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Anaheim falls to 0-7 on opening night
Posted: Sunday October 03, 1999 12:00 AM
DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars haven't developed much of a rivalry with Anaheim in the Mighty Ducks' seven seasons in the NHL, but that probably changed Saturday night.
Dallas took a 2-0 victory over Anaheim behind the 22-save goaltending of Ed Belfour while the Mighty Ducks were getting physical with three of the Stars' top players.
No. 1 center Mike Modano suffered a sprained ligament in his neck and a slight concussion after a hit from behind in the second period by Anaheim defenseman Ruslan Salei, who received a game misconduct.
In the third period, Dallas' No. 2 center, Joe Nieuwendyk, left the ice after he was checked hard into the end boards by Anaheim defenseman Pascal Trepanier, although Nieuwendyk wasn't seriously injured.
Trepanier received a major for boarding and a game misconduct at 7:51 of the third period.
When teammate Darryl Sydor came to Neuwendyk's aid, he was knocked to the ice and pummeled by Anaheim's Jim McKenzie, who received a double game misconduct. Sydor was experiencing double vision after the game.
"I think those two players (Salei and Trepanier) are either stupid people or they bought themselves a war," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "These were reckless plays and cheap shots."
Modano left the ice on a stretcher and was taken to Baylor Medical Center, where he was held overnight. Doctors told Hitchcock that Modano had not suffered any neurological damage, but Hitchcock said the team won't know how long Modano will be out until he is examined further on Sunday.
"This could have been career-ending," Hitchcock said. "We're so lucky it isn't."
Modano was pursuing the puck to the right of the Anaheim goal when he was checked from behind by Salei at 4:00 of the second period. Modano was knocked off his skates, lost his helmet, and slid into the end boards, striking his head.
Team medical personnel attended to Modano on the ice for five minutes, then he was strapped to a stretcher to keep his head immobilized. He was conscious as he left Reunion Arena.
Stars players said there would be repercussions when the teams meet again on Oct. 8 in Anahiem.
"Anytime you go after a really good player, it adds fuel to the fire," said Stars right wing Blake Sloan. "It's one of those things you address at a later date."
Mighty Ducks coach Craig Hartsburg said his team did not set out to injure the Stars' key players.
"There was no intent for anybody to get hurt in a situation like that," Hartsburg said. "There were hits all night like that. It's an unfortunate part of the game."
Salei said he hoped Modano wasn't badly hurt, and said he would not respond to Hitchcock's statements.
"I'm not going to get into a war of words with him," Salei said.
In their season opener, the Mighty Ducks were without high-scoring left wing Paul Kariya due to a sore left hip. The team expects him back in the lineup soon.
Sydor and Mike Keane scored for the Stars.
Sydor scored on a power-play goal from 50 feet at 11:25 of the first period. Keane made it 2-0 at 12:23 of the second when he fired a wrist shot over goaltender Guy Hebert's right shoulder.
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