Adam Brady is the Director of Publications & New Media for the Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center. You can email him by CLICKING HERE.
Archived Editions of Ducks Blog
By Adam Brady
Updated Sept. 30 at 2:45 a.m. (London time)
Updated Sept. 30 at 1:55 a.m. (London time)
Well, that was certainly a lot better.
Thank goodness the Ducks got a convincing win tonight, since coming back from London 0-2 would have certainly left them with a taste of bitterness in their mouths to go with the fish and chips. Great to see Jonas Hiller play well and get his first NHL win in his first game. He seemed pretty pleased about it afterward in the locker room.
Here's a picture of him with a puck from his first NHL win. Thanks for putting a shirt on, dude.
During the conclusion of the game our entertainment staff (who took over tonight since it was our home game) put up a "Thank You, London" graphic on the video board and played the tune of "California" by Phantom Planet, the theme song from The OC. (Now try getting that song out of your head over the next few hours. Sorry about that.) I thought it sounded kind of nice.
After the game I met some Ducks staffers at a Sports Bar in the Piccadilly Circus region of London and we ate dinner while watching Sunday NFL games. That was certainly a weird experience. But trying to find the place left me with one thing I won't miss about London. I was with my father, who is here visiting, and we got off the train and asked five different people standing on the sidewalks how to find a street called Haymarket. No one had any idea. Then we finally found it ourselves.
It was a block away.
That kind of thing happened all the time here and I can't figure out why. The first night we were here, we were looking for a restaurant on Canary Wharf and asked a waitress who was cleaning up outside at another restaurant if she knew where it was. She didn't know. It was next door.
I'll never be able to figure that one out. But I'm happy to say that besides that, I've gotten pretty good at getting around London. Well, not pretty good, but certainly better. I now know how to take the Jubilee line on the Tube to the Green Park stop, then make a changeover and get off at Piccadilly Circus. It's too bad I'm leaving tomorrow.Speaking of that, I am not traveling with the team anymore (they left tonight), so it won't be the same Ducks Blog you've gotten used to over the last week. I'm actually taking a little side trip to Scotland starting tomorrow, so I'll do the best I can to have stuff on here for you.
We're soon going to post Ducks TV from tonight, which brings up another interesting thing about this trip. I was told earlier tonight that Kent French was recognized several different times by fans at The O2, and that the same thing happened all the time when he went to Finland and Scotland to do Ducks TV with the Cup in Teemu Selanne and Sammy Pahlsson's hometowns. He said it rarely ever happens in Orange County. Apparently, Ducks TV is the main way for Ducks fans outside the country to follow the team, so he's more recognizable over there. I thought that was interesting.
Okay, I'm going to pack for an early flight tomorrow morning. I'll be back on here when Ducks TV is ready to give you a link to that.
Updated Sept. 30 at 4:26 p.m. (London time)
My apologies for not giving you more this morning. I had an unexpected trip across town that took way longer than I thought it would. I won't get into it now.
Just a reminder that the game is shown only on Versus in the States, and even if you have the Center Ice package, you can only watch it on Versus. I know. Don't kill the messenger. Or write scathing emails to him.
Your other options are to keep up with the live game log I'll be providing again and/or listen live to the radio broadcast by clicking the link on the home page.
Be back with more in a bit.
Updated Sept. 30 at 1:46 p.m. (London time)
Well, that certainly wasn't the most fantastic start to the NHL season for the Ducks, was it? They just never seemed to get it together last night. I suppose a small highlight was Bobby Ryan's first goal. I honestly felt the crowd wasn't as loud as I thought it would be, but I suppose that could be blamed on the fact that it wasn't the greatest hockey game out there. Hand it to the Kings. They looked sharp and so did their 19-year-old goalie, Jonathan Bernier.
The delay at the beginning of the game was a disaster, obviously. The word I got from someone from the league was that the lights were supposed to be "shuttered" during portions of the pregame and instead they were turned off. So, they had to re-generate to start the game and that took awhile. I guess it doesn't matter why it happened. It certainly was embarrassing for the league.
In case you didn't see it in the game log, I thought it was a huge mistake to overly treat last night like a Kings home game, and I would have thought the same thing if it was a Ducks home game. To not introduce the Ducks when they first hit the ice for warmups was ridiculous. It doesn't matter whose home game it technically was, you're introducing the NHL to fans in London. They sort of made up for it when they announced the Ducks when they came back on the ice after the delay, but I think that was only because they were the first one's out there and they needed something to get the fans back into it.
Anyway, we do it all again tonight. The good news is, things can't get any worse tonight for the Ducks. Right?
There is a new Ducks TV up, and those guys did a nice job of getting around to the fans. My favorite is when one foreigner says of his country's hockey fans, "We are peaceful, loud and drunken." That's a good combination.
We've also posted some photos from the pregame last night, including some shots of the fans at The O2
Updated Sept. 29 at 5:01 p.m. (London time)
Okay, we're close to game time, so move over to the live game log.
Updated Sept. 29 at 4:54 p.m. (London time)
Both the Ducks and Kings headed into their respective dressing rooms. According to the warmups, looks like Bryzgalov is starting in goal.Just posted some pictures from the pregame.
Updated Sept. 29 at 4:33 p.m. (London time)
The Kings just hit the ice for warmups, introduced by their PA announcer with a "Ladies and Gentleman, the Los Angeles Kings!" He's working both games. Unfortunate.The Ducks came on right after them, not even introduced at all. Remember that this technically is a Kings home game, so the Ducks are treated like the road team even though it's a neutral site. But shouldn't they still be introduced to a crowd that mostly has never seen American ice hockey live? I think that's a huge mistake. Sorry, NHL.
Updated Sept. 29 at 4:29 p.m. (London time)The Ducks got to The O2 at around 3 p.m. today and will hit the ice soon for warmups. I made the rounds around the giant area near the front entrance, which is more like a shopping mall with all the shops and restaurants. Anyway, it was packed with jersey-wearing hockey fans, each of which seem to have this eager look on their face like a kid on Christmas morning just before opening their gifts.
I just realized what a lazy reporter I am when I climbed up to our makeshift press area and saw the upper end zone area I described before that was curtained off when we first got here. I couldn't tell from ice level, but it's this huge bar and dining area that overlooks the ice. Very cool-looking. I'm starting to really like this arena.
Fans are just now starting to find their seats. Looks like this thing might actually happen soon. Be ready to switch over to the live game log just before the puck drops.
Updated Sept. 29 at 12:47 p.m. (London time)
One of the great things about being a sports fan on the West Coast is that you can wake up on a Sunday morning and start watching NFL games at 10 a.m. All of you people in Southern California get the hockey version of that this morning and tomorrow morning, Ducks hockey at 9 a.m. with your paper and coffee.
You'll have a couple of other options today if you're out of the FSN Prime Ticket market or tomorrow if you don't get Versus, or even if you want another option to follow the game. I will be doing a live game log during the game on this website. There will be a link to it on the home page, and I'll throw a link up in this blog too. Also, like the entire regular season, you'll be able to listen live by clicking the link in the Next Game box on the home page. You can click that now and listen back to Steve Carroll and Brent Severyn's broadcast of Game 5 from last year's Final. As I'm typing this, it's the part where the crowd jumped in on the National Anthem and I just got chills. If you get a chance before the game starts this morning, fast forward to about the 2:28:30 mark. You won't regret it.
