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By Adam Brady
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for the Ducks and Honda Center.
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POSTED ON Monday, 09.26.2011 / 12:52 PM

You wouldn't have thought it late Friday night -- after Anaheim was outshot 49 to 14 in a 5-1 defeat in San Jose -- but we ended up feeling pret-tay pret-tay good about our Ducks by the end of the weekend.

And here's why: Anaheim finally got its first win of the preseason (after an 0-3-0 start) the next night in Vancouver -- granted, against a Canucks team that was missing a lot of its big names. Whether it was Vancouver's A-team or B+ team, it didn't matter, because that game had one shining light that had to be encouraging to Ducks fans. Jonas Hiller, playing his first game since March 24 and just his third since February 2, saved all 21 shots he saw in two periods between the pipes.

“He’s been seeing the puck,” Randy Carlyle said to the CBC after the game. ”There’s been a lot made and there should be about his ailments that happened at the All-Star break last year. It really took him a long time to get back. What we did was just try to monitor it. He worked hard during the summer. He attended goaltending clinics in Switzerland, he was on the ice for over a month and a half there. He came back to Anaheim and he looked sharp and he has had no ill effects.”

Carlyle made it a point to ice a veteran-laden lineup, despite the fact Vancouver hadn't done the same. “We needed a win and we dressed a lineup accordingly,” he said. “We thought we hadn’t played very well in the three previous preseason games. We were doing some analysis of our younger kids. In reality, we were putting them probably in situations that they couldn’t have success at.”

Last night in LA, it was a reversal of that scenario, as the Ducks rested most of their low-numbered guys (if you will) and fielded a lineup of mostly youngsters. No RPG line, no Selanne, no Koivu, no Fowler, no Hiller, no Ellis. Among the notables were Luca Sbisa, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrew Cogliano, Jason Blake, Dan Sexton and Brandon McMillan.The Kings, meanwhile, had a group that strongly resembled their opening night lineup, including the likes of Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll and goalie Jonathan Quick.

So it was a recipe for a Kings victory, but the Ducks thoroughly outplayed them in their building, scoring three in the second period on the way to a 3-1 victory.

"The effort and the tenacity that we showed tonight was  a huge upgrade from where we've been the first three games of the year," said  Carlyle. "We were pretty good last night in Vancouver, but we couldn't really judge because we didn't play against the same quality of lineup we played tonight.

"You've got to give our guys credit. They went out and worked hard. It wasn't pretty but they did a lot of the little things it takes to win in the NHL."

Ironically, the guy who drew some of the most attention last night was one who was playing in his third straight game -- one Andrew Gordon -- who was all over the rink, scored his team-leading third goal of the preseason and continued to make a strong push to make this team out of camp.

"My game is simple, it's based on work ethic," said the 25-year-old Gordon, who played on a line with Cogliano and youngster Devante Smith-Pelly (also playing his third straight). "A lot of times, you play with a couple guys who work hard and you get rewarded. As a line we played well and you get opportunities offensively. They've been able to squeeze through for me."

Of playing three games in three nights (and four of the five so far), the likeable Gordon told Eric Stephens of the OC Register, "Minor leagues, my friend. Every weekend I play like that. Four years I've been doing this ..."

Indeed, Gordon (as mentioned in this space previously) has spent most of the last four seasons in Hershey, the AHL affiliate for the Capitals. If he's not careful, his minor league days may be over.

"I want to play every game," Gordon said. "I've played four of the five so far, and I'll play as hard as I possibly can. Every time you put your skates on here, it's an opportunity to impress, and that's what I'm trying to do."

Gordon's goal last night came with 39.9 seconds left in the second period, when he jumped on a puck in the slot and backhanded it just an eyelash inside the left post. Patrick Maroon jammed in a third goal just 11 seconds later, and behind 32 saves from Jeff Deslauriers, that was all the Ducks would need.

“Gordo, you know he can play all the situations and we’ve played him three in three nights,” Carlyle said. ”I think [Devante] Smith-Pelly was another guy, [it] was his third night. Those are great signs for young players. But, still, the step to the NHL is a big one.”

But the Ducks' faith in those two guys was reinforced this morning, when the Ducks cut seven more players from their training camp roster. The list of those being sent to Syracuse included fellow right wingers Dan Sexton and Kyle Palmieri (who had Anaheim's first goal last night).

