Los Angeles Hockey: Andy Sutton

Ducks: Looking ahead to the offseason

April, 27, 2011
As the Ducks tie the bow on an entertaining but somewhat unfulfilled 2010-11 season, they face another summer of the unknown. One area of uncertainty has become an annual ritual in Anaheim’s front office, while the other is stumbling block they’ve never encountered before.

Here’s a closer look at the key areas that need to be addressed in the offseason, and the ones that seem fine the way they are.

Teemu SelanneJeff Gross/Getty ImagesWho knows, right? Teemu Selanne could retire and un-retire three times before the All-Star break.
I. Will he or won’t he?

Teemu Selanne heads off on his summer retreat with another heavy decision on his mind. Selanne will turn 41 on July 3, but was the spriest and most productive player on the Ducks during their six-game loss to Nashville in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

After an 80-point regular season, Selanne scored a career-best six goals during the Nashville series and delivered a flat-on-his back assist late in Game 5 that provided the final roar of the season at Honda Center. He showed plenty of durability during his 19th season in the NHL and, most importantly, said he particularly enjoyed the experience.

Selanne will be an unrestricted free agent July 1 but it’s very doubtful he’d return anywhere else but Anaheim, where he has spent the last six seasons and 11 overall. The Ducks have made it clear they want him back for another year as well.

But just like his play on the ice, oftentimes Selanne doesn’t really know his next move. He just lets his instincts take over.

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Kings: Will Ducks bring out boo birds?

March, 18, 2011
Kings (40-26-5, 85 points) vs. Ducks (38-27-5, 81) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. To boo or not to boo? – If Kings coach Terry Murray thought the boos were embarrassing Thursday night during a 4-0 loss against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center, he might need to crawl under the bench if the Kings come out with the same effort against the archrival Ducks. Staring at a two-goal deficit and a 30-6 shot-on-goal differential against an injury-stricken opponent with no playoff aspirations, the spirited St. Patrick's Day crowd exhaled a swarm of boos at the end of the second period, putting a red face on Murray. The booing didn't seem to help as the Kings allowed two more goals in the third period and suffered their largest margin of defeat this season.

2. Clifford a no-go – Kings rookie forward/middleweight enforcer Kyle Clifford has been ruled out against Anaheim after leaving late in the first period against St. Louis. Clifford has been involved in a few one-sided fights this season but this time fell victim to a one-timer from Ryan Reaves, who is about 25 pounds heavier than Clifford. The right hand hit Clifford flush on the cheek and dropped him to his backside. Clifford immediately got to his skates and further challenged Reaves but appeared unsteady as he was guided to the bench by a referee. Though the injury has not been identified as a concussion, the NHL instituted new protocols earlier this week for evaluating potential concussions and Clifford might just be the first patient through the door.

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