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Q&A: New Ducks Center David Steckel

Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 6:43 PM / News
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Q&A: New Ducks Center David Steckel
"You know you’re going to a superior team right now and it’s going to be fun. Winning is always fun. I did have a grin from ear to ear. So far these last few days have been great. These guys have been great to me. It’s a tight-knit group and I’m glad to be a part of it."
By Adam Brady
AnaheimDucks.com

For a team that has the second-best record in the NHL and has lost just three games in regulation all season, flaws aren’t easy to find. But Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray saw a glaring need for his Anaheim Ducks, and addressed it over the weekend. Anaheim has ranked in the bottom third in the league in faceoff percentage for most of the season, so Murray went out and got one of the best faceoff guys in the game in David Steckel.

To get the 6-6, 215-pound Steckel from Toronto, the Ducks gave up prospect Ryan Lasch and a seventh-round pick in 2014, and already the deal is looking like a great one for Anaheim. Steckel, as expected, has made his presence felt in the faceoff circle, the penalty kill and elsewhere in his first two games with the Ducks, notably in Monday night’s 5-3 win over San Jose. Steckel had an assist and was a plus-2 in the game, and won a staggering 17 out of 23 faceoffs. It’s no surprise for a guy who has been in the top seven in faceoff win percentage in each of his first five full seasons and led the league in that category in 2010-11.

The newly turned 31-year-old Steckel took some time after his first practice in Anaheim to talk about how thrilled he is to be a Duck.

How did the trade go down for you?
I actually found out about it at 12:30 in the afternoon, right when we were at practice. I got pulled off just as we had finished. They just pulled me in and told me. When I found out where it was, I was pretty excited.

It was actually my birthday, so that was a good present. I had a 7:00 flight from Toronto and met the guys in St. Louis. I was on the ice with the guys that next morning and played that night in St. Louis.

What was your reaction?
I’ve been traded twice now, and the first time it was a complete shock. That was new to me. The second time, it lessened the blow, and this time around it was that much easier to handle. It’s part of the business and you have to adapt. More than anything, it’s stressful for my wife and [22-month-old] daughter, who will move out here after our next road trip. But for me, it’s a great thing career-wise. It couldn’t have worked out better.

You know you’re going to a superior team right now and it’s going to be fun. Winning is always fun. I did have a grin from ear to ear, and obviously I’m a little more at ease because I have played under Bruce and Woody [assistant coach Bob Woods]. So far these last few days have been great. These guys have been great to me. It’s a tight-knit group and I’m glad to be a part of it.

In the time you’ve been with the Ducks, what have you noticed is the difference between this team and the Leafs?
I think the most noticeable difference is in Toronto we were really young and here there is a lot more experience. It helps you not only in the locker room, but on the ice. Guys have that experience and they know when to calm down, whereas in Toronto it was a little more on edge because guys were younger and they’re gripping the sticks a little more. In that regard, it’s definitely different.

Looking back on your career, you were actually drafted in the first round by the Kings, but never ended up playing for them.
Yeah, I played four years at Ohio State and my rookie pro season ended up being during the lockout in ’04-’05. I signed an AHL deal because nobody knew what was going to happen with the lockout. I played a year in “Manch” [the Kings affiliate in Manchester, NH] and became an unrestricted free agent. I signed with Washington, went up and down between Washington and Hersey, where I played for Bruce and won a [Calder] Cup. Then I got a full-time gig with Washington and played for Bruce there.

What can you say about playing for Bruce?
He’s been probably the best coach that I’ve had in this game. It’s not just because he goes to bat for you, but he’s taught me a lot over the years, not only on the ice but off the ice as well. If there is one thing I’ve learned about him, he’s very attentive to details. He expects the best of you. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work, but at the same time he’s going to have as much fun as the guys do. Most of all, he likes to win.

When I got traded, I got a text saying, “Oh, you’re going back to the guy who says the f-word all the time in the HBO thing.” I think he gets a bad rap for that, but that’s what he’s known for.

What has the reception been like here?

It’s been fantastic. Right now I’m at the hotel down the street with some of the younger guys, “BMac,” “Holly” and Emerson [Brandon McMillan, Peter Holland and Emerson Etem]. They’ve been fantastic. You try not to be the new kid for too long, and so far so good. It’s been awesome.

Bottom line is we’ve still got half the season left and we still have to win games. We want to prepare to do something special.

You’ve carved a niche as a great faceoff guy. What makes you so good?
It’s the little things like knowing when to “cheat” and when not to. It’s knowing your opponent. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the league for a little bit here, so I know a lot of the guys who take draws. For me personally, if I want to play and get ice time, I need to win faceoffs. That’s part of my game. It helps out on the PK when you can win a draw and kill 20 seconds just on that alone. So, I take pride in it and it’s something I happen to be relatively good at. Hopefully I can keep it going.

What are your first impressions of Orange County compared to Toronto so far?
I don’t have to wear a Canada Goose jacket everywhere I go. I had the option to wear shorts the other day, and I did take it, so that’s nice. Obviously the weather is great. Not having the snow and the sleet and the slush it’s nice. It gets old after awhile. Growing up I lived in the cold in Wisconsin for pretty much all of my childhood. So I’m used to it, but at the same time, it’s nice to get away from it.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 47 15 35 13 50
C. Perry 33 19 12 16 31
R. Kesler 48 13 18 -1 31
S. Vatanen 48 10 20 5 30
M. Beleskey 47 18 7 13 25
C. Fowler 47 5 18 4 23
P. Maroon 40 5 18 2 23
H. Lindholm 47 5 15 14 20
J. Silfverberg 48 6 12 2 18
K. Palmieri 24 10 5 1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 27 6 5 .919 2.24
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28

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