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 Oct. 31 at 3:27 p.m.
You'll see on our home page how Todd Marchant has shaved his head for Halloween for the second straight year. Last year it was to go as Dr. Evil, and this year it's Mr. Clean.
It's pretty creative of him, but one other professional athlete has put Marchant to shame.
Updated Oct. 31 at 10:56 a.m.
The Ducks are back at it today with a morning practice at Honda Center. We'll have some stuff for you later today, including a hard-hitting feature on the fact that Todd Marchant shaved his head for the second straight Halloween. We'll also give you an updated on the status of Ryan Getzlaf, Rob Niedermayer and Mathieu Schneider for tomorrow night.
Speaking of Halloween, Ducks staffer Geoff Matthews sent me a picture of this pumpkin he carved last night. It's inspired by a picture taken of him after Game 5 of the Final last year.
On a personal note, last night I put on a DVD of the movie Blades of Glory (starrring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder), fully expecting to turn it off halfway through because I expected it to be really stupid. Of course, it was plenty stupid, but I found it surprisingly funny. I highly recommend it. Seriously.
And speaking of movies, a reader named Laura sent me this link to the trailer for an movie called The Rocket (starring, well, nobody you've heard of). It's the story of Maurice "Rocket" Richard, the former Montreal Canadiens legend for which the trophy given to the league's top goal-scorer was named. Looks like an interesting film, but I doubt it's destined for any box office records. Although, it might set the record for biggest opening weekend for a movie about a 1940s hockey player.
UPDATE: A reader named "Frank Jr." informs me that this movie actually was released in Canada in 2005 and went to DVD more than a year ago. He then asks: "How long have you been posting information on your blog without doing any research on it?" Not that long, actually.
One last thing. I just want to remind everyone that you can now vote on the Name the Rivalry contest, which we have narrowed down to four choices.
I'll be back later.
Updated Oct. 30 at 3:53 p.m.
Sorry I haven't given you anything prior to this today. It's been a busy day here, despite the fact the Ducks didn't practice for the second straight day. Anaheim sent Petteri Wirtanen and Jason King back to Portland, which should tell you that Rob Niedermayer and Ryan Getzlaf are likely to play Thursday night against Columbus.
Speaking of Portland, NHL.com has a feature on how Bobby Ryan is doing over there. I love the fact that he's currently sleeping on an air mattress, but he has a 62-inch flatscreen in his apartment.
Did you know fighting is up 56 percent this season? ESPN.com has a feature that says it may be the Ducks' fault.
Updated Oct. 29 at 4:43 p.m.
It's slightly overdue (what with the World Series beginning and ending faster than a Nicole Ritche jail stint), but we have a new Ducks poll up. Here are the results of the last one, asking which Ducks player you think would make the best baseball player:
Ryan Getzlaf: 24.08%
George Parros: 13.01%
Chris Pronger: 12.31%
Andy McDonald: 11.07%
J.S. Giguere: 10.48%
Todd Bertuzzi: 9.88%
Corey Perry: 7.18%
Chris Kunitz: 7.07%
Samuel Pahlsson: 4.91%
Frankly, I'm a little surprised at the results. The popularity of Getzlaf doesn't surprise me, but Parros second and Pronger third? Since when does being good with your fists or being 6-foot-6 help you on the diamond? Pronger might make a good pitcher though. I'm really disappointed to see Samuel Pahlsson last. Incredibly athletic and speedy, very smart, works extremely hard. He'd make a tremendous second baseman and leadoff hitter. He would follow in the long and talent-laden tradition of great Swedish ballplayers.
Anyway, the current poll will again test the optimism of Ducks fans, asking where you think the Ducks will finish in the Pacific Division. They're currently in fourth, just two points out of the top spot.
Updated Oct. 29 at 2:57 p.m.
So, that was a great win the Ducks got last night over Edmonton. Finally, they were able to break their losing strea...
What? Shorthanded goal? Shut out in the shootout? How did I miss that?
Okay, the truth is, I saw every second of that heartbreak. Usually when you take a one-goal lead in the third, the crowd and momentum is in your pocket and you go on the power play with 2:57 left, usually you come out with the two points. But usually is not the way things are going for the Ducks right now. But you still have to believe, this too shall pass.
Last night wasn't the kind of game where you're glad to get the one point in the standings. That was a sure win that slipped away, and to watch it get sealed in a shootout yet again was almost a foregone conclusion. Is there a Ducks fan out there (a fan that's been with this team at least the last three seasons) that was excited when overtime ended and it went to a shootout? I've had dentist appointments I've looked forward to more. I've said it before, but thank goodness there aren't shootouts in the playoffs. If there were, there might be 2006-07 Detroit Red Wings names on that Cup right now.
On the bright side, how good does Corey Perry look right now? He had the go-ahead goal last night and a pretty assist on the other one, and generated several more chances throughout. Of course, he couldn't connect on his shootout attempt, but we won't fault him for that.
As far as the Penner situation went, the OC Register reported that Ducks fans booed him every time he touched the puck in the early going, but it died down after the first few shifts. The L.A. Times said that the "Welcome, Dustin Penner" on the video board "generated some cheers mixed with mild booing." That's more like what I was hearing in the arena. There were some misguided people who booed Penner early in the game and during that message. But I found that during the message it was drowned out by the people who politely cheered him.
