Salei Having Tough Times

Times Staff Writer

Mighty Duck defenseman Ruslan Salei took a slashing penalty with 1 minute 22 seconds left in Friday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, giving the Central Division leaders a golden opportunity to tie the score in the waning moments.

The Ducks ultimately survived, using an empty-net goal to clinch a 3-1 victory.

The ill-timed penalty, however, illustrated the struggles Salei has had in adapting to the way games are being officiated this season.

Now in his eighth season, the longest tenured Duck is second on the team with 44 penalty minutes. Most of the infractions have been of the hooking variety, which he says has frustrated him.


“It’s tough,” Salei said Saturday. “Some referees call one thing and some referees don’t. It’s really tough to play the game without allowing any touching of anybody.”

Echoing earlier comments by Teemu Selanne, Salei suggested that game officials should be required to watch the tape of a game and use it as a learning tool. He says that the things he’s doing to defend against offensive players were not called in previous seasons.

The 31-year-old Salei, who can be an unrestricted free agent after the season, has recently been partnered with Sandis Ozolinsh on the blue line after spending most of the last few weeks alongside veteran Scott Niedermayer.

“We felt that when we did that, we were giving Salei an opportunity to get his game back where it was accustomed to playing,” Coach Randy Carlyle said. “Be it the new rules, be it the lockout, I think his adjustment has been longer than he’s anticipated and we anticipated.”


Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is eligible to come off injured reserve Wednesday against Phoenix, but he said he won’t return until his injured hamstring is healed.


Giguere, Niedermayer and former Duck Sergei Fedorov took part in an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” that will air tonight.


The three helped an El Segundo family, whose rain-damaged home was in the process of renovation when the contractor abandoned the project.


vs. Chicago, 5, FSNW2

Site -- Arrowhead Pond.


Radio -- 1090.

Records -- Ducks 9-11-2-2, Blackhawks 9-13-0-0.

Record vs. Blackhawks -- 1-0-0-0.

Update -- The teams met on opening night with the Ducks winning, 5-3, in Chicago. Blackhawk forward Pavel Vorobiev is among rookie leaders in scoring with six goals and nine assists.


Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.