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Original Issue

In The Crease

Three reasons the Mighty Ducks, who had the NHL's top power play
last season (25.5% success), have struggled with the man
advantage this year (27th in the league, at 11.3% through
Sunday): 1) Opponents have limited attack-zone time by
aggressively checking Anaheim in the neutral zone; 2) point man
Fred Olausson, who last season scored 10 power-play goals, had
only two because the opposition has closed his shooting lane;
and 3) sniper Teemu Selanne, the NHL goal-scoring champ in
1998-99, had only one man-advantage goal....

Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who missed 43 games last
season because of a severely sprained ankle, had a cortisone
injection on Nov. 22 to alleviate recurring pain. If the
discomfort persists, look for Phillips to have surgery to remove
scar tissue and miss most of the rest of the regular season....

Credit Kings director of player personnel Bill O'Flaherty for
finding three U.S. college free-agent gems: Forwards Jason Blake
(Ferris State and North Dakota), Brad Chartrand (Cornell) and
Marko Tuomainen (Clarkson). All are foot-soldier types who have
helped give surprising L.A. (14-7-4) the grittiness it lacked
last season....

Stars general manager Bob Gainey is in training to run a
marathon. His goal? Qualifying for Boston....

When Canadiens wing Brian Savage, who suffered three broken
vertebrae after getting hammered by Kings center Ian Laperriere
last week, was taken to the hospital in Los Angeles, he also
complained of a sore throat. The doctors' diagnosis:

Coyotes center Travis Green, perceived as an underachiever when
he was acquired from the Mighty Ducks in June, is having a
career year (11 goals and 10 assists). The reason? A summertime
meeting with Phoenix conditioning coach Stieg Theander, who
ripped Green for being out of shape and put him on a
conditioning program.