March 02, 1981 12:00 PM

Madeline Triffon, 26, admits to drinking on the job—she’s been the wine steward (sommelière) at the chic La Fontaine restaurant in Detroit’s Renaissance Center since it opened four years ago. Her youth—and gender—are rare in her profession. Madeline, who was applying for a waitress’s job, says her hiring “was a fluke.” In fact, though, Madeline’s wine-tasting skills go back 21 years. When Madeline was 4, her divorced mother took her to Athens, where in the European tradition she was weaned on wine. Madeline attended schools in Greece and Italy before enrolling at Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan. (Her father, Chris Triffon, a frozen foods distributor, lives in suburban Southfield.) To help pay her way, Madeline waitressed in local restaurants—then mastered wines as apprentice to Detroit area sommeliere Carol Palumbo. The nonliquid highs of the job include decanting for connoisseurs like Rod Stewart; the gaucheries run to being asked to serve a burgundy on the rocks or make a loud pop in opening champagne, an oenological no-no which “destroys my credibility.” For the single sommelière, who lives in Taylor, Mich., there’s one other drawback. “I only drink a glass a night when I’m working,” she says. “I have a low resistance to alcohol.”

Gary Green could be content simply to have lasted a whole season as coach of the Washington Capitals, a luckless expansion team which had chewed up five coaches in its first six years in the National Hockey League. But Green, plucked from the Capitals’ Hershey, Pa. farm club, took over early last season to become, at 26, history’s youngest NHL coach—and led the Caps to their best record ever. This year he’s gearing up his team (including, left to right, Guy Charron, Bengt Gustafsson Bob Kelly and Dennis Ververgaert) for a shot at the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring. A native of rural Tillsonburg, Ont., Green had hockey dreams as soon as he could lace up skates. He played varsity and refereed while speeding through the University of Guelph in two years to make the Vancouver Blazers training camp by 1974. But the 5’9″, 190-pound left wing soon decided he was skating on thin ice. “I had lots of desire,” he says, “but not enough talent.” He bulled his way into the presidency of a hockey school, coached the Junior League Peterborough Petes to the 1979 national championship, then joined Washington’s farm system. He was there only two months before the Caps called, and since then he’s been a missing person to wife Sharon and Jennifer, 1. His eye is on the net. “I want the Stanley Cup here in Washington.”

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