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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

This Time, All the Miracles Belonged to the Opponent

April 28, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Marty McSorley, Sean O'Donnell. Every five years, like clockwork, the Kings reach the playoffs and then commit an utterly senseless gaffe that reminds everyone of the reason they've never won a Stanley Cup.

In 1993, McSorley killed their momentum when he was caught using an illegal stick, but at least the Kings reached the finals that season before losing to Montreal in five games.

Five years later, finally back in the playoffs, it appears as if they won't get past the first round.

O'Donnell's five-minute major penalty Monday night allowed the St. Louis Blues to score four third-period, power-play goals and come from three goals behind to win, 4-3.

There no doubt will be those who claim referee Don Koharski was too harsh in assessing the penalty for fighting. They might be right. But, with the Kings leading, 3-0, and en route to climbing back into the series with a victory in Game 3 after two losses in St. Louis, O'Donnell shouldn't have taken the risk. He shouldn't have lost his cool.

He created another Miracle on Manchester, this one for St. Louis.

*

If the two Jerrys, West and Buss, are at odds over money, that's one thing. . . .

But if West is bothered because Buss wouldn't approve the Eddie Jones for Mitch Richmond trade, the Lakers' resident genius--for now--is engaging in revisionist history. . . .

As brilliant as he is, West isn't the most decisive of executives, even when the decisions are slam dunks. . . .

While serving as a consultant to the Lakers, he went back and forth over whether they should draft Magic Johnson or Sidney Moncrief before recommending Johnson. . . .

In this case, West wanted Richmond one minute, Jones the next and didn't complain at the time when Buss chose Jones. . . .

Buss' instincts haven't often let him down during his 19 seasons as the Laker owner. . . .

But I wish he'd wait until we see whether the Lakers go four and out in the next series, or 0-3 in the rest of this one against Portland, before he decides Del Harris' future with the team. . . .

Not many NBA coaches know their business better than Harris, but he might be too thin-skinned for Los Angeles. . . .

He recently played a tape in the dressing room of critical comments by Chick Hearn and Stu Lantz, believing the players would be as incensed as he was. . . .

The players weren't incensed. . . .

NBC's Jim Gray reported Sunday that Kobe Bryant is still suffering growing pains, not mentally but physically. . . .

Bill Walton said he could have used two or three more inches of height after he turned pro. But, as I recall, he didn't want to be listed at the time as taller than 6-foot-11, even though he was because he was sensitive about his height. . . .

Although North Carolina's Antawn Jamison has declared for the draft, some think the University of Pacific's center, Michael Olowokandi, will be the first player taken. . . .

How far has women's soccer come?. Mia Hamm introduces Soccer Barbie today at 9:30 a.m. in Beverly Hills' Roxbury Park. . . .

As gratified as Jackie Robinson's friends and family were by the season-long celebration in the 50th year after he broke baseball's color barrier, they wondered if he would still be remembered in the 51st year. . . .

I'm not sure about the rest of the country, but he has been here. . . .

Not only is his picture included among the murals on the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium, Pasadena City College has declared today Jackie Robinson Day. . . .

There will be a ceremony in honor of the 60th anniversary of Robinson's season as a PCC baseball player before the Lancers' game 2:30 p.m. against Cerritos College at, appropriately, Jackie Robinson Stadium. . . .

Ray Bartlett, a teammate of Robinson's at PCC, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. . . .

Another Southern Californian who had a significant impact on sports in America will be honored next Monday, when the Coliseum Commission unveils a plaque of Pete Rozelle. . . .

The NFL's president, Neil Austrian, and vice-president for stadium development, Roger Goodell, are expected to attend. . . .

They should take note of a recent comment by NASCAR President Bill France Jr., whose circuit comes to Fontana on Sunday for the California 500. . . .

"Anything that's important in America needs to have a position in Los Angeles," he told Irv Kaze on his KIEV radio show last Friday.

*

While wondering if anyone besides Gil Morgan or Hale Irwin wins on the Senior Tour, I was thinking: Too bad Event Of The Year doesn't get to run in the event of the year, it will take the Kings longer than two nights to recover from this loss, Jamie Storr deserved better.

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