Anaheim Ducks name Ryan Getzlaf their new captain

getzlafcelebrates.jpgIn somewhat surprising news, the Anaheim Ducks announced late last night that 25 year old power forward Ryan Getzlaf will be the team’s eight captain. Here are some tidbits from the team’s press release.

The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has named Ryan Getzlaf team captain. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne have been named alternate captains for the 2010-11 season. In addition, Corey Perry and Todd Marchant will serve as additional alternate captains when necessary.

“This is another step in the maturity process of Ryan Getzlaf,” said Head Coach Randy Carlyle. “We felt that with it being his sixth season in the league, now is the time for the transition and the veteran players agreed with us.”

Getzlaf, 25 (5/10/85), who is entering his sixth NHL season, will become the eighth captain in Ducks history after serving the past two seasons as an alternate captain for Scott Niedermayer. Having led the team in scoring in two of the last three seasons, Getzlaf also led the club in assists and ranked second in points in 2009-10 (19-50=69 points in 66 contests). The 6-4, 221-pound center also appeared in his first Olympics in 2010, winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the Winter Games in Vancouver. He finished the Olympic tournament tied for second on Team Canada with 2-5=7 points in seven contests.

A native of Regina Saskatchewan, Getzlaf has earned 107-232=339 points in 363 career games. His career +64 rating leads all active NHL players under age 25 heading into the 2010-11 regular season.

I must admit, I was expecting the Ducks to make more of a “transitional” decision regarding their captaincy by handing the “C” to an older player such as Saku Koivu. Koivu has 10 years on Getzlaf and also served as the captain for the Montreal Canadiens before moving over to Anaheim last season.

Still, naming Getzlaf captain does follow a recent trend of NHL teams naming their best young player captain even if that player isn’t always an outspoken leader. From the lead-by-example types such as Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby to the boisterous Alex Ovechkin, the common thread is a high talent level and long future with a given franchise.

By that logic, Getzlaf was the obvious choice for the Ducks. My suggestion for Getzlaf to prove his new found maturity: save your head, Ryan. It’s time for him to accept follicle reality. By parting with the last remaining threads of his hair, he’ll show the wisdom of a cagey veteran. Just a suggestion.

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    Willie O’Ree celebrates 60th anniversary of debut with Bruins

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    BOSTON (AP) Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree was honored in Boston on Wednesday on the 60th anniversary of the Bruins forward breaking the NHL’s color barrier.

    At a news conference at the TD Garden before the Bruins game against the Montreal Canadiens, Mayor Marty Walsh declared Jan. 18, 2018 to be “Willie O’Ree Day”. O’Ree made his debut in 1958 during a 3-0 victory against the Canadiens at the Forum in Montreal.

    Walsh called O’Ree a Boston legend who changed the city for the better and thanked him for his courage. As part of the celebration, the city dedicated a new street hockey rink in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood to be known as Willie O’Ree Rink.

    A native of Canada, O’Ree, 82, had four goals and 10 assists in 45 games over parts of two NHL seasons. He spent a total of 21 years in pro hockey.

    For the past two decades, O’Ree has served as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador, spreading the message that hockey is for everyone.

    More AP NHL hockey at https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

    Bruins cruise vs. Canadiens in Julien’s return to Boston

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    Don’t blame Claude Julien if Wednesday made him think of better times, and not just because it was his welcome back night in Boston.

    Coming into this one, it was a tale of two teams going in opposite directions, and the teams stuck to their scripts. The Boston Bruins remain red-hot with a 4-1 win, while the Montreal Canadiens are mired in mediocrity .. or worse?

    When you’re as disappointing as the Canadiens have been, plenty of things are going wrong. It was a weak start even with a 1-0 lead and 1-1 first period in mind, and it obviously didn’t get any better.

    Nights like these have to sting for Julien, a coach known for his sophisticated systems and eye for defensive detail.

    There are questions about Max Pacioretty possibly being trade bait. People wonder if Jonathan Drouin or Alex Galchenyuk fit as centers, or if neither work that way. Yet, these performances make you realize that as exasperated as management must be, they may also appreciate more specific distractions.

    Because, frankly, this was a team … non-effort.

    Then again, the Bruins are a red-hot squad, so maybe they shine an especially harsh light on the Habs’ haplessness?

    Boston generated a 32-22 shots on goal advantage in this one, with multiple contributors stepping up. Big guns came through (Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were among the goal scorers, Patrice Bergeron collected two assists), while David Backes and others added to the fun.

