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DUCK REPORT

Bylsma Prefers Active Role

May 17, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Mighty Duck winger Dan Bylsma has a lot better seat and a lot less stress.

All perks from suiting up and playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Bylsma has released that pent-up energy on the Minnesota Wild. He has been an effective penalty killer and an energetic member of the Ducks' fourth line.

These are chores he handed well during the regular season until suffering a knee injury in January, which kept him on the shelf much of the remainder of the season.

After watching the first two rounds of the playoffs, a sound Bylsma returned to the lineup against the Wild after Patric Kjellberg left the team for personal reasons.

"It's weird, but I'm much calmer sitting on the bench than watching from the stands," Bylsma said. "On the bench, I can think about my responsibilities and what the other team is trying to do. In the stands, I'm a nervous wreck."

Bylsma was just that through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

"I was running up and down the aisle high-fiving strangers," Bylsma said. "When Sandis Ozolinsh scored the game-winning [goal in Game 6] against Dallas, I turned around and hugged some woman who I didn't and still don't know. You just have so much energy with no release for it."

Doing radio commentary helped ... a little.

"We got to that fifth overtime in Dallas and it was tough," Bylsma said. "I was so tense, I needed something to burn it off."

Playing is a better way to deal with that. Bylsma played in only three of the Ducks' last 35 regular-season games but did not seem rusty in the first three games against the Wild.

Bylsma is teamed with Steve Rucchin on the penalty kill, which held the Wild scoreless in 12 power plays in the first three games. Bylsma also assisted on Kurt Sauer's short-handed goal in Game 2 Monday.

"This is much better," Bylsma said. "To have the team in the playoffs and not get to play was hard.

"It was still great experiencing everything in the dressing room and during games. But you never know when you will get a chance to go this deep in the playoffs again. You want to be a part of that."

*

After thorough research, NHL officials announced that former Montreal goalie George Hainsworth holds the playoff record for the longest stretch without surrendering a goal.

Hainsworth went 270 minutes 8 seconds in the 1930 playoffs.

The NHL had considered Detroit's Normie Smith, who went 248:32 without allowing a goal in the 1936 playoffs, as the record holder.

*

Duck Coach Mike Babcock, joking about making a quick exit from Friday morning's news conference:

"I'm a humdrum guy," Babcock said, smirking. "I say the same thing every day. It's the biggest game of the year. We done? That's a wrap."

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