Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bobby Wipes Out Wild

The Ducks defeated the Minnesota Wild at the Honda Center on Tuesday, with a score of 4-2. Bobby Ryan scored two goals and an assist to give the Ducks their first win since returning from their three game road trip.

With many of the Duck's lead scorers out with injuries, Bobby Ryan stepped up his game to give the Ducks a crucial win. Teemu Selanne, Jeoffry Lupul and Ryan Getzlaf were all missing from tonight's roster for various injuries. But you'd never know the Ducks were playing with less that their full potential.

Ryan was quick to score the first goal of the game at 7:08 into the first period. After picking the puck off a Wild defenseman, he darted down the ice and shot the puck upstairs to give the Ducks the lead. Minnesota responded with a goal of their own a mere 8 minutes later, as the puck trickled in over Jonas Hiller's right shoulder.

But Ryan wasn't happy that his lead was lost so quickly. Racing down the ice, he shoots the puck across the goal crease to Dan Sexton, who finds the back of the net over the sprawled Minnesota goalie, Josh Harding. Within barely a minute, the Ducks had lost their lead and regained it off key plays by Bobby Ryan.

The second period opened with a penalty kill by the Ducks after Nick Boynton was sent to the sin bin for tripping. Midway through the second, more penalties were handed out to each team as fisticuffs broke out. The first matchup was Boynton against a much bigger Derek Boogaard from Minnesota at 11:53. Each player recieved five for fighting, and an extra ten minute misconduct to Boogaard for throwing punches after the fight had been broken up.

Still fuming, the Ducks engaged in another fight immediately after the puck dropped, this time between Troy Bodie and John Scott of the Wild. Both players threw down their gloves and went at it, Scott tossing the referee out of the way to get to Bodie. Both players recieved 2 minute unsportsmanlike conducts and 10 minute misconducts each.

Late in the second stanza, the Ducks were offered a huge opportunity as consecutive penalties gave them a two man advantage. Mere seconds after the first penalty expired, Ryan found the net again for his second of the night, smacking the puck in off a pass from Saku Koivu.

The third period was quiet until the midway through, when the Ducks went on a powerplay after a tripping call on the Wild. They didn't capitalize on the opportunity, and instead were served with their own penalty for high sticking on rookie Matt Beleskey. Minnesota scored, leaving the Ducks with just a one goal lead for the last 7 minutes of the game.

A desperate Minnesota team pulled their goalie in hopes of tying the game and sending it into overtime, but the Ducks would have none of that. Todd Marchant caught the puck and sent it gently down the ice into the empty net for a shorthanded goal that gave them the solid win in the last 10 seconds left.

The Ducks have struggled this season to get a win streak, and the injuries that has plagued this team has not helped. However, it helps to have players like Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Jonas Hiller, who had 29 saves, to pick up the pieces of the broken team to get a win when it was crucial. With his two goals and one assist tonight, Ryan earned his 100th career NHL point, and is also tied at 19 for most points for a USA born player.

The Ducks next face a very competetive Dallas Stars team at home on Thursday at 5:00pm. Hopefully they start the New Year with a win!

Lets Go Ducks!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ah, Finally!

The puck drops tonight for opening faceoff of the 2009-2010 season! The first game of the year will be between the Montreal Canadiens vs the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7pm ET (4:00 pm if you're on the west coast!). Also starting at 7pm ET, the Washington Capitals, home of the Great 8 Alexander Ovechkin, will play the Boston Bruins, who were the Eastern Conference champions last season.

Incidentally, this season will mark the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the National Hockey Association, the precursor to the NHL, on December 2, 2009. Just two days after the creation of the Association, the Montreal Canadiens, as well as the Montreal Wanderers as well as teams from Renfrew, Haileybury and Cobalt. Only the Canadiens survived the 100 years of change, to become the only continuously operating team to predate the NHL. Their first win, on January 5 of 1910, was the start of a long and successful franchise, with 24 Stanley Cup Championships to its name, earning their first one back in 1916.

Noteably, the first Sharks game of the season is tonight, against the Colorado Avalanche, and fans are anxious to see how the replacement for Jonathan Cheechoo, Dan Heatley, does. Cheechoo was traded to Ottowa in exchange for Heatley, who admittedly has a more consistent goal scoring average (45 goals per season over the last four seasons). Also in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks face off tonight at 7 pm PST.

Opening night for the Ducks won't be until Saturday, when they face off against the Sharks at the Honda Center at 7:05pm. There's been a rivalry simmering over the summer between these teams after the Ducks knocked the Sharks out in the first round of the playoffs in six games last season, after the Sharks won the President's Trophy. It'll be a great matchup to watch as the Ducks defend the victory that put the Sharks out of the playoffs.

In Ducks news, 19 year old Luca Sbisa has officially been put on the roster for Saturday's game. Other defensemen that will appear Saturday night are: Scott Niedermeyer, Ryan Whitney, James Wisniewski, Nick Boynton, Steve Eminger and Sheldon Brookbank.

Right wing Joffrey Lupul was back on the ice Wednesday after recovering from some back pain, and is looking forward to playing on Saturday.

Petteri Nokelianen is recovering from a groin injury, and is still unsure if he'll be on the ice Saturdy.

Everyone's excited for the Ducks return to the Pond, and to defend the victory they fought so hard for over the Sharks.

Lets Go Ducks!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fisticuffs with the Canucks

While the Ducks couldn't generate much of successful offense, they had no problem sparking several fights as they fell 3-0 to Vancouver in the second preseason game at the Honda Center.

A few more veterans saw ice time tonight, but the team struggled to work together to put the puck in the net. Among the starting skaters were veterans Ryan Whitney, Corey Perry, Andrew Ebbett and JS Giguere. Giguere played for the first half of the game, and stopped 14 of 16 shots. He was replaced by newbie Justin Pogge immediately following the second goal midway through the second period. Pogge stopped all but one of 19 attempts on net.

The Duck's score remained zero, but they got their punches in. The Ducks had collectively four five-minute major penalties for fighting, one 10 minute misconduct, as well as penalties for a holding minor, a slashing minor and a cross checking minor. Corey Perry was the standout fighter tonight, earning a fighting major midway through the first and a game misconduct at the end of the game. Matt McCue also earned two five minute majors for fighting. George Parros and His Mustache were surprisingly quiet tonight, only going to the sin bin once for slashing. James Wisnewski earned the remaining fighting penalty.

The Vancouver list of offenses dwarfed the Duck's comparitively, but even in a physical game giving up penalties can be detrimental. The Canuck's second goal was scored on the powerplay earned after Scott Niedermeyer was called for holding.

A shutout hurts, even in the preseason. But this is the time for the team to iron out their difficulties, and for new talent to get a chance to develop. The shootout win the previous night was exciting, and the optimism for the team isn't diminished in any way by tonight's loss. This is a chance to fix the kinks, and get ready for an incredible season.

Lets Go Ducks!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Someone Should Tell Bobby it's Preseason

On second thought, nevermind, this is too much fun!

Bobby Ryan, last year's rookie standout, showed up for the first game of the preseason determined to prove it wasn't just a fluke. Scoring the only two Ducks goals in regulation, he seems more than ready for the season opener.

Phoenix opened up the scoring in tonight's game at the Honda Center with a powerplay goal in the last few seconds of the first period. Ducks player Steve Eminger was sent to the sin bin for interference, and Phoenix capitalized on the opportunity less than a minute later with a goal.

In the net for the first 30 minutes of the game was Jonas Hiller, yet another outstanding returning player this year, who stopped 18 of 19 shots during his reign between the posts tonight. He was replaced by rookie Timo Pielmeier for the remainder of the game to allow the rookie to see some ice during the preseason. Pielmeier didn't disappoint, stopping 27 of 28 shots in the 35 minutes he was on ice.

But Bobby Ryan was the star of tonight's game, after tying the game in the first 3 minutes of the second period, he scored again in the first two minutes of the third to put the Ducks ahead. Dan Sexton supplied the assist on both goals. Phoenix caught up halfway through the third on a tipped-in shot, tying the game and ultimately sending it into overtime. While the shootout was quiet on both fronts, Bobby Ryan was not quite finished with his performance and scored the first goal of the shootout. The Coyotes were unable to answer Bobby Ryan's goal, and Joffrey Lupul put another shot between the posts to win the shootout.

The Ducks had seven penalties, including five minor penalties, and two five minute majors for fisticuffs. The Ducks have always struggled with giving up power plays and consequently have a strong defense. Tonight, however, they allowed a startling 47 shots from the Coyotes. While the talents of goaltenders like Jonas Hiller and JS Giguere are easy to rely on, the Ducks have to stay strong defensively. However, the 30 shots they managed to fire off on Coyote goalie Jason LaBarbera isn't bad. A few more and this game probably wouldn't have needed a shootout to be decided.

It's going to be a good season!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2009-2010 Preseason Game #1 Tomorrow!

The first preseason game against the Phoenix Coyotes starts tomorrow at 7. The only group more excited than the fans for the start of the season is the team.

Training camp started last Sunday, after a 122-day break since the Ducks lost to Detroit in the last game of the Western Conference Championships. And the first preseason game will be tomorrow evening at the Honda Center against Phoenix.

