3. Jim Schoenfeld – 1989
This one came so early that Lou Lamoriello wasn’t even the “voice” of the Devils at that point. When the Devils decided to fire Jim Schoenfeld in the middle of the 1988-89 season, it was Devils principal owner John McMullen who spoke to the media. He didn’t really get into the reasons for the firing other than Schoenfeld wasn’t getting “the most” out of his players. That sounds familiar. If that isn’t Lou’s voice saying it, then it’s where Lou Lamoriello learned how to say it like this.
1989 was a different time, and we actually heard what the former coach had to say immediately after the firing. He called it awfully premature that he would be let go. This is a coach that not only guided the Devils to their first playoff berth, but he brought them all the way to the Conference Finals where they lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7. So, a team that lost in Game 7 gets a coach fired one year later. History always seems to repeat itself, doesn’t it?
Schoenfeld came in to replace Doug Carpenter for the rest of the 1987-88 season after he was fired in January. He knew there would be some high expectations when he came in. He was the right voice at the right time, but it was clearly short-lived. The Devils hired a 35-year-old to lead the team to the playoffs, and it worked.
Schoenfeld will always be known by three words. “Have another doughnut.” It was the infamous line he uttered to a referee in the Eastern Conference Finals. The league tried to suspend Schoenfeld, but Lamoriello literally went to court to allow his coach to get on the bench. After bending over backward like that, Lou would only give his coach 14 games into his next season before he was moving on again.