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.

Ellis likely to start; New third line?; Black Aces up.

Dan Ellis was the first of the three Ducks goalies to leave the ice at the morning skate. That’s usually a good sign that he will be the starter, as if the writing weren’t on the wall already.

At his post-skate presser, Randy Carlyle at once declined to name his starter and explained why he doesn’t: “I’m sure that Barry Trotz and his staff have dissected what all three of our goalies have done. They probably had to do more work because we know who’s going to play for Nashville.”

Meanwhile, the forward lines stayed the same:

Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry
Blake-Koivu-Selanne
Beleskey-Bonino-McMillan
Winchester-Marchant-Parros
Ruutu-Chipchura-Sexton

Brandon McMillan is definitely skating at right wing. I think I might have mistakenly penciled him down on the left side earlier, maybe because that’s the only position other than center he’s played in his first NHL season. Switching a productive two-way center to the right side in favor of another rookie (Bonino) who hasn’t scored a point in the NHL all season is a bit unexpected, assuming Beleskey, Bonino and McMillan are in the lineup tonight against Nashville.

Carlyle, of course, had his reasons.
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Palmieri named to AHL All-Star team.

Forward prospect Kyle Palmieri was chosen Tuesday to represent the Syracuse Crunch at the American Hockey League All-Star Game on Jan. 31 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Palmieri has nine goals and 13 points in 22 games for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate. Since he was demoted after a 10-game NHL stint in November, the 19-year-old winger has only four points (two goals, two assists) in 13 games – a span that was interrupted by Palmieri’s participation in the World Junior Championships.

As it was in the NHL, online balloting was used to determine the first All-Stars. The fans’ choices will be in the starting lineup, while the 30 AHL coaches filled out the remainder of the roster. Every team must be represented and Palmieri was the only player chosen from a Crunch team that has seen plenty of upheaval, including the recent trade of leading scorer Trevor Smith.

Palmieri will also take part in the AHL Skills Competition on Jan. 30 in Hershey.

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.

Ducklings abound at WJCs.

Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri will team up for the first time since Ducks training camp, as both made the final roster for Team USA at the World Junior championships.

 

Etem and Palmieri both had strong showings in two pre-tournament exhibitions for the U.S. –an overtime loss to Rensselaer on Sunday and a shootout loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Palmieri was a lock to make the team after he scored both regulation goals Tuesday night. Etem scored a goal Sunday and had several more scoring chances against the Czechs, though he couldn’t convert.

 

Two more Ducks prospects are slated to compete in the WJCs.

 

Defenseman Sami Vatanen, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009, will captain Team Finland. He’ll probably play a lot, too. The 19-year-old leads the SM-Liiga – the top Finnish league – in plus-minus rating. Vatanen also has 21 points in 32 games, averaging over 22 minutes a game for the league-leading team, JYP Jyvskyl.

 

Igor Bobkov, a third-round pick in 2009, could be the top goalie for Team Russia. The 6-foot-6 19-year-old has struggled in his first season in North America. He’s been relegated to backup duties with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, going 1-4 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .857 save percentage.

 

Check out tomorrow’s editions for a full feature on Etem, a native of Long Beach.