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KINGS NOTEBOOK: BLAKE KNOWS HIS ROLE.

Byline: Roger Phillips

Defenseman Rob Blake has been as frustrated as anyone during the Kings' struggles this season, but it is not the captain's way to yell and scream, nor does he believe it should be.

Rather, Blake believes that if the Kings are to mount a late-season surge and make it into the postseason, the players will have to find the drive within themselves, and they will have to accept their roles on the team.

``Everybody's going to be different as to how they lead the team,'' Blake said following an optional practice Friday at the Iceoplex in North Hills. ``I'm not going to change the way I am, yelling at people. You lead by example. I was taught by Dave Taylor and Wayne Gretzky, the guys who were captains before me. (Vancouver captain) Mark Messier, from what I've heard, doesn't say a lot, but when he does, his teammates listen.''

Coming off a difficult and important 3-2 victory Thursday night over Chicago, the Kings (18-28-4) play host tonight to the San Jose Sharks, who they trail by four points in the race for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. It will be the second game of an NHL-record 10-game trip for San Jose, and it is a game the Kings need badly.

Bodger not 100 percent: Defenseman Doug Bodger said he still doesn't feel consistently well, more than one month since he was smacked headfirst into the boards by a blind-side hit from Phoenix's Dallas Drake. Bodger missed six games with a cervical strain and Drake was suspended for four games.

NHL vice president Colin Campbell admitted Thursday that Drake should have received a stiffer sentence. Bodger said he has heard that after Drake's four-game penalty was announced, Dallas' Brett Hull and New Jersey's Dave Andreychuk both called Campbell to complain.

KINGS vs. SAN JOSE

Time: 7:30 p.m., at the Forum.

TV/Radio: Fox Sports West; KRLA-AM (1110).

Tickets: About 3,000 remaining (1-888-KINGS-LA).

Matchups: The Sharks have won both meetings in San Jose this season and the Kings won the one previous meeting at the Forum 5-1 on Dec. 30. With a victory, the Kings would draw within two points of San Jose in the race for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. This is the second game for the Sharks on a 10-game trip that is the longest in NHL history. The first game was a 3-1 loss at Phoenix on Thursday, and the Sharks' next game after tonight is back in Phoenix on Monday.

- Roger Phillips

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BOX: KINGS vs. SAN JOSE (see text)
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 6, 1999
Words:437
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