for this game

Pronger makes debut with Ducks in opener vs. Kings

Oct 6, 2006 - 1:50 PM Los Angeles (0-0-0) at Anaheim (0-0-0) 10:00 pm EDT

ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) - The Anaheim Ducks spent the offseason losing part of their team name while gaining a former Hart and Norris Trophy winner.

After leading the Edmonton Oilers to last season's Stanley Cup finals, Chris Pronger plays for his first game for the Ducks on Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings in the season opener for both teams.

The team formerly known as the Mighty Ducks set franchise records for victories (43) and points (98) to place sixth in the Western Conference last season. It won its first two playoff series before falling to Edmonton in the conference final.

Anaheim must have liked what it saw in Pronger, who won the Hart and Norris Trophies in 2000 with the St. Louis Blues. He was acquired this past summer for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid and three draft picks.

Pronger joins 2004 Norris Trophy winner Scott Niedermayer on the blue line and will look to add some punch to a high-tempo offense.

Teemu Selanne comes off a 40-goal campaign - his best season since 1998-1999 - while Andy McDonald set career highs in goals (34), assists (54) and points (88).

Despite a 42-win campaign, the most since 1990-1991, Los Angeles failed to reach the postseason for the third consecutive campaign after finishing 10th in the West.

The Kings responded by hiring former San Jose Sharks general manager Dean Lombardi to run the team and coach Marc Crawford, who led the Colorado Avalanche to the 1996 Stanley Cup title.

Los Angeles boasts several new faces in the lineup, including 1998 Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake, who returns to his original team after spending the past five campaigns with Colorado. He scored 14 goals last season to reach 200 for his career.

After three consecutive 30-win seasons, goaltender Dan Cloutier missed the final 60 games for the Vancouver Canucks with a knee injury. He was dealt to the Kings on July fifth and was given a two-year contract extension.

Los Angeles is 16-13-9 in season openers, while Anaheim has dropped nine of 12.

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