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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Anaheim Ducks News for Tuesday

So today was an exciting day for the Anaheim Ducks.  They go their rings, Andy McDonald's wife gave birth, and they get a street named Stanley Cup Way.  Very exciting stuff.  So here is today's news.

Ducks get their Stanley Cup ring

Months of waiting finally came to fruition for Ducks players on Monday night, as the members of last season’s Stanley Cup champions received their commemorative championship rings at a private event.

The rings, along with Wednesday night’s raising of the championship banners, are the two final remnants for celebration from last year’s illustrious Ducks team.

“It was good excitement for us to be around everybody again and see the happiness that it brings to the organization and the owners and how proud they are,” said Chris Kunitz. “I think that shows in definitely what the ring looks like, how much thought and process went into it.”

Click here for pictures of the Ducks with their rings

The massive ring is made of 14K white gold, with 110 diamonds used to create the whole ring. The top of the ring spells our STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS down the left and right borders. A raised Stanley Cup is placed along the full length of the ring from top to bottom, filled with 16 diamonds representing the 16 playoff victories needed to win the Cup. Overlaying the Cup is the Ducks stylized “D” logo in 14K yellow gold with “D” bordered in yello diamonds and the webbed foot made from a custom cut black onyx stone. The remaining background of the top of the ring is covered with white diamonds.

While being a token of last season’s success, the ring also pays homage to past Ducks seasons on its left side, where under the player’s last name are 14 stones in three different colors. The first 11 are green to symbolize the 11 seasons of the Mighty Ducks under Disney ownership. The next stone is white, symbolizing the lockout, a canceled season and a period of change. Finally, the last two stones are orange and represent the past two years of ownership by Henry and Susan Samueli and a change in name and colors. Also prominent on the right side of the ring is the is a representation of Honda Center and the old Mighty Ducks logo, which is flanked by ‘93 and ‘07 as the years in between the championship.

Read the rest here - Link

Andy McDonald's wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy

Stanley Cup champion and now first-time father; 2007 is turning out to be quite the year for Ducks center Andy McDonald.

McDonald and his wife, Gina, welcomed their first-born child, Jake Gene McDonald, into the world yesterday at 12:50 p.m. The newborn McDonald weighed in at seven pounds, five ounces. Both mother and child are doing great one day after labor, which took approximately 12 hours to complete.

“It was pretty amazing. I’m kind of in shock still. It’s been an overwhelming couple days,” McDonald said following Tuesday’s practice. “It’s been really great. My wife and I are extremely happy.”

Greeting McDonald in the Ducks locker room after practice was some printing on the white board that jokingly listed his son’s middle name as Teemu.

“I don’t know who was responsible for that," McDonald said with a laugh. "I don’t think my wife would find that very funny."

Read the rest here - Link

One more article on Andy McDonald

The latest addition to the Ducks family is Jake Gene McDonald, a seven-pound, five-ounce budding star forward born to proud parents Gina and Andy McDonald at 12:50 p.m. Monday.Not surprisingly, however, some wise guy in the Ducks locker room had played with that information on the message board by the time Tuesday’s practice had ended. The baby’s name had been changed to Jake “Teemu” McDonald, obviously in reference to McDonald’s former linemate, fan favorite Teemu Selanne. McDonald pointed out that he didn’t think Gina would go for that switch, given that the name “Gene” was after her father.

Read the rest here - Link

Giguere and Pahlsson back soon?

Success eluded the Ducks for most of their season-opening trip, but their mood should brighten by the time they play their home opener Wednesday with news Monday that Samuel Pahlsson and Jean-Sebastien Giguere could be in the lineup.
Pahlsson, arguably the Ducks' top defensive player, and Giguere, their franchise goaltender, have been slowly recovering after both underwent hernia surgeries late in the summer. Now it appears the timetable for a return could be immediate.

Coach Randy Carlyle said the two are "very close" but held off on pronouncing them fit for playing against the Boston Bruins.
"We won't make the decision until after the pregame skate on Wednesday," Carlyle said.
Giguere had his surgery on Aug. 6, and Pahlsson went under the knife on Sept. 7 after both experienced pain when they resumed their off-season workouts. While the rest of the Ducks were doing off-ice workouts, Giguere did some heavy agility work in net and took plenty of shots from Pahlsson and winger Travis Moen.
While Ilya Bryzgalov and Jonas Hiller have ably filled in for Giguere, the Ducks have missed Pahlsson's ability to kill penalties and to shut down an opponent's top forwards.
Pahlsson, a Selke Trophy finalist last season as the NHL's best defensive forward, had played in a club-record 275 consecutive games entering this season.
On Monday, the Swedish checking center tested himself by making several sharp cuts and said he felt much better.
If the two don't return Wednesday, they will probably be back for the next game, given that the Ducks won't play again until Sunday when they are host to Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Moen is expected to play against Boston after sitting out Saturday's game for precautionary reasons after getting hit in the head Friday by Columbus forward Jared Boll.

