Wednesday, October 11th, 7:00 PM PST
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Lighthouse Hockey
Both the Anaheim Ducks and the visiting New York Islanders will be looking to bounce back Wednesday night at Honda Center. Anaheim saw a very rare home loss against the Calgary Flames (finally snapping a 29-game loss streak to the Ducks at the Honda Center). And the Islanders couldn’t capitalize, eventually falling to St. Louis in a shootout. So while the home team will be looking to get back into the win column, the visiting team will be hoping to gain traction for the rest of this Pacific coast swing.
When you take a look at the New York Islanders, the ongoing arena drama and the question of John Tavares’ upcoming contract extension dominate headlines. But this bubble team is just trying to move the needle and pop that bubble. The thing is, this team isn’t terrible. With names like John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, the off-season addition of Jordan Eberle, and the up-and-coming flashy Josh Ho-Sang, they sure look more complete than the Anaheim Ducks look at this time. In net, it’s a bit less impressive. Jaroslav Halak has had moments of brilliance, and he is entering a contract year. But he is old and even the Islanders aren’t fully invested. Finally, the Islanders hope that Doug Weight taking over the reigns behind the bench is exactly what the team needs to actually remain competitive for a postseason spot in the East. It is a bit too early to tell, but that Metro Division is no joke.
The preseason story for the Anaheim Ducks hasn’t changed all too much—with the exception of perhaps the injury count. The numbers have increased. After Monday’s loss to the Flames, you can now add Ondrej Kase (Upper Body Injury aka concussion) to all the others. With the slew of injuries that the Ducks are facing, the Ducks aren’t exactly the Ducks. It was more like the Ducks + Gulls = the Dulls. Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh, but it is a tad fitting considering some aspects of their play as of late (ahem powerplay).
That being said, these games still count. In the first few games, the Ducks have quite a few windows of just really struggling to clear the zone and get a transition going. I get it, our defensive corps is not as it should be, but they have to figure something out. Randy, I’m talking to YOU. Offensively, its been sporadic. It is good to see that Corey Perry is out there not just being a
loveable ass pest, but a threat as well. And among the early survivors of the injury bug, Rickard Rakell has had some pretty shiny, flashy moments. That being said, the Ducks as a whole haven’t really figured the offense thing out. It is definitely not a problem of not getting enough shots on net. We’ve had that problem before. The Ducks are definitely shooting, but now its time to level up to getting more quality shots. Monday’s game saw WAY too many shots from the perimeter. There were not enough backdoor plays and the opportunities from the slot area. Fortunately, John Gibson has been pretty brilliant so the Ducks do have that saving grace.
My final point is really that there is much room for improvement. The Ducks can console themselves in knowing that reinforcements are coming in the next few months. That being said, this is the time for the young guys to step up and learn what it takes to play at the NHL level.