Posts Tagged ‘Anaheim Ducks’

Viktor Fasth represents the most serious challenge to Jonas Hiller since he showed management they could shed the salary of former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe award winner J.S. Giguere.

Now it isn’t just Viktor Fasth that Hiller has to beat out. He also has to create a margin of such significance as to justify the $1.6m  difference in their salaries. The main reason Hiller has to excel is Ducks appear to have another quality backup in Frederick Anderson and a future star in John Gibson.

It’s a fascinating confluence of pressure points heightened by the fact Hillsy is entering his contract year.

Thus far in his NHL career Jonas has met every challenge from the mysterious and little understood vertigo to his 73 game iron man performance in 2011-12.

This year he’s challenged by his health, quality competition on our Ducks depth chart to a very thin market for goaltenders, despite the obvious need of many teams.

It is just as easy to imagine Hiller traded on or before the deadline or leaving as a UFA, as it is to imagining him taking on all comers and having a career year.

It isn’t wise to bet against a guy with such a track record of rising to and thriving on challenges. While this one is daunting, I still would bet against Jonas Hiller.

Just like Hiller proved and a wonky hip proved we could move on from Giggy; it’s up to Fasth, Anderson and Gibson to prove we can move on from Hiller.

This is the brutal part of the business of hockey. You come to appreciate and respect a guy, like most of us did Bobby Ryan, and there comes a time when the best interest of the team is arguably, to move on.

Note: This post was drafted and published after reading this at Pro Hockey Talk. Factual reporting errors aside, I just didn’t think the story gave Hillsy his due. Wasn’t going to link it but google alerts is hyping it.

Ducks dominated the first and faded in the second and third. You can credit Quick for stealing one. You can also blame our Ducks for failing to finish on numerous scoring opportunities. As usual the truth is a little bit of both but I lean toward the latter. One goal is just not enough to win most games.

Both goalies appear well adapted to the smaller nets.

Getzlaf went 12-8 on FO’s. Rakell finished 7-7 after starting the game 2-6. Bonino went a woeful 6-17; Winnick 3-5. Getz did benefit by having Flash on RW, who is quick to the puck on draws.

Penner had a couple-few good moments but was otherwise invisible out there. He might be miscast at LW. He had two great years stat wise in Edmonton, playing mostly center.

Ben Lovejoy earned a 3-year contract based on his performance in the shortened season. Tonight he looked like the guy the Penguins gave up on and with good reason. Kings isolated on him and took full advantage.

Cam Fowler had a couple of chances but seemed to shooting into Quick. He did this last season as well. Cam just isn’t finding the twine yet. Most natural goal scorers see net and hit the spot.

After building a 3-1 preseason record, our Ducks have lost 2 in a row and can only limp into the season with a mediocre 4-3 or 3-4 record. To paraphrase the Righteous Bros., our Ducks have lost that winning feeling, now it’s gone, gone, gone. They can earn it back but it’s uphill now.

 

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.

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.

Anaheim Ducks reduced the 2013 training camp roster from 60 to 53 players. While late night cuts are a brutal part of the business; teams announce cuts as soon as decisions are made so that players can begin to search for the next team asap. The roster now consists of 29 forwards, 19 D-men and 5 goaltenders.

They unlucky ones are, Via AnaheimDucks.com:

Assigned to junior team:

Kenton Helgesen – Defenseman (Calgary/WHL)

Released from amateur tryout:
Brent Andrews - Center
Kyle Becker - Defenseman
Austin Carroll – Right Wing
Ross Johnston – Left Wing
Ryan Horvat – Left Wing
Etienne Marcoux - Goaltender

 

Dustin Penner, posting in a Tweet that a TMZ story “isn’t entirely accurate but you guys have your fun.” We decided, okay let’s have some fun.

According to the TMZ report, culled from this story in the International Business Times, actress Jessica Welch is one player away from scoring a hockey marriage hat- trick.

The former Mrs. Richard Zednik and newly x-Mrs. Dustin Penner is now UFA after an L.A. County court Judge granted Pancake’s motion for dissolution.

If you check out her photo-gallery, scoring again shouldn’t be an issue for her. The only question is who will be making her next future alimony payment. In most divorces, spousal support ends on remarriage. Who will give Pancake the same assist he gave Richard Zednik?

