Tag:Anaheim Ducks
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:53 pm
 

Slumping Ducks finding 'a way to lose right now'

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- This was going to be a story about the ageless wonder that is Teemu Selanne when the game was 4-2. If you had to name the best player on the ice in D.C. on Tuesday night, it would be the 41-year-old Finn. He had two goals. He assisted on Anaheim's other two. Simply put, he is still sensational.

After his four-point game, he now has 14 points in 12 games. Again, he is 41. I was getting my "Teemu Selanne is so awesome ..." jokes warmed up. Seriously, we haven't seen this type of production from somebody over 40 since Gordie Howe.

But then his team lost its lead and, well, it sort of changed the feeling in the room. (Good thing, my jokes sucked anyway.)

It was a game the Ducks had in their grasp. It was right there for the taking, all they had to do was hold off Washington's third line from scoring in the final minute. Instead they ended up losing 5-4 in OT, their sixth loss in seven outings.

"We began to self-destruct," coach Randy Carlyle said after the game.

That's just how things are going for the Ducks right now. They finally get some offensive production but the defense doesn't hold up its end of the bargain.

"We just seem to find a way to lose right now," goaltender Jonas Hiller said after the game. "We definitely have to forget about it and concentrate on the good things and I know everybody can play better. I have to start first with myself."

After Tuesday night, that was certainly a fair starting point. This was the second time in his last five starts that Hiller gave up five goals. The time, against Phoenix on Oct. 23, he was pulled.

"He's paid to stop the puck," an angry Carlyle said. "Simple as that."

The play in particular that was most egregious -- or most telling of Anaheim's recent "luck" -- came in the second period with the Ducks up 3-1. In what looked like a breakaway for the offense turned into a push from Caps goalie Tomas Vokoun the length of the ice, stopping just behind the goal line next to his crease. A few seconds later, Dennis Wideman was firing a laser shot into the net.

"What I think what happened was he was indecisive to go," Carlyle said. "I thought he should have played the puck above the goal line, get out of the net and just stop it."

"I thought when our guys were coming back ... I thought one of our guys was coming back because it was an icing," Hiller explained. "I thought 'well, we'll take that icing call' and then I was surprised nobody was there. But that's what I'm saying. Being in the wrong position at the wrong time."

So that was the problem on Tuesday night, goaltending. But it hid one other problem, the lack of offense. Let me explain.

Here are some numbers from the game that really drew my attention: 6-5-4. No, those weren't the daily pick-em lotto numbers, those were the number of shots per period by the Ducks. Add a bagel for the two-plus minutes of overtime and you have 15 shots in 62 minutes.

Entering Tuesday's game, the Ducks were tied with the Islanders for the lowest goals per game at 2.00. Through 12 games now, the Ducks are the third-lowest in the league with 24.8 shots per game. Only three times have they outshot their opponent. On Tuesday, Washington outshot them 40-15. None of those are recipes to winning.

Look at the production from this team, Tuesday included. As a whole, the Ducks have 25 goals on the season. Exactly one of those have come from a forward not on the top two lines on Tuesday; that was Maxime Macenauer's tally. Every other goal has come from a top-six forward of defenseman.

Obviously the top two lines are supposed to do the bulk of the scoring, but there needs to be balance in there.

Andrew Cogliano was just moved off the center position to the wing and bumped up to join Selanne and Saku Koivu on the second line. It looked like a perfect fit, it was clearly Anaheim's best group of forwards on Tuesday. They also have a pretty darn good top line in Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf.

"We were playing our game for the first half of the game and we were up 3-0," Perry said when I asked if they were creating enough offense. "We were scoring on our chances. It says a lot right there. When we're skating and moving the puck -- chipping it in, chipping it out, no turnovers -- it's effective.

"We got to look at what we're doing right and take the positives out of the game. A little down right now, but if we bounce back and play the way we did in the first half of the game, we'll be OK."

"All you can do is work harder and battle a little more," Hiller added. "At some point those bounces will go your way but it seems like we aren't trying. Everything seems to bounce against us and that's definitely tough but you can't blame whoever, whatever for that. At the end it's us who are playing out there and it's up to us to work harder to get those bounces.

