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September 27, 1993|ROBYN NORWOOD

ANAHEIM — Coach Ron Wilson wants Bob Corkum to be "our Joel Otto"--a big defensive center and faceoff specialist who will take on the other team's best player, much like the Calgary Flame does.

If all goes according to Wilson's plan, it will be Corkum who draws Detroit's Steve Yzerman when the Mighty Ducks and Red Wings open the season Oct. 8 at Anaheim Arena.

But Corkum, 25, hasn't had much opportunity to check anyone recently, missing about a week--including the team's first three exhibition games--because of tendinitis in his right knee. He was on the ice again Sunday, though, working his way back.

"I don't think my conditioning will be that bad," he said, because he cycled while treating the knee. "It's mostly my timing."

The Ducks took Corkum, 6 feet 2 and 212 pounds, from the Buffalo Sabres in the expansion draft. Though he didn't have a checking center's role in Buffalo, he did with Rochester of the American Hockey League. He knows it is a big job on an expansion team.

"I welcome the challenge," he said. "I don't think the object is to hold a player like that without points--just bring them down to the level of the rest of us so we have a better chance of winning."

Duck Notes

About five players are expected to be sent to minor-league affiliate San Diego today, reducing the roster to about 30 players for the final three exhibition games. . . . One player who won't be too disappointed to go to San Diego is center Jean-Francois Jomphe. He was one of nine tryouts invited to camp, and has earned a minor-league contract, Coach Ron Wilson said. . . . The team has three exhibitions remaining. The Ducks play host to the New York Islanders on Wednesday at Anaheim Arena, play at Vancouver on Friday and play host to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

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