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MIGHTY DUCKS

Gauthier Tells Players to Shape Up

November 17, 2000|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Pierre Gauthier, Mighty Duck president and general manager, had a straightforward message for his struggling players during a 20-minute meeting Thursday before practice.

"He said we better shape up pretty fast," goalie Guy Hebert said. "It was a pretty black-and-white message."

Gauthier also said he told the Ducks, who are winless in eight games, he will not fire Coach Craig Hartsburg or trade all-star wingers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.

"There are a couple of things I want to make very clear and they aren't going to change," Gauthier told reporters. "First, the coach is not going to get fired. I know that rumor has started and I'm going to kill it right away. Second, we're not going to start again on the rumors of one of our top players getting traded. That's not a solution if you want to win.

"The coach ain't the problem. The owner [Disney] ain't the problem. Let's stop talking about one of the stars getting traded. I can't come out in public and say these things, then in two weeks change my mind because I'm the one who will come out looking like a fool."

Gauthier believes he's not getting his money's worth from the Ducks, who are 6-9-3-2 and mired in 11th place in the NHL's Western Conference.

Gauthier also said he even singled out such newcomers as center German Titov (two goals, three points and 11 shots), left wing Andrei Nazarov (one goal) and defenseman Patrick Traverse (one goal) for criticism Thursday.

"What am I going to do? Say, 'Oh, I made bad deals?' I didn't because I didn't give up anything to get these guys," Gauthier said. "They were good before. They were good on other teams last year."

Said Selanne: "After his talk, everybody was shaking. He was talking about the kinds of changes he could do, what kinds of options he has. I think everybody understood. He also mentioned if things don't get better, there are things he can do."

Notes

Center Steve Rucchin underwent surgery on his left cheekbone, which was shattered when Selanne's deflected slap shot struck him late in the second period Wednesday against Colorado. . . . Rucchin, who also suffered a broken nose, is expected to be sidelined up to one month. . . . The Ducks recalled Andy McDonald from Cincinnati of the American Hockey League to take Rucchin's spot on the roster.

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