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Inside the NHL | DUCK REPORT

Leclerc, Olausson Are Sidelined

November 19, 2002|Chris Foster | Time Staff Writer

NEW YORK — The Mighty Ducks, on a 6-1-1-2 streak, have hit some speed bumps in their quest to remain a playoff contender. They will be without forward Mike Leclerc and defenseman Fredrik Olausson for a time.

Leclerc will sit out two weeks after suffering torn cartilage in his left knee. Olausson will sit out an unspecified time to get himself into playing shape.

The loss of Leclerc, a power forward who has been one of the Ducks' best players this season, is a blow to a team that has made significant improvements. He will have arthroscopic surgery today.

"The only way I can look at it is this is an opportunity to get better," Coach Mike Babcock said. "Because someone is going to have a chance to play more. When Adam Oates was injured, [Stanislav] Chistov got an opportunity and now we'll be better when Adam gets back."

The hole left by Leclerc will be difficult to fill. He has scored two goals and has 11 points this season. His size, 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds, and his physical style are invaluable to the Ducks.

Neither Leclerc nor Duck officials know how he was injured. After missing one game because of minor surgery on his right elbow on Nov. 11, Leclerc returned to play two games. His knee became inflamed and he was sent back to Anaheim on Sunday morning.

Olausson's situation is a bit more vague. He was signed by the Ducks to beef up the power play, but has no goals and only one assist in 15 games this season and has been a healthy scratch four of the last 10 games.

Olausson said that he needs to improve his "base condition," something he couldn't do over the summer because of a hip injury. He was unable to work hard in training camp because of the injury.

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On the brighter side, Oates practiced with the Ducks on Monday, his first appearance since breaking his left hand against Vancouver on Oct. 24.

Oates, who has surgical screws in his hand, did little shooting or passing.

"It was great to get back and get a chance to see the guys," Oates said. "I still think I am a week to 10 days away from playing. I'm still at the stage where I'm trying not to do anything to aggravate it."

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TONIGHT

at New York Rangers, 4 PST

Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- Madison Square Garden.

Radio -- KPLS (830).

Records -- Ducks 8-6-3-2; Rangers 8-10-2-0.

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

Update -- Ranger goalie Mike Richter is out with a concussion. The Ducks have picked up points in seven consecutive games, one short of the team record.

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