Anaheim Ducks Still A Learning Team
If you actually pay attention to what new Captain Ryan Getzlaf says, the Ducks are still a learning team. I may not always pay attention to Getzy, but in this instance, I have to agree. As of today, 10-10-10 (just wanted to type that out, really!) Anaheim is 0-2. This whole season, we have a goal. One. Eins. Fans all over Duckland are ready to jump off buildings; I say STEP AWAY FROM THE LEDGE, PEOPLE!! But, I digress. Let’s start from the end of last season, shall we?
It’s been a very long off season for the Anaheim Ducks and their faithful; for the first time since the lockout, the Ducks failed to get into the playoffs. We all knew something had to give at that point. To make a long story short, here’s the breakdown of what happened:
GOALTENDING: nothing new here. Jonas Hiller is the undisputed #1 and he spent most of his off time back home in Switzerland conditioning and working on his skill. He’ll be the first to point out the #1 spot is his to lose, so he’s put more pressure on himself than any coach could. Our #2 is still Curtis McElhinney. He’s a good backup, but not a #1. He shouldn’t worry Hiller too much, which may not be a good thing overall. Our #3 is Timo Pielmeier, currently with our AHL team. He’s poised to come into the big show, if training camp is any indicator.
DEFENSE: A lot has happened here. Obviously, everyone knows Scott Niedermayer retired. Do I think this one will stick? Yeah, I do. He’s billed as a consultant for the Ducks and boy, do they still need him. I saw him at the preseason games and he was on the podium when we drafted Cam Fowler. So, he IS still there. Speaking of Fowler: was that a steal or WHAT? I was pretty happy the Ducks got him, even more so after watching him play. Training camp and the first two games: he was amazing. Taking his age into consideration, let’s say phenomenal. (In an amusing turn: the Ducks avoided arbitration with James Wisniewski by signing him to a 3.1 mil deal, then within a few hours, traded him. I didn’t think he was worth the money, so I was glad to see him traded.) We added Paul Mara and Andy Sutton to the D line as well. Our ‘veteran’ D man is now Lubomir Visnovsky; he leads returning Sheldon Brookbank, Brendan Mikkelson and Luca Sbisa. We signed Finn Toni Lydman as well, but he ended up with double vision and has yet to skate with the club. He’s on the current road trip with the team (unlike “injured” Lupul) so he’s at least getting to know his new team. Sutton is hurt right now, so we recalled Brett Festerling. OVERALL: we’ve taken some major hits here. I still have confidence that this group will start jelling soon; in reality, this is a whole new group getting used to each other and their goalie. I’ve seen them clearing pucks from in front of Hiller (ala Pronger, which we haven’t had since he left) and physically protecting him as well.
FORWARDS: some changes here. We still have the core of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Todd Marchant and George Parros. We re-signed Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan. Jason Blake has really stepped it up and I think he’ll be even more of an asset this season. We signed Aaron Voros to add some grit and I think that was a decent move. Kyle Chipchura has really impressed me so far, as has Matt Beleskey. Dan Sexton is still on the roster and I expect him to continue playing there. The most impressive over last season has been Troy Bodie. Whatever he did in the off season has worked and I’ve seen the most improvement from him. OVERALL: We have the talent, but can’t seem to find the magic combinations. Getzy is the new captain, Koivu and Selanne are the alternates. I still hope Lupul gets well, and then we trade him. (He claims he wants to skate, wants to get better, but twitters how he’s out partying. Doesn’t fly with me. )
COACHING: Same head coach. Two assistants: one new, one old. THIS could be the issue with the Ducks. It may be time to shake up the team with new coaching blood. Something isn’t working and we have the talent, so it stands to reason that it could be coaching.
There. Now you’re up to date on the Anaheim Ducks! My future posts won’t be as long – promise!!
LET’S GO DUCKS!