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The NHL / Tracy Dodds : When Bruins Face Devils, Tempers Are Sure to Flare

Boston Bruins Coach Terry O’Reilly blames it on the “spirit of the hallway.” Something just seems to happen there when the New Jersey Devils play host to Boston.

During the Wales Conference finals last spring, Devil Coach Jim Schoenfeld confronted referee Don Koharski in the hallway and called Koharski “a fat pig,” resulting in the suspension of Schoenfeld, who obtained an injunction, leading to a boycott of the next game by officials.

Last Thursday night, O’Reilly confronted Devil forward Jim Korn after the Bruins beat the Devils, 6-2, and a shoving match resulted. Schoenfeld ended up in the middle of the fracas, trying to restrain Korn, and while he was holding Korn, O’Reilly reached over and punched Korn in the eye.

Korn has a shiner to show for it.

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O’Reilly later said: “It must be the spirit of the hallway. . . . It becomes a really infamous hallway when these two teams meet.”

O’Reilly said that he could not report exactly what he had said to Korn, but it had to do with the manner in which Korn had gone about getting 6 penalties during the game. O’Reilly said: “I don’t think there was anyone he hit who wasn’t a foot shorter than he is.”

O’Reilly reportedly waited for Korn to come off the ice so that he could call him a “cheap-shot artist,” among other things, and tell him that he doesn’t belong in the league.

Both sides are waiting to hear whether the NHL will issue penalties for the fracas, which took place in front of TV cameras.

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Incidentally, O’Reilly, in his playing days, became the Bruins’ all-time leader in penalties.

Pittsburgh’s recent dominance and Mario Lemieux’s 15-game scoring streak came to abrupt halts Monday when Washington shut out the Penguins, 8-0, and limited Lemieux to a single shot on goal.

The Penguins as a whole got no more than 6 shots in any period, for a total of 14.

The Penguins had scored at least 2 goals in all 38 games this season.

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It was quite a jolt.

Pete Peeters, who was in goal for the Capitals, gave a lot of credit to the guys in front of him, saying: “I’ve never been in a game in all of my NHL career where they’ve shut a team down like that. They didn’t even give them a sniff.”

Lemieux had 32 points in his previous 9 games and had 8 points--including 5 goals--against New Jersey in the previous game.

The Montreal Canadiens, now the NHL’s leading team, wrapped up their 4-game swing through the Smythe Division with a record of 4-0. The Canadiens started with a 3-2 victory over the Kings; went up to Calgary and handed the Flames a 4-3 defeat, their first at home after a 17-game unbeaten streak; went on to Edmonton and beat the Oilers, 4-2, then finished with a 4-0 victory at Vancouver.

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Montreal Coach Pat Burns said that he had hoped to get at least 4 of the possible 8 points.

“But as it goes, we got greedier and greedier,” he said.

The Canadiens have won 8 straight and have not lost in their last 18 games. They became the first team since the 1982-83 New York Islanders to win consecutive games at Calgary and Edmonton.

Islander goalie Billy Smith made an interesting observation after his team lost to the Soviet Central Red Army team, 3-2. Smith, who played against the Red Army in 1979, said: “They still skate well and have great speed. Also, they never show any emotion. They’re like soldiers.”

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Yeah. That would figure.

Consider the problems Vyacheslav Fetisov is having trying to sign on with the New Jersey Devils. Fetisov, who has a wife and child at home, went so far as to resign his commission as an army major last September to make the move to the NHL, but the Soviets did not accept his attempt to break his contract to serve 25 years in the army.

Hockey Notes

In an effort to attract fans to North Star games, Minnesota hired Blackhawk organist Nancy Faust to play at home games. But she doesn’t play when the Blackhawks are in town. Faust said: “I don’t have divided loyalties. I’m a Chicago fan.”

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Don Jelinek of Easton Sports, a manufacturer and distributor of sporting goods and a sponsor of the World Junior Hockey Championships, was at the junior tournament in Anchorage, Alaska, handing out aluminum sticks to the young players, trying to crash the European market. But hockey players are not eager to give up their wooden sticks. At present, Jelinek says, 65 of 420 NHL players are using aluminum sticks. He contends that if more players would try them, they would stay with them because they are so much more consistent than wood, which warps.

Also at the World Junior Championships, officials disallowed a last-second goal that would have pulled Sweden into a 3-3 tie in the game that it lost to the Soviets, 3-2. The problem was that there were two pucks on the ice when the last goal was scored, and the officials were unable to ascertain where the second came from. . . . Edmonton came from behind in its 3-2 overtime victory over Minnesota Monday night, and Coach Glen Sather, commenting on his team’s slow start, observed: “I think New Year’s Eve took its toll on us.”

New York Ranger goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, commenting on Brian Leetch and Tony Granato, two of the six Olympians on the team: “It’s no coincidence they were in our Olympic program. Tony provides speed and great penalty-killing and he’s a leader. Brian is just a winner. He has outstanding skills for his age.”


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