A fan known as tigerlilycoconut on Instagram took top honors, solely for her idea to (apparently) ask several Ducks to make their goofiest face before she snapped a shot. Some are better than others (in other words: well done, Jonas Hiller and Hampus Lindholm; what the heck, Nick Bonino?). Here is her collection:
Even before that debut, Ducks fans have been intrigued by Etem (partly because of his SoCal roots) since he was nabbed 29th overall by Anaheim in during the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles. (I remember being in Staples Center that night and high-fiving a co-worker next to me as soon as Ducks GM Bob Murray announced the pick with the words, “From Long Beach, California…”)
We already know a lot about Etem, but here’s a little more, courtesy of a chat I had with him following practice Wednesday afternoon, and just before he’d sign hundreds of autographs for season ticket holders at the annual Face-Off Fest event.
First off, who’s your Super Bowl pick?
I’m gonna go with the Ravens. I’m a Raiders fan, so I can’t cheer for a team right across the Bay.
How did you grow up a Raiders fan?
When they were in LA when I was a kid, I rooted for them. I know they haven’t been here for awhile, but I still root for them.
Last movie you saw?
Gangster Squad. Fantastic. Great acting.
What’s your pick for the Oscars?
I saw Zero Dark Thirty, which I assume is nominated. It was alright, kind of slow. What else is up for it?
Oh yeah, I saw that. That was good. I’ll pick that.
If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be?
Is Barack Obama a celebrity?
Well, he’s the president. He’s the leader of the world, so I could learn a lot from him.
So you’re going to have to win a Cup in the next four years. That’s one way to meet him.
Yeah, I guess so. I’ll take that for sure.
Your celebrity crush. Not Barack Obama, right?
[Laughs] No, no. Charlize Theron.
What music do you listen to?
Lots of reggae. Rebelution, SOJA, Iration. [Note: I had to Google the spelling of all three of those.]
Have you always listened to reggae?
Yeah, for sure. I started out with Sublime, since they’re from Long Beach. I was into ska and reggae from the start.
What’s something on your iPod that you’re embarrassed about?
I’m not a huge fan of country, and somehow I have that "Chicken Fried" song on there from way back.
You gave in and downloaded that one?
Yeah. [Laughs.] Now that you bring it up, I’ve got to get that one off there.
What’s a TV show you can’t live without?
I’m watching Workaholics right now. That’s my go-to right now. That’s really funny. They just started a new season.
Nick’s Burritos in Seal Beach, for sure. Mexican food is my favorite, so SuperMex, Taco Surf, places like that are my favorite.
Anything fancier than that?
Not really. That’s probably as fancy as it gets for me.
What’s something you refuse to eat?
I eat pretty much … actually, brussel sprouts I hate.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I’m terrible with lyrics, so…
Well, they’re written out for you on the TV screen.
Yeah, I know, but even still. [Laughs.] Actually, Smith-Pelly knows I struggle with lyrics too, so there’s this rapper named Chief Keef [again, I had to Google], and he put the lyrics on the screen for me in the hotel room the other day, and even as the song was going, I was reading the lyrics and still messing up. I’m terrible.
What superstitions do you have before a game?
I put all my equipment on from left to right. So, left skate before my right, shin pad, so on and so forth.
What’s the best thing about being a pro athlete?
It’s early on, but the treatment is good. Everyone is so nice and respectful. Everyone likes to have fun, and everyone likes to win. The travel is a lot easier. I’d much rather take the plane than ride the bus.
Did you have long bus rides in juniors?
Yeah, one was 33 hours, from Medicine Hat [in southeast Alberta] to Portland [Oregon]. That was a long one. We broke it up on the way there, but on the way back it was straight through. That was a rough one.
|“When the crowd is loud for something like this, that’s where the final energy comes from. I don’t think the fans even realize how big of an influence they can be for their own players."|
Incidentally, the Ducks are the last team in the NHL this year to have their home opener, and we’re pumped beyond belief – we know that. But how pumped are the players? They’re professionals, many of whom have played in their share of home openers. Heck, Teemu Selanne himself has played in 19 of them. How much do they get energized from the thunder of a sold-out crowd, the hoopla surrounding a night like this?
