Friday, July 2, 2010

Levasseur re-signs

The Anaheim Ducks re-signed Jean-Phillipe Levasseur to a one-year deal. Levasseur  played for the Ducks' Eastern Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. He has only played five games with Bakersfield. Where he recorded a 3.63 goals against average, .903 save percentage. Before coming to the Condors, he played for the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League (AHL) where he played 25 games and recorded a 3.59 goal against average, 0.896 save percentage. The Ducks drafted Levasseur, 23 (Jan  15, 1987) standing at 6'1 and weighs 205lbs; in the 2005 entry Draft  7th (197th overall)

Levasseur would most likely serve as an emergency back-up if either Jonas Hiller or Curtis McElhinney are injured during the time of his contract.

Ducks re-sign Saku Koivu
The Ducks have signed the Finn Saku Koivu to a two-year 2.5 million per year contract. Last season, Koivu stated that he'd like to stay and play with the Ducks. When acquired from the Canadiens Koivu became an instant fan-favorite, and he hadn't even stepped foot on the ice. Playing with very good friend and countryman Teemu Selanne, despite some struggles between the two. They are hard to resist to love. Who can't love the Two Finns? Teemu still has not made the decision whether to return as he wants to know what the Ducks will do for its future. Fans and Koivu hope to see Selanne return at least for one more year.
Patience is a virtue

Ducks Sign Toni Lydman:

On July 1st Free Agency in the NHL the Ducks looked up to shore up some defense. Signing Toni Lydman to a 3-year contract. Lydman played for the Buffalo Sabres recording 4 goals and 16 assists, giving him a  total of 20 points.

Though in no way, does just one play shore up the ever gaping veteran defense, specifically after  Scott Niedermayer announced his retirement.

According to Ducks GM Bob Murray, while he doesn't show it statistically he is an all around defenseman. Due to Lydman playing on the East Coast there are many fans who are not completely familiar with his play.

Bobby Ryan is a mess: 
Every Ducks fan has paid close attention to Bobby Ryan who is a UFA. Murray has said that Ryan and hsi agent have turned down every contract offered and Murray seems to want to take a break. Fans want Ryan re-signed, although with the situation fans are distancing themselves further from a seemingly fan favorite.Ryan was the highest goal scorer for Anaheim in the 2009-2010 season. Fans would be disappointed in Ryan but new Draft Pick Cam Fowler would be another person, most likely disappointed. When Fowler was asked about Ryan he was quoted saying "...Now I'm going to be at Camp with him"
 Patience could be in the hopes of getting him re-signed with Anaheim....but...Neither side has come to any sort of terms.
 (and lets leave the Bobby situation at that, K?)

Ducks sign prospect Trevor Smith
Smith, a center, played for the Islanders primary affiliate the Bridgepoint. He scored 21 goals and had 26 assists, a total of 47 points in 77 games. He was a +5.

Smith signed as a free-agent with NYI  April 7,2007, he scored his first NHL career goal against Mikka Kipprusoff in a 5-2 loss.

We could possibly see him in a Ducks jersey playing with the big boys, if a forward goes down on injury. Smith may be the player chosen, as the Ducks would want to see him how he plays with the Ducks style of play.

Joey MacDonald back with Red Wings

The Red Wings brought back their goalie Joey MacDonald Anaheim had him for less than a year ,and didn't see him play. MacDonald will play in the Grand Rapids.

With this signing from the Wings, this leaves the Ducks with a total of six goalies, one who will be playing overseas. Sebastian Stefansitzin will remain playing in Germany and Igor Bobkov will post likely start his first North American season with London.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Imported by the Knights

                                                                        Igor Bobkov with Team Russia

The Import Draft has taken place for the Canadian Hockey League. Players from overseas had a chance of coming over to play in the U.S. or Canada. Quite a few players are already drafted by NHL teams.

