THE NHL : Carson Gets Past This First Test

For the first few games after the trade that sent Jimmy Carson from Edmonton to Detroit, it was noted that none of the players involved had scored a goal. Strange, but true. Then Carson scored. Then Joe Murphy scored.

And then Monday night, when the teams met for the first time this season, everyone involved scored. Carson, Murphy and Petr Klima each had a goal in a game that Edmonton won at Detroit, 6-2.

For Klima, it was his first since the trade--in his 13th game for the Oilers. He said: “I could say I waited until today. Would you believe me?”

Probably not. But there was a lot of emotion involved in the meeting. Especially for Carson, who has been a controversial figure in Edmonton since quitting the team on the eve of the Kings’ game at Edmonton Oct. 15.


So how did it go?

“Nobody went after me,” Carson told Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal. “Nobody said unpleasant things. Despite what some people think, I do have some friends on that team. Mess (Mark Messier) and Kevin (Lowe) are still friends with Wayne Gretzky. But once the game starts, there is only one thing in mind, and that is to win.”

Still, Carson said he was pleased to have the game behind him.

“I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “All the interviews, the playing and replaying of what went on, it’s over now and life goes on.”


At least until Jan. 16, when Carson will have to play before the crowd at Edmonton. “That will be different,” he said. “It’ll be a little harder.”

The FBI warning that flashes on the screen at the start of home videos probably has never given anyone pause. It’s about as chilling as the “Do not remove this tag” label on mattresses.

But the message comes across loud and clear at the start of the Kings’ “The Year in Review 1988/89" video. Tough guy Ken Baumgartner, who was traded to the New York Islanders Tuesday night, delivers the warning without cracking a smile: “Motion pictures and video tapes are protected by copyright. Infringement done willfully may result in fine or imprisonment. So enjoy the tape. Show your friends. But if they want a copy, let them buy their own.”

Don’t get Bomber riled over $19.95.

Former Boston Bruin Coach Terry O’Reilly, on whether coaches should be at the mercy of star players for their jobs: “A team shouldn’t have an untouchable player. Look at Pittsburgh. Mario Lemieux has bad habits. You can’t discipline him. So how are you supposed to keep the other players in line?”

Pittsburgh Coach Gene Ubriaco, who is continually rumored to be gone because Lemieux isn’t too high on him: “When you’re in tough times, you don’t cut and run. You don’t be like a banana republic and change the people in authority just because we have some problems. You want to stay a banana republic? Fine. We’ve got a lot of them in the NHL. I’d like to think Pittsburgh’s not a banana republic. I know it’s not.”

Luc Robitaille of the Kings, who is becoming used to the idea that his name will come up in trade talk a lot, has talked it over with new teammate Larry Robinson, who played 17 years for the Montreal Canadiens.

Said Robitaille: “His first 10 years in Montreal, they were trying to trade him. And his last five, they were trying to retire him. . . . Management has talked to me and told me they won’t trade me. But isn’t it the day after the general manager gives you that speech that you’re gone?”


Jack O’Callahan, who is working at the Chicago Board of Trade after many years as a defenseman for New Jersey and Chicago: “I’m down on the floor, working in the pit. It’s like being a defenseman standing in front of the net--a lot of pushing, shoving, elbowing, sweating and cursing going on.”

Don Cherry, a former NHL coach who is now a commentator for “Hockey Night in Canada” on Canadian TV, has long supported Bob Probert’s efforts to return from his cocaine problems. When asked if he thought the Red Wing players would accept Probert, Cherry said:

“There’s no doubt, if he’s cleaned up his act, they want him back. They’re half the team they were without him. They love him. He can play. He is a presence. The word around the league is that it was a real shame what he did. But the guys on other teams are hoping he comes back. That, I don’t understand. I guess Bob Probert is the ultimate.”

Asked if he thought the fans would welcome him back, Cherry said: “I guarantee you, the Detroit fans will cheer him. He’ll get a standing ovation. No doubt about it.”

NHL Notes

The Buffalo Sabres are still the surprise team of the league, leading with 36 points and a winning percentage of .762 almost a third of the way into the season. . . . Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux has the longest scoring streak this season with points in 13 consecutive games. Wayne Gretzky has a 10-game streak going, during which he has 22 assists. Not coincidentally, the Kings are unbeaten in their last seven games.

Ron Duguay, released by the Kings this fall, is playing for Mannheim in West Germany.