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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Updates on Foster, Ryan, Macenauer; plan for tomorrow.

Kurtis Foster will have a procedure later
today at UCI Medical Center to remove a piece of wire from his left
thigh, the Ducks announced Monday, and the defenseman is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Foster hasn’t been taking part in drills since training camp opened Saturday.

A team spokesperson said the wire was placed in Foster’s left leg during surgery that took place
to repair a fracture in March
2008. The wire was causing inflammation/irritation, and therefore will
be removed.

A two to four week timetable projects to Oct. 3 at the earliest and Oct. 17 at the latest. The Ducks play a preseason game in Helsinki on Oct. 4 and do not play in North America again until Oct. 14, a home game against San Jose. Foster’s availability for the Europe trip seems to be in jeopardy, which would open a door for the other defensemen bidding for an opening-day roster spot.

Some more injury updates:
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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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Dallas wins, playoffs at stake tomorrow, and more.

The Ducks must wait another day to clinch a playoff berth after the Dallas Stars handed the Colorado Avalanche a 4-2 loss Thursday.

Aside from whether or not they will participate in the postseason, the biggest question facing the Ducks in their home-and-home series against the Kings is who will be in goal.

Ray Emery did not practice Thursday, one day after leaving midway through the Ducks’ 6-2 win over San Jose with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Emery finished the game on the bench, while Dan Ellis finished the final 29 minutes between the pipes.

“I felt a lot better this morning than I thought I would last night,” Emery said Thursday. “It’s a thing where I’m trying to be cautious, because I’m leery of things I’ve had in the past and I want to be able to contribute when I’m in there for a long period of time. It’s more of me being cautious.”

Said head coach Randy Carlyle, “we felt it was best for him to work out off-ice and have a treatment this morning, and we’ll make an assessment tomorrow morning at the morning skate.”

Emery was not the only Ducks player missing at practice.
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Ducks trim training camp roster by 12.

A total of 12 players were cut from the Ducks’ training camp roster today: Nick Bonino, Rob Bordson, Mat Clark, Nicolas Deschamps, Joe DiPenta, Brandon McMillan, Mark Mitera and Kyle Palmieri were assigned to American Hockey League affiliate Syracuse. Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat/WHL), Peter Holland (Guelph/OHL), Devante Smith-Pelly (Mississauga/OHL) and Scott Valentine (Oshawa/OHL) were assigned to their respective junior teams.

None of the assignments were unexpected. DiPenta, who had already signed an AHL contract, was in camp on a pro tryout but not expected to make the NHL team.

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said he was impressed with the Long Beach native Etem, a first-round draft pick in June and Smith-Pelly, a second-round pick.

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Ducks 4, Vancouver 2.

The Ducks went out winners at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, B.C., topping the Vancouver Canucks’ rookies 4-2.

After two straight losses in which they were outmuscled for net position and looked lost on special teams, the kids turned it around in a major way. A pair of power-play goals, by Rob Bordson and Cam Fowler, staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead through two periods.

In the third, Vancouver came back to tie the game at 2 against goaltender Timo Pielmeier, who lost the tournament opener Sunday. But center Maxime Macenauer, who spent all of last season with ECHL affiliate Bakersfield, scored the game-winner with less than three minutes to play. Kyle Palmieri’s empty-net goal provided the final score.

The Ducks led in the shot column, 33-18, and Pielmeier needed only 16 saves for the win. Russian goalie Igor Bobkov was on the bench for the first time in the tournament, but the Ducks’ third-round 2009 draft pick did not appear in the game.

Some of the rookie camp participants will take part in the Ducks’ main camp, which begins Saturday in Anaheim.
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Carter placed on waivers. Update.

The Ducks have placed forward Ryan Carter on waivers, a team spokesperson has confirmed. The other 29 NHL teams have the opportunity to claim him, based on the reverse order of finish, and Carter could have a new home announced at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

The move also raises some questions for the Ducks.
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North American prospects report; Parros on TV.

Reviews of ten Ducks prospects who just finished their North American junior seasons have been posted on Hockey’s Future: Peter Holland, Mat Clark, Josh Brittain Scott Valentine, Luca Sbisa, Brandon McMillan, Stefan Warg, Nicolas Deschamps, Marco Cousineau and Radoslav Illo.

Also, George Parros will be on a special all-Hockey episode of “Sports Soup” tonight on Versus (8:30 p.m.).  A disclaimer: Watched the show once to find Sen Dog of Cypress Hill talking about the Lakers. If this brand of talk show is your idea of entertainment … don’t miss it.

Ducks sign Holland, demote Mikkelson.

The Ducks are burning up the transaction wires.

Shortly after announcing the recall of Joey MacDonald (and a day after promoting Nathan Oystrick), Anaheim made another nod toward its future by signing 2009 first-round draft pick Peter Holland to a three-year entry level contract.

The 19-year-old center just completed his third season with Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League, notching career highs of 30 goals and 80 points in 59 games. Holland (career statistics) ranked second on the Storm in both assists and points, third in power play goals (9) and fourth in goals. The 6-2, 187-pound center also appeared in five OHL playoff contests, scoring three goals and eight points, before Guelph was eliminated by London in five games (4-1).

The Ducks also announced that defenseman Brendan Mikkelson has bent sent back to Toronto of the American Hockey League, presumably so they can get a look at Oystrick tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.
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