Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Kesler is the key part of the Ducks’ plan. The Ducks don’t care where they finish in the regular season, as long as they make the playoffs and prepare themselves along the way. They are creating a leadership group, so Getzlaf and Corey Perry aren’t carrying the whole load. They want to distribute ice time more evenly, so the top players are fresh for the spring and the Ducks can roll four lines against deep division rivals like L.A. and the San Jose Sharks.
The Ducks now have a premier pain-in-the-butt on each of their top two lines – Perry on the first, Kesler on the second. They now have someone else to go against the likes of Anze Kopitar and Joe Thornton. When there’s a draw in the defensive zone, coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t need to send out Getzlaf as often, freeing Getzlaf for more offensive situations.
“It gives us better options,” Boudreau says. “As far as matchups go, when a team was really matching up on Getzlaf’s line, we didn’t have that other big center that you needed to maybe match up against maybe their No. 1 line.”
“I’ve started a lot, a lot of faceoffs in the defensive zone,” Getzlaf says. “Having another guy here who is responsible in our zone and can play those minutes is going to help me in some aspects of the offensive side – and just overall.”
Today was media day in Anaheim and head coach Bruce Boudreau addressed the recent comments Teemu Selanne made in his book about Boudreau.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
If anyone other than Bruce Boudreau was coaching the Anaheim Ducks, Teemu Selanne believes that he would be reporting for training camp with his former teammates on Thursday morning and continuing his NHL career.
That is among a number of frank revelations contained in an authorized biography entitled “Teemu,” which has just been released in Finland. The book was written by journalist Ari Mennander with Selanne’s support and has been in the works for a decade. Sections translated into English were obtained by Sportsnet for this article and later cross-checked by two people that have read it....
Selanne felt that he never gained the coach’s trust and wasn’t given enough ice time to make an impact. Ultimately, he claims that it prompted him to begrudgingly walk away from the game just before his 44th birthday.
“If we had any other coach, I’d still play,” said Selanne.
You never know who you will see when you pick up your tickets.
via the Anaheim Ducks,
The Ducks have signed right wing Devante Smith-Pelly to a two-year contract through the 2015-16 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Smith-Pelly, 22 (6/14/92), has scored 9-14=23 points with 18 penalty minutes (PIM) in 75 career NHL games with the Ducks. Smith-Pelly set career highs in assists (8) and plus/minus (+5) in his third NHL season in 2013-14, appearing in 19 games with Anaheim. The 6-0, 222-pound winger also made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in 2014, leading the Ducks with five goals (5-0=5) and ranking third with 24 PIM.
from the Anaheim Ducks,
The Ducks have extended the contract of Head Coach Bruce Boudreau for two additional seasons. Boudreau, who had one year remaining on his contract, is now signed through the 2016-17 NHL season.
“Bruce has done a very good job over the last several years, and deserves the opportunity to take this team deep into the playoffs,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “We’re happy to have this contract complete before training camp, so our complete focus can be on winning hockey games.”
“We made some changes, but the core group is pretty much the same, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity that we have and I know I’m excited for the start of the year and to see what we’re made of.
“We’ve got a lot of good teams out West. St. Louis was definitely a high-profile team that expected to do a lot and they ran into a Chicago team that was so strong.
“That’s kind of what can happen. If you don’t come in first in your division, for us, we’re looking at L.A. or San Jose in the first round. It definitely puts a little more added pressure for the regular season to finish out strong, but you’re going to run into a good team no matter who you face in the first round.”
-Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks after skating with some of the Wings today. More from Fowler by Bob Duff of the Windsor Star.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We’ll take a look at different storylines over the next couple of weeks as camps near, but here are two of the teams that grab my attention right away: the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
This is an important season for this franchise. They’ve been knocking at the door for three years and have one playoff series win to show for it.
Of course, losing to powerhouse Chicago in the opening round last spring is hardly anything to be embarrassed about. And they lost to Los Angeles the other two postseasons. Talk about playoff royalty. It just underlines yet again the imbalance that exists in the NHL right now in terms of the predominance of the Western Conference.
It’s difficult, yes, but the Blues have to figure out how to join the Kings and Blackhawks at that level.
from Curtis Zupke at NHL.com,
How much will Kesler help close the gap between Anaheim and the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks? – Kesler is adept in the faceoff circle and will help the Ducks' 22nd-ranked power play. When healthy, he is good for 10-15 power-play goals per season and is also a shorthanded threat.
Defensively, Kesler has won the Selke Trophy (and was a finalist two other times) and provides size and a 200-foot game that is valuable in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
That said, Kesler alone won't put Anaheim on par with Los Angeles and Chicago. The Ducks had to give up Nick Bonino in the trade and veterans Koivu and Perreault were not brought back, so they aren't as deep down the middle on their third and fourth lines.
How does the goaltending shake out? – Frederik Andersen is probably the No. 1 at the moment but that could change in a heartbeat if fellow second-year goalie John Gibson has an outstanding training camp. Andersen and Gibson both usurped Jonas Hiller, who signed with the Calgary Flames, and there might be times this season when Anaheim realizes how much it misses Hiller. That's why Jason LaBarbera was signed to provide veteran leadership.
"We think we've got two really good goalies and an experienced, veteran goalie," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think we're OK there, I just don't know how it will shake out."
I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. He lives pretty much in the town right next to me, and we’ve been skating together this summer. I started to get to know him heading into the Olympics, and then I got to know him pretty well there. He’s a good guy and he’s going to be a great teammate. He competes like crazy. The fans are going to love him and his work ethic. Talking to him, he’s really looking forward to a fresh start in Anaheim. It’s going to be great.
-Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks on new teammate Ryan Kesler. More from Fowler in a Q & A by Kyle Shoraha of the Ducks' website.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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