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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tuesday News

Today's news coverage is on the Duck/Red Wings rivalry, Brian Burke interviews, stuff to buy and Stanley Cup news.

Official Ducks preview of the Red Wings vs Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are eagerly awaiting the return of No. 1 goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. In his absence, they appear to have a pair of capable replacements.

Fresh off splitting their first two games in England, the Ducks continue their stretch of games away from home Wednesday night when they face the Detroit Red Wings in a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals.

Anaheim began defense of its first Stanley Cup championship Saturday with a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings as the NHL opened its season outside North America for the fourth time.

The Ducks rebounded Sunday with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Kings as Corey Perry scored a pair of goals in support of Jonas Hiller, who made 22 saves in his NHL debut.

"We competed hard in both hockey games, so we've got some wear and tear in our bodies," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "But our mental focus was good."

Hiller got the nod on Sunday after regular backup Ilya Bryzgalov gave up three goals on 23 shots in Saturday's loss.

Although Bryzgalov took the loss Saturday, he has proven to be a more than solid backup the past two seasons. Bryzgalov is 24-21-0 with a 2.49 goals-against average in 61 games with Anaheim.

Giguere missed the first two games while he continues to recover from sports hernia surgery. He hopes to be ready to play either Wednesday, Friday at Columbus or Saturday at Pittsburgh.

The Ducks already have logged a lot of travel and won't raise their Stanley Cup banner at home until Oct. 10 against Boston.

"It's their home opener, so it's gonna be pretty difficult," Ducks captain Chris Pronger said. "We're pretty well adjusted now (to London time). And now you have to readjust the other way."

Giguere isn't the only key player missing from Anaheim's lineup. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer and right wing Teemu Selanne are still undecided on their playing futures, and checking forward Samuel Pahlsson is also recovering from sports hernia surgery.

Defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who spent the past 3 1/2 seasons with Detroit, is still out with a broken ankle and won't face his former team.

Detroit won its sixth straight division title in 2006-07, tying Buffalo with a league-best 113 points.

After defeating Calgary and San Jose in six games in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Red Wings were eliminated in six games by Anaheim in the conference finals.

Read the rest here - Link

The OC Register has a look at the Ducks vs. Red Wings

Ducks, Detroit renew rivalry

The Ducks expect to encounter an extremely motivated group of Red Wings when the teams face off at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since last season's Western Conference finals.


The Orange County Register

DETROIT -- Less than a minute remained in the third period of Game 5 of last season's Western Conference finals at Joe Louis Arena.

Down a goal to the Detroit Red Wings, the Ducks seemingly needed a miracle.

Displaying the uncanny flair for the dramatic that makes him a sure-fire Hall of Fame choice someday, Scott Niedermayer provided exactly that. He banked a 6-on-4, power-play goal off the stick of perennial Norris Trophy-winning Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom with 47.3 seconds left.

In overtime, Teemu Selanne, exhibiting the magic goal-scoring touch that first began torching NHL goaltenders in 1992, took advantage of a turnover forced by linemate Andy McDonald. Selanne drew goalie Dominik Hasek into a full sprawl and popped the water bottle atop the net for the winning goal 11:57 into OT.

Suddenly, the Ducks had an improbable 2-1 victory, a 3-2 series lead, and the next thing anyone knew, they were skating the Stanley Cup around Honda Center.

It might be simplistic to say that any one game in a sequence of 21 was thedefining moment, especially when 12 of the Ducks' 16 postseason victories came by one goal. But that is understandably the view from Detroit.

"You realize how close you were," Red Wings center Kris Draper told Detroit-area reporters. "You don't forget things, especially the way Game 5 ended. I still kind of see that puck hitting Nick's stick and kind of going above the crossbar and dropping in, obviously losing in overtime, the flurry at the end of Game 6, almost putting ourselves in a situation to force a Game 7.

"Those are things you're always going to remember. You realize how close you were to taking the next step and putting yourself in the Stanley Cup Finals."

The Ducks expect to face exactly such a determined mindset Wednesday night, when the teams reunite at Joe Louis Arena. While the Ducks already have played two regular-season games, splitting last weekend's set with the Kings in London by identical 4-1 scores, the Red Wings will celebrate opening night.

"We know Detroit is oozing to get back at us," Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger said.

