An uninspiring game, until this happened:
Teemu Selanne was in a jovial mood Sunday, which usually isn’t news. But with a groin injury keeping the right wing out of the last three games, it was a welcome sight inside Honda Center. The Ducks host the Kings on Monday night in the first meeting between the Southern California rivals this season, and Selanne wants to be on the ice.
“You know what, I’m counting myself in,” he said emphatically.
Selanne traveled with the team to Glendale for Saturday’s game against the Coyotes and took part in the pregame warm-up, then decided against playing. “I was really tight, so I discussed with our trainer, and decided it’s not worth that risk,” he said. “I’d rather miss one more.”
The 40-year-old, who is always ready with a numerical estimate of his health, said the groin was at 70 percent Friday, up to 83 percent Saturday and 90 percent on Sunday. “Tomorrow I’m expecting 95 and that’s good enough,” he said.
“I had this like three or four years ago, so I knew exactly what kind of injury we were talking about,” Selanne added. “If I played one more shift I would probably pull it bad. By saying that, the schedule we have was too much for me. But I hope I’m going to feel better tomorrow, because I really don’t want this to be any bigger problem than it is right now.”
Lubomir Visnovsky wasn’t as confident he would return from the back spasms that kept him out of Saturday’s game.
Two of Anaheim’s 2008 draft picks had huge offensive performances for the University of Wisconsin a the College Hockey Showcase on Friday and Saturday.
Defensemen Jake Gardiner and Nick Schultz, drafted 17th (first round) and 43rd (second round), respectively, combined for 11 points (six goals, five assists) in the two games against Michigan State.
In the second game, a 4-1 Badgers victory, Gardiner had three points, all assists. Schultz notched a hat trick-the first hat trick by a Wisconsin defenseman since Barry Richter scored three goals against Minnesota Duluth exactly 18 years ago to the day on Nov. 27, 1992.
Gardiner, 20, had three points (two goals, assist) and Schultz, 20, scored two points (goal, assist) in a 4-4 tie against the Wolverines on Nov. 26 (first game). Gardiner finished the two-game showcase with six points (two goals, four points) and Nick Schultz had five points (four goals, assist).
The only certainty at the moment in the Pacific Division is that you can’t be certain about anything in the Pacific Division.
All five teams are separated by two points, thanks to the Ducks’ 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. Losers of six straight, the Ducks ended the Coyotes’ seven-game winning streak by scoring five straight goals to erase a 3-1 deficit.
Bobby Ryan scored three of the five for his first hat trick of the season. Corey Perry scored one and Brandon McMillan had another, the first goal of his NHL career, off a precision pass by Ryan Getzlaf from behind the Coyotes’ net.
Jason Blake scored in the first period against Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who had allowed six goals in his past four games but doubled that total Saturday. “Bryz” fell to 9-7-2 against the Ducks in his career.
Ducks winger Joffrey Lupul has been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch on a long-term injury
Under this scenario, Lupul can play up to three
games for the Ducks’ American Hockey League affiliate. Syracuse has a road game tonight against the Toronto Marlies, a home game Sunday against the Hamilton Bulldogs, and a road game next Friday against the Rochester Americans. Lupul, who is not on the Ducks’ 23-man roster, is expected to play tonight.
After the three games, the club can either recall Lupul to the
NHL, or apply for a two-game AHL extension.
The 27-year-old winger hasn’t appeared in an AHL game since the 2004-05 lockout season, when he was a member of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. Lupul hasn’t played in a game at all since Dec. 8 of last season. Earlier this week, Lupul said playing in a game was the next step for him, and it looks like that step will come tonight.
The Ducks’ brand-new jerseys weren’t the solution to end their five-game losing streak. They just made the players look better in loss number six.
Jonas Hiller was pulled midway through an unsightly third period in which the Blackhawks scored three goals to break open a tie game. Dan Sexton’s first goal of the season was the only goal for the Ducks, who play tomorrow night in Phoenix.
Sexton had two of the Ducks’ six shots on goal in the first period. The first — a one-on-none breakaway through the offensive zone — was the prettier of the two, but resulted in a shot into the pads of Corey Crawford. The second, a redirection of a Saku Koivu shot at 16:49, gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead and their first power-play goal on their first man-advantage shift of the game.
Other than the new jerseys, the Ducks gave fans few reasons to watch the rest of the way.
