Here's another reason to cheer for the Ducks

ADAM WAZNY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:38 PM ET

Teemu Selanne and Randy Carlyle are good reasons for Winnipeg hockey fans to cheer for the Anaheim Ducks this time of year.

Another presented itself yesterday.

Manitoba defenceman Nolan Baumgartner, acquired in a loan agreement with the Dallas Stars prior to the AHL roster freeze, was recalled by the NHL club. The transaction occurred Monday and after clearing waivers, Baumgartner was on his way to Orange County yesterday as a blue-line insurance policy for the Stars as they get set to take on the defending Stanley Cup champs in Game 1 in the opening round of the playoffs tomorrow.

With their post-season just around the corner, the Moose were less than impressed

"When they're done, he'll come back to us," a solemn coach Scott Arniel reasoned as news of the recall spread through media circles yesterday.

"It's something we're going to have to get though," added defenceman Maxime Fortunus.

Though the club knew this was a possibility when they worked out a loan for Baumgartner in February, the recall comes as a surprise to the Moose (GM Craig Heisinger said it was "right out of left field"). The Stars appear pretty healthy on the back end and with the return of Philippe Boucher last week, Dallas has seven defenceman available for the Ducks series -- even with the status of veteran Sergei Zubov a question mark.

INSURANCE

But Baumgartner, who is playing some excellent hockey these days, is the Stars' property. If they want to have some insurance skating alongside them in NHL rinks (and not risk him going down with injury in the AHL), it's their prerogative.

"The right to recall is not something an NHL team is willing to give up," Heisinger said. "Any of the loans we've had, whether it was Johan Hedberg or Scott Thomas, teams don't give up the right of recall on those players. (Dallas) paid Nolan close to half a million dollars this year, why would they do that?"

This latest turn of events is a nuisance for the Moose, but it's not as bad as it seems:

1. The club will have Canuck defenceman Nathan McIver and Luc Bourdon back this morning and their official re-assignment yesterday will bolster their blue-line, with or without Baumgartner in house. Obviously, they'd prefer to have everyone under the same roof, but it is what it is.

2. Manitoba loves to see people find greener pastures from their den, and don't think future players don't notice how many Moose-lings go on from here to the NHL woods. "As (Carlyle) would say, you try to provide an environment where players can have success and for us, that's more or less a mission statement," Heisinger said. Players talk, and the good reviews help the club.

3. The first round series between Manitoba and Syracuse won't get underway until the end of next week, meaning Baumgartner will rejoin the club if the Ducks sweep the Stars (Game 4 of that series is a week from tomorrow). Should the match-up go the full seven resulting in an Anaheim win, the Moose could still have the veteran defenceman back for a possible Game 5 or Game 6 meeting with the Crunch.

If the Stars advance, then the Baumgartner situation becomes a real problem for Manitoba's designs for an extended post-season run.

Arniel dropped a "No comment" when asked if he was cheering for the Ducks this week. Heisinger was less diplomatic:

"That's a difficult question," he bluffed when asked where his allegiances lie. "Go Ducks!"


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