The same won't be said for the next time Chris Pronger visits Edmonton, on Dec. 27. A poll on the Oilers website asks: Which former Oilers player is least liked by the fans? On a list that includes Jason Arnott, Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin, Ryan Smyth and Doug Weight, our own Mr. Pronger is getting a whopping 67.87% of the vote.
Moving on, the Ducks don't practice today or tomorrow, but get back at it Wednesday in preparation for their Thursday tilt with Columbus. Ryan Getzlaf (strained left forearm), Rob Niedermayer (strained groin) and Mathieu Schneider (broken left ankle) were described by Randy Carlyle as “very strong possibilities” to be available in that game.
Surely the Ducks will win that one, right?
Updated Oct. 28 at 2:10 p.m.
The Ducks and Oilers face off in about three hourse from now, and in case you didn't already know, Edmonton will be bringing with them a familiar face to Ducks fans. Dustin Penner has two goals and three assists so far this season for a 4-7-0 Edmonton team. They're not great numbers, but certainly sufficient and it's still early in the season.
But Penner's situation kind of causes a dilemma. There's a part of me that wants him to have a bad season, so that the amount Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe paid to get Penner in the offseason will look even more outrageous. Then there is another part of me who remembers Penner as a good guy, a guy who pulled himself up from nearly quitting the game to become a mainstay in this league. And if he has a bad season with the scrutiny he's getting in Edmonton, it certainly won't be a pleasant experience (just ask Joffrey Lupul). After all, look how nervous Penner looks here, and this was taken at the beginning of the season.
It might be a little late for this (considering the game starts soon), but I thought it would be appropriate to re-post an old one from a few months back. Hopefully, a few potential boo-birds might re-think things:
From Aug. 3 at 10:57 a.m.
Here is an email I got this morning:
"So, are we supposed to BOO Dustin Penner when he comes to town?"
Here's what I think:
Let's say you like the job you have now. You like where you live. You've been there less than two years. You like the people you work with. It's a successful company. A very successful company. Another company comes in and offers you a salary you could never have imagined. Possibly twice what your current employer was going to offer you. Of course, to take that offer you would have to move to that company's location. The climate isn't as nice. There isn't as much to do. But the support in that town for that company, and in turn for you and the rest of the employees there, is unlike any other area in the world. And, just to reiterate, they're offering way more money than your current company was offering.
You'd probably move to the new company, wouldn't you?
You have to know this about Dustin Penner. This is a guy who was repeatedly cut from his junior hockey teams. He had to play high school hockey, which is a little like playing JV football when you're a senior. When he graduated, he was about to quit the game until he got a last-minute call from a junior college in North Dakota. He played well there and ended up at the University of Maine, where he was discovered by Ducks Assistant GM David McNab. He signed with the Ducks, and you know the rest of the story.
This is a guy who not that long ago couldn't imagine in his wildest dreams that anybody would pay him more than $4 million a year to play hockey. Granted, he would have gotten a nice salary from the Ducks, but Burke has made it clear it would have been nowhere near what Edmonton was offering.
What we have in Penner is a young player, an all-around good guy, who performed very well for the Ducks while he was here and helped them win a Stanley Cup title. Then, partly because of that Stanley Cup title, another team made him a huge offer and he took it. Just like most players would.
Just like you probably would.
So, should Ducks fans boo him? My answer to that - to paraphrase Brian Burke - is an unequivocal and instantaneous no.
Updated Oct. 26 at 9:39 a.m.
Here is an email that came to me this morning from a reader named Bryan:
If you don't know what he's referring to, scroll down a bit. Indeed, last night was pretty close to the equivalent of losing your homecoming game. And it was a tough one to watch. There obviously is nothing wrong with the Ducks defense, but despite the fact they are working diligently on the offensive end (witness 31 shots on goal), they're turning opposing goaltenders lately into the second coming of Patrick Roy. I mean, Alex Auld? A shutout? Against the defending champs? That's like Nuke Laloosh throwing a no-hitter against you with no walks.
The Ducks were still generating opportunities, clearly outplayed Phoenix and gave up just one goal to a guy, Craig Weller, who had never scored one before in this league. But the fact that this depleted Ducks team still generated so many opportunities is one of the many reasons not to panic yet.
I know it's a cliche to say it's still early, but it's still VERY early. I know it's a cliche to say this is a marathon, not a sprint, but ... you get the idea. Let's remember that, in case you missed it, Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne are still pondering retirement and two of the guys the Ducks brought into replace them -- Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi -- are out with injuries. Last night the Ducks also didn't have one of their top scorers in Ryan Getzlaf and were also without Rob Niedermayer, who not only helps that checking line shut down opposing forwards, but creates offensive opportunities by helping keep the puck in the attacking zone.
Also don't forget the 2006-07 Ducks, the Stanley Cup champions, lost twice to Phoenix last season (sorry, I had that as three times earlier).
So, let's all not start jumping ship just yet. This team, when it's healthy, is too good, too tough and too proud. It's time will come.
Moving on, the Ducks, Honda Center, ABC7, KABC Talk Radio and KLOS are teaming with American Red Cross of Orange County to host a fundraising drive today at Honda Center to support the victims of the recent Southern California wildfires. If you get a chance, come by today and make a donation.
