The preseason Coyotes downed the preseason Ducks to the tune of 4-1. Anaheim's lone goal came from Bobby Ryan on the power play, assisted by Visnovsky and Fowler. And it was an important night for that trio.
Bobby Ryan took a turn at center, where he dabbled last season, but where the coaching staff hopes to keep him this year. In an interview with Dan Wood aired during the game, Ducks' head coach Randy Carlyle said of the move, "We think it forces Bobby to move his feet more," but noted that Ryan retained some bad habits like turning his back on the puck. The newly re-signed forward got 22 shifts and 17:56 of ice time to try and work out some of those kinks.
Lubomir Visnovsky also got a full night's work with 24:51 of ice time. That number is higher than any of the single season averages in the defenseman's 10 year career, but as the Ducks' new number one defenseman, Lubo had better get used to the business end of Randy Carlyle's riding crop. Perhaps the most important of chunk of Visnovsky's ice time was the 9:03 he logged on the power play. With former Assistant Coach Newell Brown and Scott Niedermayer now gone, much of this year's power play will hinge on Visnovsky's success on the back end.
But, of course, the ice time that drew the most interest belonged to wunderkind Cam Fowler. I have stated before that the calculus here is simple: he has to play the minutes, he then has to play the minutes strong, he then has to play the same strong minutes against Top 6 forwards in the NHL. Well, tonight, Fowler played the minutes, hanging in with Visnovsky for 23 shifts at 24:40 with an average shift time of 1:04 against a strong group of Phoenix forwards. Fowler will have to improve as the forwards improve, but he's on the right track so far. Also, if you're wondering, Drew Doughty averaged 23:50 his rookie season in LA against the Pacific Division's Top Sixers. No simple task.
Shout out to Matt Clark, who had a tough night with three minor penalties leading up to a loss in a donnybrook with Twitter superstar Paul Bissonette. The refs love to set the tone in the preseason, and it's tough to be the guy trying to play with a physical edge and stand up for your teammates.