ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Centre Saku Koivu and goalie Jonas Hiller are done with the Anaheim Ducks. Koivu, Hiller and forward Daniel W
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Centre Saku Koivu and goalie Jonas Hiller are done with the Anaheim Ducks. Koivu, Hiller and forward Daniel Win Aufbau und Regelwerk 06.01.2018 10:04
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Centre Saku Koivu and goalie Jonas Hiller are done with the Anaheim Ducks. Koivu, Hiller and forward Daniel Winnik wont be offered contracts by the Ducks for next season, general manager Bob Murray confirmed Thursday. The Pacific Division champion Ducks are cutting ties with several dependable veterans after the best regular season in franchise history and a second-round playoff exit. Along with Teemu Selannes retirement, the departures of Koivu and Hiller will allow the Ducks young talent to assume bigger roles next season. Anaheim also is in the trade market for an elite centre. "Weve got younger players coming along that we had to move into the lineup," Murray said. "I thought it was best for this organization that we move forward a little bit. It was just time." The 39-year-old Koivu became a fan favourite during five seasons with the Ducks, even while his scoring production dwindled. The four-time Finnish Olympian was the longtime captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Murray said the Ducks decision on Koivu was "the hardest of the three. He had a great career." Murray isnt certain what Koivu will do next, but wouldnt be surprised if he decides to play in Finland. Koivu said last month he was contemplating retirement. The Ducks decision to part ways with Hiller means theyll head into next season with a new starting goalie for the first time since 2009. Hiller made an All-Star team, won a playoff series and consistently backstopped the Ducks through several seasons of frequently terrible defensive play in front of him, going 162-110-32 over seven years. But the Swiss netminder lost his starting job late in the regular season to Danish backup Frederik Andersen, and he played infrequently in the post-season while the Ducks went with Andersen and 20-year-old John Gibson, widely considered the top goaltending prospect in hockey. "Jonas did so much for us," Murray said. "But weve got pretty good kids there, so the writing was kind of on the wall." The 32-year-old Hiller had hoped to stay in Anaheim, but he joins Ryan Miller as the top goalies available in free agency. Anaheim signed the undrafted Hiller out of Switzerlands top league in May 2007. He beat out Ilya Bryzgalov for a roster spot and swiftly seized the starting job from Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Stanley Cup-winning starter and franchises winningest goalie. "Its funny how it comes full circle," Murray said. Hiller won 14 consecutive decisions during his final season with the Ducks, and he shut out the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium in January. Andersen and Gibson both struggled at times in the playoffs, but confirmed he wasnt in the Ducks plans when he got just two post-season starts even after Andersen struggled and eventually got injured. Gibson was mediocre in the Ducks final two losses to the Kings, but Anaheim stuck with its youth over Hillers experience. Winnik spent the past two years with the Ducks, scoring 30 points in 76 games last season. Murray emerged from his post-season meetings eager to retool the Ducks, who finished atop the Western Conference and won their second straight division title at 54-20-8. Anaheim beat Dallas in the first round of the post-season, but blew a 3-2 lead in the second round against the rival Kings, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champions in seven games. The Ducks also are in the market for a veteran centre after failing to land Vancouvers Ryan Kesler at last springs trade deadline. Anaheim has been linked in discussions for Kesler, Ottawas Jason Spezza and San Joses Joe Thornton. Anaheim has a wealth of assets for a deal, including four draft picks in the first two rounds and an impressive collection of prospects in one of the NHLs best farm systems. "I think were in good shape if the right deal is there," Murray said. 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Even though Els has made more bogeys than birdies, even though he didnt break par at Dove Mountain until his quarterfinal match Saturday, the 44-year-old South African is two matches away from claiming another World Golf Championship. Els made birdie from the desert on the par-5 eighth hole to take the lead for good against 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, and then pulled away for a 4-and-2 victory to reach the semifinals for the first time in 13 years. "At times I havent played my best, as you guys have well-documented and know," Els said with a laugh. "But its match play. Ive just done enough to get through." Graeme McDowell was the only other player who felt lucky to still be around, only for his luck to run out against Victor Dubuisson of France. McDowell had reached the quarterfinals even though he never led a single hole while any of his previous three matches were in progress. He finally took a lead -- 60 holes into this tournament -- and wound up losing. Typical of his week, it went down to the wire. Dubuisson hit a beautiful chip from the rough in front of a corporate suite behind the 16th green to save par, while McDowell missed a 6-foot putt to lose the hole. Dubuisson saved par with another superb chip behind the 17th green, and had one more in his bag from below the 18th green to save yet another par. McDowell narrowly missed a 25-foot birdie putt that would have extended the match. "Lucky, lucky to even be here today," McDowell said. "But actually played quite nicely most of the day. It all boiled down to my putter actually let me down. I had a chance on 14 for the hole, chance on 15 for the hole, missed a short one on 16. My luck is going to run out sooner than later." Els plays Dubuisson, a rising star in the European ranks who won the Turkish Open, where Tiger Woods finished five shots behind. In other quarterfinal matches: -- Jason Day reached the semifinals for the second straight year with a 2-and-1 win over Louis Oosthuizen, who played with a nagging back injury. -- Rickie Fowler lost a 3-up lead to Arizona grad Jim Furyk, only to win the last two holes for a 1-up victory for a shot at Day. Furyk was in the same spot as Dubuisson on the 18th hole, but his first chip rolled back down the hill toward his feet..dddddddddddd Fowler is the No. 53 seed, the highest to reach the semifinals since Zach Johnson was No. 59 in 2006 when it was held at La Costa. Els long held a reputation as a wizard in match play, having captured the World Match Play Championship seven times when it was at Wentworth and featured smaller fields and 36-hole matches. This version hasnt been kind to him. He reached the semifinals in 2001 at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, only to lose to Pierre Fulke. Els didnt imagine it would take this long to get back, though he understands that anything can happen -- and usually does -- over 18 holes of match play. "I really had a love-hate relationship with this event, as you guys well know," he said. "I was lucky enough to get in the field a couple of years ago and beat Luke Donald in the first round. But most of the time, I lost in the first round here either on the 18th or 19th hole. Its been a frustrating time in this event." The semifinals will be Sunday morning, following by the championship match. "Im just very glad to be here on Sunday," Els said. "Hopefully, it goes good tomorrow. I still feel Ive got a really good one in me." Fowler never looked like he would need to go 18th holes the way his match against Furyk started. And then he was happy to get there. Furyk was 3 down with only six holes remaining when he made three straight birdies and won a fourth straight hole at No. 16 with a par when Fowler flubbed a chip. Furyk missed the fairway on the 17th, however, allowing Fowler to square the match. On the 18th, Furyk came up just a fraction short of perfect and saw the ball roll back down the false front of the green. His chip was heavy, and that one rolled back toward his feet and led to bogey. Fowler navigated a quick birdie putt down the slope to a concession range and escaped. "Disappointed," said Furyk, in the quarterfinals for the first time in 14 appearances in this World Golf Championship. "I fought all way back from 3 down. I had all the momentum and I didnt put the ball on the fairway on 17 and didnt put the ball in the fairway on 18. I dont feel I handed the match away, but I definitely made it too easy on him the last two holes." It was the third straight round in which Fowler was trailing with three holes to play, and he pulled out wins against Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia and Furyk. The only easy time Fowler had was against Ian Poulter. 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