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Free LCS 1997-98
Reader Hockey Pool
head coach: Pierre Page
roster: C: Mark Janssens, Sean Pronger, Steve Rucchin, Kevin Todd; LW: Shawn Antoski, Ted Drury, Paul Kariya, Tomas Sandstrom, Brent Severyn, Jeremy Stevenson RW: Jeff Nielsen, Warren Rychel, Joe Sacco, Teemu Selanne, Scott Young; D: Drew Bannister, J.J. Daigneault, David Karpa, Jason Marshall, Dmitri Mironov, Ruslan Salei, Brent Severyn, Dan Trebil, Pavel Trnka; G: Guy Hebert, Mikhail Shtalenkov.
injuries: Dan Trebil, d (fractured thumb on 12/10, placed on IR; Shawn Antoski, lw (depressed skull fracture, indefinite).
transactions: 1/9, acquired Drew Bannister, d, from Edmonton for Bobby Dollas, d; 1/7, activated Jason Marshall, d, from IR; placed Jason Marshall, d, on IR (retroactive to 12/20); 1/5, assigned Matt Cullen, c, and Mike Crowley, d, to Cincinnati (AHL); 12/28, recalled Mike Crowley, d, from Cincinnati; 12/13, assigned Marc Moro, d, and Antti Aalto, c, to Cincinnati.
Western Conference - Pacific Division Team GP W L T PTS GF GA Colorado 46 22 9 15 59 139 113 Los Angeles 44 17 19 8 42 122 125 Anaheim 46 15 23 8 38 107 137 San Jose 43 16 22 5 37 104 119 Edmonton 45 14 22 9 37 109 133 Calgary 47 12 25 10 34 117 142 Vancouver 45 12 25 8 32 122 156
12/17 Toronto L 6-2 12/19 Phoenix L 6-2 12/21 San Jose L 4-2 12/22 Calgary W 5-1 12/27 at St. Louis T 5-5 12/28 at Chicago L 2-0 12/30 at Carolina L 2-1 01/01 at Washington L 3-2 01/03 at Tampa Bay W 4-1 01/04 at Florida T 3-3 01/07 Buffalo L 3-2 01/09 Edmonton L 5-1 01/11 Dallas W 2-1 (OT)
by Alex Carswell, Anaheim Correspondent
THINGS NOT SO DUCKY
Look at the record over this LCS segment (3-8-2) and you'll know that, despite Paul Kariya's presence, The Pond is not the happiest place on earth right now. Despite being in the majority of their games, Anaheim has simply not been able to get over the hump and string together any wins. And while they capped this stretch with a stirring OT win against the NHL-best Dallas Stars, the on-ice problems persist...and have spilled into the locker room.
Veteran defenseman Bobby Dollas complained in the press after being scratched for the Buffalo game, as did winger Warren Rychel. It was the second healthy scratch in three games for Dollas, prompting him -- one of three remaining original Mighty Ducks players on the roster -- to lambaste his coach for trying to play "mind games" with the 14-year pro. He then punctuated his tirade by requesting a trade.
Complaining may not be unusual around losing teams, but voicing such unhappiness in the press violates Rule #1 -- the Golden Rule of Silence -- at Anaheim Sports, Inc. Following the Dollas outburst, team President Tony Tavares said that he would be surprised if players weren't unhappy being scratched, but that he disagreed "with the forum" Dollas chose. And then, faster than a speeding bullet, Dollas was asked to walk across the hall to join his new team, the Edmonton Oilers, who were in town to face the Ducks. That leaves just Guy Hebert and Joe Sacco as original members of the 1993 expansion franchise.
Who knows whether Dollas really wanted out of Anaheim, but you can't blame management for taking him at his word. On the other hand, if the team had been that quick to address Kariya's discontent early in the season, Anaheim might not be in the pickle it is right now, battling for a Western Conference playoff spot. As for Rychel, he quickly backed off his public comments, had conciliatory words with his coaches and teammates, and was back in the lineup.
DUCKLINGS ON D
The newest Anaheim player, Drew Bannister, joins an ever-younger Duckling blue line. At 23, he is 10 years younger than Dollas, and fits into Anaheim's current plan to feature youth on defense. Though they still have significant experience in J.J. Daigneault, David Karpa and Dmitri Mironov, it is the influx of youth that will determine the team's fortunes on defense as the season progresses.
