Ryan to left wing; Fowler, Mikkelson sitting pretty.

Quite a sight at practice today: Bobby Ryan was skating at left wing on a line with Saku Koivu at center and Teemu Selanne at right wing. The experiment with Ryan at center isn’t over, head coach Randy Carlyle said, but the coach said “it’s a possibility” that the Ducks will use that same line tomorrow night against Vancouver.

“We had discussions the other night about doing an anlysis of the games he played at center,” Carlyle said. “We thought the best game he played was against Phoenix, at center. We just said it’s not that we’re throwing it out the window, we’d just put him back at left wing for now and see how that develops.”

Carlyle also revealed a surprising confidence in rookie Maxime Macenauer, who took a few shifts at left wing Tuesday against the Kings, but was centering a line with Jason Blake and Troy Bodie in practice today. The other lines:

Matt Beleskey-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Aaron Voros-Kyle Chipchura-George Parros
Ryan Carter-Todd Marchant-Dan Sexton-Josh Green

Meanwhile on defense, Brendan Mikkelson and Cam Fowler were feeling good about life after the Ducks placed Brett Festerling and Danny Syvret on waivers earlier today.

Their thoughts, as well as more from Carlyle, in tomorrow’s editions.

Festerling, Syvret waived. Update.

Defensemen Brett Festerling and Danny Syvret have been placed on waivers, paring the Ducks’ blue line down to eight as the regular season approaches.

The biggest name of the eight belongs to 2010 first-round draft pick Cam Fowler. The 18-year-old has appeared in four preseason games, logging two assists and a minus-3 rating, while also seeing time on the Ducks’ power play. For Fowler to make the opening-day roster would represent a major accomplishment with a franchise that has historically given its draftees more time to develop. The list of Anaheim draft picks who went straight to the NHL in
their draft year is a short one: Steve Rucchin and Oleg Tverdovsky in
1994-95, Chad Kilger in 1995-96, and (then-26-year-old) Niclas Havelid
in 1999-2000.
Continue reading “Festerling, Syvret waived. Update.” »

Kings 8, Ducks 3.

It’s only the preseason, but Randy Carlyle could not simply brush this one off. For a moment after the Ducks’ 8-3 loss to the Kings, the coach was at a loss for words.

“We didn’t do anything to start to build on,” Carlyle said. “The
frustration; the lack of discipline, structure; we started to play
outside of our system — you’d almost think we never practiced defensive
zone coverage, when you watch the game the way we played in our own

That’s not putting it kindly because, really, there was no way to. The insults coming from 12,520 tongues in Staples Center were almost as juicy as the rebounds coming off Curtis McElhinney’s chest pad (and there were plenty).

Each goal was a little less excusable than the one before – a 5-on-3 goal by Dustin Brown, a 5-on-4 goal by Wayne Simmonds, a Ryan Smyth backhander off a close-range rebound, a long-distance bomb by Jack Johnson. Those four gave the Kings a 4-0 lead by the end of the first period. Los Angeles held a 23-7 shots advantage after one (the tally was 18-3 at one point). After a slight Anaheim pushback in the second period, the Kings scored four straight goals to take an 8-1 lead midway through the third.

On a night that saw the Ducks’ energy line provide the most offense (the Josh Green to George Parros to Todd Marchant combination proved potent twice), Carlyle couldn’t let this one slide.

“I reacted,” he said. “Not real emotional, from a standpoint of yelling and screaming, it’s just a matter of fact the way we played is unacceptable. The lack of discipline on the first penalty. Next thing you know the momentum of everything swung in their favor. It’s 2-0 and we’re back on our heels.”
Continue reading “Kings 8, Ducks 3.” »

Crunch open AHL season tonight in Syracuse.

If you haven’t bookmarked the Syracuse Crunch blog on the website of the Syracuse Post-Standard, now would be a good time to do so.

The Crunch play their first game tonight, with Marco Cousineau in goal among a laundry list of Ducks prospects who recently joined the AHL camp:

J.P. Levasseur will back up and also get minutes.

The scratches are defensemen Joe DiPenta, Mark Mitera, Mat Clark, and
Jake Newton, and forwards Brian Lebler, John Kurtz, Trevor Smith, Eric
Lampe, A.J. Perry and Derrell Levy.

Who’s the surprise of training camp?

Hardly anyone expected Maxime Macenauer to still be in Anaheim. A third-round draft pick in 2007 (an otherwise poor class for the Ducks), Macenauer turned pro last season and spent the entire year in Bakersfield. He missed 26 games early in the season with a “lower-body injury” while playing for the Ducks’ ECHL affiliate and wound up with less than eye-popping statistics.

