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LaFontaine's Season Comes to an End

NHL / DAILY REPORT

March 31, 1998|Associated Press

New York Ranger center Pat LaFontaine, still feeling the effects of a concussion, said Monday his season is over.

His career, however, is another matter.

"I'm disappointed about not being able to finish the season, but I am hopeful of being able to come back," he said.

Dr. James Kelly of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago said LaFontaine had suffered a "Grade II concussion" in a game against Ottawa on March 16. LaFontaine was injured when he accidentally collided with teammate Mike Keane at Madison Square Garden.

"The doctors told me I was going to zigzag, some days feeling better and some days having more fatigue," LaFontaine said. "And that's what's happened."

Kelly said LaFontaine could not be cleared to play until a reevaluation is done in a month.

"I'll respect whatever Dr. Kelly has to say," LaFontaine said. "I'll see him in a month and take it from there."

LaFontaine was cleared to fly to Chicago for the examination only last Friday, the delay caused by continuing headaches, which finally subsided.

LaFontaine is no stranger to concussions. He missed most of last season for Buffalo after suffering his fifth.

The Rangers acquired LaFontaine, 33, from the Buffalo Sabres before this season and he emerged as one of the team's top players. After 67 games, he was the Rangers' leading goal-scorer with 23.

LaFontaine has been given the prescription for recovery.

"Total rest," he said. "That's where the head heals. I plan on being around my teammates, rooting them on."

*

Right wing Joe Murphy, acquired by the San Jose Sharks from the St. Louis Blues last Tuesday, was suspended for slashing, causing him to miss Monday night's game against his former team.

Last Saturday, in only his second game with San Jose, Murphy slashed Dallas defenseman Richard Matvichuk and was whistled for a slashing major, a slashing match penalty and a game misconduct. Referee Don Koharski ruled that there was intent to injure.

Murphy has four goals and nine assists in 29 games this season.

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