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Footnote to Olympic hockey greatness

The US Olympic hockey players continue to make news even though they've gone their separate ways. Goalie Jim Craig and captain Mike Eruzione, however, probably never expected the latest bit of attention. Both players were passed over in the selection of the Eastern College Athletic Conference's all-decade first team -- a development newsworthy in its own, odd way.

The placement of these Boston University grads on the second team was perhaps most embrrassing to the 20-member panel of experts (writers, coaches, and officials), who had to cast their ballots before the Olympics.

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Selected as the No. 1 goalie was clarkson's Bruce Bullock. BU's Rick Meagher and Cornell's Lance Nethery out-polled Eruzione at forward.

Craig now plays for the Atlanta Flames of the National Hockey League. Eruzione, on the other hand, is still contemplating his future, which he decided soon after the Olympics would not include professional hockey. "I don't want to be remembered as a guy who played in the NHL for a few games and then got sent to the minors," he said on a nationally televised interview.

Some of his Olympic teammates, it is interesting to note, have already been shipped down to the minors after brief appearances with parent clubs. One, backup US Goalie Steve Janaszak, did not find the level of play in the American Hockey League to his liking and returned home. After his pro debut with the Minnesota North Stars (a 2-2 tie against the Buffalo Sabres), Janaszak was assigned to Baltimore of the AHL.

The fact that few, if any, of the US Olympians are expected to make it big as pros is simply a further testament to the magnitude of their Lake Placid achievements. One writer has aptly described this collection of scrappy Americans as "a fluid, frantic definition of teamwork." They indeed found strength in unity. Now, however, hockey fans must adjust to seeing them in situations not always as conducive to the inspired all-for-one-and-one-for-all super effort displayed at the Olympics.


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