Posts Tagged ‘andrew cogliano’

Tonight’s Game:
Phoenix @ Anaheim, 7:00pm start at the Honda Center. Audio stream available at http://ducks.nhl.com/index.html

The previous post, A look at the intangibles really begins this blog’s Ducks coverage of the 2013-14 season. If you haven’t at least skimmed it yet, you’ll be better equipped to understand this one and forthcoming posts through training camp.

At first blush, swapping out Daniel Winnick from the “checking line” for Emerson Etem would indicate a slightly different role for Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. It ain’t necessarily so. All three forwards are proven penalty killers and defensively responsible. The move should improve scoring from the checking line. As Coach noted, “Their speed will give opposing teams fits.” Some sandpaper is sacrificed but Etem’s overall toughness shouldn’t be underrated.
The skill sets are complimentary. As noted all are defensively responsible and great skaters. Koivu and Cogliano are decent playmakers and finishers. Etem is a promising sniper.

One move this blogger has been waiting for and referenced here previously more than once is trying Daniel Winnick at center. Now wwe understand why that hasn’t happened until now.  “We wanted to try this last year, but there was just never a break, and we didn’t want to throw him into the fire.” Boudreau added, “He’s going to stay there for a while, at center, during the preseason,”
With Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly on the wings, Winnick could well result in a very physical Stopper Line reminiscent of Pahlsson, Niedermayer & Moen.
Memo to fourth line center hopefuls Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Antoine Laganiere: Pick it up a notch!

Notice we have comments from Coachevidencing his thinking on the aforementioned opportunities. Now for one that isn’t being talked about in the blogs or reported on by mainstream media:

Where does Kyle Palmieri fit? Is he Bobby Ryan 2.0? The guy we never find a spot for and instead move him around and ask him to spark whatever line he happens to be on that shift? Jeez, I hope not.
In the early going at least Dustin Penner hasn’t played himself off the top line. Bones, Flash and Silfver are developing chemistry and producing results. The 3rd and 4th lines could be set.
Palmieri has earned more than a 4th line role. He’s aiming to become The Twins linemate. To earn that plum he’ll have to prove himself better than Penner and overcome locker room politics. Not an easy task for a guy who has only recently established his NHL cred.
Boudreau wouldn’t reveal his lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against Phoenix (7 p.m., Honda Center), but said “we’ve got the first three games mapped out, in a perfect world, and all seven games mapped out for the goalies.”

Note to credentialed local media: The only reason we don’t have an answer to, “Where Palmieri fits” is because you aren’t asking the question. Aside to readers: Credentialed media claims the main reason for lost audience is increased competition. Just once I’d like them to consider the quality of their reportage.

Note to me: Exhale ;)

Three of the above quotes can be found in this report by Kyle Shohara of AnaheimDucks.com.

Ducks checking line is as improbable as the players who comprise u it. Two small skill guys and a journeyman grinder. When the line is most effective, Andrew Cogliano uses warp speed to provide the pressure up ice. Saku Koivu patrols the center lane from slot to slot. Journeyman Daniel Winnick is a travelin’ man delivering punishing checks and challenging physical battles around the wall.

Drawing the daunting assignment of dogging Detroit’s two best players this unlikely trio not only kept Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterburg off the score sheet but reduced Datsyuk to just one and Zetterburg to only three shots on Jonas Hiller.

On many shifts the Ducks checking line hemmed the Wings best deep in their own zone. How they do their work is a bit comical actually. Off the puck, Koivu and Cogliano are the pressure forwards who force the opposition to Winnick’s wall. When they have the puck, breaking up the Saku and Cogs cycle is like catching butterflys without a net or fishing with just your hands.

So thoroughly did the unsung trio shadow Detroit’s stars they reduced Coach Mike Babcock to complaining about the inability of his D to move the puck. This poses quite a challenge to the former Ducks coach. Does he breakup his Eurotwins or adjust the system?

Actually Babcock directed a lot of Plan B, whip it around the net break outs to no avail, to chips along the wall. He went to the so-called stretch pass, sending the mail from deep in the Wings zone high into the neutral zone. Time after time Ducks players, most notably Saku, Cogs or Winnie saw that one coming with anticipation and reads reminiscent of Wayne Gretzky.

So thorough was the Ducks defensive scheme that the Wings committed 13 giveaways compared to averaging just 4.7 giveaways per game during the season.

Datsyuk and Zetterburg got healthy and hot down the stretch. Along with goaltender Jimmy Howard they powered the Wings into the playoffs.

So what is the Detroit coach to do next? Look for him to breakup the Eurotwins in game two. He has to get one of them, most likely Zetterburg, away from the Koivu line.

If it doesn’t work, Babs will surely find his Wings down 2-0. At that point the Wings tactician will reunite them and use the home team’s last change to get his offensive stars away from Anaheim’s most unlikely checking line.

Our Ducks did more than win a game last night. They sent the Wings back to the quiet study of the video room.