Updated Sept. 29 at 10:45 a.m. (London time)
I just stood in a walkway above the first level of seats and watched practice next to a couple of guys who work in the kitchens here. They had never seen ice hockey live before and they were fascinated by the speed of the game (and this was practice). One of them looked at the goalies and said, "They have these big pads and just that wee goal. It must be tough to score." It is indeed, but somehow they still do it more than in soccer/football.
One of them remarked about how big the Stanley Cup was, which he had seen a couple of days ago. I mentioned that it was actually made in England. "All the best things are made in England," one guy said.
At one point, the Ducks finished a drill and they all skated hard to the same spot. It actually startled one of the guys, who yelped, "Oh my God, f---!"
The guys also told me that a couple of weeks ago, they just ended a run where Prince played 24 nights in the arena. "And it was full every night," one of them said.
Updated Sept. 29 at 10:02 a.m. (London time)
We're coming to you live again from deep inside O2 Arena, which has very strange access from the outside. Every day we come here from our hotel, drive about five minutes and the arena suddenly appears as we turn a corner. Then we drive around for another eight minutes, seemingly in circles and see it again. Then we finally enter the arena. It's like driving from Newport Beach to Anaheim via Riverside. Yesterday I noticed we left the arena, drive around for about five minutes and then passed it again on the other side. I can't really explain it.
Anyway, we're here because the Ducks have a morning skate here in about an hour. As we arrived, the Kings were already on the ice, skating in front of their traveling party of fans. We're a little more than 7 hours away from the start of this thing and I can't wait.You'll notice on the home page that part 2 of Ducks TV in London has been posted, and it includes a tour of O2 Arena. Take a look when you get a chance. Speaking of that, some people have emailed me complaining that they can't view videos in our new video player. You have to make sure your computer is able to play Flash videos. Here's some information on that.
Last night a large group of Ducks staffers met for dinner at an Italian place tucked between two theatres in the Soho district. After dinner, a few of us wandered out to look for a pub or two. After walking about a block, we noticed a few unique people walking the streets. We were soon informed that we were in the "transvestite section" of London. You know you're in a major city when there is a "transvestite section". They don't have one of those in Irvine. Anyway, we walked a few more blocks.I went up to a bar at one pub and ordered a beer. A girl sitting at the bar asked me if I was American or Canadian. I've never been asked that before. I told her I was American but that I was traveling with a lot of Canadians. She left about two minutes later.
One last thing. The Ducks and Kings have a new promotion on each of our websites called Name the Rivalry Contest. The good people at Fox Sports want you to come up with a name for the Ducks-Kings rivalry. Then they will pick the best ones and you can vote on them on Oct. 14. The person whose name for the rivalry gets the most votes will win two tickets to the remaining six games between the two teams after London. I think "One-Sided" is a good name for the rivalry in recent years. Click here to submit your own name for it.
Alright, I'm getting some coffee.
Updated Sept. 28 at 2:32 p.m. (London time)
The Ducks had a busy afternoon, even after practice ended. Chris Pronger was named team captain and sat for the media for a bit. We have that story right here.
Then the Ducks attended a VIP reception held for the fans who came to London via the NHL Premiere package. That was held in one of several restaurants in the expansive main entrance area at O2 Arena. It's a part of the place that really doesn't make it feel like a sports/event arena. It's a huge, wide open section with restaurants and shops. And sprinkled throughout the area are these attractive helper girls, all of whom inexplicably wear angels wings on their backs. I can't believe we don't have a photo of that, but we don't. You'll get a better look at all of this when Ducks TV does a tour of the arena, which we'll post later tonight.
Anyway, here are photos from the afternoon.
Updated Sept. 28 at 10:16 a.m. (London time)
The Ducks are currently practicing in front of 200 fans that came over here as part of the NHL Premiere package and 40 members of the U.S. military who are based in London. The soldiers are sitting in an end zone area that I mentioned was curtained off a couple of days ago. It's a good thing they peeled back that curtain, because it revealed a nice-looking upper-level area defined by huge speakers that contribute to what I'm told is a fantastic sound system.
We'll have more later, which you SoCal people won't see until you wake up in a few hours.
For now, here are some pictures from Friday morning before practice.
Updated Sept. 28 at 8:47 a.m. (London time)
We're coming to you live from the bowels of O2 arena, where the Ducks hit the ice for practice in about an hour. I am continuing to get a flood of emails from England's finest saying their coming in for the game(s) this weekend and can't wait. It makes me A.) wish I never mentioned that the people here don't seem to know what's going on and B.) anxious to see these crowds this weekend. Should be pretty cool. Here's one of the emails waiting for me this morning, from a fan in Sittingbourne, Kent:
I live just outside London and am going to the game on Sunday at the 02 Arena and I fear I could be a jinx for the Kings.
I have attended three previous Kings regular season games and watched them concede a total of TWENTY-TWO goals! Seven v San Jose (at old Cow Palace); ten v Philadelphia (at the Forum) and five v the Bruins (in Boston).
On this basis I am predicting that the Ducks will score (the average) seven goals on Sunday!!!
I`m a UK Boston Bruins fan but will be rooting for the Ducks (especially with 2 ex-Bs on your roster). My UK team is the Invicta Dynamos from Gillingham, Kent.Moving on, I've posted a few pictures from our sightseeing tour of England yesterday, just so you can get an idea of the beauty of this city. If I didn't include captions, it's because I really don't know what the buildings were (although I'm sure someone will fill me in by email). By the way, I should mention one more time that Ducks team photographer Debora Robinson is responsible for all of these photos. She's done a fantastic job over here.
Updated Sept. 28 at 1:18 a.m. (London time)
You know one of the great things about staying in a nice hotel? When you come back to the room after a long day and you see that the chamber maid has taken your mess and organized it nicely for you. I came back yesterday to see all the junk I had dumped on the desk in this room had all been put in nice little piles. Today I noticed that all of my toiletries were carefully arranged, all facing the same way and lying on a washcloth. It gives me a warm feeling to think of this anonymous woman taking the time to put everything in its little place so that I'll be just a little happier. Makes me want to leave an anonymous tip.Incidentally, what's the deal with using a new towel every time you take a shower at a hotel? Why do we do that? You never do that at home. I'll go weeks without using a new towel at home. But there is something about a hotel that makes you feel like you're justified in using a brand new towel for every shower, even if the once-used towel is completely dry. (By the way, this is funnier if you read it in a Jerry Seinfeld voice.)
Speaking of tips (in the first paragraph), I still can't get used to tipping people with coins, even though I did it in Canada too during the playoffs last year. Since there are 1 and 2 pound coins here, you often tip a bartender or a bellman with them, and it always makes me feel cheap. Try tipping a guy with coins in the States. He'll look at you like you just stepped on his foot. Or he'll give you that look people always give at a ballgame when you want to walk past them down the aisle and they have to actually rise out of their seat.
One last hotel thing and I'll go to bed. Last night, to help me fall asleep, I turned on the TV (just a little quirk of mine) and for some reason, late in the night, this one channel was showing an episode of This Week in Baseball that was devoted entirely to the history of the Anaheim Angels (I'm not calling them that other name). Plus, it was completely commercial-free. Very strange. It was almost like they looked up where I was from and aired that just for me.
