More on Etem and Fowler.

The two newest Ducks, Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem are two entirely different hockey players who will be linked forever by the historic 2010 Entry Draft. Fowler was Anaheim’s 12th pick and Etem went 29th.

A record-tying 10 U.S.-born players were selected in the first round, matching the total of 2006 and 2007. A record two of them were from California, including the Long Beach native Etem.

Considering how much of a steal Fowler was considered for the Ducks at No. 12, it’s remarkable to think that Etem might have actually overshadowed him. Some were projecting Fowler as high as third overall, but the Columbus Blue Jackets surprised everyone by selecting Ryan Johansen with the fourth overall pick, setting off a run on forwards. With Fowler still on the board for the Ducks, general manager Bob Murray looked like a kid on Christmas when he announced he was selecting the prized defenseman.

Continue reading “More on Etem and Fowler.” »

Ducks take Long Beach’s Etem 29th.

The Ducks were cheered in Staples Center, perhaps for the first time ever, when general manager Bob Murray announced the selection of Long Beach native Emerson Etem.

Here is the scouting report:

In his first Western Hockey League season, Etem led all rookies in goals (37) and finished fourth overall in points (65) in 72 games. He added another seven goals (7-3–10) in 12 playoff games and was named Medicine Hat’s Rookie of the Year for 2009-10.

In 2008-09, he played for the U.S. Under-17 National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recording 45 points (23-22–45) in 50 games. That season, his linemates were fellow California-born players Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, CA) and Chase Balisy (Fullerton, CA). Nieto (2011 eligible) and Etem are longtime friends, having met playing roller hockey together at their local YMCA.

Leaving home at the age of 14, he attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota — a school known for producing young NHL stars like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise and Jack Johnson. He decided he wanted to attend Shattuck after his older brother, Mark (five years his senior), competed in the same tournament with Shattuck-St. Mary’s during Crosby’s tenure.

He has spent the past three off-seasons taking a train over two hours each way to workout with renowned California-based trainer T.R. Goodman and several NHLers including: Chris Chelios, Mike Comrie and Mike Commodore.

Athleticism runs in the Etem family, not on frozen water, but instead, in water. His mother, Patricia, rowed at the 1984 Olympics and four World Championships, his father, Rick, rowed for the Naval Academy in college and his older brother, Martin, currently rows for the U.S. Under-23 national team.

He got his start playing roller hockey at the age of three before switching to ice hockey three years later. In California, he played his minor hockey for the Los Angeles Hockey Club and had a paper route he could rollerblade to earn money for his hockey equipment.

Ducks select Cam Fowler.

The Ducks have chosen defenseman Cam Fowler with their first pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the 12th overall selection.

Here is the scouting report on the 18-year-old from

In the 2010 Ontario Hockey League playoffs, Fowler finished sixth in scoring among defensemen with 14 points (3-11–14) in 19 games as Windsor won their second consecutive Robertson Cup as OHL Champions.

In 55 games this season he tallied 55 points (8-47–55), finishing seventh among OHL defensemen, and his plus-38 rating helped the Spitfires finish first in their conference.

As a member of Team USA he won a gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship and at the 2009 Under-18 World Championship where he was named the tournament’s Top Defenseman.

Fowler played two seasons in Ann Arbor, Michigan with the U.S. National Training Development Program. In 2008-09 he was a member of the Under-18 team recording 30 points (6-24–30) in 38 games.

He is also a graduate of the Detroit Honeybakked AAA hockey system, playing his last year in minor-midget totaling 28 points (8-20–28) in 52 games. He was also originally recruited to play for the University of Notre Dame before deciding to play for Windsor in the OHL.

Fowler played Division 1 Baseball in High School for Farmington. As the Cinderella team in the 2007 Michigan State Championships, Fowler took the loss as the relief pitcher in the final game against Lake Orion.

Born in Windsor, Ontario he holds dual citizenship as his family moved to Michigan when he was two years old.

His childhood hockey hero was Bobby Orr because his dad would tell him about Orr and he wears number 24 instead of four because fellow 2010 Draft prospect and teammate Taylor Hall already it in Windsor.

Director of NHL Central Scouting’s E.J. McGuire:

“He’s your prototypical offensive-defenseman. He’s your (quarterback) on your (power-play), he’s your great skating offensive-defenseman and he controls the puck with his skills. If you’re looking for a comparison, think of Kaberle with the Maple Leafs. But in sticking with his country, maybe even a future Leetch or Housley.”

Windsor Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner:

“Cam’s vision, skating and passing are his greatest assets. He gets himself out of trouble with his feet and his mobility makes it very difficult for opposing players to get by him. Cam has good size and once he fills out, he will anchor an NHL club’s back end for many years.”

