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Ducks Report

Leclerc Quietly Making Mark

October 14, 2000|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The Ducks have scored six goals in three games and left wing Mike Leclerc has assisted on four of them, taking the early team lead in scoring.

"He's been very good," Coach Craig Hartsburg said of Leclerc, 23. "He's been one of our top two or three players in each game and through the exhibitions. He had a very good training camp. He's skating well. He's going to the net well."

The Ducks don't expect Leclerc to be a point-a-game player, but they'll take all he can provide while all-star wingers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne struggle to find their scoring touches.

"I don't know if we sometimes forget he's only 23, but he is a young player and he's still developing his role," Hartsburg said of Leclerc, who had eight goals and 19 points in 69 games in 1999-2000, his first full NHL season.

"A lot of young players don't realize what it's going to take to keep them in the league and give them success. A lot of players come up and don't believe they have to change their game. They believe they can still play the same way they did in college or junior."

Leclerc's best efforts as a Duck have featured physical play and confident work around the net. Unlike some grinders who play that style, he also has a soft touch with the puck.

"Last year, he played a regular shift on our third or fourth lines and not at all on our special teams," Hartsburg said. "His role has been expanded. He has to continue to play the same style we've seen so far."

TONIGHT

at New Jersey, 4:30 PDT

* Site--Continental Airlines Arena.

* Radio--KOGO (600).

* Records--Ducks 1-1-0-1, Devils 1-1-0-0.

* Record vs. Devils--(1999-2000) 0-2.

* Update--The Ducks are 1-5 in their history at New Jersey, having earned their lone victory in 1995-96. Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky's streak of consecutive games appeared in jeopardy after a nasty collision with German Titov in practice Thursday. But he is expected to be on the ice for his 212th consecutive game tonight, continuing the league's third-longest streak. Jason Arnott, New Jersey's top-line center, remains unsigned and Coach Larry Robinson has moved veteran Sergei Nemchinov between Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora.

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