No big surprises but it’s notable Kyle Cumiskey was assigned to Norfolk rather than be allowed to sign with a European team. Obviously they want him available for a call up. He is a puck moving Dman with some offensive upside.

I would have thought there’d be more cuts this close to the season. It would appear the coaching staff wants to run some full scrimmages.

Apologies for not being on top of this when it was announced yesterday. It’s a really busy work week.

Via AnaheimDucks.com:

The Ducks announced today that the club has made the following roster moves:

Assigned to Norfolk (AHL):
Mat Clark
 – Defenseman
Joseph Cramarossa
 – Center/Left Wing
Kyle Cumiskey
 – Defenseman
John Gibson
 – Goaltender
Alex Grant
 – Defenseman
Stefan Noesen
 – Right Wing

Anaheim now has 35 players remaining on its 2013 Training Camp Roster – 19 forwards, 12 defensemen and four goaltenders.

In other news, Ducks signed 2013 1st round draft pick Shea Theodore to a 3-year entry level contract. IIRC Theodore has another junior eligibility and will be returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds following camp. He could stay for 10 games without forfeiting his junior eligibility.

A lower body injury (LBI) limited Sami Vatanen to under 5 minutes in the OT win against the Sharks. Sami didn’t dress Sunday against the Avs. Luca Sbisa is out with a mild ankle sprain. Ducks and Luca insist their just being cautious. Take that to mean he would be day-to-day in the regular season. Ducks already are without 1/3 of their top six from last season following Toni Lydman’s retirement and Sheldon Souray’s soft tissue tear in his wrist. Francois Beauchemin is projected to be ready to the start the season. Projected is the operative word though. That’s 66% of last of last season’s Top Six D, injured, retired or rehabbing.

No further reports on Vatanen’s LBI are available. The story began with an oft-repeated Eric Stephens tweet but no official word has come from our Ducks. The best we can do is hope it isn’t one of those nagging ow-eez that keep out of the lineup.

In the meantime, Bryan Allen and Mark Fistric become Top 4 D-men on our Ducks depth chart. Kyle Cumiskey has 139 regular season and playoff games with the Avs. Acquired from Colorado in Oct./2011, he has yet to play a regular NHL game with the Ducks.

Hampus Lindholm has turned some heads in camp but respected blogger Collin Insley has expressed concerns about how easily he seems to get knocked off the puck. It should be noted that GM Bob Murray has said the 6th overall pick in 2012 is “only 19.” Nobody has any doubt Lindholm will be a good one but he needs to get much stronger on the puck for NHL hockey.

The gossip blogs, with their focus on the Canadian and big market teams, are ignoring our Ducks challenges on the back-line. Murray runs a very tight ship as to leaks especially compared to his more transparent and master media manipulating predecessor Brian Burke. Even the oft speculated Bobby Ryan trade caught everyone by surprise.

Leafs unsigned RFA Cody Franson is far and away the best unsigned free agent available. His rights might be acquired for a non-roster prospect other than Lindholm or John Gibson. Franson is 6’5″ 213# who scored 4 goals and 29pts in 45 games last season. THN player profile describes him as an inconsistent offensive Dman with size. Franson is reportedly looking for a one year contract at $3m.

Given Leafs limited cap space and Morgan Reilly and comeback Paul Ranger having great camp and good camps respectively; Leafs have little need for Franson.

GM Bob Murray has always shown a preference for picking from the bargain bins and discount racks. While there’s no doubt an apparent need for back-line, Look for Murph to give the kids a chance, ready or not.

Where are they now? Former Duck goaltender Jeff Deslaurier has signed a professional tryout contract with the Penguins AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Deslauriers 29, hasn’t played in the NHL since going 2011 with our Ducks. He went 3-1 with a SP of .903. The move is widely viewed as insurance due to losing Tomas Vokoun indefinitely to blood clotting issues.

Update: Following Ducks 3-2 come from behind OT win over the San Jose Sharks last night. Our Ducks are now 3-1 in the exhibition season. Two of the wins have been come from behind and one in OT. The team is establishing the habit and expectation of winning, ability to come through in the clutch and a no quit attitude.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – In A look at some intangibles published on 9/15, the post concluded with questions, including will the team come together. Yesterday, Coach Boudreau reported that he’s liking what he sees:

“There are always things you’d like to see better, but I think what we’re seeing are the signs of a team coming together.” (Emphasis added)

Team chemistry consists of two parts. There is the tactical chemistry of a well executed system and team assembled into smaller specialized units of complementary and offsetting skill sets. Additionally, there is chemistry that rises from camaraderie and bonding born of a group individuals  working to earn the respect of each other while passionately putting team first.