Here is the updated training camp roster for the Ducks, who are down to 30 players and will have 24 on the active roster when they they leave for Europe this weekend. The Ducks didn't practice today, but will be back at it tomorrow in preparation for their preseason rematch with the Canucks on Wednesday night here at Honda Center.

POSTED ON Friday, 09.23.2011 / 1:55 PM

After opening the preseason with back-to-back rough defeats, the Ducks are looking to see what they can do on the road.

That starts tonight in San Jose, where the Ducks face the same Sharks team that used six unanswered goals to roll over the Ducks 6-1 on Wednesday night. Actually, the uniforms are the same, but it will likely be a decidedly different Sharks team than the one that came to Anaheim. That lineup had no Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, new Shark Martin Havlat, Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic or Antti Niemi, and at least some of those guys figure to be in the lineup tonight in what is San Jose's second affair of the preseason.

The Ducks, meanwhile, are traveling with a big group, some of which will suit up tonight and some who will see action tomorrow night in Vancouver. Among the guys on the ice in the primary group this morning were Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Cam Fowler, Francois Beauchemin, Andrew Gordon and Emerson Etem. Here's the entire list, with two of these guys getting scratched by gametime:

4     D     Cam Fowler
9     LW  Bobby Ryan
10   RW Corey Perry
15   C     Ryan Getzlaf
18   C     Mark Bell
23   D     Francois Beauchemin
25   D     Matt Smaby
34   D     Nate Guenin
40   D     Sean Zimmerman
41   RW  Andrew Gordon
45   RW  Brian McGrattan
46   D     Mathieu Carle
47   D     Bryan Rodney
49   C     Maxime Macenauer
57   C     Nicolas Deschamps
63   C     Nick Bonino
64   C     Brandon McMillan
65   RW  Emerson Etem
74   C     Peter Holland
77   RW  Devante Smith-Pelly
38   G    Dan Ellis
43   G    Jeff Deslauriers

Ellis and Delauriers figure to split time tonight, while Jonas Hiller is also on the trip but won't suit up. Randy Carlyle indicated yesterday that either Hiller or Ellis would see their first ice either tonight or tomorrow night. He skated with the second group this morning. Finnish prospect Iiro Tarkki is not on the trip.

That Vancouver game tomorrow night, by the way, will be televised on NHL Network. Tonight's game is radio available on only. The same goes for next Wednesday's Ducks-Canucks game at Honda Center.

Carlyle indicated the last couple of days that he wasn't pleased with what he saw in the opener against Phoenix and Wednesday night vs. San Jose. "I look at it as it was an opportunity missed for us to establish more tenacity, more of a lot of things in the games," Carlyle said. "We seemed to be on the receiving end and we were very scrambly in our puck-possession game. We didn't really establish a forecheck. Our hockey club has always been known as a strong forechecking team and we didn't do a very good job in the forecheck."

The Ducks did all of their workout off ice yesterday, in preparation for a weekend in which they play three games in three nights -- ending with Sunday evening in LA.

Said Carlyle, “Were we coasting in some situations after reviewing the last night’s (San Jose) game? Yes. And those are the mental things and the dog days of training camp that are on us that catch up with you. It’s not an excuse. It’s how we feel. We’ll address that to the players and tell them that’s unacceptable.”

The Ducks, by the way, trimmed their training camp yesterday by four, sending forwards Joseph Cramarossa and Rickard Rakell (their first draft pick last June) and goalies Igor Bobkov and John Gibson back to their junior teams. More cuts will be coming in the next few days, but for now the Ducks have 43 players remaining on the training camp roster: 25 forwards, 14 defensemen and four goalies.

POSTED ON Thursday, 09.22.2011 / 12:31 PM

It was sometime last in the third period last night -- when the San Jose Sharks were in the middle of a six-goal run on their way to a 6-1 victory at Honda Center -- when I reached for the Ducks Training Camp media guide. Looking for some solace during a game that came less than 24 hours after a 7-4 loss in the opener, I flipped to the pages containing the Ducks' preseason records over the years. And here's what I found:

- In 2006, the Ducks lost 5 of their 8 games in the preseason and nine months later were holding the Stanley Cup over their heads.
- In 2008, Anaheim went an impressive 6-1-1 in the preseason, and ended up 3-5-2 in October. (Of course, they ended up making the conference semifinals that spring.)
- Last season, the Ducks went 3-5-0 in September and finished fourth in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
- Also last season, the Boston Bruins lost four of their seven preseason games, while the Vancouver Canucks dropped five of eight. They played each other in the Stanley Cup Final, with Boston winning it all.