Were it not for his seldom dormant Twitter account, Joffrey Lupul could be mistaken for the loneliest hockey player on the planet.
He hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 8, 2009. His well-documented rehab from back surgery, and the mysterious infection that followed, could end up keeping him off the ice for a full year. The bad news is that Lupul is still taking antibiotic medications and will be until the end of the season; more pertinently, there’s still no timetable for his return.
The good news is, Lupul feels ready to go.
“There’s not much more I can test myself out in practice. I’m going full out in practice and I feel good,” Lupul said. “The next step is to play in a game and see where I’m at there. it’s going to take a couple games to get back to 100 percent. I’m ready for that. I know that’s probably how it’s going to be.”
Kyle Chipchura was cleared to play after passing his most recent neuropsych test. The Ducks center, who suffered the second concussion of his career on Oct. 30, skated on a line with Todd Marchant, Aaron Voros and George Parros in practice Wednesday.
“I felt fine all of the past week,” Chipchura said, “but the neuropsych tests showed some signs that it was still affecting me.”
Joffrey Lupul played a full practice, splitting the session between the first and second line, but there is still no timetable for his return. More from him coming in a bit.
Teemu Selanne, who missed Sunday’s game with a sore groin, was on the ice to start practice but left after about 20 minutes.
“Why push it at this point, when we feel he’ll be available for us Friday, and here we are on Wednesday,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We have tomorrow’s practice. Today he had some ART (Active Response Technique) work done, which could contribute to a little stiffness and soreness in the area. … Hopefully that isn’t a setback. We don’t think it is. He doesn’t think it is.”
Lupul took Selanne’s place on the second line with Jason Blake and Saku Koivu. Brandon McMillan, Nick Bonino and Dan Sexton, who were recalled today from AHL affiliate Syracuse, formed a line of their own.
Defenseman Stu Bickel, a Ducks farmhand since 2008, has been traded to the New York Rangers for minor-league defenseman Nigel Williams.
Williams, 22, has one assist in 12 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate. A former second-round draft pick by the Avalanche (51st overall in 2006), Williams possesses a good frame (6-foot-5, 237 pounds) but was unhappy playing in Hartford according to one report.
Since the Ducks signed him as a free agent out of the University of Minnesota, Bickel has split the last three seasons between the AHL and the ECHL. In six games this season for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, Bickel had three assists and 14 penalty minutes. He also played in one scoreless game for the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals.
The Ducks have traded Ryan Carter to the Carolina Hurricanes for minor-league forwards Matt Kennedy and Stefan Chaput. Kennedy and Chaput were both playing for the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, and can expect to report to the Syracuse Crunch.
Carter, who cleared waivers for the second time this year Tuesday morning, had one goal, two assists and 22 penalty minutes in 18 games for the Ducks. Carter was one of six Ducks (Selanne, Getzlaf, Perry, Marchant, Parros) remaining from the 2007 Stanley Cup championship team.
Kennedy, a fifth-round draft pick by Carolina in 2009, had one assist and six penalty minutes in eight games for the Checkers. A fifth-round pick by Carolina in 2006, Chaput had three assists and nine penalty minutes in 20 games for the Checkers.
Kennedy, 21, has already played for the Syracuse Crunch. Following his stellar 19-year-old junior season of 2008-09, Kennedy had a four-game tryout at the end of the season with the Crunch, during which he scored one goal.
But Kennedy returned to the Ontario Hockey League for an overage season and could not replicate the success of his 33-goal, 73-point campaign for the Guelph Storm. Guelph traded Kennedy to the Barrie Colts at midseason and he finished with 34 points (18 goals and 16 assists) in 43 games. The season was marred by a concussion, the fifth of Kennedy’s young career.
Still, after a strong playoffs for Barrie (nine goals, 15 points in 17 games), the Hurricanes signed Kennedy to a three-year, entry-level contract in May.
Chaput, 22, has also been hit with injuries during his three professional seasons. He played just 15 games for the AHL’s Albany River Rats in 2008-09, his first professional season, before suffering a season-ending hip injury in December 2008. In an interview with hockeysfuture.com, Chaput said the root of the problem was degeneration in the hip bone which led to a torn labrum.
He came back to play the full 2009-10 season, posting 10 goals and 38 points in 75 games for Albany.