He hasn’t been the same physically since an injury, his confidence has wavered recently, and yet he’s still got plenty of upside as a hockey player. It could describe center Erik Christensen, whom the Ducks lost Wednesday via waivers to the New York Rangers.
According to an article in the Montreal Gazette, it’s also a fitting description of new Duck center Kyle Chipchura. The article describes the fourth-round 2011 draft pick the Canadiens received for Chipchura, Montreal’s first-round pick in 2004, as “a coup”:
When the Canadiens traded him yesterday, Chipchura had no points in 19 games and was minus-2. He was a healthy scratch eight times and his ice time dropped steadily as head coach Jacques Martin lost confidence in him.
Any chance Chipchura could salvage his career in Montreal ended on Tuesday night. He played only three shifts and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored on two of them. Chipchura lost the puck on the shift that produced the second Toronto goal and watched the remainder of the game from the bench.
Chipchura worked hard and had the good attitude you expect from a guy who has been a captain for most of his career. But his skills seemed to be just short of what’s required in the NHL.
His biggest drawback was a lack of confidence in himself. In a conversation this year, he said he had to overcome his nervousness when he was on the ice.
The Ducks have acquired center Kyle Chipchura from the Montreal Canadiens for a fourth-round 2011 draft pick. In another move, defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was returned to Toronto of the AHL and defenseman Brett Festerling was recalled from Toronto.
The New York Rangers claimed center Erik Christensen off waivers, which will pave the way for Chipchura to join the NHL roster immediately. The only thing that might hold him back is immigration paperwork; the Alberta native has never been employed by a U.S. team.
Speedy winger Dan Sexton, the Bakersfield Condors’ leading scorer, has been promoted from the Ducks’ ECHL affiliate to the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
The 22-year-old was leading the Condors in goals (13) and points (26), and has more goals than any ECHL rookie. A free-agent signee out of Boston College, Sexton was named ECHL Player of the Week Monday for scoring five goals and nine points in four games to help Bakersfield go 4-0.
After registering three assists in a 6-2 win against Alaska on Nov. 20, Sexton scored his first career hat trick in a 7-4 win against the Aces on Nov. 21 and closed out the week scoring the game-winning goal and three points (2g-1a) in a 4-2 win on Nov. 22.
Sexton’s center in Bakersfield, MacGregor Sharp, made his NHL debut with the Ducks last Thursday. In Manitoba, Sexton joins Ducks center Erik Christensen and defense prospect Brian Salcido.
It’s been a busy week for the Ducks-contracted players currently in the AHL. There’s a total of six, which has to be the lowest for any NHL club, and four of them switched teams this week. Continue reading →
Christensen went unclaimed after he was placed on waivers Nov. 2, then rode the pine until centers Saku Koivu and Ryan Carter went down with injuries, forcing the Ducks to use Christensen for three games on last week’s road trip.
“It’s tough, at one point the team is willing to lose you and the next, they need you and they’re willing to put you in the lineup,” Christensen told the paper. “I thought I played well in the three games I was in (after clearing waivers) but Anaheim is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Changes are probably inevitable down there.”
Head coach Randy Carlyle disagreed specifically with Christensen’s self-evaluation after practice Friday, saying “we thought we had Christensen for a couple games to give him an opportunity, but we didn’t think that worked very well.” Christensen was available to the Ducks in the road finale Monday in Pittsburgh, but Carlyle opted to shuffle the forward lines and play defenseman Sheldon Brookbank on the fourth line instead.
Center Erik Christensen has been loaned to the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League for conditioning purposes. Christensen will remain on the Ducks’ NHL roster, but can play in games and practice with Manitoba for a period of up to 14 days.
The 25-year-old had been held without a point in nine games for the Ducks this season, and was a healthy scratch the past two. Christensen was placed on waivers Nov. 2 but went unclaimed; without an AHL affiliate, it took some time for the Ducks to find Christensen a new home.
“I play with whoever they put me out to play with,” he said, “Right now it looks like we’re playing with everybody right now, especially when we’re two guys short in the middle.”
Those two guys — centers Saku Koivu and Ryan Carter — didn’t take part in a full practice Tuesday with their teammates. Koivu at least attempted to start, after skating for a half-hour on his own, but lasted about 15 minutes before walking off the ice. Carter, who bruised his foot in Columbus when it absorbed a teammate’s shot in practice, didn’t skate at all.
The players can change, but a Jacques Lemaire-coached team will always look basically the same.
Trapped into submission everywhere outside Martin Brodeur’s breathing radius, the Ducks fell 3-1 to the New Jersey Devils.
The lone goal came from Corey Perry, who was standing in the crease behind Brodeur when the goalie lost the puck between his legs, and easily tapped in his 12th goal of the season at 2:25 of the second period. That goal tied the game at 1, but the Devils scored twice more in the period on a pair of breakaways, by David Clarkson and Zach Parise, the latter coming short-handed with 13 seconds left in the period.
Jonas Hiller stopped 22 of 25 for the Ducks, who were missing center Saku Koivu. Koivu was a last-minute scratch with a lower-body injury, and Erik Christensen took second-line center duties.
Brodeur stopped 31 of 32 and got plenty of help from a defense that held the Ducks to just eight shots and no goals on six power-play shifts.
Ryan Getzlaf got the secondary assist on Perry’s goal, extending his assist streak to eight games, which ties the franchise record shared by himself and Scott Niedermayer.