Going through the notebook ...
I couldn't fit my entire conversation with Ducks General Manager Bob Murray into my weekly NHL column, so here are a few tidbits that didn't get into print but are worth sharing:
-- He will not trade defenseman Scott Niedermayer, even if the Ducks drop out of playoff contention.
"That’s another one that seems to circulate," Murray said when asked about the rumors that crop up frequently and send Niedermayer to Vancouver, New Jersey and all points in between. "No. Scotty and I have been talking and he’s going to retire an Anaheim Duck. And that’s the way it’s going to be unless he tells me different. I have an agreement with Scotty and it’s my word.
"We’ve talked about this. I see him staying here. Who knows, he might play next year."
-- He did not consider firing Coach Randy Carlyle even when the Ducks fell a season-worst 12 points out of the last playoff spot.
"Never. I don’t know how many times I have to say that. The geniuses in Toronto keep coming up with stuff," he said, referring to the concentration of hockey media in that city. "They have nothing better to do, so they go around picking guys. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to the coaches. It’s not fair to anybody. Whatever. It's talk radio and they’ve got to fill the air with something. It has never entered my mind."
-- The Western Conference is better than the East.
"No disrespect for the East, but our conference is very competitive. And it's very, very tough to pass teams," he said. "I think good teams are going to miss in the West. At one point a few weeks ago, .500 was making the playoffs in the East, for God’s sake. That’s not even close in our conference. We do all the travel and they have trouble being .500."
For the rest of his comments about the Ducks having played their way back into the playoff chase, check back at www.latimes.com/sports.
-- Helene Elliott