The Ducks are a fairly young franchise, so I originally thought it would be presumptuous for this site to have a "Ducks History" section. Why would I want to tell you about things we all remember? When I took a step back, I realized that the organization definitely has its share of new fans, including our own staff writer Robby, and not everyone remembered the events of our Christmas Card last year, which took a look back at the Rumble At Reunion. This organization is old enough to drive, almost old enough to vote, and it has its share of traditions and history. It's time we took a look back for those who don't remember or those who have managed to forget.
So I'm proud to introduce a new segment called "Duck Tales," where we'll sift back through the canard histoire and bring our best recollections back to you. First up: Stuey and Ewey.
Before there was Parros, before there was Fedoruk, before there was Karpa, there were Stu Grimson and Todd Ewen . . .
Members of the inaugural Ducks squad, left wing Stu Grimson and right wing Todd Ewen were the team's original enforcers. They were tough checkers, skilled in hockey's sweet science and for the joy they brought to the physical game, coach Ron Wilson gave them the Disney-fied nicknames Stuey and Ewey.
Stuey found himself in an Anaheim sweater following the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft. One of the Blackhawks' unprotected players, The Grim Reaper was drafted 28th overall by the Ducks. He had logged 193 minutes in the box for Chicago in the 92-93 season and an impressive 234 penalty minutes in just 54 games the year before.
Two months after the Draft, Anaheim executed its first trade, sending a 3rd Round pick in 1994 to Montreal in exchange for Todd Ewen and Patrick Carnback. Ewen, once nicknamed "The Animal," also managed 193 PIM in the 92-93 season, and despite being a year Grimson's junior, Ewen was the more experienced player. His 300+ games in the NHL almost doubled The Grim Reaper's total.
Their brand of smash mouth hockey was invaluable to Ron Wilson's cautious, defensive system, opening up the ice for the team's offensive players, but they were also leaders and strong character players whose even tempered off-ice personalities belied their vicious on-ice behavior. Ewen wore the "A" for his entire tenure as a Duck, and Grimson may have been the most game-changing one-goal scorer in Anaheim history.
Sadly, the Stuey and Ewey era lasted only two seasons: the Ducks' inaugural year and the Lockout-shortened 94-95 campaign. In April of 1995, then GM Jack Ferreira sent Grimson, Mark Ferner and a 6th Round pick in 1996 to Detroit in exchange for Mike Sillinger and Jason York. A year later, Ewen would leave via free agency for the San Jose Sharks.
In their absence, the Ducks leaned on Dave Karpa, Warren Rychel, Brent Severyn and a number of temps, but no one with the mixture of protection and intimidation of which Ewen and Grimson were capable. The lack of a smart and seasoned enforcer on the Ducks roster became obvious in 1998, when Kariya and Selanne were cheapshotted within a month of each other, Kariya permanently damaged after taking a crosscheck to the face from Gary Suter.
Amidst accusations that the team had gone soft, the front office re-acquired Stu Grimson in August of 1998. The deal sent Dave Karpa and a 4th Round pick in 2000 to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Grimson and defenseman Kevin Haller. With The Grim Reaper on the watchtower, Kariya and Selanne each posted another 100 point season. And their success translated into team success in the form of one of the most potent power plays in recent memory and a playoff berth (where they unfortunately drew the Red Wings).
He left again to sign with the Kings in 2000, but Grimson's second tour of duty with the Ducks cemented him as a fan favorite in Anaheim. He was ultimately forced out of the game in 2001, suffering from post-concussion syndrome while playing for the Predators and is now an attorney in Nashville. Ewen, meanwhile, retired after the season he spent with San Jose and took up coaching. He was the head coach of the St. Louis Billikens hockey team in Missouri this year.