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MIGHTY DUCKS : Hebert, Shtalenkov Tired of Waiting

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For three months, Guy Hebert didn’t see a single puck whirring toward his mask. He didn’t snag any shots with his glove hand or deflect any off his blocker.

“I didn’t face one shot. I didn’t even put on goalie equipment,” said Hebert, whose new gear was locked up in the Mighty Ducks’ equipment room while he was in upstate New York. Hebert was staying in shape and skating, but admitted, “I was working on my forward skills.”

He and fellow goalie Mikhail Shtalenkov have faced a barrage of shots in practice the last five days, but there will be no exhibition games to ease back into it, no chance to see if they’re in condition to play a full 60 minutes.

“We won’t know how tired or fresh we’re going to be,” Hebert said. “We’ll have to wing it.”

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Coach Ron Wilson says he’s not concerned about Hebert’s layoff.

“He doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat. He looks very sharp and so does (Shtalenkov).”

Wilson hasn’t decided who will start the opener at Edmonton on Friday, but whoever does will almost certainly give way to his teammate the next night at Winnipeg.

Fine with Hebert, who won the No. 1 goalie job last season but under Wilson’s system will never be quite sure which games he’ll start.

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“I would think we’d play one each this weekend and both get our feet wet,” he said. “That way no one has to sit around a week waiting to play.”

Shtalenkov saw more shots during the layoff, playing pickup with his teammates in Anaheim. “I think they’ll both play equal amounts, almost throughout the season,” Wilson said. “That’s my philosophy. If both are about equal they should both play, but if one gets hot we’ll go with him for a while.”

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Center Patrik Carnback might return from Sweden in time for Friday’s opener at Edmonton if a contract agreement is finished today.

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“I think it looks OK, but (agent Neil Abbott) has got to get everything finalized with Patrik and let me know in the morning,” General Manager Jack Ferreira said. “We’d try to get him on a flight, and if he makes the flight he can get (to Edmonton) in one day, no problem. We’d prefer to have him there tomorrow.”

Carnback, who had 12 goals and 11 assists last season, said earlier he planned to play the entire season in Sweden, but the Ducks are negotiating to bring him back and he has indicated he is willing to return.

Meanwhile, with a growing list of injured players, Ferreira has called up forward David Sacco, younger brother of the Ducks’ Joe Sacco, from San Diego.

David Sacco, who can play center or right wing, was acquired from Toronto for Terry Yake on Sept. 28, just before the lockout.

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With left wing Garry Valk out with sprained knee ligaments, center Stephan Lebeau hobbled by a sore ankle and right wing Todd Ewen unable to skate the final hour of practice because of the remnants of a bad cold, Sacco was summoned because it’s “better safe than sorry,” Ferreira said.


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