The lesson in all this? The preseason means something, but it only means so much. Mostly it's a chance for players to get their game legs going, for coaches to evaluate the hand they've been dealt and maybe try some different combinations. And for players on the fence of making the opening night roster, it's a chance to prove what they can do.

One such guy is 25-year-old Andrew Gordon, a speedy, diminutive winger (listed at 6-0) who can put the puck in the net -- and showed a bit of that last night. Gordon provided a spark for the Ducks on a night when sparks were at a minimum, scoring a goal late in the first period to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead that would prove to be short-lived. After a Matt Smaby shot from the high left wing deflected off a San Jose skate, it rolled to Gordon, who was able to scoop it past drawn-out goalie Thomas Greiss.

Despite that goal, Gordon was understandably critical of the team's performance. "We went about 15 minutes without a shot on net. We were having trouble breaking out of our zone right from the get-go. We have a lot of speed on this team and we weren't really using it because we were stuck in our own end so much. Scoring the first goal doesn't always mean that you're off to a good start. We have to have a better effort off the puck drop. That is one thing we have to take from this.

"We didn't sustain a whole lot. This time of the year is about work ethic. We have to work a little bit harder and prepare as if it's not an exhibition game

Randy Carlyle acknowledged Gordon's impact on the game by saying, "He was a player who showed the determination and fire that he's demonstrated right from the start of camp to impress some people."

And that's big for a guy looking to earn a spot with the big club, something Gordon had trouble doing in four years with the forward-heavy Washington Capitals organization. He played just 12 games with the Caps, instead spending most of his time with the AHL Hershey Bears, where he became immensely popular as the team won two Calder Cup championships. Part of the reason for Gordon's appeal there was his production, scoring 102 goals and 224 points in 267 career games -- including a 37-goal season in 2009-10 and a 28-goal campaign last year. Part of it was for his friendly, enthusiastic and bright demeanor, which has helped garner him 10,789 Twitter followers (with an ever-growing number of those being curious Ducks fans).

Last night after the game, Gordon tweeted, Thanks everyone for all the positivity! Not the way I wanted my 1st game in a #NHLDucks uniform to turn out, but the sun will be up tmrw.

I was able to catch up with Gordon after a mostly off-ice practice today at Honda Center to talk a little bit about that goal, his time in Hershey and his presence on Twitter. Click here for that conversation.

POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.21.2011 / 12:56 PM

You wouldn't think there would be a lot of good things to say when the score is 7-4 in favor of the team that's not yours. But there were definitely some positives about last night's sloppy preseason debut between the Ducks and Coyotes at Honda Center:

- The score doesn't count in the standings.
- Several Ducks looked impressive out there.
- Hockey is back.
- We're doing it all again tonight.

Of the veterans out there last night, it may have been Anaheim newcomer Andrew Cogliano who impressed the most. Cogliano, a natural center who came to the Ducks from Edmonton over the summer, played left wing last night on a line with Teemu Selanne and young center Peter Holland (more on him in a bit). The speedy Cogliano responded with a goal and an assist, the goal coming in the second period when he crashed the net following a Holland shot that handcuffed former Ducks goalie Curtis McElhinney. Not only that, but "Cogs" had a pretty good take on the game afterward.

"The first game was a little sloppy on both sides," he said. "It’s tough to get a good feel. When you put a bunch of guys who just came to training camp, guys are nervous and young guys don’t really know what to expect. You’re bound for some sloppy games. I think that is what it was. As camp and the exhibition games go on, things start to clean up."

Of playing the wing, he said, "Hopefully I get a chance to play there and we'll see. This was the first time I've played left wing for a whole game, for the most part. I thought I did pretty well. I adjusted, in a good way. As the games go on, I'll get more comfortable."

