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MIGHTY DUCK NOTEBOOK / ROBYN NORWOOD : Kariya Contract Talks Are Done for Season

March 31, 1994|ROBYN NORWOOD

What had become obvious is now official--Paul Kariya won't join the Mighty Ducks this season.

The Ducks decided Wednesday to suspend their stalled contract talks with Kariya's agent, Don Baizley, until the World Championships April 25-May 8 in Italy.

"Baizley and Paul and myself will sit down there and put more cards on the table about what the options are and what he really wants to do," General Manager Jack Ferreira said.

Kariya, the fourth overall pick in the draft last June, is reportedly seeking up to $2 million a year. The Ducks have offered a deal worth less than $1 million a year. They also apparently have competition now from a couple of teams in Sweden that are seeking to sign Kariya for next season.

"There's no question that the teams have inquired about whether he would come to Europe," Baizley told Canadian Press. "Our intention is to have further discussions with Anaheim. I do not want to pretend we have not had casual discussions. Europe is a possibility, but for the moment (we're focused on Anaheim)."

The sides had not talked for more than two weeks before speaking Wednesday.

"He's not going to be with us right now, so we might as well wait until we sign our No. 2," said Ferreira, who will draft second overall at this June's draft. "That could be another circus."


The Ducks are a lot closer to reaching an agreement with Maxim Bets, the prospect acquired from St. Louis in the Alexei Kasatonov trade.

Ferreira made an initial contract offer Wednesday and is hoping Bets will sign in time to at least practice with the team this season. Bets also has been placed on the playoff roster of the San Diego Gulls, the team's minor league affiliate, and might finish the season there after his junior team, Spokane of the Western League, ends its season.

"He's going to be a player," said Ferreira, who scouted Bets personally for the first time Monday. "I don't know if he'll step right in next year, but he's a talent."


Guy Hebert is No. 1 again, and Mikhail Shtalenkov is No. 2, not No. 1-A. Hebert, benched for three games earlier this month, made 30 saves against the Kings Wednesday night at the Forum to win his third game in a row.

"Once we got Guy focused and toughened up, as long as we're alive, we'll keep going with him," Coach Ron Wilson said. "That's what he's got to learn to do. He's determined he wants to be a No. 1 goalie and it takes focus. He relaxed a little too much right after the trade (of Ron Tugnutt, the other half of the team's goaltending tandem)."


This time, the Ducks tried flattery.

Or were they just being contrite after offending the Great One?

The last time the Ducks had much to say about Wayne Gretzky, club president Tony Tavares accused him of using his position as the greatest player in the history of the game to influence officials.

Gretzky responded with five points in a 5-3 victory Feb. 11.

This time? Gretzky was being honored for his record-breaking 802nd goal, and the Ducks presented him with a plaque.

"Some records are meant to be carved in stone! With sincere appreciation and respect for your achievements, we honor the NHL's greatest player--The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim."

Gretzky responded with no goals and no assists.

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