Etem – Rakell - Whitney
Friberg – Sarault - Noesen
Cramarossa- Laganiere- Smith-Pelly
The line centered by Rakell was the first line. The line centered by Sarault didn’t change. The other forward lines did swap personnel often. One time I thought I saw Sarault, Cramarossa, and Laganiere on the ice at the same time.
The most offensive potent line was the first line centered by Rakell. Individually, Rakell stood out the most and followed by Etem. But that line just never seemed like they were on the same page except for when they scored the lone goal for the Ducks’ rookies.
The most physical line was one comprised of Laganiere – Wagner – Smith-Pelly. Yet I didn’t notice this line until the third period where they were all hitting everything and getting dirty. It would seem the Ducks experimenting with Wagner at center has not ended as he was shifted off center duties late in Norfolk’s schedule.
Theodore – Vatanen
Helgesen – Lindholm
Warg – Vatanen/Theodore/Lindholm
Zahn – Vatanen/Theodore/Lindholm
The Theodore – Vatanen pairing looked good on the ice, but they should as they’re quite talented individually. Lindholm stood out on both sides of the ice, even prevailing on a 3 – on – 1 breakaway where you utilized his length and his skill in skating backwards perfectly to cut off a passing lane to the other two opponents.
Power Play line-up
PP1: Etem-Rakell-Noesen (in the third period Noesen was replaced with Whitney)
PP2: Laganiere – Sarault – Whitney
Defesnse: A combination of Theodore – Vatanen – Lindholm
The Ducks’ power play was quite inept even when given two to three chances of the two man advantage. Because the players know they are very talented, they played individual hockey. That equates to either holding it on too long or being too cute in passing the puck too much. It seemed that no one wanted to get dirty in front of the net except for diminutive Max Friberg. I query this odd phenomenon while I see Laganiere skate just outside the crease. It should be the other way around because Laganiere dwarfs Friberg. The point men seem to not release their shots to the net as they were looking for perfect passes only to pass it back out. They were all too pass happy and the score revealed they disliked putting the puck in the back of the net while on the power play. The team went zero for a million while on the power play, including a few two men advantages.
Wagner – Smith-Pelly; Theodore – Warg
Cramarossa – Friberg; Helgesen – Lindholm
Etem – Rakell; Helgesen – Vatanen
There were many combinations, but with the same philosophy – lacking a team game play. I recall Rakell-Etem; Helgesen- Vatanen being on the ice for a PK when the Kings scored from a shot from the point, which got deflected in the second period.
Andersen played in the first two periods and let in two goals, one being on the penalty kill when Etem and Rakell were on the ice. Bobkov got pelted fast and often. After 30 seconds in the third, the Kings scored a goal. I barely had enough time to sit down from intermission just to say in my head, "what just happened?" I can only assume the first line was out for the puck drop. Then at the 16:26 mark, the Kings scored again. Later on the period, defenseman Helgesen (I think it was him. It better be because otherwise it’s Lindholm, but the video looked like Helgesen – they both had 7’s in their player number. I stopped taking notes once it seemed as though the team stopped playing, but the Kings scored one more time on Bobkov.
Surprisingly, Bobkov did well in the shootout as he won that portion. Yet, from talking with other fans who sat behind Bobkov, they tell me his stance was off and looked lost. I happened to sit on the other side of the rink and see the rest of the team scrambling and being abused. Either way, the third period was simply bad.
It took me a period to become comfortable and try to figure out who’s who during the game of play and looking at the roster chart.
Rakell looked like a man amongst boys as he hit everything and kept attacking the net.
Lindholm blew my mind away when went on a rush by himself, deked out a defender, and nearly scored a goal, but the Kings’ goalie, Berube, was just as good as Andersen. Defensively, Lindholm simply erases or separates players from the puck with ease.
In retrospect, Andersen provided us fans with a hope of still being competitive and possibly a chance to win a game. I did not know the dynamic of switching goalies would be so drastic.
Wished they did more:
Etem was there on the ice, but it seemed as though there was no chemistry between him and Rakell to receive the puck more often. But I don’t think it’s Etem’s fault for not being seen as it’s Rakell’s job to get the puck to Etem or Whitney. Instead, we do see Rakell driving to the net more often.
Noesen was invisible for the most part. But he fell into the Etem category too because Noesen’s center, Sarault, also kept the puck more often than not. I noticed Sarault more than any of his linemates because he held onto the puck so much.
Vatanen did not impress me defensively. That is concerning because GM Murray was hoping to have Vatanen get a longer look at the NHL level. If Vatanen is still struggling against other rookies, then this does not bode well for his immediate NHL future.
Exceeded my expectations:
Theodore impressed me. Not on the same level as Rakell or Lindholm. I went into this game with pundits stating that Theodore was a turn style for defense. In the second period, I was able to focus more on his play because we were defending on my half of the ice during this period. Theodore was doing a lot of little things you don’t notice such as using his stick length to push the puck away from the opponent as well as use his length to force the opposing player to the boards. So his defense is better than advertised! I did not notice much of his offense, but then again Vatanen did not do much either as his dancing partner. We get to stash this pure offensive player away for a couple more seasons to learn to play defense better, but we do not have to worry so much that he does not play any kind of defense any longer.
The only difference in personnel between periods 1 and 2 to period 3 is a goalie switch from Andersen to Bobkov. It was a shooting gallery for the Kings in the third period, who also replaced Berube in the third period. We gave up four goals in one period with Bobkov compared to two goals in two period with Andersen. Sitting on the other side of the ice, I think it was bad defense on our part, but some say it really is Bobkov’s lack of talent who sat behind him. Also, I was hoping for a Gibson cameo in the third period.
Another thing startled me was that Noesen was not on the same line as Rakell. They were for PP situations in the first two periods, but that didn’t generate any offense. Maybe it is just this way because it is a rookie thing. Seeing how Lindholm was stuck with Helgesen, it is quite possible that is how things are designed.
We were not playing like a team. I have no idea who does the coaching in these rookie camps, but we are not on the same page. And seeing that a majority of these prospects were already in Norfolk, then I guess we Anaheim locals finally witnessed what our Norfolk fans had to endure as well as Andersen and Bobkov! Something is not clicking.
Luck be my best friend:
So I brought along my point-and-shoot camera who I named, Nikki. Nikki is a Nikon to which I only have a 16 GB card in her. I had many thoughts of videotaping a lot of the game, but didn’t just want to waste the memory. The first time I decided to follow the game flow of the game I actually got on video how we scored that goal. (Looking back now, it was our only goal.) I had fun replaying it for my friends to show how fortunate I was. I didn’t take any more videos as I starting writing notes of the game from the second period on. But I started videotaping the shootout. Lo and behold, we won!
I don’t know when or if I will post up pictures or the videos because I don’t have an online album site. I’m much too lazy to do that for now. But I can say that Whitney crashed the corner hard to dislodge the puck, Etem crashed the board to touch passed it between an opposing defender's legs to Whitney who crept out of the corner to shoot at Berube and have Rakell take the shoot-pass and pot it around Berube by soccer style kicking it from his skate to his stick for an open net.