 

It was a game billed as a Clash of Titans. It was game history taught us, courtesy of Elias Sports Service that matched the two winning-est teams in the  96 year history of the NHL. In a world full of P.T. Barnum style hyperbole, it was a game that lived up to its billing.

This is about as good as NHL hockey gets during the season. Just imagine what it might be like experience a playoff series between these two teams. It doesn’t matter which team we support. There are no losers in a game like this, merely survivors.

As they’ve done 14 times this season, our Ducks hung around long enough to when their leadership, physicality and a break combined to inspire them past Chicago in the final 5.5 minutes of the game.

This was a game in which the difference was the Ducks scouting and 3 goals that came off center lane drives to the net. The first came as Peter Holland was Johnny-on-the-spot when he buried a rebound that landed on his stick about 5 feet out.

For a quick and nervous moment it appeared that Brandon Bollig had put the ‘hawks up 3-1 but the goal was disallowed when the replay showed the young cheap shot artist had kicked the puck past Jonas Hiller.

Ducks got the tying goal off a fat rebound from a Ryan Getzlaf shot that Corey Crawford  directed to Bobby Ryan trailing, who had found space opened up by Kyle Palmieri’s drive to the net, who also provided a screen.

Teemu Selanne netted the winner when Ryan Getzlaf drove through the center lane, dished to Flash who doesn’t miss wide open nets often.

Sheldon Souray took the air out of Chicago and put in under the feet of a capacity home crowd with an EN with about 19 seconds left in regulation time.

From the opening face-off to the final buzzer Ryan Getzlaf played his most energetic game of the season. That in and of itself is an incredible feat given Getzy played with the flu bug that put both Bryan Allen and Nick Bonino on the IR.

The game has had effects already as our Ducks are instantly viewed as a worthy challenge season long No. 1 rated Blackhawks. Ryan Getzlaf elevated himself from honorable mention to legitimate contender alongside Jonathon Toews and Steve Stamkos in the Hart Trophy balloting.

The Captain’s leadership example was magnified when Brandon “Cheap Shot” Bollig performed dental surgery with a vicious high stick to the mouth of  Andrew Cogliano on the face-off following Teemu’s go ahead goal.

It takes more than a few broken teeth to force lion heart Cogs out of the game. In a move that astounded fans of both teams Cogliano stayed in and took his next shift.

And there you have the hi-lights. Leadership, physicality, scouting and a little luck combined to inspire our Ducks to victory. Someone who was obviously paying attention once said, “Luck happens when hard work and opportunity collide.” As former Leaf goalie Johnny bower once said, “You have to be lucky to be good and good to be lucky.”

Our Ducks have earned their luck.

Okay big whoop. The kid we affectionately tagged “Big Sexy” turned out to be a career minor leaguer. He deserves a footnote rather than a post.

Except I can’t get out of my head those 20 or so games when he stood in for an injured Teemu Selanne, alongside Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan and helped keep our Ducks advancing. Many of us thought he might be at least part of the answer to the long sought after secondary scoring dilemma that challenged Ducks management.

Jeez, I compared him to Martin St. Louis. Then again, I’m a sucker for a good underdog story.

But the play I’ll always remember Dan Sexton for fondly was the game in which he tied up Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard in knots, deked the big enforcer out of his shorts, twisted him up like a big pretzel and moved the puck out of our zone. Just like he was Andrew Cogliano. Embarrassed at being made to look foolish, Boogaard went after Big Sexy and Ducks D-man Nick Boynton stepped in and obliged him. No doubt saving Big Sexy from certain harm,  unless of course Boogaard might have never touched him. Sexton is just that quick.

Sexton will get a chance with a new org that has had enjoyed success with smaller men in the lineup. He may forever be a career minor league player but one I’ll remember fondly.

In a trade of players needing a change of scenery Ducks got back 28-year-old 6’2″ 200# center Kyle Wilson.

Notes: Ducks have recalled Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly from Norfolk. Former Duck Steve Montador has been placed on waivers by the Chicago Blackhawks. If Monty clears waivers his next stop will be ‘Hawks minor league affiliate in Rockford.

Ryan Getzlaf described it well, “We played a boring game. We made them work and tired them out.” Good plan considering it was the Blues third match in four nights and second of back to back road games.

If that was the plan it sure fooled most onlookers as the Blues clearly won the first period, exiting the ice with a 1-0 lead. Jonas Hiller stood tall allowing only a pinball type careen, carrom and deflection finally credited to Ryan Reeves.

Ducks were unable to capitalize on a 5 on 3 PP but did get the equalizer when Emerson Etem chipped one ahead that sent Andrew Cogliano in alone on Halak.  Even though the penalty calls benefited our Ducks it was another example of the NHL providing totally incompetent officials. The blind mice tonight were Dan O’Halloran and Kyle Rehman.

Patrik Berglund put the Blues back up at 1:41 of the third as he skated down the LW and fired one that deflected off Toni Lydman and beat Hiller short side.

Ducks would get a bounce at 3:11 when Francois Beauchemin let go a blast from the point that rebounded off the backside of Ryan Getzlaf and into the wheelhouse of Bobby Ryan who promptly buried it past a stunned Jaroslav Halak.

