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DUCKS NOTEBOOK / ROBYN NORWOOD : Wilson Hopes He Has Right Formula for Lines

September 13, 1993|ROBYN NORWOOD

The Mighty Ducks training camp is full of strangers and unproven scorers, so Coach Ron Wilson spent part of his summer trying to dream up line combinations.

Now he has to try them all on the ice, and see if any of the theories work with players attached.

The top line he envisioned combines his most proven NHL scorers, center Anatoli Semenov and right wing Terry Yake, with left wing Stu Grimson, a veteran enforcer who has only three goals in his career.

"I like the combination of toughness and finesse--two finesse players and one rugged individual," Wilson said.

Yake, 24, is coming off a breakthrough season with 53 points for Hartford last year. Semenov, 31, had 49 points for Tampa Bay and Vancouver. But nothing in their first scrimmage together Sunday made the trio look made for each other, and Grimson knows he will need to make some adjustments to keep up.

"Sometimes in this game, once you establish yourself, you get locked into one role with an organization," Grimson said. "It's a great opportunity for us as players."

Wilson is selling Yake on the idea that he can benefit from Semenov's touch much as Pavel Bure did during a 110-point season in Vancouver, where Wilson was an assistant coach.

"I was telling Terry Yake today, 'You're playing on the right side. That's where Pavel was. That's where (Semenov) looks, Wilson said. Semenov and Yake will play together almost all the time during camp.

"Maybe it won't work, but I'm hoping eventually they'll come to know each other's moves," Wilson said.

The line that looks best is centered by Patrik Carnback with Tim Sweeney and Peter Douris on the wings. For good reason: Sweeney and Douris were teammates last season at Providence in the American Hockey League.

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Joel Gagnon, who only turned 18 in March, looked around Anaheim Arena in awe on his first day of training camp. "Looks to me like I want to stay here the rest of my life," said the goaltender who was the Mighty Ducks' fourth-round pick in June's entry draft. "This was probably the best day of my life."

By the next day, the youngest player in camp was trying to stop NHL players on penalty shots--with little success.

"They pick a corner so fast," he said.

Gagnon has no reason to be discouraged. The team brought him in just to give him an idea of what an NHL camp is like, and he knows he soon will be headed back to his junior team in the Ontario Hockey League.

"I'm going back to Oshawa for the season. I just want to make a good first impression," he said.

Said Wilson: "He's getting a good taste of what it's all about. He's got a lot to learn, but you can see he's got a lot of talent."

The first thing Gagnon noticed was that it felt as if someone had turned up the speed on the ice. Then came a scrimmage that ended in something he was really unprepared for: a shootout.

"Yesterday I played my angles pretty bad on the penalty shots," Gagnon said Sunday. "Some of the scouts just talked to me, saying the things I should have done yesterday on the breakaways, telling me I backed off too fast. I should stay on my feet as long as possible."

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Scott McKay, a forward who was signed as a free agent from the London Knights of the OHL, is expected to be sidelined a week to 10 days because of an injury to his right shoulder. . . . The first cut--about six players--is expected Friday, the day before the exhibition opener against Pittsburgh at Anaheim Arena.

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