Continued from page 1

With a chance to wrap it up, Coleman choked badly on former NBA all-star Hakeem Olajuwon. So on they went, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a spoon.

The two men breezed past (Tomas) Fleischmann, (Antonio) Cromartie, (Chris) Chelios, Jesper (Parnevik), (Craig) Ehlo, (Mark) Calcavecchia and Annika (Sorenstam). Somebody had to give, and it was Coleman. Unexpectedly, he butchered (Orel) Hershiser and slunk off into the night.

Clutching a celebratory brew, Giroux accepted the championship trophy as well as a batch of other ESPN-oriented gifts.

The names I got were pretty easy,” he said modestly, “except for that guy [Prioleau] from the Redskins.”

I don’t want this to sound like bitter fruit, but I don’t think Giroux had to wrestle with any hockey names. How in the world should I have been expected to spell Fedorov? I remember some years ago when this newspaper installed a new spell-checking program, it automatically changed his name to “Serge Federal.” Got into print that way, too.

After the event, I tapped Sara Walsh on the shoulder and hissed, “Didn’t you see the note on my entry form that said ‘no hockey stuff’?”

Even if I had nailed Fedorov, though, I don’t think it would have made any difference, though. I sneaked a postgame peek at the official list of questions, and my second one would have been (Nikolai) Khabibulin.