I noticed a funny thing today as I walked in from the parking lot this morning and they were all set up for the drive. There was a police officer sitting in his cruiser, looking at the computer monitor mounted on his dash. As I got a closer look, I could clearly see he was ...wait for it ... PLAYING SOLITAIRE!
It's one thing when you walk by your co-worker's cubicle and she's playing solitaire on her computer, but seeing a cop do it was unsettling for some reason. I'm not sure why. Although, since I assume they have an internet connection in those things, I suppose it could have been worse.
Anyway, the Ducks will be practicing this afternoon at Anaheim ICE. We'll have something for you from that practice later today.
Updated Oct. 25 at 4:42 p.m.
We have a feature in Ducks Digest in which we ask several Ducks a question and print the answers. In the past, it was questions like "Tell us about your first goal" or "What was the best Christmas gift you ever got?" We want your help in coming up with a good question to ask them for the next issue and for future issues.
Try to keep it clean. Or don't. Might be good for a laugh. But it probably won't make it in the Digest.
Click here to submit a question
Updated Oct. 25 at 11:50 a.m.
When I attended Dana Hills High School, we didn't have a very good football team. In fact, I mentioned it a couple of times as a young reporter for our school newspaper and it led to some awkward relationships between the football players (some of whom were friends of mine) and me.
Anyway, despite the fact we weren't very good, there was always one team we could count on beating every year - San Clemente High. As bad as we were, San Clemente was always worse. Because of that, our coaches would always try to schedule San Clemente for the homecoming game, the one game during the season that you really want to win.
Now, even though the Ducks didn't plan the schedule this way, it sure does help to have Phoenix coming into Honda Center right about now. The Ducks are coming off a tough road trip, and are now missing Getzlaf and Niedermayer, in addition to Bertuzzi and Schneider.
Phoenix comes in with a 2-5-0 record, having lost five out of six after opening the season with a win. The Ducks have won 10 in a row at home against them.
Meanwhile, there is no word on whether punishment will be handed down for the severe hit St. Louis winger D.J. King put on Francois Beauchemin on Tuesday night. King took several strides toward Beauchemin and drilled him with a forearm to the face that snapped Beuachemin's head back. The fact that Beauchemin kept skating like nothing had happened might preclude any suspension. It also shows what a man Beauch is. Remember him throwing punches at Marian Gaborik in the Minnesota series when he had a cracked jaw? You won't find too many tougher than him.
Updated Oct. 24 at 5:26 p.m.
I keep forgetting to mention this, but you can now buy a special edition Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup Champions 12-disc DVD set. The set includes the entire broadcast of every game from the Western Conference Final and the Stanley Cup Final. The original championship DVD that went on sale last summer is also included in the set.
Now's a great time to buy it, since it will remind you of happier times.
Alright, I'm off to watch me some World Series.
Updated Oct. 24 at 11:48 a.m.
It's hard to believe that a team that won the Stanley Cup just 4 1/2 months ago has to take comfort in moral victories, but that is exactly what the Ducks were forced to do last night. Already without Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi, the Ducks lost Rob Niedermayer to groin soreness during the morning skate and then played without Ryan Getzlaf from the second shift in the second period until the end. Meanwhile, Brad May left the game with a hand injury after a second-period fight and didn't return until the third.
We'll update you on all of those injuries later today.
Despite the missing pieces, the Ducks fought to the end and clanked a couple of seemingly certain goals by Todd Marchant and Chris Pronger off the posts in the third period in finally going down, 4-2.
“I thought our guys reached back and gave us everything they had," said Randy Carlyle. "I’m very proud of their effort. We had our chances."
How times have changed. Last year the Ducks won the games where they displayed effort like that, and several more when they didn't play as well as they're capable. That's not the case right now with this team, and it has a lot to do with the fact that they've played shorthanded for most of the year so far.
I'm sure Ducks fans would have preferred any of the other 17 skaters to hurt the Ducks last night than No. 9, but he assisted on all three of the back-breaking goals in the second, then added the empty-netter in the third to really drive the dagger into his old team.
Nevertheless, it was still a thrilling game, and Steve Levy introduced the highlights on Sportscenter by saying, "If every game were like this, no one would ever have any problems with the NHL."
Now the Ducks will look to bounce back against the Coyotes, which is a great team to play when you're looking to break a streak. They are 2-5-0 coming into this one, which will be their first game since a 5-2 loss at home Saturday night.
Updated Oct. 23 at 12:04 p.m.
You won't often see the OC Register do a full feature on a Ducks opponent, but when it's Paul Kariya you make an exception. Dan Wood has a nice feature on the current St. Louis Blue. It's hard to believe that St. Louis is Kariya's third team since he left the Ducks after the '03 season.
In case you haven't seen it on the home page, the game tonight starts at 5:30 Pacific, but the KDOC broadcast will be joined in progress at 6 p.m. This is because of the rights deal that Versus has with the league. Versus will be broadcasting Penguins-Rangers tonight and is supposed to have exclusive rights to NHL broadcasts the entire night. In other words, no other regional broadcasts can be in progress opposite the Versus telecast. But the league has been kind enough to allow our game to be joined in progress, rather than be completely blacked out.
The Ducks definitely need to get some scoring going again tonight. In six of the team's 10 games, Anaheim has scored two goals or less (only winning one of those games). The power play is only 4 for 44 in the past seven games, a stark contrast to this team a year ago. That's yet another example of how much Niedermayer and Selanne are missed. Both were huge components of the first PP unit.
