Duck Soup or Wild Duck Gumbo?

Posted: 09/11/2010 by bc in Uncategorized

Who knows where our Ducks will finish. Camp hasn’t even opened and it seems everybody is obliged to make a prediction on the coming season. I did the obligatory in The West Now it’s time for a long look at our Ducks….Over the next few days you can expect at least one blog per day picking apart one aspect of our Ducks. It’s been percolating like a min-series. Starting in goal, moving out to the blue line, the forwards, the coaching staff and the system, how it might all come together and a special look at Barstool Bob and how he might address team needs.

Our Ducks Between the Pipes:

Replacing a legend is never easy. Bob Murray’s choice of Pete Peeters to replace legendary goalie coach Francois Allaire was met with a “Huh?” in some very highly respected quarters.

This wasn’t just the usual “replacing a legend” skepticism. As a player Peeters earned a reputation as a joker who didn’t train as hard he should.

In hindsight, nobody’s perfect. After his first season with our Ducks, Peeters earned some respect. Not head turning or “Whoa” kind of respect. More like a relief he didn’t ruin everything.

Pete Peeters seems focused on two areas, (1) You have to have fun, stay loose and (2) Positioning. Pete is not a guy who messes with goal tender’s quirks and idiosyncracies. He takes a basic meat and potatoes approach.

This fits perfectly into Peeters title of Goalie Consultant.

In two seasons there should be no doubt that Jonas Hiller is the real deal.

He’s stolen games. He keeps our Ducks in games. Most important Hiller the Killer makes key saves at key moments in games. Throw out all the stats. Show me a goalie who can do those three things and I don’t care about stats.

The only knock on Hiller is that he’s human and our Ducks might need extra-human goal tending next season. He does seem to wear down when playing after a long stretch of games that includes a few back2backs.

I suspect that fatigue from being over worked was a contributing factor in Hiller’s back injury last season.

The only question, is Hiller the Killer a Top 5 NHL goalie? Nobody questions his character or work ethic. IMO, Hiller already is among the top 5 goalies in the NHL. He only needs to earn the record to prove it.

This juror is out on Curtis McElhinney. On the plus side Curtis is a quality person and a good teammate. Over 5 seasons in the NHL Mac’s stats improve as he plays more games.

He played well for us last season but I heavily discount what a player does during garbage time.

McElhinney’s lateral movement and reflexes seem to keep him destined for a backup role. He’s 27 years old so I’m not sure if those issues can be improved with training. It appears that consistent starting assignments is the  way to get the best from Curtis.

Given the schedule. Given Hiller doesn’t look like a 70+ plus game starter. Mac shouldn’t have any problem getting the consistent starts.

Our Ducks GM, Barstool Bob Murray certainly deserves some credit for acquiring McElhinney and hiring Pete Peeters.

Give our goal tending a Grade of A.

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