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La Kings Fan

Kings descent continues as they lose key game vs. Flames posted by La Kings Fan

Once again the Los Angeles Kings came close, but their 2 to 1 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames was nevertheless a significant setback.

Going into tonight’s action, Los Angeles was just shy of a Wild Card spot. They were even with Calgary with 51 points in 45 contests, but the Flames were the ones holding onto a playoff spot thanks to the tiebreaker. The Kings squandered a golden opportunity to get back into a postseason position though, largely due to the efforts of Flames goaltender Joni Ortio.

The 23-year-old netminder was playing in his fourth game of the season as Karri Ramo is sidelined with an upper-body injury. Ortio kicked out 33 of 34 shots tonight, giving him a 1.23 GAA and .958 save percentage. At this rate it will be very tough for Calgary to send him down.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick matched Ortio for most of the contest and it was Los Angeles’ Matt Greene that was able to strike first midway through the third period:

Sean Monahan, who scored the overtime game-winner against San Jose on Saturday, came up big again with the equalizer 3:32 minutes later:

Dennis Wideman found the back of the net at 4:08 of the overtime frame.

Calgary and Los Angeles are both scheduled to play on Wednesday (against Anaheim and San Jose respectively), so it is still possible for the Los Angeles Kings to enter the All-Star break in the second Wild Card position, but either way the team is in trouble. Los Angeles has won just two of its last 10 contests. The fact that the Kings have gotten five consolation points over that stretch has helped, but that only slowed the bleeding. They need something more. Much more.

Continue reading "Kings descent continues as they lose ..."

Ducks Fan

Ducks make it easy for Bryzgalov in 5-1 win posted by Ducks Fan

Anaheim Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov got his first win with the team and his teammates couldn’t have made it any easier.

The Ducks needed only 14 saves from Bryzgalov as they throttled the New Jersey Devils Friday night in an easy 5-1 victory at Honda Center.

“They played tremendous,” Bryzgalov said. “They play really hard for me to get that win. Pretty much they give them nothing and score five goals. What else can you ask from the team?”

The Ducks held New Jersey to one shot in the second period, tying a team mark last set in October against Dallas. The Devils had just six shots in the first 40 minutes.

It was another dominating effort after a 4-0 dismantling of Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, leading the Ducks to think they’re on to something better after living on the edge most of the season.

Beleskey, who was scratched Wednesday, dropped a soft pass for a trailing Lindholm on a rush up ice and he snapped a shot past Kinkaid on the stick side for a 2-1 lead.

Just 1:52 later, Silfverberg got his first goal and point since Dec. 13 by tapping in Andrew Cogliano’s centering pass to snap a 12-game slump. Patrick Maroon also ended a goal-scoring drought dating to Dec. 3 when he beat Kinkaid after getting a pass from Ryan Getzlaf.

“It’s been a long time,” Silfverberg said. “It felt good to get a couple tonight. Hopefully I can build off this and keep scoring more goals frequently.”

Lindholm would set up Silfverberg’s power-play goal late in the third to finish the rout. Bryzgalov finally had to do his heavy lifting in the third, starting it by making back-to-back saves on Michael Ryder and Mike Cammalleri to keep the two-goal edge intact.

Continue reading "Ducks make it easy for Bryzgalov in 5-1 win"

Ducks Fan

New Signings and What they Mean for the Anaheim Ducks Prospects posted by Ducks Fan

The Anaheim ducks have been facing a number of problems that needed to be sorted out quickly. From a declining and weak defense to the front where a lot of pressure was placed on Getzlaf, it was expected that manger Bob Murray would add a few players for the 2014-2015 season.

New Center

Bob Murray has already brought new people in the off season. However, he said he would not be bringing in any more in the new 2014-2015 draft. One of his signings was 6-foot-2 Ryan Kesler brought in from Vancouver Canucks. He is expected to add some strength and aggression in the center and improve the overall game. Fans were pleased to have him on board partly because he will no longer be playing against the team.