Jason Marshall, who came into his own under former coach Ron Wilson, is back from IR, and should play a key role. Then the Ducks look for two or three to emerge as regulars from the group of Bannister, Ruslan Salei, Dan Trebil and Pavel Trnka. Salei and Trebil (who is currently nursing a broken thumb) have been in and out of favor -- like nearly everyone else on the roster -- while Trnka has played very well of late.
As for Bannister, he wasn't much of a factor while facing his Edmonton friends-turned-foes in his Ducks debut. But against Dallas he stood tall and, paired with Mironov, delivered a huge third-period hit against Jamie Langenbrunner that changed the game's momentum. The hit prompted a standing ovation from the denizens of The Pond, a line of pounded fists from his teammates on the bench and a stirring comeback for the Ducks, who were trailing 1-0 at the time.
AND THE WINNER IS...
It's hard to say who "won" the Bannister-Dollas deal. Over the long term, you'd have to say Anaheim because of Bannister's youth. Plus, while it may have been prompted by Dollas' public statements, GM Jack Ferreira has a tremendous eye for talent and wouldn't have picked up Bannister unless he believed in his ability. On the other hand, can you remember the last time Edmonton uber-boss Glen Sather didn't get more than he gave in a trade? If you can, drop me an e-mail because I'm stumped on that one.
And in the short term, the Ducks may eventually miss the experience Dollas provided on the blue line. Given coach Pierre Page's lack of patience with his players -- youngsters and veterans, defensemen and forwards alike -- Dollas is the kind of guy who might have been valuable down the stretch. While it's true that he, like the rest of the team, had thus far failed to get on top of his game, there may have been extenuating circumstances. In the first place, older players often take a little longer to get going as the years progress. And Dollas, who missed almost two months with an assortment of injuries, was still "early" in his own personal season. Would he have been the steady player of old had he been in the lineup all year? Maybe, maybe not.
But when Page is no longer enamored of one or more of his youngsters, it might have been nice to have Dolly to turn to. Remember, it was just a few weeks ago that Salei was being praised by the coach for his nightly contributions, and now he's a nightly scratch. Ditto for Trebil, who was in and out of the lineup before being injured.
Of course, there's always Brent Severyn. Severyn, at long last activated from IR, has been playing left wing exclusively. But he's a natural defenseman, and may find himself back on the blue line before long.
A HOLAN SIGHTING
Former Ducks defenseman Milos Holan was in Washington recently and took in the New Year's Day game against the Caps. In an interview with Anaheim broadcasters Chris Madsen and Brian Hayward, Holan said he felt good and was ready to get back into hockey -- this time as a coach. Holan, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 1995 and underwent a successful bone-marrow transplant, looked good, too, and said he was within 20 pounds of his old playing weight. The Czech native is living back home now and planning to assist his father, a longtime coach in that country.
And in one of those truly Disney-esque moments, Panel Trnka, who had sought Holan's permission before requesting to wear his old number 7, scored his first NHL goal that day as Holan looked on.
DUCKS BILLY ROBBED
Bill Robertson, Director of Communications for Anaheim Sports, is going home. Affectionately known as Billy-Rob around The Pond and the Big A (where he also oversaw media for the Anaheim Angels), Robertson has been tabbed as Vice President of Communications for the as-yet unnamed Minnesota NHL franchise slated to begin play in the year 2000. A native of St. Paul, Robertson came to the Ducks after helping to successfully launch the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. His local roots and his reputation for succeeding with start-ups certainly stirred Minnesota's interest in Robertson. But it will be in day-to-day operations where Robertson's presence will be most appreciated by those who depend on him and his staff.
In Anaheim, under often-turbulent and difficult circumstances, Robertson put together a group that has won the NHL's "Press Box Award" as the league's top PR staff in each year of the franchise's existence. He will be missed in Anaheim, and -- hired a full two years before puckdrop -- is obviously valued by his new employers. Maybe this time, NHL hockey will actually work in Minnesota.
There has been no announcement as to how Anaheim's media staff will be reorganized in the wake of Robertson's imminent departure.
Between now and our next report, the Ducks will surround the All-Star break with a pair of games against local rival Los Angeles and conference foe Colorado. And speaking of the All-Star break, is anyone else shocked that New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire snubbed Vancouver native Paul Kariya by not adding him to the North American squad?
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