Red Wings More Rested, Used to Playoff Grind

Times Staff Writers

DETROIT -- Fatigue was the concern, or at least the question, for the Mighty Ducks and Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

After playing 103 minutes 18 seconds Thursday, which ended in a 2-1 Duck victory, players were worn out ... with questions about whether they were worn out.

The consensus was the Red Wings, who have played long and hard in past Stanley Cup playoffs, had the edge in being able to bounce back.

“They are more used to this situation,” Duck center Steve Rucchin said. “They are used to this kind of grind, we’re not. It might work in their favor.”


Several Ducks put in long nights. Defenseman Keith Carney played a game-high 44:19, twice his average for a game this season, and defenseman Niclas Havelid logged 41:38. The Ducks had four players skate 34 minutes or more.

Still, the Red Wings have players such as Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov and Chris Chelios, all considered senior citizens in the NHL. Robitaille is the youngest at 36. Larionov is the oldest at 42.

All were present at the Red Wings’ optional skate Friday.

“That’s the best thing you can do after a game like that, get out and skate,” Hull said. “I think all this experience and savvy will help us in the end.”


Hull, who played 26:01, pointed out that most of the Red Wings played 30 minutes or less Thursday.

“That’s not much far off from what we usually play,” he said.


Duck goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere sweated so much Thursday, he had to get an intravenous infusion of fluids after the game to prevent dehydration. Craig Milhouse, the Ducks’ team doctor, said Giguere was fine soon after getting some saltwater.

“You can put fluids in faster through an IV than if you drink them,” said Milhouse, who added he tells players to be sure to drink a lot of water and drinks that contain electrolytes.


The Ducks’ triple-overtime victory over the Red Wings was a nail-biter, but it wasn’t the longest playoff game in which Duck General Manager Bryan Murray has been involved.

He was coaching the Washington Capitals on April 18, 1987, when they played the New York Islanders in a quadruple-overtime, first-round game that ended at 1:57 a.m. Eastern time on Easter Sunday, more than six hours after it began at the now-gone Capital Center in Landover, Md. Murray’s team was on the losing end after Pat LaFontaine scored at 8:47 of the fourth overtime to give the Islanders a 3-2 victory and a 4-3 series triumph.


Much like Duck goalie Giguere, who earned raves for stopping 63 shots Thursday, Islander goalie Kelly Hrudey was the star with his 73-save performance. His Washington counterpart, Bob Mason, made 54 saves.

“I really did think back to that game while I was watching our game,” Murray said. “You think about the mental toughness required and the goaltending required to win at this time of year.

“I remember Kelly Hrudey looked like he wasn’t ever going to give up a goal and Bob Mason played well for us. And the goal that was scored to win it was a little like the goal [Thursday]. Pat LaFontaine spun around in traffic in front of the net, and I don’t think Bob reacted until it was past him. [On Thursday, Steve] Rucchin went to the front of the net and the puck found Paul Kariya and he put it in.”

The only similar experience Duck Coach Mike Babcock could recall occurred when he coached the University of Lethbridge against the University of Regina in a game that went two or three overtimes. “It went forever,” he said. “But there were only a few hundred people there, so no one knew it ever happened.”


Babcock was mildly upset that the goal judge illuminated the red light when a shot by Luc Robitaille in the first overtime hit the crossbar and post but never went into the net. The off-ice officials are the same as during the regular season, but for many years the NHL brought in officials from neutral cities to work playoff games. That was stopped several years ago for financial reasons.

“I hope the guy in Anaheim has a tricky finger too,” Babcock said.



Former Duck front: San Jose’s Teemu Selanne and the Sharks have agreed to extend his deadline for exercising his $6.5-million option until April 21. Selanne, who can become an unrestricted free agent, was to make the decision seven days after the regular season. Shark officials were hoping he would wait until a new general manager was hired.




*--* Best-of-seven series; *if necessary; all times Pacific Game 1: MIGHTY DUCKS 2, at DETROIT 1 (3 OT) Ducks lead, 1-0 Game 2: Today at Detroit...noon, Channel 7 Game 3: Monday at Ducks...7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net Game 4: Wednesday at Ducks...7:30, Fox Sports Net Game 5: April 19 at Detroit*...noon, Channel 7 Game 6: April 20 at Ducks*...7, Channel 9 Game 7: April 22 at Detroit*...4, Fox Sports Net