PHILADELPHIA -- The National Hockey League may be forced to put the Boston Bruins and Quebec Nordiques under a peace bond when they play if it hopes to end the embarrassing brawls between the teams.
The latest episode occurred Saturday in Boston, where seven players were ejected and the penalty total reached 226 minutes. In individual incidents of note, Boston's Willi Plett butted Gord Donnelly and received a match penalty, while Quebec's Mike Eagles speared Randy Burridge to earn a major and game misconduct.
Actually, a Bruins spokesman said, "It was just a day in the park compared to some other games with them. It happens all the time."
On Oct. 29, nine players were ejected and the penalties reached 222 minutes when the teams met in Boston. The lowlight of that one was a match penalty to Donnelly for kneeing Plett while he lay on the ice, an act for which Donnelly received a five-game suspension.
At least the new threat of suspensions and fines for leaving the bench deterred the players off the ice from joining in, as they did in Boston Feb. 26, when nine ejections and 231 penalty minutes were largely related to a bench-clearing brawl.
The teams no longer meet in preseason games, because they invariably deteriorated into tag-team wrestling matches.
Of the rivalry, Boston's Gord Kluzak noted, "What's that they say, 'Familiarity breeds contempt?' I think that's true."
Cam Neely of the Bruins said, "We do play each other a lot of times and I suppose both teams want to make a point to each other."
This season, they can't pin the blame on Dale Hunter.
Poor Word Selection
The NHL's image was tarnished on another front when microphones picked up the multiple obscenities Coach Michel Bergeron of the New York Rangers shouted at referee Rob Shick in Minnesota the other night . . . Defenseman David Shaw, named an alternate captain by Bergeron not long after he arrived from Quebec, had an interesting comment: "I'm going to have to show leadership on the ice. Not off the ice -- we have a lot of guys here with experience who lead things off the ice" . . . Some players complain about the pressure of playing in New York, but Shaw said, "There was a lot more pressure in Quebec. We'd have a normal practice and the next day there would be seven pages in the paper; no significance at all."
Ciccarelli the Best
No matter how many points Jari Kurri collects as Wayne Gretzky's linemate in Edmonton, the best right wing in the Campbell Conference is Dino Ciccarelli of Minnesota. After rolling up 96 goals over the last two seasons for a terrible team, Ciccarelli passed the midpoint of this campaign with 25. He has six goals and five assists in his last six games, despite the pressure generated by his arraignment on a charge of indecent exposure . . . Detroit center Steve Yzerman has a 20-game scoring streak. He has recorded 17 goals and 26 assists in that stretch . . . The Red Wings are prepared to buy out Mel Bridgman's contract and make him an assistant coach. Said Coach Jacques Demers: "He's the first guy I'd recommend for a head-coaching job."
White House Visitor
Bob Bourne of Los Angeles, a longtime worker for the Spina Bifida Foundation -- his son is a victim of the condition -- was a White House visitor Monday as one of several athletes named Sports Illustrated's sportsmen/women of the year . . . Toronto defenseman Borje Salming, 36, played his 1,000th NHL game Monday against Vancouver . . . One of the heroes for Canada as it captured the world junior championship in Moscow was center Joe Sakic of the Swift Current (Saskatchewan) Broncos. Quebec drafted Sakic with the first-round choice it received from Washington in the Dale Hunter deal.
Matter of Confidence
Two views of the difference between the NHL and the minors: Yvon Corriveau of Washington says, "Confidence plays a big part up here. Playing down there, with a lot of ice time, I got a confidence boost. But if you play up here and don't have that confidence, you won't go far." Steve Nemeth of the Rangers says, "Up here you've got to have faster speed and quicker thinking" . . . Of the changes in the NHL during his 2 1/2-year absence, Minnesota Coach Herb Brooks said, "One word spells it out -- parity. The fans benefit and it means good hockey night after night. You can't go by an old franchise you used to beat and expect an easy game. Look at New Jersey. They paid the price and went about their business in a good, patient way. Now you're not going to beat New Jersey without a lot of work and a lot of preparation."