Monday, May 23, 2005

Mighty Ducks sign five-year deal with Portland Pirates

The worst kept secret in all of Maine was finally made official today as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim announced that the Portland Pirates would be their new AHL affiliate effective immediately.

The two teams held a press conference in Portland, Maine to announce the five-year agreement. Mighty Ducks interim GM Al Coates was on hand, along with assistant GM Chuck Fletcher, Mighty Ducks prospects Tim Brent and Dustin Penner and Wild Wing. Representing the Pirates were Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek, President/COO Brian Williams and Salty Pete. Petrovek had this to say:
This is such a great day for our fans and for our entire organization and represents an important turning point in the history of Portland Pirates hockey. From my initial conversation with the Ducks, I knew that this had the makings of a special relationship, one that we’re confident will raise the bar beginning today and for many years to come. This is all about striving to be the very best, competing for championships and making a difference in our community. We’re looking forward to great days ahead.

Coates had this to say:

We are very excited to be coming to a traditional hockey market and working with the Pirates’ ownership and management team. Having our players in a marketplace conducive to both on and off-ice development with a group committed to winning will be very healthy for the continuation of our development that we’ve had over the last several years.

Salty Pete had this to say:

Arggh!

The speculation is finally over and the Portland Pirates are now officiall part of the Mighty Ducks family.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Mighty Ducks coach says lockout to be over "within a month"

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim head coach Mike Babcock was interviewed on KABC's SportsZone this afternoon and had this to say about the status of the lockout.

"I think we'll see an agreement reached within the next month or so. I think it's very important to get our season started on time."
Babcock also said that he checks the Unofficial Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Blog "every 30 minutes, just to see what the latest news is." Ok, I made that last part up. But the first part is true.

This goes along with a few articles on TSN.ca that also claim the lockout could be close to an end.

Story #1 - Cautious optimism as NHL talks wrap up
Story #2 - NHL wants deal by mid-June
Story #3 - Bob McKenzie's column about possible end to lockout

At the end of the day, this all means nothing. But, it is at least optimism from a variety of sources. I don't know what Babcock knows about the progress made at the meetings, but he seemed certain, not just optimistic, that the lockout would end relatively soon. That has to be a good sign.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mighty Ducks prospect leads Moose into Western Conference Final

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim prospect Cory Pecker and the rest of the Manitoba Moose are preparing to begin the AHL's Western Conference Final against the Chicago Wolves with the puck dropping on game one tomorrow night.

Pecker was loaned to the Moose by the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks back in March and played 12 games with Manitoba before suffering an "upper body injury". He returned for the Moose's second round series against the Rochester Americans, a series which saw Manitoba win in five games.

The series against the Wolves will begin in Chicago where the Wolves are an impressive 28-7-4-1 this season. On the road, the Moose went 22-12-2-4 this season and were just 1-3 against the Wolves. In the season series between the two and 0-2 in Chicago.

Check back with The Unofficial Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Blog for the latest news on this series, and everything in the world of the Mighty Ducks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Portland Pirates to name new NHL affiliation on May 23

The Portland Pirates will hold a press conference on Monday, May 23 to announce their new NHL affiliation. For the past 12 years they've been the AHL affiliate for the Washington Capitals but have been without a parent club since the Caps moved their players to the Hershey Bears. It has been a very poorly kept secret that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim would be the new parent club.

On Friday the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs. Yesterday, it was officially announced that the Mighty Ducks would no longer use Cincy as their AHL affiliate, but would not say where they were moving. At the same time, Portland had mentioned that they had an agreement with an NHL team but that they were waiting for the team to be eliminated from the playoffs before making an announcement. As I mentioned on this page a few days ago, both sides are waiting to make the agreement official in respect to Cincinnati which will now most likely be without AHL hockey after eight years, and without hockey altogether after having two teams as recently as two years ago.

The Pirates have announced that their deal with the NHL team runs through 2010, which is also when their lease with the Cumberland County Civic Center runs out. Reportedly, the deal also includes significant upgrades the the Civic Center including remodeled locker rooms and a new scoreboard.

