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ALLAN MALAMUD

Notes on a Scorecard

February 19, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

Three years ago, after the Kings finished second to Montreal in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it appeared that the backbone of the team for the remainder of the decade would be its trio of talented young defensemen. . . .

Rob Blake, then 23, already was one of the best in the NHL. Alexei Zhitnik, 20, wasn't far behind. Darryl Sydor, 20, was developing quickly. . . .

But when the Kings play the Boston Bruins in a Presidents Day matinee at the Forum, none of them will be on the ice. . . .

Blake was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury on Oct. 20. Zhitnik was dealt to Buffalo in a stupid trade last February. Sydor's play regressed and he was traded to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. . . .

No wonder the only way Wayne Gretzky will be able to contend for a Stanley Cup ring this year is if he gets traded. . . .

The Bruins' streak of making the playoffs 28 consecutive seasons, the longest in any major league sport, is in danger. . . .

*

Few, if any, of the 47 recipients of the George Woolf Award have been more deserving than Gary Stevens, who was honored Sunday at Santa Anita. . . .

The Woolf recognizes thoroughbred jockeys whose careers have reflected credit on themselves and their sport. . . .

I will never forget Stevens pointing to the sky and saying, "This is for you, Mark," after crossing the finish line aboard Thunder Gulch in the Kentucky Derby four days after a friend, publicist Mark Kaufman, died in Louisville. . . .

Dick Schaap, the moderator who usually is the voice of reason on ESPN's "Sports Reporters," overreacted Sunday when he asked, "Is Tommy Morrison testing positive for HIV another reason to outlaw boxing?" . . .

Don't outlaw boxing, but make it safer by having every state commission make HIV testing mandatory. . . .

Former middleweight and super-middleweight champion James Toney, who had a hard time making 168 pounds when he lost to Roy Jones and then fought four times as a light-heavyweight, will make his debut as a cruiserweight March 1 at Fantasy Springs Casino against Richard Mason. . . .

However, Toney's career in the 200-pound division might last only one night. If he beats Mason as expected, Toney probably will face former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield at Madison Square Garden. . . .

The Angels might have given up too soon on left-handed pitcher Brian Anderson, who was their first draft choice in 1993 and third overall. . . .

Among the hardest-fought NFL games next season should be Dallas-Miami and Baltimore-Indianapolis. . . .

I like the new NCAA tiebreaker rule, but it takes away some of the strategy from the two-point conversion rule. . . .

If a team trails by a point after scoring a touchdown late in the game, it will almost always settle for a one-point conversion attempt and overtime. . . .

UCLA offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, who is expected to be drafted in the top five, was impressive at the Indianapolis combine where he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.08 and bench pressed 225 pounds 30 consecutive times. . . .

The new Pete Rose-Joe McDonnell talk radio duo on KMAX is clicking. . . .

One of the 5,500 community heroes who have been chosen as torchbearers for the 1996 Olympic relay is Los Angeles school teacher Scollie Keith, who was nominated by an eighth-grader in her English class. . . .

With a little more practice, Shaquille O'Neal might become a better three-point than one-point shooter. . . .

Former Pepperdine star Doug Christie has been drafted by Seattle, traded to the Lakers, traded to New York, and traded to Toronto. But give him time. He's only 25. . . .

A scheduling oddity has the Lakers and Clippers playing each other two nights in a row--Tuesday at the Forum and Wednesday at the Sports Arena. . . .

*

The ticky-tack call against Arizona in the UCLA backcourt with one second left last Thursday was absurd. As Wildcat Coach Lute Olson said, let the players, not the officials, decide the outcome. . . .

The protective wrap comes off point-guard Cameron Dollar's hand this week and not too soon. . . .

The Bruins will need him to run the offense efficiently and keep the turnovers down during the NCAA tournament. . . .

I guess USC no longer has to worry about being invited to the National Invitation Tournament. . . .

After UCLA drew a technical foul for having six players on the court against Arizona, I wondered what the penalty is for a baseball team having 10 players on the field.

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