According to the L.A. Times, Randy Carlyle is looking for more balance, since a large chunk of the Ducks' limited scoring is coming from the line of Corey, Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Kunitz. In practice, Todd Marchant was moved from the fourth line to that line and Kunitz was moved to the second line with Andy McDonald.
We'll see how that pans out tonight.
Updated Oct. 22 at 1:22 p.m.
I'm a bit sleepy this afternoon, considering I barely got any rest last night. Every time I closed my eyes, I kept wondering if I was going to wake up to my home being on fire. That's not really conducive to a good night's sleep.
The high winds had their effect on the Ducks, even though the team is halfway across the country. Last night a light poll in the Honda Center parking lot snapped and blew over, landing squarely on the hood and windshield of a Ducks player's car. I know who it belongs to, but I'm keeping that to myself in case this gets back to him. We don't need any distractions right now.
Tough loss for the Ducks on Saturday night. They started to get things together at home and the game at Dallas was the first chance to show they could keep things going on the road. Unfortunately, the Ducks, as Captain Pronger put it, "didn't execute very well and do the little things you need to do to win."
In the meantime, the Ducks went through a hard practice while still in Dallas yesterday. Randy Carlyle was tough on his team, and his many comments on their play included this one about Saturday night: "The score was 3-1 and I thought that was flattering." We'll see what they can do against Paul Kariya and St. Louis tomorrow night.
The one positive was the Ducks got Todd Marchant back from missing two games with a bruised right ankle. Of course, his return sent Petteri Wirtanen to Portland for the time being.
In other injury news, Mathieu Schneider had his protective boot removed as he tries to recover from his broken ankle.
"I feel like I've lost my ball-and-chain," Schneider said.
I felt the same way when I got divorced.
He also went on to say, "I'm going to run over it with my car. Maybe I'll have my kids do it." Schneider's oldest, Mathieu Jr., is six, by the way.
Many of you might have seen Ryan Getzlaf in a Glidden/Home Depot commercial while watching football this weekend. I don't know if I'm allowed to link to it, but I'm doing it anyway. Getzy shot his few seconds last August in Florida.
We finally put a new Ducks Poll up, after the last one had gotten a little stale. This new one is baseball themed, since the World Series kicks off this week. Here are the results of the last one, which asked which Ducks player you thought had looked best so far this year:
Ryan Getzlaf: 33.04%
Corey Perry: 27.48%
Francois Beauchemin: 9.70%
Chris Kunitz: 11.90%
Chris Pronger: 7.66%
Todd Bertuzzi: 10.21%
Alright, that's it for now.
Updated Oct. 20 at 11:53 a.m.
"Hey, great game-winning goal the other night, Petteri. Um, Randy wants to see you in his office."
Updated Oct. 19 at 4:52 p.m.
In case anyone missed the aforementioned Kunitz one-sided brawl, it has made its way onto YouTube.
Should be a good one tomorrow night at Dallas. I'll be alternating the two living room TVs between that game and Boston-Cleveland at Fenway. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night. Between that and doing my typical fall Sunday watching NFL all day, it might be time to get a new couch after this weekend. Maybe a half hour on the treadmill might help Sunday night too.
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
Updated Oct. 19 at 9:40 a.m.
As I was driving in this morning, I noticed a new billboard east of the 57, just before the Katella exit. In big letters, it read:
LASER TATTOO REMOVAL EXPERTS
It got me thinking. If your last name is Tattoff, you pretty much have no choice but to enter the laster tattoo removal field. It's your calling, right?
For any of you ladies with an ill-advised tramp stamp you're starting to regret, here is Dr. Tattoff's website. I checked it out and noticed you can see a video of Danny Bonaduce getting a tattoo removed, but it was way too early in the morning for me to watch that. I'm not sure there's any good time of day to watch that. Let's hope he doesn't actually talk while it's happening.
Okay, back to Ducks matters. I had the privilege last night of watching some 5,000 Ducks season seat holders roll through Honda Center at the annual Face Off Fest. It looked like everyone had a grand time, aside from one of our staffers allegedly being called a derogatory name (reserved for female canines) by a gentleman who took excception to her diligence while shuttling people through the autograph line. Sounded like a funny story.
Anyway, I had the privilege of manning the Chris Kunitz-Mark Mowers-Shane Hnidy (it's pronounced Nighdy, by the way) table. Every so often fans would come up and compliment Chris on his fight with Marek Zidlicky the night before. It's just another example of why hockey is a funny sport. Only in hockey can you wail away at a guy while he cowers in fear and covers his face, and the next day you're complimented for it. Repeatedly. By parents and their kids. God bless this game.
Kuni and the rest of the Ducks are getting in a quick practice this morning, then they leave for the airport, where they'll play in Dallas tomorrow night and then St. Louis on Tuesday. Should be a good test for a team that looks like it's getting things together. We'll have more details about that later in the day.
Updated Oct. 18 at 4:29 p.m.
There's a nice story in the OC Register today about a Ducks season seat holder who gave his seats to the Nashville game to an 8-year-old girl from Laguna Niguel who is battling cancer.
Updated Oct. 18 at 2:38 p.m.
