Remember Brandon Bochenski?
He was the second-line forward briefly employed by the Ducks last season before Teemu Selanne un-retired and took his place in the lineup for the remainder of the year. Bochenski was dealt last Feb. 26 to the Nashville Predators for “future considerations” — no telling if Bob Murray is done considering Bochenski’s value — and the forward has spent the entire 2008-09 season in the AHL.
Needless to say, Andrew Ebbett doesn’t want to become the next Brandon Bochenski. Yet the comparison was ripe for the taking when Ebbett was a healthy scratch against Chicago on Wednesday, Selanne’s first game back in the lineup after recovering from a lacerated quadriceps.
Randy Carlyle wouldn’t go so far as to say that Ebbett’s Ducks days were numbered after the one scratch. “If he plays poorly, or doesn’t play the minutes, is (Ebbett) going back to Iowa? I’m not going to say that. That’s a cruel approach after one game,” the coach said.
But it was interesting to hear from The Juggler himself what it’s been like juggling the second line the last month.
“We’re experiencing what we feel is trying to find a fit,” Carlyle said. “It seems that we have a fit for a couple games with some groupings. Then the next game, it’s not where we want it to be. We haven’t had the consistency. It’s a tall task for Andrew Ebbett to come to the American Hockey League in his first year in the NHL and deliver, but that’s the reality of it. That’s the expectation.”
Bobby Ryan, Brendan Morrison and Selanne comprised the second line against Chicago. At Friday’s practice, Morrison, Ebbett and Selanne were on the second line, with Bobby Ryan — the NHL’s second-leading goal-scorer the past month — donning a blue checking-line jersey.
No one expects Ryan to be on the fourth line tomorrow in Denver, and Carlyle doesn’t give his lines out ahead of time, so the real question is, what’s Ebbett’s long-term status?
“If he can play to a higher level, he gets an opportunity to play with Teemu Selanne,” Carlyle said.
Ebbett pretty much echoed that sentiment.
“I think I’ve just got to bring my work ethic, speed, create some room for a guy like Teemu,” he said. “He’s got that speed. If we can work together, hopefully it’ll work pretty well where we can get some 2-on-1′s, create some scoring chances.”