Phoenix 7, Ducks 4.

The first game of the NHL preseason is a haphazard ritual, its beauty comparable to gargling the morning breath out of one’s mouth at the crack of dawn, its timing and coordination no better than of a pack of hyenas attempting to divide a carcass of raw meat.

There is no need here to romanticize the hockey-viewing experience of 12,544 announced spectators at Honda Center — it was pretty ugly — but there were a few takeaways.

First, the quick and dirty game synopsis:

Igor Bobkov played roughly the first 30 minutes and John Gibson played the last 30. It was the first NHL game action of any sort for either goalie (Bobkov was at last year’s NHL camp and did not appear in an exhibition game), but the seven goals couldn’t totally be pinned on them. “We’ve got to work on defensive-zone coverage. That’s what we have to work on, obviously,” head coach Randy Carlyle said.

Sean Zimmerman, Kyle Palmieri, Andrew Cogliano and Nate Guenin scored goals for the Ducks, who never led in the game. The offensive effort wasn’t much to blink at, either.

“We just seemed to be slapping the puck around in too many situations,” Carlyle said. “From our standpoint it’s an evaluation game.”

On with the evaluating then …
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Report: Most game-day social media dispatches banned.

According to ESPN.com, the NHL has enacted a social media policy that will prohibit most posts by players, coaches, trainers and management on game days.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of a game, and ending after post-game media obligations, the aforementioned NHL employees won’t be allowed to post on social media websites. Nor can they use another person to post messages to their social media accounts.

Several Ducks players have popular Twitter accounts: Bobby Ryan, Matt Beleskey, George Parros, Cam Fowler, Andrew Gordon, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland and Emerson Etem.

The NHL is relatively late in restricting social media use by its personnel. Two years ago, the NFL instituted a policy similar in scope — blacking out social media statements less than 90 minutes before kickoff up until post-game media obligations commence. The NBA’s initial policy, also enacted in 2009, was almost identical.

Enacted in May, Major League Baseball’s policy (which you can download here) seems more focused on restricting the content of social media dispatches, rather than their time of day.

Incidentally, Parros endorsed a social-media-use restriction on his own earlier today.

Notes from rookie scrimmage.

It was tempting to leave Anaheim Ice on Thursday with a broad set of generalizations, but the Ducks’ rookie scrimmage amounted to a one-hour snapshot of a portion of the organization’s prospect pool.

Twenty-two players have been invited to the six-day camp that began Thursday. All but one was at the rink Thursday morning — a team spokesperson said that goalie Igor Bobkov’s flight into California was delayed. Maybe Bobkov knew something the other 21 didn’t: Of the players on the ice for the intrasquad scrimmage, the goalies had the least fun.

The final score was 9-6, apropos for the 4-on-4 game of river hockey that featured no hitting and plenty of uncoordinated improvisation. John Gibson, the 39th overall pick at last week’s Entry Draft, and Iiro Tarkki, whom the Ducks lured from Finland this summer, absorbed all of the burden.

Tarkki gave up the nine-spot, but faced more shots than Gibson (by my unofficial estimate) and made the more impressive saves. The 6-foot-3 netminder, who turns 26 today, is not ready for the NHL, and the Ducks will be happy if he and Bobkov can upgrade the goaltending picture in Syracuse. Gibson struggled early but seemed to settle down. He’ll have up to four seasons at the University of Michigan to iron out the kinks before he ever plays a game in Anaheim.

Goals were scored by Chris Wagner (4), Emerson Etem (2), Joseph Cramarossa (2), Devante Smith-Pelly (2), Andy Welinski, Tim Heed, Andreas Dahlstrom, Brett Perlini and Radoslav Illo. Rickard Rakell was at the rink but didn’t scrimmage because his equipment hadn’t arrived. Neither did Jake Newton, who is battling illness.

Those are the facts. They can be overestimated. I did longer interviews with Justin Schultz and Rakell, and will save their stories for a later post.

Since it was the only scrimmage that will be open to the public, here’s a few snap judgments:
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Etem makes USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp roster.

Ducks prospect Emerson Etem was one of seven players from Team USA’s 2010 World Junior Championships roster among the 40 named to take part in the National Junior Evaluation Camp this August in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The players will be auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior
Team
that will take part in the 2012 IIHF
World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 5, 2012, in Calgary and
Edmonton, Alta.

Etem helped the USA capture bronze in Buffalo at the most recent WJC tournament in January, finishing with a goal and a minus-1 rating in six games. The Long Beach native signed his entry-level contract with the Ducks in May.

