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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 12:18 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Selanne takes ice to thundering ovation

We're about to get underway here at Hartwall Areena. Jonas Hiller will be in net for the Ducks, and Kurtis Foster is dressed -- he was a question mark. When the Ducks took the ice before the start of the game, the three Finnish players were announced separately.

Toni Lydman is not playing, but was on the bench to receive an ovation. Saku Koivu was next and a loud roar came from the sellout crowd. Finally, it was time for Teemu Selanne -- and the ovation for the hometown hero was a thunderous one. He had to acknowledge the crowd on three occasions because the ovation went on for so long.

Selanne and fellow Jokerit legend Jari Kurri were presented with large "membership cards" -- the first of their kind for the club.
Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 12:13 PM

By Risto Pakarinen - Correspondent / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Kurri on Teemu: He's got 'super-fast cells'

HELSINKI -- Hall of Famer Jari Kurri charmed the hockey world as an Edmonton Oiler, but he also played for the Kings, the Rangers, the Avalanche – and the Ducks. And, like Teemu Selanne, he came up through the Jokerit Helsinki junior system.

On Tuesday, the great hockey ambassador was at the preseason game between the Ducks and Jokerit here at Hartwall Areena, and took some time to talk with

Q: Have you enjoyed the NHL Premiere week?
Kurri: It's great fun. Tomorrow, I'll meet some of Anaheim's fans, and then I'll go on the ice before the game for the ceremonial faceoff. They'll make me an honorary member of Jokerit, the club. But other than that, nothing special. Just looking forward to the games. It'll be fun to watch good hockey games, and especially with so many Finns on the ice.

Q: You've known Teemu Selanne for a long time. Are you surprised at the fact that he’s still playing?
Kurri: Teemu was supposed to retire five years ago, but like he's said publicly many times, he really just still enjoys playing. And he had a great season last year, so he's got no rush to spend his retirement days. There'll many of those, too.

I guess one day he'll have to give it up, but not just yet.

Q: What do you think is his secret?
Kurri: Often as players get older, they have to change something in the game as their roles get smaller. And Teemu doesn't play that much anymore, nothing crazy, under 20 minutes a game. And then on power play of course, which is important.

But it's amazing how fast he still is. The guy's got some unusual, super-fast cells in his muscles.

Q: How important is this game for Jokerit, your old team?
Kurri: I'm sure the Jokerit players will enjoy this game. It's a smaller ice surface, which makes it a little special for them, and then this gives them a chance to see how they measure up against NHLers, how fast the game is, how the puck battles are.

Q: What are your expectations for the crowd's reaction when Teemu's name is announced?
Kurri: It’s going to be wild.
Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 8:41 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Lydman to miss game vs. Jokerit

HELSINKI -- Toni Lydman will not play Tuesday for the Anaheim Ducks in today's preseason game against local club Jokerit as he continues the rehab process after offseason shoulder surgery.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle had Lydman in a light-blue "no contact" jersey during practice Monday, and ruled him out Tuesday morning after the team skated at Hartwall Areena. Lydman still could play here Friday in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Buffalo Sabres (1 p.m. ET, TSN2) or Saturday's Premiere game in Stockholm against the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN).

Forward Matt Beleskey, who also had shoulder surgery in the offseason, will play against Jokerit, according to Carlyle. The Ducks have five forwards on their "fourth" line, and it is possible all five will dress. Jokerit is going to dress 22 players (20 skaters and two goalies), so the Ducks likely will do so as well.

Defenseman Kurtis Foster's status for the game had not yet been determined when Carlyle met with the media after the morning skate. Carlyle said he'd like to get him into a preseason game, but also was a bit worried about his recovery time when he fell to the ice a couple of times this week in practice. Foster had surgery two weeks ago to repair a wire attached to the metal plate in his leg, which was put in there after he broke it two years ago while with Minnesota.

Sheldon Brookbank and Nate Guenin will be the team's third defensive pairing if Foster joins Lydman as a spectator Tuesday.

Carlyle would not reveal who his starting goaltender would be for today's game.

Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 8:35 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Hometown club to honor Selanne, Kurri

HELSINKI -- Jokerit will honor its two most famous alumni before an exhibition game Tuesday with the Anaheim Ducks at Hartwall Areena.

Ducks forward Teemu Selanne and NHL legend Jari Kurri will take part in a pre-game ceremony before the noon ET (7 p.m. local time) start. Jokerit owner Harry Harkimo will present Selanne and Kurri with "membership cards." A Jokerit team spokesman said this is a new idea for the club, and these two will be the first to receive the honor.

Kurri came up through the Jokerit youth system and played for the men's team from 1977-78 until he joined the Edmonton Oilers for the 1980-81 season. His No. 17 is retired at Hartwall twice -- once for Jokerit and once for Finland's national team.

Selanne joined Jokerit's organization when he was 13, and played five games with the men's team as a 17-year-old in 1987-88 before joining the club full time the next season. He spent four seasons on the senior team, winning league MVP honors in 1990-91 and helping Jokerit to the league championship in 1991-92.

Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:02 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Carlyle connects to his roots

HELSINKI -- This trip to Finland will be a celebration of the three native players who play for the Anaheim Ducks, but they aren't alone in their heritage.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle also has roots in this Scandinavian country to the northwest of the Baltic Sea.

"My grandparents were from Finland," Carlyle said. "They were born and raised in Finland and then they moved to Canada. My grandfather was a carpenter and they moved to Sudbury, Ontario area."

