playing their final game of the 1989-1990 campaign.  They did know that Steve Yzerman was only 1 goal from tying Brett Hull for the goal scoring crown, and 2 goals from 60 goals.  He also came in 7 points behind Hull’s teammate Adam Oates for the points lead.

                The Red Wings and Yzerman put on a show.  Midway through the first period, Yzerman got on the board set up by Gallant to tie Hull at 59 goals.  In the second period at the 7:40 mark, he was set up again by Gallant on the powerplay for his 60th goal to claim the goals title.  5 minutes later, Yzerman set up Gallant for his 30th and Yzerman’s 64th assist.

                Just a minute and a half later, Yzerman dazzled again, completing the hat trick for his 61st goal of the season, with Gallant again assisting.  Stevie Y wasn’t done though.  Killing a Chiasson penalty early in the third period, Yzerman took the puck and broke past the Flyers’ point-men.  Streaking in, he beat Bruce Hoffort high for the short handed goal, scoring his 4th and 3rd variety of goal.  Hoffort was pulled from the 7-1 game. 

                With 4 goals and an assist, suddenly Yzerman was within 2 points of Adam Oates.  The Flyers were pressing late and trying to set up Yzerman to catch Oates.  In the closing minutes of the game, Yzerman had a few goalie rating draws that Pete Peeters gobbled up.  Yzerman ended up 2 points outside of the scoring race, but made it interesting.

                Meanwhile, the Flyers limp into a daunting 1st round match up against the Washington Capitals.  Philadelphia was 1-6-1 in their final 8 games, which included some very lopsided contests.

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MOLSON 3 STAR POINTS LEADERS

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Steve Yzerman wins the Molson 3 Star Points Award

 

Skaters

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Goaltenders

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Darren Puppa won the Molson 3 Star Award for Goalies

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3 Stars of the Week:

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Steve Yzerman:  The Hottest Player in Sports

 

  1. Steve Yzerman – Detroit Red Wings
  2. Dino Ciccarelli – Washington Capitals
  3. Ron Francis – Hartford Whalers

Steve Yzerman defended his first star of the week in spectacular fashion.  His hot streak leaves hockey fans wishing for another month of regular season, but alas, this is the end of the road for the Red Wings.  In his last 10 games, Yzerman has 29 points including 14 goals and 15 assists.  This week he added 5 goals and 4 assists to his break-neck pace, which included his 4 goal season finale in The Spectrum.  Yzerman stopped 2 points short of Adam Oates, but if the season was 1 more week longer, you would have to believe Yzerman would take the lead.  Yzerman was also 17 for 28 in the faceoff circle this week and had 8 takeaways.

 

Dino Ciccarelli takes home the second star of the week.  The 3-stars of the week is familiar territory for Ciccarelli.  This week, in 5 games, he had 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 total points.  He had a fight and was a +4.  He scored 2 more game winning goals to solidify the NHL lead of 15.  12 Of those game winning goals have come since January 1st. Ciccarelli also gave a rare fit of defensive hockey totaling 4 takeaways.

 

Ron Francis is the third star of the week.  It wasn’t the greatest week for his Whalers, but in 5 games, Francis had 4 goals and 5 assists and was a +4.  He also added 3 hits and 3 takeaways.  The Whalers are going to need Francis to continue to be at the top of his game, as they have a tough 1st round match up against the Boston Bruins.

 

TEAM PP% RANKINGS

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The Blues’ tenacious Powerplay was too much to handle on many nights this season

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TEAM SH RANKINGS

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Thanks to top-end defenders led by captain Ray Bourque, the Bruins were the NHL’s top penalty-killing squad

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TEAM GOAL DIFFERENTIAL

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Montreal has claimed the regular season crown

 

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TEAM PIMS

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The Blackhawks topped the 2000 Penalty Minute mark this season

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TEAM HITS

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TEAM FACEOFF PERCENTAGE

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SHOT DIFFERENTIAL

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Calgary did the best at takings shots, and as a result, had the best shot differential

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TEAM GAA

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Darren Puppa, Clint Malarchuk, and the Sabres sport the lowest goals against average in the NHL

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TEAM GOALS FOR

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Los Angeles is riding a 333 game streak without being shutout, an NHL record.  They were last shutout on March 15th, 1986.  Even without Bernie Nicholls, the Kings can’t be stopped

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TEAM ATTENDANCE

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The Penguins, despite a tough season, take the NHL’s attendance crown

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REPLAY VS. ACTUAL POINTS

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The Capitals exceeded their expectations more than any other team.  Will Terry Murray, who took over mid-season get any attention for the Adams Trophy?

