Selanne eyes return Monday, and other notes.

Teemu Selanne was in a jovial mood Sunday, which usually isn’t news. But with a groin injury keeping the right wing out of the last three games, it was a welcome sight inside Honda Center. The Ducks host the Kings on Monday night in the first meeting between the Southern California rivals this season, and Selanne wants to be on the ice.

“You know what, I’m counting myself in,” he said emphatically.

Selanne traveled with the team to Glendale for Saturday’s game against the Coyotes and took part in the pregame warm-up, then decided against playing. “I was really tight, so I discussed with our trainer, and decided it’s not worth that risk,” he said. “I’d rather miss one more.”

The 40-year-old, who is always ready with a numerical estimate of his health, said the groin was at 70 percent Friday, up to 83 percent Saturday and 90 percent on Sunday. “Tomorrow I’m expecting 95 and that’s good enough,” he said.

“I had this like three or four years ago, so I knew exactly what kind of injury we were talking about,” Selanne added. “If I played one more shift I would probably pull it bad. By saying that, the schedule we have was too much for me. But I hope I’m going to feel better tomorrow, because I really don’t want this to be any bigger problem than it is right now.”

Lubomir Visnovsky wasn’t as confident he would return from the back spasms that kept him out of Saturday’s game.

Continue reading “Selanne eyes return Monday, and other notes.” »

Ducks 6, Phoenix 3.

The only certainty at the moment in the Pacific Division is that you can’t be certain about anything in the Pacific Division.

All five teams are separated by two points, thanks to the Ducks’ 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. Losers of six straight, the Ducks ended the Coyotes’ seven-game winning streak by scoring five straight goals to erase a 3-1 deficit.

Bobby Ryan scored three of the five for his first hat trick of the season. Corey Perry scored one and Brandon McMillan had another, the first goal of his NHL career, off a precision pass by Ryan Getzlaf from behind the Coyotes’ net.

Jason Blake scored in the first period against Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who had allowed six goals in his past four games but doubled that total Saturday. “Bryz” fell to 9-7-2 against the Ducks in his career.
Continue reading “Ducks 6, Phoenix 3.” »

Ducks 3, San Jose 2, OT.

Saku Koivu’s faceoff win led to a Lubomir Visnovsky goal with 32.6 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Ducks to their fourth straight win.

Jason Blake and Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks, who were outshot 41-20 and leaned on a 39-save effort from Jonas HIller.

Torrey Mitchell scored 1:42 into the opening period to draw first blood. With the Sharks down 2-1, Devin Setoguchi tied the game on a one-timer seconds after a Toni Lydman penalty expired as two Ducks (Corey Perry and Andreas Lilja) were skating without their sticks.

Antero Niittymaki made 18 saves for the Sharks, who were playing without Joe Thornton while their captain served the final game of a two-game suspension.

Shameless plug: If you’re by a radio, tune in to “Duck Calls” With Josh Brewster on AM-830 – I’ll be coming on the show after Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton, around 11 p.m.

Ducks 5, Dallas 2.

The Ducks are far from the best team in the NHL but, when they get rolling, might just be the most frustrating — certainly on a good night, like Tuesday.

They take a lot of penalties and on a good night (like Tuesday) will survive; they give up a lot of shots and on a good night (like Tuesday) will survive; they have some forwards with extraordinarily gifted hands and on a good night they’ll all find the scoresheet. On Tuesday, George Parros did too, which tells you what kind of a night it was for Dallas.

Anaheim survived another game-ending injury — this one to Matt Beleskey — plus five minor penalties and 37 shots against to beat the Stars. Jonas Hiller (35 saves) outplayed counterpart Kari Lehtonen (21 saves), who allowed a pair of goals to Bobby Ryan, and one each to Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry and Parros.
Continue reading “Ducks 5, Dallas 2.” »

Ducks 3, Philadelphia 2.

On their fifth try, the Ducks won their first road game of the season – against the defending Stanley Cup runner-up, no less.

Ryan Getzlaf’s second-effort goal with 1:53 remaining, jamming the puck out from between the pads of Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, broke the 2-2 tie and served as the game-winner. There was some suspense to the goal, as the officials consulted with NHL’s “war room” in Toronto for the second time in the game before deciding the goal should stand.

“(The referee) didn’t make the call right away because he didn’t know where it was,” Getzlaf told Prime Ticket after the game. He talked to his other referee … and they said it was in the back of the net before he blew the whistle.”

Philadelphia outshot Anaheim 42-22, but also had 28 shots blocked — six by Lubomir Visnovsky, five by Toni Lydman and four by Jason Blake and Paul Mara. Curis McElhinney had his share of gems in his first start of the season and finished with 40 saves.

The Ducks made their shots count against Bobrovksy, including a Visnovsky slap shot 35 seconds into the game that drew first blood. Jason Blake gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead off a feed from behind the goal line by Teemu Selanne at 10:52 of the opening period.

Special teams weren’t a factor. The Ducks went 0-for-4 with the man advantage and also killed all five penalties they faced.

Ducks 3, Phoenix 2. Update.

