'I Can't Wait to Start Winning Again'
Monday, 11.7.2011 / 11:45 AM PT
Having just watched them endure a treacherous seven-game, 13-day road trip with only one win and just five standings points, it's not easy to feel great about the Ducks right now. But there is only so much looking back you can do on a stretch where the Ducks lost 8 of the last 9, puntcuated by a disheartening 5-0 defeat in Detroit on Saturday night.
Instead, we can find solace in what's ahead for Anaheim, which has 11 of its next 13 games at home, the road games being relatively easy jaunts to LA and Phoenix.
And if that's not motivating enough, spend a few minutes with Teemu Selanne and things somehow get even brighter.
Selanne spent a good amount of time with a small gathering of reporters today, following the Ducks' first practice after that marathon expedition that ended with the Ducks having lost eight of their last nine. And as only Teemu can, he stayed upbeat while still remaining stern, at times laughing and smilling while also getting serious about what the Ducks need to do to turn things around.
And when he was done talking -- but not until each reporter had run out of questions -- it was easy to think this too shall pass, and see things a whole lot sunnier than we did in the wake of Saturday's disheartening 5-0 loss in Detroit.
"Obviously it’s tough to lose in this league, especially on the road, you have too much time to think about the bad things," Selanne said. "I always think before you have success, you have to go through some tough times together. I really believe this is one of those times. I can’t wait to start winning again, and turn this around and have fun again. We have an important home stretch coming up and it’s the time to take advantage of that and start really enjoying this game."
"I always think before you have success, you have to go through some tough times together. I really believe this is one of those times. I can’t wait to start winning again, and turn this around and have fun again. We have an important home stretch coming up and it’s the time to take advantage of that and start really enjoying this game." Teemu Selanne
Selanne maintained that so much of what is ailing the Ducks right now is between the ears.
"You know what, everything is about confidence," he said while turning to his more philosophical side. "I don’t care who you are or what you do. If your confidence level is not where it should be, it’s tough to do anything great. When you don’t play with confidence, it’s like you’re expecting something bad to happen. When they score one goal, our heads go down and the body language is like, Here we go again. We’ve got to change that. Right now we need a couple good games as a team, like really good games, to get the confidence going, and after that, it’s easy."
There is no better time than the present, with the Ducks staying home (or close to it) for such a prolonged stretch. And it's about time. The Ducks have played nine games on the road (including two in Europe) and just five at Honda Center. "We have this home stretch coming up and this is the time," Selanne said. "I’m really looking forward to playing well in this next month or so and really turning this ship around. I don't think we've gotten close to our best level yet."
Selanne said he took a look at the grease board in the players' lounge that shows the updated conference standings and felt good about where the Ducks were despite that brutal stretch.
"If you look at the standings, as bad as we’ve played, we’re still only two points out of a playoff spot," he said, and it's true. The Ducks' 13 points has then two back of the eighth spot, just three back of fifth. "Everything is in our own hands. It’s not like we’re behind the 8 ball. At the same time, it’s not like we can wait. Everybody in this room has to do the job as well as they can and not wait for anybody else to do it, whether you play 30 minutes or you play 2 minutes."
There is also this: Through 14 games, the Ducks have 13 points. Through 14 games last year, they had ... 13 points. That team finished fourth in the Western Conference. It's cliche to say it's a marathon, not a sprint. But you know what? It's a marathon, not a sprint.
"It’s good to remind yourself, as bad as it is, it’s not that bad yet. We can’t do anything about the games we lost, but there are a lot of things to do before Wednesday’s game. We just need to focus on that, win that and move on."
Just before wrapping up, Selanne revealed that at last night's somewhat late team Halloween party, he went as ... Batman. Seems about right.
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The Ducks were missing a few bodies in practice today, as Saku Koivu and Francois Beauchemin were both out with the flu, Nick Bonino rested that hyperextended knee and George Parros sat out after taking a deflected puck to the face again (this time in practice Friday in Detroit). Parros got hit with a puck that caromed off the crossbar in practice and did damage to the right side of his face. Right after it happened this time, he tweeted: Groundhog day today at practice...guess my left I got jealous of all the attention #thisisgettingold and posted this picture.
It was revealed this afternoon that Parros had laser surgery on his left eye today to correct a torn retina. He is expected to make a full recovery and return to game action in approximately four weeks.
Meanwhile, Randy Carlyle said that yesterday's rain here in Orange County may have affected his team coming off that trip. "Today was a flat day on emotions," he said. "A lot had to do with the rain yesterday. You come back off a long road trip and you're expecting sunshine. They probably laid around, watched football all day and spent the day with their families. Then, the rain comes and that might have put a damper on it."
Carlyle tried to lighten the mood by having the team play a little bit of ball hockey at the beginning of practice, then got much more stern when the pucks hit the ice. He could be overheard saying the Ducks were playing "summer hockey" out there, to which Selanne later responded, "I wouldn’t call it that because summer hockey’s fun. This is not fun. I love summer hockey. Maybe it looks like it, but it doesn’t feel like it.”
Like Selanne, Carlyle was able to paint a more positive picture of the Ducks' plight. "As poorly as we talk about the results of the trip, we lost an overtime game and two shootouts. If we would have won those, then we'd be feeling a lot better about ourselves today," he said. "That is the difference between what is deemed as a successful road trip versus not having one. It's one goal here and one goal there. Two shootouts and an overtime really turned the road trip into a negative for us.
"Everybody needs to feel good about themselves. We're not proud of what is happening on the ice. We want to change the way we are playing. The ownership of our record lies directly with the players and coaching staff ... What we stressed at the end of practice is, we recognize how we've played, where we're at, who is responsible and how can we change it. That is all about us. It's not about anybody else."