Read the rest here - Link

Behind the Bench (NHL.Com) has a great article on Randy Carlyle

It's long been said to never judge a book by its cover. Ditto when it comes to Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle's game face.

When Michael Olesker wrote for the now defunct Baltimore News-American, he described the rival Baltimore Sun as "arriving on the doorstep each morning with all the warmth and humor of a bank vault."

That's a good description of the expression the reigning Stanley Cup-winning coach wears behind the Ducks' bench. Not as bad, maybe, as Mike Tyson's pre-fight stare, but right up there with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's cold-fish expression.

Picture Randy Quaid with a thigh cramp.

This Carlyle must be a nasty guy to be around, eh?

Not so, say those who have known him the longest, guys who played hockey with him more than 30 years ago and have liked him since. Behind that baleful stare, is a warm, fun-loving guy who knows when it's time to work and when it's time to play.

"That serious game face that Randy has? Randy has always had that when it was time to play," said fellow Sudbury, Ontario, native Ron Duguay, who played on the OHL Sudbury Wolves in the 1970s with Carlyle and Ducks assistant coach Dave Farrish. "That's Randy and that's what we saw too as young players. He always came to play and he didn't say a lot, unless something had to be said. Off the ice, he was as much fun as anyone. He could joke around in practice, but he always turned it around so that we would be serious about the work. It's fair to say Randy was more serious than most players.

"As a player, he was very calculating and looking to exploit the other team’s weaknesses. He wouldn't show them much, either. We used to tease Randy about his weight, but that was just his body shape. He had great endurance. You'd see him skate a long shift, come back to the bench and 30 seconds later, he was back out there."

"That's the way Randy was as a player," Farrish said. "When it's time to work, he's all about work but away from the rink, he's a great family man and a fun-loving guy. He enjoys all aspects of outdoor life. He really enjoys life and is very active, not a couch potato. Make no mistake, though, he really enjoys his work."

Humility runs like a vein through Carlyle the same way nickel runs in veins beneath Sudbury. He feels no need to impress you with his intelligence and that leaves him free to be himself, Farrish said.

Read the rest here - Link

MVN has some thoughts on potential roster moves

It would appear that the panic levels have risen in the O.C. as the defending Stanley Cup Champions are set for their home opener on Wednesday against Boston. The Anaheim Ducks are currently mired in a 1-3-1 record, losing their last three games since returning from England.

Since they’ve retuned, Anaheim has sent Bobby Ryan back to Portland because he wasn’t able to produce offensively and his play was less than satisfactory to Ducks’ Head Coach Randy Carlyle. The Ducks also recalled Jason King, who score two goals in the season opener for the Pirates on Friday night and Drew Miller, who impressed many during training camp, but was sent down as a result of a numbers game.

For King, he will only have a short opportunity to produce as several bodies for the Ducks are close to coming back. J.S. Giguere, Sammi Pahlsson and Travis Moen could all return to the line up on Wednesday night, which will be determined by a pre-game skate, but if not Wednesday, it will certainly be Sunday against the Wild.

With the Ducks having 26-players on the current roster, it only dictates that a group of players will be returning to Portland in order for the Ducks to get within the league limit of 23-players, although Anaheim has a history of only carrying 22-players on the active roster.

In order to make room for the players returning from injury, Anaheim will first start in goal. Giguere will slip back into his role as the number one goaltender, while Bryzgalov will continue to be the back up. This unfortunately will leave Jonas Hiller as the odd-man out, meaning he would be sent to Portland.

Read the rest here - Link

The OC Register has a look at the Ducks struggles

Ducks in search of offense

In addition to several other significant problems, the Ducks are suffering from a glaring lack of offensive balance as they prepare for the home opener against Boston.

ANAHEIM -- Stark reality greeted the Ducks when they returned to Honda Center to begin preparations for Wednesday night's home opener against the Boston Bruins.

A grueling five-game, season-opening road swing that began in London and netted an ugly 1-3-1 record revealed many of the challenges that face the Ducks as they strive to live up to expectations wrought by last season's Stanley Cup championship.

While any five-game sequence during the course of an 82-game NHL season can be misleading, the Ducks have encountered a myriad of problems that have included horribly undisciplined play, porous penalty-killing, shaky defensive-zone coverage and an overabundance of turnovers, both in their own end and in neutral ice.

Perhaps even more troubling is that, at least at this point, the Ducks are a one-line team, as it relates to offense, anyway. With center Ryan Getzlaf skating between his longtime buddy, Corey Perry, on the right side and Chris Kunitz on the left, the Ducks are dangerous. Otherwise, they have given opposing defenses and goaltenders no real cause for concern.