Maybe they can just double Selanne's shifts?

"He's done his part and he continues to," Carlyle said of the ageless wonder. "Other people have got to step up. Simple situation is we can't accept that from this group."

OK, here is one of those bad Selanne jokes: Teemu Selanne is so awesome, that he made a metal wall cry. (Or maybe that was just from the water bottle he threw at the wall after the game. But I'll choose to believe he made that wall cry. I told you they were bad. Sigh.)

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Ovechkin benched in crunch time; big deal or not?

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- When it came crunch time on Tuesday night for the Washington Capitals, trailing by one with less than a minute to go, Bruce Boudreau put his best line on the ice. That did not include putting Alexander Ovechkin in the game. And wouldn't you know it, Nicklas Backstrom scored on a big rebound to send the game to overtime.

The Caps eventually prevailed over the Ducks when Backstrom again beat Jonas Hiller. Ovechkin was on the ice for that goal, getting an assist as the pass to Backstrom went off Ovie's skate.

But back to that end of regulation. Coming out of a timeout, Boudreau had just diagrammed a play and pulled his goalie Tomas Vokoun. That's when Ovechkin was ready to jump on the ice, only to be told to take a seat.

As you can see from the video, Ovechkin was saying the right things afterward. But at the time? Well he didn't seem too pleased with the benching, now did he?

The obvious answer is why wouldn't he? Of course he wanted to play and be on the ice in the final minute. If he weren't angry and wanting to play, just taking a benching with disinterest, wouldn't THAT be cause for concern? So he muttered something to himself. Big deal.

Boudreau explained -- quite well, if you ask me -- why Ovechkin wasn't on the ice. Was it due to poor performance?

"You tell me," Boudreau responded. "I got to put out the guys that I think are going to score the goal. Ninety-nine percent of the time Alex is the guy I think is going to score the goal. I just didn't think he was going to score the goal at that time tonight."

Ovechkin responded on Wednesday, explaining he was, indeed frustrated, but supports Boudreau's system of accountability. (Quotes from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post.)

"I was pissed off. Of course I want to be in that situation on the ice. It was just a little bit frustrating because I’m a leader in the team and I want that kind of responsibility."

As to what he said that was caught on TV?

"It doesn’t matter who I said it, and what I said. It looked funny on TV."

The funny thing is that Boudreau is making a heck of a lot of calls this year, brave ones. He started Michal Neuvirth over Vokoun on opening night. He specifically said Ovechkin needed to be better ... after Game 2 of the season. He split up his stud defensive pairing of Karl Alzner and John Carlson so they could extend their versatility. Mike Knuble? He's been pushed down to the fourth line. Ol' Bruce has been pushing a lot of buttons, and a lot of them have been the right ones. After all, the Caps are 8-2-0.

Is there big trouble in little China Town, aka Washington (see, Verizon Center is located in D.C.'s China To ... ah forget it)?

Not at all. Feelings might be a little hurt, but that's about it. Boudreau was right, the third line of Jason Chimera, Joel Ward and Brooks Laich was excellent not only on Tuesday, but all season long. Oh, and Washington scored the goal. Doesn't that vindicate Boudreau a little bit?

Fact of the matter is that Ovechkin isn't playing the same way that we're used to seeing. Check that. He IS playing the same way we're used to seeing and everybody in the league seems to know what he's going to do before he does. But we aren't seeing him produce the same way. He isn't producing the goals that make you say "wow." He has scored five goals and has five more assists in 10 games, but you can see it isn't coming as easily. The up-ice rushes are shut down nearly every time now with defenders expecting that cutback to center ice and then the shot flying.

That's why this is being blown a bit out of proportion.

If it happens in the next game, then there might be some more there. As of now, Boudreau had a hunch, and his hunch was right.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Movember begins with clean-shaven George Parros

By Brian Stubits

With the fun of Halloween done, it's on to Movember in the NHL. No team will be more involved with the movement than the Anaheim Ducks and their fearsome mustache-wearing enforcer George Parros.

