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Carlyle Slows the Tempo and Results Are Positive

DUCK REPORT

November 29, 2005|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

Mighty Duck Coach Randy Carlyle insists that his team isn't about to abandon its preference to play an up-tempo game, but it is clear the reins are being pulled at least a little.

The Ducks have won three of their last four games employing a slightly more conservative system, hoping to eliminate some of the risk-taking that often resulted in odd-man rushes by their opponents.

With their inability to score in bunches -- the Ducks are 22nd in the league with 64 goals -- and their propensity for close games, Carlyle said a more defensive style was in order to snap them out of their November slump.

"It was a decision that not only the coaching staff made, but the players have made," said Carlyle, who gave the Ducks an off day Monday. "We've pleaded and begged, kicked and coddled. All of those type of things to try to sell this certain style and certain way we need to play.

"That's not taking any aggressiveness away from the game. It is just making better decisions when we do turn the puck over or limit those turnovers."

All but three of the Ducks' 25 games have been decided by two goals or fewer, and their record in those games is 8-14. They've also scored three goals or less in 18 games, including their last 11 straight.

Center Andy McDonald said he's comfortable with winning low-scoring games.

"We're not going to sacrifice getting those offensive chances, but if we win a hockey game 3-2 or 2-1 we're satisfied in doing that," McDonald said.

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Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh is questionable for Wednesday's game with a strained knee, but X-rays taken Monday were negative. Ozolinsh, who has missed 11 games with other injuries, hurt the knee during the second period Sunday night.

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The Ducks signed center Ryan Shannon to a two-year, entry-level contract and goalie Nathan Marsters to a two-year deal. Shannon, 22, and Marsters, 25, are playing for the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Portland, Maine.

The contracts are two-way deals, meaning either would draw an NHL league-minimum salary if they were called up from Portland.

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