Over the break, the Ducks have made some key changes to the roster. A few veterans were re-signed, but there's been a few new faces added on. Some noteable newbies include:

Saku Koivu- a forward from Finland
Luca Sbisa- the 19 year old acquisition from Philidelphia after the draft.
Joffrey Lupul- re-Ducked after a 3 year career in Philidelphia
Evgeny Artyukhin- A Moscow transplant and a name I will struggle to get used to
Justin Pogge- goaltender from the Maple Leaves that will have tough competition against the Duck's veteran netminders.
Nick Boynton- a defenseman from the Florida Panthers

This season promises to be a good one, and I vow to do the best I can to update this blog after every game that I can. Some of my readers may be aware that I have recently moved away from the Anaheim area, and therefore will have difficulty seeing most of the games. While being at the games is no longer a luxury I can afford, I will do the best I can with substitute measures, such as listening to the Ducks live streaming radio broadcast or visiting sportsbars that will play the games. Be assured, I have no intention of letting this blog go, as it's been way too much fun to have, however I may need some slack here and there.

To all of you who are able to see the game live, know that you are lucky and that I am jealous! Enjoy the season everyone!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Deep Water

There's been a lot of commotion in the swimming world of late. It was almost exactly one year ago that Michael Phelps made history as the winningest Olympian after earning 8 gold medals in the sport of swimming in the Beijing Olympics. During his campaign, the world witnessed some pretty incredible races, including Phelp's individual head-to-head with his Serbian competitor, out-touching him by .01 of a second to capture his 7th gold, and the jaw-dropping 400 free relay, when teammate Jason Lezak blew the French team's body-length lead out of the water for Phelp's 2nd gold.

But with the triumph has come some turbulent waters. The commencement of the World Swimming Championships has brought attention to some troubling matters that causes the governing body of swimming, FINA, some concern. Over the course of the last 4 days, an astonishing 22 world records have been shattered. While breaking records is normally something to celebrate, such a large number over the course of less than a week is suspicious. Similarly, 25 world records were broken just under a year ago at the week-long Beijing Games. Are the athletes getting that much faster? Or is there perhaps another explanation?

Could it be the $600 polyurethane suit that corsets the torso into a streamline, reduces drag by 10% more than other leading high-tech suits, increases buoyancy, and uses special fabric to repel water away from the swimmer?

FINA has been under a lot of pressure from the swimming community to have some regulation on the suits the athletes are allowed to wear in competition. As recently as yesterday, FINA came to the agreement to ban all suits that reached below the kneecap for men and women, and banned any suits that went above the waist for men. All suits are also to be made of "textiles" although FINA hasn't commented on what qualifies as a "textile" yet.

This new ruling has been a long time coming, and, when implemented, will force swimmers to rely on talent and training alone, rather than technological advances in swimwear. In age group meets, one of the lower-levels of competition, the USA Swimming rulebook approve of

"swimsuit models ... made of full textile material such as
lycra or nylon [and] are also acceptable as long as they have no sleeves and that double layers are stuck together....

1. For female swimmers, the swimsuit shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulders or
past the pelvis, and
2. For male swimmers, the swim suit shall not extend above the navel or below the knees."

-Taken from the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations website

One of the most basic levels of competitive swimming currently has more regulation than the most elite, a fact that FINA hopes to change with the new rules. While some hoped that the new rules would be implemented by January 1st, 2010, it's not likely. Now that manufacturers of swimsuits, companies like Speedo, TYR, and TruWest, have the new parameters to work with, they must be given time to develop new suits that follow the new regulations.

However for others, it still isn't soon enough. Michael Phelp's coach Bob Bowman has been quoted saying he won't enter Phelps in any more meets until the new rules are in place. Impatience for implementing the new rules is understandable, but perhaps Bowman's petulant attitude is not the role model for swimmers.

And what of Phelps, and all the other athletes that had the help of some polyurethane on their way to the record books? Will their names contain an asterisk as a form of apology for a lack of regulation, allowing the records to eventually become out of reach without the help of high-tech material? How much slower will the times be at the next World Championships? At the next Olympics?

You may want to remember that incredible relay Phelps and his team pulled off. It may be awhile before you see splits like that again. That being said, it will be refreshing to see a new generation of swimmers relying on their own talent and training to win. In the competitive world of swimming, it's become an arms race lately, with every new suit that comes out for the lowest drag, the most water-repellent, and the fastest times. From the fastskin to the LZR to the newest Arena-X Glide, it's going to be a bit of a shock to go back to the standard 'textiles' between the knee and waist/shoulder.

In local news, the University of California, Irvine has shut down their swimming program in response to budget cuts. The loss of that program will prove to be brutal as it is the only Division 1 swimming progam in Orange County. Alumni and the swimming community, including resident local team Aquazot Swim Club, are looking to sustain the program to buy time. Arizona State University faced a similar dilemma a few months back, and is so far sustaining the program seperately from the university.

With all these waves, its tough to forsee what will happen in the coming months for the swimming community. Hopefully, it's good news.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Welcome (back) to the Ducks

As the NHL Draft finished today, the Ducks are looking forward to new beginnings with some fresh additions to their team, and continued success with some of the veterans returning for the 2009-2010 season.

One of the most exciting returns is veteran Teemu Selanne, playing his 18th season in the NHL and looking for his second Stanley Cup with the Ducks. Another returning player is defensemen Scott Niedermeyer, who had 14 goals and 45 assists last year in the regular season.

But with the veterans comes a whole line of rookies. 18 year old defenseman Matthew Clark from the Ontario Hockey League was added to the roster today, as was 18 year old goaltender Igor Bobkov from Russia. 18 year old defensemen Sami Vatanen, 19 year old right wing Radoslav Illo, and 18 year old defensemen Scott Valentine were also drafted.

Another acquisition was 18 year old center/right wing Kyle Palmiere of New Jersey. Palmiere has been ranked as the 20th best player among North American skaters, and helped lead the national Under-18 team to a bronze medal in the World Championships.

Also new to the Ducks franchise is Peter Holland, from Caledon, Ontario. He was the Duck's first pick of the 2009 draft (15th overall), and has been playing in the Ontario Hockey League with Guelph.

Sadly, Chris Pronger left the Ducks this season, after three years of hard work and one Stanley Cup Championship. In return for his trade, the Ducks acquired right wing Joffrey Lupul and defensemen Luca Sbisa from the Philidelphia Flyers. Lupul returns to the Ducks after six seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and Philidelphia Flyers. During that time, Lupul has proved to be a force to be reckoned with when he scored a personal-high 28 goals in the 2005-2006 season, and earned 50 points in the 79 games he appeared in during the 2008-2009 season. Sbisa will play his second season in the NHL with the Ducks after he was drafted last year to Philidelphia. He appeared in 39 games including one Stanley Cup Playoff game last season for the Flyers.

We're all looking forward to a fantastic season for the Anaheim Ducks, and we're all very excited for new beginnings with experienced veterans. Maybe this year will be the year!

Lets Go Ducks!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Duck Stops Here

After an exciting game 7, the Ducks lost to a tough Detroit team, ending their 2008-2009 season.

And what a season it was. Although they're no longer in the running for the cup, they've got nothing to be ashamed of.

Bobby Ryan, ended up with a combined 36 goals in the regular and post season. His +20 rating is also a testement to his great season.

Ryan Getzlaf had 29 goals in 2008-2009, and a rating of +8.

Corey Perry posted 40 goals through the season, and had a +12 rating.

Veteran Teemu Selanne had 31 combined goals in his 78 games this season.

George Parros and His Mustache earned 144 minutes in the penalty box this season.

Jonas Hiller, the goaltender with feline reflexes, had an astounding 1612 shots blocked throughout the season.

JS Giguere had 1153 saves in his 2475 minutes of playing time.

It's been a fantastic season, and we're all looking forward to the 2009-2010 season.

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read this, your support is appreciated. Hopefully, I've fulfilled my purpose to your satisfaction, and you will continue to tune in as the Stanley Cup playoffs continues.

Lets Go Ducks... in 2010!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It was Do or Die

And the Ducks did. After losing their past two games against Detroit by a margin of three goals per game, and allowing a total of 10 goals to their 4, the Ducks showed that they belonged in this series, beating the Redwings 2-1 at the Honda Center tonight.

The win was unquestionably credited to a strong penalty kill unit, an agressive defense, and the cat-like skills of goaltender Jonas Hiller. After struggling through the past two games, the Ducks looked as though they might need a fresh face between the pipes. But Hiller defended his goalcrease (and his position as starting goaltender) with such skill that he reminded everyone why he still deserved that spot. He had a total of 38 blocked shots, only allowing one powerplay goal to the Redwings in the last 3 minutes of the game, after defending the previous 37 attemps.

After going scoreless in the first period, the Ducks opened up the scoring in the first three minutes of the second, on a powerplay for a Detroit delay of game penalty. As Detroit sought to clear the puck out of their zone, Niklas Kronwall flipped the puck out of play, giving the Ducks the opportunity they needed to get ahead. Ryan Getzlaf saw his chance as the puck glanced towards him off Detroit goaltender, Chris Osgood. Getzlaf stuffed the puck in the net to put the Ducks ahead by one.

Their second tally came in the last three minutes of the second period, on a even-strength goal by Corey Perry. As Getzlaf looked for his second of the night with a wrist shot from the blue line, Perry stationed himself in front of the crease to catch any rebound chances. As the puck flew by, Perry got his stick on it to deflect it in the net to put the Ducks ahead by 2-0.

The Ducks survived four penalties, including interference, cross chekcing, and two bench minors for too many men on the ice, but the tripping call on Andrew Ebbett gave the man advantage to Detroit that they capitalized on. Johan Franzen recieved a pass across the crease that he swatted in the net to beat Hiller. After 37 shots, the Redwings finally met success, but it wasn't enough to cover the triumph of the Ducks.