Yet by surviving two rounds of cuts, Macenauer is getting a longer look than players with NHL experience (Stephane Veilleux, Trevor Smith, MacGregor Sharp, Joe DiPenta) and players drafted higher (Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Mat Clark, Mark Mitera, Brandon McMillan, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland).

Maybe the only person who expected Macenauer to be here is the 21-year-old himself.
Continue reading “Who’s the surprise of training camp?” »

Randy Carlyle on Jake Newton.

Randy Carlyle today gave his thoughts on Jake Newton, the San Jacinto native who survived the first round of training-camp cuts, but not the second.

“I think in some situations he played in, he was unsure of himself and made some decisions that showed his inexperience,” the Ducks’ head coach said. “We’re asking a lot of a young player who had only played college and practice with our hockey club.”

Carlyle praised the 22-year-old defenseman for his skating ability, size, skills, “moving the puck with authority,” and “brain for the game.” The coach, himself a former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, said that Newton needs to move his feet more, and avoid “not backing up and being as close to the check as possible.”

Newton wasn’t expected to make the NHL roster. In his one exhibition game he had a goal and an assist, but Carlyle noticed a difference from practice to the game.

“When you see him skate in practice, it’s not the same skating in the game,” Carlyle said. “That tells you the player is a little bit away from his comfort zone.”

News and notes from practice.

Without Sunday’s cuts (Trevor Smith, MacGregor Sharp, Timo Pielmeier, Jake Newton, Stephane Veilleux), the light at the end of the tunnel that is opening night was visible at today’s practice (a long one, following a day off Sunday). The forward combos were significantly pared down:


A couple more notes:

Continue reading “News and notes from practice.” »

Latest round of cuts helps clarify roster picture.

The Ducks had a day off the ice Sunday, but it was a busy day of travel for six players released from training camp.

Center Trevor Smith, center MacGregor Sharp, goaltender Timo Pielmeier and defenseman Jake Newton were assigned to Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Igor Bobkov was assigned to his Ontario Hockey League team, the London Knights, and forward Stephane Veilleux was released from his pro tryout contract.

Only 30 players remain on the roster and the opening-day roster is starting to become more clear.

Continue reading “Latest round of cuts helps clarify roster picture.” »

Vancouver 4, Ducks 1.

Roberto Luongo was in midseason form – playoff form, at times – as the Canucks spoiled the preseason debuts of Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Todd Marchant in Vancouver. Luongo’s 28-save performance handed the Ducks their second loss of the preseason, following back-to-back wins over the San Jose Sharks.

Selanne and Bobby Ryan were linemates, as expected, until late in the third period. That’s when the Ducks got their only goal – except it was the fourth line of Trevor Smith, Josh Green and George Parros that finally solved Luongo, with Green re-directing a Sheldon Brookbank slapshot in front of the net with 7:18 left.

Henrik Sedin, Guillaume Desbiens, Daniel Sedin and Jordan Schroeder scored goals on Jonas Hiller (21 saves), whose best chance of stopping any of the four came on Daniel Sedin’s second-period, mano-a-mano slapshot. Yet even that scoring chance was created by a careless play by Selanne, who turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

The Ducks return home to play the Kings on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Ducks 5, Sharks 4.

The 15,872 who showed up at HP Pavilion got their money’s worth for a mere exhibition, in which the Ducks and Sharks racked up nine goals and six separate fights.

Both coaches, who figured the game would merely be a good chance to tinker with their personnel in preparation for the regular season, probably got their money’s worth, too.

Playing on a line with Aaron Voros, Corey Perry had three goals and Ryan Getzlaf had four assists. San Jacinto’s Jake Newton scored his first of the preseason and Dan Sexton potted the game-winner with five minutes remaining.

Curtis McElhinney started in goal and stopped 18 of 20 shots in 29:25. Timo Pielmeier came on in relief to stop 22 of 24.

Veteran forwards Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Todd Marchant postponed their preseason debuts another day, likely until tomorrow night in Vancouver. Bobby Ryan also sat the game out. But Getzlaf and Perry more than held their own. Getzlaf had the primary assist on all of Perry’s goals, as well as Newton’s goal – which deflected into the net off San Jose’s Derek Joslin. All four of Getzlaf’s assists came on the power play.

Sexton took a nice pass from Jason Blake to beat Sharks goalie Harri Sateri with the game-winner.

Stephane Veilleux’s second game of the preseason was limited to 2:20. He and Scott Nichol fought at 11:55 of the first period – the fourth fight in less than two minutes – and were promptly ejected.