[Ed. Note: Anaheim Calling has eyes and ears everywhere. With his special I-Team report on the Ducks' Alumni Game is reader BruinDanny.]
In amidst the 'free agent frenzy' was the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks Alumni vs Russian Hockey Legends game at Anaheim Ice and I got the chance to attend. With my VIP ticket came a pregame visit from Bruce Boudreau and in-game visits from many of our prospects.
The game itself was fun. It featured past Ducks stars like Todd Marchant and Russian hockey legends such as Sergei Makarov, member of the legendary KLM Line. Bruce Boudreau seemed quite content as he coached the Ducks Alumni to an 8-5 victory over the Russians. A full recap of the game can be found here.
Before the game began, Bruce talked to the VIP ticket holders. I showed up a bit late so I didn't catch most of Bruce's early spiel. However, once he finished, he began to accept questions from the fans in attendance until he was pulled away to coach. I apologize in advance that the information is not exact quotes. I am going off memory.
On the possibility of the Ducks acquiring a center through free agency:
Boudreau went on to say that this year's free agent class was very weak, especially with centers. Essentially, he said, the only available center is Olli Jokinen (who has since signed with the Winnipeg Jets). Bruce said it was very likely that Ducks may have to rely on their prospects next year. He said that Nick Bonino proved that he could play at an NHL level last season, and that Peter Holland has also excited Boudreau with his play at the prospect camps.
On Bobby Ryan:
Essentially, Boudreau is confused by the whole Bobby situation. He says that the rumors aren't stemming from the organization. Teams are interested in a player such as Rick Nash or Zach Parise to fill out their roster this off-season. If they can't get these stars, then they look to the Anaheim Ducks and Bobby Ryan. Other teams are calling Bob Murray and giving offers, but Bob hasn't been actively shopping him. The rumors come from the vast amount of teams who want Bobby and are calling for him. [Ed. Note: Someone put this blog in front of Bobby's face.]
On Teemu Selanne:
Bruce has talked to Selanne. He says that Selanne has already started training in the last month. They're just waiting for Teemu's final word.
On the captaincy:
Boudreau said that Ryan Getzlaf worked very hard last year as the captain. Sometimes, Getzlaf would focus too much on being a good captain and lose focus on being a good player. He worked too hard on getting the entire team to succeed at the expense of his own play. Getzlaf also would be very hard on himself when the team wasn't winning, especially early in the season.
During the second intermission many of our prospects came up to the VIP area, and I got to meet with a couple. All of the guys I spoke with seemed very nice, and I got my jersey signed by Peter Holland, Emerson Etem, and Devante Smith-Pelly. While signing, Holland joked, "There's a lot of room on here for Holland 74. I overheard one man ask Devo about his foot, and he replied that it was feeling fine now.
I asked a couple questions of our first rounder this year, Hampus Lindholm. He seemed shy but was happy to oblige. When I asked him about how it felt to have been picked so high in the first round, he didn't really respond much past an "It's nice." I also asked him about if he plans on playing in Sweden again next year. At the moment, he doesn't know. He says he'll try his best at the training camp, and if Bruce and Murray want him here, he'll play here. Otherwise he's going back for another year.
Overall, it was a fun night: good hockey, good talks. Boudreau seems excited for our prospects and for next year, which makes me excited.