What Coach is saying is that the former, tactical chemistry or execution can be improved but overall the team is bonding and meshing nicely at this stage of camp.

It would be easy to write Gabby’s comment off if not for the supporting factual evidence. Coach gave nine vets the day off yesterday and to a man they took to the ice and practiced hard. Too soon for these guys to take Princess, er maintenance days.

Exemplified by John Gibson looking to redeem himself after a poor performance against the L.A. Kings, our Ducks gutted and ground out a 2-1 come from behind win against the Avs. Our guys didn’t make it easy on themselves as no Duck was even as high 50% on draws. Rickard Rakell was a woeful 5-10.

Francois Beauchemin is taking full contact in practice. You think he might ear the respect of his teammates taking full contact 4.5 months following reconstructive knee surgery?

Coach likes what he sees and the factual evidence supports him. Go Ducks!

The quote above comes to us via Adam Brady of AnaheimDucks.com

The smaller nets are expected to increase offensive production this coming season. The hoped for result isn’t showing up in preseason but it’s early.  While all goalies will adjust, Ducks fans are wise to consider Jonas Hiller’s stick handling challenges in light of these thoughts from Preds goalie Mitch Korn.

BTW, you’d also be well served to bookmark ingoalMag.com and visit regularly. This is a personal and unsolicited endorsement.

Via ingoalMag.com:

By  On September 20, 2013 · Add Comment

Leg pads aren’t the only piece of equipment you will see on NHL ice that got trimmed over the summer.

The League agreed to create more space below the goal line by constructing new nets that are four inches shallower than last year’s model. Instead of a net being 44 inches deep, it is now 40 inches. They also took four inches off each side by reducing the radius, which shrunk the total width at the bottom of the frame from 96 inches down to 88 inches. The NHL also adjusted the joints between the crossbar and the posts to be a more direct 90-degree angle, and the white vinyl pad around the bottom of the goal frame was replaced with a clear vinyl material, which allows both on and off-ice referees to locate pucks a little easier.

The NHL shared this illustration of the net changes:

Approved Goal Frame 2013-2014Now four inches may not seem like much, but after a week’s worth of preseason games, including one held on an Olympic sheet of ice, I can safely say that, just like we’ll see with shorter thigh rises, shallower nets may result in goaltenders needing to make some slight technical adjustments.

The first thing I observed was overall space management behind the net.

Most noticeably, there is visibly more space for a goalie to maneuver in the trapezoid. Once a goalie successfully seals off a dump in, he has more “wiggle room” to make a full-body rotation in order to execute a backhand or forehand pass, depending on his stick hand and which side he’s facing.

In the past, goalies would sometimes appear constricted when pushing towards the boards and then retreating back to their crease, especially when defenseman would skate through the trapezoid to retrieve pucks and kick-start a transition. Some have tripped over the white vinyl pad, or had to step over the area where the frame bowed out just slightly. But with the shallower nets, goalies should feel less restricted and have more space to work with. Of course this can have an adverse effect as extra space can create a false sense of extra time, which may cause delays, late passes, or hesitations in the decision-making process.

It also seems goalies had an easier time retreating back to their crease from directly behind the goal net. Tracking with the skates in a backward “C” motion can be done in a more fluid and direct motion now that the net is not as deep or as “bowed out” as before.

New Bruins backup Chad Johnson works on his post play. Stick discipline and post integration techniques will both be under the microscope with more space behind the net and in the 5-hole. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby).

New Bruins backup Chad Johnson works on his post play. Stick discipline and post integration techniques will both be under the microscope with more space behind the net and in the 5-hole. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby).

In order to gain more insight on the technical adjustments goalies may need to make in regards to the shallower nets, I spent some time talking with a few NHL goalie coaches, including Mitch Korn of the Nashville Predators. The new nets had just arrived in Nashville, and Korn had just one day to work with his goalies and the smaller nets before they were on the road for preseason games, but still had a good idea how the change might affect NHL goalies.

