Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
But the main difference in the Ducks may be that the core of the team, its blue-line unit, is now even stronger. The trio of Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin that gobbled up all those minutes in 21 post-season matches last spring has an extra partner this season in veteran Mathieu Schneider.
Together, it may be the NHL’s top defence group.
Ottawa has attractive depth, Detroit has Nicklas Lidstrom and the league’s flashiest defensive numbers while Calgary is getting there with Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf.
But the Ducks’ quartet has talent, pedigree and experience, and you could even argue all four are playing as well as they ever have.
That includes the 38-year-old Schneider, added as a free agent from Detroit in July.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
“I think it’s a great idea to have player input, but the competition committee should report to the managers,” he said. “Which players are on the competition committee? Which group do they speak for? Sixty per cent of our league plays a certain kind of hockey, 10 per cent play a certain kind of hockey ... what’s the composition of that group, and what’s their goal? What are they trying to accomplish? Are they trying to do what’s best for their particular group?”
Currently, the players on the committee are Brendan Shanahan, Jarome Iginla, Trevor Linden, Marty Turco and Rob Blake. The GMs are David Poile (Nashville), Don Waddell (Atlanta), Bob Gainey (Montreal) and Burke’s arch-enemy, Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe. Philadelphia chairman Ed Snider rounds out the group.
“Players don’t vote for rule changes in any other sport,” said Burke. “So either we’re revolutionary, and it’s a great idea, or we’ve got it bass-ackwards. And I think we’ve got it bass-ackwards.”
from the OC Register,
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle hails from Sudbury, Ontario, the home province of Toronto, so it is safe to assume he was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan growing up rather than a Montreal Canadiens follower.
“Those were the days when it was French vs. English in northern Ontario,” Carlyle said. “It made for a natural rivalry.”...
“They’re easily the most recognizable hockey franchise,” he said. “Some people might argue Montreal. Having played there a number of years ago, and with the branding that’s taken place in the game, Toronto is front and center.”
from the LA Times,
Teemu Selanne said the only reason he has not retired is because he believes the Ducks have the pieces in place to win a second consecutive Stanley Cup and is trying to decide if he wants to be part of that.
“Every time I come to the games, I get really excited,” he said before attending Monday night’s home game against Nashville. “But when I go home, it’s with mixed feelings.”
Selanne, 37, said he is on a program where he’ll skate up to five days this week with the intention of making a final decision in “about two weeks.”
And if he does return, it will be with the Ducks and no one else.
“I have to know if I’m ready to start pushing it to get back to the level I want to be at,” said Selanne, who had 48 goals last season. “There’s no way I’m coming back at 90 or 95%. It has to be 100%.”
continued (reg. req.)
From the Bear Essentials at Bruins.com,
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Wednesday that the team has acquired defenseman Shane Hnidy and a sixth round draft choice in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Brandon Bochenski.
Update 6:08pm ET: Press release here.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
On Sunday, the Ducks became the first NHL team to reach the mid-point of the season — and while they were technically in eighth spot in the Western Conference, most of the teams chasing them held three-to-five games in hand. Prorated over the course of a full season, their 43 points in 41 games is unlikely to be enough to get them into the playoffs. So they need to make a surge, and with five of their next six games at home, and with checking centre Sami Pahlsson scheduled to return to the line-up, this would be a good time to start the turnaround.
The identity of the team is still evolving, but it is clear they will be playing in a lot of low-scoring games from here on in, barring the return of Teemu Selanne or a deal at the deadline to add a goal-scorer - given the strength of their defensive corps, from Niedermayer and Chris Pronger to Schneider and Francois Beauchemin and their comparatively limited offensive personnel.
read on... and remember that internet rumor junk that was floating around, “if you knew the real reason why Niedermayer wants to retire, you would understand”?, well, in the article from Eric, Scott says he just wanted to make sure he wanted to play again, no conspiracy theories…
from Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
The Ducks will be without their top checking center and best faceoff man for their upcoming three-game road trip.
Samuel Pahlsson will stay in Orange County to rehabilitate an abdominal injury while the team plays Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in the next four days, Coach Randy Carlyle said.
from the OC Register,
The Ducks are counting on the puck-moving ability of Niedermayer, Pronger, Schneider and Beauchemin, as well as the addition of Weight and Ryan, to boost a group of forwards that has been lacking in offensive balance all season.
Weight, expected to play against the Sharks despite not having arrived from St. Louis in time for Saturday’s practice, is a premier playmaker who had seen diminished ice time this season under Blues coach Andy Murray. The Ducks are hopeful Weight will click with winger Todd Bertuzzi, or perhaps Chris Kunitz, if Carlyle should opt to play Bertuzzi on the top line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry.
more on the Ducks…
While Burke did manufacture a team that quickly became a Stanley Cup champion, he has almost as quickly allowed it to slip back into mediocrity.
Empty Netters tells you why…
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
...the fact that the Ducks opted to trade McDonald, a centre, as opposed to a defenceman such as Sean O’Donnell or Shane Hnidy or Mathieu Schneider, did come as something of a surprise.
Some may look at the trade and decide that the Ducks aren’t as good now with Weight as they were with McDonald.
Fair enough, that is not an illogical face-value assessment, even though McDonald’s numbers are way down this season.
But in the grand scheme of things, this McDonald trade is precisely what the doctor ordered for the Ducks and will help the organization in ways you don’t immediately see.
Now, if you believed Corey Perry was going to be moved, or there was even some talk of him being moved, then you probably should not be reading this. Go back to the drama queen channel, you may find something you like there.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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