As towels rained down on the ice to celebrate the win, a brawl erupted in the corner of the rink, resulting in 9 separate penalties to 6 players. Whether that will affect the next game remains to be seen, but the fisticuffs was a long time coming after a physical game with few penalties called. Aside from the 9 called at the end of regulation, a total of ten penaties were called, and only six were physical penalties.

After this win, the Ducks have tied the series at 3 games apiece and will travel to Detroit, where they will play the final game of the series. If they win, they will have triumphed over the top two teams in the Western Conference in two consecutive series. Should they lose, and the 2008-2009 season will come to a close. As for Detroit, this will mark the first time they've had a seven game series since the Western Conference finals in 2002.

The Ducks will have to match the energy and defensive performance they had tonight in order to be successful on the road against a fast and physical team like Detroit. Here's hoping I get a few more games to write about before their season is over.

Lets Go Ducks

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ducks Down But Not Out

In their first loss at home since April 21 against San Jose, the Ducks fell to the Detroit Redwings in game four of the Conference Semi-finals with a final score of 6-3. The three goal difference was the largest margin they have lost by in this postseason.

The first six goals of the game were scored by three players. Corey Perry had the first, just 42 seconds into the first period. The game was tied up ten minutes later with a Detroit goal by Johan Franzen. Franzen scored again 8 minutes later to put the Redwings ahead by one at the end of the first period. Perry retaliated again halfway through the second to tie the score once more.

Detroit player Marian Hossa, who had a goal denied to him in the last contest, quickly put away two goals in three minutes to put the Redwings firmly ahead. His second goal came on a powerplay after Francois Beauchemin earned an interferrence on Detroit player Brett Lebda. The second period ended with a 4-2 score.

The Redwings weren't finished. Three minutes into the third stanza, Detroit player Mikael Samuelsson fired another shot past Hiller, prompting his removal in favor of Giguere. Hiller had 33 shots and five allowed goals in his 42 minutes of play. Tonight was Giguere's first appearance since April 11th, and during his 17 minutes of playing time, he had 6 saves and one goal allowed.

The Ducks were granted a powerplay after Detroit player Darren Helm was called for tripping. Scott Niedermeyer capitalized on this opportunity to score the Duck's third goal of the game. Detroit would score their final goal on an empty net as Giguere was pulled for an extra attacker in the last two minutes of the game, sealing the fate at a 6-3 loss for Anaheim.

Remarkably, penalties for the Ducks were low, but they were poorly timed. Two of the penalties they recieved were during powerplays, thus eliminating the man advantage they had. Each team had a five minute major for fighting after Beauchemin dropped gloves with Tomas Kopecky. Beauchemin landed 8 shots to Kopecky's face before they dragged eachother to the ice. Kopecky landed nothing but the penalty.

One of the critical keys of the game for the Ducks was successfully moving the puck up the ice against a fast Detroit team. In their morning skate, they drilled on passing patterns and moving the puck out of their zone in pressure situations. Detroit was prepared for these movements, as it became signature for the Ducks and were champion in shutting them down. Passes were interrupted and the Ducks had trouble moving the puck out of their zone, which became crippling to their offense.

With this win, Detroit has tied the series with two wins apiece. The Ducks will play the Redwings again in Game 5 in Detroit on Sunday at 2:00 local time. Make sure you buy your mother something nice so she wont be upset that you're spending Mother's Day listening to the game.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks are also deadlocked at two wins each, after Chicago's overtime win tonight. The winner of that series will advance to the finals to play the winner of the Ducks/Redwings series.

Hopefully, we can count on the Ducks to be the team in attendance.

Lets Go Ducks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vamos Patos!

The Ducks have a one game lead in their series against the Detroit Redwings after tonight's win, largely due to the fantastic goalkeeping of Jonas Hiller.

Both teams were scoreless for the first half of the first period, when Teemu Selanne got a breakaway to backhand the puck in behind Detroit goalie, Chris Osgood to put the Ducks ahead by one. Scott Niedermeyer extended their lead midway through the second period on a powerplay goal.

Detroit's only tally came later in the second off a powerplay rebound shot by Henrik Zetterberg. Scott Niedermeyer had earned the penalty a minute earlier for hooking.

Both teams had plenty of powerplay opportunity, with 7 penalties awarded to the Ducks and 6 called on the Redwings. However, nothing was called on the elbow to James Wisnewski's face midway through the second. Tomas Holstrom committed the penalty immediately after Wisnewski took a puck to the chest. With the wind knocked out of him and blood spurting from his face, Wisnewski vomited and collapsed on the ice, requiring a stretcher to retrieve him and take him to UCI, where it was discovered he had a bruised lung. It is unknown whether or not he will return to the playoffs after such a devastating injury.

The loss of Wisnewski seemed to take a toll on the Ducks. Less than a minute later, Detroit player Mikael Samuelsson's rebound bounces to Zetterberg who scores, cutting the Duck's lead in half.

A one goal lead with over 30 minutes to play doesn't leave much room for mistakes. The Ducks lost control of the puck and for a few heart-stopping seconds it slid across the goal crease. One of the referees called the play dead, assuming the puck was under a sprawled-out Hiller. Marian Hossa and Chris Pronger simotaneously saw that it wasn't captured under Hiller and dove for it, sending the puck into the goal.

The players were left to skate around as the referees discussed the potentially premature whistle that stopped the play before the puck was shoved through. When the referees called for the game to continue without giving Detroit the goal, the Ducks heaved sighs of relief and rightly so.

Their last game had gone into triple overtime after a tying goal by Johan Franzen early in the second period. Both teams remained scoreless till Todd Marchant ended the game with a goal early in the third overtime (or the sixth period, depending on your perspective). Trivia: the longest hockey game ever had 6 overtime periods between Detroit and Montreal in 1936, total game time= 176 minutes.

After the non-goal, the Ducks struggled to keep control of their lead after Detroit pulled Osgood to give their offense an extra attacker. Hiller stopped 18 shots in the last period alone to keep the Ducks ahead for the win.

Hiller had a total of 45 saves tonight. He's stopped 138 out of 145 shots in this series and has a total of 368 saves out of 375 attempts in this postseason. Without question, he's been the deciding factor in many of these postseason games.

The Ducks next play Detroit in game four of the series on Thursday at the Honda Center at 7:30pm.

Vamos Patos! (In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I've translated the typical sign-off into spanish. I'm feeling festive.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

First Round is Over

Sharks Drown at the Pond

In game 6 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the San Jose Sharks lost to the Anaheim Ducks with a score of 4-1. With their win, the 8th-seed Ducks eliminated the top-seeded Sharks from the playoffs in the first round.

From the start of the game, fans knew they were getting what they paid for. As soon as the puck dropped, San Jose Shark player Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf dropped their gloves for a pre-game brawl following the intensity of the last game in San Jose and setting a standard for a physical game tonight. Both players were sent to the penalty box in the first two seconds of the game with a five-minute major apiece.

The Ducks seemed to like the penalty box, as they spent most of the first period in it. 17 total minutes were served in the first period, including the five minute fighting major. Calls for roughing, elbowing, tripping, slashing and hooking all earned various Ducks players two-minute minor penalties, giving the Sharks the opportunity they needed for their first, and as it turned out, only goal. Just under a minute into a penalty by James Wisniewski for slashing, Sharks player Milan Michalek got a goal past Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller for the first goal of the game. Just two minutes later, Sharks player Patrick Marleau headed to the sin bin on a hooking call to give the Ducks a two minute powerplay, but Corey Perry only needed 14 seconds of the man advantage to score on Evgeni Nabokov.

The Ducks earned their second and third goals halfway through the second period. Teemu Selanne earned his first goal of the playoffs on a powerplay goal after a hooking call on San Jose player Torrey Mitchell. Barely two minutes later, Francois Beauchemin would get his first goal since coming back from a torn ACL in November. As the Ducks pulled ahead, the intensity of the fights increased. The second period ended much the same way as the first period began, with a melee that earned Ryan Whitney and Ryan Getzlaf penalties for fighting and roughing, and Sharks players Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski penalties for boarding, fighting and roughing.

Soon after the third period began, another fisticuffs broke out, again earning several players a trip to the penalty box. With the Sharks under pressure to tie the score back up, and the Ducks desperate to hold on to their two-goal lead, tension between the two teams causes gloves to drop and fists to fly at every possibility. The Ducks were determined to put the game away with a final goal by Ryan Getzlaf in the last three minutes of the game, with set-up assists by Drew Miller and Rob Niedermeyer.

Both teams had 12 penalties each, adding up to 30 minutes of time spent in the sin bin. It was just a mark of how physical the matchup was.

Jonas Hiller (the Shark killer!) had an outstanding 37 saves to keep the Ducks ahead for the win. Throughout the series, he's been the determining factor in all their wins with unbelievable saves. In the six-game series, Hiller stopped 211 of 221 shots. With a strong defensive line and a top-notch goalie, the Ducks overcame the top-seeded team in the NHL for the first round win in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.

While the Sharks have earned the President's trophy for winning the most points in the league during the regular season, their quest for Lord Stanley's Cup ends tonight. Meanwhile, the Ducks have become the fifth team to upset the NHL's best regular season team in the first round since the 1967-1968 season. They've also become the eigth team that was seeded at #8 to eliminate a #1 ranked team in the first round since the 1993-1994 season.

The Ducks will next face Detroit, on a date to be determined. While the upset of the #1 ranked team in 6 games is certainly something to celebrate, Detroit promises to be a much more difficult hurdle after sweeping Columbus in four games.

