Newcomer Winnik an Early Fan Favorite

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 3:55 PM / 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 - 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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