As soon as anything more is known, we will bring it to you here on the Unofficial Mighty Ducks of Anaheim blog.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Cincy Ducks move to Portland expected to be announced today

The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks are expected to officially announce the re-location of the team to Portland, Maine later today according to The Cincy Post.

The move has been rumored for a long time and will end the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim's use of Cincinnati as the home of its AHL farm team after eight years.

Cincinnati Mighty Ducks President and CEO is already talking about the move in the past tense:

We had an excellent relationship with (Anaheim), but they've opted for another direction.

At least one Mighty Ducks prospect is upset by the move. Zenon Konopka, who was tied for second on the team with 46 points this past season, had this to say:

It doesn't make much sense to me. It isn't fair to the fans, in any sense of the word. The fans come out, and they cheer every game. It's going to hurt the game of hockey in Cincinnati. It's going to be tough to win the fans back again. My gut feeling is that it might go dark for a year. There's a lot of bad decisions that have happened in hockey, and it just seems like things like this happen all the time.


The announcement of an affiliation between the Mighty Ducks and the Portland Pirates has yet to be made, and no affiliation between Cincinnati and another AHL team is planned. The team will most likely not field a team next season and will have to wait for a team to move there before beginning play again.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Petr Sykora & Czech Republic win World Championship!

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim forward Petr Sykora and the Czech Republic won the gold medal in the IIHF World Championships today with a 3-0 win over Canada.

The Czech Republic, which beat the United States in a shootout in the quarterfinal and which needed overtime to beat Sweden, blew the Canadians out. Martin Rucinsky had a goal and an assists, Jaromir Jagr had two assists and former Mighty Ducks Vaclav Prospal had the game-winning goal. Tomas Vokoun had the shutout for the Czech's who won their first gold medal since 2001.

In the bronze medal game, Mighty Ducks forward Samuel Pahlsson and Sweden were beaten 6-3 by Russia. Sweden's streak of four straight medal wins is snapped.

Complete article and tournament wrap-up

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Cincy Ducks eliminated from AHL Playoffs; Move imminent?

The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks were eliminated from the AHL Calder Cup playoffs last night, losing to the Chicago Wolves 4-1. The loss is not only the final game of the season for the Ducks, but could also be the final game they ever play as the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks that the team will re-locate to Portland, Maine and take over the Portland Pirates franchise. It is believed that team and Portland officials were waiting for Cincinnati's season to end before making an announcement, and now they may wait a few days longer to not appear like they are dancing on Cincy's grave.

In last nights game the Mighty Ducks led 1-0 going into the third period but were dominated by the Wolves in the final 20 minutes. Chicago scored four goals on just six shots in the third period, two of them coming on an empty net, to advance to the Western Conference final where they will play Manitoba. Manitoba has one Mighty Ducks prospect on their roster - Cory Pecker - and we will continue to update his progress in the days to come.

Fredric Cassivi was in net for the Mighty Ducks and had 38 saves on 40 shots faced. The lone goal for Cincy was scored in the second period by Curtis Glencross, a shorthanded goal off an assist by Tim Brent.

As soon as any announcement regarding the future home of the Mighty Ducks is made, we'll have it posted here so check back often.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Pecker set for return to action

Mighty Ducks prospect Cory Pecker is ready to return to action with the Manitoba Moose after missing action with an "upper body injury."

Pecker was loaned to the Moose by the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in March and had one goal and one assist in 12 games before being injured. The Moose have a 3-1 series lead over the Rochester Americans in the AHL's North Division final.

Article in Winnepeg Sun.

Pecker's review by HockeysFuture.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cincy Ducks win 3-2; Calder Cup hopes still alive

The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks beat the Chicago Wolves 3-2 in game four of their AHL West Division Final series to avoid elimination and force a fifth game.