Kesler is considered to be excellent as an agitator. Many fans also agree that he could be the strength that has been lacking at the center. He is expected to provide valuable assists for Ryan Getzlaf. Even though Getzlaf had been good enough in his position, in the eyes of Bob Murray they needed a center man to take off the pressure from him and Corey Perry.

The Defense

The defense also needed a few changes and this became clear after their Game 7 loss to Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference second round series. The Francois Beauchemin wasn’t doing as well as he should and Bryan Allen couldn’t seem to get good chances to deliver his hits.

However, manager Bob Murray decided to make a single signing in the form of Clayton Stoner. Most analysts and fans feel that this lone signing may not be good enough given the Ducks declining defense. Just like Allen, Clayton is known for his size more than his defense shutdown ability. Despite, the sum of all the new signings should improve the overall game and Get the ducks back on track.

Continue reading "New Signings and What they Mean for ..."

Jeff Ponder

Niedermayer Not the Hero Everyone May Think He Is posted by Jeff Ponder

As a four-time Stanley Cup champion and Olympic hero, Scott Niedermayer hung up the skates for good in June.  This is probably not a surprise to Ducks fans, who have seen their long-time captain toy with the idea of retirement since mid-2007 every season.

"We were joking on the way in that maybe I changed my mind on the way here," Niedermayer said after the press conference that decided his fate. 

But the Ducks’ defense is no laughing matter; the team has been left in shambles.  Looking at the depth of the team, the top defensive pairing going into 2010-11 is Lubomir Visnovsky and Andy Sutton.  The second pairing would likely be Luca Sbisa and Paul Mara; while occupying the third pairing would be Brett Festerling and Sheldon Brookbank (Toni Lydman recently came down with an injury in camp).  Simply put, the Ducks are going to have the weakest defense in the league.

So what happened since 2007?  The Ducks were the most feared defensive team, sending out the likes of Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin and Sean O’Donnell. 

After the Ducks’ Stanley Cup victory over the Senators, Niedermayer, along with aging teammate Teemu Selanne, both expressed interest in retirement.  After all, Niedermayer’s victory was his fourth Stanley Cup and he had already proven himself on an International level.  So what was left to prove?

His decision took entirely too long for him to make.  The team could not wait and wanted to address their hole that would be left by Niedermayer, so they went to the free-agent market and signed veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider.  After Schneider debuted for the Ducks, rumors were still circulating that Niedermayer had plans to come back.  Finally on December 5, 33 games into the regular season, Niedermayer announced that he would return to the Ducks lineup.  But this posed a problem; the team was flooded with defensemen and also had a salary cap issue.  The Ducks were approximately $1 million over the salary cap, and had to move somebody.  The odd-men out were forward Andy McDonald (traded to St. Louis) and Shane Hnidy (traded to Boston).

Continue reading "Niedermayer Not the Hero Everyone May Think He Is"

Jeff Ponder

Anaheim Trades Ryan Whitney and a Sixth-Round Pick to Edmonton for Lubomir Visnovsky posted by Jeff Ponder

After a long wait, Edmonton finally moved one of their top players.

Only making a minor deal earlier in the day (Cody Wild to Boston for Matt Marquardt), Edmonton was expected to make a fire-sale on the deadline.  The Oilers rank last in the entire league with a dismal 19-38-6 record, recording only 44 points.  Names like Dustin Penner, Sheldon Souray and Andrew Cogliano were all being discussed today, but only one player is on his way out.

Visnovsky, acquired in June 2008 from Los Angeles, has scored four goals and thirteen assists to lead the Oilers in power-play points.  The Slovakian Olympian is a -4 on the season, but still ranks second on the Oilers' roster among defensemen who have played more than five games.

Whitney, who was acquired just last deadline day from Pittsburgh as a part of the Chris Kunitz deal, is also known for his offensive abilities.  Before the deal, the US Olympian ranked seventh on the Ducks with 28 points.  His smooth skating strides and quick feet are just two of his attributes that fans in Anaheim are going to miss. 

