Perry surprises FDNY crew on eve of 9/11 anniversary.

(Photo by Getty Images)

From the Ducks:

Corey Perry visited FDNY’s Engine 34, Ladder 21 last night in
the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. The station, which was
hit hard on Sept. 11, 2001, has its own pickup hockey league and
received a surprise
visit from the league’s MVP. In tribute to all members of the FDNY and
in memory of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, Perry presented the
firefighters with a framed jersey from the Ducks organization. Perry
greeted the firefighters, signed autographs and was given
a special tour of the firehouse. The firefighters took pride in showing
Perry their personal version of the Stanley Cup (silver cooler with a
silver cup on top) after capturing a recent victory. They presented
Perry with a FDNY hat, t-shirt and patch.


Engine 34, Ladder 21 lost seven men on Sept. 11,
2001 in the attacks on the World Trade Center. While at the station,
Perry listened to their personal accounts and offered his thanks for
their service and dedication.

Ruslan Salei among 43 dead in KHL plane crash.

It will be remembered as one of the biggest tragedies in sports history, and it couldn’t have come during a more tragic summer in the hockey world.

An airplane carrying members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed near Minsk, Belarus today, killing 43. Former Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei was reported among the deceased, along with former NHLers Pavol Demitra, Karlis Skrastins and Brad McCrimmon.

The Ducks released the following statement earlier today:

The Anaheim Ducks organization is shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Ruslan Salei. ‘Rusty’ was a fan favorite and dedicated member of the Orange County community since being drafted by Anaheim in 1996. Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife and three children, along with all of the other members of the hockey community affected by this horrible tragedy.

Salei, a native of Minsk, joined Yaroslavl in the off-season after playing 75 games in 2010-11 for the Detroit Red Wings. He was a Mighty Duck until 2006, playing parts of nine seasons in Anaheim and one in Russia during the 2004-05 lockout. He signed with the Florida Panthers prior to the 2006-07 season.

The NHL was already left reeling in the wake of the suicide deaths of Wade Belak and Rick Rypien, and the death of Derek Boogaard from a lethal mix of alcohol and painkillers — all in the last four months. Many players took to Twitter to express their disbelief.

-Ducks forward Bobby Ryan (@b_ryan9): I can’t believe I’m writing another one. Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the KHL plane crash. Too many players gone this year

– Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (@camfowler4): “cant even believe theres more awful news in professional hockey. thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends involved with that flight”

– Long Beach native and Ducks prospect Emerson Etem (@tweetem_up): doesn’t matter who you are or where you play. another sad day for the hockey world. #KHL #RIP Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

– Russian native and Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (@bryzgoalie30): My deepest condolences go to families and friends of Lokomotiv. My thoughts and prayers are with wives, childrens and parents of victims

– Orange County native and Nashville Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum (@JonBlum7): Can’t believe the news today lost a former teammate thoughts and prayers go to the victims families

-Orange County native and Florida Panthers draft pick Rocco Grimaldi (@RGrimaldi23): My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in the plane crash of the KHL team. Be praying for their comfort and peace

-Former Ducks center Andrew Ebbett (@aebbett): I can’t even believe what happened in Russia today. So sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the players and staffs families.

Ducks change individual ticket pricing strategy.

The Ducks announced a pair of changes to their individual ticket pricing strategy Monday that will reduce the cost of 88 percent of the team’s ticket inventory when purchased online.

The first change is something the team calls “all-in pricing” for tickets purchased through or Surcharges such as “delivery fees” and “processing fees” will be folded into the listed price of the ticket. For example, the cheapest seat at Honda Center — listed at $25 — will come with a checkout cost of $25.

The second change is the addition of four new pricing tiers. Tickets costing $41.50 last year are now priced at $25, $27, $32 and $36.

In sum, the online option is now the cheaper option for buying individual tickets. A team spokesperson said that the majority of fans already purchase tickets online rather than at the box office.

Individual game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Aug. 27. None of the changes will affect the cost of season tickets.

Hiller declares himself fit for camp.

It wasn’t a particularly surprising announcement, given the nature of reports describing Jonas Hiller’s progress this summer.

It was a big announcement, however, enough for Hiller to phone in from Switzerland this afternoon for a conference call with North American reporters: The Ducks’ All-Star goalie is fit to play.

“I see the puck well and everything,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being back playing as soon as possible.”

The health of Hiller, who was limited to three games after the All-Star break because of vertigo-like symptoms, was arguably the team’s biggest question mark with less than a month remaining before training camp.

Without actually donning pads and making saves, Hiller did his best Friday to relay the message that he’s going to be OK.

“I guess for the last month and a half when I’ve been skating, it’s been progressing almost day by day,” he said. “At some point, I got back to where I’m used to be.”

Plenty more from Hiller in tomorrow’s editions.

Via Twitter, an upbeat Teemu Selanne update.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto went on Twitter today to provide one of the more revealing – if not substantive – Teemu Selanne updates of the summer.

Lepisto, who like Selanne is currently training in his native Finland, teased fans with this post earlier today:

“Trivia of the day! Who came to practice this morning w this?

