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Youngsters Get Look in Loss

September 15, 1997|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The Edmonton Oilers outskated, outhit and outscored the Mighty Ducks, 4-1, in the exhibition opener for both teams Sunday at the Edmonton Coliseum, which begged the question: Could Paul Kariya have helped?

The answer: Probably not.

With Kariya still unsigned and at home in Vancouver, Coach Pierre Page went with a lineup that featured Teemu Selanne and 10 youngsters.

Predictably, Selanne was the Ducks' best player, scoring their only goal at 15:45 of the first period, and setting up several near-misses. Joe Hulbig, Jason Arnott, Mats Lindgren and Todd Marchant scored for the Oilers, who also did not dress several of their key players.

"We gave a lot of guys a chance to prove themselves tonight," Page said. "I think we can put some guys who are quicker and grittier on the ice. [But] we'll try to have 10 kids in [upcoming exhibitions] as much as possible. It's what exhibition games are all about."

So instead of skating alongside his usual linemates, Kariya and Steve Rucchin, Selanne played with rookies Antti Aalto and Espen Knutsen.

The results were mixed. Aalto seemed nervous at times, but Knutsen appeared poised and, if one game is any indication, ready to step into a key role as the second- or third-line center.


Mark Messier is expected to play Wednesday when the Vancouver Canucks face the Ducks at the Pond of Anaheim. Messier, signed as a free agent from the New York Rangers during the off-season, has been skating on a line with Pavel Bure during training camp.

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