Carlyle: Rusty's not a word in our vocabulary

Updated: May 21, 2006, 2:54 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

ANAHEIM -- Rust? We've got no stinking rust. That's the word out of the Mighty Ducks camp on the eve of the start of the Western Conference finals.

Actually, we're sort of paraphrasing coach Randy Carlyle, who was asked Thursday about his team's long layoff between series and the possibility of being, well, rusty when his Ducks host Game 1 vs. the Oilers on Friday night.

"Rusty's not a word other than a nickname for Salei," Carlyle insisted, referring to defenseman Ruslan Salei.

Teemu Selanne
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesTeemu Selanne and the Ducks say they are ready for Friday's Game 1.

"Rusty's not a word in our vocabulary. We have to be at the top of our game when the puck drops tomorrow," Carlyle said. "Whatever scenario that has been created, we have no control over it. The situation is that we have to prepare ourselves to play our best game of the season tomorrow night."

OK, so no rust.

But for two teams that share many traits, not the least of which is a no-holds-barred approach to the game, the Oilers and Ducks enter this penultimate series on vastly different emotional plateaus.

The Ducks have not played since May 11, when they swept the Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile, the Oilers essentially shook hands with the San Jose Sharks after dispatching them in Game 6 on Wednesday night in Edmonton and then packed their bags for Anaheim. Physically, the Oilers might be weary but perhaps are more emotionally charged.

The Ducks?

"Obviously we feel a lot better about our bumps and bruises, the toll that we took over the 11 games that we had to play in the [22] days," Carlyle said. "It's a lot of hockey and taxing on the body, and taxing both physically and mentally."

Added star defenseman Scott Niedermayer: "We want to be ready to go. That's got to be our focus right now. We have to think we're going to be able to get that intensity going. Maybe keep it simple at the start of the game, in the first period, keep making simple plays, put the puck in and just go to work -- and if we can do that, then we can start building on that right away."

Team scoring leader Teemu Selanne, who has played well over 100 games since the start of training camp last September, said he is of two minds regarding the Ducks' long layoff.

"I would be rather playing than practicing. It feels like a training camp last week, so it's not the best time for the hockey players," Selanne said.

On the other hand, there's the bonus of being able to recharge the batteries, especially after he and teammate Samuel Pahlsson were involved in the Olympic tournament, facing each other in the gold medal game.

"After the new year, pretty much I've played every second day. That's tough, you know. But when you play well and when you play with a great group of guys, you don't feel so tired," Selanne said. "I really believe that getting a little extra rest right now, it's almost like putting money in the bank, it's going to be good in the long run."

Scott Burnside is an NHL writer for ESPN.com.