The London Knights with their 2nd over pick in the Import Draft and 53rd overall selected Ducks prospect goaltender Igor Bobkov of Russia. Bobkov was pretty impressive in the U20 World Juniors. He played six games and posted a 2.45 goals against average with a .930 save percentage. Pretty impressive numbers for a 19 year old. Anaheim will now be able to watch Bobkov at a much shorter rope distance once Bobkov is situated with the Knights. Not only is this great for Anaheim it's great for Bobkov as well, especially if he really wants to play in the NHL. Playing for the Knights will give him the North American style of hockey which is different from the Russian style, he's particularly used to playing.

The London Knights also happen to be the former team of Corey Perry which obviously means the Knights could very possibly have a very good raise of ducklings.

To give Bobkov this sort of experience as mentioned before will give him some excellent experience. Bobkov could very well be seen at Training Camp once the Ducks finally hit the ice at  their official practice facility. Anaheim Ice. If we don't see Bobkov this year. There's a high possibility that he'll be in Camp before the 2011-2012 season. Most likely, he'll play with the Knights for the 2010-2011 and as the Ducks have a short rope distance to watch him. This would serve as easier access to send him out an invitation to see how he compares with the other goalies.

Anaheim has a nice pool of goaltenders and it was an odd choice not to chose a goalie over the two days of the 2010 NHL Draft. In a way, this could be good because Anaheim is taking the risk of having a small pool of goaltenders. Tons of great goalies were taken in the draft, some very good ones before or after Anaheim's selections. There has to be some sort of confidence not to snatch up a goalie at the Draft.

Once Igor plays for the Knights, Anaheim will then have five goalies playing on a North American Team, and only one playing overseas. Sebastian Stefansizin is still currently playing in Germany. The Ducks also have to be confident in specifically getting an extension down with Jean-Phillipe Levasseur The Ducks have Marco Cousineau secured, as he signed a 3 year extension which would take him to the 2013 season.

The Ducks drafted Bobkov in the 2009 entry Draft with their 3rd round, 96th overall. There's such a controversy of drafting Russians, the fear of them signing with the rival KHL steers some teams away from Russians. Russians are usually a high risk but could very possibly be a diamond in the rough. There's many great Russians in this league who have highly succeed.

With Bobkov, he did not play for a KHL team he played with Magnitogorsk Stalyne Lisy, where he played a total of fourteen games, posted a 2.71 GAA and a .893 SP. Bobkov kept his stats almost in a similar manner playing for both MSL and the WJC U20.

The Ducks have kept an eye on Bobkov while he was playing in Russia but Anaheim has to be very excited that he'll be playing for the London Knights. Where he'll most likely have a very good season with. Where he can prove himself and have his name more widely known in North America.

Bobkov is the tallest goalie out of all Anaheim's goaltenders including both Jonas Hiller and Curtis McElhinney. He stands at 6'4 and weighs just 192lbs

Good luck, Igor  in your first OHL experience!

Drafted by Anaheim

Ducks fans flocked into enemy territory to attend the first ever NHL Entry Draft in the state of California. The Golden State, home of three NHL teams.

Many other fans flocked into the Draft as the event had been sold-out. Every California team was represented by a handful of fans.

There were players the Ducks wanted but were projected too high for Anaheim since the Ducks' first choice came at No 12. One of those players was Cam Fowler but before the draft and at the Combine in Toronto. Anaheim, as with other teams interviewed players they could possibly get their hands on. Fowler. While Anaheim wanted him at that time, they knew they'd probably never ever get someone like him. There was absolutely no point in even asking him one question. He was projected to go no lower than the fifth pick.

The issue was, at least for someone who was projected so high. Teams went up and selected their players before that the Dallas Stars chose bright-future goalie Jack Campbell, the kid who helped the USA, along with Fowler, win gold at the World Juniors.  Fowler on the otherhand just sat there as his name was passed up 11 times. In the first slot, the Edmonton Oilers chose Taylor Hall a teammate of Fowler's of the Memorial Cup winning team. The Windsor Spitfires. Excited for his teammate Fowler clapped and was really happy for Hall.

