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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Here's the Skinny About Koharski's Performance

April 29, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Don Koharski is a fat pig.

Like that, King fans?

That's not me talking. In fact, I think Koharski is OK, for a referee.

Although it can be argued he should have been stricter with St. Louis' Geoff Courtnall, Koharski made the right call against the Kings' Sean O'Donnell on Monday night at the Great Western Forum.

If the Kings are pointing fingers for their 4-3 loss in Game 3, they should be aimed at themselves for losing their composure and allowing the Blues four power-play goals within 3:07 of the third period after O'Donnell's major penalty.

But let the Kings take their shots at Koharski. He has been involved in bigger, more colorful controversies in the NHL playoffs.

Ten years ago, then-New Jersey coach Jim Schoenfeld didn't like Koharski's work in a game between the Devils and the Boston Bruins. In the corridor outside the dressing room after the game, Schoenfeld confronted Koharski and said, "Have another doughnut, you fat pig."

The exchange was filmed by a television cameraman and replayed nationwide about every 20 minutes for weeks, much to the embarrassment of Koharski and other referees.

Although the NHL suspended Schoenfeld for the next game, the Devils obtained a court order allowing him to work, resulting in a strike by the officiating crew assigned to the game. Amateurs were summoned, including a guy whose refereeing credential was that he supervised a local ice rink.

The NHL turned to its president at the time, John Ziegler, for guidance, but he was missing. A Toronto newspaper later reported he was busy rescuing his son from a cult.

You couldn't make up this stuff.

The incident, as Koharski no doubt knows by now, will never die. The last time the Kings were in the playoffs, in 1993, their coach, Barry Melrose, and Toronto's, Pat Burns, almost came to blows after Melrose puffed out his cheeks to mock the portly Burns.

Melrose felt sorry later, but only because he hadn't been nimble enough to think of the appropriate verbal insult.

"I wish I'd said, 'Have another doughnut,' " Melrose lamented.

*

St. Louis goalie Grant Fuhr was owed a miracle on Manchester. . . .

He was in the nets for Edmonton when the Kings came back from 5-0 in the third period to win Game 3 of a 1982 playoff series. . . .

"Some strange things have happened in this building," Fuhr told Steve Futterman of NBC radio Monday night. . . .

About 110,000 spectators are expected for Sunday's NASCAR race, the California 500, in Fontana. . . .

The only place where there will be heavier traffic this weekend is on the turns at Churchill Downs, where up to 20 horses could be entered in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. . . .

I'm going with the Cal-bred, Native American Charlie. . . .

Trainer Bob Baffert calls his colt that when he remembers to be PC. . . .

Dodger relief pitcher Brad Clontz, who hadn't allowed a hit going into Tuesday night's game, was released by the Atlanta Native Americans after he threw one too many hanging curves. . . .

But Atlanta pitching coach Leo Mazzone has eyes only for his prized starters and seldom pays attention to the relievers' problems. . . .

Clontz called Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers last week and told him the Dodgers are much more attentive to their entire pitching staff. . . .

The Milwaukee Trojans went three for six against the Dodgers on Monday night, including a home run by Geoff Jenkins.

Two other former USC players, Jeff Cirillo and Bobby Hughes, also played. . . .

Not many prep sprinters will have a better day than Alemany's Miguel Fletcher had Saturday. . . .

He beat Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Justin Fargas in the 100 meters and Pasadena Muir's Sultan McCullough in the 200 at Arcadia. . . .

As future teammates at USC, perhaps Fletcher and McCullough can help break UCLA's 19-year men's dual-meet winning streak over the Trojans. . . .

Unless it has already been broken by then. . . .

The Trojans and Bruins meet for the 65th time Saturday at UCLA's Drake Stadium. . . .

UCLA's football players, who have a relatively short streak against USC, practice for the final time of the spring Saturday afternoon, then sign autographs for fans. . . .

That will take time for Cade McNown because, according to UCLA sports information director Marc Dellins, the quarterback's new first name is "Heisman Trophy candidate."

*

While wondering if any Kings trashed their bedrooms, I was thinking: Every NBA playoff series should have the heat of Miami vs. New York, Milwaukee is proving the National League isn't so dominant after all, maybe Mike Ditka knows who will coach the Blackhawks.

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