EDMONTON, Canada — Mighty Duck captain Paul Kariya has said that he wants to remain in Anaheim and help the Ducks win the Stanley Cup.
Others around the NHL, including one player/owner, don't seem convinced that is possible. It took Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux six seasons to win his first Stanley Cup, but he didn't think patience will help Kariya.
"It's tough to see a guy that talented not having a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup," Lemieux said. "I'm sure it's tough for him. The kind of team he has, I'm sure it's difficult to accept. Sooner or later I think he's going be a free agent and be able to pick his poison."
Kariya, 27, is a restricted free agent after this season, meaning the Ducks can match any offer he receives. He will be an unrestricted free agent after three seasons. Suitors certainly will be lining up.
He could even fit in with Pittsburgh.
"I wish,"' Lemieux said, laughing. "If he would play for half price."
The Penguins, who played at Calgary on Thursday, practiced in Edmonton on Friday. That put Lemieux, Kariya and the Canadian press in the same building. The topic, of course, turned to the Olympics and whether Lemieux and Kariya would skate on the same line.
"Kariya would be a perfect fit," Lemieux said. "He has a lot of speed and he sees the ice very well."
Lemieux, who has played only 14 games because of a hip injury, had three assists and an empty-net goal in a 6-4 victory over Calgary on Thursday.
"That's great for our team to see him flying like that," Kariya said. "I saw the highlights and he looks like he's back in form. That's great for all Canadians."
at Calgary, 6, Ch. 9
Records--Ducks 14-27-6-3, Flames 19-18-8-2.
Record vs. Flames--1-0-1-0.
Update--Defenseman Jason York (tendinitis in right shoulder) and Jeff Friesen (sprained left ankle) returned to the Duck lineup Friday.