Some writers have suggested that, when general manager Bob Murray revamped the Ducks’ roster this past summer, he was abandoning the penchant for pugilism that Brian Burke brought to Anaheim in 2005.
Anyone who saw Monday’s game at Honda Center saw that little has changed.
It wasn’t a pair of aspirant energy-line prospects, but rather regulars Mike Brown and Bobby Ryan, who dropped gloves with the Sharks on Monday. And their fists were in midseason form.
Scott Nichol seemed to take objection to Brown’s open-ice, shoulder-first hit on Frazer McLaren midway through the first period. Nichol jumped in and jumped Brown, who eventually floored Nichol with a right jab to the delight of the crowd.
But it was Ryan’s third-period bout with Sharks tough guy Jamie McGinn that really got the fans on their feet. Ryan was a 31-goal scorer a year ago, a player whose soft hands are better served scoring goals than scoring punches.
Yet the 22-year-old said he put linemate Corey Perry in a vulnerable position with a pass that landed Perry on a collision course with McGinn in the neutral zone.
“You’ve got to come to a teammate’s aid from time to time,” Ryan said. “I put him in the position, I should go do it.”
Ryan said his hands were uninjured, which probably allowed Randy Carlyle to breathe a sigh of relief. Turns out he didn’t mind Ryan’s initiative in the first place.
“Sometimes those things are necessary,” Carlyle said. “And it seemed like that was necessary. … Fine with me.”