This is hockey. Someone has to step up and take one for the team.

Jessica petitioned for the dissolution back in February of 2012 and the couple had a Marriage Settlement Agreement in place. The system, meaning lawyers and the court, were obviously slow to process a done deal. Penner found the way to get them all to pick up their respective games a notch.

The motion was granted September 9.

Ducks are landing and nesting for the new season. Guys are showing up at the rinks for pre-camp skates. It’s all low impact non-check scrimmages. Often called Pond Hockey or just shinny. The kind of hockey that frustrates a Bryan Allen or Mark Fistric and allows a slick sleuth like Kyle Palmieri to virtually to hot dog it at will.

Guys are working on skating, puck handling, passing, shooting and finding their timing. It’s important work. Primary attention is given to their agility, followed by timing and in the last few days prior to camp opening, chemistry or teamwork. This latter testing too is about timing though not just your own, but with your teammates.

What is established now will set the foundation for how and when the team comes together during the season and hopefully playoffs.

At camp the degree of difficulty is magnified exponentially. The moment the hitting starts, the competition gets brutally honest. This camp is will be our Ducks most competitive camp in years.

The team is set in goal but step outside the crease and there are question marks everywhere. Every reporter, blogger and poster is busily filling out their depth charts and most of us will be proven wrong.

Half of the forward jobs are open. You can pencil guys in here and there but nothing is set outside of Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Koivu, Cogliano and Winnick. Factually, the best we can do is handicap the competition at this point.

The D is similar. Toni Lydman retired. Sheldon Souray is out until Christmas. Francois Beauchemin will hopefully start the season but will have likely missed most of his camp. If Beauch starts, he starts a month behind.

Virtually half the team will get sorted out in camp. Bob Murray has finally created the camp he wants.

One result we might expect is TOI will be more evenly divided among the forwards. Fowler and Beauchemin will carry the heavy load on the back line.

I definitely see a playoff roster out there. Probably with home ice advantage in the first round.

Sheldon Souray underwent wrist surgery on July 25th to repair a torn ligament he injured during a workout. His recovery is expected to last another 3-5 months. The earliest Souray is expected back would be around U.S Thanksgiving through post-Christmas.

Ducks kept the news under wraps so as not to be pressured during trades or UFA negotiations. GM Bob Murray’s recent comments that he was intentionally keeping D spots open may have also been a negotiating gambit.

Mark Fistric is a first round 2004 draft pick of the Dallas Stars. Last season he was traded to Edmonton for a 3rd round pick. The 6’2″ 233# 27-year-old Fistric has scored 3-26=29 points with a +26 rating and 252 penalty minutes (PIM) in 282 career NHL games with the Stars and Oilers.

Fistric will do what is asked of him. Drop gloves, block shots. He’ll earn respect from teammates. Fans will be hard on him because he’s slow and beat by speedy forwards. If he’s spot played, used in a shut down role against guys he can skate with; Mark Fistric can be very effective.

Fistric is signed for one year at $900,000.

Ducks are expected to move Souray’s $3.3M cap hit to the LTIR, a move will free up cap space temporarily. Now we know why Bob Murray was so emphatic about having enough cap room to sign Teemu.

With Beauchemin coming off knee surgery and tentative to open the season, Souray out and the expected retirement of Toni Lydman our Ducks suddenly have serious questions on the blue line.

Ducks could start the season without almost half of the top seven defenders who finished last season. Cam Fowler, Ben Lovejoy, Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa are the returnees. Fowler and Lovejoy are the only legit top four defenders in the group. The jury could still be out on Lovejoy. Allen is a stay@home specialist who can log big minutes. Last season, Coach was still spot playing Sbisa in order to protect him during his 4th season in the NHL. Allen was also an occasional healthy scratch.

Ducks also have the newly signed Fistric, Sami Vatanen, Mat Clark, Hampus Lindholm and Kyle Cumiskey  who will compete for those 5th, 6th and 7th D spots on the roster.

We’ll need everyone to step up. The good news is that we still have our best defensive pairing, Hiller & Fasth between the pipes.

