Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
The hottest goal scorer on the NHL’s unrestricted free agent market will likely be wearing a new sweater next season.
The Anaheim Ducks have made one last offer to winger Matt Beleskey prior to July 1, according to general manager Bob Murray, but the team appears ready to cut ties if the breakout sniper doesn’t drop his asking price.
“It’s a bumpy road right now. I’m not going to lie. We’re going to take one more shot at it, and then we’ll have to move on,” Murray told Hockey Central at Noon Monday.
“You gotta protect yourself. It’s not just the contract this year; it’s what it does to your team in future years. You’ve gotta be looking one, three, five, seven years out. You gotta see what that contract does to you, the term of it. There’s lots of things that go into this that people don’t see right off the bat.”
via Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
Surgery on Nate Thompson's left shoulder Thursday revealed two labral tears that will cause the Ducks center to miss the first two months of the 2015-16 season.
A Ducks spokesman said Friday that Thompson will need five to six months of recovery, which could take his return into December. Thompson first hurt his shoulder on April 11 during the team's regular-season finale at Arizona....
The Ducks could enter 2015-16 with Chris Wagner as an option at fourth-line center or possibly address the position with a move over the summer. Wagner is a restricted free agent that will need to be re-signed....
One option no longer available to them is former prospect William Karlsson. Karlsson was sent to Columbus at the March 2 trade deadline in a package that brought the Ducks veteran defenseman James Wisniewski.
Wisniewski did not appear in any playoff games with the Ducks as they used the same six on defense but he still has two years left on a contract that'll pay him $5 million in 2015-16 and $3 million in 2016-17, making the defender part of their plans unless they attempt to move his salary.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
What I’m saying is that a series once deemed a certain classic because of how little separated the two teams ended up leaving an aftertaste that was far from classic. Unless you enjoy guzzling milk that’s gone bad.
The Ducks, in the context for the NHL’s conference finals, were utterly dominated when it mattered most, Chicago squeezing the life from them and the drama from a series that deserved a real Game 7 and not just a seventh game.
History will suggest the Ducks were close. Reality will insist they were close for a while but not in the end. Not really.
For me, Game 6 will go down as the most memorable, most memorable in the sense it was staggeringly forgettable.
It would be bad enough for me to say the Ducks showed up not ready to play a game in which they could clinch a berth in Stanley Cup Final. It’s something decidedly worse for their captain to say that.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written the past several days, you know I’ve mentioned this more than once already. But that’s only because it’s something that, in dissecting what just happened to the Ducks and exploring what could happen to them next, can’t be mentioned enough.
“I’m not 100 percent convinced he’s not getting (fired). I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just saying that I know the relationship there is not great between Murray and Boudreau.
“I think it would be crazy. I think Murray would be smart to wait one more year and just see how this group does and how he does with them. But I know that their relationship isn’t great, so that always complicates things.”
-Elliotte Friedman on Fan590 radio today. More from Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshot.
added 2:53pm, Video of Friedman's segment is below...
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Ryan Getzlaf painted his Ducks teammates into a corner by refusing to admit the Chicago Blackhawks were the better team after winning the Western Conference finals.
By not accepting that the Ducks were beaten by a superior franchise positioned to win its third Stanley Cup in six seasons, Getzlaf brings attention to why his team squandered a 3-2 playoff series lead and lost Game 7 at home for an unprecedented third consecutive season.
If the reason wasn't the Blackhawks' talent — center Jonathan Toews scored four goals in the last three games, defenseman Duncan Keith had five assists in the final two and forward Patrick Kane closed with a goal and four assists in Games 6 and 7 — then the focus shifts to why the Ducks shrink in hockey's most pressurized games....
After saying he played "terrible" with a minus-three rating in Game 6, Getzlaf was minus-one with two giveaways in Game 7 while right wing Corey Perry matched those figures with a late third-period goal that was answered less than two minutes later by the Blackhawks' dagger.
Perry declined to speak to reporters after the loss.
Getzlaf admitted of Game 6, "We weren't really mentally prepared to play that game," and lamented after Game 7, "they started stronger than us."
The question to both statements is why.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
And in Toronto, former Ducks forward Smith-Pelly tweeted just this:
It was then that the ground opened up and the fires of hockey hell licked at his feet.
By 11 a.m. on Sunday, Smith-Pelly’s wordless, two-keystroke tweet had generated nearly 1,500 retweets and been favourited almost 1,900 times.
His Twitter mentions from Ducks fans, that is, comments tagged to the tweet, referenced his body size, many times; the couch on which he was watching the playoffs; his NHL future; and much, much worse.
“The worst one?” Smith-Pelly said with a laugh, repeating the question 12 hours after the skies had opened. “That I was too bad to be on a (crappy) team, that the Canadiens had lost in the second round. It was hilarious. I thought it was great.”
There’s some history here, of course.
Smith-Pelly, 22, was traded to the Canadiens in late February for forward Jiri Sekac; it was the Ducks who brought Smith-Pelly into the NHL in the second round of the 2010 entry draft, 42nd overall.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
It is hard to single out the one reputation that will take the most unmerciful beating after the Anaheim Ducks’ 5-3 capitulation to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference final Saturday night at Honda Center.
Will it be that of coach Bruce Boudreau, who now bears the unenviable distinction of having coached the only two teams in NHL history to lose home Game 7s in three straight postseasons --- and whose troops once again fell apart so inexplicably, so abysmally?
Will it be Ryan Getzlaf’s? The Ducks’ captain manfully took the blame for a lousy Game 6 … then was on the ice for the first three Chicago goals Saturday, losing Jonathan Toews on the first and a battle to Johnny Oduya on the third.
Or will it be that of the Orange County market itself, embodied by those lukewarm Ducks fans who weren’t passionate enough to snap up tickets to Game 7 of what had been an epic series, with a berth in the Stanley Cup on the line?
The first two, quite reasonably, will wear the responsibility for the loss. The Ducks had no answer for Toews.
from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
It’s as difficult as one, two, three.
Three Game 7 losses.
Three Game 7 losses at home.
Three Game 7 losses at home in succession.
For the third time in three years, the Ducks’ postseason ended in front of their own fans, as Honda Center emptied of bodies just in time to fill with another wave of lingering, biting disappointment.
“You know, we took another step this year, going a round farther,” said captain Ryan Getzlaf, after the Ducks’ 5-3 loss to Chicago in the Western Conference finals. “But, ultimately, with Game 7, we gotta be able to finish.”
Now 0 for 3 in these challenges, this core group of Ducks has turned Game 7 into a don’t-and-die. They have no choice now but to wear that distinction as proudly as they’d wear a tattoo with a typo.
They just had a chance to change their dreadful recent history but instead fell behind before the game was 21/2 minutes old, trailed as badly as 4-0 and watched the Blackhawks continue to improve while they stood still.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
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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