Sorry for the delay today. Sometimes my silly job gets in the way of the blogging thing. Part of that job today has included a new episode of Duck Cast, with Drew Miller as the guest. (You might want to turn up the volume, since Drew is pretty soft-spoken.) As you probably know, Miller scored his first NHL goal last night, as did Petteri Wirtanen, in his first regular season NHL game. I was surprised to learn that he became the ninth Ducks player to score in his NHL debut. That seems pretty high for such a unique accomplishment, doesn't it? He's the second player to do it this year, as Bobby Ryan accomplished the feat in the season opener against the Kings in London.
There are certain quotes from players that just make you feel good about sports. This is one of them, from Wirtanen: "It's a moment that I can't imagine. It felt awesome."
The Ducks certainly didn't play their best, especially in the early part of the game, but they found a way to do something that good teams do -- they beat a team they were supposed to beat.
Now the Ducks have a couple of days off before they get a good test at Dallas.
In news from around the league, I found it curious that Atlanta dumped coach Bob Hartley just six games into this season. The Thrashers are off to an 0-6 start, but the firing seemed a little premature after he'd led the team to a winning record in his five seasons there and they won their division last year.
That's like dating a girl for five years, things are going pretty well, then she has a zit on her forehead that lasts a couple of weeks and you say, "You know what? I think we should see other people."
And in a move that seems to be an NHL trend lately (see N.J. Devils, April 2007), GM Don Waddell, the guy who fired Hartley, will take over as coach until they find a replacement. Isn't that what assistant coaches are for?
"We felt after six games the direction we were going was not the direction we wanted to go," Waddell said. "We couldn't let it go any further."
Updated Oct. 17 at 1:03 p.m.
If you're not already watching the American League Championship Series, here's one reason to tune in. Bill Simmons of ESPN.com (a.k.a. The Sports Guy) remarked that Cleveland's Casey Blake is "wearing a playoff beard given to him by one of the Niedermayer brothers." Simmons' hockey takes are so few and far between, it's worth mentioning when he has one, let alone one about the Ducks. See what you think:
Updated Oct. 17 at 12:27 p.m.
We've put up a new desktop wallpaper that shows this picture of the Ducks' banner raising ceremony on opening night.
Sorry for the delay on this. Sometimes I forget to do these things.
Updated Oct. 17 at 9:58 a.m.
The Ducks take on the Preds tonight, with Anaheim looking to win two in a row, something they haven't done all season. But if history is any indicator, the Ducks have a great shot. They are a whopping 9-0-2 in the last 11 meetings at Honda Center against Nashville.
Another nice thing about having the Preds in town is that we'll at least get to see Paul Kariya again. Oh wait, he's not there anymore? Well, at least they still have Forsberg. No? Kimmo Timonen? Tomas Vokuon? Guess we'll have to settle for Barry Trotz, one of the great names in all of pro sports.
The Preds are off to a 2-3-0 start and are looking for their first win on the road this season. Here's hoping they have to wait a little longer after tonight.
Okay, on to other things. Because of a couple of fan injuries last year, the Ducks were forced to retire the Bazooka Blast gimmick during intermissions, where they shot t-shirts into the crowd. A few fans got a little overzealous diving after $5 t-shirts and some people got hurt.
Anyway, the Ducks put their three Bazooka Blast guns up for sale and guess who bought two of them? That's right, the Ottawa Senators.
Enjoy them, boys. You might want to try nail polish remover to get those stickers off.
Updated Oct. 16 at 11:17 a.m.
It's rare that you can call anything a "big win" on Oct. 15, but last night's 6-3 victory over Detroit is about as close as you can come. So many positives came out of that one last night:
- The Ducks score just 1:56 into it after not finding the net at all the night before. And it's Kent Huskins' first career goal to boot.
- Anaheim didn't panic when they lost their composure a bit and let Detroit back in to tie it 3-3. The go-ahead goal set up by the Rob Niedermayer steal and then a fantastic feed to Sammy Pahlsson was a thing of beauty. The way Pahlsson got up the ice after the turnover, took Niedermayer's pass and wristed a perfect top shelf shot past Hasek is one of the many examples of why Sammy is so valuable to this team. You take away him and that line with Niedermayer and Moen and I bet we don't have any stories about what the Ducks did with the Cup last summer.
- Don't forget the insurance goal by Corey Perry (never underestimate the opportunities that Chris Pronger's one-timers set up on the power play) and the length-of the-ice slider by Sean O'Donnell that rolled into the empty net.
- Ilya Bryzgalov played his Russian rear end off, with 32 saves that the scoresheet doesn't do justice. So many of them were of the acrobatic type and many of them came on the nine power plays the Ducks faced during the night. Bryz frequently did something that J.S. Giguere did in the playoffs last year that was so valuable. He saved hard one-timers and slappers on the power play and held them so there were no rebound opportunities. That kind of work in the net is invaluable and often doesn't get noticed.
- This win came without Todd Bertuzzi, Mathieu Schneider (who has yet to play in the regular season) and Todd Marchant, who took a puck off the foot in the Minnesota game, but thankfully an MRI revealed no broken bones.
This was the kind of win the Ducks really needed, even though we're only eight games into this thing and Brian Burke warned before the game: “It’s not time to panic. It’s October, for God’s sake. I know what this group can do. I’ve seen it. I believe in this group.”
And after last night, we all believe in them just a little bit more.