Said Randy Carlyle of last night's game, "It’s all part of the process. If you look at our lineup, we played a lot of kids. That is what it’s designed for. You give kids an opportunity to get a taste of what the NHL is about."

One of those kids was the 20-year-old Holland, a 2009 Ducks first rounder who was admitedly tickled to be playing on a line with Cogliano and a guy 21 years his senior. "Playing with the Finnish Flash and Cogliano out there, sometimes they were going one way and I was still catching up going the other way," Holland said with a laugh (by the way, love that he called him "the Finnish Flash"). "It was quite a treat to play with those guys. Even if I get sent down to Syracuse now, what an honor it is to play with Teemu Selanne. The guy is going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. He’s a boyhood idol.

(Check out the postgame video of Holland and others.)

Ducks fans had to like what they saw in Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri, who played on a line with Saku Koivu for most of the night. The highlight came less than a minute into the second, when Etem dashed to his left to elude Yotes defenseman Dave Schlemko before delivering a pass to Palmieri on the doorstep for the redirect goal.

Alas, the Ducks gave up three goals in the third to allow Phoenix to pull away with 2011 second round pick John Gibson (who saved 14 of 17) in net.

Tonight at Honda Center, the Ducks are back at it again against the Sharks, with an almost entirely different cast of characters. Etem and Holland are back in the list of 24 for tonight (though four will be scratched), and the household names expected to play include Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, George Parros, Jason Blake, Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Brookbank.

And if last season's preseason bloodbath between the Ducks and Sharks in San Jose is any indication (five fights in a two-minute span in the first period), having guys like Parros and JF Jacques out there could come in handy.

The goalies will be Finnish prospect Iiro Tarkki and Jeff Deslauriers, the offseason acquisition from Edmonton (expected to each play half a game, like Gibson and Igor Bobkov did last night).

#     Pos      Player
4     D          Cam Fowler
5     D          Luca Sbisa
9     LW       Bobby Ryan
10   RW      Corey Perry
15   C          Ryan Getzlaf
16   RW      George Parros
18   C         Mark Bell
19   LW      Jean-Francois Jacques
21   D         Sheldon Brookbank
23   D         Francois Beauchemin
25   D         Matt Smaby
33   LW      Jason Blake
40   D         Sean Zimmerman
41   RW      Andrew Gordon
45   RW      Brian McGrattan
57   C         Nicolas Deschamps
62   LW      Patrick Maroon
63   C         Nick Bonino
65   RW     Emerson Etem
73   D         Mat Clark
74   C         Peter Holland
78   C         Richard Schofield
31   G         Iiro Tarkki
43   G        Jeff Deslauriers

As was the case last night, players not appearing in tonight's game will be working at various spots around Honda Center. Here is the list for tonight (subject to change):

Team Store (6:00 – 7:00): Dan Ellis, Andrew Cogliano and Jonas Hiller
Fanzone Outside Section 214 (6:00-7:00): Matt Beleskey and Lubomir Visnovsky
Will Call (6:30 – 7:00): Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu 
Oggi’s Concession Stand at Section 203 (6:00 – 7:00): Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly, Dan Sexton and Brandon McMillan

And again, if you're not here, the radio broadcast will be available on the website (we're working on the issue for Mac users), and I will again be doing a live game log. We had some technical difficulties with the latter last night, but they appear to be solved by the league.

(Yes, it was the preseason for everybody last night.)

POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.20.2011 / 2:44 PM
It's been 151 days since we've seen Ducks hockey in this building, so preseason or not, the arrival of tonight's game with the Coyotes is a breath of fresh air.

Dan Sexton, who will be part of an intriguing lineup on the ice tonight, put it best this morning. "When you're just practicing and scrimmaging against each other, it's fun but it doesn't feel quite real until you get to play against another team and see what they have to offer. We're excited and this is when it gets to be more fun."

Fun indeed, and along with Sexton there are a number of fan-favorite Ducks in tonight's lineup, along with some newer guys that pique interest. There are household names like Teemu, Saku and Lubo. There are first-time Ducks like Andrew Cogliano, Mark Bell, J.F. Jacques and Bryan Rodney. There are the young guys with high numbers trying to nab roster spots like Kyle Palmieri, Nick Bonino, Emerson Etem Peter Holland and Devante Smith-Pelly.

