As the Mighty Ducks draw closer to final roster trims, certain players are being watched closely. Their last chances to impress pass with each day.
After tonight’s exhibition game at 7:30 against the New York Islanders at Anaheim Arena, the Ducks have two left, and Coach Ron Wilson wants those to be used for fine-tuning.
That’s why Wilson was bothered by what happened to left wing Denny Lambert on Saturday in San Diego. In the exhibition game against the Gulls his former team--and his future team if he doesn’t make the Ducks--Lambert was supposed to get his chance to persuade the team to keep him.
But less than six minutes into the game, a Gull defenseman knocked down Anatoli Semenov, and Lambert did what came naturally to a guy who had 277 penalty minutes in 56 games last season.
“You don’t want guys running a guy like Semenov. I took exception, and I challenged him,” Lambert said.
Unfortunately for Lambert--and to the dismay of Wilson and others grading Lambert’s game--the referee took exception with Lambert, and sent him to the dressing room with a game misconduct for instigating a fight.
End of tryout, at least for the night.
The funny part came moments later, when Lambert, the ex-Gull, headed off the ice toward the familiar home dressing room.
“I went to the wrong door,” he said, laughing.
Lambert--who is more than a tough guy, with 18 goals and 12 assists for the Gulls last season--had lost his chance for the night.
“I’m sure they know I can handle myself in the fighting department,” he said. “I wanted to show them I could play. Nowadays, you’ve got to be able to play too.”
Wilson made up his mind that Lambert would get another opportunity.
“I didn’t think it was fair to him what the referee did,” Wilson said.
So Lambert is supposed to play tonight against the Islanders.
“I know it’s definitely crunch time for me,” he said. “I think they’ve given me a good chance.”
The New York Islanders are 2-3 in exhibition games, with victories over Boston and the New York Rangers. The Islanders will play at San Jose on Thursday and face the Kings at the Forum on Saturday. . . . The Ducks are 0-2 in exhibitions against NHL teams but have beaten their minor league affiliate, the San Diego Gulls. Every other NHL team, including the expansion Florida Panthers (3-3-0) has won at least one NHL exhibition game. . . . Right wing Peter Douris, who sprained ligaments in his left knee Sept. 16, said he hopes to start skating again during the first week of the season, which would put him another week or two from returning. His spot on the roster appears secure. . . . Defenseman Scott Chartier, who sprained his left ankle Sept. 16, hopes to start skating Saturday. But though he started training camp strongly, time is running out on his chances of making the team.