 

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Playoff Preview

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First Round Playoff Schedule Set

*-If Necessary

 

4/4/1990

Minnesota

 

Toronto

 

 

4/4/1990

Chicago

 

St. Louis

 

 

4/4/1990

Edmonton

 

Calgary

 

 

4/4/1990

Los Angeles

 

Winnipeg

 

 

4/5/1990

Buffalo

 

Montreal

 

 

4/5/1990

Hartford

 

Boston

 

 

4/5/1990

New Jersey

 

New York I

 

 

4/5/1990

Philadelphia

 

Washington

 

 

4/6/1990

Minnesota

 

Toronto

 

 

4/6/1990

Chicago

 

St. Louis

 

 

4/6/1990

Edmonton

 

Calgary

 

 

4/6/1990

Los Angeles

 

Winnipeg

 

 

4/7/1990

Buffalo

 

Montreal

 

 

4/7/1990

Hartford

 

Boston

 

 

4/7/1990

New Jersey

 

New York I

 

 

4/7/1990

Philadelphia

 

Washington

 

 

4/8/1990

Toronto

 

Minnesota

 

 

4/8/1990

St. Louis

 

Chicago

 

 

4/8/1990

Calgary

 

Edmonton

 

 

4/8/1990

Winnipeg

 

Los Angeles

 

 

4/9/1990

Montreal

 

Buffalo

 

 

4/9/1990

Buffalo

 

Hartford

 

 

4/9/1990

Washington

 

Philadelphia

 

 

4/9/1990

New York I

 

New Jersey

 

 

4/10/1990

Toronto

 

Minnesota

 

 

4/10/1990

St. Louis

 

Chicago

 

 

4/10/1990

Calgary

 

Edmonton

 

 

4/10/1990

Winnipeg

 

Los Angeles

 

 

4/11/1990

Montreal

 

Buffalo

 

 

4/11/1990

Boston

 

Hartford

 

 

4/11/1990

Washington

 

Philadelphia

 

 

4/11/1990

New York I

 

New Jersey

 

 

4/12/1990

Minnesota

 

Toronto

*

 

4/12/1990

Chicago

 

St. Louis

*

 

4/12/1990

Edmonton

 

Calgary

*

 

4/12/1990

Los Angeles

 

Winnipeg

*

 

4/13/1990

Buffalo

 

Montreal

*

 

4/13/1990

Hartford

 

Boston

*

 

4/13/1990

New Jersey

 

New York I

*

 

4/13/1990

Philadelphia

 

Washington

*

 

4/14/1990

Toronto

 

Minnesota

*

 

4/14/1990

St. Louis

 

Chicago

*

 

4/14/1990

Calgary

 

Edmonton

*

 

4/14/1990

Winnipeg

 

Los Angeles

*

 

4/15/1990

Montreal

 

Buffalo

*

 

4/15/1990

Boston

 

Hartford

*

 

4/15/1990

New York I

 

New Jersey

*

 

4/15/1990

Washington

 

Philadelphia

*

 

4/16/1990

Minnesota

 

Toronto

*

 

4/16/1990

Chicago

 

St. Louis

*

 

4/16/1990

Edmonton

 

Calgary

*

 

4/16/1990

Los Angeles

 

Winnipeg

*

 

4/17/1990

Buffalo

 

Montreal

*

 

4/17/1990

Hartford

 

Boston

*

 

4/17/1990

Philadelphia

 

Washington

*

 

4/17/1990

New Jersey

 

New York I

*

 

 

 

Adams Division Semifinals – Buffalo (4) vs. Montreal (1)

Montreal won season series 4-2-2

 

The Sabres are not your typical 4th place team.  In fact, outside the Adams Division, they would have finished in second place in the Patrick and Norris Divisions, and 3rd place in the Smythe.  Buffalo’s team is based on sound defense and their Vezina Trophy Finalist Darren Puppa.  They allowed an NHL-low 215 goals against and have the second-best goal differential with +61.

 

On the other side, you have the Habs.  They won the Presidents’ Trophy with 106 points, outlasting the Bruins.  They were second in the NHL with 220 goals allowed and an NHL-best +64 goal-differential.  These teams are very similar in style, but between the pipes is a tried and true playoff performer in Patrick Roy.  It will be very difficult for the Sabres to put pucks in the net and they need to make the most of every opportunity.  Montreal’s Co-Captain Chris Chelios has been ruled out of Round One.  Good news on the injury front, Stephane Richer is returning for Game 1.

