Has anyone seen Chris Kunitz? Where did the banzai-skating, run everything that moves, open up space for your line mates and fastest player on the ice go? Either the NHL told him to slow down and stop running opponents or someone whispered in his ear and told him he was a finesse-style player and could avoid contact and still be effective. Either way, he is lost and we need him found.
With Sammy Pahlsson out with his abdominal injury, the 3rd line has been creating a lot of scoring chances. Against Dallas, Ryan Carter, Todd Marchant, and Travis Moen were flying and had something like 8 SOG including a goal by Marchant. This year, when Moen, R. Nieds, and Pahlsson play together, they are doing a decent job shutting other top lines down, but their offense has been non existent. Maybe some minor moves on that 3rd line will keep the scoring chances up?
I honestly feel bad for Brian Sutherby. He has to be the best NHLer with a single point. The guy plays a fast paced game and creates as many scoring chances as anyone. However, he can't seem to finish and neither can his linemates. If he had 7 goals and 15 assists, I would not be surprised. I hope the wall breaks and the floodgates open for him. He deserves it.
Thanks for winning a few games Jiggy. Through the first 40 games or so, it looked like you were never going to steal one on your own shoulders again. Nice job.
As an open minded sceptic of the $4M per year Bertuzzi off season move, I am very happy to see Bert playing well. Not just to prove all of the nay-sayers wrong, but to re-prove himself and to prove Burke right. In the first part of the season, Bert looked a little lost and dis-interested. In the last 10 games, he has been on fire, is one of the best players on the ice, and visably looks like he is having fun. He has made some highlight reel moves and passes and looks like he is back on the pond for some good old fashioned fun hockey.
In the first 10 or 11 games since Scott Niedermayer returned to the Ducks, you could see the rust. I even saw Scott Niedermayer breathing heavy and hunched over with his stick across his shin pads trying to catch a rest and I saw it multiple times. However, it looks like the rust has slowly fallen off and the last two games have been different. Welcome back. You are fun to watch.
Ryan Carter winning 64% of his face-offs is a great story as he has filled in on the 3rd line for Sammy Pahlsson in a shut down role. Here is a young man who played up with the Ducks in the playoff run last season. In the AHL and the NHL, his Coaches could not trust him to take face offs and win. In the off-season, Carter worked on his draws and the results have been astounding. Not only is he shutting down some of the top lines, but he is creating a lot of scoring chances and pushing the puck towards the net. The "cat chasing its tail" play known as the cycle still gets used, but Carter is pushing that line to take the puck to the net as well - with scoring as the end goal. Cycling to cyle just wastes time and can be what is required sometimes. But cycling to cyle for the entire game is just boring and ineffective. Carter has changed that line and he is making an interesting statement with his play. What will the Ducks do when Pahlsson returns?