Here's the full lineup:
7    C         Andrew Cogliano 
8    RW      Teemu Selanne
11    C         Saku Koivu
17    D         Lubomir Visnovsky
18    C         Mark Bell
19    LW      Jean-Francois Jacques
25    D         Matt Smaby
34    D         Nate Guenin
40    D         Sean Zimmerman
42    RW      Dan Sexton
47    D         Bryan Rodney
51    RW      Kyle Palmieri
58    D         Jake Newton
62    LW      Patrick Maroon
63    C         Nick Bonino
64    LW      Brandon McMillan
65    RW      Emerson Etem
67    RW      Rickard Rakell
73    D         Mat Clark
74    C         Peter Holland
77    RW      Devante Smith-Pelly
82    C         Joseph Cramarossa
36    G         John Gibson
72    G         Igor Bobkov

You'll notice the Ducks are going young between the pipes, with this year's second-round pick John Gibson and 2009 third-rounder Igor Bobkov getting the nods (they'll probably play a half-game each). Jonas Hiller is not in there tonight, and may or may not play tomorrow, but he had good things to say after getting some time in yesterday's scrimmage.
“You have better days and worse days no matter how you feel or whatever,” Hiller said. “I don’t worry too much about it. Sure, some days you just feel better than other days. At the end, overall, I’m feeling well out there. And that’s what counts … I’d like to play as soon as possible.

“Still not everything feels exactly the same, but I think it was also like that before,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going right now and I’m definitely looking forward to playing the first game.

"In the end I still have to play exhibition games, because the whole atmosphere, the whole thing, also mentally, is just different than when you play in practice. Sure, it's part of it -- we scrimmaged last week. We scrimmaged when I was skating back home. That kind of went well, but I still think that just being there and facing a different team, having fans in the stands, the whole atmosphere, it's just going to be another test. But I'm not too worried about it. I'm definitely looking forward for those first games."

Some of the Ducks not in the lineup tonight (and tomorrow night) will be working at various locations around Honda Center. Players not appearing in tonight’s game will be working at various locations at Honda Center tonight and tomorrow (players/times are subject to change):
- Team Store (main concourse) - Ryan Getzlaf & Bobby Ryan (6:00-6:30 p.m.) 
- Elevator operator (Southeast Concierge near section 204) –
George Parros (working elevator 6:00 to 6:15 then FanZone from 6:15 to 6:45).
- FanZone (section 214)
Sheldon Brookbank (6:00-7:00)
- Will Call Window (near section 201) – Francois Beauchemin & Jason Blake (6:00- 6:20) 
- Oggi’s Pizza (near section 203) – Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino (6:00-7:00)

If you're not here tonight, you can listen to the radio broadcast on this website, and/or follow my live game log (links will be provided around 7 Pacific).

Tonight is the start of a stretch of five preseason games in six nights for the Ducks, who play tomorrow here against San Jose, then go on a three-game roadie at SJ on Friday, Vancouver on Saturday and LA on Sunday.

It's a lot of hockey, but after 4 1/2 months without it, that's the way we like it.

POSTED ON Monday, 09.19.2011 / 3:39 PM
Photo by Adam Brady (which is why it's so bad).
As refreshing as it was to see the start of Ducks training camp over the weekend, as gratifying as it was to see those familiar faces back on the ice, there's only so much practice a fan can take. After awhile of watching guys skate through cones, take a knee near the glass while a coach draws out instructions, and take the occasional shot on net, there comes a point where we're wanting more.

So when the Ducks took the ice this morning for about an hour-long intrasquad scrimmage, it was like a breath of fresh air. These are games where the score hardly matters, though for the record the White team downed the Black by a lopsided 6-1, though Randy Carlyle said that had a lot to do with energy levels. "The white team showed they had more energy," Carlyle said. "The black team practiced before and then had to scrimmage. That was the difference in the game. Some people showed they have offensive instincts and skill sets. They did some of the things we asked them to do in teaching them the systems. I think it was very productive."

The likeable Andrew Gordon, an offseason free agent signee from Washington, scored two goals for the White, which you can see in this video here. Said Gordon, "I got lucky to be on the fortunate end of some bounces there. You want to show the coaching staff that you're able to execute the systems that you learned and apply what you did in practice the last couple of days. At the end of the day, it's a tuneup for a lot of guys to get ready for the exhbiition games."

