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HOCKEY DAILY REPORT : MIGHTY DUCKS

Buffalo Queried About LaFontaine

September 21, 1997|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The Ducks have contacted the Buffalo Sabres about the status of veteran center Pat LaFontaine, who has not participated in training camp after missing most of last season because of complications from an Oct. 17 concussion.

LaFontaine must receive medical clearance from the Sabres before a trade can be completed. So far, doctors disagree on whether LaFontaine should resume his 14-year NHL career. Three Sabre doctors said he should not, but two neurologists hired by LaFontaine cleared him two weeks ago.

LaFontaine, 32, was not invited to the Sabres' training camp and has been skating on his own while awaiting approval to return to the team. He has not played in a game since he was elbowed in the head by Pittsburgh's Francois Leroux last October.

Money also is an issue. LaFontaine will be paid $4.8 million this season and next. If he's unable to play, an insurance company will pay 80% of his salary. But the Ducks would like the Sabres to pick up a large portion of LaFontaine's salary before any deal could be agreed on.

The Ducks could use LaFontaine's offensive skills to bolster their forward lines in case they cannot re-sign restricted free agent Paul Kariya by the time the regular season begins with games Oct. 3-4 against the Vancouver Canucks in Tokyo.

*

Sean Pronger scored on a penalty shot after regulation time expired to force overtime as the Ducks rallied for a 5-5 exhibition tie against the Edmonton Oilers. Scott Young, acquired Wednesday in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, scored a goal in his first game in a Duck uniform, but Anaheim still trailed, 5-4, when Pronger was pulled down from behind on a breakaway with only seconds left in regulation.

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