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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Ducks, Kings Are Becoming More Like Blood Brothers

January 13, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

As the Ducks' Scott Young headed for the penalty box after jamming his stick into the nose of the Jozef Stumpel, superimposed on the television screen was a message announcing the Kings' annual blood drive.

It was probably a coincidence. But at least Stumpel can say he gave at the office.

Round one, Kings.

On Monday night at the Great Western Forum, the Ducks and Kings played the first of their five games against each other this season. Considering that only four points separated them when the game started, it's possible the series will determine their playoff positions, or perhaps whether they both make the playoffs.

Both recognized the urgency of Monday night's game. That's the reason the Ducks refused for so long to relent to the Kings' efforts to draw them into a more physical game.

As long as the Ducks have Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, they can be like the fan Monday night who lured the television cameras by pointing to the Kings' decal on his jacket, then opened it to expose the Ducks' logo. That's finesse.

Only when the Ducks opened a 2-0 lead in the second period did they begin to trade blows. A couple of minutes after Young's double-minor penalty, Kariya was assessed one for using his stick to slap Russ Courtnall. There goes the Lady Byng.

But these are not last season's Kings. They still don't have a player who can match Kariya and Selanne for scoring points or selling tickets, but this team, as it proved by coming back to win, 3-2, in overtime, is not ready to concede Southern California to the Ducks.

*

Sitting with Pete Rozelle at Del Mar one day several years ago, promoter Al Franken asked which accomplishment as NFL commissioner made him proudest. . . .

"My greatest legacy was assuring that Green Bay gets as much TV money as New York," Rozelle said. . . .

As a result, the Packers have the same chance to win the Super Bowl as the Giants or Jets. . . .

Another result is that the NFL doesn't need Los Angeles. . . .

There's none of that tedious discussion in the NFL about small-market teams because, with revenue sharing, they're all big. . . .

They're about to get bigger. . . .

Negotiations with the networks this week could bring the NFL as much as $15 billion over the next eight years. . . .

As part of those negotiations, the kickoff for "Monday Night Football" might be moved from 9 p.m. on the East Coast to 8 p.m. . . .

That means a 5 p.m. start on the West Coast. . . .

Commuters in Los Angeles might get home in time to watch the second half--if the traffic is decent. . . .

More proof that the NFL doesn't need us. . . .

It does, however, need our players. . . .

For the 31st time in 32 Super Bowls, USC will be represented. The Packers have three former Trojans--offensive tackle John Michels, cornerback Brian Williams and linebacker Lamont Hollinquest. . . .

Four, if you include Coach Mike Holmgren. . . .

Compton Dominguez quarterback Jason Thomas, who orally committed to USC last fall, reaffirmed his decision after visiting with new Coach Paul Hackett last weekend. . . .

He also visited Coach Henry Bibby in the dressing room after a game, giving the Trojans hope that Thomas might also play basketball. . . .

Ask the Washington Huskies how well UCLA's football recruiting is progressing. . . .

The Huskies thought they were a cinch to sign Lovell Houston, a highly touted defensive back from Denver, because both of his parents attended Washington. . . .

But Houston is wavering, saying he might prefer the Bruins. . . .

One Pacific 10 defensive coordinator calls Pasadena Imperial's Robert Thomas, who orally committed to UCLA, the best high school linebacker he's ever seen on film. . . .

Another Bruin commitment came from Tucson offensive lineman Mike Saffer. . . .

His father, Don, played basketball at UCLA for John Wooden. . . .

The last time I saw Nancy Lieberman-Cline, she was choking the Sparks' Jamila Wideman during a halftime altercation. . . .

Maybe Lieberman-Cline could coach Latrell Sprewell. . . .

Veteran cartoon watchers will not be surprised to learn Santa Monica Crossroads won a girls' basketball game last week against Calabasas, 74-19. . . .

Coyotes are never a match for Roadrunners.

*

While wondering how Sherm Lewis and Emmitt Thomas reacted when they heard Jim Mora's name, I was thinking: Salute to Denver for winning the Division II title, the Clipper stat crew should be working on cheating opponents out of points instead of assists, only 34 more days until spring training.

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