Alright, it's time for bed. Early practice for the Ducks tomorrow, and we'll have photos, a new episode of Ducks TV and I will write 500 words on why hotel mini bars are a shameful ripoff designed to take advantage of drunk people.Okay, only one of those things was true.
Updated Sept. 28 at 12:38 a.m. (London time)
By the way, I'm back in the room after regretably cutting off the night out in London. Unfortunately, my job took precedence tonight. I'll try to make it up to you.
Updated Sept. 27 at 7:26 p.m. (London time)
There were a few things I forgot to mention in that last post. First of all, it's interesting that in London, when you are about to cross the street, you see LOOK LEFT or LOOK RIGHT painted on the ground. That is there for the American tourists who often look the wrong way because they instinctively forget that cars drive on the other side of the road here.
Also, I'm not sure why, but I forgot to bring a decent jacket on this trip. I have a vague memory of grabbing one out of a closet, but somehow it didn't make the leap from there to my suitcase. But these things happen when you're an idiot. Thankfully, the weather was very pleasant this afternoon. Last night at the soccer game? Um, biting. My tears actually froze.
I had been warned about this, but things are very expensive here. You don't really notice it when you look at a menu and you see that a club sandwich is 8 pounds. But then when you realize that 8 pounds is like $16, it is a little jarring.
We walked through the theatre district at one point and saw theatres playing everything from Dirty Dancing to Lord of the Rings stage show. I had no idea these movies had been transformed into stage shows. I'd like to listen to the musical version of "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." I bet it's a catchy tune.
Alright, I'm out of here to grab a pint or two or room temperature beer. More later.
Updated Sept. 27 at 6:12 p.m. (London time)
The Ducks had a full day off today, which meant no practice, no nothing. About a dozen players headed over to Royal St. George's Golf Club, which has hosted the British Open 13 times, the first in 1894 (thank you, Google).
The day off also gave some of us the opportunity to sightsee, which was fantastic. Two Ducks staffers and I headed to the heart of London, where one of our first stops was St. Paul's Cathedral. I'm certainly not a religious man, but it was a spectacular sight. And we braved the 434-step climb to the very top through narrow passageways and spiral stairways to find the most spectacular view of London you could ever want to see.
A walk down Fleet Street included a quick peak into the Cheshire Cheese pub, which claims to have been build in 1667, and pretty much smells like it too. But it's the quaint kind of pub you yearn for in London, and I hope we go back there one of these nights.
One of our last stops on the marathon walk through the city was Buckingham Palace, which I heard is the home of the band Queen, but I could have misunderstood someone.
On our walk back from the Tube station to the hotel, I saw a sight I hadn't seen in all my time in London. There was a guy standing there in a road Mighty Ducks jersey. I think he was an autograph seeker, but probably a bad one. He was pretty far from the hotel entrance.
One last thing. I continue to get tons of emails from Brits and other Europeans about how excited they are about these games. I think I've heard from just about all of the fans who will be there this weekend. Should be a fun couple of games. By the way, the Kings just arrived into town today after winning the Red Bull Salute Invitational Tournament in Salzburg, Austria. They beat Farjestads BK in the final game, 4-3. Farjestads BK is apparently captained by Jörgen Jönsson, who played 13 games with the Ducks in 1999-2000 (thank you again, Google).
Anyway, that's about it for now. Not much to report on the day off. We'll get back to it for tomorrow's practice or if tonight's experience with London nightlife produces anything worthy of a few words.
Updated Sept. 27 at 3:25 a.m.
We've posted the pictures from the Ducks' day in London and at the Fulham game and they are pretty cool. Click here to check them out.
Updated Sept. 27 at 2:39 a.m.
Alright, let's get back to it. I have always believed that life is all about having good stories. This would certainly qualify for that.
The Ducks and assorted Ducks staffers decided to go to the Fulham-Bolton match, since if you're in London, you have to try and make it to a football match. The Ducks had arranged to do some kind of jersey exchange with Fulham after the game. So, about a dozen Ducks players and a half dozen staffers headed to the train station to make our way to the stadium.
Somehow, half the group got separated from the other half of the group, and the only guy who knew which trains to take was in the group separated from ours. So, our group that included three other staffers, two team doctors, the team photographer, radio analyst Brent Severyn, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer, Sean O'Donnell, Joe DiPenta tried to figure out which trains to take and where those trains actually were. Suffice to say, two 20-minute train rides and a 5-minute cab ride took us all of 2 1/2 hours. Most of that was spent looking at signs, standing in line for tickets and looking at each other and wondering if this was all worth it. Not to mention, it was about 45 degrees outside.
Finally, we arrive at our last stop and find out that it's too long a walk to the stadium, that we have to split into cabs. A few of the guys considered bagging the whole thing, but we stayed with it, using the "we've come this far..." methodology like we're Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings.
We asked a local guy for directions and he gave them to us, but not without asking "why the bloody hell" we would want to go to a Fulham game. We didn't have an answer for him. He also advised us not to eat the stadium food, "unless you want to get sick."
We finally break into cabs, the Ducks in the first one, and finally get near the stadium and find out the roads around it are closed and we have to walk the last five minutes. We arrived at the stadium and the Ducks players had already found their way in with the help of the guy in the group that separated from us in the beginning. He gives us our tickets and then we can't find a door to actually enter the stadium. We even knocked on one. How often do you have to knock to enter a sports arena during a game?
We eventually get into the stadium just before halftime and watch what turned out to be a fun game. The stadium was only about half full, but you won't find a more passionate group than soccer/football fans. They chant, they sing, the cheer everything (even times we weren't sure what they were cheering for and I grew up playing soccer). And, man do they curse. I heard more f-words tonight than a Quentin Tarantino film. They say the f-word when they yell at a ref, they say the f-word when they yell at an opposing player for trying to draw a foul, they say the f-word when their players make bad passes. When Bolton scored the game's first goal, an older gentleman behind me muttered, "Bunch of wankers."
Anyway, it's a fantastic experience and I highly recommend it. Here's something else strange though. Apparently in an attempt to combat hooliganism, there is a rule and signs that clearly say: You May Not Consume Alcoholic Beverages in View of the Pitch. "Pitch" means field, by the way. So, it's a unique site to watch a live sporting event in which nobody is drinking beer while watching the game.
The game ended after the two 15-minute periods of the extra session at around 10:30, and five of us decided not to stay for the players' jersey swap ceremony. So, we headed back to the train station, walking the same route that earlier in the night had been deemed too far to walk. Meanwhile, it's freezing, a nice breeze has picked up and we're all starving since we haven't eaten since early afternoon. London isn't know for its late-night eateries, and we see no options on our way to the station. We get to the train (this time we know just what trains to take) and at our first stop we decide to make a stop at ... wait for it ... McDonald's. Yes, we came all the way to London to eat a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
We eat our healthy dinners on the train back to the hotel. We finally arrive at the station, start walking to the hotel and realize we don't know where we're going. One of the women in our group stops and asks a milkman making late-night deliveries. He starts to point her the way and ultimately says, "Aw, f--- it. Hop in." So, five of us jump in this guy's milk truck, one girl sitting in front with him, three of us standing in the space between the front seats and the truck bed with the milk in it and hanging on for dear life, and Brent Severyn sitting in the back, facing backwards while munching on a Big Mac.