As Korn explained, the biggest adjustment will be managing the increased passing lanes and angles a player has when he’s set up directly behind the goal. That means doing a better job of integrating the pad and body into posts to seal short-side shots, or executing a “bump” (pushing on the knees from one post to the other) in a slightly quicker, more efficient and controlled manner.

“I think everyone recognizes that wraparounds may come an eyelash quicker, but I think the single biggest change that will occur because of the shallower nets is the passing angles,” Korn said. “The passing angles will change just an eyelash, and the fact that the curvature of the net does not come out quite as far allows more space for pucks to be passed from behind the net to in front of the net.”

This is pure geometry in one respect, but since it opens up slightly more space for the shooters to work with, it opens the door for more chaos and confusion with scramble plays around the crease area. Goalies will have to be sharper with their ability to track and locate pucks in tight and in traffic, and that much sharper when transitioning in and out of various post coverage stances and techniques. Going from a low crouch to a knee-down position, and finding ways to keep the knees gathered and close together when having to reach or lean into shot lanes will be more important than ever before.

Combine quicker wraparound opportunities with shorter pads and it’s easy to envision the following scenario becoming more common:  A player executes a wraparound and is able to lean on the net just a little bit more than usual, forcing a goalie to extend their skate just a little more than usual in order to beat the play and seal the inside post in time. Instead of moving at a normal pace, maybe they are forced to move at a more urgent pace, and because this causes a bit more of an extension, the knees get further apart, and with smaller thigh rises, opens up a larger five-hole.

So what happens when the puck doesn’t wrap cleanly, and instead flutters off the end of the shooter’s stick blade and floats into the low slot or the top of the crease and begins to riccocet off skates, sticks, or even a player’s leg? Or what if a player recognizes the chaos and fires the puck into a crowd on purpose?

As Korn explains, if that happens, goalies better have their knees close together, or have that paddle flush to the ice early, otherwise the amount of “tricklers” and “tweeners” may be on the rise.

Korn agrees we may see more narrow butterfly saves like this one with the shorter pads. (InGoal photo by David Huchison).

Korn agrees we may see more narrow butterfly saves like this one with the shorter pads. (InGoal photo by David Huchison).

“That situation can happen in any circumstance, and everyone is going to be affected differently, so I think goalies recognize  the five-hole becomes an issue,” Korn said. “That means stick discipline is more important; the blade has to be on the ice, not just the heel. That means the stick has to be tracking the puck better and staying closer to the five-hole, as opposed to the shoulder rolling and the stick getting caught going from blade up to paddle down. All of those things could potentially occur, so I think what you’ll see is more narrow butterflies in this situation, so the knee lifts seal that space. But there’s a lot of experimenting to do.”

The potential rise of the narrow butterfly and the increasing importance of stick placement and “mirroring” was discussed in my previous InGoal article contemplating movement in small equipment.

Knowing stick placement and staying gathered in the butterfly would be more crucial than ever, Korn expanded on this by discussing the importance of bringing the trail leg back underneath the body when executing a knee shuffle or a post-to-post slide. He refers to this in his camps as “push and pull.”

“You know that I stress the phrase ‘push and pull,’ so I think we’re going to see more guys be conscious of the pull,” Korn said. “In the past, they may not have had to pull quite as much, but training will be more conscious with the pull. The legs have to work together a bit more, and there has to be more pull.”

I noticed the rising importance of the pull in the two games over the first weekend of the preseason.

For example, while Braden Holtby has the fast-twitch muscles and the sheer leg strength to pull his knees together at the last second on a scramble in front of the net, he had to utilize those reflexes fairly often in his first exhibition performance against the Jets. Following a leg or a knee extension, his five hole was visibly wider and exposed more space, but his ability to read the play and seal space made his overall transitions look quicker, more powerful, and really fluid.

He’s one goalie that I don’t expect to struggle with the smaller thigh rises or the shallower nets. Although it is worth pointing out that he did allow a short-side goal on a wraparound, and he did almost have a turnover behind the goal. But keep in mind, this game was played on Olympic ice.

AHL Goalie of the Year Niklas Svedberg work on a post integration technique at Boston Bruins training camp, which will be more important with the smaller nets. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

AHL Goalie of the Year Niklas Svedberg work on a post integration technique at Boston Bruins training camp, which will be more important with the smaller nets. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

After Korn discussed the importance of the push-and-pull, we traversed into the various techniques of how a goalie integrates their body and pads into the post.

