Thursday, September 22, 2005

Time to Rant N' Roll!

Folks, it's been too long since I've really ranted and gotten a lot off of my chest. Well, now's the time because there's something that's been bugging me and I can't take it any longer! What is the source of my frustration? DucksTV.

About seven weeks ago I clicked onto the Mighty Ducks official website to see that there was a new thing call "MDTV". It had an introduction video and everything! It claimed it was going to be my all-access pass to the team, the front office and everything else Mighty Ducks. They were going to take us into the locker-room for interviews, show us video from practice and give us behind the scenes access that we couldn't get anywhere else! When I saw this, I was fired up! I couldn't wait for training camp to begin so that I could get my fix of Mighty Ducks information straight from the source!

Well, foolish me for believing them. Since that video was posted on the front page of the site back on August 7th, they have done nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. They have changed the name from "MDTV" to "DucksTV" and then proceeded to pull the introduction video off entirely. Luckily, they replaced it with NOTHING.

How hard can this really be? This is an organization with a new billionaire owner and a new GM that is very hands-on and community oriented. Yet, they've completely dropped the ball on this.

Now, if I were in charge of this thing (and I presented this exact idea to the Mighty Ducks about three years ago) here's how it would go. First of all, we would had an update the first day of training camp. We would have shown video from camp, interviewed guys like Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne about being with the Ducks, interviewed Randy Carlyle about his first day of practice as an NHL coach and interviewed guys like Ladislav Smid and Corey Perry about their first day at an NHL training camp. We also would have had video from the scrimmage. I would have similiar updates every day of training camp with the latest news on injuries (how about an update on Jason Marshall's condition or an interview with him to see how he's feeling?) and roster moves (who's going to be the left wing on the top line, who's being sent down, etc.).

On game days I'd stay late to post a report after the game. If they only wanted to do it after home games, that's fine. But it would be posted that night! Interviews with the players, soundbytes from the press conferences, highlights of the game and analysis of the game, the season and the team! How hard would that be? Plus, if fans knew that something like that would be posted after EVERY home game, they would log onto the site to check it out because NOBODY else would have that kind of coverage!

I am really very disappointed with the way the Mighty Ducks have handled this. Training camp has been going on for 10 days and we haven't gotten a single report. The Ducks have played two preseason games and we haven't gotten a single report. Obviously they are not taking this seriously, and that's a shame because it has the potential to really kick ass if it's done right. Hell, if it's done at all!

SHARKS vs. MIGHTY DUCKS recap

I was lucky enough to be at the Mighty Ducks first home preseason game against the San Jose Sharks last night, and here's what I thought:

Before the preseason began I was concerned with the Mighty Ducks lack of offense. Sergei Fedorov, Teemu Selanne and Petr Sykora are the only pure goal scorers on the entire roster, and I was concerned that would not be enough. The first two preseason games have done nothing but add to that concern.

On Tuesday night, the Queens scored three goals in 51 seconds against the Coyotes. So far in two games, the Mighty Ducks have scored three goals in 125 minutes. Those goals have come from Jason Marshall (PP), Corey Perry and Todd Fedoruk. That's not a good sign, folks. For a team that is supposedly going to play up-tempo, fast-paced, aggressive hockey, you can't rely on your sixth defenseman, a rookie that will start the year in Portland and your goon to provide the offense. Yeah, it's just the preseason, but with opening night just 13 days away it would be nice to see the offense start clicking.

The defense looks pretty good with the exception of Sandis Ozolinsh. He's never been a great defenseman, and last night was a joke. He chased Dimitrakos around the Ducks zone for about 10 seconds, never catching him mind you, before the Shark wristed a shot past Giguere to tie the score. Cut the man off! Earlier, he couldn't hold the puck in the offensive zone and turned it over. A Shark picked it up and would have had a breakaway had Sandis not hooked him and been called for a penalty. We went from having the puck in their zone to being shorthanded because he couldn't handle a pass. Not good.

On the positive side of things, I like the way Todd Fedoruk, Andy McDonald, Samuel Pahlsson and Scott Niedermayer looked. Scott is the smallest good defenseman I've ever seen. He looks like a normal guy out there, but his skating and stickhandling abilities are awesome! He had a pass to Corey Perry in third to set-up a great scoring chance and the pass was incredible. I think we are all going to like having him around.

I noticed the Mighty Ducks got thrown out of the face-off circle a lot last night. Funny, I don't remember Steve Rucchin getting tossed out very often. In fact, I think he was among the league leaders in winning face-offs every single year. Good thing we got rid of him! By the way, where the hell is the guy we got for him? Trevor Gillies...did he ever even show up? I haven't heard a damn thing about that guy.

