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September 12, 2000|JIM HODGES

Michael Pudlick was ready to spend his Monday afternoon paired with Joe Corvo in a defenseman tandem that would scrimmage with the Kings as part of the process that would have them in Lowell of the American Hockey League in less than a month.

And then Mathieu Schneider was scratched as a precaution because of a groin strain. And Pudlick found himself skating with Rob Blake.

"Pudlick played very well," Coach Andy Murray said of the defenseman, who this time last year was in college at St. Cloud State, and who had struggled at times during the first three days of training camp.

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Schneider has a history of training camp groin injuries, and the Kings are not particularly worried about this one.

More serious is the Charley horse suffered by rookie Joe Rullier, who was hit just above the knee by Kelly Buchberger during the first period of the scrimmage. He will miss a few days.

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