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DUCKS REPORT

Gauthier Defends Team's Desire

March 27, 2000|HELENE ELLIOTT

Pierre Gauthier, Duck president and general manager, believes the NHL Players Assn. is using reporters to get across a message that the Disney-owned club is focused more on making money than making a run at the Stanley Cup.

The Ducks' opening-night payroll was about $30 million, which put them among the top one-third in the NHL.

"We are a target of the [NHLPA] because we have money," Gauthier said.

"Reporters who have never been in our building are writing that we don't spend money and Disney has money.

"It's driven by friends of players and by agents, and I take exception to that. It miseducates our fans.

"There's a perception about our franchise that we don't want to win, and that's not the case. Nobody wants to win more than Michael Eisner [chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company].

"We want to win as much as anybody in the league and we have a plan to build. We've been tagged as a team that's supposed to be different because Disney has money, but we're not different from anyone in this league. We all have the same issues. What is the cost of players?"

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The Ducks have a day to rest today, then four days to practice and watch other Western Conference teams jockey for playoff position before facing the Kings on Saturday at Staples Center.

"I think I'll have to watch the games," right wing Teemu Selanne said. "I never watch hockey during the season. Only Formula One."

Asked if he had a satellite dish to pull in games, center Matt Cullen said, "No. I guess I'll have to find someplace to watch them, though."

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The victory was the Ducks' third in overtime this season. Selanne scored in the five-minute extra period and the Ducks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, Oct. 27. Oleg Tverdovsky scored the game-winner Sunday and in a 6-5 victory Feb. 16 against the Calgary Flames.

The Ducks have lost twice this season in overtime, to the Florida Panthers, 3-2, Oct. 16 and to the New York Rangers, 4-3, March 8.

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