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Pro Hockey | DUCK REPORT

Either Spot Is OK by Him

October 07, 2005|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — Rob Niedermayer isn't sure where he plays on the second line for the Mighty Ducks. And that is just fine with him.

The veteran forward came up as a center 11 years ago with the Florida Panthers and he spent the majority of training camp at that spot after playing right wing under former coach Mike Babcock.

But there he was back on the wing Wednesday in the third period of the Ducks' season-opening 5-3 win over Chicago. At the moment, he is floating around up top in Coach Randy Carlyle's attacking system.

"It doesn't matter to me," said Niedermayer, who scored the insurance goal. "I prefer the wing I guess but I don't mind playing center. It's just where Randy kind of sees where I fit best."

Niedermayer is currently on a line with Petr Sykora and Andy McDonald. With a surplus of centers on the roster, Carlyle likes the versatility of both Niedermayer and McDonald and is content to mix and match the two against varying opponents.

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Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said he has accepted the possibility that he might allow a few more goals because of the changes made by the NHL to encourage offensive play, and suggested the standard of a quality performance in goal may change.

Eleven of the 30 teams that played Wednesday scored four goals or more.

"We're not going to worry much about the [goals-against] average," said Giguere, who stopped 36 of 39 Blackhawk shots. "I think the key now is going to be save percentage. It's going to tell you if you had a good game or not."

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Forward Jonathan Hedstrom did not play Wednesday and sat out Thursday's practice because of a strained right groin and is questionable for Saturday night's game at Nashville. ... A limited number of tickets remain for Monday night's home opener against Edmonton.

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