Welcome, Matt

Rookie winger Matt Beleskey's NHL career got off to a frenzied start last week. Now that things have settled down, he hopes to be up here for a long time.

Tuesday, 01.13.2009 / 7:22 PM / Features
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Welcome, Matt
By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com

"It was definitely a first game that you'll never forget, that is for sure," Matt Beleskey said. "It was everything you would think it would be, having Ryan Getzlaf as your center. It's a pretty good feeling to be able to do that."
The good news was, he had no time to get nervous.

Matt Beleskey arrived at Honda Center for his NHL debut Jan. 9 against Tampa Bay with literally only a few minutes to spare before puck drop. After they learned Todd Marchant would not play in that night’s contest with a fractured pinkie, the Ducks made an afternoon phone call to their AHL affiliate in Iowa (a place Anaheim had already plucked away five players this season) to retrieve Beleskey. The 20-year-old had already returned home after a pre-game skate (the Chops were facing Manitoba that night) when he learned that the ice he would play on that night would be in a bigger venue approximately 1,678 miles away.

“It was amazing and pretty hectic,” Beleskey said. “I got the call and had an hour to get to the airport. Then to show up 10 minutes before the game, it was a little crazy.”

Once he quickly slipped on his gear in time to be on the bench for the national anthem, Beleskey went on to play 13:53 against the Lightning. The rookie left wing began the game on a line with Andrew Ebbett and Brendan Morrision, but as Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle tinkered with the combinations in search of scoring, Beleskey found himself beside All-Star Ryan Getzlaf and fellow one-time Chops teammate Drew Miller.

"It's been a lot of fun just trying to get out there, work hard and do the little things they ask from me," Beleskey said. "It's a little nerve-wrecking at times, but it's getting better."
That trio was on the ice when Chris Pronger scored a goal (after Steve Montador had done so 12 seconds earlier) to pull even with the Lightning in the second period. But while the Ducks would go on to lose that game 4-3, the day-long experience for Beleskey etched a memory he will always treasure.

“It was definitely a first game you’ll never forget, that is for sure,” Beleskey said. “It was everything you would think it would be, having Ryan Getzlaf as your center. It’s a pretty good feeling to be able to do that.”

Enjoying a more routine day this past Sunday for his second game against New Jersey, Beleskey said he was “actually a little more nervous” because he had time to think about the game. With Corey Perry returned from a four-game suspension, Beleskey saw time (9:48 overall) on the fourth line (also known as the “energy” line) beside Ryan Carter and George Parros and the Ducks held on for a 4-3 victory over the Devils.

“It’s been a lot of fun just trying to get out there, work hard and do the little things they ask from me,” said Beleskey, who was selected by Anaheim in the fourth round (112th overall pick) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  “It’s a little nerve-wrecking at times, but it’s getting better.”

Following four seasons with the Belleville Bulls (where he amassed 98 goals and 221 points) in the Ontario Hockey League, the 2008-09 season is Beleskey’s first as a professional. Prior to his promotion to the Ducks, Beleskey had totaled 15 points in 18 games with Iowa, leading the Chops in points per game (.83).

"I don't think any guys down in the American League envisioned them bringing up six guys like that," said Andrew Ebbett (left, with Beleskey at right). "It's been wild, but a great opportunity for everybody to get a chance to showcase their skills and hopefully prove that you can stay up here."
“Matt’s a young kid who is in his first year pro and is trying to make a statement,” Ebbett said. “He’s played great down in Iowa and works really hard. He’s got a good shot, a quick release and knows how to shoot the puck.”

Beleskey’s presence in the Ducks lineup brings the number of current players who started the year as Chops to six (Beleskey, Ebbett, Miller, Bobby Ryan, Brett Festerling and Brendan Mikkelson). As each tries to create their own impression on the Ducks and in the league, they are enjoying the luxury of being able to do it together.

“I don’t think any guys down in the American League envisioned them bringing up six guys like that,” Ebbett said. “It’s been wild, but a great opportunity for everybody to get a chance to showcase their skills and hopefully prove that you can stay up here.”

With Todd Marchant projected to be out of action for two weeks with an injured finger, Beleskey should see some action in a handful of games during that span. It’s a nice reward for what was a frenzied start.

“It’s a huge undertaking to grab a guy off an airplane, land him at 6:00 and have him in your lineup at 7:00,” Carlyle said. “I thought he has done fine. He shows that he has the skill set and the ability to skate and bang. He’s surviving.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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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