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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS / ROUND ONE | NOTES

Selanne Says He's Fine, but He's Shotless

April 26, 1999|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

Teemu Selanne looked a questioner directly in the eye Sunday afternoon and said, "I'm OK. I'm OK." The Duck right wing's postseason play has not been OK, however.

Selanne did not have a shot on net during a 4-2 loss to Detroit in Game 3, only the third time this season he's failed to record at least one shot. He also did not have a goal or an assist and seemed a step slow, unable to skate with his usual speed and effectiveness.

Selanne was sidelined for six games in November and one in December while battling a nagging strained right thigh. But he denied Sunday that it has returned to trouble him.

"I want to be a big part of this team," said Selanne, who led the NHL during the regular season with 47 goals and scored one in each of the first two games of the playoffs. "It's so frustrating and disappointing that I can't help the team as much as I want to."

To be sure, the aggressive play of the Red Wings had something to do with Selanne's lackluster play in Game 3.

"I think both [Nicklas] Lidstrom and [Chris] Chelios are playing so well," Selanne said of the Red Wings' top defense pairing. "And there are always three forwards back-checking at 100 mph. But there are no excuses. I know I can help this team so much more.

"I wasn't very good tonight. I couldn't do the things I wanted to do."

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Duck Coach Craig Hartsburg said defenseman Ruslan Salei was questionable for Game 4 on Tuesday, but would not say why. Salei was seen favoring his right shoulder after a tough hit against the glass in the second period Sunday.

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Hartsburg shuffled his lines, moving Matt Cullen between Selanne and Paul Kariya and dropping Steve Rucchin to the second line to play with Marty McInnis and Tomas Sandstrom.

"I thought Rucchin's line did a good job on [Steve] Yzerman," Hartsburg said. "Yzerman killed us in the first two games."

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