Wayne Gretzky repeats as hockey's most valuable player . . .
Gretzky, the NHL's record scorer, has become a two-time MVP at age 20, this time in the pro hockey writers' closest voting. The pride of Edmonton beat St. Louis goalie Mike Luit by five points. Others to be presented trophies at lunch Tuesday in Montreal; Rick Kehoe, Pittsburgh, Lady Byng award as most gentlemanly outstanding player; Randy Carlyle, Pittsburgh, top defenseman; Bob Gainey, Montreal, best defensive forward; Peter Stastny, Quebec, rookie of year -- unanimous choice . . .
MetroSports of Rockville wins the 1981-82 ACC basketball telecast rights . . .
The Atlantic Coast Conference issued the word from Greensboro, and Leonard Klompus, who formed MetroSports in 1972 after graduation from Maryland in 1971, said he was speechless -- momentarily -- when Commissioner Bob James phoned his Rockville office to tell him he was a winner, with a one-year deal. Nine communications outfits had made presentations Tuesday in Raleigh hoping to secure the contract relinquished by C. D. Chesley Co. When Klomus regained his ability to talk, he revealed that MetroSports will syndicate 38 ACC games including the conference tournament -- and that John Wooden, the UCLA coach emeritus, will join Billy Packer in the majority of the "color commentary." The contract covers all cablecasts, nationwide, and television broadcasts in the ACC area from Georgia on up, plus several additional major markets . . .
Herb Brooks aims to see the N.Y. Rangers win the Stanley Cup right quick. In Madison Square Garden, at a Sonny Werblin-hosted press conference, Brooks said: "The Rangers had a two-year plan for success when they signed me (for two years). I'd better do it in one year." Craig Patrick, interim coach now elevated to v.p.-g.m., reckoned, "The Ranger players are going to respect this man." Brooks said he'll be tough but no "Gestapo type" . . .
Atlanta has executed the NBA's first retention of a free agent under the new "right of first refusal" system, by matching Seattle's offer for Steve Hawes, an estimated $400,000 per annum, multiyear . . .
Help! Help arrived last night for the desperate Chicago Cubs -- and departed in the first inning. That's how long it took new cleanup batter Bobby Bonds to fracture his right little finger -- it will be in a cast at least three weeks, a team spokesman said -- diving for a Tim Foli line drive in Pittsburgh.
Herman Franks, the new general manager, earlier in the day had bought the only ballplayer to perform for San Francisco, New York (A), California, Chicago (A), Texas, Cleveland and St. Louis in the past seven years. Franks was managing the Giants when Bonds broke in -- the first player to hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat -- and enjoyed seven mostly excellent seasons before he wore out his welcome and became a travelin' man. Batting .48 with the Texas Rangers' Wichita farm club, but driving in runs, and his next home run and RBI in the majors would be his 327th and 1,006th, respectively.
"I know he's 35," says Franks, "but he's got a young body and he's a class guy." And the Rangers, who Franks said wanted "one of our better players" (!), settled for undisclosed cash, much of it conditional.
When the ushers, ticket handlers and other employes went on strike at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium this week, Pirate player rep Phil Garner said before the athletes crossed the picket lines, "I don't think we'll get involved. If we had a labor dispute, we'd expect them to work." Where?
During Wednesday night's Pirate-Cub game, tires were slashed on 14 cars parked around the stadium. Most belonged to management personnel. One was Garner's.