Hiller activated from IR; Pielmeier to Elmira.

Jonas Hiller was activated off injured reserve Friday, and the goaltender will be available for tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames. Hiller has missed the last two games after experiencing fatigue and light-headedness, while Curtis McElhinney has gone 2-0 against the Avalanche and Canucks as the starter. McElhinney could be in goal at the Saddledome tonight against his former team.

Timo Pielmeier, the backup to McElhinney the last two games, was assigned to ECHL affiliate Elmira. The Jackals are in Ontario this weekend for a rare West Coast road trip. Pielmeier did not appear in either game for the Ducks.

Hiller placed on IR, but can play Friday.

The Ducks placed goalie Jonas Hiller on injured reserve Tuesday retroactive to Feb. 3, as the goalie is still day-to-day with fatigue and light-headedness.

By placing Hiller on IR, the Ducks effectively ruled him out for tomorrow’s game in Vancouver, and opened up a roster spot for Timo Pielmeier without having to burn their second and final 48-hour emergency goaltender exception. (The Ducks burned their first last weekend, adding Pielmeier as the backup in Colorado, which temporarily put them over the 23-man roster limit).

Hiller will be able to return to the lineup Friday in Calgary if he’s deemed healthy. Hiller hasn’t played since the first 12 minutes of a 4-3 loss to San Jose last Wednesday.

Pielmeier was recalled from Elmira of the ECHL and figures to back up Curtis McElhinney against the Canucks.

Maxim Lapierre, Bob Murray comments on Ray Emery.

This isn’t the only demerit in the Ray Emery file, but it’s among the most relevant to the Ducks:

That incident took place Feb. 10, 2007, almost four years to the day before Emery is set to join the Ducks organization – presuming the goalie clears waivers tomorrow and is assigned to AHL affiliate Syracuse.

Emery was playing for Ottawa at the time, and Ducks center Maxim Lapierre was a rookie with the Montreal Canadiens. The two might not see each other in the same dressing room until late in the season – if Emery gets an NHL call-up at all. Still, it was worth asking Lapierre how he felt about possibly being teammates with Emery.
Continue reading “Maxim Lapierre, Bob Murray comments on Ray Emery.” »

Ducks 3, Colorado 0.

Corey Perry completed his second career hat trick with an empty-net goal with 17.3 seconds left, and Curtis McElhinney notched his second career shutout.

Both players accomplished the feat earlier this season – Perry’s first career hat trick came Dec. 12 against the Minnesota Wild, and McElhinney’s first shutout came Nov. 10 against the Islanders.

There were some notable firsts. It was the Ducks’ first win against the Avs this season (on their first try) and it was the first time an Anaheim player scored all three of his team’s goals in a winning effort. Perry punched in a power-play goal at 13:51 of the first period, the Ducks’ only power-play goal on six tries. That included a 1:29-long 5-on-3 shift spanning the first two periods.

Colorado couldn’t take any momentum from the kill, and Perry made them pay. He spun T.J. Galiardi around in his tracks before scoring an even-strength goal at 1:53 of the third period,
before completing the scoring into an empty net.

“Their best player was real good tonight,” head coach Joe Sacco lamented afterward.

McElhinney was good too. The former Colorado College standout made a pair of outstanding saves, and a lot of routine ones, en route to the 25-save shutout. Jonas Hiller was scratched due to fatigue and Timo Pielmeier served as the backup to McElhinney.

“Curtis played well back there and made some big saves in crucial times,” Perry said. “The puck was bouncing around a little bit tonight and they had some pressure on us. We had some big blocks and we made sure that we could try to help Curtis out.”

The Avalanche were shut out for the fourth time this season, and lost for the fifth time in their last six games. While Colorado has fallen out of the Western Conference’s top eight, the Ducks used the win to temporarily tie San Jose at 62 points, three behind first-place Dallas. The Stars are playing the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

A few more notes:
Continue reading “Ducks 3, Colorado 0.” »

Hiller (fatigue, light-headedness) out tomorrow.

Ducks goaltender Jonas
Hiller is suffering from fatigue and light-headedness and will be held out of tomorrow’s game in Denver against the Avalanche as a precaution. He is

Goaltender Timo Pielmeier has been recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League, and will likely be the backup to Curtis McElhinney. McElhinney played the final 48 minutes Wednesday in relief after Hiller allowed three goals on 10 shots in a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Pielmeier has never appeared in a regular-season NHL game.

Adding Pielmeier gives the Ducks 24 players on their active roster. However, a team spokesperson relayed that the NHL allows a 48-hour goaltender exemption – during which teams can recall a goalie for up to 48 hours as the 24th player – twice per season. Pielmeier is eligible to
play because of the exemption.

San Jose 4, Ducks 3.

The first 11 minutes, 15 seconds of hockey at Honda Center rendered the next 48:45 moot. Almost.

