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Last night the Ducks had their first encounter with the San Jose Sharks since eliminating the Presidents' Trophy winners in the opening round of the playoffs. The game featured Selanne scoring his first preseason goal on a brilliant slap shot, Ryan Carter announcing his candidacy for the Selke with some terrific defensive play and the return of Will Smith's "Gettin Jiggy With It," as Giguere looked more like a $6 million goalie. But the most interesting play of the game happened when Bobby Ryan found himself dropping the gloves with the Sharks' Jamie McGinn.
McGinn levelled Corey Perry, who turned to bring the puck into the neutral zone after receiving a no-look pass from Ryan, who was digging the puck out along the boards. Later, Ryan told the OC Register that, as he put Perry in that position, he had to be the one to defend him.
Arthur, Bobby Ryan is going to be counted on for a lot of offense this year. Is this really a mess he needs to clean up himself, or should he have let a Parros handle it on the next shift?
Generally, no, he shouldn't be fighting. HOWEVER, the kid's got character, and he's absolutely right about his responsibilities in this situation. In his first shift last Wednesday, I told you I thought he was having a little too much fun out there. He elbowed a guy in the face and smiled at him. Now, I understand he's excited; this is the first time since he was drafted that he KNOWS he'll make this team. But that excitement has resulted in some showboating in the pre-season, and that showboating created this situation.
It was a cute little no-look pass into open ice, Perry had to follow the puck as it squirted out and he was destroyed in the process. It wouldn't have been enough for Ryan to just pat him on the shoulder on the bench and say, "sorry, man." He had to do something about it. I'd compare it to missing your assignment and watching the guy score on the goaltender. Yeah, you can say, "sorry, Jiggy," but you're likely to hear, "Don't apologize! Go score a goal!" There's really only one response when you make a mistake like this. Ryan knows that, and I give him full marks for following through. And as I said when it happened, I would have lost some respect for him if he didn't.
But I'd also compare this to throwing a high pass across the middle as a quarterback. You can dive head first to pick up the first down on the next play and show your receiver you're willing to sacrifice yourself, but it should end there. As the quarterback, you can't leave yourself open to injury like that. You just learn to be a little more considerate of your receivers, and you can baseball slide into the first down marker for the rest of your career.
And that's how Ryan should view this. He can't expose himself to injury, but if he's a little more considerate of his teammates, he won't have to.
I have to agree with you, on all counts. But more than just being responsible for his mistake or defending a teammate, I think this fight demonstrates that Bobby realizes how important he is to the team. None of us like to see it, but from time to time star players have to mix it up. Last year Scotty, Getzlaf and Perry were all dropping gloves in the Detroit series, because it was do or die. They were demonstrating their heart and commitment and letting everybody else on the team know that we weren't going to roll over for Detroit. In 2006, Iginla squared off with Beauchemin to stand up for his teammate, and even though it backfired a little when Beauchemin won the fight, I still think it reminded everybody that the Flames were his team.
This fight is a strong message for the Ducks and the rest of the league. Bobby Ryan is not just a young kid who can create offense. He's taking ownership of his game and becoming a more complete hockey player. I never considered Bobby Ryan to be anything more than offense. I knew he was a hard worker and that he'd go to the tough areas to score goals, but I never thought he'd be the type of guy who'd eventually have an "A" on his chest. I don't think he should be doing this every time he makes a mistake, but standing up like this shows he is willing to do whatever it takes to win. I think that should comfort Anaheim fans in the type of effort they'll be seeing from Bobby Ryan this season. I know it comforts me.