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Down on the Farm

Field_of_dreamsBig doings up in Rochester. The Americans, the AHL team the Panthers share with the Sabres, starts the postseason on Thursday.

The Amerks took the second seed in the north and open with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Will try to keep folks up to date on the Amerks' postseason exploits here, On Frozen Pond.

-- Speaking of the Amerks, congrats to Florida prospect Janis Sprukts. He was named team MVP for this past season. Sprukts had 18 goals and 41 assists in 58 games with Rochester this year; in his short time with the Panthers (13 games), he had a goal and two assists. Looking forward to seeing him in training camp in Sept. The Panthers really seem to like what he brings.

All the Amerks awards are here CHECK OUT THE AMERKS, OK?

-- Condolences to the family of former Florida forward Gaetan Duchesne who died on Monday. Duchesne was 44. He played in 14 games with the Panthers at the end of the 1995 season. Here is the rest of the release put out by the Panthers:

Gaetan Duchesne, who played in the NHL for 14 seasons and helped the Minnesota North Stars reach the 1991 Stanley Cup final, died while training at a gym Monday.

Duchesne, 44, played in 13 games with the Panthers (1994-95), after being traded to Florida by San Jose on April 7, 1995. While playing for Florida he recorded one goal and two assists.

Duchesne played for five NHL teams - Washington, Quebec, Minnesota, San Jose and Florida - and retired after the 1994-95 season. The forward appeared in 1,028 NHL games, totaling 179 goals and 254 assists. He was in 84 playoff games.

Duchesne, born in Quebec, was an eighth-round draft pick of the Capitals in 1981 and made the NHL club out of his first training camp. After six seasons with Washington, he was traded to the Nordiques with Alan Haworth and a first-round draft pick - that turned out to be Joe Sakic -- for Dale Hunter and goalie Clint Malarchuk.

After helping Minnesota advance to the Stanley Cup final, where the North Stars lost to Pittsburgh in six games, he finished his career with the Sharks and Panthers.

Duchesne later worked as an assistant coach with the defunct Quebec Rafales of the IHL and the Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Duchesne is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son, Jeremy, who is a goaltender with the Val d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL.