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KINGS : Robitaille Will See Back Specialist


BLUE JAY, Calif. — Left wing Luc Robitaille of the Kings, who suffered a strained lower back Wednesday, had a magnetic resonance imaging examination as a precaution on Thursday in Los Angeles, according to team physician Ron Kvitne.

Kvitne said Robitaille was feeling somewhat better but would be examined by back specialist William Dillin.

"He can tolerate the initial part of therapy," Kvitne said. "There's no rush to get him back. We'd like to have him . . . ready for the last two exhibition games."


The playoff success of the Kings is coming back to haunt owner Bruce McNall.

"Maybe Marty McSorley can help me pay these salaries," McNall said, laughing.

The Kings are believed to have netted a little more than $3 million last season by reaching the Stanley Cup finals, but rapidly escalating NHL salaries are eating away at it.

Warren Rychel's salary went from $150,000 to $500,000. Pat Conacher went from $200,000 to $400,000. Gary Shuchuk will be making $160,000 more than he did last season. Goaltender Robb Stauber and center Jimmy Carson will be receiving substantial raises. And there is still the matter of Wayne Gretzky's revised contract.

There also is a rumor that the Kings are picking up a portion of McSorley's salary in Pittsburgh. They have denied that since the trade last month, but the Sporting News reported that the Kings are paying the Penguins $300,000 a season.

King Notes

The team broke camp Thursday morning and took 31 players to Vancouver for tonight's exhibition opener. Goaltenders Robb Stauber and Rick Knickle will play in Vancouver and Pauli Jaks will start in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, with Kelly Hrudey as the backup. . . . Among the biggest surprises in camp were 19-year-old left wing Bob Wren, a fourth-round draft choice in June, and 21-year-old defenseman Eric Lavigne, a former Washington draft choice trying out as a free-agent. Both traveled to Vancouver.

General Manager Nick Beverley was pleased with the organizational depth, especially at goaltender. "You could go right down the list," he said. Coach Barry Melrose had said defenseman Jeff Chychrun would get a good look at camp. Said Beverley: "He's been looking OK. But we're looking for more. We'll see what happens when the live ammo starts to fly. We feel there's more there."

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