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Ducks' Luca Sbisa makes a stronger impression

November 11, 2010 |  1:37 am

Lucasbisa_300 Young defenseman Luca Sbisa was a key piece in the deal that sent Chris Pronger from the Ducks to Philadelphia in 2009.

Up to now, Sbisa hasn't paid many dividends. Neither has another player in the deal, goal-scorer Joffrey Lupul, who is still trying to come back from a lengthy ordeal after complications from back surgery.

But in his return from the minors Wednesday, Sbisa was a physical, defensive-minded presence in the Ducks' 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders.

Coach Randy Carlyle called the former first-round pick one of "two guys that really stood out for our hockey club," along with goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who earned his first NHL shutout. "[Sbisa] played at a level that we thought he could play at."

Sbisa, 20, said he recovered his confidence playing with Syracuse in the American Hockey League after being sent down this season, a year after being returned to his junior team. In two seasons, he had played only 10 games with the Ducks.

"When I was up here, I had pretty much zero confidence," Sbisa said. "I didn't really believe in myself anymore."

Sbisa said he learned not to "overthink" things and concentrated on playing like he did for Switzerland in the Olympics.

"I didn't really know what my game was," he said. "Down there, I got it back."

 --Robyn Norwood

Photo:Luca Sbisa. Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press