Our Ducks took over from there. About 2 minutes after Ryan’s goal, Corey Perry got is stick on a Ryan Getzlaf shot that earned our guys their first lead of the night. Getz was originally awarded the goal but lobbied the Refs to give it to Pears. Who luvs ya Corey!

Ducks then worked the clock until Perry got his second of the night, an EN with 40 seconds remaining that put the game out of reach.

It was our Ducks 11th consecutive home victory, tying the record set by the 2009-10 Ducks. Francois Beauchemin had 3 assists and Ryan Getzlaf two helpers.

Saku Koivu was great in the FO winning 14 of 21 for a 67% winning rate. Ducks combined were 32 of 67 for a 48% win rate.

Nick Bonino was late scratch with the flu. Coach had him on the bench in the first period so as not tip Blues coach Ken Hitchcock that we were playing with a man short.

Ducks now hit the road for games beginning Wednesday against the Wild, Stars and finish the trip in St. Louis.

Anaheim Ducks were flat but effective in beating the spirited but ineffective Calgary Flames 4-0. Viktor Fasth was outstanding turning aside 29 shots.

Daniel Winnick got things started at 1:15 of the first attacking the low slot and snapping a feed from behind the red line from Andrew Cogliano.  It was Winnick’s sixth goal of the season and first in 18 games.

Our Ducks would then play a passive defense shell for the next 35 minutes. The Flames took territorial control and out shot our guys 10-4 in the first.

Not even a dance invitation from former Duck Bryan McGratton to Brad Staubitz was accepted. It was the smart play by Staubitz. McGratton was only trying to fire up his teammates. By refusing, Staubitz denied them the opportunity, not they needed it.

In a similar play to Winnick’s goal, Ryan Getzlaf raced to a loose puck along  the right mid-boards and whipped it behind the net to Corey Perry. Pears spotted Ryan racing into the left slot shooting lane to complete the tic tac toe score. It was Ryan Getzlaf’s 500 career point, all with our Ducks.

Note: Video links of the first two goals are included to show set plays and also note how both Winnick and Ryan one-timed the pass.

Sheldon Souray put the home squad up by three just 2:12 following the Ryan goal. With Peter Holland providing the screen, Souray blasted a Brad Staubitz pass into the Calgary net.

Ryan Getzlaf put the game out of reach at 16:18 of the third when he took a no look redirect from Bobby Ryan and pushed it behind Kiprusoff.

Coach Boudreau summed it up pretty well, “We sure were outplayed in the first half of the game,” he noted. “Thank goodness for Viktor. Once we scored the second goal, we started to get our legs and started to do the right things, and I think they were frustrated. A win is a win.”

It was the tenth consecutive home win for Anaheim.

If you saw the game, especially the last ten minutes of the third period you know our Ducks were gassed. Yes they had chances throughout the night. Bobby Ryan could be haunted until he scores his next goal after Smith robbed him by raising a leg, which was all Smith had left. Ryan planted on the left post one-timed a cross ice pass from Getzlaf. Smith torso to the ice could only his back legs and caught just enough of the puck to keep it a one goal game.

Ducks also had PP in OT but were unable to put the Coyotes away. Some will point to the unbelievably soft goal Fasth gave up to Korpikoski. At the other end Smith flubbed an equally soft wrist shot from Cogliano just 27 seconds later. Fasth also gave up a fat rebound that Steve Sullivan buried to send the game into OT.

You could call it a game when our exhausted Ducks just didn’t get the bounce.

“When you’re tired, you need puck management,” Ryan said. “They just found a way. They kept coming in waves and they kept going to the net.” Very true. On nights when you don’t have your legs, you have to let the puck do the work for you. We did some of that but came up short.

Our Ducks and fans alike will feel as though we let a point get away. On the other hand, our guys earned a point on a night when they definitely didn’t have it.

Still, that one point is seemingly haunting Gabby.

“You want to be greedy and you want two points every chance you can get,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think the last 10 minutes, they were the better team. So we get one point.

“But then again you have the power play for two minutes in the overtime. You want to get two points. I’ll always go back to thinking I want the two points and never be satisfied.”

Andrew Cogliano potted the second natural hat trick of his career. Ironically both came against Phoenix at the Jobing Arena.

Ducks will take a hydration day Sunday. The series resumes Monday in Phoenix with both teams traveling back to Anaheim for the rubber game Wednesday.

Note: In his last 3 games Viktor Fasth has allowed 9 goals for a GAA of 3.00 and a SP of .830. This blog noted that Fasth appeared suspect upstairs, particularly stick side and 5-hole.  A review of the video of all nine goals shows 6 went in high. Sullivan’s SO winner last night went 5-hole. Now the challenge is squarely on Fasth to tighten the 5-hole and start making some “chicken-wing” saves top shelf.

Worth noting that after posting similar numbers in fewer starts beat writers and bloggers were calling on Coach to declare Fasth the No. 1. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re as quick to start promoting Hiller again.