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Saturday 2/15

Penguins at Flyers

The state that gave us Punxsutawney Phil offers a Groundhog
Day-style weekend on ice. Today Philadelphia hosts intrastate
rival Pittsburgh, whose forwards Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux
are staging a mano a mano battle for the NHL scoring title.
Tomorrow evening (ESPN, 8 p.m.) the Penguins host the Flyers and
forward John LeClair, whose 33 goals placed him tied for third
in the league--behind the aforementioned Penguin duo.
Fox, 3 PM

U.S. Championships

"It's like everybody's looking at me as the bull's-eye," says
reigning U.S. and world ladies figure skating champion Michelle
Kwan (right). "Everybody's, like, trying to kill me." Tell me
about it, we can imagine Nancy Kerrigan, the 1993 champ, saying.
Kwan, 16, has won all six of her competitions this season. Her
only recent setback was the three-point turn on her driver's
test (darn those compulsory figures!). The mellifluous Dick
Button will be on hand to guide you through every last Lutz
performed by Kwan and challengers Nicole Bobek and Tonia
Kwiatkowski, plus the pairs competition (also tonight) and the
men's and dance events (tomorrow afternoon).
ABC, 8 pm sat, 2 PM SUN

Sunday 2/16

Daytona 500

To those who claim that nobody ever remembers who comes in
second, we respond, "Dale Earnhardt!" In three of the four most
recent runnings of the Daytona 500, the Intimidator (0-18
lifetime in this race) has finished second by a total of less
than a second: by .16 in 1993, .61 in '95 and .12 last year. "I
ain't supposed to win the damn thing," says Earnhardt. On the
other hand Sterling Marlin has taken the checkered flag two of
the last three years despite having won only four of his other
371 career races.
CBS, noon

Baseball, Minnesota

Big-bellied, soft-hearted manager Marty Scott narrates the final
installment of this 22-part series that chronicles the 1996
season of the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League. Meet
Tobias the Pig, who delivers baseballs to the home plate umpire;
Sister Rosalind, a nun who provides massages (for $7) near
section 103 of Midway Stadium; and Darryl, an aging slugger who
once played for a World Series champion in New York and hopes to
hit well enough to do so again. The Real World was never this
fun--or real.
fX, 7:30 PM

Monday 2/17

Fresno State at UNLV

When former Runnin' Rebels coach Jerry
Tarkanian (right) returns, with his Bulldogs, to coach against
UNLV in Vegas for the first time since he resigned in 1992, he
will ride down Tarkanian Way. Tark, who spent 18 seasons at
UNLV, still holds space number 1 in the lot at Thomas & Mack
Center (where his teams were 130-6); current Rebels coach Bill
Bayno parks in space 3 or 5. UNLV's drive for its first NCAA
tournament berth since the Tark era depends on guard Damian
Smith, who in six previous Monday TV games has averaged 22.7
points--more than four times his average (5.6) at week's end.
ESPN, midnight

Tuesday 2/18

Yankees at Tigers

In the summer of 1976 the Bird was the word. By June 28, when
Monday Night Baseball and first-place New York visited Detroit,
Tigers rookie Mark (the Bird) Fidrych was more than just the
American League's best pitcher, he was a rock star. Equal parts
Joe Hardy and Big Bird, Fidrych had endeared himself to a
Bicentennial-absorbed nation by sprinting to and from the field,
hunching on all fours to pat down the mound and talking to the
ball before hurling it 93 mph. The postgame interview recaptures
the Bird's goofiness: After winning 5-1, Fidrych told ABC's Bob
Uecker, "I couldn't ask for no much more." Nor could we.
CLASSIC Sports, 7 PM

All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.

COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN [Michelle Kwan figureskating]

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO [Mark Fidrych with hand on pitcher's mound]

COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO [Jerry Tarkanian]


Back in Black: Debbie Black of Philadephia, the point guard for
the ABL's Colorado Xplosion, played seven years in Australia for
the Tasmanian Islanders before returning last fall to the U.S.
Something of the Tasmanian Devil must have rubbed off on the
5'3" Black. At week's end her hyperkinetic style had resulted in
252 assists, a league-high 164 steals and two concussions. When
the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Quest visit the
West-leading Xplosion (Prime, Feb. 16, 9 p.m.), Black, a fan of
Aussie band AC/DC, promises that she'll "go hell's bells on the
court as always."