Rucchin Isn't Rushing Back


Center Steve Rucchin skated with the Mighty Ducks for the pre-game warmup, but the Ducks are still waiting for him to play his first game in the series.

Rucchin and team doctors determined he wouldn't play in Game 3 because of back spasms, but he skated for the first time in six days and is scheduled to practice today and--perhaps--play Tuesday in Game 4.

The Ducks needed him more than ever Sunday, with Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya under wraps by Phoenix's defense.

"I don't know [if he'll play Tuesday]," Duck Coach Ron Wilson said. "I want him to play. I think he should play."

Jari Kurri took Rucchin's place centering the top line the first two games, but after the first period Sunday, Wilson moved quick center Richard Park to the top line for the rest of the game.

"Richard played very well with those guys," Wilson said.

Rucchin is the Ducks' third-leading scorer, but they were able to win two games without him. Still, Kariya and Selanne miss the space he helps create as well as his defense and his ability to drive to the net.


Things got heated after Duck center Mark Janssens collided with Coyote goalie Nikolai Khabibulin late in Game 3. Referee Terry Gregson handed out 54 penalty minutes after a scrum nearly turned into a full-scale brawl with 21 seconds left in the game. The only real fight was between Warren Rychel of the Ducks and Phoenix's Jayson More, however.


Kariya had five of the Ducks' 11 shots in the first period. Joe Sacco and Richard Park were the only other forwards who had a shot in the first 20 minutes. . . . Phoenix winger Jocelyn Lemieux, who played 28 games for the Long Beach Ice Dogs this season, made his first appearance of the series, replacing Shane Doan. It was only Lemieux's third appearance in a Coyote uniform. He signed as a free agent on March 17, but had been out because of a broken arm.

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