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Home Is Not Sweet in Hockey Playoffs

Though it’s highly unlikely the Ducks will have home-ice advantage in the NHL playoffs -- they need only a win or a Phoenix loss to clinch a berth -- they shouldn’t worry.

A team of Canadian psychologists studied Stanley Cup finals between 1961 and 1993 and concluded that in most cases teams lose when playing at home.

“It makes me laugh when I hear sports commentators say, ‘This team has the home-ice advantage,’ ” Dan Voyer, a psychology professor at the University of New Brunswick, told Associated Press. “I know that in the playoffs, it means nothing.”

The reason? “When it is a critical game and people have the possibility of redefining themselves as champions or winners, then they become more self-conscious and start making more mistakes,” Voyer said.

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Perhaps the Lakers -- 14-20 on the road -- are counting on those results translating to the basketball court.

Trivia time: Who holds the Angel season record for stolen bases?

No shot: Bud Geracie in the San Jose Mercury News: “The A’s are in trouble if they take the same approach to the season that their owner is taking to the Miguel Tejada situation: I can’t do it, so I’m not even going to try.”

More Geracie: “After ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was booed in Montreal, Mark Parrish of the New York Islanders said: ‘If it weren’t for America, God knows what language they’d be speaking right now.’ ”

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Bad idea: Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer, after college basketball coaches wore bow ties in tribute to retiring Mount St. Mary’s Coach Jim Phelan: “When Bobby Knight finally hangs it up, will coaches around the nation mark the occasion by throttling their players and cursing out reporters?”

A shot in the arm: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: “Randy Johnson, comparing his working conditions to those of previous generations: ‘We have some benefits. We pitch in a five-man rotation, and we have modern medicine. That takes away the inflammation a little quicker than taking a shot of whiskey and going out and pitching.’ ”

More Armstrong: “Hawk guard Jason Terry, after watching assistant coach Alex English hooping it up for the Nuggets on ESPN Classic: ‘Coach English always talks about defense, rebounding, making the extra pass. But from what I saw, all he was doing was shooting.’ Well, yeah, that and arguing with Doug Moe.”

Looking back: On this date in 1975, Muhammad Ali knocked out Chuck Wepner in the 15th round at Cleveland to retain the world heavyweight title.

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Looking back again: On this date in 1980, Louisville defeated UCLA, 59-54, at Indianapolis to win the NCAA men’s basketball title.

The Bruins didn’t reach the final again until 1995, when they defeated Arkansas, 89-78, for their 11th title.

Trivia answer: Mickey Rivers, 70 in 1975.

And finally: Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, on the Clippers’ general manager: “If Elgin Baylor ever goes on ‘Survivor,’ the other invitees may as well stay home.”

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