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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS | NHL NOTES

Capitals' Firing Could Lead to Wilson's Hiring

June 04, 1997|ELLIOTT TEAFORD and HELENE ELLIOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Jim Schoenfeld was fired Tuesday as coach of the Washington Capitals, which could clear the way for former Mighty Duck coach Ron Wilson to become the Capitals' next coach.

Wilson, who could not be reached for comment, has interviewed twice with Capital owner Abe Pollin.

Pollin, who fired general manager David Poile on May 12, followed suit by releasing Schoenfeld after a 3 1/2-year run.

"I can't say what was wrong. The only thing that I can say is that we obviously didn't succeed," Pollin said. "I guess in this business, success is what the determining factor is."

George McPhee, vice president of hockey operations for Vancouver, has been interviewed twice for the Capitals' general manager's job. Wilson, a Vancouver assistant for three seasons, worked with McPhee with the Canucks before taking the Duck job in 1993.

Washington finished 33-40-9 this season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

Meanwhile, former Buffalo Sabre General Manager John Muckler said that although he has spoken to Duck General Manager Jack Ferreira about coaching the Ducks, he does not yet have an interview scheduled.

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Patrick Marleau said he hasn't heard from the Kings. Nor have Roberto Luongo, Daniel Tkaczuk or any of the other top draft prospects who attended a news conference Tuesday before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Fear not. The Kings, who have the third and 15th choices in the draft, are still scheduling interviews with possible picks.

General Manager Dave Taylor and chief scout Al Murray arranged to visit the family farm of Marleau, a 6-foot-1 1/2, 190-pound center who is rated third by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau. They're also planning to meet with top-ranked prospect Joe Thornton, Tkaczuk and top-rated goalie Roberto Luongo. They will talk to Finnish center Oli Jokinen shortly before the draft, which will be held June 21 in Pittsburgh.

However, the Kings' chances of getting Thornton, a 6-4, 198-pound center, are slim because the Boston Bruins have declared they intend to keep the No. 1 pick.

Marleau said he'd happily go to Los Angeles if the Kings draft him. "I'm just happy to go anywhere," said Marleau, who scored 51 goals and 125 points this season for Seattle of the Western Hockey League. "I'm looking forward to getting my career under way. I'm not sure if I'm ready to step in. That's something I'd have to see in training camp."

Tkaczuk, a 6-1, 190-pound center, scored 45 goals and 93 points for Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League.

NHL Notes

The three power-play goals scored by the Red Wings and Flyers in the first period Tuesday tied a finals record for most power-play goals in a period by both teams. It had been done 16 previous times. . . . The Red Wings have outshot their opponents in 17 of 18 playoff games and were tied in shots in the other game. . . . Philadelphia's John LeClair extended his point-scoring streak to nine games, matching the longest in the playoffs. . . . Flyer goaltender Garth Snow became the seventh American-born goalie in NHL history to play in a Cup finals game. . . . Fox television got its second biggest hockey rating when the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals between Detroit and Philadelphia drew a 4.0. The only higher rating for hockey for Fox came for the 1996 All-Star game, when the network introduced the "FoxTrax," which shows the path of the puck.

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