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Pro Hockey | DUCKS REPORT

McDonald Returns Oct. 17

October 09, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

DALLAS — Andy McDonald, out since February because of a concussion, will return to the Mighty Duck lineup against Ottawa on Oct. 17, a boost to a lineup that is without forward Mike Leclerc.

Duck officials have shied away from talking about when McDonald would return, wanting it to be his decision entirely. Yet, Coach Mike Babcock was eager to get the 26-year-old center back in the lineup.

"Last year, he was an 18-minute-a-game player," Babcock said. "He was a top-six forward for us. He didn't play as a top-six guy. He was a third-line center who could dominate the other team's center. He could play on the top six. He's that versatile."

McDonald had 10 goals in 46 games before being injured last season.

*

Babcock was quick to point out silver linings in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars: rookies Joffrey Lupul and Garrett Burnett.

"Lupul and Burnett might have been our best forwards," Babcock said.

Lupul, the Ducks' top pick in 2002, was in constant motion on the ice and assisted on the Ducks' only goal, with a slick back-hand pass to Rob Niedermayer.

Burnett, meanwhile, has battled -- literally -- eight seasons in the minors to get here. He slugged it out with the Stars' John Erskine in the first period.

"I had six of my family members here tonight," Burnett said. "My grandfather has never seen me play professionally. He told me he was going to wait until I made it to the big league before he came. He was here tonight."

TONIGHT

at Nashville, 5 (PDT)

Site -- Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Radio -- XPRS (1090).

Records (2002-03) -- Ducks 0-1-0-0; Predators 0-0-0-0.

Record vs. Predators (2002-03) -- 3-1-0-0.

Update -- Predator rookie forward Jordin Tootoo brings a fanfare south with him to Nashville. About 40 residents of his homeland of Nunavut, a small Canadian territory just south of the Arctic Circle, are expected to attend tonight's game.

-- Chris Foster

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