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Mike Duco: I've Earned this Chance ... Injury Updates ... Pete DeBoer Likes those Buckeyes

Winger Mike Duco hopes to have a longer look with the Panthers than some others have had of late – and feels he deserves it.

Duco, who leads Florida's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., with 18 goals this season, was recalled on Monday and made his season debut on Tuesday. Duco, coached by Pete DeBoer in the Canadian juniors, brought plenty of energy as fought Flyers tough Dan Carcillo during the second period.

The Panthers sent down Tim Kennedy (after two games with the Panthers) and Bill Thomas (after a handful) on Sunday, choosing to bring up Duco and veteran Patrick Rissmiller on Monday.

“I’m a big fan,” DeBoer said of Duco. “He does bring energy. When he’s on the ice, he’s skating, he's running around and he's chirping at people. He’s involved in the play. I don’t think we've gotten that from our depth players lately.''

DeBoer compared Duco to Rangers pest Sean Avery, saying that if Duco had a few more inches on him, he wouldn't be relegated to bubble status. “He'd be making millions,'' DeBoer said of the 5-foot-10 winger.

Duco, who didn't register a point in 10 games with the Panthers last season, says he's been hearing about his lack of size his whole career.

“I just have to go out there and play the way I can,'' the 23-year-old said. “I'm not shy, not going to back down from anyone.''

-- Defenseman Alexander Sulzer, out since being hurt March 5 in Atlanta, skated before Tuesday's game but didn't play. Winger Evgeny Dadonov (finger) could be back for one of Florida's final two games in this homestand.

-- DeBoer admitted that he doesn't get to follow the college hoops game as much as he might like, but DeBoer – who went to law school in the Detroit area -- still keeps tabs on teams from the midwest. For the third consecutive season, DeBoer picked a Big Ten team to win the NCAA basketball tournament: Ohio State.

-- Scott Timmins (concussion) has not been cleared to skate yet. He said he would work on the exercise bike Wednesday and Thursday and see where he is.

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