Posts Tagged ‘Ducks’

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.

Via Ducks Club News:

The Ducks will host their annual prospect conditioning camp scrimmages at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE on Friday, July 5 (9:15 a.m.), Saturday, July 6 (9:15 a.m.) and Sunday, July 7 (10:30 a.m.). Fans are invited to attend the open scrimmage sessions, which are free of charge to the general public (scrimmages subject to change; for updates, check back with this site or visit AnaheimDucks.com).

Four Anaheim selections from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft are scheduled to attend, including Shea Theodore (first round, 26th overall), Nick Sorensen (second round, 45th overall), Keaton Thompson (third round, 87th overall) and Grant Besse (fifth round, 147th overall). In addition, former first-round selections Hampus Lindholm (sixth overall, 2012), Rickard Rakell (30th overall, 2011) and Peter Holland (15th overall, 2009) will participate, along with John Gibson (39th overall, 2011), Nicolas Kerdiles (36th overall, 2012) and William Karlsson (53rd overall, 2011). Five countries are represented among the 31 players expected to attend the camp, including the United States, Canada, Sweden, Russia and Denmark.

 

Via Anaheim Ducks.com

Blog note: In a nutshell, Registered Free Agents (RFA) are players coming off their Entry Level contracts but do not yet qualify to become Unrestricted Free Agents. Teams retain negotiating rights with the player by extending the qualifying offer. Qualifying offers are proposed contract extensions preventing players from becoming UFA. Generally teams offer a 5% – 10% increase on the previous salary, dependent upon the player’s previous year salary. A qualifying offer may be for one or a two year term.
If the player rejects the qualifying offer the sides proceed to arbitration.

The Ducks issued qualifying offers to the following players:
Matt Beleskey
Kyle Palmieri
Mat Clark
Alex Grant

 Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri and Mat Clark need no introduction to Ducks fans. 

Ducks received Alex Grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for enforcer Harry Zolnierczyk.

Blog note: 

The following players were not issued qualifying offers:
Marco Cousineau
Josh Brittain
Matt Kennedy
Ryan Parent

I’ve been wondering how long Marco Cousineau would remain a Duck. A couple of years ago he was discussed on this blog as not to be underrated mainly for his ability to find a way to hang in the org. We wish him well.

This is Ryan Parent’s fourth org since being taken 18th in the 1st rnd by Nashville in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Our Ducks lost what turned out to be a game of bounces. Games like that stay with you and you replay your own part over in your mind looking for that one that one thing you might have done differently.

As a player you know that you’re not supposed to do this but you can’t change your programming either. What you don’t deal with consciously is pushed into your subconscious. Besides, we all know we learn more from our mistakes than our successes in life.

You think Perry doesn’t want a shot or two back? Or Getz his breakaway? That Palmieri isn’t seeing the knob of Howard’s stick? Or why when Etem successfully drew Howard off the post and again went short side did he ring it off the metal? is it the difference between his forehand and backhand?

So you focus. Not in a self-incriminating way. That truly is destructive. You do it in a clear, objective way searching for the what if I had done something else instead. You ask yourself if you had options.

Sometime today our Ducks will awake in the familiar surroundings of their own beds. Each guy will begin the process of getting ready for Wednesday. The truly pivotal 5th game. Each guy will bring a quiet determination to seize the moment.

A coach does the same thing but he looks at the big picture. Some of the questions Gabby will ask himself are, why did we stop pushing and try to nurse a 1 goal lead? You know the 46 shots were mostly from the low shooting percentage areas of the perimeter. For the most part you know your guys defended well.

Toward the end of this process, coach and player find themselves on the same page. The player knows what’s coming. Lots of puck handling and skill work at practice.

It doesn’t matter how many games or how many series you’ve been through. You never know if you can successfully execute a play and finish a team off until you’ve beaten them.

If not for a couple of fortuitous OT bounces, the proverbial fat lady would have closed the show on these Red Wings last night. There’s no question that our Ducks are the better of the two teams in this series. The only question is are they better enough to prove it.

Tonight’s game is like the last day at work or school before vacation or spring break. All you want to do is get past it.

