With hockey season still a few months away, I thought I’d take a look at the current roster and what we can expect from it. General Manager Bob Murray made an unusual splash on July 1st this year, reeling in veteran defensemen Bryan Allen from Carolina and Sheldon Souray from Dallas. However, room was made for these two at the expense of Lubomir Visnovsky who was dealt to the New York Islanders and Sheldon Brookbank who agreed to a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Posts Tagged Lubomir Visnovsky
How lucky we all are — especially Jonas Hiller — to have Lubomir Visnovsky back in the lineup. It appears his return is paying immediate dividends, as evidenced in the highlight below:
Your heart has to go out to Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. The man has a difficult time finalizing his lineup on even the best days, and then along comes Colin Campbell to throw a monkey wrench into his carefully crafted plans – first by suspending Bobby Ryan for two games and following that up with a surprise single to Jarkko Ruutu.
Fortunately for Carlyle, Ryan returns from his aforementioned time-out tonight, fresh on the heels of a win in which the Ducks beat Pekka “Vezina nom but it’s no big deal” Rinne six times. The Ducks, evidently not wanting for offense as many suspected they would be in Nashville, are about to get a shot of it at a crucial juncture anyway. For the Preds, the news is not so good as Martin Erat did not travel with the team and will miss tonight’s game with an ever-nebulous “upper body injury”.
Meanwhile, Earl Sleek over at fan blog Battle of California has some interesting thoughts about the Ruutu suspension (the full article is linked as a source at the bottom of this post):
Sigh — how did I know back when we acquired [Jarkko Ruutu] that this cartoon would one day come true? Of course, I assumed back then that he would earn his suspension through traditional thug methods instead of the NHL inventing reasons to punish the guy [...]
Now that the scene is set for the game, here are some ideas that could help the Ducks meet with success tonight:
SOURCE: Battle of California
This editorial has been sitting in my queue ever since Colin Campbell handed down his verdict of suspension to Bobby Ryan for the latter’s indiscriminate use of his skate blade last Friday night. The truth is, I decided to wait to see how the two games in Nashville would play out, if only to stoke the fire of my anger in the event of two Ducks losses. Little could I have known – although in retrospect it seems an obvious expectation – that when it came time to hammer this piece out another Ducks player would be facing Campbell’s infamous “wheel of discipline”.
At the time of this writing, Jarkko Ruutu has just been handed a one-game suspension for a late hit on Predators forward Martin Erat, who consequently will not participate in game five tomorrow night as a result. At first blush, the situation reeks of partial politics on the part of the league, but is more distressingly symptomatic of a systemic, underlying problem in the way the league executes its judiciary office.
Just a quick hit this afternoon to remind Ducks fans that Anaheim still needs to play well if it wants to play beyond this week. The job at hand won’t be easy as both the Sharks and Kings are sitting above the Ducks in the standings, and neither team has any compunction about sending Anaheim to the golf course ahead of schedule. Beyond what the official game previews might mention, here are some key areas the Ducks need to focus on tonight if they want two points:
- Playing well is the best revenge: Although many Ducks fans will be preoccupied by waiting to see how Anaheim exacts its retribution on Douglas Murray for Saturday’s late hit on Lubomir Visnovsky, the Ducks players would be best served to stay on point. Anaheim lost its last meeting with San Jose after playing 55 minutes of penalty-free hockey, and likely can’t count on lightning striking twice. Taking unnecessary penalties will only keep the team behind the 8-ball against a Sharks powerplay that scores on almost a quarter of its chances (23.7%).
- Remember the recipe for success: If there was ever a time for doubt to start creeping into players’ minds, it’s now. On the heels of back-to-back losses against division rivals, it would behoove the Ducks to remember that the team is in its current position (i.e. a playoff spot) largely on the backs of key contributors like Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, and most importantly, Ray Emery. In the absence of vertigo-stricken starter Jonas Hiller, Emery has done an admirable job filling in. Despite being in goal for the last two losses, he has not given the Ducks any reason not to trust that they can get the job done with him in net. Now it’s time for the team to lean on these players, and likewise time for the players to help carry the team.
- Launch an RPG at opponents: In the same vein as the previous point, Anaheim’s top line of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf has been an integral part of the team’s success of late. With 41 points in the past nine games, they are collectively serving notice to the hockey world that they form one of the most dangerous lines in the league. More importantly, they are showing the Ducks that they thrive in high-pressure situations, and it will be up to Randy Carlyle to make the most of it.
- One game at a time: It is such a patent and overwrought platitude that it can almost go without being said, but if the Ducks start scoreboard-watching or looking ahead to the final home-and-home with the Kings, their season could be over before they realize it. Tonight, the focus needs to be 100 per cent on San Jose and gaining two crucial points.
The Sharks lead the season series 3-1-1. With a victory the Ducks would reach 45 wins for the first time since the 2007-08 season.