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McSween Is Back, but Ducks Can't Hold Off Maple Leafs

February 08, 1996|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

On another night, Don McSween's return to the NHL might have ranked as front-page news--in The Hockey News and maybe the New England Journal of Medicine.

But the Mighty Ducks acquired talented goal-scorer Teemu Selanne from Winnipeg in the biggest deal in their three-year history.

Anything else, including McSween's return and the Ducks' 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs before 17,174 at the Pond, was doomed to secondary status Wednesday.

Last month, McSween, a defenseman, wondered whether his career was history. His recovery from a gruesome cut to his right forearm during a game at Winnipeg Jan. 21, 1995, was as complete as doctors could have hoped, considering he required surgery to repair nine tendons and two nerves.

Wednesday, the Ducks activated him and Coach Ron Wilson put him into the starting lineup. Wilson paired McSween with Dave Karpa and the two fared well enough.

"I don't think anyone can imagine what Don McSween has gone through," Wilson said. "I'm proud of his effort. He might have been our most effective defenseman."

Wilson made another significant change, naming Paul Kariya and Bobby Dollas assistant captains.

Kariya responded with his team-leading 29th goal.

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