by PuckStopsHere on 10/17/08 at 02:14 PM ET
The season has barely begun. Most teams have played less than a handful of games. In fact, the Edmonton Oilers have only played two times so far this season. Nevertheless, we are beginning to get an early feel for the way teams are starting the season. The only team that is yet to collect a point this season is the Anaheim Ducks. They have played four games and lost them all. This is a bit of a surprise because they have a similar roster to the team that won the 2007 Stanley Cup and were predicted to do well. What has been wrong with Anaheim so far?
The most obvious problem is that Anaheim has had a very poor goals against. With 17 goals allowed, they are tied for the second worst goals against in the NHL (Dallas has allowed one more goal). Given the goaltending of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the defence of Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin and the shutdown line of Rob Niedermayer, Sami Pahlsson and Travis Moen, this is a very unlikely outcome. It is one I cannot imagine lasting throughout the season.
They have also had one of the weakest offences in the league. They are tied for the second worst goals per game with 2.0 goals per game (only New Jersey has been worse). This is also a surprise. The players they have expected to score haven’t. Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry have one point each so far. Ryan Getzlaf has no points whatsoever. These players are too good to stay off of the scoresheet for long, but until they do score Anaheim will have a hard time.
Anaheim does have a couple off ice distractions. General manager Brian Burke is in the last season of his contract and may depart for another city next year. Owner Harry Sameuli is expected to go to jail for his part in a stock market fraud and is suspended by the NHL. These distractions may be cited as an explanation for the Ducks slow start, but I think this is more likely a team in a slump. Everyone has a four game slump sometime. Since it is the beginning of the season, it appears a much bigger deal than it is.
Anaheim is off to the slowest start in the NHL so far this season. They have a good team and should do well. This is just an early season slump that will be overcome. I expect the Ducks will have one of the better records in the league once the season is completed.
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