 

Key player:  Guy Carbonneau.  Centering the second line, he is one of the top defensive forwards in the NHL, and great in the faceoff circle.  He will likely be matching up with Buffalo’s potent first line when the series moves to the Aud in Buffalo.  If Montreal gets production from its second (and third) lines, they should be able to dispatch the Sabres.

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Prediction:  Montreal in 6.

 

 

Adams Division Semifinals – Hartford (3) vs. Boston (2)

Boston won season series 4-2-2

 

Hartford started the season afire, going 21-6-4 in their first 31 games and sat at the top of the NHL.  They declined since then and have even traded goaltender Mike Liut, who was responsible for much of their early season success.  Since December 9th, the Whalers went 19-24-6.  Peter Sidorkiewicz will be the man between the pipes, and he has been inconsistent in his workload this season, with an overall .878 save percentage and 3.49 Goals against average.  They also need Center Ron Francis to heat up and carry the top line, as well as have the second line of Krygier, Ferraro, and Young chip in. 

 

The Bruins are a well-rounded team built from the blue-line out, but also have steady goaltending from the Moog/Lemelin combo.  Cam Neely had 53 goals in the season, 21 on the powerplay, but cooled off down the stretch run.  They will need him to score some timely goals.  Ray Bourque and Glenn Wesley as a 1st pairing defense, along with a shutdown line of Bob Carpenter, John Carter, and Dave Christian or Peter Douris should effectively stifle the Whalers’ top scorers Ron Francis and Pat Verbeek.  They are a better disciplined team than the Whalers and should get more opportunities with the man-advantage.

 

Key player:  Peter Sidorkiewicz.  The Whalers’ best chance to upset the Bruins stands between the pipes.  If Sidorkiewicz can get hot, or even match Moog and Lemelin, it will give the Whalers a puncher’s chance to win in Round One.

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Prediction:  Boston in 5.

 

Patrick Division Semifinals – Philadelphia (4) vs. Washington (1)

Washington won season series 4-2-1

 

Philadelphia has crashed the playoff party, comfortably making the playoffs over the Rangers and Penguins, but they slipped quite a bit at the end of the season, going 2-7-2 in their last 11, including an embarrassing 8-1 home loss to the Capitals.  There are a lot of questions for the Flyers, such as will 44-goal scorer Mike Bullard be healthy enough to suit up?  Will goaltender Ken Wregget be able to return from his strained hamstring?  Can Ron Hextall return?  Lots of questions.

 

The Capitals were one of the most impressive and well-rounded teams in their conquest of the Patrick Division.  Their top line of Dale Hunter, Geoff Courtnall, and Dino Ciccarelli was arguably neck and neck with the Hull and Oates line for the most productive in the NHL.  Scott Stevens and Kevin Hatcher are one of the top defensive pairings in the league.  They also acquired one of this season’s top goaltenders in Mike Liut in exchange for a song.  Terry Murray can play whoever the hot hand is between Liut and Don Beaupre.  Mike Ridley centers the second line who can also contribute.   Washington is also playing their best hockey of the season going 14-3-2 in their final 19 games. 

 

Key Player: The Flyers’ Powerplay.  Philadelphia’s powerplay is ranked a paltry 19th in the NHL, facing a 5th ranked Capital Short Handed unit.  The Flyers will need to flip the script and take advantage because the Capitals will give their share of powerplay chances.

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Prediction:  Washington in 4.

 

 

Patrick Division Semifinals – New Jersey (3) vs. New York Islanders (2)

Season Series Tied 3-3-1

 

The Islanders took a commanding hold of second place in the Patrick Division, despite dealing with injuries on the blue line all season.  They got 95 points from their star Center Pat LaFontaine and also steady, reassuring goaltending from their combo of Mark Fitzpatrick and Glenn Healy.  The Islanders can score from 3 or 4 lines, which makes them dangerous.  Their weakness is on the blueline.  Other than Doug Crossman who had 15 goals, 73 points, and was a plus-21, they do not have any other player to turn to offensively or defensively.  2nd pairing defensemen Jeff Nortan and Gerald Diduck were a combined minus-58.  Don’t forget potential Selke Trophy candidate Brent Sutter and his 39 goals.