We arrived at the hotel at just before 1 a.m., hopped off the milk truck and strolled into the hotel.
Moving on, the soccer game was just part of a busy day for the Ducks, as I mentioned two posts ago. We'll have a bunch of pictures from the day posted soon, as long as I don't fall asleep first. Stay tuned.
By the way, I've gotten a few emails in response to my wondering how these games are sold out, since we've run into so many locals who have no idea about the Ducks or the Stanley Cup. In fairness, a lot of those "locals" might have been tourists, since we were in some tourists hot spots. Anyway, these emails have assured me that the O2 will be filled with huge hockey fans, many of whom are coming from all over Europe. And by the way, I know there is hockey in this country, but I'm still very excited to see what the fan reaction is like this weekend. How loud will it get? Which team will they root for? I'm looking forward to it.
As long as we can find our way to the arena.
Updated Sept. 26 at 12:55 a.m. (London time)
Alright, we're finally back from the soccer (football) game, a spirited match between hometown Fulham and Bolton, in which Bolton prevailed in overtime, 2-1 (at least I think they did).
I don't have the time right now to tell the whole story of getting to and from the match, but let's just say it started with two 20-minute train rides and a cab ride that somehow took 2 1/2 hours, and ended with five of us riding to our hotel on the back of a milk truck.
I promise I'll get to that a little later, which is also when we'll have photos from today's adventures. Stay tuned.
Updated Sept. 26 at 5:48 p.m. (London time)
The Ducks finished up practice at the O2, had lunch and headed to the double-decker bus that was to take them on their sightseeing trip through London. Sitting in front of the bus was the Stanley Cup, but it had a new addition to it. All of the Ducks' names have been engraved on the Cup, and this was the first time they had seen them. It was a sight to see as each of the Ducks players went up to the Cup and got their faces close enough to see their names. They looked like little kids.
The Cup came along as the team and assorted media took the bus through all the sights of London, and they got off the bus for photo opportunities at a few, including the Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament. It was great to see the Ducks march the Cup through the crowds as they headed to each spot to take pictures. It seems like there is always a different Duck carrying the Cup to where it needs to go. So as Corey Perry was hauling the Cup through the crowded streets of downtown London, I asked Chris Kunitz how they decide who carries it. He said, "Whoever gets stuck with it."
I'm surprised both these games are sold out based on the large number of Londoners we encounter who have no idea who the Ducks are and what that giant silver trophy is. I'm sure there are plenty of hockey fanatics here. We just haven't seen them yet.
There is much more to talk about and plenty of photos to show you, but we can't do it now because many of the Ducks and Ducks staffers are heading to a soccer game (of course, it's called football here). So, if I can beg for your patience, it will be worth the wait.
Updated Sept. 26 at 1:30 p.m. (London time)
The Ducks just ended a spirited practice session at O2 Arena that was workmanlike with some light moments mixed in. They finished practice by working on breakaways, in which Randy Carlyle would yell out the names of two Ducks, who would each spring from the bench area, grab a puck at center ice and try to score on either Ilya Bryzgalov or Jonas Hiller.
After dealing with the media and getting cleaned up, the Ducks will head on a sightseeing tour of London. We'll have photos of that for you later today.
And by the way, the dudes who do Ducks TV are also here on the trip, so look for daily episodes of that on the site and Kent French's heavily bearded face later as well.
Updated Sept. 26 at 12:40 (London time)
We've posted pictures from the Ducks' first practice at O2 Arena. Click here to check them out.
Updated Sept. 26 at 10:48 a.m. (London time)
The Ducks arrived at O2 Arena this morning for their first practice in the new building. From the outside, the 02 looks like a huge white half-circle with huge yellow cranes sticking out of it. It kind of resembles a giant crown, not a good sign for a team playing the Kings. On the bus ride over, Randy Carlyle said, "It looks better at night." I said, "So do I." He said, "No, you don't." I think he was kidding.
Here's a picture of the O2 from their website.
Inside, the place isn't overly impressive yet and kind of looks like it's not quite done. It looks a lot like Staples Center, which isn't surprising considering AEG owns both buildings. There is a large curtained off area behind on end zone, which I'm not sure if they're opening up for the game. There is also no press box, which seems odd. We'll see how that works.
Francois Beauchemin was the first Duck to hit the brand new ice surface, popping out of the dressing room in a t-shirt, shorts and skates. He skated in a circle and uttered two words: "Soft ice."
For some reason, the floor of the bench area isn't as elevated as it normally is, so climbing over the boards is a tough task. Ducks assistant coach Dave Farrish joked that Andy McDonald might need a boost.
By the way, the fan I mentioned yesterday getting autographs at the airport? He emailed me to basically say, "I was that guy." Man, this internet thing is really widespread. I really see it catching on.
We'll have pictures of the building and the Ducks' practice later this morning.
Updated Sept. 25 at 9:10 p.m. (London time)
The Ducks arrived at
|See photos by team photographer Deb Robinson|
The team and various staffers (including this guy) flew across the pond on an EOS 757 aircraft, where each passenger has his own area that doesn’t so much resemble a seat as a mini-apartment. Each seat has a foot rest/ottoman across from it, and with a push of a button the seat reclines all the way back into a flat position, making sleeping on the long flight much easier.
Meanwhile, each seating area comes with its own electrical outlet, so no more fiddling with fancy adapters if you’re hoping to get some power on the plane to do some work or watch movies on a laptop. Of course, you don’t even need the laptop for movies, since near the beginning of the trip, flight attendants handed each passenger his/her own portable entertainment system, which comes with dozens of movies and TV shows stored on it.
During the flight, I caught a couple episodes of “The Office”, one “How I Met Your Mother” (a great show if you’re not already watching it) a not-bad movie called “Fracture” with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling and fell asleep to my 112th viewing of “The Bourne Identity”. This thing was a godsend.
Though the Ducks wear suits when they travel, they traditionally change into more comfortable clothes as soon as they settle into their seats on the plane. This was truly a site when we stopped in
So. if you happened to be in a certain part of the JFK terminal at around 4 a.m. New York time, you saw a group of young men chatting in an airport terminal wearing old t-shirts, basketball shorts, black socks and shiny dress shoes. Or, in George Parros’ case, long yellow shorts and no shoes at all. Sean O’Donnell was resplendent in black athletic shorts, dark brown loafers and royal blue ankle socks, which he said he scored during a first class flight to
Despite a small bout of turbulence a couple hours out of
The only negative is that I, like a lot of Ducks staffers heading to
One of the more charming moments when the Ducks made their way through the airport to the buses happened just outside the terminal when a fan asked rookie Brandon Segal to sign an autograph, on a plain white piece of paper. He said, “Can I get an autograph please?” then paused and said, “Greatest sport in the world.”
We’ll have more for you later.
PHOTOS COMING SOON.
Updated Sept. 24 at 3:45 p.m.
