And on the sixth day, the Ducks erupted.
Bouncing back from an early deficit — something they have scarcely done in a young season of disappointment — the Ducks defeated Vancouver, 7-2 at Honda Center on Friday. Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan scored twice, and Joffrey Lupul, Mike Brown and George Parros scored once, as the Ducks closed out a poor homestand on a high note.
Jonas Hiller allowed two goals, one from long range, in the game’s first 4:24, putting the Ducks in a familiar position before at home, where they’d lost four straight on a six-game homestand. But sparked by its top line of Lupul, Ryan Getzlaf and Perry, Anaheim rallied for six straight goals.Perry got things started on a nifty strike in traffic with 3:29 left in the first period.
Energy-liners Parros and Brown joined in the party in the second period. Parros scored his first of the season at 2:29, firing from his backside as he crashed the net. Brown’s first goal of the season came with the Ducks short-handed at 16:15, putting the Ducks ahead 3-2.
Perry’s second goal of the game, his team-leading seventh of the season, came with the Ducks holding a man advantage at 18:07 of the second period. That was the last of the four goals allowed by Vancouver starter Andrew Raycroft, who faced 22 shots.
Ryan emerged from his season-long slump with two goals of his own in the third period. His first, a one-timer from the left circle at the 3:32 mark, gave the Ducks their second power-play goal in as many chances.His second, at 6:12, went up and over backup Cory Schneider.
Lupul made it 7-2 with 1:13 left in the game.
Five separate writers (by my count) have asked that question in the past week: one, two, three, four, five.
When a team is considered to be a Cup contender, and finds itself ahead of just three teams in the league standings, it’s a question worth asking. What are your thoughts?
Here are some background points to consider:
1. Bob Murray didn’t hire Carlyle — Brian Burke did — and the general manager is personally responsible for the roster overhaul that’s taken place over the last season. In theory, that might give Murray more confidence in the players he put in place than a coach he didn’t. But Murray and Carlyle are close; they go back farther than Burke and Carlyle did at the time the coach was hired.
2. I caught an interesting quote by Ryan Getzlaf, doing a one-on-one interview recently for an “Off the Ice” segment on NHL Network. Speaking of Carlyle, he said: “Randy’s not the easiest guy to talk to, but you can still talk to him.” Ouch. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the future team captain.
3. Murray was the Chicago Blackhawks’ general manager for little more than two years (July 1997 to November 1999), but still managed to fire two head coaches during that timespan. The first, Craig Hartsburg, “sold out his soul to try to get things going,” Murray said at the time, but still got the ax; many speculated that the decision ultimately came from Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz. The second was Dirk Graham, Hartsburg’s replacement.
As Linda Richman would say, “Discuss.”
The Toronto Star reports that Brian Burke met with Congressman John Campbell (R-Newport Beach) privately before Monday night’s game between the Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs:
Burke received a congressional citation for his charitable works while working in Anaheim.
“I was flattered to be acknowledged,” said Burke on Wednesday. “It was really touching.”
Burke was honoured by congressman John Campbell especially for his support of U.S. troops.
“Mr. Burke organized a first-of-its-kind two-day event to support the families of active duty military personnel at the Honda Center in 2008,” Campbell read into the congressional record on Oct. 15. “The event, which included Ducks’ players and their families, welcomed Operation Homefront – a non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, the families they leave behind, and injured soldiers upon their return home.”
Campbell also praised Burke for his involvement in Orange County charities.
USA Hockey is teaming up with the Ducks (and the Kings, Sharks, Ontario Reign and Stockton Thunder) to take hockey to the children of California. It’s called “California Hockey Day,” and it’s free to participate. Some equipment will be provided, if needed.
Ryan Carter was back on the ice in practice Wednesday, but Todd Marchant and Jean-Sebastien Giguere weren’t, as the door to the trainer’s room continues to revolve in Anaheim.
The news was good for Carter, who took part in all aspects of practice for the first time since taking a puck off his foot last Wednesday. The forward will be eligible to come off injured reserve when the Ducks play the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
There was no update on Giguere, who is still nursing a strained groin, as Justin Pogge remains between the pipes when Jonas Hiller isn’t.
Marchant, meanwhile, was left woozy by a Lee Stempniak hit in the second period Monday, the last of several hits that knocked the forward to the ice in a6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The veteran said he first felt dizzy after being checked to the ice while Petteri Nokelainen ripped a slapshot into the Toronto net in the first period. Marchant was slow to recover from that hit, as well as the Stempniak check, after which he only played one shift.
“A lot of times when an athlete gets injured, he tries to fight through it first,” Marchant said. “That’s just your mentality. A lot of times, those will go away. For whatever reason it didn’t get better for me. I feel no ill effects from it (now). I feel fine, except for a sore back.”
The Ducks signed forward Kyle Calder to a one-year, two-way contract and assigned him to ECHL Bakersfield. Calder will earn $500,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the minors.
Cut in training camp, where he joined the Ducks on a pro tryout contract, Calder heads back to the minor leagues for the first time since the 2000-01 season. He has never played in the ECHL before. Last season with the Kings, Calder scored eight goals and 27 points in 74 games.
“He’s a veteran guy that came in and didn’t do anything flashy, but he knows his way around the rink,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said of Calder. “He’s a guy with the shortage of forwards and some positions and whatnot, he’s on a reserve list that can be made available to us.”
Carlyle said that the players, via the NHLPA Web site, actually found out before he did that Calder had signed. More than sending a message to the team’s forwards in the midst of a four-game losing streak, the coach said that signing Calder gives him depth.
“You can read into it whatever you want,” Carlyle said. “The more players you have in those positions, the more options you have as management and a coaching staff.”
Good news for Brian Salcido, the Ducks defenseman prospect from Hermosa Beach, who returned to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose over the weekend after missing six games with a concussion.
“It was pretty painful sitting out, there were so many games over such a short time,” said Salcido, who is one of two Anaheim Ducks prospects on the Moose roster this season. “It was my first concussion as a pro. When you have a concussion, your whole body feels fine and sometimes you don’t feel the symptoms but you have to be careful. If you hurt your shoulder, you know how much you can push it. So it was kind of a waiting game.
After the Ducks’ 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars last Wednesday, head coach Randy Carlyle promised changes ahead. The subsequent injury that forced center Ryan Carter to IR, as well as right wing Evgeny Artyukhin’s three-game suspension, forced the coach’s hand on a pair of lineup changes. Petteri Nokelainen has taken Carter’s spot in the three games since, and Matt Beleskey has filled in at right wing for Artyukhin.
Carlyle has also alternated Bobby Ryan between the first, second and (at least on Monday) third lines; returned Luca Sbisa to his juniors club in Lethbridge, Alberta; and shuffled Nick Boynton and Sheldon Brookbank in and out of the defensive rotation.
None of it has resulted in a win, however, and the Dallas loss looked downright pretty in comparison to a 6-3 thrashing at the hands of winless Toronto on Monday. Are more changes in store?
The 14,291 in attendance at Honda Center gave a warm ovation to Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke in his return to Anaheim on Monday — his first game against the franchise he built into a Stanley Cup champion.
But that was about the only friendly moment in a game of bad blood that worked against the Ducks, whose 6-3 loss was their fourth straight, all of which have come during their current homestand.
Petteri Nokelainen, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry scored goals, Jonas Hiller stopped 33 of 39, but the Ducks were undone by five power-play goals by the Maple Leafs — who ended a historic stretch of futility with their first win of the season in their ninth game.
More details in tomorrow’s editions.