Short on defensemen, but apparently even shorter on sentimentality, the Ducks on Wednesday released Milos Holan without playing him in any of their first four exhibitions.
Holan's hockey comeback from leukemia evidently is over. He plans to return this week to his native Czech Republic.
General Manager Pierre Gauthier gave Holan the option of playing for the Ducks' minor-league affiliate in Cincinnati, but the 27-year-old defenseman declined.
Holan underwent a lifesaving bone marrow transplant in 1996 and, after a lengthy recovery period, was cleared to play last summer.
"We're in the business of winning hockey games," Gauthier said when asked before the Ducks' 5-4 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Arrowhead Pond if he considered playing Holan in an exhibition before making a decision on his future. "He's come so far. This is a great story. Let's not lose sight of that. He was pretty good at camp. It was not like he was out of place."
Right from the start, Holan said he was realistic about his chances of returning to the NHL. He said he was satisfied simply to attend camp and to be healthy again.
"I just try to come over and play the best I can," Holan said last week. "If that's not enough for the coach, then I'll go home."
He also said, "I'm not doing this just for me, my wife or my family, but to show people that you have to fight [an illness]. I hope this is a big help for the people still in the hospital, to show them I'm here."
Holan played 41 games for the Ducks between 1994-95 and 1995-96, scoring four goals and recording 10 assists. He was diagnosed with leukemia during routine physicals before the 1995-96 season, but played 16 games while awaiting a suitable marrow donor.