In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Duck bits

This is the worst time of the offseason. The free agency frenzy has ended, the NHL schedule has been released, the Hall of Fame inductees have already been announced, and training camp hasn't started yet.

What is a hockey fan to do?

Why, you spend a lazy day off work trolling the internet for bits of hockey news, of course! I've found a smattering of tasty treats to temporarily curb the hockey withdrawal of the Duck faithful.

First, a few headlines and announcements.

- The Ducks have named a new goalie consultant, Pete Peeters, formerly with the Edmonton Oilers. I personally do not know anything about this guy, except that he won the Vezina trophy some odd 348 years ago. I'm hoping he turns out to be a good fit for Jonas Hiller and J.S. Giguere, particularly with Hiller because I don't want to see our Swiss Shark Killer packing his bags once his contract is up next year!

- Petteri Nokelainen signed a one-year contract extension. Yay, Nokie will be with us a little longer. I like this guy. How many times did we see him breakaway with the puck on a short handed turnover? I want to see him putting those pucks in the back of a net this next season. Maybe having fellow countrymen Selanne and Koivu on the team will help.

- Ducks Tweetup at the Science Discovery Center. The wonderful friends I've made recently through Twitter will be meeting up at the Science Discovery Center to enjoy the Ducks hockey exhibit there in late August. We might have some Ducks personalities in attendance. Yours truly will bring Rebel.

- is doing the "30 in 30." They'll be covering all thirty NHL teams during the 30 days of August. The 31st will be a smorgasbord of extras and fan treats. It all starts with our very own Anaheim Ducks on the 1st. That's this Saturday!

And now for the visual part of today's entry. "The Element" has put out some new videos, footage from the roadtrip to Vegas for the NHL Awards, and then some footage from the red carpet ceremony. Once again, yours truly managed to get her mug on there, at approximately 57 seconds into the clip. I also noticed my new Ducks friend Polka Dot got on there too, at 23 seconds in.

Here's the roadtrip:

And then the red carpet:

And lastly, just a few favorite YouTube Duck clips of mine. Always fun to watch and re-watch! Here's Chris Pronger's surprise appearance. Corey Perry is mic'ed up during this play. So is Ryan Getzlaf at a Youngstars game. The "brat," by the way, is Teemu's kid. Perry and Getzlaf duking it out, with Getzlaf completely owning. And finally, a favorite interview with Perry and Getzlaf, despite the sad editing to include the interviewer.

I can't wait for the season to start!

Friday, July 17, 2009

NHL Awards 2009 (Part 2)

Since we've got a break in the action, I figured I'd take the time to finish up Part 2 of my NHL Awards adventure.


If you never got a chance to read Part 1, or if you don't remember Part 1, here it is again. Heck, even if you do remember reading it, it's worth a click just to look at the pictures of all the amazing hockey players on the red carpet again!

So, when I left off, my new Ducks pal Polka Dot and I had just been offered two tickets into the exclusive after party. We would never have been able to afford the $500 price tag for a single ticket into the Awards Ceremony and the after party, but here we were, Lady Luck on our side, being offered free admission into the party by a friendly suited stranger.

Let me just say, it pays to be a girl in the hockey world. If we'd been two guys standing there, I don't think we would have been nearly so lucky. We thanked the gentleman and excitedly showed Mr. Dot, who had just returned from the scene of the Awards Theater to let us know which stars were heading our way.

"You guys should go!" he exclaimed. I had dinner reservations for later but heck, this was wayyy more exciting.

Before heading into the party, the three of us stood along the walking route for the hockey elite to get to the party from the Awards Theater. We got a number of autographs this way, and were able to speak to a few of the players and coaches. Nik Backstrom, Kris Versteeg, Dan Bylsma, Andy Murray, Bobby Ryan... all were very sweet about having their paths interrupted by fans.

After everyone seemed to have left the theater, Mr. Dot wished us a good time at the after party and kissed his wife goodbye. Polka Dot and I still could not believe our luck as we flashed our tickets at the bouncer and went behind the velvet ropes. The party was huge!

While the indoor part of the club was being prepared, the guests loitered outside, talking and having drinks around the pool. There was a live band I've never heard of, some small Canadian group.