“I always believed watching the reverse-VH you’re creating a hole anyways by elevating the back leg,” Korn said. “The crazy deflections that hit a skate, in the reverse-VH, you’ve created that hole anyways. I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough room for the boot break when you go with the pad inside as opposed to the skate on the post because Peks [Pekka Rinne] really likes the shin against the post and sliding in that way. He prefers to have the pad inside the post.”

Korn went on to explain two reasons why Rinne – if he can help it – prefers the pad inside the post. First of all, it eliminates the odd goal where the puck slips under the blade between the post and the skate boot. Especially with more goalies using taller steel, the more steel you use, the more likely that type of trickler goal occurs. Furthermore, if there’s any bit of heel or toe rotation, the blade will point slightly upward, which creates even more room for a puck to slip under.

Korn also explained how a skate that gets jammed against the post can cause a pad to “bounce” just slightly, which can cause a goalie to lose a seal with the ice.

In terms of my own personal preference, I feel like it’s easier to place the skate inside the post on a wraparound or walk-out play because there’s a bigger target for me to hit. When attaching the skate on the post, I need to be more precise with the power and the path of the actual push.

I’ve also noticed that when a goalie integrates their skate onto the post, they are forced to lean further back with their shoulders in order to seal the top half of the net because the hip is pushed further away from the post (even further with taller steel). This not only puts more strain on the hip, but it causes a goalie to lean their chest away from a shot, so the head is not directly over their hips or their knees. But with the boot break sealing the inside of the net, the hip rests that much closer to the post, a goalie doesn’t have to lean as much, and more importantly, the glove is not forced to stay in a static position to cover  space between the hip and post.

Instead, the glove is free to be active and cover aerial angles from tricky chip shots, unexpected bounces, deflections, or pucks that flutter and flip over.

As goalies, we strive to move with a purpose at all times depending on the situation, but I’m more comfortable integrating with my boot break inside the post.

“Everyone is going to be different in the manner in which they play it anyways, and like you said, some guys are comfortable with the skate on the post, and some guys are not,” Korn said. “It’s going to vary and we’ll see how it turns out. It’s situational, and I notice Rinne sometimes has the skate on the post, and other times, when he’s hurried, he likes to go in with the boot break inside the post.”

Ultimately, as Korn mentioned above, it is a learning process that every goalie will determine over time. Unfortunately, some goalies will be experiencing a longer learning curve than others due to the lateness in which decisions were made regarding the official sizing for the new season.

Nevertheless, as stated before, whether it happens overnight or a few months into the season, goalies will adjust, and in most instances become better athletes as a result.

~ Justin Goldman is the Director of Goalie Scouting for McKeen’s Hockey, the founder of The Goalie Guild, and now a contributor to InGoal Magazine. He covered the Colorado Avalanche for six years for Mile High Sports Radio and was the goalie coach of the DU Junior Pioneers for three years before relocating to Minneapolis last summer. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @TheGoalieGuild and reach out to him anytime.

Update: Multiple sources reporting Luca Sbisa is out two weeks with an ankle sprain. No Souray, Beauchemin not cleared for contact, though that hasn’t stopped him entirely and now Luca Sbisa. Looks like Murph will get his wish and have a couple of spots open that will test the depth of this org.
Will Ducks consider making cap space moving Souray to LTIR and tender Leafs RFA Cody Franson an offer sheet?

As to the other roster moves:

The one surprise to me at least is Antoine Laganaire. He’s a first year pro out of the QMJHL. Just thought he might go a little later. Others are surprised at Steve Whitney and Max Friberg. Charles Sarault also raised some eyebrows with his performance. Allare first year pros who were assigned to Norfolk. It’s not like the org doesn’t see a future for them.

Competition steps up as the coaches give fewer players more TOI and a more critical look.

Via AnaheimDucks.com:

The Ducks announced today the following roster moves:

Assigned to Norfolk (AHL)
Max Friberg – Center/Left Wing
Kevin Gagne – Defenseman
Antoine Laganiere – Center
John Mitchell – Left Wing
Andrew O’Brien – Defenseman
Charlie Sarault – Center
Zack Stortini – Right Wing
Chris Wagner – Center/Right Wing
Stefan Warg – Defenseman
Steven Whitney – Center/Right Wing

Released from pro tryout and assigned to Norfolk (AHL)
Maxime Sauve – Left Wing
Teigan Zahn – Defenseman

Anaheim now has 41 players remaining on its 2013 Training Camp Roster – 21 forwards, 15 defensemen (sic) and five goaltenders.