It seems that our history for the 2008-2009 season is still being written.

Lets Go Ducks.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Interesting to Note...

A friend brought up that the Ducks seemed to be mirroring the Colorado Rockie's 2007 season. While I hesitate to compare the great sport of hockey with something so mundane as baseball, I noticed a difference that perhaps the Duck's latest sucess has a lot to do with their vetrans, and not so much the incapability of the Sharks but their inexperience in the playoffs.

Allow me to defend this by first saying that since the 2005-2006 season, the Sharks have not had as many playoff games as the Ducks have, obviously due to the fact that the Ducks completed the quest for the cup in 2007. Compared, the Sharks have completed 40 games in the past 4 seasons, while the Ducks have been to 48.

A closer look at some of the players is also revealing. If you look at Joe Thoron, he's played 304 games since the 2005-2006 season with 96 total goals in those regular season games. In the playoffs he's got 40 total games played and only 6 goals to show for that. Experience really does make a difference. Teemu Selanne has played in 253 games as a Duck since 2005-2006 and has had 127 goals during that time. In the playoffs since then, he's been in 48 games and has 13 goals during that time. Incidentally enough, Ryan Getzlaf has also been in 48 playoff games since 2005-2006 and has also scored 13 goals in that time.

The Ducks have 12 players from the original 26 that won the cup in 2007. In addition to those vetrans, they have Bret Hedican who won the cup with the Hurricanes in 2005-2006. 13 players with extended playoff experience can only help your team.

The Sharks have 6 players on their current roster with a Stanley Cup Championship ring, all from other teams, as the Sharks have yet to win a championship thus far.

Both teams continue their quest for the cup tomorrow at 7:30 at the Honda Center. The series is now 3-2 in favor of the Ducks. If the Sharks win, it will tie the series, making it do-or-die for the Ducks on Wednesday. Should the Ducks win tomorrow, they will advance to the next round, playing the 2nd seeded Detroit Redwings.

Lets Go Ducks

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I love the playoffs.

In the fourth game of the series, the Ducks now lead 3-1 after their decisive 4-0 victory tonight at the Honda Center.

The win is largely attributed to the outstanding efforts of so-called rookie Bobby Ryan and netminder Jonas Hiller. Ryan scored the first two goals of the game and Hiller had 31 saves for his second shutout of the series.

The first period lacked nothing but a score. Three San Jose penalties for tripping, holding and roughing, and two for Anaheim for tripping and roughing offered plenty of opportunity to score, but after a combined 18 shots (10 for the Sharks and 8 for the Ducks) in the first period, nothing had gone in for either team.

Bobby Ryan broke that stalemate, and a pane of glass while he was at it. His first goal came at 6:33 in the second period off a wrist shot that slips by San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Three minutes later, he was slammed into the boards and shattered the piece of the glass separating the two benches. It took the maintenance crew a good 20 minutes to clean up the pieces of glass and replace the pane before the game could resume. 29 seconds after the impromptu break, Ryan scores again, putting the Ducks ahead 2-0.

Midway through the third period, Corey Perry sends in a shot by Ryan Getzlaf for the Duck's third goal of the night. Five minutes later, in the last few seconds of the game, Andrew Ebbett puts the game out of reach as he scores on an empty net for a final score of 4-0.

The game tonight was critical for the Ducks after Tuesday's loss at home. By keeping penalties at a minimum, (the Sharks had only two man-advantage power plays tonight) they were able to play disciplined hockey. It was undoubtedly a physical game, but the Ducks were consistent and diligent in fighting for the puck and breaking up the Shark's opportunities to score. Brent Severyn, the color commentator for the Ducks radio broadcast said "The Ducks chewed out the forecheck of the sharks, and Chris Pronger and the rest of the Duck's defensive core had pinpoint passing out of their own zone. They schooled them."

Decisive and motivating, the Ducks will have some momentum as they return to San Jose for game 5. With a win on the road, they will knock the Sharks out of the playoffs and move on to round 2.

The first round of the playoffs have already ended for some teams in both divisions, as the Redwings eliminated the Columbus BlueJackets with four straight wins. The Bruins wiped out the Montreal Canadians in four games and the St Louis Blues were also eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks.

Its now down to 13 teams fighting for the most renowned trophy in all sports. Lets Go Ducks.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Playoff Time!

The Ducks are up two games in the first round of the Western Division championships against their rivals, the detested San Jose Sharks. The Ducks won the first games in the San Jose Shark Tank, against a relentless Shark offense and some pretty tough calls by the refs.

It would not be the first time that the Ducks defeated a top seeded team in a four-game upset. The 2003 season was noted for their triumph over both the first and second seeded teams in the Quarter and Semifinals. Although they barely lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals that year, they've shown before that they are a force to be reckoned with in the post-season. The Ducks have what it takes to win in the playoffs, even with a rocky season. Much of the credit for their success is due to the vetrans on the team, who have seen many playoff games including one Stanley Cup Championship.

The Sharks lack that experience, and so far it shows in their first two games of the playoffs.

The Ducks return home for the next two games on Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30pm.

Lets Go Ducks!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Like a big Shark in a little Pond

The Ducks lost 3-2 to the Sharks at the Honda Center tonight, after winning in the Shark Tank in San Jose the previous night with an astounding 5-2 score.

Tonight's game seemed to progress from a very controlled and disciplined first period, to the eventual chaos that called for 15 penalties in the third period alone.

From a team that is ranked 3rd for the shots/goals percentage for powerplays in the NHL, the Sharks were expected to take advantage of any penalty opportunity they could. The Ducks, incidentally ranked second for earning the most penalty minute on average per game (18 minutes- almost an entire period spent a man short) needed to be disciplined tonight, to lessen the opportunity for the Sharks to take advantage.

Even with those seemingly ominous stats, the Ducks surprised everyone by scoring the first goal of the game shorthanded. After Andrew Ebbet earned a minor for holding the stick, Petteri Nokelainen somehow escaped the Duck's zone with the puck on a breakaway, and scored on his own rebound after San Jose goaltender Brian Boucher turned away his first one-on-nobody attempt, just five minutes into the first period.

The Sharks waited a whole period to tie up the game with a goal from Jeremy Roenick in the opening minutes of the middle stanza. It would be the only goal of the game that was scored with a full team on each end of the ice. Ten minutes later, Shark player Jody Shelley was slammed off the ice into his bench by an impressive hit by George Parros and His Mustache. Incensed by the hit, Shelley shoved Parros and His Mustache and earned a penalty for slashing. Corey Perry added salt to the wound by scoring on the ensuing powerplay, knocking in an erratically bouncing puck to put the Ducks ahead by one.

Their lead was soon lost as Sharks player Joe Pavelski got the puck between the posts past Hiller to tie the game at 2, on a powerplay after a Rob Niedermeyer penalty for charging.

In the last period, Drew Miller and Chris Pronger earn two separate penalties a minute apart, leaving the Ducks down two men and putting Jonas Hiller to the test. Miller was caught holding, earning a two-minute minor, and as Pronger was looking to clear the puck out of the zone, his enthusiastic pass sent the puck over the glass, earning him an automatic delay of game minor penalty. The Ducks were able to kill the holding penalty, but still down one player for the delay of game call, Sharks player Jonathan Cheechoo shot the puck past Hiller for the go-ahead goal that would eventually win the game.

The scoring was over, but the penalties kept coming. Corey Perry gently voiced his disagreement with some of the calls the refs made, including the call on his hi-sticking. It would only add to the tension of the last few seconds of the game. As the final horn sounded, every player on the ice dropped his gloves and brawled with the closest opponent to him. Five misconducts, five roughings, and a goalie interference later, the players leave the ice, the Ducks surrendering to San Jose with a final score of 3-2.

Jonas Hiller had another consistent game tonight, blocking 23 shots out of 26 attempts, allowing only one even strength goal. The fisticuffs of the endgame not included, the Ducks earned 7 penalties, successfully defending five and scoring a shorthanded goal on one.

With this loss, the Ducks are still not shut out of the playoffs, although they are only in 7th place, two points ahead of Nashville, and two points behind Columbus. The Ducks play Dallas on Friday, where a win could mean a tie for sixth in the division, and a clinched playoff spot.

At the top of the Western Conference resides the San Jose Sharks, who now have 115 points over the Detroit Redwings who have 109, which is a three game lead. The Calgary Flames are another six points behind Detroit, rounding out the top three in the Western Conference. In the East, the Boston Bruins continue to lead, with 112 points, followed by the Washington Capitals with 104 points, giving them a four game lead. In third place, the New Jersey Devils trail the Capitals by only one game with 102 points.

The Ducks only have two more games left in the regular season. If they're going to make a run for the playoffs, I might as well blog about it.

Lets Go Ducks!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Now That's More Like It

And so it turns out that the Ducks may make the playoffs after all. The Ducks earned another 2 points for a playoff spot in a decisive 6-2 victory over Phoenix tonight.

All it took was some excellent defense on the penalty kill and a strong offensive effort on powerplays to win. After going for 22 powerplays without any goals to show for it, they now have earned 7 powerplay goals in the past three games that have proved critical for their victories. Tonight, they scored 3 powerplay goals and 3 at even strength to overcome the Phoenix Coyotes, after winning against them on the road in a shootout on Thursday.

