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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

2010 NHL Entry Draft

The NHL Entry Draft isn't something that comes to town every year, especially not to us Southern Californian markets. So, despite an 8-hour work shift at the job that actually pays the bills, yours truly made the 1.5-hour drive (including traffic) up to the Staples Center in Los Angeles.


Outside the front entrance to the Staples Center, local radio stations, local minor leagues, and the LA Kings media had set up stands to welcome hockey fans and curious passersby to the festivities.

LA Live, decked out in hockey decor

Once inside the arena, vendors dotted the outer concourse. All of the NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup, were on display. As is always the case at Staples, lots of Kings-clad fans walked the grounds; but also in attendance, a fair share of Anaheim Ducks fans and a modest showing of fans representing the other 28 franchises.

Yours truly was excited just to see so much hockey in one place! (Yes, it's going to be a long summer)

NHL hardware

Lord Stanley, we meet again!

The view from the 300 level

The main stage, where new draftees received hats, jerseys, and handshakes from their new franchises

TV coverage for everyone watching at home


I will admit, the only reason I found the Ducks table was by spotting the one and only Scott Niedermayer sitting at the upper right corner. Scotty would hand the Ducks' 12th and 29th picks their new Ducks jerseys.

Scotty watching the jumbotron


Surprised that he was still available by the time the 12th pick came around, the Ducks took 6'1" 190lb defenseman Cam Fowler. He's a left-shooting defenseman from the Windsor Spitfires, said to be a good puck-handler and puck-possessor who sees the ice well and controls the tempo of the game. He's compared to Tomas Kaberle and Jack Johnson.

Ducks take defenseman Cam Fowler for their 1st pick, 12th overall

For their 2nd pick in the first round, Ducks take Emerson Etem, 29th overall

A speedy right winger who shoots left, Emerson Etem is a local hockey boy from Long Beach, CA with lots of promise. He mirrors himself after Marian Gaborik and has been likened to Glenn Anderson and Joffrey Lupul.

The second day of the draft saw far fewer fans in attendance. Six more rounds landed the Ducks six more draft picks: right winger Devante Smith-Pelly, right winger Chris Wagner (Toronto's 122nd pick in exchange for Mike Brown), defenseman Tim Heed, center Andreas Dahlstrom, defenseman Kevin Lind, and right winger Brett Perlini.

Ex-Ducks GM Brian Burke, possibly discussing his trade involving Ducks forward Mike Brown

Overall, I think the Ducks did well with their draft picks. I will be very sorry to see Mike Brown go; he consistently played with heart and determination, always bringing 110% to the ice. Hopefully he'll see a lot more ice time with the Leafs.

The next items of business for GM Bob Murray should be securing Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oh Captain, my Captain

Only two franchises in the NHL can say they've had Scott Niedermayer on their roster: the New Jersey Devils, who drafted Scotty at the beginning of his 18-year NHL career, and the Anaheim Ducks, who would be the last to have Scotty skate on its home ice.

You don't have to be a Ducks fan or a Devils fan to appreciate what Scott Niedermayer has accomplished, and what he has meant for the sport of hockey. The man continues to be the most decorated athlete in the sport, honored with four Stanley Cups, two Olympic Gold Medals, World Cup, World Championship, Memorial Cup, and World Junior title. He did it all with the quiet professionalism Ducks fans, including yours truly, had come to know and love.

He has done more for the franchise than anyone could hope to recognize, and his influence will live on in the careers of every young rookie Scott Niedermayer exchanged words or glances with in the locker room. As hockey fans, we are so lucky to have seen this phenomenal athlete in action on a regular basis.

And even though the Duck faithful will be eager to fill the seats of the Ponda once again with the start of the 2010-11 season this autumn, it won't ever be quite the same without number 27 on the ice.

Thank you for everything you've done, Scotty, we'll miss you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It's been a while since the last entry in this blog. But I do hope you all enjoyed the exclusive interview with Bobby Ryan. Since then, a few notables:

- The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Kudos to the Hawks and Philadelphia Flyers for giving us a gripping series which ended with a Game 6 complete with overtime. As much as it would have satisfied yours truly to see ex-Duck Chris Pronger hoist Stanley again, it's also nice to have the Cup in the Western Conference. It was also nice to see personal favorite ex-Duck Nick Boynton get some time holding Stanley over his head.

- Sheldon Brookbank signed a two-year extension with the Ducks. This is a good thing. Brookbank showed improvement and promise in his past season with the Ducks and, seeing as Captain Scott Neidermayer may not be coming back next season, our Ducks will need all the help they can get on that blue line.

- Kyle Chipchura inked a one-year contract extension with the Ducks. Picked up from the Montreal Habs last season, Chipchura's grit and willingness to drop the gloves quickly made him a fan favorite. We'll be happy to see him back next season.

- Still pending, contract negotiations for Bobby Ryan. Bobby will be a restricted free agent come July 1st. The fact that we haven't re-signed him yet has yours truly, along with plenty of other Duck faithful, nervous. C'mon Murray, if you know what's good for you and your team, you'll sign this boy pronto.

- Also still pending, news from our Finnish duo. Rumor has it that both Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu will return for another season with the Ducks. I'm hoping these rumors prove to be true. Our Fins, along with linemate Jason Blake, finally found their groove towards the later half of last season. Given Selanne keeps his jaw and hands away from flying pucks, these three look poised and ready for a kickass final season together.

- The official 2010-11 NHL schedule will be announced on Tuesday, June 22. Grab your calendars and get those vacation plans penciled in. The Phoenix Coyotes have already announced their preseason schedule. Their first game, scheduled for September 21, is against the Ducks here in Anaheim.

- Los Angeles will host the 2010 NHL Draft next weekend. Yours truly will be there with Baby Rebel, hoping to bring you the scoop. Anaheim will pick 12th and 29th. They better make those picks good, I want another Stanley Cup in Anaheim's not-too-distant future!

My Zimbio
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