Gordon is among the new guys getting some looks in this camp, but the offseason acquisition that drew the most attention in Anaheim was Andrew Cogliano, who scored the eventual game-winner early in the second half of the scrimmage (they played two 30-minute halves today). Cogliano, who could be either a center or winger in Anaheim, skated on a line with Saku Koivu and Kyle Palmieri for most of the scrimmage.

There were a few guys missing today, including Bobby Ryan, who took an extra day to rest his strained groin but will skate tomorrow, according to Carlyle. Defenseman Kurtis Foster, who came over from Edmonton in the offseason, missed the third straight day of camp and will is undergoing a procedure today to remove a piece wire from his thigh (not kidding). The wire was placed in his leg during a surgery that took place to repair a left leg fracture in March of 2008. The wire was causing inflammation/irritation, and will be removed. Meanwhile, Foster will miss 2-4 weeks. Also, Mathieu Carle, who took a scary spill into the wall yesterday, was held off the ice today when he reported he was not feeling good after riding the bike this morning.

For the guys who were out there, it was a good chance to see the hand the Ducks will be dealt in the coming days. "For us as coaches, it gives us a little bit different of a light on some players when you put them in a scrimmage situation," Carlyle said. "You can't really truly evaluate players, all of their abilites and senses, if you only practice. They have to have some form of game-like situation.

"Again, tomorrow night gives us another opportunity with an exhibitiion game to put some young players in with a mix of some older players. It's going to be a different level than the scrimmage was. That is always part of the test for young players."

Ah yes, that first preseason game tomorrow night, still hard to believe after these 4 1/2 months of non-hockeyness. The Ducks welcome the Phoenix Coyotes here tomorrow night, and we hope to have an idea of which players (out of the 47 in camp) will be in uniform tomorrow morning. We do know that the veterans who are scheduled to play are Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Lubomir Visnovsky.

Players not playing in Tuesday or Wednesday’s games will be working at various locations around Honda Center. Examples include working will call box office, Oggi’s Pizza, and the Ducks Team Store. Fans at the game should visit Guest Relations at Section 214 for more information, or check the Ducks twitter for updates.

POSTED ON Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:26 PM
The setting was different for the first day of training camp, but the sentiment was exactly the same:

Man, it was good to see the Ducks back on the ice again.

This year’s edition of camp was moved from its usual venue of The Rinks – Anaheim Ice to Honda Center, where more than 1,200 fans filled in a few sections of the lower level to watch the team go through a variety of drills. Unlike in past camps, the Ducks won’t scrimmage over the first two days, instead waiting until Monday morning to hold their first intrasquad games. (We have plans to stream that first scrimmage live on the website, so stay tuned for that.)

And after waiting through the always-long offseason to see anything resembling Ducks hockey, there were certainly some sights to see for the fans. Along with the usual crowd-rousers like Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and the like, there were a handful of Ducks whose mere presence on the ice was extra satisfying. Of course, there was Teemu Selanne, who announced his return for one more season a mere two days ago. There was Jonas Hiller, who is battling back from the vertigo symptoms that kept him out of most of the second half of last season. There was Lubomir Visnovsky, who was hindered by two bad shoulders in last year’s postseason. (Afterward, Randy Carlyle said that Visnovsky told him he was "100 percent healthy" after Lubo just recently got back from good friend Pavol Demitra's memorial.) There was Matt Beleskey and Toni Lydman, two guys who underwent offseason shoulder surgery and were taking part in the practice, but in the red “no contact” jerseys for the time being.

The Ducks went through the day with two waves of players, with Group A getting out there around 9 a.m. with notables like Getzlaf, Perry, Fowler, Luca Sbisa and Dan Ellis. They ultimately headed in to make way for Group B, which had Ryan, Selanne, Hiller, Visnovsky and George Parros, among others. Each of the bigger guys got a reaction from the crowd when they stepped on the ice (louder for Selanne and even louder for Hiller), with Parros earning some extra love when he gave fans a swinging fist pump as he skated from the bench area.