Even Coach set practice to optional.

For us fans it’s a good game to bring out our measuring sticks. Our Ducks are about to meet their toughest challenge of the season. Themselves. Tonight our Ducks will fight the temptation to watch the scoreboard. They also must motivate themselves to play in a meaningless game.

Even the Ducks Official website is calling this game a “playoff tune-up.” If I’m Coyotes coach Dave Tippett that’s on the white board. Along with a chat about how the Ducks and the City of Anaheim have no respect for these Phoenix Coyotes.

In a game like this though the ‘Yotes really aren’t the challenge. We are the challenge. Can we raise our intensity, compete and play the disciplined brand hockey that earned our Ducks a 30-11-6 season record?

The ‘Yotes are playing their third game in four nights and second of back to back games. Even casual fans know that’s a rough road.

The only key to this game is will.

Note: I don’t care who will become our first round playoff opponent. Each of Detroit, Columbus and Minnesota present a unique challenge. Right now Minnesota looks to be the easy out. That could change by the time the puck drops next week.

If our Ducks look in the mirror and see Blue Jackets it would be understandable. The BJ’s began the year with a horrid start, finally hitting rock bottom in the NHL standings on February 25 with 5-12-2 record. Since, NHL turnaround specialist  John Davidson has installed a winning attitude that has permeated the team from top to bottom. The result is a 15-4-2 run to playoff contention.

Our Ducks are very familiar with teams like Columbus. We are one. The difference being where each is in their respective turnarounds. The Blue Jackets has just begun. Our Ducks run began a year ago.

When a team that sees itself as Stanley Cup contender faces a team on the rise, it is a statement game. Win and our Ducks show the Blue Jackets that they aren’t quite there yet. Lose and the reality that our Ducks aren’t quite there yet is suddenly a valid question.

These are the games that genuine Stanley Cup contenders win.

To prevail our Ducks have to beat arguably the best and certainly the hottest goaltender on the planet. Sergei Bobrovsky has injected himself into the running for the Vezina and Hart trophies. Only 3 goalies have accomplished the feat. Dominick Hasek did it twice, Jacques Plante and Jose Theodore in his outstanding rookie year. Bobrovsky has put himself among the best goalies of the last half century.

Tonight Bobrovsky faces a team in a scoring drought. Our Ducks have scored just 25 times in their last 13 games.  A betting man might peel off a few Ben Franklins on Columbus and the under. That would be a trap though. While our Ducks have struggled since those two games against the Red Wings, the guys have been able to put on a solid performance in the big games. Ducks beat the Blackhawks, scored 10 goals while taking 2 of 3 from Dallas and beat the Kings 4-3 in a shoot out. Kings just edged us out 2-1 last Saturday.

More importantly Ducks have a recent burr in their britches stemming from a 2-1 OT loss to these same Blue Jackets just two weeks ago. It was a game most observers felt our Ducks should have won.

Most often when teams are in scoring slumps they’re told to go hard to the net , shoot often and good things will come of it. Bruce Boudreau has had four days to work on timing and shooting drills designed to ignite a struggling offense. It might also be more interesting than coincidental that our Ducks have stopped posting Practice Reports on the official site.

Expect to see some new tactics in the Ducks attack tonight.

Viktor Fasth draws the start.

Ducks have an opportunity to put the swagger back. My bet is that they do.

Injuries: Columbus will be without Artem Anisimov. D-men Adrian Aucoin and Tim Erixon are listed as questionable. Cam Fowler is expected to sit out his second consecutive game with an upper body injury.

Notes: Ducks announced the signing of Yale Bulldogs Antoine Laganiere to two-year entry level contract yesterday. Many scouts say the 6’5″ 214# center is NHL ready and could step in on Anaheim’s 3rd line right now. While Laganiere may get a game or two in, he doesn’t qualify for the playoffs. The plan is to allow him to return to Yale for his final exams.

Through 40 games corporate media and the blogosphere have proven beyond all doubt that they just don’t get our Ducks. The best they can do at explaining how these Ducks have produced the third best record in the NHL is to rework clichés like great goaltending, timely or depth scoring, coaching and the ever bland, “finding ways to win games.”

