Ducks at the World Championships, Day 2.

Only one current Ducks player took the ice Saturday in Slovakia: Cam Fowler played 14:38 and collected an assist in the United States’ 5-1 win over Austria. It was the first game of the tournament for the Americans.

Swiss defenseman Luca Sbisa, the other Anaheim participant, was held scoreless Friday night in his team’s 1-0 win over France.

Fowler and Sbisa are the only Ducks players taking part in the tournament. Typically the IIHF World Championships are a bigger deal in Europe than North America, where those whole Stanley Cup playoffs are going on. Check out the list of players who suited up for the U.S. and you’ll see why the NHL playoffs are a more compelling draw.

Slovakia native Lubomir Visnovsky said he would like to take part in the tournament on his home soil, but only if his balky shoulder joints allow it. He didn’t dress in the Slovaks’ 3-1 win over Slovenia Friday night.

Former Ducks taking part in the tournament include Ryan Shannon and Mike Brown (U.S.), Evgeny Artyukhin (Russia), and Petteri Nokelainen (Finland).

Perry named one of three Hart Trophy finalists.

Corey Perry will join Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis on the podium for the Hart Trophy when postseason awards are distributed in Las Vegas on June 22.

We’ve already examined Perry’s Hart credentials. Here’s some more info from the team:


Continue reading “Perry named one of three Hart Trophy finalists.” »

More Marchant.

In case you missed my looking back/looking forward “obituary” of the Ducks’ 2010-11 season today, click here.

Left off from the end of the story (likely for space) was this quote from Todd Marchant explaining why he isn’t guaranteed to come back: “I don’t know what the future holds for me. I’ll sit back, take some time, really evaluate where I’m at. Make a decision whether I want to continue playing or choose the other course. I think that’s not an easy decision to make. It’s not an easy decision to make certainly.”

… and this kicker wrapping it all together:

Marchant was integral to the Ducks’ penalty kill. To a lesser extent, so were Sutton, Brookbank, Lilja and impending free agents Jarkko Ruutu and Kyle Chipchura. Their jobs are not high-profile, but they were directly responsible for the team defense that needs to improve if the Ducks want to achieve their goal.

“We’re not an organization that just believes in making the playoffs and that’s OK,” Murray said. “That’s not good enough at this moment.”

Back to Marchant for a moment.
Continue reading “More Marchant.” »

One more from Selanne.

Teemu Selanne told reporters before leaving Honda Center today that he plans to talk in depth with Paul Kariya about a possible reunion in Anaheim.

Kariya has not played in a year because of lingering post-concussion symptoms, which led Selanne on a tangent about hits to the head in the NHL.

“He’s healthy now but … if you saw all the hits that happened this year in the head, they’ve got to do something,” Selanne said. “Giving one or two games, it’s not going to, you know – if they want to take those out, they have to do more.”

His suggestion? “I guarantee that if you get 20 games one time, players are going to think twice if they do anything. It’s not worth it, you know.”

It was then suggested that Selanne become the NHL’s discipline czar when he does retired.

“I would be really good with that,” he replied, laughing. “I would be tough.”

How Paul Kariya figures into Teemu Selanne’s plans.

Teemu Selanne’s decision to play another season in the NHL will depend in part on … Paul Kariya?

Selanne said Tuesday that he’s interested to know if Kariya would return to Anaheim after missing all of the 2010-11 season with post-concussion symptoms.

“Obviously all the years that I had with Paul, it was just unbelievable,” Selanne said. “I talked to him yesterday and we’re going to meet next week. We didn’t even talk about injuries yet but I want to talk to him about how he’s doing, what he’s thinking and maybe go surf with him.”
Continue reading “How Paul Kariya figures into Teemu Selanne’s plans.” »

Postgame: What they’re saying.

Ryan Getzlaf:

(On Nashville): They worked. They battled every night right to the very end. So did our group. One, two plays make all the difference. We couldn’t find a way to keep the puck out of our net. We scored enough goals to win it. They worked hard and got their bounces.

Teemu hit the post. That’s the way the thing goes. It was a tough game out there. … I thought the guys did a great job of staying in this hockey game, we just couldn’t find a way to get another one past him.

Teemu Selanne:

That was for sure a heartbreaker, but it was a pretty even game tonight. A couple mistakes again, cost us a couple goals. We couldn’t avoid those. For some reason, I think the whole series defensively we were not as good as we wanted to. It was not a problem to score goals. Too many mistakes really hurt us. I think that was the difference.

They’re a good team. they did a lot of good things. Their forechecking was really solid. Their D were pinching. Give them credit, we lost to a great hockey team. I felt that we can play in our level enough. That’s a disappointment. What are you going to do, it’s too late now. We gave everything we had but this time it was not enough.

Brandon McMillan:

(On his missed chance in the third period) It’s just a good play. we generated a good cycle. Generated the opportunity with me going backdoor. He made a great play, it was just a little bit in front of me. I could have tried to curl it, but I tried to get it off quick. It was just a little too far in front. I’ve got to try and just stop it and get it in.

They play hard defensively and they played a great game. they played well the whole series.

Randy Carlyle:

When you do an evaluation, and I talked about it a little bit yesterday, was that again, you cannot give up four goals an expect to win consistently. I thought we provided enough offense in the series but we didn’t provide enough defense. The game in Anaheim, them scoring with 35 seconds left, kind of put a dagger in us. You’re not afforded any mistakes when that happens to you. You’ve got to come back here for Game 6.

