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DUCKS REPORT

Selanne Says Old Friend Will Improve Blackhawks

November 05, 2000|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

NASHVILLE — Teemu Selanne gets a chance tonight to catch up with an old friend from Finland, Alpo Suhonen, when the Ducks play the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Suhonen served as an assistant coach when both were in Winnipeg in the early 1990s.

Selanne believes it will only be a matter of time before the Blackhawks begin to click under Suhonen, one of two Europeans to make their NHL coaching debuts this season. Pittsburgh's Ivan Hlinka is the other.

"I've always seen him have success," Selanne said. "He's had a pretty tough start. A couple more games would be OK, then I hope they win all their games against the other teams--not against us."

Suhonen and General Manager Mike Smith have sought to remake the plodding Blackhawks into a better skating team.

"He plays a system like in Toronto and we're trying to do here," Selanne said. "You try to do something with the puck. He's not a guy who says let's just dump it in. He and Mike Smith see the game the same way. Mike is a big fan of the European game."

*

Right wing Marty McInnis sat out his third game because of a sprained neck, but he's "pretty close" to playing, according to Coach Craig Hartsburg. McInnis participated in the morning skate and "looked pretty good," Hartsburg said.

Tonight

at Chicago, 5 PST

* Site--United Center.

* Radio--XTRA (690).

* Records--Ducks 6-4-3-2, Blackhawks 4-8-0-1.

* Record vs. Blackhawks (1999-2000)--3-1-1.

* Update--The Blackhawks' 6-1 rout Friday of the Detroit Red Wings was their first victory over an established team. Their first three wins came against the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild.

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