Getzlaf, Perry and Kunitz have combined to score eight of 11 Ducks goals. The other three have come from high-priced free-agent acquisition Todd Bertuzzi, checking-line winger Travis Moen and rookie right wing Bobby Ryan, who has since been assigned to American League affiliate Portland, Maine. The club's defensemen have contributed nothing in the goal-scoring column.

Read the rest here - Link

MVN has a look at Tuesday's practice

After a long hard road trip to start the season, the Ducks were given Sunday off and Monday they completed off-ice workouts only (with the exception of Travis Moen, Sami Pahlsson and Jean-Sebastien Giguere). Tuesday it was time to get back on the ice and try to fix some of the problems that the Ducks encountered on their road trip.

For Giguere and Pahlsson, this was the first full out practice with the team that both were going full tilt. Pahlsson seemed encouraged after practice at how his recovering groin was feeling. At this point, he said he would see how it felt in the morning and go from there. If he feels fine and continues to feel well in the morning skate, he should receive the clearance to play in tomorrow night’s game. That is good news for the Ducks. Pahlsson stated that if not tomorrow then he would be ready for Sunday’s game for sure.

Having Pahlsson’s line with Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen intact will give coach Randy Carlyle more options. He can move players who have filled in in Pahlsson’s absence to other lines where energy and chemistry is needed. Carlyle, who is faced with the potential absence of Todd Bertuzzi to a sore groin, put newcomer Mark Mowers on the top line with Chris Kunitz and Andy McDonald. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf got to practice with Jason King on their line. The fourth line will likely be George Parros, Brad May and Todd Marchant.

Read the rest here - Link

Girl with a Puck has a nice review of the last few months among other things

The Need-to-Know... in case you needed a refresher before tomorrow's home opener! Don't forget: Honda Center. Ducks v. Bruins. 7:05pm. Championship banner goes up at 6:45pm.
7. Last year, the Anaheim Ducks closed out the season with the Holy Grail of Hockey raised high above their heads. Despite that fact, the boys in black-and-gold are having some difficulty early on defending the title. They've recently gotten their hands on the rings (or, well, their rings on their hands) as of yesterday, but they are still missing some key players from last season: namely Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Samuel Pahlsson -- both of whom are still out with injuries. They're recuperating from hernia surgery (Jiggy from 1, Sammy from a rare double hernia surgery) and both are "close" to coming back. Drawing conclusions based upon Jiggy's interview this morning with KROQ's Kevin & Bean, it sounds like we won't have to wait long. By all accounts, the answer is certainly sooner rather than later. (See OC Register and the LA Times)
6. Two guys that helped catapult the Ducks' prior success are still, well, sitting Ducks. Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne are contemplating -- still -- whether or not to retire. Scotty has confirmed that he will be in attendance for the home opener, though I have yet to hear whether or not Teemu's going, I expect he wouldn't miss the raising of the Championship banner either. Though, can I just say it's interesting to see that THN has Scotty listed as "suspended" for not reporting to training camp. I just thought it was kinda funny to put it that way. =)
5. If you're interested in the run-down of what players did with the Cup (and don't want to read through the Stanley Cup Journal put out by the HHOF), sneak a peak at Ducks Notes, where they've conveniently listed the travels of the Cup.

Read the rest here - Link

MVN also has a look at Opening night festivities

The Ducks will have their real home opener on Wednesday night agains the Boston Bruins. If you have tickets, plan on arriving early. The game is already sold out and standing room only, so parking will be an issue. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in traffic while the championship banners are being raised. Festivities are also starting early at 6:45pm.

The Ducks will receive their Stanley Cup rings in a private pre-pre-game ceremony. The Ducks are planning an in-game giveaway of replica rings (likely on keychains) for fans at the November 7 game against the Phoenix Coyotes. If you want a ring replica that isn’t a freebie with your game ticket, you can purchase other commemorative rings, jewelry and even limited edition coins from Herff Jones. Rings will be on sale on Wednesday at the Honda Center and there will be more information about other items available for purchase. Even without the bling that the players’ rings will have, the rings will likely be expensive.

Read the rest here - Link

The Mike V blog has been updated

Well, I guess a slow start to the season was to be expected. After a long spring, a busy summer, injuries to key players and the undecided status of others as well as overseas travel and a tough opening schedule our Ducks weren't exactly set up for success here early on. But still, having said all of that my thinking is very much in line with what head coach Randy Carlyle had to say: "There are no excuses."

In fact, I'd take it a step further and say that when everything is lined up against you, that's when you need to dig deep and find a way to win.
I'm not saying there's reason to panic just yet. It is very early in the season but still, we all know how much every point means and the importance of a good start. Not to mention, our Ducks are the defending champions and need to represent that every night. That alone should be their inspiration night after night to play their best. Champions should play like champions and be out to prove their winning was no fluke. That they are indeed the real deal.

Read the rest here - Link