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Inside the NHL | DUCK REPORT

Friesen Happy to Be Out of Anaheim

November 12, 2002|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Comparing one of the biggest trades in Mighty Duck history will be easy tonight, as the key players will be on display when the Ducks play New Jersey at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Last summer, the six-player deal brought right wing Petr Sykora to the Ducks for left wing Jeff Friesen and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky. Both were unhappy in Anaheim and the Ducks seem better off without them.

Still, playing his former team is plenty of incentive for Friesen.

"It was just totally different from San Jose," said Friesen, who was acquired by the Ducks from San Jose in March 2001. "I think that was just a big shock, the whole atmosphere there. In San Jose, if you lost, it was just death. [In Anaheim], if you lost, you just put your helmet in your stall and if you got mad, people would look at you and say, 'Why are you mad?' "

Friesen was a disappointment last season, as the Ducks were expecting more offense from him. He had 17 goals, but scored 43 points, a career low for a full season. Tverdovsky, a skilled offensive defenseman, had a career-low six goals and 32 points, and was often at odds with then-coach Bryan Murray.

"We knew that we were giving up two pretty good players that were not totally happy here," said Murray, now the team's general manager. "My first priority was to try and change the chemistry and attitude of the hockey team, so we had to do some things. Petr seems to be pretty happy here and he's a real positive guy."

Sykora views this more as a homecoming. He played seven seasons with the Devils and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1999-2000.

"It is really going to be a strange feeling," Sykora said. "I don't know [if I'll get booed]. I know a lot fans and a lot people there. It is going to be nice to come back and see them. I did some good things when I was there, so I may not get booed. I hope I'm not going to get booed."

TONIGHT

at New Jersey, 4:30 PST

Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- Continental Airlines Arena.

Radio -- KPLS (830).

Records -- Ducks 6-6-3-0; Devils 8-4-0-0.

Record vs. Devils (2001-02) -- 1-0-0-0.

Update -- Duck right wing Mike Leclerc underwent minor surgery Monday to repair a torn bursa sac in his right elbow. He will miss tonight's game. Center Jason Krog was recalled from minor league Cincinnati.

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