Polka and I spied the Stanley Cup, kept out of harms way on a table in the middle of the pool. I wonder whose idea that was.


It was a little harder to recognize the players amongst so many other men in suits, but we were able to get a few more autographs from the ones we did recognize. Todd McLellan, Mike Richards, and Tim Thomas were all awesome. We saw Ovie, but couldn't get close enough to him for an autograph. The guy had swarms of people around him the whole time.

I bumped into fellow blogging buddy Adam Brady and asked him to introduce me to Frenchie. We also met the Element camera guy, who recognized me from the DiPenta Lasagna Fundraiser. Adam mentioned that both George Parros and Chris Pronger had been in Vegas the night before, but said he wasn't sure if they were still in town.

The inside of the club opened up and the crowd outside thinned out a bit. Before joining them, I approached Bobby Ryan and his date. How sweet is this, Bobby brought his mother as his date! Bobby seemed a bit flustered, anyone and everyone wanted to talk to him (not fans, but other hockey players and execs in suits). I decided not to add to the commotion, but I did ask his mother for a picture of her and her son. She happily obliged.


Inside, Polka and I were astonished to find tons of food set out on tables along with an open bar. There was prime rib and shrimp cocktail, among other gourmet edibles, and top shelf libations at the bar. No wonder those tickets were so expensive!

The award trophies were displayed along one wall, under huge televisions screens playing game highlights.



The only lighting in the large room came from these screens, so there wouldn't be anymore autograph signings. We barely recognize some of these guys in broad daylight, more or less in the dark! Polka and I filled plates with food and retreated to a corner to have dinner on a riser. Who else would be eating there but Sharks coach Todd McLellan. So yes, we had dinner with Todd, Jack Adams award nominee.

After watching the scene for a bit, Polka and I decided to call it a night. But what a night it was! Rubbing elbows with famous hockey players, making new friends, and eating free food... we couldn't ask for anything more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009-2010 season schedule released


Finally, the moment we've been waiting all post-season for... the NHL has released the official 2009-10 season schedule.

Too bad October is still three months away.

In the meantime, don't forget to tune into Ducks classics from last season airing on Prime Ticket/FSN every Tuesday night.

Oh, and yes, if you haven't heard, James Wisniewski will be a Duck for at least another year. He signed a one-year contract for a cool $2.75 million, which yours truly believes is a bit steep... however, probably a compromise for both sides. Wiz stated he would have wanted a longer term, but Murray has gone on record stating he wants Wiz to prove his worth first. So, my advice to Wiz would be, play your heart out the way you did last season when you impressed all of us Duck fans into forgetting we'd given up Sammy Pahlsson for you, and you won't be the only one wanting to ink a multi-year contract next summer.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Duck odds and ends

The Joe DiPenta Lasagna Dinner Fundraiser event that I attended last month (the original post can be found here) made it onto the latest edition of "The Element." Yours truly can even claim a brief 5 seconds of fame. Check it out:

In other news, I'm hearing that the Ducks are finalizing a possible one-year contract with James Wisniewski. Good call on it being one year. We'll see if Wiz is good enough to command another year's worth of valuable cap space at the end of this season. Personally, I really liked his performance for the few months we had him. The guy was almost Marchant-like, blocking shots, giving his all. However, he does have some maturing to do, and it shows in some of his decisions on the ice where he'll find himself horribly out of position.

I think a one-year contract is best for both parties involved.

The Ducks have signed another defenseman, Atlanta Thrashers Steve McCarthy, to a one-year contract. His last time in the NHL was the 2007-08 season during which he totaled 1-6=7 points and 48 PIM in 55 games. His best point season was the one prior, in which he totaled 4-12=16 points. I don't know anything about this guy besides his stats, so we'll see how he does meshing with our guys in training camp.

The best thing about him will probably be that he'll add a little maturity and experience to our green defensive lines. Nothing against Brett Festerling, Sheldon Brookbank, Troy Brodie, or Brian Salcido, but I'd feel better with a few d-men who are less wet behind the ears.

