Ice’ insightful Q&A with Gabby

Posted: 01/13/2013 by bc in Uncategorized

Here’s the link. Later today I’ll give it a “BackChecking with…” treatment. Note who Coach thinks could make the show from the Admirals.

It’s later now:

Q: Were there some guys during your time scouting the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals last weekend that jumped out to you?

A: There were some pleasant surprises. I don’t know if they’re coming up. But I really think that for the future, that Sami Vatanen is going to be a good player up here. His mobility is really good. His awareness on the ice is really good. I thought the skill set of Peter Holland … I finally got the chance to really see him. When he’s got the puck, he’s in control. He knows very well what he’s doing. (Kyle) Palmieri, who hasn’t had his greatest year to start, had a really good of weekend in games two and three, I thought. Jordan Hendry plays a lot. Nate Guenin plays a lot on defense there. Patrick Maroon did, I think, a real stellar job below the circles. So these are guys that I’ll probably be talking to Murph (GM Bob Murray) about when it’s all said and done.”

This isn’t Vatanen’s year but it’s reassuring to hear Gabby say that Sami’s, “going to be a good player up here.” Takes some of the sting out of losing Justin Schultz and trading Jake Gardiner.
If Holland can impress with his play without the puck he’ll could well center the Ryan line.
As this blog stated the other day, Patrick Maroon will get an opportunity to win the LW job.
Kyle Palmieri will be on a shorter leash and will have to produce more consistently. Last season he tallied 4 goals, 3 assists in 18 games last season.
Jordan Hendry and Nate Guenin are the contenders for the 7th D-man spot.

Q: Realistically, how many spots on the Ducks are open for competition?

A: Three, I think I would say. Fourth-line center would be open. A 13th forward. Or if (Brad) Staubitz is the 13th forward, maybe a 12th forward. One third-line guy. You look at what you’re going to use at left wingers. (Matt) Beleskey. (Dan) Winnik. (Andrew) Cogliano can play anywhere. But the constants would be Beleskey, Winnik, (Bobby) Ryan. Those are the left wingers. Where do we fit Cogs? The centermen. You know you have (Nick) Bonino, (Saku) Koivu and (Ryan) Getzlaf. Right wing, you go (Teemu) Selanne, (Corey) Perry and who knows after that? Maybe (Devante) Smith-Pelly and Palmieri. You can move guys over. Staubitz’s a right winger. You’ve just got to find the fit and you have a shorter period of time because you’ve got no preseason games.

The message to Brad Staubitz is that being an enforcer isn’t enough. You have to be able to play the game. Staubitz could find himself sitting as the 13th forward some nights.
Coach has just old us that Selanne, Perry, Ryan, Getzlaf, Koivu, Cogliano, Winnick, Bonino, Beleskey and Staubitz have made the team. Smith-Pelly and Palmieri are the leading candidates for two forward positions.

Q: Can you create some competition during an abbreviated camp?

A: “There’s one defenseman’s job available. We’ll invite probably two defensemen from Norfolk or maybe even three. Make that a battle there. If there’s three spots up front, we might invite five guys. Show me in practice, show me who gets it? Who wants it more? Because there’s nobody’s name that’s down in Norfolk right now etched in stone that’s going to be on our team.”

Q: How do you like the look of your team right now? For instance, the biggest difference might be Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen bringing size to the defense corps.

A: Well I think it was really needed. And it’s how quick we can find good pairings. The other thing too is this is the first time that (Toni) Lydman’s in shape. Not in shape physically but healthy-wise in a year. (Francois) Beauchemin, the length of this lockout has given him time to heal his offseason surgery. So he’s now healthy, whereas we were pretty sure that he wasn’t going to start the season. Our defense, when you look at it, is going to be our strength. And our goaltending is going to be our strength right now. If we’ve improved our club and that’s where we were from Jan. 4 on, then why can’t we start off at that level and be competitive right from the get go?”

If the offense doesn’t improve over last season our Ducks will go as far as Hiller can carry us.

And if you don’t mind I will take an attaboy. Take a look back here and here, the latter with assists to Colin Insley and Scott Cullen. If you find a blog or mainstream media story that got closer to seeing the team as Coach Boudreau does before this interview was posted, please let me know.
When reviewing the D I neglected to mention Jordan Hendry who is in camp. Other than that oversight, this blog is on the same page as Coach Boudreau.

  1. czhokej says:

    The coach feels very happy about our defense and goaltending. Happy and confident. Our offense is still the work in progress, and I did not detect the same optimism and expectations Boudreau hasn’t been known to be a defensive minded coach, so I do not expect that we will become a defense-first team. But he did much better job than Carlyle, because we usually gave up too many shots-against under Randy. And sometimes our Ds looked so confused, that nobody knew where to go. And the heavy workload was too much for Jonas. Even though I am not a strong proponent of cycling, I believe that BB’s cycling will be much more effective than Carlyle’s, which ended quite frequently without a shot. However, the main improvement will be our speed game, with short passes and give-and-go. And one of the challenges for BB will be to convince Ryan Getzlaf to attack the net, to shoot the puck, to place himself in a scoring position, and to skate.