Fredric Cassivi, who helped the Wolves win the 2002 Calder Cup, was between the pipes for the Mighty Ducks and had 31 saves. All three of the Mighty Ducks goals came in the first period. Joffrey Lupul scored his third goal of the playoffs to tie the game off assists from Aaron Rome and Zenon Konopka. Dustin Penner then scored on the power play with assists to Lupul and Chris Kunitz. Less than three minutes later Stanislav Chistov scored a power play goal from Shane O'Brien and Kunitz to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead. Chicago scored with 8:15 left in regulation but the Ducks held on for the 3-2 win.

The Mighty Ducks killed off all 11 of the Wolves power plays and outshot Chicago 36-32 in the game. Game five is tomorrow night in Chicago and the Ducks are just 1-5 on the road this postseason.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Former announcer suing Mighty Ducks

Chris Madsen, the voice of the Mighty Ducks from day one through the 2001-2002 season, is suing the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Disney for defamation and breach of contract according to an article in today's OC Register.

Madsen was let go after his contract expired in 2002 and claims that the Mighty Ducks have defamed him when talking to potential employers ever since. Madsen's lawyer, Michelle Reinglass, had this to say:
"Each time he would get close to closing a deal, it would suddenly stop when they would do their background check with the Ducks. The bottom line is it's one thing for the Ducks to have not renewed his contract, to basically fire him. It's another thing when they've gone out of their way to keep him from getting employed."

Madsen also claims that he was told he had nothing to worry about by Ducks officials as his contract neared expiration. Ducks officials also said that Madsen was "difficult to work with" and, according to the suit, insinuated to the media and the public that he wanted too much money.

Personal note: I met Chris Madsen outside of JT Schmidt's restaurant when I was raising money for the Beat the Avalanche fund. Chris was at a table across the way from me selling a book that he had co-written. He was very nice to me, my wife and my parents and was extremely nice to all the people he talked with that night. Even if he was "difficult to work with" while he was with the Mighty Ducks, that does not mean that Disney should do anything to keep him from being employed by others. If they are guilty of what he is accusing them of, I hope he wins his case. I also hope that he lands on his feet and we hear him on the air again someday. I always liked the job he did as Mighty Ducks announcer and I have nothing but good memories of him both on and off the air.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Cincy Ducks lose 5-2; Down 3-0 in series

The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks had their 10-game home unbeaten streaked snapped yesterday with a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Wolves in game three of their West Division Final. The Wolves now have a commanding three games to none lead in the series.

Mighty Ducks goalie, and supposed stud prosepect, Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three goals on just five shots before being pulled in favor of anyone not named Ilya Bryzgalov. Casey Hankinson did have a goal and an assist in the game for Cincy, and his goal was scored shorthanded to tie the game at one in the first period. But Chicago scored three times in the second period to put the game out of reach. Curtis Glencross had the other goal for the Mighty Ducks off assists Chris McAlpine and Hankinson.

Game four of the series is tomorrow night and after the Wolves win and eliminate the Mighty Ducks they can officially announce their move to Portland.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Lupul & Chistov talk trash about Cincy; Are Chistov's days with Ducks numbered?

As was reported on here May 7th, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim could be moving their AHL affiliate from Cincinnati to Portland, Maine. Adding fuel to the fire is a comment from Joffrey Lupul in today's Post-Tribune.

Lupul on life with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks:

"It’s a little tough to adapt to; it’s a different life. Even when I played
junior in Medicine Hat, we had 5,000 fans at every game. And here, we’re playing
home playoff games in front of 1,400 fans. It’s a little disappointing. Cincinnati’s definitely not a hockey hotbed."


Stanislav Chistov on the Cincinnati Gardens:
"Everyone says it’s the single worst place to play."

Now, certainly this is not a malicious swipe at the Queen City by Lupul and Chistov, but it does sound to me like comments from a couple of guys that knows they won't be playing there much longer. They must know that the team is moving to Portland right after they win the Calder Cup, so they figure what the hell. (By the way, the Portland franchise has never averaged fewer than 4,000 fans per game and last season averaged 4,339 for a team that did not make the playoffs.)

The big story, in my mind, is buried near the bottom of the article (and I've done the same thing here). According to the writer, Chistov has "resigned himself to playing in Russia next year without a contract offer from Anaheim."