After not hearing his name 11 times. The Anaheim Ducks, who were welcomed up to the stage with a mix of load boos from Kings fans and cheers from the Ducks.

"The Anaheim Ducks are proud to select from Northville, Michigan Cam Fowler"

Fowler walked up to the stage in a cascade of boos and some cheers. Gary Bettman was up on stage as usual and met Fowler at the stairs and told Fowler " Now you know you're part of a great rivalry. Welcome to the NHL. Congratulations."

Fowler responded with a "yeah" and proceeded up the stage to shake everyone's hands. Including Scott Niedermayer's hand, who he idolized while growing up. Fowler also received his first NHL jersey from his hero. In an interview conducted by the NHL/Ducks Fowler said after shaking Niedermayer's hand. He kind of blacked out and everything went on from there. Again Fowler was welcomed into the NHL with loud boos from Kings and cheers once Ducks fans actually realized that fantasy turned into reality and Fowler was officially wearing a Ducks jersey. .

NHL teams usually make pre-made name tags up for players they think they can get. Then attach it to the back of the jersey with Velcro. Anaheim did not have this available for Fowler as he fell to No 12 for one reason or another.

Scotty will serve as a mentor to Fowler to help him improve his game and become a full-time NHL player.

The next pick wasn't until No 29 from Philadelphia for Anaheim. Again the   Ducks struck big, when Emerson Etem a local kid born and raised in Long Beach fell. Etem asked "What did they forget about me?"  Etem grew up a Kings fan and was disappointed when Los Angeles had passed him up. Anaheim chose the local boy, as Murray had stood up at the podium and said

"Anaheim Ducks are proud to present form Long Beach, California Emerson Etem"

When Murray reached Long Beach it was barely audible from there on. Etem had countless of supporters with him and the Staples Center went wild as a local team chose a local kid. Even a Sharks fan turned around and congratulated him as he was walking down to the stage.

Unlike Fowler, Etem knows the rivalry between the Ducks and Kings really well. Etem, who won't be much of a Kings fan sooner than later will have a lot of fun playing against the team he grew up with. Despite living just 20 minutes away from the Honda Center; he has never stepped foot into The Pond.

With Fowler as said, he definitely had a taste of the rivalry between the two teams. Though if Fowler had connections with the organization. He most likely knew some of the rivalry between the two teams but really got a taste of it at the Draft.

On the 2nd day. Anaheim chose with their 3rd overall pick and 42nd overall. Devante Smith-Pelly a player who likes to finish his checks. Anaheim traded away Mike Brown to Toronto for Toronto's 122nd Draft pick and chose Chris Wagner a defenseman who was passed over in the 2009 Draft.

Anaheim took Tim Heed with their 5th 132nd overall, 6th pick 161st overall Andreas Dahlstorm, 7th pick 177th overall Kevin Lind, and with their final pick, as their 8th choice and 192nd overall Brett Perlini.

Anaheim did not chose a goalie in the 2010 Draft which may indicate that the management didn't necessarily feel a big need for a gate keeper. The Ducks currently have six goalies in the pool all though two are Free Agents. J.P Levasseur who the Ducks qualified along with Bobby Ryan, Brendan Mikkelson, Shawn Weller, and Bobby Bolt. Anaheim is working on an extension with Leveassuer and are positive on re-signing  Ryan.. Levasseur is a UFA and Joey MacDonald is also a free agent, I believe a RFA?

The Ducks also put Nathan Oystrick on waivers if Oystrick does not clear the Ducks could buy him out.

Anaheim at the 2010 Entry Draft Chose five Forwards and three Defenseman:

Cam Fowler
Tim Heed
Kevin Lind

Emerson Etem
Devante Smith-Pelly
Christopher Wagner
Andreas Dahlstorm
Brett Perlini

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Less weight to carry for Hiller

In April I wrote "Look for an Improved Hiller"

There have been people I've talked to who said Hiller didn't play very well last season. One of the main situations like I said in the April entry was the whole "You Win. You're in" by Anaheim's head coach Randy Carlyle; as one who hasn't been a fan of that since it started.

