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Craig Hartsburg


C - Matt Cullen, Travis Green, Steve Rucchin, Marty McInnis. LW - Ted Drury, Stu Grimson, Paul Kariya, Jim McKenzie, Mike Leclerc. RW - Antti Aalto, Jeff Nielsen, Tomas Sandstrom, Teemu Selanne. D - Kevin Haller, Jason Marshall, Frederik Olausson, Jamie Pushor, Ruslan Salei, Pascal Trepanier, Pavel Trnka, Mike Crowley. G - Guy Hebert, Dominic Roussel.


Pascal Trepanier, d (left leg contusion, day-to-day).


3/04 - recalled Mike Crowley, d, from Cincinnati (AHL); 3/01 - sent Dan Trebil, d, to Cincinnati; 2/25 - recalled Mike Leclerc, lw, from Cincinnati; 2/23 - sent Johan Davidsson, c, to Cincinnati.


2/24 at Edmonton  W 2-1
2/26 San Jose     W 3-1
2/27 at San Jose  W 4-1
3/03 Los Angeles  W 2-1
3/05 Nashville    W 3-2
3/07 Detroit      W 3-1


Pacific Division    GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA  
  Dallas            62  40  12  10    90  181  125  
  Phoenix           63  31  22  10    72  157  149  
  Anaheim           64  30  25   9    69  172  154  
  San Jose          64  22  28  14    58  141  152  
  Los Angeles       64  23  36   5    51  145  172


by Alex Carswell, Anaheim Correspondent


Look at the recent results and you'd have to say, yeah, these guys are at the top of their game. And while some of the wins have left a little to be desired -- the LA and Nashville victories were uninspired -- others have been of the breakthrough variety. Start with the win over Detroit, whom the Ducks had not managed to beat since the 1996-97 campaign despite putting forth several competitive performances. It just seemed that the Wings always had Anaheim's number. But no more.

Defining moments might also be found in the sweep of conference foe San Jose. Anaheim spared no mercy on consecutive nights, and used the series as a springboard to further separate themselves from the dregs of the West. Craig Hartsburg later said that, henceforth, the Ducks should be looking ahead in the standings to see whom they might catch, rather than behind them to see whom they should fear.

The Detroit win was a franchise-record seventh in a row for the Ducks, who are 13-3 in their past 16 games and currently sitting at five games above .500 -- another franchise first. More impressively, the combination of Anaheim's run and Detroit's recent woes has left the Ducks just one point behind the Red Wings in the Western Conference standings. You can read that sentence again, if you like, just for the unexpected thrill. And as for Phoenix, whose cerebrally lacking head coach recently opined that he had points to waste in pursuit of physical revenge against Anaheim for earlier perceived offenses, their standings lead has dwindled to three little points. At this point, the Ducks seem a real threat to earn home ice advantage in the playoffs.


How did it happen, this recent run of success? Well, regular readers of this column will know that it was our unending faith in the offensively stalled veterans -- Green, McInnis, Sandstrom -- who would be the key to Anaheim's turnaround.

You're not buying it? Okay. I'll give. I didn't think we'd ever hear from those boys again in any significant manner. But I'll also give credit where credit is due: They're chipping in. When Steve Rucchin went down with a broken nose (Nashville) and concussion (San Jose), Travis Green stepped into the breach and performed well. McInnis has been potting the odd goal, and Sandstrom -- his wrist finally strong again -- has points in 10 of the last 14 games (5-9-14).

Moreover, the continued dominance of Anaheim's special teams -- first in the league on the power play, at 21.8% prior to the Detroit game -- has meant everything. Anaheim has scored a power-play goal in 45 of the past 55 games, and put up great shorthanded numbers (85% kills) to boot. Not only has that provided a scoring boost in and of itself, but fear of the power play (typically featuring Kariya, Selanne, Rucchin and Frederick Olausson, currently contending to be the top-scoring defenseman in the league), has caused opposing teams to think twice about being over-aggressive at even strength.

Then, of course, there's Guy. Hebert has continued to be a rock in the net, going 5-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .968 save percentage over the past five games.


Whenever the Ducks are doing well, some of those following the team become compelled to make a case for Teemu Selanne as MVP. Yes, Kariya's contributions are immense. And yes, without Hebert these guys would be going nowhere. But Teemu is so important to this team, it's impossible to imagine them accomplishing anything close to their current success without him.

Start with the numbers. Selanne has a 16-game point streak (14-14-28), good for a franchise record and second-longest in the NHL this season -- Eric Lindros ran off an 18-game streak. (Our money says Teemu busts that number with his eyes closed, and if he doesn't, it's only because Dallas shuts out the Ducks on March 12.) In the set against San Jose, Teemu figured in each of Anaheim's seven goals over two nights (3- 1 and 4-1 victories), and notched his 300th goal in just his 464th game -- sixth-fastest in NHL history.

But the numbers only tell part of the story for the NHL's most recent Player of the Month and Player of the Week. Selanne is a bull who cannot be intimidated, will not get depressed if things aren't going well, and can spark the team to a turnaround when need be. It's laughable to think that this player's desire to win could ever have been questioned -- simply because of his sunny-side-up personality -- or that he could once have been had for Oleg Tverdovsky and Chad Kilger. But beyond Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh, it's hard for this observer to imagine anyone being more important to his team -- on or off the ice -- than Selanne is to the Ducks. And if the Ducks "do any damage" (as Teemu likes to say) in the playoffs, the NHL will be handed as charismatic a player as they've ever had in the national spotlight.


Four of the next five come against conference foes -- Vancouver, Dallas, Phoenix and LA. The Dallas and Phoenix games figure to be huge; the former as a yardstick of Anaheim's progress, the latter as a measure of the team's desire to nab home ice from Schoenfeld and the rival Coyotes.

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