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Pahlsson Will Stay Cautious

February 21, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

As the Mighty Ducks keep their sights locked on the playoffs, no one can blame center Samuel Pahlsson for not looking too far ahead.

"It's been a strange season," said Pahlsson, who was suspended by the Ducks in November when he left the team's minor league affiliate and returned home to Sweden. "It's been nothing like I expected."

After playing a key role for the rebuilding Ducks the previous two seasons, Pahlsson opened training camp prepared to challenge for a spot among the top six forwards. But by the time the exhibition season ended, Pahlsson found himself on a plane to Cincinnati to join the Ducks' American Hockey League team.

"I thought I was playing well then but, obviously, they didn't think so and they're in charge," Pahlsson said. "So I did what I thought best."

Pahlsson wanted the Ducks to trade him but they were unable to complete a deal. So, returning to play in Sweden became a logical option. Pahlsson had previously played 206 games with MoDo of the Swedish Elite from 1995-99, scoring 48 goals and 99 points.

But his desire to play in the NHL won out.

"I had choices," he said. "But you never know what's best for you until afterward. I came back and I'm back in the NHL now. I don't know what would have happened if I would have stayed."

Pahlsson returned to Cincinnati on Jan. 4 and did not expect much from the Ducks, who were off to a strong start without him. But because of injuries to Mike Leclerc, Andy McDonald and Dan Bylsma and a late January trade of Matt Cullen, Pahlsson was recalled on Jan. 21 and has regained a nightly spot on Coach Mike Babcock's lineup card.

"I just try and put that stuff behind me and make the best of the situation," said Pahlsson, who had eight points in 13 games with Cincinnati this season. "I go out and do my best every day. I try real hard."

Pahlsson, who had a career-high four-game scoring streak earlier this month, has played sound hockey since rejoining the Ducks. In 12 games, he has a +3 plus/minus.

"I've been doing pretty good, I think," Pahlsson said. "I've been doing everything that Mike and the coaching staff wants me to do. Of course, I want to score and get points, and I hope that comes, but my first job is to work hard all of the time."


vs. New York Rangers, 7:30

Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- Arrowhead Pond.

Radio -- KPLS (830).

Records -- Ducks 28-20-8-4, Rangers 24-30-7-2.

Record vs. Rangers -- 0-1-0-0.

Update -- The Ducks lost to the Rangers, 3-2, at New York in November but they are 6-0-0-1 against the Rangers at the Arrowhead Pond. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is expected to start for the Ducks, who are hoping Petr Sykora is healthy enough to play after missing Thursday's practice because of flu.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

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