He might be more than a mustache as a hockey player, but it's pretty darn defining. Heck, even Parros' popular Twitter account is @stache16.

Really, it will go down in the sports annals of great upper lip hair history. Personally, I'm not convinced Parros' is even the best in the NHL right now thanks to Senators coach Paul MacLean, but that's no slight. Parros' 'stache is in the running for a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of hockey facial hair.

“It’s burly,” Parros told Puck Scene of his mustache. “It’s manly. It demands respect.”

That it does. It commands so much respect, that Parros was able to convince every player in the Ducks locker room to show their support for the Movember movement, an attempt to raise funds and awareness for men's health, particularly prostate cancer through the power of mustache. To do so, Parros actually had to chop of the big bristling 'stache to begin anew for the start of the month.

"Well the stache has been cut!" Parros tweeted. "They broke a few razors but made it through. the race is on...may the best mo win!!!"

Looks weird, huh?

You can hardly recognize him without his furry friend. And soon enough, you might not be able to recognize the other members of the Ducks in their mustaches either. Even goaltender Jonas Hiller, who originally elected to have a special mask made for the month instead of growing out his own mustache, is reconsidering.

“I haven’t decided,” Hiller said. “I originally planned not to and instead to wear the mask. No one sees it and it’s itchy and bothers me anyway, but now with everyone else doing it I almost have to grow one.”

When the power of the 'stache can't convince him, there's always peer pressure. And don't get discouraged.

“Everyone’s able [to grow a mustache],” Parros said. “Whether or not he can grow a successful one is a different story.”

For more excellent Parros wisdom on facial hair, including his own beard and trimming techniques, read the whole story at Puck Scene.

With that, we present a very Bleacher Report-esque best mustaches in hockey lineup. Enjoy. (*Disclaimer: This list is not exclusive. There are surely some terrific mustaches not included. Thanks you.)

Here is George Parros with his mustache in full bloom.

Next we have aforementioned Senators coach, Paul MacLean.

How about the mustache that Parros calls underrated, Terry Rushkowski?

Here's some appreciation for the referees, specifically Bill McCreary.

One of the most fondly remembered mustaches the ice has ever seen, Wendel Clark.

Last but certainly not least, the near consensus No. 1 mustache in hockey history (and maybe in sports history), Lanny McDonald.

Photos: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 30, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Wolski, Beauchemin won't face punishment for hits

By Brian Stubits

Wojtek Wolski and Francois Beauchemin? You are safe. Neither player will face further discipline for their hits on Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher respectively over the weekend.

Wolski's hit in question came in Saturday's tilt with the Senators in New York. In the play, Wolski hits Alfredsson high on the play away from the puck and drew a minor penalty for the hit that left Alfredsson down on the ice.

Alfredsson missed Sunday night's game against the Maple Leafs because of the hit.

So what was the reasoning the league isn't acting further on the hit? Here's the explanation from Kevin Allen at USA Today: "The league view on the Wolski hit was that Wolski was bracing for impact when Alfredsson skated into him."

Plays like this one not getting more discipline will likely only confuse people as to what is and is not a bad hit. The line seemed to be coming into clarity, but this will only blur it once again. This seemed like a textbook suspension hit at first glance.

The Beauchemin hit on Fisher is much easier to see as not being worthy of discipline.

Here is the hit for your digestion.

Here is the reasoning from Allen in Beauchemin's case: "The league's view was that Beauchemin's hit was a full body check with incidental head contact."

Now this one I can agree with. It is a vicious-looking hit, especially with Beauchemin going airborne on the hit. However, the main contact definitely looks to be on the body, not the head.

For his two cents, Beauchemin said after the game he wasn't concerned about a suspension.

“I’m only concerned about his health," Beauchemin said. "I’m just hoping he’s OK because I think that was just a clean hit shoulder to shoulder. Looking at the replay myself, I think his head might have hit the ice when he fell down. And that’s probably how he got hurt.”

