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AVALANCHE vs. KINGS : NOTES

Sakic May Test Shoulder for Game 4

May 02, 2001|HELENE ELLIOTT

Colorado center Joe Sakic, who injured his right shoulder when he was sandwiched by Jozef Stumpel and Jere Karalahti early in Monday's game, may try to play today.

Sakic didn't participate in the team's optional practice Tuesday at HealthSouth training center in El Segundo. Coach Bob Hartley said Sakic, the runner-up for the NHL scoring title with 118 points, received treatment and may try to skate this morning to gauge if he can play in Game 4 tonight.

His injury is being called a sore shoulder, but at this time of year that can mean almost anything.

"He had X-rays taken and those were negative, so that's positive," Hartley said. "Joe is healing very well. . . . [Tuesday] morning he felt better than he did [Monday]."

Hartley also said he will make a game-time decision on whether to play winger Dave Reid, who had surgery to repair a broken jaw Saturday and wanted to play Monday but was held out as a precaution.

Without Sakic, Colorado's formidable depth came in handy.

"He's a big part of our team, but during the playoffs you have to expect that," defenseman Rob Blake said of losing players to injuries. "Other guys will have to step up. It's big. He's a leader. You almost have to rally around the fact that he doesn't play and you've got to do it for him."

Blake also said playing at Staples Center for the first time since the Feb. 21 trade that sent him to Colorado closed a chapter in his life.

"Definitely, last night puts an end to it," said Blake, who was booed each time he touched the puck. He also cast additional doubt on whether he might re-sign with the Kings as a free agent this summer.

"I don't know how good of a possibility it is anymore," he said.

*

King winger Kelly Buchberger, who reluctantly pulled himself out of the warmups Monday because of an injured left ankle, probably won't play tonight when the series resumes at Staples Center.

"Everybody's got ice bags now," King Coach Andy Murray said. "They were looking for more ice than we were."

Murray said he plans to use the same lineup, with Steve Kelly replacing Buchberger, Stu Grimson scratched again and seven defensemen in the lineup.

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