This will be the shortest week recap. My book is due Monday.
Anaheim Ducks at Pittsburgh Penguins (L) - This was a much better game than the result suggests. Through two periods, the Ducks and the Pens played ridiculously tight, entertaining hockey. A couple blown defensive zone plays were the key here.
New Jersey Devils at Anaheim Ducks (OT L) - The Ducks grabbed the lead after a disappointing first and looked to be ready for victory. And then Jagr happened. The OT own-goal was some bad luck, which happens.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Anaheim Ducks (W) - What a game. That OT winner with less than 10 seconds left on the clock made this an instant classic. I wish these two teams could meet up more in the season.
Anaheim Ducks at Phoenix Coyotes (W) - How did we win this game? I thought the Yotes outplayed the Ducks for long stretches, but Hiller was pretty darn good on the tail end of a back-to-back.
After a couple weeks of some losses and sketchy play, the Ducks grabbed five out of eight available points in week eight.
Let's address past ratings.
Jakob Silfverberg 4P-Met
Mathieu Perreault 6P-Met > 4P-Met
He's dropping one slice because of his lack of production on the stat sheet, though his possession numbers remain favorable. He drops another slice because his own-zone coverage dipped a bit on the week.
Cam Fowler 6P-Met
Dustin Penner 6P-Met
Ben Lovejoy 5P-Met
Andrew Cogliano 5P-Met > 6P-Met
He drives play forward, almost to a fault. For all his quickness, his rush defense isn't the strongest - but I'd daresay Cogs is one of Boudreau's most relied upon forwards in all situations, especially in week eight.
Sami Vatanen 2P-Met
Hampus Lindholm 3P-Met > 4P-Met
This kid's pretty good. He gets a slice for laughing at Fowler falling off the bench. But he also gets it because he's still stayed pretty solid without Francois Beauchemin.
Bryan Allen 3P-Met
Daniel Winnik 3P-Met > 4P-Met
I feel like Winnik's underrated at times because he doesn't produce. He slots literally everywhere in the lineup, like Cogs, and when paired with the speedy winger, the two are usually formidable.
Ryan Getzlaf 6P-Met
Corey Perry 6P-Met
Teemu Selanne 3P-Met > 2P-Met
I'm going to share an unpopular opinion. When Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray fired Randy Carlyle - whose systems, roster management, and player usage I was growing quite tired of - I tried very hard to "turn the page" on my previous judgments of aforementioned executive. I was not a fan.
Since the hiring of Bruce Boudreau, I've come to a new opinion of the general manager. He's actually...pretty good. Now, now, I don't think he's a genius or anything. Not the sharpest knife. Not the brightest bulb. Not a New York slice of goddamn delicious pizza.
But I'm over hating him because the Carlyle-in-Toronto thing cemented what I was hoping to see all along: our team's GM builds his team heavily for his coach. This is actually, well, "smart." When you have a coach who does X, Y, and Z well, you provide him with X, Y, and Z pieces - and that's what we saw here in Anaheim under Carlyle. (Carlyle wasn't his hire.)
Carlyle, by the way, is not a good coach. He hasn't adapted. His methods and systems are outdated. His preferred roster, when here and in Toronto now, sucks terribly at playing winning, competitive hockey. He's ruining my childhood team, and that makes me more unhappy with him than his ruining this team. The moves Murray was making for Carlyle explain a lot of the dumb moves Murray made in general.
Murray hired an A, B, and C coach, and ever since he's been making more A, B, and C roster decisions - even the Tim Jackman trade, but that's a complicated explanation. Now, the jury is out on Boudreau - who I actually like, and whose systems I tend to understand. But ultimately, I've come to the conclusion that Murray is fine at his job. Well, no, he sucks at media, but otherwise he's fine.
Now, if this all goes south, Murray gets blame for bringing in Boudreau, who is his hire. And who knows if he's qualified to decide on a better coach. That's a future bridge. Although bringing in a guy with a massive win percentage in his NHL coaching tenure isn't "stupid" the way many in this community feel it is, so perhaps he's not an idiot at coach hunting either. Let's hope we don't find out for a long, long time.
And all of this is aside from the more or less solid drafting and scouting Murray has shown this organization capable of behind the scenes. The cupboards aren't bare any more. We have good assistant coaches and assistants to assistant coaches, like Scott Niedermayer or Dwayne Roloson. There's a prestige and respect for the Ducks that exists out there more than ever before.
So again, as unpopular as this might seem: I'm not longer a Murray hater. I don't love him, and maybe I never will. But I don't hate him anymore. When something like the Jackman trade happens, I don't scratch my head and wonder what the hell Murray's thinking.
I wonder what Boudreau's thinking, because I know Murray's listening to his staff and working to provide them with what he can - even Jackman.