 

New Jersey is another well rounded team, who is supported by stability between the pipes in Sean Burke and Chris Terreri.  The top line of John MacLean (50 goals), Brendan Shanahan (32 Goals) and Patrik Sundstrom (101 points) is explosive and also one of the most efficient powerplay units.  The second line sports Kirk Muller, Sylvain Turgeon (if healthy), and newly acquired Peter Stastny, who have a combined 71 goals. 

The Devils are stronger on the blueline.  Viacheslav Fetisov and Bruce Driver are a well-rounded first pairing, and Ken Daneyko provides an ultra -physical, stay-at-home presence on the second pairing with impressive Alexei Kasatonov or Tommy Albelin. 

 

Key player:  Brent Sutter – Islanders.  Sutter, almost quietly amassed 39 goals and 80 points on the season as well as good play in his own end, and success in the faceoff circle.  If the Islanders are going to win this series, the second line is going to need to be productive.

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Prediction:  New Jersey in 7.

 

 

Norris Division Semifinals – Chicago (4) vs. St. Louis (1)

St. Louis won season series 6-2-0

 

St. Louis ran away with the Norris Division, being Adam Oates’ league-leading 128 points.  Brett Hull scored 59 goals on Oates’ wing.  All four lines can score, they have good defensemen, and their goaltending is by far the best in the Norris.  Paul Cavallini will likely be a Norris candidate, as he scored 13 goals and 57 assists and was a plus-41.  St. Louis’ powerplay was the best in the NHL this season, and they are facing the most undisciplined team in the league.  They have two good goaltenders in youngster Curtis Joseph, who has a slightly better goals against average than Vincent Riendeau, even though Riendeau finished 2nd in the NHL in shutouts with 5.  Joseph was 10-2-2 in 14 games started this season.

 

Chicago was expected to win the Norris Division, but instead floundered and finished in 4th place.  Their lack of discipline, plus an inability to find quality goaltending prevented Chicago from gaining any traction in the regular season.  They did not finish the season well, going 2-7-0 in their last 9 games.  Even though they lost the season series 2-6-2, the last meeting on March 11th was a 7-5 Blackhawks victory.  IF Chicago can stay out of the penalty box, and IF they can get some timely goaltending out of Jacques Cloutier or Greg Millen or Ed Belfour, and IF they can find some scoring outside of Steve Larmer and Denis Savard and IF they can shut down the Blues’ top line, then the Blackhawks will be in good shape. 

 

Key player:  Adam Oates was the NHL’s top scorer this season, so naturally he gets a lion’s share of the responsibility.  Multiple fronts open up from Oates including Brett Hull’s production, quarterbacking the NHL’s top powerplay unit, and manning the Blues’ second penalty kill unit.

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Prediction:  St. Louis in 5.

 

 

Norris Division Semifinals – Minnesota (3) vs. Toronto (2)

Season series tied 4-4-0

 

This series looks to be the most evenly matched of the first round.  The teams met on March 26th and Minnesota took the game 1-0.  The goal was scored by Basil McRae of all players.

Toronto sported two 100 point scorers this season in Ed Olczyk and Gary Leeman.  They also have a good 1st pairing defense of Brad Marsh and the NHL hit-leader Rob Ramage.  2 Of the most gifted passers in the league also represent the blue and white: Vincent Damphousse and Mark Osborne.  Wendel Clark returned to the lineup the last week of the season which will help.  However, Al Iafrate is out for the season with torn ligaments in his knee.  Tom Kurvers, who was acquired early in the season from the Devils for a first round pick will need to fill in the void left by Iafrate.

 

Minnesota is an explosive team with waves of production.  Neal Broten and Brian Bellows can score at any time from the top line and make for a lethal #1 powerplay unit.  Calder Trophy finalist Mike Modano centers the second line with Ulf Dahlen.  The third line is centered by 2-way dynamo Dave Gagner who potted 33 goals of his own.  Stuart Gavin and Gaetan Duchesne are on Gagner’s wings which makes for a tough 3rd line, who could hold Toronto’s dangerous 1st line in check when the series shifts to the Metropolitan Sports Center in Minnesota.  Head Coach Pierre Page has been guiding the team to play a more responsible style in front of Jon Casey and it appears to have paid dividends as they posted 4 shutouts since February 27th.

 

Key player:  Jon Casey.  Minnesota’s best edge they have over Toronto is between the pipes.  If Jon Casey can out-perform Allan Bester, the North Stars have a good chance at moving past the first round. 

