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DUCKS REPORT

Pahlsson Gets an Extension

October 09, 2006|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

The Ducks showed their appreciation Sunday for Samuel Pahlsson's strong defense from the center position by signing him to a two-year contract extension that will start after this season.

Pahlsson, 28, is making $650,000 this season and will earn $1.4 million in each of the next two seasons. The sixth-year forward would have been an unrestricted free agent in July but the Ducks made overtures to him this summer to lock up another one of their key defensive players.

The Ducks also signed defenseman Francois Beauchemin to a two-year extension and will have stalwarts Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger committed for the next three seasons.

"The foundation for any successful team is that they keep the puck out of their own net," General Manager Brian Burke said. "You've got to watch the game very closely to appreciate what [Pahlsson] does. The casual fan will not walk about the building saying, 'Boy, Sammy had a great game.' We say it with regularity."

Pahlsson had his best season in 2005-06, when he scored a career-high 11 goals in addition to his shutdown abilities against the league's top forwards. In the playoffs last season, he was often credited with holding down Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Colorado's Joe Sakic in the Ducks' series victories.

"There's a type of yeoman's work that he puts in," Coach Randy Carlyle said. "We're still expecting him to shoot more."

There was a time when Pahlsson didn't want anything to do with the Ducks after being sent to the minors by former coach Mike Babcock in the 2002-03 season.

Now Pahlsson says, "I don't want to leave. Maybe sometimes you want to try something new but I like it here and I want to stay here."

Burke said Pahlsson should be a finalist for the Selke Trophy that's given to the NHL's top defensive forward, but added the unassuming Swede is overlooked because he plays on the West Coast.

"Everyone notices the first violin," Burke said. "She's always elegant. But there's always some big guy playing the tuba in the back. And before they're even in there, they're putting the stage in place. Sammy does the lunch-pail work and I'm really glad he re-upped."

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Teemu Selanne usually has an answer for every question, but one caught him off-guard. Selanne was unaware the Ducks had never started a season 2-0.

"That's not a very good stat," he said

Before Friday's 4-3 victory over the Kings, the Ducks had won three season openers in 12 seasons and followed each with a loss. Carlyle also was surprised, but said to reporters, "As a coach, you never really look at that stuff. Those are statistics that you guys write about."

Said Selanne: "Obviously a good start helps you. You don't want to be starting to squeeze the sticks to get that first one."

Selanne scored his 493rd goal in the Ducks' 2-1 win over Phoenix on Saturday.

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TONIGHT

vs. St. Louis, 7

Site -- Honda Center.

TV -- FSN Prime Ticket.

Radio -- 830.

Records -- Ducks 2-0-0; Blues 0-1-1.

Record vs. Blues (2005-06) -- 3-1-0.

Update -- The swelling has mostly receded from the right side of Niedermayer's mouth after the Ducks captain was hit with a deflected shot. Niedermayer needed seven stitches to close the gash. "I could chew but I couldn't really open my mouth wide." Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere will be available after suffering a leg cramp in Friday night's 4-3 victory over the Kings.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

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eric.stephens@latimes.com

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