Ducks have a ‘Plan B’ if Selanne can’t play.

If Teemu Selanne doesn’t play in 2010-11, the Ducks are prepared to go forward with a “Plan B.”

That plan may be closer to reality than it was a week ago. General manager Bob Murray said he spoke with Selanne three days ago and the 41-year-old has hit a snag in his recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery in June.

“He’s been struggling a bit,” Murray said. “I think he was getting depressed with the whole thing. Last week I think he had a few days where it wasn’t bugging him. I think he intends to go hard this week with the bigger boys in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over.”

Murray said he won’t hang a timeframe on Selanne, who recently told a Finnish newspaper that he won’t decide whether to retire or re-sign until September at the earliest. The Ducks took the same approach in 2007 when the right wing contemplated retirement, ultimately waiting until December-more than two months into the regular season – for Selanne to return.
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Ducks, Carlyle agree to contract extension.

The Ducks rewarded Randy Carlyle with a contract extension Monday that will keep the head coach in Anaheim through the 2013-14 season. Carlyle’s contract was due to expire a year from now, and the 2011-12 portion of his contract is being reworked as part of what is essentially a new three-year deal.

“We’ve been talking probably for a month an a half here on the direction which we were both trying to get to,” Carlyle said via telephone from his off-season home in Mindemoya, Ontario. “It’s something that probably started a little bit before the draft. Once the draft comes into play, usually everything else gets put aside. We were working at this thing piece by piece. It wasn’t that there were a lot of contentious issues, just that there was more time than normal.”

Carlyle guided the Ducks’ turnaround from another poor start last season, when they began 4-7-1 but came back to clinch the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference on the final day of the regular season.

Along the way Carlyle had to navigate the learning curves of rookies Cam Fowler, Brandon McMillan and young defenseman Luca Sbisa, and a season-ending injury to all-star goalie Jonas Hiller.

“I’ve all along said he’s a good coach. We’re always competitive, no matter what kind of team we throw at him,” general manager Bob Murray said. “He takes what you give him and he tries to win and he does very well at it, as his record indicates. He’s a good coach. His record speaks for itself.”

Under Carlyle, the Ducks have clinched the playoffs five times in six season, earning at least 98 points in four of the six seasons. Murray praised Carlyle’s work with the younger roster in 2010-11.

“He has his way with young guys,” Murray said. “He also took (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry when they were kids, too. The players are changing. He’s got to stay up with that. I think he’s done a good job staying up with how they’ve changed.”

More in tomorrow’s editions.

Postgame: What they’re saying.

Ryan Getzlaf:

(On Nashville): They worked. They battled every night right to the very end. So did our group. One, two plays make all the difference. We couldn’t find a way to keep the puck out of our net. We scored enough goals to win it. They worked hard and got their bounces.

Teemu hit the post. That’s the way the thing goes. It was a tough game out there. … I thought the guys did a great job of staying in this hockey game, we just couldn’t find a way to get another one past him.

Teemu Selanne:

That was for sure a heartbreaker, but it was a pretty even game tonight. A couple mistakes again, cost us a couple goals. We couldn’t avoid those. For some reason, I think the whole series defensively we were not as good as we wanted to. It was not a problem to score goals. Too many mistakes really hurt us. I think that was the difference.

They’re a good team. they did a lot of good things. Their forechecking was really solid. Their D were pinching. Give them credit, we lost to a great hockey team. I felt that we can play in our level enough. That’s a disappointment. What are you going to do, it’s too late now. We gave everything we had but this time it was not enough.

Brandon McMillan:

(On his missed chance in the third period) It’s just a good play. we generated a good cycle. Generated the opportunity with me going backdoor. He made a great play, it was just a little bit in front of me. I could have tried to curl it, but I tried to get it off quick. It was just a little too far in front. I’ve got to try and just stop it and get it in.

They play hard defensively and they played a great game. they played well the whole series.

Randy Carlyle:

When you do an evaluation, and I talked about it a little bit yesterday, was that again, you cannot give up four goals an expect to win consistently. I thought we provided enough offense in the series but we didn’t provide enough defense. The game in Anaheim, them scoring with 35 seconds left, kind of put a dagger in us. You’re not afforded any mistakes when that happens to you. You’ve got to come back here for Game 6.

I thought we played hard. We were in the game. Scored first, got ourselves going in the game. Then for certain stretches we just laid back and I thought that’s what we did at the beginning of the third period.

(On Nashville’s play) It doesn’t matter who you play. We just fell short in some areas. I look at it and say that we played hard, we gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t good enough. We didn’t play good enough. There’s too many things that happened within the series that were negatives for us. The defensive side was not where it’s required to win consistently in the playoffs.

(On Selanne’s series) Nobody tried harder, nobody cared more, nobody did more in this series than Teemu Selanne. It’s an emotional time for him right now because of what happened, and there’s always that looming, ‘is this the last one?’ I’m sure he doesn’t want to go out feeling the way he does right now.

He did a lot. he was around the puck consistently. Late in the third, he hits the post, it goes inside post and goes across the goal line. McMillan had another great opportunity goes off the end of his stick on a pass out with an empty net. That’s what happened to us tonight. We scored enough goals to win. You can’t continuously give up four goals in a hockey game and expect to win.

Ruutu, Carlyle address suspension.