At least, it made for fairly easy writing on deadline. Seeing Jonas Hiller allow three goals in that early span, before heading to the bench, was a rare sight. Just as rare were the nature of the goals – each a little less excusable than the one before. Hiller said he didn’t see Jason Demers’ shot from just inside the blue line until it was in the back of the net. A few seconds later, Hiller was on the bench, and the Western Conference standings were guaranteed to be a gnarled mess.

The Sharks (27-19-6) and Ducks (28-21-4) each have 60 points now, cosmetically tied for fifth place in the standings but San Jose has the advantage of having one game in hand. Clearly, playing the Phoenix Coyotes the night before was a tremendous advantage, as the Sharks’ quick start was too much for Hiller and the Ducks.

“I think when they scored on the first shift it should have been a wake-up call,” said Bobby Ryan, who had one of the Ducks’ three goals. “We let them build off it. I don’t think you can discredit Jonas. He stood in there and some of the goals were tough to see, especially the third one. You don’t see it much.”

Cam Fowler and Joffrey Lupul also scored goals, with Lupul netting his first since Dec. 28. Curtis McElhinney made 17 saves – 10 more than Hiller – allowing only a power-play putback by Ryane Clowe at 15:39 of the second period.

More details in tomorrow’s editions. A few more notes:
Continue reading “San Jose 4, Ducks 3.” »

Ducks 3, Edmonton 2.

What appeared to be cakewalk for the Ducks over the floundering Edmonton Oilers turned into a mess in a hurry Sunday at Honda Center.

Somehow, a pair of goals by Teemu Selanne – the first going for his 1,300th career point – and another by Luca Sbisa held up, with Curtis McElhinney and the Ducks’ shot-blockers doing the dirty work late.

“We were forced to probably perform some extra work that really wouldn’t
have been necessary,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said, “but we found a way to win the hockey game.”

Goals by Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner 26 seconds apart late in the second period slashed the Ducks’ 3-0 lead to 3-2. Anaheim was outshot 12-7 in the final period, and survived the final 3:12 short-handed. The Ducks also blocked 22 shots, led by Andreas’ Lilja’s five.

McElhinney was briefly relieved by Jonas Hiller in the second period after suffering a cut to his neck that required stitches. More on that, and the rest of the game, in tomorrow’s editions. here are a few notes that won’t make the paper:

Continue reading “Ducks 3, Edmonton 2.” »

Phoenix 6, Ducks 2, and a possible trip to Europe.

Whatever mojo the Ducks had working on their 5-1 homestand disappeared somewhere over the skies between Anaheim and Glendale.

Starting in the second period, Phoenix scored four straight goals to break open a 1-1 game and send the Ducks to their second loss in their last eight games.

Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry scored the goals. Jonas Hiller (22 saves on 26 shots) absorbed the loss and was pulled from the game after allowing the Coyotes’ fourth goal. Curtis McElhinney stopped six of eight in relief.

“It was just one of those nights,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle told reporters following the game. “I don’t have an explanation for it but we have to find one in a hurry.”

The Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers – who will also be playing on back-to-back nights – at 5 p.m. Sunday.

More interesting than Saturday’s game was the prospect of where the Ducks will begin the 2011-12 seaon.
Continue reading “Phoenix 6, Ducks 2, and a possible trip to Europe.” »

Kings 4, Ducks 1.

The Ducks’ problems ran deeper than the rare four-day layoff – no games, no practices – from the time they were embarrassed in Buffalo on Tuesday to the time they were embarrassed in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The layoff couldn’t explain why the Ducks survived the first period but were walloped in the second, why the Kings knew where almost every Jonas Hiller rebound was going to end up, or why Corey Perry – the team’s leading scorer – chose to take himself out of the game for seven minutes of the third period with his team trailing 4-1.

“You expect after four days off that they will be rusty in some areas,” Randy Carlyle said, “but there was one area we were rusty in and that was competing.”

(I used that quote in the game story too and, while I don’t like to double up, a blunt Randy Carlyle cannot be quoted often enough.)

Continue reading “Kings 4, Ducks 1.” »

Buffalo 5, Ducks 2.

It’s not often that an NHL coach, in his post-game press conference, starts off by remarking how tired his opponent looked. But Lindy Ruff couldn’t resist.

“I think we took advantage of a team that, you know, their energy level was low,” the Sabres’ coach said after a fairly easy win over the Ducks on Tuesday. “If you can take advantage of a team, get ’em down early, it makes it even tougher on ’em.”

Getting the Ducks down early wasn’t a problem for Buffalo, just like it wasn’t a problem for the Hurricanes on Saturday, or the Islanders last Thursday. Due mainly to a porous Ducks defense, the Sabres struck three times against Curtis McElhinney in the first period, and again at 4:40 of the second, to take a 4-0 lead.

Jason Blake’s vacation started even earlier than his teammates’. He was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Patrick Kaleta at 13:36 of the first period, skating quite some distance to knock Kaleta out of the game with the hit.

Continue reading “Buffalo 5, Ducks 2.” »