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Ducks' Payroll Increases but Stays Within Budget

September 15, 2003|Chris Foster and Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writers

With the signing of forward Petr Sykora on Saturday, the Mighty Ducks have committed about $52 million to 23 players, some of whom have two-way deals that will pay them less if they are placed in the minor leagues.

The Duck payroll was about $45 million at the end of last season. Murray said he has not exceeded the budget approved by the Walt Disney Co., which is hoping to sell the team.

"That was the effect of making sure we stayed with the parameters set up by the hockey department and Disney," General Manager Bryan Murray said. "We knew in April that we had contracts we needed to do, Sykora, [Jean-Sebastien] Giguere. We wanted to keep these players."

Meanwhile, team officials said season-ticket sales are up 2,000 from last season. The Ducks did not release season-ticket totals last season, but it was believed to be between 7,000 and 8,000.

Murray said that he probably would not add players to the camp at this time, even with the news that power forward Mike Leclerc is not expected to return from knee surgery in mid-December.

"We have two or three young players who look very good, very promising," Murray said. "At some point we are going to have to make a decision on one or two young players."

Joffrey Lupul, Michael Holmqvist, Tony Martensson and Ryan Getzlaf are young players who have been impressive thus far in camp. Getzlaf, the Ducks' first-round pick in June, is still a longshot. He is a junior player and is not under contract. He would add at least $1 million to the budget.


Sykora, who agreed to a three-year deal worth about $12 million Saturday, skated Sunday with Steve Rucchin and Andy McDonald, both of whom are recovering from injuries, while the rest of the team had off-ice workouts and meetings.

"I hadn't skated in five days, but in three days I should be caught up," Sykora said.


Coach Mike Babcock divided the camp into an NHL and minor league group. He said there were no "surprises" like last season, when veterans Jason York, German Titov and Denny Lambert were placed with the minor league team.


Jobs are being won and lost, line combinations are being cast and recast, but many eyes remain on two particular players at King training camp.

The news Sunday wasn't overly optimistic for the Kings: Adam Deadmarsh skated by himself, Jason Allison didn't skate at all.

Both players are recovering from post-concussion syndrome, with Deadmarsh apparently ahead of Allison simply because his season-ending collision preceded Allison's by nearly six weeks.

Neither player will skate in an intrasquad scrimmage tonight. Both might skate today in a non-contact session.

Deadmarsh seems to be hobbled more by a recent groin injury, but Allison is battling occasional vision problems. Sunday marked the second consecutive day Allison did not skate.

"He didn't come through the hard practice [Friday] as strong as we hoped," King Coach Andy Murray said. "He basically was on the ice about three or four times before we started training camp. He wants to get going and he got into that camp and he was going too hard. We want to ease him a little bit more than maybe what we did."

The Kings are hoping Allison is ready for the Oct. 9 season opener at Detroit, but it is difficult to attach a timetable to concussion-type injuries. Allison sat out the rest of last season after suffering a whiplash-like concussion Jan. 25 at Edmonton, his third whiplash collision within a week.

"You just don't know how it's going to respond when you're coming back from one of these," Murray said. "But he's so much better than he was before and it's moving in such a positive direction that everything I'm being told is to feel positive about him getting back sooner than later, but not as good as maybe we had anticipated after the first day."

Deadmarsh is expected to practice Wednesday, without contact. He is not feeling any post-concussion syndrome symptoms

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