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

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ducks vs San Jose Sharks, preseason

Thanks to last-minute tickets from my friend J, I was able to attend my Ducks first preseason game against the San Jose Chokes Sharks. (Sorry, just a little trash talk there!)

We could only watch the 2nd period and the first half of the 3rd, but we were treated to four Duck goals and enough line chemistry to leave happy!

Again, it's a preseason game, and we had big names on the ice. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Jonas Hiller had a lot to do with the 5-2 win. Hiller stopped all 19 of the shots he faced in the first half of the game. Ex-Sharks prospect Timo Pielmeier also did well, finishing the game by stopping all but 2 of his 21 shots. I'm not sure if the Sharks were rookie-heavy on this game roster, but I did notice scorers Joe Thornton, Devin Setoguchi, and Torey Mitchell out there. So there wasn't a complete imbalance of talent!

Perry and Lilja battle along the boards as Antero Niittymaki watches.

I was very curious to see how Niittymaki would do in the Sharks net. Having let perennial goaltender Evgeni Nabokov go in the offseason, Sharks picked up Niittymaki and Anti Niemi. Impressive on paper, but not so much in the net, Niittymaki would let in 4 of the 12 shots he faced.

Parros, Getzlaf, and Perry wore the As that night.

Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry, two-thirds of an awesome scoring line.

I was so happy to see Beleskey on the top line again with Perry and Getzlaf. I loved this line combination last season, and really believe Beleskey should stay there. He has the grit and the drive to crowd the crease and battle for pucks in the corners--an effective compliment to the "twins."

How strange yet somewhat familiar, seeing #25 up there for the Ducks.

I had hoped to see more of Andy Sutton's performance on the ice, although I have to admit that seeing his #25 up on the penalty board made me smile.

Also curious about how Danny Syvret would do (I've liked his play so far in training camp), I was happy to see him combine good defense and a willingness to shoot the puck, even though his goal during the game fortuitously knocked in off the back of a Shark skate.

The boys congratulate Syvret on his first preseason Duck goal.

Getzlaf would go on to score off a Beleskey assist, 18 seconds after Syvret's goal.

Syvret giving Luca Sbisa a few d-man pointers.

Sbisa and 2010 draftee Cam Fowler both played in this game too, having also played in last night's contest against the Phoenix Coyotes. Fowler did well, keeping a calm presence much beyond his years. He got his second assist in as many games. I thought Sbisa was a bit soft, but maybe he was just tired?

Big Joe Thornton, sitting in the sin bin and thinking about what he'd done (clumsily tripping over Pielmeier in the crease and earning himself a goaltender interference call).

It will be interesting to see who makes it out of camp for a spot on the starting roster and who gets sent back down to the minors or juniors. After last season's slow start, I'm hoping we can put together a much better product right out of the gate. This was a great comeback game for our Ducks going into their preseason roadtrip. Yes, just a preseason game, but it sure does feel nice to win!


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