Yesterday we brought you a taste of the Ducks' Select-A-Seat panel with COO Tim Ryan's thoughts on the upgrades to the building for this coming year. Today we have quotes galore from Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and General Manager Bob Murray on a whole litany of topics, before we get a deeper look into some of the more intriguing and puzzling quotes in tomorrow's finale. So without further ado, let's hop right in...
Both Murray and Boudreau gave opening statements revolving around the fact that while they were glad to have such a good regular season they would have traded it even for just a first round win.
Boudreau on Francois Beauchemin's recovery from ACL Surgery:
"He's right on course. Francois has always come back early from injuries in the past but he's right on course to be there for training camp. He's a warrior and I don't know of too many other athletes that would have played the playoffs with a torn ACL. He did and he didn't look that far out of place. But he's blood and guts and he's the soul of our defense and we can't wait for him to get back."
Murray with the latest on Teemu Selanne:
"As usual at this point there is no latest. I know he was in Winnipeg last week because unfortunately Don Baizley his longtime agent and great hockey ambassador died and I wasn't going to call him before the memorial service. So I'll reach out to him here in the next week. At his age to do the training he has to do, because every year it gets harder, I want him to want it badly enough that he comes to me and says ‘Ok I'm ready to go' because if he doesn't, it would be a very big injustice to his career."
Murray on Ben Lovejoy:
"I fully expect that he is going to settle down even a little bit more. I go back to when I first saw him play, there's a little more relaxation in his game. His panic point is a little bit more than it was at the end of the year. I don't say that negatively , he finally got his opportunity and he was so excited to play - he gets excited -he wants to play and I just think he's going to relax a bit more and I think there's a lot more coming from Ben Lovejoy."
Boudreau on Matt Beleskey:
"I thought the biggest thing about Matt was consistency. When I first got here over the course of the 50 games or so that I was here, I'd go up to him and I'd say ‘Matt I can never tell you [that] you played a good game anymore' because I would go up to him and I would say ‘hey you played a good game' and the next day he'd be in the dumpster playing horrible because it would go to his head a little bit he'd take practice not as seriously."
"Last year was a year where he played hard every practice he came to the team he led the team in hits he didn't make a lot of the mistakes that he made as a younger player and I think he just matured. Maybe I expect too much from him but I've told him what I expect of him and he better stand up and deliver because we think he's a big part of this team going forward."
Boudreau on Rickard Rakell:
"He had a tremendous prospect camp. He's gained - to me - 15 pounds of muscle so the 183 lb guy was 197 lbs, so he's growing into his man's body so I think that he's going to be better this year than he was last."
Boudreau on Nick Bonino:
"As far as Nick Bonino goes, he did it all for us in a subtle way. We really missed him on the power play when he was out a month. He started killing penalties and he blocked shots. Here's a guy that took a long time in hockey terms to get to the NHL. The first year I was here he was really struggling on faceoffs. So, what'd he do? He went home and he worked on his faceoffs tirelessly all year and he became arguably our best faceoff man. So, this is the kind of guy that we have in Nick Bonino."
"So I think he's not going to be satisfied with the year that he had, even though he's happy with it, and he's going to want to be better. He's going to come in, he sees the young guys coming and he's going to say ‘nobody's taking my spot.'
Murray on Peter Holland:
"Another young man that grew a lot last year. I really didn't think I'd be at one point sitting here saying that. With Peter and all his talent I was wondering if he would ever get to that, I don't know if it's maturity level, but ever realized that you have to play hard at both ends of the ice.
"He was so gifted that he didn't have to play in his own zone because he had the puck most of the time. But he got down there with [Norfolk Head Coach] Trent Yawney this year and he made a concerted effort to learn how to play in his own zone. It's not about running over people; it's about battling one on one and winning the puck battles. That's all we kept telling Peter is to compete for the puck, compete, stay in the fight and he competed 100% and as I said I'm expecting a good battle this year at camp."
Quite the backhanded compliment, eh?
Boudreau on Kyle Palmieri:
"He got 11 goals [actually ten] and you know he had spurts of greatness. I thought, in the seven playoff games he was arguably one of our best forwards. I think he's got every bit of capabilities of scoring 20 goals and when he did score he made it look easy. We just, I think again, once he starts to get a little more consistent I think he'll be a really good player and he's just in that group of young players that I think are ready to blossom."