I like having Kip Brennan and Todd Fedoruk on the active roster, it lets you know that the other team will not be able to take liberties with our star players without paying a price. Plus, Fedoruk is a pretty good power forward and should replace Mike Leclerc easily.

For all of you out there that were worried about J.S. Giguere adjusting to the new goalie pads...relax. Giggy looked AWESOME last night and made many great saves. His positioning is the key to his success, not the size of his pads. Last night he was reading the plays very well and was in great position nearly every time. He bailed out the defense a few times with spectacular saves and played very, very well. If he can do that all year, we'll be fine.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and I hope you check back soon for more of my thoughts on the Mighty Ducks. If you do read this, please let me know by posting a message at the end of this thread. It doesn't have to be much, just something to let me know you were here and that you read it. Thanks in advance, and GO MIGHTY DUCKS!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Ducks lose to Queens 4-2 in preseason opener

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim lost to the Los Angeles Queens on Saturday night 4-2 in the preseason opener for both teams. The Ducks line-up featured many regulars and new faces as Sergei Fedorov, Teemu Selanne, Sandis Ozolinsh, Joffrey Lupul, Rob Niedermayer, Ruslan Salei and Jason Marshall all suited up. Not in action were Scott Niedermayer, Keith Carney, J.S. Giguere, Petr Sykora and Samuel Pahlsson.

The Ducks scored first when Jason Marshall scored a power play goal. The Ducks were on the power play a lot in the first period as the Queens were very aggresive and made a lot of dumb plays as a result. 1-0 Anaheim and things looked good.

Soon afterwards, though, Ken Belanger challenged Jason Marshall to a fight. Marshall looked reluctant but finally dropped the gloves. Before they had hit the ice, Belanger had attacked and knocked Marshall to the ice. Marshall didn't get up and the Queens fans, being classy as always, cheered like mad. Belanger was ejected from the game and the Mighty Ducks were given a nine minute power play. When Marshall did get up he was dripping blood from his face and appeared woozy. He left the ice and did not return. Reports say he got four stitches under his right eye.

Before Belanger left the ice, he pulled another classy move and skated past the Ducks bench to taunt them. Todd Fedoruk did everything but leap over the boards and send him to the IR and it was clear that he takes his job as bodyguard VERY seriously. I look forward to him keeping the peace on the ice often this season, and I can see why Burke and Carlyle have him on the same line as Fedorov and Selanne.

Just after the nine minute power play had expired the Ducks scored again, this time on a gorgeous move by rookie Corey Perry. The Ducks were up 2-0 and both goals came against the Queens #1 goalie Mathieu Garon.

It was 2-0 after the first period and the second was the exact opposite of the first. Now it was the Ducks that made a litany of dumb plays that landed them in the penalty box and the Queens capitalized. They took a3-2 lead into the second intermission.

In the third we finally got some 5-on-5 time, but the Ducks were unable to score. Ilya Bryzgalov went far to the right of his net to play the puck off the glass but the Queens got the puck and Craig Conroy scored an empty net goal to cement the win. The final was 4-2.

Despite the fact that the game was over, they still had a shootout. The Queens won that 3-2.

Overall, it was a very entertaining game. Kip Brennan is a skilled fighter who is very entertaining. Jonathan Hedstrom looks very good on the penalty kill as he skates very hard and forechecks extremely well. Rob Niedermayer's passing looks great, and Vitaly Vishnevski looks to be playing with a little bit more of an edge as well.

Most of the penalties, and there were 38 total, were by guys that will start the season in Portland. Zenon Konopka, Shane O'Brien, Ryan Getzlaf, Mikkelson...these are the guys that were penalized. Ruslan Salei, Sandis Ozolinsh, Vitali Vishnevski, Fedorov, Selanne, Rob Niedermayer...I don't remember any penalties called against them though I have not checked the box score to confirm that.

The Ducks are playing more up-tempo and aggressively on offense, now to see if that style translates into wins.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ducks to name captain soon!

Based on some inside information, I know that the Mighty Ducks are expected to announce who their captain will be in the next few days. It's apparently down to two guys...Scott Niedermayer and Keith Carney. Being that Scott Niedermayer has won just about every championship a player can win, as well as individual honors, and has a four-year contract, I would expect him to be wearing the C on his chest come opening night.
Personally, I prefer a more intense captain, one that will let players know when they are not doing enough. But, there is something to be said for a guy that leads by example and who speaks only when it's needed. Steve Yzerman is that type of guy, and he has led the Red Wings to many championships and a ton of success.
I think either Carney or S. Niedermayer would be a fine captain, and I'm glad that it will be announced soon so that whoever it is can start establishing their role as team leader in training camp.