    • bbdux93 says:

      If Getz doesn’t do the things that CZ points out the coach will likely expect of him – chances are he’ll get less TOI

  2. bc says:

    A healthy Beauchemin and Lydman, additions Allen and Souray and a symptom free Jonas Hiller give Coach plenty of reasons to be happy about the back line.
    cz’s and bb’s points on Getz are well taken so let’s walk them a bit.

    Since Pronger left, Getzlaf has been the big guy on the team. Allen, Souray, Winnick bring enough snarl that they should give Getz some backup and cover. If 6’2″ 230# Patrick Maroon makes it onto the Big Line, he’s just that much more. The added truculence should encourage Getz to go into the dirty area and attack the net more often.
    If Coach can build a successful ES line and 2nd unit PP around Bobby Ryan that will also dictate less reliance and TOI on and for Getz.
    Of course Getzlaf needs to bounce back from last season. Part of that has to come from inside Getzlaf. The other part is support from the guys around him. Souray is latest incarnation of the search to replace Chris Pronger. Getz will have to earn and keep the respect of Sheldon Souray. Fact is, Getzlaf is no longer the big guy in the room. Souray is the toughest guy on the team. You don’t want to be the guy in the way should it be necessary for Souray to call out Getzlaf. Make no mistake, that is in part why Sheldon is here.

    Getzlaf could have his TOI reduced and be more successful if (1) the Ryan experiment works, (2) We have enough physicality to give Getz needed support and cover.

    At the end of the day, getting more from Getzlaf is a three-pronged effort. it requires something from Getz of course, something from the guys on the ice with him and something from the main guy on the ice, (Bobby Ryan) while Getz is on the bench.

  3. czhokej says:

    Interesting point of view. I did not look at it that way, but I think you are right. Sometimes the guys behave like a wolf pack, they respect strength, skills and experience, but physicality is sometimes the most important. Since the pressure from the coach was not enough to change Getzy, the the lack of respect from his teammates may motivate him more. That would be good. I have always thought that Getzlaf and Ryan should score 40 goals (in a full season). Ryan got close, but even he needs to show more consistency. But 11 goals for Getzlaf last year, that’s laughable.
    And there should be some peer pressure.
    Question: Are these new players able and willing to use that to make the team better. I know that Pronger was never afraid to speak up. I do not know anything about Souray’s personality, and the same applies to Allen, and others. Scotty did not talk too much, but he was respected.

    • bc says:

      Hey cz, the pecking order in the room is determined by the # on the paycheck and gravitas. Pronger had both and every guy in there knew Prongs could back it up.
      Souray has the gravitas and he can bring the mean. while he isn’t the highest paid player, Murph did give him a 3 year contract which means the org is sending the message that this cat will be around awhile, deal.
      One tell will be to watch the Getz/Souray interaction on the ice. We’ll know pretty quick if Sheldon has earned respect.
      It probably won’t happen as some assume, in a confrontation between the two players. Souray will earn Getzlaf’s respect the first time he picks up a number and delivers a message to one of Getz’ antagonists.
      Remember when Prongs would even leave the point and go low to clear out some opposition bodies and make time and space for the play-making center?
      Now Souray is not Pronger and Winnick is no Thornton but these Ducks are the closest approximation to the truculence Brian Burke assembled.

      • bbdux93 says:

        I had to go to the dictionary for this one – Gravitas = The new leader has an air of gravitas that commands respect. High seriousness (as in a person’s bearing or in the treatment of a subject)

        I appreciate any player who takes his job seriously and look for that in his performance on the ice. Pronger was likely not going to allow some talented kids – Getz, Perry and Penner – to forget what they were being paid for.

        The kids have grown older – not sure that means wiser or more respectful of their responsibility – mostly I’m talking about Getz

      • bc says:

        It’s a guy word 😉
        I absolutely believe that Ryan Getzlaf takes his job seriously to the extent that he’ll do what is necessary to keep it.
        As you say bb, will he respect his responsibility is the spot on question.
        He was little more than a bit player on the two greatest teams he’s played on, our Ducks Stanley Cup winner and the 2010 Canadian Olympic team. IMO, he played his best hockey on the SC team and that 26 game run when got to the second round after beating San Jose.
        He’s an appointed Captain, not one elected by his teammates.
        Nobody wins Cups building around play-makers. There’s a very long list of very great hockey players, starting with Wayne Gretzky, that prove it.
        If Getz can get it in his head that he needs to be the most dominant player each time he goes over the boards, the play-making and the glory and honor will grow from it. Until he does, he’ll never respect his responsibility to himself and to the team.
        Until he commits to dominating out there, Ryan Getzlaf will remain exactly what he is, a classic under-achiever.

  4. czhokej says:

    Too bad that they cannot cut his salary.

  5. czhokej says:

    bc, what about Dan Sexton? Does he have a chance? He was not even invited to the training camp.

    • bc says:

      We’ve probably seen the last of Dan Sexton in a Ducks uni. he signed a tryout contract with Norfolk on early but is listed as Not On Active Roster. Not sure what his status is right now.
      Big Sexy will get picked up somewhere. I hope he stays with it.
      The much traveled Andrew Ebbett is the leading candidate to center Vancouver’s 2nd line while Ryan Kesler is out.

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