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With the National Hockey League season upon us, it might be well to take note of three rules changes that have been adopted.

The first change requires the presence of a reserve goaltender, fully dressed in pads, chest protector and other gear, on the bench for all 70 games. There have been occasions in the past when the home team has had to supply a fill-in goalie when the opposition's goaltender was injured. The quality of the standby goalie often was suspect, since he usually was not a topflight professional or even good minor league material. A few years ago Ross Wilson, Detroit trainer, went into the nets against his own club after Boston Goalie Don Simmons was injured.

The warmup procedure will be different, too. Previously both teams went on the ice at the same time, took their skating and shooting practice, retired to their dressing rooms while new ice was made, then started the game. Now the home team is required to get on the ice 45 minutes before opening face-off, skate for 15 minutes, then allow the visiting team to do the same. The change would seem to deprive the home team of some of the advantage of playing before its own fans and that 30-minute cool-off after the warmup does not sound helpful.

The third change will assess an automatic $200 fine against "any player who swings his stick at another player in the course of any altercation." Stick fighting has been on the increase in the NHL in recent seasons. A $200 fine would seem to be healthily discouraging.


Truth in hunting is as rare as truth in fishing. The deer, or the bass, is always bigger in the telling than in the weighing. Now Kenneth A. Casavant of Roslindale, Mass. has come up with a device that, without scales, will permit a hunter to gauge the weight of his deer, dressed or undressed, with reasonable accuracy.

Some 18 years ago Casavant saw a farmer measuring the girth of a cow by stretching a tape around it just back of the forelegs. The farmer said the girth would tell him the cow's weight. As a hunter, Casavant thought the same idea might be applied to deer. He spent a lot of time in cold storage plants, measuring and weighing deer that were kept in them. After examining about 300 deer, he finally established a relationship between girth and weight. Then, doing research at the Boston Public Library, he discovered a method by which he could make a correlation between the dressed and the undressed weight of a deer. He thereupon made up a tape measure that tells the dressed weight on one side, the undressed weight on the other. Last fall, hunting in the Allagash region of Maine, he got 19 requests for the loan of his tape measure. Casavant decided to market it.

It is not exactly selling like hot cakes. Quite a few hunters, it would appear, would rather make a generous guess.


The British Association of Sport and Medicine held a two-way symposium on boxing a couple of years ago, and the proceedings have just now been published in a book, Medical Aspects of Boxing (Pergamon Press, 42 shillings). The usual arguments against boxing were presented—emotionally by Lady Summerskill, who would ban boxing, and cogently by some doctors who, in the main, urged more safeguards for the boxer rather than an outright prohibition.

Our fondness for boxing, which includes prizefighting, precludes any impartial report from this corner. Rather, we prefer to put down a few of the more telling arguments in the sport's favor, as they turned up in the course of debate:

Dr. W. L. Neustatter: "All I can contribute in indicative evidence after 30 years of psychiatry is how little I have come across psychiatric patients who have taken part in boxing.... Pleasure in boxing, as in all sports, is an artistic one rather than masochistic."

A.J.P. Martin, educator: "There is no more danger to young people in this sport, which is nowadays so well controlled and supervised both medically and otherwise, than in any other field of sport."

A. McDougall: "Since my association with university boxing in 1932 until the present day I have not had any student who has suffered any nervous instability or mental upset."

Dr. McDonald Critchlcy: "Is punch-drunkenness a disappearing disease?"

Dr. Philip Kaplin, member, Medical Sub-Committee, British Boxing Board of Control: "Chronic brain injury may occur here and there, but it must be very rare."

In the late rounds Jack Solomons, Britain's leading promoter of prizefighting, scored heavily by reminding Lady Summerskill how good a boxer her son had been when he was a student at St. Paul's.


For the past several years Roman Catholic bishops have been occupied with the Second Vatican Council, among them Bishop Robert E. Tracy, head of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana diocese. From Rome, Bishop Tracy has been sending letters back to the diocese to keep it informed of council progress and, occasionally, some personal matters. In one of these he described how he had spent one particular evening:

"Saturday, Oct. 2.... It is 9:15 p.m. and I am sitting on the little balcony off my room at the Rome Hilton, high up on Monte Mario, the highest spot from which to overlook the Eternal City.... As one's eyes become accustomed to the begins to make out the jagged form of that granddaddy of all the stadiums of the world—the Roman Colosseum.

"On the edge of my balcony (for the sake of good reception) is a transistor radio which emits surprising volume. However, what I am listening to is not the ordinary radio fare of Rome at all.... I am listening to words of music from the other side of the world, from a stadium which is many miles away from the ancient Colosseum—the stadium at Gainesville, where LSU is battling Florida. The shortwave overseas broadcast to our armed forces came in very clearly.... Two bobbles within the five still did not keep the game from being one of the most gripping contests since Constantine bested Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge."