Updated Oct. 15 at 12:39 p.m.
It's tough to be critical of the Ducks' 2-0 loss last night to Minnesota. The Ducks worked hard for most of the night and fired 37 shots at Wild backup goalie Josh Harding, including 33 over the first two periods. They just couldn't get anything through. The Wild is pretty used to that from their opponents. Their goals against average is a ridiculous 0.80 so far this season.
By the way, the Ducks have already lost four games in regulation in this young season. They didn't do that until Dec. 16 last year.Despite the fact he took the loss, it was good to see J.S. Giguere back and I don't think he can be blamed for either of the two Minnesota goal. I would say the chances of him making a start again tonight against Detroit are pretty slim. It's probably a Bryz night, but we'll see.
It was no surprise last night that Derek Boogaard was interested in fighting most of the Ducks roster, after what happened in last year's playoffs when Brad May hit Kim Johnsson in the head. Boogaard took on May and later George Parros. Here was May's take on the whole thing:"We all play for the jersey on our back and the teammates we play with. We have responsibilities to step up for our teammates. Clearly that’s what he’s done, but I also have to do that. He didn’t say a word. I just said, ‘I owe you a fight, so let’s do it.’ He was into it. He was ready.”
Speaking of Boogaard, he delivered a hit on Todd Bertuzzi in the first period that sent Bertuzzi to the ice and gave him a concussion. He is probably not suiting up tonight, but we'll try to update that later.
Either way, here's hoping the Ducks can find the net more often against a Detroit team that beat Anaheim in a shootout at Joe Louis on Oct. 3. Obviously, the 37 shots against a traditionally stingy Minnesota defense is a good sign. Those shots have to find the net sooner or later.
Updated Oct. 12 at 4:46 p.m.
We've added several photos to the photo gallery of the pregame festivities prior to the home opener on Wednesday. And speaking of adding photos, we've enhanced the Power Players page, including a link at the bottom that will give you more photos. How many other websites can give you photos of cute girls holding shovels? That's right, this one can!
Updated Oct. 12 at 3:07 p.m.
ESPN.com has ranked the 30 coaches in the NHL, which normally would be a ranking that belongs on www.whocares.com, but since they rank our Randy No.1, I'll link to it.
More ESPN.com: Francois Beauchemin is listed at the top of the "Becker's Dozen" weekly list of 13 players whose fantasy hockey value has gone up or down as of late (Beauch has gone up). Unfortunately, Todd Bertuzzi and former Duck Ryan Shannon (now with Vancouver) are two players who have gone down.
Updated Oct. 12 at 9:24 a.m.
As I was driving in this morning, I was flipping the XM Radio channels and came across a song I haven't heard in quite some time: "Parents Just Don't Understand" by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. I actually kept it on to the finish from the second verse, the part where he talks about stealing his parents' new Porsche. You remember:My parents went away on a week's vacation and
They left the keys to the brand new Porsche
Would they mind?
Mmm, well, of course not
Here's a flashback
And by the way, good luck getting that song out of your head for the rest of the morning.
Who would have thought that the skinny kid with the funny ears in that video would someday become one of the most bankable movies stars in the world and would be twice nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.
Life is funny sometimes, isn't it?
Anyway, the Ducks practice this morning at Anaheim Ice, since Honda Center is preparing to be flooded with teenage Christian girls for the Revolve Tour event here tonight and tomorrow morning. We'll try to have something for you - from the Ducks, not the teenage Christian girls - later this afternoon.
Updated Oct. 11 at 11:46 a.m.
There were certainly (to use a word Chris Pronger uses a lot) a ton of positives coming out of last night. The pregame ceremony was outstanding and seeing those banners raised to the rafters could hardly be beat. Watching the Stanley Cup be lowered from the scoreboard was chill-inducing. Scotty and Teemu looked sharp in their suits. And, by the way, in our latest Ducks Poll, that is what people have voted as their favorite thing about last night. Not the victory over the Bruins, not the banners being raised, not the cool introductions, but seeing Scotty and Teemu. Interesting.
As far as the game goes, great to see Sammy Pahlsson back on the ice. That can only mean good things for the Ducks. Secondly, like last year, the Ducks showed they can win games without putting forth their best effort and even when they are still banged up. Giguere and Schneider are still out and Bertuzzi was almost a no-go with groin soreness. And the Ducks looked sluggish in the first period, but it's a great sign that after letting in a goal just 1:05 into it, the defense and Ilya Bryzgalov gave up nothing else the rest of the way. Just 19 shots total for the Bs. That is what the 2006-07 Ducks did all year.
Let's hope they keep it going Sunday. By the way, the team has the day off today, so a chance to rest after that road trip and an exciting last few days in which they got their rings and went through the whole hullabaloo of the home opener. They will be back to practice on Friday.
Updated Oct. 10 at 6:23 p.m.
We're about 40 minutes away from dropping the puck on the home opener. As with every home game (or game in another country that I'm attending), I will be doing a live game log. So, if you can't get the game on TV or radio - or even if you can - click on the link on the home page and check it out.
Updated Oct. 10 at 12:26 p.m.
Just in case you're not yet sick of the Stanley Cup, the L.A. Times ran a special 8-page color pullout section today chronicling nine Ducks players' time with it over the summer. A full photo gallery (including audio clips) of each player’s visit is available on the Times website.