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Prediction:  Minnesota in 7.

 

 

Smythe Division Semifinals – Edmonton (4) vs. Calgary (1)

Calgary won season series 4-3-1

 

The battle of Alberta should be an entertaining series.  Both Calgary and Edmonton had to play hard right through the final weekend.  The defending champions held off Winnipeg for the Smythe Division regular season title.  Edmonton held off Vancouver for the final playoff spot.  Calgary beat Edmonton 6-3 in their most recent meeting on March 30th. 

 

Calgary is looking to defend their Stanley Cup Championship, and sport the most complete lineup from the top-down.  Joe Nieuwendyk surpassed 100 points for the first time in his career with 105 points.  Sergei Makarov had a great rookie campaign with 27 goals and 52 points.  Doug Gilmour is the sandpaper that is so important in the playoffs as he will center a potent second line between Brian MacLelland and Joe Mullen.  Gary Suter and Al MacInnis are as good as any defensive pairing in the NHL and they have 50 goals between them.  Joe Otto centers the 3rd line between Theo Fleury and Paul Ranheim who combined for 50 goals from the 3rd line wing.  Goals come in bunches for the Flames.  Their only question mark is goaltending.  Mike Vernon and Rick Wamsley were not spectacular this season. 

 

The Oilers had an interesting season, trying to recover from Grant Fuhr’s multiple injuries and setbacks, and also finding a post-Gretzky identity.  Like the Flames, the Oilers can score through all 3 lines, and even have some fourth liners with a scoring touch in Vladimir Ruzicka, Mark Lamb, and Martin Gelinas.  Mark Messier’s 111 points and 49 goals led the team and he will garner some hart Trophy votes.  Messier also is a dominant penalty killer and can even shut down the opposition’s top line if need be.  Jari Kurri is on his wing with one of the best scoring touches the league has ever seen.  Tikkanen, MacTavish, and Anderson form a wonderful 2-way second line, and Klima, Graves, and Murphy are a dangerous third line, all players acquired in the Jimmy Carson trade with the Red Wings.  Edmonton lacks scoring from the blueline, but do offer some jam in Kevin Lowe, Craig Muni, Steve Smith, and Charlie Huddy.  Bill Ranford was serviceable in Grant Fuhr’s absence, with a .907 save percentage, 2.70 GAA and 28-22-1 record (compared to Fuhr’s .858, 4.29 and 3-15-1 record).

 

Key player:  Mark Messier.  If the Oilers are going to succeed, Messier is going to need to make his stamp on this team and make it his own here and now.  If Messier does not perform, the Oilers will fall quickly.  

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Prediction:  Calgary in 6.

 

 

Smythe Division Semifinals – Los Angeles (3) vs. Winnipeg (2)

Season Series Tied 4-4-0

 

This should be another closely fought series, this one with two if the NHL’s top 3 scoring teams.  Los Angeles led the NHL with 313 goals for, and Winnipeg was 3rd with 304.  The Kings’ Goals Against Average was 17th, while Winnipeg’s was middle of the pack, 10th.  Expect lots of goals and excitement in this first round match up.

 

Winnipeg looked to be on their way to locking up the Smythe Division, but stumbled in the second half of March, going 3-4-0, opening the door for Calgary to pass them.  They saw the Kings twice in the last week, both times in the Great Western Forum, where the teams split, with the Jets taking the first game 6-3 and the Kings taking the second 4-1.  Earlier in March, they split two consecutive games in Winnipeg Arena.  The Jets are another team who can put the puck in the net from three lines, and Dave Ellett is lethal from the point, scoring 27 regular season goals.  Teppo Numminen and Fredrik Olausson are one of the NHL’s best upcoming pairings who can do it all.  Goaltending is the biggest question mark.  Stephane Beauregard seemed to stabilize the position with a team best .909 save percentage and 2.57 GAA, but head coach Bob Murdoch has been non-committal about who will start the series between Beauregard and Bob Essensa.

 

Los Angeles has had a whirlwind season.  They started off at the top of the NHL, tapered off, then traded star forward Bernie Nicholls, almost lost the dressing room, then the ship was righted down the stretch.

The biggest question mark for the Kings is The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.  Gretzky has been out of the lineup with back problems that date back to a game against the New York Islanders March 22. In that game, he was checked from behind by winger Alan Kerr and went, head-first, into the chest of New York defenseman Ken Baumgartner. The lower-back injury has sidelined Gretzky since, and he has already been ruled out for Games 1 and 2.  Los Angeles will need someone to fill in the #1 Center position and depend on Luc Robitaille to carry the offense on the first line. 