Though Luci Baines Johnson has a herd of hamsters in the White House, which is about as accepted as a hamster can get, the status rodent pet of 1966 may be the gerbil (pronounced "jerbil"), which Webster defines as "any of various Old World burrowing leaping desert rodents forming a subfamily of the vole family (Cricetidae)."

That does not sound too attractive, but the hamster surmounted a similarly dull dictionary description—"any of several thick-bodied, short-tailed Old World rodents (of Cricetus and allied genera) having very large cheek pouches"—and achieved vast popularity.

What the gerbil has going for him is the Creative Playthings catalog, which says that he is tame, does not bite or attempt to escape, is hardy, travels well, is clean, keeps his cage dry and odorless, eats anything, is curious and friendly and likes people. Few pets can match that.

You can get a hamster for $2, but a gerbil will set you back $8, and a mated pair goes for $15, plus shipping charges.

Luci Baines, get with it.

The annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville is always a 50,000-seat sellout. This year, with both teams on a rampage, tickets for their November 6 meeting are very hard to come by, even though there are 10,000 additional tickets on sale. These are seats planned for the Gator Bowl—but not yet built. The new stands will be completed on time, Contractor William E. Arnold Jr. has assured anxious officials of both schools. Arnold bought a block of tickets for the game and told his workmen: "These are your seats. Get them ready and you'll be my guests. If you don't get them ready, you won't have any seats."


In 1958 the Jicarilla Apaches decided that the deer on their reservation in northern New Mexico exceeded tribal needs and they cautiously offered 300 permits, at $20 each, to outside hunters. This worked out so well that, since then, hunters have been invited back each year, with as many as 1,500 permits offered in some years. Hunters found ample targets and took some of the biggest mule deer trophies in the record book. Among the top 48 trophies of this species in the current Boone and Crockett record book, six were taken on Jicarilla land within the past few years, and 16 other Jicarilla mule deer are listed as records, too.

But last January a newly elected council decided to cancel the paleface permits. The herds should be conserved, the council said. During the summer, however, the tribal leaders restudied the situation and changed their minds. They made 600 permits available for what promises to be another trophy season (Oct. 30 to Nov. 14).

The ability to take a position and then reverse it when new facts are learned is not always found in public officials. Geronimo lacked the knack, but the new generation is sharper.


The world's longest javelin throw is 300 feet 11 inches, and it was made in Oslo last year by Terje Pedersen. Last month in Karlsruhe, during the West Germany-Great Britain meet, John Fitzsimons made what was perhaps the world's shortest javelin throw: 9 feet 10 inches, or about a foot longer than the javelin itself. And Fitzsimons was throwing in dead earnest.

Fitzsimons had fouled on his first attempt, and on his subsequent throws his javelin kept landing flat; to count, the javelin has to stick in the ground, or at least make a distinct mark. Faced on his final attempt with the gloomy prospect of being disqualified and thereby losing even the single point for finishing in fourth and last place, the indomitable Fitzsimons hurled the javelin into the ground at his feet, precisely 9 feet 10 inches distant.

Alas, his last-minute unheroics were in vain. Britain lost by 30 points.


The only golf team from a Communist country entered in the Canada Cup competition in Madrid was that of Czechoslovakia, a country that discouraged golf when the Communists took over after World War II.

Golf survived nevertheless. There are two 18-hole golf courses in Czechoslovakia, one in Marienbad, the other in Karlsbad. In addition, there are a six-holer and a nine-holer, one of them maintained by the players, who manicure the greens and trim the fairways themselves. Some 700 or 800 golfers play the game. And the Czechoslovak Golf Association plans to apply for membership in the European Golf Association and the World Amateur Golf Council.

In Madrid the International Golf Association presented each Czech player with a golf bag, clubs and a dozen balls. There were tears in the eyes of the recipients. After all, the president of the Czech association plays with hickory-shafted clubs made in the '20s.

When Lane Walsh taught himself place-kicking he wore a ski boot, and when he reported for football for the first time in his life this year at the University of Utah he put his shoulder pads on backward. But thus far this season he has scored on every attempt. That's 12 out of 12. Still wearing that ski boot.



•Coach Duffy Daugherty, asked how so many Hawaiians like Dick Kenney, his barefooted kicker, got to Michigan State: "First, they swim to California."

•Jack McMahon, Cincinnati Royal coach, on the night he rushed Nate Bowman to a hospital with an ankle dislocation: "Here's a 6-foot-10 guy in sneakers, and the lady's asking me, 'Profession?' "

•Tommy Prothro, the UCLA football coach, pleading with the press: "It isn't necessary to say that a football team loses. I prefer the language of the Olympics, in which you say somebody won second."