Ducks @ the Stretch Run

Posted: 03/01/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

Interestingly enough the other two teams that traded away Chris Pronger, St. Louis and Edmonton, have collapsed and are now in full rebuild mode. Murray has frantically tried to avoid a similar fate, as did the Blues to no avail. Imagine the Red Wings without Niklas Lidstrom.

This is it. This is the group Bob Murray has assembled. The group Randy Carlyle will attempt to coach into the playoffs. From the end of last season Bob Murray knew he had to rebuild the blue line and retool the depth forwards mix.

Willfully trading away Chris Pronger was compounded by the retirement of Scot Niedermayer at the end of last season. Without Pronger Ducks fell out of the playoffs last season and may not be any closer to getting back in this season.

Murray does deserve credit for adding speed and size to the depth forward ranks. Fate handed Bob Murray a crisis in goal when Jonas Hiller went down with injury/illness and Curtis McElhinney imploded. He seems to have plugged that hole with well-traveled but serviceable veterans Dan Ellis and Ray Emery.

For better or worse, this is the Ducks roster Bob Murray has assembled D2D  means injured, status is day-to-day:

C                                                    LW                                                        RW

Ryan Getzlaf                           Bobby Ryan                                    Corey Perry

Brandon McMillan               Jason Blake                                     Teemu Selanne

Todd Marchant                     Jarkku Ruutu                                  Dan Sexton

Kyle Chipchura                     Brad Winchester                            George Parros

LD                                                  RD Goalies

Toni Lydman                          Lubomir Visnovsky                     Jonas Hiller (IR)

Andreas Lilja                          Cam Fowler                                      Dan Ellis

Francois Beauchemin          Luca Sbisa                                        Ray Emery

PP Units:

Getzlaf-Perry-Selanne/Fowler-Visnovsky

Ryan-Blake-Sexton/Beauchemin-Sbisa

Note: If the second unit isn’t productive look for Carlyle to promote McMillan and drop either Blake or Sexton.

PK Units:

Marchant-Ruutu/Lydman-Lilja

Ryan-Perry/Beauchemin-Sbisa

Key injuries: Jonas Hiller (IR); Saku Koivu (D2D)

Those are the primary assets and assigned roles Randy Carlyle will use to get this team into the playoffs. Our Ducks have broken the short-lived Samueli/Burke promise of building an elite team that can compete every year. I’m not sure what the goal is now. The year following missing the playoffs both the GM and the head coach have received contract extensions.

Per tsn.ca here’s how we stand as of this posting:

Western

Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA Home Away Last 10 Streak
1 Vancouver 63 39 15 9 87 208 150 22-6-5 17-9-4 5-5-0 Lost 1
2 Detroit 63 39 18 6 84 213 183 17-10-4 22-8-2 7-3-0 Won 2
3 San Jose 63 36 21 6 78 178 162 15-10-3 21-11-3 8-2-0 Won 6
4 Phoenix 64 33 21 10 76 184 186 15-10-5 18-11-5 7-2-1
5 Chicago 63 34 23 6 74 202 173 19-14-0 15-9-6 7-1-2 Won 5
6 Los Angeles 63 35 24 4 74 178 156 19-10-1 16-14-3 6-2-2 Lost 1
7 Calgary 64 32 23 9 73 190 182 19-10-4 13-13-5 6-2-2 Won 1
8 Dallas 62 33 23 6 72 171 175 18-9-5 15-14-1 3-6-1 Won 2
9 Minnesota 63 33 24 6 72 165 166 16-13-3 17-11-3 5-4-1 Lost 1
10 Nashville 63 32 23 8 72 161 151 15-7-7 17-16-1 4-5-1 Won 1
11 Anaheim 63 33 25 5 71 176 186 18-10-2 15-15-3 5-4-1 Won 1
12 Columbus 61 31 24 6 68 170 181 16-13-2 15-11-4 7-2-1 Lost 1
13 St. Louis 62 28 25 9 65 173 180 18-10-4 10-15-5 4-5-1 Lost 1
14 Colorado 63 26 30 7 59 183 217 14-15-4 12-15-3 1-8-1 Lost 3
15 Edmonton 63 20 35 8 48 158 211 10-19-4 10-16-4 4-6-0 Lost 2

Our Ducks don’t play tonight but ten Western Conference do match-up with serious implications for the playoff race. If two of Calgary, Dallas and Nashville earn two points tonight, our Ducks fall three points back from the eighth and final playoff seed. Tonight’s schedule is:

Calgary at St. Louis Best outcome: Blues in RT; Worst: Flames in OT/SO.
Dallas at Phoenix Best outcome: Phoenix in RT; Worst: Dallas in OT/SO
Nashville at Edmonton Best outcome: Oilers in RT; Worst: Preds get 2pts.
Columbus at Vancouver Best outcome: Nucks in RT: BJ’s get 2pts.
Colorado at San Jose Best outcome: Avs in RT; Worst: Sharks take 2 pts.

Just about one week ago our Ducks were battling for a share of the Pacific Division lead. Today our guys are in danger of falling 3pts off the pace for the 8th and final Western Conference playoff seed. There is no doubt in my mind that this is playoff team roster. It is a team with 8 Olympians in its core and support group.

Carlyle deserves some credit for going back to basics at practice before the last two games. The question though is did the coach recognize and adapt quickly enough after consecutive losses?

There are just 19 games left in this season from which to answer that question.

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