Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Posted: Wednesday September 29, 1999 05:25 PM
Team Page | Schedule | Roster | 1998-99 Stats
Sports Illustrated Ranking: 13
By B.J. Schecter
When Teemu Selanne arrived at training camp in early September,
he looked around and saw something he hadn't seen in four seasons
with the Mighty Ducks: help. Over the past two years Selanne and
fellow wing Paul Kariya had been the most successful one-two
scoring punch in the NHL, but their good work had been negated by
a sputtering defense and lack of a second scoring line, and
Anaheim hadn't advanced past the second round of the playoffs. As
Selanne looked around the dressing room, his eyes widened when he
saw some of the new Ducks: offensive-minded defenseman Oleg
Tverdovsky, who ran the Coyotes' power play last season; veteran
forward Ted Donato from the Senators; and a cast of young players
who appear ready to help right away. "That first practice, it was
like a new team out there," says Selanne, who led the NHL with 47
goals last season. "You could almost feel things were starting to
come together. We've been trying to raise our level of play for a
couple years, but now we have the guys to do it."
| 1998-99 Leaders |
Ice time (F)
Ice time (D)
Anaheim management, which had drawn criticism for not providing
Selanne and Kariya with a solid supporting cast, has been working
to turn things around since Pierre Gauthier became general
manager a year ago. Last season the Ducks picked up defensemen
Fredrik Olausson and Pascal Trepanier and acquired center Marty
McInnis for a fourth-round draft pick. Anaheim continued to
upgrade in the off-season by trading its first-round pick for
Tverdovsky and acquiring Donato for goalie Patrick Lalime and the
rights to defenseman Anti-Jussi Niemi. Their presence, along with
that of goalie Guy Hebert, who is coming off a career-best year
in which he won 31 games, had six shutouts and gave up 2.42 goals
per game, should help the Ducks improve on last season's
sixth-place finish in the Western Conference.
Selanne and Kariya, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal in
June, talked on the phone several times this summer, discussing
Anaheim's prospects for becoming more than a two-man team. After
the Ducks completed what Selanne calls their best training camp
since he came to Anaheim in 1996, he thinks this could be the
year. "We lost to Detroit in the first round of the playoffs last
year, and it was so frustrating because we had no tools," he
says. "I think that's going to be different this year. We have a
lot of new guys who are hungry and capable of taking us to a
Issue date: October 4, 1999
SI's Scouting Report Main Page
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RW Teemu Selanne needs to restore the public's faith that not only can there be a 50-goal scorer in the league, but that there can be a 60- or 70-goal scorer.
When Selanne and LW Paul Kariya score in the same game, the Ducks are 34-4-8.
Re-acquisition of D Oleg Tverdovsky should bolster what already was the league's best PP, and should make the Ducks tough in four-on-four OTs.
Training camp T-shirts read: "Take the next step" and "Ready for the challenge."
Will they ever shake that "one-line team" label?|
Are the Russians coming? The team could get deeper if young Russians, LW Maxim Balmochnykh (2nd round 1997) and D Vitaly Vishnevski (1st round 1998), turn out to be the real deal. Vishnevski has impressed with his big hits, but will start in AHL.
Kariya's latest injury.
Team ended last season 5-13-2 . . . included 0-4 in playoffs.
G Guy Hebert has faced the fifth most shots in the 1990s.
People, Places and Things
GM: Pierre Gauthier
Coach: Craig Hartsburg; 2nd year (35-34-13); 5th overall (139-136-33)
Assistants: Newell Brown; George Burnett
Captain: Paul Kariya
Last year: 35-34-13 (14th overall)
Playoffs: Lost to Detroit 4-0 in first round
PP: 1st (20.0%)
PK: 14th (84.5%)
Get The Highlighter
Sat., Oct. 2: Opening night at Dallas
Fri., Oct. 8: Home opener vs. Dallas
Mon., Nov. 15: First of four games against playoff nemesis Detroit
0-6: Anaheim's record on opening day
"The next step is for us to become more aggressive, gritty, and have more character. We know we're going to have speed and we're going to use our skills. The next step for us is going to be to win some character games." -- coach Craig Hartsburg
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