If there’s anything to notions of reciprocity, karma or the colloquial what goes around, come around, Henry Samueli will one day enter the HHOF as a builder. On that day he’ll take a well-earned acknowledgment alongside such hockey legends, as Frederick Stanley, 16 Early of Derby, Conn Smythe, Bill Hewitt, Frank Calder, Frank J. Selke, Bruce Norris and others too numerous to list here.

The “prefers to work quietly behind the scenes” Ducks owner stepped out for a chat with OCR’s Eric Stephens.

“We’ll know this year for sure what the impact (CBA) is,” Samueli said in an interview with the OC Register. “We’re optimistic we’ll turn the corner and start heading in the other direction.”

Under the new CBA our Ducks qualify for revenue sharing. Their anticipated share could be north of $20m! Samueli could hardly be criticized if he pocketed Ducks revenue share to realize some ROI after years of near annual 8 figure losses.

Since acquiring our Ducks in 2005, Samueli has built a now 28 team high school hockey league. He is the driving force behind making hockey available to kids throughout Orange County and SoCal. His impact on youth hockey now exceeds that of Wayne Gretzky and perhaps the entire NHL. By winning the Stanley Cup with a California franchise, Samueli also accomplished what TGO didn’t.

His philanthropy is legendary. We mention some of it, to honor him by bringing attention to those causes he supports. The schools of engineering at UCLA and UC-Irvine are named for him after he made a cumulative $50m in “no-strings” donations. He provided the founding donation for the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library at Chapman University.

Along with bride Susan, the Samuelis established the Center for Integrative Medicine at UC-Irvine, Samueli Institute of Information Biology in Washinton, DC, contributed to the John Wayne Cancer Institute’s ground breaking research and treatment.

This blog’s support for Touch of Home is encouraged in part by our Ducks support for the military. I have also performed service pro bono for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) another activity supported by the Samuelis.

You can learn more of Henry and Susan Samueli’s philanthropy here.

This blog has and will, from time to time, disagree with some decisions made the Ducks.org. Have no doubt this blog will continue to call it as we see it in the future as well. None of our occasional criticism dims our overall appreciation and respect for one hockey’s all time great builders.

Note: I once or perhaps even a handful of times, editorialized that our Ducks support of various charitable organizations impressed me as insincere and a product of a self-serving marketing strategy. Obviously, I was very wrong.

The score is irrelevant. What is relevant is two takeaways from the game:

First, our Ducks took 5 minor penalties in the first period. The tells are that one, a double-minor to Cam Fowler for high sticking is just sloppy; the others two trips and an interference are those beat on the play type penalties. The latter are the result of not working.

As to not working, the quotes from the game story tell it all.

Via Adam Brady, AnaheimDucks.com:

“We had a lot of young guys in the lineup tonight,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “You create bad habits by not working. You ask the L.A. Kings in their game against Phoenix, the same team we beat. None of them did anything. Tonight, they came out and worked and showed what their true colors are. It’s going to be the same situation with us. We’ve had some guys who haven’t worked very hard in training. They need to get back to the grindstone and start working.”

“They played fairly well, and we played fairly poor,” said Penner, who spent the past two seasons in LA. “It’s preseason, and it’s a lot of guys’ first game. But with that being said, it’s not an excuse. It’s a matter of fact. There were a lot of things we could’ve done more efficiently.  Number one is compete. They had too many easy shots, and made it too hard on our goalies to make saves.” (Emphasis added)

Even Viktor Fasth admitted he only “kind of got into it in the second period.”

“The first period felt like the first period of the year,” Fasth said. “I kind of got into it in the second [period], but there were two other goals I should’ve [stopped]. If I did that, it would be a one-goal game heading into the third. I’m just going to work harder and get ready for the next game.”

No editorial necessary. Guess I’ll eat some crow for this Tweet:

Paraphrasing Lee Woodruff: Kings are like 1st pancakes, the ones you burn and throw out #PancakeBowl