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POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.07.2012 / 11:12 AM
In the second episode of our new web series -- Bruce Boudreau Uncensored ... Kind Of -- the Ducks head coach touches on more topics, including his first hockey memories and the experience of being on HBO's 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: The Road to the Winter Classic back when he was Washington's coach in 2010.

While he talks about how thorough HBO was covering him and his team, what fans remember most from that series is how many expletives Boudreau used in an intermission locker room talk to his team during the first episode.

"It's funny. First of all, they aired it on a Wednesday or a Thursday night, and I knew they were airing it that day. I asked our PR guy if I cursed in the first episode. He looked at me and rolled his eyes and he said, 'Yes. You used the one certain word 17 times in 41 seconds,' which I don't even remember doing. I remember doing it every other time because I was [conscious] that the camera was rolling.

"The next day, once my mom watched it, I got a pretty good tongue-lashing from her. She told me not to use those kinds of words on TV anymore because she wouldn't be able to go out in public anymore. So, I got chastised by my mother for swearing."


As I write in the last blog post, I can't begin to tell you how great Bruce was to work with, not only in answering the dozen or so questions we gave him, but in coming up with his own wrinkles. In fact, the title of the segment, along with the introduction to it, was his idea.

We shot about 15-20 minutes worth of footage, which we'll use in this segment and future ones. And we plan to shoot more with him down the road, using questions submitted to us by fans on Twitter. (You can submit your own using the hastag #BUKO on Twitter).


The rest of episode 2 is below, and in case you missed it, here's episode 1. Look for the next segment soon, and if you'd like to submit .
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POSTED ON Friday, 11.02.2012 / 11:04 AM
In the first episode of our new web series -- Bruce Boudreau Uncensored ... Kind Of -- the Ducks head coach touches on a number of topics focusing both on and off the ice. Included in the discussion are players currently at AHL Norfolk he's excited about, the proudest moment of his hockey career and the his most embarrassing moment as a coach.

I can't begin to tell you how great Bruce was to work with, not only in answering the dozen or so questions we gave him, but in coming up with his own wrinkles. In fact, the title of the segment, along with the introduction to it, was his idea.

We shot about 15-20 minutes worth of footage, which we'll use in this segment and future ones. And we plan to shoot more with him down the road, using questions submitted to us by fans on Twitter. (You can submit your own using the hastag #BUKO on Twitter).

Here's a snippet from episode 1:

"We were playing on the day after Christmas when I was coaching in Hershey, and we had to go to Bridgeport. What we would do was, we would get in our sweatsuit [for the bus ride] and it was a four-hour drive to Bridgeport. And when you get to the game, you put your suit on. It just so happened that day, when I was changing for the game, I’ve got my shirt and my jacket and everything else – I forgot my pants.

"After the laughter from [assistant coach] Bob Woods and our GM subsided, it was, “I’ve got no pants. What are we going to do?” So, we decided, Okay, me and Bob would wear sweatsuits on the bench that day. At the last moment, our radio guy was named John Walton, and he was wearing pants. So on the bus, I said, 'Come on. Let’s switch.' And he says, 'You’re never going to get into them. They’re a 32 waist.' But I did.

“Believe it or not, they were tight. They were so tight, I never moved one inch from behind the bench. If the puck had been shot at me, I was done. I couldn’t move. I could barely breath. Bob was doing line changes, and I was just holding my breath the whole game. We had quite a laugh about that afterward, because we won the game. Off the top of my head, that’s about as embarrassing as I could get.”

Here's the rest of episode 1. Look for more segments down the road.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 10.18.2012 / 9:10 AM
A longtime colleague is leaving the hockey industry for another opportunity, and this morning he wrote a farewell email to everyone he worked with that included this:

All I can say is thank you so much for giving me a little slice of my life that I’ll never ever forget. Through the insanity of every workday and the hours a person in your positions need to be put in to help your clubs be successful -- Never, ever forget that you work for -- hands-down -- the greatest game in the entire world. I defy anyone to watch another sport and say their players are as rugged & dedicated as they are gentlemen and approachable off the ice.

These days, especially, those are words to live by.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.02.2012 / 4:59 PM
Chances are you didn't realize this, but today is the 20th anniversary of the opening of a Disney movie called The Mighty Ducks, which was released to audiences on October 2, 1992.

Chances are you DO know this, that the Disney movie -- starring Emilio Estevez as "a self-centered lawyer sentenced to community service coaching a rag tag youth hockey team" -- spawned two sequels, an animated series and of course led to the creation of the Disney-owned Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. (Here's some trivia: In the UK and Australia, the film was titled Champions. UK video/DVD releases are now titled The Mighty Ducks Are the Champions)

While the movie got less-than-stellar reviews and grossed $50 million at the box office, it still resonates 20 years later (although, I have to admit, I never saw it myself).

