Questions and challenges for our Ducks

Posted: 08/23/2011 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Have to give a butt pat to one of my fave hockey bloggers, Mike Brophy, who basically defined the running stories in the 2011-12 season. This blog post is straight rip of Broph’s bit today.

‘Cept Brophy focuses on the NHL and I cover our Ducks. So click on through and maybe take a slap shot of your own in the comment section….Will Jonas Hiller stay healthy?  A healthy Jonas Hiller might well be the best goalie in the NHL.

Can Ryan Getzlaf dominate from October through June without taking nights off? Lookout cookout if he can.

Was last season a fluke or is Corey Perry really all that? I say Pears is all that the maturity shows each and every shift. Corey finally figured out how to stay aggressive and out of the box at the same time.

More is expected than 34 goals – 37 assists from Bobby Ryan. Is this the year he explodes? Those are great numbers but we all know he has more in him.

Eklund posted Teemu is 90% coming back mere hours after this blog published, Just a gut hunch but I sense Teemu is coming back. Why is it the Gossip Girl is never out in front of this blog?

Brophy asked, Is Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky the real deal or was last year’s league-leading 68 points among defencemen a one-off?

As important as Lubo’s point production, can Toni Lydman equal his plus 32 and 22:10 ATOI? Whatever happened to Turnover Toni? Lydman is such a pleasure to watch. He’s as spectacular and skilled without the puck as Rob Shremp is with it.

Is this turning point in Saku Koivu’s career? You that time when a guy has to adjust and do things a bit differently as age creeps up on him? Is this teh year Saku sees more ES/PK TOI than ES/PP TOI?

Was that a pod person or the real Francois Beauchemin who returned from Hogtown last season? Really, Frankie knows better than what we saw last season. He does know better, right?

Now that Luca Sbisa has reached the first rung and established himself as a legit NHL hockey player. The challenge now is, can he build on it? Can Luca take the next step and deliver Top 4 quality minutes and play in all situations? He could still be a year away from making that jump.

Cam Fowler was certainly quietly spectacular by rookie standards. He had a better rookie season than Droop Pouty but apparently Ducks fans know better than to talk Calder and Norris. Cam has to avoid the sophomore jinx. We just can’t afford for him to take that backward step.

Is Andrew Cogliano the guy who can give our Ducks it’s first solid 3rd line since Sammy Pahlsson was traded away? No doubt Cogsy will get it done differently than Sammy but we need him to be as effective. If we can establish a successful 3rd line around Cogs it could mean as much 10-15 pts in the standings by season’s end.

Randy Carlyle and staff. With coaches its real simple. Do they help or hurt? Do we win because of them or in spite of them? Are guys, oh say Bobby Ryan or Lubomir Visnovsky, put in situations where they can succeed or is too much asked of them? If you’re wondering why RC is placed here, this about where I rate the importance of coaching. Just back of the core and key players.

George Parros will continue to bring us fans out of our seats and keep things honest out there. He doesn’t have to win every fight to be successful at his job.

Jason Blake is still the best among our role players. Can he hold his spot all season or will one or two youngsters pass him on the depth chart? IF one or two of the kids move ahead of him look for Blake to be moved at the deadline.

Brandon McMillan showed he’s a smart hockey player. Can he make more of the opportunities that come his way?

Kurtis Foster beats out Matt Smaby and Sheldon Brookbank for the 6th D spot. Don’t be surprised if RC goes back to dressing 7 D.

Now is the time for Dan Sexton to kill or be killed. If he can’t earn and hold a roster spot he’ll need to keep a bag packed and the ‘Cuse may not be his next destination.

Is Mark Bell a flyer worth taking? He doesn’t have to recapture his 20+goal 45+ point power forward past. He needs to be accountable and show consistency from the moment he steps out on the ice in camp. Accountability and consistency are solid building blocks.

I’m rootin’ for my homey Matt Belesky. An injury free season would allow him to show his true talent.

