Gameday Preview: Ducks, but not exactly in a row.


ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 29: Goaltender Jonas Hiller  of the Ducks makes a save on a shot by Anze Kopitar  of the Los Angeles Kings during the second period at the Honda Center on November 29, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Kings 2-0. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Calgary’s relentless pursuit of mediocrity continues in Orange County this evening against a team who’s record is flattering, frankly. The Ducks aren’t very good at all, and this is a case where their underlying numbers are worse than their record by a fair distance. 

Anaheim’s had a pretty odd season to get to .500. They were about the worst team in the league early on, then reeled off a lengthy winning streak (note to Flames fans: yes, winning multiple games in succession is not only permitted, but fashionable in some quarters) to get back into the mushy middle of the conference. Still, they get badly out-shot 5v5 most nights, and they’ve earned their -12 GF/GA in that game state on merit.

Anaheim’s best players are dangerous, but those guys are still being held in check or outplayed as often as not. There’s exactly one regular forward in the Corsi black on the Duck, and Bobby Ryan likely has had the easiest ice time of any of Anaheim’s top six forwards to get to that status. Getzlaf and Perry just aren’t moving the pile forward as often as you’d normally suspect, and after those guys the drop off is steep. 

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 27: Cam Fowler  of the Anaheim Ducks pases the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on November 27, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 6-4. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)



There’s been plenty of talk about Cam Fowler making the club as a raw rookie, and kudos to him for that, but he’s on the team because after Lubo Visnovsky and Toni Lydman, there just isn’t much left for Randy Carlyle to work with on the blue. The others, including Fowler, are getting out-shot against middling comp or worse. That really sums up Anaheim’s plight for this year. They have a decent group of front line players, and then they go right over the cliff in terms of quality.

What keeps the Ducks as a team afloat is quality work from their goalies. McBackup has resembled a good NHL goalie since he moved to the Coast, but it’s Jonas Hiller that the Ducks rely on, and he’s been good for several years running. He gives the Ducks a chance every night, and even on a team with Getzlaf he’s their MVP thus far. Hiller was forced into action on Wednesday after McElhinney was hit in the mask by a puck, but I’d still expect to see him this evening.

Game wise, this is a game where no penalties at all would be ideal, because as indifferent as the Flames are, Anaheim is worse at EV. The one way that they can run up a score is to get PP chances, and they do convert about 20% of the time, so, as usual, stay out of the box. 50 minutes spent at EV would absolutely favour Calgary a lot more than the hosts.

  • Looks like Ryan is getting cherry treatment again this season. Last year he played with Getz/Perry a lot, but Carlyle managed his zone starts and minutes pretty exactly – he’d pull Ryan off for the own-zone stuff but stick him on for the offensive zone draws.

    Ryan’s a quality player, but I’m guessing that treatment fluffed his numbers and resultant contract a tad.

    • bobby stevenson’s complete game was always in question, dating back to his days in cherry hill. the knock on bobby in owen sound was his skating and defensive limitations, his scoring was never doubted.

    • Robert Cleave

      Yeah, nobody in the league does more ice time/zone start management than Kitty Carlyle. As good as his team was in ’07, he still manipulated his forward matchups to ensure that Getzlaf, Perry and Penner were always put in a position to succeed. He didn’t fool himself into using those three in spots they couldn’t manage, and he never really gave Getzlaf the full load until after the Pahlsson trade in the spring of ’09.

    • CitizenFlame

      I agree, the first thing he should do is avoid using sarich and babchuk as a PK unit as was done in the game last night. Listening on the radio I was just waiting for a goal to be scored.

      • icedawg_42

        as for the great flaming fire-sale of 2011: kindly remember that glenX and pardy (as well as babchuk, tanguay, morrison, conroy, staios, and karlsson) are all UFA in the summer. rentals don’t demand much return.

        – sarich, stajan, kotalik, jokinen, and jaybouw are all overpriced (disregarding NT/NM clauses) so would have few bidders, methinks. iggy’s hella costly, also, as is hagman for what he brings.

