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Team Sticks to Measured Reaction

December 18, 1999|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

As promised, the Ducks spoke to the NHL about the circumstances surrounding Stickgate at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Wednesday.

"We've had a conversation with the league about the design of the dressing room and our stick room," said Pierre Gauthier, Duck President and general manager. "There's no barriers to keep people out. It lends more credence to the idea that somebody measured our sticks before the game.

"The access is very easy."

Visiting teams' sticks are stored just outside an exit from the Colorado Avalanche's dressing room. The Ducks say a snoop measured their sticks after the morning skate, which is why the Avalanche were successful on two third-period challenges that resulted in a power-play goal that narrowed the Ducks' lead to 3-2. The Ducks went on to win, 4-2.

Asked if the Ducks might have a special welcome planned when the Avalanche next comes to the Arrowhead Pond, Gauthier laughed.

"I was thinking of going to the Disney Store and sending them a bunch of Mickey Mouse rulers," he said.


Home has always been more hospitable than the road for the Ducks during their seven-season history.

However, the victory over Colorado was the Ducks' fourth consecutive away from the Pond and gave them a 7-7-1 road mark this season.

The Ducks are halfway to the franchise record of 14 road victories set last season.

Their defensive-oriented style lends itself to playing well on the road. They also don't feel the need to impress the paying customers with attractive hockey while away from home.

But there's more to it than that, according to Coach Craig Hartsburg.

"Your preparation is so much more under control on the road," Hartsburg said. "At home, the players tend to get distracted by things. It's great being at home with our families, but sometimes being on the road is a good thing for your team."

The Ducks were 8-6-3 at the Pond going into Friday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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