Foligno to replace Brown as assistant coach.

Mike Foligno, a veteran head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, has been named an assistant coach with the Ducks, succeeding Newell Brown. Brown was a Ducks assistant from 1998-2000 and again from 2005 until this week, when his contract was not renewed.

Foligno spent the last seven seasons as head coach and general manager of the Sudbury Wolves, compiling a 189-229-58 record. The Wolves went 26-35-7 last season and made the playoffs for the sixth time in Sudbury’s tenure, which included a conference championship in 2006-07.

Foligno has previously served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1995-96) and Colorado Avalanche (1997-98). He served as the head coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears from 1998-2003.

“He wanted to come back to the NHL,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “I think this was the right time. He’s really passionate. He’s got charisma. I think he’s going to work very well with our forwards.”

In a 15-year NHL playing career (1979-94) with Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto and Florida, Foligno collected 355 goals, 727 points and 2,049 penalty minutes in 1,018 games. A right wing, Foligno’s best season came with Buffalo in 1985-86, when he scored 41 goals and 80 points in 79 games.

Brown was responsible for running the Ducks’ power play, a role Foligno can possibly expect to assume with fellow assistant coach Dave Farrish already in charge of the penalty kill.

No hardware, but plenty of glory for Ducks.

The NHL Awards came to the Palms in Las Vegas for the first time last year, and there were a few kinks to work out. This applied to the press area too, where reporters had to abandon our laptops in the media workroom to do interviews in another room (so spoiled are we collectively that a trip to Vegas is no longer enough…). It was a clunky process that was rectified today.

The downside of having two interview podiums at the front of the media workroom meant that the all the televisions carrying the actual Awards ceremony were muted whenever a player was giving an interview. So we didn’t actually hear half the show (though I was told that Jay Mohr did a mean Christopher Walken interview).

Thank God no one was being interviewed when the hands-down, best laugh-out-loud video segment of the show (that I could hear) was on TV:

Continue reading “No hardware, but plenty of glory for Ducks.” »

Scott Niedermayer calls it a career. Updates.

An emotional Scott Niedermayer has announced his retirement, bringing an end to a historic 18-year career that brought Anaheim its first Stanley Cup.

Niedermayer, who turns 37 in August, nearly retired after leading the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup in 2007. But then-general manager Brian Burke allowed the defenseman to wait until midway through the next season to rejoin the team. With Niedermayer back, Anaheim turned its season around, going 32-12-4 and easily clinching a playoff berth.

He contemplated retirement again after the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons before returning each time. This time, Niedermayer was “100 percent committed to this decision.”

A lock to make the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, Niedermayer is the only player in hockey history to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World
Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior titles. His impact on the Ducks is unmistakable: When Niedermayer signed as a free agent in August 2005, the franchise had just three playoff appearances (and four series victories) to show for its first 11 seasons. In his five seasons in Anaheim, Niedermayer led the Ducks to four playoff appearances, seven series wins, as well as their first Cup.

His 10 goals and 38 assists in 2009-10 were both tops among Ducks defenseman, but represented Niedermayer’s lowest goal total in a full season since 1999-2000 and his lowest assists total over a full season since 2002-03.

Niedermayer was named team captain in October 2006, relinquishing the “C” (to Chris Pronger) only during his partial 2007-08 season. The captaincy is likely to fall to one of last season’s alternate captains, Ryan Getzlaf or Saku Koivu. Koivu is due to become a free agent July 1, while Getzlaf is under contract through 2013.

Replacing Niedermayer on the ice is not as straightforward a task.

Considered one of the best skaters in NHL history, Niedermayer is in an elite class of defensemen, none of whom can be found on the open market. However, the Ducks would have the salary-cap and payroll space to trade for a top-tier defensemen with Niedermayer’s $6.8 million salary off the books.

Lubomir Visnovsky proved a capable power-play quarterback after he was acquired from Edmonton late last season. Otherwise, the team’s strongest puck mover last season was James Wisniewski, a restricted free agent. Luca Sbisa is also a strong skater with offensive instincts, but the 20-year-old has yet to play a full NHL season. The Ducks own two picks (12th and 29th) in the first round of the entry draft, which begins Friday.

How the Ducks draft, and who they target in free agency or the trade market, may not be the most significant ramification of Niedermayer’s retirement.

Teemu Selanne turns 40 on July 3, two days after he will become an unrestricted free agent, and may now be persuaded to retire as well. Selanne also contemplated retirement in 2007 and 2008, and only returned to the team in 2007 after Niedermayer returned. Selanne is expected to decide this week on whether or not to play an 18th NHL season.

