Our gameday previews continue with three questions with SB Nation's Ducks blog, Anaheim Calling. We've got Jen Neale on hand to answer three questions to help introduce you to the kind of mind that likes the Ducks and to guide you to their gameday coverage so you can get a better understanding of their perspective.
1. To what do you attribute the Ducks' Fasth sthart so far this seasthon? They've done well early.
Nicely done on the Fasth's. At first I thought you had a stroke mid-sentence.
Going into the season, we figured it was going to be more of the same: Selanne, Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan would have to carry the team on their backs while everyone else tags along and helps once in a while. Turns out, it would be the other way around. It wasn't until the last few games did Selanne, Getzlaf and Ryan start scoring. (We're still waiting on Perry.) This is the deepest the team has been in years. Amazing goaltending helps, too.
A lot of it goes back to Bruce. He believes players need time away from each other and the rink in order to function well as a group. Randy Carlyle didn't carry the same philosophy and over worked the guys constantly.
2. I know it's looking forward a bit, but with approximately everybody going UFA this summer, who are the Ducks going to have to play in their top six forwards next year?
My gut feeling is we're only going to lose Perry because another team will be able to offer him more money. It's the Hart Trophy Tax. Once you win the trophy, you are practically guaranteed a huge new contract.
Getzlaf has said repeatedly he wants to come back next season. I think he'll take whatever we give him because any GM with eyes will know he's lazy and a shade of his former self. Because of the shortened season, Teemu and Koivu will come back for their victory laps around the NHL. Granted Koivu is playing on the third line right now but he moves around the lines frequently. Unless Bobby throws another off-season temper tantrum, he's back, too. That's four of six right there. The last two spots will probably go to Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem.
One of the things Bob Murray has done right is bring in Martin Madden as Director of Amateur Scouting. He completely changed how the Ducks draft and now we're stocked up with great developing players for years to come. We will be fine as long as we don't get 'Schultz'ed' again.
3. What's the single biggest thing that East coast sportswriters don't understand about hockey in the Pacific Time Zone?
We still play hockey after they go to sleep at night. God forbid they miss their bedtime to cover teams that aren't the Vancouver Canucks.