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RED WINGS VS. KINGS / NOTES

Yzerman's Status Unclear After He Injures Ankle

April 12, 2001|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

DETROIT — Steve Yzerman played a meager 5 minutes 58 seconds for the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of Game 1 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, then disappeared.

Yzerman never returned to the ice or the Red Wing bench Wednesday against the Kings. An initial report from team officials indicated the Red Wing captain had a sore leg, but it turned out to be a sprained ankle.

Detroit Coach Scotty Bowman wasn't certain when Yzerman was injured, and didn't rule out it happening in Game 1 against the Kings. Bowman also wasn't clear on the severity of the injury.

"I don't know," Bowman told a reporter asking if Yzerman's injury was serious enough for him to miss Game 2 on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. "What do you call serious?"

Told that "serious" means Yzerman would be sidelined Saturday, Bowman said, "Well, you just answered your own question."

With Yzerman out for the second and third periods of the Red Wings' 5-3 victory over the Kings, Bowman was forced to juggle his lines significantly. Bowman has made an art form of juggling lines, but Wednesday he teamed flashy center Sergei Fedorov with power forward Brendan Shanahan and grinder Darren McCarty.

That line produced the back-breaking goal, Shanahan sending home a fat rebound off a Fedorov shot, after the Kings had pulled to within 3-1 on Kelly Buchberger's goal 2:21 into the second period. Shanahan's second goal of the game, a mere 20 seconds after Buchberger's goal, gave the Red Wings a 4-1 lead.

"He had no strength in it," Bowman said of Yzerman's ankle, which he said was a low sprain. "He couldn't put any weight on it. . . . We just found out about it. It's been bothering him, but he didn't say anything about it. At the end of the first period, we decided not to aggravate it."

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