Among the more entertaining drills was one where players went through a one-on-one race where they skated through cones in their own end of the rink, then sprinted to center ice to pick up a puck at the red line. The skater who got their first got on a breakaway against a Ducks goalie. At one point, Getzlaf beat Perry to the puck by such a distance, he had a little fun by skating backwards as Perry chased him, before firing a shot.

Meanwhile, there were the youngsters like Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Kyle Palmieri and Andrew Gordon, each of whom will be looking to nab a spot in this camp over the next few days.

The Ducks will be at it again tomorrow morning at Honda Center, again open to the public.
POSTED ON Friday, 09.16.2011 / 5:39 PM
It was medical and photo day at Honda Center today, the unofficial first day of training camp, where all 47 Ducks in camp go through medical tests, arduous fitness tests, photo shoots, video head shots and time with the media. As I've said before, it's kind of like going through the excitement of the first day of school, but having three exams, a pop quiz and a term paper due.

"It's one of the worst days of the year, by far," Bobby Ryan said. "It's the day everybody dreads because you get poked and prodded by doctors and then you've got to go out and give everything you've got. It's actually one of the more important team-building days of the year because we get together for lunch and we move on and talk about it."

It's an odd mix of having your health and fitness examined in a number of ways (some of them quite grueling), then sitting down and taking headshots and posed portrait shots, and posing for video that will later be used for pregame intros at Honda Center.

One of the photo shoots involved Perry posing with the Hart Trophy and Rocket Richard Trophy that he won last season. Teemu Selanne joined Perry for a shoot with the Rocket Richard, since he also won it, in 1998-99 when he had 47 goals with the Mighty Ducks. Selanne was clearly pumped to see the trophy, looking for his name etched on its bottom half. He also handed his iPhone to Mike Bolt of the Hockey Hall of Fame -- the so-called "Keeper of the Cup" as well as trophies like these -- so he could shoot a few photos (like this one) of Teemu holding it.

You can see some of that in this this behind-the-scenes video taken throughout the day, part of our coverage of today that has also included some photos posted on our Twitter page,

Tomorrow, of course, the Ducks are on the ice for the first time as camp opens here at Honda Center at 9 a.m. (again, open to the public).

You may have noticed that we've made a bit of a change here in the way you're reading Ducks Blog. We're switching the format to more of a ... well ... traditional blog, rather than the three-mile-long web page we've incorporated since this blog was started back in the spring of 2007 (you may remember that time, Ducks fans).

This will make each blog post a bit easier to read and easier to link to if you're sending it to a friend (I highly recommend this, by the way). It's also going to require me to come up with a catchy headline for each blog post, which as you can see above, I'm already failing at.

Hopefully you like the new format, and you'll let me know either way by sending me an email.

POSTED ON Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 3:22 PM

It was the news we thought we'd be getting all summer, but when it finally came, it came as sweet relief:

Teemu Selanne is returning to the Ducks for one more season.

We've been through this before -- each of the last five years in fact -- but this time it was different. Before, it was whether Teemu wanted to play. This time, that never seemed in doubt. Instead, it was whether he could play. Any signs that Selanne was bothered by the same right knee that nearly cost him his career before the 2004-05 lockout were impossible to indicate by the way he flew up and down the ice like a 25-year-old. It's been hard to find a time when Teemu Selanne wasn't the fastest guy on the ice. So when he required surgery in early July to fix the knee again, we feared the worst, while at the same time hoping for the best. And Selanne admitted today that he felt the same way.

"The whole month of July it wasn’t looking good," he told reporters today via conference call. "After the surgery I couldn’t do much for a couple of weeks. It was so much work to strengthen the muscles again and get support around the knee. There were a lot of days where I felt, 'I don’t know if it’s going to work anymore.' But it got better every day, and I’ve done a lot of work to get the muscles around the knee strong. The hard work has paid off and now I’m very excited about it."

Both Selanne and Bob Murray revealed that they didn't even start having contract talks until a couple of days ago, with Teemu wanting to wait until he felt confident in his health before talking numbers. "I wanted to make sure when I started skating in early August that I was making progress every day and the knee was getting better," he said. "I was very happy in the last month or so that I was skating with no pain. That was a good sign. I tried to use the 16th, the day when training camp starts, as the deadline for myself. I’m very happy that the knee has been holding up well and I’m very optimistic that it’s going to last."