Steve Duchesne is one of the catalysts for Los Angeles.  He scored 25 goals this season from the blue line including 6 powerplay goals. 

Kelly Hrudey is expected to play goalie for the Kings.  He had a .882 save percentage and 3.66 Goals Against average to match his 88-89 statistics. 

 

Key player:  Wayne Gretzky.  There is a large hole at center without the Great One.  In the final 5 games without Gretzky, the Kings were 1-3-1.  Before the injury, Gretzky was the second highest point producer in the league.  The Kings’ success is dependent on Gretzky. 

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Prediction:  Winnipeg in 6.

 

 

 

 

This Week In the News

 

March 26th, 1990

Blaze Kills 87 in N.Y. Social Club : Fire: An employee’s ex-boyfriend is arrested on arson and murder charges. Nightspot was operating illegally

 

MARCH 26, 1990 12 AM

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

NEW YORK   A fast-moving fire swept through the Happy Land social club in the Bronx early Sunday, turning a night of dancing into a night of death. Eighty-seven people perished.

By late in the afternoon, police had arrested a 36-year-old man and charged him with multiple counts of arson and murder. The suspect, Julio Gonzalez, had allegedly fought with his ex-girlfriend, a club employee, before the blaze.

The fire was the worst in the nation in 13 years and the deadliest in New York since the Triangle Shirt Waist Co. factory disaster claimed more than 140 lives exactly 79 years ago.

City officials said the 4-year-old club, frequented mostly by Honduran and Dominican immigrants, had been ordered closed in December for numerous building and fire code violations. It was operating illegally when the fire erupted around 3:30 a.m. EST. The flames were so intense at the front door of the club that firefighters responding from an engine company less than two blocks away were unable to gain immediate entrance.

“The fire was roaring out of the front two doors,” said New York City Fire Commissioner Carlos Rivera. Assistant Fire Commissioner Robert Unger said the intensity of the blaze and its rapid spread fueled suspicions of arson. The blaze was brought under control by 6 a.m.

 

When firefighters finally managed to enter the club, they discovered a horrifying sight on the second floor: 69 bodies, many stacked on top of each other. Most were dead of smoke inhalation. Some had been trampled.

“It gave me flashbacks of Vietnam,” said firefighter Frank Curtin. Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Palmer, a 28-year veteran of the department, added: “I can’t think of anything in my experience as traumatic as this.”

Many of the victims had tried to make their way down a stairway so narrow that only one person at a time could go up or down. There were no windows to use as emergency exits.

“Most of the bodies were in dance clothes,” said Christopher McCarthy, a specialist with the city’s Emergency Medical Services. “I saw wall-to-wall bodies . . . an indication of mass confusion and panic,” he told the Associated Press.

A Red Cross worker said some of the victims broke a hole through a wall to an adjoining hall in a desperate attempt to save their lives.

Firefighters said that many of the victims were huddled together and appeared to be mostly in their 30s or younger. Sixty-one of the people killed were men, 26 were women.

 

Some of the bodies that were upstairs were still seated upright at the tables.

 

“There was only one entrance--the front door,” said a firefighter at the firehouse whose engines first responded to the call. “There’s no back door, no fire escape, no nothing. Once the front door is on fire, you’re roasted.”

Fire Department spokesman Efrain Parrilla said the fire did not burn beyond the first floor but sent thick, billowing smoke up to the second floor.

“It is an understatement to say this is a tragedy of immense proportions,” said Mayor David N. Dinkins, who rushed to the scene shortly after the fire erupted. As he spoke, firefighters were pulling bodies from the building onto the street.

Only two women and one man apparently survived the blaze. The man, the club’s disc jockey, reportedly staggered out of the club with his clothes sticking to his burned skin. He was listed in critical condition at a nearby hospital late Sunday.

“He walked toward me. He couldn’t talk. . . . All we could do was treat him,” said Emergency Medical Services Lt. Roy David. The other two survivors were an elderly woman and the wife of the club’s owner, police spokesman Lt. Raymond O’Donnell said.

 

Police Commissioner Lee Brown told an evening news conference that Gonzalez, an unemployed Cuban immigrant who lives in the Bronx, had a dispute with his ex-girlfriend, the club’s hatcheck attendant, and was ejected from the building. “We believe (that) is the motive in this case,” he said. The checker left before the fire, which began inside the entrance near the coat check area, Brown said.

