While the Chicago Blackhawks have been grabbing most of the headlines in 2013, the Anaheim Ducks aren’t all that far behind in the standings.
Teemu Selanne spoke to the team’s Web site about this year’s surprisingly successful team and the great job head coach Bruce Boudreau has been doing.
“It’s a package of everything,” Selanne said. “Bruce [Boudreau] has been unbelievable. He tries to feed the confidence and the right feelings. All the leaders are pushing everybody, and everyone is chipping in. That’s what it takes.”
The 42-year-old icon explains some of Boudreau’s methods, including a little game where he selects certain combinations by pulling names out of a hat.
” … The way [Bruce] is shaking the hat and pulling those names out for different combinations, it has to be working,” Selanne said. “He has a deep hat. [Laughs]. It’s funny, but that’s how you get everybody going.”
One cannot help but wonder: how does this version of the Ducks compare to the team that won the franchise’s only Stanley Cup in 2007?
“If you look at how deep we’ve been and how solid we’ve been even in the bad games, we find the ways to win the games, like back then,” Selanne said. “[We have] two great goaltenders. It’s all the feelings that create the confidence like I’ve been talking about. I’ve always said that [with] one line, you can have fun. Two lines and you can go to the playoffs and have some success. But if you have three lines, you’re a championship team or a contender. That’s what has happened here.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.