2010-11 schedule announced.

Here it is (all times Pacific):

Oct. 8 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 11 at St. Louis, 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 13 Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 15 Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 Phoenix, 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Dallas, 8:00 p.m.
Oct. 29 New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 30 at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 3 Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 5 Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 7 Nashville, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 9 at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 10 N.Y. Islanders, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 12 Dallas, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 14 at Chicago, 6:00 p.m.
Nov. 16 at Dallas, 8:00 p.m.
Nov. 17 at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 19 Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 21 Edmonton, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 26 Chicago, 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Phoenix, 6:00 p.m.
Nov. 29 Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 1 Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 3 Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 Phoenix, 5:00 p.m.
Dec. 7 at Edmonton, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 8 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 10 Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 12 Minnesota, 5:00 p.m.
Dec. 15 at Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 16 at N.Y. Islanders, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 18 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 20 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 26 at Los Angeles, 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 28 at Phoenix, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 31 Philadelphia, 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 2 Chicago, 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 5 Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 7 Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 9 San Jose, 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 12 St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Phoenix, 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 16 Edmonton, 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 25 at Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 2 San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 5 at Colorado, 1:00 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 13 at Edmonton, 6:00 p.m.
Feb. 16 Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 18 at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 19 at St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 23 Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 25 Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 27 Colorado, 5:00 p.m.
Mar. 2 Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 4 Dallas, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 6 Vancouver, 5:00 p.m.
Mar. 9 N.Y. Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 11 at Colorado, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 13 Phoenix, 5:00 p.m.
Mar. 16 St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 19 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 20 Calgary, 5:00 p.m.
Mar. 23 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 24 at Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 26 at Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 28 Colorado, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 30 at Calgary, 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 2 at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 3 Dallas, 5:00 p.m.
Apr. 6 San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 8 Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 9 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.

My picks for can’t miss games:

Oct. 8 at Detroit: For the third straight season, the Ducks open against a perennial playoff team, but for the first time it isn’t the Sharks. Last season, they hosted San Jose (and lost 4-1). The previous year they went to San Jose (and won 4-1). If you believe in omens, you’ll remember how each of those seasons ended.

Oct. 21 at Philadelphia: Chris Pronger and Joffrey Lupul – and possibly Luca Sbisa and the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft – can trade looks from across the ice. Oh, and the Flyers won the East last year.

Nov. 5 vs. Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and company invade Honda Center. Ought to be a good atmosphere.

Dec. 15 at Washington: This is the opening game of a season-long, seven-game road trip spanning 13 days. It won’t be as bad as it sounds – the Ducks get five days off around Christmas, then visit the Kings on Dec. 26 – but the first five games are on the Eastern seaboard, and the first is against Ovechkin. Yikes.

Dec. 31 vs. Philadelphia, Jan. 2 vs. Chicago: Both Stanley Cup finalists invade Honda Center in the span of three days. The Ducks better take it easy on New Year’s.

Jan. 20 at Toronto: The Ducks’ first game against Jean-Sebastien Giguere in a Maple Leafs uniform, which is sure to provide a media circus in Toronto. Oh right – it’s always a media circus in Toronto. Brian Burke and Francois Beauchemin will absorb some questions too.

Feb. 16 vs. Washington: Ovechkin’s lone appearance at Honda Center this season.

Beginning with an April 2 game in San Jose, the Ducks will play five straight games against Pacific Division opponents to end the season.
The Ducks play the Kings only twice before Feb. 23 and FOUR times after.
The longest homestand is a seven-game stretch beginning with the Feb. 23 game against the Kings and ending March 9 against the New York Rangers.

Ducks home, road openers announced. Updates with preseason schedule.

The release of the full NHL schedule is 24 hours away, but the Ducks will host the Vancouver Canucks in their home opener on Wednesday, October 13 at Honda Center at 7 p.m.

The Ducks will open the regular season on the road with back-to-back
games Oct. 8 and 9 in Detroit and Nashville, respectively. Tomorrow we will learn whether they have another game between the road game against the Predators and the home game against the Canucks.

3:15 p.m.:
The full preseason schedule has been released:

Date                             Opponent                   Venue                  Time (Pacific)

Tuesday, Sept. 21        PHOENIX                    Honda Center      7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 22   SAN JOSE                  Honda Center      7:05 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 24            @ San Jose                HP Pavilion          7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 25       @ Vancouver              GM Place             7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 28        @ Los Angeles           Staples Center     7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 1                VANCOUVER             Honda Center      7:05 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 3              LOS ANGELES          Honda Center      5:05 p.m.