Ducks 4, Canucks 3.

The play of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan wasn’t the only reason the Ducks limped into their home opener Wednesday without a win to show for their first three games of the season.

Still, the trio’s combined totals of zero goals and zero assists had to change in a hurry.
The top line clicked, and the rest of the Ducks followed, surviving an ugly start to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in their home opener before an announced crowd of 17,174.

Ryan pickpocketed reigning league MVP Henrik Sedin in the neutral zone, then completed a give-and-go play with Getzlaf for the game-winner with 9:48 left in the third period. Getzlaf had a goal and three assists, and Perry and Teemu Selanne also scored for the Ducks (1-3-0).

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Here are a few notes that didn’t make the paper:
Continue reading “Ducks 4, Canucks 3.” »

Sutton has surgery, out 6-8 weeks.

Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton had surgery to repair a fractured right thumb this morning. The surgery was performed at the Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles by hand specialist Dr. Steve Shin. Sutton is expected to return to action in approximately 6-8 weeks, which projects to the last week of November or the first week of December.

The 6-foot-6 veteran was slotted as a shutdown defenseman before he broke the thumb in a fight with former Duck Ruslan Salei on opening night in Detroit. Another 35-year-old defenseman, Andreas Lilja, signed with the Ducks this weekend and is the logical choice to eat Sutton’s minutes.

St. Louis 5, Ducks 1.

There’s an almost endless repository of statistics that illustrate how bad the Ducks have played in their first three regular-season games. They have been outscored 13-2 and outshot 145-72. Their 43.0 faceoff percentage ranks 29th in the NHL, their 48.3 penalty minutes per game 30th.

Most importantly, a team that pledged to avoid another typical early-season swoon is off to an 0-3 start. If there is a hockey-statistical equivalent of the word acrid, just take your pick.

The good news – and there was some good news after Monday’s 5-1 loss in St. Louis – is that the Ducks got to come home in advance of Wednesday’s home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. By then they will probably have added a veteran to help on defense, Andreas Lilja, and have the potential for an opening-night atmosphere that tends to make visiting teams uncomfortable – the same atmosphere the Ducks faced Friday and Saturday in Detroit and Nashville, respectively.
Continue reading “St. Louis 5, Ducks 1.” »

The James Wisniewski “gesture.”

During his time in Anaheim, former Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski was certainly among the better personalities on the team – good sense of humor, quotable, sociable, etc. That he decided to have a laugh on the ice at the expense of a notoriously strong personality in Sean Avery is really no surprise.

That he would choose the PG-13 gesture you’re about to see (after the jump), with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in attendance, was in questionable taste. Mildly amusing, harmless, yet still punishable. Some form of supplemental discipline wouldn’t be a surprise considering Wisniewski has been on a conference call with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell before, and considering that sexual puns have drawn discipline before.

That’s your setup for this video of this morning’s all-New York matchup between Avery’s Rangers and the Islanders, Wisniewski’s current employer:
Continue reading “The James Wisniewski “gesture.”” »

Report: Ducks sign Andreas Lilja. Update.

A tough week for the Ducks and Andreas Lilja could be ending with a contract that brings the veteran defenseman to Anaheim.

A report on the Swedish website indicates that the 35-year-old Lilja will sign with the Ducks. Anaheim lost veteran defenseman Andy Sutton to injury in Friday’s regular-season opener in Detroit, a 4-0 loss. Brett Festerling was summoned from the AHL prior to Saturday’s game in Nashville, a 4-1 loss.

Sutton’s thumb fracture left the Ducks without two of their key blue line additions; Toni Lydman is still out following an acute episode double vision. Lilja, meanwhile, has been looking for a contract since he was cut in training camp by the San Jose Sharks – after he flew with the team to Europe.

Lilja is a defensive-minded defenseman who has played the last five seasons with the Red Wings. In 478 career games, he has 15 goals, 74 points and 501 penalty minutes.

The website reported that Lilja’s visa was set to expire today.

3:20 p.m. update
: Lilja will sign a one-year contract with the Ducks, but agent Todd Diamond relays that the defenseman might not be able to suit up tomorrow in St. Louis. Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday, which will delay Lilja’s ability to renew the P-1 (work) visa.

As a side note, Diamond said that Lilja was never offered – nor did he reject – a contract from the Red Wings, contrary to the report.

Nashville 4, Ducks 1.

So much for avoiding those slow starts.

Two days into the regular season, the Ducks are 0-2 and have been outscored 8-1. It may be time for a day off already, and the Ducks will get one before playing the Blues on Monday in St. Louis.