Corey Perry’s breakaway goal with 5:37 left in the game lifted the Ducks to their second win in three games to finish their season-opening homestand.

Cam Fowler scored his first NHL goal but left the game minutes later with a bloodied nose and did not return. Toni Lydman also scored for the Ducks, who got 36 saves from Jonas Hiller.

Scottie Upshall and Eric Belanger brought Phoenix back from down 2-0 with their goals in the third period.

8:56 p.m. update: Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said that keeping Fowler out of the game was “more precautionary than anything at this point.” He did not know whether or not Fowler had broken his nose.

Carlyle (just like anyone who hadn’t seen a video replay of Doan’s hit on Fowler) didn’t offer an opinion on the hit. Fowler was not available after the game.

Here was Doan’s take: “I hit (Fowler) and he fell,” Doan said. “Then he was so low, he hit my hip I think. I’m not sure. Something like that. I knew he went into the boards awkward because he’d hit my hip low. He was kind of going down, trying to drive around, I think. … You never want to see anyone get hurt.”

A few more notes from the game:
Continue reading “Ducks 3, Phoenix 2. Update.” »

Atlanta 5, Ducks 4, shootout.

The Ducks can take solace in the fact that, for the second straight game, it was easier to pare down their problems to a mere handful.

Problem number one Friday was a forward for the Atlanta Thrashers named Anthony Stewart, who nearly doubled his career goal total with a hat trick in the Thrashers’ shootout win. Stewart, who entered the game with four goals in his first 108 NHL games, scored on a breakaway 17 seconds into the opening period, then added two power-play goals in the third period to bring Atlanta back from a 4-2 deficit.

In the shootout, Nigel Dawes scored on Jonas Hiller in the fourth round, the only shootout goal for either team.

“We’re upset with losing the point tonight,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “That is probably as emotional as I have been in losing a shootout because there were mental mistakes that we made that cost us the point, not their effort. They worked and tried. Some nights shootouts go for you, some nights they don’t.”

Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Toni Lydman – playing his first game of the season – scored for the Ducks. Hiller had 29 saves, and Selanne and Perry each had a pair of assists.
Continue reading “Atlanta 5, Ducks 4, shootout.” »

Toni Lydman is cleared to play.

The Ducks got more good news one day after their first win of the season when defenseman Toni Lydman was cleared to play.

The 33-year-old has been sidelined by double vision since training camp began. He had been practicing with the team
daily, but has not appeared in a regular or pre-season game.

The Ducks figure to get another veteran defenseman back when Andreas Lilja’s work visa is finalized.

To make room for Lydman on the active roster, defenseman Brett Festerling was assigned to AHL affiliate Syracuse Thursday.

Report: Ducks sign Andreas Lilja. Update.

A tough week for the Ducks and Andreas Lilja could be ending with a contract that brings the veteran defenseman to Anaheim.

A report on the Swedish website indicates that the 35-year-old Lilja will sign with the Ducks. Anaheim lost veteran defenseman Andy Sutton to injury in Friday’s regular-season opener in Detroit, a 4-0 loss. Brett Festerling was summoned from the AHL prior to Saturday’s game in Nashville, a 4-1 loss.

Sutton’s thumb fracture left the Ducks without two of their key blue line additions; Toni Lydman is still out following an acute episode double vision. Lilja, meanwhile, has been looking for a contract since he was cut in training camp by the San Jose Sharks – after he flew with the team to Europe.

Lilja is a defensive-minded defenseman who has played the last five seasons with the Red Wings. In 478 career games, he has 15 goals, 74 points and 501 penalty minutes.

The website reported that Lilja’s visa was set to expire today.

3:20 p.m. update
: Lilja will sign a one-year contract with the Ducks, but agent Todd Diamond relays that the defenseman might not be able to suit up tomorrow in St. Louis. Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday, which will delay Lilja’s ability to renew the P-1 (work) visa.

As a side note, Diamond said that Lilja was never offered – nor did he reject – a contract from the Red Wings, contrary to the report.

Ducks submit opening-day roster.

The NHL deadline for submitting opening-day rosters has come and gone, and the Ducks’ roster looks just as it was expected to once Josh Green and Maxime Macenauer became the final cuts of training camp. The team placed Joffrey Lupul and Jason Jaffray on the injured-reserve list today and have designated Toni Lydman as an injured non-roster player.

Lydman traveled with the team to Detroit — which came as welcome news following Tuesday’s checkup for the defenseman who has been sidelined with double vision since the start of training camp. No word yet if Lydman could be cleared to play at some point during the season-opening trip to Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis — or if he’ll merely be skating and (hopefully) bonding with his teammates on the road.

Without further ado, then, the roster:

Forwards (16): Beleskey, Blake, Bodie, Carter, Chipchura, Getzlaf, Jaffray (IR), Koivu, Lupul (IR), Marchant, Parros, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Sexton, Voros.

Defensemen (8): Brookbank, Fowler, Lydman, Mara, Mikkelson, Sbisa, Sutton, Visnovsky.

Goalies (2): Hiller, McElhinney.