A veteran sports writer yearns for the good old days when the players were ballet dancers, not butchers, when big business didn't run the game and NHL presidents weren't hypocrites, when teams weren't spoiled by high salaries, when there were no slapshots. Fischler bemoans the rise of hockey cops and marauders, and scores heavily against the notorious Flyers, but also slashes at the fans, who, frighteningly enough, goad their favorites into violence and even assault players. The only real solution -- and one can only agree -- is more and heavier penalties; but hockey management -- presidents, referees, etc. -- are unwilling to deprive the game of its machismo and its box office cash. The author therefore suggests other changes to make for a better, safer game: no red line, no curved sticks, no helmets (and he doesn't like blood?). He mourns the Canadians' humiliating victory over the Russians. Because business and violence have become the rule, we have forgotten that hockey was meant to be a game and an art. Fischler takes some gratuitous shots at dirty players and lousy teams; and he gives assists to favorites (Orr has lost his verve; Tkaczuk is now the man); he lauds some hall-of-fame-neglected heroes. There are slippery moments here, and some unnecessary roughness, but ali in all Fischler organizes a formidable power play against the NHL establishment -- on the other hand, that's not very difficult.