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DUCKS REPORT

Selanne Closer to Return

March 03, 1998|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The medical news Monday was two-thirds better for the Mighty Ducks, although they still might be without their top three forwards for Wednesday's game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

Right wing Teemu Selanne participated in a light workout that was optional for most players. He hopes to practice with teammates today. Center Travis Green skated on his own after the others were done. Left wing Paul Kariya continues to deal with post-concussion syndrome and has not been cleared to begin workouts.

Selanne and Green--who have missed three consecutive games because of strained abdominal muscles and a groin injury, respectively--are considered questionable for Wednesday.

"Every day is better," said Selanne, injured while performing exercises to strengthen his lower abdominal muscles before the Olympics. "Right now, I'm skating at about 85%. I don't want to come back at half speed. Speed is the key for me. I want to feel like I can help the team."

Selanne, who also missed Finland's bronze-medal game in the Olympics, called the injury stupid.

"If I didn't do those low stomach exercises, I'd probably be OK," he said. "You have to know yourself, to know your body. You have to have a balance between work and rest."

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Assistant coach Walt Kyle said the absence of Kariya and Selanne hasn't deflated the spirit of the Ducks' youthful lineup.

"These guys are all so young and they're so resilient," Kyle said. "Sure, they're dejected with the losses. But they're getting a chance to play in the National Hockey League. Young guys tend to bounce back quickly."

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The Ducks' struggle to comply with the NHL's crackdown on interference penalties continues. They gave up 10 power plays last Wednesday against Vancouver, 13 Friday against Edmonton and six Sunday against St. Louis. . . . Steve Rucchin and Scott Young have four points each in the last three games, doing their bit to fill the scoring void created by the absence of Kariya and Selanne. The Ducks have been outscored, 11-8, while Kariya and Selanne have been sidelined.

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