A police spokesman said Gonzalez came to the United States in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift, which brought 125,000 Cuban immigrants.

Investigators had spent much of the day searching for clues to arson in the charred shell of the small, two-story building in an impoverished Latino neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo.

Buildings Commissioner Charles Smith said that the cramped club, which measures about 20 feet wide and 60 feet long, had received an eviction notice in January because it had improper exits and was in the process of being condemned.

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New York has more than 700 neighborhood social clubs, many of them catering to patrons of particular ethnic origins. For many poor immigrants, they serve as a home away from home--a place to meet friends, dance or play cards. Some are also known to attract gambling, drugs and prostitution.

Many of the clubs serve liquor even though they lack formal licenses. Often, they do not conform to building codes. Six people died in a 1988 fire at another Bronx club, five died in a Brooklyn club fire in 1985 and 25 were killed in another Bronx fire in 1976.

The city has ordered 173 clubs to close because of various violations. Dinkins, appearing at the news conference with Brown, said the city would crack down on illegal clubs, including dispatching 20 teams of police and firefighters to make sure closed clubs are not operating.

But similar city efforts in the past have been futile, said one fire official who declined to be identified. “We shut them down one day and (they are back) the next day,” he said.

 

“People are literally taking their lives in their hands at these clubs,” said Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take--an army--to stop them from going to places like this,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) after visiting the scene Sunday. Serrano was recently elected to represent the Bronx.

 

By daylight, the Happy Land social club--part of a row of small shops and offices--was a charred wreck. Inside, firefighters and investigators stood amid blackened beams as they surveyed the damage, searching for arson clues.

 

The “Happy Land” sign over the entrance was partially burned, but ironically a yellow happy face in the center of the sign remained unscathed.

Hundreds of spectators stood behind police barricades watching the scene. Only a few hundred feet away, at a temporary morgue set up in Public School 67, friends and relatives crowded the small schoolyard waiting to gain entrance to identify victims.

 

Many of them carried photographs. Several wept openly in grief. In the early afternoon, one woman began shaking and screaming and was carried away on the shoulders of three men.

Noel Marquz, 22, and his pregnant wife, Katherine, 23, stood outside the entrance of the school, waiting to find out if three of their friends were among the dead.

“I’m afraid they went there last night,” Marquz said.

He said the club, which catered mainly to Hondurans, drew patrons from as far away as New Jersey, across the Hudson River. “It was a regular disco, and not a good one,” he added. “It was a place where you met friends.”

 

Benito Mejia, 32, had tears in his eyes as he spoke of a friend who had perished in the fire. “I’m feeling very terrible, very terrible,” he said. “I might have been at the club with him. Thank God I wasn’t. My sister had a baptismal party last night.”

Jose Cerrato, 30, called himself one of the lucky ones. He had been at the club most of the night and decided to leave less than a quarter of an hour before the fire started.

Cerrato described the atmosphere in the club as animated and amiable when he left. “There were no problems of any nature,” he said.

Five firefighters, including a battalion chief who broke his leg, were taken to Jacobi Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. At least six other firefighters were treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene.

 

The disaster is almost certain to renew pressure for fire inspection reforms.

The 1911 Triangle Shirt Waist Co. fire, which burned through the top three floors of a 10-story building in lower Manhattan, brought about the first major reforms in the city’s fire codes.

In the Triangle fire, many young seamstresses were trapped behind a locked door in their sweatshop. While firefighters watched helplessly, some seamstresses jumped to their deaths to escape the raging inferno.

The Happy Land fire was the most deadly in the nation since 164 people perished in a blaze at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Ky., in 1977, and the worst in U.S. territory since the loss of 96 lives during a 1986 fire at the DuPont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

March 29th, 1990

 

69 Points for Jordan

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

RICHFIELD, Ohio -- Michael Jordan scored 69 points tonight, the ninth-highest total in National Basketball Association history, as Chicago beat Cleveland by 117-113 in overtime and clinched a spot in the playoffs.

It was the fourth time Jordan had scored more than 60 points. His previous career high was 63 against Boston in the 1986 playoffs. He also scored 61 twice in 1987.

 

"This would have to be my greatest game," Jordan said. "When I scored 63 against Boston, we lost. It sure feels a lot better."