The team was purchased from the Walt Disney Co. by Henry and Susan Samueli in 2007, the home arena was eventually changed from The Pond to Honda Center and the logo and team colors were also changed. Yet the spirit of the old Mighty Ducks endures. That iconic duckbill-shaped goalie mask logo is displayed on a sleeve patch on the Ducks' popular third jersey, and you still see countless purple and jade jerseys at Honda Center. Most of all, the memories of that movie, and its effect on fans' love for the Ducks and the game hockey, lives on.

On the Ducks Facebook page, we asked fans to share what that movie meant to them, and here are some of the best responses.





































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POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.18.2012 / 10:33 AM

David McNab, the Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations and a Ducks exec since the team's inaugural season in 1993-94, has treated some of the staff lately by bringing in some archives from his late father Max McNab's NHL career.

A few days ago, he brought in the Detroit Red Wings jersey (they were of course called "sweaters" back then) that Max wore during the 1950 Stanley Cup-winning season. Here's David posing with the sweater.



This morning, McNab showed off a couple more beauties. This is the replica of the top of the Stanley Cup that each player was awarded back in those days (teams didn't start giving rings until the late '50s). It may be hard to see, but this side of the cup says DETROIT HOCKEY CLUB, INC. and below is reads MAXWELL MCNAB.



The other side: NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, followed by STANLEY CUP WINNERS 1949-50.



Meanwhile, this chalice was awarded to each player on the team with the best regular season record (what is now the Presidents' Cup).

Very cool for David to bring this in and give us all an up-close look at some hockey history.

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POSTED ON Monday, 09.17.2012 / 2:31 PM
Sometimes the Contact Us emails that come to AnaheimDucks.com can just warm your heart, like this one we got this morning:

Hi. I'm Chandler. I'm 13 years old and I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I don't have any idea why I love the Ducks but I have since I was 6 years old. I have traveled down and watched a game and I saw one in L.A. too. I am a huge Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan fan. All I want to say is thank you. Thank you for being examples to me to try hard and do my best in life. Not just in hockey but in school and other things as well. Thank You!

No. Thank you, Chandler.

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.07.2012 / 12:00 PM
It was one year ago today that a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the Kontinental Hockey League crashed in Russia as it was taking off for the season-opening game in Minsk. Forty-four people died in the crash, including former Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei, whose life was recently honored with this incredible sand animation tribute prior to the inaugural Ruslan Salei Memorial Tournament in Minsk. Scott Burnside of ESPN.com has a touching story about the Salei family trying to live on a year later.

Here is the blog post I wrote that tragic day one year ago:


Ruslan Salei 1974-2011
The horrific news hit most of us as we woke up this morning: A charter plane carrying members of the Kontinental Hockey League club Lokomotiv crashed shortly after takeoff near the city of Yaroslavl in Central Russia. Among the at least 43 people who died in the crash were several former NHLers, including coach Brad McCrimmon, Pavol Demitra, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek, Karel Rachunek, Jan Marek and Alexander Vasyunov. For Ducks fans, the crash hit even closer to home as it was later determined that former defenseman Ruslan Salei was among the victims. Salei was 36 years old and left behind a wife, Bethann, and three kids.

Salei, known by many as “Rusty,” was an icon in Ducks (or rather Mighty Ducks) history, having been drafted ninth overall by the organization in 1996 and playing the next 10 years in Anaheim. He still ranks fourth in team history (and first among defensemen) in games played with 594, trailing only Teemu Selanne , Steve Rucchin and Paul Kariya. Known more as a shutdown defenseman than a goal-scorer, Salei still scored one of the biggest goals in Ducks history, an overtime game-winner in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against New Jersey on May 31, 2003. It was a goal that put Anaheim back in a series they had trailed 2-games-to-none, and Salei and the rest of the Mighty Ducks ultimately fell in seven games.

Here’s video of that memorable goal:



Unlike some of the players on that team, Salei didn’t get the chance to relive the glory of the Stanley Cup Final, as he left Anaheim as a free agent for Florida following a 2005-06 campaign in which he helped the Ducks make an improbable run to the conference final. Salei scored three goals in that postseason and on the defensive end was a major reason Anaheim upset Calgary and swept Colorado that year before losing to Edmonton in five games.

Salei spent close to two seasons with the Panthers before being traded to Colorado at the trade deadline in 2008. He spent two more seasons with the Avs, and last season reunited with former Mighty Ducks coach Mike Babcock in Detroit, where he had two goals and eight assists in 75 games. After playing 917 NHL games in 14 seasons, plus 62 postseason games, he signed with Lokomotiv in July. All the while, Salei's family kept a house in Orange County, a place the Russian-born Salei felt at home after a near-decade in Anaheim.

