Since it's a pre-season game, a lot of the veterans wont be seeing ice time tonight, but instead will get to face the fans at various stands around the stadium.
It was a long summer for Bobby Ryan, one of the veterans who will be playing tonight. Negotiations for the terms of his contract took up most of the summer, and was resolved shortly before training camp started. Ryan sought a shorter contract, while the Ducks management wanted a longer commitment, as other veterans' contracts were expiring soon. Thankfully for the Ducks, Ryan agreed to a 5 year contract, which was rumored to add up to over 25 million dollars.
Tonight's game will be the first time the Ducks will take the ice against another team, as they've been in training camp since Saturday. After several in-team scrimmages, the Ducks are eager to take on an old foe.
The Ducks will also be facing the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, at another home game. Hopefully the Ducks will be able to use this experience to solidify their lineups. Because of the shifts in team members over the summer, including the loss of Niedermeyer and the signing of Emerson Etem and Cam Fowler, coach Randy Carlyle is looking at a new strategy for the lineups. The Ducks have always favored having two scoring lines and one checking line and an energy line, but is now considering altering the lines to feature three scoring lines instead, due to the large number of high scorers on the roster. Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Dan Sexton and of course, Teemu Selanne are all expected to contribute lots of points to the team's effort.
It's the start of a new season. Forgetting the disappointing start to last season, and the heartbreaking ending that came too soon, the Ducks look forward to a successful (and long) season. It's been too long since fans have gotten to rock the orange and black, too long since we've seen Wildwing rappel down from the rafters of the Pond, too long since we've gotten to cheer the Flash, Getzy, Hiller, George Parros (and his Mustache), Bobby and all our favorite players. Finally, we get to quack with our Ducks. Finally it's hockey season.
Let's Go Ducks!