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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    The West’s next round is now set (and wide-open)

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    Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.

    Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.

    The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.

    St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

    Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.

    Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

    There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.

    It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.

    Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime

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    After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

    Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

    Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

    Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

    The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.

    Wow.

    With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

    As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

    Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.

    Canadiens sound a lot like Wild after playoff exit (without ‘better team’ talk)

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    Much like the Minnesota Wild earlier on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens are stunned to approach the golf courses so rapidly.

    Many of the responses after the New York Rangers eliminated them in Game 6 sound a lot like what the Wild uttered, though there’s no potential bulletin board material like Bruce Boudreau’s line about the better team failing to win four games.

    Max Pacioretty viewed this early exit as a “missed opportunity” and never really believed that an elimination was coming.

    Claude Julien provided parallel comments to Bruce Boudreau, believing that Montreal generated chances but lacked “finish.”

    Brendan Gallagher? He worries that this might have been the Canadiens’ best chance, something the Wild must also worry about with a difficult offseason ahead.

    Now, it’s likely that most teams speak about being shocked and expecting better after being booted from the postseason.

    Still, these reactions do shine a light on the staggering nature of some of these exits. Will the likes of the Blackhawks, Canadiens and Wild struggle to be in such prime positions in the future? With the Sharks needing a comeback against the Oilers, could the trend continue on Saturday?

    The bottom line is that, instead of preparing for a Game 7 after winning the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens are packing up their stuff and worrying about re-signing Carey Price. That’s a pretty stunning turnaround, regardless of the soundbytes available.

    Video: Draisaitl, Slepyshev score on breakaways, Talbot spurns Marleau

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    Some playoff games or even series come down to something as stupidly simple as one team taking advantage of their opportunities while the other fails to capitalize on chances.

    If Game 6 of the Oilers – Sharks series follows the story of the second period, then San Jose may join Saturday’s stream of eliminated teams.

    It’s not fair to boil it down to three breakaways, but some might feel that way.

    Leon Draisaitl looked like a gritty, strong veteran during his first career playoff goal, bulling his way to the net for 1-0 breakaway tally. About a minute later, Anton Slepyshev was even more alone against Martin Jones, and he scored his first postseason goal to make it 2-0.

    That stings for the Sharks, and it doesn’t help that they had a similar chance not long after. This time around, Patrick Marleau couldn’t beat Cam Talbot, so it remained 2-0 for Edmonton.

    That’s the same score as the game enters the third period, even with some dangerous late chances for the Sharks.

    If the Sharks don’t score at least two goals in the third, their push to return to the Stanley Cup Final could end in the first round.