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KING-DUCK REPORT

L.A. Gets Good News on Straka

January 29, 2004|Mike Bresnahan and Chris Foster | Times Staff Writers

For once, good injury news on a star King forward.

Martin Straka, who had surgery last Thursday to repair torn cartilage in both knees, said Wednesday that his rehabilitation was going as planned and he would return before the end of the season "for sure ... no question about that."

Straka has been working out on a stationary bike and said his left knee was slightly weaker than his right, but "so far, so good," he said.

Straka was injured Jan. 10 after a knee-to-knee collision with Columbus defenseman Andres Eriksson. MRI results showed cartilage damage in both knees. Straka had six goals and five assists in 18 games with the Kings.

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King enforcer Sean Avery did not play Wednesday because of a leg injury he sustained Monday after a collision with Minnesota's Jason Marshall.

Avery, the league's most penalized player, is targeted by some players and ignored at times by referees, Coach Andy Murray said.

"He's created that a bit for himself the way he plays," Murray said. "I guess the unfortunate part is that I think he draws a lot more penalties than are called. That was a penalty the other night by Marshall. He's hurt and can hardly get off the ice and the referee just kind of turns away from it and says it was a shoulder hit.

"They watch him closely and clamp down on him and do they maybe not call things against him as readily? I think there's reason to believe that might be the case. It's possible that some of his actions created that and we've been trying to get an improvement in that area, which we have seen quite a bit of as the year's gone on."

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The Mighty Ducks are not expecting to have forwards Mike Leclerc or Michael Holmqvist back before the All-Star break.

Leclerc, who has been rehabilitating since off-season knee surgery, said he would take thing slow.

"This is my livelihood for my family," Leclerc said. "If I hurt the knee again, it could be the end of my career. That wouldn't help the team."

Holmqvist, meanwhile, has sat out five games because of an abdominal injury.

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About 200 tickets remain for the Ducks' game against Colorado on Friday, which will be Paul Kariya's first game at the Arrowhead Pond since leaving the Ducks.

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