Updated Oct. 10 at 10:37 a.m.
I just want to mention one more thing about the red carpet arrival of the Ducks before tonight's home opener. The Stanley Cup will also be on the red carpet and is scheduled to arrive around 5 p.m.
Tonight will be the last time the Cup is in Southern California this season. Well, until the Ducks win it next year.
Updated Oct. 10 at 9:12 a.m.
The Ducks have already played five games this regular season, but it almost feels like they're starting over with the home opener tonight. After all, the Ducks start tonight exactly where they finished the 2006-07 regular season -- in first place. Believe it or not, Anaheim is tied for the top spot in the Pacific Division with three points, the same total as San Jose (1-1-1).
Anyway, it should be an exciting night. The Ducks will be raising their three banners (Stanley Cup, Western Conference and Pacific Division) with the help of a couple of semi-retired guys that you might recognize. Dan Wood has a story on that in today's OC Register, which also includes more hemming and hawing from Mr. Niedermayer: "I'm going to have to make a decision sooner or later. I don't have a time frame. It's hard for me to judge 'soon' — within two weeks, or two months. I don't know exactly what 'soon' means. I hope the sooner the better, but there still could be some time here."
Updated Oct. 9 at 6:33 p.m.
We have a new Ducks staffer named Matt Vevoda who will be contributing to the website on a regular basis. We have posted two features he wrote today on Andy McDonald and his wife having their first baby and the Ducks getting their rings.
Updated Oct. 9 at 11:49 a.m.
Last night each of the Ducks players received their Stanley Cup championship rings at a private event. We'll have a story of that and pictures on the site later on today. This morning, each of the Ducks full-time employees, including this guy, received their rings. It doesn't get much cooler than this:
Updated Oct. 9 at 9:06 a.m.
Two things I noticed as I was rolling in this morning. First was a big white truck in front of my on the 5 with a personalized license plate that said: HATEFULWhy?
Second was something that I'm sure has been there a few days, but I haven't been here to enjoy it. The entry road into Honda Center off Douglass has been renamed, complete with a street sign that clearly marks it: Stanley Cup Way.
Updated Oct. 8 at 2:05 p.m.
In preparation for the Ducks visit to Pittsburgh last weekend, the Penguins website did a feature on Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who played there from 1978 through 1984. Take a look at the story, not just because yours truly provided the quotes to the guy who wrote the story, but because you'll get to see Randy's sweet mullet. I guess that's why they call it "hockey hair."
(Thanks to reader Keriann for bringing this to my attention.)
Updated Oct. 8 at 1:59 p.m.
I've gotten a lot of emails regarding our story on the site about the opening night festivities and what time the Ducks will be arriving on the red carpet. They should be arriving around 4:30 that night, but getting here before that time certainly wouldn't hurt.
Updated Oct. 8 at 8:54 a.m.
It's not every day that you're itching to come into the office, that you can't get to work fast enough. But this was one of those days for me. After being away from here for two weeks - in two different foreign countries, no less - I couldn't wait to get here this morning. Even came in a little early.
As I was heading up the 57, I noticed more than ever that Angel Stadium was empty. Of course, it's empty every morning, but it was strange to think that it will look like that for the next six months. As I got closer to the arena, I noticed that one of the ads on our marquee on Katella flashed: Go Angels. Good Luck Against the Red Sox. Maybe somebody else should have come into work early this morning.
Anyway, sorry to see the Halos bow out so early, but on the bright side, at least all of the OC sports fans' eyes are on us now.
We've changed the poll question, which had become so outdated that it might as well have said: How do you think Paris Hilton will do in jail? For the record, here is the result of who you thought looked best against the Kings:
Bobby Ryan: 12.13%
Jonas Hiller: 17.94%
Corey Perry: 34.63%
Ryan Getzlaf: 12.75%
Chris Kunitz: 5.40%
Andy McDonald: 7.93%
Chris Pronger: 9.21%
And we've got a new one up, if you want to take a look.
Updated Oct. 6 at 5 10:43 a.m. (back in OC)
Well, this was exactly what we were afraid of.
When the Ducks schedule came out in the summer, this road trip to open the season - two games in London followed by Detroit, Columbus and Pittsburgh - had 1-3-1 written all over it. And that was before we knew that J.S. Giguere, Sammy Pahlsson and Mathieu Schneider would be out recovering from injuries and that Sceemu Niederlanne would not be suiting up.
And after that 5-4 loss last night, in which the Penguins twice scored two goals within seconds of each other, made our worst fear a reality. Now the Ducks will raise their championship banners Wednesday night becoming more wistful for those old times more than ever. They’ll be thinking something like: Nice banners. Remember those times? That sure was a lot of fun. I miss that.
It’s ironic the Ducks were stung not by one of the Pens many youthful scorers, but by former castoff Petr Sykora. Although, Sidney Crosby did pull off a phenomenal falling-to-the-ice pass to set up Ryan Malone one Pittsburgh’s last goal. That showed by Crosby is the best offensive player in the game, as he does more when he’s horizontal than many guys do on skates. Here’s an example.
Crosby’s quote after the game just reaffirmed why things are going to be much tougher for the Ducks this year. "Everyone was motivated to play these guys," Crosby said. "They're the champions, and we were all up for this game, playing Anaheim and it's the home opener."
