A brand new Ducks era?

Posted: 07/09/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

From the moment Ron Tugnutt started the then Mighty Ducks first regular season game on October 10, 1993, Anaheim fans have been rewarded with solid to spectacular goaltending. Led by the eight spectacular seasons of Guy Hebert, nine from the incomparable  J.S. Giguere; Ducks fans can’t be blamed for taking stellar goaltending as a given.

Even during the transition between Hebert and Jiggy, Martin Gerber stepped up and enjoyed his career best with our Ducks. Ilya Bryzgalov established himself as legitimate #1 goalie with our Ducks.

Three great goaltenders in 18 years is impressive but it doesn’t stop there. Ron Tugnutt battled Hebert for the #1 spot before moving on. Mikhail Shtalenkov was better than his numbers indicate over five seasons as Hebert’s backup.

And just when it looked again that a great Ducks goalie would pass the stick to another great; injury or illness has befallen Jonas Hiller, leaving our Ducks questionable in net for the first time since 2001. IF Jonas recovers all is well. If not, what then?

Dan Ellis has failed in 3 attempts to be the go to guy. While he’s no Steve Penny or Jim Craig, Ellis looks a solid backup who can provide steady goaltending for short stretches of games. Not unlike a top 9 forward who can occasionally play a few good games in a top 6 role.

After Ellis newcomer Jeff Deslauriers formerly with the Edmonton Oilers and Finn Iiro Tarkki are the most experienced elite level goalies. Twenty year old Igor Bobkov on the heals of a great World Juniors performance, is currently the most promising of the youngsters.  One of these three could surprise just as Martin Gerber did a decade ago.

If not Hiller, who is the looming question that won’t be answered until September. And if Jonas isn’t ready, what do you do?

The reality is that Bob Murray has $6.5million remaining in his internally imposed salary budget of $56 million. Teemu deserves at least $4 million. Murray has shown that he likes to set aside $1.5 – $2 million for injury call ups. One can’t argue with establishing a budget reserve.

What is legitimate to raise is Murray’s inability, thus far at least, is to bring in a solid match-up/shut-down D-man and/or help for the PK unit. Our Nightmare on Katella is Hiller can’t perform, the sophomore jinx strikes Fowler, Sbisa and McMillan, Beauchemin continues his (((DOH))) moments out there.

A team can survive steady if unspectacular goal tending with solid structural play requiring two-way accountability from each player. Coach Carlyle’s organization and his system have never produced much in the way of solid structural play featuring two-way accountability from each player. RC always rides his stars hard.

What RC calls match up coaching often looks like a bailout.

This roster looks like it can score three goals for per game. The question is can it prevent four goals against? Absent Jonas Hiller keeping them in games I just don’t see it. This team must play smart hockey. With the NHL’s leading Turnover Twins, Getzlaf and Beauchemin out there 20+ minutes per game each, smart, error free hockey is just too much to ask.

Todd Marchant’s next t-shirt might read, “Katie, bar the door.”

Note: WordPress has created an app that lets you see a post before it is published. If there are any budding editors or fact checkers out there let me know and I’ll run posts by you before publishing.

  1. We’re heading into a new Ducks era for sure, and a younger, better team is in store for a successful 2011/2012 season. Email me about that editor role please.

  2. czhokej says:

    I certainly hope that Hiller is going to be OK, otherwise we are in trouble. (However, I live with vertigo now for 8 years. In some cases it never goes away).
    I am sure RC watched the Stanley Cup finals. I want to believe he noticed how well Boston played positionally (and how much better than Vancouver). Quite often it looked like the Bruins had more players on the ice – and that’s the trick – guys at the wrong place do not count.

    • BackCheck says:

      Vanfans will hate this but did you get the impression we were seeing NHL’s version of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills? The Bruins, as you say, were way better organized, played a much smarter brand of hockey with and w/o the puck. And of course Boston had the better goalie in Tim Thomas.

      At least in net this looks a lot like 2001 when Hebert was waived and we hoped Gerbers was the guy but wasn’t and finally Jiggy stepped up and won the starting job.

      I understand letting Emery go. When we needed him most he didn’t raise his game. Had we got past Nashville, it’s quite possible Razor will still be a Duck. The good news is that there is a glut of good goalies on the market right now.

      For now our GM is waiting for Hiller to prove he can’t play.

      • czhokej says:

        Thomas made a big difference, but the strategy and positioning was also important. Boston was primarily attacking the net and one forward was almost always staying high. They used the space behind the net and the corners only when they were forced to go there. When defending, they used collapsing defense and it was difficult for Vancouver to find some space there. The Canucks quite often had all three forwards deep, even below the goal-line, leaving them vulnerable to outnumbered counter attacks. They played aggressive defense. Their system was similar to RC’s approach, both offensively and defensively.

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