Tag Archives: Anaheim Ducks

Trade Rumors: Why They’re Fun and Why They Suck

I love when the trade winds start rocking the boat in November. It’s the beginning of the season, and teams are supposed to be feeling out where they’ll be by mid-season in January. Some teams are doing really well, like Boston, who went 12-0-1 in November. Naturally, fans and media alike wouldn’t think to mess with the mojo of a team by talking trades. Of course, there are those anomalies like Vancouver, who are playing well in front of backup goalie Cory Schneider, who in the month of November had a save percentage of .942 along with 2 shutouts. Roberto Luongo isn’t doing too hot, so naturally, fans are thinking it’s time to trade franchise goalie Roberto Luongo.

I stress that we are only two months into hockey season.

Of course, all hell broke loose this past week when a rumor was floated out through the hockey world: the Anaheim Ducks had made Bobby Ryan available by trade. The Ducks were a mess in November, winning only 2 of their 13 games. It made sense that the Ducks were looking for a shake-up. Everybody and their mother was trying to figure out the right trade to bring Bobby Ryan to [insert team name here]. For a while, it seemed like the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers were the teams most likely to get Ryan to play for their respective squads. Status quo.

Along the way, Hall of Fame hockey writer Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reported that Ryan Miller may not consider it the worst thing to be traded out of Buffalo. This one picked up a ton of steam simply because of the amount of respect Matheson has from the hockey world.

It was Tuesday night that things started to get really interesting. Ducks GM Bob Murray and two Anaheim scouts paid a visit to Buffalo to watch the Sabres play the Islanders. Twitter erupted shortly afterwards, trying to figure out why a hockey GM would ever decide to go to an opposing team’s arena to watch an NHL hockey game.

Who would have thought that it’s more or less because they can?

The hockey world was a mad-house on Wednesday. WGR was talking about trade ideas with Anaheim for the entirety of Schopp and the Bulldog. Reports were coming in and out all day that team A was out, team B was in on Bobby Ryan. Ryan referred to the trade rumors as “a nightmare.” His coach, Randy Carlisle, pretty much told him to deal with it.

This went on all day until around 10:00 Eastern time, when the Ducks and the Montreal Canadiens got things going in Anaheim, with Bobby Ryan skating on Anaheim’s second line. That’s when things started dying down.

Where does Ryan Miller fit into all this? Obviously, the Ducks were looking for a big piece back in order to ship out a player as talented as Ryan. The only explanation was that the Sabres and Ducks were talking about a trade for the two players.

Unfortunately in the hockey world, trades aren’t that simple. Besides, the Ducks are set at goalie with Jonas Hiller. Trading Miller for Ryan didn’t make sense, in any respect imaginable.

If Ryan Miller was going to be traded, it would have been news to him, which is news in itself. Miller has a no-trade clause, where he’d have to submit a list of eight teams he does not want to play for.

It is awesome that we have something like this to talk about in the month of November. Year in and year out, we as fans wait for the trade deadline in order to discuss ridiculous deals that (probably) aren’t going to happen. To have something like that to talk about in November is awesome for hockey fans who aren’t especially fond of the first part of the regular season.

Of course, the bad part about a rumor in November is that it makes the entire hockey world crazy about just that one rumor, until it’s over-hyped so much that every single team’s fans think that their team can get the guy that’s being hung out like bait for other teams to grab a hold of. Fans dream up every single possible (or impossible) way in order to satisfy their urge to make that player a member of his or her favorite team’s roster.

The point of this story is that when a star player’s name is floated out like Bobby Ryan’s, the entire hockey world stops in awe of who might actually pick up a guy with his caliber. He’s a decent sized forward with a ton of skill that can help any hockey team in the scoring department. There’s not a team in the NHL that doesn’t want Bobby Ryan, except for the Anaheim Ducks, seemingly.

In the end, the Ducks just did what every other team does when their team needs to be re-energized. They fired their coach.


Things I Think: Did You Hear Sidney Crosby’s Back?

(This is a weekly segment at Hockey Heaven, New York. It features TJ Luckman’s thoughts on the Sabres, the NHL and other things that tickle his fancy.)

1) The Sabres have called up the Chosen One, Zack Kassian, due to Brad Boyes’ injury against Boston on Wednesday night. John Vogl of the Buffalo News picked up some tweets from Kassian’s teammates indicating Kassian was on his way to play in the Sabres’ next game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Sabres later confirmed that news through their website. While many fans have been calling for this move to be made since the Sabres’ debacle in Boston nearly two weeks ago, I don’t think this is the right move for Buffalo. WGR 550’s Matthew Coller says that Kassian hasn’t exactly been the physical force the Sabres might be looking for, but he’s certainly helping in the points department, leading the AHL’s Rochester Americans with 14 points in 18 games.

Speaking of call-ups, T.J. Brennan had a memorable debut in his first NHL game, scoring in his first NHL game to put the Sabres ahead 3-1 against the Bruins on Wednesday night. Of course, the Sabres couldn’t hold on, losing 4-3 in a shootout, which Puck Daddy’s Harrison Mooney finds pretty ironic.

2) You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. All the while, I kept telling myself that hockey was fine without Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are still good with Malkin, and Dan Bylsma is one Hell of a coach. I wasn’t looking at this past Monday with as much fanfare as NBC Sports was when they decided that Crosby’s return was much more important than the rivalry game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.

And then it happened.

