Marchant is itching to play again after healthy scratch

Times Staff Writer

The game is still fresh in Todd Marchant’s mind.

“It was the 1995-96 season, game No. 51,” he said. “It was against Vancouver, in Edmonton.”

Until Sunday, that had been the only time in Marchant’s 15-year career that he had been a healthy scratch -- benched for a non-health-related reason. He was an Edmonton Oiler at the time.

The second time came about 700 games later, as a Duck, Sunday at the Honda Center. “Game No. 28 against Edmonton, at home,” he said, staring at the floor in front of his locker Tuesday.


“When you’re an everyday hockey player, you remember the games you don’t play,” he said after practice at the team’s facility. “I’ll never forget” those two games.

It was still unclear Tuesday whether Marchant would have to add a third date to that list when the Ducks play Buffalo tonight.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Coach Randy Carlyle said when asked if Marchant would play, suggesting that the 34-year-old center needed to exhibit a higher level of “tenacity.”

“He is a skating hockey player,” Carlyle said. “He’s got to be on the puck the whole time.”

The same, he added, could be said of the entire team, which has lost five of its last seven games, including back-to-back games to Edmonton.

“We’re not happy with our record and we’re not happy with the way we’re playing,” said Carlyle, who has been doing some “deep thinking” about “where we’re at as a team and what to change.” He has concluded that his players need to step up their performance on an “emotional, physical and conditioning level.”

“When you’re tired . . . you need to focus on the small aspects” of the game, Carlyle said. “We’re trying to get ourselves 10% better.”

Ducks captain Chris Pronger said the team is “not playing with confidence” and that “parity is too great in this league to get by without confidence.” How does the team regain that confidence? “What am I, the coach?” he joked. Then, sounding like a coach, he preached “hard work” and “good practice habits.”

Marchant said he was working on exactly those things to get himself back in the lineup. Specifically, he cited skating, physical play and taking the puck to the net.

“Randy said he expected more of me on the ice,” he said. “I’m certainly not happy about [not playing the last game], but all I can do is work hard. . . . If I get the opportunity, I’ll go out and play to the best of my ability.”

The Ducks recalled center Geoff Platt from the Portland (Maine) Pirates of the American Hockey League.

In nine games with Portland this season, Platt, 22, scored 16 points with a plus-six rating and six penalty minutes.


vs. Buffalo, 7, FSN West

Site -- Honda Center.

Radio -- 830.

Records -- Ducks 12-12-4, Sabres 12-11-1.

Record vs. Sabres -- (2005-06) 0-0-1.

Update -- Ducks center Brian Sutherby is “questionable” for the game because of a groin strain, Carlyle said.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.