I just want to clarify something that was inadvertantly listed on the website earlier. The latest Ducks roster does not necessarily reflect the Ducks' opening night roster, especially in light of the trade the Ducks just made to acquire Mark Mowers. The roster has been cut down to 27 and the Ducks will have to get down to 24 players before the opening game in London on Sept. 29. It's 24 players instead of the usual 23, since the league has allowed the Ducks and Kings to carry an extra goalie to London.
Updated Sept. 24 at 9:56 a.m.
Again, only a preseason game, but that performance last night has to have Ducks fans a little more optimistic going into the regular season. The line of Todd Bertuzzi, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan was tremendous last night, with Ryan throwing up four assists and probably locking up a roster spot for the time being.
Speaking of that, we hope to give you the list of players on the season-opening roster later today.
I'm leaving with the team tonight for London, and once we get there we will have comprehensive coverage of that trip on the website. So, look forward to that.
Back with more later.
Updated Sept. 23 at 4:28 p.m.
If you're in Southern California, turn on the Ducks game on AM 830 during the second intermission. Steve Carroll and Brent Severyn are clearly desperate for filler, so they're are having me on for a few minutes. I'd love their ratings to skyrocket during this time, so please tune in if you're near a radio.
Updated Sept. 21 at 6:03 p.m.
Forbes just released its list of the 400 richest Americans, in which No. 400 has a net worth of $1.3 billion, up $300,000 from last year. My favorite one on the list is tied at No. 195, a guy named Samueli. I don't know why he's my favorite. He just is.
I'm about out the door for the day. Here's hoping the Angels don't win tonight , because I'm going tomorrow afternoon and I want to see them clinch the West (their magic number is 2).
And of course the Ducks play at San Jose tonight. Let's hope they find a way to put some pucks on twine.
ESPN.com has video of the greatest plays from last season. In case you weren't missing Teemu enough, they in the Goals video, he makes an appearance at the 3:00 (remaining) mark of the video. I believe it's the goal that gave him a hat trick in Dallas last year. One glaring omission from the Hits video is Robbie Niedermayer's hit on Jannik Hansen of Vancouver, that set up the series-clinching goal by brother Scott in the Western Conference Semis. Maybe it wasn't the hardest shot of all time, but the significance of its after-effects warrants a spot in there.
Updated Sept. 21 at 3:54 p.m.
Apparently, the promotions people around here think that the readers of this blog might actually be influenced by something I write, so here goes. We have a new promotion on the website called What Would You Do To Win a Honda Ridgeline. You can submit a video of yourself (30 seconds or less) doing something outrageous, funny or otherwise that expresses how far you're willing to go to win the Ridgeline.
You can enter your video online or by sending in a tape or DVD, and the Ducks will show selected contestant videos all season long at every home game . Fans will have the opportunity to choose their favorites. The winners will then qualify for a chance to win the Ridgeline at Fan Appreciation Night, which is the Ducks' final regular season home game on April 6.
If your video is borderline inappropriate, please also forward a copy to me.
Click here for more details.
Updated Sept. 21 at 11:13 a.m.
I'm hesitant to call any preseason game a big game, but this tonight at San Jose might be slightly bigger than the others. The Ducks looked less-than-sharp against the Sharks two nights ago in the rink 50 yards from where I'm sitting right now. And Randy Carlyle responded by skating them hard yesterday during practice. That was obviously a message that the team is not where he wants them right now. We'll see how they respond tonight, when they will likely use most of their regular lineup, like they did Wednesday night.
I'll tell you this, I guarantee the Ducks will score at least as many goals as they did Wednesday night, if not more. I'd bet my life on it.
One of my favorite magazines, Esquire, recognized our old pal Scotty in its October issue in a feature called the Esquire 100. He's listed as "the biggest winner in history" and they did manage to take a shot at his playoff beard. Strangely enough, the picture they ran with it is of a clean-shaven Niedermayer, so I'll provide a little reminder.
Mark Whicker of the OC Register has a nice story on Joe DiPenta today. No mention in there about Joe's distinctive running skating style, but it's a nice mention of a hard-working guy who doesn't often get a lot of press.
Updated Sept. 20 at 2:53 p.m.
Clearly Randy Carlyle isn't thrilled with the effort of the Ducks as of late. Today during practice at Anaheim Ice, he kept them on the ice longer than originally planned. The team headed into the locker room when practice was originally supposed to conclude and after Carlyle spoke to them briefly, they headed right back out for more scrimmage sessions and skating drills.
When practice finally finished, Carlyle spoke to the media about the state of the team, which you can listen to by clicking here.
Updated Sept. 20 at 8:57 a.m.
Good morning, all. If you didn't make it to last night's Ducks-Sharks game, well, let's just say you didn't miss much. Not exactly a barn-burner. And a lot of you who tried to pick it up on the Center Ice Online package free trial didn't get it either, which leads me to the next part.
A few of you have emailed wondering why the Ducks games have been blacked out on Center Ice Online during the preseason. The word I got from the NHL is that they haven't been shown because the NHL didn't make arrangements with the Ducks or the visiting teams they've played to air those games. Those games haven't been shown locally on TV, so there isn't really a feed to show them online either. So, unfortunately you've been out of luck so far in the preseason, but rest assured that in the regular season the Ducks games will be shown (but only if you're not in the Ducks market).
Updated Sept. 19 at 1:07 p.m.
A couple of news items from around the NHL: According to the Times, Gretzky has sold his Lake Sherwood estate, located north of Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks, for $18.5 million. Former New York Met and Philadelphia Phillie Lenny Dykstra is the buyer.The NHL has taken steps to making changes in its schedule format, after a board of governors meeting in Chicago. A vote is expected at the board's next meeting, which is in late November.
The current format has each team playing eight games against its division rivals and only 10 out-of-conference games. Teams play one division out of their conference at home and another on the road, which means there are five teams in one out-of-conference division they don't play at all. In Ducks case this season, they won't play any of the teams in the Southeast Division, which includes Atlanta, Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington.
"I think it's clear that there will be a change," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
I'm highly in favor of a change. I think it's great to see your division rivals a lot, but not at the expense of never seeing some of the Eastern Conference teams. The Ducks play Montreal and Toronto at home this season for the first time in four years. Under the current format, you'll only see guys like Crosby, Ovechkin and Jagr every three years. That's certainly not right and it's good that they're moving toward a change.
Updated Sept. 19 at 12:29 p.m.
An email from Ducks fan Mike Dunn:
I have to let you know of an encounter I had the other night with Teemu Selanne. I was in the lobby at Anaheim Ice waiting to play my hockey game (I am a goalie) when i noticed Teemu just standing off to the side of the snack bar. He was waiting for his kid to finish. Anyway, no one was really bothering him and i decided to approach him and talk. We had a nice conversation for about 20 minutes about cars, hockey and Anatoli Semenov. It was nice to be able to just actually talk to him on a personal level and no pressure to belt out questions in hopes to get a response. He was a nice person to speak to and I have to say, thank you Teemu for being just down to earth and real. Numerous kids came up to him one by one asking for autographs and he did it the whole time without hesitation. Teemu made a lot of happy kids smile while he sat there on the snack bar cabinet and just hung out in his shorts and flip flops waiting.
Updated Sept. 19 at 9:43 a.m.