Ducks fans’ appreciation of Salei’s time here was never more evident than the first time he came back to Anaheim (with Colorado). After a video tribute to Salei during a timeout in that game, Ducks fans gave him a standing ovation as he acknowledged them from the bench. (Some fans have built a makeshift shrine around the Duck statue outside of Honda Center this afternoon.)

More important than the key goals, rocketed slapshots (he’s still seventh in franchise history in shots on goal) or jarring body checks, Salei was remembered for something more significant – as a great teammate.

Teemu Selanne played with Salei during the 2005-06 season, as well as during Teemu’s first stint in Anaheim, from 1996 through 2001. Selanne was noticeably emotional when talking about Salei following an informal skate at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE.

“He was a really good friend of mine and we always kept in touch,” Selanne said, struggling to find the words. “We played cards together a lot and had a lot of dinners together. I was so sad to hear about this and I still can’t believe it. When I heard the team went down in a plane crash, I was hoping he was hurt or something and wasn’t on the plane. What a sad, sad story. This is a dark day for everyone. He was such a great guy, a real team guy, always chirping. The kind of guy you really want in your dressing room. He played hard and he … just an overall great guy.

Teemu said he heard the news from his wife when he woke up this morning. “She told me there was a plane down in Russia and a hockey team was on it. I was almost scared to go on the internet and see which team it was, because I knew there was going to be a lot of people I knew very well. I played with [Karlis] Skrastins and I knew [Pavol] Demitra very well. I don’t even have all the names yet, but those are the ones I heard right away. It’s so sad.”

Todd Marchant, who was a teammate of Salei’s on that 2005-06 team, also spoke about his memories of Rusty. “He was great He was the type of guy that when he came into the room, he could lighten it up with a joke or just the way he talked. His personality was infectious. He just had this way about him. He didn't back down from anybody. He was always a guy who would stand up and hold people accountable. He was in charge of the card games on the planes. He was a great teammate and certainly a great friend. It's just a tragedy that his life had to end so soon.

“My nickname on the team was ‘T-Bone’ and he used to call me ‘Ribeye.' For whatever reason, he always called me ‘Ribeye.’ We got along great. We would always go out to dinner. He always was the type of guy who wanted to be around the team and his teammates. He and I actually kept in contact periodically after he left the team when he was in Florida, Colorado and last year in Detroit. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his family, his wife and his three children.”

Francois Beauchemin, who was a fellow blueliner with Salei in 2005-06: “He was a great guy and we had a lot of fun together. I remember plane rides after games, playing cards, having fun and hanging out. It’s so sad. I heard it this morning after I got up. You turn the computer on and it’s the first thing you see. You think of his wife and their three kids. It’s just a sad day.

"Rusty would joke around, be sarcastic. Everybody loved him and it’s a sad moment for everybody.”

I had a few interactions with Rusty that season, but the one that stands out is the time he jokingly complained that the kids in his neighborhood were always knocking on his door, yelling, "Hey, Salei!" and asking him to play street hockey with them. He, of course, always obliged, conjuring an image that always made me laugh -- a 6-foot, 220-pound NHL defenseman knocking the puck around in the street with a bunch of 10-year-olds.

Salei was just one of the many who died in the crash, the latest tragedy in what has been a dreadful summer for the game of hockey, one in which we’ve already seen the shocking deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. Now this, the tragedy of losing an entire team to a plane crash, leaves us at a loss for words.

Said Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, "This is the darkest day in the history of our sport. This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from 10 nations. This is a terrible tragedy for the global ice hockey community."

Everyone on that flight will be remembered, but for the Ducks community, the loss of a longtime favorite is overwhelming.

“He was too young to go. They all were,” Selanne said. "He was a father of three kids and … it’s just so sad.”


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POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.05.2012 / 12:01 PM
Jonas Hiller, who has sported an assortment of intriguing masks during his tenure with the Ducks, has struck again with a new one for this upcoming season. The PadsTracker website has revealed the new mask, designed again by the Switzerland-based company Airxess. Writes The Goalie Guild:

When it comes to the authentic artwork created by Switzerland’s Airxess for Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller, there’s no denying that their ideas, designs, and themes are as fresh as they come. Creating a new identity for one of the world’s finest puck-stoppers may seem like a tedious task, but when you pair him up with one of the most creative mask artists in the world, ideas flow continuously.

Since 2008, thanks to our great friendship with Airxess owner Alec Voggel, we’ve been so very fortunate to witness and promote this continuous flow of Hiller’s new ideas and identities. From the early days with his first Tornado masks, to last season’s ultra-popular “Murdered-Out” black matted and special “Movember” masks, Hiller and Airxess never fail to prove that they’re one step ahead of the goalie mask design curve.

(I don't recall the black matted one, which I happened to really like, referred to as "Murdered-Out," but we'll go with it.)