Like Alfredsson, Fisher is going to miss some time after taking the blow.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 30, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Getzlaf on Tootoo: Get guys like that off the ice

By Brian Stubits

The Nashville Predators have one of the best pests in hockey in Jordin Tootoo. He knows how to get under opposing players' skin.

Take Saturday night's example against the Anaheim Ducks. Tootoo was very active in the third period, drawing a couple of penalties. None was more discussed than the slash he took from Corey Perry.

Have a look at the play for yourself.

I couldn't help but chuckle a little to myself seeing Perry's reaction to Tootoo's fall to the ice. He's standing by him not in an attempt to deny his guilt, but rather you can just see him thinking to himself: "Really?!?"

He wasn't the only one thinking that way. It set off Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf. Apparently he won't be buying Tootoo any postgame beers in the near future. Here is what he told Eric Stephens of the O.C. Register after the game.

“We keep talking about all this stuff and changing rules and head shots and all that kind of stuff,” Getzlaf said. ”That’s not the stuff that’s hurting our game. It’s the lack of respect on the ice. I’m tired of watching Jordin Tootoo out there, a guy who runs around and hits and does everything else but the first little slash, he’s laying on the ice and he’s out the next shift.

“It’s embarrassing and I’m sick of it. If they want to change the game and they want things to be better and they want more respect on the ice, get guys like that off the ice then. I’m sick of it.”

Needless to say, Getzlaf didn't see it as a dive worthy of a 9.8 from the judges. It was lacking a little, shall we say, artistic merit.

Getzlaf continued by explaining where the anger was coming from.

“It started in the playoffs last year,” he said. ”This isn’t the Anaheim Ducks complaining. This is me. I think it’s embarrassing for our game that a guy like that is out on the ice taking a slash ... yes, he got slashed. Guys get slashed every single shift. They don’t lay on the ice and flop around and embarrass themselves. And I hate that part of our game.

“The refs, they can only call what they see,” he said. “I don’t expect the referees to be able to differentiate all the time. It’s hard. It’s not their fault. That was a high stick at the end. He took a good, hard high stick and he went down. I don’t fault him for that.

“I know what it’s like to get hit in the face. He went down hard. That’s not the play I’m talking about. A high stick in the face is a high stick in the face. It hurts. And it’s a reaction. When a guy slashes you on the hand or the pant or something and you flop on the ice and lay there for two minutes, it’s embarrassing.”

Embarrassing (times four), sick of it (times two), flop (also times two), hurting the game. Wow. He didn't really hold back anything, did he?

Whether Tootoo flopped or not, it clearly shows he has the ability to irritate like any good pest would, drawing penalties as well as heat off the ice.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Jonas Hiller to wear mustache mask for 'Movember'

By Brian Stubits

October is breast cancer awareness month. Players in all sports, including Montreal's Carey Price, show their support by wearing pink. Price went so far as to have a special mask made that would later be auctioned off with proceeds going to charity.

When the calendar flips to November another honorable cause will be honored across the NHL.

It's known as Movember and has really caught on in the hockey world. The entire point is for men to grow the best and most wicked mustaches they can in the month of November while they get their efforts sponsored. The point is not only to raise funds for, but bring awareness to men's health, specifically prostate cancer. It's a very cool and fun way for guys to take part in a good cause. We end up with 'staches like Sidney Crosby's from last year.

But nobody, not even Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck's glorious mustache, will sport a tribute as awesome as Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. He'll trade in his customary mat-black helmet (still just looks weird to me) for this awesome piece you see above with faces of his Ducks teammates all over the cage.

Remember when you were a kid and you drew mustaches on pictures everywhere you could find them? Or if you didn't actually do that, remember seeing other kids do it? That's what happened here, and the result is awesome. Drawn on mustaches rock.

But the coup-de-grace? That's the back of the mask, seen to the right. Hiller saved himself for that coveted spot where he is in full goalie pose with handlebar galore.

The mask was introduced by the website (and great Twitter follow, btw) the Goalie Guild and was so popular, it actually crashed the website for a short while.

