Keeping the grade

I was watching the Michelle Pfeiffer classic "Dangerous Minds" late one night last week. (OK. Stop laughing. I couldn't sleep, OK?!) Her character was an...

I was watching the Michelle Pfeiffer classic "Dangerous Minds" late one night last week. (OK. Stop laughing. I couldn't sleep, OK?!) Her character was an inner-city school teacher. One way she sought to reach her students was to give them an "A" to start the semester. Her rationale was that anyone could get an "A" once, but keeping it would be a real accomplishment.

I keep thinking about this line today as the National Hockey League sets to embark upon its new season, its second one after the lost 2004-2005 campaign.

Most observers gave the NHL an "A" for making a solid comback last year. Some innovative rules changes and good old-fashioned fan outreach helped spur the league's return.

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