@ Phoenix Coyotes
Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011, 6:00 PM PST
TV: PRIME TICKET
RADIO: AM 830 KLAA
Your Enemy: Five For Howling
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Tonight marks the 21st game of the Ducks ugly 6-10-4 season. Seeing that record made me think, where were we LAST season at this time? I distinctly remember being disgruntled during the first quarter of the season. The answer is: 10-8-2. Not quite as bad as our current record, but still not outstanding considering the run the Ducks went on to finish the season.
Ok, so how did we get to 10-8-2? Let's look at the goalies first and how they compare to this time last year.
|CURTIS MCELHINNEY ('10-'11) vs. DAN ELLIS ('11-'12)||5||6||262||255||2.98||2.12||2||1||2||2||0||0||1||0||13||9||0.924|| |
A couple areas that stick out to me. First, Dan Ellis is a significantly better back-up for Jonas Hiller that Curtis McElhinney, but that's a "well duh" if I've ever heard of one. Next, take a look at Jonas' goals against. He was lit up for 44 goals after 20 games last year, but has let in 47 this year - causing an approximate two-hundreths of a percent change in his GAA and his save percentage. Is this attributed to his decline in performance or because the team in front of him isn't playing well? I would likely lean towards the latter. Also, maybe the Ducks should look at starting Dan Ellis more frequently than just back-to-back games. The plan going into the season was to ease Hiller into work-horse mode. Up to this point in the previous season, he had played in only one less game, but we all remember how that turned out. Until Hiller gets his feet back under him again, he and Ellis should split the time.
On to the offense. Let's look at the Ducks on both last year and this year's squad plus the former Ducks and new Ducks labeled as "everyone else".
With the exception of Teemu Selanne and Luca Sbisa (of all people), pretty much everyone is underachieving as compared to last year. The Bobby Ryan-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry line is struggling more significantly than I had originally thought. Perry continues to be a bright spot on the line, but even those numbers aren't close to what we expect of Perry at this point. There have been a lot of mentions of the lack of shots, but the numbers don't lie - the Ducks are shooting more than they were last year...except for Bobby. Bobby has 20 shots LESS than what he produced last year. For Bobby Ryan, a guy that tends to be in the top 10 for NHL shot totals each season, this is really strange. Is he being restricted by having to drive to the net all the time or is he simply looking for the perfect play? I don't care what the reason is, he needs to get back to the player that earned that five year deal.
While much of the scrutiny can be placed on the RPG line, the team as a whole is under producing in almost every category. The attempts to patch together a 3rd and 4th energy/scoring/miracle line has continued to fail the Ducks. Plucking at the waiver wire has been the current attempt at a solution. The Ducks are hyping the play of Niklas Hagman and Ben Maxwell as difference making. We'll see about that because I only kind of remember them playing against Detroit.
The Coyotes sit 4 points ahead of the Ducks in the standings. Things aren't going to get any easier with Chicago coming in on Friday, so they had better figure it out now.
Oh and SK is in Phoenix for the game. Since about 12 people are usually in attendance in Phoenix, you should be able to spot her in the crowd. She'll be the one starting the fights in the stands.
(If the formatting of the website cut off the stats, or you want to see more, take a look at my spreadsheet: Ducks 20 Games In. You need Excel 07 or the converter patch to view. )