In the midst of updating the Ducks headshots for the website, I came across something that made me chuckle. Here is George Parros in 2005 with the Kings:
And here he is last week:
Updated Sept. 18 at 12:07 p.m.
The always-good Jeff Miller has a great story in today's O.C. Register on the time many of the Ducks spent with the Cup this summer. The thought of Francois Beauchemin belting out AC/DC is truly mesmerizing. You won't find a much quieter guy.
Updated Sept. 18 at 11:23 a.m.
It was just pointed out to me that you can see highlights from last night's Ducks game at Vancouver by clicking here and then clicking the Highlights link.
Keep in mind that during the regular season we will have video highlights on this website soon after the end of each game.
Updated Sept. 18 at 9:53 a.m.
My apologies to anyone who tried to sign up for the Center Ice Online trial and found that the Ducks game was blacked out. Apparently there were some restrictions on that game because it was being played in Canada, which I didn't realize when I promoted that. Sorry about that.
Unfortunately, what we all missed was George Parros scoring a goal last night for the Ducks. Truly a rare occasion, indeed. One of these days he's going to score one at Honda Center and the place will go bananas. His only goal last year came at Chicago on March 28.
On another note, we are ready to change the Ducks Poll on the home page. Here are the results of the last one, where we asked when you think Scott Niedermayer might come back to the Ducks. You'll see that the optimists who think we'll see him again in a Ducks uniform were almost equaled by the pessimists who think his hockey days are behind him:
Not At All
Updated Sept. 17 at 3:36 p.m.
We're getting very close to having a new video player on the website with a lot of new features. One of those is the ability to sign up for the Center Ice Online package, which will allow those of you outside the Ducks' market to watch their games online.
The NHL is offering a free trial starting with tonight's preseason games, including the Ducks game at Vancouver. Click here for details. Keep in mind that when I tried this link earlier, it wasn't working.
Updated Sept. 17 at 2:22 p.m.
Tough loss last night, not that it matters all that much. It was interesting that the Ducks got a Chris Kunitz goal just 2:55 into the game, and then nothing else. Although, Todd Bertuzzi did get one in the shootout. That's got to be a good sign. After the Ducks have struggled in the shootout for the past two seasons, one of the new guys gets a goal with relative ease. We'll see if he can do that in the regular season.
The biggest news last night was the announcement that Mathieu Schneider is out four weeks with an ankle injury. So, as we stand right now, no Schneider, no Giguere, no Pahlsson, no Niedermayer, no Selanne, a two-game stint in London followed by away games at Detroit, Columbus and Pittsburgh. Could be a rough first week of the season for the defending champs.
There is a story on NHL.com about the relationship between the Ducks and that other team across the street.
Finally, there are several members of the Ducks message board who are running in the Breast Cancer Race for the Cure next Sunday. They're running under the name TEAM DUCKS. They are asking for donations to their cause, which you can make by clicking here.
Updated Sept. 16 at 11:32 a.m.
I guess it matters just about as much as the preseason-opening loss did, but it was nice to see the Ducks get a win last night. They looked leaps and bounds better than they did Thursday night. Jason King, who the Ducks picked up on Entry Draft day last June, scored his second goal of the preseason and has been a nice surprise so far.
What wasn't good about last night was the ankle injury suffered by Mathieu Schneider. We'll try to keep you posted on that.
Speaking of Schneider, check out this photo from last night's game. What's the deal with the baby in the background? Is that Britney's kid?
Updated Sept. 14 at 5:49 p.m.
If you haven't before, you've got to check out the latest installments of Ducks TV. First of all, the guys who do Ducks TV do a tremendous job, from host Kent French to the camera guys to the editors. The packages they've put together for Ducks TV with the Cup are fantastic. The latest one (Part 7) is the second half of the Niedermayer brothers' time with the Cup in British Columbia. Great stuff, especially at around the 4:10 mark where they show the brothers on a mountaintop. The helicopter shots of them will remind you of Rocky IV (but with no one yelling "DRAAAAGOOOOO!!!"). It's a big-time goosebump moment.
Also, we've brought back Duck Cast, the Ducks' official podcast (with, my apologies, me hosting the latest one). The first one of this season is with Brad May, whom I chose because I enjoyed his chirping when he was miked for the Ducks DVD. Hope you enjoy that.
Hopefully everyone has a nice weekend and tunes in here for the Ducks-Kings tomorrow night at Staples Center. We had some technical difficulties last night, but hopefully those are worked out and the game log will be up and running at puck drop.
Updated Sept. 14 at 11:23 a.m.
Well, I guess Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer has something else in common, as you can see from Teemu's chat with the media this morning at Anaheim ICE. Both have now spoken to the media to tell them pretty much what they already knew, that they're not ready to make a decision yet.The scene at Anaheim ICE was an interesting one, as about a half dozen local beat writers hung around waiting for Teemu to arrive. When he did, he couldn't get in. The door to the rink's lounge where he was scheduled to speak were locked. "Guess it's another lockout," one reporter joked. He finally got in, shook hands with everyone and the conversation immediately turned to ... everything but retiring. They asked him how his summer has gone, how his golf game is going, etc. Finally when he was asked about the big question, one by one the reporters took a step closer, their tape recorders closer to his face.
Anyway, as you can see from the transcript, we don't know much more than we did before. We do know that he is waiting to decide until after he's seen a few regular season games, that the rumors are untrue that he's considering playing elsewhere and that he's only skated once since Game 5.
So, like Scotty, we move on without him for now.
Updated Sept. 13 at 4:25 p.m.
We're less than three hours away from the preseason opener, which I still can't believe it just two days after training camp opened. Tonight is a run of seven exhibition games in 11 days for the Ducks, before they take off for London on the 24th, the day after they play Vancouver at home. I know there aren't a lot of opportunities to feel sorry for professional athletes, but this may be one of those times.
Marcia Smith has a story in the OC Register today about the Ducks' and the rest of the NHL's "new" uniforms.
Updated Sept. 13 at 10:58 a.m.
I'm writing something now just so that rambling rant about the Patriots and the state of pro sports today doesn't appear at the top of the page. I will say this in relation to that. Mark Bell of the Maple Leafs was suspended without pay for "having engaged in and acknowledging conduct deemed to be 'dishonorable, prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League or the game of hockey." UPDATE: If you read this earlier, I had a total brain lapse. I neglected to mention Bell was convicted of a DUI and hit-and-run charges back in August and will serve six months in jail after the season is over. The suspension prompted this quote from Commissioner Gary Bettman: "Playing in the National Hockey League is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a corresponding responsibility for exemplary conduct off the ice as well as on it."
I like that.
Former San Jose Sharks forward Mark Bell has pleaded no contest to drunken driving and hit-and-run charges and will serve six months in a Santa Clara County jail, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Moving on, I can't believe we have a Ducks game tonight. I know I've said it before, but it seemed like the offseason lasted about 15 minutes. But it's good to have hockey back. Unfortunately, none of the Ducks preseason games will be televised, but they will all be on the radio on AM 830 and I will be doing a live game log tonight on this website.
We of course won't see the whole Ducks roster tonight, but there are some intriguing combinations to watch. Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf and 2005 No. 2 draft pick Bobby Ryan will be skating on the first line. Chris Pronger will skate with Southern California kid Brian Salcido on the first defensive duo. A couple of other D-men who have a shot of making the opening day roster, Brendan Mikkelson and Maxim Kondratiev will be out there as well.
