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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Kings Will Get a Break With Return of Blake

September 24, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

It's good to have Luc Robitaille back with the Kings.

Rob Blake too.

I know Blake never left. It just seems that way.

"Rob Blake is one guy we're looking forward to seeing all 82 games this season," King announcer Bob Miller said at a luncheon for the team last week.

"Is he listening?

"All 82 games."

If Blake, 27, remains uninjured and healthy for the entire season, it will be almost as if General Manager Dave Taylor has added a quality free agent, one who was an all-star defenseman as recently as the 1993-94 season. In three seasons since, however, Blake has played only 92 games.

He played 62 last season, although it often seemed as if an impostor was wearing the No. 4 sweater. While still recovering from major knee surgery in 1995, he rarely looked like the Blake of before.

Now, he does.

As the Kings play the last three games of their exhibition schedule, including dates against the Mighty Ducks on Friday at the Pond and Saturday at the Forum, Blake is back.

"Coming into last season, there were questions surrounding my knee and, honestly, I couldn't answer them," he said. "I can now. It doesn't feel any different than it did before the start of the season three years ago."

That was 1994-95. He played only 24 games that season because of a groin injury. Six games into the next season, he injured his knee.

"It crosses your mind that maybe you won't ever be the player you were," he said. "But you can't dwell on that kind of subject.

"I prefer to look at it like I've gotten all that out of the way, and now I'll be injury-free for the next eight or nine years."

*

John Argue, president of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, said Tuesday night Los Angeles will make a formal bid within the next 30 days to become the United States' official candidate for the 2012 Summer Games. . . .

Argue made the announcement during a ceremony at the Amateur Athletic Foundation to honor Los Angeles' Anita DeFrantz, recently elected as the International Olympic Committee's first woman vice-president. . . .

If developers Philip Anschutz and Ed Roski don't get their new downtown arena, where will they build a home for the Kings and Lakers? . . .

Their spokesman, John Semcken, says they aren't entertaining offers but have received inquiries from other areas in L.A. County. . . .

One thing certain is that it will be within 25 miles of Inglewood's Forum. That's part of their deal with Laker owner Jerry Buss. . . .

During his hearing last week for parties interested in bringing an NFL team to Greater L.A., state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) was surprised to learn that a tentative Coliseum proposal would allow Roski and Anschutz to lease the stadium for $1 a year. . . .

Harry Ornest, former owner of the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Argonauts, says he would pay twice as much. . . .

Polanco's chief aide, Bill Mabie, says the panel received "very sobering testimony" from player agent Leigh Steinberg. . . .

"He told us that no one should be under the illusion that the NFL feels somehow hobbled by not having Los Angeles in the league," Mabie says. . . .

City Councilman Nate Holden is backing the ill-advised, anti-sports initiative in Los Angeles. But I won't hold that against his son. . . .

Pasadena Mayor Chris Holden tried to save the game between Grambling and Alabama State scheduled for Nov. 8 at the Rose Bowl. . . .

Grambling agreed to consider a restructured deal that would have guaranteed less money. Not Alabama State. . . .

It would have been a treat to see Coach Eddie Robinson. . . .

The Grambling band too. . . .

Scott Radinsky and his punk rock band, Pulley, will leave for a tour of Europe when the Dodger season ends. . . .

It looks as if they can book a flight Monday. . . .

Fred Claire denies ESPN's report that the Dodgers have so little leadership that one of the newest additions, Otis Nixon, had to call a team meeting before last Sunday's game. . . .

Claire says Bill Russell called the meeting. . . .

Vin Scully and Jim Murray will be among those honored by the Historical Society of Southern California today at the Biltmore Hotel. . .

The final Dodger game at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field was played 40 years ago today. . . .

What's so funny about the possibility of an NFL owner like Dallas' Jerry Jones becoming the team's coach? . . .

Al Davis has been doing it for years.

*

While wondering if anyone in the NFL still coaches the kicking game, I was thinking: ABC must be scripting these Monday night games, the Seattle SuperSonics aren't dumb enough to trade Shawn Kemp to the Lakers, no one ever accused the Angels this season of not having heart.

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