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DUCKS REPORT

Team Should Be Ready for the Blues

November 02, 1998|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The Ducks certainly shouldn't lack for motivation this week, kicking off a four-game homestand Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.

The Ducks didn't handle St. Louis left wing Geoff Courtnall very well in Saturday's 2-2 tie. Courtnall goaded defenseman Jason Marshall into taking a roughing penalty late in regulation.

It could have proved disastrous, but the Ducks managed to kill off the penalty without giving up the go-ahead goal.

"Courtnall really suckered us into taking one there," Coach Craig Hartsburg said. "We have to suck it up in that situation and not take those kinds of penalties.

"When the game gets intense and heated, we have to be sure the calls go our way."

The St. Louis game figures to be a mere tuneup for the long-awaited return of Gary Suter, a former Chicago Blackhawk defenseman now with the San Jose Sharks.

This will be Suter's first game in Anaheim since cracking left wing Paul Kariya in the jaw last Feb. 1, knocking him out for the season's final 28 games because of post-concussion syndrome.

Add San Jose defenseman Bryan Marchment, whose reputation for dirty play is renowned around the league, to the mix and Friday's game could be downright combustible.

Marchment attempted one of his patented knee-on-knee hits late last season, narrowly missing Duck right wing Tomas Sandstrom. Jeremy Stevenson, now in the minors, pummeled Marchment in an ensuing fight.

*

Best player in the NHL?

"That's a tough question," St. Louis winger Scott Young told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Kariya is the fastest guy in the league with the puck. He doesn't lose stride. [Teemu] Selanne, with his goal-scoring touch and his speed and his instincts, is unbelievable.

"But when I look at their all-around game, to me the best player in the league is Peter Forsberg."

Young should know. He played with Forsberg for three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche and with Kariya and Selanne last season with the Ducks.

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