YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Pro Hockey | DUCK REPORT

Sauer Keeps It Simple, Steady

November 17, 2002|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Mighty Duck rookie defenseman Kurt Sauer has not been respecting his elders.

Detroit's Igor Larionov, a 41-year-old veteran of 12 seasons, set up shop at the far post and waited in the third period of Friday's game. The puck came his way from across the ice, but before it arrived Sauer muscled Larionov out of the play.

Just 18 games into the season, Sauer, who had never played higher than juniors before, seems to have answered the question of whether he can hack.

"He's been really good for us," Coach Mike Babcock said. "We don't even think about him as a coaching staff anymore. He's just a guy on this team."

Opinions have not changed about Sauer, 21. He is a minus-6 on the season, but that number is a bit deceiving, as Sauer has had to skate against the opposing team's top line many games.

His skill was evident when he chased down Colorado's Peter Forsberg on a third-period breakaway, forcing him into a bad shot, in a 3-2 overtime victory Oct. 20.

"He is steady and keeps thing simple," veteran defenseman Keith Carney said. "It's a long year, but he has already done what a young player needs to do, he got off to a good start."

Sauer, however, shies away from such talk.

"Eighteen games has just flown by," Sauer said. "I focus a little on the positive, to keep myself up, but there are lots I still have to work on. Every game I learn something."

And what did he learn from Friday's game?

"Luc Robitaille going by me in the slot, what, three times?" Sauer said. "He was up on the blue line and I didn't know what to do."



at Atlanta, 2 p.m. PST

Site -- Philips Arena.

Radio -- KPLS (830).

Records -- Ducks 7-6-3-2, Thrashers 4-10-1-1.

Record vs. Thrashers (2001-02) -- 2-0-0-0.

Update -- The Ducks have earned eight points in their last six road games. They sit in third place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks recalled goalie Martin Gerber from Cincinnati and sent goalie Ilja Bryzgalov down. Gerber, who had been in Switzerland to visit his ailing mother, had been sent to Cincinnati for one game to get back up to speed.

Los Angeles Times Articles