Also contributing to a more organized effort is the ice temperature, which I have on good authority has been unusually warm the past few games. If the ice isn't frozen hard, the divets made by the skates affects the trajectory of the puck to the point where teams get some pretty bad bounces at times. According to a pretty reliable source (not guarenteed, he's been known to pull my leg at times) the building temperature was lowered for tonight's game, keeping the ice frozen for a more smooth playing surface. If it's true, it's kinda fun to know.

The Ducks scored the first goal of the game five minutes into the first period, on a nice powerplay goal by Scott Niedermeyer. The Ducks went on a powerplay after Coyote Matthew Lombardi earned a hi-sticking penalty at 4:38. Just 17 seconds after going up a man, Chris Pronger got the puck to Niedermeyer to earn the first of three powerplay goals of the night.

George Parros and His Mustache earned the second goal for the Ducks late in the first period, on a wrist shot off a pass from Erik Christensen. The Coyotes would return with a goal in the first 48 seconds of the second period after Petr Prucha evaded Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. Corey Perry would earn the third Ducks goal halfway through the second period, with an assist from Ryan Getzlaf.

Phoenix was desperate to make it a competitive game, but only came within one goal of the Duck's lead after scoring another goal at the 15 minute mark of the second period.

The third period started with a 3-2 score when Phoenix player Todd Fedoruk earned a penalty at 8:39 for interference. Ten seconds later, Ryan Getzlaf shot the puck past Coyotes' goalie and former Duck Stanley Champion Ilja Bryzgalov to put the Ducks ahead by two. The Ducks caught another break when Coyote Scottie Upshall earned a double minor for hi-sticking. Getzlaf earned his second powerplay goal for the night just 21 seconds after the call. Andrew Ebbett put the game away 26 seconds later with a powerplay goal of his own to make the score 6-2 with just under 3 minutes left in the game.

Tonight, the Ducks held on to the lead for the victory. The win was critical, as it put them just one point behind the 8th place Nashville Predators, whom they will need to beat if they want to make it to the playoffs in April. They will play Nashville on Tuesday on the road, which may be the deciding game for a playoff spot.

Also competing for a playoff spot are the Minnesota Wild, who, after beating 7th place Edmonton, are tied with the Ducks with 76 points in the 9th seed. Both teams are just one point away from the 8th spot that would ensure them a playoff berth. At the top of the Conferences are the Boston Bruins (102), the New Jersy Devils (97) and the Washington Capitals (96) in the East and the San Jose Sharks (106), the Detroit Redwings (105) and the Calgary Flames (88) in the West.

Lets Go Ducks! (Really, now we NEED it).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Just when a win became necessary to keep the playoff dreams alive, the Ducks pulled through, triumphing over Nashville in overtime, 4-3. Three powerplay goals gave the Ducks their win, and Teemu Selanne earned his 1,200th point after scoring the game-winning goal in the first 34 seconds of overtime.

Anaheim's Corey Perry scored the first goal of the game in the first 4:19 of regulation. It would also be the only goal for the Ducks that wasn't scored on a powerplay. The Predators evened the score five minutes later, on a powerplay after a tripping call on Todd Marchant. The Predators would go up in the second on a powerplay goal by Joel Ward after two penalties are called on Ryan Whitney and Todd Marchant for tripping and boarding.

Down by one with 9:47 left in the second period, Andrew Ebbett tied the score once again on a powerplay goal after a tripping call on Nashville. Rookie Bobby Ryan put the Ducks ahead in the third, on a powerplay goal at 11:38 after a Nashville player was sent to the sin bin for yet another tripping penalty. It looked like the Ducks had the game in the bag, when Predator Joel Ward got his second goal of the game, tying the score and sending the game into overtime. The Ducks were on a powerplay for the first 1:11 of overtime, but Teemu Selanne only needed the first 34 seconds to find the back of the net to win the game.

The Ducks have been struggling with their offensive effort but tonight they found themselves successful. Before tonight, they had been 0-22 of the last 22 powerplay opportunities. After scoring on 3 of 6 tonight, it seems they've improved. They had 31 shots tonight, and only allowed 24 from Nashville. JS Giguere successfully blocked 21 of those shots to give Anaheim the win tonight.

While tonight's victory was crucial to preserve the Duck's chances to make the playoffs, they're still not in the top 8. Every point is critical, and even allowing a point to Nashville for the overtime challenge may be devastating to their own playoff hopes. They next play Phoenix on the road before meeting up with the Coyotes again at home on Sunday. The Ducks have 72 points and are currently 12th in their division, with four points and five teams inbetween them and a playoff spot as of today. The Coyotes are seeded 14th, with 64 points.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Detroit Redwings have clinched a playoff spot with 103 points and the San Jose Sharks have clinched their division, with 100 points. Following the Sharks are the Boston Bruins, with 99 points and the New Jersey Devils with 95 points.

Lets Go Ducks!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Frenzy of Fins and Feathers

As the season winds down and the fight for playoff position intensifies, the Ducks lose another chance to gain some points as they fell to San Jose 1-0.

The only goal of the game was scored by former Duck Travis Moen in the second period, who was traded to San Jose on the March 4th deadline.

San Jose's goalie, Evgeni Nabokov, had 34 saves tonight in his second straight win after defending all but one goal last night against the Kings. This is also his second night after returning from an injury to the lower body. His phenomenal goaltending kept the Sharks ahead through 5 penalties and several rebound opportunities that the Ducks fumbled.

Both teams were 0-5 on powerplays, with one major 5 minute penalty to each team for a fight between George Parros and San Jose's Jody Shelley. The other penalties were minors for interference, hooking, slashing and roughing.

Duck's netminder Jonas Hiller had 29 saves tonight, allowing only one goal to former Duck Travis Moen, on a redirect off Duck player Ryan Whitney that just scraped past Hiller. But one was all it took for the Sharks to win tonight, as the Ducks were unsuccessful in scoring any of the 34 shots they took.

This loss puts the Ducks back down into 12th place with 70 points, with 4 points inbetween them and a playoff spot behind Dallas. The Sharks have broken to 100 points in their season, behind Detroit who have clinched a playoff spot with 101 points. In the Eastern Conference, Boston leads with 99 points with New Jersey (93) and Washington (92) trailing behind.

Scores around the NHL included an upset with the Pittsburg Penguins winning against Boston, 6-4 with two goals scored by former Duck (and lover of mine) Chris Kunitz.
Also in the Eastern Conference, the 7th place New York Rangers won over 4th place Philidelphia. The Chicago Blackhawks surrendered to the last place New York Islanders 4-2, another unexpected upset.

The Ducks next play a pivotal game against 8th place Nashville at home before hitting the road against 28th place Phoenix Coyotes in the first of a two game series. The next few games will determine how much longer the season will continue for the Anaheim Ducks. Hopefully they'll make it through April!

Lets Go Ducks!

Ducks vs San Jose Pregame

As a gameday exclusive for the Duck's game against the San Jose Sharks, I have radio broadcaster and former NHL Stanley Cup champion, Brent Severyn, with some Keys to the Game.

Mr Severyn, what will it the take for the Ducks to win?
"Continue to frustrate the Sharks with good defensive posture. The Sharks have averaged 1.9 goals a game since February 23rd. The powerplay for the Sharks have struggled as well, going 0-8 against the Kings last game. One of the reason for the Shark's inadequacies in scoring has been the play of Joe Thorton, who failed to record a point for the second straight game. It will be interesting to see who matches up with Thorton now that Sammy Pahlsson has been moved to Chicago."

Thanks Brent!

Also worthy of mention is Travis Moen's first return to the Honda Center as a Shark, after the March 4th trade. He's been playing on the third line with Marcel Goc and Johnathan Cheechoo. He has also seen time at the first line with Joe Thorton.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ducks Succumb to the Wild

The Ducks took another loss tonight to previously 11th place Minnesota, struggling through a tough defense by the Wild. Jonas Hiller, who faced 25 shots tonight, made a few fantastic saves, but not enough as the Ducks fell to the Wild, 3-2.

The Wild's enforcer, Stephane Veilleux, scored in the first 1:09 of the game, which set the Ducks to play catch-up for the rest of the game. He would score again in the end of the second period, on a breakaway that left him with Hiller as his only defense.

The Ducks scored their first goal in the beginning minutes of the second period, on a shorthanded goal, as Todd Marchant stole the puck from the defense behind the Minnesota goal, and wrapped it around the right post before the Wild's netminder, Niklas Backstrom, could scramble back into position from the behind the left post. He sprawled across the goal line, but Marchant was quick and stuffed the puck past him for the first Duck goal of the game. Veilleux would break the tied score with his second goal at 16:38, off a breakaway from the center after James Wisniewski dropped the puck.

The Wild scored again midway through the third to put them ahead by two, as Andrew Brunette snuck behind the defense in the slot and redirected the puck as it skated in front of the goal. Desperate to catch up, the Ducks pulled Hiller from the net in the last few minutes of the game, allowing Scott Niedermeyer to shove the puck into the Wild net as the Ducks crashed.

The Wild's Backstrom had 38 saves, but none as dramatic as Hiller's cat-like grab from mid-air in the second period that kept the Ducks in the game. Unfortunately, in his only start since February 4th against the Wild on the road, his 22 saves tonight weren't enough to keep the Ducks ahead. The Ducks have 68 points and are now in 11th place,with four teams in between them and a playoff spot.

It was a night of upsets around the NHL. 1st place Boston fell to the New York Rangers earlier today, with new Rangers player Sean Avery back on the ice. He had previously been playing in their AHL team, but was recently called up for the playoff run. Chicago was overtaken by last place team Colorado in the Western Conference, while in the Eastern Conference, 3rd place Washington lost to 8th place Pittsburg in a battle between Crosby and Ovechkin, two of hockey's giants. 13th place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference won over 3rd place Calgary in the Western Conference as well.

