@ Nashville Predators
Saturday, Dec 10, 2011, 5:00 PM PST
RADIO: AM 830 KLAA
Your Enemy (we mean it): On the Forecheck
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The big news for the Ducks relates to the flurry of moves they made yesterday. With the Ducks loaning Devante Smith-Pelly to Team Canada for the upcoming World Juniors tournament and Saku Koivu still sidelined by a mysterious lower-body injury, the Ducks called up forwards Kyle Palmieri and Brandon McMillan from Syracuse. They also sent Nick Bonino down.
Then things got really strange.
With the new faces in town and the aforementioned Koivu injury, the Ducks rolled the following lines at yesterday's practice:
Kyle Palmieri - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Bobby Ryan - Teemu Selanne
Andrew Gordon - Brandon McMillan - Nicklas Hagman
Jean-Francois Jacques or Matt Beleskey - Maxime Macenauer - George Parros
If these are in fact the same lines the Ducks use tonight, it will be really interesting to watch two things: How well does Palmieri fit with the twins and can Bobby (finally) find success as a center? The thing I do like about the Bobby-at-center experiment is that Cogs is also there in case things get away from Bobby a little bit. He also seems to be more upbeat about the experiment this year than he was last year, saying:
I’m not going to be one of those centers where you’re wondering why I’m not shooting the puck...I will have no trouble shooting it.
While the results haven't necessarily been there under new coach Bruce Boudreau, the team does seem to be more upbeat and generally more aggressive. They don't seem to be imploding as much when a goal scores and the fact that they're averaging 3 goals/game under Boudreau is something to be excited about (warning, small sample size).
I believe I read somewhere earlier this week that Dan Ellis would be getting one of the starts on this mini road trip. Since Jonas faced St. Louis on Thursday, I fully expect to see Ellis face off against his old team.
Unfortunately for the Ducks, erstwhile pest Jordin Tootoo will be making his return to the lineup after being given a two-game suspension for running Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. While Preds fans are probably salivating at the idea of wathcing Tootoo goad Perry into some kind of reaction, I would caution them to be careful what they wish for. Getzlaf and Perry both appear to be at their breaking point after the repeated abuse Perry has suffered in the last few games, and the budding rivalry between these two teams could cause one or both of them to completely lose it. Things could get ugly fast. While I'm sure that would give Nashville the vapors, the sort of violent outburst the Ducks used to be renowned for could be just what they need to start feeling good about themselves again.
In closing: Don't make us angry, Nashville. You wouldn't like us when we're angry.