Now, I'm not a big fan of Chistov. I think the guy has gotten progressively worse the longer he's been in North America. He's a classic case of a guy that has the European hockey skill set (puck handling and skating) and not the North American hockey skill set (quick shot release and physical play). This is a guy that, in the 2002-2003 season at age 19, had 12 goals and 30 points for the Mighty Ducks and looked to be a future star. The next season he had two goals and 18 points. This season he only had 38 points (and 141 penalty minutes!) for Cincinnati!

That being said, I don't want to see the Mighty Ducks #1 pick from 2001 (#5 pick overall) just walk away. He's still just 22 years old so let's give him time to find himself and his game in North America before we give up on him. If you don't think he's going to pan out, trade him, but don't let him go for nothing. I don't want to make the same mistake the Queens made with Olli Jokinen and give up on him early only to see him develop into an All-Star for another team.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Cincy Ducks lose 2-1 to Wolves; Down 2-0 in series

The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks lost to the Chicago Wolves 2-1 in Game two of their best-of-seven West Division final on Saturday. The loss gives the Wolves a two games to none advantage as the series heads to Cincinnati for game three on Monday.

The Mighty Ducks only goal came from defenseman Aaron Rome on the power play off assists from Joffrey Lupul and Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks had a ridiculous 22 shots in the second period yet the game was tied 1-1 heading into the third. Karl Stewart scored shorthanded with just 44 seconds left in regulation to win it for the Wolves.

The Ducks, 1-5 on the road in the playoffs this season, return home where they are 3-0.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Corey Perry named OHL MVP

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim prospect Corey Perry (first round pick in 2003) was awarded the Red Tilson Trophy as the 2004-2005 Ontario Hockey League Most Valuable Player.

Perry, who plays for the London Knights, had 47 goals and 83 assists (130 points) in 60 games this season. He had 36 multiple-point games including an eight point game against the Saginaw Spirit on March 4th. Perry, 19, received 109 points in the voting by members of the media while runner up Brad Richardson received only 41.

This is Perry's fourth season with the Knights and he is their all-time leading scorer with 380 points in 253 games.

Friday, May 06, 2005

NHL & NHLPA Meet for 8 hours - No progress

The NHL and NHLPA met for eight hours over the last two days, and yet no progess was made. Which leads to one question - What the hell were they talking about?

Eight hours of negotiation and no progress? Couldn't you have made no progress in eight seconds?

Gary Bettman - "Here's our new proposal."
Bob Goodenow - "Yeah, that's great. Go to hell."

Seriously, what could they have been talking about? According to the article on FOXSports.com the two sides will meet again next week, and the week after, to continue "discussing the conceptual framework first raised at our April 4 meeting."

Whatever. Let me know when you actually make progress, or when you are going to let cameras in to watch the negotiations. Otherwise, for all we know Bob and Gary are in there getting lap dances and/or watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD. It doesn't sound like they are actually negotiating at all, and if they are and they cannot make any progress in eight hours, then what hope is there that they will be able to save the 2005-2006 season?

Mighty Ducks AHL team moving to Portland?

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have used the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks as their AHL affiliate for nine years now, but that could be coming to an end after this season. The Cincy Ducks, currently in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs against the Chicago Wolves, are rumored to be moving to Portland, Maine as soon as their season ends.

The Portland Pirates hockey team had an affiliation with the Washington Capitals, but that has been terminated as Washington will now be affiliated with the Hershey Bears, who were affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche. If you care who the Avalanche's new affiliate is, go look it up on Google, this is a Mighty Ducks blog and I've taken it as far as I am willing to.

The reason for the switch by the Mighty Ducks would be travel costs, allegedly. Instead of having to fly to road games the Portland location would allow them to bus the team to road games against teams like Manchester, Providence, Lowell, Worcester, etc. The Pirates have a solid following in Portland and Maine is a very solid hockey state.

An official announcement is expected to be made as soon as the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks season is over, so let's hope the teams last game is the one in which they clinch the Calder Cup!