Still in first place in the Eastern Conference is Boston with a solid 95 points over second place New Jersey with 87 points and Washington who trails closely with 86 points. In the Western Conference, San Jose and Detroit are still tied for first with 94 points apiece, with Calgary following with 84 points and Chicago with 81 points.

The Ducks next play fourth place Vancouver on Wednesday at home, and its starting to get desperate or else I wont be covering Duck's games much longer for the 2008-2009 season.

Lets Go Ducks! (Please!!)

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Kids on the Ice

Tonight's match up against the Dallas Stars was the first home game for all of the new acquisitions, and while they seemingly outplayed Dallas on the stats sheet, it may take some more time to adjust. Their 3-2 loss tonight is hopefully a mediocre start to a phenomenal playoff run.

New sticks on the ice tonight were James Wisniewski from Chicago, Erik Christensen from Atlanta, and Petteri Nokelainen from the New York Rangers. Wisniewski earned a goal tonight, his first for the Ducks.

Even with the new faces, the Ducks still kept their old habits, earning 6 penalties tonight, the first by newcomer Erik Christensen in the first 29 seconds of the game. Dallas scored 1:15 later, taking the lead early. They scored again towards the end of the second period, off a wrist shot by Loui Eriksson, his first of two for the night.

Even with the loss, their offense was relentless, outshooting the Stars 2-1. Dallas goaltender Marty Turco saved 36 shots, while JS Giguere only had 13 saves. Giguere faced only 2 shots in the last period, one of which slipped by on Eriksson's second goal.

Goal scoring on the Duck's end included a goal by newcomer Wisniewski in the beginning of the third period, off a slapshot that finally stumped the impenetrable Turco. Bobby Ryan, now wearing hockey legend Paul Kariyan's old #9, scored a highlight reel goal 10 minutes later, whipping around the defense and sliding the puck under Turco as he falls to the ice.

From this loss, the Ducks hope to move forward with their new team, adjusting to new faces and sticks on the ice. They next take on the Minnesota Wild on Sunday at home. Their next few games determine their eligibility for a playoff spot, and while tonight's loss hurt that dream, it's not over yet. The Ducks are currently tied for 9th with Edmonton, with Dallas moving up to secure the #8 spot the Ducks desperately need to get into the playoffs. At the top of the conferences, Boston leads the Eastern Conference with 93 points, with New Jersey(87), Washington (85) and Philadelphia (78) following respectively. In the Western Conference, San Jose is tied for first with Detriot with 94 points, and Calgary (84) and Chicago (81) following.

Lets Go Ducks!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Road Trips and Trades

As the Ducks come off a 6 game road trip, the trade deadline is days away, forcing the Ducks to make some quick changes before they make the final run for the playoffs.

It breaks my heart to tell you that left winger Chris Kunitz is now in Pittsburg playing for the Penguins.

Also off the roster as of today are center Samuel Pahlsson, defensemen Kent Huskins and left wing Travis Moen. All of these players were important pieces of the championship team in 2007. Steve Montador, Eric O'Dell and Brendan Morrison were also traded to other teams.

Kent Huskins has spent a large amount of the season recovering from a foot injury, and Brendan Morrison has had a rough time coming back from a knee surgery.

In exchange, the Ducks recieved defenseman James Wisniewski and center Petri Kontiola from Chicago, center Erik Christensen from Atlanta, center Nick Bonino and goalie Timo Pielmeier from San Jose and center Petteri Nokelainen from Boston.

Their first game as Ducks will be on Friday when they take on the Dallas Stars at home. We welcome the newcomers and wish them the best of luck as they lead us to the playoffs (hopefully).

Lets Go Ducks!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thrashed by Atlanta. And what a lashing it was.

It seemed as though the Ducks couldnt get out of their own way tonight as the 29th place Atlanta Thrashers took every opportunity to score, defeating the Ducks 8-4 at home.

The Thrashers scored first, finally putting the puck through after JS Giguere blocked several consecutive shots in the first four minutes of the game. Teemu Selanne evened the score a minute later with a one-timer that barely gets past the Atlanta goalie, Kari Lehtonen. Unfortunately, the tied score did not stay that way for long. The Ducks have always had issues staying out of the penalty box, and tonight was no different. No less than six penalties were served by the Ducks in the first period alone, two of which allowed the Thrashers to gain a 3-1 lead.

Their third goal was scored in the first minutes of the second period, after Bret Hedican and Chris Pronger were escorted to the penalty box for hi-sticking and cross-checking minors late in the first. Their penalties allowed for 1:48 of a 5-3 advantage for Atlanta, which they capitalized on 1:26 into the second period. Within the next 6 minutes, the Thrashers were able to score three more times, earning Atlanta player Ilya Kovalchuck a hat trick. JS Giguere was pulled from the net after the first 5 Atlanta goals, but replacement goalie Jonas Hiller let one through less than one minute into his shift in the Anaheim goal. Giguere blocked 20 of 25 shots, and Hiller only 15 of 17 shots.

With Ducks fans still blinking in astonishment at the 6-1 score, Teemu Selanne took it upon himself to score another goal, tipping a midair shot in from Bret Festerling. The second period ended with a score of 6-2. Bobby Ryan got himself a goal in the first 2:26 of the third period to try and gain some momentum back, but it was short lived as the Thrashers scored a shorthanded goal after Atlanta player Tobias Enstrom was sent to the penalty box for roughing.

Still desperate to regain some of the control they lost in the game, Selanne, Ryan and Andrew Ebbett congregated in front of the net and make a conjoined effort to score halfway through the third, with Ebbett finally shoving one through to make the score 7-4. 6 minutes later Ducks fans dare to hope as Atlanta player (and former Duck) Mathieu Schneider gets sent to the sin bin for holding. The Ducks pulled netminder Jonas Hiller for an extra attacker and even with a 6-4 disadvantage, the Thrashers somehow steal the puck away and send it gliding down the ice into the empty net for a short-handed goal to end the game with a 8-4 score.

Clearly, the momentum of the game was not on the side of the Ducks. 6 penalties in the first period, for minor technical offenses like hooking, slashing, hi-sticking, and tripping shows a lack of discipline that the Ducks must maintain to be successful against any team, not just the division and league leaders. Allowing 5-3 advantages even to poor teams like Atlanta gives away any momentum gained during the first period, as evidenced by the four goal streak in a span of 6:51.

The Duck's next opponent, crosstown rival the Los Angeles Kings, are likely to take advantage of mistakes like the ones made tonight just as Atlanta did. The Ducks will have to sharpen up before Wednesday if they hope to be successful against an improving Kings team.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the San Jose Sharks lost tonight to the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently in the last place in the Western conference. Also on the losing side of a seemingly uneven match is the Detroit Redwings, who fell to the New Jersey Devils. A night of surprises all around.

A more pleasant surprise was the naming of former player and broadcaster for the Ducks, Dan Bylsma as the interim head coach for the Pittsburg Penguins, who just came off an Eastern Conference championship. Good luck, sir, we wish you the best.

Lets Go Ducks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Calgary "flames out" in Anaheim

Calgary tries to spark a victory at the Honda Center, but consistent penalty kills and two goals contributed by Ducks team captain Scott Niedermeyer give the Ducks their two points in the standings, as they defeat Calgary 3-2 in overtime.

Three minutes into the game, the Flames were quick to score, as former Duck Todd Bertuzzi fired the shot just inside the Ducks zone to get past JS Giguere. The Ducks would retaliate halfway through the second period on a power play goal scored by Scott Niedermeyer, his first of two. Another former Duck, Curtis Glencross, put the Flames ahead four minutes later, on a one timer that Giguere couldnt catch. Brendan Morrison tied up the score two minutes into the third stanza, seconds after the Ducks kill a penalty. The end of regulation saw the game tied at two apiece.

Overtime began with a minor penalty that was issued at the end of regulation for roughing for each team. Even with a 3 on 3, the Ducks sought the goal that would end the game and Scott Niedermeyer found his chance. Taking a pass from Todd Marchant, Scotty backhanded the puck into the goal within the first 55 seconds of overtime. It was his second goal of the game and the game winner for the Ducks.

The Ducks were vigilant on their defense of powerplays, denying all 7 penalties, 4 of which gave the Flames a man advantage. Five minutes into the first period, George Parros and his Mustache got into a fisticuffs with Andre Roy, sending them both to the bench for a five minute major for fighting. Three minutes into the second period, Flames player Andrew Nystrom sparked a fight with the Duck's most recent acquisition Mike Brown. Both players were sent to the bench for a five minute major penalty for fighting. Ryan Getzlaf earned two minutes in the sin bin for holding midway through the second period, and Chris Pronger also had a penalty in the last thirty seconds of the second period for a roughing call.

George Parros and his Mustache served a minor bench penalty in the beginning of the third period, as it was painfully obvious that 6 men were defending an oncoming Calgary attack. Bret Hedican recieved an interference call for two minutes, and at the end of regulation, Chris Kunitz and Flames player Corey Sarich had a pleasant exchange in front of the Flames goalie, earning them both a minor penalty that left each of their teams a man short in overtime, causing the 3 on 3.

The Ducks never gave up a powerplay goal.

The official in the visitors penalty box had plenty of company as the Flames earned 8 penalties throughout the game, one of which gave the Ducks a powerplay goal.

The Duck's offensive effort was noticeable as they attempted 40 shots throughout the game. JS Giguere defended 21 shots from the Calgary team.