    It was the kind of effort Julien would have been very happy with, if it didn’t come at his expense.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks

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    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINEUPS

    Pittsburgh Penguins

    Dominik SimonSidney Crosby — Daniel Sprong

    Carl HagelinEvgeni MalkinPatric Hornqvist

    Conor ShearyJake GuentzelPhil Kessel

    Tom KuhnhacklRiley SheahanRyan Reaves

    Brian DumoulinKris Letang

    Olli MaattaJustin Schultz

    Matt HunwickJamie Oleksiak

    Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

    [NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Canadiens vs. Bruins; Penguins vs. Ducks]

    Ducks

    Rickard RakellRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

    Derek GrantRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

    Nick RitchieAdam HenriqueOndrej Kase

    Chris WagnerAntoine VermetteJ.T. Brown

    Cam FowlerKevin Bieksa

    Hampus LindholmJosh Manson

    Francois BeaucheminBrandon Montour

    Starting goalie: John Gibson

    What should Blackhawks do without Corey Crawford?

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    Look, it’s quite possible that Corey Crawford will be back this season for the Chicago Blackhawks.

    As of this moment, there are more questions than answers, with semantic arguments bubbling up about whether he’s dealing with concussion issues, vertigo, or what. Either way, it’s an unfortunate situation.

    Let’s say the very bad happens and the Blackhawks won’t get their crucial goalie back as they try to claw their way into a playoff spot in the competitive Central Division. What should GM Stan Bowman do?

    Here are a few scenarios.

    Stay put

    We can debate where Crawford ranks among the NHL’s best goalies (is he a top-five guy, top 10, elite?), but it’s fair to say that he’s had one of the toughest gigs. It’s a good thing that he produced a fantastic .929 save percentage this season, because Chicago’s defense isn’t what it once was. They’re tied for the eighth-most shots allowed per game (32.6) and are in the top 10 in most high-danger chances allowed (via Natural Stat Trick).

    Jeff Glass is a great story, and he’s provided very acceptable backup-level work alongside Anton Forsberg (Glass’s save percentage is .910, Forsberg’s at .911).

    That’s heartening, but the bottom line is that the Blackhawks rank at the bottom of the Central with this mix of Crawford’s great goaltending and respectable work from Glass/Forsberg. They may only sink with Glass and Forsberg, and that’s assuming that those two don’t fall apart altogether.

    The more uncomfortable question is: maybe they should just “Take the L” and regroup for next season? As is, it’s tough to imagine the Blackhawks making the playoffs, or making any noise if they do make it.

    If they would rather not punt this season, then a trade would be the best option to explore.

    Go after an obvious guy

    The Detroit Red Wings want to move Petr Mrazek. If Crawford goes on IR, Chicago might not even need Detroit to retain much/any of Mrazek’s $4M, possibly making the asking price more reasonable.

    It’s been a while since we’ve seen the best of Mrazek (2015-16), but he’s only made 13 appearances in 2017-18, as the Red Wings still haven’t gotten the whole “rebuild” memo yet. Or at least they haven’t read it.

    Mrazek would stand as a “high-risk, high-reward” acquisition. You could probably put Buffalo Sabres starter Robin Lehner under that heading, assuming Buffalo would let him go. Logically, you’d think Lehner would be more costly, considering his sneaky-strong individual stats.

    TSN’s Frank Seravalli notes that San Jose Sharks backup Aaron Dell might draw some trade interest, with some looking at him as the next backup who might take the next step to become a starter. Chicago could provide Dell with quite the audition in that regard.

    The road less traveled

    Actually, Dell stands as a template for the type of guys who the Blackhawks might want to at least inquire about: backups who might not be long for their current teams.

    Philipp Grubauer is one name that stands out. With a solid .916 save percentage this season and a sparkling .922 mark for his career (81 regular-season games), Grubauer’s excelled when given chances. The problem is that he plays on the same team as Braden Holtby, which means that those chances seldom come.

    Grubauer is a pending RFA, and he’s likely to be too expensive for the Washington Capitals after this season. Maybe the Blackhawks can make it worth Washington’s while to acknowledge that likelihood, and get something for him rather than letting him go for less later?

    The Blue Jackets still have Joonas Korpisalo through 2018-19, with his contract expiring at the same time as that of Sergei Bobrovsky, so a conversation about “Korpi” likely wouldn’t last too long. Still, why not ask?

    One other off-the-beaten path consideration would be Antti Raanta.

    The Blackhawks and Coyotes aren’t shy about making moves together, and Raanta’s debut season hasn’t gone as planned in Arizona. The Coyotes might not have necessarily soured on Raanta, but if they decide to go in a different direction in net in the future, maybe it would be worth moving him?

    Chicago obviously has experience with Raanta, so that could make it a more comfortable transition as a “rental,” too.

    ***

    Look, the Blackhawks struggled with Crawford in the lineup, playing at an outstanding level. There’s no guarantee that landing a goalie would make the difference, even if that netminder generated great work and didn’t cost a ton in a trade.

    On the other hand, this Blackhawks core isn’t getting any younger, while the Central is loaded with teams that have bright futures.

    For all we know, this might be one of this team’s last, best shots. GM Stan Bowman needs to turn over every stone to try to find an answer, whether that ends up coming down to making a big move or accepting the painful status quo.

    Personally, I’d rotate between grumbling and crying.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.