 

Only three players have scored more points than Jordan: Wilt Chamberlain, who did it six times (100, 78, 73, 73, 72, 70); David Thompson (73), and Elgin Baylor (71).

 

Jordan, who was averaging 33 points a game, scored 16 in the first quarter, 15 in the second, 20 in the third, 10 in the fourth and 8 in overtime.

 

"He's one in a million, one in a billion," said John Williams, a Cleveland forward.

 

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March 31st, 1990

 

Margaret Thatcher Tax Triggers Riot

by Ray Setterfield

Published: March 4, 2018

 

A plume of black smoke hung over Trafalgar Square on this day as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's poll tax triggered the worst riots seen in London for a century.

Officially called the Community Charge, it replaced the "Rates" – a system of local government taxation based on the estimated rental value of a house. It had been around in some form since the start of the 17th Century.

Mrs Thatcher decided instead on a flat-rate charge for every adult, earning her new levy the nickname "poll tax" as a result. It was a decision that would contribute significantly to her downfall.

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The tax was seen as deeply unfair, a common argument protesting that a millionaire and his cook would pay the same charge. It was a tax on individuals regardless of their means. An opinion poll at the time showed that 78 per cent opposed it.

With seven days to go before its introduction up to 250,000 people turned up in London to protest while many smaller rallies were held across the country.

The trouble in the capital flared when a group of protesters, sitting in Whitehall close to the entrance of Downing Street, refused to move when told to do so by the police. As arrests were being made placards and cans were thrown from the crowd.

 

The disturbance then quickly spread to Trafalgar Square, which became a battleground, and surrounding areas. It escalated into savage violence on both sides, the baton-wielding police being attacked with bricks, cans and pipes. Shop windows were smashed, overturned cars were set alight and much of central London was cordoned off.

By the end of the day 113 people had been injured, 45 of them police, and 340 protesters had been arrested.

Later that year Mrs Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of her party by her former Environment Secretary, Michael Heseltine. Although she defeated him, she did not win enough votes to prevent a second ballot and, pressed by her closest advisers, she resigned, fatally undermined by the poll tax.

Her successor, John Major, took over as Prime Minister, scrapped the Community Charge and replaced it with a system similar to the Rates, once more based on property value.

When Mrs Thatcher stepped down opinion polls showed that just two per cent of the public supported the poll tax.

 

April 1

Ultimate Warrior Defeats Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

https://www.tpww.net/1990/04/wrestlemania-6-results-april-1-1990/

April 1, 1990 from the Skydome in Toronto, Canada.

 

The Card:

– The Model Rick Martel defeated Koko B. Ware

– Demolition defeated the Colossal Connection for the Tag Team Championship

– Earthquake defeated Hercules

– Brutus Beefcake defeated Mr. Perfect

– Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown wrestled to a double-countout

– The Hart Foundation defeated the Bolsheviks

– Barbarian defeated Tito Santana

– Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire defeated Randy Savage & Sherri

– The Orient Express defeated the Rockers

– Jim Duggan defeated Dino Bravo

– Ted DiBiase defeated Jake “The Snake” Roberts

– The Big Boss Man defeated Akeem

– Rick Rude defeated Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

– The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan for the World Wrestling Federation Championship

 

Title Changes:

Demolition defeated Andre The Giant and Haku or the Tag Team Championship

The WWF IC Champion, The Ultimate Warrior defeated WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan for the WWF title

 

WM FACTS:

– The main event of Wrestlemania VI was the only Title V. Title match up as the WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan and the WWF Intercontiental Champion, The Ultimate Warrior.

Wrestlemania VI had an amazing 67,678 fans in attendance for what was billed as “The Ultimate Challenge.”

Wrestlemania VI was the only Wrestlemania held out of the United States, as it took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Incidently, it was the first WWF PPV to be held outside the United Sates.

– Hogan’s lost to the Ultimate Warrior was Hulk’s only Wrestlemania singles lost, thus making his record, a slightly blemished, 7-1-1.

Wrestlemania VI was Andre The Giant’s last Wrestlemania match, as Andre turned babyface after he and his partner, Haku lost to the team of Demolition, which consquently led to Andre leaving the Heenan family faction.

– Demolition won their third and final tag titles, as Ax and Smash defeated Haku and Andre, only to lose the tag titles at Summerslam 90.

 

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Movies

 

 

March 30th

 

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Opportunity Knocks and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles open in theaters

 

Music

Alannah Myles – “Black Velvet” maintains a second week as the top song on the charts

"Black Velvet"