        – nobody needs underachieving journeymen/grinder/goon types cause they’re a dime a dozen so that pretty much excludes jackman, ivanans, kostopoulos, moss.

        – bourque, backlund, regehr, and gio (plus some of the babies like wahl, nemisz, howse, erixon, negrin, bouma) are all tradebait.

        right now, i’m trying to decide if gio is the guy you ship out for serious prospects and/or high draft picks, or if you give him a C and build a team around him. i vote for column B, but with darryl in charge i kinda think he’s as good as gone.

    • CitizenFlame

      he lost this team last year after his well documented screaming match with presumably dion. the demise began then and there. hockey’s first family doesn’t need anyone else’s input.

  • CitizenFlame

    If the Flames are done by Christmas and the rebuild begins does anyone think that its possible that someone other than the usual targets- Iggy, Reggie, Kipper, gets moved? Maybe Bourque or Glencross? I can’t help but wonder. Bourque when he is on, dominates but he is wildly inconsistent. So is Glencross. Both have been tagged with anger-management issues that lead to meltdowns and stupid penalties. Also, I’ve heard about confidence issues for both players. Bourque especially would be worth something on the market, maybe a player + a draft pick. When does his no trade clause kick in? The Flames might not even be really able to afford Glencross next year anyway. I know this is tantamount to heresy around these parts, but just wondering what some of your thoughts are on this?

  • CitizenFlame

    His play seems to really have declined a lot recently. I remember saying about 10-15 games into this season that the Flames would be lucky if the top line broke even most nights and that the 2-4 lines could beat up on most other teams 2-4 lines. But that well has dried up.

  • If things keep going like they have been, we’re out of the playoff race by christmas and GlenX or Moss is one of the first to go. I think Hagman & Pardy are also potential trade candidates.

    • CitizenFlame

      You’re probably right. It’s too bad because I really like Hagman. I like Moss too. Pardy I’m meh about. The Flames need to move some salary and there aren’t that many players to move and out of those that can be moved, I don’t know what percieved value there is?

      • hags is the most movable of the movables. good secondliner for a true contender, salary hit not too costly.moss is a second round pick return. pardy not realy all that impressive. fifth or sixth d man on good clubs. the flames should do backlund a favour and move him to a team that will utilize his talents, not bury him.

        • CitizenFlame

          I agree with most of that except Backlund. If we’re rebuilding you should keep him. Plus I don’t really think they’ve mismanaged him. I would like to see him start to get used more in offensive situations especially on the PP, and Stajan is not getting it done offensively with the big boys, I would like to give Backlund a whiff and see what he does. Even if only temporary. When and if the rebuild goes on they need to start exposing him a little more.

          • CitizenFlame

            i was trying to say.for backlunds own good, do him the favour and move him to a team that will develop him into the player he could be. not buried on a bad team with limited minutes and responsibilities.backlund plays well and is rewarded with less icetime in the third period time and time again.

  • CitizenFlame

    Moss for a second rounder? Put your stick on the ice. Even if they did decide to rebuild they have nothing other teams want. They are all over paid bums .They have no prospects , no draft picks no skill and no speed .And they are also maxed on the cap. I hope dutters wife does the finances.He’s a horrible judge of talent ,and every trade he makes he gives up youth and/or draft picks.They better get rid of him before he trades away the first rounder.That goes for King as well. Sutter and King must have some dirty pictures on the owners.I’m tired of hearing (on paper this team blah blah blah).Paper meaning all the over paid and no movement contracts? Go coyotes. p.s. thx for Brandon Gormley aucoin lombardi prust etc. Don’t expect to make the playoffs for about five years

  • icedawg_42

    Most of these “moveable moveables” are the players I really like!! But I see the point.
    In any case, I think if there’s a rebuild, then Backlund wouldnt have to develop under the current regime anyway, and he’d be better off. The kid’s coming along. Anyone know what’s wrong with Gio?
    Heard Pat on the radio talking about the Flames dismal record in Anaheim since 2004…anyone done the homework to see how many of these games were tail ends of back to back? just curious.