During the month of August we’ll pin this Flash Watch to the top story placement. Check here for updates on Teemu’s status.

Update: Pin removed because Teemu announced that he’ll make his decision known during the week of August 26, 2013.

Via Helene Elliot, L.A. Times

Nothing new so much as Elliot reports that Teemu will meet with Coach Boudreau and the GM next week before announcing his decision. Bob Murray confirmed via email that he and Flash have talked “a couple of times” in the past week.

Via OC Register – no link

According to a report by Eric “Ice” Stephens, Teemu has yet to meet with Coach Boudreau regarding his role next season. Stephens tweeted however, that his role is key to Teemu’s decision.
No mention of Teemu playing elsewhere. Stephens seems to think it’s Ducks or retire with Teemu leaning toward returning to our Ducks. I’m not convinced.

Curtis Zupke of NHL.com and the Pucks of a Feather blog published the comments Teemu made to Ice:

“My point is, if they’re (Ducks Young Guns) better than I am, I am expecting and accepting a smaller role, But if I’m better, I need to play more. I need to play top minutes. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Ed: If Teemu earns a top six minutes he should play top six minutes. IF he doesn’t he will have to accept a lesser role.

“That’s fair for everybody. To be honest, I’ve been playing a big role. I don’t know if I’m ready to play 10-12 minutes a game. And that’s what I want to make sure. If I play well, I get what I deserve.”

“Sometimes it’s not like that. So I want to make sure I’m treated the way I deserve.”

This sets up the possibility of a situation none of us want to witness. It is the sad and ugly situation where the Coach and Teemu disagree on what role he’s earned. What then?

Teemu wasn’t exactly thrilled last season when his minutes were reduced. How he accepted the reduced role was an issue. Coach had to give extra thought about telling Teemu to take days off. BB even asked rhetorically, “Do you want to be the one to tell Teemu Selanne not to lace ‘em up?”

Selanne will join a long list of players who had to be shot to get them off the ice when it was time. I was hoping Flash would spare us that, but I get why he can’t.

This blog is my connection to the game. I’ve been doing this and/or Sports Radio on one platform or another for nearly 20 consecutive years now. I played until I couldn’t. I coached until I could no longer demonstrate properly.  So now I blog.

Fact is, you’re never really done until you say you’re done or you die.

Via Hockey Writers Kirk Vance

Could Teemu Selanne’s return the Ducks? Gutsy post for a relatively new Ducks blog.

Ed.: The answer of course is maybe. If Teemu has another 25+goal 50+ point season in him then no, his return won’t hurt our Ducks. The thing with a player like Teemu though is, if he’s not scoring, he’s not helping.
Each of Teemu’s competitors have questions. Can Penner bounce back alongside his buds? Are two of the kids, Palmieri, Etem or Silfverberg ready for top six roles? Coach wants to see Beleskey earn a bigger role this season.
This blog asked the question, “Is there room for Teemu on the roster?” Man, asking if Selanne’s return could hurt the Ducks is a splash of cold water on a Monday morning face.

Via Dark Knight Twitter feed:

MT @aportzline: GM Kekalainen said he has NOT reached out to good friend/fellow Finn Teemu Selanne. For Selanne, it’s Ducks or retirement.

Ed.: Dark Knight is better than google news alerts.

Anaheim is still one of the locations rumored for Damien Brunner (Spector, SH) http://ow.ly/nX9vc 

If you read German the article on Brunner and Ducks speculation can be found here http://ow.ly/nX9RZ 

Ed.: Is the Brunner chatter leverage to get Teemu to take less money or just a coincidence?

Via justducky89 Tweet:

@justducky89: Selanne Meets with GM, Bob Murray #Ducks #Teemu #OCRegister pic.twitter.com/a75tUxxBT5

Ed.: According to the OCR Teemu met with Murray but has yet to meet with Gabby. He has not committed to playing next season.

Via LA Times Helene Elliot Tweet:

Teemu Selanne still deciding hockey future. He’s expected back in SoCal within next 10 days or so, to get his kids ready for school.

Ed.: Expect Teemu to meet with Gabby and Murph in that order. Even if he should talk to Murray first don’t expect him to make a commitment without discussing his TOI and role with the coach first.