According to Voggel: “Hiller wanted to represent the Honda Center and the California surfer’s lifestyle, and on the back, his Poseidon has returned! It wasn’t on his last mask, but now it is coming out from his number-one on the backplate in a very detailed way,” Alec explained. “Of course, the black is flat for all of the fans who wanted to see Hiller wearing a flat black mask again!”

Hiller posted on his Facebook page: picked up my new Mask for 2012/13 season yesterday. Looks pretty siiiiiiiiiick!!!!!!

Here are a few looks at the new mask, and the rest can be found here.





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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 12:24 PM
Bruce Boudreau talked a bit this week with FoxSportsWest.com's Jon Rosen on a number of topics regarding the upcoming season. Rosen pointed out that Boudreau's teams have averaged 106.7 points per 82 games the last five seasons, a pace bested by only San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan (107.8) and Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma (107.4) among current NHL coaches.

A few snippets from Boudreau:

On the battles at the forward positions in training camp
"I did get the sense that there's going to be a lot of people pushing for jobs. You throw in [Kyle] Palmieri and Peter Holland into that mix, and even guys like Patrick Maroon . . . those guys all had really good years. [Brandon] McMillan in Syracuse. There are guys that are going to be pushing other guys for a job. Competition makes players play better. I think with our depth and the minor leagues from last year, I think it'll be a real bonus, and it'll show well in camp this year. I was just putting down lines for camp, and we're pretty deep on all the training camp teams.

On young players stepping up and contributing
"I think that's what you want through the organization, leadership, that the young guys coming up are going to be seeing that the other guys not only got a chance to play, or we gave them a chance to play, but that they're pushing to stay here. That they'll know that there's opportunities for them. When you give them the carrot, usually they respond to that pretty well."

On the defense
"We're bigger and stronger back there, and Toni Lydman should be healthy this year. He wasn't healthy at all last year. So I think that's a big plus. And Cam Fowler is another year older and another year with experience under his belt. I just think with the addition of Souray and Allen, we're a bigger, stronger team. The elite teams – most every NHL team now – their forwards are getting bigger and bigger, and you need some of those big, strong guys to be able to move them in front of the net. I think we'll have that capability this year, more than we did in the past."

Check out the rest of the story here

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 08.14.2012 / 11:41 AM

There are countless special moments that make this job fun, but the best ones are those that come when you least expect it.

I'll admit that coming into these London Olympics, women's water polo was not among the sports I was expecting to ardently follow. But here I was last night, joining a group of about 50 people (which included a giant duck) at John Wayne Airport to welcome home gold medal-winning water polo player Courtney Mathewson.

Here's how it all came about:

A couple of weeks ago, we got word from a fan on Twitter that during the NBC telecast of the USA-Spain game on August 1, play-by-play announcer Doc Emrick (who happens to be a legendary hockey announcer) reported that Team USA attacker Courtney Mathewson was a huge Ducks fan who was sporting the team's gear around the Olympic Village. We learned Courtney goes to several games a year with her husband Chris Morinello and his family, who have been season ticket holders since '93.

We attempted to get ahold of Mathewson through her Twitter account (I also messaged Chris on Facebook) to see if we might get a ahold of a picture. Not long afterward, she emailed me this photo, which could hardly have been more perfect.



We posted the photo on Facebook and Twitter, which got a great reaction from Ducks fans. Needless to say, we followed the progress of Courtney and the U.S. team, all the way through their triumph over Spain in the championship game last week, as they captured the first women's water polo gold medal in U.S. history.

Over the weekend, Chris messaged me to let me know they were planning a homecoming for Courtney at John Wayne Airport on Monday night and asked (half-jokingly) if Wild Wing could be there. Of course, we jumped at the chance, and we got Wild Wing to join the large group of friends and family (not to mention more than a few curious onlookers) for the surprise homecoming. The group could hardly have been more enthusiastic, making signs for the occasion, including the letters C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y, and chanting "USA! USA!" as she came down the escalator to our waiting area.

The look on a tired Courtney's face (she had endured 14 hours of flying from London to Chicago to OC) was priceless, especially when she saw Wild Wing, who presented her with the Ducks jersey with MATHEWSON and her number 7 on the back.

Below is one of the great photos we got of the moment, and click here to see the rest.



Meanwhile, later last night I got this tweet from a gold medalist that pretty much made my summer: 


Finally, we got the whole scene on video, which you can watch below. We left out the part in which Courtney reveals that one of the first things she can't wait to do after getting home is eat at Chipotle.

Thank you, once again, to Courtney for being so gracious and representing Ducks fans in one of the cooler ways imaginable. Can't wait to see her again, this time wearing that jersey at Honda Center.


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SCHEDULE

HOME
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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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