This was the only deal of the day that I consider to be a complete wash.  While Edmonton does receive the extra sixth-round pick in the deal, Visnovsky is more experienced and that could be a big factor if the Ducks make the playoffs.  Being just three points out of the eighth seed with 19 games to go, Anaheim may see if this deal was a right move in April.Continue reading "Anaheim Trades Ryan Whitney and a ..."

Jeff Ponder

Calgary Trades Curtis McElhinney to Anaheim for Vesa Toskala posted by Jeff Ponder

Anaheim just can't seem to stop shuffling their goaltenders.

After shipping away J.S. Giguere and Justin Pogge in the past month, they have also sent recently-acquired Vesa Toskala packing.  After being acquired in the Giguere deal on January 31, Toskala did not play in a single game for the Ducks.  His 3.66 GAA and .870 save percentage with Toronto is an unimpressive stat on this season. 

McElhinney has been backup in Calgary for parts of two seasons, and has posted a NHL-career .889 save percentage.  The 26-year old goaltender is expected to battle for the backup role next season with prospect Timo Pielmeier.

The nod in this deal goes to Calgary.  While Anaheim made a smart move in acquiring someone that they can bring back next season at a cheap rate, Calgary solidified a strong backup going into the playoffs.  Toskala is a former starter in Toronto and adds plenty of experience to the backup role.  His contract will be over at the end of the season, but Calgary just needs him in case starter Miika Kiprusoff falters in the playoffs.Continue reading "Calgary Trades Curtis McElhinney ..."

Andy Charles

Hiller gives Ducks something to hang on to posted by Andy Charles

Of all of the impressive performances at the Winter Olympics, Switzerland goalie Jonas Hiller proved just how good a player he is going to be for the Anaheim Ducks as he came ever so close to guiding the minnows to an unlikely semi-final place.

Hiller stood on his head in making 42 saves in their quarter-final defeat at the hands of the United States, conceding just one goal to Zach Parise early in the third period as the Swiss, one of the outsiders for the tournament, eventually only succumbed 2-0 to a late empty-netter.

The Ducks netminder came into the season in competition with Jean-Sebastien Giguere for playing time in Anaheim, and despite some poor results for the team he soon saw off his competitor, who was eventually traded to Toronto.

Indeed the only problem he may have over the rest of the season is tiredness, since he has already matched his career high in playing 46 games in the NHL this season, and with only Vesa Toskala as his backup now, you can expect him to play the vast majority of their remaining games as they seek a playoff place.

Sadly for Switzerland, who also surprisingly (as far as NHL Predictions go) made it to the quarter-finals in Turin in 2006 as well, their offensive stars could not match Hiller’s performances as they totalled only 11 goals during the whole tournament.

But with only one defenseman – Mark Streit – even playing in the NHL it really comes as no surprise that they had to leave it to Hiller to get them so close to what would have been another Miracle On Ice.

Continue reading "Hiller gives Ducks something to hang on to"

Brad VanFossan

Golden Effort Falls Just Short posted by Brad VanFossan

A Golden Effort Falls Just Short By Brad VanFossan I know it’s more than just a hockey game when my 63 year old father is looking forward to watching, and has been watching most of the hockey games during this Olympics. I know it’s more than just a game when patrons at bars ask to turn the hockey game on, both the men’s and women’s games, as I have seen happen over the last couple weeks. This is about reliving nostalgia for those who were around for the 1980 Gold Medal team‘s “Miracle“ run. And it’s about wanting to experience that same feeling for those of us who were too young or weren’t around then. This is the kind of thing the brings generations of sons and fathers together creating memories that become part of family lore. More importantly, this is a message to the world that hockey isn’t a secondary sport in the United States anymore, but one we can excel at, and even be the best.  It’s almost time for the opening face off, winning twice on enemy territory won’t be easy, but I think if anyone can, it’s this group of relentless young men. No matter what the outcome, they will put forth an effort to be proud of.My in game thoughts from the penalty box: -In the first U.S./Canada match up the U.S. was able to score first, taking the crowd out of things for a bit, today Canada scored first, it’s the first time the U.S. has trailed all Olympics. -Jonathan Toews goal was off of a rebound, not too much cause for concern yet. The U.S. is still playing pretty well, theyContinue reading "Golden Effort Falls Just Short"

Jeff Ponder

A Chat with Doug Stolhand of the Puck Podcast posted by Jeff Ponder

One of hockey's best critics was given the opportunity to sound off in an interview.  He did not disappoint, as he took full advantage of this occurrence.