I thought we played hard. We were in the game. Scored first, got ourselves going in the game. Then for certain stretches we just laid back and I thought that’s what we did at the beginning of the third period.

(On Nashville’s play) It doesn’t matter who you play. We just fell short in some areas. I look at it and say that we played hard, we gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t good enough. We didn’t play good enough. There’s too many things that happened within the series that were negatives for us. The defensive side was not where it’s required to win consistently in the playoffs.

(On Selanne’s series) Nobody tried harder, nobody cared more, nobody did more in this series than Teemu Selanne. It’s an emotional time for him right now because of what happened, and there’s always that looming, ‘is this the last one?’ I’m sure he doesn’t want to go out feeling the way he does right now.

He did a lot. he was around the puck consistently. Late in the third, he hits the post, it goes inside post and goes across the goal line. McMillan had another great opportunity goes off the end of his stick on a pass out with an empty net. That’s what happened to us tonight. We scored enough goals to win. You can’t continuously give up four goals in a hockey game and expect to win.

Nashville 4, Ducks 3.

If it’s as easy to get open shots against the Ducks as the Nashville Predators made it seem Friday, you can toss goals like this, and assists like this, out the window. And you can toss the Ducks out of the playoffs.

With all due respect to Jerred Smithson (previous career playoff goals: 1) and Jordin Tootoo (previous career playoff assists: 2), the ending to the Ducks’ Game 5 loss was as inexplicable as it was stunning. Let the record show that Mr. Smithson caught the Ducks’ defense napping and deposited a pass from behind the net by Mr. Tootoo into the net to send the Ducks to the brink of elimination.

Catch all the game details in tomorrow’s editions.

My notes and observations that didn’t make the paper:
Continue reading “Nashville 4, Ducks 3.” »

Ruutu, Carlyle address suspension.

Jarkko Ruutu made it clear Friday that he didn’t want to cause a stir with anything he said about his one-game suspension.

The Finnish forward nearly took a line straight out of the Mark McGwire Congressional Testimony transcript, saying “what happened yesterday, happened yesterday.”

Asked specifically if he had a reaction to his one-game, league-imposed ban for tonight’s Game 5, Ruutu replied, “I don’t think it really matters what I think. It’s a team game. One guy is out, another guy is in. In the end, the only thing that really matters is how we do tonight. That’s how I see things. Let’s move on.”

Ruutu did offer up a couple specifics about the hearing: It lasted about five minutes, and his status as a repeat offender (he received a pair of two-game bans during the 2008-09 season) did not come up in the conversation with the NHL. So there goes one theory about why Ruutu was forced to sit for a hit that Randy Carlyle didn’t think deserved a hearing.
Continue reading “Ruutu, Carlyle address suspension.” »

NHL suspends Ruutu for Game 5.

Jarkko Ruutu will be forced to sit out Game 5 of the Ducks’ first-round playoff series Friday as a result of his hit on Predators forward Martin Erat in Game 4 Wednesday in Nashville.

Unlike the league’s two-game suspension of Bobby Ryan earlier in the series, no explanation was offered Thursday in the form of a quote from disciplinarian Colin Campbell. Here’s how the full press release read:

Anaheim Ducks forward Jarkko Ruutu has been suspended for one game for
delivering a late hit to Nashville Predators forward Martin Erat in Game
Four of their Western Conference quarterfinal last night, the National
Hockey League announced today.

The incident occurred 4:00 into the second period and Ruutu was assessed a minor penalty for interference on the play.

Ruutu’s suspension will be served tomorrow night (April 22) when the Ducks host the Predators in Game Five of the series.

And here’s what the hit looked like. Judge for yourself:

Continue reading “NHL suspends Ruutu for Game 5.” »

Ducks 6, Nashville 3.

The Ducks played like a different team in Game 4 compared to Game 3. In part, they were.

Sheldon Brookbank, Kyle Palmieri and Brad Winchester came out of the lineup; and Andy Sutton, Andreas Lilja and Jarkko Ruutu went in — but the biggest difference in the 6-3 win seemed to be the Ducks’ resolve.

Goals by Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Brandon McMillan in the third period broke a 3-3 tie, and the series shifts back to Anaheim on Friday tied at two games apiece.

Goals by Cam Fowler and Saku Koivu staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 5:14. Patric Hornqvist answered 34 seconds later for Nashville, and Joel Ward’s power-play goal at 5:44 of the second period tied the game at 2.

Teemu Selanne deflected a Getzlaf shot past Pekka Rinne with the Ducks on the power play at 11:41 of the second period to temporarily restore the one-goal lead. But Kevin Klein and Matt Halischuk caught the Anaheim defense napping, with Klein setting up Halischuk for the equalizer at 14:15.

A delay of game penalty to Nick Bonino with 31.5 seconds left in the second period carried over to the third period, and could have given the Predators the break they were looking for. Instead, Perry scored short-handed 1:17 into the third period to give the Ducks all the momentum they needed. Nashville put only three shots on Ray Emery (19 saves) in the entire third period.

The Ducks outshot Nashville 38-22 in the game, and Rinne wasn’t around to see the end of it. He was lifted for Anders Lindback after McMillan’s goal at 6:46 of the third period.

“We just felt that the way we played the other night, we needed a little bit more size on the back end,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We hadn’t played Sutton and Lilja in a while. We thought that some of our younger players — specifically Sbisa and Bonino … McMillan and Beleskey, those are all very young players — we just felt they would be more comfortable with a 6-foot-5 defenseman and another 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman on the back end.”

A few more notes and observations:
Continue reading “Ducks 6, Nashville 3.” »