The goalie situation seems to be taken care of after J.S. Giguere was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Vesa Toskala. The only thing that the constant switching of goalies succeeded was basically nothing. The team in front of a goaltender played poorly while so many people say, 'oh just because a team played poorly he still should of had more saves.' Obviously there's saves a goalie should of made which could of changed a game in a win or at least helped. For the most part goalies can't score and they aren't skating on that ice that is set between and the opposing goalie. They're not skating down ice to 'crash the net'  or put the puck in the back of it. Goalies also rely off of their defense. Obvious factor is goalies are a big part of their team.  The "Win and you're in" punished the goalie.

One game Jiggy would be in net and then the Ducks would go home with a loss the next game Hiller was in. Then the Ducks would go home with a loss. RC could of handled the situation better. The fact that a either Hiller or Jiggy went in having to win. Winning is one of the best things in the world but RC made winning as if it were a force, like a parent who calls their child a failure if they don't get first place in everything; calls them a failure if they loose even one thing. Pushes too hard. Winning seemed more of task to each goalie than a want. Neither goalie could do anything about the team who didn't really do too much to win. At times seemed like they didn't even care. They could say something to help as a force for their teammates to win.

The issue is putting a goalie in for one game then benching him for the next because of a loss doesn't exactly help his confidence. If the team in front of them doesn't seem to want to win he'll start to lose that too. Constantly switching a goalie on a team doesn't "shake up" a team either. Professional athletes should be equipped for anything, that's why they're professional. Right? In a way yes but for the most part, no. Professional athletes are just as much human as we are (they just get paid millions for playing sports)
Changing the goalie would just confuse the team and need to 'change their game up a little' since every goalie plays a little differently. This in a way could interrupt a team in its play. Especially if they don't know who will be in net. Which is what Carlyle did at times, no one knew who was going to be in net that night.

The constant switching of the guard for each game is tantalizing to the goalie because it doesn't give him time to get on a roll. Sure, a goalie will be in net not perform up to what is expected of him and most of all up to his standards but at the same time gives his best effort despite struggling then he's benched the very next game won't give him any sort of consistency. As said before, it was like a parent calling their child a failure if they didn't win every single game, which is futile, setting expectations too high. If a goalie can't get the grip of his play then he'd perform worse than he knows he can.

Carlyle pretended to give Hiller some steady starts benching Jiggy for long periods of times. Giving Hiller at times too much play. While he was obviously exhausted from playing less than 24 hours later in a back to back games. Hiller did get his 30 wins but Carlyle could of made that road a little easier. While to give the benefit of the doubt to Carlyle, the goalie situation with two competitive goalies could be a taunting task. Carlyle just should of figured out a better way to handle both of his goalies. As in giving a goalie a few starts and letting him know he'd be starting instead of waiting at most the night before a game. If either Hiller or Jiggy had struggled mightily then bench him. Not punish him for one loss or pretend to give him some steady starts, then replacing him a couple games later because of a loss. Even if he performed fairly well.

Hiller was played too much near the end of the season. While his performance level went up slightly after Giguere was traded. Carlyle gave some sort of refusal to play Toskala which would of given Hiller a little more rest directly after the Olympics. Where Hiller admitted it was both mentally and physically tiring after the Games. When the Ducks finally acquired Curtis McElhinney. Hiller did get some much needed rest and it also helped improve McElhinney after playing very little behind star goalie Mikka Kipprusoff. 

