Welcome back, hockey! And welcome back to you, Anaheim Calling reader!
FIRST, if you haven't checked Sleek's gameday for tonight, go over there and feed your soul. And while I'm plugging things, I've done a few interviews this week. Two of them are up with Crunch defensemen Mat Clark (again? yes, again) and Mark Mitera, and I'll have my chats with Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem up next week.
Also, if you would like to see Anaheim prospects Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz play tonight (and Sunday), they will be participating in the Ice Breaker Tournament in the 6 o'clock (pacific time) game this evening. For $9.95, you can watch all four games of the tournament at Hockey Prime Time. Click here. I won't be watching, because it conflicts both with the end of the Gophers game and the Giants playoff game, but tell us about it if you check it out.
Now, onto THE game.
The Ducks fly into Detroit tonight, where the youngest member of their team is also the most (and by 'most' I mean 'only') media-swarmed member of their team. Cam Fowler makes his NHL debut tonight 30 miles from his hometown of Farmington Hills, Michigan on ice he skated on as a squirt player. It's Game 1 for everyone, but for a player who will be watched intently before his game count reaches the double-digits, it's GAME ONE for Cam, a fact which sadly must take away from his enjoyment of his Disney moment with the Ducks.
According to OCR (and you should click that link for Stephens' rundown of the game), the lineup in practice was this:
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Jason Blake-Saku Koivu-Teemu Selanne
Bobby Ryan-Todd Marchant-Troy Bodie
Dan Sexton-Kyle Chipchura-George Parros
Andy Sutton-Lubomir Visnovsky
Paul Mara-Cam Fowler
Brendan Mikkelson-Sheldon Brookbank
First, I don't know if this means Sbisa will sit, but I'm not opposed to that. I think some decision needs to be made on Mikkelson early on this season. If he's going to be the team's seventh defenseman, who has to work his way off the scratch, then you have to know that before you decide to send Fowler down or before Lydman comes back.
That being said, shuffling in fresh third pairing defensemen on back-to-backs on a road trip is a luxury the Ducks are lucky to have right now. And it's one they may need moving forward. Toni Lydman is skating without contact, which is something, but is probably as good for learning the system as bowling with those foam guards is for upping your league average.
I also don't know if the rushes above mean Beleskey sticks with the top line. I hope he does. He scored his first goal against the winged-wheel ten months ago. Being slotted there tonight sounds like good magumbo.
-ER video after the jump