Boudreau on Emerson Etem:
"I don't want to put too much pressure on him. Let's remember we all think Emerson's going to be a great player, but he's a second year player and if all of a sudden we anoint him as a 35 goal guy this year, I think we're doing him a disservice."
"He's going to do what he does, he trains very hard his head is on perfectly. I remember Sheldon Souray talking to me one day and he said ‘Emerson come over here,' and he said ‘I just wanted to tell you in front of the coach that you're what all young players should be like.' And I thought that was a great compliment for him. He's like a sponge on the ice as far as learning and so I don't think there's going to be a drop off, but I just don't want to put the pressure on him to be great."
Murray on Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen:
"[Silfverberg] does it all. Left/right wing, center, he plays everywhere. He won the most valuable player of the playoffs in the Swedish Elite League as a 19 year old. Sweden's a pretty good country, they play pretty good hockey over there so this guy's a good player and he's blossomed in the playoffs this year, he was really coming on."
He then went on to talk about how Silfverberg makes the Ducks the only team in the league with three of the top 20 prospects (though it was unclear what list he was referring to) and Noesen (also acquired in the Bobby Ryan deal) is in the top 25. And before he moved on he made sure to say that "we'll all miss Bobby." Much, much more from Murray on Bobby Ryan tomorrow. Sorry for all of the teaser bullshit, but it really needs to be the focus of its own post.
Then Murray told a long story about how at the 2011 draft, he made the decision with his staff that if Noesen wasn't available at their pick (22) they'd try to move down and hope Rakell was still there and try to get Gibson as well. Of course, it worked out and they ended up picking both Rakell and Gibson with the two picks they got from Toronto (30th and 36th). But what made the story really Interesting was that he said they tried the same thing to trade down to get Jacob Markstrom in 2008, but it didn't work out and Florida took him first.
Boudreau's only comment on the Bobby trade was that we got Ottawa's first rounder next year as well "So, when you're watching Ottawa, really hope they lose a lot."
Murray on grandfathering visors:
"Bruce asked about the helmet, and it's kind of an interesting story. I called home one time and asked my mom how things were going and everything and she gave me this lecture on how my grandmother turned on the game and my first game ever was in Maple Leaf Gardens against Toronto and she saw I wasn't wearing a helmet so she turned the game off. True story honest to god." He lasted the rest of that season, then went back to the helmet.
After that, Murray made an impassioned plea that the institution of mandatory visors not become a back door to remove fighting from the game.
Murray on 2013 first round draft pick Shea Theodore:
He began by comparing Theodore to Palmieri and Etem, in that they are high quality prospects taken late in the first round. Then he went on to confirm what the scouting reports say about him.
"He can skate. He can carry the puck. He can create offense. He can do all those things that Bruce and I can't teach him how to do. We can teach him how to play defense, which he's going to have to work on. He was just here, he's going to have to work on it, but we tried to hit a home run."
Of course he also gave the requisite kudos to Mark Madden and the scouting staff and gave a little mention to second round pick Nick Sorensen as "a very talented kid who had a tough year with injuries."
Murray on Toni Lydman [the best fan question, I didn't ask it]:
"We've talked to him, he would like to come back. I've got to be careful in how many defensemen we have here I'm trying to create certain situations [More on that in the next post also]. I like Toni as much as you do. It really bothered me how bad he got hit last year and it was only a two game suspension. That just sucked. But we're not done there yet but I've got to make space for younger guys too, but maybe there's another way to do this."
And the panel wrapped up with each panelist extolling the virtues of Scott Niedermayer as he's been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Steve Carroll even hinted that number 27 should be retired, at least in his opinion.
Carroll also warmed my heart a bit by acknowledging that Paul Kariya was eligible for the Hall as well this year. There were no boos that I heard, and when he asked for a round of applause it received about the same level of enthusiasm as the announcement of Matt Beleskey's extension. Still, it was a nice gesture. To me this 20th anniversary season seems like the perfect time to mend those fences, but I'm not exactly optimistic.