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DUCK-KING REPORT

Selanne Wouldn't Mind Remaining in Anaheim

January 31, 2006|Eric Stephens and Lonnie White | Times Staff Writers

The Mighty Ducks' Teemu Selanne said Monday that he hasn't thought much about his future, but is certainly enjoying the present. With a team-leading 24 goals and 49 points, any concerns about his surgically rebuilt left knee are gone.

His future became a hot topic after General Manager Brian Burke announced on Sunday that he would attempt to re-sign the forward during the upcoming two-week break for the Winter Olympics.

Burke told a crowd of about 1,000 fans attending a question-and-answer session that he would begin conversations with Selanne's agent, Don Baizley.

On Monday, the 35-year-old Selanne was circumspect.

"Before this year, I didn't know how long I was going to play," he said. "It all depends on how things happen [in negotiations]."

Selanne had spurned more lucrative offers to sign a one-year, $1-million deal to return to the Ducks this season.

"It's a good possibility," he said of returning. "It's no secret that I love to play here."

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The Edmonton Oilers, one of the teams fighting with the Ducks for the remaining playoff spots in the Western Conference, bolstered their roster last week by acquiring offense-minded defensemen Dick Tarnstrom and Jaroslav Spacek, but Burke said he doesn't feel pressure to counter their moves.

"I don't work that way," he said. "We have a blueprint here and we're going to follow it. If we can add, we're going to add. It's not based on what other teams do."

While the Ducks can use another scorer, Burke is making it clear he doesn't intend to part with prized youngsters Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry.

"I think people can see that they will be pretty good players in this league," Burke said.

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Duck defenseman Ruslan Salei was able to open his right eye Monday after being hit with a puck last week, and a target date for his return is Saturday against San Jose, Coach Randy Carlyle said.

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The Kings' recent slump does not surprise Coach Andy Murray, whose team has played the most games in the NHL and has struggled with injuries to a number of key players this season.

"We're kind of in a bit of a dilemma," Murray said at the team's morning skate Monday. "There has been a fatigue factor. I am not going to shy away from that ... but you have to deal with it.

"Another thing is that we were putting new guys into the lineup that we would have liked to give more practice time to but because of the injury situation we couldn't afford to do that."

Three such players are forwards Pavol Demitra and Eric Belanger and defenseman Aaron Miller. With the Kings playing only once over the next week and five times before the league's Olympic break Feb. 13, Murray is not about to look for the panic button for his team, which had lost eight of 11 games heading into Monday's game with the Ducks.

"We have to get through to the break and try and get as many points as we can," Murray said.

"This is not different than I expected ... the last 30 games will be a dogfight."

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King forward Jeremy Roenick, out since Dec. 19 because of a broken finger, skated with teammates Monday without a blade on his stick. He may be cleared to return for Thursday's game at Phoenix, but that does not mean he will be in the lineup.

"I know that he'll want to play the next game, I'm sure," Murray said. "But we will have to see what his puck skills are like. We want to put him in a situation where he is successful right away." ... King defenseman Tim Gleason sat out his second consecutive game because of an injured knee but should be available against the Coyotes.

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