Posts Tagged ‘Twins’

One year ago, Bobby Ryan asked rhetorically, “Can you imagine how good I’m going to be playing for this guy?” Ryan was of course referring to then new head coach Bruce Boudreau. Gabby, as our Ducks coach is sometimes known, had suggested that he’d like to build a line around Ryan.

No more caddying for The Twins. No more getting blamed for the Ducks problems. No more being the first name to pop up in trade rumors.

Fast forward to one year later and the only thing that has changed is that Randy Carlyle got far more out of Bobby Ryan than it appears Bruce Boudreau may ever realize. Ryan is currently on pace for a 20 goal 55 point 82 game season.

The goal of building a line around Ryan seems to have gone the way of fax machines and proper grammar.

Nick Bonino and Teemu Selanne were the first to skate alongside Ryan when this season-short began. That gave way to a succession of line mates not named Koivu, Cogliano or Winnick.

Bobby Ryan is on pace for the worst season statistically of his career. Always a streaky goal scorer, one might argue that Ryan would get hot and finish an 82 game season with 30+ goals and 65+points. That is more wishful thinking and excuse making though.

Bobby Ryan is his record. Right now his record is, to be polite about it, disappointing.

Two things show up in his stats that might have something to do with Bobby Ryan’s “off-year.” His TOI is down substantially from his 34 goal 71 point career best season in 2010-11. Back then Ryan’s ATOI was 20:10 per game. This season his ATOI is 16:35. The other stat that leaps off the page is his shooting percentage of 10.87 is down from a career average of 14.8. For a guy who takes 204 to 270 shots on goal per season, Bobby’s accuracy issue is costing him 8-10 goals this year.

Note: This is also the first time in his career that Ryan’s ratio between goals and assists is statistically significant.

The question of course is why? One difference between how Ryan is used is that today he is almost exclusively used a sniper. When was the last time you saw Ryan deke out a couple-3 opposition players on his way to the net? Thought so, it’s been quite awhile.

There’s a huge difference between going to the net and/or getting into a shooting lane and attacking the net with the puck on your stick.

Ryan must become a tad more selfish with the puck and take more responsibility for finishing plays in the offensive zone. Bobby Ryan is among the league’s best, one on one, and he simply isn’t exploiting those opportunities.

This would fix most of it but not all. Obviously, Ryan needs to take more shooting accuracy drills. Pull out the old shooter tutor and have at it. Me? Most times I’d pick a spot on the boards and shoot at it. Try and hit it from different angles. That shooter tutor was the best goalie I ever came up against.

 

Another great effort by a team that keeps its feet moving. Good things happen when you keep the legs moving. This is three solid games in a row. Skating is the basis for our Ducks success to date.

When you’re skating, you’re advancing the play. You’re moving forward and less likely to stop, retaliate and take a stupid penalty. It goes hand in hand.

Following effort, the trust Coach is showing in his players as well as what he’s asking of them is paying dividends. Fowler and Vatanen manning the points on the PP in the waning minutes of a 1 goal game? Sheldon Souray logging more time on the PK (1:15) than on the PP (0.57) Really? The Twins killing the waning seconds of penalties? Bobby Ryan moves back to center and his line produces all 3 goals. Ryan Getzlaf is team leader in FO%. Our checking line is one part smooth, one part speed and one part grit. Not the usual grind it out checking line.

By trusting his players and expecting them to perform in all situations is what leads to the effort and result we witnessed tonight, and in recent games. Coach Boudreau is asking our guys to be complete players. Obviously, they are responding.  Our Ducks were so dominant hockey’s hottest line was held without a shot on goal until a PP late in the third.

As Gabby has said, 3 consecutively consistent games is too soon to make conclusions. Let’s see if they can do it through a very demanding stretch in the schedule, which is upcoming. Three consistent games is a start. It’s also three games in seven days with little travel.

The defense is consistent. The offense right now is a different line every week or game. Tonight it was Ryan-Palmieri-Selanne who lit the lamp. Jeez though, if not for miracles performed by Saint Backstrom between the Wild pipes, Beleskey, Etem, Bonino and Fowler would have scored goals too.

As with each of our Ducks recent games the score was closer than the scoring chances and territorial play indicate. IF they can keep it up, we’re in for an exciting and successful season.

 

Our Ducks have announced that Cam Fowler has signed a contract extension that will keep him in Anaheim through 2016-17. Various media outlets are calling it a $20m contract.

Fowler has given me full value for my part of the investment in him. While this blog has occasionally pointed out flaws in his game, I remain a total fan of the guy.

Interesting that either Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry signed extensions prior to the end of the current CBA yesterday. GM Bob Murray had stated that subscribing The Twins to long-term contracts a summer priority. We safely predict that the Gossip Girls will burn bandwidth by the gig predicting mostly incorrectly where Getz & Pears will play in 2013-14.