Next season though should be a lot less weight on the shoulders of Hiller. Which means he'll perform a lot better. Since the season ended, I've always thought that Hiller would be back to himself for the 2010-2011 season. While no spot is guaranteed until camp is over. The expectation is Hiller will be the official No 1 goaltender and McElhinney knows his role as a back-up goalie. No more confusing a goalie or poor mishandling by coaching staff. Ducks now have a No 1 and No 1B goaltender.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Goodbye Scotty

The Ducks season ended on a nice win against the Edmonton Oilers 7-2 win Before the game, fans lined the glass as usual to watch their team take the ice for warm-ups. Only this time,  signs were pressed against the glass and at least 95% of them were directed towards Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer "One More Year" 

"Thank you Scotty and Teemu" " Thank you 27 and 8" so many different signs. Fans came out to the last game of the season to support their favorite hockey team. Even if every fan there knew that the Ducks didn't make the playoffs. Last time Anaheim missed the playoffs was in 2005. What fans really wanted to see was their Ducks play one last game before summer. Fans wanted to see two player, who the were unsure of that would return for next season. With the popular social media Twitter a source so many rely to get instant updates of. Twitter accounts told fans that there will be a official meeting at Honda Center with Niedermayer at 1pm Pacific. Before  that Ducks fans read something they didn't want to really hear: Eric Stephans of the Orange County Register confirmed that Niedermayer was going to retire today. At 1pm Scotty announced his retirement 
"After plenty of reflection, I’m here to announce that I retire from professional hockey." Scotty kept the tears back when he was announcing his retirement but he really started to break when he was thanking his family. 

Scotty was one of the most decorative defenseman in the league, he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1991 and won his first Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995. Niedermayer has three Cups with New Jersey and when he signed as a free-agent August 4th, 2005 with Anaheim to play with brother Rob. After his contract was up with Jersey, a team who did want him to come back but he made the decision to sign with Anaheim. In 2007, Scotty helped Anaheim win the first Stanley Cup in California. The winning goal against the Red Wings in Overtime in Game 5  on May 13, 2007 was a series changing goal. 
Niedermayer is the only player in history to win a Memorial Cup, a World Cup, Gold Medal, and Stanley Cup. Scotty won the Gold with Canada in the 2010 Olympics virtually in his backyard in Vancouver. When Sidney Crosby scored the winning trash goal in Overtime. After Zach Parise scored with just three seconds left in regulation. 

Scotty will stay with the Ducks as a consultant although he does not know what he will be doing exactly but at least he'll be around.
Scotty is irreplaceable. No one and absolutely no one can replace a player like Scotty. Thank you Scotty for everything

Monday, June 14, 2010

Old Flock

Staying with the Old Flock rather than taking newly hatched ducklings, is something Teemu Selanne wants as guarantee shall he return. The usual Scott Niedermayer and Selanne remains on the brink of returning for at least one more year for the Ducks. According to a Finnish paper, Selanne wants to return to a winning team. His decision comes in part of what the Ducks are doing for the future. He doesn't necessarily want to be on a team that is starting to rebuild.

                                                                      The two Finns

Fans want to see both Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer return for another year. Once Scotty leaves the Ducks and flies out  into the sun over a beautiful ocean the Ducks will be in definite trouble for defense, as last season defense is what Anaheim clearly had struggled with. Teemu a clear cut fan favorite on and off the ice, who doesn't have a bad bone in his body where even the biggest rivals to the Ducks highly regard him as a human like no other. Teemu is one of the friendliest if not the friendliest in Anaheim professional sports. He seems to want to make a return to Anaheim and fans don't want to see him nor Scotty go out in a disappointing fashion as the team displayed not making the playoffs for the first time since 2005

Scotty a quieter more of a shy character who would rather keep his privacy in a good non-arrogant way. A man who not only known for his on ice play but off of it as well. A regarded environmentalist who has a 2010 Honda FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle  and cares of the Earth as much as the next person. But Scotty isn't the only player who has a Hybrid vehicle his teammates Jonas Hiller and George Parros own a Toyota Prius. According to insiders Scotty has also started a recycling program in the Ducks locker room. 

