Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Has it really been 20 years?

The Great Greg W! from Y! posted a story about the Schoenfeld/Koharski "have another doughnut" incident from the playoffs in 1988, and I just had to comment on it. Here's a clip:

At the time this happened I was in high school suffering from a horrible case of senioritis, and recall doing very little that spring besides drive to the Strathmore Twin to watch [free] movies, play Earl Weaver Baseball on my IBM "Portable" PC, and watch the New Jersey Devils. We were still euphoric due to the team notching their first playoff appearance (thanks to 23 year old Johnny MacLean's OT goal on the last day of regulation) AND the team capturing the Patrick Division banner . . . and then this happened. I remember the circus surrounding Schoenfeld calling Koharski a "fat pig", the coach being suspended without a trial, and the bizarre "amateur referee" game that followed, which added an element to this postseason that was both hilarious and strange. Certainly, Devils hockey had never had this much coverage on New York news programs before this.

That was a feisty team under Jim Schoenfeld, who was named coach midseason. For better or worse, behind upstart GM Lou Lamoriello, this incident illustrated that this team was no longer to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, they eventually lost the series to Boston, narrowly missing the opportunity to get blown away by the Oilers slap Gretzky around for calling them a "Mickey Mouse franchise" just a few years earlier. But man, that was crazy at the time, and it was memorable for being the furthest into the playoffs a New Jersey team had ever gone.

Half the fun of reliving this incident was going through the NYT archives:

Devils Are Overmatched (May 7, 1988 - By ALEX YANNIS)
Schoenfeld Is Penalized (May 7, 1988)
N.H.L. PLAYOFFS; Devils Are Facing Their Toughest Challenge (May 8, 1988 - By ROBIN FINN)
Suspension of Devils' Coach Causes Uproar, Delays Game (May 9, 1988 - By ROBIN FINN)
Sports of The Times; Devils Made Their Points in Semifinal Series (May 16, 1988 - By GEORGE VECSEY)

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