Unfortunately, the Ducks were used to that on this trip. They played three games in four nights, all of which were the other team’s home opener.
Chris Pronger was asked what the Ducks would do on the flight home and said, "Sleep. We're too tired to get angry."Let’s hope they wake up in time to play more like the team that earned those banners they’re raising Wednesday night.
Updated Oct. 3 at 5:15 p.m. (Scotland time)
Pretty familiar way for the Ducks to lose last night, as they fell 3-2 in a shootout. Since that tiebreaking format went into effect during the 2005-06 season, the Ducks are 7-18. That's not very good. Of course, they do have a Stanley Cup in that time period, so that certainly makes up for it.The Ducks were lucky to steal a point in that game, considering they got off only 15 shots the entire game. I keep hearing that Detroit didn't sell out the game, which is really too bad in a town that calls itself "Hockeytown". Maybe it should be "Hookeytown", judging by the number of seatholders who apparently played hooky last night and during last year's playoffs. They announced a paid attendance of 17,610, but from what I heard from Steve Carroll and Brent Severyn (as I listened online at 4 in the morning) it wasn't nearly that full.
By the way, I don't get to listen to those two nearly enough, and they do a fantastic job. And I'm not just saying that because Brent could hurt me at will and once put a squeeze with his thumb and forefinger on my neck and shoulder region that nearly made me pass out. Take a listen to them next time you get a chance, just for the sake of hearing them rip each other in the middle of the action.
I'm heading back to London in about an hour, where our group will FINALLY fly back to the States tomorrow. Let's just say that I'll never be so happy to see Orange County as I will Friday evening. It's been a long time.
Last night I was reminded again why hockey is better than soccer/football. Last night we were watching the match between the Scottish team Celtic and AC Milan in a bar in Ayreshire. I'm wondering if this highlight made it to Sportscenter in the States, because it was definitely a memorable moment. After a huge late goal by Celtic, the team was celebrating when a Celtic fan ran on the field, toward the AC Milan goalie and gave him a relatively harmless flat-handed hit to the chest or throat area. The goalie turned to chase down the fan, took about five steps and fell to the turf, inexplicably clutching his head and face. He was taken off on a stretcher. It's one thing if he got hurt by the fan, but HE RAN AFTER HIM, then fell to the ground.
Soccer/football is notorious for this sort of thing with players trying to draw fouls during the game and it's one of the worst things you've ever seen. A player will get tripped and go to the ground in a heap, clutching his knee in clear agony. Then, seconds later, he gets up and sprints away. Now this goalie has taken the practice to new and embarrassing heights. How does he look himself in the mirror? I read a story about it in this morning's paper and they didn't mention at all how shameful the acting was. Don't get me wrong, I think the fan running on the field is an appalling act, but we found ourselves doing much more eye-rolling on the goalie reaction.
I did find myself enjoying some soccer/football on TV and in person when I was in London (especially on late-night TV when the only other option was the BBC stock report or a French soap opera). But that is one part of it I definitely won't miss. How about instituting a "diving" rule like they have in good ol' hockey?
Speaking of hockey, the Ducks battle Columbus Friday night, a team they've had surprisingly little success against the past couple of years. Should be a good one.
Updated Oct. 3 at 7:12 p.m. (Scotland time)
Dan Wood's story on the Ducks playing Detroit tonight is a good one. Read it just to relive the Ducks' epic Game 5 victory there in last year's Western Conference Final. If you really think about it, the Ducks don't get that last-minute goal by Scott Niedermayer and the overtime goal by Teemu Selanne, there is a good chance some other team spends the summer with the Stanley Cup. It's ironic the Ducks play Detroit tonight and those two guys probably aren't going to contribute much.
Here's my favorite quote from the story, by Chris Pronger: "We know Detroit is oozing to get back at us."
I definitely am not missing being at Joe Louis Arena with the Ducks, certainly not a pleasant place for a visiting team to play a hockey game. But it is sweet to have one of my last memories of that place be that overtime goal. The sound of shocked silence, combined with a few Detroit fan f-bombs and some loud fist-slamming of seats is one of the sweetest melodies I've ever heard.I'm going to have to find some way to watch this game tonight. Something tells me that my hotel TV and its 8 channels does not carry Versus. Just a hunch.
Updated Oct. 1 at 11:04 p.m. (Scotland time)
We've thrown up a new poll, asking you who you thought looked the best against the Kings in London. Here are the results of the last one, in which we asked you what you thought about the Ducks being there in the first place:
I like it
We weren't able to get into more detail with the "I don't like it" people, but I'd be curious to hear why.
Anyway, feel free to chime in on the new one.
Updated Oct. 1 at 7:36 p.m. (
It's just getting dark here in Troon, Ayrshire in
It was yet another interesting thing about public transportation in
I said, "Is this the gate for GLASS-goh?"
The guy said, "Pardon?"
"Oh, GLAZZ-goh. Yes it is."
Unbelievable. That gate led not to the plane, but to the waiting area, where I nearly passed out from exhaustion. I slept almost entirely through the flight and here we are. I know this has nothing to do with the Ducks, but at least allow me some leeway.
I just want to say that now that we've left
So, here's to you,
Back to the 1-1 Ducks, who arrived in Detroit in the early morning, where they play Wednesday night against a team who might be looking for revenge after a little something called a six-game defeat in the conference Final last year. It should be a good one.