Meanwhile, the Kings are a much-improved bunch (at least on paper) and it will be interesting to see some of their new blood, including winger Kyle Calder (who played twice against the Ducks with Detroit in the playoffs last year) and 20-year-old defenseman Jack Johnson.
The Ducks will also be debuting their new Rbk EDGE uniforms, which don't look all that different, except for the neckline.
Should be fun tonight.
Updated Sept. 12 at 6:52 p.m.
If you don't mind some non-hockey talk late in the evening, I have something. I'm very discouraged lately by my favorite football team, the New England Patriots. They happen to be my favorite team mostly because of Tom Brady. I have a giant man-crush on Tom Brady. I'm not afraid to admit it. And it's not just because we share a last name. I happen to think he's the consummate professional (a rarity among big-time pro athletes) and he's incredibly enjoyable to watch. I actually once met his parents (strangely enough, the only professional athlete's parents I've ever met) and they were very nice, even when I told them I lie and tell people Tom and I are cousins.
So, it's mostly because of Tom and the fact that I think the Pats have a classy organization that I've been a fan over the past few years. When you grow up in Southern California and both teams leave town, I think you have the right to adopt an out-of-town team you never rooted for before. But aside from the fact that the Pats got significantly better in the offseason, they have saddened me as of late. First there was the news that Tom went all Matt Leinart on us and had a baby with his ex-girlfriend. Certainly not a convenient event in his life. Then the Pats signed Randy Moss, an out-of-character acquisition for a organization that prides itself on character. (Never mind the fact that Moss looked incredible in the opening game of the season.) And earlier this year one of their top defensive players was suspended four games for obtaining Human Growth Hormone.
Now is the latest news, on the heels of the Patriots' domination of the Jets in Week 1, that the Patriots may have cheated during the game by video-taping the Jets' signals. That's one of those things there is just no way to justify. Disheartening.
I'll keep rooting for them, but I'm going to feel just a little dirty doing it. It's kind of like being a San Francisco Giants fan the last few years.
Now is where I turn this back to hockey. It makes me even more glad the NHL season is about to start. Despite the fact that we had a near-devastating lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season, the sport really has been easy to root for compared to the other major leagues the last couple of years.
Major League Baseball? Rampant with steroid use that has tainted some of its most sacred records. The NBA? Rocked by a crooked referee scandal and, let's face it, it's been an increasingly boring product compared to past eras. The NFL? Sullied by bad characters as of late and now a cheating scandal involving one of its most iconic franchises. But the NHL? Relatively clean, aside from an assistant coach running a gambling ring a couple of years ago that had nothing to do with hockey.
Hockey players may not always be the most quotable guys in the world, but I'd rather have relatively bland than arrogant, egomaniacal or standoffish. For the most part, they're good guys playing a clean game.
And these days in pro sports, that's more important than ever.
Updated Sept. 12 at 10:37 a.m.
HUGE NEWS: Ducks suspend team captain Scott Niedermayer
Although, if you've been following along lately, you know that was to be expected. As long as Niedermayer is still under contract, the Ducks have to suspend him to keep his salary off the books for salary cap purposes. "It wasn't a fun phone call," Brian Burke said about informing Niedermayer about the "suspension". "But he was expecting it."
It seems that with all the talk about Niedermayer's indecision lately, the status of that other guy has been swept under the rug. But Burke met with Teemu Selanne yesterday and announced that he too hasn't decided what to do. The difference between him and Niedermayer is that Selanne isn't under contract and is technically a free agent, so the Ducks aren't responsible for paying him right now.
There were a few odd sights at the first day of training camp yesterday. Conspicuous in their absence, of course, were Niedermayer and Selanne. But there were more oddities:
1. Todd Bertuzzi and Mathieu Schneider wearing Ducks jerseys.
2. A couple hundred fans watching a scrimmage.
3. Samuel Pahlsson not on the ice and watching from behind the glass. Pahlsson is still recovering from abdominal surgery (as is J.S. Giguere) and his team-record streak appears to be in jeopardy. When asked if he thinks he will be back for the regular season opener, he responded, "I wouldn't count on it."
With the Ducks season starting earlier than usual in London, maybe he can at least be back for the Oct. 3 game in Detroit. Then he can continue a streak of "games played in North America."
We'll have more coverage of training camp later this afternoon.
Updated Sept. 11 at 10:34 a.m.
It's hard to believe, but training camp has officially started over at Anaheim ICE. It seems like the summer lasted about 15 minutes. We'll be covering camp on this page throughout its run, so look for that starting later today.
There are a few Ducks stories in the locals regarding the Ducks starting camp as defending champs. (I don't know if you remember, but the Ducks won the Stanley Cup last June. Just thought I'd mention.) In the L.A. Times story, Randy Carlyle has a nice quote: "It was an exciting ride. The ride has come to an end. We're back to work." Also in the L.A. Times, the always-good Helene Elliott has a story on how Scott Niedermayer's indecision is affecting the team (in her eyes). Here's the OC Register camp story.
Updated Sept. 10 at 3:23 p.m.
There is a Ducks season preview story on NHL.com today that includes how the Ducks, like all defending champions, will be challenged trying to repeat. A sample:
“When you’re the champion, there’s a target on your back,” Anaheim General Manager Brian Burke says. “And your front. And your head. And your leg. Everyone wants to beat you. So you have to bring your A-game with much more consistency and frequency.”Speaking of past champions, I didn't get a chance to see Britney Spears on the VMAs last night, because I think it's against the law to watch the VMAs when you're over 30. Same goes for Laguna Beach. But from what I've seen online, Brit looked pretty emotionless. She basically had the demeanor of a serial killer receiving his court sentencing. Poor thing. It really is over, isn't it? Host Sarah Silverman had a great line after her performance: "Was that incredible? She is amazing. I mean, she is 25 years old and she's already accomplished everything she's going to accomplish in her life."
I saw the premier of Curb Your Enthusiasm last night, which is truly one of the funniest shows ever. But I was slightly disappointed with last night's episode. Part of the storyline was Larry coming up with the genius idea of making up for missing a party by showing up to the house the next night and claiming you got the days wrong. It was mildly funny at first, but after he did it again and three other friends did the same thing, it had run out of gas. I'm hesitant to even criticize that show, and I'm fairly confident it will get better. I watched DVDs of past seasons on flights and in airports during my recent vacation and I still laugh out loud. I'm the same way with Seinfeld. Also Sesame Street.
Updated Sept. 10 at 1:03 p.m.
It's certainly been a Ducks-filled last couple of days. The two days of Rookie Games were interesting, though not too successful from a scoreboard standpoint. The guy a lot of people were there to see, Bobby Ryan, looked good for the most part. He didn't score any goals (the Ducks only had two in the two games), but he was plenty physical. He got into a little scrap in Game 1 and seemed poised for one in Game 2, though the San Jose player, Jonathan Tremblay, didn't want to get into it.
