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DUCKS REPORT

Winger McInnis Won't Stick His Neck Out

November 02, 2000|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

Right wing Marty McInnis, who suffered a sprained neck when he crashed headfirst into the boards Sunday against the Calgary Flames, hopes to play Saturday against the Nashville Predators or Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks. His neck was too sore to play Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes, the second game he has missed.

"It's like a spasm in my neck that won't go away," McInnis said. "I've got to get it to calm down."

McInnis was one of the NHL's best comeback stories in October, scoring six goals and nine points in his first 12 games. He had only 10 goals and 28 points in 62 games last season, when an abdominal injury limited his production. Off-season surgery took care of the problem, however.

"I feel it once in a while, but it's nothing," McInnis said. "I didn't think that would ever go away. This [the neck injury] will."

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The waiting game continues for the Coyotes.

Wayne Gretzky and Steve Ellman are waiting to take over as owners of the team. General Manager Bobby Smith is waiting to be fired once Gretzky and Ellman assume command.

Free agents Claude Lemieux and Nikolai Khabibulin are waiting to be signed once Smith is canned. Goalie Sean Burke, the NHL's player of the month, is waiting to be replaced by Khabibulin.

Lemieux said Wednesday he has agreed to a $9-million, three-year deal.

The best guess is that all this will unfold by month's end.

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Coach Craig Hartsburg shook up his defense pairs Wednesday, scratching Patrick Traverse and playing rookie Antti-Jussi Niemi. The go-ahead goal in the Ducks' 5-3 loss Monday to the Edmonton Oilers went in off Traverse's stick.

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