Conference Call Wednesday-Anaheim Ducks
March 20, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) blocks a shot against Anaheim Ducks center Andrew Cogliano (7) during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Leading Goal Scorer- Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry-15
+/- Leader- Sheldon Souray +19
Penalty Minutes-Corey Perry-72
Goalie Wins- Jonas Hiller and Viktor Faseth 15
Goals Against-Faseth .921
Head to Head vs Chicago
1. February 12- Ducks-3 Chicago-2 SO at United Center
2. March 20- Ducks-4 Chicag0-2 at Honda Center
3. March 29-Ducks-2 Chicago-1 at United Center
Summary– One of things that was kept a secret during the Hawks great Streak to start the season was what a fast start the Ducks had to begin 2013. The Ducks sprinted out fast and hid from the rest of the Pacific Division. The Ducks were bigger than the Blackhawks with two starting goalie that were playing extremely well just like the Hawks had with Crawford and Emery with Hiller and Faseth.
The Ducks are the only Western Conference team to have an unblemished record against the Blackhawks during the 2013 season. The Ducks had the #2 seed when they entered the playoffs and played a fierce series against the much improved from the regular season Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks fell on home ice in Game #7 to the Red Wings and unlike the Blackhawks were not able to get past the Wings on their Western Conference Farewell Playoff tour.
The Ducks big announcement this off season was the return of Teemu Selanne for one more season during their 20 year anniversary season. I caught up with Sean McCaulley of the Aneheim Ducks Fansided site Pucks of a Feather for a 10 pack of questions for the upcoming season. Here is how our Q & A went this week.
BU-1.The ducks had lots of regular season success but were ousted in 7 games in the first round. Was it the Wings’ experience that was the killer or were the ducks not ready?
POF-I think that the overwhelming start that the Ducks had to the season kind of covered up the concern that most Ducks fans had about the team going into the playoffs. Their play was noticeably different in the first month of the season and the last month of the season. However, when it came time for the playoffs, there should not be any excuse for not being ready with some of the playoff experience that was on the team. That being said, I think it was the coaching matchup that really led to the Ducks downfall in that series against Detroit. Babcock coached circles around Boudreau, especially in Game 7.
BU-2.What do you expect out of Teemu Selanne for his final season?
POF-Honestly, I didn’t think he would come back. He didn’t seem to be his normal self last season. However, you could argue that he wasn’t as productive because he was a part of some line shuffling all year long. As for this season, I don’t know if he can put up numbers that we’re used to see him put up. He’ll still be a pretty effective powerplay weapon, but I definitely think we’ll see the “worst” of Selanne this year since maybe in the mid-2000s when he had some knee problems. However, he’s always been good at surprising us, maybe he’ll surprise us this one last time.
BU-3. What is the reaction on Teemu Selanne returning? Is there a plan for when he does retire?
POF-It’s always nice to have Teemu back. Not only is he a legend on the ice, he’s one of the classiest guys to ever play in the NHL. The value of having him around the locker room for some of the younger guys is unimaginable, in my opinion. He’s truly loved by this franchise and the fanbase so, of course the reaction is extremely positive. As for a plan when he retires, his number will certainly be retired. I’m sure in the last home game of the season there will be a tribute for him before the game and probably some moments during the game when he gets a standing ovation where play might be stopped for a little bit. When it comes to replacing him on the roster, the Ducks have some young guys who are going to be more than ready to step into the second-line wing spot in two years.
BU-4. Do you see the new realignment as bigger or smaller challenge than before?
POF-For some teams, the new realignment is going to be a bigger challenge. I don’t think the Ducks are one of them. They’ve been above the average of miles traveled for NHL teams for a while and it seems like they’ll be there again. Also, there was an article published (ontheforecheck.com) back in July where some of the numbers were laid out about traveling and the numbers seemed to be about the same as they were the previous couple of seasons.
BU-5. Do they think that the roster, as currently constructed, can get this team to the Stanley Cup Final?