Our Ducks have received great goaltending from the tandem of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Yes,  we get timely scoring from unexpected sources. Bruce Boudreau is a great coach. We don’t though, keep finding new ways to win games.

You win hockey games by scoring more goals than the opposition. There ain’t no other way to win.

Our Ducks aren’t finding new ways to score goals. Virtually every single goal that is scored, other than EN’s of course, is executed by either screening the goaltender and/or forcing the goalie to move or commit prior to the release of the shot. This is true regardless of where the shot, tip or tap is coming from.

So ignore everything you read about our Ducks, “finding new ways to win.” It’s flat-out bull-pucky.

Our Ducks are winning because they are winning the majority of the one on one battles that occur during a hockey game. They’re winning what’s called the game within the game.

Did you read the Drew Doughty comments following the Kings most recent loss to our Ducks. Doughty was whining and bloviating about how the Kings totally out-played us but they just didn’t get rewarded for their efforts. Doughty, poughty.

Our Ducks are winning because they can win any way the opposition want to play the game. Ducks can grind or free wheel with anybody. What they do better than their opponent on a given night, is that they dominate in the one area of the ice where it matters most, from the end zone face off dots to the end boards in each of the defensive and offensive zones.

This is why a Poughty Doughty can fool himself and others into thinking his Kings outplayed our Ducks. The is why many Red Wings fans will go to their graves believing the Wings outplayed our Ducks in the 2007 WCF.

They don’t get it.

If you want to beat these Ducks you have to beat them around the nets and at the moment of truth. In other words if you can’t execute a near perfect play, at both ends of the rink, you aren’t going to outscore these Ducks.

This is true in both low and high scoring games. It’s true if the opposition elects to grind it out or play a high tempo finesse game. These Ducks win 2-1 and 4-3.

These Ducks aren’t finding new ways to win. These Ducks get ‘er done.

Like we’re really scared, eh. Hockey media and the blogs are making a big deal that the Kings have won 3 straight and 5 of their last 6. Big whoop. During their little run Kings faced two teams with records north of .500. Stanley Cup champions are supposed to beat the weak sisters of the NHL. Kings lost to Chicago, who our Ducks beat. Kings did beat St. Louis 4-1 who our Ducks also beat.

Ducks have absolutely no reason to fear these guys. Respect them certainly. Kings have some talent and  some big boys who can put a hurt on ya. So do we. The difference is these Ducks (Allen, Souray, Winnick, Beauchemin and Maroon) are bigger and badder than any five  the Kings can send over the boards.

The Kings are dependent on four guys (Carter, Kopitar, Brown and Richards) for the bulk of their scoring. Ducks have ten guys with four or more goals. I’ll take the deeper team thank you.

Not that it ever happens in the NHL but if it did the bounty on Jarret Stoll would be about $10k. Nice bonus for a few guys, if the opportunity be available.

Drew Doughty is without a goal 16 games into this NHL half season. Still, the Kings offense starts with him. Disrupt his ability to move the puck and the Kings need a huge night from their goalie. So far this season at least Kings haven’t shown the scoring depth or the ability to out-muscle weaker opponents.

So bring ‘em on. Last season is yesterday’s news.

Anaheim Ducks have announced that former Vice-President and General Manager has accepted a position as a part-time scout with the team.

Via AnaheimDucks.com:

“We are happy to welcome Brian back to the organization,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “Anytime you can add a person of his quality to your staff, it makes your organization better. We’ve had success working together before and look forward to doing it again.”

Burke returns to the Ducks after originally serving as Executive Vice President/General Manager from 2005-08. Over his three-plus seasons with the organization, the Ducks captured their first Stanley Cup (2007), first Pacific Division title (2007) and first two 100+ point seasons (2006-07 & 2007-08). The Ducks also qualified for the postseason in all three seasons, winning six of eight playoff series over that span.

The scouting role was not clearly defined in our Ducks press release. Brian Burke could be doing anything from scouting upcoming teams on the schedule, players that are offered in trade, our own players in the minors and/or draft prospects.

Let’s just hope our Ducks don’t start a losing streak Sunday.