Followed by this, shortly afterward:

“Yea it’s Teemu’s new one!! And he is looking good on the ice!! 41 yr old shouldn’t be that fast!!”

In short: In the opinion of one fellow NHL player, Selanne is looking “good.” And “fast.” And he has a nice car. For the Ducks, who have been contemplating a Plan B if Selanne’s arthroscopic knee surgery doesn’t allow him to play this season, this can only be good news.

Ducks’ national TV schedule announced.

The Ducks will make their national television debut from Sweden this season, among eight scheduled appearances announced Thursday by the NHL.
The Ducks-Rangers game on Oct. 8 in Stockholm will air on Versus (and be simulcast on Canadian network TSN). The other seven dates: Nov. 1 at Washington (Versus), Nov. 3 at the New York Rangers (NHL Network), Dec. 19 at Dallas (Versus), Feb. 10 at Detroit (NHL Network), Feb. 14 at Minnesota (Versus), Feb. 26 vs. Chicago (Versus), March 12 at Colorado (Versus).

Twenty-two games were selected for weekend broadcasts on NBC this season, not including the Winter Classic at Philadelphia on Jan. 2, but the Ducks won’t get any major-network exposure in Year 1 of the reported $2 billion, 10-year broadcast deal.

Considering the Ducks only appeared once on national television during the 2010-11 regular season — a December game in Boston on Versus — the exposure is clearly increasing.

KDOC and Fox Sports West/Fox Sports Prime Ticket will return as the Ducks’ local broadcast partners in 2011-12.

Jonas Hiller reports progress in Switzerland.

Swiss television hit what must be the peak of its popularity in Southern Cailfornia on Tuesday.

The station Schweizer Fernsehen (literally, Swiss Television — how original!) published on its website a progress report from Hiller’s off-season training in his homeland. The images (linked here on the Ducks’ Facebook page) and the interview (translated here on can be summed up in one word: optimistisch.

“I’m accustomed to getting better every day, [someone] who sets myself new goals on a daily basis,” Hiller said, according to the Yahoo! translation. “I had to give myself so much time to progress. This was a difficult and especially depressing time.”

According to the report, Hiller has been working out with the Swiss club SC Bern, whose season starts in September.

While practicing is a good sign of progress for a player who was shut down at the end of last season, it’s still too early to say whether or not Hiller can meet his stated goal of playing in the All-Star Game again. Throughout his recovery process late last season, Hiller noted that his biggest challenge was tracking pucks at game speed.

The video shows Hiller taking some pucks, and making some saves, but that’s not a lot of information to go on. A more accurate diagnosis may have to wait until the preseason.

Ducks have a ‘Plan B’ if Selanne can’t play.

If Teemu Selanne doesn’t play in 2010-11, the Ducks are prepared to go forward with a “Plan B.”

That plan may be closer to reality than it was a week ago. General manager Bob Murray said he spoke with Selanne three days ago and the 41-year-old has hit a snag in his recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery in June.

“He’s been struggling a bit,” Murray said. “I think he was getting depressed with the whole thing. Last week I think he had a few days where it wasn’t bugging him. I think he intends to go hard this week with the bigger boys in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over.”

Murray said he won’t hang a timeframe on Selanne, who recently told a Finnish newspaper that he won’t decide whether to retire or re-sign until September at the earliest. The Ducks took the same approach in 2007 when the right wing contemplated retirement, ultimately waiting until December-more than two months into the regular season – for Selanne to return.
Continue reading “Ducks have a ‘Plan B’ if Selanne can’t play.” »

Ducks, Carlyle agree to contract extension.

The Ducks rewarded Randy Carlyle with a contract extension Monday that will keep the head coach in Anaheim through the 2013-14 season. Carlyle’s contract was due to expire a year from now, and the 2011-12 portion of his contract is being reworked as part of what is essentially a new three-year deal.

“We’ve been talking probably for a month an a half here on the direction which we were both trying to get to,” Carlyle said via telephone from his off-season home in Mindemoya, Ontario. “It’s something that probably started a little bit before the draft. Once the draft comes into play, usually everything else gets put aside. We were working at this thing piece by piece. It wasn’t that there were a lot of contentious issues, just that there was more time than normal.”

Carlyle guided the Ducks’ turnaround from another poor start last season, when they began 4-7-1 but came back to clinch the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference on the final day of the regular season.

Along the way Carlyle had to navigate the learning curves of rookies Cam Fowler, Brandon McMillan and young defenseman Luca Sbisa, and a season-ending injury to all-star goalie Jonas Hiller.

“I’ve all along said he’s a good coach. We’re always competitive, no matter what kind of team we throw at him,” general manager Bob Murray said. “He takes what you give him and he tries to win and he does very well at it, as his record indicates. He’s a good coach. His record speaks for itself.”

Under Carlyle, the Ducks have clinched the playoffs five times in six season, earning at least 98 points in four of the six seasons. Murray praised Carlyle’s work with the younger roster in 2010-11.

“He has his way with young guys,” Murray said. “He also took (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry when they were kids, too. The players are changing. He’s got to stay up with that. I think he’s done a good job staying up with how they’ve changed.”

More in tomorrow’s editions.