The puzzle that is Bobby Ryan

Posted: 04/15/2013 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

One year ago, Bobby Ryan asked rhetorically, “Can you imagine how good I’m going to be playing for this guy?” Ryan was of course referring to then new head coach Bruce Boudreau. Gabby, as our Ducks coach is sometimes known, had suggested that he’d like to build a line around Ryan.

No more caddying for The Twins. No more getting blamed for the Ducks problems. No more being the first name to pop up in trade rumors.

Fast forward to one year later and the only thing that has changed is that Randy Carlyle got far more out of Bobby Ryan than it appears Bruce Boudreau may ever realize. Ryan is currently on pace for a 20 goal 55 point 82 game season.

The goal of building a line around Ryan seems to have gone the way of fax machines and proper grammar.

Nick Bonino and Teemu Selanne were the first to skate alongside Ryan when this season-short began. That gave way to a succession of line mates not named Koivu, Cogliano or Winnick.

Bobby Ryan is on pace for the worst season statistically of his career. Always a streaky goal scorer, one might argue that Ryan would get hot and finish an 82 game season with 30+ goals and 65+points. That is more wishful thinking and excuse making though.

Bobby Ryan is his record. Right now his record is, to be polite about it, disappointing.

Two things show up in his stats that might have something to do with Bobby Ryan’s “off-year.” His TOI is down substantially from his 34 goal 71 point career best season in 2010-11. Back then Ryan’s ATOI was 20:10 per game. This season his ATOI is 16:35. The other stat that leaps off the page is his shooting percentage of 10.87 is down from a career average of 14.8. For a guy who takes 204 to 270 shots on goal per season, Bobby’s accuracy issue is costing him 8-10 goals this year.

Note: This is also the first time in his career that Ryan’s ratio between goals and assists is statistically significant.

The question of course is why? One difference between how Ryan is used is that today he is almost exclusively used a sniper. When was the last time you saw Ryan deke out a couple-3 opposition players on his way to the net? Thought so, it’s been quite awhile.

There’s a huge difference between going to the net and/or getting into a shooting lane and attacking the net with the puck on your stick.

Ryan must become a tad more selfish with the puck and take more responsibility for finishing plays in the offensive zone. Bobby Ryan is among the league’s best, one on one, and he simply isn’t exploiting those opportunities.

This would fix most of it but not all. Obviously, Ryan needs to take more shooting accuracy drills. Pull out the old shooter tutor and have at it. Me? Most times I’d pick a spot on the boards and shoot at it. Try and hit it from different angles. That shooter tutor was the best goalie I ever came up against.


  1. bbdux93 says:

    I’d say the whole team needs that shooter tutor right now.

    • bc says:

      Yeah, it looks that way bb. A couple of guys should be let off the hook though. Nobody expected the Koivu line to continue contributing at its early season pace. Winnick has been doing things to create scoring opportunities that don’t show up on the score sheet though. After Ryan, it’s time to light a fire under Teemu Selanne. We all love him but one assist in 29 games should be a ticket to the press box. If anybody else was contributing it would be. Cam Fowler is a much better hockey player than at any time since he came into the league. I don’t know if we continue to be patient and offer a carrot or pull out the stick. Perry’s 13 goals put him on pace for 28 goal season. Part of the reason for the lack of scoring could well be the shortage of PP opportunities. Selanne’s PP goal production has dropped from 15 to 3, while Perry’s has gone from 14 to 5 in year over year comparisons. Our Ducks rank 29th overall in PP opportunities. Some of this is within the our control and some not. The lack of scoring is real test of Bruce Boudreau’s coaching philosophy. Is the cause of the scoring drought diminished TOI among the top four? Is Perry’s scoring down because Getzlaf’s scoring is up? There are only scoring opportunities during a game or shift. Are the rest just not capable of providing consistent secondary scoring? Right now the scoring is coming from Ryan Getzlaf. How ironic is it that Getz’ last goal which was our Ducks only score against the Kings came unassisted.

      I wrote the bit because Ryan is the key. If and when he gets going others will as well. Ryan is the guy who makes others around him better. Right now, I think he has to be a little more selfish with the puck and show the way.

      • bbdux93 says:

        Off topic.
        If you’re up for having your blood boil – read Ken Campbell’s article today on The Hockey News. He’s taking the NHL and refs to task – mostly the NHL – for not even a hearing with Taylor Hall for his slash on a Coyote player. It is described as an over the head – slash to the back of the legs of a top 4 defense man – in the play-off stretch.
        We complain loud and often about officiating but if their bosses won’t act – I guess that’s the message to the refs – pick and chose who & what you decide to call. Unbelievable!

      • bc says:

        This blog has pointed out over the years that the vast majority of penalty calls are for retaliation. This is because Refs just aren’t very good at their jobs and usually miss the initial infraction, in this instance, Michalek’s hold on Hall’s stick. Had the Refs done their job in the first place; or, as Campbell points out, even been in the proper position to see the play, Hall sees his team will go on the PP and most probably doesn’t take matters into his own hands. Also, if the initial infraction, holding the stick on Michalek is called, the second risk of injury, Hanzel checking Hall from behind, likely doesn’t occur either.

        As you can clearly see in this game, a seemingly simple mistake by the officials escalates into something far more dangerous.

        The fact either Ref wasn’t even in the position to see the play is just further evidence of the incompetence of NHL officiating and the willingness of the NHL to allow this gross incompetence to continue.

        It probably won’t change until a guy with a high 8 figure contract is injured or killed and some smart insurance company lawyer recognizes just how grossly and willfully negligent the NHL has been in developing and training its officials.

        BTW, Kerry Fraser serves as an apologist for the NHL and Brendan Shanahan attempting to ‘splain why Hall wasn’t suspended. Fraser advocates that there was no premeditation in Hall’s two-hander. Fraser’s point wouldn’t even pass muster in a class of first year law students.

        ‘Scuse me, did Hall look to see where Michalek was prior to the slash? Of course he did which is exactly why the act was premeditated.

        I’m not proud of this but one time during a game I swung my stick with clear intent to decapitate an opponent. I caught myself mid-swing, got control of the stick and only lightly tapped the opponent harmlessly on the helmet. Still got the well deserved high-sticking penalty. The point is, if a skilled amateur can control his stick, thoughts and emotions should we doubt that a “professional” is somehow incapable of the same? Or that the so-called “professional” isn’t aware of everything he is about to do before he does it?

        Good find bb and thanks for referencing it.

  2. bbdux93 says:

    Shouldn’t the players association demand better officiating

    • bc says:

      I don’t think the NHL or the NHLPA cares about anything but money in their pockets. Player safety was put on the back burner during the recent lockout. If quality officiating isn’t a player safety issue I don’t know what is bb.

      They take a kid, who would otherwise be driving a bus, off a pond in Canada or Europe, give him more than he ever dreamed of and tell him so long as he wins the money will keep flowing. Do you think they care about anything else?

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