Read the rest here - Link

An article on how Burke builds his teams

Brian Burke laughs at the idea that is so widely shared in the N.H.L. that it qualifies as a cliché. Burke, the idea goes, builds his teams in his own image. After all, his Anaheim Ducks — as his Vancouver Canucks once were — are feisty bordering on bellicose, a phrase that should headline Burke’s résumé.

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His Ducks reflect his preference for speed and toughness. They do not back down from fights; in fact, they frequently start them.

Burke sits atop the hockey world these days, as general manager of the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks, who began the season over the weekend by splitting two games against Los Angeles in London.

Burke could bask in the championship glow and feed the cliché, except that one of his other qualities is blunt honesty, which prompts him to poke his own holes in the analogy.

“Everyone says to me that you’re building your team in your own image, but whoever says that never saw me play,” Burke said. “I was such a marginal pro at the American Hockey League level. That’s why I went to law school.”

Burke laughed as he sat back in his chair in his office at the Honda Center in Anaheim one afternoon before a Ducks preseason game. An untied necktie hung around his neck, having surrendered to the force of his personality.

The 52-year-old Burke long ago built his reputation with that personality, having spent 19 seasons in the N.H.L. He is entering his 10th season as a general manager, and also spent five as the director of hockey operations for the league.

Read the rest here - Link

Another article on Burke via Sportsnet

It would have been disastrous for the Ducks to start the season 0-2 but Randy Carlyle made all the right moves.

I admire Randy Carlyle for how seriously he reacted to losing the first game of the NHL season. The Anaheim Ducks have begun the year hammered by key injuries and no-shows and their head coach is coaching like it's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to avoid a disastrous start.
Leaving England at 0-2-0 was not an option given what's at stake this week, home openers in Detroit on Wednesday, Columbus on Friday and Pittsburgh on Saturday.
His team didn't look very good in Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the 02 Arena in London. What does he do? He switches goalies, giving Swiss League star Jonas Hiller his first career start over Ilya Bryzgalov. What does Hiller do? He looked splendid in turning away 22 of 23 shots in Sunday's 4-1 win by Anaheim.
Carlyle also switched his top two forward lines, breaking up Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Getzlaf after having the pair together for most of training camp, pre-season and Saturday's first game. Getzlaf was reunited with Corey Perry on a line with Chris Kunitz and they combined for three goals Sunday.

Read the rest here - Link

One more on Burke from the Globe and Mail

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The request, from NHL headquarters, came last winter. Would Brian Burke — the volatile, larger-than-life general manager of the Anaheim Ducks — keep a diary of his moves leading up to the trading deadline and then publish the account in USA Today?

The idea was to bring fans behind the scenes for February's annual rush for reinforcements, one of the most anticipated moments of the NHL season. Dutifully, Burke agreed — and mindful of his colleagues, was careful to delete any and all references to players that didn't move, for fear of compromising their relationships with their holdover teams.

Even so, it made compelling reading: How he traded a regular, Shane O'Brien, for a first-round pick, in the hopes of flipping it again, to get added depth up front for the playoff run — and the frustration that he had in coming up short, in one overture after another. It was just what the league needed — powerful positive publicity at a time when it is still trying to get a foothold in the U.S. market after the devastating effects of the lockout.

And of course, his colleagues hated it.

That's Burke though — in the buttoned-down universe of NHL managers, he is out there, selling, promoting and otherwise doing what he can to get the game front and centre, all the while trying to bring home a winner, and not worrying too much about any feathers he may ruffle.

In the six years he spent as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, he turned a franchise with a minimal season-ticket base coming off a last-place finish in the Pacific Division into a winner — both on and off the ice. When he joined the Ducks, they were in the midst of an ownership change — from the Disney Corporation to the Samueli Family. Season-ticket numbers were at their lowest since the early days and the Ducks were an afterthought in Orange County.

Read the rest here - Link

Stuff You Should Buy

NHL Stanley Cup Champions 2006-2007: Anaheim Ducks

The 6 Disc DVD Collectionis out and is available for $37.49 at Amazon - Link

Anaheim Ducks 2008 Calendar - NASCAR 2008 Calendars

Anaheim Ducks 2008 Calendar - Link

Disney Bobble Head - Donald Duck

Donald Duck Bobble head - Just Kidding, but yeah it is still available - Link

The Keepers of the Cup get coverage of their favorite experiences with the cup and some pics of your favorite Ducks.

