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DUCKS-KINGS REPORT

Schneider injures ankle in victory over Kings

September 16, 2007|Eric Stephens and Lonnie White | Times Staff Writers

Ryan Getzlaf's power-play goal with 5:32 left Saturday gave the Ducks a 3-2 exhibition victory over the Kings in front of 11,107 at Staples Center but the win may have been costly.

Defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who was making his Anaheim debut, suffered a sprained ankle in the second period and will undergo an MRI exam today to determine the severity of the injury, Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said.

"I don't know what to tell you right now," Schneider said. "It didn't feel like much on the ice. It kind of stiffened up on me. I really can't tell right now."

Forward Todd Bertuzzi also made his debut for the Ducks but didn't factor in the scoring. Drew Miller and Jason King also scored for Anaheim, and Tom Preissing scored in his first game as a King and Michael Cammalleri had a goal.

Ducks defenseman Sean O'Donnell, a former King, took four stitches below his right eye after getting into a fight with Kings forward Dustin Brown, moments after Brown leveled Ducks center Andy McDonald with a clean open-ice hit.

Lost in the signings of Schneider and Bertuzzi this summer to make up for the absences of Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne were the Ducks' moves to improve their depth on defense.

Shane Hnidy and Maxim Kondratiev were in the lineup on Thursday and the two are expected to challenge incumbents Kent Huskins and Joe DiPenta for the fifth and sixth defenseman spots.

Hnidy, 31, signed a two-year, $1.515-million free-agent deal after two seasons in Atlanta. A six-year veteran with stops in Ottawa and Nashville, Hnidy had the best season of his career with the Thrashers last season, totaling five goals and a plus-15 rating in a career-high 72 games.

"I had been looking at options that were out there," Hnidy said. "When it came down to it, the game is about winning and this is a team that has set that as their mandate."

Kondratiev, 24, made an impact in his first game Thursday when he scored a power-play goal in the first period of the Ducks' 5-4 loss to the Kings.

Originally acquired by the Ducks on Jan. 8, 2006 in a trade for Petr Sykora, he played the 2006-07 season in his native Russia before signing a one-way contract with the club on May 25.

"He's got a skill set," Carlyle said. "We like some of the things that he does."

Of the exhibitions, Kondratiev said, "It's very important for me. I've never played for this coach before and I think it's important for me to show my game. I've got to work hard. I think they're going to give me lots of chances."

The Kings' Patrick O'Sullivan first made a name for himself playing center in the Ontario Hockey League, where after scoring 92 points in 64 games, he earned league rookie of the year honors in 2001-02.

But if O'Sullivan is going to make a difference with the Kings this season, it will be as a winger. Based on how Coach Marc Crawford has utilized him in training camp, it will be on a line with newcomers Michal Handzus and Ladislav Nagy.

"I always feel that I can play anywhere, but I think playing on the wing, I am able to use my speed a little bit more," said O'Sullivan, listed at 5 feet 11 and 190 pounds.

"Playing with a guy like Handzus, who is very good defensively, he allows me and Nagy to get away with a little bit more."

O'Sullivan, acquired by the Kings from Minnesota on a draft day trade in June 2006, opened last season on the regular-season roster with the Kings but was sent to the minors after a slow start.

But O'Sullivan excelled playing with Manchester of the American Hockey League, scoring 18 goals and 39 points in 41 games.

The Kings recalled O'Sullivan in late January and he finished with five goals and 19 points in 44 games.

--

eric.stephens@latimes.com

lonnie.white@latimes.com

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