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December 07, 1992 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-12-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - December 7,

- Page 3
r'

Ifew / o /46 f e/- Dejfeexaf J / ort'"
Norton
Former Wolverine discusses the
Olympics, Michigan and New York

John Niyo

Seasons Greetings
from Barry Bonds
We're talking some serious Christmas shopping money here:
Barry Bonds is about to sign a six-year, $43-million contract with the
San Francisco Giants. And he hasn't even figured out yet how to ensure
World Peace. Hell, he hasn't even figured out how to make it to a World
Series.
But this is baseball, where the bats are still wooden and so are many
of the heads. Over the last decade, the salaries have been escalating
faster and faster. The players have been getting lazier and lazier. And the
fans have been staying home to watch basketball.

Jeff Norton owns a lengthy
*hockey resume. The captain of the
1987 Wolverines played at Michigan
between 1984 and 1987 and cur-
rently holds the fourth spot on the
all-time defenseman scoring list. Af-
ter his years at Michigan, Norton
went on to play for the 1988 U.S.
Olympic team in. Calgary.
Since '88, he has played in the
NHL for the New York Islanders and
is one of the leading scorers on the
team this season. Daily Hockey
Writer Brett Forrest spoke with
Norton recently regarding his
travels in the hockey world.
Daily: How valuable was your
Olympic experience?
Norton: It was great, one of the
best years of my experience. The
whole tour, playing with the guys,
traveling the world - it was a great
year.
D: How does the level of play
compare to college and the pros?
N: It's a good stepping stone to
the pros. From high school to col-
lege, then that next step is a little
big. It really helps your skating. In
this league everybody can skate. In
college there are a couple good lines
on each team with pretty good
skaters. It's getting better and better.
But with the Olympic experience, it,
just brings out that much more. That
step from college to pros is a tough
step, but it makes it a little bit easier.
D: What is your stance on using
professional players to assemble a
Dream Team for the 1994 games in
Lillehammer?
N: I don't like it, I like the ama-
teurism of it. In 1980 it was a big
upset. I didn't even watch the
(basketball) Dream Team this sum-
mer because they were going to win
the gold regardless and that's not
exciting to me. I think the Olympics
are amateurs making a stepping
stone to the pros. If guys have done
well and they've gone on to make a
*pro career out of it - great. I don't
think they should go backwards and
take someone's spot. It's the dream
of a kid.
D: Is that why you decided to
play for your country rather than go-
ing to the professional ranks straight
from Michigan?

N: Oh yeah. I had the opportunity
and you'd never pass that up, you'd
be crazy to pass that up. It's a once
in a lifetime chance. It. was an oppor-
tunity for me to play for my country,
represent my country and the Uni-
versity. Winning aside - it would
have been nice to win - I think we
represented ourselves well on the ice
and off the ice and for the U.S.
That's basically what it is - com-

three times as many. If you make the
playoffs, it is a lot of games. But it's
an adjustment. It's taken me a cou-
ple of years to adjust to it. I've been
injured quite a bit so I haven't
played that many full seasons..
In New York, the media is ev-
erywhere. We always hear about the
Rangers and us. But we're building
a team, getting better and better.
They can write all they want, all the

been a struggle. He's a great coach,
a great teacher. He's a great bench
coach. He's been there. He's been to
the Finals. He's won it four times,
been there five times.
We know when we get in that
situation where the team's getting
better, when we're getting into the
playoffs, he's going to settle things
down, he's going to direct us in the
right way. A lot of that comes from
the bench. You're looking at your
coach, how poised he is, how rattled
he is. If he gets rattled, then you get
rattled.
But sometimes, like tonight (a 6-
3 loss to Philadelphia), we get blown
out, it's done, it's over with. Re-
group, we're playing tomorrow
night. That's the nice thing about
hockey and the NHL. You don't
have to wait a week like football.
You can redeem yourself tomorrow.
D: What does it mean to you to
have gone to Michigan?
N: I would do the same thing
over again. Michigan was great. I've
met all kinds of Michigan alumni
through the game. Especially on the
Olympic team they would always
come up to me. I've traveled in the
NHL through cities, someone is al-
ways coming up to me saying they
went to Michigan too.
I'm proud of the fact I went to
Michigan. It's a great university
academically, socially and athleti-
cally. When I mention it to people
who don't know I went, it's really an
eye-opener. It makes you feel good
that you went to a good university,
went through it and got your degree.
I am about a class away from
getting my degree. I've gone back. I
have got one class I've been work-
ing on for about a year, a paper. As
soon as I get that done, I'll be fin-
ished with school. I always look up
the school to see what's going on
back there. My wife and I both went
to Michigan so we're 'M Club'
people. We keep up to date on ev-
erything back there.

0

.

Anyway, Barry (and I think we can start calling you by your first
name only now - just like Bo or Deion - without worrying about
people confusing you with Barry Lyons), you've suddenly come into
some cash.
Some might stop short and just
call it seven million a year. Wrong.
It's $7,166,666. Repeat after me:
seven-point-one-six-seven. (We'll
round up.) That insignificant little
.167 at the end just happens to be
an extra Ferrari Testarossa every
year. A stocking stuffer. Maybe for
the wife, or someone special.
That extra pocket change could
come in handy, you know. Like
when you suddenly need a new
b : townhouse and you're in a pinch.
Or when that herd of pet elephants
absolutely, positively has to be
there overnight. Or when they jack
up the toll for the Golden Gate
Bridge. Hey, no need to search
under the car seat anymore, Barry.
AP PHOTO And no more flying coach, either.
Santa? First class from now on.
Baseball players, when they get these appalling contracts usually say
the following (in order):
1) "I'm just glad it's all over with."
2) "I just wanted my family to have some security."
3) "Damn, I probably could've gotten even more out of those saps."
. .
So Barry, now that it's all over with, and now that your family is
secure (even though you probably could've gotten even more), there's
just one thing left.
What are you going to do with all of it?
Well, a man's got to eat. But $7.167 million works out to
approximately $19,635.62 for food per day for a year. Hope you're
hungry. And you better leave a nice tip. Always.
But you've got to have a roof over your head, right? And I'm sure
you've got your eye on a nice multi-million dollar mansion on the Bay.
Remember, though, to keep your humility about you. With that first
year's salary you could pay $300 monthly rent for 1,990 people for a
year. You sure could make a lot of friends back here where I go to
school. I know a few Pittsburgh fans that could forget about all those
League Championship Series flops you've had. At least think about it,
OK?
See NIYO, Page 7

ti
t
..#

Former Olympian and Michigan hockey player Jeff Norton checks a
Canadian player in one of the 1988 Olympic teams' exhibition games at Joe
Louis Arena. Norton, who played for the Wolverines from 1984 to 1987, is
now playing for the New York Islanders in the National Hockey League.

peting, socializing with everybody
else, interacting. It was fantastic for
me.
D: How difficult is it playing in
New York with all eyes on you and
the bloodthirsty media attuned to
your every step? Does the grind of
an 84-game schedule wear on you as
well?
N: That's an adjustment. The
games, from college to here, are

negative stuff. One day you're a
goat, one day you're the hero. That's
just how the media sells papers. You
take it with a grain of salt. If you
want to read it, read it but don't read
into it.
D: What is it like to play for
coach Al Arbour, a real coaching
legend?
N: It's great. We haven't had the
teams he's had in the past so it's

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