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Newcomer Winnik an Early Fan Favorite

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:55 PM PT / News
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Newcomer Winnik an Early Fan Favorite
"It is weird [being a fan favorite], not having played a game in Anaheim yet. But four goals in two games, I guess that’s somewhat to be expected."
By Adam Brady
AnaheimDucks.com


He’s still more than 24 hours away from his first home game in a Ducks uniform, but 27-year-old forward Dan Winnik is already a fan favorite. That will happen when you score two goals in each of the team’s first two games, helping Anaheim to a 2-0 record to start the campaign.

Winnik, who signed with the Ducks as a free agent last summer after splitting last season between Colorado and San Jose, was thrust into a third-line role with Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano right out of camp. And it’s quickly paid off, as the unit combined for 14 points in those first two games, while also playing solidly in their own end.

It was back in camp that coach Bruce Boudreau showed faith in Winnik, saying, “I know he’s a good defensive player. If you look at him, just statistically, you wouldn’t think that he’s got a lot of goals. But he had a lot of chances last year.

“I talked to a few people. He was either snake bitten or hit posts of whatever. It didn’t go in. He’s a guy that is going to be pretty dependable. And I think I can put him in most situations.”

The 6-2, 201-pound Winnik has earned that faith so far, and talked about his hot start following a practice leading up to Friday’s home opener against Vancouver.

Is it weird to be a fan favorite already?

It is weird, not having played a game in Anaheim yet. But four goals in two games, I guess that’s somewhat to be expected.

Have any of the guys reacted to you being an unlikely team leader in goals?
Yeah, we’ve chuckled about it. It hasn’t been as bad as people might imagine though.

You were actually leading the NHL in goals after the Calgary game.
Yeah, after that game someone asked me what it meant to be tied with [Marian] Hossa for the league lead. [Laughs] The goal-scorers are gonna score goals. They’re gonna lead the league. Our third line has obviously scored more than what’s expected. But we’re there to do our job, play well defensively and do our job offensively, have good shifts in the offensive zone and change some momentum. That’s what a third line has to do.

"In camp, even though it was only five days, we seemed to mesh well right away. We would have line meetings with Sak and Cogs, and...it was all about talking about where we would be on certain plays and you get used to it. It stays in your mindset, and you get used to playing with each other."
Why do you think the three of you have been able to jell so quickly?
In camp, even though it was only five days, we seemed to mesh well right away. We would have line meetings with Sak and Cogs, and I would talk about where I liked to be in the offensive zone, off rushes and everything like that. So, it was all about talking about where we would be on certain plays and you get used to it. It stays in your mindset, and you get used to playing with each other. I think that’s the reason we’ve been so successful so far.

You didn’t have a lot of time to get to know the guys before camp, did you?
I came to town late Wednesday night before the Sunday camp.  So, I skated with guys Thursday, Friday and Saturday before camp started. I knew Cogs from before, and I worked out with Devo in the summer in Toronto. But that was about it. I lived with Cam in Newport Beach for a little bit when I first got here, but now I’ve got my own place on the peninsula.

What was the appeal of coming to Anaheim when you were a free agent last summer?
Obviously the weather is a nice perk. But I always thought it was a good team, when you have guys like Teemu, Bobby, Getzy and Perry. They’re always solid, and Jonas has been a top goalie in this league. You can’t look at last year and say this team is on a downturn, because they were phenomenal under Bruce. That was one of the reasons for coming here, and I thought there were opportunities in the lineup to play. It’s always been a strong team, and they’ll bounce back.

Bruce said near the beginning of camp that he’d heard you were a guy who can score a lot of goals, but you’ve had some bad luck in that department. Is that accurate?
Yeah, I think so. Former teammates and I have a joke about that, the amount of posts I’ve hit, the unlucky breaks I’ve had. I’ve gone on some slides in past years, maybe gripping the stick a little too much. One of my focuses this summer was focusing on scoring when I had the chance, and not worry so much about getting back defensively. It’s important, but I think that’s been a problem in the past, focusing on that a little too much. Hopefully it keeps going.

You’re a veteran guy, but with the home opener tomorrow night, do you still get pumped for those kinds of games?
You always do. Even for the first game of the season on the road, everyone was jacked up for that game in Vancouver. We kind of pounced in it with Vancouver so amped up for that game. Sometimes you need to conserve some of that excitement for games like that. But we’re definitely ready to go.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

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