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ALLAN MALAMUD

Notes on a Scorecard

March 23, 1994

Wayne Gretzky is going to break the NHL goal-scoring record any minute now, but, funny, I have always admired him more for his assists. . . .

He broke the NHL assist record six years ago. . . .

He has led the league in goals four times and in assists 12 times. . . .

He hasn't won a goal-scoring title since 1987, but is about to win his fourth assist title in the last five years. . . .

He is Magic Johnson on a fast break, usually preferring to feed a teammate rather than shooting. . . .

Gretzky lends a helping hand off the ice, too. . . .

His charitable contributions are numerous, and most are made without attention being called to them. . . .

He is a tireless promoter of his sport. . . .

He makes my job more pleasant by giving thoughtful, quotable answers to questions, often even after losses. . . .

Prediction for tonight's King-Vancouver game at the Forum: Gretzky will get goal No. 802 and assists Nos. 1,647, 1,648 and 1,649. . . .

Craig Janney's Canuck career sure was disappointing. . . .

Cam Neely won't play another game for the Boston Bruins this season, but I would still vote him NHL most valuable player. . . .

The Mighty Ducks must not be very confident about their playoff chances if they trade their only Western Conference All-Star, defenseman Alexei Kasatonov, to St. Louis for a junior player and a sixth-round draft choice. . . .

The New York Rangers now lead the Kings in former Edmonton Oilers, 7-5. . . .

You have to be impressed when Dodger pitching coach Ron Perranoski, not given to hyperbole, says rookie Darren Dreifort's fastball moves better than any right-hander's he has ever seen. . . .

Pitching in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league camp is Damon Allen, brother of Marcus and most valuable player in the Grey Cup last year as a quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos. . . .

For the first time, baseball season will open on a Sunday night, St. Louis at Cincinnati on April 3. . . .

The guy carrying the biggest stick in the majors is third baseman Charlie Hayes of the Colorado Rockies, whose bat weighs 38 ounces. . . .

A young Baltimore Oriole to watch is Jeffrey Hammonds, the left fielder from Stanford. . . .

*

Two of the 16 finalists for the Wooden Award, Clifford Rozier of Louisville and Khalid Reeves of Arizona, will meet Thursday in the West Regional at the Sports Arena, which used to be home court for Wooden's UCLA Bruins. . . .

Of course, the prohibitive favorite is Glenn Robinson from Wooden's alma mater, Purdue. . . .

Jason Kidd--a brilliant playmaker and defender but a mediocre shooter--figures to be selected second, third or fourth behind Robinsion in the draft. . . .

Consider yourself a college hoops fanatic if you can recite the names of the teams remaining in the National Invitation Tournament. . . .

The two-point conversion rule is another reason the Raiders should pick a running back in the first round of the draft, or, if they have the money after cutting some veterans at other positions, sign a free-agent runner. . . .

If Burt Bacharach's Soul Of The Matter faces Powis Castle, the Santa Anita Derby won't be missing a beat April 9. Powis Castle is owned by the Vistas Stables of Motown's Berry Gordy. . . .

Even though Strodes Creek and Numerous missed the two major prep races for the Santa Anita Derby, I'm not discounting them for one simple reason: trainer Charlie Whittingham. . . .

Thumbs-up to ABC for putting good-humored Al Trautwig on its World Cup announcing team. . . .

Herbie Hide's seventh-round knockout of Michael Bentt that sent Bentt to the hospital didn't exactly flatter Tommy Morrison. . . .

Bubby Brister could become the Jody Reed of the NFL. The quarterback who turned down a $2-million contract from the New Orleans Saints might re-sign with the Philadelphia Eagles for $1 million. . . .

The defensive tackle expected to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals--6-foot-4, 313-pound Dan Wilkinson of Ohio State--ran 40 yards in 4.72 seconds at the scouting combine. . . .

Among free agents who have worked out for the San Francisco 49ers is Tony Bennett.

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