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Inside the NHL | DUCK REPORT

Setting a Record No One Wanted

October 21, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The Mighty Ducks' 0-4-0-1 start is the longest winless start by a team that reached the Stanley Cup finals the previous season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. By losing, 4-3, in overtime to Boston on Sunday, the Ducks passed the Detroit Red Wings of 1966-67, who started 0-4, and the New Jersey Devils of 2001-02, who started 0-3-0-1.

Not the kind of record-breaking performance they wanted.

The frustration was evident after a turnover-filled game against the Bruins and it carried over into Monday's practice.

"At the start [of the season], we couldn't beat ourselves," Coach Mike Babcock said. "[Sunday] night we had to play a lot better to screw it up, if that makes any sense."

Babcock snapped at players during a drill, banging his stick against the glass and yelling, "Wake up fellas, let's start doing this right."

Said Babcock: "When you get told, and you get told again, after that, enough is enough."

The Ducks expected to be better this season, after the run to the Cup finals was followed by the off-season signings of Sergei Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal.

"It's good to have all this ability, but it doesn't mean anything," goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "The New York Rangers are the best example of that. On paper, they have the best team in the league, yet they haven't made the playoffs in six years. You can't rely on ability. You still have to work and play together as a team."

Said defenseman Todd Simpson: "We just have to stay positive. We can't let negative things in here, like being frustrated. That is not going to help us. It's tough. You first have to look at yourself .... We have to stick together and there can't be any finger-pointing."

Asked if there had been, Simpson said: "I don't get the sense that guys are bailing on each other. Guys know what to do. We've seen a little progress lately."

*

Duck radio announcer Steve Carroll will miss the next two games because of a family illness. The radio broadcast will be a simulcast with television coverage.

TONIGHT

at San Jose, 7:30, Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- HP Pavilion.

Radio -- XPRS (1090).

Records -- Ducks 0-4-0-1; Sharks 1-3-1-0

Record vs. Sharks (2002-03) -- 3-2.

Update -- Shark rookie right wing Milan Michalek, the sixth overall pick in the June draft, will be out four months because of a torn ligament in his right knee. The Ducks sent rookie center Michael Holmqvist, a healthy scratch the last two games, to minor league Cincinnati on Monday.

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