The answer? Plenty. And not surprisingly, Teemu gave the best take on it all. I'm gonna bold it because I liked the quote so much:
“When the crowd is loud for something like this, that’s where the final energy comes from. I don’t think the fans even realize how big of an influence they can be for their own players. I remember when Michael Jordan did something unbelievable in a game a long time ago and somebody asked, ‘How did you do that?’ and he said something like, ‘I don’t know where that came from. I wasn’t prepared to do that. But the energy I got from the fans in the building made me do it.’
“He said there is no way you could see half of those great plays in the game if there are no fans creating that atmosphere and bringing that ‘pump’ into your body. It’s absolutely huge.”
(As if you weren’t going to be loud enough tonight, that might push you even more.)
Here’s a few more Ducks on a night like tonight:
Devante Smith-Pelly: “Yeah, you can definitely tell when the crowd is into it. That always helps a little bit when they’re loud and cheering you on. You’ve just got to use that energy in a positive way. You can’t be running around trying to make a big hit or make a beautiful play to make the crowd loud. You’ve got to focus on playing your game, and the crowd will take care of itself.
“But especially after a lockout, the fans sticking by us during the whole process, of course we’re excited to finally get the chance to play in front of them.
Andrew Cogliano: “Any team would feed off of the crowd being into it and being loud. You just get more excited, you get more adrenaline. It creates an advantage. I’ve played in some pretty loud buildings, and this building when it’s going, it's really loud and really good. Hopefully tonight is one of those nights.
“It’s a different scenario with this season because people have been waiting for a long time. Obviously with people in Anaheim and this area, they love the team and we have a lot of fans. It’s exciting for them and exciting for us that we were able to go on the road and get a couple wins and feel good about ourselves, and now we’re able to come home and hopefully carry the momentum.”
Peter Holland, who is making his season debut tonight: “Obviously when the crowd is into it and they’re cheering for you and they’re excited for hockey, it definitely gets you going. That being said, you kind of need to calm yourself down almost. You don’t want to get too high or too low. Bruce talked this week about trying not to get too distracted. I think he said 17 of the 29 teams who have had their home openers have actually lost. He attributed it to guys being distracted, getting tickets for friends and family members, getting caught up in the whole hurrah of it all.”
Boudreau gave his team that 17-out-of-29 stat yesterday, and clearly Holland listened. I talked to Dan Winnik a little earlier in the week and he pointed out how in Vancouver’s home opener last Saturday, the Canucks came out a little too pumped up, and the Ducks pounced on their way to a 7-3 win.
As Boudreau told me this morning, it’s an exciting night, but it’s his job to make sure the guys don’t get carried away with it.
“I was a player for 17 years, so I know what it feels like. It’s exciting, but you want to try and keep everyone’s emotions on an even keel. They usually because they have so many things going on the day of the game, and we’re trying to eliminate that as much as we can, so they can focus.
“That being said, I think anytime you play at home, you’re excited, so I’m absolutely pumped up.”
I sat down with Luca after practice this afternoon at Honda Center, as he joined the other Ducks in signing hundreds of photos, pucks and other items for Ducks charity initiatives (see photo at right). Here’s our conversation:
AB: First off, who do you like to win the Super Bowl?
LS: [Blows air out of his mouth] I don’t even know. I’ll use the Swiss excuse that I was in Europe for awhile, so I haven’t really caught up. I would say … actually, the Ravens. They’re still in it, right?
Ravens or 49ers. That’s what’s gonna happen.
Those are the two teams that are in it.
Okay. That’s how much I know about it. Let’s go with the 49ers.
Last movie you saw.
Zero Dark Thirty. I thought it was good. It made it way better because it’s a true story. The last 30 or 40 minutes were good, even though I knew what would happen.
What’s the best movie you saw this year?
Lawless. It’s about the moonshining era. Shia Labeouf. Tom Hardy. I liked that one.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
There’s so many… [Thinks for awhile] … Adriana Lima.
Which celebrity would you most want to meet?
Because he’s a really good golfer. But I also want to ask him about a few things that went down [smiles].
What music are you listening to lately?
Temper Trap is one of my favorite bands.
