Iiro Tarkki update. Update.

The team still could not confirm the signing of Finnish goalie Iiro Tarkki as of this morning, but Tarkki’s agent appears to have confirmed it to a Finnish publication (thanks to Google translate).

Update (3 p.m.): The team has confirmed the signing. From the official release:
Continue reading “Iiro Tarkki update. Update.” »

Ducks 3, Kings 1.

The roller-coaster ride is over. Now the fun begins.

The Ducks couldn’t be happier about their position after 82 games — fourth place in the Western Conference, and guaranteed home-ice advantage for the first round — thanks to their win and losses by the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators earlier in the day.

The end result is that the Ducks will either host the Chicago Blackhawks or the Predators in the first round beginning no earlier than Wednesday.

“We found a way to get ourselves into a good position from thinking about where we were a couple months ago,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “You’ve got to credit our players; they’re the ones who put it out on the line night in and night out. It’s about a team that’s trying to work its way through all the hurdles that it’s been presented and now we have an opportunity to play at home.”

Here’s what the roller coaster looked like: The Ducks sat in third place in the West on Feb. 13. They fell as low as 11th and were there as late as March 8. They rejoined the top 8 on March 20 and did not leave. They began the day Saturday in seventh place and had risen to fourth by the end. Along the way there were subplots galore — skill, luck, 50 goals, 40-year-olds, vertigo — and it’s been fascinating to watch it all unfold.

The playoff scenarios are simple. If Chicago beats the Detroit Red Wings Sunday, the Ducks will play the Blackhawks. If Chicago loses, the Ducks play the Predators. That and more in tomorrow’s editions.

Here are a few more notes:
Continue reading “Ducks 3, Kings 1.” »

Emery up; Levasseur to Syracuse.

J.P. Levasseur’s stint on the Ducks’ bench didn’t last long.

He is heading back to Syracuse, and Ray Emery is on his way back to Anaheim, following the Crunch’s 3-1 win against the Texas Stars earlier today. Emery was named the second star of the game after his 27-save performance. Emery improved to 4-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in five games.

The Ducks don’t play back-to-back games until March 19-20, so it’s unclear when Emery will see NHL game action. His AHL days could be over for now, as it doesn’t seem like he has anything left to prove at that level.

Levasseur did not appear in a game, only serving as the backup to Dan Ellis on Saturday.

Emery to Syracuse; Levasseur recalled.

The Ducks have sent goaltender Ray Emery back to AHL affiliate Syracuse and recalled Jean-Phillippe Levasseur. Emery didn’t appear in a game after he was recalled from Syracuse on Feb. 23, serving as the backup to Curtis McElhinney, then Dan Ellis.

Emery went 2-1-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in three games with the Crunch after the Ducks signed him off the free-agent scrap heap Feb. 7.

Levasseur has a 2.97 GAA, .912 save percentage, and an 8-20-3 record in Syracuse. While poor, his record is more telling of a Crunch team that now ranks dead last in the AHL. Levasseur, who has never appeared in an NHL game, also has four shutouts this season.

The move is probably designed to give Emery more work; the Ducks don’t play back-to-back games until March 19-20 and would not appear to need a backup goalie until then.

Sexton, Levasseur wrap up big weekend for Syracuse.

Dan Sexton’s three-point game Sunday wrapped up a big weekend for the erstwhile Ducks right wing in the American Hockey League.

Sexton scored once at even strength and once short-handed – who knew he could kill penalties? – and added an assist in the Syracuse Crunch’s 5-0 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack Connecticut Whale. Sexton also had a goal in a 4-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday, giving him three goals and an assist in two games since his latest AHL demotion.

Defenseman Brett Festerling (two goals, plus-4 rating), left wing Matt Beleskey (goal, assist) and defenseman Mat Clark (goal, assist) also had strong games for the Crunch on Sunday.

Although playing back-to-back games is common for AHL goalies, Jean-Phillippe Levasseur’s weekend bears mentioning. His 32-save shutout Sunday came less than 24 hours after a 42-save effort against the Penguins. The 23-year-old lowered his goals-against average to 2.81 and boosted his save percentage to .918.

With Timo Pielmeier struggling (6-10-1, 3.61, .898), Levasseur looks like the Ducks’ number three goalie by default.

Crunch on bad end of blowout.

It was the only game in the American Hockey League on Monday, but the Syracuse Crunch probably preferred that no one watched.