This win earned the Ducks two points in the standings, solidifying their second place perch in their division above Dallas with 61 points to their credit. Also in second place (although first in their division) is the San Jose Sharks, with 82 points to the Boston Bruins 85.

The Ducks next face Atlanta on Sunday. Lets Go Ducks!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Anaheim vs Chicago

The toughest losses are the ones you don't deserve. With a tremendous offensive effort and multiple scoring opportunities, the Ducks should have had this game in the bag, but lost to the incredibly tough defense of the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2.

The first goal of the game went to the Blackhawks, just three minutes into the first period. The Ducks got their chance to retaliate halfway through the first after the Blackhawks were called on a bench minor for too many men on the ice. With a man advantage, Bobby Ryan scored a power play goal, continuing his 5 game goal streak and increasing his tally to 11 for the month of January alone, a rookie record.

The Ducks still struggle with keeping penalties to a minimum, which the Blackhawks took advantage of. Less than four minutes after tying the score, Steve Montador is put in the sin bin for roughing. Blackhawks player Patrick Kane found the back of the net on the powerplay, putting them ahead by one.

The Ducks would fall further behind in the first few minutes of the second period after another Chicago goal by Jonathan Toews. With a two goal lead, the Ducks were desperate for a goal to get back some momentum. Salvation came in the form of Travis Moen, who scored a shorthanded goal after Ducks player Chris Pronger was sent to the penalty box on a hi-sticking call. Unfortunately for the Ducks, that would be the last goal of the game, leaving them with a one goal deficit at the end of regulation.

The third period, although seemingly boring in the boxscores yielding nothing more than a trivial penalty to Ryan Carter for holding, was one of the more intense 20 minutes of the game. For almost four minutes, the Ducks controlled the puck in the Blackhawk zone, taking multiple shots, none of which were successful. One shot seemed to go in, but the goal was waved off on account of the net being moved by a Blackhawk player that fell over it, to the lament of the Ducks. They pulled netminder Jonas Hiller from the goal in the last 1:19, but even with an extra attacker, the Ducks couldn't get one past Blackhawk goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin blocked 36 of the 38 attempts of the Ducks to score.

Hiller started in the goal tonight, for a consecutive night after winning over the Phoenix Coyotes last night with a score of 7-3. He blocked 24 of 27 shots tonight.

Tonight also saw the return of Teemu Selanne, who had been absent from the last 17 games on an injury from a leg laceration. While his performance tonight wasn't exactly noteworthy, it was one more step on his road to perfect recovery.

This loss puts the Ducks back to tie the Coyotes for second in their division, despite the ass kicking they delivered last night. Also tied are the San Jose Sharks and the Boston Bruins, for first in the league. The Ducks next face the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Friday. The Avalanche have suffered through a startlingly bad first half of the season, and were most recently shut out by the San Jose Sharks tonight, 3-0. Here's hoping the Ducks can emulate that performance.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Fowl Play....

Two goals in a span of 35 seconds, including one shady goal by Redwings player, Johan Franzen takes away the third period lead from the Ducks, leaving them with a 4-3 loss. It was the first time this season that the Ducks have lost a lead going into the third period.

The Ducks had a very strong first period, after falling behind 1-0, a goal by Ryan Getzlaf and a powerplay goal by Corey Perry two minutes later Anaheim a strong lead going into second stanza. Anaheim had outshot the Redwings, 15-9 in just the first period and only earned one penalty to Scott Niedermeyer for slashing. The Ducks killed that penalty and managed to score on one of the two power plays they received in the first 20 minutes of regulation.

The second period saw a monstrous defensive effort by the Ducks, especially by netminder JS Giguere. He defended 12 of 13 shots, allowing a powerplay goal after Chris Pronger was penalized for cross-checking. It was one of two penalties the Ducks would earn in the second period. Offensively, the Ducks didnt have too much opportunity to score, as the Redwings only allowed 4 shots in the middle period. Even with only 4 shots taken, Steve Montador found the back of the net seconds after the end of a powerplay, keeping a one goal lead for the Ducks going into the third period. The Ducks had never lost a game with a third period lead prior to tonight.

That all changed in a span of 35 seconds as Redwings player Dan Cleary got a goal to tie the score. The tiebreaker was credited to Redwings player Johan Franzen, on a goal that could have been dismissed on a high sticking call. The puck was batted in by Franzen's stick that looked inches above Giguere's head, grounds for a penalty call. The shot was ruled as a goal, however, and the Ducks were ultimately unable to recover. The Ducks took 9 shots in the last period of regulation to the Redwings' 11, mostly during the last two minutes as Giguere headed to the bench to give Anaheim an extra attacker, but to no avail.

Giguere defended 29 of 33 shots while the Ducks were only able to attempt 28. The Ducks only spent 8 minutes in the sin bin, and sucessfully defended all but one penalty. The Redwings were also awarded four penalties, and only scored on one powerplay.

The Ducks are now due for a roadtrip to the east coast to play Pittsburg on Friday. They go into the contest with a 22-18-5 record with 49 points. The league leader, San Jose, remains just one point ahead of the Boston Bruins, with 69 points.

Lets Go Ducks!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Wasted Comeback

The Ducks were struck down by the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight after making a second period comeback to tie the score. Playing catch-up proved to be insufficient for the Ducks to win as they played a game shockingly similar to last night's effort against the Kings.

The Lightning took a quick lead, scoring a short-handed goal just three minutes into the first period. Tampa Bay player Ryan Craig was sent to the penalty box for a tripping call, but even with an extra attacker, the Ducks couldnt score a goal or even defend their own zone.

Tampa Bay would score again in the first few minutes of the second period to seemingly put the game out of reach for the Ducks. Ducks rookie Andrew Ebbett scored the first Anaheim goal on a powerplay midway through the second period. It was Ebbett's second career goal since he was recently called up from the Duck's AHL affiliate, the Iowa Chops.

Tampa Bay was granted another opportunity to score when Chris Pronger was sent to the penalty box on a cross-checking call, and Lightning player Ryan Malone took advantage to put the Lightning ahead 3-1.

In just 12 seconds, the Ducks turned the game around from a two goal deficit to a tied score, with goals from Steve Montador and Chris Pronger. The score was tied at 3 apiece, and fans were wondering whether they were just watching a replay of last night's game.

Indeed they were. Lightning player Ryan Malone scored his second goal of the game to put Tampa Bay ahead, 4-3. The Ducks never recovered from that lead.

The Ducks took 32 shots on goal tonight, but Jonas Hiller was unable to defend 4 of the 19 shots he faced. That was all it took for the Lightning to strike the Ducks out.

Six of tonight's players started this season in Iowa, playing for the AHL. Through injuries and suspensions, they've been called up to play in the NHL to keep the Ducks afloat while their starters recover. One player, Matt Beleskey, arrived at the Honda Center just 15 minutes before the puck dropped, an emergency call up to replace an injured Todd Marchant.

The Ducks also recently lost enforcer Brad May in a trade to Toronto. May was traded to the Ducks just a few months before they won the Stanley Cup in 2007. Temporarily missing from the lineup is Kent Huskins, Teemu Selanne, Brad Larsen, Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry. Perry is expected to return for the game against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, as his suspension ends. Todd Marchant was absent tonight and remains on a day-to-day decision on whether he plays.

The Ducks will next play the New Jersey Devils on Sunday at 5.

In the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the Washington Capitals with a score of 0-3, the Buffalo Sabers beat the New York Rangers in a shootout, and San Jose won over Edmonton with a score of 4-1. The San Jose Sharks continue to lead the league with 65 points, with Boston in a close second place with 64 points.

Sure Doesnt Look Like a Rookie...

Bobby Ryan had his first career hat trick in front of a sold out crowd at the Staples Center last night. Its a shame that the Ducks couldn't rely on just that to win over the Los Angeles Kings, as they lost 4-3.

After falling 0-3 to the Kings midway through the second period, Ryan took matters into his own hands and scored three goals in 2:21, a franchise record, to put the Ducks back in the game. The Ducks struggled to generate a successful offense and were unable to overcome the Kings' fourth powerplay goal for the win.

The Ducks had plenty of opportunity with seven power plays through regulation, and played most of the second period with a man advantage. The Ducks still allowed 27 shots and gave up four penalties, the last of which gave the Kings the chance to score their game winning goal.

JS Giguere was pulled from the net after the Kings scored their second goal in the first 37 seconds of the second period. Backup goalie Jonas Hiller didn't fare much better, allowing the Kings third goal midway through the second, and the game winning goal on a powerplay halfway through the third.

The Ducks hope to redeem themselves from this disappointing loss when they play tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home.

Lets Go Ducks

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Freeway Brawl

For a rivalry game, you'd think they'd muster up a little more enthusiasm, but it was a quiet game as the Ducks took down the Los Angeles Kings, 3-1 at home.

Bobby Ryan has become irreplaceable to the Ducks, and is the NHL rookie leader in points per game. He scored the first goal for Anaheim off a pass from Ryan Getzlaf to put the Ducks ahead 1-0 late in the first period.

The Duck's defense was the most critical aspect of their game tonight, holding the Kings to just 18 shots throughout regulation, killing off 4 of 5 penalties, and even managing to score a goal. Because of the absence of Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne, one of the Duck's top defensive players, Samuel Pahlsson, was placed on the power play unit, and found the back of the net on a power play halfway through the second period to break the tied 1-1 game.

The Ducks scored their third and final goal in the last 7 seconds of the game on an empty net shot by Rob Niedermeyer.