POF-Well, I guess I’ll start out with the generic response, “Well, you know, every year our goal is to get to the Stanley Cup Final and win. We’ve added some guys here and there to try and improve our hockey club and we’ll see how it goes.” I never really pay attention too much to what execs and coaches say about their team’s “chances.”
BU-6.Do they have enough speed to contend with teams like the Blackhawks and Canucks in a 7 game series?
POF-Well, we had enough speed to go 5-1 against the Blackhawks and Canucks last season, including sweeping all three games against your Hawks! That’s regular season, though, I know. Speed-wise, the Ducks do have some guys with pretty good wheels in Andrew Cogliano and Emerson Etem as probably the two fastest guys on the team. Canucks? Whoever knows what’s gonna happen with that team? Blackhawks? It’s always tough to matchup against a growing dynasty.
BU-7. Was the return in the Bobby Ryan trade really enough for such a talented offensive player? Can they get by with an older roster of offensive players in the western conference?
POF-I think they may have been able to get more at the trade deadline last year, but we didn’t want to give Bobby Ryan up at that point and who can blame them. At the time the trade was made, I think that is the best return that the Ducks could’ve gotten. We got a guy in Jakob Silfverberg who is young and has some very interesting offensive upside. Is he going to develop into a Bobby Ryan? Maybe not, but he can still be a very good top line scoring winger. They also got Stefan Noesen who played on the same line with fellow Ducks prospect Rickard Rakell with the Plymouth Whalers. Together they were on one of the most dangerous lines in the league and have great chemistry together. Noesen is another very talented young player with some good upside. He’s a gritty player who has some good offensive skills. The Senators topped it off with a 1st round draft pick. The Senators probably aren’t going to make that a top 10 draft pick, but the Ducks are one of the best drafting teams in the league, so I’m not too worried about them wasting that 1st rounder. Who knows? Maybe that will be used in a trade at the trade deadline this upcoming season.
BU-8 Who is the breakout player for the Ducks that people outside of Anaheim are going to discover?
POF-Well, last year it was probably youngster Kyle Palmieri. This upcoming year it is probably going to be young, Cali-native Emerson Etem. He’s been the Ducks top prospect in my opinion for the last three or four years. He showed off some of his talents late last year and in the playoffs, but this will be the year that he really bursts onto the scene. Etem was a prolific scorer with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He has incredible speed despite a bit of an unconventional skating style. He has an unbelievably quick, accurate wrist shot. He showed last year that he can hold his own on the penalty kill and playing a more defensive role, but this year, he should be getting more minutes and more top-six playing time.
BU-9 With realignment do you expect any new rivalries to be created if so with who?
POF-Well, with the Detroit Red Wings leaving, that vacated a spot on our rivalry’s list. With Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver entering the division, there certainly is potential. Maybe not with Calgary, though. However, the Ducks and Canucks have always had a bit of an edge to their matchups. A lot of Canucks fans travel down to SoCal for when the Canucks play here. As far as Edmonton is concerned, they are probably on the verge of being an elite NHL team. So, any time there is an elite team within your division, you begin a bit of a rivalry. It also helps having a player who decided to desert your franchise, i.e. Justin Schultz.
BU-10 What is the expectation for this season and is anything less than a Stanley Cup a disappointment?
POF-I definitely don’t think this is a “Stanley Cup or Bust” year. That, hopefully, won’t be for a while. We definitely expect to make the playoffs. Do we expect to repeat as division champions? Well, most Ducks fans I’ve seen on twitter are “settling” for just making the playoffs. Well, I’m gonna go out and be more optimistic than my usual self and say that I think we squeak out another division championship. It’s gonna be a lot tougher than last year, but I think that we could do it again. However, I wouldn’t be extremely upset if we didn’t win the division.
Thanks again to Sean for letting us in on a Ducks prospective, and if you are looking for Ducks coverage stop by Pucks of a Feather. What is your expectation for the Ducks in 2013?
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