Nick Bonino possesses a high hockey IQ and 4 of the 5 skills needed to play NHL level hockey. Can he skate well enough to stick?

As always in hockey, if any of the above falter, there’s no shortage of guys chomping at the bit to take those jobs. We’ll probably see two or three of Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen, Peter Holland, Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelley, Patrick Maroon and/or others.

Our Ducks could be a surprisingly good team in 2011-12. It could also be a long and ugly season if Hiller isn’t healthy, Getzlaf becomes Getzloaf too many nights and Carlyle gets stuck on stupid. These it seems are the keys. The team should be able to adjust to other questions and challenges.

Anybody have a cure for vertigo, lazy and stupid?

  1. If Getzlaf doesn’t take any nights off and be lazy, he could be the x-factor for the Ducks this year.

  2. czhokej says:

    Well, bc, you covered almost every angle and almost every aspect of Ducks’ issues. Even if I wanted to disagree just for the sake of a discussion, I can’t.
    I hope that Perry’s change will become an inspiration for Getz and Bobby. It’s very simple, in order to score you have to drive the net, be aggressive around the net, find open shooting lanes and good spots. What is puzzling is that when Getzy goes to the net during the match, he usually scores! So why he doesn’t do it more often. That’s how Corey changed his game and almost doubled his goals.

    Lubo is a great player, even though small (which is a valid concern), good skater, offensively maybe even better than Scotty, but he had quite a few mistakes last season (as well as Beauch and everybody else in D – Lydman was an exception).

    I like Luca Sbisa, and I expect him to grow. The same applies to Fowler, but they have different styles and size, like Nieds and Pronger. Maybe we will see them together.

    Now, one of my major concerns: checking/shut-down line (I do not care if they score). I would love to see a trio of defensive forward to be able to shut down opposition’s best, to dominate them either with speed or physical plays, to make them tired and frustrated, to keep them off balance and out of position.

    • bbdux93 says:

      I agree with CZ, we need a line like we had with Sammy,Travis and Rob. I believe that line was a major factor in winning The Cup. And, like CZ I don’t care if they score a lot.

      Letting those guys go may have been as bad as, if not worse than, letting Pronger go – not sure but it’s close

      • BackCheck says:

        Just a quick Q cz & bb, do you think Shawn Thornton and Sean O’Donnell belong on that list bash crash smash and trash hard nosed players who’s contributions are missed? I guess it was all due to cap issues but our Ducks are a very different kind of team today.

  3. bbdux93 says:

    BC, I agree those guys made a very big contribution to our success – they are missed. There is something to be said for being an intimidating team – keep ‘um on edge I say. ST & SO’D were among our unsung heros and seemed to me to be as unpleasant as Pronger – when needed.

    Speaking of being mean and nasty – when needed – I often picture the hit that Rob N. and Pronger put on some guy during that year’s play-offs. I’ll bet the guys on that team (don’t even remember who they were) had some hesitation about incurring the rath of that pair… Gotta’ say – it was a beautiful moment.

    When we were looking for players during this off season and S.D, was looking for a new home – I was hopin’

  4. bbdux93 says:

    Cures (in response to your question)

    Vertigo – time
    Lazy – Babcock got the most out of the twins @ the Olympics by telling them he expected more of them. My father once told me (I was 17 and a bit crazy) that he was disappointed in my behavior – it was a life changing event.
    Stupid – as Forest Gump said “stupid is as stupid does”

  5. czhokej says:

    Especially SO’D had a great season 09-10 with the Kings, being their #3 D at ES but #1 guy for SH time. Amazing. With the Flyers last year, I think that his age and wear were showing more.
    And Shawn T. had his best season 2010-11 with the Bruins as a role player. That brings me to another issue: development of youngsters: Not everybody can be a star player. And coaches should recognize it, and help this maturation process and to produce much needed role players. Too many people just get discarded.

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