The Ducks’ top affiliate lost 10-3 to the Charlotte Checkers after falling behind 9-1 after two periods. According to the Syracuse Post-Dispatch, Charlotte’s eight-goal second period was the most in an AHL period since Providence scored a league-record 10 in the first – also vs. the Crunch – on Nov. 25, 1998. During the middle period Charlotte scored twice in a span of 21 seconds, three goals in 1:07, four in 1:41, five in 2:41, six in 3:39, seven in 7:15, and eight in a span of 13:44.

Timo Pielmeier started in goal before giving way to Jean-Phillippe Levasseur in the fateful second period. Levasseur provided no relief, allowing goals on both shots he faced, before being pulled in favor of Pielmeier, who finished with 33 saves on 41 shots.

Dan Sexton played his first game back in Syracuse since returning from Anaheim. Kyle Palmieri, Stefan Chaput and San Jacinto native Jake Newton scored goals for the Crunch.

Syracuse has won two of its last 10 games, falling to 8-12-1-3 on the season.

Mikkelson to Calgary; Syvret up.

Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson has been claimed off waivers by the Calgary Flames, and defenseman Danny Syvret has been recalled from AHL affiliate Syracuse to take his place on the Ducks roster.

Mikkelson appeared in five games this season, posting one assist
and seven penalty minutes after winning one of the final defenseman
spots in training camp. A second-round draft pick by the Ducks in 2005, the 23-year-old Mikkelson was a healthy scratch Sunday against the Phoenix Coyotes. He
had been averaging 19:24 time on ice — fourth among Anaheim defensemen and sixth on the team

In 67 NHL games, all with the Ducks, Mikkelson had no goals, five assists and 38 penalty minutes. Only two members of the Ducks’ six-man 2005 draft class remain with the team: Bobby Ryan and Syracuse goalie Jean-Phillippe Levasseur.

Mikkelson lasted longer in training camp than Syvret, who was himself placed on waivers Sept. 30 before being assigned to Syracuse. Syvret appeared in three preseason games with the Ducks, recording a goal, an assist and a minus-1 rating. The 25-year-old had two assists in four games with the Crunch, and has 49 games, two goals and three assists to his credit in the NHL.

Crunch open AHL season tonight in Syracuse.

If you haven’t bookmarked the Syracuse Crunch blog on the website of the Syracuse Post-Standard, now would be a good time to do so.

The Crunch play their first game tonight, with Marco Cousineau in goal among a laundry list of Ducks prospects who recently joined the AHL camp:

J.P. Levasseur will back up and also get minutes.

The scratches are defensemen Joe DiPenta, Mark Mitera, Mat Clark, and
Jake Newton, and forwards Brian Lebler, John Kurtz, Trevor Smith, Eric
Lampe, A.J. Perry and Derrell Levy.

Phoenix 4, Ducks 1.

Bobby Ryan took his first turn at center this preseason, and Emerson Etem and Cam Fowler made their debuts against NHL competition — which might be the main reasons for the 12,382 in attendance at Honda Center to hold on to their ticket stubs from this night.

Ryan scored the Ducks’ lone goal midway through the second period, giving Fowler his first assist on an NHL scoresheet. Phoenix dominated otherwise, outshooting the Ducks 40-21 and killing off eight of nine power plays. Former Duck Andrew Ebbett, Kyle Turris, Brett MacLean and Viktor Tikhonov did the damage for the Coyotes, with Curtis McElhinney (22 shots/20 saves) and J.P. Levasseur (20 shots/18 saves) splitting the bill evenly.

Ryan won just one of his first 8 faceoffs and finished 8 for 20 in the circle. A Ducks power play that had just three days to coalesce didn’t fare much better than a penalty kill that allowed two goals in five man-advantage shifts for the Coyotes.

The Sharks invade Honda Center tomorrow night. The San Mercury News reports that Antero Niittymaki is likely to start between the pipes. No word from this end on who Randy Carlyle will trot out.

Ducks, Levasseur reach one-year extension.

The Ducks have signed goaltender Jean-Phillippe Levasseur to a one-year contract extension.

The 23-year-old was as affected as anyone by the Ducks’ lack of an American Hockey League affiliate last season. The 6-foot, 199-pound goalie appeared in 16 games for Laredo of the Central Hockey League (10-3-3, 2.31 GAA, .919 SV%), five for Bakersfield of the ECHL (2-3-0, 3.63, .903) and 25 for Springfield of the AHL (8-16-1, 3.59 GAA, .896).

Levasseur was a seventh-round draft pick by the Ducks in 2005.