Chris Dudley is in town this week to sign a contract to play another season for the Trail Blazers. Dudley, who had considered retirement because of chronic back problems, says he feels good and, at 37, is going to give it another try.
Assuming Ruben Boumtje Boumtje will re-sign Ñ and indications are he will Ñ that means Portland will have Dale Davis, Arvydas Sabonis, Dudley, Boumtje Boumtje and second-round draft pick
Jason Jennings at center when training camp opens Oct. 1.
That makes it almost as crowded in the post as it does at guard on the team that can never have too many players.
nÊIf that man coaching the kickoff return team for Linfield at McMinnville's Maxwell Field last Saturday looked familiar, it's because he's a legend.
Ad Rutschman ended his Hall of Fame head coaching career at Linfield in 1991, but he hasn't stayed away from the game. First he was a volunteer assistant for several years at McMinnville High under his son, Don. And for the last three seasons, he has served as kickoff return coach for Jay Locey's Wildcats.
'It's only two days a week, plus game days, during the season,' Locey says. 'The other days he leaves open for fishing. We just want him involved. It's great for our kids and great for our coaches to be around him and see a master coach at work. He takes it seriously, too. He coaches the heck out of our kickoff return team.'
• Former Winter Hawks are making their impact in Montreal.
After missing all of training camp, Richard Zednik has signed a two-year contract worth a minimum of $3.5 million. Zednik, who scored 22 goals last season, says he feels 100 percent after the serious concussion he suffered in a cheap-shot, blind-side hit by Boston defenseman Kyle McLaren in last year's playoffs.
Marcel Hossa has been impressive in camp and is expected to stick with the Canadiens, but it was former Portland teammate Jozef Balej making a big impression in the exhibition opener, scoring two goals in a 5-2 win over Florida.
• Ben Petrick, who has had a nightmarish season in Colorado, is making a late push at convincing the Rockies to keep him next season. The Glencoe High graduate, who was converted from catcher to left fielder this season, has hit poorly and spent part of the season in Triple-A. Last week, batting third in the order for the Rockies, Petrick had his biggest career game at the plate with two home runs, a double and a bases-loaded walk in an 8-5 loss to St. Louis. He also got picked off third base and threw to the wrong base in the outfield, allowing Fernando Vina to turn a single into a double.
• You probably will see a regular mascot for the first time at Blazer games this season. In what form has not yet been determined. 'We are probably 15 to 30 days from making that decision,' Vice President Erin Hubert says.