Sid the Kid (is he ever going to be the Man? We need a new idiom for when he finally grows up, if he ever does) exploded on the scene against the New York Islanders, collecting four points in a 6-0 beat down on the Island. As much as I can’t stand the guy, everything he does is pure magic. He instantly transforms the Pens into a Stanley Cup contender. Of course, Sid was held scoreless against the St. Louis Blues the following game, so maybe he just took advantage of a cake matchup…

3) Since Jeff Carter’s return from injury to the Blue Jackets, Columbus has grabbed points in five of the last six games (3-1-2). Depending on what you think about overtime losses, that’s not bad. Perhaps he’s more important to the BJ’s success than anyone actually realized. Or maybe that’s just good timing. Who knows.

4) Thanksgiving is a bad day for a hockey fan. I can’t wait for Christmas.

5) Movember is the coolest thing ever. As a participant in the more laid-back (read: lazier) “No-Shave November”, I’m jealous of the mustaches that NHL players can grow. I never saw Thomas Vanek as a facial hair grower, but his mustache is very impressive. George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks always shaves his epic mustache for the month in order to grow it back for charity. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas created a new goalie mask design to show his support for the month, not to mention show off his great ‘stache. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller did the same, only his design is slightly more creepy.

Movember benefits those who suffer from prostrate cancer, or other problems in men’s health. Go to the website here to donate to the cause, if you can.

Game 1: Sabres Vs. Anaheim Ducks in Helsinki, Finland

(0-0-0) VS.

…and here…we…go.

The Sabres open their season against the Anaheim Ducks today at the Hartwell Areena in Helsinki, Finland.  Expectations are certainly high for the Sabres to hit the ground running.  They will certainly want to continue building on the momentum started last season after new owner Terry Pegula took over.

Offense:  The Sabres start the season rough, as the Ducks are a highly physical team.  The top six will want to avoid the physicality and use their speed to out-skate the Ducks’ big power-forwards.  It’s also very important that the Sabres take shots early in order to test Jonas Hiller, who hasn’t seen much regular-season action since late February of last season.  The Ducks, who used to be known for good defensive play, will have their hands full with the top-six of the Sabres, and not to mention their new weapon on the back-end, Christian Ehrhoff.

As I said before, the Ducks bring in physical power-forwards in the likes of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, not to mention rounding out that top-line with skilled winger Bobby Ryan.  They will look to control the front of the net and make life a living hell for Ryan Miller.  The Ducks’ second line doesn’t bring any breathers, either.  Teemu Selanne is coming off a more than a point-per-game season at the seemingly young age of 40.  Now 41, Selanne’s coming into what will likely be his last season with the Ducks as he tries to win one last championship with the team before going out, and the guy can still bring it.  What he lacks in speed at such an old age, he makes up for it in his still powerful shot and his ability to score.

The Sabres’ Defense:  The Sabres have some new toys to play with on defense.  Robyn Regher will want to re-familiarize himself with a team that has seen him four times a year for the past eleven seasons by getting in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry’s faces all day in front of the net.  The Sabres also bring out Christian Ehrhoff, who has already impressed with his big point shot.  He’ll be a major part of the powerplay, as well.  It’s important for Buffalo to keep Perry and Getzlaf out of the crease, which doesn’t seem to daunting considering Regehr and Ehrhoff’s physical play-style. Where I might have viewed as a weakness last season, the Sabres physicality on defense runs deep, as they’ll have a physical guy on each pairing, with Regehr, Ehrhoff, and Mike Weber being on separte pairings, not to mention Tyler Myers, who will be paired up with Ehrhoff as part of the team’s top pairing.  All-in-all, it will be up to these guys to keep the Ducks’ big guns out of the crease of Ryan Miller, who is looking to have a career year in front of this new and seemingly improved defense.

The Ducks used to have a strong defense, but that has broken down in recent years.  Lubomir Visnovsky had a Norris Trophy caliber season last year, and he returns as the Ducks’ best defenseman.  Francois Beauchimin returned to the Ducks last year in a trade from Toronto, where he was a disappointment.  Beauchimin and Visnovsky form a powerful top defensive pairing for the Ducks, and bringing in the rear, Cam Fowler, coming off a strong rookie year, and Luca Sbisa look to create more of an identity for themselves in the coming season.  Look for Fowler to put points up from the point.

Sabres’ Special Teams: Last season, Buffalo ranked 9th in power play percentage (19.4%) and 13th in penalty killing (83.0%), and with the additions they’ve made, that can only improve.  Christian Ehrhoff brings a type of player to the power play that the Sabres haven’t had since Brian Campbell was with the team: a power-play quarterback.  Ville Leino brings a playmaker mentality that will go great with the big shots of Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek, and Jason Pominville.  At the other end, Robyn Regehr and Tyler Myers will more than likely be expected to be shut-down on every penalty kill, along with the usuals of Jason Pominville, Derek Roy, Patrick Kaleta, and Paul Gaustad.

The Ducks ranked 3rd last year in the power-play (23.5%), but their penalty killing left more to be desired, ranking 19th (81.3%).  Their power play won’t skip a beat, so the Sabres will have their hands full, there.  Meanwhile, the Sabres should be able to produce on the power play, as the Ducks didn’t do much to fix the penalty-killing unit in the offseason.

Injuries: Ducks forward Matt Smaby (thumb) and defenseman Toni Lydman (shoulder) are both out.  Sabres forward Jochen Hecht (concussion) may be able to play, but it’s probably a game-time decision

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