Saku Koivu’s 34-foot wrist shot at 5:25 of the second period was the only goal for the Ducks. Teemu Selanne and rookie defenseman Cam Fowler picked up the assists, and the line of Koivu, Selanne and Jason Blake combined to put 13 shots on goal.

The Ducks took 37 shots as a team, usually enough to outshoot — and often outscore — an opponent. But they allowed 49 while giving the Preds seven power-play chances. Nashville converted just one, by Sean Sullivan at 8:33 of the second period, but got even-strength tallies from Marcel Goc, Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand.

Jonas Hiller, making his second start in as many nights, stopped 45 shots. Counterpart Pekka Rinne was replaced with rookie Anders Lindback after sustaining a third-period collision with Troy Bodie, and did not return to the game.

Sutton breaks thumb, Festerling up.

Andy Sutton broke his thumb in a second-period fight Friday against the Detroit Red Wings’ Ruslan Salei. Sutton did not return for the third period. No timetable for his return was immediately available, pending further evaluation.

Reduced to six healthy defensemen for tonight’s game against Nashville, the Ducks recalled Brett Festerling from American Hockey League affiliate Syracuse. Festerling, who played 42 games for the Ducks last season, was among the second-to-last round of training camp cuts.

Luca Sbisa, a healthy scratch last night, also figures to have a crack at the lineup.

Detroit 4, Ducks 0.

The Ducks went to Detroit and lost. Nothing new under the sun on opening night of a new season; the Wings are now 27-3-3-0 all-time at home against the Ducks.

Second-year goalie Jimmy Howard continued the tradition with a 21-save shutout, helped immensely by his team’s six power-play opportunities to the Ducks’ one. The disparity in penalties (the Ducks took 12 to the Wings’ 6) was a big factor in Detroit’s 43-21 lead in shots on goal.

Yet neither Johan Franzen, Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk or Dan Cleary scored on the power play against Jonas Hiller (39 saves). Detroit did all its damage at even strength, and all within the game’s first 37 minutes.

In an otherwise forgettable debut, the Ducks can take pride in their perfect penalty kill as well as a solid regular-season debut by Cam Fowler, who blocked five shots in 20:48 and looked poised with the puck.

Luca Sbisa was a healthy scratch, but he might be needed tomorrow in Nashville; defenseman Andy Sutton did not play in the third period.

Ducks submit opening-day roster.

The NHL deadline for submitting opening-day rosters has come and gone, and the Ducks’ roster looks just as it was expected to once Josh Green and Maxime Macenauer became the final cuts of training camp. The team placed Joffrey Lupul and Jason Jaffray on the injured-reserve list today and have designated Toni Lydman as an injured non-roster player.

Lydman traveled with the team to Detroit — which came as welcome news following Tuesday’s checkup for the defenseman who has been sidelined with double vision since the start of training camp. No word yet if Lydman could be cleared to play at some point during the season-opening trip to Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis — or if he’ll merely be skating and (hopefully) bonding with his teammates on the road.

Without further ado, then, the roster:

Forwards (16): Beleskey, Blake, Bodie, Carter, Chipchura, Getzlaf, Jaffray (IR), Koivu, Lupul (IR), Marchant, Parros, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Sexton, Voros.

Defensemen (8): Brookbank, Fowler, Lydman, Mara, Mikkelson, Sbisa, Sutton, Visnovsky.

Goalies (2): Hiller, McElhinney.

Green, Macenauer to AHL; opening-day roster takes shape.

Josh Green and Maxime Macenauer were assigned to AHL affiliate Syracuse on Monday, making them the final cuts of training camp. The Ducks have 26 players on their roster, but three (Toni Lydman, Joffrey Lupul, Jason Jaffray) are expected to start the season on injured reserve. That ought to bring Anaheim down to the league-maximum 23 active players two days ahead of the deadline.

It also clinches the team’s final forward positions for Dan Sexton and Troy Bodie, and eliminates the possibility of a third line centered by the 21-year-old Macenauer. Barring any moves between now and Friday’s season opener against Detroit, this is the team Randy Carlyle will ice against the Red Wings.

Going down the list of pre-camp questions, then:

Final roster cuts? Check.
Team captain? Ryan Getzlaf.
Team identity? Not yet.
Cam Fowler? In the NHL.
Bobby Ryan? Probably a left wing again.

There are still plenty of challenges in store – namely solidifying the defense pairings and finding three scoring lines – that Carlyle probably would like to have nailed down by now.

The Ducks’ final practice in Anaheim is tomorrow, and the team leaves Wednesday for Detroit.