But here is what the Goalie Guild had to say about the creation. (Also, visit the Goalie Guild site to see more photos of the mask, including from above and the front.)

When speaking with Alec [Voggel from Airxess] on one of our many Skype conversations over the past few days, here is some great background information on this special-edition Movember mask:

“Airxess came up with the idea, as we needed a game-used Hiller mask that would later be for sale because of the big demand. Hiller came up with the Movember idea himself, so as always, he gave us the input, and I had to create the design. Besides the concept, the whole testing to place all the portraits on the mask [it’s not only done by airbrush] and the painting itself I have done, while Dan 'The Man' gave the mask a nice flat finish and left some parts shiny.”

I love it. Not only do I applaud Hiller and the rest for taking part in the awareness and fundraising campaign, but I'm just a fan of mustaches. What guy isn't it (sorry ladies)? A friend of mine had his bachelor party over the summer and we were all required to sport our best 'staches. Fun times.

As far as specialty masks go, this one is a keeper.

Photos: The Goalie Guild/Airxess

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 24, 2011 8:29 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 10:19 am
 

Pronger takes stick to face, out 2-3 weeks

By Brian Stubits

The first period of the Flyers and Maple Leafs tilt in Philadelphia on Monday night featured three high-sticking incidents, the most disturbing of them was the one Chris Pronger took. Coincidentally, it was the only one of the three that wasn't called a penalty.

Have a look.

Pronger scrambled to the bench and didn't return in the first period. Between periods, GM Paul Holmgren said Pronger would not return against Toronto. No more information about the injury was given from the team, but Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia said Pronger remained in the arena and wasn't hospitalized.

The reaction from Pronger makes you shiver. On the video you can hear Pronger screaming as he lay on the ice and then rushed off as fast as he could.

TSN's Bob McKenzie later reported more. "He is seeing an eye specialist but because of swelling, more time will be required for an evaluation. No further details."

After the game, Holmgren addressed the situation further. Pronger will be bed-ridden for the next three days with swelling around his right eye.

“He’s got a little bit of an issue with his eye," Holmgren said. "Over the next three or four days, no real concern other than swelling or something behind the eye. He’s going to be on bed rest for the next three days.
 
“The hope is he’ll be fine in a few weeks here.  He will see the eye doctor for the next four days.”

Holmgren said it will be 10 days-2 weeks until Pronger is able to return to the team. That doesn't necessarily mean a return to the lineup, just to team activities.

"It's scary, obviously, to see him clutching his eye," teammate Scott Hartnell said in an interview after the second period. Yes, Scott, yes it is.

Earlier this season, Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks had a similarly terrifying moment when he took a slap shot square to the face. Luckily for him, he was wearing a visor and he came out of the incident with just a few stitches above his eye from the cut. If he hadn't been wearing a visor, it would have -- not could have, but would have -- been much worse.

“To me, it’s not an issue, players should wear them,” Holmgren said. “Some of these guys have been around a long time and for whatever reason don’t want to wear them. When Chris comes back, he’ll be wearing a visor.”

This will only reopen the conversation on mandatory visors in hockey again.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: October 22, 2011 11:56 am
 

Video: George Parros hit on Krys Barch

By: Adam Gretz

Anaheim Ducks forward George Parros is known mostly for two things: being one of the NHL's toughest fighters, and owning perhaps the best mustache in the league (though, Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean certainly has an argument for that title). He also might soon be known for being the next player to earn a suspension for a blindside hit to the head thanks to Friday's game against the Dallas Stars.

During the second period of Anaheim's 3-1 loss, Parros was involved in a colission with Stars forward Krys Barch that has gained a bit of attention this morning and sparked some discussion as to whether or not it was a violation of Rule 48.

Here's the play...



There was no penalty called on the play, but the head definitely appeared to be the principal point of contact. Just because it's worth repeating, here are the nuts and bolts of Rule 48: "A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position can be considered.

And now we wait to see whether or not the NHL and Brendan Shanahan feel this play was a violation and worthy of a suspension.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com