Given the fact that Scotty is the best defenseman on the Ducks  and the best mentor to younger players. Anaheim signed Sheldon Brookbank to a two-year extension as stated previously, the Ducks will lose someone vital to the blueline. Despite his worst -9 season he is still a great piece at the blueline in Anaheim. 

Saku Koivu really enjoyed playing in Anaheim and said, he wants to return but his return to Anaheim's lineup would most likely come in the case of Teemu also returning. Best friends and countrymen Koivu signed in Anaheim when his original team the Montreal Canadiens let him walk and Teemu couldn't be more ecstatic. He convinced Saku to sign in Anaheim where both stated they would rather player than Montreal . The little guy definitely brought depth to the Ducks and he became an immediate fan favorite even before he stepped on the ice at the Pond. Is another player the fans want to see return keeping the old flock together for at least one more year may be one of the best and then Anaheim can start to rebuild and bring up young and promising ducklings. 

Bobby Ryan has been in contract talks for a couple weeks, which apparently haven't gone anywhere yet. But there has been a fast burning rumor, one that fans don't like very much. A trade of Bobby to Toronto for Tomas Kabarele a defenseman who former Ducks GM Brian Burke made it clear is available by trade. Kabarele is a Restricted Free Agent after the 2010-2011 season concludes. If Murray trades for Kabarele that is the prime risk of taking him over a young scorer. A 23 year old who clearly has a much larger field to flourish on compared to a 33-year old defenseman. Not to say Kabarele isn't a great player. He is. Just he's involved in a not so popular rumor to the receiving fans. Bobby was back and forth. Up and down with teammate Brett Festerling on an occasion and it took awhile for him to actually be a part of the Ducks. Ryan has showed time and time again, he's a prime top 6 forward and is a very well regarded young player. 

Paul Kariya is rumored to return and PK isn't too much a fan favorite either. We all know what happened with him and why he's not a favorite to return to Anaheim. The rumor is PK wants to come back and play with Teemu a long time friend and teammate when the Ducks drafted him and acquired Teemu from the Jets. If, for one reason or another PK returns how will the fans welcome him back? PK will have more than one thing to prove if he does come back and that includes playing with a very cheap contract and a almost immediate impact in the lineup. Anaheim will be hostile grounds if PK should return. 
In my mind, PK knows that decision may of been the wrong thing and there's no doubt he realizes that Anaheim could very well be hostile in his return and in his dreams would Anaheim cheer for him in his return. A cascade of boos may rain down on him..
If you're going to  come back PK. PROVE IT  that you want to be here and don't beg for the #9 back when Bobby is wearing it. That number is no longer yours. 

in Other word the "Old Flock" has a pretty high chance of returning. Teemu, Scotty, Saku  etc

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mattias Modig

The Anaheim Ducks have traded Mattias Modig to the 2009 Stanley Cup Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Swedish goalie, who the Ducks drafted in the 2007 entry draft. Modig was Anaheim's 4th pick 121st overall within the draft. Modig played all four seasons with his home team Lulea HF of the Swedish Elite League. In the last two years, Modig played 74 games and had a 2.35 goals against average with a .913 save percentage, including six shutouts.

The Penguins signed the  23 year old (April 1, 1987) 6-foot, 163lb Swedish goaltender to a two-year entry level deal. In return, the Ducks  received a sixth round pick in the 2010 entry draft.

Ducks goalie Joey MacDonald, 30, (February 7, 1980) is an unrestricted free agent, he was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs to a one year deal in exchange for 2011 Entry NHL draft pick.

The Anaheim Ducks signed center Brandon McMillian,20, (March 22, 1990). McMillian played in 55 games, he was a +11 and was 25-42=67 in the 2009-2010 season with the Kelowna Rockets.McMillian according to the NHL is a smaller player standing 5-11 and 185lbs. The Ducks have made a wise choice in resigning McMillian, a prospect who the Ducks and fans have high hopes for once he transfers to play with the big boys. Give him time to make a full translation to the NHL and he'll be a force with the Ducks.
McMillian Full Report