Other local players named to the evaluation camp were Boston University forward Matt Nieto (Long Beach), Kelowna Rockets forward Shane McColgan (Manhattan Beach), U.S. Under-18 National Development Team forward Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor), and Western Michigan forward Chase Balisy (Rancho Santa Margarita).

The complete U.S. roster can be found here.

Here’s the tentative schedule of events for the evaluation camp:
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Ducks ink Etem to three-year, $2.7 million deal

The Ducks signed Long Beach native Emerson Etem to a three-year entry level contract on Tuesday. Etem, the 29th overall pick in the 2010 draft, will make $900,000 each year he is in the NHL.

Asked about his recently completed season in the WHL, it would have been natural for Etem to get excited about any of the 45 goals he scored for the Medicine Hat Tigers. But he wanted to talk a little more about his first fight, which he saved for the last game of the playoffs:

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Ducks at the WJCs, Day 11.

Consider this the last Ducks-related World Junior Championships update, unless Canada fans get their wish and see backup goaltender Igor Bobkov in the gold-medal game between Russia and Canada.

The U.S. went out on a high note today with a 4-2 win over Sweden that clinched the bronze in Buffalo. Kyle Palmieri had a pair of assists, including the primary helper on Chris Kreider’s goal to wrap up the victory with 1:53 left in a 3-2 game.

In six tournament games, Palmieri had six points (two goals, four assists), which co-led the Americans along with Charlie Coyle (a San Jose Sharks prospect) and Chris Kreider (Rangers). Only 13 players had more points in the tournament – though that could change after the gold-medal game.

Emerson Etem was held scoreless Wednesday, finishing the tournament with a goal and a minus-1 rating in the six games.

Ducks at the WJCs, Day 9.

It was a somber day for Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri at the World Junior Championships. The American forwards were held scoreless as the U.S. lost 4-1 to Canada in the semfinals, dashing their gold-medal ambitions in Buffalo.

The U.S. will play Sweden in the bronze-medal game Wednesday.

Goaltender Igor Bobkov didn’t play in the Russians’ 4-3 shootout win over Sweden in the other medal-round semifinal matchup. Bobkov has pretty much ceded the starting goalie position to Dmitri Shikin.

Ducks at the WJCs, Day 5.

Team USA vaulted into the semifinal round of the World Junior championships in Buffalo with a 2-1 win over Switzerland.

Whittier native and Detroit Red Wings prospect Mitch Callahan scored the game-winning goal midway through the second period, while forwards and Ducks prospects Emerson Etem (Long Beach) and Kyle Palmieri were held without a point.

The U.S. will play the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Canada and Switzerland on Monday at 4:30 p.m. Canada lost, 6-5 in overtime to Sweden earlier Friday.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen, a fourth-round pick in 2009, had an assist in Sweden’s 6-0 win over Slovakia. Finland takes on the winner of Sunday’s Sweden-Russia contest earlier Monday. Igor Bobkov, a third-round Ducks draft pick in 2009, didn’t play in Russia’s 8-3 win over the Czech Republic.

Ducks at the WJCs, Day 3.

Syracuse Crunch forward Kyle Palmieri scored two goals in the first 8:31 as the United States cruised to a 6-1 win over Slovakia on Tuesday. Palmieri tipped in a great pass from Charlie Coyle at the net front to open the scoring, then notched a power-play tally off a long rebound off the boards from a sharp angle to make it 2-0.

Palmieri added an assist and Long Beach native Emerson Etem completed the scoring in the second period with his first goal of the tournament, a wrist shot that slipped out of the glove of Slovakian netminder Dominik Riecicky.

Goaltender Igor Bobkov got the night off as Russia lost 2-0 to Sweden.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen was held pointless but finished plus-2 in Finland’s 4-0 win over Switzerland.

Ducks at the World Junior Championships, Day 1.

Forwards Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri were held scoreless, but the United States beat Finland 3-2 in its first game at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo. The game, which was televised on the NHL Network (check your local listings), saw Nick Bjugstad bail out the Americans in overtime with an unassisted goal at 3:08. Team
USA will play its second preliminary-round game of the IIHF World
Junior Championship on Tuesday against Slovakia. The game, to
be televised on NHL Network and streamed live on USAHockey.FASTHockey.com, will start at 5 p.m.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen, the captain of Team Finland, was held off the scoresheet.

Goalie Igor Bobkov, a third-round pick by the Ducks in 2009, allowed six goals on 42 shots in the Russians’ 6-3 loss to Canada.