Ducks Seem Ready to Pack It In : Hockey: Practice scheduled for today, but players expect it to be canceled.


The NHL won’t announce the status of the season until this morning, but Mighty Duck players clearly weren’t packing for an ordinary trip Thursday. They stuffed even their white home helmets into bulging equipment bags along with skates, gloves, pads, hockey pants--even supplies of tape for the small bundles of sticks they carried on their shoulders.

“So, who won the Stanley Cup?” forward Todd Ewen said as he surveyed an almost bare dressing room. “The only other time I pack up is after the playoffs.”

“It looks kind of strange to see guys packing their bags,” defenseman Tom Kurvers said.

The Ducks cleaned out their stalls after practice, right down to the personal belongings in their storage bins, saying they were preparing to work out on their own if a lockout postpones their scheduled season-opener Saturday at Dallas.


Duck management said the players packed their equipment--much of it officially owned by the team--unnecessarily, even if there is a postponement.

“Nobody’s (literally) locking them out, but if they want to take their equipment, (fine),” said General Manager Jack Ferreira, who said no matter whether games go on as scheduled “the doors are going to be open.”

Though the team is still scheduled to practice this morning, then depart for Dallas this afternoon, Coach Ron Wilson had told players not to plan to come to the rink today unless they got a call Thursday night--which they did.

“All I know is, I was told to schedule a practice at 11,” said Wilson, who was planning a session he wasn’t sure he would conduct.

If nothing more, it means the players will haul their overstuffed bags back to The Pond of Anaheim this morning.

“It’s turning into quite the circus,” said Bob Corkum, the team’s representative to the NHL Players Assn. “What we’re doing now is going to the rink prepared to practice at 11, but we don’t expect to. When Gary Bettman gives the word, which we think he’ll do at 10, we expect the season to be postponed. . . . We’ll just wait for Gary Bettman to go through with it.”

The players continued to emphasize their support for the no-strike pledge offered by NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow Thursday.

“Talking to people in the streets, they think we’re striking like baseball,” rookie Paul Kariya said. “It’s exactly the opposite. I hope we can get the fans to understand.”