Who? [Thinking he said “Temperature App,” which I assume is something you use on your phone to check the weather.]
Temper Trap. They have that song Sweet Disposition?
Oh yeah [Pretending I’ve heard that song before].
Yeah, I just like that alternative music, just hanging out at home.
What’s something on your iPod that you’re embarrassed to admit to?
I think I have a Britney Spears song on there.
Kyle Palmieri, signing at the table next to him, cuts in: “The new one?”
Yeah, probably that one.
Hit Me Baby (One More Time)?
Yeah, probably. I don’t know who put that on there, but … I have some Britney Spears I’m not proud of.
What's a must-watch TV show for you?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That’s a must-see.
I gave up on that after a few seasons. Should I get back into it?
You should. It gets better. Best show there is.
Favorite restaurant in Orange County?
Anaheim White House. Good food, good owner, they do good things in the community.
Uh, I just go on the same sites every day. TSN, NHL, anything sports.
What was the best part about living back home in Switzerland the past few months?
Just being able to see family and friends on a regular basis. I was playing two hours from my hometown, so I got to see my parents and buddies a lot. It was just good to be back home for a bit.
Where were you living exactly?
Lugano. Really nice, 20 minutes from Lake Como, 50 minutes from Milan. Pretty cool city, actually.
Isn’t Lake Como where George Clooney has a house?
[Without hesitating] Yeah, I hung out with him a couple times. A few espressos and stuff.
[Laughs ] No.
You may have remembered me mentioning a few days ago that Teemu got a look at the bobblehead doll of his likeness that's part of the Ducks Die Hards membership kit, and insisted it didn't look like him.
Here's some outtakes from the video they shot with him to promote the bobbleheads and the kit. (Please excuse my voice coming from behind the camera, trying to convince him it looks enough like him.)
Again, if you're in the bobblehead CLICK HERE and join the Die Hards today.
And in sports especially, change is frequent. Teams change players, change coaches, change strategies, change lineups. Hockey teams change line combinations, change defensive pairings, even change goalie pads.
So with that in mind, we’re making a change to what was once known as Ducks Blog, which has been on this website since the magical Ducks Stanley Cup run of 2007. We’re rebranding this space Ducks Off the Ice, and we think you’re going to like it.
Having talked to a number of Ducks fans, what they all want is a closer look inside the players’ personalities. They can see what they do on the ice; they want to know what the Ducks are like as people. They want a look “behind-the-scenes.”
And we’ll give you that through player chats, little tidbits from inside the locker room and the road, and whatever else comes to mind that gives you a closer look at the Ducks. You won’t see anything about penalty kills, defensive zone coverage or forechecks in this space. You’ll read about player likes/dislikes, what they watch and listen to, what goes on in their lives away from the rink. I’ll be more likely to ask Cam Fowler what he thinks will win the Oscar for Best Picture than what the key is to quarterbacking the power play.
For the on-ice stuff, I will continue to write stories and features elsewhere on the site, and you can still can still follow my live game logs during every home game as well as my Twitter (@adamjbrady).
So keep coming back to this space to see the latest about the Ducks away from the ice. And if you have any suggestions for good topics, fan input is always welcome. You can email me, communicate with me on Twitter or post a comment below.
I hope you’ll be as excited about this as I am.
He did this in one take, just so you know. Guy's a pro.
I tried to convince him that it did resemble him, but to no avail. He did relent a little bit and at least admit, "Well, the hair looks like me" and posed for this quick photo.
If you're interested in the bobblehead (and why wouldn't you be?) CLICK HERE and join the Die Hards today. Not to sound like salesman guy here, but the whole kit is only $45 (the bobblehead itself might be worth that).
Earlier this season, AT&T Uverse put together a show called American Hockey League, a behind-the-scenes look at the Norfolk Admirals in which they followed several of the players around for a few days.
You can see some of the more popular Ducks prospects like Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland and Brandon McMillan, both on the ice, around their apartments and ... elsewhere. For example, one highlight is a trip to the tanning salon with Holland, Mat Clark and rookie Hampus Lindholm, in which they make the pasty Swede get in the booth and convince the girl to turn it to a very dark shade.