When the Ducks got off to a slow start last season, media members and disgruntled fans questioned whether Carlyle's job was in jeopardy, but general manager Bob Murray's confidence was rewarded as the Ducks made the playoffs despite losing starting goaltender Jonas Hiller for the stretch run.

It was a coaching performance that could have been worthy of a Jack Adams award nomination, but there is no question Carlyle is one of the top bench bosses in the League. His 266 wins are by far the most in franchise history, and Carlyle's led the Ducks to the playoffs in five of his six seasons -- not to mention a Stanley Cup victory in 2007.

The Western Conference was the tougher of the two last season, and major additions in Los Angeles, San Jose and Columbus aren't going to make it any easier, but with a healthy Hiller and the return of Teemu Selanne for another season the Ducks should battle San Jose and Los Angeles for Pacific Division supremacy.

"We feel that we have a hockey club here that can challenge for a playoff position," Carlyle said. "Once you get in, it is wide open."

Before that, the Ducks will spend the week here in Scandinavia, playing an exhibition game and two regular-season contests while also enjoying some of the benefits of an NHL-sponsored European vacation.

"For us as a coaching staff, it gives you an opportunity to have the team together, a little bit of team bonding and team building," Carlyle said. "We'll spend the week together, and there will be a few events that the team participates in. They're will be a team dinner. We can practice as a group right here. We don't have to change facilities.

"For our players we think it is a new experience, and we're here representing the NHL. Any chance you have as a partner of the NHL to spread your wings and be involved on an international basis helps sell the game to the international community with the NHL brand, I think you have to take it and take it very, very seriously. We have to put our best foot forward, not only for the NHL but for the Anaheim Ducks organization and we're very, very happy to do that."

One big adjustment for the Ducks this week will be the weather. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Helsinki, but the temperature isn't expected to reach 60 degrees all week while the lows are likely to be in the low-to-mid 40s.

Carlyle was one member of the Ducks who wasn't complaining.

"Hopefully the weather stays nice," he said. "Being from California, all we ever see is sun and heat, and being from Northern Ontario, this is very close to where I lived and grew up in Sudbury. Deep lakes, pine forests -- it is fall, and that is a little bit of a change for us."
Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:46 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Lydman's status up in the air

HELSINKI -- Tony Lydman wants to play in front of his countrymen Friday when the Anaheim Ducks face the Buffalo Sabres here at Hartwall Areena, but a decision on his status for that season-opening contest has yet to be determined.

Lydman, a Lahti, Finland, native, had surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder in May, and it is unclear if he will be allowed to play against Buffalo.

"Right now we're carrying seven defensemen and 14 forwards and three goaltenders, but Lydman isn't in that group," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "He'll have to go on injured reserve by Thursday. There will be a decision that has to be made here as we go through practice. We're not ruling him out, but his timeframe to play -- he'd be ahead of schedule if we were to use him this weekend. He's had major shoulder surgery and the timeframe they've given us was sometime in mid-October.

Lydman was on the ice with the rest of the Ducks at practice Sunday morning. The team will practice again Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with an exhibition game Tuesday against Jokerit.

The 34-year-old defenseman spent his first two years as a professional with Tappara in SM-liiga, but he also played two seasons with Jokerit's rival in Helsinki, HIFK. He also played for HIFK during the lockout in 2004-05.

"I'm close to playing, and I hope to be able to play, but nothing is sure yet," Lydman said. 

Added Carlyle: "If you watch him skate and practice it doesn't look like anything is wrong with him, but those things do take time to heal."

Carlyle has two other players who are questionable for the game Friday. Defenseman Kurtis Foster had surgery to repair the metal plate in his leg two weeks ago. Foster had the plate inserted after his leg was broken two seasons ago, and a loose wire from the plate was cutting into the muscle in his leg.

Left wing Matt Beleskey also had surgery to repair a torn labrum in May, and is on a similar timetable to Lydman. The Ducks brought extra defensemen to Finland specifically as insurance in case Lydman and/or Foster aren't ready.
Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:38 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Finns making up Ducks' new Big Three

HELSINKI -- The Anaheim Ducks will have a new "Big Three" this week, because Finnish natives Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Tony Lydman are clearly the players everyone wants to see and meet this week.

A few members of one of the team’s in Jokerit’s youth hockey system were about to get on a bus this morning, but many of them wandered over to the entrance of "The Cave," which is what Hartwall Areena’s practice rink is affectionately called, and waited to see if the Ducks would come out that way after their practice was complete.

The team flew from California to Newark, N.J., for refueling yesterday and onto Helsinki where they arrived this morning. They were scheduled to practice at Hartwall at noon, but decided to go straight to the rink and were practicing by 11 a.m. or so.

Everyone was on the ice inside "The Cave" -- and trust me, it really feels like you’re in a bunker or a cave down there -- for the Ducks in a spirited practice despite the travel. All eight defensemen and three goalies who made the trip went through practice. There were no surprises with the forward lines:

Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry (white)

Blake-Koivu-Selanne (red)

(Smith-Pelley)-Cogliano-Gordon (orange)

Parros-McMillan-McGrattan-Beleskey-Macenauer (grey)

The three Finns shared the media spotlight today, while coach Randy Carlyle also spent about 15 minutes answering questions from about a dozen members of the local media. Anaheim will be back at Hartwall Areena for practice Monday, which is scheduled for an early afternoon start.
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