Speaking of the Rookie Games, there must have been a last-minute ballot box-stuffing on our Ducks Poll regarding who fans were most interested in seeing at the Rookie Games. Bobby Ryan was the overwhelming leader going into the weekend, but Ryan Carter shot past him. Carter (like Drew Miller) played in the Stanley Cup Final before playing in the Rookie Games, which is a rare feat. Here are the results:
Today was a whirlwind morning in which all of the Ducks showed up for physicals and photos. We're going to try and catch a Ducks player (probably Brad May) tomorrow for the return of Duck Cast, so look for that soon.
I've mentioned in this space before how something always seems to happen when I go to an Angels game. Last Friday's game was no exception. First of all, it was a great game, despite Francisco Rodriguez blowing another save. The Angels came back to win in the 10th. But something happened in my section in right field involving a beach ball. First of all, let me say that I abhor the whole beach ball thing at a ballgame. Frankly, I find it annoying and distracting from the reason we're supposedly all there -- the game. Anyway, one obnoxious dude got ahold of a ball at one point, stood and turned to face the crowd and tore the thing apart. Not surprisingly, he got booed. I think I was the only one who wanted to give him a standing ovation. Another fan got booed for not throwing back the home run ball the Rodriguez gave up in the top of the ninth. I certainly approved of that one.
Back to the Ducks, I don't know if you noticed, but tomorrow is the start of training camp. We hope to give you some coverage of that in the afternoon.
Updated Sept. 7 at 10:19 a.m.
I should have pointed something out about the link to those Knob Hockey videos below. The Bryzgalov one is definitely rated PG-13 due to language (though most of it is bleeped). So, take caution clicking that link. I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by that.
Updated Sept. 7 at 7:38 a.m.
Man, this week went by fast, didn't it? Yet another great thing about a three-day weekend.
I'm checking in a little early this morning because I'm way behind on a project I'm working on. Coming to the office before most people are here is always an eerie feeling, but it's kind of nice for a while. Then people start shuffling in and it ruins it.
Anyway, enough about that. I just saw that the Oilers Fernando Pisani has come down with something called ulcerative colitis, which is a type of inflamatory bowel disorder. Sounds like something you might get after a night of drinking and a 2 a.m. trip to Taco Bell. But apparently it's much more serious than that and Pisani will be out indefinitely. Tough break for Pisani and the Oilers, who just can't seem to catch a break since losing in Game 7 to Carolina in the '06 Final. Think of what's happened since then: They lose Pronger, one of the guys they get in return (Joffrey Lupul) underperforms and is shipped out, they lose icon Ryan Smyth at the trade deadline, they're racked with injuries and miss the playoffs, they make a big offseason signing they're excited about (Dustin Penner) and everybody tells them they overpaid and their GM loses a friendship over it. Now they lose Pisani, one of their top defensive forwards.
On a lighter note, hearing Fernando Pisani's name always reminds me of this thing on You Tube that always gives me a chuckle. It's a series called Knob Hockey (you might have seen it before), and they have featured a handful of players in it. Check out this one of Pisani and then this one of Ilya Bryzgalov that was done around the '06 playoffs. The Bryzgalov one is my favorite, and it's not just because they mispronounce his name in the intro. We used to do imitations of it when he was in net, especially during a shootout. But we had to stop because we determined it was bad luck. My favorite part of the Pisani one is where he says, "Why are you doing that? I grew up in Edmonton!"
Updated Sept. 6 at 9:34 a.m.
We'll learn more from Scott Niedermayer when he talks to the press today at 10:30. For now, he did speak to the Ducks writers from the OC Register and the L.A. Times yesterday about what has been speculated for a little while - that even if he decides to come back, he will be late to camp. I think what we'll learn today is just how late he'll be. A week? A month? Several months? A lifetime? We'll know in about an hour.
Look here for that soon after the 10:30 session with the media. We'll have a quick story and audio from Niedermayer as soon as we can. But keep in mind that Niedermayer said this yesterday: "There's really not going to be any big, earth-shattering announcement."
Updated Sept. 5 at 5:34 p.m.
We're not putting put anything official on this website, but I can lead you to this story, which is one of many that are reporting about Scott Niedermayer's status as it pertains to Ducks training camp.
Updated Sept. 5 at 3:51 p.m.
Regarding the story about the opening of Ducks training camp, I've had a few people email me about this, so I figured I should post something. You'll notice that on the PDF of the Ducks training camp roster, Scott Niedermayer is listed, but Teemu Selanne is not. That's because Scotty is still under contract with the Ducks and Teemu, as an unrestricted free agent, technically is not. Hopefully that makes sense to everybody.
Updated Sept. 5 at 2:23 p.m.
A little update on the Scott Niedermayer situation. I can tell you that he will be talking to the media tomorrow morning to talk about his playing status. We'll have something for you right after that.
Updated Sept. 5 at 1:31 p.m.
Both the OC Register and L.A. Times have stories today on the fact that Brian Burke is meeting with Scott Niedermayer over the next two days to talk about this possible retirement junk. This isn't such a good sign:
"He said to me that his mind has not changed at this point," Burke said. "I expect that unless something has changed in the last four or five days, he's not planning on being at training camp."
There has been some speculation about Scotty not coming back until December and even others who think he might just play in home games and playoff games. That last one is pretty far-fetched, but the December one could be possible. We'll just have to wait and see.
Updated Sept. 4 at 12:36 p.m.
We've got a new Ducks Poll on the homepage, which asks which player you are most excited about seeing at the Rookie Games. Here are the results of the last poll, which asks how many goals you think Chris Kunitz will have this season. By the way, he had 25 last year.
40 or more
Updated Sept. 4 at 12:16 p.m.
Doug Ward has a story on NHL.com about the Ducks-Kings rivalry. Doug is a heck of a hockey writer, despite the fact he's actually the publications guy for the Angels. I worked for him one summer, which helped mold me into the man I am today. (I don't think he'd take that as a compliment.)
Anyway, the whole Ducks-Kings rivalry the last couple of years reminds me of something from high school. I went to Dana Hills and we used to have what was considered a rivalry with Capo Valley, despite the fact they demolished us in football and basketball every year. I remember walking out of the gym one night after our basketball team lost by about 30 and a Capo Valley student turned to his buddy and said, "Why is this even considered a rivalry?"
Updated Sept. 4 at 11:41 a.m.
How hard is it to come into work after a three-day weekend? Just brutal. Although, on the record, it's easy for me because I love my job and I love this company! (Just in case my bosses are reading this.)
It just occurred to me this morning that the Ducks' first preseason game is just nine days away. I really find that hard to believe. Slightly less importantly, the NFL season starts Thursday, which is very exciting. I have my fantasy draft tonight and I'm woefully unprepared. That probably means I'll win the whole thing.
Today's edition of Stanley Cup Journal features (among others) Ducks trainer Tim Clark and his gargantuan Cup-inspired tattoo.
The Dallas Stars have a new billboard near American Airlines Center that reads "The only thing our refs shave is the ice." Clever. They also have a couple of others that take shots at other sports, like "One game a week? Is the N in NFL for Nancy?" and "Maybe baseball should stop using the word sacrifice." I'm surprised they didn't come up with something like "Dogfighting's got nothing on a good old fashioned hockey brawl" or "Our players shoot pucks, not guns."
Oh, by the way, did you hear the news about Teemu and Scotty? Yeah, me neither.