Doug Stolhand is the co-host of the Puck Podcast, a weekly hockey podcast that discusses happenings from around the league every Saturday.  He did not start as a podcaster though; just like a professional sports player, he had to spend his time in the minor leagues before hitting the big time.

“I really got into hockey when I went to college.  The Fresno Falcons are a minor league team in Fresno; I went to Fresno State,” Doug said, “I started following them.  I ended up doing play-by-play and color commentary in two different seasons for them on the radio.  That's when I really got into hockey.”

The Falcons may have been the start of his love for the sport, but the Anaheim Ducks are what really seemed to keep Doug's interest.  Living in Los Angeles, the Kings never seemed to entice Stolhand.  The Ducks moved in to town in 1993 (then as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim), and Stolhand was drawn in almost instantly.

“I thought it was very cool to have the opportunity to follow a team from the very beginning and remember all the players and all the coaches from the entire history and eventually even watch them go from being an expansion team all the way to Stanley Cup Champs.”

As a fan of the game and a media member, Stolhand finds time to attend many Ducks games and watch all of the away games.  Obviously, he has very sound insight into the psyche of the Ducks. 
Continue reading "A Chat with Doug Stolhand of the Puck Podcast"

Andy Charles

And the winner is… posted by Andy Charles

 Well, we’ve made it to the halfway point of the season, so it is time to hand out a few awards to the deserving, the hopeless and the sensational.

Team of the season: I’m going to take the New Jersey Devils here since they are the one team to impress me more than I had expected. I thought Chicago and San Jose might be the quality of the West and so it has proved. The Devils; well I saw them as a decent playoff team but not the halfway top seed.

Martin Brodeur has been predictably brilliant, but the Devils continue to get offense from a team that lacks star quality after Zach Parise. And the biggest surprise among them? Has to be Andy Greene with 23 points in 37 games, already doubling any output he has managed in four NHL seasons.

Bust of the season: Plenty to choose from here but (sad for me since I am a fan) the Anaheim Ducks should try for the Anaheim Sucks. Twelve points out of the playoffs in the West and not even the best team around Los Angeles.

The goals haven’t been too hard to find and they have the scoring, but the defense has been shoddy despite Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Whitney being in town. They do have the talent to get out of their predicament and some NHL Predictions suggest they will, but it is not going to be easy given the strength of the West.

Surprise of the season: No doubt for me – has to be the Colorado Avalanche. Just on top of the Northwest Division after a season predicted to be dogged by youthful struggles. A brilliant free agency signing of goalie Craig Anderson has helped but Wojtek Wolski is finally becoming the player many thought he could be and watch out for Chris Stewart as well – the next top class power forward.

Continue reading "And the winner is…"

Anaheim Ducks News

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Anaheim Ducks re-sign F Stefan Noesen to 2-way contract (Yahoo Sports)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Forward Stefan Noesen has agreed to a one-year contract to stay with the Anaheim Ducks. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Anaheim Ducks re-sign D Korbinian Holzer to 1-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Defenseman Korbinian Holzer has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal to return to the Anaheim Ducks. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Ducks acquire G Jonathan Bernier from Toronto for draft pick (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Anaheim Ducks sign Jared Boll, Mason Raymond, Jeff Schultz (Yahoo Sports)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Forwards Jared Boll and Mason Raymond and defenseman Jeff Schultz have agreed to contracts with the Anaheim Ducks. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

D Nate Guenin returns to Anaheim Ducks on 1-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Defenseman NateGuenin has agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract to return to the Anaheim Ducks. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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