And so one of the glaring question marks about the 2011-12 Anaheim Ducks has been erased. Whether 41-year-old Teemu can do what 40-year-old Teemu did (a ridiculous 80 points in 73 games) remains to be seen. If he did, would it really surprise any of us? But more than the goals and points, more than what he means to the power play, it's the stuff most of us don't see that means so much to the Ducks. Said Murray today, "It's Teemu in the dressing room. It's Teemu walking into the rink every morning. It just..." and then he trailed off. In other words, it's hard to find the words. It's just Teemu.

As he's always done, Selanne is saying this year will be his last. Of course, that's the part we're not focusing on yet, so happy are we to have him back for more. "I know I’ve said that the last five years," he said. "But you’ve got to stop somewhere, and I’ve always approached this whole thing by saying it’s my last year. I think that’s really worked well for me. Again, I look at this as my last year and hopefully it’s going to be a good one."

So once again we'll all hopefully be cherishing every moment of it, trying to burn every pretty goal, every blaze down the right wing, every last moment of late-game heroics into our already-crowded collection of Teemu Selanne memories.

Here's one thing I'll remember: As Teemu came in today to sign the contract, he was the picture of California cool and casual in flip-flops, plaid shorts and light blue t-shirt. On the front of the shirt was a cartoon drawing of a golfer, underneath which were the words: Life is good.

On this day especially, it certainly is.
POSTED ON Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 10:24 AM

It's been a busy week already here in Ducks land, and that's the way we like it. Because when it's busy, that can only mean one thing:

Ducks hockey is back.

Okay, it's not quite back yet, but we have the first day of training camp coming up Saturday (more on that in a bit) and so much else going on this week that signals the long-anticipated start of a new season.

Monday brought the third annual Get Your Ducks in a Roll event at RA Sushi in Tustin, at which Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and new Duck Andrew Cogliano were joined by fan Jeff Banner in a sushi-rolling competition. Each contestant worked with RA Sushi chefs, to create original sushi roll recipes that were sampled by the more than 200 people in attendance, and Cogliano got a nice "welcome to the Ducks" moment by winning top prize.

I was lucky enough to be on the judging panel for the competition, and chose Cogliano's Breakaway Roll by an nose over Getzlaf's Captain Crunch. (When interviewed by host Kent French about my choice, I uttered some cheesy line about how I like the name of Cogliano's roll because he was "breaking away" from Edmonton and starting fresh in Anaheim). Here's more on the event, along with some photos.

Tuesday was ... well not much, except for the Ducks employees co-ed company softball team losing its final game of the year to finished the season 0-9-1. (I wish I were kidding, although when people ask what our record was, I'll say, "Oh...nine and 1.")

Yesterday was the 17th annual Anaheim Ducks Golf Classic at Oak Creek GC in Irvine, and for the second year in a row, foursomes were allowed to "draft" the Ducks player/coach/broadcaster to join their group for the afternoon. I was a last-minute addition to the draft, and it showed when I was picked dead last and immediately dubbed "Mr. Irrelevant" (a takeoff on the honor given to the last NFL draftee every year). I could take solace in the fact that it was an unusual draft in which George Parros was taken first overall and Ducks broadcaster Brian Hayward was taken second. (Georgie even tweeted before the event, "Heading to the one place where I am a first round draft choice... The ducks golf tourney."

All I cared about was getting drafted ahead of Frenchie, and I failed in that goal, as he went just ahead of me with the 23rd pick (here's proof). Still, it was a great time at a great event, one that was won by Jason Blake's group. We'll have a photo gallery from the event later today.

Yesterday also brought the long-awaited release of the schedule for Ducks training camp, which will be moved from The Rinks - Anaheim ICE to Honda Center, but will remain open to the public. Doors will open at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday and there will be a concession stand open. The Ducks won't scrimmage, however, until Monday. Then we have the first preseason game (still hard to believe) on Tuesday against Phoenix at Honda Center.

There's still more to come this week before that first day of on-ice camp, including the players reporting tomorrow for physicals and photos tomorrow, during which we'll be providing video, photos and some other stuff on the website, Facebook and Twitter.

And as far as Teemu goes? We'll hopefully hear soon enough.  UPDATE: HE'S BACK




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


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
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48 is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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