The Stanley Cup is always accompanied by a handler, one of several who rotate, and is supplied by the Hockey Hall of Fame. On the surface, being 'keeper of the Cup' is the greatest job in the world, but underneath that shiny veneer, it truly is one of the great unheralded jobs -- too many nights with no sleep, too many meals eaten on the fly racing through the airport to make a connecting flight, and extended travel that takes the keeper away from family and friends over long periods of time. Yet, there's not a hockey fan we've met yet who wouldn't trade his or her soul for the chance to accompany the greatest trophy in sport — the Stanley Cup.

* * *

Mike Bolt spends almost as much time with the Stanley Cup as the NHL's championship team. Crisscrossing the continent, Mike ensures that the rights and privileges that accompany winners of the Stanley Cup are both enjoyed and upheld, doing so in a firm yet most entertaining way. Loved by both players and management, Bolt is a hockey fan first and foremost, but treats his job with the seriousness it demands. Even NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman once took him aside and said, "You've got an awesome job."

Born and raised in Toronto, Mike dreamed of one day hoisting the Stanley Cup just like every other hockey-playing youngster. After all, the Leaside area in which he grew up was rich in hockey heritage -- former Maple Leafs George Armstrong, Carl Brewer, Bob Davidson and Cal Gardner all called the area home. But life took a different turn early on, as Mike's career saw him managing a cowboy boot and western wear store. It wasn't until 1995, when he joined the Hockey Hall of Fame working on special events and as a guest services associate, that the path veered back towards hockey. Mike's first foray with the Stanley Cup was a quick jaunt down the street from the Hockey Hall of Fame to the studios of the CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, in 1997.

Read the rest here - Link

The Stanley Cup Visits Maine

The Portland Pirates, the proud AHL affiliate of the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks, announced today the team's plans for Opening Weekend on Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 6th. The plan includes the arrival of the Stanley Cup, great giveaways, a ticket plan and great entertainment all weekend.

The Pirates first two games of the 2007-2008 season will feature an Opening Weekend ticket package where fans can get tickets to both games for the price of one. Fans that buy one ticket to Friday's game at full price will receive one ticket to Saturday's game free. To take advantage of this money saving offer, fans must purchase tickets before Thursday, October 4th. Individual tickets for all Pirates home games will go on sale Saturday, September 29th at 10:00 a.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Opening weekend will include numerous events and giveaways surrounding the celebration of the Anaheim Ducks capturing the Stanley Cup this past spring.

On Friday the Pirates will open the 2007-08 season against the Springfield Falcons (Edmonton Oilers) at 7:05 p.m. Plans for Opening Night include a magnetic schedule giveaway sponsored by New England Credit Consultants. During the game the videoboard will feature highlights from the Anaheim Ducks championship playoff run.

Saturday marks the arrival of the Stanley Cup to Maine. It will be the first time since 2003 that the Cup has come to Portland. During the day the Pirates will provide an opportunity for fans from all over the state of Maine to view take pictures and celebrate the Stanley Cup in Maine. A schedule of appearances leads up to the Pirates game versus the Lowell Devils (New Jersey Devils) at the Cumberland County Civic Center at 7:05 p.m. The pre-game events at the Civic Center will also include a performance from the band WEATHERD, an acoustic, pop, rock style band that is appealing to all ages. Plus, the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive Duck Calls courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.

The Pirates will celebrate the Anaheim Ducks Championship with a full schedule of events throughout the day. Transportation for the Stanley Cup will be provided by Lilly's Limousine. The schedule for the day is below:
Saturday, October 6th
Androscoggin Bank Colisee (Lewiston, ME)
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (Appearance by Governor Baldacci)
L.L.Bean (Freeport, ME)
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME)
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Barbara Bush Children's Hospital (Portland, ME)
1:45 p.m.– 2:30 p.m.
Cumberland County Civic Center (Portland, ME)
5:15 p.m.
The Stanley Cup is the most famous trophy in the sports world. The Cup was first presented in 1893 and is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes. The historic trophy has logged more than 400,000 miles in travel during the past five seasons and raised more than $4 million for charity during the past three seasons. After winning the Stanley Cup, each winning player and team management member gets to have the Cup for a day to share with family and friends. The Stanley Cup weighs 35 pounds and stands just under three feet in height.

Visit the Portland Pirates here - Link