2010-11 Anaheim Ducks Season Preview
A fresh start. A new beginning. That was the plan for the Anaheim Ducks this season.
Coming off of a horrendous 2009-10 season, the Ducks were determined to stop looking in the past. After weeks of anticipation, the revamped Ducks were prepared to start off strong with a win.
Based on the opening game on Oct. 8, where the Ducks lost 4-0 to the Detroit Red Wings, things aren’t going as planned.
The Ducks all-time record in season openers prior to the Friday game was 4-12-0, so a win wasn’t really expected. Still, Friday's game was painful to watch other than the numerous fights that broke out during the third period.
Here's what can be expected of the Ducks for the rest of the season:
The biggest advantage the Ducks have lies in their forward lineup. The talent and experience of players like newly-minted captain Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry is promising, but they need to start tallying goals.
Getzlaf, 25, scored 19 goals last season and led the team in assists. The captain title means the 6-foot-4, 220-pound center will have extra pressure on him to up his game and lead his team to victory.
In September, Ryan, 23, signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the Ducks. The New Jersey native played 81 games last year and scored 35 goals. The Ducks were wise in offering a contract extension to a forward like Ryan, who led the team in goals.
Throw into the mix the powerhouse that is right-winger Teemu Selanne and Dan “Big Sexy” Sexton and the Ducks might have a fighting chance this year to make the playoffs.
Four of the six players the Ducks added this offseason are defensemen. However, only one player, rookie Cam Fowler, really stands out.
The hype surrounding the 18-year-old Fowler is no longer just hype—he proved himself by playing well in the opening game. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenseman is attempting to replace the void left by Ducks legend Scott Niedermayer, who retired over the summer.
On the ice, Fowler is composed and calm, which are essential traits when playing on the defense.
“I’m just blessed to be able to control things out there," Fowler said. "For a defenseman, it’s huge. You have to be able to see the whole ice and known where people are."
Based on his well-played 21 minutes on the ice during Friday’s game, Fowler will be a fixture for Anaheim, even when his fellow defensemen fail to show any movement with the puck.
Despite a lack of skill with the puck, the Ducks' other defensemen include some of the tallest in the league, such as Andy Sutton (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) and Paul Mara (6-foot-4, 207 pounds). Hopefully they can use their size as an advantage.
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller had a record of 30-23-6 and posted two shutouts last year. Entering his fourth NHL season, the Swiss goalie’s biggest problem is consistency. After suffering from back spasms last season, Hiller believes he is ready to prove himself to his critics.
“My expectations for myself are high," Hiller said. "I know I have to be ready. There is no way you can let go just a little bit.”
Considering the disastrous season last year, when the Ducks didn’t even make the playoffs, the only way to go is up. This season, the goal is to make it to the playoffs. In order to achieve that, the team needs to focus on working together and producing wins.
If the Ducks can grow together and develop as a team, they have the opportunity to surprise us all.
To reach reporter Sarah Sotoodeh, click here.
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