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Practice Includes Scrimmage

May 24, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Still without a game -- or an opponent -- to play, the Mighty Ducks continued to go about preparing for the Stanley Cup finals as best they could Friday morning.

The Ducks, in lieu of an actual team to prepare for, had a controlled scrimmage, logging some sort of game time with minimal risk of injury.

"It's like any other day, you try to do anything you can to make the preparation as productive as possible," Coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we accomplished a lot with it. I won't know how successful this scrimmage was until after Game 1."

That is how it has been for the Ducks since they finished their sweep of Minnesota on May 16 to win the Western Conference.

Things are getting more focused.

"It's getting closer and we'll be ready to get on the plane Sunday," Paul Kariya said.

The Ducks, who head east Sunday to open the finals against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at East Rutherford, N.J., played 20-minute periods, at times using controlled situations. Fittingly, the game ended 1-1. The Ducks have had five overtime games in the playoffs.

Adam Oates scored for Team Black. Rob Niedermayer scored for Team White. Both came on five-on-three situations, as Babcock wanted the Ducks to work on power-play and penalty-killing skills.

"You try to make it as much like a game as possible," Oates said. "It is definitely not like skating in a game, but it was better than skating in drills."


Defenseman Ruslan Salei was on the team that played against goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere during the scrimmage.

"His pads are too big," Salei said. "They are way too big. They are big, like oversized."

Players from Dallas and Minnesota used the his-pads-are-too-big distraction ploy in the last two rounds.


Duck right wing Petr Sykora missed Friday's scrimmage with what Duck officials called flu.

Given the tradition of hiding injuries during the playoffs, there was no clarification on whether that was "flu," as in illness, or "flew," as in "Sykora was hit in the last game and flew."

"He should be back tomorrow," Babcock said.

Sykora had not missed a practice this week until Friday.


There are a handful of ties between the Ducks and the New Jersey Devils.

The Niedermayer brothers: Rob's brother Scott is a Devil defenseman.

The trade: The Ducks sent winger Jeff Friesen and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky to New Jersey for Sykora and three other players. Sykora led the Ducks with 34 goals during the regular season. Friesen was second on the Devils with 23 goals.

Devil enforcer Jim McKenzie played nearly two full seasons with the Ducks.


The Ducks will open the Arrowhead Pond for fans to watch the team's road games in the Stanley Cup finals. All games begin at 5 p.m.

There is a $5 entrance fee for each game and parking is free. Proceeds from the games will go to charity. Concession stands will be open.

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