The Ducks only earned four 2 minute minor penalties throughout the game, but the Kings saw their opportunity to score on the only 5-3 advantage they were allowed in the first minute of the second period. Rob Niedermeyer and Samuel Pahlsson both earned time in the sin bin for separate hooking and tripping calls.

Jonas Hiller stopped 17 of 18 shots the Kings took, and has started in the net for the past two games. After earning his third career shutout against Phoenix on Sunday, Hiller has proven he's a consistent netminder, and tonights results only reinforce that.

Elsewhere in the NHL, both Boston and San Jose lost to teams they shouldnt have lost to. Boston fell to Minnesota 1-0 and Calgary beat San Jose 5-2. Guess you cant win them all.

Lets Go Ducks!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

When Superstars are MIA, Rookies Show You How to Play

Tonight's game against the Phoenix Coyotes proved that even without their starters, the Ducks are still a force to be reckoned with. Battling for second place in the Western Pacific Division, the Ducks shut out the Coyotes at home, securing themselves the spot and a 6th place standing overall in the league.

Through some incredible defensive effort, and constant pressure in the neutral zone, the Ducks kept control of the puck most of the night, with 34 shots to the Coyotes' 29. Perhaps the most prominent figure on the defense tonight was netminder Jonas Hiller, who stopped all 29 goals for his third career shutout. This was his first game in the net since the December 28th win over St Louis.

Both of Anaheim's goals were scored on power plays, the first credited to Chris Pronger and the second to Bobby Ryan. This is Ryan's 7th goal of the season. Both goals were assisted by Ducks veteran Scott Niedermeyer.

The PK unit has once again proved itself indispensable, as it killed all three penalties to the Ducks, including a pivotal double minor high-sticking penalty late in the second period to newcomer Brendan Mikkelson. This was the rookie's first game with the Ducks, filling in for Corey Perry as he serves his suspension. Also new to the lineup is Drew Miller, who joined rookie Andrew Ebbett and veteran center Brendan Morrison on the line. Hiller's efforts on defending the net during critical penalties earned him recognition as he was named a Star of the Game. Pretty interesting to note that he's considered the "backup goalie".

JS Giguere wasn't the only one missing from the lineup tonight. Teemu Selanne's leg injury has kept him out for another game, and will continue to keep him benched for a few more weeks. Corey Perry was sentenced to a four game suspension after Friday's game against Philadelphia, when he viciously elbowed a Flyer. Francois Beauchemin is still recovering from a knee injury that was diagnosed earlier in the season.

The Ducks are now second in their division, behind the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks took back the lead of the league after a win over the New York Islanders . The Boston Bruins lost to the Buffalo Sabers, leaving them again one point behind the Sharks. The Ducks will take on the Los Angeles Kings in a back to back freeway rivalry on Tuesday and Thursday. The Kings are looking strong after beating Philadelphia, a team the Ducks lost to in a shootout last Friday. After working so hard to secure second place in the division, it would be disappointing to lose it all to a team like Los Angeles

The NHL has announced the teams for the All Star Game to take place in Montreal to honor the centennial season for the Canadiens on the 25th of January. Three Ducks were nominated to start in the game, goaltender JS Giguere, captain Scott Niedermeyer and center Ryan Getzlaf. Starters for the games are voted for by fans and NHL officials choose the other players. It is a huge honor for these Ducks and for the team to have such a showing in the All Star Game. They will play with and against various players from teams all over the United States and Canada. Kinda makes you proud to be a Ducks fan, doesnt it?

Lets Go Ducks!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Broken Records and Hearts

The Ducks lost in a heartbreaking shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-4, in a very emotional game. The Ducks were an offensive force to be reckoned with, but couldnt hold their lead.

In front of a record-breaking sellout crowd, the Ducks fought to break an almost constant tied score throughout the game, but failed to defend their net. Twice in the second period, the Ducks went ahead of the Flyers, but almost immediately after they scored, the Flyers returned with a goal of their own.

The competition reached new heights as emotions took hold. Lately the Ducks have been struggling with energy levels out on the ice, but that wasnt apparent tonight as fights and vicious hits appeared throughout the game. Towards the end of the first period, George Parros and Philadelphia player Riley Cote dropped their gloves and went at it. Seconds after they were broken up and play resumed, Steve Montador took up the fisticuffs with another Flyer. All players involved were awarded 5 minute major penalties for fighting.

Typically a tough period for the Ducks, the second period of this game was perhaps the most exciting in a long time. After Corey Perry tied the score at the end of the first, Rob Niedermeyer and rookie Andrew Ebbett gave the Ducks two goals to put them ahead of the Flyers 3-1. The Flyers were quick to respond with two goals of their own. Exactly one minute after Flyer Braydon Coburn scored to tie the game, Ryan Getzlaf found the back of the net to put the Ducks ahead by one, 4-3. Fourteen seconds after that, the Flyers tied the score once again, ultimately sending the game into a shootout.

The PK unit was tested tonight as the Ducks earned 8 penalties throughout the game, four of them in the third period alone. With Montador and Parros each earning 5 minutes for their fights in the first, the Ducks recieved 3 hooking calls, one roughing call, one call for holding the stick (isnt that what you're supposed to do in hockey?) and a double minor for high sticking. The penalty kill unit defended all but one penalty.

Scott Niedermeyer earned his 500th career assist tonight after the second goal of the night, a milestone not often reached by hockey players today.

The Ducks will have to walk away from this game with only one point to their credit, despite having one of the best games of the season. This is the only point out of a possible four for the last two games at home. They will have another opportunity to win at home against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday the 4th.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Boston Bruins have officially taken the lead, with 62 points over the Shark's 61. The takeover is hard for some Sharks fans that have gotten comfortable with being in the lead for most of the season. Looks like it may not be the year for championships for San Jose after all. =)

Lets Go Ducks!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Bitter Start But Hopefully Not a Trend

The Ducks suffered a bitter loss to Columbus on a New Years Eve matchup at the Honda Center. After earning 3 of a possible 4 points on their last road trip, it was difficult to see the Ducks unable to score on any of the numerous opportunities afforded to them at home.

The game was slow to start, and the mundane level of energy carried through all three periods, even with all of the opportunities afforded to the Ducks. The Columbus Bluejackets spent a lot of time in the sin bin over the course of the game, earning 6 penalties in all. Even with the powerplays, the Ducks were unable to get past Bluejacket goaltender, Steve Mason, who earned his third straight shutout at the end of regulation.

Penalties for the Ducks were reasonably low, yet Ducks fans still found reason to shout "Ref you suck!" during the course of the game. 18 minutes into the second period, Corey Perry flicked a wrist shot that went up and over Mason's right shoulder. The goal was waved off, however, due to a delayed penalty that resulted in a stoppage of play before the shot was taken. Upset fans and players alike made their fury known as yells of "Ref you suck!" broke out in the crowd, and fights broke out on the ice.

The Ducks had plenty of opportunity to score, but were unable to capitalize on any of the powerplays they were awarded, including a 6-4 advantage in the last few minutes in the third. They outshot the Bluejackets 10-7 in the first period, but lost their aggressive offense in the second period, allowing 12 shots to their 5. The third period saw a more even offensive effort by both teams, the Ducks outshooting the Bluejackets 12-10. Noticeably absent from the lineup was Ducks superstar Teemu Selanne, after suffering a leg injury. He will be out for 4-6 weeks. His loss hurt the Ducks undeniably, but a team cannot rely on one player to win games. The Ducks have been experimenting with different players to fill in, but it seems they'll have to keep trying. Replacing the Finnish Flash seems an impossible task, but the Ducks will have to compensate or else suffer the same fate as last night.

Even if their offense wasnt up to par with the Bluejackets, their defense was spectacular. JS Giguere had 27 saves, and the defensive players killed all the penalties, including a five on three late in the third, without letting the Bluejackets score. But it takes more than a solid effort on defense to win a game, as the Ducks proved in their last game of 2008.

2009 will hopefully see a turnaround not only in Ducks hockey, but all over the NHL. The Boston Bruins are now only one point behind the Sharks, Sean Avery is still unable to find a new team to join after being excused from the Dallas Stars after his latest antics ("sloppy seconds" serves you right, you asshole!), and the aftermath of this year's Winter Classic (score update: Redwings lead the Blackhawks 4-3 at the end of the second).

Last but certainly not least, a shoutout to my "fans". A few friends have mentioned to me that they read these updates as often as they can, and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank them for their support. Chris Torres, Chris Gordon, Jason Aho and whoever else finds these the least bit entertaining, I appreciate you. Thanks and enjoy!

Should Auld Acquantaince Be Forgot...

Or not. It would seem no one's forgotten their old rivalries in the annual Winter Classic this year in Chicago, as the Blackhawks take on the hated Detroit Redwings. The game is still ongoing, but the Chicago Blackhawks are leading the Detroit Redwings 3-2 early in the second period. The 8th ranked Blackhawks cant credit their lead from being on home ice, as this year's classic is taking place in an outdoor rink at the home of the Chicago Cub's Wrigley Field.

The rink was created over a span of many days, with several delays due to bad weather. The bitter weather continued to the start of the game, but that hasn't deterred thousands of fans from filling the stadium to watch this unique matchup.

The game has been surprisingly physical, with several cringe-worthy cross checks into the boards, and quite a few incidents of fisticuffs. Scoring for both teams has been credited to quick action on the rebounds, allowing little time for the netminders to recover. The game is still ongoing, and hockey fans expect even more intense play before the end of regulation.