Jarkko Ruutu made it clear Friday that he didn’t want to cause a stir with anything he said about his one-game suspension.

The Finnish forward nearly took a line straight out of the Mark McGwire Congressional Testimony transcript, saying “what happened yesterday, happened yesterday.”

Asked specifically if he had a reaction to his one-game, league-imposed ban for tonight’s Game 5, Ruutu replied, “I don’t think it really matters what I think. It’s a team game. One guy is out, another guy is in. In the end, the only thing that really matters is how we do tonight. That’s how I see things. Let’s move on.”

Ruutu did offer up a couple specifics about the hearing: It lasted about five minutes, and his status as a repeat offender (he received a pair of two-game bans during the 2008-09 season) did not come up in the conversation with the NHL. So there goes one theory about why Ruutu was forced to sit for a hit that Randy Carlyle didn’t think deserved a hearing.
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Game 2 morning skate notes.

Count on Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle making more adjustments in Game 2 than his Nashville counterpart, Barry Trotz. That’s the expectation, at least, in light of the Predators’ 4-1 win in Game 1.

The first change figures to be in goal. Ray Emery was the first of the Ducks’ three goalies — four, if you include Igor Bobkov’s late cameo — to leave the ice at the morning skate Friday. Emery’s last playoff game was in this same building on June 6, 2007, when the Ducks beat Emery’s Ottawa Senators in Game 5 to win the Stanley Cup.

There could be more changes in store for the Ducks, but Carlyle declined to say who would be coming out or going into the lineup, if anyone.

Trotz said he has some minor adjustments in store.
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Updates on Beauchemin, goalies, and what went wrong (again).

Francois Beauchemin was the only Ducks player who did not participate in practice Thursday, but head coach Randy Carlyle said the defenseman would be available for Game 2 tomorrow at Honda Center.

“Beauch is resting, what we call a maintenance day. He will skate tomorrow morning and he’s available to us tomorrow night,” Carlyle said.

Beauchemin is dealing with a lower-body injury, the result of blocking a shot during the regular season. “It’s just taking a little more time to heal,” he said. “I’ve been taking medicine for it, and painkillers and stuff. It’s good on game days but on practice days it’s tough to get out there and force it.”

The Ducks’ bigger question is in goal.
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Kings-Ducks IV: Get worked up, unless you’re playing tomorrow.

Whether you’re a Ducks fan, a Kings fan, a hockey fan — or just a fan of round numbers — there are plenty of reasons to get worked up about tomorrow’s Kings-Ducks game (7:30 p.m. at Staples Center).

Considering the two teams have never qualified for the playoffs in the same season, the Kings and Ducks are approaching uncharted territory. The latest the two sides have ever shared space in the top eight was back on March 21, 2000. On that date the Kings had nine games left (34-26-13, fifth place in the Western Conference) and Ducks had eight games left (31-29-14, eighth place). The Kings wound up finishing fifth in the West that year while the Ducks finished ninth, four points behind San Jose for the final playoff berth.

Both teams were in the Western Conference’s top eight when play began Thursday; by the end of the night the Ducks had fallen to 10th without playing a game. With a win today, Anaheim would climb back into eighth place, even the head-to-head season series with the Kings at two games apiece, and come within two points of Los Angeles in the standings (85 to 83).

It will also be the 100th game between Southern California’s two NHL franchises.
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So far, no dj vu for Ducks.

On the eve of today’s game in Denver, with about a month to go in the regular season, the Ducks are in a roughly similar position to a year ago.

The 2009-10 team started slowly, climbed up to ninth place in the standings in February, and were three points out of eighth place by March 1. This year’s group started slowly, climbed as high as third in February, and were three points out of eighth place by March 1. The Ducks could be sitting in eighth place again tonight if they beat the Avalanche. (Of course, so could the Stars, Kings or Wild, depending on how things go.)
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First look at Brad Winchester.

Brad Winchester was on Bob Murray’s radar last summer, but it doesn’t take an electronic device to spot the 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward.

Winchester, who arrived Monday from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a third-round 2012 draft pick, projects primarily as a bottom-six winger. Not surprisingly, he was skating at left wing on a line with Kyle Chipchura and George Parros on the same morning he arrived in Anaheim.

But the Madison, Wisconsin, native is more than strictly an energy-line tough guy.

“He’s been used in front of the net on the power play in St. Louis a little bit,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We think that he’s a guy who can move up and down on our left side, if we feel that there’s a necessity to have a bigger body with (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry.”

In addition to his 86 penalty minutes and eight major penalties this season, Winchester has nine goals in 57 games. He also has a 13-goal season under his belt in 2008-09.

“Part of the reasoning with the acquisition of the player, is he’s been able to provide a level of offense … he can play on the third line, fourth line, move up on your power play, play a front of the net position,” Carlyle said. “If you get players who can score 10-plus goals in that position, you’d like to utilize that.”
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Ducks give Murray four-year extension. Updated with Murray comments.

The Ducks have extended the contract of general manager Bob Murray through the 2015-16 season, the team announced today. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The NHL trade deadline is three days away, but the Ducks didn’t wait that long to hand Murray his report card.

“Bob has positioned us well for the future,” CEO Michael Schulman said in a statement. “He has added youth to our current lineup, with several exciting prospects still on the horizon. He deserves the stability this contract extension brings.”
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