The Twitter foray is looking quite positive, although yours truly needs a lot more time to get a handle on it. I've found a number of excellent Duck blogs, check out the new (and old) links posted in the sidebar. If you are a twittering Ducks fan interested in meeting other twittering Ducks fans (or just a Duck fan looking for other Duck fans), there is an OC Tweetup being planned for the end of August. More details will be posted here a little later.

Speaking of the sidebar, I know the player pictures need to be updated. I'm going to wait until the free agency dust settles and we have a better idea of who's going to be on our 2009-2010 Duck roster before I start juggling pics in and out. Although, I must admit, I am INCREDIBLY excited to add Saku Koivu in a Ducks jersey to this page!

Just the thought gives me chills.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

And even more news...

Being a Duck fan has felt a little like a rollercoaster lately. You've probably heard all of the recent Duck news, but I'll recap here just in case you haven't!

- We traded Chris Pronger on Draft Day to the Philly Flyers in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, and two draft picks. As much as I hate to see Prongs go, I think Murray did a good job getting something for him. And in today's Cap environment, keeping Scotty Niedermayer and Chris Pronger isn't feasible. Thumbs up to Murray for this one.

- We signed Erik Christensen to a one-year contract. Mixed feelings on this one. What is for certain, the boy has a lot of proving to do. And for that, I'm glad we did the one-year contract. Thumbs sideways to Murray.

- We signed Brian Salcido to a one-year contract. I was a fan of Salcido from the start and wanted to see more of him last season. I'm happy he might be getting a chance to play more in the NHL with this contract. Thumbs up to Murray.

- We lost Frankie Beauchemin to Duck poacher Brian Burke and the Toronto Leafs. It majorly peeved me to read that Frankie wanted the Ducks to come to him with an offer but he nor his agent heard anything. Even if we didn't have the dollars to sign him, Murray should have at least contacted him. Thumbs way down to Murray on this one.

- We re-signed Todd Marchant to two years. Yes! Oh yes. The Warrior's veteran presence on the ice and in the locker room is well-worth the price. Not to mention, he took a generous hometown discount. His whole family is huge in the Duck community what with his wife being active in local charities and his son doing his awesome reporting for "The Element." I'm glad we're keeping him a bit longer. Personally, I think Marchant deserves to retire a Duck. Thumbs way up to Murray for finding a way to keep him.

- Word has it James Wisniewski is heading towards arbitration with the Ducks. I'm not exactly sure what this means, but my understanding is that he believes he's worth more than he's being offered so he's going to court. I guess he's getting some really good offers from other teams and the Ducks don't want to match those offers because he hasn't proven he's worth that much yet? Either way, it sounds ugly. I still really want Wiz in a Ducks jersey next season, but I kinda understand Murray digging in his heels if he starts asking for an unreasonable price. Thumbs pending on this one.

- We signed Montreal Canadiens Captain Saku Koivu to a one-year contract. This is HUGE! I entertained the rumors that we were talking to Koivu, but in all honesty, I thought he'd join younger brother Mikku with the Minnesota Wild. In either case, what excites me most is the idea of seeing him and Teemu Selanne skating side by side on the same line. How incredible would that be!! Koivu in a Ducks jersey, that's also something I want to see. Welcome to Anaheim, Saku... we hope you enjoy us as much as we're looking forward to enjoying you! Thumbs way WAY up to Murray.

- This morning, we signed Florida Panthers veteran defenseman Nick Boynton to a one-year contract. I don't know much about Boynton, but I'm glad Murray did something to address our shallow blue line coverage. After losing both Prongs and Frankie, I want someone back there who can defend and move the puck. Thumbs up to Murray for getting a promising dman.

All in all, I believe we're gonna be in good shape for next season. I think the changes are mostly positive, but it'll come down to what kind of chemistry these new guys will have on the ice with our core players. I want to see an earnest cup run right from the beginning of the season. Let's not do what we did last year, boys. No dicking around for the first two-thirds of the season, which left you having to face the first seed AND the second seed in the first two playoff rounds.

On a techie note, I think I will finally jump on the Twitter bandwagon. In terms of Duck news, it might be the way to go. So, I gotta figure out how the thing works, but look for me as "Ducks54" and let me know how to find you!

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